Things to Avoid When Flipping Real Estate

Flipping property is rising in popularity as a form of real estate investing. The truth of the matter is that this is one of the more entertaining methods for many investors that are simply ‘itching’ to get their hands a little dirty. The sweat equity involved in these transactions, while attractive, can also be daunting when skills are inadequate and out and out dangerous in some situations.

If you are one of the many around the world who consider the appeal of flipping property with huge dollar signs in your eyes, you should take care to avoid the following things in order to minimize your risks while maximizing your potential for success.

1) Do not fail to have a qualified inspection of the property before any money changes hands. If you do not have any idea of the types of work that needs to be done then you cannot possibly make an educated estimate of the costs involved in rehabbing the property.
2) Do not underestimate the budget for repairs on the flip. This is one of the most common mistakes that even seasoned professionals make and it can mean the difference between a profit and a loss on the property if you aren’t careful and do not stick to the planned budget.
3) Do not overestimate your abilities. This is another common mistake. The fact that you’ve seen something done on television doesn’t mean that it is something you can do on your own. It costs more money and time to have someone come in and repair your mistakes than to have had a professional do the work from the beginning. This doesn’t mean that you can’t learn how to do some of the work or that doing so would be cost effective. The trick lies in determining where your skills and abilities can really take you rather than where you hope they will take you. Plumbing, electrical, and structural work are generally best left to the professionals unless you have specific experience or training in these fields.
4) Do not fail to hold yourself accountable to your timetable and your budget. Real estate investing puts you in the bosses seat and while that is often simple when it comes to driving others, we often have a bit of difficulty when it comes to holding ourselves accountable for time and money along the way. Unfortunately, failing to do so can be a very costly blunder.
5) Do not forget to keep up with receipts, bills, etc. and reconcile the facts and figures daily. It is far too simple to allow a couple of trips to the local home improvement center escape careful scrutiny. Add a couple of these trips per day and you could easily find thousands of dollars missing from your budget with no paper trail to explain the transactions. You could also find that some tools will not work or be needed for the project. Those items cannot typically be returned without the original receipts.
6) Avoid having too many chiefs on the project. If this is your ball game then you need to run with it rather than having 10 people giving contradictory orders. Schedule meetings regularly to discuss progress and any adjustments or changes that may need to be made.
7) Avoid poor planning. This is one step that is the difference for many would be house flippers between success and failure. Plan out every step of the project in an order that makes sense. You do not want to paint the ceilings or walls after you’ve installed new floors. Nor do you want to rip out walls in order to replace plumbing after you’ve painted them. Plan things out in the proper order and allow a day or two between subsequent projects in case extra time is needed. The last thing you want to do is pay a group of contractors to stand around waiting for the paint to dry so they can begin the next step in the process.

Was that House a Good Investment? The Answer may not be so obvious

I am surprised how many people don’t know the difference between “enterprise value”, which is the sales price of a home (debt plus equity), and “equity value”, which is what is left at the end of the day when you sell your home and pay off the mortgage. In determining whether this was a good investment for you, it is only the latter calculation that matters.

Most people simply look at how much the value of their home has appreciated since they bought it, and compare it to what they paid. Let’s say someone bought a home for $500,000 a year earlier and their neighbor’s identical home just sold for $550,000. Simple math would suggest a potential 10% return in one year (a $50,000 profit on a $500,000 purchase). This, while straightforward, is not an accurate calculation for several reasons.

First, it is critical to factor in transaction costs on the sale of your home and deduct them from the gross sales price to see how much of the sales price you have left. These include what it might cost you to prepare the house for sale (painting, landscaping, staging in some cases, etc.), as well as real estate commissions and other transaction related costs. Let’s say in our hypothetical example our seller would invest $10,000 in sprucing the place up for sale, and the real estate commission plus other closing costs on the hypothetical $550,000 sale might be another $33,000 (say 6% of the sales price). Thus that $550,000 sales price results in only $507,000 after these transaction-related costs, implying a mere 1.4% return ($7,000 profit on a $500,000 purchase price), right? Wrong again.

To calculate your investment return you need to compare your profit (or loss) to the equity you have invested, not the entire home price. Let’s say you put 5% down to buy the home, which equated to $25,000. Your $7,000 profit in this case actually represents a very attractive 28% return on your investment in only one year. One way smart homeowners can increase their returns is to appreciate how much the return on their invested equity can be enhanced by saving say 1% in the agent’s listing commission. In the example above, a 5% sales commission vs. 6% would have increased our hypothetical seller’s return on their $25,000 of equity investment from the 28% we just calculated to an astonishing 50% ($12,500 profit on the $25,000 investment).

A couple of basic takeaways from this: First, make sure to factor in all costs of a transaction. Second, understand the difference between the aggregate home value and the equity you have invested in the home, which is what impacts your true economic return. Third, appreciate the impact sales-related costs can have on your return. While a $5,000 commission difference seems relatively insignificant in the context of a $550,000 home sale, it is VERY significant in relation to the equity investment in your home, which is the basis of determining your return on your investment.

Waterfront Real Estate: The Ins and Outs

If you are purchasing real estate on the water, be it a river, lake or oceanfront, you’ll want to know for certain what your rights and responsibilities are to that water and its shoreline. For example, are you obligated to build a certain type of dock? Many areas have regulations governing what type of dock can be built. Are you even allowed to moore your boat there? Sometimes your rights end at the waterline. Is your beach accessible to the public or can you limit who goes there? Can you build right beside the waterline, or do you have to have any structures a certain distance away? Be sure you investigate the maximum water levels, and research the flooding history of your area. All of this will be important in your future at your waterfront home, so be sure to get the facts before you buy, so you know exactly what you’ll be working with.

Living beside a body of water, realize that it is a delicate ecosystem and be sure to consider the environmental impact of what you do. It might be best to avoid things like weed killers on your lawn if it’s just running down a slope into the water. There may even be laws governing what is safe to use and what is not. For this similar reason, homes with septic systems will have special regulations beside the water. Because the water level is higher underground, follow the rules carefully to avoid sewage leaching either into the lake, into your drinking water or into your basement during especially wet times of year.

You will also definitely want to consider safety when living beside the water. Ask around about any local dangers such as hidden currents or underwater rocks close to the surface. Also rusty old boats or garbage that has sunk that could hurt unaware swimmers.

Once you’ve figured out everything you should know about your own unique piece of waterfront, it’s time to sit back and enjoy some of the benefits. Not only will you enjoy living in such a beautiful area and taking advantage of the local recreation, you’ll have peace of mind knowing you’ve invested in some of the most valuable real estate around.

What To Do When Your Home Isn’t Selling

When you sell your home, the process is almost like going to a job interview. Selling a home involves presentation, which is one of the key factors that determine the outcome. Although this may sound a bit weird, presentation is a way of life in the world of real estate. Buyers in today’s market look for good presentation – many basing their final decisions on it.

If the property you are selling comes with a garage, you’ll need to go through your garage before you sell your home. Chances are that you store things in your garage, which can easily pile up over time before you realize it. If your garage is in a messy condition, you’ll obviously want to clean it up. Buyers look for homes that are in perfect condition, and anything less than perfect will look bad in the eyes of the buyer.

Most homes have some truly outstanding features inside of them. You should always do your best to highlight the best features of your home, instead of just hoping that the buyer understands what they are. The ideal way to bring out the best features of your home is to use the proper lighting. If your home is clean, you can use lighting to bring out the best features in your home, and ensure that they stand out to the buyer.

When a potential buyer first pulls up to your home; the first thing he will see is your lawn. If your lawn is trimmed and well taken care of, he will get a good impression right off the bat. If your lawn is a wreck, he may immediately pull away. To give the best impression to the buyer, you should put some thought into how things look. You can always plant flowers around the walkway and throughout the yard, which will look great to a potential buyer.

You should also make sure that the entrance into your home is a positive as well. The front door should be in great shape, as well as the entry area into the home. You can add some plants, paintings, and rugs to ensure that your buyer gets a good impression. When the buyer walks through the entry way into your home, you should make sure that the view he or she takes in is a good on. Your biggest goal when showing your home is to ensure that the buyer is pleased.

Keep in mind that it may take some time to sell your home. These days, homes can sit on the market for months at a time before they actually sell. If you are having trouble selling your home, you can always reduce the price or simply go back to the basics. Eventually you will sell your home – although it may take more time than you think.

Warranty Deed vs. Quit Claim Deed

When you’re in the process of selling (or purchasing) a house, you will most likely, encounter several kinds of documents: all with different names and with different uses and functions. Two of the most misunderstood documents are the warranty deed and the quit claim deed. Many think that these two forms are alike, but they are not.

A warranty deed is a document which the seller presents to you and is used in majority of all sales transactions. The warranty deed simply states that the seller owns the property being sold and that it is free from any sort of liens. By presenting a warranty deed, the buyer is assured that the holder of the title has the legal right to transfer ownership of the unit and is assured that no one (financial institution or other creditors) would come after him to make a claim on the property. In the eventuality that someone does lays claim to the property that has just been purchased (or that the claims stated in the warranty is erroneous), the buyer is further protected by law, and would be entitled to receive a form of compensation. Warranty deeds seldom stand alone as these documents are usually backed up by a title insurance policy.

A quitclaim deed, on the other hand, is presented to a buyer by someone who does not necessarily own the property being sold, but holds responsibility for it. This occurs due to several reasons such as when the owner dies and bequeaths the property to one of his heirs, or when there is a marriage and the owner wants to include the name of his/her spouse to the title (among others). A quitclaim deed offers a lower level of protection to buyers. This kind of document is used primarily when the property in question will just stay within a family.

Incidentally, there are times when both a warranty deed and a quitclaim deed are presented to a potential buyer. An example is when the property lies on the border of rivers and or lakes; where ownership of the underwater land on which his property stands on remains unclear.

If you are unsure which kind of deed works best for your property, consult a real estate agent or a real estate lawyer.

Driving Traffic Using Google Adwords

To a great degree coordinated movement is among the most significant substances in the web world. Any site proprietor or director understands the significance of directing people to a site. The accomplishment from any site doesn’t trust totally on the site itself. You may have a fabulous thought for a site, offer a top notch stock or benefit, or have an outstandingly arranged site with prevalent substance, essentially in the event that you don’t have any significant bearing the best possible procedures to promote, your site would not draw the high movement you require. Engaging focused on movement is work that would do well to be taken seriously for any site to succeed or have a wage. Luckily, there is web advertising instruments that help the site advertiser to direct people to his site. Among the most imperative, and viable, of these apparatuses is Google’s Adwords. Adwords is one of Google’s promoting administrations.

How does Google Adwords function? Google involves the greatest web crawler on the web getting more than 200 million questions each day through its few administrations. Since Google is the most loved web search tool today, website admins are sharp on having their sites achieve a higher positioning in the web index drives it gives. A high positioning could mean high movement for that site. The web search tool comes about page is too a remarkable setting for publicists to advance an item or administration through promotions and connections. Therefore, Google set up its Adwords benefit, as a route for organizations to promote items and administrations to a focused on group of onlookers. Google Adwords can guarantee moment activity. In this administration, Google indicates important content based advertisements inside its web index comes about page named as “Supported Links”. At whatever point a particular watchword is sought on, these applicable connections turn out in a different area giving great presentation to the locales recorded.

How would you utilize Google Adwords? Most importantly, you need to open a record with the Google Adwords Service. At that point, you ought to propose your protest dialect and nation. This is immensely imperative for you would not require your items promoted in nations where your stock or administration can’t be sold. Subsequently, you ought to quickly make an advertisement gathering. This calls for outlining the advertisement, picking catchphrases and deciding most noteworthy cost per click that you will spend and characterizing offer sums. The most essential stride in creating a fruitful Adwords crusade is picking a powerful title label that will get the consideration of your goal group of onlookers. The title tag, by and large a short expression, is the most vital piece of your Adwords crusade so ensure that it is alluring and snappy. You ought to portray the site unmistakably and exactly. The best promoting conveys an unmistakable message to the intended interest group. With an unmistakable message, you will be pulling in qualified leads, which can inevitably turn into a deal. Along these lines, the significance by picking the correct catchphrases can’t be overemphasized.

There are watchword varieties you’ll have the capacity to adjust to achieve more prospects. Applying these assortments, incorrect spellings and subordinates can help pick up the shot of your advertisements being served. Expansive match is focusing on watchwords in an approximately characterized way. Here, the advertisements seem in light of the catchphrases that have been questioned by different clients rather than correct match, which requires the watchword to coordinate the inquiry precisely. In the interim, a watchword expression set to state match will just show up when the correct expression is sought on. A negative catchphrase is useful in separating random pages.

After you have picked on what title tag to use in your promotion, you should now characterize a financial plan so as to augment introduction. Google Adwords prescribe an every day spending plan for each crusade. In any case, you ought to decide a spending that is appropriate and moderate. You ought to too choose the most extreme CPC. Google will propose a prescribed cost for every snap, except you don’t need to stay with this. More often than not, a main position is not perfect as it can likewise draw in undesirable movement and pointless snaps. A number two position is more favored as it can channel pointless snaps and furnish activity with a higher transformation rate.

To close, Google Adwords is a fantastic procedure and apparatus in building up your site greatest presentation. Be that as it may, Google Adwords shouldn’t be your sole publicizing effort. It will enable you to locate the fundamental, exceptionally focused on activity you require.

International Cruises: What To Expect When You Get Off The Boat

Taking a cruise to a foreign country can be a new and exciting experience if you have never traveled abroad. There are plenty of new sights to see and things to try, but there are also dangers that naïve travelers must be aware of. When traveling internationally there are a number of things to take into consideration that will make your vacation even more enjoyable.

When traveling internationally on a cruise it might be a good idea to invest in travel insurance. Not only does travel insurance protect you from any unexpected cancellations, which can be important since cruises abroad can be more costly than domestic rates, but travel insurance can come in handy in other ways as well. Before leaving check into your medical insurance plan to find out if you are covered in foreign countries. Some insurance plans do not cover medical expenses in foreign countries and in some cases insurance plans are not accepted by foreign hospitals. In case of medical emergency while you are away, travel insurance policies can be purchased to cover any unforeseen medical costs that may occur while you are traveling.

Make sure you get to the boat early. In today’s world, there are a number of security precautions and safety measures that are taken before you are allowed to board any mode of public transportation. This means that you will need plenty of time to check your bags and get through security before your boat leaves. If you end up having a little extra time before you board your cruise, most shipping docks have areas where travelers can wait for their cruises to leave. It is better to have a little extra time than to miss your boat. Also, be sure to have your boarding pass and passport handy so you can get them checked quickly and easily rather than having to search through your bags for them.

If you are traveling abroad for the first time, beware of scams that many international travelers unfortunately fall prey to. There are a number of smalltime thieves that lurk in areas where cruise ships dock, waiting to make unsuspecting passengers their next victims. Make sure to keep your bags in sight at all times, to avoid getting anything stolen. Also, be sure to only keep items you will really need in your wallet during your trip. Try not to carry a lot of unnecessary items with you. It is also a good idea to lock all baggage that you bring with you.

It is a smart idea to make copies of all important documents before your trip. You should make photocopies of your passport, credit cards, medical prescriptions, and your medical insurance information. Photocopying your credit cards will allow you to have images of them if they happen to be lost or stolen during your trip. You will have the numbers, expiration dates and the phone number to call if you do misplace them. By copying medical prescriptions you are able to have the information for any medications you might need during your trip. Medication bottles are small and can easily be misplaced. It is important to always have your medical insurance information with you in case of any medical emergencies. Of course, as previously mentioned, you should make sure that your medical insurance fully covers any medical expenses in other countries before departing on your trip. If it does not cover you, travel insurance might be a smart choice for you.

Make sure you know the currency conversions between American dollars and the currency of the country you are visiting. Make sure you are visiting places that will accept your credit cards or make certain that you have enough local currency on you for any expenses. You will also want to look into places to exchange your currency. Different places offer different rates of conversion. Banks are typically the best bet, as they usually offer the best rates. However, it is smart to look into this and do some research before your trip. Another option is traveler’s checks, which can be purchased from your local bank prior to your trip, and can be used anywhere.

The most important tip for people planning to travel abroad is to have fun and enjoy the trip. For most people it is not everyday that they get to visit a foreign country, so try your best to take in as many sights as possible and don’t forget your camera.

Family Cruising Enjoys Wave Of Popularity

Family cruising is enjoying a wave of popularity. There’s good reason. Cruise lines now feature a cornucopia of family fun, including sports, art activities, planetarium shows, disco parties, pizza fests, ice skating, youth Olympics, rock climbing, scavenger hunts, wildlife exploration and much more.

Family travel is on an upsurge, according to the Travel Industry Association, with one in four household trips-or more than 170.1 million- including children under 18.

The experts at Travelers Advantage offer these tips and trips for the ultimate family cruise:

Family Cruise Tips:

• Be sure the kids’ programs are operating on the dates of your trip.

• Check the size and location of the cabin, and the guardrails on the bunks.

• Some ships have cabins that can sleep five; some have adjoining cabins; some give special rates for a second cabin for teens.

• Check required documentation for your children (ID, etc.).

• You never know when illness might hit your household and change your plans, so check cancellation fees and fees for changing dates. Trip-cancellation insurance may be worth the price.

Family Cruise Trips:

• Royal Caribbean International

There are a number of fun and educational complimentary programs including Adventure Ocean, a program for ages 3 to 12 and teens from 13 to 17 with special meals and play areas. The program has supervised activities for day and night. It includes educational entertainment programs and special menus.

• Carnival Cruise Lines

Carnival will host 525,000 kids this year on its “Fun Ships.” These vessels offer parties, special performances by entertainers, ship tours for kids and teen shore excursions, face painting, scavenger hunts, talent shows, photography workshops, art classes and waterslides.

• Disney Cruise Line

As you’d expect, families will find special facilities and activities with Disney Cruise Line, all beautifully executed. There’s an entire deck for kids, with a large staff, age-specific programs, and hands-on activities.

Other family-friendly cruise lines include Celebrity Cruises, Holland America Line and Norwegian Cruise Line.

Cruise Into the New Year on a Memorable Yacht with All of Your Friends

The arrival of a new year always inspires optimism and excitement. The struggles or concerns of the previous year can be washed away and hope can be renewed as the calendar turns and all dreams become possible once more. One reason New Year’s Eve is such an endearing holiday is that there is a sense of fellowship and belief in the air, the idea that one journey is over and an exciting new one is set to begin.

Don’t leave such a crucial day of the year to chance: Spend your New Year’s Eve on a beautiful, luxurious yacht, cruising around New York. Leave the music to the experts and get your groove on all night long. Arrange for the catering of sumptuous food and an open bar to keep the party going the right way and say goodbye to the previous year in impressive fashion. Stroll the outside decks under the stars while you check out the Big Apple landmarks that drift past. Cast your worries to the wind as you let fully licensed and accredited captains pilot the yacht with confidence and ease.

Ring in the new year in a memorable, dramatic way. You’ll have a host of great photo opportunities, all the amenities you could ever need, a group of wonderful friends, an inviting dance floor … all you would want to ensure a successful party that you will never want to end.

Marco Polo Cruises has been the premier yacht charter company throughout New York and New Jersey for 15 years. We work with your schedule, group size, preferences, tastes and budget to design a cruise that will match all your expectations. You can set your own cruise time without worrying about the weather; our enclosed boats protect against any type of inclement weather.

Look around our site to familiarize yourself with our offerings. Contact Marco Polo Cruises at 1-212-691-6693 for further information.

Bring a Fraternity and Sorority Together with a Great Formal on a New York Yacht

One of the many highlights of Greek life is the ubiquitous formal, when fraternities and sororities gather to mix, form friendships and share memorable times. Instead of renting out a hall, hiring a caterer, arranging for bar service, finding a DJ or band, and all the other necessities that go along with planning such a huge event, consider letting someone else handle all of the details with a luxurious cruise around New York.

Let fully-licensed and accredited captains-certified by the Coast Guard-handle the driving all night long, while you put your feet up with a drink or stay on your feet all night long on the dance floor. Enjoy some of the finest DJs and bartenders the Big Apple has to offer and just let the night take its own course without any worries or concerns.

Take that special acquaintance out on one of the outdoor decks for a stroll under the stars. Grab her hand and take her for a spin on the dance floor or sit down quietly with a drink from the bar and get to know each other better. However you prefer to pursue new friendships, you’ll have the opportunity to do just that while you cruise around New York.

From Ellis Island to South Street Seaport, from Governor’s Island to Chelsea Piers, from New York Harbor to the East River, you’ll see all the amazing sights that New York has to offer. Make sure your next fraternity/sorority formal is one for the books with an affordable, all-inclusive cruise!

Marco Polo Cruises understand the value of having a courteous, professional crew that will ensure your safety, comfort and enjoyment. We’ll bring you all the incredible views of New York-all you have to do is relax!

Learn more about how to set up a fantastic fraternity and sorority formal by clicking around our Web site. Call us at 1-212-691-6693 to find out more about our services.