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Showing posts with label money. Show all posts
Showing posts with label money. Show all posts

July 5, 2011

Homeowners Unite! How Can We All Save Money?

Hi Folks,

   Happy Mid-Week to you.

   If you're a homeowner, I don't need to tell you how expensive it can be! Every time you turn around there is another expense coming at you, whether it is a break-fix or plain old fashioned preventative maintenance. It is expensive. Recently, Beth Braverman wrote an article for Money Magazine (on CNN Money), titled, "3 ways to save on home costs", which aimed at sketching some broad strokes for homeowners to take.

   For the purpose of our story, we are going to take her 3 sub-topics out of order, and we'll leave the biggest one for last.

   In the article, Braverman suggests to, "Trim the cost of borrowing", and she discusses the extremely low mortgage rates as an example. She suggests that you refinance at the lower rates, but to request a, "good-faith estimate" before you apply, to permit you to lower the closing costs. Jonathan Steele, a RN in Pennsylvania, suggests that you, "Get a 30 year loan and pay off your house in 15 or less", and cautions that you should, "Make sure the loan allows early pay off with out penalty.".

   The second sub-topic that Braverman discusses is that you should "Get a deal on furniture", and shares some tips from Furniture industry author Kimberly Causey, as follows: "When sales slow in the summer, many mom-and-pop shops will make deals to move inventory, says Causey. Ask for 20% off, and don't settle for less than 10%. Gently used floor models can go for 25% off."

   Now, as I mentioned in the beginning, the 3rd sub-topic has the most potential and ways in which homeowners can save, and Braverman refers to this one as, "Negotiate on repairs and upkeep", and from her angle, she says that contractors are, "still facing a slumping real estate market", and "will strike a deal to get your business."

   When posing the question of how homeowners can save costs, a majority of the replies were related to this specific sub-topic. Interestingly, one of the most popular suggestions was in favor of using a "programmable thermostat". Jonathan Steele says that he has had his for over 18 years, and that he owns two houses, and the tenants he has who "refuse" to use these have, "twice the heating bill we have by simply automating the heat turn down when we are gone in the day and asleep at night.". Dianne Martz, co-founder and principal of Sustainable Life Solutions LLC, says that installing and using a programmable thermostat, "can reduce your heating and cooling bill by 10%.", and says that if you already have one, to be sure it's programmed to "turn itself down or off when you're sleeping or at work or school.".

   Timothy G. Wiedman, D.B.A. Division of Economics and Business at Doane College in Crete, Nebraska, also calls the programmable thermostat, "The most cost-effective thing" that he ever did, and adds the following summary: "Believe it or not, that thermostat paid for itself in two months; and over its life, it literally saved thousands of dollars on our winter gas bills."

   A few other tips that were provided to us were regarding the hygienic quest we call, "washing our clothes". Steele says that he bought a front loading washer, which was, "twice the cost of a traditional washing machine". He says that the savings "were in the water", and adds that "when you pay for water coming in, you may also pay for the quantity of sewage going out in some municipality. So saving on the water used can be a double savings." An additional tip comes from Pablo Solomon, an Artist and Designer, who suggests to, "Put up a clothesline", since it is "really" inexpensive, and says that if your neighborhood prohibits clotheslines, "fight the board and get the rule changed."

   So what does it all boil down to?

   Mandy Williams, Author of, "What I Learned About Life When My Husband Got Fired!", suggests, "Thinking Before Spending", which she admits is, "A very basic concept", but says that we are all "guilty of "mindless" purchases that we do without thinking. And definitely without considering the total amount spent over time". She suggests a very simple tip; to , such as "merely to write down everything you spend money on for a week.", using what she calls "Green Sheets". Williams says, "You Are Never to Old or Young to Budget", which she admits is an "Obvious concept", but, "rarely remembered when at the time money is being spent."

   I hope these tips have been helpful. Can you also provide some helpful tips to your fellow readers here?

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Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
Rob Eisenstein
HomeRun Homes Blog: http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Websites: http://www.lease2buy.com and http://www.homerunhomes.com

TAGS: #homeowners #mortgage #refinance #thermostat

November 15, 2010

A Look Ahead and a Big Thank You

Hello All,
   Welcome back, and I hope you had a great weekend. If your lower back is in pain from collecting all the leaves from your property, raise your hand !

   First off, I want to thank you for reading and commenting on our post titled, "Private Money...Any Available For Real Estate Deals?". We have also received a lot of off-line feedback regarding this post, and to all of those individuals, you are quite welcome and I'm glad the post has been helpful.

   In the very near future, we look towards recapping some of our most highly-read posts, as well as some of our favorites and the favorites of our readers. In addition, we will hopefully be publishing an editorial calendar so you can hold us to task (and hold us to topic!).

   As a follow up to our post from Friday, titled, "The Building Trades Association (BTA) Accepts Our Membership", our official press release has been launched, and you can see it Here, or on our Press Page.

   Once again, a Big Thank You for your readership, helpful comments, and support. We look forward to raising the bar and delivering more pinpointed quality content. In closing, any comments? Please advise on the Blog or via E-mail.

Have a Great Week, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
HomeRun Homes Blog http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Website http://www.lease2buy.com/

November 10, 2010

UPDATED: Private Money...Any Available For Real Estate Deals?

Hi Folks,

   Happy Mid-Week to everyone, and welcome back.

   When we posted on the topic, "Best Markets For Commercial Real Estate Investing", we had a few requests to cover the topic of "Private Money", so as per your request, that is our topic for today!

   We spoke with 3 respected figures in the field to gauge their feeling on the topic. All 3 of them seem to agree that there is private money out there that is available for Real Estate deals, and we present their viewpoints below.

   Alfred Miller, President, Private Lending Solutions, LLC, states that, "Capital isn't scarce; vision is. There is tons of money available for real estate deals.", but says that he wants his, "money invested in solid deals (diamond in the rough)!" and the deals can be either residential or commercial.

   Vernon Martin, a commercial appraiser with American Property Research, who specializes in serving private lenders (96% of his work is for private lenders), says that, "There's no shortage of money waiting to be lent, but there also seems to be a shortage of credit-worthy deals.", which is similar to what Miller has said. "Most loan applications to private lenders are for refinancing deals which are already over leveraged, so there is no way the borrower can pay off existing debt at a safe loan-to-value ratio", says Martin.

   Martin also says that private lenders are, "very interested in financing REO purchases by new investors.", and provides an example, where last week, he worked "on a $35 million construction loan that is being purchased for only $5.2 million. The private lender feels safe in lending $2.8 million. The difference is that loans can be underwritten at today's market values without any disappointment to the borrowers.". Martin points out that some private lenders are looking overseas for deals in potentially "stronger markets" (i.e., "Canada, Australia, Fiji, Barbados, South Africa, Mexico, Costa Rica and Jamaica.")

   Dennis P. Fassett, a Real Estate Investor who interacts with many sources of private money, says that, "there's quite a bit of private money out there. But it's gotten more difficult to get to, despite what the late night gurus want people to believe.", which he attributes to, "the stock market crash and Bernie Madoff scandal". The impact of the crash and the scandal had a few ripple effect impacts on private lending, Fassett says, such as, "with people out of the market, there is a lot more money on the sidelines looking for a reasonable rate of return", and "the Bernie Madoff scandal has made a lot of people quite wary of where they invest their money.",and says that, it's ironic that the scandal has also helped make local real estate investing more attractive, because the investor can go drive by the asset that they either lent against or have an equity piece of."

   Fassett provides a hint into the mentality of the private investors. He finds that, "the private investors that I deal with are looking for a track record for one and a sense of stability by me as well. I'm fortunate that I have couple of dozen deals and now own or control 54 rental units in nice areas that are all doing well. I had one investor tell me that one of the reasons that he invests with me is because I have a whole lot to lose if I screw up in terms of reputation in the community.", and he continues to say that he's also finding that, "the direct approach to getting private money doesn't work anymore, as people are getting pitched to death about everything under the sun, so I have switched to an oblique approach that focuses on drawing people into being interested in my business to the point where they ask questions and close themselves."

   As the recession lingers on, Michael Stark, a licensed real estate broker in California, is clear about the future. "The greatest transfer of wealth since the Depression is underway.". Where this will ultimately channel the private funds is yet to be seen, however, we all hope and pray that it stokes our housing market and the economy. Comments are welcomed !

Have a Great Day, and Happy Rent-to-Owning !
HomeRun Homes Blog http://blogging.lease2buy.com
HomeRun Homes Website http://www.lease2buy.com

UPDATED: Top 5 Blog post for 2010 (For more information, CLICK HERE)