Remar's Report

Is Now a Good Time for a New Mortgage or Refinancing Your Current Mortgage?

young_couple_house.jpgAugust 2010

Current mortgage interest rates in the U.S. are historically low. If you're considering buying a new home, there's a large stock of new and existing homes for sale, many at much lower prices than at the height of the real estate boom. Even with this good news, however, mortgage loan applications in July 2010 hit new lows.

Why aren't more people taking advantage of what appear to be real opportunities? Several factors may play a role. The slow economy and concerns about job security have many people sitting tight. In addition, everyone has heard that loans are harder to get because lenders have tightened lending criteria and have less money to loan. That's not the whole story, however. Many lenders, particularly credit unions, are in good shape financially and are ready to make new mortgages or refinance existing mortgages for qualified consumers.

If you are interested in buying a new home or refinancing the mortgage on your current home, is now a good time to act? And what qualifications will give you the best chance? This report covers some of the basics.



Read More

Are These Social Media Practices Endangering Your Privacy and Your Kids' Privacy?

young_family_computer.jpgJuly 2010

New developments or types of social media launch almost daily. Because such Internet-based applications or programs enable individuals and groups to connect easily and openly to share all types of information, you or your children may be putting private information at risk. Often, you may not be aware just how much or what information you are sharing.

Here are just a few recent examples. In late April, Facebook, the largest social network, launched new features including Open Graph/Instant Personalization, with default settings that said yes to sharing more information with third-party sites unless you opted out. Although consumer pushback forced Facebook to make some positive changes, there are still potential privacy problems. In February, Google introduced its new social networking program, Buzz. By enabling it by default for all Gmail users (rather than offering the option to opt in or not), Buzz then would follow everyone in the Gmail user's contact list. In June, Yahoo announced its intention to build social networking Yahoo Updates using the Yahoo email database. Beyond such controversial participation protocols, however, much more is happening in the social web universe. Did you see where the Library of Congress is going to archive public tweets on Twitter (and the vast majority of tweets are public)? Then there's Blippy, an application that automatically shares all your credit card purchases. The list goes on.


Read More

Considering Debt Settlement? Why That's Probably a Dangerous Idea

debt-calculator.jpgJune 2010

As economic times remain tough, U.S. consumers' credit card debt hovers at about 852 billion dollars. Average household credit card debt is over $15,000. If you are struggling to manage debt, then ads like these may be tempting:

  • Eliminate 50 -70% of your debt legally. It's your right!
  • Pay off your debt for pennies on the dollar.
  • New government programs! Take advantage of free and easy programs for those in debt right now.
  • If we can't get you out of debt in 24 hours, we'll pay you $100!
  • Stop harassing calls from debt collectors!

What's the problem with such "offers"? They are misleading and deceptive at best. At worst, they are fraudulent, abusive and unfair. Signing up for them could leave you in worse shape financially than before. This report gives you the facts behind the claims of debt settlement companies and profiles better options for resolving debt problems.

Read More

Thinking About Home Improvement? What Do You Need to Know? Tips for Saving Money and Avoiding Rip-Offs

home_renovations.jpgMay 2010

In the spring, a homeowner’s thoughts turn naturally to home improvement. As sure as the flowers bloom, however, the thoughts of home improvement service providers—the good, the not-so-good, and the scamsters—turn to selling their services and wares to homeowners. How do you get the improvements you plan done right and at the right price? No matter the type and size of your project, from a “simple” paint job or roof repair to a home expansion, knowing how to define your project, find the appropriate financing if necessary, and locate and evaluate the appropriate products and contractors is a must. This report covers those basics step by step.

First, research your project and budget

What’s the scope of your project? The more you know about what your specific home improvement project entails, the more ably you can evaluate appropriate products and proposed services. This tip holds true for something as “simple” as interior painting or re-carpeting all the way to planning an extensive remodel or expansion to your home.


Read More

Manage Your Finances Digitally – Online Services are Quick, Convenient, and Secure

couple_banking_online.jpgApril 2010

How busy are you? Very! Isn’t that right? Most of our “to do” lists are a mile long. How would you like to save time on some repetitive financial chores while increasing security and benefits? Most people have online access to their financial accounts, but many are not taking full advantage of some major benefits offered, such as direct deposit, electronic bill pay, and even “paperless” statements. Take a moment to see how these services might work for you.

Take advantage of direct deposit

If you’re not using direct deposit, then you’re missing out on some important benefits. With direct deposit, your paycheck, social security check, retirement check, or any other recurring check is electronically deposited into your account. You don’t have to wait for the check to come in the mail or go to the credit union to deposit it. There’s no worry that the check might get lost in the mail or stolen from your mailbox. You also get your money faster. With direct deposit, the funds are typically available the day the deposit is made.


Read More