September 2008 Vol. 3 No. 9
• This is Your Brain on Money • See Debbie on NECN • September's Home Value Improver • About Us

This is Your Brain on Money

A bad economy is a good time to buy a house and get a great deal, right? Not necessarily, although you can hardly be faulted for thinking so. Research into your brain and how it reacts to money shows we are hard wired to "chase" what we you think will be rewarding. In modern society, that is often money.

The new field of brain activity as it relates to money is known as "neuronomics." Using brain imaging technology, scientists look at how people's brains react to wanting, anticipating, and receiving money, which sheds light on how we make decisions about money. The research shows that anticipating getting money is even more exciting than actually having the money. Did you ever notice that scratching that lottery ticket is more exciting than the discovery that you have won $10?

Jason Zweig, a senior writer for Money magazine, recently wrote a book about neuronomics called "Your Money and Your Brain." Zweig reports that MRI scans reveal that the way we make financial decisions is not always the wisest. "Those pictures make it clear that your investing brain often drives you to do things that make no logical sense - but make perfect emotional sense," he writes. (Now you can tell your spouse how it really was beyond your control to bet on that horse at the races.)

Your Brain and Real Estate

Since your home is most people's biggest investment, it's easy to see how your brain would react strongly to decisions about real estate investments. The news about the current U.S. economy is bad, bad, bad. If you tend to see the silver lining in any cloud, and think this is a great time to invest in real estate, examine those thoughts more closely.

Although situations such as the economy undeniably influence many of our financial decisions, it cannot be the ONLY reason we make a big leap.

It's important to make decisions based on your unique financial goals, budgets, lifestyle choices and other personal factors.

A solid financial plan will help gird you against making snap decisions based on the economy. When you are tempted by an ad in the newspaper touting the opportunity to snap up foreclosed properties at bargain basement prices, think about your plan.

Recognize that your brain chemistry may be telling you to chase that easy buck, but reach way down to find the rational thought process that will remind you that you have to do the wise and prudent thing and stick to your plan.

See Debbie on NECN
Deb on NECN 9-08 v1

Debbie Siegel recently was interviewed by Prat Thakkar of New England Cable News and she had some good news for borrowers with strong credit who are looking to get a home mortgage -- interest rates are falling. See what Debbie had to say!

September's Home Value Improver

Improve Your Fall Curb Appeal

Sure, springtime may be the most popular time of the year for buying and selling real estate, but in slower markets like this one, you may find yourself needing to spruce up your curb appeal in the fall. Experts advise that a house look fabulous from the outside any time of year, since many people will do a "drive by" before they decide whether to take a tour.

To improve your curb appeal and make it seasonal, start by taking a good look at your house and how it looks without its spring and summer foliage. You may even want to snap a picture. When you look at the front of your house on a computer screen or in a snapshot, you get a different perspective from the one you see when you pull out of the driveway each morning. Steps you can take to improve curb appeal this fall include:

  1. Put away debris.
    Bicycles, hoses, and random seating are all things that can make your front yard look cluttered. Put everything in its place, and the exterior of your home will be well on its way to looking neat and tidy.
  2. Seed your lawn.
    September is a great time to spread grass seed, as the nights are getting cooler. It's also a good time to get rid of air conditioning window units. Your lawn will look greener and your windows cleaner.
  3. Don't crowd the front with cars.
    Be sure that your driveway has enough space for cars and for comfortable walking. If you find yourself wandering off of the driveway to get into the house, consider putting in some sort of attractive walkway.
  4. Get into the fall spirit.
    A hanging basket of mums will make the front door more inviting, and some nicely planted fall annuals will add some color to the dulling landscape.
  5. Use interior light timers.
    Because it will be getting dark earlier, set up automatic timers so that some lights come on when it gets dark. The house will look more attractive to prospective buyers if it is lit up.

Of course, how you choose to decorate your front yard for fall is a personal decision. If fall is your favorite season and you love decorating your yard with lots of pumpkins and scarecrows, go ahead and do it. Happy Fall!

There have been some really frightening headlines over the last couple of weeks: "Mortgage meltdown," "Credit crisis," "Government bailouts," "Financial giants tumble," and so on. But what do all these headlines mean for you? How do they affect you?

I am sure people have a lot of questions. It is more important than ever to work with people you know and trust. It is also a good time to review your financial situation. Remember don't make important financial decisions out of fear.

As always, please feel free to call or email anytime for more information on any mortgage topic!

Best regards,
Debbie Siegel
Westchester Mortgage

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