I celebrated Cinco de Mayo with margaritas and carne asada tacos with meat from my grill this afternoon. May 5th also marked my two year anniversary living here in Las Vegas.
Looking back at my previous posts I see my topics changing from those of a new-homeowner in a new city to those of being a homeowner in the foreclosure capital of the nation. While things are not great from a debit to equity perspective I take heart in the fact that I would have lost much more had I bought in California. Also, my monthly payment is very reasonable for the amount of space we have. I shudder to think how humongous my mortgage would be for a home in Los Angeles.
Seven is not such a lucky number in this context:
Las Vegas had the highest rate of foreclosures of any city, with one in every 22 homes subject to a foreclosure filing in the first three months of the year. The rate of foreclosure filings was 4.5%, seven times the national average.
Read the rest of the bad news on Yahoo.
We decorated a Christmas tree this year. It is fake, 9 foot tall and slightly tilted but does the job. My neighbor bought a real tree but ended up discarding it after a week because it was too dry and a fire hazard. Another victim of the desert’s super-low humidity.
The holiday was fun with more family coming to stay with us. We went out to the casinos a few times but did not come back with any “gifts” to speak of. As usual, the casinos were packed with lots of people celebrating Christmas in Sin City.
Our first Thanksgiving in Las Vegas! We had family visit from out of town and were able to comfortably host everyone in our new home (something we were never able to do while living in a cramped apartment in West Los Angeles). We had a traditional Thanksgiving celebration except for the fact that my slot-obsessed aunties kept running out to the casinos between meals. Three interesting observations:
- It was business as usual at local supermarkets on Thanksgiving Day. This is not unique to Las Vegas but reinforced the idea in my head that you can get what you need at all hours, day or night here.
- The casinos were completely dead during the day but got gradually more and more busy starting in the afternoon. My uncle’s theory is that everyone spends time with family and has turkey in the morning and then comes to Las Vegas to party at night. Makes senses (that’s what we did).
- The Sunday after Thanksgiving is the worst day to drive home and leaving right after lunch is foolish. The trip from Las Vegas to San Diego is normally 4.5 to 5 hours. It took my sisters 10 hours because of all the holiday traffic!
This was our first Halloween living in a real house so we carved a pumpkin and gave out candy this year. It took a mere three hours to give away six big bags of candy. The best part was greeting the trick-or-treaters and hearing their funny comments. Kids really do say the darndest things! Here are the night’s most memorable.
“Did you make rice?” asked one girl as she leaned in a took a big whiff. Indeed, I had just cooked some.
“Mom! Dad! They have a really nice house with hardwood floors and a big screen TV!” said a little boy dressed as Superman. His parents looked embarrassed.
“I’m a ninja” said the first little dude. “and I’m a menacing warrior!” said his younger sibling.
Something that every homeowner should have on hand is a big bottle of Folex. It’s a safe, non-toxic and odor-free cleaner. Folex does not contain any CFCs or petroleum so it’s not bad for the environment either. And it’s easy to use.
You simply spray the affected area and then blot it with a clean, absorbent cloth. Read Folex Facts to get a more detailed description of how it works.
As a new homeowner I’m trying hard to keep my carpets clean. Folex really helps!
One of the things that comes with buying a home is junk mail. There are companies out there who troll public records to create databases of names for marketing purposes. Likewise, your information will probably be sold by the credit bureaus since they know how much you make, owe, etc.
Since moving to Las Vegas and buying a home I’ve been inundated with flyers, pamphlets and credit card offers. It’s a big waste of paper since I seldom read any of this mail (it just gets shredded and goes into the recycling bin). Today I learned how to stop the credit card offers by submitting my information on the official Consumer Credit Reporting Industry’s website.
Visit http://www.optoutprescreen.com to stop getting credit card and insurance offers by mail. You can opt-out for five years or forever. It’s a great way to reduce the amount of junk mail you get and helps reduce paper waste.
Do you read your mail? I do. There’s always something to learn from all the flyers and pamphlets that accompany bills. The welcome packet from Nevada Power is full of useful information like payment options, an explanation of your bill and a reference for reading your own meter. Yes, I was a big ‘ole nerd and went outside to try it out.
I was happy to find that we earn interest on the deposit we were required to make to start service. The deposit and accrued interest is returned after one year. Not a ton of money but better than nothing!
$194.96 – that’s how much it costs for sewage services here in Las Vegas. Prior to moving here I lived in an apartment and never had to deal with this expense. Even when we owned a loft in San Francisco, sewage was covered by the home owners association fees. Don’t get me wrong; a little over $16 a month is not much to pay for this service. I just never thought about it before. In fact, I didn’t even know that I needed to setup this service. A nice lady from the gas company mentioned that I needed to call to set up this service when I told her I was moving to the area. New area residents can find this and other important utility numbers on our resources page.
So how does the $194.96 breakdown? I read through some of the materials included with my bill to find out.
Well, the main charge is $171.72 for the service itself. Then there is a $16.00 service charge which I assume pays for things like the bill being sent out, etc. But then the kicker: a $7.24 surcharge for the Clean Water Coalition (CWC). What’s the CWC and why are they surcharging me?
The Clark County Water Reclamation District is a member of the Clean Water Coalition, a joint powers authority that also includes the cities of Henderson, Las Vegas and North Las Vegas. The purpose of the coalition is to design and operate a Systems Conveyance and Operations Program (SCOP), a 17 mile pipeline and outfall system that will transport highly treated wastewater from each member agency’s wastewater treatment facility to a spot deep within Lake Mead to protect water quality.
Wait a minute! Isn’t Lake Mead the main source of our drinking water here in the Las Vegas Valley? Ewww – gross! Seems pretty nasty but according to the CWC’s website, Las Vegas, NV and Scottsdale, AZ have the best treatment facilities in the country.
So I guess it’s “highly effluent” wastewater that’s going into Lake Mead. Still though, I don’t think I’ll be going swimming there anytime soon. Also, I really need to replace my Brita filter.