Saturday, January 29, 2011

Thinking of Re-Fi-ing? Be Careful!

It may be a great time to consider refinancing your home, but besides the well-publicized issues associated with it, here's one more thing I bet you never thought to worry about!

Mr. D. bought a foreclosed home in the spring of 2009. The original sale price of the home when built in 2005 was $325,000; his purchase price was $82,000. The home was and is in excellent condition. He sought to refinance this past fall with Quicken Loans.

In the initial discussion with a loan officer, Quicken assured Mr. D. that a re-fi for $125,000 (his original request) was perfectly reasonable.

Unfortunately, the appraisal company that Quicken hired operated unethically. Given the local real estate market, the appraiser should have used one foreclosure sale and two person-to-person sales - of similar size homes - as comps.

They didn't.

They chose to use one regular foreclosure, one bank repo sale to Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, and one short sale. Only one of the homes was similar in size.

Despite appeals and statements from other independent appraisers, Quicken chose to refuse to allow a second appraisal, even when Mr. D. offered to pay for it out-of-pocket. They then refused the original loan request of $125,000 and countered with an offer of $92,000.

Here's where they get even more rotten: Quicken's own contract states that deposits are refundable in the event they refuse to provide a loan. I'm no legal expert, but I know that a counter-offer is a reconcilliatory gesture after the refusal of an original request. Guess what? They refuse to return Mr. D.'s $400 deposit.

Quicken - up to now - has enjoyed a decent reputation as a lender. If this is how they do business, imagine what some of the other companies are doing! My recommendation: before you sign anything, get the lender to include a stipulation that allows for a second appraisal in the event that the first is poorly done. Also, be sure to read the fine print about the deposit they collect and try to be sure you'll get your money back if they refuse - regardless of their costs.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Free Coaching - Is there any reason why?

If you're still thinking you probably couldn't benefit from coaching ... well, maybe you're right.

Plenty of evidence says people do amazingly better with a coach, regardless of what they want to accomplish, but maybe you don't want to.

Maybe you're happy where you are ... trying not to think about how life could be or what you could have.

On the other hand, you've got three weeks until Valentine's Day. Just for a moment, I'd like you to be selfish. Forget your partner, your family, your work ... just think about yourself. Do you love and care about yourself? Do you want the best possible outcomes for yourself? Imagine for just a moment what that would be like for you ... one of your biggest dreams, coming true. Pretty cool, huh?

OK, back to reality. Is there any reason why you wouldn't take steps to make that happen?

That's your first coaching session, right there. Get familiar with that question, and ask it a lot. "Is there any reason why?" You see, most of the time there isn't a reason; it's just easier to say no. But on the rare occasion there actually is a reason, well, you'll find out what it is so you can deal with it. It's a handy tool that everyone can use. The more you use it, the more you'll love it!

Poll Results

Well, according to my little informal study, people are affected most by disorganization when it comes to time management and generally getting things done.

The numbers weren't exactly the same, but given the number of responses, I'm gonna say those two things were tied for first place.

In the number two spot, organization - or lack of it - was a problem for people in their closets.

And number three, by write-in vote, was poor organization of meetings. This seemed to mostly revolve around work meetings, but one person mentioned PTA meetings, two said they wasted a lot of time at HOA meetings, and another person talked about a Bible study group!

If you're looking to stabilize any of those areas in your own life, email me!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Take the poll >>>>>>

I'm doing a little research and I need your help!

Here's the question: how does organization - or lack of it - affect you most?

In other words, what part of your life is most affected? Please take the poll, and refer your friends too - the more responses, the more I can see trends, and of course, the more I know how to help!


Saturday, January 15, 2011

Coaching & Counseling: Yes, Virginia, There Is A Connection

AKA: Coaching for Mental Health Maintenance

When I was in grad school, I was taught early on that there's a huge difference between coaching and counseling. They aren't quite polar opposites, but quite distinct and we should never consider using the methods of one when doing the other. Yada yada yada.

I beg to differ. I prefer to think of them as services provided along different (but sometimes overlapping) sections of a continuum. Let me take the scenic route and explain why.

I just read an article this morning about how MORE budget cuts to Arizona healthcare would totally eliminate mental health care for 5200 people, although the governor is willing to budget in 10 million for their psych drugs. That's only about 2 thousand per person; in some cases, it won't cover even a year's worth of meds.

Mental illness is just like physical illness - even the healthiest of us is not immune, but it takes certain conditions for any illness to take hold and worsen. But just like a physical illness, an ounce of prevention - or at least early care - is worth a ton of cure.

I wonder how many of these people might have been helped - better - if someone noticed when things started going wrong and took action.

When I worked in the corporate world, most of my coworkers suffered from stress. And I literally mean, suffered. Physical pain - from stiff necks to migraines to ulcers. One woman complained of insomnia and started using demeaning self-talk on herself, even though her friends, coworkers, and supervisors loved her. She started losing weight, though she was thin to begin with. She started to talk about how it would be nice to go to sleep and never wake up, if you know what I mean and I think you do!

Her boss noticed. He gave her a gift certificate for a spa weekend, and she came back on Monday like a new woman. Amazing what a little stress relief can do.

The point is, sometimes it only takes the work of a coach. And maybe sometimes, the work of a coach can prevent the need for the work of a psychiatrist and padded rooms!

Don't get me wrong - I'm not saying a life coach can prevent schizophrenia or the sociopathology brought on by early child abuse or anything like that. But sometimes, a little stress management, a little reminder about what makes a healthy relationship, a little reassurance that you AREN'T crazy might keep you from being that way.

It's not mental health awareness month, but people, pay attention to those you care about. If you see something is wrong, please don't let your friend or relative suffer in silence.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Still Taking Bids

I recently offered free coaching for a limited few. Almost immediately, I started getting contacted by people who want to know what kind of coaching they can get. I originally Tweeted some suggestions, like
parenting issue(s)
college planning
teen angst

BUT, of the people who know what they want already and aren't afraid to ask, the common coaching topics are
stress management (most common)
a more professional work image (for women)
home organization (thinking of spring cleaning already?)
I/O coaching for a 300-employee office (ok, just one request for this one)

The clock is ticking, people! If you've hesitated to contact me, maybe one of these other ideas will strike a chord. Still, if you want to get your name in the hat, so to speak, you need to do so quickly. (Although, if you're a professional procrastinator, you won't be willing to work with a coach anyway.)

I can't tell you how much money, exactly, this package will be worth - it sort of depends on what you want to do! But I'm willing to commit to providing you with at least $200 of my time, energy, and expertise. What are you willing to commit to?

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

FREE for Spring?

This new core workout is a lot tougher than it seems! Guess that's a good thing, tho I'm hurtin' right now! <:( Anyway, I just got an email confirming the last details of my spring schedule, and I've actually got some time available at the end of this month. It's a pleasant surprise, and I'm in a good mood, so I'm going to offer a lucky few people a deal: If you schedule the free consult appt with me during the last week of January/first week of February (when I've got some free time), I'll do the rest of the coaching for FREE, too.

Of course there's a catch! First, it's gotta be less than 60 days because I can't afford to work for free all year! Also, you have to have a good reason for wanting or needing coaching for free. I work with a LOT of pro bono clients, so make sure your situation qualifies you as deserving!

DM me on Twitter @UnchainedCoach to introduce yourself and then email me to give me the details.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Resolutions not to make - duh!

So I just read this article "10 Resolutions You Should Never Make" and even though I was up late last night, and even though I haven't even had coffee yet, the whole article seems like a giant DUH! Read it for yourself here:

Let me go through it point by point.

Number 1 is to not resolve to get married by the end of the year. The writer says it's just too much pressure. I'd say it makes you decide somewhere around July that you have to settle for the best you've met in the first six months of the year. And let's be honest. If you meet somebody this weekend, how well do you really know them by the end of summer, when it's definitely time to make wedding plans? Do you know all about their family, their financial style, their parenting desires and skills? NO!

Number 2 says don't resolve to fit into your high school jeans. Growth doesn't actually stop until we're closer to 20 or 21. So unless you were repeatedly held back.... On the other hand, if you'd like to fit into your college jeans, that's a more realistic desire.

Number 3 says don't dye your hair the opposite color. Image consultants the world over would agree, with one major exception: if you've already dyed your hair a very faux shade! If you're bottle-blond but naturally a brunette, or you went Goth but are naturally golden-haired, you'll look much better with something closer to your natural color. A professional can help speed the process of correcting the color.

Number 4 - don't become famous? I guess I need to tell my show-biz clients to hang it all up? Never! They already know what they're getting into.

Number 5 - don't buy a new wardrobe. The writer assumes "new" equates to "fancy" but you know what happens when we ass-u-me! If you need an image update or overhaul, at least invest in the basics.

Number 6 says don't stop using Facebook. Hmmm, I never started and given the privacy concerns, I don't intend to. But if you're bored, like many, by all means feel free to spend your time in any way that's appropriate for you.

Number 7 says don't cut out sugars and starches completely. Not only would this put you on a water diet, but I think by now everyone knows that radical diets only work like fasting - for a day at a time, no more than once every few weeks.

Number 8 says don't win back your ex. Duh! If it's your ex, honey, the relationship ended for a reason. Why spend time and energy on somebody you already ditched?

Number 9 says don't start a blog. Again, this is assuming you're going to start blogging for profit, which, as the writer points out, isn't likely. True, but that's no reason you can't start. Blogs are great ways to keep in touch with family, friends, or business colleagues.

Number 10 (very one-sided) says don't try to change him. I'm going out on a limb and guessing you're an adult, in which case, you already know you can't change another person. But why assume it's only women who would try to change men? That attitude works both ways. I'm betting Ms. Writer made this mistake and was hurt as a result of her own actions. It's not so much that people don't care enough about you to change! If you fall in love with somebody, it sends the message that you like them they way they ARE, not the way you think they could be. By suddenly deciding that your partner could be better if only _____ (fill in the blank), YOU send the message that the person is no longer good enough for you. If you got that message out of the blue, how likely would you be to grovel and promist to try harder? Nobody else will, cupcake. If the person does something you never liked, well, duh, you knew it and accepted it before. You don't get to change the rules in the middle of the game so suck it up.

Do I sound harsh? I don't mean to. But you know I have little patience for deliberate ignorance. With so much solid information available on the web, I'm skeptical that anyone would really be surprised by anything in this article. What about you? Have you heard any truly dumb or ill-advised resolutions this year?