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10/12/2014

Realtor ATTACKED Safety Tips


Another Realtor was attacked, this time blocks from my home in Laguna Niguel
in a lovely neighborhood.

Buddy up with a Partner who is licensed or a lender who will become your trusted partner  Open houses, meeting clients at empty houses and driving in someone’s car or even taking strangers in your car is never to be done alone. Leaving an itinerary does not keep you safe.
Do not meet a stranger at any property. Instead, ask to meet at your office or in a public place so others can see the potential buyer too.
Take your own car. NEVER ride in a stranger’s car.
Dress for safety. Dress professionally and avoid wearing expensive, flashy jewelry. Do not carry large amounts of money with you. I know many won’t agree with this but: Carry a taser or stun gun and practice with it on the 1st and 15th of every month. Practice juggling your lockbox code while remaining aware with stun gun. If ordinances allow get a gun permit. Practice weekly with the gun and wear it under suit jacket. Get a permit to carry concealed only after you are an expert with the gun.
Designate a safety contact who is responsible to check your incoming contact information and give you a call 20 minutes into an appointment. Prior to showing a property, have a printed form that asks for a prospect’s information: name, address, auto make and model, auto tag, driver’s license, local address, and two references. Make a copy of driver’s license. Leave the copy with office. Many Realtors' and lenders work out of your home. I myself as a mortgage lender make appointments in people's homes, but never with a stranger. You may not have the proper equipment to copy the license and email it. Get a scanner, have an urgent fax or text you send. Learn to take excellent photographs of driver’s license and license plate and forward to the contact safety person. Tell the buyer this is standard procedure and required by your broker.
 Use an agent ID form. Make sure your office knows your car's make and model and license tag, plus any other important contact information.
Set a coded distress signal. Be able to call the office or home with a message that appears harmless to a prospect but would serve as an alert to others that you’re in harm's way. Long ago I taught my children to use the word gorilla as a code emergency word. Set one with family and office safety contact
Stop working immediately if you pick up on something suspicious If it feels bad, run. No amount of commission is worth your life. If you notice inconsistent answers, lies, weird stories, unfamiliar with location they claim to be from in a client, or any abnormal behavior, or anything that signals that something is off, stop working and trust your gut instincts. Go to a public place.
Notify police when you feel that instinct.  Smart phones are useful in locating you and in Orange County California our local Sheriff is happy to come out and assist even when you suspect foul play.
Don’t go into a vacant house alone. If the door or window pried open- call police. Even in affluent neighborhoods we are seeing squatters who can be violent breaking into vacant homes and setting up camp. Anyone who calls to meet you may not necessarily be a buyer or seller of real estate, don’t assume they are all honest kind people.
When danger occurs you have seconds to decide how to handle it. You may be the greatest negotiator but running yelling fire might be your best defense. Practice self defense strategies.
If you insist on doing an open house alone: set a table and chairs out in the front yard. Greet the neighbors, tell them you are next door from x time until x time and don’t follow anyone upstairs or into the back.



long dark entry where you can't see around the corner says caution

10/09/2014

Plant for Bees and Butterflies

Flowers in my garden to attract and feed butterflies and bees.
Bees need some help in this drought and competing with invasive
species. Planting flowers that they can use the pollen naturally gives
them the food they need to survive. I'm allergic to bees. I was only
stung once as a child. The keys to living in harmony with bees:
In the heat of the sun move slowly around where they are gathering
nectar. Cut flowers early or as the sun goes down. Bees are home asleep
before sundown.
Butterflies also need a little help, and they add grace and fun to your garden.
In my last house at Kite Hill we built a tree fort and planted coral seas passion
vine. With only water the vine soon overtook the fort which was a favorite
reading spot of my daughter Blair's. She could it up there in a wicker chair and
read for hours. The fort offered an ocean view, and the glory of thousands of
monarch butterflies.
The vine needed chopping regularly as it found the soil and spot perfect,
See below bottom I planted a different passion vine as I couldn't find
coral bells and it needs a solution to tangle up and attach to the roof of the
gazebo. Input please!







Bee is sitting in the painted blanket


Bees need:
bare ground spots for mud
plants they like are:
lavender, thyme, cilantro, fennel, borage, sage, hollyhock
buttercup, calendula, geranium,  aster, zinnia,
sweet assillum, poppy, sunflowers, heliotrope
I have all these in my garden in Orange County California
Mixing different perennials and annuals the bees and butterflies
enjoy makes for a colorful garden year round

heliotrope




Butter flies surprisingly enjoy a similar list
budderia, butterfly, bush,  primrose,
statice, lilac, lantana, phlox, aster, butterfly weed,
 milkweed, chives, red clover,
 lavender, loostrife, sedum, wisteria,
 coreopsis, marigold, globe thistle,
 yarrow, heliotrope, ceanothus, aster, cosmos,
 zinnia, thyme, calendula

Important note: I never use pesticides. I only use water,
home cooked compost and let the sun do what it will..
I do kill snails naturally with my snail ranch that they come
in and have a beer but never leave.


my backyard this October 2014




my front yard has three varieties of lavender and Mexican sage, see the little white butterfly?




mexican sage



coral bells passion vine

















Milkweed favorite for monarch butterflies the pods dance on the wind

Coreopsis is hardy in California it blooms year round if you trim by thinning the plant and dead head the flowers
Okay here is a problem child. I planted this passion vine
for the butterflies but try as I might I can't get it to cling
to the roof or over the hanging.
Suggestions?

10/03/2014

CHASE BANK HACKED


CHASE BANK ATM OPEN FOR HACKERS

Chase Hacked
J P Morgan Chase hacked yesterday.  Eight three million accounts compromised. 
How long ago did Chase know about this and wait until it leaked?
This is the largest failure of security in history.
This is far worse than Target, your email or Facebook hacked, pawned, and compromised. 
What can you do?

·         Chase is advising customers that they do not need to change passwords. I beg to differ.
·         Change your password today and again next week.
·         Check the account balances daily.
·         Check new credit card accounts opened in the next twenty and forty days.
·         Check your mailbox for any new information
·         DO NOT respond to any emails from Chase or anything that appears to be Chase.


Jamie Dimon fails to comment.
JPM Stock price downgraded today.
In the world of internet bad guys this one is frightening.