Monday, October 15, 2012

Predictions Are For A Slowing Real Estate Market In Canada

Contingent on who you question, you will find varying viewpoints on when and how the Canadian housing market will cool down from its recent meteoric climb. For instance, TD Bank economist Pascal Gauthier bluntly stated in an interview with "Globe and Mail" this month that even though housing prices will carry on increasing by 9% over the 2009 figures until the middle of 2011, they will then sharply fall -- possibly as low as 2.7 percent. But economist Sal Guatieri of BMO Capital Markets is somewhat hopeful, telling "The Montreal Gazette" that the overvaluation that resulted in the real estate bubble will just affect large cities, and should not bring about the kind of nationwide collapse anticipated in the US market. However they both agree that the Canadian housing sector will need to cool down, but just how soon it will take place and how quickly it will fall is the question still up for debate.

Guatieri indicated that the price for a family residence should be "about four or five times income," however the current market in Toronto and Vancouver is closing in around 0,000, which averages 10 times the earnings of the home owner. Even though TD Bank had at first forecast 1.6% gains in 2011, this kind of real estate hyper inflation in the middle of economic recovery has in fact compromised the market, and they are already seeing the signs of cooling this year derived from the surge of new housing starts and new listings. places like Mississauga are still seeing an escalation in new Mississauga condominiums but sales could start to cool.

In their discussion with "The Vancouver Sun," TD admitted that their forecasts have been off in the past, because their late 2009 forecast did not anticipate the rise in first quarter sales for that year that was an unpredicted "move by buyers and sellers to pre-empt regulatory and interest-rate changes". The looming harmonized sales tax due to take effect in July in Ontario and British Columbia definitely impacted markets in those provinces. In expectation of this July time limit, the Bank of Canada has now declared its intention to lift their overnight target rate by July to counterbalance the recent record breaking low rate of 0.25 percent. Higher borrowing costs should act on cottage country with deduced values for places such as Wasaga Beach real estate and this could constitute an opportunity for buyers.

As family incomes catch up with the level of inflation -- a whopping 8 percent over the past 8 years -- TD predicts that overvalued housing prices will continue to fall from 15 to 10 percent by the end of next year. This is bolstered by a decline in MLS sales, that as well includes Toronto MLS listings, over the last 6 months that the Canadian Real Estate Association has observed. But everyone can spot signs that the whole housing market has been affected by the high percentage of boosted values in the cities -- how far this influence will spread is the primary question.

Gauthier describes his forecasts are a consequence of the "stronger supply response," and that the "market balance is now expected to be somewhat softer next year, consistent with market conditions more favourable to potential buyers and a mild depreciation in home values". But Guatieri thinks the approaching slow down period does not automatically mean that housing prices will indeed fall, however predicts it as a gentle adjustment after the recent surge. One fact both Guatieri and Gauthier do foresee on the horizon, though, is that regardless of when it strikes, the calming trend will not last forever, and inside of 3 years the average real estate price in the country should find a equilibrium and return to its fair market value.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Online Booking System - Luxury For Both Business And Consumers

In recent years online shopping has become very popular. Over time, consumers have developed an interest of finding products online by visiting the websites of retailers directly or by simply doing a search across many different vendors by using a shopping search engine.

Many websites administrators have taken advantage of this growing trend to provide free online booking forms for various business sites for customers to start making bookings instantly through their powerful and flexible systems. The bookings have been known to provide an ideal system for merry makers to plan ahead and visit many holiday homes, tourist destinations, resorts and even hotels. As a result this online booking system has enabled many sites to facilitate secure online transactions, a phenomenon that did not exist a decade ago.

According to popular polls, holidays are exciting when you enjoy luxury and comfort that you specifically organized before time. This has in turn revolutionized the hotel and lodging industry in the sense that hotel reservation software is no longer a luxury but has evolved to become a very important aspect that is used to judge the status of a given hotel company.

Traditionally, the hotel reservation software program, as the name suggests, was meant exclusively for making reservations. However, with the unexpected growth of businesses in the 21st century it has been developed to offer additional services that make over- the -counter booking easier. Other additional services include tracking storage of goods, managing staff salaries, overseeing upgrades and keeping up with the needs of hotel guests.

With its growing popularity and high rate of incorporation in businesses, many people are becoming more and more aware about online booking softwares. Shockingly enough though, there are still many people who understand very little about this life changing development that is taking place in the 21st century and its benefits.This article will simply touch on a few advantages of this online booking system and the reasons for their widespread popularity.

When it comes to online booking software, speed has been known to play a major role in its rapid growth. With the touch of a button we are able to save time and energy. This is simply because this online booking system has reduced the duration of tasks that normally took hours to mere minutes of typing.

A remarkable reduction in errors has also been noted with these softwares. This is because the softwares are sophisticatedly designed to reject inconsistent information thus making online booking the most efficient way of conducting transactions. Plus, the risk of double booking has been known to diminish greatly.

Fraudsters beware. Credit card identity theft is soon to be a thing of the past since personal credit card information is permanently locked to one user. This software also allows for exact head counts when the booking is complete hence provides a very high levels of accuracy.

Perhaps the greatest reason for the spread of online booking software is the ability to compare price ranges online before the booking is finalized. This has helped travelers plan for their trips fully by helping them to foresee and budget for any unexpected expenses that might crop up.

Further more, this system has also been known to provide complete information about various hotels and the amenities offered by them making it possible to select the best hotels from a wide database according to your choice and budget and enjoy a perfectly pleasant and memorable holiday.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

How To Estimate Painting Jobs - 6 Important Things To Consider

Estimating house painting jobs is something that you develop over time. I can go into any house and go from room to room and tell you by eye just how much paint you will need to do the ceilings, walls and woodwork. I can also tell you just about how long it will take to paint each room basically.

I can even tell you just about how long it will take to paint each room in general. But estimating many times goes a lot deeper than just eyeballing a few simple rooms. So here are 6 points to help you when figuring your bids or estimates.

1.) Know Your Target Market

When getting prepared to do a painting estimate you first need to know your target market or markets. Are you going to be painting in middle-class neighborhoods or are you going for the high-end glitzy neighborhoods? Or are you going after commercial or industrial accounts?

Now you can you gauge how high you are going to set your bid rates. You can have have high-end rates for larger homes, or for commercial or industrial painting, and mid prices for the rest.

Personally, when it comes to painting for residential customers, I keep my rates the same. I do not care whether it's high-end or middle class. If they cannot afford my painting services, I am out of there. Once you have painted at a higher price, it's hard to go lower unless of course, you are hard up.

If you are estimating painting jobs for big business you can and should aim competitively high without worrying about much competition as you would in residential painting. Plus larger commercial customers have deep pockets. Also to consider, if you are tackling those types of accounts you will need extra painters anyways so you definitely need to aim high in your bidding to cover their wages and benefits.

2.) Fool-Proof System

You need an accurate estimating method that works perfectly every time without fail. Whether inside or outside. You can stand and stare at a project all day and try to guesstimate exactly how long it will take you to paint something or you can use an accurate method for bidding paint jobs and walk away smiling and not wondering if you might bite the bullet on that one.

3.) Allowances

You need to allow for fuel, travel time and even giving Uncle Sam his cut. If you will be driving long miles you definitely want to account for your fuel and travel time, even overnight expenses if you get that advanced in your painting business. Again, if you have employees you will need to account for their wages and benefits in your bids also.

4.) Hidden Expenses

You need to be aware of hidden expenses or projects that add extra time and extra materials to a job. Things like hard to cover colors, excessive prep time, high-work, down time due to outside sources that are common in new construction, etc.

5.) Cost of Materials

You need to know how much paint and materials you will be using. (Note: A good estimating system will automatically include all your paints and materials.)

6.) Flexible Methods

Your estimating system should have several ways of figuring your bids. Just like a set of golf clubs, some times you need a different driver to make it on to the next green. Different jobs require different painting estimating techniques.

For example: painting ceilings, walls and woodwork estimating can change if you have excessive woodwork like walk-in closets with tons of shelving. Or rooms with high walls.

The same goes for exterior work in residential painting. Are the surfaces smooth and clean or is there stucco or shingles that require extra time and materials? When you have an easy system in place you can build up an estimate to meet the type of project you are facing.

Many times on larger estimates, I will cross-check my painting bid from different angles by using two different estimating techniques just to make sure I have it all together and did not leave anything out of the big picture.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Getting High on OPM to Grow Your Real Estate Empire

OPM = OTHER PEOPLE'S MONEY. This is money which you might borrow from banks, finance companies, insurance companies, friends, etc. It also is that money which YOU might raise in a stock offering or through the sale of limited partnerships to buy real estate.

No matter how YOU raise the money, OPM is MONEY YOU PUT TO WORK TO EARN MORE MONEY. Today people don't boast about how much money they have-instead they boast about how much they owe! No longer is it a shame or a disgrace to owe money. In this modern age, the more you owe to others for business and property deals, the bigger your position in the world!

You must have heard the saying that 'you've got to have money to make money'. What you need is other peoples money to get rich. The famous 17th century author, John Ray rightly wrote "Money begets money." It is OPM that creates the financial leverage.

One of the greatest advantages of real estate investing is the power of leveraging other people's money or OPM. In real estate investing we buy real estate with 10% or 20% down and yet we control100% of the property. When a property appreciates, it will appreciate on the total value of the property and not on the initial investment amount. This can increase returns many fold.

By using Nothing Down techniques you can use the ultimate leverage of OPM of buying property with little or no money down. Thousands of people have become millionaires by using the power of financial leverage in real estate investment.

Your goal is to not use your own cash. The most successful real estate investors use OPM (Other People's Money). Keep this in mind as you start to invest. You must hold on to your funds to meet any contingencies. Use OPM to buy as many properties you can that can be supported by your cash flow.

Why use your own money when so many people and businesses are willing to let you use theirs? Banks, institutions and private investors are willing to give loans for real estate investments because property is tangible, fixed and a secure asset. But before you run to the bank to borrow heaps of money you should understand how leveraging works.

Real estate OPM can come from a variety of sources with the most common being a bank. There are also individual investors or groups of investors looking to fund real estate purchases in order to get a steady stream of income. Getting equity partners is a great way of funding when the returns along with the risk are high which a normal bank will not fund.

Retirement plans and insurance funds are a great source of real estate investment funds.Many people don't even know they can use their retirement plans funds to invest in real estate. Most people forget they even have money in a retirement account once it is stashed away. Dead equity in your residential house can be used to fund your investment properties.

Many real estate investors think that money (or lack of money) is what stops them from buying real estate. This is not true. It is a myth that holds many investors back. Understand that money is NEVER an issue. IF the deal is right, the money will come. Simply think creatively, go to the right source of funds and simply ask for money. The worst that can happen is you get a "NO". Each no only places you closer to a "YES".

You will be surprised to find how many banks, institutions and individuals are willing to fund your real estate investments. Just look for them in the news papers or do a search on the internet. Find a good mortgage broker. Write to the lenders and meet them with your proposal. Try and understand the lending criteria. Money is never an issue when it comes to a good investment property.

Every lender is different and have different lending criteria's. You have to be creative and customize your proposal to the specific "hot buttons" for each funding source.

Owner or vendor financing can be a great source of OPM. When you find motivated sellers, they will be open to many of your suggestions. By listening carefully to the seller's stated needs you can custom tailor a solution that meets those needs. If you can find a solution to their problem it will make them happy and they will be able to leave some money in for you.

Vendor financing is nothing more than the owner being willing to act as a finance company or bank in a real estate transaction. Instead of you going to a mortgage company and filling out a lengthy application form many sellers will be willing to play the part of the bank if you are able to solve their problem and give them the required confidence.

Credit cards are a great source of short term funding for real estate investors.If used judiciously they give access of up to 50 days interest free financing. Pay off your balance every month and you have access Other People's Money. This money can be used for down payments and quick do ups before either flipping the property or refinancing the property for no money down deals.

Tenants form a useful part of OPM strategy. If you invest correctly, your tenants pay 100% of all expenses, including the mortgage, with true passive income left over for you each month. Since the real estate correction started, getting positive cash flow property has never been easier. Tenants maximize OPM and maximize your wealth!

Before using other people's money (OPM) to increases your real estate investing power you have to first build good credit relationships, prove to be trustworthy in your past credit dealings, and have a good FICO credit score. When you use OPM you must calculate how you're going to repay the individual or institution who loaned you the money. Remember using other people's money has been the way many honest poor men have become rich.

It is important for you to protect your self from claims against you when you are using OPM. This is because at times things go wrong in spite of your best intentions and commitment. You have to set up right legal structures before you start your real estate investment plan. As long as you are operating as a corporation the debt is assigned to your business and debtors can make no personal claims against you. Any prudent real estate investor will separate all their business activities from their personal assets by incorporating proper structures at the onset.

Using Other Peoples Money correctly gives you a chance to building enormous wealth quickly. All you need is to have a great investment property to match the money you borrow and you're off on a glorious road to creating wealth. The other advantages of OPM are:

*Having money makes you work harder and you will have a greater chance to hit it big.

*With money in hand you can concentrate on the real estate aspects of each deal, improving your chances of success.

*Money in the bank, even borrowed funds, gives you more confidence so you work relaxed and close more big deals.

*Cash on hand can help you to obtain large discounts on cash offers.

*Having money readily available allows you to buy property at a discount while your competitors are fumbling around to find the needed cash.

*Lastly, with cash in your hands, people chase you for deals. This gives you independence, freedom of action, and the ability to make the best deals for yourself.

Never overlook the importance of having money in your pocket even if it is OPM. It may seem silly but it's true. OPM can put you in a money-making state of mind. You can earn more because you have more!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

What is the Difference Between a Credit Union and a Bank?

Banks and credit unions seem very similar to most people. They both offer deposit accounts and various types of credit. They have many of the same services, telephone banking, online banking and ATMs; but there are some major differences between the two. If you're wondering where to turn for your next personal loan or aren't sure where to open a savings account consider the following differences between a credit union and a bank.

Credit Unions

A Credit Union is a member-owned not-for-profit financial cooperative governed by a Board of Directors elected by the credit union's members. The members of a credit union usually have something in common, such as living in the same geographical region or belonging to the same organization.

Credit Unions offer everything from checking and savings accounts to small business loans, car loans, mortgages, personal loans, and more. A credit union's main focus, however, is on savings and it will usually offer higher interest on savings products than a bank. A credit union's not-for-profit status means that any income it earns is given back to its members, usually via lower interest rates and fees.

Banks

A bank is a stockholder-owned financial institution. Its main goal is to make its investors money and it does so by investing its customer's money or lending it to other customers. When you make a deposit at the bank you are essentially loaning money to it. The bank pays you back in interest for that loan but the rates vary depending on the bank (consider that 0.05% you're now making on a savings account you opened several years ago when interest rates were much higher).

Banks also make their money in fees (ATM fees, overdraft fees, late payment fees, etc.). Banks carry the same products as credit unions, deposit accounts, IRAs, credit cards, and so on, but unlike a credit union, a bank's products are FDIC insured. (Credit unions are insured by the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) so funds are still guaranteed should the credit union fail).

While it may seem that banks and credit unions both offer the same products and the only difference is in who owns them, credit unions lead the way when it comes to service. Surveys of bank customers and credit union members consistently show a higher rate of satisfaction among credit union members. And while banks are often able to provide more convenience, in that they typically offer more branch locations, customer satisfaction is not as high.