Follow Me On:          2nd Quarter
  Mortgage News
Housing is in Bloom
Millie Ruiz-Wagner
License:NMLS - 225675
Mortgage Advisor
Peoples Home Equity
Phone: (708) 945-3315
Fax: 866-592-2262

The nation's housing sector is buzzing like bees in springtime. And indeed, housing has historically boosted the U.S. Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and job creation, which are key stimulators and indicators of economic health.

When GDP is referenced in news media, it means the total goods and services produced by labor and property in the U.S. This figure is measured quarterly, and recent figures show that GDP increased impressively at 3.1 percent in the 1st quarter of 2013, up from 0.4 percent in the last quarter of 2012.

Sales of previously-owned houses increased three straight months in March, rising 0.4 percent to a 5 million annualized rate, its highest level since late 2009, then took a small dip in late April by 0.6 percent to 4.92 million units. During this time, new home sales maintained an upward climb by 1.5 percent within expectations to 416,000. Analysts say housing could provide tailwinds strong enough to realize the improvement to the labor market for which the folks at the Fed are hoping. The Fed (which sets the U.S. monetary policy by monitoring national employment, prices and interest rates) recently noted that inflation also remains in check.

(Continued on next page)

Finance News
New Tax Break for Home Offices
Deductions just got easier for self-employed taxpayers.
By Sandra Block,

John Dudley, owner of United Home Experts and United Painting, in Ashland, Mass., has had an office in his home since 2001 but has never claimed the home-office deduction."I was always told by my accountant that there was a very high probability of triggering an audit," he says.

Dudley and other self-employed people may want to give the deduction another chance. Under new IRS rules, taxpayers will be able to use a simple formula based on the size of their home offices. The streamlined method, available for 2013 returns, lets taxpayers deduct $5 per square foot, up to a maximum of 300 square feet, or $1,500.

(Continued on next page)

Did You Know?
Bill Clinton sent just two emails during his presidency–one was a test to see if it was working.
Homemade Spa Recipes to moisturize and refresh skin and hair–almost good enough to eat!
Banana Body Scrub: Mash 1 banana with 1/2 cup of brown sugar and 1 drop of vanilla extract–exfoliates and moisturizes.
Lemon Body Scrub: Mix 1/4 cup coconut oil, 1/2 cup of sugar or salt, and the zest and juice of one lemon–astringent lemon helps banish shine and tighten the skin, coconut moisturizes.
Coconut Hair Conditioner: 2 Tbsp coconut oil combed through hair–prevents brittleness from frequent washing–leave for 30 minutes and rinse, or overnight for deep conditioning.
Honey Avocado Mask: Mash 1/2 avocado with 1 Tbsp honey–honey is an antioxidant and antimicrobial for acne, avocado moisturizes; leave 15-30 minutes then rinse.
Pumpkin Mask: 3 Tbsp pumpkin puree, 1 Tsp honey, and a dash of cinnamon–salicylic acid in pumpkin works with honey to clear blemishes, anti-inflammatory cinnamon for aging; leave 15-30 minutes then rinse.
2nd Quarter

Book Review

Lean In: Women, Work, and the Will to Lead
By Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg is Chief Operating Officer for Facebook, appears on Fortune's list of the 50 Most Powerful Women in Business, is one of Time's 100 Most Influential People in the World, and is a wife and mother of two.

The basis for Lean In grew out of a TEDTalk entitled "Why we have too few women leaders"–viewed well over 2 million times online–which described how women tend to hold themselves back in career and life.

With greater depth and detail Lean In unearths reasons why progress in leadership roles for women has seemingly stalled in the last decade. It then offers empowering advice and solutions to women on how they can enjoy a healthy balance of life and work at their full potential–solutions that are great ideas for all of us.

Supportive spouses and partners of working women can benefit from reading, too. In fact, Sandberg attributes much of her career success to her husband's prominent role in shared household and domestic duties, and credits this partnership as essential to achieving marriage, family and career goals together.

To learn more, visit

Trivia Challenge

What was Mark Twain's real name?
  1. Percy Reginald Brown
  2. Timothy Tyler Twain
  3. Samuel Langhorne Clemens
  4. James McNeill Whistler

For answer, see the last page.

Quote of the Day

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect."
– Mark Twain

Mortgage News (Continued from cover)

Homebuilders across the nation have contributed to the increase in Housing Starts, up a whopping 47 percent over the same period last year. At their highest since June 2008, Housing Starts spiked by 7 percent this March to 1.036 million units on an annualized basis, well above the 930,000 expected, though they did decline in April. Gains in home prices and construction will put more Americans to work this year, and that's good news overall for the health of the U.S. economy.

Finance News (Continued from cover)

Taxpayers who choose this option won't have to fill out a 43-line form listing actual expenses, such as the percentage of utilities used in their home office. Dudley estimates that the new rule would allow him to deduct $720 from his taxable income–a savings of about $200. (In some cases, itemizing will get you a bigger deduction. Ideally, you should calculate the deduction both ways to see which delivers the better break.) The rule doesn't change eligibility requirements. The office must be used regularly and exclusively for business. Employees can't deduct a home office unless their employer requires them to work from home.

But if you qualify, there's no reason not to claim this tax break, says consultant Gene Fairbrother, of the National Association for the Self-Employed. The IRS is "giving you an opportunity. Don't be afraid to take it."

Reprinted with permission. All Contents ©2013 The Kiplinger Washington Editors.

Home News
Party Planning Basics

Everyone loves a party–whether for the NBA Playoffs, a birthday, or just because–and if you take time to plan, your event will be memorable long after it's over. Here are a few tips to make sure you have a swell soirée!

Make sure guests know what to expect–whether dinner, cocktails, or both. Being unclear about the portions could leave guests disappointed and hungry.

Three weeks' advance notice is best for planning. Personal invitations must give a "not-to-miss" appeal, even for low-key events, and will provide an approximate guest list. For a more personal touch, handwrite your invitations.

Once you have an accurate guest list, calculate your food and drink portions. A generous cocktail party requires about 12 appetizer servings per guest. Purchase about 50 percent more food than you think you'll need–you might have a last minute arrival or have forgotten to invite someone important.
2nd Quarter

Green Smoothies
(Serves 2)
A yummy way to get extra fruits and veggies, for kids and adults alike.
  • 1/2 cup coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup frozen blueberries
  • 2 cups stemmed and chopped kale or spinach
  • 1 1/2 cups chopped pineapple or frozen mango slices
  • 1 ripe banana
  • Juice of 1 lemon
Combine all ingredients plus 1/2 cup water in a blender and puree until smooth (about 1 minute). Add more water if needed to reach desired consistency.

Blend in a scoop of your favorite vanilla protein powder for a power-packed snack!

Another great option: Blend 1 glass of almond milk and 2 tablespoons of peanut butter or almond butter with the greens, banana, splash of cinnamon and some ice cubes.

Prepare what you can the week before and freeze, if possible. Free up your party time with a slow cooker or dips (may we suggest Restaurant-Style Chili Con Queso in this issue). Cut down or eliminate bartending with pitchers of prepared drinks–punch or sangria are always popular. Chill other drinks the morning of.

"Plate" like a pro by grouping similar items on serving platters. Only put out as much food as you think people will eat; reserve leftovers for the fridge to replenish supplies later on. Make sure to serve food closer to room temperature–take it out of the fridge at least 30 minutes before serving–most food tastes better this way!

Save time at dinner parties by serving family-style rather than plating for your guests. Consider a food theme that allows them to serve themselves–have a taco or sandwich station, or a pasta station with different sauces and toppings. The advantages are many, but mostly, you won't waste food guessing different portion sizes.

Follow these simple party-planning guidelines to ensure a fun and memorable event for you and your guests. You'll be the consummate host, and everyone will want to be at your next event!

Street Smarts
Essential Chargers, Unexpected Hazards

Charging your cell phone too long can be a hazard. Technically speaking, it's not possible to overcharge a battery to the point of explosion, since the adaptor limits power going into the cell phone's battery. However, leaving a phone plugged in longer than the time it takes to get a full charge can cause it to overheat, presenting a fire hazard to anything it may be in contact with–not to mention shortening battery life.

Phone chargers also warm up and may overheat without adequate ventilation. Keeping a "rats nest" tangle of cords, plugs and multiple connected devices only exacerbates the hazard–even if the charger is disconnected from the phone but still plugged into the wall socket. Chargers still pull a current whether they are connected to a cell phone or not.

Here are some tips to reduce the chances of causing a fire with your cell phone:

  1. Make sure you charge the phone on a solid surface away from fabric or other flammable material.

  2. Don't leave your cell phone connected to any charger for longer than it takes to get a full charge and never more than 24 hours.

  3. Make sure your chargers have adequate ventilation and, if possible, unplug them or turn off the switch when not in use.

  4. Don't carry your cell phone inside pockets, especially highly flammable clothing. Use a purse or backpack.

  5. Avoid after-market chargers and batteries. They have a much higher incidence of failure and fire than the manufacturer's version.
Thank You!
We wish to thank our clients who have been kind enough to refer business to us. We appreciate the opportunity to provide excellent service to your family, friends, and co–workers.

Facts and Figures
The NBA Playoffs

The National Basketball Association and member teams have a long and colorful history. Here are a few milestones for the famous lead-up to the Finals:

· The NBA was renamed in 1950 from the
  Basketball Association of America.

· The first playoffs were held in 1947 as a
  three-stage tournament, similar to the
  Stanley Cup of the 1930s for hockey.
  Two first-place teams qualified directly
  to the semifinals where they played
  each other in a best-of-seven match.

· In 1984, the tournament expanded to
  sixteen teams; the first round was
  changed in 2003 to best-of-seven.
· The 1999 Knicks are the only 8th
  seeded team ever to reach the

· The Boston Celtics possess the
  most overall finals series wins
  with an overall record of 17-4.

· In 1999, the San Antonio Spurs
  owned the longest playoff winning
  streak for a single postseason–12
  straight wins in the playoffs and a
  15-2 finish overall.

· The longest ever streak of playoff
  appearances belongs to the
  Syracuse Nationals (who became
  the Philadelphia 76ers). They
  made the playoffs 22 years in a
  row from 1949 to 1971.


Trivia Answer: C. Samuel Langhorne Clemens. "Mark twain" is a measurement call used in riverboat navigation to mean the water is twelve feet deep.

If you know anyone who is looking to buy, sell or refinance a home, please forward their name and telephone number to us. We will happily provide the same high level of service that we have provided to you. The greatest compliment you could possibly give us is the referral of your friends and family.
Peoples Home Equity, Inc. Illinois Residential Mortgage Licensee Corp. NMLS #63371 (630) 225-7575 1801 S. Meyers Rd. Oakbrook Terrace, IL 60181 NMLS #1002426 2016 Vantage Production, LLC. All rights reserved.
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