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Word of the Day

May 7, 2011 10:29 am

Tenants in common. Style of ownership in which two or more persons purchase a property jointly, but with no right of survivorship and separate undivided interests. They are free to will their share to anyone they choose, a principal difference between this form of ownership and joint tenancy.

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


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Question of the Day

May 7, 2011 10:29 am

Q: What about other home improvements, are they deductible?

A: Yes, but only after you have sold your home. According to the IRS, home improvements add to the basis, or value, of your home. A tax-acceptable improvement is defined as one that adds value to your home, "considerably" prolongs your home's useful life, or adapts your house to new uses. Examples include installing new plumbing or wiring or adding a bathroom. If the work done on the home is purely for maintenance, the cost cannot be deducted and generally cannot be added to the basis, or value, of your home. However, repairs done as part of an extensive remodeling or restoration of your home are considered improvements and therefore pass the deductible test.

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


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Social Networking Redefines Landscape for Job Seekers around the World

May 7, 2011 10:29 am

RISMEDIA, May 7, 2011-More than a quarter of people surveyed from around the world are going online in their hunt for work, but many are growing nervous about the potential career fallout from personal content on social networking sites, according to the latest survey results from global workforce solutions leader, Kelly Services .

The findings are part of a new report, The Evolving Workforce: Social Media/Networking, based on results of the Kelly Global Workforce Index, which obtained the views of approximately 97,000 people in 30 countries covering the Americas, APAC and EMEA regions from October 2010 through January 2011.

In the survey, respondents were asked a series of questions relating to their use of social networking as an employment tool, including identifying what social networking sites are most frequently used for searching for jobs and by what method they obtained their last job. The survey also sought to identify the impact of social media content on people's careers, and issues regarding the use of social networking within the workplace.

Online job boards have become the dominant source for people to find work, with more than a quarter (26 percent) of respondents using them to secure their most recent job, ahead of other job search tools-word-of-mouth (22 percent), recruitment and staffing companies (17 percent), direct approaches from employers (17 percent), print advertisements (7 percent) and social media sites (1 percent).

Even though a small number of people secured their most recent job through a social networking site, almost a quarter (24 percent) of respondents say they search for work using social networking sites, with the results showing the highest use by Generation X and Baby Boomers.

The results also revealed:

  • The most popular social networking sites to find work are Facebook and LinkedIn, preferred by 33 percent and 32 percent respectively. A further 23 percent use "other" sites, 10 percent use blogs, and 3 percent use Twitter.
  • Facebook is the overwhelming preference of Generation Y participants, while LinkedIn is favored by Generation X and Baby Boomers.
  • More than a quarter of respondents (26 percent) are worried that material from their social networking page could adversely impact their careers. All generations share concerns about the potential career fallout from social networking content, but Generation Y is the most worried.
  • More than a quarter of respondents (28 percent) believe it is essential to be active on social media in order to advance their careers.
  • Almost a third of respondents (30 percent) say that their employers have a social media or social networking policy that regulates use at work.
  • The vast majority of respondents (68 percent) spend an hour or less each day on social media sites, while 19 percent spend no time at all. Only 13 percent spend an hour or more each day.

For more information please visit www.kellyservices.com.

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


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Americans Aren't Taking Proper Care to Protect Eyes from UV Damage

May 7, 2011 10:29 am

RISMEDIA, May 7, 2011-Around the world, sight is valued as the most important of the five senses, along with a strong belief that good vision positively impacts quality of life. However, while 85 percent of Americans recognize that ultraviolet (UV) rays can damage their eyes, only 65 percent wear sunglasses for protection and even fewer (39 percent) make sure their children wear sunglasses.

"Short-term damage can be hard to notice, but long-term exposure to the sun is a risk factor for harm to the eye and surrounding tissue," explains Christine W. Sindt, OD, FAAO, Associate Professor of Clinical Ophthalmology, University of Iowa and Chair of the American Optometric Association Contact Lens & Cornea Council. "The effects of UV radiation are cumulative over a person's lifetime, and ocular disorders such as cataracts may not manifest for years, at which point the damage is already done. That's why parents need to make sure their children get maximum protection from the sun beginning in childhood."

Compared to adults, children have larger pupils-allowing more light in their eyes-clearer lenses and are outside without eye protection for longer periods more frequently than adults. It is estimated that a significant amount of lifetime exposure to UV rays may occur by age 18 and that children's annual dose of radiation may be up to three times that of adults.

"Arizona is the sunniest state in the U.S., so I always emphasize the importance of protecting eyes from UV rays to my patients, starting in childhood," says Dr. Stephen Cohen, a Scottsdale, Arizona-based optometrist and past president of the Arizona Optometric Association.

While most sunglasses can help block UV rays from entering through the lenses, most frame styles do not prevent rays from reaching the sides, top and bottom of the glasses. Hats with brims do not offer protection from UV rays reflected off surfaces like water, sand and pavement. The best protection is a combination of sunglasses, a wide-brimmed hat, and for some, UV-blocking contact lenses. "For those who need vision correction, I recommend UV-absorbing contact lenses which provide an important measure of additional protection," adds Dr. Cohen. "However, not all contact lenses offer UV protection and, in fact, most do not. Of those that do, not all provide similar absorption levels."

On average, contact lenses without UV-blocking capability allow 90 percent of UVA radiation and 70 percent of UVB radiation to pass through the lenses to your eyes.

Both Drs. Sindt and Cohen note that although UV-blocking contact lenses provide important added protection, they should not be viewed as a stand-alone solution. Contact lenses should always be worn in conjunction with high-quality UV-blocking sunglasses and a wide-brimmed hat.

For more information visit www.Acuvue.com.

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


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National Awareness Campaign to Reduce Child Deaths from Heat Stroke

May 7, 2011 10:29 am

RISMEDIA, May 7, 2011-Safe Kids USA, its Florida partners, and the General Motors Foundation, recently unveiled the elements to their 2011 national education and awareness campaign to help reduce the number of child vehicular deaths caused by heat stroke. Sadly, two child vehicular deaths have already occurred this year from parents accidently leaving their infants in a car during a long work day. Last year, the worst year on record, 49 children in the U.S. ages two months to six years died from heat stroke while unattended in vehicles.

Through the Safe Kids USA network of 600 coalitions and chapters, the "Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car" program will unite and mobilize a wide range of partners-police and fire, hospitals, government agencies, child care centers, businesses and others-to share with parents and other caregivers prevention messages to address the dangers to children in vehicles. The program will include an advertising campaign of billboards, print ads, web banners and radio announcements as well as tip sheets. The materials will be available in both English and Spanish.

This is a significant health concern as Safe Kids USA conservatively estimates that there are 1,000 2,000 near-misses every month," says Meri-K Appy, president of Safe Kids USA. "Safe Kids USA has confirmed 250,000 cases of children trapped in vehicles. Thankfully, most have not resulted in a death.

However, these estimates do not include calls to fire or police departments.

"There is no greater tragedy for a parent or caregiver than to suffer the loss of a child due to hyperthermia," says Administrator David Strickland, U.S. Department of Transportation's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "It's vital that children never be left unattended in a vehicle and keys are kept out of a child's reach. We urge all parents and caregivers to make a habit of looking in the vehicle-front and back-before locking the door and walking away. If a child is missing, check the vehicle, including the trunk."

"These horrific, yet preventable tragedies can happen more often than one would think, even at temperatures as low as 57 degrees F. And unfortunately, the number of heat stroke deaths from children being unattended in vehicles is trending upwards-since 1998 over 495 young children have fallen victim to this tragedy," says Kelly Powell, Safe Kids Coordinator, Palm Beach County. "That's why our goal is to create awareness and educate the millions of drivers on ways to stop these heartbreaks."

"We're launching this program in Florida because the statistics for our state are alarming," says Sergeant Russ Mager, Delray Beach Police Department. "Since records have been kept, 56 children in Florida have died from heat stroke after being unattended in a vehicle, making Florida one of leading states. Although Florida has a law addressing unattended children, the law states that children under 6 may not be left in a motor vehicle for more than 15 minutes if the motor is not running. However, what people not always realize is that in just 10 minutes a vehicle's interior temperature can rise drastically-19 degrees F-and can continue to increase."

Appy adds, "Advanced technologies may help prevent child heat stroke deaths in vehicles and Safe Kids urges child seat manufacturers and automakers to continue research and development of these technologies. However, the near-term emphasis must remain on education and awareness as it will take years for technology solutions to become widespread."

Never Leave Your Child Alone in a Car is a key component of Safe Kids Buckle Up, the comprehensive Safe Kids USA child passenger safety program sponsored by the General Motors Foundation. "Providing the support necessary for the Safe Kids coalitions and community partners to effectively educate families on how they can avoid these tragic and needless deaths is an important priority for the Foundation," says Vivian Pickard, President of the General Motors Foundation. "We commend these dedicated teams and their tireless, year-round efforts to keep children safe in and around cars."

Here's what parents and caregivers need to know and why:

Lock cars and trucks. Thirty percent of the recorded heat stroke deaths in the U.S. occur because a child was playing in an unattended vehicle. These deaths can be prevented by simply locking the vehicle doors to help assure that kids don't enter the vehicles and become trapped.

Create reminders. Many child heat stroke deaths occur because parents and caregivers become distracted and exit their vehicle without their child. To help prevent these tragedies parents can:

o Place a cell phone, PDA, purse, briefcase, gym bag or something that is needed at your next stop on the floor in front of a child in a backseat. This will help you see your child when you open the rear door and reach for your belongings.

o Set the alarm on your cell phone/smartphone as a reminder to you to drop your child off at day care.

o Set your computer calendar program to ask, "Did you drop your child off at daycare today?" Establish a plan with your daycare that if your child fails to arrive within an agreed upon time that you will be called within a few minutes. Be especially mindful of your child if you change your routine for daycare.

Dial 911 immediately if you see an unattended child in a car. EMS professionals are trained to determine if a child is in trouble. The body temperature of children rises 3 - 5 times faster than adults, and as a result, children are much more vulnerable to heat stroke. Check vehicles and trunks FIRST if a child is missing.

For more information on preventing child heat stroke deaths, please visit www.safekids.org.

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


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Consumers Indicate Higher Satisfaction with Home Improvement Stores

May 7, 2011 10:29 am

RISMEDIA, May 7, 2011-Home improvement store shoppers are more satisfied with store facilities, merchandise and pricing in 2011, compared with 2010, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Study(SM) released recently.

The study, now in its fifth year, measures customer satisfaction with home improvement retail stores, based on performance in five factors, listed in order of importance: staff and service (including availability, courtesy, knowledge); store facility (including ease of finding merchandise and cleanliness); merchandise (including availability and product information); price; and sales and promotions.

For a fifth consecutive year, Ace Hardware ranks highest in satisfying home improvement retail store customers. Ace Hardware achieves a score of 786 on a 1,000-point scale and performs particularly well in the two most influential factors: staff and service and store facility. Lowe's improves from fourth rank position in 2010 to rank second in 2011 with a score of 771, and performs particularly well in the merchandise factor. Menards retains its third rank position from 2010 with a score of 765 and performs particularly well in the sales/promotions and price factors.

Not only has satisfaction with store facilities improved, compared with 2010, but also home improvement store customers indicate that they are more satisfied with store facilities than any other aspect of the retail experience.

"Shoppers, whether novices to home improvement or those who are more experienced, need not be intimidated by the store," says Christina Cooley, senior manager of the real estate and construction industries practice at J.D. Power and Associates. "Retailers have invested in improving their layouts and signage to help guide customers to the products that they are looking for."

Within the store facility factor, ease of finding desired merchandise is of primary importance to shoppers at home improvement stores.

"When customers aren't able to find the merchandise on their own, it's critical that they receive assistance quickly-ideally within two minutes," says Cooley. "The highest-performing retailers are typically able to meet this threshold. In contrast, the average customer-reported wait time for assistance is four minutes. Customers should not hesitate to ask for assistance, as the study indicates that they can depend on retailers to help them when asked and that assistance comes relatively quickly."

On average, customers shop at their primary home improvement retailer two to three times per month. Although most customers indicate they visit home improvement stores on weekends, there has been an increase in the percentage of shoppers who make weekday visits. In 2011, 41 percent of customers say they shop during the week, compared with 34 percent in 2010. According to Cooley, the increased incidence of weekday shopping means that retailers need to make sure they adjust their staffing levels accordingly during the week.

There has also been an increase in 2011 in the percentage of shoppers who say they used a self-checkout kiosk (53 percent in 2011 compared with 42 percent in 2010).

"While self-checkout is meant to be more convenient for the customer, it is not uncommon that the customer still will require some intervention from store staff, so this is another area in which retailers need to ensure proper staffing," says Cooley. "To ensure a quick checkout, customers should limit using self-checkout to visits in which they are purchasing relatively few items and the bar codes are clearly identifiable on all products."

The study also finds the following key trends:

  • The average customer in 2011 has spent $1,650 at home improvement retailers within the past 12 months.
  • In 2011, customers spent a greater percentage of their overall annual expenditure at their primary home improvement store (72 percent) than in 2010 (68 percent).

The 2011 U.S. Home Improvement Retailer Satisfaction Study is based on responses from more than 6,900 consumers who purchased a home improvement product or service within the previous 12 months from a store that sells home improvement products. Consumers were asked to evaluate their primary home improvement retailer. The study was fielded in March and April 2011.

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


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Word of the Day

May 6, 2011 10:29 am

Tenancy by the entirety. A form of joint ownership reserved for married persons; right of survivorship exists and neither spouse has a disposable interest during the lifetime of the other.

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


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Question of the Day

May 6, 2011 10:29 am

Q: How long do bankruptcies and foreclosure stay on a credit report?

A: They can remain on your credit record for seven to 10 years. However, a borrower who has worked hard to reestablish good credit may be shown some leniency by the lender. And the circumstances surrounding the bankruptcy may also influence a lender's decision. For example, if you went bankrupt because you were laid off from your job, the lender may be more sympathetic. If, however, you went through bankruptcy because you overextended personal credit lines and lived beyond your means, it is unlikely the lender will readily give you a break.

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


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How Health Risks of High Blood Pressure Can Be Reduced with Heart-Healthy Diet

May 6, 2011 10:29 am

RISMEDIA, May 6, 2011-With May marking National High Blood Pressure Education Month, BistroMD's founding physician reveals how a healthy diet can help the millions of people living with this condition.

As a board-certified bariatric physician -and as the founding physician behind BistroMD, a physician-designed, chef-prepared diet meal delivery program-Caroline J. Cederquist, M.D., regularly works with patients who struggle with high blood pressure.

"According to the American Heart Association, 74.5 million people age 20 or older have high blood pressure," says Dr. Cederquist. "For many of my patients, high blood pressure develops due to a combination of poor diet and unhealthy lifestyle choices. As a physician who specializes in weight management, my goal is to teach my patients how to manage their weight loss and high blood pressure with a heart-healthy diet."

High blood pressure is a condition in which the blood pumping through your arteries exerts a higher than normal force against your arterial walls. If high blood pressure is not managed properly, it can lead to major health problems, like cardiovascular disease.

Cardiovascular disease claimed over 831,000 lives in 2006, and one out of every three adults in America live with the disease today.

"Cardiovascular disease develops due to years of strain on the major arteries and vessels in your heart," says Dr. Cederquist. "If you are overweight, your heart has to work much harder to pump blood through your body. This extra pressure placed on your arteries can damage them and causes fatty matter, known as plaque, to build up, causing the passageways in your arteries to narrow."

This narrowing of your arterial passageway causes the heart to put forth great effort, pumping too much blood, far too fast, and far too hard. This causes high blood pressure, and can lead to fatal conditions, like cardiovascular disease and stroke.

With over 15 years of experience in her field, Dr. Caroline Cederquist has spent years of research developing a heart-healthy diet for those who also struggle with weight loss. Her heart-healthy meal plan helps control high blood pressure, through healthy combinations of food, rather than medicine.

"High blood pressure can be managed effectively with the appropriate diet," says Dr. Cederquist. "The heart-healthy meals I have developed for BistroMD are low in sodium and contain the appropriate balance of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, and healthy fats to re-train your metabolism to burn excess stored fat. This helps prevent plaque from building up in your arterial walls, which helps control your blood pressure, and helps reduce your risk of cardiovascular disease."

Other than eating a heart-healthy diet, it is important to visit your physician for regular check-ups so you can monitor your blood pressure range.

For more information, visit www.BistroMD.com.

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


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2010 Census Data Reveals New World Marketplace Has Already Arrived

May 6, 2011 10:29 am

RISMEDIA, May 6, 2011-There is a $2 trillion marketplace that is up for grabs, and according to the 2010 US Census results, this market can only be defined as multicultural. The question is whether U.S. businesses are ready and willing to make the changes necessary to take advantage of this critical demographic shift.

From an aging white population to a growing youthful multicultural market where women have become key players, businesses that can adapt to this "New World Marketplace" will find themselves leading the way, while those holding onto traditional prejudices will falter.

"In about 30 years, the majority of the US population will be nonwhite, especially in the metro areas, and one of three children born in the country today has a parent who is an immigrant," says multicultural globalization expert and corporate advisor Farnaz Wallace, founder of Farnaz Global. "The major shifts we are seeing within the US population have already begun to give us a New World Marketplace. It is multicultural in the mindset and lifestyle, not just skin color. It's also young and non-traditional and places women in decision-making positions."

Wallace emphasizes the importance of businesses learning and being willing to cater to the breadth of this New World Marketplace. "Most companies still define 'multicultural branding' as token sponsorships to African American and Latino holiday events. Until brands are ready to re-define 'General Market,' they won't be able to generate profitable growth in the next three to five years," she says.

Although large corporations may be able to strategically budget and market to each segment of the New World Marketplace, mid-size and smaller companies will need to build a holistic and multicultural campaign that is able to emotionally connect to and attract the New World Marketplace customers.

"A good differentiating Value Proposition should bridge the cultural gaps," explains Wallace. "A brand's leverageable opportunities lie within harmony of values, causes and beliefs; it's all about emotional and cultural frameworks." Bridging cultural gaps allows business leaders to connect through commonalities rather than coercing through power differentiation. This means aligning brand values with those of your New World customers. "Organizations must forsake past myths, biases, prejudices and orthodoxies to ensure future profitability," says Wallace. "And they must be willing to become their own future rivals."

The demographic transformation necessitating these new business practices is most apparent among the youth. Already, fewer than half of the nation's toddlers are white. Hispanics, Asians and multiracial children accounted for all of the net growth of the nation's under-18 population. "Think about how aging of this new emerging population will redefine America," says Wallace.

While the ability to appeal to youth will be a deciding factor of brand success in the near future, attracting women is already necessary today. Women currently control 65 percent of global spending and 80 percent of US spending and start 70 percent of new businesses in this country. "Why do most banks and financial institutions continue to heavily target men?" asks Wallace.

"The New World Marketplace must be the foundation of all future corporate strategies; it is now a business imperative," asserts Wallace. And with an eye to the 2010 US Census data, it is apparent that the "future" is already here.

Farnaz Wallace is a thought-leader and trusted advisor on multiculturalism and social and cultural shifts. To find out more or to contact Farnaz, visit http://www.farnazglobal.com.

Copyright 2011 RISMedia, The Leader in Real Estate Information Systems and Real Estate News. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be republished without permission from RISMedia.


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