Many of my friends and clients know that besides my real estate business, I'm also a professional photographer, primarily specializing in motorsports photography. I've spent many years on the IndyCar circuit and have also shot numerous NASCAR races. Professional photographers typically rely on the power of Photoshop to edit their photos. But Photoshop is prohibitively expensive for most amateur photographers, so I am often asked what I might recommend to edit photos, other than Photoshop. There are a slew of programs that are available, and many offer free trials. And many of them are fairly inexpensive and cost less than $100. So my suggestion is try them out and see what best fits your workflow and ability level. One site that I recently found is this one: http://www.softorbits.com/ They have numerous photo and graphic editing tools on their site, so you can purchase the program that you need. Or for everything they offer at a reasonable price ($99.95) you can order their Digital Photo Suite. I've tried out several of their programs. They work as advertised and are fairly simple to learn and use.
If you have any photography questions, feel free to ask and I'll try to answer them as best as I can. Thanks for stopping by!
Hope to see you soon! Lee
It's been quite some time since I've posted any blogs to my site. Been too busy and really hadn't thought much about it. But I was checking over my website stats today and to my surprise, I actually have quite a bit of traffic that lands on this page. A few people seem to visit each day and during the course of a month, it's actually quite a few people. So I thought I'd better "sharpen my pencil" and see if I can write and post a little more often.
So today, I'm taking a quick look at home sales. Not surprising that in this sluggish economy, home sales are down recently. But what might surprise you is that tighter credit is at to root of some of the problem. From NAR's chief economist:
“We continue to experience a pattern in which financially qualified home buyers, willing to stay well within their means, are being denied credit – a factor in elevated levels of contract failures,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for NAR. “Based on the improving fundamentals of population growth, some job additions, rent increases and higher stock market wealth, we should be seeing existing-home sales closer to 5.5 million, but are expecting just over 4.9 million this year. The unnecessarily restrictive mortgage underwriting standards are attenuating the housing recovery and are a risk factor for the overall economy.”
It's interesting that the big banks are keeping such a tight leash on credit, yet they are complaining about their shrinking profit margins. Hard to make a profit when your turning down loans to people with decent credit. And then they stick their customers with more fees like the recent ones announced for debit cards.
On top of that, the conforming loan limits were recently reduced across the country, effective on October 1st. Locally here in Southern California, the conforming and FHA loan limit dropped from $729,750 to $625,500. How's that going to further affect the real estate market? I'm not sure, but time will tell. I doubt it's going to help though.
All for now, Lee
So much to talk about, so little time to write about it. With the Christmas season in full swing, I think the Grinch has finally succeeded in stealing Christmas. So many Americans are worried about keeping their jobs (if they even have one), keeping a roof over their heads, and paying the light bill that the joy of Christmas is being sucked right out of them.
Unfortunately, in the housing market, the doom and gloom persists. The credit market has all but dried up, and that, in turn, is causing distress throughout all the financial markets, including housing.
The only good news is this year of pain and suffering is almost over. The bad news is, it's likely to continue through most of next year.
Oh, and did you hear? Some "brainiac" finally figured out we are in a recession! I think we already knew that, didn't we?
Regardless of your own circumstances, I hope you can find some peace and joy in this Christmas season.
Just a short note this week... I wanted to wish everyone a very HAPPY THANKSGVING !!!!
Well, IE8 continues to frustrate me. One thing that it keeps me from is updating my web pages and blog as often as I would like. But I've figured a way around this problem too! Yeah!
You see, even the page I'm currently typing on does not appear correctly in IE8. What I see on this page if I log into it is a bunch of HTML code. I'm not an HTML expert by any means. But if I log into the page in IE7, I can see all my blog tools just fine. What I've been forced to do in order to update my pages is walk across the room and log into my wife's computer. Well, that's not convenient either.
So my solution? Log-Me-In. LogMeIn is a free software tool that allows you to remotely access any computer on the net. I'd never had a reason to set up the other computer up with LogMeIn before, but today I suddenly realized this would be a better way to access the computer when I needed to post my updates and blogs. And here I am, writing this blog on the other computer while sitting at my main computer. You can get LogMeIn for FREE too. Just go to www.LogMeIn.com
Until next time,
Technology is something I understand and enjoy. I've been a software and hardware alpha and beta tester for many years. I build and repair my own computers. So along that vein I've decided that I would update my blog with regular posts regarding computers and technology.
For my first in a series of blogs, I'd like to address the recent release of Internet Explorer 8, beta version #2. Because I beta test software. I wanted top try IE8 out and see how it interacts with other programs.
My first mistake is that I should have downloaded and installed IE8 on a "virtual machine". Instead I made the mistake of installing it on my main PC. I found out very quickly that IE8 has a lot of bugs and it doesn't;t "pay well" with several other programs.
But it was too late! Once loaded, I couldn't unload IE8. The uninstall program doesn't work properly. I tried everything I could think of to get rid of IE8, but I'm stuck with it.
My answer was to start using Firefox. Yes, Microsoft drove me right into the enemy's camp! And I've come to really like Firefox. Still, there are a few online applications Firefox doesn't work with either. So it's not the ideal solution either.
My advice? Stay away from IE8 for now! It will most likely cause you problems and the new features it offers (which aren't much in my view) are not worth the risk.
It seems that nobody knows what to expect in the current economic climate. The so called "experts" have been wrong time and again. But when it comes to what is going on with real estate in the Southern California market, I've had my "ear to the rail" for many years and I've got a pretty good idea where we are heading.
In the days and weeks to come, I'll be adding my thoughts to my new blog. Although blogs have been around for several years, I've been so busy with my real estate career, I've not spent much time exploring the benefits of blogging. So here we go.... I'll be adding more soon!