Uses For 10 Everyday Items

Coffee filters: After you spray windows with cleaner use coffee filters to wipe them. They won’t leave streaks or lint.

Aluminum foil: Fold a sheet of foil several times and cut through it with a pair of dull scissors to sharpen the blades.

Rubbing alcohol: Simply pour some alcohol over an ink stain and wipe it with a soaked cotton ball.

WD-40: This household product handily removes crayon marks from most surfaces.

Hand lotion: Besides doing a good job of keeping your shoes shiny it will ensure that the leather stays soft and supple.

Alka Seltzer: Grind up some aspirin tablets and mix them with a couple of teaspoons of water to relieve the itch of a mosquito bite. Also, if you drop a few Alka Seltzer tablets into the water around your fishing hole, the bubbling action will attract fish.

Honey: Some varieties of honey can be used as a very effective antibacterial agent and will also reduce scarring on wounds.

Bananas: Just rub the inside of a banana peel over your silverware and watch the tarnish disappear.

Toothpaste: Save money by using toothpaste to clean sink fixtures and even eliminate garlic odor from your hands after cooking.

Cinnamon: Keep ants at bay. Just sprinkle it around your home wherever you have an ant issue.

Larry Cirnigliaro | FOR ALL YOUR REAL ESTATE NEEDS! | CELL: (714) 394-6649

Conserve Water at Home

Much of the U.S. is currently in some sort of water stress, with many states (we are looking at you, California!) in a severe drought. To keep with the good housekeeping vibe of our blog, here are some tips to conserve water at home. You can make a difference in water conservation by starting in your own backyard.

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Follow these tips to stay secure on-the-go. Staying safe on the go!

Password-protect your smartphone: Always lock your phone when it’s not in use, set it to automatically lock after being idle for a set amount of time. Set your phone to use a longer and stronger password than the default 4-digit unlock code if this option is available on your phone. For even better security, set your phone to erase all data after 10 bad password attempts.

Clear data from your smartphone frequently
Delete text messages from financial institutions, especially before sharing, discarding, or selling your phone. If you visit banking websites using your phone, delete the cookies and cache regularly. Better yet, use dedicated apps for online banking.

Always download apps from reputable sources
Criminals try to lure people into signing up for mobile banking using fake apps and/or websites.
Always visit your direct mobile banking site to verify the sources of your online banking applications. If you’re considering adding an app to your mobile device, review the app’s permissions so you understand what the app is capable of doing before you decide to download it.

Remove personal information before replacing your smartphone.
Don’t rely on carriers, recycling firms or phone deposit banks to “clean” your phone before disposal or resale to third parties. Follow your phone manufacturer’s instructions to remove all personal information from your phone before decommissioning it.

First Increase in over a Decade as FHFA Announces New Loan Limits | The Federal Housing Finance Agency announced that the maximum conforming loan limits for mortgages acquired by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in 2017 will increase.

As of Jan. 1, households will be able to get larger FHA loans for their home purchase. In high-cost areas borrowers will be able to get loans as high as $636,150, almost $11,000 more than what they were able to get in 2016. In low-cost areas, they’ll be able to get loans for up to $275,665. That’s up from $271,050.

We make things happen

It is amazing how much luckier the homeowner is who lists his or her property with an action oriented real estate agent. Good luck just seems to follow the seller who has the hardest working agent. He or she always seems to be lucky enough to sell for a better price and to endure fewer inconveniences than the homeowner who has listed with a passive agent.

An agent with an aggressive marketing plan can save a home seller a lot of time, earn a lot of money for him or her, and eliminate a lot of aggravation. If you are thinking of selling a home, seek out an active agent!

We guarantee that our marketing plan is one of the most aggressive in the real estate industry. We give you our plan in writing, and if we don’t perform as promised, you will have the right to cancel the listing agreement.

Thank you for your consideration. You are appreciated!

Presented by Larry Cirnigliaro Real Estate Broker CRIA President CEO
Coastland Realty, Inc., California
eBusiness Card / My Home Page
CA# 01186227

Spring Home Checklist

Winter takes its toll on your house. Here is a checklist to help you target the areas that need maintenance.

Examine roof shingles. Shingles that are cracked, buckled or loose or are missing granules need to be replaced. Check flashing around plumbing vents, skylights and chimneys.

Check the gutters. Make sure downspouts drain away from the foundation and are clear of debris.

Fill in low areas. Fill low areas in the yard or next to the foundation with compacted soil.

Inspect the concrete. Fill cracks with a concrete crack filler or silicone caulk. Power-wash and then seal the concrete.

Move firewood. Remove firewood stored near the home. Firewood should be stored at least 18 inches off the ground and at least 2 feet from the structure.

Check outside faucets. Check outside hose faucets for freeze damage. While you’re at it, check the garden hose for dry rot.

Clean and repair your screens. Screens help reduce your electric bills in the summer and allow you to open windows at night.

Repair any cracked or peeling paint. Also caulk any cracks around windows.

Service the AC Unit. An annual service call will keep the system working at peak performance levels.

Change interior filters regularly.

Check Power Equipment.

Clean equipment and sharp cutting blades will make yardwork easier.

Data Breaches – A Growing Problem

A data breach is an incident where information is stolen or taken from a system without the knowledge or authorization of the system’s owner. Victims of data breaches are usually large companies or organizations, and the data stolen may typically be sensitive, proprietary or confidential in nature (such as credit and debit card numbers, social security numbers, health records, customer data, trade secrets or matters of national security).

Data breaches are a major threat that can involve billions of dollars. Since 2005, more than 250 million records containing sensitive information have been involved in security breaches. Although word of such massive breaches can leave you feeling helpless, there are things you can do to protect yourself and prepare for the worst.

Do your homework. You should be able to find out about prior security lapses involving data systems at major banks. Before doing business with a financial institution, go online for information regarding past data breaches.

But just doing your homework won’t be enough. For example, it’s tough to be aware of existing back-end relationships between companies you do business with and their card processors. Banks share their data with these firms, and a breach at one of these third-party companies can expose massive amounts of a company’s data — including yours.

Prioritize information protection. All security breaches are not alike and some information needs to be more closely guarded. Your social security number is a higher risk than a credit card number. Other information, such as health information and date of birth, represents a lower risk, but should still be protected. It is not wise to put your date of birth on Facebook, as many do.

Stick to credit. Credit card information represents a lower risk than the loss of debit card information. While many issuers have zero-liability policies to protect consumers from unauthorized charges on either debit or credit cards, it can take more time to recover debit card funds, since they’re taken directly from your account. During that time, an empty account can mean bounced checks and overdraft fees.

Monitor all accounts. If the bank has notified you that one credit card was compromised, for example, experts encourage cardholders to monitor for unusual activity across all their accounts. That’s because the threat is not limited to that one point of attack. When a hacker has one piece of information in all likelihood, they have others. Consumers need to be vigilant about scanning their entire credit report for strange activity.

Continue to monitor. If your personal information is compromised, be vigilant for an extended period following the actual breach. Data can remain unused for a time before the identity thieves actually use it. If the breach is initiated outside the United States, your information may pass through several hands as it gets sold and then used.

Consider your options. Consumers whose data is compromised may be offered their bank’s free credit monitoring service, which experts say can be a good option for spotting any follow-up fraud activity. A credit freeze can prevent fraudsters from opening any new accounts in your name. Experts advise checking your credit report regularly for any unauthorized activity that could indicate identity theft. If you find a debt that isn’t yours, be sure to dispute its accuracy with the lender.

Take extra care with medical records. While checking credit reports allows consumers to find fraudulent financial activity, medical information is less frequently used by consumers and more difficult to access in a single place. But lost medical data is still a cause for concern. Medical identity theft is the only type of identity theft that can potentially kill you. If someone piggybacks on your insurance information and gives their medical information to the doctor or hospital, medical professionals may have the fraudster’s blood type and allergies on record instead of yours.

Deal with debt collectors. Be prepared for phone calls from debt collectors seeking money for accounts fraudulently opened in your name. If you do get a call, get the identity of both the debt collector and the lender to whom the debt is owed. Then take immediate action.

Contact your state. Forty-six states have passed laws requiring businesses to notify consumers in the event that their sensitive personal data is stolen. Reach out to your state’s attorney general for help. States have the best infrastructure for providing residents with redress, either administratively or via the courts.

Stay vigilant and don’t panic. Most instances of data breach don’t result in identity theft. Even if your personal information is compromised, take heart. As long as you bare paying attention to charges your account, there isn’t any liability for residents of the 46 states with existing notification laws.

Should I get a 30-year or a 15-year mortgage?

If paying off your house is a priority, a 15-year mortgage is something to consider if you can handle a larger monthly payment. That is the biggest drawback for most people. But, if you can afford it, a 15-year mortgage can be a great way to go because of the money saved. And we’re not talking about pennies. It could be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

The shorter term actually makes the loan cheaper because it is less risk for a lender. Because of that they offer lower rates – anywhere from a quarter of a percent to a full percent.

And the government-supported agencies that finance most mortgages impose additional fees, called loan level price adjustments, which make 30-year mortgages more expensive.

But a 15-year mortgage isn’t the only way to pay your house off sooner. Making additional principal payments can reduce your balance without tying you to a higher monthly payment. One extra payment per year can make a big difference. Making an extra mortgage payment each year (totaling 13 payments in a 12-month period) could reduce a 30-year mortgage loan to approximately 22 years.

The most budget-friendly way to do this is to pay 1/12 extra each month. For example, by paying $975 each month on a $900 mortgage payment, you’ll have paid the equivalent of an extra payment by the end of the year.

Overpaying also offers a shorter path to an equity position, so when you are ready to sell, you have more equity in your home and are in a greater buying position. And if you do get into a situation where you need cash you can always pull the equity out of your home.

I’d be more than happy to discuss this further with you and answer any questions you may have. Just give me a call.

25 Things Dads Should Teach Their Sons

Back in the day, it was common for men to spend much of their day in the company of their sons – either on the family farm or in the family business. In those settings, dads could teach their sons the practical lessons of everyday living, as well as the lessons of leadership, protection, and provision expected of manhood.

Today, society has taken on an entirely different look. The age of technology is separating us from one another. Kids have their faces buried in their phones and don’t take the time to look up and see that there is a whole world out there and that they should have a meaningful part in it.

Dads, therefore, have to be intentional about creating opportunities to teach their sons – to model manhood, to teach industry and resourcefulness. One way to do that is to compile a list of things that fathers can teach their sons all the while building confidence in their abilities as emerging men. You can, of course, modify this list any way you want, but there’s great stuff here.

1. Speak in public – public speaking is the one thing most people fear most.
2. Read good books – it sparks the imagination.
3. Play a musical instrument – especially because of the discipline required.
4. Play individual, two-person, and team sports.
5. Build a personal standard of excellence – to give 110% in anything you do.
6. Camp out – pitch the tent, cook stuff over the fire, the whole thing.
7. Be on time. Being late is controlling other people’s time and is insulting.
8. Learn a second language.
9. Learn how to fix things. There’s great pride in making something that’s broken work again.
10. Tie a knot – such as a bowline, square knot, taut-line, and figure eight, among others.
11. Use basic tools – hammer, saw, wrench, screwdriver.
12. Paint a room – trim and all.
13. Handle a gun and a knife – for safety, protection, sport, and hunting.
14. Laugh at yourself – a very valuable asset.
15. Be a gentleman – open doors, stand when a woman approaches, etc.
16. Grow stuff – especially stuff you can eat.
17. Iron a shirt – and do laundry and other work around the house.
18. Manage money – keep a balanced checkbook, show generosity, and learn basic saving and investing.
19. Shake a hand – a firm shake and look ’em in the eye.
20. Give a man hug – not that funky side thing men do today but a full arms spread eagle with bold back slaps.
21. Keep promises – a man’s word is his bond.
22. Dress like a gentleman – coordinate pants, shirts, jackets, ties, belts, socks, etc., appropriately to the occasion.
23. Tip – understand that many jobs are dependent on tips.
24. Serve others – shovel walks, help with heavy loads, etc.
25. Handle loss – loss can be a great preparation for success.

Health Tips: Chew Gum – Prevent Heartburn

Millions of Americans suffer from gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), the chronic backsplash of acid into the esophagus, more commonly known as heartburn. Heartburn can ruin a great meal in no time and the intense burning is enough for you to reach for the closest antacid.

However, research shows that there might be an easier way to stop heartburn in its tracks. And it doesn’t involve popping a pill – not even a supplement.

In a recent study, researchers fed people meals that induced heartburn. After the meal, subjects chewed gum for 30 minutes. Researchers then measured acid pH levels.

The people who chewed gum had significantly lower acid levels. The lack of acid offered heartburn relief. Gum chewing reduced acid for up to three hours.

Chewing on a piece or two of gum, it seems, helps force fluids back into the stomach and flood the esophagus with alkaline saliva, neutralizing acids that cause the characteristic burning sensations.

Chewing gum stimulates the salivary flow rate so any acid that accumulates in the gut is washed away and cleared more quickly.

Heartburn is usually a result from eating too much food, too fast. Your stomach then pushes the acid back up into your esophagus. The saliva induced by chewing gum neutralizes the acid and pushes it back down to where it belongs.

Antacids are the most common form of treatment for heartburn. You don’t need a prescription and they are usually effective in relieving pain. But they also come with severe side effects.

Extended use of antacids may actually worsen your condition. They are also known to cause constipation, diarrhea, and mineral deficiencies. But worst of all, long-term use of antacids can potentially cause kidney failure and osteoporosis.

Chewing a piece of sugarless gum is safe and effective. No side effects. And you get the extra benefit of helping to prevent cavities by doing it.

But remember that most sugarless gums contain artificial sweeteners such as aspartame or sucralose and those have their own list of side effects.

Most health food stores carry sugar-free gum that uses xylitol as a sugar substitute. Xylitol is a naturally occurring sugar alcohol found in plants, fruits, and vegetables.

It is made from birch wood and used as medicine or as a sweetener. Gum sweetened with Xylitol may cost you a little more, but it’s natural and worth it.

So, the next time you start to feel that awful burn, chewing gum may be one of the simplest and safest ways to prevent and control heartburn.