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My Son Has the Second Floor All to Himself

I started looking at apartments for southwest Las Vegas as soon as I found out that I was going to get the teaching position I had been working so hard for. I wanted to get settled in and use the summer to get used to the area, so I did not want to have to spend a lot of time looking for an apartment. It was going to be my son and myself, so I wanted to find a place where he would be happy as well. I knew that he would more concerned with the community features while I would be concerned with the layout of the apartment. Continue reading

Unloaded a Property I Never Thought Would Sell

My husband and I never figured we would have such problems with Denver realtors, but that is because we didn’t find the right one for the job. When my husband received a transfer for his job to Arizona, that left us with the somewhat daunting task of selling our home here in Denver. My husband thought the whole process would go smoothly, but I wasn’t so sure. The place we live in is very special and unique and I thought there might be some problems finding a suitable buyer. I thought it would sell eventually, but that it would just take some time.

Even I was wrong. It took a very long time. We went through two separate realtors, neither of whom could find a suitable buyer. Continue reading

Saw the Apartment, Met the Neighbors and Signed the Lease!

The student loans were paid off, and our lease was up for renewal at our old apartment. There was no way we wanted to stay another year now that we could afford a better place. My wife and I no sooner sealed the envelope with the last check to pay the student loans back when we started looking online for new apartments in Henderson NV. We found The Edge luxury apartments, and we were impressed with what we saw online and had to go out and see it in person.

They have a very nice heated swimming pool. Why is that first on our list of preferred amenities? Well, we both like to swim for exercise. My wife and I have a membership to an indoor pool, and we go year round. Continue reading

It Took Years to Figure out What I’m Good at in Life

I tried doing the home selling for a lot of years. I wish I had been better at it. I struggled, while the agents in the office I worked for did so well at it. When our office began a property management business as well, I asked if I could do that instead. It seemed so much easier and a lot of fun. So, that’s what I did. And to my surprise, I did well at it! So much better than what I could not handle before with my flighty brain. Since then, I have gone on to start my own property management business. It’s helped me to find a sense of peace and purpose in my life that I did not have before.

I remember using a company long ago to help me find a new place to live. I guess I never thought about doing it for a living. Continue reading

Things You Must Know Before Buying an Investment Property

Investing in real estate can help you get great returns; it is known for returning both capital appreciation and cash flow. Some examples of real estate investment properties include apartment buildings, bungalows, flats, single homes commercial or industrial properties etc. Often, these properties are categorized as illiquid, which means you can sell them hastily. As an investor, you must be aware of certain facts before putting your hard-earned money into real estate property. This article will be educating you about such facts.

As an individual looking to invest in real estate, you must have clear idea about the amount of money, energy and time you are ready to expend for the same. In other words, you must know how much you want to commit or have the ability to commit when making this kind of investment. You must be aware of the fact that for making profit, you will have to put in a lot of time and effort; you will need research several properties and markets thoroughly before taking any investment decision. If you are not confident about your ability to research, you should always seek assistance from a professional; an experienced real estate agent can help you in completing the research effectively and quickly. Remember conducting research is extremely important as not doing it can make you lose all your money.

As mentioned above, for achieving success as an investor, you must perform thorough research both on individual properties and market characteristics. To do that, you must have some questions ready; once you find answers to all these questions, your research is complete. Find out whether the costs of the type of property you are looking to invest in are falling or rising. Find out whether there are plenty of options available for you to choose from when making an investment. Find out whether the rent of your preferred properties are falling or rising. Gather information about the economic status of the area, in which you are thinking of buying a property. Finally, find out whether the land, home or building you are looking to buy will allow you to achieve your goals of cash flow and capital appreciation.

It has been found that the majority of the successful investors rely a lot on their instincts. However, intuition is definitely not the only thing they believe in when taking a decision in these matters. These people also run numbers for making sure that the money they are looking to invest will bring them good returns. You should decide based on the combination of both, instincts and numbers.

Easing The Search For A Rental Property

It can be hard to find and rent a place that you can actually call home in a city or suburb. Moving to an altogether new location is what makes the search even more difficult. Every country has a huge property market and you will find amazing options for your rental needs. However, in popular and populous cities, the market is competitive and the available spaces move quickly. You can however still enjoy the renting process easily when you have a few guidelines to push to the right property for your needs.

Start by Learning the Local Lingo

The agents and residents will use different terms in the local language to describe their homes and mansions. Therefore, learning the local lingo will make renting easy for you. For instance, the properties here are either houses or flats with houses being much larger than the flats and will even include outdoor space. Studios are one roomed flats and units are larger than flats, but have split levels just like a house, even though built in blocks as the flats. When you know the local lingo, it will be easy to find what you are looking for.

Choose the Location Wisely

The location of the property can determine the rental charges and the kind of neighborhood you will have. This makes it very important to choose your location. Before visiting the areas of interest, check with agents to find out if the area is within your budget range. Renting can be a bit expensive in major cities as compared to less popular cities. It is most advisable that you shortlist at least four areas or suburbs of interest so that you have a suitable choice by the end of making all comparisons. Consider the facilities and transport network too before renting.

Search for Your Ideal Property

When you have targeted areas you wish to rent in, your next step should be to start with the search. Luckily, there are property websites where you can begin your property search from. The best thing about search sites is that they will have comprehensive property listings for you to go through and compare to make a choice. Most have detailed information about the properties, hence making it very easy for you to decide and remain within your budget range. When renting, for instance, you will easily narrow the search with the city as your keyword search.

Understand Your Rental Agreement

The contract will differ from one property agent or owner to the other. It is however very important that you take the time to read through the agreement to make sure that you agree with every clause that is included in it. When dealing with a lease, you might be required to pay a month’s rent and bond which acts as a security deposit against damages on property or unpaid bills. It is also important to find out about payment methods to make sure they suit your preferences.

Top Tips For Finding Industrial Premises

When your business gets to the stage that you can move into your first industrial premises everything will start to feel a bit more real and a whole heap more tangible. It marks expansion, profit, and the beginning of good things to come. It doesn’t mean you’re out of that difficult early years stage where everything can still fall apart, but it does suggest that you’re not completely off track either.

Size matters

And it matters for two reasons. Many people will get over excited with the idea of moving into some brand new industrial premises, and start looking at the biggest and most expensive options available. For fairly obvious reasons, this isn’t the best idea. You’re still not a huge and well established company, and the chances are you don’t need that space either. The smaller the space the cheaper it will be, and usually out of town locations offer better value as well. There doesn’t need to be a lot going on, just enough space for your basic setup and to keep you going for at least the first year.

While you’re going to want a bit of room for expansion, don’t go wild. If you can get away with it, it isn’t a bad idea to share with another business when you’re first starting up, paying only for the space you’re actually usually, and splitting the costs of bills and boardrooms, a receptionist and security.

Think about style

Be practical here. What sort of business are you running? For offices, the hot desking option is usually a good first foray into the world of industrial premises because it allows you to grow at your own speed, and only pay for the space you need and use. There is no need to move out of the offices immediately when you take on new staff because you can simply add another desk to your rent package. As you grow this will cease to be a cost effective way of renting industrial premises, but in the early days it can save you thousands.

Budget, budget, budget

If you’ve managed this long without offices, the chances are they’re not entirely desperate yet. Think about how much you can afford to spend on rent and other associated costs very carefully before you rush into any sort of leasing agreement. If there’s nothing you can afford on the market at the moment, play the waiting game. As other companies grow they will move out of the small offices, freeing up the space for you.

3 Steps For Securing Equity Capital For Your Real Estate Project

I previously shared the steps for creating a professional plan for a real estate project; the importance of obtaining third-party validation; advice in how to find the right financing sources; and suggestions on presenting the project professionally, then closing the deal. This approach will enable you to obtain financing term sheets, letters of intent and/or financing commitment letters from lenders if your project is financially feasible and falls within the lending parameters of the financing institutions that you approach. Nevertheless, financing always requires a cash contribution, as 100% financing is not realistic in today’s market.

Lender requirements for cash equity contributions, deposits or down payments, typically fall between 15% and 40% of the total project cost (85% to 60% Loan-To-Value ratio). A portion or all of the equity value in the property can sometimes help reduce the cash deposit requirement, but it is very unlikely for a conventional lender to completely eliminate the cash contribution requirement because lenders want to ensure that the principal(s) are vested in the project, or have “skin in the game”. The cash deposit is necessary to close the loan and obtain financing.

So, where does the cash deposit come from? There are several potential sources:

  1. Your pocket
  2. Your partner’s pocket (if you have one)
  3. Equity from another property you may own (if any)
  4. Private investors

There are many advantages to infusing the cash equity requirement yourself, including the fact that you retain all profit and full control of the project at all times. This can often be the most advantageous funding structure because it maximizes your profit and control. However, there are also advantages to securing equity participation from investors, including:

· Less cash out of pocket enables you to be more liquid, retain more cash reserves and/or diversify your investments to earn profits from other projects or endeavors simultaneously

· Reduces your risk and exposure in the project

· Enhances your financing capabilities

There are 3 basic steps for securing equity capital for your real estate project:

  1. Prepare an investment proposition
  2. Source like-minded investors and private investment organizations
  3. Investment negotiations and agreement

1) Investment Proposition

There are many ways to formulate an investment proposition. I’ve seen an investment proposal written on the back of a napkin… and the deal was funded! (This was a developer seeking an investment from his grandmother). I’ve seen verbal agreements get funded by family members. I’ve also seen very intricate, elaborate and lengthy investment proposals not get funded. How you document your investment proposal is extremely important. The first two examples were appropriately prepared for their intended audiences; the third was not. If your project is financially feasible and can demonstrate reasonable gain for investors, securing investment capital becomes a function of proper documentation, sourcing, presentation and negotiation.

Regardless of whether an investment proposal is intended for a family member or a sophisticated investment organization, proper documentation always enhances your ability to secure funding. Your proposal should be professional, clear and concise. Following are some basic suggestions for documenting your investment proposal:

1. Provide a brief executive summary describing the project and the investment proposition. Within the executive summary, outline the investment amount required, return on investment, time-frame of the investment, and discuss the security, collateral and/or equity value that can help protect the investor.

2. Provide a financial summary of the uses of funds, sources of funds, operating projections and cash flow of the project.

3. Discuss the funding structure and capitalization plan.

4. Attach term sheets, letters of intent, financing proposals, and/or commitment letters from prospective lenders.

5. Attach the project plan.

Source Like-Minded Investors and Investment Organizations

Where do you find investors that would be interested in participating in your project? If your project is financially feasible and you’ve prepared a professional plan and a concise investment proposition, then you’re only steps away from finding your equity investor(s). It takes time and determination, but it can be a worthwhile effort that can last beyond a single project. Here are some suggestions for obtaining sources:

  • Contact local and regional mortgage brokers, real estate brokers, title companies, real estate attorneys, and other real estate professionals. Offer a finder’s fee.
  • Place ads online and in local and regional newspapers.
  • Prepare a project web page where prospective investors can find the project and review/download pertinent documents, including your investment proposition.
  • Hire a consultant or financing broker that specializes in securing equity participation.
  • Review your own contacts and business cards – You’d be surprised at how fruitful this effort may be.
  • Attend networking events and or conferences for private investors in your area and/or region, then collect business cards and make follow up calls and meetings.

Dedicate time to making calls, setting up appointments and engaging in meetings to present your project to prospective investors. Become an expert at presenting your project. Prepare a multimedia presentation to help them focus on the points you want to stress. Don’t stop until you get it done. If your project is feasible and profitable, it can get funded with proper determination and effort.

Investment Negotiations and Agreement

How much should you offer an investor? Depending on the nature of a project, perceived risk, profitability, location, your experience, competition, demand, supply and numerous other factors, I’ve seen investors require from 5% to 95% of the project and/or profit. Most investors want to see that you have “skin in the game”, generally 10% to 50% of the amount you ask them to invest in the project. Demonstrating that you have invested in the project or that you will invest into the project is adds value to the deal. You should document this clearly and provide evidence of the time and money you have invested in your project.

Other items that are open to negotiation include the percentage of control in the project, roles of the parties, reporting procedures for the investors, etc. You should provide benefit and value to the investors, but at the same time you don’t want to lose all control or receive minimal gain for your efforts. Finding the right balance is extremely importance. This is accomplished through open dialogue and effective communication between the parties.

There is no global formula for this, so it’s impossible for me to provide accurate advice on what to propose investors for your specific project. I would strongly recommend getting advice from a savvy attorney who can assist in preparing the investment agreement and structuring the investment terms. Meet with your attorney first so that you have an original structure for the deal; then use your attorney when negotiating any modifications with prospective investors.

How To Stay Away From Real Estate Fraud

‘Fraud’ is that one word you’d rather do without when it comes to making mighty transactions. And if we’re talking mighty, we’re talking real estate. Getting trapped in a real estate fraud is among the worst ways to lose large sums of money, and you end up not getting what you had paid all that money for. Here’s what you need to do to keep yourself out of such trickery.

Identify Whose House It Is, Really

‘Title Fraud’, also known as identity theft, is a property owner’s worst nightmare. Tricksters forge documents by changing the property owner’s personal details to match theirs. Once the property and all the documents are transferred to their name, they procure a new mortgage against this property and seal the deal. Taking back your house after that is quite a hassle. In fact, what if they sell your property?

In addition to thoroughly verifying who the property belongs to, you can opt for a ‘title insurance’, which protects your property title against fraud. This also guards a new owner against existing claims, such as unpaid property taxes, unpaid utilities, and unpaid mortgages.

Don’t Opt For Loans Offered In Disguise

a) Foreclosure Fraud

Cash-strapped property owners that can’t afford to meet mortgage payments sometimes get taken for a ride. Deceitful people make an offer to pay the loan on the owner’s behalf, as if to help them out of the situation, but then leave without fulfilling the promises. The trickery usually requires immediate payment for the trickster’s services and an agreement to transfer the property title to him or her. Once this is done, the trickster flees, while you are left behind with piling amounts of debt and no property. This type of fraud is called foreclosure fraud.

b) Home-Equity Fraud

Watch out for those people who are eyeing your house equity. If you rely on your house equity to borrow money, you have to constantly be on the lookout for unscrupulous lenders so you can stay away from them.

When it comes to leveraging properties, there are huge risks involved. The risks must be carefully explained by your lender. Those who want to make extra bucks will embellish their application such that the income, down payment, and property assessment values are exaggerated, ultimately helping themselves to a huge loan amount.

Be Wary Of Money Laundering

Money laundering is another common method of deceit. Illegal money is made to seem like a clean asset. Stay wary of people who purchase a property with illegal proceedings and sell them to other people. On the face of it, the property might look legitimate to you, but only careful inspection and assessment can spell out the dirty secrets.

There’s only one way to prepare and protect yourself against fraud: constant vigilance! Do your homework, and stay cautious and smart about every investment decision you make.

Things You Need To Know About Log Cabin Homes

Log cabin homes are extremely popular buildings in all over the world. We want to mention that they have a lot of advantages. First, they are the ideal way to avoid noisy neighbors and other annoying details such as airplanes overhead or traffic because you can build it in the middle of the forests. According to the various researches, the larger the logs being used, the better efficiency they have in reducing the noise that comes from the outside. What is more, these buildings may even lessen the noise that comes from sound-emitting appliances and materials inside the house.

Log cabin homes can be made of green logs, air-dried logs, glue-laminated logs or milled logs. There are also a lot of construction methods and you have to choose the one for you. For example, milled log cabin homes are built with a tongue-and-groove system which helps align one log to another and creates a system to seal out the elements. With the flat-on-flat method, the logs are flattened on the top and bottom and then stacked. Log cabin homes are mostly built without the use of nails and thus derive their stability from simple stacking with only a few dowel joint for reinforcement. This is because they tend to slightly compress as it settles over a few years and nails would be soon out of alignment and torn out. These log cabin homes were the most popular building technique in the large regions of Norway, Finland, Sweden, Russia, and the Baltic States where tall and straight trees are readily available. These buildings have been a symbol of humble origins in the United States politics since the early 19th century because 7 United States Presidents were born in the log cabin homes including James Buchanan, Andrew Jackson, and Abraham Lincoln.

We have to mention that these log cabin homes are ideal for maintaining energy-efficiency. Log cabin homes are found to be better absorbers of the heat than the other building materials. With proper sealing, these buildings are about 14 to 18 percent more energy-efficient than the other buildings made of bricks, concrete, and other building materials. What is more, log cabin homes ensure low cooling and heating costs, because of the density of the logs. They also use less energy for cooling and heating than brick homes. It’s very important for the consumer and the manufacturer.

Do not forget that your home is your forestry that must meet all your wants and needs. You have to dream about your new home and think about a lot of details. Of course, behind every dream home is a reputable building company. This company have to offer a lot of styles and stains of wood, making available a wide selection to complete your design. Owning a log cabin home gives you a great opportunity to become an interior designer and to paint the walls, floors, and everything else by yourself.

So, if you decide to live in a log cabin home you should do a little research and think about a lot of details. First, you need to consider the size and the location of your new building. The size and place of your plot will decide some of the constraints placed on your house. The simplicity of its construction is also something to consider, especially with the advent of pre-cut, pre-shaped logs. You have also to think about the square footage you need as well as such things as privacy and access to the services such as power and water. You may also need to think about sourcing a water supply and placement of a septic tank.

According to the current log house manufacturers, living in a log cabin home is an opportunity to have a house in the unknown forest area, lonely place or wherever you want it to be. Remember that your home is your forestry and it should meet all your wants and needs. Living in a log cabin home gives you an incredible chance to become an interior designer and to paint the walls, floors, and everything else by yourself. Many people dream of owning a log cabin homes in a perfect place. Of course, it is a very nice dream and you can make it happen and get the perfect log cabin home if you spend time properly planning your project.

You should remember that log cabin homes are made from renewable and natural recourses so they are healthy and environmentally friendly buildings. If you want to have it in your garden, you can either buy ready-built or even build your own with the pre-milled log cabin home kit with other advantage of being more money efficient. Before, these homes were constructed as the summer houses, gyms, wooden garages, garden offices, garden cabins, or a shelter for animals, but today people build them for their family members to live all year-round.