Wednesday, April 26, 2017

9 Real Estate Mistakes That Won't Get Your Wallet Fatter

estate investments
For most individuals, the real estate market is a ladder to wealth – assuming that you can either buy to sell or buy to rent. However, besides the financial obligations that go hand in hand with real estate – to put it in other words, mortgages have their importance – there are some essential mistakes that you should avoid to make the most of the real estate wealth potential. Indeed, when you buy to rent or to sell, it’s important that you take great care of your property, your responsibilities as a homeowner or a landlord, your advising circle, and your budgeting skills. There’s nothing worse than a real estate investment that turns into a nightmare money hole. Here are the nine most common real estate mistakes that you need to avoid.

#1. Buying Above Your Budget

For a start, when you decide to buy a house or a flat, it is important that you keep a realistic view of your buyer’s budget. Purchasing a property that is too expensive means that you won’t be able to afford for its maintenance, renovation, and insurance. Additionally, if you are thinking about buying with a mortgage, an expensive home will force you to monitor your expenses closely, making it impossible to care for utility costs, decoration, and household living. In short, it’s important to take into consideration how much you can truly afford. Real estate is an investment, not a financial disaster. But it can only be so if you are careful and tactical about the amount of your investment. 

#2. Not Checking Tenancy Options

For most real estate investors, the plan is to turn to the tenancy market to create a regular and passive income. However, when you are planning to do so, you need to research your tenancy options thoroughly. For instance, HDB flats, which are public housing from the Housing and Development Board, are open to being rented out only after the owners have satisfied the minimum occupation period – three to five years depending on whether the flat was bought before or after 2010. Additionally, you can only sublet your flat to citizens or permanent residents with written approval from the HDB. Naturally, other tenancy factors can play a role, such as criminal records, credit checks, and even family situations in some cases. Therefore, if you are buying to rent you need to be aware of the local tenancy restrictions.

#3. Working With An Inexperienced Agent

There is a saying that your real estate purchase will be only as good as the real estate agent is. While it can be a little unfair, it is also true that you are very much relying on the expertise and knowledge of a real estate agency to find the best possible property at the best price. Your agent becomes an advisor, not only in terms of location, but also extension and renovation policies, mortgage options, property standards and quality, and local facilities. While experienced agents will be able to support you in your research and to find the most suitable properties for your requirements, it’s likely that inexperienced agents will be wasting your time and your money, and may even convince you to buy a non-suitable house or flat. 

#4. Not Adding Value To The Home

When it comes to buying a house to sell, it’s important that you develop a plan of renovation projects that will add more value to the property. Before you consider a kitchen or bathroom renovation, there are other projects that have a valuable ROI – in other words, these projects add more the house value than they cost, or nearly as much. Installing an attic insulation brings an 117% return, as for more home buyers it is synonymous with low energy bills, something that they are happy to invest in. Garage door replacement and front door replacement have other 90% return, making them a profitable renovation project. In comparison, kitchen and bathroom updates can sometimes play against your final selling price, especially if you pick colors and materials that don’t appeal to buyers. It’s likely that the price will have to be reduced to take into consideration the renovation budget of the buyer. 

#5. Not Picking The Right Tenants

When you decide to rent your property, you need to be aware of the risk of renting to what is called in the real estate business, the nightmare tenants. Nightmare tenants are so named because they cause you more problems than they bring benefits. Late payers are, for instance, common but difficult to spot. However, their delayed payments can make it difficult for you to pay the mortgage on the property. Animal lovers can be difficult to deal with, because unless you visit the property, you may not know that they’ve moved in with their pets. However, when they move out, it’s likely that you will need to proceed to renovation work to be able to put the property back for rent. In short, make sure that you interview your future tenants thoroughly!

#6. Not Buying In The Right Location

There’s nothing that matters as much as location when you are buying a property to rent. Indeed, your tenants will be looking for houses or flats that are ideally placed for them to go to work and to visit their family and relatives. This means that you will find it easier to rent a town flat than a barn in the countryside. But more importantly, when you are looking at location, you need to take the local facilities into consideration, such as whether there is a school or not, shops, and a medical surgery. Additionally, the quality of the public transport in the area will influence the tenant’s decision to rent or not, especially if they rely on bus or train transport to go to work or school. 

#7. Not Budgeting Renovations

Renovation projects are necessary but expensive. In average, over half of homeowners don’t budget their projects correctly and find themselves having to pay twice as much than what they first expected. One in five homeowners will fit a new bathroom or a new kitchen as their first renovation project, whether they are looking to buy a house to sell or rent. Bathrooms and kitchens are among the most expensive rooms to upgrade. However, they are also rarely taken into consideration at the time of the property purchase. Additionally, 47% of buyers will consider upgrading the bedroom too, and 43% will look at changing the living room. To put it in other words, not budgeting these renovations at the time of purchase can not only make it difficult to pay the mortgage on the property but will also create a lasting negative ROI.

#8. Not Taking The Right Insurance

Homeowners take a home insurance, while landlords pick a landlord insurance that protects them from the damages caused by hazardous tenancy. However, there is more than one type of insurances, and it’s essential that you understand exactly what you need. For instance, an earthquake insurance is an additional insurance that you need to take if your property is in an earthquakes zone. Additionally, flooding insurances can sometimes come as a separate insurance, in some regions. Don’t miss out on protection because you think that the insurance is unnecessarily expensive!

#9. Not Setting The Appropriate Price

When it comes to building your wealth using real estate, price is key to your success. It needs to be the right price too. If your tenancy or selling price is too low, it’s likely that potential tenants and buyers will be suspicious about the property. Make it too high, and they will run away. So, as you decide to set up a price, it’s best to compare with similar properties on the market, as well as to research the current prices in your locations.

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Old Age And Illness: What It Means For Your Money

money use
As we approach old age we need to think about our finances. Understandably, it’s often the last thing we think about. When we’re in good health we don’t worry about what will happen to our money. This means that our finances can be left in disarray when we pass away. Don’t wait until old age or illness are upon you, make the most of your savings before that point. There are a few things you can do to make sure your money is used how you want it to be once you're gone... 

Get Your Finances In Order

The first step is to get your finances in order. This seems like quite a general statement but what it actually means is organizing the remaining money that you have. You need to know how much money you have. Of course, you might know how much is in the bank, but what about money tied up in property or business? Managing your money when you are well and able is a good first step. It becomes increasingly difficult to make decisions once you are ill or considered unfit to handle your own account.

The good news is, organizing your finances needn’t be too difficult. Start by filing all of your financial documents in one place. This will make it easier to keep a record of things. The make a list of all your expenses and incomes. Work out which, if any, debts you have to pay, what you’ve invested and what is saved. Having all of this information will be incredibly useful if someone else has to take over and manage your affairs. Don’t be stuck in a situation where only you know your own financial situation.

Managing Your Estate

Planning what happens to your estate when you die is simple and straightforward, but too many of us don’t do it. The problem is, if we don’t have legal documents which outline who gets what, it can lead to messy legal proceedings. Probate lawyers from IRB Law will be able to give you more information about what’s involved in planning your estate. In essence, you will need to prepare documents which determine who inherits your money and property. You can even ensure that the amount of inheritance tax paid on your estate is minimized. So this is a very important step to take. 

Funding A Funeral

Unfortunately, loved ones are sometimes forced to make financial decisions about funerals in the midst of their grief. To avoid these kinds of situations and expenses, you can cover the costs before you become ill, or even before old age. Dedicated savings accounts are one way to save money. Alternatively, some life insurance companies cover the costs of a funeral.

Monday, April 24, 2017

5 Clothing Hacks that Help You Save Even More

more savings
The saving savvy trendsetter prides herself on finding a good bargain. She always spends under her budget while maintaining a unique style and look. You want to reach the same level of saving success. You already know the basics of thrift store shopping and sales hunting, so now you want to elevate your bargain quest to the next level.

The following shopping hacks will help you stock your wardrobe with classic, durable, and beautiful basic and statement pieces. 

1. Clearance Rack

Wait before shopping the clearance aisle: you save even more when you wait until the second round of clearance markdowns. Also try waiting for a Buy One Get One Free sale, because it often increases clearance savings by more than half. 

Avoid buying last year’s major trend, unless you already frequently wear that style of clothing. Otherwise avoid any trendy items because they usually fade and lose their appeal in a few years. Instead, stock up on the timeless basics like jeans, shirts, tank tops, and cardigans.

Clearance items often vary by store. Therefore, remember to check the online clearance section of your favorite stores and their physical counterparts.

2. Daily Deal Sites

Groupon is just one of the many daily deal sites that retailers and brands use to quickly sell some of their items. These sites offer everything from dresses to bras. Fitness wear and accessories are one of the most popular clothing items on these sites. 

Subscribe to receive daily emails. Read them at least once a day. Also visit the website at least once a day to check out the complete list of items offered in the clothing and accessories sections.

3. Shop Out of Season

Shop for your winter wardrobe in spring, and your summer one in fall. The previous season’s leftover stock gets a huge markdown right at the start of a new season. The discount becomes even greater if the new season starts right around a holiday.

Plan at least two out of season shopping trips every season. Visit a store a week or two after a new season begins, and a few weeks before it ends. A shopping trip at the beginning of a season allows you to get the best of the leftover stock. Shopping at the end of a season lets you get even better deals off the remaining stock, and you also find some of the newly clearanced items from the current season.

4. Grab the Lookbook

Do a little research to find out if your favorite stores distribute a lookbook about their current collection. Many major retailers make these booklets but vary on which customers get them. Some retailers give them to anyone who signs up for the mailing or emailing list, but others only give them to customers who previously purchased from their store. 

These lookbooks are valuable because they provide deals and coupons. These deals may include things like a free item with purchase or a coupon that lets you take off $50 for every $100 that you spend.

Sometimes even if you cannot get these lookbooks, sites such as Groupon, provide the same coupon codes that you find in these booklets.

In general, always check Groupon coupon section before shopping at your favorite clothing retailers, especially more expensive ones like Harry and David

Additional Tips

● Shop quality not quantity 
● A well-made item is an investment
● Wash your clothes less to preserve and increase longevity
● Avoid polyester, instead go for natural fibers and blends.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Don’t Let Legal Troubles Ruin Your Finances

ruin your finances
When we’re faced with legal troubles or have been arrested, the stress of the whole situation can be complicated by our worrying about how our unwanted situation will affect our financial standing. Indeed, being in trouble with the law can have a detrimental affect on our bank balance, but it doesn’t have to be quite as bad as you might expect. Of course, it depends on why you’re in legal trouble in the first place. But understand that legal strife doesn’t automatically spell bad news for the bank balance.

Evaluating the Situation

You’ll have to evaluate exactly what’s happening in the situation before you decide upon a course of action. If you’ve only recently been informed that you might face some legal troubles, then you’re probably too shocked or disoriented to fully comprehend your financial situation. Take a step back and think of the ways in which you could be hurt financially. If it’s your business that is facing trouble, then you’ll want to take a look at your business insurance to see if it is applicable to what’s happening. If it’s personal, you may want to look at your savings account and determine how long you could live for if it came to it.

Finding the Right Defense

Of course, you’ll know already that you should endeavour to find the lawyer that’s right for you. But you’ll also know that it would be foolish to find the best lawyer if they’re obviously out of your budget. Conversely, opting for a bargain lawyer might save you money initially but cost you most when spread over the long term. It’s important to know that you don’t have to let lawyer fees cripple your finances, either. For some cases, law firms like Wallin & Klarich allow their clients to pay on a payment plan. This will help you get expert advice without worrying about whether you can fund it.

Consult Your Network

Try as you might, you’ll always run into some financial difficulties when you have legal troubles, especially if it means that you need to take some time off from work. When you’re in a pinch like this, it can be useful to call on your support network, the friends and family who are always on hand to see you through the hard times. Of course, you shouldn’t come to rely on them, but if you need a short term loan for bail or what have you, it’s better to go through people you know rather than traditional methods. You’d be there for them if they needed you, and they’ll be there for you when you need them.

Know That Things Aren’t As Bad As You Think

Any legal troubles that come as a shock to you won’t be as bad as you think: indeed, it’s often the shock that is the worst part. Keep a level head and make sure you don’t do anything rash. When it has all passed you’ll hopefully be in a sound financial situation and be wondering what all the worrying was about.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Just How High Is The Price Of Your Health?

health price
You might be surprised to learn just how expensive staying healthy can be. In fact, medical bills are one of the most common causes of debt in America. That shouldn’t surprise you because the costs of medical procedures can be incredibly expensive and may not be fully covered by insurance. For instance, You might need a heart transplant. That will cost you close to a million dollars! They never mention that on Grey’s Anatomy, do they?

Of course, if you have insurance you can soften the blow a little, but you won’t get rid of that price tag completely. You will be expected to pay some of it out of your own pocket. Is it any wonder why people end up in debt?

Now, you might say that you could just avoid expensive medical treatment. Perhaps, you can had to a free clinic? But, what if you need emergency medical care? You may not have asked for it, but they will certainly charge you for it once you leave the hospital. So, how can you make sure that the cost of your health doesn’t grow out of control.

Find The Right Insurance Plan

The first step you need to take is to look at different insurance options. Insurance is in shambles at the moment. People know there’s issues with Obama Care, but they don’t want the plan completely removed. Meanwhile, the government are struggling to get their own plan approved because it completely obliterates Obama Care. The basic idea behind the government’s plan for health care is to completely privatize insurance. This would mean that you could choose your own health insurance provider from any state and find the best price. You can find out more about healthcare coverage on SBS.com.au.

Whether you can do this or not, you should be looking for the best company available. You might even want to choose your job based on who provides the best health care. Some companies do offer health insurance as a perk for their employees. 

Holding People Liable

Let’s say that you were injured in an accident and sustained serious injuries. You should make sure that you hold the people who were responsible liable. There is always someone accountable for an accident. For instance, you might have suffered an accident on someone else’s premises.

If that’s the case, under premises liability, they are accountable. Or, you could have suffered an injury due to a product or service you used. In this instance, the business that provided that product may be liable. You can visit BradfordLegal.com.au for more info or look at any other personal injury site. There, you should be able to discover your rights in different situations and find how you can claim compensation.

Looking After Your Health

Of course, perhaps the best way to save money on health care is to look after your health. When you apply for health care coverage, you will be judged based on your physical condition. That’s why financially, it’s in your best interest to stay fit and eat well. Try to keep a good weight because this will make you less likely to develop some of the more serious and costly medical conditions. If you do this, you should find that your bills related to health are a lot cheaper and easier to handle.

Friday, April 21, 2017

Has Your Home Become A Money Pit?

money digging
When you own your home, it takes on a sort of strange double life. On the one hand, it's the place where you live, where you make memories and where you're safe from the world outside. People often love their homes and have a lot of their own identities tied up in them. One the other hand, your home is also an investment. When you buy a house, there's almost always an assumption that any money that you put into it is an investment into your future. Whether that's a future where you enjoy the improvements you've made to the house, or you sell it and actually profit from your investment. Of course, sometimes you get to a point where the amount of money you're putting into your home simply doesn't seem worth it anymore. When that happens, you could well end up with a problem. Here are a few things to do if your house has turned into a money pit.

Figure out what the problem is

The first thing that you need to do is to figure out exactly what it is that is causing you to have to spend so much money on your home. The most important question is whether or not the money you're spending is actually necessary. Are you constantly coming up with new ways to improve the house? Then there's a chance the problem might be your own spending habits, not the house itself. Of course, if the problem is that there are problems with the house that keep coming up and needing to be fixed, then that's a more complicated situation.

Sell, sell, sell!

If the reality is that there is just so much maintenance work that needs to be done on the house, then your best bet may well to be to sell it. Of course, it can be hard getting people to show interest in a house that clearly needs a large investment in order to make it livable. I that's the case you might be looking for a quicker solution. If you've ever wondered, "I wish I could figure out how to sell my house fast for cash" then you're in luck. There are plenty of organizations who are willing to pay for your home no matter what kind of condition it's in. Of course, you need to make sure that you're not accepting a price that's so low you can't make a new start.

Find ways to save money

Of course, your home might be costing you a lot of money in ways that aren't actually that necessary. It's surprisingly common for people to think that they simply can't afford their home but, in reality, it's very simple for them to cut costs. Look into simple things like your utility bills; there are plenty of different power companies who may offer more competitive rates. Similarly, it's a good idea to prioritize maintenance work based on what's most important, rather than trying to deal with everything at once. You might find that there are issues with the house that, while being slightly irritating, aren't really a matter of life and death and can be left until you're in a more stable financial position.