LOOK BENEATH THE SURFACE

 

Home renovation shows are fascinating glimpses into the creativity and hard work it takes to transform the worst looking houses into architectural splendors. The vision that the designers need in order to see the character of a home beneath the bad renovations, poor decoration, or just sad neglect is an amazing talent.

These renovations remind me that sometimes we need to dig a little deeper and scrub a little harder to find the beauty in things. When looked at more closely, a brick wall may be hiding a stunning original fireplace just waiting to be carefully restored to its former beauty.

It may not always be easy to discover the true beauty within, but it’s always worth it. What’s the most beautiful thing you’ve uncovered recently?

Like our Facebook page at, Realty World- Ballard Company, Inc.

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NAME YOUR FEARS

As long as you are walking in fear you’re never going to be truly free!

If you’re afraid of something, name it. Call it out. Take a really good look at it, even if it scares you.

Often if you just name and sit with your fear — if you really feel it — that will be enough to release it.

Other times you need to ask questions about that fear. Why are you really worried? Will worrying about something really change it? Ask that fear, “Why are you here?”

The trick is to stop avoiding it. Drag the monster out of the closet and look at it. Once you do, your fear will start to lose its power and disappear!

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More Home Owners Lifted From Underwater

Daily Real Estate News |      Thursday, September 13, 2012

As values rise, more home owners are finding equity in their houses again, surfacing after being underwater on their mortgage for the past few years, according to the latest data from CoreLogic.

In the second quarter, 10.8 million, or 22.3 percent, of home owners owed more on their mortgage than their house is currently worth, which is down from 11.4 million — or 23.7 percent — in the first quarter, CoreLogic reported Wednesday.

Often, the fear among the industry with underwater home owners is that they will be much more likely to stop making their mortgage payments and walk away from their properties. However, the majority of underwater home owners — 84.9 percent — are up to date on their mortgage payments despite the decrease in the value of their homes, according to CoreLogic.

“The level of negative equity continues to improve with more than 1.3 million households regaining a positive equity position since the beginning of the year,” says Mark Fleming, chief economist for CoreLogic. “Surging home prices this spring and summer, lower levels of inventory, and declining REO-sale shares are all contributing to the nascent housing recovery and declining negative equity.”

The highest number of underwater home owners are in Nevada (59 percent), Florida (43 percent), and Arizona (40 percent).

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Real estate ‘misery’ and the presidential race

Despite the approach of “Super Tuesday” elections on March 6, it is unlikely that candidates in the Republican presidential primary race will focus much on housing until June, according to real estate search and marketing site Trulia.

That’s because, of the four states hardest hit by the housing crisis, three — Nevada, Florida and Arizona — have already had their primaries. The fourth, California, has its primary June 5.

“If candidates want to talk about what voters want most, they should focus on housing issues where it’s clearly a pain point for voters. This means that … we probably won’t hear much about housing from the presidential candidates again until the summer,” said Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist, in a blog post.

In order to figure out which states are suffering the most from the housing downturn, Trulia developed a Housing Misery Index that adds together the percentage change in home prices from their peak through fourth-quarter 2011, from the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), and the percent of mortgages either severely delinquent (by 90 days or more) or in foreclosure as of fourth-quarter 2011, from CoreLogic.

Trulia Housing Misery Index: Top 10 ‘most miserable’ states

State Housing Misery Index
Nevada 73
Florida 62
Arizona 55
California 54
Michigan 37
Idaho 35
Rhode Island 34
Georgia 34
Washington 33
Maryland 32

Source: Trulia

Foreclosure hotspots Nevada, Florida, Arizona and California were rated more “miserable” by far than other states, according to the index. Among the top 10 hardest-hit states, three — Washington, Georgia and Idaho — will have their primaries within the next week.

By Inman News, Wednesday, February 29, 2012.

Inman News®



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Bill Harrah Exhibit

National Automobile Museum
November 4, 2010 – December 31, 2011

9:30 AM – 5:30 PM

Legendary Car Collector Bill Harrah Exhibit

Debuts at National Automobile Museum

Nov. 4, 2010 – Dec. 31, 2011

Bill Harrah 1911-1978: Legendary Collector

Changing Exhibits Gallery

 

 

The National Automobile Museum, the Harrah Collection, in downtown Reno, Nevada will celebrate the 100th Anniversary of Bill Harrah’s birth with a special exhibit telling the story of this legendary collector and gaming industry pioneer. 

Bill Harrah was the founder of the world-famous Harrah’s Automobile Collection, which opened to the public in 1962 and grew to the largest, most significant collection of its time.

Discover Harrah’s passion for automobiles, his mission and the unfortunate turn of events that led to the disbursement of most of his collection.  Learn about the public outcry that saved some of the best automobiles and the movement that created the National Automobile Museum (The Harrah Collection).

The film, the Bill Harrah Story, which details the man and his love for the automobile, is also included with the price of admission.

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The Virginia & Truckee: Nevada’s Bonanza Railroad

Nevada’s most famous short line is the Virginia & Truckee Railroad which connected Reno with Carson City, Virginia City, and Minden. Operating for 80 years, the V&T was Nevada’s Bonanza Railroad as it hauled valuable Comstock ore to quartz reduction mills located at Silver City and along the Carson River. Today visitors to Virginia City enjoy a ride over nearly three miles of the original line amidst encouraging prospects that rails my soon once again reach the outskirts of Carson City. The name “Virginia & Truckee” is recognized the world over: V&T locomotives and cars have appeared in scores of feature-length motion pictures and the historic equipment is preserved and exhibited in museums in Nevada, California, and as far away as Strasburg, Pennsylvania. The V&T enjoys an international constituency.

The Virginia & Truckee Railroad Company was organized in Nevada on March 5, 1868. The objective was to connect Comstock ore producing mines with quartz reduction mills and, on the return trip, to bring in needed lumber, mining timbers and cord wood for fuel. Surveyed by local surveyor Isaac E. James, the 21-mile standard gauge line was completed on January 29, 1870 between Carson and Virginia City. A 31-mile extension north from Carson City through Franktown, Washoe City, and Steamboat Springs connected the Comstock with transcontinental rail service at Reno in August of 1872.

Primarily controlled by William Ralston, Darius O. Mills and William Sharon on behalf of the Union Mill & Mining Company and the Bank of California, the Virginia & Truckee was efficiently managed by General Superintendent Henry M. Yerington and immediately became a paying success. The completion of the V&T permitted the further development of Comstock mines by allowing the economical reduction of lower grade ores through reduced freight rates to the mills and by increasing the essential supply of lumber, mining timbers, and cord wood for fuel. In addition, well-appointed passenger service to Carson and Virginia City was a by-product of the short line’s connection with transcontinental rails at Reno.

For nearly twenty years the V&T was a major political and economic factor in the growth and development of Western Nevada and Eastern California. During the late 1870s, V&T stockholders divided handsome dividends in excess of $100,000 monthly. Additional financial returns provided the capital for nearly 40 other V&T-affiliated concerns. The 300-mile Carson & Colorado Railroad was built from Mound House, Nevada, to Keeler, California, and was operated by principals of the V&T from 1880 to 1900. V&T dividends funded the establishment of Hawthorne, Nevada, the Hawthorne Water Works, lumbering operations at Lake Tahoe and Southern Nevada, the Columbus Wagon Road to Bodie, a large soda plant at Keeler, and dozens of mining ventures at Aurora, Bodie, Hawthorne, Candelaria, Belleville, Columbus, and Cerro Gordo.

Headquartered at Carson City, a massive complex of railroad shops were erected under the direction of Abraham Curry. The shops were proclaimed by the Central Pacific to be equal to or better than their great locomotive and car building facilities at Sacramento. From these shops poured nearly every conceivable type of essential machinery for communities throughout Nevada, Eastern California, and even Mexico. For decades the Virginia & Truckee was hailed as the wealthiest short line railroad in the world!

With revenues derived from the twentieth century Tonopah boom, a new Virginia & Truckee Railway Company was incorporated in Nevada on June 24, 1905 to purchase the predecessor company and to construct a 15-mile branch south from Carson City to Minden. This branch offered transportation facilities to a growing agricultural and grazing district and resulted in substantial new revenue to the railway until such time as a surface highway was constructed between Reno, Carson City, and Minden in the years 1921-1922. Known today as U.S. Highway 395, the concrete highway completely paralleled the V&T between Reno and Minden and ultimately was the cause of the railway’s red ink operations beginning in 1923. Prior to that time, the V&T was the only efficient means of transportation for freight and passengers between these communities.

During the period 1932-1937, Ogden L. Mills, one of the major stockholders, loaned the railway nearly $95,000 to balance operating deficits until the line was forced to enter voluntary Federal receivership on April 27, 1938. Solid corporate status was not established again until January 18, 1946, under the financial direction of former V&T Auditor Gordon A. Sampson. Starting in 1937, the railroad began selling capital assets to meet monthly working capital obligations. The disappearance of Comstock traffic and the caving of several wood-lined tunnels ushered in the closing of the Carson-Virginia City line in 1938. The rails were removed and sold in late 1941. The resulting $52,000 revenue was again applied as working capital on routine maintenance which had been deferred for over a decade. Additional working capital also came from selling old V&T locomotives and cars to Hollywood studios for use in motion pictures.

For the twenty year period from 1928-1947, the V&T had a net income deficit of $440,605.75 by U.S. Interstate Commerce Commission accounting practices. As early as 1932, officials of the V&T seriously considered total abandonment of the railway in the face of annually mounting loses.

After 80 years of continuous operation, the Virginia & Truckee finally succumbed to the increasing competition of highway truck traffic. The Bonanza short line’s last official revenue train operated on May 31, 1950 between Reno, Carson City, and Minden. Following the local sale of the railway’s structures and properties, the rails between Reno and Minden were finally removed and the famous V&T became but a legend.

By Stephen E. Drew

(Stephen Drew has been researching the V&T for more than four decades. For the past 30 years, he has been Chief Curator of the California State Railroad Museum in Old Sacramento.)

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