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Dec

30

Happy New Year!

Posted by aldamico under Uncategorized

Some might say that a new calendar year is nothing to celebrate. We commemorate no victories, no fallen heroes, or historic events. We simply celebrate the coming and going of another year—an event as unremarkable as it is inevitable. And yet, there is something in us that yearns to have clear dividing lines in our lives, clear milestones within our individual and collective journeys. Since the beginning of recorded time, the beginning of a new year has offered a milestone on which to gaze back at the year before and reflect on what is truly important. Perhaps more importantly, it has always signaled a chance for a new beginning, a chance to make right what went wrong, and a chance to cherish what went right.

As I reflect on what went right in 2011 and what I wish to cherish in 2012, the relationships in my life come immediately to mind. If you are reading this right now, it’s because you are, at least in some small way, and perhaps in very big and meaningful ways, a part of my life. As we celebrate the new year, I would like to thank you for your business, your friendship, and your love. Best wishes for a year full of love and laughter. Happy New Year!

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Dec

14

Five Strategies to Deal With Difficult Holiday Shoppers

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Five Strategies to Deal With Difficult Holiday ShoppersDec 14, 2011 in Business/Finance . 0 Comment

The holidays can be a stressful time for everyone, including for those who deal with holiday shoppers. Cashiers and attendants take the brunt of the frustration and stress from unhappy customers. You cannot prevent having to deal with unhappy customers, but you can learn how to handle it.

Stay Calm

This is easier said than done, but it is one of the most important things you can do. If you raise your voice, you increase the agitation of the customer. They are put on the defensive, which makes them even more upset. If you can speak in a calm, quiet voice, it can make them reciprocate with the same kind of tone.

Listen

Even if you know they are in the wrong, and there is nothing you can do to help them, you should listen to what they have to say. They will feel better if they know that they’ve been heard. Give them your undivided attention as much as possible, and maintain eye contact.

Write down what they are telling you. If you are speaking with them over the phone, let them know you are taking notes. This will make them feel that you are truly paying attention and not brushing them off. Once they have finished their complaint, summarise (aloud) what they have just told you. This does not say you agree with them, but that you understand what they were saying.

Read Between the Lines

Sometimes what a customer is complaining about is not what they want you to fix. Try to figure out what they really want. If there is a problem from the manufacturer, do they want a replacement, or do they want you to give them the address of the manufacturer’s customer service?

Ask Them What Would Make It Right

Get them involved in the solution instead of just making a complaint. You may find that they really don’t want you to do anything; they just wanted to make it known that they were unhappy with the product or service. This may be the case when a product’s warranty has just run out, and the item has failed. The customer probably knows they won’t get a replacement, but they want you to understand their disappointment.

In the event that they do want something done, find out what kind of compromise you can make. If the product is still under warranty, you can help them find a solution. Even if isn’t, there may be a way that you can provide assistance.

Try To Find a Solution

If you are a cashier or service person, you may not have the authority to make decisions on replacing items or refunding the customer. It is okay to tell the customer that you are going to talk to your supervisor. This way you let them know that they are important enough for you to get someone else involved.

If you are a manager or have authority to make decisions, see if you can come up with a solution that satisfies the customer. Perhaps you can issue a gift certificate for use in the store. Try to come up with ideas that will work for both you and the customer.

You cannot avoid unhappy customers if you work in a service or product-related industry. However, you will get a good reputation for excellent customer service if you can deal with the complaints, and work towards a solution. If you are seen as someone who really cares about their customers’ needs, it will put you ahead of the competition.

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Dec

9

Sneaky Ways to Stay Warm

Posted by aldamico under Uncategorized

Sneaky Ways to Stay WarmDec 09, 2011 in Lifestyle . 0 Comment

If you want to save on energy costs, cut down on CO2 emissions, or you simply have a large house to heat, here are the top ten sneaky ways to stay warm.

10. Brace yourself.

The cold weather will come; it’s just a matter of when. To prevent problems during the worst of the weather, give your furnace a tune up. Make sure the motor has a little bit of oil, a new air filter, and parts that are in working condition. You should also do a dry run beforehand to ensure everything is working. When problems do occur, try to fix the issues as soon as possible. Install a programmable thermostat that will adjust itself to warmer or cooler weather.

9. Escape to the warmth.

If your furnace does go out in the worst of weather, and all else fails, try to bundle up and get to a warmer location. Go to the library, visit friends, go window shopping at the mall, or if you are desperate, head to a hotel.

8. Cuddle up with a loved one or pet.

At this time of the year, waking up to your dog on your bed may not be the worst thing. Hold your cat or dog on your lap as you pet them, read a book to your child snuggled up next to you, or cuddle with your significant other while you watch a movie.

7. Use a Humidifier.

Humidity will make your house feel warmer naturally. After taking a shower, limit how long you run the fan.

6. Bake up a storm.

Go ahead and crank your oven up to 350 degrees to bake your favorite cupcakes, and the heat will warm up your home quickly. After you have baked, leave the oven door open. The heat will warm up the kitchen, and soon travel to other areas of the house.

5. Warm yourself up from the inside out.

Working up a sweat from physical activity will raise your body temperature and make you feel warmer. So bake, clean, or exercise your way to warmth.

You can also warm up your body by drinking warm beverages like tea, hot chocolate, or a fun concoction you cook up.

4. Use the sun.

On sunny, warm days, open up the curtains and let the sunlight and warmth flood in. You may also want to think about harnessing the sun’s energy through solar panels added to your house. Using solar energy can save you big bucks on other energy costs.

3. Redecorate.

Open up the flow in your room by moving the furniture. This will ensure that the warm air coming from the vents isn’t blocked and can easily get to you. Move furniture away from windows and outside walls. Room darkening shades or curtains can keep the cold air out. If you love the sun but don’t want to let the cold air in, use a clear shower curtain or even bubble wrap (yes, bubble wrap!) to cover windows. A rug on hardwood or linoleum floors will help your feet stay warm.

If you aren’t using a room very often, like a guest room, close it off. This will prevent warmer air from circulating through that room. You can also use a magnetic vent cover to redirect air to other parts of the house.

2. Bundle up.

When you go out, bundle up in long underwear, a parka, ear muffs, and gloves. Staying warm will reduce the energy (both your own and the furnace’s) it takes to warm up again. Add a hat to top off your ensemble, because as George Costanza from Seinfeld says, “This hat just bottles in the heat, I don’t even need a coat!”

1. Keep the cold weather out.

Use weather stripping, seals, draft dodgers, and insulation to keep the cold weather out of your house in the first place. Other areas that are easily overlooked and may need to be insulated are outlets and switches. If they are on an outside wall, drafts can get in to the house through air holes.

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Dec

7

Open House Saturday 12/10/11 1-4pm…

Posted by aldamico under Uncategorized

PRICE JUST REDUCED!!!!! You are invited to attend our open house this Saturday 12/10/11 1-4pm. Feel free to invite your friends and family to come!!

Remodeled kitchen, spacious dining/living room area. Additional huge family room can be a multi-purpose room. Bamboo flooring, vaulted ceilings, granite fireplace.

Full Details

http://www.buyorsellinthesouthcoast.com/listing/mlsid/301/propertyid/V11133844/syndicated/1/cgltguid/63724F35-2231-4F80-B53C-57170C8148C2/?ts=crg

Listing Courtesy of Al D’Amico DRE:00943550, Keller Williams Palos Verdes

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New home sales rose in September after four straight months of decline, hitting a six-month low in August. According to the Commerce Department, the sale of new homes in September rose by 5.7% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 313,000 homes. Sales of new homes rose by 11.2% in the South and 9.7% in the West. However, they fell by 4.2% in the Northeast and 12.2% in the Midwest. There were 163,000 new homes for sale in September, which is a record low.

The driving force behind the rise in the sale of new homes is the decrease in price. The median price for a house fell 3.1% to $204,000. Builders have decreased prices because there is not as much demand for new homes. The median price for a house was the lowest since October 2010. This decrease in new home prices is great news for those looking to buy a new home. But it is bad news for builders, and a sign that the economy is hurting.

New home builders are trying to keep up by selling older homes. Foreclosures and short sales (when lenders negotiate and accept less than what a house is worth) are selling at an average discount of 20%. These types of homes also lower the value of other homes in the neighborhood. This means that it is easier to sell an older home than a new one, and there is a 30% disparity in prices. New home projects in September started at the fastest pace in seventeen months. However, most of it was because of apartment construction, that being the current trend. Building permits, a sign of the future, fell to a new low in five months. This is an indication of the changing economy.

Since the increase in new home sales is based on price reductions, analysts consider the housing market to be years away from a complete turnaround. Analysts are also looking at history as a guide for how long it will take America to rise out of the housing decline. Compared to the Great Depression in the 1930s, home prices have dropped more on a percentage basis since this recession started. After the Great Depression, it took nineteen years for housing prices to recover. Two years after the most recent recession ended, the economy is still weak and unemployment has been at about 9%; making people nervous about buying a home.

There is some good news for the economy though. New home sales have a positive impact on the larger economy. Even though they represent less than one-fifth of the total housing market, they have an impact on the job force and help generate taxes. The National Association of Home Builders reports that each new home stimulates the economy by providing three new jobs a year, and generates about $90,000 in taxes. That is great news for everyone.

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Great Family Home in quiet neighborhood. Very close to freeways. Largest home on the block, 4 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms. Small shed in rear of home. This is a short sale, seller is motivated!

Full Details

http://www.buyorsellinthesouthcoast.com/listing/mlsid/301/propertyid/V11154150/syndicated/1/cgltguid/D89B2BF7-2775-4E70-8375-3A3D62EC4186/?ts=crg

Listing Courtesy of Al D’Amico DRE:00943550, Keller Williams Palos Verdes

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The most recent data from the S&P and Case-Shiller index shows that home prices rose for the fifth consecutive month. This index looked at twenty major cities and found that home prices rose 0.2% in August. However, prices are still lower on a year-over-year basis by 3.8%. David Blitzer, a spokesman for S&P, said, “Even though the [year-over-year] rates are improving, national home prices are still below where they were a year ago.” For people who are looking to sell their home, a rise in home prices could be good news; not so, however, for those looking to buy a new home. This could be good for the overall economy, but it is still unclear what home prices will do in the following months.

Certain areas are doing better than others. Ten off the twenty metro areas that were covered by the Case-Shiller index saw a rise in home prices. Home prices rose 1.6% in Washington, D.C., and 1.4% in Detroit and Chicago. However, other areas saw a fall in home prices; 2.4% in Atlanta, 0.4% in Los Angeles, 0.3% in Las Vegas, 0.2% in San Diego, and 0.1% in San Francisco and Phoenix.
As long as the overall economy stays weak, home prices will continue to hover around their current levels. When the economy is weak, there are more foreclosures. Lending standards are also strict right now, and unless they ease up, there may not be a big change in the price of homes.
The changes that were made to the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) by the Obama administration are unlikely to have an effect on home prices. The main focus of the changes that were made to HARP was to help people stay in their present homes instead of buying new ones. These changes allow borrowers to refinance at a lower rate, which has the potential to lower monthly house payments. While this may provide a boost to the economy, it is unlikely to help those people who are looking to buy a new home. It may help prevent defaults and foreclosures, which means there are fewer distressed homes on the market pulling down the value of those and other homes in the area.

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Motivated seller wants action. This is a standard sale. Upgraded unit – great location in complex. Two side by side parking – elevator.

Full Details

http://www.buyorsellinthesouthcoast.com/listing/mlsid/301/propertyid/V11151582/syndicated/1/cgltguid/20FDB005-DD26-46C5-A60A-A9CA28451978/?ts=crg

Listing Courtesy of Al D’Amico DRE:00943550, Keller Williams Palos Verdes

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Best Priced home in South Shores! You are invited to attend our open house this Sunday 11/13 1-5pm. Feel free to invite your friends and family to come!!

Remodeled kitchen, spacious dining/living room area. Additional huge family room can be a multi-purpose room. Bamboo flooring, vaulted ceilings, granite fireplace.

Full Details

http://www.buyorsellinthesouthcoast.com/listing/mlsid/301/propertyid/V11133844/syndicated/1/cgltguid/63724F35-2231-4F80-B53C-57170C8148C2/?ts=crg

Listing Courtesy of Al D’Amico DRE:00943550, Keller Williams Palos Verdes

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