Real Estate by ray Newsletter  -  Issue #8

Word Of The Month…

Studies have shown that your income and wealth is directly related to the size and depth of your vocabulary.   Here is this month’s word, so you can impress your friends.  You may even be able to fatten your wallet!

caprice  \ke prees’\   (noun)

Meaning: an impulsive change of   mind; a sudden, unpredictable action, change, or series of actions

Sample Sentence:  Jaime was always practical and couldn’t stand her brother’s caprice when it came time for decision-making.

Hope For The Future

God, grant me…

The senility to forget the people I never liked anyway, the good fortune to run into the ones I do, and the eyesight to tell the difference!

Rating Your Air

The American Lung Association has just released their annual state of the air report and you may be shocked about their findings.  Over 142 million Americans are inhaling unhealthy amounts of ozone or smog.  The high pollution levels are especially hazardous in and around large cities.  For more information findings, visit

Tax Advise From Jay Leno

“Worried about an IRS audit? Avoid what’s called a red flag.  That’s something the IRS always looks for.  For example, say you have some money left in your bank account after paying taxes.  That’s a red flag.”

Jay Leno

Quote Of The Month…

“Aim at perfection in everything, though in most things it is unattainable.  However, they who aim at it, and persevere, will come much nearer to it than those whose laziness and despondency make them give it up as unattainable.”      Lord Chesterfield

Growing Healthy Nails

If you struggle with dry, brittle nails, try these simple tips that will make them healthier.

·   Eat foods rich in iron, calcium, Vitamin B, and potassium.  Celery, yogurt, eggs, and seafood are especially good.

·   Eat at least six almonds each day.  The biotin in them will strengthen both your hair and nails.

·   Avoid harsh cleaning products, sun, chlorine, and lotions containing alcohol.  And, never use your nails as “tools.”

·   When giving yourself a manicure, use an emery board and file in only one direction.  Also, avoid rubbing off old polish.  Try soaking it off using a cotton ball instead.

Simple Toolbox Tip

Here is a simple tip that can help you keep your tools rust free for years to come.  Put several pieces of chalk into your toolbox.  It will absorb the moisture and keep the rust away.


Are You At Risk From
This Deadly New Epidemic?

      Is it just a birthmark, or could it be something much more dangerous?  If you have lots of freckles, moles, or birthmarks, a family history of melanoma, light-colored hair, and had more than three sunburns before age 20 then you are at higher risk for developing melanoma.  Melanoma is the official name for skin cancer, a malignant tumor.  It is a very aggressive type of cancer that starts on the upper layer of the skin.  It can spread deeper and become fatal if not removed.  Melanoma is one of the top seven most common cancers for both men and women.  In fact, it is the #1 most common cancer found in young adults. 

      Not every mole or freckle is cancerous.  Melanomas have some very specific characteristics.  Follow the “A to E” detection guide to see if you may have a problem.

ü       A – Asymmetry.  Early melanomas are often unsymmetrical.  This means if you drew an imaginary line down the middle, the two sides would not match in shape.

ü       B – Border.  Melanoma borders are usually fuzzy or have notched edges.  They are not smooth.

ü       C – Color.  The melanoma spot will often have different shades of brown and black within the same area.

ü       D – Diameter.  If a mole grows to a size greater than ¼-inch diameter, then it may be a melanoma.

ü      E – Elevation.  If you notice even a slight increase in the thickness of a mole, freckle, or birthmark, then you need to be concerned about the possibility of a melanoma.

      You should do a self-exam using the above criteria at least once a month.   During this exam, look at your face, ears, lips, inside your mouth, and nostrils.  You even need to check that your eyes are not affected.  Then proceed to your abdomen, arms, hands, and back.  The back is the most common site of melanoma in men, so be sure to look carefully.  Now, move to your legs, ankles, and feet.  The legs are the most common site for melanoma in women.  If you are concerned you may already have a melanoma, you should see your dermatologist immediately.

      By now, you should be asking what you can do to prevent this type of cancer from striking you or your family.  Follow these four important tips:

1.      Apply A Generous Layer Of Sunscreen Daily.  Be sure it has a high SPF level.

2.      Wear Clothing That Blocks Out The Sun.  To test that your clothing is sufficient, hold it up to the light. If you can clearly see through the weave of the fabric, then you need to choose something denser for protection.  Sun Solutions, Inc. at 1-800-895-0010 is a company that makes clothing specifically for sun protection.  You should always include a hat and sunglasses to protect your face and eyes.

3.      Don’t Intentionally Layout In The Sun Or Use A Tanning Device.

4.      Minimize Your Sun Exposure.  This becomes especially important during the summer months between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., but is important at all times of the day and all seasons.

      Melanoma is increasing at an epidemic rate.  More than 53,000 new cases will be diagnosed in the U.S. this year, and every hour an American dies from this cancer.  It can strike anyone regardless of general health or complexion.  This is serious!  For more information, you can visit or

Tips On Finding Resale Treasures

      As the saying goes, “one man’s trash is another man’s treasure.”  Here’s advice for picking through the “trash” and finding the true treasures at resales.  Whether you enjoy going to yard sales, thrift stores, auctions, or Internet trading sites, if you keep your eyes open you may find something of great value.  But you’ll need to do some homework first. 

      There’s a lot of junk to sift through before a treasure can be found – but that’s the fun part! Here’s how to recognize a valuable item when you find it.  First, examine the item for identifying marks, signatures, brand name, quality, condition, and possible age.  This will help you figure out the period of the piece.  Next, look at the construction materials of the item and any other characteristics that could tip you off to its worth.  You’ll need to check the value of the item using either the Internet or specialty books.  The site provides a searchable database of art, antiques, and collectables.  It may provide you with some needed background information.  You can also look in books for information.  Visit for a full listing of the books the experts use on the PBS program “Antique Roadshow.” 

      Many resale shoppers find great items, but you need a good eye for quality and the time to shop. 

The Secret To Success…

      My “rich” uncle once told me, “if you want to become successful, increase your failure rate.”   Learning from your failures is often the ingredient that leads to future success.  It’s important to remember the gap between failure and success is often very small, and calling upon the lessons of the past is usually the difference.  Even if you just increase your ratio of successes to failures slightly, you can massively change your life.

      In order to experience true success you need to continue challenging yourself.  If you avoid new things, you will never grow to new levels.  Challenging yourself always opens the door for possible failure, but it also gives you an opportunity for breakthrough.

      When you do experience a failure, don’t take all of the responsibility upon your own shoulders.  Look at the situation objectively and see how you can change to increase the likelihood of future success.

      Learning from your failures is the only way of succeeding.  So be adventurous.  Try something new.  And if you fail, look for the lesson.  Then move on without looking back and tackle a new challenge with your new knowledge and positive attitude.

Real Estate Corner...

Q.  We are preparing to build our own home and are wondering about using alternative “natural” building materials.  Do you have any suggestions?

A.  Using “natural” resources to build energy efficient homes has become quite popular.  Most building codes now recongnize alternative building materials as equal to or better in quality than traditional materials.  These are also fully accepted by lending and insurance companies.  There are three popular alternative materials that have been used successfully in recent years: straw bale, tires, and rammed earth.

      Straw bale homes offer exceptional energy efficiency.  They cost about the same as a conventional wood frame house to build, but the thick walls will yield substantial energy savings in the future.  In fact, these homes use half as much energy as a wood home.  Building with dry straw bales will help prevent any rot or pest infestation.  Contrary to common belief, straw bale homes are not a fire hazard.  In fact, a plastered bale home is less combustable than a wood home.

      Instead of allowing old tires to fill up our landfills, some have chosen to build with them.  Tires make a sturdy building material because they don’t disintegrate.  They are layered and packed with dirt and/or cans to produce high isulation value.  The walls are usually stuccoed or mudded.  About 1,500 tires are needed to build a 2,700 square foot home.  The 30-inch thick walls of a tire home provide great isulation and low interior noise levels.

            Rammed Earth homes are reminicent of the old adobe homes of years past.  They have an energy efficiency rating similar to brick homes and the walls are as strong as concrete.  To protect against water damage, the home should be built on at least one layer of fired bricks or block.  Unfortunately, these asthetically beautiful homes are very labor intensive to build – thus quite expensive.