REPOST: Eight Real Estate Buyer FAQs

Have you finally saved up enough money to buy a new home? There are eight things you need to be sure of first before making that huge decision. Three are written below, while the rest are posted on Forbes:

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When I travel and speak at industry events, I connect with amazing folks, including investors, who want to become homeowners, but are afraid to. I feel some people put off buying a home simply because they are intimidated by the process that comes with real estate purchase. Becoming a new homeowner should be a source of pride, not something to fear. Here are eight answers that will help you get a handle on what to expect when buying a house.

Am I ready to be a homeowner?

If you think you are prepared to take the leap from renter to homeowner, then it is important to take a financial inventory of your lifestyle, debts and assets. Are you gainfully and reliably employed? Lenders look for those who will pay their loans payments on time, and consistent income is a must to qualify. Do you have enough money saved to put up a down payment? The down payment should be a minimum of five to 10 percent of the real estate property purchase price. Your credit score should be in at least fair to good shape and only contain a few outstanding debts that can be easily resolved. Your payment history should show a good record of payments being made on time.

Is renting or buying better?

Comparing buying and renting is no different than comparing apples to oranges. While they both have pros and cons, it simply comes down to what each person prefers when considering buying a house for sale. Renters have the advantage of management-provided maintenance and lawn care in most cases. When buying your own home, there is opportunity to build equity with the monthly payments, while also qualifying for tax incentives to help offset new homeowner expenses.

What is the lender’s formula?

The lender’s formula is a complex configuration of debt-to-income ratio, available credit and score, credit history and the amount of available cash for the down payment and closing costs, as well a few other numbers.

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How social entrepreneurship can potentially change the way we do business

In business, everyone subscribes to different definitions of success. While most of them focus on the growth of their enterprise through strategies on how to earn more, others have found a whole new sense of purpose that not only made them good entrepreneurs but also socially responsible members of their community.

 

Image source: studyinsweden.se

Image source: studyinsweden.se

According to Stanford Social Innovation Review, social entrepreneurship utilizes specific business models to help in the development, funding and implementation of solutions to different environmental, social, and cultural issues around the globe. However, unlike non-profit organizations that depend on donations and generous financial support from private individuals or foundations, a for-profit social enterprise expects a return on investment to ensure the survival of their business.

But this new way of doing business while making the world a better place doesn’t come without challenges. For instance, identifying the most reliable business models that can fit the vision and objectives of a particular social enterprise can be tricky.

 

Image source: youinc.com

Image source: youinc.com

A 2008 book published by Harvard Business School Publishing have identified three strategic models of social entrepreneurship: the leveraged non-profit, hybrid-non-profit, and social business venture. All of these three models have one goal of responding to social needs but the differences among them lie on how they use their financial resources and direct their funds to make a difference whether to support a specific community or to help sustain other smaller businesses and operations.

Undeniably, social entrepreneurship can potentially change the way we do business and just like other enterprises that have started to give something back to the community, many of them have successfully developed their business while representing their stand on the issues that they care about.

 

Image source: hbr.org

Image source: hbr.org

Some of the world’s top social enterprises focus on the environment, local workforce (such as farmers and artists), small manufacturers, and digital systems. While they may still be developing, they have great potential to become big brands in the future.

REPOST: America’s Hottest Real Estate Market Is Cooling Off

The ever-increasing living costs, worsening traffic congestion, and slowing job growth are driving home buyers away from some of America’s biggest real estate hot spots, including the Bay Area. The Epoch Times has the full story:

 

The Silicon Valley area as seen from Monument Peak in near Milpitas, Calif., in this file photo. According to a poll by the Bay Area Council, a growing number of residents said they would like to leave the Bay area.(Yuval Helfman/Shutterstock)

The Silicon Valley area as seen from Monument Peak in near Milpitas, Calif., in this file photo. According to a poll by the Bay Area Council, a growing number of residents said they would like to leave the Bay area.(Yuval Helfman/Shutterstock)

 

San Francisco, which had the greatest home value pick up in recent years, had the weakest real estate market out of the top 100 metropolitan areas in the first quarter of this year, with annual prices falling for the first time since 2011.

Single-family house prices in the San Francisco-Redwood City-South San Francisco area fell 2.5 percent, according to a report by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). Meanwhile, home values in the United States rose 6 percent from a year earlier.

Although mortgage rates had risen late last year, there was no slowdown in house price appreciation across the country during the fourth quarter, said FHFA Deputy Chief Economist Andy Leventis in a video.

“Throughout the first quarter of this year, mortgages rates remained at the slightly higher levels, but once again price appreciation remained quite strong,” he said.

Among the 100 largest metropolitan areas in the United States, value increase was the highest in Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Michigan, with home prices rising nearly 14 percent year-on-year.

And the three states that had the highest annual appreciation were District of Columbia, Colorado, and Idaho.

The FHFA index only takes into account purchases financed with mortgage loans that conform to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac standards. Hence the FHFA index may not represent all homebuyers.

 

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Clever and space-smart ideas for tiny homes

Small and tiny living spaces have become a trend nowadays not only for the economic practicality that they offer but also for the uniquely comfortable experience that these home owners can enjoy. Downsizing your home isn’t that easy unless you know the basics especially when it comes to providing your stuff proper storage spaces. However, many have proven that it’s possible to build your new tiny home and still have even more than enough space than an ordinary house.

 

 

Image source: countryliving.com

Image source: countryliving.com

 

If you don’t know where to start, these clever and space-smart ideas for tiny homes will help you build the most practical and unique house without sacrificing your comfort.

 

  • Closet-stairs combination

One of the features of a tiny home is the smart combination of closet and stairs. Utilizing the space under the stairs and turning it into a closet or drawers for your other stuff can be stylish if you combine different shapes and a variety of colorful knob designs.

 

  • Storage cubes and unlimited drawers

Kitchen, bedroom or even tiny living room spaces can be cleverly converted to provide practical and stylish storage units. Colorful drawers, cubes and dividers will do the trick.

 

  • The magic of curtain rods

If you want to maximize your kitchen space, curtain rods are all you need. The secret is this simple home device’s functionality and organization. For instance, it can help you to stack cans on their side instead of putting them on top of another. Plus, this set up enables you to take them out easily.

 

  • Vertical kitchen storage

The kitchen is always at the heart of any food-loving owner’s home. It’s important to have the right tools and equipment but how can it be possible for a tiny house? Simple. Make it practical by going vertical. Vertical storage tricks make it easy to organize kitchen tools and it won’t take up so much space.

 

 

Image source: fabfurnish.com

Image source: fabfurnish.com

 

While these hacks can make a huge difference, it is still in the innovativeness of the overall housing design that homeowners can feel more empowered. The rising urban population means that space in cities is getting scarcer, hence the need for residential units that can efficiently use spaces. Such trend is increasingly common amongst real estate developers, especially in congested cities such as Hong Kong, Tokyo, and even New York. It’s one of the many ways in which the real estate industry is able to innovate, and therefore, make it more appealing to both buyers and investors.

REPOST: HomeAdvisor Study Reveals Spike in Home Improvement Spending

Homeowner equity has considerably grown since the bottom of the housing cycle, encouraging more Americans to spend higher on home improvements and consequently, boosting real estate activities. The Huffington Post has the full story:

 

This year, homeowners are opening their pocketbooks wider when it comes to home improvement. According to HomeAdvisor’s 2017 True Cost Report, homeowners tackled more home improvement projects from February 2016 through February 2017 than in the 12 months prior. And, they spent almost 60 percent more for a typical household in a single year.

 

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Various conditions are fueling the surge in home improvement. Primarily, homeowner equity has doubled since the bottom of the housing cycle — in turn making homeowners feel wealthier and more confident, giving homeowners easy access to home improvement loans and allowing millions of previously upside-down mortgage holders to sell their homes.

 

As a result, more Americans are improving their current homes or moving into new homes. And the increase in real estate activity is triggering home improvement activity on both the seller and buyer sides of the equation (i.e., the seller, who is getting the house spruced up to show, and the new owner, who wants to add their own personality to the newly purchased home).

 

From a regional standpoint, homeowners in the West and Northeast are spending the most on home improvement. And, because they’re accruing some of the highest equity, they are also taking out the most home equity loans to complete projects.

 

From a generational standpoint, baby boomers are doing more home projects — and spending more money, both in aggregate and on a per-household basis — than any other group of homeowners. The millennial generation is trailing close behind.

 

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Home improvement ideas: Smart garage upgrades

When it comes to spicing up the house, the ones which get the most attention are usually the bedroom, the kitchen, or the living room. Peppering them up is important and all, but the garage needs some loving as well. Despite being entrusted with the very important job of holding the family’s much needed tools and beloved cars, they mostly go unnoticed, ending up as a clutter of abysmal proportions. So when it comes to sprucing up the garage, not only does it need to look neat, but everything needs to be smart and functional as well.

 

One great way to free up space on the floor is to install a ceiling storage system. All the person needs to do is assemble the flanges, mount them on the ceiling joists, and slide in storage bins of the right size. Since the objects stored will be placed way up high, heavy materials should not be placed within the bins. Christmas ornaments and camping gear however are just perfect.

 

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Image source: wonderfulengineering.com

 

Most garages are used as workspaces, but one of the most common problems that homeowners face is that there is nowhere to put the workbench. So why not create one that is mounted to the wall and can be folded when not in use?

 

While inside the garage, car doors are prone to banging on the wall if they are opened carelessly. Those can leave some pretty nasty scratches. To prevent them completely, pool noodles will do just the trick. Wooden bumpers can also prevent bikes from getting knocked down or parking too far in.

 

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Image source: impressiveinteriordesign.com

 

In residential real estate business, the garage constitutes one of the fundamental facilities of any ‘good’ property. Majority of Americans own a car or two and having a space for their vehicle is definitely a must. Furthermore, those who take their garage’s design seriously often get the best deal for their property. Interestingly, some of the world’s most successful companies started off as garage-based businesses (read: Amazon.com, Apple, and Disney).

REPOST: 7 Home Improvement & Remodeling Ideas that Increase Home Value

Reinventing the house is one of the best ways to increase your property’s value. After all, buyers would always want to buy a new home that fits with their aesthetic appetite. Read more from this blog on Money Crashers:

 

Kitchen

With the real estate market still in a slump, more and more people have decided not to sell their home. Instead, they have chosen to stay put, until things get better. I count myself in this group; I had my own home on the market for two years. My house sold, and the sale fell through, on two separate occasions. As a result, I’ve resolved to stay put until the real estate market improves.

 

However, now that I’ve decided to stay in this home instead of moving, I plan to make several home improvements to make my home more comfortable (e.g. building a sunroom to combat the dreary Michigan winters, and building a backyard deck).

 

Many home improvement projects don’t add value to your home, especially in a down market. In fact, some improvements can even detract from the asking price when you decide to sell. On the other hand, some projects can add significant value to your home.

 

So which home improvement projects should you invest in, and which projects should you avoid? Below are some helpful tips for home improvement projects that increase the value of your home, and home improvement projects to avoid altogether.

 

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How to Spot a Forex Trading Scam

If you’ve been trading for years now, you’re probably wondering why there are only ever a few people who survive the trade for years. Some have gotten used to the pressure and have made huge amounts of profit because of forex trading. Others are not that successful, but have managed to hold on. However, there is a staggering number of people who failed in the forex industry because either they weren’t taught how to do forex marketing the right way or they’ve fallen in a bottomless pit called forex trading scams.

If you’ve taken the time to do some research about forex trading scams, you’ll probably end up with a long list of search results and it’ll take you a day or two just reading through the experiences. If you’re new in the forex trading game and you want to avoid getting scammed, then there’s only one thing to do; you need to learn about the common forex trading scams and how to avoid them (tips on how to avoid being scammed were taking from these guys :) ForexCT – Forex trading broker.

In order to avoid a scam, you need to be able to detect the scam. Here are some of the most common traits of forex trading scams that you’ll probably encounter as you deal with the forex market and other forex traders:

Any offers or a “business” opportunity that sounds impossible or too good to be true – You’ll most likely encounter these on the Internet or while talking with different forex traders. The promise of a “getting rich overnight” scheme should be an early warning signal already for the experienced forex trader. Unfortunately, even the most experienced trader would gamble his/her money away once greed takes over. Just think about it; if it does make your rich overnight, why would you share this knowledge with someone else for profit?

Any offer that claims impossible high profits at the end of the week or month – Again, if it sounds too good to be true, then it’s most likely a scam.

I’ve seen obvious forex trading scams that promised a ROI or return of investment of over 40 to 50 percent within a week or month; that alone convinced me that it was an honest to goodness forex trading scam. I managed to warn a few friends of mine who were Australian forex trading broker themselves. It was a good thing I did, because the guy who promoted the scam suddenly disappeared a week later.

You can just imagine the faces of those he managed to convince.

Any forex trading system that uses an interbank market – Most forex trading scams use or deal with interbank markets. Interbank markets make use of speculative or short-term currency deals and these transactions are usually dealt in dubious networks of banks and companies. The term “dubious” should definitely be a warning sign already. Most scammers love showing off how prestigious the bank or company that you’re going to invest your money in, but the moment you realize that you’ll be investing your hard-earned money in a system where you don’t know where it’s going, then you should definitely back away immediately.

Offshore Investing – Why, What & How

Offshore investing is a concept that is gaining popularity especially with the elite business class individuals who have investments in different countries across the globe. This simply means putting up your money in bank accounts in other countries that have different jurisdictions from where you reside. Foreign investments have in the past been an expensive affair because it involved the transfer of assets from one country to another. With the introduction of offshore investments however, it has become easier since the investor is only required to have an offshore bank account to facilitate international money transfers.

One of the main reasons why offshore investing is a preferred option is because of the fact that it encourages investment diversification. Most nations have set up strict rules which hinder or slow down international investments claiming that it is an obstacle local investments and the end result is slowed down economic growth. While such restrictions are beneficial to the government, they do not add much value to individual investors.

Investors understand the importance of investment portfolio diversification, and the best of this is one which includes international investments. Offshore Investing accounts therefore offer this opportunity by providing a flexible platform where one can invest their assets in a different country without having to go through a lot of legislative hustles. In addition to this, the investor is able to gain access to different major currency exchanges.

Offshore investing has also enabled investors to gain access to the developing countries most of which are undergoing the process of privatizing their once state owned organizations. In such cases, both these governments and the international investors benefit. The governments are able to raise money for their development projects from the privatization process while investors get the opportunity to diversify their portfolios.

The other reason why offshore investing is preferred by many investors despite its high maintenance cost is the fact that security and confidentiality are guaranteed. Offshore bank accounts are the most confidential accounts owing to the sensitive nature of most investors’ financial status. Most of these investors are the multimillionaires who prefer to remain anonymous for security purposes and also to ensure that the stocks they invest in do not get flooded by the small scale investors who are famous for initiating price run ups.

In conclusion, offshore investing is the best option for large scale investors who have the capacity to invest at international levels. Developing countries especially in Asia and Africa have been the biggest beneficiaries of offshore investing with the best example being China whose privatization process has attracted a lot of international investors, and this explains the growth in export of consumer goods.

For more info check out the links below from lom or watch the video underneath:

lom.com/mutual-funds
lom.com/investment-brokerage-services

Why Invest in Treasury Bonds?

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One concern of investors about financial budget are the ways they can maintain it thorughout the years or investing it to something that would allow them to gain income and would not risk of bankruptcy. That’s why most of businessmen continue to find something they can invest in to increase their assets and allow their money to generate. Another effective way of preserving their money is through this financial bonds. What are these financial bonds? These financial bonds are issued by the federal government to help them pay the national debt, they lend money to their citizens through these financial bonds. Infact, many people are now investing in these bonds and choose from differenr types the government offers.

The different types of these financial bonds are treasury bills, treasury notes and treasury bond. Treasury bills are the type which has the shortest maturity issue. Treasury notes on the other hand are bonds that mature in 2-10 years from the time they are issued. The last type which has the longest maturity is called treasury bond, it has 30-year long of maturity. Now that you jave an idead of what these financial bonds are, it makes you wonder on the things it can help you as an investor yourself.

Here are some of the reasons why investing in treasury bonds is a good idea:

  • It is a safe form of investment

SavingsandInvestmentsSince these treasury bonds are issued by the government you can have the assurance that you will get the money you invested back in time you want it back. It is safe because it is backed by full-faith assurance that the government never defaults on its debt. No need to worry about them running away from you and not paying you back. Thus making it a risk-free investment.

  • Has long-term maturity

As mentioned earlier, treasury bonds are the longest type of bonds that mature from 10-30 years time. It means that the money you invested are for long-term and you can have a lot of time generating ideas to find another way to increase your investment. You can plan a new business without your money getting stagnant somewhere.

  • You can redeem the exact value

After the maturity ends or before tha maturity ends, if you want your money back you can get it as a whole. No deductions at all and maybe a little interest will be gained. Your money didn’t stagnate and infact it generated a little bit though the interest is not much, at least you still get a hold of your full imvestment after a long time and you did not invest it into something that will cause your money to decrease.

  • You can sell them easily

Treasury bonds are known to be a safe form of investment and selling them will be an easy task. There are a lot of you out there who wants to invest in a risk-free asset and who are willing to buy your treasury bond from you if you sell them. Selling treasury bond are actually active in the market.

  • They are easy to liquidate

If you don’t know, these treasury bonds are electronic and are easy to transfer from one buyer to another. This easy liquidition will help you a lot during transferring your treasury bond to your buyer.

Investing in some treasury bonds is really a great idea for investors like you who want a risk-free investment. Aside from it allows your money to generate, you can always easily market these treasury bonds out in the market. They’re easy to invest in and are resellable!

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