Archive for March, 2011

Do you have home seller’s fatigue syndrome?

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011

Chicago Tribune reporter Nancy Watkins has coined my new favorite phrase:

Home Seller’s Fatigue Syndrome

Her house sat on the market for one year and one week before selling for 33 percent less than she paid for it in 2005. Not in a short sale or foreclosure, but still. Those of us who have had homes sit and sit and sit on this godforsaken market can relate to Nancy and the phenomenon of HFS as she calls it.

Seriously, reading this took me right back to my mad cleaning frenzies having to get the house ready for prospective buyers and the moment when an agent barged into our house with her clients in tow without an appointment… and I had JUST gotten dressed after a shower. Oh, the stress. The prolonged stress. The constant cleaning and de-cluttering. The strangers in our house. The agents who don’t call first… No, I don’t really miss it.


How do you know if you’re suffering from HFS? Well, Nancy cleverly and refreshingly details the symptoms. Here are a just a couple:

-You have a constant unsettled feeling reinforced daily by the sight of the sign in your front yard, swinging in the wind and, you would swear some days, laughing.

-You have developed paranoia because during various open houses people swiped your prescription drugs and went through your drawers. Not only do you no longer have open houses, but you jump whenever your husband touches you.

For the rest of the symptoms as well as the cure, you’ll have to read the entire Tribune article.

You’ll be glad you did.

Here it is:

- Chicago Tribune

By the way, I came across this article thanks to Dennis Rodkin of Chicago Magazine’s . Check it out. And follow Dennis on Twitter: .

And lastly… just wondering. Ever have prospective buyers barge in on you unexpectedly? And what is the thing you’ll miss the LEAST about having your house on the market? 
Share in the comments below…

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Reestablishing Credit During the Recession

Monday, March 28th, 2011

A number of the people I counsel want to know how soon they can after . The prerecession standard advice was two years for a credit card with decent interest and four years for a mortgage with indecent interest.

But that was then. Now, because so many people have bad credit because of , late payments, and bankruptcies, it’s hard to say what decisions the credit issuers will be making in the next several years. Will they be more forgiving because of the need to pull in people who might not have qualified a few years ago, or will they get tighter and not give credit at all until more time has elapsed after the bankruptcy? Only Fair Isaac (FICO) knows for sure, sort of.

For sure, if you want to reestablish credit, the old ways are probably still the best ways. Get a major credit card, periodically make purchases, scrupulously make your payments on time, get a second card, same thing, work to build your credit line, never max-out your cards, and so on. There are a number of other tips on the Fair Isaac website at that will help you lift your credit score to the maximum extent possible. The more you follow that advice, the better off you’ll be. You can get Nolo’s , by Robin Leonard and Margaret Reiter (Nolo) for even more on this subject. Or check out the free articles and FAQs in Nolo’s area of its website.

But should you even try to get your credit back? I often tell people I’m counseling that working to get your credit back is like an alcoholic learning how to drink better. Credit is simply the opportunity to go into debt, and once in debt it’s really hard to get out. When you’ve received your bankruptcy discharge you will usually be completely solvent (except perhaps for debts like student loans and recent income taxes). Why spend energy for the privilege of going back into debt? There are lots of reasons why people feel it’s a rational thing to do, but all you’re really doing is preparing to live beyond your means.

Sure it’s nice to have credit for an emergency, but people would be much better off reigning in their spending and saving as much and as fast as possible, and using their savings if necessary for an emergency. You may not feel like you’re addicted to credit or spending (same thing), but chances are you are and are just in denial. Now I would never say this to your face because you would just deny it and be angry at me. Well, maybe you’re still angry at me but at least I don’t have to see it. Please accept the fact that my intentions are good — to keep you solvent and out of debt. do my essays