Remote Desktop Solution

Having a mobile office can have its pros and cons, one of the cons is not having every single file or document with you or on your laptop/netbook at all times. Unfortunately, I have a lot of experience with this scenario and have been forced to find a solution. So, I thought I would share.

What I found was Team Viewer 5, it is an excellent free solution to my problem. I simply have Team Viewer installed on both computers, initiate a session, usually from my netbook to my home computer and either drop the files I need in my Dropbox (also installed on both computers) or use the browser to upload them to Google Docs. This way I have access to them via the cloud or I can download them to my netbook.

By the way, if you are not using Dropbox or Google Docs and you have a mobile office, you really need to look into them, great tools for the toolbox.

Another nice feature is that you can enable, chat, VOIP or video chat during the sessions as well. So, it has many uses for collaboration and sharing as well as remote access.

Side note: It is also a great help in assisting your technologically challenged parents when they want to know where the “Any” key is.

There is only one caveat to the free price tag, you cannot use it for commercial purposes. In other words you cannot use it for your home technical support business without paying Team Viewer their due. So, play fair.

If you have found another solution, please feel free to share in the comments.

First time homebuyers…come on down!

According to a recent survey done by the National Association of REALTORS® the percentage of first time home buyers rose in 2008 to 41%, up from 39% in 2007 and 36% in 2006.

The median age of the first time home buyer went down from 31 in 2007 to 30 in 2008.  With the median down payment up to 4% in 2008 from 2% in 2007.  The average price of the home purchased was $165,000.

In fact, this survey has gotten some national attention, imagine that, from the Wall Street Journal.  Which states that

“The housing bust is creating a new group of winners: first-time home buyers. People who sat on the sidelines — often watching wistfully as their friends became homeowners — are suddenly in a position to grab some great deals.”

What does all of this mean?

It means that with a large inventory of homes under $165,000 in the Phoenix area, and approx. 33% of the in city population, according to Wikipedia, is between the age of 25-44, the largest demographic.  There is great opportunity for first time home Buyers to become first time home Owners.

FHA Loan Limit…Not as much as you think!

Only 5% down payment is needed for loans in excess of the FHA limit!

That’s right, in Maricopa county, the new FHA loan limit, beginning Jan. 1, 2009, is $271,050.  The minimum down payment for an FHA loan is 3.5%.

Many people think that 10% down is needed to get a loan in excess of the new FHA limit.  However, only 5% down payment is needed for loan amounts up to $417,000.

Today’s interest rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage, for loans between $271,050 – $417,000, is 5.75%, 5.804% APR.  For a one point origination fee, the rate is 5%, 5.141% APR.

Note that interest rates have been changing quickly, and can change within the day.  The quoted rates assume excellent FICO scores and 5% down payment.  Contact me for updated rates and to discuss your particular scenario.

John Rapasky is the President of the Counsel Mortgage Group, LLC.  He has been in the lending business for 7 years, and is also a licensed attorney, having practiced for 10 years, and practiced as a CPA prior to his legal practice.  John specializes on providing competent mortgage advice and providing loans that are right for you.

John is a contributor to this blog and can be contacted at or 480.502.1000.

Seth Godin & Stephen R. Covey Audiobooks for FREE!

That’s right, is allowing free downloads of two of the best selling books that every business person should read.

tribesThe first is Seth Godin’s Tribes which is a great book about leadership in today’s world and will give you a different perspective on how to lead in today’s workplace and increasingly competitive world and build tribes of people doing it.  You can download it for free here or if you prefer to read the actual book, you can purchase it from amazon here.

covey The second book is Stephen R. Covey’s best seller, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, which is another great book about improving your business through personal change and has sold more than 5 million copies.  You can download the audiobook for free here or purchase the book from Amazon here.

I have read both of these books and personally I find them helpful and motivational.  What do you think?

Mini Sales Boom in Phoenix – Can you feel it?

I know this will be hard for some to believe but there is evidence that Phoenix is experiencing a mini sales boom. In January 2008 there were 2,912 homes sold and last month, December 2008, there were 5,514 homes sold, that means a 90% increase in homes sold in 2008.  FYI, last month wasn’t the highest month either, just check out his chart.


Even in this economy and all the gloom and doom coming from the media the Phoenix area is not the only city experiencing this boom.  In fact, according to this article from REALTOR®.org there are at least 9 others, here, read the article for yourself, its short. You can find it here.

Max Pigman, Vice President of REALTOR®.com said, “There is more opportunity in this market than there has been in the last 30 years, for buyers and sellers.”

I agree and I think a 90% increase in one year proves that quite a few other people believe it too.

Around Scottdale: Penzey's Spices

For Christmas this year I received a gift card from my wife to a fantastic store in Scottsdale called Penzey’s Spices located at 3310 North Hayden Road.  I wasn’t sure what to expect but boy, was I pleasantly surprised when I walked in to the store.  Penzey’s has a large selection of jarred herbs and spices as well as high quality extracts used for cooking and baking.  They also sell spice mixes, I used their Chili Powder and Southwest Seasoning in some turkey chili and it was fantastic.  Another perk that Penzey’s offers is that any product they carry they have a jar of it out that you can smell and really get a feel for the taste of the product.  Here is a map if you would like to check it out yourself.

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I highly recommend the BBQ 3000 spice rub, it is fantastic on ribs and makes a great sauce. Also, they have gift boxes in all sizes, makes a unique and useful gift. Enjoy!

Scottsdale Homes under $250k, there are more than you think.

Seriously, there are more than you think. I was surprised myself when I ran a search for homes under $250,000 in Scottsdale and came up with 434. That number does include single family, patio and town homes in Scottsdale and does not include condominiums/apartment style homes.


The news gets even better. According to my amortization schedule a $245,000 mortgage at 6% interest on a 30 year fixed with 12 payments a year and without including taxes and insurance is $1469 per month! How many people do you know that are paying that in rent alone?

Scottsdale has a lot to offer in amenities, quality of their schools and their dedication to public art, something I hold very near and dear to my heart. So, please, spread the word. There are affordable homes in Scottsdale.