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I Love My New Apartment More Than My Old House

I shared a home with roommates for 10 years. I could not afford to buy one of my own because of the high down payment amount that you need in order to get one, so I figured the next best thing would be to share the cost of a great home with other friends who were in the same position. Earlier this year, two of my roommates got married, and this meant they needed to move out of our home. I couldn’t afford the house alone, so one of my roommates told me I should check out apartments in Atlanta that are more affordable. I really wanted to be in another house, so I told her I would think about it after I spoke to an agent to find out if there were any smaller homes I could rent.

I looked online to find leasing companies that could help me locally. I learned that they do most of the work to find you a great place, and they earn a referral fee for doing so. It does not raise the cost of your monthly rent.

Luxury Real Estate Company Improves Mobility, Security and Email Performance with Google Apps

ditors note: Today’s guest blogger is Colleen Barry, Director of Marketing for Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, a luxury real estate company in Boston. Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty joins other real estate businesses like Baird and Warner, Ray White, and Cadillac Fairview in switching to Google Apps. Learn more about other organizations that have gone Google on our community map or test drive life in the cloud with the Go Google Cloud Calculator.

We are the Boston-based franchise of an international luxury real estate company. To support sales and marketing, as well as 200 independent agents who are constantly on the go, we needed a more mobile, secure, and fast solution for communication and collaboration. We were providing email services centrally for 300 mailboxes using SmarterMail, but this solution’s capabilities were very limited. People only had 10MB of storage. The service was slow and somewhat unreliable. Everyone had to use an email client, and because many are independent contractors, they chose whatever they wanted to use. This ultimately led to complexity and a higher likelihood of data loss. With Google Apps for Business, the company now has a more secure, consistent toolset that is increasing sales productivity while reducing IT complexity.

Over the years, I have had so many agents call me on the verge of tears because their machine had crashed and they lost everything on their hard drive. If Microsoft ® Outlook is your record-keeping mechanism, you’re in trouble unless you back it up – and let’s be realistic – people rarely do that. They also lose their computers and phones. We wanted to move into the cloud so that we no longer had to worry about data loss or data back-ups.

Another motivation for change was the need for better mobile access. We were using POP mail so agents and others could see emails on their mobile phones, but the experience was limited and ultimately frustrating. Because the email wasn’t in the cloud, you couldn’t do much more than view it. In an industry like real estate, it’s essential that our agents can access their information instantly from wherever they are.

We were pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to deploy Google Apps. We worked with Google reseller, SADA Systems, to purchase Google Apps, but two office administrators and I completed the implementation on our own. Because Google is so great at making information available, we didn’t even need to hire anyone to migrate our data. We brought 300 email accounts to Google Apps, without needing a partner for the deployment.

The ability to share and collaborate on Google documents and spreadsheets has saved us from having to do a lot of repetitive and manual tasks. For example, we can now share “show sheets” – brochures about a property listing – in Google Docs directly with our clients. We previously created PDFs and emailed them around to agents and then the agents downloaded them and attached them in emails sent to clients.

We’re also using Google Forms for requests for services that we offer to our agents. Instead of receiving countless email requests, we can now just circulate a survey, which populates instantly into a Google spreadsheet. That spreadsheet also lets us track trends and forecast. All of the essential data is there and accessible to the entire team.

With all of the snow we’ve gotten this year, Google Talk has been a lifesaver. People can work from home yet still preserve the connected, social aspect of their work while getting questions answered and discussions taken care of in minutes. These examples may not seem like much, but they add up to big productivity gains and help our employees feel connected and part of a team, even when we’re not physically in the same office.

Our employees are happier, and our IT costs are decreasing. With Apps we are dealing with fewer IT problems and are operating at a much quicker pace. Google Apps quickly begins to pay for itself. Our employees know that we’re investing in them and giving them the tools to do their jobs better and work together. We are providing a more valuable service to our agents and, ultimately, to our clients. We believe moving to Google Apps will be one of our great achievements this year.

How to Generate Real Estate Leads

How to Generate Leads in Real Estate / Image Credit: David Castillo Dominici / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Realtor Tips: How to Generate Real Estate Leads
Figuring out how to generate real estate leads is one of the biggest challenges you face as a real estate agent…especially if you’re a new(er) Realtor.  As soon as you get your license, it seems every real estate marketing firm in the country contacts you with their fool-proof plan to improve your business.  But for every one plan that works, there might be 10 more money pits.  Being a commissioned independent contractor, you have to watch every penny you invest, so here are some Realtor Tipsthat I’ve seen some of the most successful Realtors in the industry implement.  Hopefully you’ll find them useful.  If so, let me know!  I love to get feedback.

  • Sphere of Influence (SOI)
I know.  You’re thinking this is very “Real Estate 101″ sounding right now, but stay with me.  While every real estate agent has a sphere of influence, most don’t maximize on it because they simply don’t know what to do with it.  You’re taught to mail out a nice card, announcing that you’re a Realtor and would appreciate their business and/or referrals, but by doing that you’ve just told them that you’re new to real estate…and people are taught to work with “experienced” Realtors.  Unfortunately, “experienced” is often times mistaken for “knowledgeable” but I digress…

So what’s the best method for reaching out to your SOI?  You may or may not like the answer here, but it is what it is: Social Media.  *gasp*  Honestly, it’s really that simple.  Using social media is the best way to touch these warm contacts without being overly aggressive.  You don’t even have to create a business page.  In fact, I advise against that until you know you’ll have a good number of followers.  Simply modify your personal profile (meaning you might want to delete those images of yourself from New Year’s Eve…) and make it a little more professional but still casual.  Have pictures of your kids, family and friends so people can relate to it, but avoid posting anything that will alienate anyone (like your staunch political views).

So now that you’ve done that, continue posting cute little snippets about how Tommy looked so adorable in his Halloween costume (complete with picture, of course)…but now start incorporating real estate news into your posts.  If you find an article about your local market that you think is interesting, chances are others might too.  Try to make your posts engaging and don’t be afraid to ask for business.  But you want to position yourself as a knowledgeable professional before you ask for business.  Make sense?

  • Blogging
As you’re about to learn, I love blogging.  I think it’s a great way to provide valuable information to consumers, while proving yourself to be an authority on the topic of real estate.  In turn, you will gain the confidence of readers and generate leads in real estate.  It creates a snowball effect…and any successful Realtor will tell you that it’s all about the snowball effect.

However, there’s a science and strategy to blogging.  You may or may not want to consider hiring a professional to write SEO blogs for you.  Either way, you need to have blogs written with a specific purpose in mind.  Some will be for informational purposes, and some will be for SEO purposes.  Search engine algorithms are constantly changing and keeping up with those changes is a job in itself.

After you write your blog, post it to your website and share it everywhere.  Have you just realized an opportunity?  Now, instead of posting someone else’s news to your social media site (for your SOI) you can post your news.  Ah ha!  Don’t you love when things come together like that?

  • Renters
Now that you’re maintaining an engaging social media site with posts sending traffic to the blogs on your real estate website, it’s time to pound the payment.  If you begin generating buyer leads from this, great!  But if you’re new to the business, you’ll probably get a lot of renters in the beginning – and that’s ok.  Renters won’t always be renters.  Eventually, they often become home buyers.  And if you provide a client who’s renting the same level of service you would a buyer, they will refer their friends, family, etc. to you.  Treat all of your clients the same.  

  • CRM
As you begin getting contacts, it’s extremely important that you stay in touch with these contacts.  Unfortunately, they will forget about you long before you forget about them.  It’s nothing personal, but after they close on their house (or sign a lease) they will get back into the flow of their life, as it was before they met you.  Therefore, it’s your responsibility to send them a card on their birthday, let them know that a home just sold in their neighborhood, let them know their lease is about to expire, send them a copy of their HUD at the end of the year…etc.  There’s a plethora of opportunities to continue providing your clients with outstanding customer service long after the transaction has been completed…but it’s very hard to do this if you don’t have your contacts organized in a CRM.

So, that should be enough to help you get the ball rolling.  If you have any great ideas you’d like to share, feel free.  If you have any experiences or success stories using the above methods, also share.  We want be a community of professionals helping one another, as this will in turn help our entire industry.
Thanks for tuning in to today’s Realtor Tips.  I hope this gave you some great ideas on how to generate real estate leads in 2013!

Foreclosed Homes Likely To Swell Housing Market Although Feds Claim Recession Is Over

Even though the president of the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago is cautiously claiming that the current recession is over, the housing market is likely to still suffer a glut of bank-owned foreclosures in 2010.

The Federal Reserve president is predicting that the jobless rate may improve very slightly even though employment fell in the last month of the year and many other experts are forecasting that more jobs will be lost over this current year. Though the official unemployment rate is merely sitting at around ten percent, the percentage of people across the country who are either out of work of struggling with a part-time job instead of a full-time job is much higher. The unemployment rate only reflects the percent of people out of the work force who are actually looking to re-enter it at that time; after being out of a job though, many people give up the search for a while, at least temporarily.

The national GDP rose in the third quarter of 2009, a hint that indeed points towards economic recovery. However, a double-dip in the bottoming out of the economy during a recession is also very common. A general rise in GDP is a good sign, but it would also be more telling if there were rises in particular areas of the GDP that specifically support economic recovery. The anticipated increase in the GDP over 2010 is estimated to be around 3% for the year.

However, even with these signposts of economic recovery, it is still quite certain that the housing market will not be leading the way to recovery as it is inevitable that the market will be seeing an increase in foreclosed home in stock very soon. At this point, many homes are in a pre-foreclosure stage; a huge number of home owners are delinquent in their mortgage payments or struggling to meet the government criteria to have their mortgages modified. However, due to a number of reasons, only about 4% of homeowners with delinquent mortgages have been able to negotiate the process and succeed in mortgage modification with their lender.

This year we will be seeing an increase in foreclosed on inventory that the banks have been holding on to, possibly in hopes that the market would improve enough that they could recoup more of their investment in these properties. This flood of homes combined with the end of the home buyer’s tax credit and the Federal Reserve program ending is going to make for a major disruption to the recovery of the housing market; it may prove to be a stifling combination of unfortunate circumstances that may well delay the normalizing of the real estate market.

New Developments in Puerto Vallarta Real Estate

Puerto Vallarta is one of the most vibrant cities in Mexico. Therefore, it does not come as a surprise to know the Puerto Vallarta real estate market is also vibrant. The property market in Puerto Vallarta is always in news for new developments.

Such is the confidence of the investors in Puerto Vallarta’s long term future that the real estate market in Puerto Vallarta didn’t slow down considerably even when the recession scourged USA and much of the western world. The prices did dip and demand also slowed down but what was quite evident was this was a knee jerk reaction of short term investors. The long terms investors who acknowledge Puerto Vallarta preeminence as a tourist magnet stayed invested in the real estate market and just waited to storm to pass over. Real estate investors know the crises are cyclical in nature. Puerto Vallarta is blessed with so much beauty and tourist infrastructure that it will continue to perform strongly in tourism sector.

Tourism sector is the precursor to all other development and economic activities in Puerto Vallarta. A strong tourism sector promotes infrastructure development, ramping of city amenities, gives renewed life to economy of a city and increases the demand for real estate. Land, hotels and homes are needed not only for tourists and expatriates but also for the work force that migrate to Puerto Vallarta for jobs. This has resulted in the rise of middle class in Puerto Vallarta with disposable income and aspirations to live a good life.

Real estate developers have been introducing new projects to this ever increasing demand for luxury Puerto Vallarta condos. One such development is Signature by Pinnacle. On 4th august, 2011, there was a ground breaking ceremony at ‘Signature by Pinnacle’. The excavations are in full force now and soon, the work on foundations will commence.

‘Signature by Pinnacle’ is a 40 unit development located block from Pinnacle Residences in the heart of Puerto Vallarta’s Old Town. It is just a short walking distance- just hop the Pinnicular down to Las Olas. All amenities and facilities are within your reach and a walking distance sway. This is also the heart of Puerto Vallarta. If you have heard about the charming character of Puerto Vallarta, this is where you will experience it.

The views of the area are also spectacular. One can see the Banderas Bay and downtown Puerto Vallarta. No wonder, Signature by Pinnacle has the one of the most convenient and coveted locations in all of Puerto Vallarta.

The project consists of 15 one bedroom, 20 two bedroom and 5 three bedroom Penthouses.

Each condo has marble flooring throughout, granite countertops, high-end stainless steel appliances, private laundry, built in BBQ and bar, and large terraces with bay and town views.

If you are looking for a Puerto Vallarta condo with great location, view, close access to beach and near all the amenities, then Pinnacle will surely grab your attention.

Marketing & Real Estate

Welcome to the Department of Marketing and Real Estate at the University of West Georgia.

Our Marketing degree prepares students for a wide range of careers in Marketing, including Brand/Product Management; Sales Promotion; Sales Management; Personal Selling; Advertising; Public Relations; Retailing; Direct Marketing; International Marketing; and Marketing Research .

Our Real Estate degree prepares students for careers in all aspects of Commercial and Residential Real Estate, including Sales and Marketing; Appraising; Brokerage; Mortgage Banking; and Investment Analysis.

We also offer a Certificate in Sales and a Certificate in Advertising program which can be completed by business or non-business majors along with classes for their degree programs. These certificates can significantly enhance the chances of securing a job and succeeding in any sales or advertising related field.

A Marketing Minor or a Real Estate Minor (15 credit hours) is recommended for non-business majors interested in these fields of study. Adouble major is recommended for business majors interested in more than one area within business.

Working with the College of Education, two Master of Education Degrees are offered in Business Education. These degrees prepare students for careers in teaching, instructional service and leadership positions in secondary education, and for business positions requiring business/teaching backgrounds

Qualified juniors and seniors have a chance to work on internships with local businesses, enroll in our study abroad programs in Londonand China, and to join the local student chapter of the American Marketing Association (The Marketing Club). Our department is strongly committed to the university’s philosophy of educational excellence in a personal environment, and our highly qualified faculty makes every effort to ensure the success of our students.

Acquaint Yourself with these FAQ on Hotels in Amsterdam

When it comes to travel, one must be aware of the place in advance and should clear all their doubts related to their journey before embarking on the shores of an unknown city, especially about the accommodation. Here is a list of the FAQS on hotels in Amsterdam. The place is true delight if you are doing all the right things and are aware about in beforehand.

  1. What are the chances of finding good and budget hotels in the city?

The chances of finding good, in fact great budget hotels in the city are very strong. The place is known for being easy on the pocket. So, you can get good budget hotels on the outskirts of the Old city. This place is also near good tourist attractions so you won’t have any problem going around the city. The budget hotels range from $60 to $80 per night. So, you can now decide your budget and act accordingly.

  1. How are the luxury hotels in the city? Are they worth the price?

The luxury hotels that you will come across in this city are worth every penny. They offer you all the comfort and revelry that you will pay for. The best part about the luxury hotels is that they offer spas and restaurants. Some 5 star hotels even offer roof top restaurants. There are luxury hotels near the central station that will absolutely take you in the maritime days as they are built on that theme. You can experience all this and much more in the luxury hotels.

  1. What can one say about the hotels near the airport?

There is a string of good hotels available near the airport. These hotels are comfortable and you get these in various range either very inexpensive or the ones that will give you all the comfort, it all depends on your pocket. The hotels near the airport also provide the guests with shuttle service to and from the hotels.

  1. What kind of independent hotels are available in the city?

There are the eco friendly hotels also known as the boutique hotels. Either you can stay in these hotels with all the luxury you want or you can stay in here getting to know nature and being eco friendly for a few days. When you talk about luxury, you can get hotels that will give you the best views of the city. Anything you want, the city has got for you.

  1. What about the transportation in the city?

To travel and explore the city, you can either take the metro, the tram, taxi ride or a cab. While all the modes are available, the cheapest and the best way to take a tour around the city are the metro or the tram. They offer you the glimpse of what is going outside and you can see things while when you travel through taxi or a cab, chances are you might get stuck in traffic and not enjoy everything that the city has to offer. Moreover, they are expensive.

 

Things You Will Need To Start Your Limo Rental Business

Beginning a limo Toronto business can be generally basic on the off chance that you have all the right assets with you. In the meantime, keeping pace in this business turns out to be hard in the event that you don’t have the best possible arrangement. Along these lines, before you begin, you ought to discover that an effective limo rental business incorporates considerably more than just driving around the city of Toronto. Rather than that, this business incorporates numerous different things like promptness, uncommon administration furthermore finish consideration regarding consistently detail. Here in this bit of composing, you will discover data about the things that are truly vital to begin the limo rental business.

Limousines

Obviously, you require limos to maintain your Toronto limousine business. Yet at the same time, before you go out and buy an armada of vehicle for your business, you need to set your objective of how you are going to work your business. For instance, on the off chance that you plan to subcontract your business to some other organization, which is as of now working with these vehicles, then you won’t need to contribute on the limos. Be that as it may, on the off chance that you need to secure limos for your own organization, then you need to take incredible thought into exchange. Keep in mind one thing that customers just incline toward limos that are new and additionally in the flawless condition. Along these lines, you ought to buy the limos as opposed to taking those on lease. Along these lines, you will likewise have the capacity to keep away from the charges and mileage limitations.

Protection

Another critical thing to begin the limo Toronto business effectively is the business protection, regardless of how this works. For a complete assurance, you must pick a general business protection approach first alongside a for-contract uniform protection arrangement. The general business arrangement would cover the business in alcohol liabilities, business contracts, labourers pay and business intrusions. Then again, the attire protection for the Toronto limousine business offers specific insurance for the armada of limos and also finishes scope for the travellers and the drivers of the armada if there should be an occurrence of any harm or harm in the event of the mishap brought on by the driver.

Keeping money

Last yet not the minimum the limo business additionally needs a perpetual business saving money represent handling the operation costs and the customer installments. You ought to have the capacity to acknowledge charge card installments as this is thought to be a standout amongst the most standard installment strategies accessible in this industry.

Maruti Alto 800 Vs. Hyundai Eon – Small cars but bigger competition!

The hatchback segment is one of the fastest growing in India and the options in this are now mindboggling. More and more auto manufacturers are coming up with cheaper as well as enhanced compact cars year after year. The numbers of facelifts are also increasing, thanks to the fierce competition in this segment. Both Maruti and Hyundai refined their top selling cars last year – the Alto and the Eon. Let us try to figure out which hatchback is a better buy.

Maruti Alto 800, although carries a conservative design, looks a little more contemporary than the original Alto. However it is nowhere near to Hyundai when it comes to styling. Hyundai Eon – with its curvy lines and fluidic design, is definitely the winner when it comes to looks and style. Although both cars look small from outside, there is enough space for 5 adults inside. But Eon offers more legroom than the Alto 800. Moreover the boot space is pretty large in Eon at 215 litres compared to Alto 800 which carries only 177 litres. It likewise gets many smart storage spaces inside the cabin which are missing in the Maruti car. Hyundai also offers an overall better fit and finish and many added comfort and safety features.

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The engine of the Maruti Alto 800 is not as powerful as Hyundai Eon. Alto 800 is powered by a 3 cylinder, 0.8 litre, F8D 796 cc engine which has the capacity to produce 48 PS of power and a peak torque of 69 NM.  Hyundai Eon runs on a 3 cylinder, 814 cc engine that produces 56 BHP and a torque of 74.56 NM. But then, the Alto 800 is very fast in pick up and acceleration. This may be due its lower kerb weight.

And the major area where Maruti Alto 800 scores over Hyundai Eon is fuel economy. Eon does offer good fuel economy at 21 kilometres per litre but Alto delivers a highermileage of 22.74kilometres per litre by the petrol engine while its CNG counterpart works with an outstanding mileage of 30.46 kilometres per litre. The overall handling and ride quality stands almost parallel in both the cars. However Alto 800 gets a quieter cabin with lesser vibration and noise. Hyundai offers Eon in the price range of Rs 2.87 to 3.85 lakhs, while Maruti Alto 800 falls in the price range of Rs 2.41-3.53 lakhs.

On the whole, Eon is a better car in terms of looks, performance and features, but it loses out to Maruti Alto 800 in mileage and pricing. And most of the times, it is these two factors that decide the final purchase of the buyers in this segment.

Also check out the Upcoming bikes in India

The Pros and Cons of Investing in Real Estate

Like any other profession, there are good and bad things about what are available. Each of the things that happen in the profession is just part of the business. If you want to know what you are getting into, you will want to make sure that you know all sides of the coin of the profession. This will help you to be prepared for looking into property or buying into the occupation of real estate.

The good part of real estate is that you will be helping others to find a home. Anyone involved in real estate will say that the largest perk of being in the profession is that you are able to help people with their living situation. Another good benefit of being a real estate agent is that the finances are usually stable and do not come in small doses. For those that love their jobs in real estate, they will most likely base it on these two factors.

Despite the benefits of being a real estate agent, there are also some tough parts of being involved. One of the major frustrations is that the properties that are available will be dependent on the type of market, the neighborhood and the sales of that area. At times, there may be an overflow of properties available, while at others, everyone will be holding onto their property. For those involved in finding or buying real estate, this can cause for a challenge in finding what you want and when you want it.

Of course, for anyone becoming involved in real estate, other frustrations may come from the terms and the details that are used in the process as well as the process itself. It is not uncommon to find a home, have it inspected and then not have the ability to buy the home because of the condition of the home. There also may also be financial problems with real estate during the process of finding a home for an individual. All of these factor in to spending a lot of time looking at homes without the benefit of buying.

Whether you are buying or selling, it will be important to know what to expect from real estate. By factoring in the different parts of property, you will have the ability to decide what is best for you and can stay ready for the potential problems that may occur while you are going through the process. Knowing what to expect will help you to get past half of the battle of the real estate market.

Vera Wang Bags Steve Hermann Property In Beverley Hills, Los Angeles

Celebrity New York fashion designer Vera Wang has splashed out US$9.2 million on a Steve Hermann designed property in Coldwater Canyon, Beverley Hills, Los Angeles.

Hermann bought the 408 square meter house in June 2008 for US$5 million. He spent the next two years completely redesigning and renovating the 1967 built property at a cost of US$3 million.

Two new bedrooms were added. The ceilings were raised to a height of 3.6 metres. The original swimming pool was removed and replaced with a sunken, infinity-edge pool and Jacuzzi. And a tiered, thirty seat movie theatre was built.

“It was a mid-century modern [property] with good bones, but it hadn’t been touched in decades,” Hermann commented.

The house has been dubbed “The Glass Mansion” because it features floor to ceiling glass walls to creating a feeling of open space.

In fact, from the rear entrance it is possible to see right through the property and take in the view of the Los Angeles basin below.

Hermann, who renovates homes for A-list celebrities, put the property back on the market in March 2011, with an asking price of US$10.9 million.

Vera Wang is one of America’s best known fashion designers. She is of Chinese descent but was born and raised in New York City. Her parents are from Shanghai, China and migrated to the USA in the 1940s.

Originally trained as a figure skater, Wang competed in the 1968 U.S. Figure Skating Championships but failed to make the U.S. Olympic Team.

Wang started her fashion career in 1972 as designer for Vogue where she spent the next sixteen years. She then worked with Ralph Lauren for two years, before opening her own design studio at the Carlyle Hotel, New York in 1990.

The designer has since made wedding gowns for Chelsea Clinton, Ivanka Trump, Alicia Keys, Mariah Carey and Victoria Beckham.

Wang’s dresses have also been featured in US television shows ‘Sex in the City’ and ‘The West Wing’.

In 2010 Wang was presented with the Leadership in the Arts Award by Harvard-Radcliffe Asian American Association, for her contribution to costume and fashion design.

She has now expanded her brand to include handbags, perfume, jewellery, eyewear, shoes and house-wares.

Estate Planning for Business Owners

It’s something you may hear casually thrown about at the office, or maybe something you even say it to yourself after you barely avoid an accident on your way to work—I need a will.  And while everyone needs a will, small business owners have very special needs that they themselves may not even realize.

Your business, and the value you have built into it, is the greatest asset you can preserve for your heirs.  Surprisingly, many business owners do not have a clear plan of action for how to protect that asset if they should suddenly be “out of the picture.”

First of all, every business owner should incorporate their business into some form of filing entity (corporation, limited liability company, limited partnership, etc.).

Second, every business owner should have a written agreement which controls the governance of their company.  This is especially true if there is more than one equity owner, but still prudent even if owned by a single individual.

Finally, every business owner should have a will which acknowledges and cooperates with the written agreement that controls the business.  Nothing is more frustrating than having to litigate two documents which conflict with each other after the person who signed them is long gone.

When creating these documents you should contemplate the following questions:

  1. Who will run the business after I am deceased?
  2. Who will own the business after I am deceased?
  3. How will the above transfers take place?
  4. Will my business have enough capital to survive the transfer?
  5. Should I integrate life insurance into my business planning?
  6. How will this affect my business partners (if any)?
  7. How will this affect my creditors (loans, lines of credit, etc.)?

Having a defined and well thought out plan, will make a difficult time easier for those you leave behind.  Additionally, the plan will also give you a plan should you suddenly be disabled or otherwise unable to maintain your previous duties, and can also serve as a jumping off point for a retirement plan.  And as all good business plans, they should be made with the advice of financial and legal professionals with very careful consideration given to continued smooth operations. At the Vethan Law Firm, P.C., we work with business owners and financial planning professionals to help them protect and preserve what they’ve built. We assist business owners with choosing the best corporate form for their business, drafting the written agreements that outline and describe management of the business, and work with or recommend financial planning professionals to help ensure the final plan is effective and accomplishes the business owner’s goals.

Successful business owners’ estate planning seminar

Last night I presented a seminar in Edmonton to a group of customers invited  by our Ottewell and Wagner Road branches. All of the customers are owners of their own businesses. What a fun time we had! There were plenty of questions and lots of laughs too. Nobody thinks that estate planning seminars can be fun, but this group proved otherwise.

Thanks go to Morgan Ree of Roynat for giving us some great examples of creative financing for business owners. And I’d particularly like to thank the folks who had read my book called Succession Planning Kit for Canadian Business and told the group how much they liked it. Feels great to get positive feedback from readers.

Condo Conversions: How to Succeed in a Changing Real Estate Market

In the commercial and residential real estate investment market condo conversions have become a controversial topic. Many experts say there are still profits to be made with condo conversions, while others assert that condo conversions are high risk and potentially lead to big losses. According to a January 16th, 2007 article in the New York Times, “Buyers Scarce, Many Condos Are for Rent”, written by Vikas Bajaj, “Since the middle of 2006, the frenzied condominium market here and in several other big cities like Las Vegas, Miami and Boston has collapsed.” “Once roaring sales have slowed to a trickle, sparse inventory has mushroomed into a glut and soaring prices have flattened out and started falling,” Bajaj continues, “In many cities, banks have significantly scaled back loans to condominium builders. Some have demanded that developers sell half or more of the units in a building before even beginning construction.”

Many condo conversion projects have reverted back to apartments due to slow sales. Often referred to as “repartments”, these projects leave large holes in the pockets of investors who didn’t do their homework before construction began. Although condo conversions are high risk, if an investor thinks carefully, completes research on the local region and investigates the potential buyers most prominent in the market profits can still be made.

Real Estate and Affordable Housing: The American Class War

The United States of America was built on the sweat, commitment and integrity of the working class. So why is it so hard for fire fighters, police officers, nurses, teachers and average Americans in general to buy real estate for an affordable price? As the United States economy shifts and changes, the middle class continues to shrink. Increasing health care, real estate, education and utility costs often exceed a typical middle class income. Working class people employed in the city can’t afford to live or purchase real estate in the city, yet as gas prices rise commuting becomes more difficult. Many of the companies who have recently invested and lost on condo conversion projects were overly focused on the luxury market. Condo conversions can be built with more affordable prices in mind if the property is chosen correctly and the plan is designed with working class buyers in mind.

Economic Growth Means More Opportunity for Everyone

It doesn’t make good economic sense that people who risk their lives to protect the public, teach our children and nurse us back to health should have trouble finding homes they can afford. Condo conversions can create affordable housing available to working class families, especially in areas where single family home prices are too high for middle class residents. Investors interested in selling condos to the working and middle class have a great chance of being successful if they buy the right property, in the right location, where affordable housing is a necessity. Savvy commercial and residential real estate investors have the power to make condo conversions part of the affordable housing solution rather than a problem. All it takes is the creativity, knowledge, planning and the courage to think outside the box.

Tips for Condo Conversion Success

One of the keys to making a successful and profitable condo conversion investment is research! Don’t invest in a property you plan to use as a condo conversion without following these tips:

Tip 1. Learn everything you can about the area where your property is located. Find out the local standard of living and what resources are in close proximity such as hospitals, schools, shopping centers, etc.

Tip 2. Explore the various target markets you will have for your units. Who are your potential buyers? What is their lifestyle? What kind of properties and perks are they searching for? When marketing a condo conversion property think carefully about your niche markets. First time homebuyers, single mothers or women and retiring baby boomers often search for condo solutions because they are safe, easy to maintain and cost less.

Tip 3. Consult a professional. Make sure you fully understand the local zoning, permit and construction laws. Do your homework and don’t make any decisions until you have all the information to consider.

Think Outside the Box with Condo Conversion: Commercial Investment Options

If you invest your money in a project that is smart and has appeal to the community your condo conversion project has a better chance of success. In addition to these tips consider rehabbing the property and creating both residential and commercial floors. A condo conversion investment can be more profitable if residential space is sold on upper stories while first floor property is sold as retail or office space. Also consider offering lease to own options to buyers. If you think creatively about your condo conversion investment you will discover all the possibilities. If you are looking to buy a conversion property educate yourself as much as possible before you purchase. The real estate you buy with condo conversion in mind must be well suited for this kind of project.

West Ottawa: A Best Place to Choose Apartment for Rent

If you live in an apartment in Ottawa, in particular in the Westboro or Nepean, you will be happy to know that these districts are full of activity shopping street of many possibilities. In addition, many small independent shops (including several outdoor sports shops),

Major shopping centers

There are many large shopping centers in the area, including Bayshore Shopping Center. The mall with three levels of more than 150 shops and services, is located on Highway 417 can also visit the Carling Wood Shopping Center, over 125 shops and services is plenty of free parking.

Other sites include Lincoln Fields Ottawa West Shopping Center (includes a Wal-Mart and a Loeb), Pine Crest Shopping Center (with the famous treasure of IKEA to the Queensway), University Square (a popular destination for Algonquin College students and people with rental holiday near Baseline and Woodroffe) and Westgate Shopping Center (with a priceless 24 hours Shoppers Drug Mart).

Museums and Art Centers

For those who live in an apartment in Nepean compare and study more about the history of their community where Nepean Museum (16 Rowley Avenue), a number of antiques (including some over 100 years) is the weekend afternoons ideal.

For fans of outdoor sports, the head of the Canadian Ski Museum (200-1960 Scott Street). Founded in 1971, is the best album of the memoirs of the public to ski in Canada, housing more than 6000 photos and ski equipment from more than 150 years.

Theatre lovers will want to ride Center Pointe Theatre (101 Center Pointe Drive). The 1000-seat theater is home to several excellent local groups, including Orpheus Musical Theatre Society, society and Savoy Petits Ballets.

Schools

A vital Properties West Ottawa apartment is ideal for students of Algonquin College, as our Maples Apartments are only a few minutes walk from the school and our Green Bank, Wellington Park and Carling homes, you quickly to the campus by bus . And for those with young families, West Ottawa also has about 20 primary schools, 9 Catholic elementary schools, five secondary schools and two Catholic high schools.

Other attractions

If physical activity is for you, and you’re looking for apartments in Ottawa, especially in Nepean, you can not go wrong with a day of Nepean Sports Plex (1701 Woodroffe Avenue). This is a huge deal includes a lot of you want to play baseball, hockey, soccer, basketball, curling, soccer, squash, bowling and much more! Sports Plex also offers a range of excellent programs for children and the elderly.

Along the Ottawa River is the gorgeous beach Westboro, which is the city of Ottawa and became a public bathing place since the early 1920s.

Britannia Park is a paradise picnicker, many tables dotted on the grass and the trees provide a range of dark warm sunny days. There are two play structures and swings for children to have fun, and it is a good place to swim or surf, is a service rescue swimmer from mid June to September. Also in the park is Ron Kolbus Lakeside Center, the banquet hall and community center can be up to 300 people for special occasions.

The Ottawa River Parkway is a partial access parking services Carling Avenue Portage Bridge near downtown Ottawa. Full of lookout points, maintains the National Capital Parkway Commission (NCC), and is balanced over 20 km of cycle paths, so you can drive all the way to the center of Kanata. Sunday during the summer months, the Parkway is closed to vehicular traffic for the Alcatel Sunday Bikedays – Preferred day of the week for pedestrians and cyclists.

Mexico Beachfront for Sale: Lifestyle in Puerto Vallarta vs. Cancun – Pacific vs. Caribbean

When many people think of Mexico beachfront for sale, they imagine it’s the same everywhere you buy. Not so. Let’s take, for example, two of Mexico’s biggest real estate markets for expats – Puerto Vallarta real estate and Cancun real estate; a comparison of the two will show the contrast in style and the variety of opportunities.

Of course, Puerto Vallarta and Cancun share some important common factors, including:
– Beautiful beaches
– Full modern services and easy and affordable air access

Yet the two areas are very distinct in their visual style and lifestyle atmosphere. Consider some of the following contrasts.

Sunsets vs. Sunrises – Condos in both locations offer splendid views. However, since Puerto Vallarta is on the Pacific, facing westward, the views included the magnificent sunsets over the Pacific. These views are incredible. While Cancun doesn’t offer sunsets it does offer beautiful views of the sunrise for those who enjoy rising early and drinking a coffee with the chill of the night can still be felt. Cancun’s views also include the unique turquoise of the Caribbean Sea, which is fairly unique to the area.

Hillsides vs. Lagoons – Closely related to the views is the style of the surrounding nature. In Puerto Vallarta the surrounding hillsides actually form part of the views, and offer beautiful places for real estate owners to make little excursions into the countryside. Around Cancun, on the other hand, one of the most enjoyable features of the natural setting is the naturally occurring lagoons, one of which is located directly “behind” the beachfront hotel and real estate area. There are also naturally occurring fresh pools called “cenotes” which are wonderful for sight-seeing as well as swimming.

Old town vs. New town – Both areas have developed into thriving, modern tourism and real estate regions. Yet Puerto Vallarta grew up around an old town which still forms the center of the city, and still has little white homes and cobble stone roads. Cancun, on the other hand, was created from scratch just over 40 years ago, and is defined by wide, easy-to-use access roads and completely modern buildings – much like a newer American suburb.

Tequila vs. Mayans – Both areas offer residents a good deal of history. Not too far from Puerto Vallarta is the region where the famous liquor was born. Near Cancun there are many fine examples of Mayan ruins, including Chichen Itza, one of the “New Wonders of the Ancient World.”

For those who have been to both areas, the hard part is choosing between them!

Tulum Real Estate: Buying a Home or Building One?

Once you’ve decided to buy Tulum real estate, if your final goal is to enjoy a home in Tulum, you have two basic choices; one is to buy Tulum land for sale and have your home built, and the other is to buy a complete Tulum home for sale. The following are a few advantages of each to help you choose.

Having a Home Built on Your Tulum Land – Advantages

– Lower initial investment: Buying land, you can wait until you have the rest saved up to invest in the construction of the home. Some of the finishing details can also be completed as you have the funds available. For many, this is one attraction of buying land in Tulum.

– High-potential market: Just as importantly, as a real estate market that is just beginning its boom, land in Tulum has a high potential to increase in value significantly compared to total investment, especially if you have a home built on it. This fact is currently attracting many investors to Tulum.

– Large market to choose from: Since Tulum is just a small town, but interest is growing, there are a large number of land developments putting lots up for sale as well as raw land sales appearing on the market. Buyers can choose between different locations, prices, zoning areas, development types, etc. and have a good deal of options within each style.

– Custom design: Again, from the perspective of simple home ownership, buying a lot means you can have a home built the way you want it, in the style most appealing to you and the size you need.

Buying a Complete Home for sale – Advantage

– Immediate use: Those who wish to use their property immediately will find greater value in a home ready to use. There are a number of fine homes available on the market, and some are even sold furnished. This means no waiting and a lot less planning.

– Investment potential: While land holds the highest investment potential, all property in Tulum promises to be a good investment over the next few years. Certain properties may also hold rental income potential.

– Mortgages available: On a completed home in Tulum, American and Canadian buyers will be able to gain mortgage financing. This helps to make a vacation or retirement property more accessible more quickly in financial terms.

Which is better for you will depend largely on your needs. Carefully consider the timeline of when you need your property and how much you can invest how soon. On the most basic level, simply consider which type you feel most comfortable with.

Playa del Carmen Real Estate in Gated Communities – Homes or Land?

When you consider your options in Playa del Carmen real estate, an option very worth considering is a home in a gated community; there are two general approaches you can take; buy a completed Playa del Carmen home for sale, or buy Playa del Carmen land for sale and have a home built. Each approach has its advantages.

First of all, let’s briefly review what both share in common in gated communities:

– Security – Regardless of the property type, a gated community offers added security. While Playa del Carmen is already a very safe community, this added security can offer complete peace of mind for Americans and Canadians living here.

– Quiet lifestyle – A gated community also prevents unnecessary traffic from passing through the community. On the whole, gated communities tend to be quiet and relaxing. At the same time, the often offer basic services and close driving access to shopping areas.

– Green, natural setting – Besides living close to the beach, residents can enjoy living in a community with lots of trees lining the roads, bike trails and plenty of green areas. Combined with reduced traffic, this makes the air very fresh and offers a pleasant atmosphere!

The advantages of buying a complete home in a Playa del Carmen gated community include:

– Immediate use – A completed home allows buyers to enjoy it immediately upon physical delivery. Many homes are also sold furnished making this even more immediate.

– Mortgage and financing options – Completed homes qualify for mortgages directly from a Mexican bank; this offers buyers certain advantages. If they are being sold by the developer, there are some who will offer direct financing options as well.

The main advantages of buying a lot and having a home built include:

– Custom design and style – When someone buys a lot, they can have the home built exactly the way they want it; they can plan everything from scratch, from the shape and size of the bedrooms to the location of the flower gardens.

– Lower initial investment – The cost of buying a lot is a small chunk; the construction and completion of landscaping, etc., can be invested in stages as well.

– Save money overall – On the whole, buying a lot and having a home built usually saves money in the total amount. Buyers must consider the factors of time investment as well, but in purely financial investment, having a home built can often be a cheaper way to go.

The choice between these two will depend a good deal on each buyer’s needs, and, of course, their patience to start their life near the beachfront!