I Have a Dream.. .

martin-luther-king-jr1Martin Luther King, Jr., [January 15, 1929-April 4, 1968] was born Michael Luther King, Jr., but later had his name changed to Martin. His grandfather began the family's long tenure as pastors of the Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, serving from 1914 to 1931; his father has served from then until the present, and from 1960 until his death Martin Luther acted as co-pastor. Martin Luther attended segregated public schools in Georgia, graduating from high school at the age of fifteen; he received the B. A. degree in 1948 from Morehouse College, a distinguished Negro institution of Atlanta from which both his father and grandfather had graduated. After three years of theological study at Crozer Theological Seminary in Pennsylvania where he was elected president of a predominantly white senior class, he was awarded the B.D. in 1951. With a fellowship won at Crozer, he enrolled in graduate studies at Boston University, completing his residence for the doctorate in 1953 and receiving the degree in 1955. In Boston he met and married Coretta Scott, a young woman of uncommon intellectual and artistic attainments. They started a family and have two sons and two daughters.

In 1954, Martin Luther King accepted the pastorale of the Dexter Avenue Baptist Church in Montgomery, Alabama. Always a strong worker for civil rights for members of his race, King was, by this time, a member of the executive committee of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the leading organization of its kind in the nation. He was ready, then, early in December, 1955, to accept the leadership of the first great Negro nonviolent demonstration of contemporary times in the United States, the bus boycott described by Gunnar Jahn in his presentation speech in honor of the laureate. The boycott lasted 382 days. On December 21, 1956, after the Supreme Court of the United States had declared unconstitutional the laws requiring segregation on buses, Negroes and whites rode the buses as equals. During these days of boycott, King was arrested, his home was bombed, he was subjected to personal abuse, but at the same time he emerged as a Negro leader of the first rank.

In 1957 he was elected president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, an organization formed to provide new leadership for the now burgeoning civil rights movement. The ideals for this organization he took from Christianity; its operational techniques from Gandhi. In the eleven-year period between 1957 and 1968, King traveled over six million miles and spoke over twenty-five hundred times, appearing wherever there was injustice, protest, and action; and meanwhile he wrote five books as well as numerous articles. In these years, he led a massive protest in Birmingham, Alabama, that caught the attention of the entire world, providing what he called a coalition of conscience. and inspiring his "Letter from a Birmingham Jail", a manifesto of the Negro revolution; he planned the drives in Alabama for the registration of Negroes as voters; he directed the peaceful march on Washington, D.C., of 250,000 people to whom he delivered his address, "l Have a Dream", he conferred with President John F. Kennedy and campaigned for President Lyndon B. Johnson; he was arrested upwards of twenty times and assaulted at least four times; he was awarded five honorary degrees; was named Man of the Year by Time magazine in 1963; and became not only the symbolic leader of American blacks but also a world figure.

mlktimemagazineAt the age of thirty-five, Martin Luther King, Jr., was the youngest man to have received the Nobel Peace Prize. When notified of his selection, he announced that he would turn over the prize money of $54,123 to the furtherance of the civil rights movement.

Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated on April 4, 1968, at 6:01 PM, on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee, while preparing to lead a local march in support of the heavily black Memphis sanitation workers' union which was on strike at the time. Friends inside the motel room heard the shot fired and ran to the balcony to find King shot in the throat. He was pronounced dead at St. Joseph's hospital at 7:05 PM . The assassination led to a nationwide wave of riots in more than 60 cities. Four days later, President Lyndon Johnson declared a national day of mourning for the lost civil rights leader. A crowd of 300,000 attended his funeral that same day.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day is a federal holiday which was signed into law by Ronald Reagan in 1983, and was first officially observed in 1986. Falling on the third Monday of January each year, around the time of King's birthday (January 15th), all 50 of the United States honor this day in remembrance of his life and the legacy which continues.

mlk-speech2I Have a Dream Speech – Address at March on Washington – August 28, 1963. Washington, D.C.:

"I am happy to join with you today in what will go down in history as the greatest demonstration for freedom in the history of our nation.

Five score years ago, a great American, in whose symbolic shadow we stand signed the Emancipation Proclamation. This momentous decree came as a great beacon light of hope to millions of Negro slaves who had been seared in the flames of withering injustice. It came as a joyous daybreak to end the long night of captivity.

But one hundred years later, we must face the tragic fact that the Negro is still not free. One hundred years later, the life of the Negro is still sadly crippled by the manacles of segregation and the chains of discrimination. One hundred years later, the Negro lives on a lonely island of poverty in the midst of a vast ocean of material prosperity. One hundred years later, the Negro is still languishing in the corners of American society and finds himself an exile in his own land. So we have come here today to dramatize an appalling condition.

In a sense we have come to our nation's capital to cash a check. When the architects of our republic wrote the magnificent words of the Constitution and the declaration of Independence, they were signing a promissory note to which every American was to fall heir. This note was a promise that all men would be guaranteed the inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

It is obvious today that America has defaulted on this promissory note insofar as her citizens of color are concerned. Instead of honoring this sacred obligation, America has given the Negro people a bad check which has come back marked "insufficient funds." But we refuse to believe that the bank of justice is bankrupt. We refuse to believe that there are insufficient funds in the great vaults of opportunity of this nation. So we have come to cash this check — a check that will give us upon demand the riches of freedom and the security of justice. We have also come to this hallowed spot to remind America of the fierce urgency of now. This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Now is the time to rise from the dark and desolate valley of segregation to the sunlit path of racial justice. Now is the time to open the doors of opportunity to all of God's children. Now is the time to lift our nation from the quicksands of racial injustice to the solid rock of brotherhood.

It would be fatal for the nation to overlook the urgency of the moment and to underestimate the determination of the Negro. This sweltering summer of the Negro's legitimate discontent will not pass until there is an invigorating autumn of freedom and equality. Nineteen sixty-three is not an end, but a beginning. Those who hope that the Negro needed to blow off steam and will now be content will have a rude awakening if the nation returns to business as usual. There will be neither rest nor tranquility in America until the Negro is granted his citizenship rights. The whirlwinds of revolt will continue to shake the foundations of our nation until the bright day of justice emerges.

But there is something that I must say to my people who stand on the warm threshold which leads into the palace of justice. In the process of gaining our rightful place we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred.

We must forever conduct our struggle on the high plane of dignity and discipline. We must not allow our creative protest to degenerate into physical violence. Again and again we must rise to the majestic heights of meeting physical force with soul force. The marvelous new militancy which has engulfed the Negro community must not lead us to distrust of all white people, for many of our white brothers, as evidenced by their presence here today, have come to realize that their destiny is tied up with our destiny and their freedom is inextricably bound to our freedom. We cannot walk alone.

And as we walk, we must make the pledge that we shall march ahead. We cannot turn back. There are those who are asking the devotees of civil rights, "When will you be satisfied?" We can never be satisfied as long as our bodies, heavy with the fatigue of travel, cannot gain lodging in the motels of the highways and the hotels of the cities. We cannot be satisfied as long as the Negro's basic mobility is from a smaller ghetto to a larger one. We can never be satisfied as long as a Negro in Mississippi cannot vote and a Negro in New York believes he has nothing for which to vote. No, no, we are not satisfied, and we will not be satisfied until justice rolls down like waters and righteousness like a mighty stream.

I am not unmindful that some of you have come here out of great trials and tribulations. Some of you have come fresh from narrow cells. Some of you have come from areas where your quest for freedom left you battered by the storms of persecution and staggered by the winds of police brutality. You have been the veterans of creative suffering. Continue to work with the faith that unearned suffering is redemptive.

Go back to Mississippi, go back to Alabama, go back to Georgia, go back to Louisiana, go back to the slums and ghettos of our northern cities, knowing that somehow this situation can and will be changed. Let us not wallow in the valley of despair.

I say to you today, my friends, that in spite of the difficulties and frustrations of the moment, I still have a dream. It is a dream deeply rooted in the American dream.

i-have-a-dream2I have a dream that one day this nation will rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed: "We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men are created equal."

I have a dream that one day on the red hills of Georgia the sons of former slaves and the sons of former slave owners will be able to sit down together at a table of brotherhood.

I have a dream that one day even the state of Mississippi, a desert state, sweltering with the heat of injustice and oppression, will be transformed into an oasis of freedom and justice.

I have a dream that my four children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day the state of Alabama, whose governor's lips are presently dripping with the words of interposition and nullification, will be transformed into a situation where little black boys and black girls will be able to join hands with little white boys and white girls and walk together as sisters and brothers.

I have a dream today.

I have a dream that one day every valley shall be exalted, every hill and mountain shall be made low, the rough places will be made plain, and the crooked places will be made straight, and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together.

This is our hope. This is the faith with which I return to the South. With this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of despair a stone of hope. With this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our nation into a beautiful symphony of brotherhood. With this faith we will be able to work together, to pray together, to struggle together, to go to jail together, to stand up for freedom together, knowing that we will be free one day.

This will be the day when all of God's children will be able to sing with a new meaning, "My country, 'tis of thee, sweet land of liberty, of thee I sing. Land where my fathers died, land of the pilgrim's pride, from every mountainside, let freedom ring."

And if America is to be a great nation this must become true. So let freedom ring from the prodigious hilltops of New Hampshire. Let freedom ring from the mighty mountains of New York. Let freedom ring from the heightening Alleghenies of Pennsylvania!

mlk-speechLet freedom ring from the snowcapped Rockies of Colorado!

Let freedom ring from the curvaceous peaks of California!

But not only that; let freedom ring from Stone Mountain of Georgia!

Let freedom ring from Lookout Mountain of Tennessee!

Let freedom ring from every hill and every molehill of Mississippi. From every mountainside, let freedom ring.

When we let freedom ring, when we let it ring from every village and every hamlet, from every state and every city, we will be able to speed up that day when all of God's children, black men and white men, Jews and Gentiles, Protestants and Catholics, will be able to join hands and sing in the words of the old Negro spiritual, "Free at last! free at last! thank God Almighty, we are free at last!"

freedom2

A very special day today!

To learn more or to get involved, please visit:

http://www.mlkday.gov/

 http://www.martinlutherking.org/

 

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Posted on January 20, 2014 at 12:50 PM
Jennifer Pederson | Posted in Events | Tagged , , ,

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Posted on November 1, 2013 at 9:23 AM
Jennifer Pederson | Posted in Brokers, Legal Corner | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Size Matters [It’s All About the Details!]

 

In Real Estate it is (hopefully) common knowledge by now that even the tiniest detail is a HUGE factor when it comes to purchasing or selling real property. Broker's need to be careful about what numbers s/he uses in marketing pieces as well as the MLS data. Measurement errors, even small ones, can translate to thousands of dollars and have unfortunately landed real estate professionals in court. Now that's a five letter word NO broker wants to hear. 

Square footage is one of the most basic tools of real estate. Broker's frequently use it as they add listings to the MLS or whip up marketing material. However, few real estate professions are likely to challenge a property's square footage as they copied it from the tax records, developer's blueprints or floorplan, or *gasp* information from the previous listing agent in the MLS (Note: Agents, PLEASE don't do that!). 

When it comes down to it, do you think size—square footage—even really matters?! If a Buyer loves a property, do they really care if it is 3,500 square feet or 3,484 square feet? When the market is strong (like it has been), people tend to not care as much about the details. However, in a soft(er) market, those same individuals become more detail oriented, don't they? As our market begins to calm down, even if just a little, keep these types of risks in mind and remember to protect yourself — and Client. 

  

The fact is, size affects everything.

Whether you're fitting a new couch in your new living room, upgrading kitchen appliances, or trying to determine if the HVAC will cool the proper amount of space. Size also affects the impact on value, which is why even the smallest measurement errors can be the most expensive lesson. Square footage disputes have made it to court then the news, and unfortunately some real estate professionals have been made an example of what not to do. It is absolutely VITAL that Brokers engage reasonable care in obtaining — in this example — the proper square footage.

The question then becomes, Whose Numbers CAN You Trust?

Supplying accurate square footage to Clients can be difficult if you don't have a reliable source. Many of us rely on the square footage based on the tax assessor's records; however, these estimates were created for a mass appraisal system with no intentions to supply REALTORS® as a source of square footage. While those public records are definitely the most convenient there have been some major discrepancies found when comparing appraisals, MLS listings, and public records.

The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® recommends deferring the risk by simply hiring a professional for accuracy. In addition, most if not all MLS's now contain a general disclaimer indicating that although information is believed accurate, it’s not guaranteed. We even have a caveat on some of our Forms we include in our Purchase & Sale Contracts, don't we? (IE: NWMLS Form 22D in Washington State).

While these disclaimers most certainly reduce REALTORS® liability and have quickly become a blanket protection for Brokers — how does this protect or serve the consumer? The answer could be simple depending on who you ask. In my opinion, there needs to be a National Standard for measuring square footage in Residential Real Estate. How is it possible that tax departments have used square footage for assessment purposes for the last 200 years, yet no residential "standard" has ever been established or mandated? For example, Commercial Real Estate established their first Standard of Measurement back in 1915, and today there are at least a handful of commercial measurement standards — it's 2013, and there's still NOTHING for Residential Real Estate?!

The only formal National Measurement Standard available has really only been the American National Standards Institute method, which has been around for longer than a decade — BUT, it's never been widely used by professionals. In fact, most Real Estate Professionals, including Developers, General Contractors/Builders use the American Measurement Standard (AMS), which actually dates as far back as the early 1900's. However, it was only recently formalized in writing.

Now that AMS HAS been formalized in writing, it makes complete sense [to us] for the American Measurement Standard (AMS) to officially become the "Universal Standard" for Residential Real Estate. Consider this the easement or right-of-way for that official (opposed to unspoken norm) Standard Residential Real Estate so desperately needs. 

The fact is, Size Matters — Square footage (and location) has been the foundation of value found in Real Estate. A National Standard will result consistent, efficient, reproducible creation and communication of this information, which will play a significant role in the future stability of the overall Real Estate & Mortgage Markets as well as serve us, as professionals including our Clients.

We would like to hear your thoughts on this matter as well. Whether you're in the Real Estate Industry as a Professional or a Consumer — please let us know what you think in a comment below! ๐Ÿ™‚ 

 

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Posted on October 18, 2013 at 12:27 PM
Jennifer Pederson | Posted in Brokers, Buyers/Investors | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Curb Appeal Matters!

Realtors® consistenly report that exterior remodeling projects return the most money as a percentage of cost, which is also detailed in the Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report provided via NAR.

Photo provided by: Lori Joyal from Lila Delman Real Estate

Without getting technical and quoting percentages, note that on a national level, "remodels" consisting of wood deck additions and all types of siding replacements – upscale fiber cement, midrange vinyl, and upscale foam-backed vinyl – returned more than 80 percent of project costs upon resale. Something to think about if you're currently selling your home or considering it… 

Regardless of the trending market (Inventory or lack thereof) it is always important for a home to make a positive first impression — this translates to quality curb appeal. Realtors® understand what attracts and motivates their Buyer Clients, which is almost always eye candy at first glance. As a homeowner, taking pride in your curb appeal specifically is a smart move to take advantage of prior to putting your house on the market to ensure less time on the market and take the spot light when compared to competition. Show how much you love your home so your future Buyer can love it, too.   

While you could go all out by replacing wood decks, siding, windows etc. sometimes just a fresh paint job and sprucing up your garden (or lack of) can be worth thousands — particularly in the Spring and Summer months. However, keep in mind that if there are specific areas in need of a remodel, the return in terms of resale value is almost invaluable and should seriously be considered for [potential] additional profit. 

Although most regions follow national trends, the regions that consistently estimate to return a higher percentage of remodeling costs upon resale were the Pacific region of Alaska, California, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington — which is fantastic for us, isn't it?! Fret not if you're not in any of those states because the West South Central region of Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Texas; the East South Central region of Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee; and the South Atlantic region of the District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Maryland, North Carolina, South Carolina, Virginia and West Virginia are ALSO included in this study (Remodeling Cost vs. Value Report) — did we leave anyone out?! ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

Remember, the resale value of any given remodeling project depends on a variety of factors — the home's overall condition, availability and condition of surrounding properties, location, and regional economic climate and so on. So.. before putting your gloves on, schedule a consult with us since it is literally our job to view every single home on the market and to provide valuable insight into what projects and improvements will make a difference with Buyers in your area(s). ๐Ÿ™‚ 

 


Posted on August 8, 2013 at 6:17 AM
Jennifer Pederson | Posted in Owners/Sellers | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

How Old Is Your Brain?

This is AMAZING!

See if your Brain is as old as your body OR if you’re wise beyond your years!!

Read the following instructions since the game is in Japanese:

Procedure of Flash Fabrica Game:
1. Touch ‘start’
2. Wait for 3, 2, 1.
3. Memorize the number’s position on the screen, then click the circles from the SMALLEST number to the BIGGEST number.
4. At the end of game, the computer will tell you the age of your brain.

Good luck!!

Click Here: http://flashfabrica.com/f_learning/brain/brain.html

 


Posted on August 8, 2013 at 2:07 AM
Jennifer Pederson | Posted in Inspire | Tagged , , ,

The Coffee & Mayonnaise Jar

 

 

When things in your life seem almost too much to handle, when 24 hours in a day are not enough, remember the mayonnaise jar and the coffee.

A professor stood before his philosophy class and had some items in front of him. When the class began, wordlessly, he picked up a very large and empty mayonnaise jar and proceeded to fill it with golf balls. He then asked the students if the jar was full.

They all agreed that it was.

The professor then picked up a box of pebbles and poured them into the jar. He shook the jar lightly. The pebbles rolled into the open areas between the golf balls. He then asked the students again if the jar was full.

They all agreed it was.

The professor next picked up a box of sand and poured it into the jar. Of course the sand filled up everything else. He asked once more if the jar was full.

The students responded with a unanimous "yes."

The professor then produced two cups of coffee from under the table and poured the entire contents into the jar, effectively filling the empty space between the sand.

The students laughed.

"Now," said the professor, as the laughter subsided, "I want you to recognize that this jar represents your life. The golf balls are the important things-your God, family, your children, your health, your friends, and your favorite passions – things that if everything else was lost and only they remained, your life would still be full."

"The pebbles are the other things that matter like your job, your house, and your car. The sand is everything else – the small stuff."

"If you put the sand into the jar first," he continued, "there is no room for the pebbles or the golf balls. The same goes for life. If you spend all your time and energy on the small stuff, you will never have room for the things that are important to you."

"Pay attention to the things that are critical to your happiness. Play with your children. Take time to get medical checkups. Take your partner out to dinner. Play another 18. There will always be time to clean the house and fix the disposal. Take care of the golf balls first, then the things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just sand."

One of the students raised her hand and inquired what the coffee represented.

The professor smiled, "I'm glad you asked, It just goes to show you that no matter how full your life may seem, there's always room for a couple cups of coffee with a friend."

We're always up for a coffee/tea break with friends:)

 


Posted on August 8, 2013 at 1:49 AM
Jennifer Pederson | Posted in Inspire | Tagged , , , , ,

Slow Dance

SLOW DANCE

Have you ever watched kids
On a merry-go-round?
Or listened to the rain
Slapping on the ground?
Ever followed a butterfly's erratic flight?
Or gazed at the sun into the fading night?
You better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Do you run through each day
On the fly?
When you ask How are you?
Do you hear the reply?
When the day is done
Do you lie in your bed
With the next hundred chores
Running through your head?
You'd better slow down
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

Ever told your child,
We'll do it tomorrow?
And in your haste,
Not see his sorrow?
Ever lost touch,
Let a good friendship die
Cause you never had time
To call and say,"Hi"
You'd better slow down.
Don't dance so fast.
Time is short.
The music won't last.

When you run so fast to get somewhere
You miss half the fun of getting there.
When you worry and hurry through your day,
It is like an unopened gift….
Thrown away.
Life is not a race.
Do take it slower
Hear the music
Before the song is over.

Always a nice reminder when the daily grind relentlessly consumes and warps reality of the true priorities in life… 


Posted on August 7, 2013 at 11:41 PM
Jennifer Pederson | Posted in Inspire |

Mortgage Debt Relief Forgiveness Act [Extended]

The Mortgage Debt Relief Act of 2007, provided tax relief to homeowners by exempting them from paying federal taxes on debt forgiven by a lender in a short sale, foreclosure, or loan modification of a primary residence. The act was scheduled to expire on December 31, 2012, meaning that homeowners who had debts forgiven after 2012 would have to pay taxes on the forgiven debt as forgiven debt is normally considered income since the homeowner is no longer obligated to repay it.

However, I am so excited to share with you all that the Mortgage Debt Relief Act has been extended by Congress for another year as part of the “fiscal cliff bill” passed on January 1, 2013

What this means is that the debt forgiven pursuant to your Short Sale will not count as taxable income if the sale of your home closed or closes in 2013. To qualify for the exclusion, the forgiven or cancelled debt must be used to buy, build or substantially improve your principal residence and be secured by the home.

Per usual, contact your tax advisor to assist in the details as well as identifying what impact HR-8 may have on you and/or your business so they can immediately assist in potential adjustments to your 2013 tax strategies. You may also contact us to promptly schedule a Listing Appointment to expedite your Short Sale! This is an area we are very familiar with and you can feel confident we will take care of you during the entire process. 

There will no doubt be much more talk regarding this topic as time progresses, so look out for updates or more details if this is a topic of interest for you. In the meantime, you can always google key terms such as: Mortgage Debt Relief Act, or IRS Publication 4681  

Here are a few links: 

IRS Article

Forbes Article

 


Posted on January 8, 2013 at 1:05 AM
Jennifer Pederson | Posted in Owners/Sellers | Tagged , , ,

Bail Out Application

This is hilarious, we’re filling it out as you read this! ๐Ÿ˜‰ 

 

Just kidding of course! ๐Ÿ˜‰

 


Posted on December 8, 2008 at 2:13 AM
Jennifer Pederson | Posted in Owners/Sellers | Tagged , , , , , ,

HOPE for Homeowners

The HOPE for Homeowners program will refinance mortgages for borrowers who are having difficulty making their payments, but can afford a new loan insured by HUD's Federal Housing Administration (FHA). The program began October 1, 2008 and continues to help families across the country.

Check Out the following websites for additional information & potential solutions:

http://www.hopenow.com/
https://www.hopeloanportal.org/
https://www.homeownerconnect.org/
http://www.makinghomeaffordable.gov/pages/default.aspx
http://www.995hope.org/

Any questions, feel free to contact us directly!

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Posted on November 8, 2008 at 11:18 PM
Jennifer Pederson | Posted in Owners/Sellers |