Category: Modification

The True Cost of Owning a Sailboat

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Look at today’s blazing hot sailboat market, and you could find some super deals. But buyer beware! The real cost of owning a sailboat could be more than you think. Follow these easy sailing tips for a reality check on what it might take to get a small used sailboat ready for coastal or offshore sailing.

Take “Time Out” for This Reality Check!

Imagine that you are out for a stroll around a marina and come across a boat that catches your eye. You run over to the brokers quaint office next to the marina dock and ask about the boat. You can bet on hearing all the good things and the price just can’t be beat.

Before you do one thing more, count on an additional 33% and 50%. This assumes that the sailboat in question has no hidden damages and can pass a marine survey.

Let’s pretend that you walk back to the boat with the broker and conduct a quick once-over survey of the boat. All seems well; no glaring leaks inside the cabin from the portholes or hatches. No excess water in the bilges.

The engine appears to be well taken care of and starts, shifts, throttles, and stops smooth and easy. Her sails, running rigging and standing rigging seem to have good integrity, without breaks, bends, cracks, distortion, abuse, or neglect. And her boat anchor and ground tackle are in good shape, well cared for, and show minimal signs of deterioration, rust, or corrosion.

Add 33% to Get Her Ready for Coastal Cruising

Plan to spend an additional 33% on top of the purchase cost to get a sailboat ready for coastal cruising.

Hull, Deck and Rigging

Older sailboats may have hull problems such as blisters or water intrusion into the core (wood sandwiched between specific areas on the deck to stiffen and strengthen the deck). Older boats may need running rigging replaced if it has become chafed, worn, or sun damaged.

Part of the standing rigging may need to be upgraded. A surveyor will be able to test the metal integrity of wire shroud and stay ends and turnbuckles to determine if microscopic cracks are present. After years of use and exposure to spray and rain, this can be a common defect on used sailboats.

Sails

Upgrade or add to the sail inventory. No matter what the advertisement says, 8-10 year old sails are past their prime. Stretch, wear, UV light take their toll. At the least they will need a major overhaul. And you may need to replace one or more sails. Consider that on a 27 foot cruising boat, the typical mainsail can cost more than $1000 dollars. That’s labor, additional reef points, and materials. Save lots of money if you learn to repair or make your own sails.

Anchors and Ground Tackle

Beef up the ground tackle. Nothing adds more to the overall safety when sailing than your boat anchors. Carry at least three for coastal cruising. Ground tackle will include all anchoring gear that makes up the anchor, such as windlass or cleat, rope rode, chain, shackles, and anchors. You must have a variety of anchors for different types of sea bottoms and anchoring conditions.

For example, a lightweight Delta for soft mud and a heavier Rocna for storm conditions. Anchors and ground tackle can set you back by $1000 or more. But remember that this will be your #1 insurance policy–not some piece of paper issued by an insurance company. Whatever you do, do not skimp on anchor gear. Buy the best for anchor and ground tackle for safety, security, and peace-of-mind.

Dinghy and Outboard

You will need to be able to move from an anchored boat to shore and back. Set aside funds for an inflatable or rigid dinghy. Add in oars, oarlocks, dinghy anchor, and if desired (and most folks do), an outboard. Before you blink your eyes, with all of these equipment, you should count on expenses of $3000 or more. Invest in a high quality dinghy and gear that will serve you provide you with years or worry-free service.

Navigation Equipment

You will need to purchase nautical charts, along with GPS, plotter, or radar if desired. Include purchases of cruising guides, Coast Pilots, Tide and Current tables, and navigation plotting gear.

Nice to Haves

Shorthanded sailors should consider a wind vane in addition to the auto pilot. Not crucial, but realize that an auto pilot drains the battery faster than most any gear aboard., auto pilot, new halyards and running rigging. Add purchases such as GPS, radar, nautical charts, navigational publications, and your list could increase even more. Set aside the funds for top-of-the-line charts and navigation gear to keep you and your sailing crew or partner safe and sound.

Add 50% to Get Her Ready for Offshore Cruising

You will spend an additional 50% over the purchase price for serious offshore cruising. You will be out of reach of repair or supply facilities for days or weeks at a time, so self-sufficiency becomes much more important than coastal cruising. If you cruise to foreign ports, you may find these supplies much more costly than prices back home. In addition to the gear and modifications mentioned earlier, plan on…

Extensive spare parts kits to cover the engine and deck gear (extra blocks, halyard line, furling gear line, anchor line, anchor chain), replacement wires for standing rigging, additional sails such as trysail and extra Genoa and mainsail, storm gear such as sea anchor, drogue and bridle, redundant or additional electronics such as USB radio (if you desire this technology), and a “no power required” wind vane.

The list can get longer, but you get the idea. Few used sailboats on the market are “ready to sail” for coastal or offshore sailing. So, it’s best to set aside funds to cover at least some of these modifications and additions. That way, you will not be “shell shocked” with the reality of getting a small sailboat ready for sea.

Other Costs While Cruising

Now to those often forgotten costs. You can lower some of these if you are a “do it yourself” (DIY) or independent sailor. For example, slip fees will tear through a cruising budget faster than an approaching squall line. As will dinners out or hotel stays ashore.

Anchor out and cook on the boat to save big bucks and to break the umbilical cord to shore side living. Put these costs into your budget and assess what you need for your personal lifestyle.

  • Slip Fees
  • Fuel
  • Provisioning
  • Entertainment
  • Transportation Ashore (rentals)
  • Transportation Home (if necessary to return home)
  • Repairs (unexpected)
  • Haul Out

Use these sailing tips to help you determine if the cost of ownership is right for you. This will give you the peace-of-mind to know how much money you need to set aside to make your cruising dreams a reality instead of just a dream!

Source by John N. Jamieson

How Real Estate Short Sales Work

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Pre-Listing Considerations
Most of the same considerations you would have when selling under normal circumstances still apply: De-clutter, touch-up the paint, keep the landscaping tidy, etc. Here are some of the extra issues that Short Sellers face and some questions that often ask …

What should you look for in a Listing Agent?
More than anything, you need an agent who has a decent amount of experience with short sales and has shown exceptional market knowledge. Fancy fliers, glamor-shots, and a "neighborhood specialist" will not do you any good in a short sale. And do not hire a "Short Sale Expert" just because they call themselves one.

A great Short Sale Listing Agent will have:

  • Good Short Sale experience. Seeing as how we've been doing them for 4 years, an agent you hire should have done at least 20 or so successful short sales. Be wary of someone who says they've done hundreds … many of them will not have the time or inclining to give you the extra effort when you need it most.
  • Excellent industry and market knowledge. Short sale transactions are so much longer and more complex. It looks like there are a lot more things to go wrong. A good short sale agent needs to understand appraisals, different lending standards and practices, inspection and repair issues, and generally the kind of person who can come up with the solutions needed to keep a deal moving forward.

NOTE: Some agents hire outside short sale negotiators to process the transaction with the Seller's bank. If you are hiring an agent is going to effectively outsource their work, it is really this other company you are hiring. Ask tough questions accordingly. The biggest concerns here are that your listing agent may not be engaged and working as hard to keep your deal together AND some of these outside firms may charge you additional money.

Should you stage or spend any money on repairs?
No and No.

Do you have to be behind on your mortgage payments?
No.

This is one of the most common misconceptions about short sales. I have personally closed short sale transactions where the sellers never missed a payment.

The issue is one of hardship. The bank will want to see that you have a legitimate reason why you can not continue making your payments. If you have a legitimate, provable hardship that justifies why you can not continue to own the house, then you will be a great candidate for a short sale even if you are current on your mortgage. On the same note, exaggerating your pain by not making your payments when you still could probably not going to help you any. The bank will see your pay stubs and your bank statements anyway.

Obviously, credit scores are a big concern for Short Sellers. In theory, a Seller with zero or very few missed payments will have less credit damage than a Seller with many months of missed mortgage payments.

Having said that, I'm not necessarily recommending that would-be Short Sellers continue making their mortgage payments. There are other factors to weigh in that decision …

Should you stop making your mortgage payments?
When making this personal decision, ask yourself the following question: "If the short sale does not work, will I walk away anyway?"

If the answer is no, then maybe keep paying. If the answer is yes, then preserving cash may be the highest priority.

For most Short Sellers, keeping their homes is simply not an option and the cash saved by skipping mortgage payments is far more valuable than a less-bad credit score. Especially if the mortgage payments are high, it gets hard to justify sending more money into what is effectively a black hole.

Should you pull money out of your retirement to pay off the bank?
If it's a small amount, something that you could easily pay back in a reasonable amount of time, then borrowing from family, credit cards, or even your retirement might be worth preventing a short sale. Paying the bank back in full at closing will save your credit.

Just give careful consideration to what your credit is actually worth. Even with a short sale, you can buy a house again in a few years. You can probably even get a car loan pretty quickly, if not right away … the only issue might be that you could end up with a higher interest rate. Beside, are you really going to need much credit for the next year or two anyway?

Is it more financially-prudent to possibly pay $ 40 more per month on a car loan? Or owe $ 30,000 to your uncle?

Should you file bankruptcy?
First of all, that's a question for an attorney, not a real estate professional.

If you only issue is the house, then the answer is probably no. There probably is not anything about the home sale that should cause you to need to file bankruptcy. And, filing bankruptcy probably will not (at this point) treat you of the mortgage debts you owe.

I can tell you that bankruptcy filing will complicate the short sale because not only we will need your lender's blessing, but that's your bankruptcy trustee as well. This extra step can cause delays and potentially kill a deal.

Generally-speaking, your real estate transaction will go a lot smoother if you can delay filing bankruptcy. Please consult an attorney when deciding what to do.

Marketing and Selling a Short Sale
When marketing your short sale, you can probably skip some of the steps that traditional sellers take.

How much should you list your Short Sale for?
You need to show the bank that you made a decent effort to get them a fair price. Too many Agents and Sellers make the mistake of underpricing property and then having the Seller's bank reject the offer. Try to figure out what your house might reasonably appraise for and list at that price.

Then, if you do not get any offers after 3 weeks, drop 5%. After another few weeks, drop again. And again, if necessary. Essentially, just keep dropping 5% or so every few weeks until you sell. By starting at a fair price and making reasonable drops, you show the bank that you are operating in good faith to obtain a fair offer.

What Marketing Do Short Sales Need?
Just put it on the MLS and let your agent to their thing. Flyers, open houses, broker's tours, newspaper ads … none of these things will benefit you in any way.

Negotiating Your Short Sale with the Buyer
When an offer does come in, setting the Buyer's expectations is key. Your Agent should let them know that it could take several months to get a response and try to gauge how likely they are to stick with you. Remember, the best offer is the one that will close at the best price.

Other than contract clean-up, do not bother haggling over the price as long as it is in the right ballpark. Sellers should let their bank guide them in any counter-offer … even if it takes a few months to get to that point.

If you counter-offer a reasonable Buyer to come up in price, three bad things could happen:

  1. The Buyer could get mad and walk – and maybe the bank would accept their offer as it was.
  2. If the Seller's bank requests another counter, the buyer could get mad that they now have to negotiate a price a second time (meaning the initial negotiations were a misleading waste), and they might be more likely to walk away.
  3. If the Seller's bank does not counter, the Buyer could get upset that, thinking that their original, lower offer might have been accepted as well and that they could have paid less.

In a normal transaction, the Buyer and Seller negotiate with each other. In a short sale, the spirit of the negotiations change: it becomes the Buyer and Seller working together to get the deal approved by the Seller's bank.

There is no reason for hardball negotiation. Buyers and Sellers will need to maintain a good relationship for several months for the short sale to be successful. Start off on the right foot!

Submitting a Short Sale Package
Remember that for a bank to approve a Short Sale, they are really approving two things: the Offer and the Seller.

Here are the basic components of the Short Sale Package that Seller's Agent will submit to their bank:

Bank Authorization Letter for the Listing Agent
This is a short letter from the Sellers to their bank, authorizing that bank to share their personal information with their Listing agent. The account number needs to be at the top and it needs to be signed and dated by all sellers on record. The text should be short and sweet something like:

"We hereby authorize you to share our personal information with AGENT NAME from AGENT'S COMPANY."

Be sure to include the Agent's contact info. Your agent should be able to type this letter for you and have you sign it.

Last Two-Years of Tax Returns
Assuming you've filed.

Last Two-Months Bank Statements
(These will likely need to be updated before final approval)

Last Two-Months of Pay Stubs
(These will likely also need to be updated before final approval)

Monthly Cash-Flow Worksheet
Some banks will provide this after the short Sale Package is submitted. Basically, the bank wants a quick, one-page sketch of your monthly cash-flow. Write down how much monthly income you have, then show your expenses as line items and subtract. Including your mortgage, you should be negative.

A Short Sale Hardship Letter
The whole point of a hardship letter is to explain to the bank how your personal financial situation has changed since you took out the loan. They will want to see specifics: medical issues, job-loss or pay reduction, legal problems, etc. From the bank's perspective, if nothing has really changed since the money was borrowed, then the Seller either lied then or is lying now and they may not be cooperative.

Again, short and sweet. Keep it to one page.

Copies of all Contracts
The short sale package will include a copy of the listing contract with your agent and a copy of the fully-executed purchase contract with the Buyer, including a pre-approval letter from their lender.

The HUD (Estimated Settlement Statement)
The escrow company will prepare an estimated HUD, which will show the Seller's lender all of the transaction costs and detail exactly how much money the bank is going to get at the end. The escrow officer should estimate costs based on a close date at least 90-120 days out.

NOTE: The Seller's bank will pay real estate statements, taxes, and most other normal closing costs.

Package Submission
All together, a Short Sale Package can be hundreds of pages. The agent will add a cover page and usually fax this package to the bank's Loss-Mitigation Department. In some cases (Countrywide for example) these papers are actually faxed to India, where they are sorted, scanned, and send back to the Loss Mitigation Department here in the US

It can be frustrating just getting a complete package to a lender. Pages do not always fax clearly or even get lost. And, it can take a couple of weeks sometimes for a lender to even be able to tell you if they received your fax.

A thorough and persistent Agent will help make sure that the bank has everything they need as quickly as possible.

The Short Sale Bank Approval Process
Processes vary slowly from lender to lender, but generally share the same major components. Here is a roadmap for how the typical short sale approval process …

The Set-Up Department
Most banks have a department which job it is to make sure that the short sale package is complete and correct before passing the file on to the next department. The listing agent must call into the bank and reach someone in this department as soon as possible to confirm that the file is complete and moving on to the next stop.

If the agent does not follow up, the file will not go anywhere because nobody from the bank will ever call the agent to say that something is missing.

After Set-Up, the file is typically moved to a "Phase One Negotiator," where a BPO can be ordered.

If the Listing Agent is on the ball, a file can typically move from Set-Up to Phase One in 1-2 weeks.

Phase One: Ordering a BPO
When a file is moved from one department to another, it goes back to the bottom of the pile. You may have been assigned an actual Phase One Negotiator, but several weeks could pass before they even look at the file. There is usually no direct phone number, no e-mail, and no good way to get a hold of them.

Some banks have a policy where, if you have not heard from your Phase One Negotiator in 30 days, then you can escalate your complaints to a supervisor (who may have a week to get back to you). Depending on the workload and the quality of your negotiator, this process can move quickly or slowly and a persistent agent can make a big difference.

When your Phase One Negotiator opens your file, the first thing they'll do is order a BPO.

A BPO (Broker's Price Opinion) is similar to an appraisal, except it is done by a real estate agent and the bank pays them $ 50- $ 100 vs $ 300- $ 500 for an actual appraisal.

When the order goes out, it takes a few business days to actually be assigned to a BPO agent. That agent then has a few days to get it done and return it, where it goes back to the Phase One Negotiator.

If the BPO value and the offer price are close enough, and the rest of the file is complete, the Phase One Negotiator will send the file up to a Phase Two Negotiator. Often, the bank will need updated bank statements and pay stubs.

NOTE: The bank will NOT share the BPO with you (do not even bother asking).

On average, another 30-60 days has passed at this point, bringing the total to around 60-75 days.

Phase Two: Negotiation and Acceptance
It will probably take the Phase Two Negotiator a week or two to get to the file. Their job is to submit the file to the investors for approval. Depending on who actually owns the loan (remember, this is the Loss Mitigation Department of the servicer , not necessarily the lender ) this could be a quick or slow process.

If the Investor wants more money, the Phase Two Negotiator will verbally tell the Listing agent where the price needs to be to get the deal done. At that point, the Seller's would send a counter-offer to the Buyer. If the Buyer accepts, great. If not, then the investors may choose to accept or decline the short sale.

If the investor accepts the deal, the Phase Two Negotiator will send a letter to the Listing Agent, detailing the terms of the acceptance. In general, the Short Sale Approval Letter will:

  • Acknowledge the purchase price, list allowable fees (including agreements), and give a net dollar amount that the bank will accept as payoff.
  • Detail that this short payoff either extinguishes the debt, or that the bank may continue to pursue collections after the sale.
  • Have an expiration date, usually about 30 days from when the letter is written.
  • The dollar amount that they will pay the second lender (if applicable).
  • Detail any other terms.

If the Seller is comfortable with the terms in this letter, they can sign it and submit a copy to the Buyer. In California, this would serve as written proof of bank approval of the short sale and the normal escrow process would begin.

If the Seller is not comfortable with any of the terms in the letter, they may be able to negotiate. For example, a seller may demand that the debt be officially extinguished and often the lender will agree to this request.

Getting Short Sale Approval From The Second Lender
If there is a second lender involved, the Listing Agent would send them the same Short Sale Package and manage the approval process with both banks concurrently.

A couple of differences:

  1. The second lender may not bother ordering a BPO.
  2. The second lender will not send any type of written approval until after the first lender approves the deal.

Once the second lender sees how much the first lender will pay them, they will either agree to the deal, or demand more money. If they demand more money, the Listing Agent has to negotiate with the Phase Two Negotiator to strike a deal.

Obviously, an experienced and savvy Listing Agent can be a tremendous asset at this point.

FRAUD ALERT: Increasingly, second lenders are asking either the Buyer or Seller to send them extra cash, outside of escrow, for them to approve the deal. This is fruadulent and illegal. However, the Buyer or Seller may send extra cash to the second lender IF the first lender knows about it. So get the blessing from the first lender first, and put it on the HUD where everyone can see it.

NOTE: If there is a second loan, but it's with the same bank as the first loan, they are usually handled together.

This negotiation process and actually obtaining the approval letter (s) can take another 1-2 weeks. On average a Short Sale will can go from initial submission to full approval in about 90 days. Sometimes it's faster. Some banks, like Wachovia, can approve a short sale in about 3-weeks. Others, unfortunately, still can take 4-6 months.

The Short Sale Escrow Process and Close
Most banks will send the file to a Phase Three Negotiator, who manages the escrow period and closing of the file.

Once official notice is given to the Buyer, the traditional escrow process begins. The Buyer will order their assessment and any inspections. If, as a result of inspections, the Buyer requests credits for repairs, that request, along with the inspection reports, will go right to the Phase Three Negotiator. They will either approve the credits, or deny them. And the deal will either proceed, or start all over again.

Just before close, the escrow company will send an updated HUD to the Short Sale Lender (s) to sign and approve one last time. They will look to make sure that the credits, expenses, and net proceeds match what they had approved in their approval letter.

Extensions
Sometimes it happens where the buyer needs some extra time to close the deal. If this happens, the Listing Agent must obtain new approval letters with extended close dates. Generally, though not happy about it, banks will cooperate.

How Short Sales Die
There are three general reasons why unsuccessful short sales die:

  1. The Seller has no hardship and / or has plenty of money, causing the bank to decline the deal or to refuse to extinguish the debt. Here, the Seller may have no choice but to foreclose and deal with the consequences.
  2. The property is too close to foreclosure and the bank would rather just foreclose.
  3. The Seller changes their mind and decides to try some sort of loan modification instead.

Regarding a modification, know that most banks will solicit Short Sellers and try to get them to agree to a modification instead. As the months wear on and morale is low, some Seller agree to this because it's the easiest way to end the misery of short sale limbo.

Getting a New Buyer
It is fairly common that the initial buyer – the one who's purchase contract was sent to the bank in the Short Sale Package – will give up and go buy a different house instead. For a Seller, this is certainly a setback, but it's not the end of the world.

In fact, that first, false Buyer did the seller a favor: they got the short sale process started. Now, the Seller can go back on the market and let a prospective new buyer know that they are that much closer to short sale approval.

Maybe the BPO has been done. Maybe the bank had even accepted a purchase price. New Buyers might be thrilled to submit an offer knowing that the bank will respond more quickly.

The Listing Agent will quickly get the new contract and new HUD over to the negotiator and the process should keep moving forward.

It's not uncommon that the usual Buyer is the second or third buyer that a Seller contracts with. Again, a savvy and experienced Listing Agent can really help at this point, both by getting more Buyers excited and by keeping the process moving smoothly at the bank.

IMPORTANT: Do not tell the bank the deal died until after you get a new buyer! If you do, you may have to start all over.

Credit, Collections, and Tax Consequences
It is critical to understand that, Sellers could face credit, collections, and tax consequences as a result of their short sale.

Everyone wants to know the impact on their credit scores, but there is no clear answer. As it stands today, Short Sellers may qualify for a Fannie Mae or FHA mortgage after 2-3 years, but these rules are always changing.

Regarding collections, one of the big advantages of a short sale is that you have a change to negotiate with your creditors up front. If they say that they will remove the lien from the property, but refuse to forgive the remaining debt and intend to collect, try hard to negotiate a beneficial exit. Generally, it is true that whatever collections consequences a Seller may face after a short sale, they would face the same consequences, or worse, with foreclosure.

However, there may be instances where a Seller is better off foreclosing than doing a short sale. If you are unsure about your situation, please speak with an attorney.

Regarding tax consequences, President Bush signed the Mortgage Debt Forgiveness Relief Act , which disappeared Short Sellers of the federal income taxes owed from certain forgiven mortgage debt. From Wikipedia:

The Mortgage Forgiveness Debt Relief Act was introduced in Congress on September 25, 2007, and became law on December 20, 2007. This act offered relief to homeowners who would formerly owe taxes on forgiven mortgage debt after facing foreclosure. The act extends such relief for three years, applying to debts discharged in calendar year 2007 through 2009. (With the Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008, this tax relief was extended another three years, covering debts discharged through calendar year 2012.)

Normally in US law when a lender decides to forgive all or a portion of a borrower's debt and accept less, the forgiven amount is considered as income for the borrower and is liable to be taxed.

However, after the signing of the Mortgage Forgiveness Act, amendments have been made to remove such tax liability and allow the borrower and lender to work freely together to find a common solution that is beneficial to both parties.

There may still be State tax liabilities and liabilities on second mortgages and home-equity lines of credit. Also, this program only applies to principal residences. Please consult a tax accountant if you have any questions regarding your potential tax liabilities.

Source by Greg Fielding

How To Choose Real Estate Software – What Features Are You Looking For?

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Before you commit to any buying any type of real estate software for your website, you should begin by determining the needs of your business and the features of software that is on the market.

Answer and then print out the checklist below of the features that you need before you begin your browsing.

Real Estate Software Features

You may know exactly what you are looking for, or perhaps you are new to software for your website and are confused where to get started. Regardless of your knowledge of real estate software, it is important to understand certain features that are available on the market.

Questions to ask yourself

* What is the main purpose of adding real estate software onto your website?

If you are a Realtor, then the main function is likely to show your properties on your website to your possible buyers and make it simple for them to find what they are looking for. If you are a web entrepreneur, then your purpose may be to create a real estate listing website in South America and then allow other people who are selling their homes to add it to their website. Your purpose may be to create a website that generates income through advertising and subscription sales.

* Will this be your personal Realtor site or an entrepreneurial web venture?

If it is your personal site, then you will be the only person adding your property listings. Some software also allows you to sell subscriptions so that other people can list their properties on your site as well. For this option, you do not have be a Realtor, but instead a web entrepreneur who sees the benefit of a property listing website in a certain area that someone selling their home or other Realtors can add their properties to.

* If you allow other people’s listings, will it be a free or paid listing site?

If you offer a free-listing site, then you have the opportunity for a high amount of users listing their properties (which means high traffic), and a good chance that you could create income by selling advertising space on your site. The second option is to offer a basic free option, and then upgrade package (that costs more) that would allow users to upload images, receive higher ranking and so on.

* How computer savvy are you?

If you are familiar with PHP and HTML, then it would be ideal to find open-source software that allows you to make any sort of modifications needed as they come along so that your software can grow as your business does. If you have no idea what PHP or HTML are, then it is important to have software that is ready to go and easy to use immediately after download. Ideally, you would like to install the software onto your site and begin adding your property listings all in the same day.

* What is your budget for your website?

If you are just starting out, you are probably finding that there are a variety of costs to get going with your website. You can certainly find high-quality software with excellent features for around $50.00.

Source by Heidi Rasmussen

Race Cars, Cheetahs, and Fix and Flip Loans: The Need for Speed

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Speed ​​matters. It can be the difference between winning the Indy 500, catching tonight's dinner, or making a profit on a real estate fix and flip project. Many real estate investors turn to hard money loans to finance the purchase and renovation of rehab properties, and the need for speed is one of the chief reasons why.

How can you "win the race" in the real estate renovation world?

Renovation projects are extremely time-sensitive, and require funding sources that can respond quickly. Here's why:

· Quickest Money Gets the Deal: In a high-density area like Washington DC, the competition for suitable fix and flip properties is intense. When foreclosed, abandoned or dilapidated housing stock comes onto the market, it's often the developer with the quickest access to funding that snaps up the property. If you can not arrange funding within a couple of days, you might miss a great deal.

TIP: The US Department of Housing and Urban Development's website has a portal that lists all foreclosed properties in the country. Check it out to see what's available near you.

· Timing your Sale : In most areas, the optimum time to sell a fixer-upper is constrained to a multiple-month buying season, usually starting in early spring. This means you ideally time your purchase and the completion of rehab to coincide with the selling season. A speedy private loan, available as soon as you need it, is the key to proper timing of your rehab project. A recent Zillow study puts the magic window to sell between mid-March and mid-April, depending on variables such as location and weather. Homes sold during this window sold 15 percent faster and for 2% more. That's real money in your pocket.

· Flexibility : Fix and flip or construction loans are often structured with a draw schedule, so that funding is released each time you reach a given benchmark (permitting, framing, etc). This ensures a steady flow of funds throughout the project. However, cost overruns and construction delays can occur, and developers often increase the project scope or timeline after initial funding. Whatever your reason for needing additional funds for your project, waiting for a new loan can slow the project down. Hard-money loans can be structured to include multiple phases, drawing on phase two or three only if needed, and money can be disbursed as quickly as the same day, so that there should not be any interruption to your project.

Source by Bobby Montagne

10 Top TV Survival Shows and Reality Shows

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I love survival shows and reality shows, and want to share some of my favorites with you. TV survival and reality shows are instructional, a reenactment of a true story, a dangerous occupation or an adventure, and make us feel like we have experienced the harsh struggle right along with the featured people. We’ve all seen wilderness survival, urban survival, crab fishing in the Bering Sea and all sorts of great subjects, allowing us to learn and be entertained at the same time.

It is hard to pick, but here are a few of these wonderful programs. They are from a variety of channels including Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Outdoor Channel, Spike TV, truTV and CBS. I know there are more out there, but in this article we’ll try to pick the cream of the crop.

* Survivor from CBS combines wilderness survival as a team player and as individuals in this competition for a top prize of $1,000,000. Players need to outwit, outplay and outsurvive the others, as the competitors are eliminated at different stages. This is one of the first and best TV reality shows, and has lasted quite some time.

* Deadliest Catch from Discovery Channel features crab fishing in the Bering Sea, and follows several boats and crews during the different crab fishing seasons. These are tough captains and fisherman in one of the most dangerous occupations around. This program portrays the difficulties of the weather, working conditions and the personal stories of each crew member. This is another one of my favorite TV reality shows, and continues to be watched by many fans.

* Dual Survival, one of the Discovery Channel survival shows, features both survival experts Cody Lundin and Dave Canterbury. This program is both instructional and entertaining, and shows a variety of climates and conditions. Cody Lundin is more of the hippie type minimalist/survivalist and Dave Canterbury has a military/hunting survivalist background. Both men come from unique perspectives, giving the viewers great insight and knowledge.

* Man vs. Wild features Bear Grylls, who served with the United Kingdom Special Forces. This is another one of Discovery Channel survival shows, and puts Bear in different locations all over the world. Man vs. Wild keeps your attention, and gives another way to survive the elements in both wilderness and urban environments.

* The Best Defense: Survival! is from one of the Outdoor Channel survival shows. This program’s hosts are Michael Bane, Michael Janich and Rob Pincus, who also host The Best Defense. This program is highly instructional, showing urban survival skills with episodes on the survival room, food, water, medical, security, transportation/bugout, bugin/shelter in place. Urban survival supplies and skills are a great addition for most viewers, giving instruction and plans for a variety of situations.

* Surviving Disaster from Spike TV, led by Navy SEAL Cade Courtley, is also one of the best survival shows I have ever seen. Surviving Disaster episodes include Hijack, Towering Inferno, Hurricane, Earthquake, Home Invasion, Avalanche, Lost at Sea, Mall Shooting, Nuclear Attack and Pandemic. Cade Courtley and his expert instruction could save your life, so please watch and pay close attention to this excellent program on Spike TV.

* I Shouldn’t Be Alive from Animal Planet reenacts true survival stories. There is something different about a program when you know that it really happened. Unlike the other programs, this one has the survivor tell their own personal story, with amazing real survival situations. They range from mountaineering, plane crashes, lost at sea, lost in the Outback of Australia and many other life-threatening ordeals. Animal Planet has the story reenacted, with the real survivor narrating the events. These are truly amazing survival stories.

* The Amazing Race is another of CBS TV reality shows, and is an adventure and competition between teams. Each pair is given instruction and limited resources to travel between a variety of locations, and tasks have to be completed along the way. After each stage, the last team to arrive at the destination is eliminated. This show is extremely popular.

* Conspiracy Theory with Jesse Ventura on truTV may not be your typical program, but in order to survive, you need to know what is really going on in the world. Jesse Ventura and the investigative team from truTV dig deep to research, do interviews and present the facts behind difficult conspiracy theories. Episodes include subjects such as Lyme Disease, secret societies, Wallstreet, JFK Assassination, HAARP (weather modification), Big Brother, 9/11 and many other interesting topics.

*Expedition Impossible on ABC is one of the newest TV survival reality shows, and looks to be an excellent adventure competition. This program comes from Executive Producer Mark Burnett, who also produces Survivor and The Apprentice. Expedition Impossible features 13 3-person teams, as they must complete a stage of the journey each week, with 10 stunning legs to travel. The first team to finish wins $50,000 for each member and a brand new Ford Explorer. This will be an excellent survival and reality show.

These are some of my favorites, and I hope you enjoy them too. As mentioned earlier, there are so many more TV survival shows and reality shows that are on now and from the past that are great too, but these are my 10 top picks. Education and fun combined is surely the best way to keep the mind sharp.

Source by Susan Hovis

What Is Best Treatment For Acid Reflux?

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Acid reflux disease (GERD) is a medical condition wherein the esophagus becomes inflamed or irritated because of the backing up of acids from the stomach. Acid reflux disease treatment can be done in several methods.

Most often, physicians are suggesting rubric modifications of lifestyles when they recommend non-pharmaceutical GERD treatments for their patients. However, most dietary involvements are anecdotal. Only the head bed’s elevation and weight loss were supported by some evidences.

Diet

Acid reflux disease treatment can be done through avoiding lifestyles and foods which are promoting such condition. Too much amount of Vitamin C supplement, alcohol, and coffee can stimulate secretion of gastric acid. Never take these substances before bedtime because it can trigger evening reflux. Quit smoking and eating high fatty foods to maintain the capability of the lower esophageal sphincter and prevent delayed stomach emptying. It is also beneficial to eat smaller meals instead of large meals. Other types of food to be avoided include peppermint, chocolate, spicy foods, cruciferous vegetables (cabbage, onions, Brussels sprouts, spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower), acidic foods (tomatoes and oranges, good if eaten fresh), and milk, as well as milk related products containing fat and calcium.

Positional Therapy

This acid reflux disease treatment focuses on the implementation of head bed positioning. Implementing a pharmacologic therapy combined with avoiding restricted foods before bedtime plus proper head bed elevation can give a patient a feeling of complete relief. In incomplete relief cases, further conservative measures are adopted to optimize response to the treatment.

Head bed elevation is accomplished through using blocks or other items such as wooden or plastic bed risers that support bed legs or posts, a bed wedged-pillow, or an inflatable lifter mattress which can fit in between the box spring and the mattress. Keep in mind that the elevation’s height is critical. The required minimum height is 15-20 centimeters (6-8 inches) to hinder gastric fluids backflow effectively. Some patients are even claiming that utilizing more than 6-8 inches blocks is more effective.

Drug Treatment

Acid reflux disease treatment through the use of various drugs is effective. Some medication forms are most often recommended in many Western countries. These drugs can be utilized in combination with other medications.

– Proton pump inhibitors. Reduce secretion of gastric acids most effectively by stopping the acid production source.

– Antacids. Increase the level of pH and lessen gastric acidity. Effective if taken before meals and after the symptoms start.

– Alginic acid or Gaviscon. Coats the mucosa, decrease reflux, and increase the levels of pH. The meta-analysis of controlled randomized trials shows that Alginic acid is one of the most efficient non-prescription treatments.

– H2 receptor gastric blockers (famotidine or ranitidine). Reduce secretion of gastric acid. These medications are antihistamines which also relieve complaints to almost 50 percent of patients having GERD.

– Prokinetics. Speed up emptying the stomach and support the LES.

– Sucralfate. Helps in healing and preventing esophageal damages. Taking this drug for several times a day with two hours interval from medication and meals is also effective.

Surgical Treatment

Acid reflux disease treatment can be also done through a surgery. This treatment is applicable if all the above mentioned forms of medications failed. The Nissen fundoplication is performed laparoscopically by wrapping the stomach’s upper part on the LES for strengthening the sphincter, preventing acid reflux, and repairing hiatal hernia.

Always remember, before deciding on an acid reflux disease treatment, always consult a doctor.

Source by Christopher W Smith

Why Moving To Drupal CMS Is a Great Advantage

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Whether you are a webmaster, a business owner or a developer, it is very important to have a web technology that can help you to create a site that can help you to remain competitive in the market and at the same time meet the demands of your customers. In fact, selecting a CMS is the first step to create a functional website and it can really be a daunting task. Drupal CMS is an open source platform that has powered millions of websites and applications. Since it is fully flexible and extensible, and you have great access to a huge community of active developers worldwide, it can help the developers quickly build and customize the project according to the client’s requirements.

Drupal and its plenty of opportunities:

Drupal CMS development can be used to build community web portals to personal websites, social networking sites to e-stores, from resource directories to newsletters. It is a strong web platform that allows various organizations to address specific requirements to create a stronger online presence. With this platform you can have an easy access to twenty nine thousand modules and about two thousand different themes that can be used to develop customized websites. Thousands of add-on modules and designs have made Drupal development the most preferred choice of designers as well as developers.

A comparison with Joomla and WordPress

We all are aware of the fact that each web development platform has its own features and functionalities. WordPress is a good pick for the beginners and it works well for blogging or mid-sized websites. Joomla on the other hand is a very good platform that can be used for ecommerce websites and requires some technical knowledge when it comes to coding. Compared to both these two platforms, Drupal is the hardest and the most powerful CMS among all and it is suitable for all types of websites and is the easiest CMS for moderation. It is also considered while creating ecommerce sites as an addition or modification of Drupal templates is easy and does not take much time to create tailor made apps.

Some advantages of using the Drupal platform:

Rapid and Agile: Web 2.0 development is at the core of Drupal and it offers clean markup code, content management, forums, search, page and blog publishing and many more.

Highly scalable: Drupal is highly scalable. If you start with 5 pages initially, you have the option to grow to 5000 pages without requiring changing anything. The security and performance parameters can easily be changed from the Admin console.

Free modules available: There are more than 16000 modules available from the community that makes it easy to add specific features to your site. From security, CRM and social media to SEO, backup, migration or performance and more there are various modules available that make it easy to add latest features.

3rd party integration: A huge community of developers and theme designers has created numerous feature rich templates to help you realize your website’s vision. Responsive layouts, stock graphics, aesthetics, fonts, color schemes and layout editors make it easy to work with 3rd party themes. Adding ecommerce modules or integrating payment gateways is also easy as Drupal is open to lots of APIs and modules.

Source by Prince N

The "What, Why, When and How" of a Content Plan

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For a moment, visualize your website without the words, the images, the videos, the audio, the embed apps or even the raw data! How does it look and feel now? Empty, inanimate, useless, and worthless! Well, that sums up the value of web content. That said, you cannot fill up your website with just anything. The content you place and distribute over the World Wide Web, ought to have a purpose, which may be brand building, boosting online sales, simply delivering information to the visitors or a mix of all of these. When the content fails to hit these targets, it is nothing but noise. So, what differentiates a meaningful, relevant, goal-oriented content from the noise? The answer is – a strategic Content Plan.

“What is Content Plan & Do I have one for my website?”

The question is an obvious unless you are an online marketer who spends hours mapping digital marketing campaigns. In the plainest words, the Content Plan is a blueprint of what content you publish online, when, on what platform, for whom and with what objective. The other experts may add to the definition to widen its scope, but the essence is extracted in this one sentence. Now, addressing the latter part of your question, “Do I have one for my website”; well, if you have a documented plan for what content you release on the internet, your answer is a yes. Otherwise, you are still in need of one.

“Okay! I don’t have a Content Plan, and I think I don’t need it either”

That’s a common perception, and there’s nothing wrong if you feel the same way. However, please answer these questions to see if there is a shift in position regarding your Content Plan claim.

  1. Are you glad about the cost per visitor you extract from your website?
  2. Do you remember who published the last web page/blog post on your website?
  3. Is your Facebook page “Likes” & “Comments” count shooting up?
  4. Do you plan and discuss the online content at par with other marketing content?

The 4 straight ‘No(s)‘ or even 3 of them, is an eye-opener – a Content Plan is required.

“Agree! Suggest me a Content Plan then!”

To get a Content Plan that’s tailored exactly as per your business requirements, you may seek assistance from the professionals who are expert in Web Content Development. In case, you want to do it yourself, here is an outline of the entire content planning process.

“How Do I Start?”

For a new website, you begin Content Planning when you are through with the user research. In case, you already own a website with no content strategy, the process can be divided into the following broad stages.

  • Network Research

This is about identifying the online networks and communities where brands like you are discussed so that you can listen to the traffic and develop suitable content.

  • User Research

What the users want? The better way is to ask them. Conducting informal research and getting friends and acquaintances take up survey questions can be a good way of user research if you are all on your own.

  • Content Profiling

What type of content is a hit among the users on a particular platform, network or online community? Content profiling involves the analysis of available content from similar brands so as to develop an engaging content in the form of text, images, audio, videos, apps and the like.

  • Content Scheduling

An integrated content calendar is a must for a successful digital marketing campaign. It involves scheduling of content releases on various platforms. Articles, blogs, tweets, Facebook status updates, and all other content type is planned in advance and tailored with an eye on trends and seasonality.

  • Content Generation & Sourcing

This is the most demanding part and involves combined efforts from the content strategists, editors, writers, data analysts and user behavior specialists. You may commission specialist content like video, infographics, mobile applications, etc. and serve the users with valuable, relevant matter. Linking to third-party content and directing visitors to useful content is another smart way of using the best content available on the subject.

  • Distribution

The greatest of content, if not distributed, on the right time on the right space, will rot and eventually lose user-value. The techniques of Search Engine Optimization, Social Media Optimization, syndication, paid search and content partnership play a defining role on how well the content circulates in the exploitable channels.

  • Audit & Measurement

You need to audit and measure the results of your content marketing efforts. It provides a keen insight on how the targeted users are influenced and how positive they are about the content, which will eventually govern the required modifications.

Hopefully, all these details about the Content Plan will guide you devise an effective content strategy and help your website get bigger and better.

Source by Anuragg Gupta

Throw Out The Credit Cards and Stop Bank Foreclosure

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If you have ever tried to stop bank foreclosure you may have found that some lenders are more favorable than others. Foreclosure does not have to be your end fait – you can do something about it! This article will look at some simple ways to stop bank foreclosure and live again.

You may have heard this a hundred times, but banks and lenders do not want to foreclose on your property unless they have absolutely no other choice. In most cases they would rather take fewer payments or sell the home for a lower price than go through the pain staking procedure of foreclosing on your home or land.

Yes, the process to stop bank foreclosure can be rather intimidating if you have never faced any kind of collection process before, but it really does not need to be so bad. If you can make a phone call or two you have what it takes to stop bank foreclosure and save your home today.

The first step to stop bank foreclosure is to make sure that you have made contact with the lender and expressed your desire to wok with them. Most lender will be elated to discover that you intend to stay in the home if you can work out an amicable set up. Maybe make interest only payments for a said period of months until you can see some clearing.

If the lender is not able to work out a reasonable payment plan to stop bank foreclosure for your budget then you may be able to work out some interest only payments on a credit card or two to make up the difference in your home payment. That is if you are coming up short each month. Your home is much more important than any credit card bill that may lapse a few months.

Source by Tom Turner

Take the Quad Out!

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While the most exciting portions of figure skating routine (for some) are the jumps, these high-flying athletic moves are the ultimate feats of a skater's ability. Jumps, in figure skating, come in two varieties, rotational and positional. Positional jumps are short jumps that display an artistic position in the air. The primary objective of rotational jumps is to rotate while airborne. In these jumps, the skater appears to spin in the air. Skaters' routines are measured partly on rotational jumps. For a quad, skaters have to achieve maximum rotation. While skaters need to develop as much rotational energy as possible, it is important that they obtain the best possible rotational position during the airborne portion of a performance as well.

Dick Button landed the first triple in 1952. Kurt Browning of Canada landed the first quad in 1982. Today, the quad jumps have become required elements in the men's program. Quad toe loops seem to be the most frequently attempted quad jumps. While many skaters credit Jozef Sabovchik of Slovakia with landing the first quad jump, in 1984, at the Winter Olympics. The first official quad was performed by Kurt Browning at the 1988 world championships. Suddenly the quad is the rage. How far will we go with those risky jumps? Do we want five six rotations in the air? Are we looking for as many revolutions until we run out of numerical prefixes? What is the limit of jumping possibilities? Is a quintuple toe loop or a quadruple Axel in our future?

The jump is called a quadruple toe loop, and it is performed by gliding backward on the right skate, planting the left toe pick, lifting off with an outside edge of the right skate, spinning four times and landing on the same outside edge of the Right skate. Art, science, agility and strength have all been used in describing skaters. However, it takes a high degree of difficulty to achieve the quad. The key is to get the optimal combination of height and rotation. There are four key events for the quad. Toe-pick: the instant the toe pick is planed onto the ice; Take off: the last contact with the ice; Height: the top of the flight phase; Landing: the immediate contact with the ice. Obviously, the quad alone will not win a title; It's the total package, the artistry, the spins and the footwork. Obviously the focused should be on elements other than just the jumps.

A mistake in the quad costs dear while skaters can gain points on easier jumps. Doing a quad comes down to risk vs. Reward in a judging system that puts emphasis on energy-sapping footwork and stiffly penalizes faulty jumps. The quadruple toe loop, is worth 9.8 points. The quad can come at a price. If you do it, you're a star. But if there is anything wrong with it -for instance, a fall, or it's under rotated, or too weak to do a combination after it, it's downgraded. There are very few skaters who can make a mistake on the quad and still land it. A negative grade of execution can cost up to three points. A triple Axel is worth 8.2 points. When it is done well, it can earn up to three bonus points. So why risk falling on a quad when you're more likely to land a clean triple Axel anyhow?

Rotational energy is the fuel that skaters work with, and they have to have energy to work with. The quad is an important jump. It's fun. It's interesting. It's beautiful when it's done right. While the quad is big news, I wonder if it will be some time before figure skaters are doing quintuple jumps. If you can do a quad well, by all means do it. But skating should never be about the jumps. It should be poetry on ice! No quad. While I agree that quad jumpers should be given more points, because of the tremendous risks involved, but I would rather be very pleased with the attention given to creativity and to the art we are so used to when it comes to skating.

The quad jump is a spectacular move. It is a neat and exciting. With the techniques and equipment currently used now, I think the athletes are pushing the envelope. I do not see a quint any time soon or a quad Axel. I do see the other more difficult quads –Lutz's and flips however – being done soon as well as more consistent and higher quality jumps. To add a revolution may take a while (or maybe not) and potentially some new technique, training or equipment modifications to the sport. I imagine that with different technologies in boots, blades, along with different training techniques, strength-training, and perhaps costumes, it might be possible for skaters to land bigger jumps.

There are limits to what the human body can do and I wonder how close we are to them in the sport of figure skating. I long for the good ole 6.0 system. Weir has complained of the new system, saying such things as, "It gives you points for being able to chew on your shoes," Concerns for artistic expression has become secondary with the preoccupation of racking up points. Technical ability does not only refer to jumps, but it includes spins, footwork, and a general flexibility. I just love to watch figure skating, and to witness the numerous feats of athleticism, skill, courage, endurance and passion.

Source by G Gautreau

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