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While many of us don’t do the Black Friday shopping it is nice to know that as we prepare the  meal  if we need something there will be  some stores such as Kmart, Walmart, Dollar General, Family Dollar   which will be open early. (See list below to confirm)

DOLLAR TREE will be open at 8am but will close at 4pm if you need foil pans or paper dinner napkins and such.

You might want to make your shopping map including the times and locations of the stores you plan to visit.
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CHRISTMAS SEASON 2013 KICKOFF

  • Best Buy Stores: Open at 6 p.m. on Thanksgiving (six hours earlier than last year’s midnight opening.) until 10 p.m. on Friday.
  • Belk — all stores open by 8pm on Thursday, November 28. See the Belk leaked ad scan here.
  • CVS — Traditionally open regular hours on Thanksgiving, and the Black Friday freebies are usually also available beginning that day. Pharmacies may be closed for some of the day, however.
  • Dollar General 7 a.m. on Thanksgiving Day and continue throughout the weekend. Go here to see sales
  • Dollar Tree 8am to 4pm at the one on 71st between  Memorial and Mingo in Tulsa  (Check with the ones in your area.)
  • Family Dollar starts at 8 am! http://www.theblackfriday.com/family-dollar-blackfriday.shtml
  • J.C. Penney: Open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving (, although the annual freebie giveaway doesn’t go live until 4am.) They will remain open for 25  hours, until 9 p.m. on Friday.  
  • Kohl’s : Open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving until midnight on Saturday. (52 hours straight!)
  • Macy’s: Open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving until about 10 p.m. on Friday at most stores, although the leaked Macy’s Black Friday ad also has coupons good on Saturday, November 30 as well.
  • Sears: Open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving until 10 p.m. on Friday.
  • Kmart: Open at 6 a.m. on Thanksgiving until 11 p.m. on Friday which is 41  hours!! The chain is bragging they will have 41 straight hours of deals for bargain hunting holiday shoppers.
  • Staples: Open at 8 p.m. until midnight. Reopen at 6 a.m. until 9 p.m. on Friday.
  • Starbucks — Historically, non-mall stores are open all or partial hours on Thanksgiving Day, then close for a few hours before they start brewing coffee for caffeine-deprived shoppers on Black Friday. Look for some stores to stay open around the clock, though, especially if they’re in open-air shopping centers.
  • Target: Open at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving until 11 p.m. on Friday. (Target will also be offering hundreds of deals online on Thanksgiving morning that will include almost all deals that will be available in the store. In addition, the discounter said it will feature 15 online-only daily discounts for two weeks beginning Sunday, Nov. 24.)
  • The Gap, which operates Old Navy, Gap and Banana Republic, is opening half of its stores on Thanksgiving morning.
  • Toys R Us: Open at 5 p.m. on Thanksgiving until 10 p.m. on Friday with some ‘Black Friday’ doorbusters only being offered until 9pm Thanksgiving night. To add to the date & time confusion, Rewards members can shop select Black Friday deals as early as Wednesday, November 27. See the leaked ad scan here.
  • Wal-Mart: Open 24 hours at most stores, although we haven’t yet heard what time the Black Friday doorbusters will go live for 2013..
  • Walgreens The Walgreens Black Friday 2013 ad leaked, and it shows that most locations will be open on Thanksgiving Day with up to 50 percent off toys
    Black Friday freebies and deals go live at 12:01 am on Thanksgiving.


NAR NEWS RELEASE

You can probably buy for less than you pay in rent.WASHINGTON (July 25, 2013) – Americans overwhelmingly believe owning a home is a good financial decision and a majority of renters say homeownership is one of their highest priorities for the future, according to a survey by the National Association of Realtors®. The 2013 National Housing Pulse Survey also found that renters are thinking more about purchasing a home now than in past years, while the number of people who say they prefer to rent has declined.

“Homeownership matters to Americans who consistently realize the many benefits it provides to communities, families and the nation’s economy,” said NAR President Gary Thomas, broker-owner of Evergreen Realty, in Villa Park, Calif. “Due to high housing affordability and today’s interest rates it makes sense for people to consider homeownership over renting. In fact, in many parts of the country it’s cheaper to own a home than to rent one. Therefore, it’s no surprise that renters recognize that owning a home offers tremendous long-term benefits and is an investment in their future.”

The survey, which measures consumers’ attitudes and concerns about housing opportunities, found eight in 10 Americans believe buying a home is a good financial decision and more than two-thirds (68 percent) said now is a good time to buy a home. Since the last survey in 2011, more renters are now thinking about purchasing a home, up from 25 percent to 36 percent, while those who say they prefer to rent dropped from 31 percent to 25 percent. Half of renters say that eventually owning a home is one of their highest personal priorities, up from 42 percent to 51 percent.   

Attitudes toward the housing market have also improved over the years. Nearly four in 10 Americans (38 percent) identified an increase in activity within their local housing market in the past year, compared to just 22 percent who reported a slowdown in activity. By contrast, in 2011 some 51 percent reported a slowdown in activity. There was also less concern than in the past about the drop in home values; a majority said housing prices in their area are more expensive than a year ago.

In addition to these improved attitudes about the housing market, respondents also showed an improved outlook about the national economy. Just under half (48 percent) said job layoffs and unemployment are a big problem, down from 61 percent in 2011. The concern over foreclosures showed a steep decline from 2011 when 47 percent characterized distressed properties as “very” or a “fairly big problem”; today only 29 percent say it’s a problem.

For many Americans, the perceived obstacles to homeownership have remained unchanged over the years; low wages, student loan debt, and little savings for a down payment and closing costs continue to make it difficult for many to become homeowners. Respondents across the board – young and old, college graduates and non-graduates – consider student loan debt to be a large obstacle.

“Student loan debt is a concern for many consumers in today’s market, especially first-time buyers,” said Thomas. “Buyers with student loan debt may find it difficult to access mortgage credit, as well as save for a down payment. Pending mortgage finance regulations requiring higher down payments could also contribute to the already tight lending environment. Realtors® are working with regulators to address this issue and are committed to making sure those who are willing and able to own a home have the opportunity to pursue that dream.”

When asked for reasons why homeownership is important, respondents’ top reasons underscored basic American values and freedoms; they were building equity, wanting a stable and safe environment, and the freedom to choose where to live. While these reasons have remained virtually unchanged since 2011, they do vary slightly according to demographics. The top scoring reason for African-Americans and Hispanics was that homeownership provides stability and a safe environment; women also placed more emphasis on environmental factors than men. Non-college graduates placed stronger emphasis on public schools, owning a home before retirement, and living in a safe and stable environment.

The 2013 National Housing Pulse Survey is conducted by American Strategies and Myers Research & Strategic Services for NAR’s Housing 

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What is a Veteran?

It’s Veteran’s Day. 

We do well to remember those who have served our country, those who have made the effort to keep America free.

This is a message you may have seen before. Today is a day to revisit it.

What is a Veteran?

– Father Denis Edward O’Brien/USMC 

 Some veterans bear visible signs of their service: a missing limb, a jagged scar, a certain look in the eye.

Others may carry the evidence inside them: a pin holding a bone together, a piece of shrapnel in the leg – or perhaps another sort of inner steel: the soul’s ally forged in the refinery of adversity.

Except in parades, however, the men and women who have kept America safe wear no badge or emblem. You can’t tell a vet just by looking.

He is the cop on the beat who spent six months in Saudi Arabia sweating two gallons a day making sure the armored personnel carriers didn’t run out of fuel.

He is the barroom loudmouth, dumber than five wooden planks, whose overgrown frat-boy behavior is outweighed a hundred times in the cosmic scales by four hours of exquisite bravery near the 38th parallel.

They are the nurse who fought against futility and went to sleep sobbing every night for two solid years in Da Nang.

He is the POW who went away one person and came back another – or didn’t come back AT ALL.

 He is the Quantico drill instructor who has never seen combat – but has saved countless lives by turning slouchy, no-account rednecks and gang members into Marines, and teaching them to watch each other’s backs.

He is the parade – riding Legionnaire who pins on his ribbons and medals with a prosthetic hand.

He is the career quartermaster who watches the ribbons and medals pass him by.

 He is the three anonymous heroes in The Tomb Of The Unknowns, whose presence at the Arlington National Cemetery must forever preserve the memory of all the anonymous heroes whose valor dies unrecognized with them on the battlefield or in the ocean’s sunless deep.

 He is the old guy bagging groceries at the supermarket – palsied now and aggravatingly slow – who helped liberate a Nazi death camp and who wishes all day long that his wife were still alive to hold him when the nightmares come.

 He is an ordinary and yet an extraordinary human being – a person who offered some of his life’s most vital years in the service of his country, and who sacrificed his ambitions so others would not have to sacrifice theirs.

 He is a soldier and a savior and a sword against the darkness, and he is nothing more than the finest, greatest testimony on behalf of the finest, greatest nation ever known.

So remember, each time you see someone who has served our country, just lean over and say Thank You. That’s all most people need, and in most cases it will mean more than any medals they could have been awarded or were awarded. Two little words that mean a lot, “THANK YOU”.

 “It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protestor to burn the flag.”

Trees For Your Neighborhood 

Non-profits, faith-based groups, neighborhood associations and government agencies may receive these trees at no cost. 

Individual recipients with requisite knowledge about tree planting and care are asked to make a donation of $5 per tree. 

In late September, thousands of trees arrived in Tulsa thanks to a continued tree grant from the Houston-based Apache Foundation. The Apache Foundation has awarded a grant to Up With Trees to distribute trees this fall to non-profits, faith-based groups, government agencies and neighborhood associations, as well as individuals. 

Tree distribution will continue every Wednesday and Saturday from noon to 2 p.m. throughout the fall and winter at the PSO Tulsa Substation located on the west bank of the Arkansas River at 3600 S. Elwood. The facility will be closed Wednesday, Nov. 27 and Saturday, Nov. 30 for Thanksgiving. 
Again, pickup times are ONLY on Wednesdays and Saturdays from noon to 2 p.m.

AVAILABLE SPECIES: 
Flowering: * Crape Myrtle (Pink) 
Large Shade: * Bald Cypress * Sycamore * Elm 
Evergreen: * Loblolly Pine 

SELLING A HOUSE?
5 REASONS YOU SHOULD DO IT NOW

Many are talking about why now is a great lime to buy a home. Today, we want to look at why it might also be an opportune time to sell your house. Here are Ute Top 5 Reasons we believe now may be a perfect lime to put your house on the market.

1. DEMAND IS HIGH:
Homes are selling at the fastest pace since November 2009 when the market spiked in response to the home buyer tax credit. The most recent Existing Home Sales Rep<Ht by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR) showed that monthly sales increased 9.7% over the same month la~t year.

2. SUPPLY IS BEGINNING TO INCREASE:
Total housing inventory last month rose 11.9% to 2.16 million homes for sale. This represents a 5.2-month supply at the current sales pace, compared with 4.3 months in January.

3. NEW CONSTRUCTION IS COMING BACK:
Over the last several years, most homeowners selling their home did not have to compete with a new construction project around the block. As the market is recovering more and more builders are jumping back in.

4. INTEREST RATES ARE RISING:
Interest rates for a 30-year mortgage have risen and may continue to rise.

5. IT’.S TIME TO MOVE ON WITH YOUR LIFE:
Look at the reason you are thinking about selling and decide whether waiting is your best option. Is it worth it to wait? Is the possibility of a few extra dollars more important than being with family; more important than your health; more important than having the freedom to go on with your life the way you think you should?

New Rules to FHA

Effective on all FHA loans assigned on or after October 15, 2013, FHA is revising their guidelines concerning Collections/Judgments, as follows:

 Loans run through the AUS (automated underwriting system) and receive an Accept/Approve status will have the following conditions:

 In reference to Collections:

(***NOTE: ALL MEDICAL COLLECTIONS AND CHARGE OFF ACCOUNTS ARE EXCLUDED FROM THIS GUIDANCE AND DO NOT REQUIRE RESOLUTION***)

 If the total of all collections with an aggregate balance is $2,000 or below, they will have no effect.

 If the total of all collections have an aggregate balance of $2,000 or higher, they will be affected as follows:

  1. At the time of or prior to closing, payment in full must be made on the collection account. (This will be verified by an acceptable source of funds).
  2. If the borrower has entered into a payment arrangement with the creditor, a credit report or letter from the creditor verifying the monthly payment is required. The monthly payment must be included in the borrower’s debt-to-income ratio.
  3. If evidence of a payment arrangement is not available, the lender must calculate the monthly payment using 5% of the outstanding balance of each collection, and include the monthly payment in the borrower’s debt-to-income ratio.

 

In Reference to Judgments:

 The FHA requires judgments to be paid off before the mortgage loan is eligible for FHA insurance. An exception to the payoff of a court ordered judgment may be made if the borrower has an agreement with the creditor to make regular and timely payments. The borrower must provide a copy of the agreement and evidence that payments were made on time in accordance with the agreement, and a minimum of three months of scheduled payments have been made prior to credit approval.

 Borrowers are not allowed to prepay scheduled payments in order to meet the required minimum of three months of payments. Furthermore, lenders are instructed to include the payment amount in the agreement in the calculation of the borrower’;s debt-to-income ratio.

 

For Manually Underwritten Loans:

 In the majority of cases, the Lender will require these to be paid in full and/or released. Exceptions due to extenuating circumstances will be granted, but it will be a rare occurrence.

 

For further information or clarification, contact me for my recommendations on choosing a mortgage company.

 

If you're searching for a new place to live, the concept could have crossed your mind to explore options in area condominiums and apartments. Apartment living, even in a tall community, offers residents several benefits one doesn’t necessarily associate with home ownership. If you have considered renting in opposition to purchasing nevertheless , your options may either expand or become limited. Buddies and family might wonder, too , why you would consider paying so much in lease when the cash may be used towards clearing a mortgage and eventually owning a home. Is it better to rent than buy?

Sadly, there really isn't a cut and dry answer to the question. Some economists have advised that renting may be more constructive in a down economy, while purchasing an apartment helps you achieve equity and represents an investment for the future. If you're still on the fence about what to do for your next residence, here are 1 or 2 points to consider before you invest in real estate.

1) Buying an apartment may give you more leverage. If you are renting in a complex, whether residences or condos, you may be allowed to attend resident conferences, but you may not necessarily have a right to vote on specific things. Those rights would belong to your landlord.

2) Renting may prevent you from making physical changes to your living space. As a condo owner, you may be held to a covenant that restricts you from making precise cosmetic changes to your home (usually on the outside), but you can still paint your walls and hammer in a nail if you want to. As a renter nevertheless , you may not even get to do that. You'll be held to the wishes of your landlord.

3) Buying a condo can offer you more opportunities. If you do know you're going to move at least one time more, you could be more inclined to lease for now so there’s small fuss. However , purchasing for short term is not unvaryingly a bad idea, especially if there is the potential for turning your property into revenue generator. Depending upon the guidelines of your community, you can hire out your condo and use the money to help pay fees and mortgage.

No matter what you choose, you may want to consult with a loan corporation to determine if you're able to afford an apartment or home in your preferred location. Regardless of whether you do choose to hire instead of buy, you'll have a deeper understanding of your options.

Toronto is a great spot to live. If you're thinking of buying a home in Toronto then you need to definitely read the Toronto Real Estate Blog by Carol. You can find information regarding the town and you can read about the Toronto condo market.

You have heard how important location is when selling a house. Not only is this important for the safety and security of your family but also when you are ready to sell your home. Do your homework and some extensive research before you go looking for the perfect home. The home can be everything you have dreamed of in appearance, but ask yourself, is the home located in an area that is convenient to schools, shopping, and interstates?

One thing most buyers always forget to look at is will the area, not just the home itself, hold its value? You have to keep in mind that you aren’t just buying a home, you are buying a community. Many buyers focus on just the home itself, but keep in mind the area and what surrounds it can have a lot to do with the growth of your area as well as when the time comes to sell a home. Get in your car and drive around the entire area within a square mile or so. What do you see? Is there anything that concerns you? Use the internet as a tool to help discover the unknown.

You can search your potential home’s address and not only see the activity of the neighborhood itself, but surrounding neighborhoods as well. Checking the response time of the local fire and police departments are also variables that are most often overlooked. When you do find that home, I would suggest walking the neighborhood, don’t just drive it, but walk it. You will hear and see things and get a better feel. Are the neighbors friendly, are the children in the area respectful and behaved?

Does the neighborhood have a safe “feel” to it, and most of all is it clean and quiet. Drive the neighborhood at night to see the difference in activity from during the day. These are potential variables that are overlooked when buying a home. Don’t just look at price and what the home has to offer, after all price isn’t everything. You really don’t want to live next to someone who plays loud music or works with power tools until 1:00am. Nor do you want to live next to Fred Sanford, who can’t keep his yard clean.

Keep in mind, it’s not always about that “dollar” or “good deal”, it’s about you, your family and where you make your property. After all, your home is your empire.

Property owners can now sell a home in Little Rock for no fees or closing costs. Leo Kingston now offers house owners a method for selling a home with no closing costs.