• Foreclosure Holds Housing Market Hostage

    After five consecutive months of increases, home prices in Chicago and across the nation fell in September from August, according to a Medill Reports story published on November 29, 2011. The S&P/Case-Shiller Index showed home prices in 20 major metropolitan areas up 0.1 percent from the quarter before, although Medill noted that home prices were down 3.9 percent from a year ago. A backlog of foreclosed properties and sustained high unemployment rates are partly to blame for home prices that Medill said are now “comparable to where they were almost nine years ago in the first quarter of 2003.”

    “We’re bouncing along the bottom,” Gerd-Ulf Krueger, economist and founder of HousingEcon.com Inc., told Medill. “Consumers don’t see a reason to expect price increases.”

    While Medill noted that “repercussions from the housing collapse include more people choosing to rent than buy,” the number of homeowners needing foreclosure help is also having an effect on the housing market. RealtyTrac reported that new foreclosures were up 7.36 percent in October to 230,678, but the number of foreclosed homes sold fell 25 percent to 75,243.

    “The whole system is a self-contradictory mess,” Krueger told Medill. “The government and [lending] organizations are still fighting the war that they should have fought five years ago, which is to make it tougher to get financing.”

    With the housing market not expected to stabilize until after 2012 and lenders making it difficult to take advantage of record-low interest rates, there will be many more homeowners considering Chapter 7 or Chapter 13 bankruptcy in the coming year. What more do you think can be done to help home prices in 2012?

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy attorney

  • Five Tips To Help You Land Your Dream Job

    One of the most common reasons why homeowners around the country need foreclosure help has to do with employment. Anybody who has been out of the workforce for any period of time knows that being unemployed ten brings about additional fear and stress. The loss of a regular paycheck often leads many people to file bankruptcy in order to keep their house and get a fresh start on their finances.

    If you are currently unemployed, personal branding agency managing partner Dan Schawbel wrote in Time on November 28, 2011, that even with 14 million people out of work, employers are posting the most job openings in three years. With 4.2 unemployed workers competing for each job opening, the Wall Street Journal reported that 52 percent of companies are having difficulty filling the available positions. “Despite the bad economy, you can get the job you want instead of settling for one that simply pays the bills,” Schawbel assured readers, publishing these five ways “to make the most out of your job search”:

    1. Focus Your Job Search – Schawbel advises to narrow your search to the jobs you are truly passionate about as opposed to applying by the thousands. “By putting all of your effort into finding jobs at companies you’re interested in, you will have a better chance at getting your dream job,” Schawbel said. “Your positive attitude, work ethic, body language and persistence will shine through in your interviews and will give you the competitive edge in the hiring process.”
    2. Brush Up on Your Soft Skills – “You have to have a whole set of soft skills, including leadership, teamwork and communication, as well as emotional intelligence, “Schawbel writes. He also noted that CareerBuilder reported 71 percent of employers value emotional intelligence over IQ and “want to hire employees that they can connect with both personally and professionally.”
    3. Tap into Your Network – Citing a Jobvite.com survey that found 1 in 6 workers have used social networks like LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter to get hired, Schawbel reminds readers not to overlook “family, friends, professors, previous co-workers and the people that you meet at events and when you’re traveling.”
    4. Build Your Online Presence – “Job searching is less about résumé submissions and more about being found online,” Schawbel says, adding that users should create social profiles using the same positioning as their website and cross-link properties. “As long as your profiles are connected to what you’re passionate about, you will attract the right jobs and repel the wrong ones,” Schawbel says.
    5. Create Your Own Marketing Campaign – Schawbel points out there are “nearing 17,000 video résumés on YouTube, but only a few really stick out.” He also points out that you can “create targeted advertising campaigns using Facebook Ads and Google AdWords in order to get your website right in front of specific employers.”

    Benjamin Brand Services – Chicago bankruptcy lawyer