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Retirement Accounts – Who Is In Control?

Retirement Accounts – Who Is In Control?

Are you in control of your retirement account? Who is making money from “your” hard-earned money that you have saved for years? Are you happy with the 1% to 3% return you have got? I am sure a lot of you are asking who is getting 3%. With these low returns do you really think that “you” are the one making the money?

Sure, the economy has something to do with your low return. Things are tough now, money is tight, and no one is setting the world on fire. I am sure I could sit here and give you a thousand excuses why your retirement investments are not performing but that is a job for your financial planner. Think in terms of golf, you could be having a terrible day on the course, but that one good shot is the one that you will remember, just like that one good quarter makes you forget about you retirement account’s past performances.

Now, I am sure that you “think” you are in charge of these accounts because you have picked how you would like your investments allocated, 20%in fund A, 30% in fund B etc. These Funds or Groups A,B,C etc. are recommended by your financial planning firm, these are good groups that have a consistent track record over the years (because if they did not the firm would not have any customers). Please understand I am not criticizing your financial planner (this is how they make a living), I am just saying that if your accounts are not performing well it is a little too easy to take the blame yourself for how the money had been allocated.

Are you familiar with True Self Directed Retirement Accounts? If you are not, now is the time to start to do your homework. If you are comfortable with the Government’s Social Security Program and that Taxes will not be changing the landscape of America just continue to follow yesterday’s path and hope for the best. 97% of retirement accounts follow this plan, allowing someone else to profit from their account. 3% make maximum returns by relying on what they know and investing for themselves.

Unfortunately “yesterday” is not “tomorrow” and tomorrow is what you need to be concerned with. Do the words “self-directed” scare you? Again I am telling you, you need to do your homework! The words “self-directed” should excite you, not scare you. There are so many investment options you have available to you that could be earning tax-free or tax-deferred dollars. Most of us fear the unknown; the more you know the less to fear. So to answer the question “Who is in Control”? Maybe we should be asking “Who Do You want to be in Control”?…

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Commercial Property – How to Lease More This Year

Commercial Property – How to Lease More This Year

Make no mistake; the leasing of commercial property is the bread and butter of the real estate industry. Leasing leads to both sales and property management opportunity. If you want a stable real estate business and more commissions, then leasing will help you get there.

Leasing is a service needing special understanding of the commercial property market, the premises, the landlord and the tenant. For this reason leasing should not be undertaken by the inexperienced real estate agent or property manager.

A good lease outcome is a product of balancing all the issues and capturing them in a good lease document. Think about these things and what you may know about them:

Rental levels for the type of property you are handling

The typical terms of leases required by the tenants today

Incentive levels and type given the market currently

The need for the property to be renovated and how that will be incorporated into the lease of vacant premises.

The services and amenities available for the given property.

The future of the area and the prevailing business sentiment.

The improvements in the property and how they match the needs of the market.

The supply and demand for lettable space in your area and by property type.

This is real market intelligence, the things that you must know and bring into your lease services and offering to the local businesses and landlords.

To lease more commercial property this year, you have to know your market so well and use that information to track the upcoming potential vacancies and tenant movement.

To get a sound leasing service up and running in your real estate business you have to monitor and track just two things. They are:

All the business tenants in your area and their future property needs

All the investor landlords in your area and their future leasing needs

This data has to be tabulated as you come across fresh information. The highly successful leasing agent is only that due to the facts and figures that they know about business movement and needs locally. They then use that information to keep in contact with the right people that need help in the future to find new premises or solve a vacancy issue.

One of the key indicators of leasing activity is business sentiment in your local area. Good or bad, the business sentiment will create churn and that is what you need as a real estate agent specialising in property leasing.

Know your lease rates and trends as mentioned earlier and the market deals will be easier. Your success in property leasing will give you more agency success all round.…

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How to Make Money Quickly With Real Estate

How to Make Money Quickly With Real Estate

In order to make money quickly with real estate you need to make sure you are following a proven system. For most people spending the few hundred dollars on a complete proven system is completely out of the question and there for they will never learn the right way to invest in real estate.

The first thing you need to realize is that in order to make money quickly you need to find great deals that you can fix and sell in a very short time frame. The biggest money maker in recent years was called “Flipping a house” which simply was buying a house at a discounted price in order to fix it up and sell it very quickly. The great thing about this method is it still works and works very well. The only thing you have to do in order to get into this business is to find a house that needs some work done to it and buy it at the right price. Then you need to figure out how much money you need to spend on the house to get it looking brand new and then figure out what you can sell it for. If you have a decent sized profit then you will want to make an offer on the house and lock it up.

The first rule I ever learned about buying real estate is to make sure you aren’t buying and selling out of emotions and that you need to keep your personal opinion and taste to yourself because putting personal feelings into real estate will often cause you to either overpay or undersell. “The money is made when you purchase the house, not when you sell it”, this is something I learned very quickly and the reason it is true is because as long as you buy the house at the right price you will make money quickly.

Just remember these couple things when it comes to making money quickly in real estate.…

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Bellevue, Nebraska – Affordable Living Close to Nature

Bellevue, Nebraska – Affordable Living Close to Nature

Bellevue, Nebraska is a quiet residential community catering mainly to commuters who work in the Omaha metropolitan area, across the river in Council Bluffs, or at the nearby Offutt Air Force Base. Known as Nebraska’s First City, Bellevue was founded in 1822 as a fur trading post built by the Missouri Fur Company and is both the oldest city and the third largest city in the state of Nebraska. When the fur trade began to decline, the trading post was sold to the U.S. Government for use by the Bellevue Agency, also referred to as the Missouri River Indian Agency. It is from this early Indian affairs center that the community of Bellevue derived its name.

Bellevue continued to grow, but it was not until Colonel Peter Sarpy took an interest that Bellevue took on the status of a real city. Sarpy platted the town and helped organize public services, and in 1855 Bellevue was incorporated. Over the subsequent years, Bellevue experienced significant growth in both population and trade. This growth was undercut, however, by the rising influence of Omaha in the area, which drew away much of the commerce and residents that had formerly flocked to Bellevue. In the 1890s, the city offered cheap land to the U.S. Government in an effort to attract a proposed military base; Fort Crook, later renamed Offutt Air Force Base, was the result of this aggressive move on the part of Bellevue’s city fathers. This progressive move ensured Bellevue’s future, and the city grew and expanded as a support structure for the fort and base.

Today, Bellevue retains its own distinct identity while offering all the conveniences of nearby Omaha and Council Bluffs. Bellevue schools are academically well above the state average and provide a solid educational basis for local children. The quality of life in Bellevue is exceptional, in part due to the expansive 1,300-acre Fontenelle Forest nature preserve that borders Bellevue to the east. This lush green space offers recreational opportunities for local residents and is noted as a habitat for local wildlife including white-tailed deer, raccoons, and beavers. The close proximity of this unspoiled natural forest provides an additional attraction for residents of Bellevue. The median price for homes in Bellevue is $140,000, making it an affordable choice for families just starting out in the metropolitan Omaha area.…

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Learn How to Cap Your Maintenance Costs at Only $400 Per Year

Learn How to Cap Your Maintenance Costs at Only $400 Per Year

One of the things small owners may want to consider and is really a pretty good idea is what they call these home warranty programs. These programs are basically insurance that cost $400 to $500 per year and you essentially insure your entire house.

There is a deductible and if something breaks and the warranty people have to come out and inspect or repair it, you’re only charged $50 or $60 typically. That’s your exposure. If it costs them more to fix it, then they have to pay it. You’ve bought insurance above that. They work fairly well. Some of them work better than others, but for the most part they work fairly well.

They are not always fast. They don’t work great, if it’s like a heater in the middle of winter. They have to use their particular workman and sometimes it takes a while for them to call back. Things like that at times are a little bit problematic.

Typically if it’s done right these things work and you just have to work within them. They’re really not a bad plan at all. They really limit your maintenance exposure. Once the tenant’s in there you’re only exposed to $50 or $60 if something breaks. It’s really something you want to consider.

Rehab Versus Normal Ongoing Maintenance

The other thing you have to remember is make sure you think about whether you’re doing a fairly major rehab versus normal ongoing maintenance. Normal ongoing maintenance is something that would be covered under your home warranty program if you were to buy that. That’s something to consider.

If you’re doing a fairly substantial rehab at the beginning, you obviously would budget and plan for that. Get the rehab done and then purchase the home warranty program.

One of the things I wrestle a little bit with owners is the fact that as a landlord you have a duty to provide good quality safe housing. That means if something breaks you have to fix it. If a window, heater, or hot water heater breaks, you as the owner would have to fix it. That’s part of the obligation of being a landlord.

I understand you collect rents and do all that, but in the end you also have an obligation to that tenant to provide them with good quality, safe housing. It doesn’t have to be extraordinary housing or anything of that nature, but it has to be good quality safe housing.

If something breaks you really have got to fix it in a fairly timely manner. I guarantee you the number one complaint that we get from tenants is not responding to maintenance items fast enough.

We get a lot of tenants that say, “The landlord will not return my call. Whenever I call them blah-blah-blah.” That is one of the ways, and I think we spoke about that the first call. You upset the tenants, they get tired of that, and that’s when they leave and you lose a good tenant. If you perform the maintenance quickly and professionally on time, the tenants will be much happier to stay.…

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Real Estate Investing – Buying in a Bad Neighborhood

Real Estate Investing – Buying in a Bad Neighborhood

Most people are always looking to buy property in a “nice” area or neighborhood. Of course if makes sense to want a nice house in an enjoyable and safe area. There are however a few benefits of buying real estate in the bad part of town or in the slumps of a city. I have listed some of the benefit below:

oYou don’t have to worry about the area going bad because it is already a “bad” part of town. What goes up must come down and that which has hit rock bottom can only be improved. What is important to remember is that the price of a property resembles the condition of that property. Buying in a bad part of town may be a good idea.

oA big difference between a property in a good area and a bad area are the tenants. Tenants in a bad area seem to be more long term. There also seem to be more demand for rentals in a bad neighborhood. People who are renting in a good neighborhood are usually there while looking for a place to buy.

oYou can easily be a “brilliant” landlord. Landlords in bad areas are usually not very good with things like maintenance on their property. You can therefore easily provide better service and charge more for it.

oIn a bad area you can always propose that your property will improve the area and may therefore be able to get different zoning. This is very difficult in a good area.

oIt is possible to increase your purchases. The lower cost definitely makes it possible to buy multiple properties where you would otherwise only buy one.

oReal estate in tough neighborhoods is more resistant when the market falls, like during a recession.

It is not to say that you shouldn’t buy in good neighborhoods. But it’s always good to know what your options are. Good opportunities present themselves in good and bad neighborhoods. Plus it’s always a good idea to look for opportunities where most people aren’t.…

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Home Stagers – It’s Not All About Price

Home Stagers – It’s Not All About Price

I’ve always been one of the most expensive home stagers in my city, from the time I started my business, and I’ve never made any apologies about it. The way I saw it, and still do, was that it’s fine if everyone else wants to give their time away for basically nothing. It doesn’t mean I have to do the same thing.

Instead of trying to compete on price, which is a big mistake for almost any entrepreneur, I put my energy into marketing myself to be perceived as the expert home stager in my market. I wanted people to come to me when they were looking for the best. That led to me getting clients who knew they were going to have to pay more for my services and it was a much more effective marketing strategy than promoting myself as the cheapest stager out there.

If you promote your services as being cheap, you’ll attract penny-pinching clients who don’t value what you have to offer.

People who only care about price will argue every step of the way about any recommendation you might make that might cost extra. You’ll get the people who haven’t spent money maintaining their homes over the years and will balk at repainting over their 1965 decor. You’ll get people who say, “why should I replace that rusted out mailbox or the cracked front window, the new owners can worry about it.”

If you’ve gone into the home staging business because you’re a creative person, I can tell you that sort of client will completely stifle your creativity and suck all the joy out of giving advice and envisioning the potential of a property. You’ll also have to worry more about bounced checks and chasing your money.

Marketing is more than telling people what you charge for your services. You have to position yourself, properly explain the benefits of your services in a way that is meaningful to the potential customer, learn how to convey the right image and relate to people in a way that makes them want to work with you. You really should have a prospect sold on you long before you start talking price. They should want you bad enough that your rate is not an issue. Of course price enters into a buying decision, but the point is you want it to be far down the list after other considerations, not your client’s number one concern.…