Saturday, February 28, 2009

March 2009

Put a little 'spring' in your step this March with an affordable visit to the Raleigh area and experience the sights and sounds of numerous festivals, exhibits, cultural performances and more!

Discover many events featuring hot deals and special offers that you can only take advantage of in Raleigh.

CamwardMarch Madness

March Madness in Greater Raleigh encompasses a lot more than basketball; it is a month made for sporting enthusiasts, no matter what team you cheer for! N.C. State University takes to the court for games against ACC rivals Maryland (3/1) and Boston College (3/4), while female athletes from across the country descend on the RBC Center for the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Regional Tournament (3/28, 3/30). The Carolina Hurricanes take on NHL rivals the Calgary Flames (3/6), New York Rangers (3/9), New Jersey Devils (3/18), New York Islanders (3/20), Washington Capitals (3/21) and Ottawa Senators (3/25). The Carolina RailHawks don't officially start the soccer season until April, but fans can catch an early match at Cary's WakeMed Soccer Park during the New England “Community Shield” Match (3/14). Lace up those running shoes—downtown Raleigh hosts the St. Patty’s Run Green 8K (3/8), the area's first sustainable "Race without a Trace," and the 27th Annual Run for the Oaks 5K (3/14) attracts more than 900 runners each year. Learn More


Chitty ChittyPerforming Arts

What does a car that can fly have in common with beach music and literary greats like Tolstoy and Shakespeare? They all are part of Greater Raleigh’s incredible calendar of performing arts this month. Carolina Ballet pays homage to two literary geniuses in Tolstoy and Shakespeare: Masterworks in Motion (2/26-3/1), while Raleigh Little Theatre recreates a classic African-American fable in Wiley and the Hairy Man (3/13-3/29). Love, loss and sacrifice is told by the N.C. Theatre with performances of the Tony-award winning Miss Saigon (3/21-3/29), and Broadway Series South presents family favorite Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (3/31-4/5). Pinecone presents the Dan Tyminski Band & Tony Rice Unit (3/11), and the N.C. Symphony takes a journey down the Carolina Coast with a program of early American gospel, blues and beach music - Blue Skies and Golden Sands (3/27-3/29). Learn More



Festivals abound in March with events taking place throughout the Raleigh area. The UniverSoul Circus (3/11-3/15) returns to Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek, while the Woman's Club of Raleigh Spring Antiques Show and Sale (3/13-3/15) offers outdoor accessories, period furniture, folk art and more. Celebrate Persian New Year (3/17) and India Fest (3/28-3/29), both at the N.C. State Fairgrounds. Downtown Raleigh turns green celebrating shamrocks, pots of gold and leprechauns at the St. Patrick's Day Parade and Festival (3/14), and Cary hopes for wind during the 14th Annual Kite Festival (3/28). Learn more


PiratesPirates, Parks and Pythons

Are you a buccaneer or a landlubber, a lass or a scallywag? Learn about pirate-speak along with the legacy of infamous rogues of the high seas, from ancient times to the present. Intriguing artifacts, legends and history will bring their ruthless adventures to life at the N.C. Museum of History's special exhibit Knights of the Black Flag (3/6-7/6). This is an interactive exhibit showcasing the largest collection of artifacts ever assembled from Blackbeard's famous ship—the Queen Anne's Revenge. After the exhibit, head over to North Carolina's only 3D IMAX theatre at Marbles Kids Museum and discover the creatures that call the sea their home in films like: Wild Ocean 3D and Under the Sea 3D.

The N.C. Museum of Natural Sciences brings out giant snakes, tiny turtles and more during the 14th Annual Reptile and Amphibian Day (3/14). This annual event features dozens of exhibits and activities highlighting reptiles and amphibians, many native to North Carolina. Enjoy the first signs of spring on 164 acres of trails, woodlands and open areas at the Museum Park at the N.C. Museum of Art, and explore the people that make up the Raleigh area's history during Portraits of Raleigh: Images of a City and Her People at the Raleigh City Museum
Learn more


Hometown Discoveries - Wake Forest

In 2009, the Town of Wake Forest turns 100, and this northern Wake County town continues to grow while maintaining its warm, welcoming, small-town character. Wake Forest boasts a vibrant downtown featuring more than 100 businesses, including several restaurants and specialty shops. Mindful of its rich heritage, downtown is also an officially registered historic district. Representative of its academic history, Wake Forest is the home of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and The College at Southeastern. During the month of March visit Wake Forest for Art After Hours (3/13), Irishfest (3/14), the Winter Farmer's Market (3/21) or the popular Carnival for Kids (3/24-3/29)
Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Credit Scores

1. Credit scores below the ‘excellent’ (at least 720) range will likely result in higher interest rates, more discount points at closing or potentially, denial of the application.
2. Down payment requirements are at a minimum of 25 percent on just about everything, even duplexes. (If you know of a legitimate source for 10 percent down, let us know.)
3. Investment property rates have dropped a little since November and are now in the range of 6.75 - 7.25 percent without adjusting for credit scores and other ‘risk factors’ as determined by the lender.
4. Lenders are also beginning to require points to be paid on some loans rather than offering it as an option to buy down the rate. This is likely an effort to reduce speculative short term strategies.
5. If you have four (4) or more residential mortgages, you cannot get another residential loan (and yes, your primary residence counts). You will have to seek alternative sources of financing such as commercial loan products, seller financing, or private equity.

Commercial Loans

1. Rates seem to be hovering in the 6.25 - 6.5 percent range for your typical loan, amortized over 15 to 20 years with a 5- to 7-year call.
2. Down payment requirements are typically 20.
2. There are no limits on the number of commercial loans a bank can give you. Any limit they impose would generally be at the discretion of the bank.
3. Commercial banks, especially local, privately owned institutions value relationships and continue to show a willingness to be ‘flexible’ relative to residential mortgage lenders. These banks are not boxed in by third-party regulations and can still make loans if the borrower is strong and they value the relationship with the client.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
Which states does the White House believe will be the biggest winners from the $787 billion package?

In Pictures: The 10 Most Stimulated States

WASHINGTON, D.C.--When President Barack Obama signed the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act on Tuesday, he let loose a $787 billion tidal wave of money aimed at getting the stalled economy moving again. But not everyone, everywhere will share in it equally.
In terms of raw jobs and raw cash, it's no surprise that California--the biggest state, staggering under one of the nation's worst unemployment rates--is the biggest beneficiary. What is surprising: On a per capita basis, it is smaller states--where unemployment is not as large a problem--that will get the most help, according to White House data released before the signing ceremony.

Of the 10 smallest states (including the District of Columbia), six are estimated to receive the largest per capita job creation. So while California, Texas, New York and Florida, the four biggest states, get the most total jobs, it is some of the smallest states--Wyoming, Washington, D.C., Vermont, North and
South Dakota, and Delaware that are getting the biggest boost per citizen.
Several of the biggest recipients on a per-person basis also have the lowest unemployment rates in the nation. Depending on one's perspective, that's either aid for those who don't need it, or it's rightfully not withholding funds from states that have done a good job keeping their economies in order.

The four states in the country with the lowest unemployment rates all make the list--Wyoming, North Dakota, South Dakota and Nebraska. All four states had unemployment of 4% or lower in December, while the national average was 7.2%. Since December, the national average has jumped further to 7.6% and is expected to jump again in February.
The White House estimates are based off assumptions from "The Job Impact of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan," written by Christina Romer and Jared Bernstein. Romer was a member of the National Bureau of Economic Research business cycle dating committee, the arbiter of recessions in the U.S., until leaving to chair President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers.

The estimates from the White House combined Romer and Bernstein's analysis of how many jobs were likely to be created in different sectors with data on state economies, such as the industrial composition of each state.


The $787 billion stimulus was controversial legislation, obviously, with politicians and economists debating what would be the most effective use of stimulus and whether the administration's job creation claims were realistic. The Congressional Budget Office has questioned whether or not the government is even capable of spending such a large amount of money in two years. Ultimately, nobody knows whether or not the legislation can achieve its goal of creating 3.5 million jobs in two years. Nothing of this scope has ever been attempted before.

What is agreed is that states are hobbled by unemployment and collapsing tax revenues. In December, in California, the Bureau of Labor Statistics estimated that 1.7 million people were unemployed--a rate of 9.3%. But even that is lower than the 9.5% unemployment rate in South Carolina, 10% in Rhode Island and 10.6% in Michigan.

The Democrats (and three Republicans) who supported the legislation now have their futures largely tied to the goals they outlined: 109,000 jobs for Michigan, 396,000 jobs for California, 3.5 million jobs nationwide. At a price tag of $787 billion, they better hope they are right.
Monday, February 16, 2009

The scenes on the Lake have been wonderful lately, and so has the fishing. I see seagulls out there everyday all day long fishing. The Fishermen are out fighting the freezing temps just to make the catch. Real Estate is still selling great on the Lake so call if you are interested for listings.

JoAnne Mercer

My Total Money Makeover is a subscription site helping people discover financial peace by walking them through Dave Ramsey's baby step process for dumping debt and building wealth.

Highly recommend that this be the year that you consider getting totally out of debt with a emergency savings fund in the bank. Please read Dave Ramsey's Article, and you will be glad you did.

Home sales in the Triangle fell by 44 percent in January, new data show.

The Triangle Multiple Listing Service says that 879 housing units were sold in the area in January, down from 1,580 a year earlier.

Prices also fell slightly. The median price of a sold home in the region was $178,500 in January, down 3.5 percent from $184,900 a year earlier.

Residential real estate sales have been falling in the Triangle for more than two years now. While mortgage rates are near historic lows, the credit crunch means that it’s become tougher for some borrowers to get loans. Demand for homes also is soft as joblessness increases; fewer people moving to the area for work means fewer homes swapping hands.

But the market is better positioned than most local housing markets.

Prices haven’t taken the sort of nosedive seen elsewhere because Triangle builders did not build up huge inventories. And the area’s recession-resistant industries – health care, education, government – should help the job market, and thus the housing market, recover when the national economy starts to pick up steam.

For now, though, the market remains slow. There was a 12.8-month supply of housing on the market in January, well above the mark considered healthy. And pending home sales, the best indicator of future sales, fell by 34 percent in January, to 1,364.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Living on the Lake has it's advantages! Bask in the Sun this year and watch Sunsets that Wow you and give you Peace. $325,000.00

Renovated 2007 Nautical Cottage on Abbotts Creek Cove with great views of High Rock Lake. This Freshly renovated home has a great pier with top deck pier that overlooks the bottom pier. You can rock and view great sunsets every day. Our nautical cottage has two spacious suites with 2 full private baths. The updated kitchen has stainless steel appliances and plenty of room for cooking up your favorite family meals.


Nearby enjoy the conveniences of major grocery stores, fast food and other restaurants as well as movie rentals, antiques & shopping.
▪ There are miles of hiking trails at Morrow Mountain and the Uwharrie National Forest just east of Albemarle.
▪ There is furniture shopping in High Point and full retail shopping in Charlotte, Greensboro and Ashboro.
▪ Bask in the Sun and Breathe the Lake air while relaxing on the spacious deck overlooking High Rock Lake, the second largest in North Carolina. Enjoy fishing, swimming or boating off the private dock
Contact: JoAnne S. Mercer
336-798-7733 Direct


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