Friday, March 01, 2013

Happy March & St. Paddy's Day from Dianne Dunn

Top 'o the Morn'n to ya!

We're finally into March, and looking forward to spring . . . so, regardless of your heritage, here are some websites to help you "Ring in the Green" on St. Patrick's Day!

  St. Paddy's Day Fun and Facts!

In case you're not familiar with the origin and customs of St. Patrick's Day, here's a link where you can read all about it!

Enjoy and share some Irish Sayings 'n Blessings.

How about some Irish Music!
Listen to the sounds of Irish music!

Planning Something?

Are you cooking and can't find that perfect recipe?  Here's Some Help!

Send a playful Greeting Card ...

Just For Kids!


And Don't Forget that Daylight Saving Time
starts on March 10th, so ...
Spring Ahead!

Most of the United States begins Daylight Saving Time at 2:00 am on the second Sunday in March, and reverts to standard time on the first Sunday in November.

Best Wishes for a Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Feel free to forward this page to your family and friends, and please recommend me as your Realtor for both new and resale properties.
Thank you!  Dianne

Dianne Dunn, Broker, CRS, GRI, 
Keller Williams Realty, New Bern, NC

Wednesday, February 06, 2013

Happy Valentines Day from Dianne!

February is the month for friends and lovers to appreciate each other! So, to encourage and promote this well-being, I've collected some web sites and "Luv Links" to share with you and your friends.

Valentine's Day Fun and Facts!
How long until Valentine's Day? What changes have there been in its history?

Those candy hearts are great conversation starters. Here's how it all started in 1886 from Necco, who makes 8 billion candy sweet hearts each year.

What to Get for Your Someone!

Here are some great ideas for that special someone that are sure to make their day!
Planning a Romantic Evening?
To make it perfect make sure you don't leave anything out! Here are some great site to help you plan the perfect evening.
Just For Kids!
It's your kids you love? Then, they'll love these Valentine's Day pages with games, puzzles and pictures to print and color, crafts and more!

Best Wishes for a Happy Valentine's Day!

Sincerely, Dianne

Feel free to forward this page to your family and friends, and I would be most appreciative if you would recommend me as your Realtor for both New and Resale Properties. Thank You!

Dianne Dunn and Team New Bern
Keller Williams Realty

New Bern, NC

Email Dianne! 

(Some of these sites are credited to Alice Held)


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Happy New Year from Dianne Dunn

Happy New Year, Everyone!

Is it cold or snowing where you are? Then c'mon down to New Bern, North Carolina, where the average daytime temperatures are in the mid 50's and above.

Which was your favorite year? The Millennium has the 20th Century, Year by Year or decade by decade for you to click on to get the scoop.  Fun with history and quizzes!

Did you miss the  New Year’s Eve ball lowering event at Times Square, New York City?  Where else is there a celebration like this? New York’s TimesSquare is the place!

The holidays have come and gone, and now it is time to get started on your New Year's Resolutions! Here are a few helpful websites with Tips and Suggestions useful and enjoyable!

DeliciousCrock Pot Recipes are great for cold winter days!

All of us have the best intentions when we make resolutions on January 1st, but by February 1st most are forgotten. If you need help achieving your goals, sign up for the Resolution Reminder service. Every month, you’ll receive an e-mail that reminds you of your resolutions and offers tips and support to help you meet your goals

New Year's Resolution #1 - Get In Shape

If a grip on fitness and diet is in your New Year's Resolutions, these sites might help you chart a course of action...
  • Lifelines: resources for improvement of health, productivity, and effectiveness
  • HealthFinder: a gateway consumer health and human services information website
  • DietWatch: has a calculator and will help you monitor your intake.
  • Ask Dr. Andrew Weil: brought to you by Dr. Weil himself. 

New Year's Resolution #2 - Get Organized
Being organized means more than filing papers, using a daily list and knowing what time to be where. It's a habit, much the same as any other skill you master. Tips from this site will help you organize your home office, get ahead, take control of projects and maintain balance in your life.

 New Year's Resolution #3 - Financial Plans & Strategy 

How do you invest to meet your goals? There are no one-size-fits-all investments. Of course, the best investment you can make (and enjoy) is in your home. Today's interest rates are the lowest in 30 years, there are extra Tax benefits, homes are affordable, the property taxes are moderate, the cost of living is competitive, and the quality of life is excellent!

Create a Financial Plan. A personal financial plan provides strategies for dealing with periods of personal hardship and helps develop a prudent economic agenda for you and/or your family.

Chart Your Financial Future with these Top 10 FinancialResolutions from Smart Money

Just For Kids:
No, not kidding. Helped along by their parents, some young folks are choosing to invest, as well as the tried-and-true savings accounts or savings bonds. Kiplinger will offer you help in helping them manage their “funds” as low as $1. The Motley Fools offer Teens and their parents a free newsletter through their Young Monthly website.

For Small and Big Kids, Bank Jr has a wonderfully graphic-rich fun but savvy journey through a world of different places all designed to help money grow!
Considering a Move?

Interest rates are at record lows, and we have some great-priced properties in the coastal New Bern North Carolina area!
Feel free to contact us for more information!

or 252-671-1932

Wishing you a very Happy and Healthy 2013!

Sincerely, Dianne and Team New Bern 

Tuesday, December 04, 2012

Happy Holidays from Dianne Dunn

Dear Friends and Neighbors,

This holiday season is a special time to reflect on the year that is nearly over, and to be thankful for those closest to our hearts. I hope that you'll enjoy the information in the web site links that follow.

Planning a Holiday Meal?
Don't have time to plan dinner? has done all the planning for you with over 15,000 recipes!

Sill feeling overwhelmed? Here is a list of tips, and some printables to help you in planning your holiday meals.

The holidays can be a tough time for families, especially families dealing with diabetes. This site has all the help you need.

Need a cookbook? Here is access to name brand recipes and great ideas for a holiday meal.

If your idea of a holiday meal doesn't include meat, you can get some vegan holiday feast ideas from the The Low Fat Vegetarian and theVegetarian Resource Guide. The Vegetarian Kitchen has a great selection of recipes too.

Mrs. Claus has lots of great holiday recipes for you to enjoy!
Click on her cookbook to select delicious recipes!

Want some great ideas for keeping collected after the holidays are done? Post-Holiday Cleanup has the "Best Hints for Undecorating and Packing Away Your Christmas Decorations."

Where do you go to ship that gift last minute? Help is here! Here are some packaging tips and services:

Still Don't Know What to Give?

What to get for him....still don't know? Does he love history? Give him a distinctive gift package tailored to his historical interest. Find gifts for him for all occasions.
And now for her! Want to give her something unique? These gifts ideas are loved by Courtney Cox, Renee Zellweger & more stars! Give her something to snuggle up in from, and you don't have to wrap it! Or, give her something that will make her heart and her eyes sparkle from

Giving gifts to your co-workers or your employees can be a tricky business...this site can help. Do you know picky people who only like the best.

Looking for Hanukkah gifts? has baskets, figurines, toys and more.

Send Holiday Cheer with an e-Greeting

Send your friends and loved ones Holiday cheer with a Holiday e-card from:
123 Greetings - Hanukkah

Holidays for the Kids!

To keep the kiddies occupied before and after the holidays, there aregames and entertainment galore at these sites:

The Holiday Spot has crafts, games, quizzes, and tons of fun stuff for all ages.
Billy Bear makes the holidays fun for all ages.

At Santa's Countdown to Christmas, the kids can send their very own email to Santa!

In the mood for Christmas caroling? Check out this website for some popular sing-along songs!

Discover the spirit of the season as the four Theme Parks of Walt Disney World Resort present magical holiday celebrations for the entire family. Join the festivities and ring in the holiday season with millions of lights on a studio backlot, stunning Candlelight Processionals, snow at Magic Kingdom Park and, of course, holiday parades featuring Santa. Come celebrate at the "Merriest Place on Earth."

If you enjoy viewing Christmas trees in all of their splendor, then head to New York City's Rockefeller Center to see the most famous tree of all!

Best Wishes for a Wonderful Holiday Season!

Sincerely, Dianne

Feel free to forward this page to your family and friends, and I would be most appreciative if you would recommend me as your Realtor for both New and Resale Properties. Thank You!

Dianne Dunn and Team New Bern
Keller Williams Realty

New Bern, NC

Email Dianne! Email Dianne!

(Some of these sites are credited to Alice Held)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Why Some Homes SELL, and Others DON'T?

Have you ever wondered why some of the nicest homes in the neighborhood seem to stay on the market forever, while others seem to sell as quickly as the sign goes in the yard?

Check out this seller secret to ensure your property is in the “Sweet Spot” for attracting the greatest number of serious buyers:

In a SELLER’s Market, there are fewer properties for sale, and buyers are competing for the same properties.  Most properties are “IN the Market” and sell quickly!

In a BUYER’s Market, such as today, there is a large inventory of properties for sale, and many of them are foreclosures or short-sales which are priced extremely competitive.  Price and Condition are Critical.  With heavy competition, many properties are considered “OUT of the Market”, and either take a long time to sell, or do not sell at all:

While our overall MLS is experiencing more sales during 2012 than the last seven years, price and condition are still critical, if you want your property to sell.

Researching the statistics from our MLS, here are the stats for January-October for the past 3 years:

 Presented to you by:

Dianne Dunn and Team New Bern
Keller Williams Realty
New Bern, NC


Monday, November 26, 2012

The Ever-Changing Housing Market

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The following was posted in RealtyTimes by Carla Hill:

The dynamic and ever-changing housing market has experienced a shift in demographic over the last few years. First, as the housing market felt the shock of the bubble burst all-cash buyers entered the scene and first-time buyers held back, waiting out the market hitting bottom.
Next, first-time buyers rushes to take advantage of the home buyer tax credit in April 2010.

In a recent session at the 2012 Realtors Conference and Expo, "Changing Dynamics of Recent Home Buyers and Sellers" we heard from the experts on what changes they see happening across the nation.

"We've seen a tremendous increase in cash buyers since the housing downturn that we haven't seen before in history," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of Realtors®. Yun said a decade ago all-cash home purchases were less than 10 percent of the market but have increased steadily since 2008, to as much as 30 percent of sales.

Yun said the increase in more buyers paying cash for real estate reflected tight lending conditions and an increase in investor sales, which account for the bulk of cash sales. Increases in the number of international buyers, who often have financing difficulties when purchasing a home in the U.S., are also adding to the rise in cash sales.

NAR research shows that 62 percent of international purchases were all cash; the percentage has continually increased since 2007.
In recent index reports from the NAR we've seen a subtle decrease in the number of all-cash purchasers and a resurgence again of first-time buyers.

All of these factors are impacting builder confidence, rated by the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) according to builder's feelings on sales now and future sales.

The most recent Housing Market Index (HMI) release indicates that builder confidence in the 55+ housing market for single-family homes is on a significant rise.

The NAHB reports that "the index more than tripled year over year from a level of 12 to 36, which is the highest third-quarter reading since the inception of the index in 2008."

"Many builders and developers in the 55+ housing segment are reporting an increase in demand from consumers," said NAHB 50+ Housing Council Chairman W. Don Whyte. "We are seeing improvement in certain parts of the country where people are moving off the fence and either purchasing a home or renting an apartment that is designed to more specifically suit their lifestyle."

And while components of the 55+ single-family HMI are still below 50 on the scale (the point of balance in the market), they are twice the levels seen a year ago.

"Like other segments of the housing industry, the market for 55+ housing is continuing on a steady upward path, driven by improving conditions in additional markets around some parts of the country" said NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

He continued that "While we expect the upward trend to continue as the recovery broadens, the speed of the recovery is being constrained by factors as tight mortgage credit, making it difficult for potential 55+ customers to sell their current homes, and shortages of inputs to construction such as buildable lots that are beginning to emerge in some market areas."

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Is the Mortgage Interest Deduction "Sacred"?

Hi Everyone,

I'm re-posting Ken Harney's commentary, from today on Inman News about the mortgage interest deduction, and how the American public is not receiving all the proposed details.

Debate leaves some taxing questions about housing unresolved

Commentary: Obama and Romney need to provide more details on their positions

ken-harney_160x192-NEW.jpg           Mitt Romney and Barack Obama images via and
Mitt Romney and Barack Obama images via and
Anybody who watched it knows that Mitt Romney scored a technical knockout of President Obama in last week's debate. But are there some potential future costs and concerns for housing that have to be looked at in the wake of that victory?
On the one hand, Romney surprised Obama with sharp criticism over an issue that has plagued homebuyers and refinancers: the super-strict underwriting and documentation that banks are requiring for home loans, in part because they're worried about forthcoming "qualified mortgage" federal rules under the Dodd-Frank financial reform legislation.
"It's been two years," Romney said to Obama at the Denver debate, "We (still) don't know what a 'qualified mortgage' is. So banks are reluctant to make mortgages ... It's hurting the housing market." 
There's no question that regulators have proceeded at a frustratingly glacial pace since the passage of Dodd-Frank in July of 2010, and we don't know what the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau will come out with on this issue in early 2013.
Will the bureau, which took over the project from the Federal Reserve in mid-2011, create a straightforward "safe harbor" for lenders -- a set of basic bright lines defining an applicant's "ability to pay" within which banks can originate loans without fear of litigation every time a borrower goes seriously delinquent?
Or will regulators instead open the door to nitpicking, costly lawsuits and thereby make lenders even more gun-shy about originating new mortgages?
The wrong answers could wreck mortgage lending for years to come.
Obama had no response to Romney's critical shot on qualified mortgages and maybe wasn't even aware of the problem. In fact, it's possible even Romney hadn't heard much about it until the previous week, when his team was briefed by David H. Stevens, CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, who's also the former FHA Commissioner and former head of Long and Foster Realtors.
Qualified mortgage (QM) was a well-prepared debate zinger, and put the spotlight on an undeniable failing of this administration: lackluster response times to urgent housing needs, plus unworkable regulatory proposals that have delayed needed guidance on mortgages even longer. (Remember "QRM" -- theproposed mandatory 20 percent down payment plan? It's still nowhere to be seen.)
But Romney's good stuff on qualified mortgages was not the most important matter involving real estate that came up in the debate. Romney's tax plan -- the one that Obama charged repeatedly would add trillions to the deficit -- never was addressed in terms of its specific potential impacts on homeowners.
Romney never said the words "mortgage interest deduction" during the debate, but the MID, along with most other longstanding and popular write-offs, is at the core of his tax reform concept.
In order to pay for the estimated $4.8 trillion in tax revenue reductions he proposes -- starting with a 20 percent across-the-board cut in tax rates, elimination of the alternative minimum tax, the estate tax and other revenue-losing measures -- Romney needs to eliminate or downsize trillions in tax deductions, credits and subsidies. That's how his plan is supposed to achieve revenue neutrality, i.e., it wouldn't raise the deficit.
Two days before the debate, he told Denver TV station KDVR that he's open to limiting the MID along with a long list of other write-offs as part of an overall reform of the tax code.
"As an option," Romney told his interviewer, "you could say everybody's going to get up to a $17,000 deduction. And you could use your charitable, home mortgage deduction or others -- your health care deduction, and you can fill that bucket, if you will, that $17,000 bucket, that way."
Earlier this year, at a private fundraising meeting, Romney told supporters that among other options on taxes, he would consider eliminating the mortgage interest deduction for second homes outright.
Tax reform proponents, such as the bipartisan, nonprofit Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, praised Romney's concept of capping or eliminating popular write-offs as "very significant and progressive" following the debate. "Progressive" in tax lingo means: It siphons off more money from higher-income taxpayers than it does from lower- and middle-income folks.
The committee noted that just 30 percent of all U.S. taxpayers itemize at all, yet "almost all higher earners currently itemize more than $17,000 in deductions." In fact, the committee added, the average itemizer in 2011 wrote off $26,000, and the top 1 percent of earners wrote off an average $174,000.
Absent additional details about the tax reform plans from Romney, large numbers of homeowners would be forced to choose which write-offs went into their capped deduction "buckets." Do we take deductions for the mortgage interest we paid, or do we write off what we donated to charities?
During the debate, Romney said he was open to higher numbers on caps, but that all of this would have to be worked out in negotiations with Congress after he took office. Hmmmm.
Make no mistake: When it comes to housing-related write-offs, we are talking big, big numbers that could solve a multitude of revenue-raising problems.
According to the Joint Congressional Committee on Taxation's latest projections, the home mortgage interest deduction will save homeowners -- and cost the federal Treasury -- nearly half a trillion dollars ($484 billion) during fiscal years 2010-2015. Local real estate tax deductions for homeowners will save owners -- and cost the government -- about $121 billion. The capital gains exclusion for home sales alone comes in at $86 billion.
Though the main housing lobbies have been quiet about Romney's tax plans -- preferring to wait for more details -- the fact remains: For the first time in years, we have a Republican presidential candidate who is willing to put some of housing's most sacrosanct tax code preferences on the cutting block. Obama talks about limiting MID write-offs for people who make $250,000 or more. Romney is talking about much bigger limitations.
Sure, it's campaign rhetoric, and sure, the deduction cutbacks have to be seen in the context of significant reductions in tax brackets that would lower taxes elsewhere. But the crucial question is: What would this all do to housing values, sales, building and homeownership?
We could really use some details.
Ken Harney writes an award-winning, nationally syndicated column, "The Nation's Housing," and is the author of two books on real estate and mortgage finance.
For more information, contact
Dianne Dunn
Keller Williams Realty, New Bern NC