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Why Using Debt Consolidation Loans For Bad Credit Improvement Is The Route To Financial Recovery

Friday, February 28, 2014

There is nothing simple about managing debts, with different loans having different repayment schedules and different interest rates. The result is a complex debt repayment pattern, and rarely will someone facing the challenge emerge successfully. But the availability of debt consolidation loans for bad credit improvement means that even bad credit borrowers have a chance to put things right.

In many respects, consolidation is the superior option amongst the range of possible solutions. Through consolidation, the job of clearing existing debts is achieved in one swift move, and the benefits can be considerable.

But as is the case with all financial matters, it is essential to satisfy all terms and conditions before it becomes possible to get a debt consolidation loan. Of course, since the purpose of the loan itself is to aid those in poor financial positions, approval is more likely. But what are the issues that need to be considered?

Consolidation Loans: The Benefits

Arguably, the first issue to clear up is whether or not the move will be of any real benefit. It may seem that a borrower is robbing Peter to pay Paul, but in fact, there are real advantages to enjoy. Bear in mind, getting a debt consolidation loan for bad credit improvement purposes means that the entire debt is cleared. This means an immediate improvement in the credit score is registered.

Taking on this new debt does not mean that the pressure remains despite clearing existing debts. The terms of the consolidation loan are very important, but basically, replacing 4 or 5 individual loans with a single loan means lowering the total interest paid each month, and reducing the monthly repayment sum by as much as 50%.

So, the result of taking out a debt consolidation loan is that the troublesome debts are cleared, extra cash is freed up and the overall financial pressure to face is reduces considerably.

Consolidation: Other Options

It would be incorrect to claim that seeking a debt consolidation loan for bad credit improvement is the only option that those of us with acute debt problems to consider. There are others, but while they may have their advantages, there are also some factors that dictate they are not so good.

The most obvious options when facing mounting debts is to file for bankruptcy. This can be useful in that the total debt is wiped clean with sometimes 0% of the actual sum paid. Clearing existing debts in this way means real savings are made, but a credit restriction can last at least 12 months, and the negative impact on your credit record will last for years.

Another option is to negotiate a debt settlement agreement. This can also result in savings, with anything from between 70% and 30% of the debt repaid in exchange for clearing the balance. This has less severe consequences, but cannot match the debt consolidation loan for its long-term impact.

The Consolidation Company

Debt consolidation offers so much, but securing the best terms is important. With relation to securing a debt consolidation loan, for bad credit borrowers to make the most out of the opportunity, they may need to hire a professional company to handle matters.

The chief advantage with hiring a consolidation company is that the complexities of dealing with creditors is avoided, and when the debts involved are extremely high, their disciplined approach can make a huge difference. And extra charge is involved, but when nothing else has worked, it is the perfect solution.

Clearing existing debts in this way means the debts are paid up, and the company then controls your finances to ensure they are repaid. Since the debt consolidation loan is in their hands, failure to improve your financial position is extremely unlikely.

How to Start Your Overseas Real Estate Portfolio

Real estate is a tried and tested asset class and the majority of people agree that as a long term investment commodity there is nothing really to beat it for consistently returning strong growth and increasing yields...however, when a country's housing market goes temporarily cold as real estate prices move outside of the affordability gap, real estate investors often look overseas for the development of their property based portfolio.

Currently the real estate markets in countries such as the UK and US are slow and the ability to profit from property locally is reduced - therefore more people than ever are thinking about moving their focus abroad and starting an overseas real estate portfolio to enable them to build a passive income for life.

If you would like to learn more about building a passive income for life from investing in overseas real estate here are the main five considerations to bear in mind to maximize profit, reduce risk, increase yields and capitalize on opportunities as they present themselves - but before we begin it is always prudent to mention that the value of any investment can always go down as well as up, and that investment decisions should be taken carefully and be made with the assistance of qualified and experienced advisors.

Tip One - Real estate markets around the world emerge, boom, go bust and re-emerge all over again, but they do so at very different points in time as each market is heavily dependent on the current state of the economy in the given country. As we all know economies ebb and flow like the tide and there is no such thing as a guaranteed market where property prices will keep rising. However, there are countries in the world going through major economic change where the real estate market is emerging and where the long term forecast is for a period of prolonged growth. An investor who is not risk averse and who is planning an overseas real estate portfolio should try and identify which countries have a strengthening economy and an emerging real estate market.

Tip Two - Having found an emerging market an investor needs to determine the key factor that makes an investment into real estate in the given country a good decision. I.e., if a country's property market is simply booming because of hype and an investor can see nothing to support the long term success of the market then they should walk away. If an investor can see massive room for growth but an interfering government who may attempt to restrict property investors from taking their profits then an investor has to decide whether or not they can still make enough profit from real estate to make any investment worthwhile.

Tip Three - Having determined that there is potential within a given market an investor needs to learn how to harness the power of other people's money! As real estate is an expensive and slow to liquidise commodity it is unwise to pay cash from personal funds for an investment property, rather it's wise to raise finance at a low interest rate from a secure financial institution. An investor should look into whether an international mortgage or a local mortgage is possible and affordable when buying overseas real estate.

Tip Four - As previously stated, over the long term real estate is considered by many to be one of the most consistently returning asset classes - the key to this consistent success is however the 'long term' bit! I.e., when buying real estate abroad for capital growth and rental yield it pays to be able to keep that real estate for ten years or more to ensure the greatest reward is derived from the investment.

Tip Five - And finally, having determined that the key factors exist to suggest that a property market has legs to run and that any hype surrounding its progress is based on fundamentally accurate facts as detailed in Tip Two, an investor need to ensure they buy real estate that will suit the market demand that is making the real estate market successful! Therefore if the baby boomers are driving a given market consider buying single level properties in secure communities, if on the other hand the young professionals are driving the market think about purchasing well located, designed and facilitated apartments.

Surrealistic Serenity

Thursday, February 27, 2014

It was Salvador Dali, who experimented with optical possibilities within his Surrealistic frames. That legacy became very popular towards the end of the first half of twentieth century as new groundbreaking findings in the field of psychology were giving strength to the individual and individuality contrary to the everlasting concept of universal reality and mass understanding.

In the field of painting, 'How to Paint' was replacing 'What to Paint' and the humanistic factor that sprouted out in the Renaissance, got ripe in the 18th century, and it forced the 20th-century art to be more individual, more personal and more emotional. At one end the art was getting distorted due to the forceful expression of expressionism and at the other end, it was getting twisted and twitched under the non-corporeal ambiance of surrealism.

Pakistan has been a crucible of diverse cultures. It absorbed different tastes of various art movements and painting styles. One can find traces of Realism, Impressionism, Cubism, Expressionism and Surrealism at the same time while the Eastern tradition of Miniature Painting and Calligraphic Art is also alive in the hearts and minds of its inhabitants.

Western influences on the Pakistani Art have been due to many factors, Colonialization of South Asia is a core reason of it. Moreover, the academic or institutional art in Pakistan was impossible without the industrious efforts of mentors like Anna Molka Ahmad and Shakir Ali. Since both academic masters of art were taught and trained in the west, they sowed and watered the fragile plant of academic art in Pakistan which, ultimately got riveted by the western art style and movements.

Zarah David is an artist who has this honour of being there at the Fine Arts Department of the Punjab University when Pakistani Art was in its infancy. Zarah has seen Pakistani Art getting young and mature with every passing year of her age up to the prime level.

Zarah is a witness to the development of Landscape Painting in Pakistan that grew with the maestro, Khalid Iqbal while at the same time; she has seen her mother Anna Molka amalgamating her expressionistic technique with indigenous subject matter. She was there when Collin David was exploring the figurative excellence after his academic training, and she was there when Pakistani Art was getting its earliest shape.
Zarah, in an interview has expressed that experience in these words, "Colour has always played a very important part in my life and work. I was surrounded by such different personalities... my mother with her vibrant, strong colours and forceful technique of painting... my teachers like Khalid Iqbal, Colin David and Naseem Qazi, who had a more restrained palette... then I, myself, working for over 20 years as a colour consultant surrounded with colours."

Zarah David has been applying colours that seem to unfold the delicacy of a true female painter. Her palette corresponds to a sense of ultimate tranquility in her frames which, capture the onlooker with a fairytale like ambiance. Zarah's paintings convey the feelings of a fore long journey of human soul and thoughts to the inexplicable shores where existence and extinction embrace each other.
"I paint from the imagination, and my strong belief is that whatever is in your heart is visible in your work, whether it is in the form of painting, poetry or music. They are all related to one another. You cannot divide them into compartments."

In her recent show at the Ocean Art Gallery, Zarah has displayed an array of vibrant canvases. We can see the synthesis of orange, red, green and blue, evaporating out and across the limits of the frames. These paintings remind us of the great tradition of Landscape painting that Khalid Iqbal founded at the Fine Arts department of the University of the Punjab. They also make us think of the impressionistic influences that Zubeda Javed explored through her deep colours. They also stir our memory to recall Colin David with his surrealistic ambiance around his masterly crafted figures.

However, among all these greats, Zarah is standing tall with her own evolved style that has shades of these maestros but with its own taste and character.

Your Home Equity and Real Estate Commissions

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

If you're like most people, your home is the biggest single investment you've got. You expect it to increase in value over time, and you probably have more money tied up in it than in any other investment. This money is your equity, and a large chunk of it disappears when you sell your home using a real estate agent.

In this article, you'll learn how real estate commissions affect your equity, you'll see just how many real estate agents make money from a single commission, and in the section called Avoiding the Pressure, you'll get an inside look at why many real estate agents are so persistent at getting their sellers to accept low-price offers.

A Quick Word to Buyers

Buyers and sellers alike benefit when there is no real estate agent involved. The term "fair market value" has a different ring to it when the middleperson is taken out of the equation, and prices trend to a truer value when they no longer reflect real estate commissions.


Equity is the value of the unencumbered interest in your home. It's the difference between the fair market value of your home and the unpaid balance of your mortgage, plus any other outstanding debt on the home.

Real Estate Commissions

Real estate commissions are the fees earned by real estate agents and are based on the selling price of the property. They're usually in the range of 6%, and they represent an excessive portion of the property's equity, equaling thousands and thousands of dollars.

Your equity increases in two ways: as you pay off your mortgage and as your home appreciates. It decreases when you borrow against your home. But nothing reduces your equity quite like a real estate commission. You get nothing for it that you couldn't have got on your own.

Here are three assertions for why you should sell your home yourself:

Lower Cost of Selling

If you sell your home using a real estate agent, the commission you'll be charged is around 6%. For a $250,000 home, that's $15,000. For a $600,000 home, it's $36,000. You have to ask yourself what you're getting for all that money. The cost of selling your home on your own is negligible by comparison, and the result is the same: your home will sell. If you list your home on a For Sale By Owner real estate wed site, run a few classified ads in the real estate section of your local paper and prominently display a For Sale By Owner sign in your front yard, the cost of selling your home could be less than $1,000. With the amount you'd save in commissions, you could still afford to advertise more, if necessary, in places like local real estate publications and newspaper supplements.

Retaining Your Equity

Let's say a couple decides to sell their home. It has a fair market value of $300,000 and they have $60,000 of equity in the home. They decide to use a real estate agent and agree to pay a 6% commission, or $18,000. The house sells. After the closing, the couple realizes they've lost 30% of their equity. The $18,000 commission paid at closing meant that instead of walking away with $60,000, they only walked away with $42,000. So they have much less to put down on their next home.

Avoiding the Pressure

The economist Stephen D. Levitt and co-author Stephen J. Dubner wrote recently in their book Freakonomics (HarperCollins Publishers, Inc.) of Levitt's study showing that when real estate agents sell their own homes, those homes stay on the market an average of 10 days longer than their clients' homes. The same study shows that the selling price of real estate agents' homes is on average 3% greater than that of their clients.

Here's why. A couple who lists their home with a real estate agent for $250,000 may hear from the agent that someone has offered $240,000 for the home. The agent will typically insist that this is a good offer and that the sellers should take it. Why would the real estate agent be so eager to accept a price that's $10,000 below the seller's asking price?

It's simple. Agents split their commissions: half goes to the buyer's agent, half to the seller's agent. Then it's usually split again: each agent gives half of their commission to the agency they work for. So the agent representing the seller is only getting 1.5% of the sales price of the home (6% ÷ 4).
With a $240,000 offer, the price of the home is reduced by $10,000, but the commission is reduced by only $600. The real estate agent's cut of this is $150. It will cost the seller's agent only $150 to accept the low-price offer. What does it cost the seller? An additional $9,400.

This situation happens every day. There is a strong incentive for real estate agents representing the seller to entice their sellers into accepting offers well below their asking price.


As you can see, there are tremendous financial advantages to selling your home yourself. That's not to say it's for everyone. It requires a little more effort, and some are willing to part with all that equity to have a real estate agent do it.
But selling your home yourself can be easier than you think. The right research will help you price your home correctly, understand the paperwork involved, and prepare you getting the home ready to sell.

Make sure you walk away from your closing with your equity intact.

Buying The Best Health Insurance Policy

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Medical and general wellness concerns are often quite difficult for consumers to manage on a regular basis. Receiving medical attention of any kind is increasingly more expensive to pay for as costs continue to rise and household budgets continue to become strained on a regular basis which is often whey consumers turn to guidance of any kind. Anyone that is concerned with their medical expenses and looking for assistance should know the basics of buying the right health insurance plan to help guide their efforts.

Health insurance policies are designed to offer financial assistance in various categories of medical treatment needs. Policies within this category of protection are typically designed within specific maximums and categories of medical treatment that are able to be covered for the consumer while paying monthly premiums. Consumers that decide to use this form of insurance are often very cautious in their buying decisions.

The vast industry of providers often makes it difficult for anyone to make a buying decision. Many people find that the competitors are all comparable in what they generate for consumer based interest which creates confusion on multiple levels. Keeping various factors in mind helps anyone find the most appropriate coverage for their needs.

People should initially focus their attention on making sure the coverage is offered from a reputable provider. The competitive forces that exist within this marketplace of options are actually quite difficult for a company to remain viable throughout the daily operations. Researching companies and sorting through the most experienced and longest standing options often leads to a much more effective coverage option.

The network of medical professionals that is offered from the company should also be reviewed when making a choice. Each carrier is known to have a dedicated listing of medical professionals that are able to accept their form of payment which must be used for successful coverage on the part of the consumer. Patients that already have a primary physician of some kind are often focused on making sure they are part of the network that is offered.

Prescription coverage should also be focused on by consumers that are looking to buy a policy. Medications are exceptionally high in dollar amount these days which makes it difficult for people to ensure they are receiving the guidance and wellness they need at all times. Policies that are able to cover the highest percentage of the prescription costs that people have are known to be the most budgetary for anyone to consider.

Consumers are also now heavily centered in on the wellness programs that are made available to them. Wellness programs are commonly offered from providers to help consumers live a healthier and more balanced lifestyle which also benefits the provider in avoiding making larger payments to professionals. The most comprehensive wellness plans are often considered as the best to choose from.

Choosing the right health insurance provider includes the ability to ensure that the monthly premiums charged are as affordable as possible. Monthly premiums assessed by providers are often quite competitive which helps keep them are reduced as possible across the industry. Consumers should zone in on the plans that are offered with the most available coverage for the lowest premium amounts.

By: Allan Ryckman

Article Directory: http://www.articledashboard.com

Find tips on how to get the best car insurance rates and a complete review of the things to consider before choosing an insurance policy, now.

Kazakhstan: In the Land of the Steppe

Monday, February 24, 2014

Where is Kazakhstan? This is a question many people will find themselves pondering upon hearing the name of this vast, but somewhat obscure country.

The answer to this and other questions are addressed in the following article.

Like many countries once part of the former Soviet Union, a detailed knowledge of Kazakhstan is often lacking with many people having only a vague notion of its general location and other basic facts. As strange as it may seem, it is likely that many people's only introduction to Kazakhstan has come from watching the movie Borat and even then possibly thinking it was the name of a fictitious country! Jokes aside, Kazakhstan is undoubtedly deserving of greater recognition as a country well worth visiting.

Stretching from the Caspian Sea in the West to the border with China in the East and spanning over 1,500km from North to South at its widest point, the Republic of Kazakhstan is the ninth largest and largest landlocked country in the world and is roughly equivalent to the size of the four largest U.S. states of Alaska, Texas, California and Montana combined. Although by far the largest of the Central Asian nations in area, with a population of only 16.6 million Kazakhstan is sparsely populated and the wide open spaces and general sense of remoteness are one of the defining characteristics of the country.

The geography of Kazakhstan is dominated by the Eurasian Steppe: an expanse of grassy, and in places, semi-arid plain extending across huge tracts of land from Mongolia in the East and as far as Hungary in the West. In the Far East and South East, Kazakhstan's borders are ringed by the towering peaks of the Altay and Tien Shan mountain ranges among which feature some of the highest mountains in the world. In the South, the grasslands of the steppe gradually give way to an increasing arid landscape with the driest regions forming part of the Kyzl-kum desert. Three large bodies of water also feature prominently in the geography of Kazakhstan. To the West lies the largest of these-the Caspian Sea, the Northern and North Eastern shores of which mark part of Kazakhstan's Western territorial limits. Further to the East (while also not wholly located within the borders of Kazakhstan) is the Aral Sea which is the unfortunate scene of an environmental disaster of epic proportions, and it is now sadly reduced to a fraction of its former size due to much of its inflow having been diverted for irrigation purposes. Lastly, Lake Balkhash is the largest lake lying wholly within the borders of Kazakhstan and is located in the South East of the country.

Kazakhstan supports a sizeable agricultural sector and its exports of wheat, in particular, constitute a significant share of global production. However, in terms of GDP, energy in the form of exploitation of the country's petroleum and natural gas reserves is now the single most important economic activity and has been largely responsible for the Kazakhstan's rise to relative prosperity over most of the past decade or more. While many economic and financial reforms were undertaken in the years since Kazakhstan's independence from the Soviet Union in 1991, political reform has lagged far behind and the country has consistently scored low on almost every measure of freedom and human rights.

As with a number of other countries in the region, the fabled Silk Road played an instrumental role in the early history of what is now Kazakhstan bringing with it not just goods but contact with new ideas, cultures and religions. The Silk Road was an overland trade route that for hundreds of years was a conduit, allowing for the exchange of goods and in particular silk, between China and the West. Following the "road" West from China it, at various points, branches off in different directions; however, the various routes then converge in Central Asia, hence the close identification of the countries of that region with the Silk Road.

Traditionally, Kazakhstan was home to a nomadic herding culture of Turkic origin whose tribes came under the sway of the Mongol Empire in the 13th Century and then its successor, the Golden Horde leading eventually to the founding of the Kazakh Khanate. Prior to these events, from about the 8th Century onwards the influence of Islam began to be felt in the region and it remains the religion of the majority of Kazakhstan's population today. During the mid 19th Century with the expansion of the Russian Empire, the Kazakh's once again fell under the dominion of a foreign power and subsequently became part of the Soviet Union as the Kazakh SSR (Soviet Socialist Republic), finally gaining independence again with the collapse of the USSR in 1991. The legacy of Russian/Soviet dominance in Kazakhstan can be seen in the large number of people of Russian descent and the widespread use of Russian even among those of Kazakh ethnicity. Besides Russians, there are significant populations of other ethnic minorities such as Ukrainians, Tatars, Belarusians, Uzbeks and Germans. This ethnic diversity is also a consequence of the Soviet era when Kazakhstan received large numbers of deportees from other parts of the Soviet Union.

While once a predominantly nomadic and pastoral society based on the raising of livestock such as sheep, horses and camels; a growing majority of Kazakhstan's citizens now reside in urban centers living a typically modern, and to varying degrees, Western-influenced lifestyle. This is especially true of the younger generations. However, recent years have seen a revival in interest and renewed pride in traditional Kazakh culture, one consequence of which is reflected in the increase in the number of people learning to speak the Kazakh language.

The most populous and cosmopolitan city in Kazakhstan is Almaty located close to the border with Kyrgyzstan in a mountainous area in the South East. It is also the financial and cultural center of Kazakhstan and was the capital city until 1997 when it was moved to Astana on the Kazakh Steppe in the North-Central part of the country. Astana's dubious claim to fame is that it is officially the second coldest capital city in the world after Ulaanbaatar in Mongolia with an average mid-winter minimum temperature of -18 degrees Celsius! Other important provincial centers include Karaganda-notable for its large ethnic German population, and Shymkent; capital of South Kazakhstan province.

While Kazakhstan might not be everyone's idea of a holiday destination it has much to offer the adventurous traveler. Visitors will be rewarded with an opportunity to experience for themselves a part of the world few other people get to experience, a part of the world rich in cultural and historical significance. However, for many travelers it is the landscape of Kazakhstan which leaves the most lasting impression, from the stark beauty of the seemingly endless steppe to the grandeur of its mountains. These features have not only given shape to the physical landscape but are also powerful symbols which have shaped the consciousness of the Kazakh people over millennia.

Real Estate Notes For Sale

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Over the past few years, more and more people in the United States have been offering real estate notes for sale. Selling real estate is an easy way to turn one's monthly receivable payment into an immediate and large sum of cash. A real estate note for sale can be a mortgage note, a contract for sale or a land contract.

The best way to find real estate notes for sale is to look for real estate note listings. Several websites provide information on real estate notes for sale. They usually list real estate notes from different states. These websites also provide information on various categories of real estate notes. You can approach real estate note brokers who generally have up-to-date information on the real estate note market. They can also simplify the process of transaction. Local newspapers and magazines are other places to look for real estate notes for sale. Real estate investment clubs are a good forum to discuss matters related to real estate notes.

Competition in this field is very high. Earlier, it was easy to buy real estate notes for huge margins of profit. With several financial institutions and companies hunting for real estate notes, individual buyers often find it hard to buy and sell real estate notes. Most real estate note sellers do not sell their entire lot of real estate notes at once. This can place individual buyers in certain tricky situations. Generally, real estate notes sold partially would not generate immediate income. It is better you go for professional help, as the transaction can sometimes be confusing.

What To Look Out For When You Compare Binary Options Brokers

If you have chosen to trade binary options, then you have taken a step towards diversifying your financial position, and potentially increasing your financial health. As with other types of financial product, you will need a broker to facilitate your trades on binary options. It can be difficult, however, when you compare binary options brokers because there are so many choices and there are also so many variables that you might need to pay attention to. Moreover, each broker’s website is likely to be filled with various descriptions and other selling points that might not present the best picture of all the features that you will be getting if you join that particular broker. It is therefore important that you maintain your focus as you compare your options, and there are some factors that you should keep at the top of your mind.

Minimum Trade Size

The minimum trade size allowed is one of the major factors that you should pay attention to whenever you compare brokers. The minimum trade size that you are satisfied with will be determined mostly by your capital and how much you are looking to trade. Some people who are just starting out are looking to trade small because they are aware that they will make mistakes along the way, and they do not want to be forced into making trades that are larger than they are comfortable with. Others are confident that they will not be making small trades and the minimum trade size is therefore of much less relevance to them.

Other Financial Instruments

Most people who choose to trade binary options are already active in other parts of the financial markets or are considering trading in other financial products. It would be inconvenient if you had to make use of two different brokers just to trade two different financial products. Most binary options brokers also provide brokering services for other financial products, and you should take advantage of this if you are looking to diversify your financial portfolio beyond just binary options. Of course this requires planning beforehand so that you know exactly what it is that you want to trade and you can ensure that the binary options broker that you choose offers the particular service you need.

Additional Features

Of course, everyone looks to get their money’s worth whenever they have to pay for a service, and it should be no different with binary options brokers. Binary options brokers are, after all, providing brokerage services so it only makes sense that they should offer you the tools and information necessary for you to make informed and intelligent trades. With the right information and know-how, you can easily make more winning trades than losing ones, thereby realizing a profit on your trading activities.

Comparison Criteria

These are just some of the criteria that you can use to compare binary options brokers and the various features and options that they can offer you. There are a great many other factors that you can also use as part of your comparison, and the ones that you choose to place emphasis on is entirely a matter of your personal preference and your particular binary options trading needs.

Another Kind of Energy or ComPost-Modernism

Friday, February 21, 2014

PERMACULTURE HAS ITS GENESIS in the visionary work of J. Russell Smith, J. Sholto Douglas, Robert Hart, and others less well known, who, two generations ago and more, realized the urgency of transforming the basis of agricul­ture through the use of trees and other perennial crops. They saw the progressive devastation of land that followed the plow and knew that only by integrating forestry and farming could man's impact on the Earth be tempered and hope for humanity's future be secured into the next century.

Following the revelations of ecologist H. T. Odum (I) on the problem of energy, a third leg was added to this vital synthesis as David Holmgren so trenchantly expounds in his essay Energy and Permaculture (2). It was for Holmgren, a young student of design at Hobart. Tasmania, and his unlikely mentor, Bill Mollison a bushman turned university professor, to set forth a systematic and practical approach to implementing these new understandings. Permaculture emphasized redesign of the domestic landscape or self-reliance, building the genius of the local and the individual into this triune and revolutionary shift.

Though widely accepted by both traditional and post-modern peoples around the world, permaculture has been largely ignored by governments and institutions, to which its essential message is anathema. The vacuum of official support has obscured the scope and extent of this revolution in man's relation to the land. It is important therefore, for those of us promoting permaculture concepts and systems to realize that the elaboration of the permaculture design system, though original to Holmgren and Mollison, was neither isolated nor unique, but contemporary with a range of parallel creative work in other western countries.

Rummaging my bookshelf for inspiration on energy in preparation for this issue, I came across evidence for a similar ideation in a slender thesis by Ida and Jean Pain, Another Kind of Garden. First published in 1973 and in a fifth edition by 1979, this little book documents the work and methods of M. Pain with brushwood compost.

A Little-Known Visionary

Pain was a citizen scientist in Occitania, that fabled and historic region in the south of France, whose political fate has long been submerged within the French state, but whose spirit is still restive. Contemporary with Bill Mollison. Pain was concerned with the devastation of the Mediterranean forest by fire, a terminal process of dehumification of soils that began thousands of years ago with the introduction of grazing animals and cereal cropping. He experimented with the production of compost from brushwood thinnings of the garrigue, France's sclerophyllic (dry loving) southern forest. By progressive applications of this compost and careful mulching to retain moisture, Pain demonstrated and recorded in great detail that high quality vegetables could be grown without irrigation in these dry soils. He further speculated that the forest itself could he regenerated by selective use of the same material.

What sets Jean Pain apart from Sir Albert Howard or other advocates of compost for gardening are two important elements, First. Pain placed the source of humic material in the forest and not in agriculture. In this way Pain pointed to a way of making productive the vast scrubland and dry forest regions of the sub-temperate and sub-tropic regions, areas of the planet blessed by abundant sunshine and long occupied by humans, but whose soils were exhausted before the modern age. Second, motivated by a profoundly post-modern understanding of global resource limits, he concerned himself with the production of industrially useful energy from this basic earth resource. In this way he offers a bridge between traditional livelihoods based in shifting cultiva­tion or nomadic herding, and a more modern, prosperous, and settled way of life. He also shows westerners a way out of the dilemma of dependence on fossil fuels.

Why then have we not a better knowledge of this important man and his work? The answers are several and should surprise us little. Jean Pain worked independently in a rural region. He was affiliated with no university or government. Though French is a world language, it is no longer the leading tongue of science and has been eclipsed by English as the lingua franca of cultural innovation. Pain's small, didactic volume was self-published, and its translation into English was awkward, the text difficult to read. Though Pain networked with other researchers in francophone Europe and in California, the extent of his outreach appears to have been limited. He was essentially an agronomic scientist and inventor, without the personality which might have enabled him to publicize and propagate his ideas. And, more broadly, his creative work, like so much innovation in energy technology, was marginalized by the worldwide conservative reaction of the l980's which sought to deny the implica­tions of the oil shocks of the previous decade.

Let's look at Jean Pain's methods and try to assess what sort of legacy he has left us as we enter the 21st century.

Pain lived in Provence and realized the limitations of what Alan Savory (3) has called "brittle environments," those charac­terized by extended seasonal drought. Absent herds of large animals to process the biomass into a form available to soil organisms, organic matter tended to cycle more often through fire than through earth, exaggerating the loss of carbon from soils already depleted and subject to high temperatures for much of the year. While Savory, and his intellectual predecessor Frenchman Andre Voisin, emphasized intensive grazing by herd animals, Pain faced a dry mountainous landscape where resinous plants were dominant. Unsuitable for most grazing animals, the brush-wood, which amounted to as much as 50 ton / hectare (20 ton / acre) was a huge reservoir of volatile fuel for an ever-increasing number of human-caused fires scourging the Mediterranean littoral (seashore).

A modern Prometheus, Pain sought to domesticate this demon for human use. His studies had revealed the essential mystery of humus and its role in soil fertility. The creation of long-chain carbon molecules by a biological alchemy made soils and the environments based on them, more supple, better capable of holding magic substance could be "cultured" by providing supportive conditions for bacteria and fungi to digest plant material: ample mois­ture, controlled atmosphere and temperature and the continuous diffusion of oxygen into the mass were sufficient.

But though the raw material was abundant in the Provencal forests, its collection required chainsaws and motorized transport, and its processing required grinding to increase the surface area and hasten break­down. Collection and grinding required industrial fuels and machinery, albeit simple: trucks, tractors, power saws. How then to close this economic and energy loop? By capturing energy from the composting process.

Alternate Energy Paths

Jean Pain articulates two basic biochemistries: a familar one, that in the presence of oxygen, cellulose and lignins in woody material break down (or build up) to humus; and one less familiar, that suspended in water, anaerobically, and held at 36°C (97°F) the same woody material will support bacteria that produce methane gas. (Only slightly different processes are required to yield wood alcohol, yet a third useful substance.)

Methane--natural gas--is an industrial fuel. It can provide combustion energy for cooking and space heating, but it can also run motors. Convenience in transport and for vehicle use dictates compressing the gas, but this too is possible with methane-generated electricity and simple compressors. The nimble French inventor set out to link all these processes by the necessary technical elements.

Since his first aim was the rejuvenation of the soil, Pain devoted himself first to the perfection of the compost pile. Manual preparation of the material required that it be selected from small branches (less than 8mm thickness) and leafy matter. The presence of chlorophyll (and we know also enzymes and other nutritive substances) enhanced decomposition to humus (4). In the case of industrialized composting a smaller thickness was desired (less than 1mm), with long thin fibers preferable to short thick pieces. He reports that machinery that shaves rather than chips the branches and limbs is preferred.

Obviously, powerful machinery is required to macerate small tree trunks and limbs, and Pain spent considerable attention developing prototypes. One of these, a tractor-driven model, was awarded fourth prize in the 1978 Grenoble Agricultural Fair. The brushwood shavings must then be saturated with water. A cubic meter of woody material will absorb up to 700 liters of water over three days if continuously moistened. Mindful of conserving this precious resource, Pain dug trenches before building his piles in order to drain away excess water which he then pumped hack into the process. A large heap (75 cubic meters, about 50 tons) of this material could be obtained from a hectare of careful forest thinnings (35-40 tons). This would both improve the health of the forest while providing humic manure sufficient to one hectare of cereal cultivation.

Compost piles properly made, of course, heat up. Reaching 60°C (140°F), a heap of this volume would ferment for up to 18 months and provide (through a simple plastic coil embedded in the pile) heated water for domestic use throughout the run of the reaction. Pain reports that he heated his five--room house of 1000 square feet (100 m2) and provided hot water (at a rate of 4 liters! minute) for its occupants from a 50 ton pile for six months, but that a 12 ton pile maintained that output for a full 18 months.

After testing horizontal and vertical coils. Pain concluded that a circular coil or series of concentric circular coils was the best design for extracting heat from a compost consistent with ease of constructing and deconstructing the pile.

Jean Pain continued to refine his technologies. The shredder he devised was later fitted with a recirculating chute for ease of handling the brushwood shavings while obtaining the fineness required. Having proven the utility of heating water (and spaces) with brushwood compost, he experimented with heating air for greenhouses.

And to make a completely honest farmer of himself, Jean Pain insisted on meeting the energy requirements of his harvest and processing machinery, so he turned his attention to the production of gas by methanogenesis. Referring to the work of Ducellier, Isman, John Fry, Sauze, and others, Pain touches only lightly on the technical aspects of gas generation, preferring to report his findings relative to the brushwood source material. Five kilograms of finely shredded brushwood compost yield about 1 cubic meter of methane--about 5,500 kcaI--equivalent to about half a liter of high-grade petrol in energy content. The gas generated by the fermentation of brush-wood requires a simple filtration--which he does not explain but which is presumably referenced in the literature--before it can be compressed and applied to motorized transport (a simple carburetor adjustment for a standard gasoline engine) or electricity generation. As the photos in his book attest, Jean Pain in fact developed or adapted machinery to run from this fuel.

An important development in technique for methane produc­tion was to embed the gas-producing tank (a sealed plastic tub of 4m3 volume) surrounded by coiled plastic pipe, in a Compost heap. The plastic coil conducted water around the gas tank while serving as a heat exchanger. By regulating the flow of water, the temperature of the gas reactor could be regulated to optimize gas production, which in this example was about 1300 liters per day. The now warmed water of course was used for heating the house. Jean Pain connected this supply to a storage reservoir of 36 innertubes. These in turn fed the domestic cooking devices and supplied gas to a compressor run on electricity from a methane ­powered generator. The compressed gas supplied motive power for the farm truck, while the generator also ran lights in the house.

The results are impressive. From a hectare of fire-prone and unproductive forest, 50 tons of agricultural fertilizer can be derived along with the energy equivalent in fluid form, of 4000 liters of high-grade petrol. This energy can he channeled to the harvest and processing of the woody material, and the whole can be accomplished while providing paid employment and a modest profit from the sale of gas and humic manure--by any measure a true permaculture!

Pain calculates the economics of a theoretical 1000 hectare unit managed according to his methods and estimates that process energy required is 12% of energy yield, while counting in all inputs, ores, metallurgy, wood, implements, and so on, 26%; that equipment can be paid for in five years and the financing, including interest, retired within 10. All the while 16 people will be employed at good wages.

Some Caveats

Pain continued innovating and refining his methods through at least 1979 (when the fifth edition of his hook was published). He inspired the creation of a technical center in Belgium (5), and reported pending contact with municipal officials in Seattle, Washington who were interested in applying his methods to process urban wastes. A cooperative enterprise had been formed for the manufacture of brushwood shredding machinery, but interestingly its address has been scratched out from my copy of the book. What has become of him and his work is unknown to me. In the course of 15 years he learned a great deal of the technical requirements of his art, all directed toward increasing the yields and efficiencies of the process, hastening the cycle from cutting of brush to application of compost to soil, recycling material internally (he used aged compost to generate methane, then recycled the residue to soil).

His aim throughout was improvement of forest health. Though I have emphasized in this synopsis the technical aspects of his invention and the industrialization of brushwood compost, Pain himself stresses the importance of sensitive harvesting of the woody material: careful pruning, thinning, and felling are essential to a successful result. In his own words: "This research, then, which was begun in 1964 in the Central Var district and which was aimed primarily at enabling a family of extremely modest means first to get by and then live normally in the forest, has today led to the production of energy in the form of electricity obtained by means of simple techniques, this not being our purpose at the outset."

Pain's work points out the need for further innovation and elaboration of techniques for producing methane and alcohol from woody material. Implied are an array of methane or alcohol-driven motors of various sizes for everything from power tools to generators, transport vehicles, and farm and earthmoving machinery. These are simple fuels, easily derived horn organic materials and thus capable of widespread production and use They are ready substitutes for most of the liquid petroleum-based fuels now used by industrial civilization, and as such arc compatible with a smooth transition away from centrally controlled energy. Though wind and solar will play an important role in a gradual shift of energy sources, there is little promise of either the major revolution in motive technology or of a rapid restructuring of the built environment that would allow us to shift our heavy dependence on transport to these well developed renewable energy sources.

Much interest of late has gone towards the process of converting waste cooking oils into biodiesel. While this is interesting and creative, it seems inherently limited in its applications, primarily because of the relative scarcity of the source material. Nothing like a sufficient quantity of spent cooking fat is available to provide adequate transport energy for the entire population, even at vastly reduced levels of energy use. Also, the production of industrial cooking oils is primarily monocultural and inherently devastating to enormous areas of the planet. Biologically, production of oils requires a more complex and less efficient energy pathway than plant production of cellulose and ligneous material.

There will always be many hundreds, if not thousands of times more woody material than oil produced. In addition to the basic phytochemistry, there is the geographic argument: many millions of acres of land are unsuitable for arable crops, are degraded forest of low yield, or are wastelands wrecked by agriculture­ or toxic chemicals. We need technologies for deriving economic yield from the rehabilitation of these lands. We also need simple technologies to break the monopoly of the fossil fuel industries.

It was the genius of Jean Pain to grasp the essential problem of the age and throw himself into finding simple and appropriate technical solutions for it (even if, by his admission, he did not know all of what he would do at the outset). That these solutions find their most efficient application at a modest and very local scale is a boon to the world and has everything to do with Pain's original intent. The social and labor arrangements, capital financing, and technology­ required to yield useful and commercially valuable energy and fertilizer for individual and community-scale application from restorative forestry are within the reach of large numbers of people and groups throughout the world.

What is needed now is for significant numbers of people to realize and take responsibility for our continued use of liquid fuels in transport, energy for domestic heating and hot water, and to realize that the stable and successful transition to a sustainable economy requires us to develop locally controlled and biological sources for these energies, based on simple, widely available and applicable technologies.


1. Odum, Howard.T. and Eugene C. Odum. The Energy Basis for Man and Nature. McGraw Hill, 1981.

2. Holmgren, David. "Energy and Permaculture." Permaculture Activist #3 1 May, 1994.

3. Savory, Allan. Holistic Resource Management. Island, 1989.

4. Celine Caron. "Ramial Wood Chips," Permaculture Activist #29/ 30, July, 1993.

5. Jean Pain Committee International, 18, Avenue Princesse Elizabeth, 1030 Brussels, Belgium tel. 32-2241-08-20 or 32-52-30-01-66.

The author admits to no great familiarity with either the production or use of biogas, only a keen interest based on need. He would like to thank Emilia Hazelip for her timely suggestion to investigate the subject, and offers his sincere appreciation to Ida and Jean Pain for their pioneering efforts.

The Real Estate Bubble Fallacy

Monday, February 17, 2014

There has been a lot of talk lately about the "Real Estate Bubble", and a lot of folks are asking the question: "When it is going to burst"?

They are saying that the market just can't sustain this level of growth and appreciation much longer, and I heat them say that it is inevitable that it must come crashing down soon. People are worried. They don't think it can last; That whatever goes up, must come down.

These folks have been conditioned to believe what they believe most likely from the experience of the stock market bubble of 2000, and maybe the 1990's when the real estate market was hit hard in many large metropolitan areas across the country.

Its human nature to feel this way. We all know the saying (or the 80's tune for you big hair folks), "Once Bitten, Twice Shy". Or what about, "All good things must come to an end."? Its how we react to almost everything that affects our well being and general safety. Its a subconscious reaction at the gut level.

Just like in the stock market, there are bulls and bears. Bulls are typically more optimistic about the market and expect it go up, and bears are generally more pessimistic and expect the market to go down. They will always be there to provide free advice and "expert consulting". Remember though, who you decide to listen to will certainly have an effect on your decision making, and ultimately your success.

Well, I'm here to say that there is no real estate bubble! There never was a real estate bubble. Its a complete and utter fallacy.

"How can I say that?" you ask. I can say that because the real estate market is in reality, a Wave. Its a cycle, and we just happen to be riding the big swells, or the crest of this long, consistent, and fairly predictable pattern.

There is no doubt that real estate has been a rock solid investment for decades, and will continue to be for the foreseeable future and for many reasons that I would like to demonstrate here and now. Because you, as a real estate investor, must be able to move forward with confidence when deciding which projects and properties you want to buy and sell. That is the purpose of my website, www.realestateinvestment.net [http://www.realestateinvestment.net], to provide you timely information, strategies and techniques to help you succeed.

But first, what is a bubble? In terms of economics and markets, the best definition is probably something along the lines of "an isolated or ephemeral situation or condition with little support or substantiation from external conditions".

The best example, and the one foremost in the minds of us all, is the stock market tech bubble of 1999 and 2000. We all rushed into the tech stocks and the stock market in general as we saw the .com millionaires being made.

Y2K was a big factor in the tech bubble. People were buying new systems at a unprecedented rate in order to prepare for doomsday. People were also buying consumable goods to stock up for the dreadful event that never came.

So what was holding up, or supporting the "irrational exuberance" as Alan Greenspan characterized it? Well, we learned soon afterward, not much. It was an isolated, temporary incident that had little support from the other conditions. It was indeed like a bubble that burst.

And it has had little support since then. Historically speaking, after the stock market crash of 1929 and 1987, it took decades for the market to recover, although it did eventually recover. Just look at the Dow average and the S&P average for the last hundred years and see the pattern of recovery. You can be sure that a slow steady rise for stocks is in progress.

Now back to real estate. Let me explain why this is not a bubble.

Real Estate is Cyclic

Real estate has had its ups and downs over the years, but it is generally stable, with no drastic swings per se. If you were to look at the cycles on a chart you would see a clear pattern of gently rolling swells. This pattern is consistent across cities and regions all across the United states, although slightly varied in degree.

In addition, the cycles tend to favor the ups rather than the downs. It is not uncommon to see large cycles of appreciation and much smaller downward cycles. In other words, the current double-digit growth we've all come to know and love in recent years will likely be followed by downturns of single digit declines. Its like taking two steps forward and one step back.

In the big picture you will still be further ahead than when you started. You may see slower growth, but it will still be growth.

Real Estate is a Basic Necessity

People need to live somewhere. They need a roof over their head and their children's heads. Like food and clothing we must have a home. People don't need stocks or bonds. Therefore, you can be sure that whether the market is high or low in growth, whether interest rates are up or down, people will be buying, renting, leasing, and selling homes. It is as perennial as the years.

This Real Estate Wave Has Been Around Awhile

I don't know when you first realized we were in an up market in real estate, but it has been on a solid upward trend for at least the last 3-4 years. It didn't just happen yesterday. Of course like anything else, awareness of the general public is a bit latent, and dependent upon the media. It has only been lately that the media has really focused on it and thrust it onto the front page.

The old adage "Success breeds success" is also true. The momentum will grow as other more traditional investors continue to jump on the band wagon and pour their money and resources into real estate investment. It tends to create a perpetual, self-feeding market that is ideal for more seasoned investors.

Real Estate is Local and Regional

It is true that even in today's real estate boom, there are areas in the United States that are not enjoying the high rates of return that others are experiencing. California is a fantastic place to invest, so is Arizona and a host of other places.But the Rust Belt states are not as fortunate. Watch what happens to Florida home values after this horrendous hurricane season. This is because real estate is driven by the primary capitalistic force of Supply and Demand.

Generally speaking, property values increase in areas where the job market is strong, and where there are more people moving into than away from. Of course there are other factors to consider; including interest rates, availability of funding, climate, and governmental policies. These are all important and you must be cognizant of their impacts to your strategy.

However, it is true no that matter what the rates are or how nice the climate is, people will continue to migrate where there are abundant job markets and affordable housing. If you can stay just slightly ahead of that migration, you will profit immensely.

Real Estate Investing is Diverse

You can invest in so many different ways, from foreclosures and fix and flips, to buy and hold and everything in between. Right now the commercial space is relatively soft. It will recover no doubt, but people investing in single family homes are probably doing slightly better in returns. Vacancies are up and rents are down for commercial properties, but fortunately, the forecast is for this sector to improve over the next few years.

The key to successful real estate investing is to understand the forces, trends, and conditions that are driving the market. BE AWARE of your surroundings; Read articles and stay on top of industry news; Look in your own area at the job market and forecasts. Check my website www.realestateinvestment.net [http://www.realestateinvestment.net] for all the news and information you need to help you succeed in your real estate investing career.

There is no real estate bubble, but there is a real estate wave. Like any dedicated surfer, when the surf's up, get in the water and catch a wave! But watch for danger, be flexible, and be smart. Invest wisely and you can prosper in any real estate market.

How Card Payment Processing Works

If you are running a business and want to develop it then you need to have an approval for the merchant account for Card Payment Processing. If not you will be left with the ordinary payment processing alternatives of cash, store credit, and check. In case you have plans to get into any sort of the e-commerce existence, this will surely not function for you. On the other hand in order to develop your brick & mortar commerce clients will be on the look out to make their disbursements to you via their credit as well as debit cards.

Subsequent to that you’re approved for the merchant as well as set your system; the processing of the credit card isn’t free. There’re several kinds of fees connected with it. These fees can differ widely every month according to the processing company of your credit card. These can cut to your income by 100s or 1000s of dollars every month however can as well generate sales numerous multiples of these numbers. Below you are able to know about the fees of credit card processing which might not be complete, but it can give you a basic of everything that you require to know regarding these fees.

After you’re affirmed for a trader account and set up your fee processing framework, MasterCard transforming is not free. There are numerous expenses connected with it. Expenses can change substantially every month relying on your Mastercard transforming association. They can cut into your benefit by hundreds or many dollars for every month however can likewise produce sales numerous times to these cutoffs. Below are a few of the charges even though not exhaustive, however it will give you the fundamentals of everything you need to be aware with regard to these charges.

Establish or Annual Fee

Once you get approved for merchant account plus have arranged all your processing credit card payment tools, the initial fee is generally a establish fee, which will later become a yearly fee.

Monthly report charge

The majority of the companies which process credit card levy a charge for monthly reports. The statement will provide all the transactions that took place via credit card throughout the month as well as the particulars with regard to each transaction.

Discount fee

The discount fee that a businessman disburses is a dealings fee for utilizing a credit card. The mark down charge is a fraction of every credit card deal and this depends on various factors which the businessman has to comprehend.

Apart from the above there is an online card processing fee which basically functions on the same rationales as offline Card Payment Processing. Debit cards will normally draw a predetermined fee per contract while credit cards, and charge cards, have a fee which is a proportion of the whole transaction value.
On the other hand, there is normally an extra step in the online payment process in the type of the Payment Service Provider (PSP). The Payment Service Provider will normally charge an extra fee which is either a preset fee per transaction or an additional permanent fee per transaction.

Add Beauty To Your Landscape With Marble Sculptures And Statues

Marble is traditionally seen as a cold and difficult stone--but in the hands of the great sculptors of the past, you'd never know it. Looking at their works, one sees motion and beauty, as well as the silent calm of still repose. Marble sculptures from ancient Greece and Rome remain our best inheritance from those countries, and the legacy of marble sculpture continues to captivate both artists and audiences up to this day.

It is certainly not difficult to see why: after all, with marble's fine sheen and beautiful polish, it makes a great substance for contemplation. Since so many of the great marble statues of the past are lodged in museums, an art reproduction house like the one we have here at Museum Replicas can be a great way to bring the beauty of marble into your own home or office. With our staff of highly trained and talented artists, we have succeeded in capturing the beauty of many statues in Carrera, Alabaster and Jade marble.

In order to illustrate this, simply look at the statue against which all other marble statues are judged: Michelangelo's "David." With its beautiful lines and dynamic design, you would think this statue would be impossible to reproduce. You'd be wrong, however, as the amazing reproduction viewable at our online gallery can demonstrate (www.museum-replicas.com). After seeing it, it's likely that you too will believe that, though only Michelangelo could sculpt David, only the talented artists we employ here at Museum Replicas could resculpt it.

Professional Indemnity Insurance Explained in Simple Terms

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Professional indemnity insurance is intended to protect professionals from allegation made by their clients. This insurance can cover legal fees involved in a lawsuit, as well as any resulting payments that are required. Lawsuits can be damaging to a business financially and also can damage their reputation, therefore this insurance for professionals is required by law for some people, and recommended for those that it is not required. Indemnity insurance can help ease the burden of a lawsuit against your company.

Designed to provide financial protection if someone sues the company because of a mistake that was made, indemnity insurance can cover different things. Basic insurance will cover negligence, but more extensive professional indemnity policies can also cover breach of duty, civil liability, and loss of data amongst many others. Be sure you understand your coverage's when you purchase your professional indemnity policy for your business.

The professionals that are usually required by law to have indemnity insurance are doctors and lawyers. Many other business owners can benefit from this type of insurance, especially if their business is any kind of a high risk one. Even though the indemnity insurance is expensive, one lawsuit will cause the insurance to pay back your investment. Many professionals encounter more than one lawsuit over the course of their career, so having professional indemnity insurance will help you in the future, justifying the money that you will spend on coverage.

There are a limited number of insurance companies that offer professional indemnity insurance. The needs of your company will determine what type of insurance you need, and an insurance specialist can help you decide if you definitely need a policy. Once it is determined if you need a policy, they will help you to decide how big your policy should be and the situations that should be covered by the policy. An insurance professional that is knowledgeable should not be afraid to tell you whether professional indemnity policy is required or not, and if a limited policy would be better for them. If your insurance representative believes that another type of coverage or product would be best for you, then they will be able to suggest it to you.

If you are looking for multiple types of insurance for your new or existing business, you may be able to receive a discount on a package of products that will include your indemnity insurance. Packaging your insurance coverage together will also help you keep organized through only one insurance provider, making your life much easier when it comes to payments and filing and tracking claims.

Real Estate Investors in Sydney and NSW

Friday, February 14, 2014

Sydney and NSW Real Estate Investing have hit many obstacles in the past 24 months. The latest obstacle has changed the 'way the real estate investor does business.' Petrol prices are at an all time high in NSW and travelling in Sydney has never looked so expensive! Real Estate suicide is found in prospecting for properties the old fashioned way. The savvy Real Estate Investor would have noted the more intensified utilization of the internet to obtain properties.

Real Estate sites such as realestate.com.au and domain.com.au have become house hold names amongst every day Australians. Sure, it's nice to go to your traditional Real Estate shop front and obtain brochures etc. However, most of these shop fronts have their own websites and many Real Estate companies/agents no longer have shop fronts. Many Real Estate agents run their business and promote their properties totally online.

The Real Estate Investor therefore has that option to stay home and search for their properties online. Utilizing RP Data tools and others, research can also be conducted online. Though for a small cost, the real estate investor can have detailed information concerning a particular property without have had to step foot outside or fill up their car with petrol!

But let's take this concept a step further. What has been detailed above is perfectly fine for the average house buyer and the unlearned Real Estate Investor. However, the true Real Estate Investors in Sydney and throughout NSW will not only need to access the real estate agents websites but they will also need to obtain GREAT deals online.

This is where the average Real Estate Investor gets into a pickle. Typically, when a website is run by a real estate agent, the prices will be set at a value that realistically is too high for the investor. The investor is looking for "The Deal", which is normally made through negotiations with the seller and not the seller's representative. Why so? Well, Real Estate agents want their commissions and ANY creative investment or purchase strategy that the Real Estate Investor proposes - is often frowned upon by the real estate agent.

Lease options, Property options, wholesale deals, rent to buy etc. are just not looked upon favorably by the real estate agent as it poses a possible reduction from their commissions ... or simply they do not understand the 'creative ' side of real estate investing!

Sydney lacks a strong Real Estate Investor community. To be quite honest, it's very weak. NSW is also run by Real Estate agents or investors entering the 'coaching' field. Many will charge for their knowledge, which is understandable ... but not really offering a network in which the real estate investor is able to obtain exclusive deals from. Knowledge is power, and I don't dispute that fact - however there is no denying that an investor needs the great low deal. Sadly the internet will show a lack of Real Estate Networks in Sydney and surrounding NSW.

That is where the author has offered his services to the Real Estate Investing community of NSW and Sydney. A very simple concept really. The author is able to distribute great wholesale deals for the Sydney / NSW Real Estate Investor and build a strong Investing community. The best part of this concept is that there is absolutely no cost to any one involved.

The aim and goal for the author is to be able to unite Sydney and NSW Real Estate Investors where they have an exclusive place to receive wholesale property deals. These properties will range from a home needing to be renovated (ugly house), nice average house, vacant land for development, etc.

Sydney Real Estate Investors will now be able to get a great wholesale deal, see the house or property on their computers, utilize on line tools to check its market value - all from the comforts of home. No more leaving home for the Real Estate Investor.

Wow, the rain has hit Sydney and still NSW Real Estate Investors are able to make fantastic deals!

Voice Over IP Telephony

Thursday, February 13, 2014

With business communications always the utmost consideration in the modern office it is imperative that the department or people responsible for the contracting of telephone systems are aware of all the advantages and disadvantages of different systems.

Telecommunications used to be a simple equation of phones, wiring, a switchbox, and the public standard telephone network. Then VoIP and wireless technology came along, changing the telecom landscape completely. Today's businesses face a bewildering array of choices when it comes to implementing a phone system. This white paper will help you navigate the options and find the solution that fits your business.

The simple innovation of transmitting voice over a data network has multiplied the possibilities for business telecommunications exponentially. The right phone system depends on your company's size, structure, business model, industry, and budget. Here is a look at the three main decisions you will face as you explore your options.

Which Network?
Telecommunications signals travel over two types of networks: the conventional PSTN (public standard telephone network) or a data network. Since nearly all businesses already have a LAN and/or Internet access, the decision is whether to maintain both voice and data networks, or to migrate the entire phone system onto the data network.

Conventional phone networks have the benefit of legacy: most companies already have an analog infrastructure in place and are naturally recalcitrant to scrap their network and build a VoIP infrastructure from scratch. In addition to protecting their investments, companies may trust the old system to deliver better sound quality and security, since the PSTN is not prone to such perceived issues as experienced occasionally with the internet. The PSTN functions during a power outage, for example, whereas VoIP requires a constant Internet connection.

Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP) is the (relatively) new comer to the communications scene, offering an unbeatable value proposition: advanced functionality at a lower cost. VoIP technology converts voice signals into digital data packets, which it transmits over a data network: the company LAN, WLAN, the Internet, or wireless. A company's VoIP network is accessible not only in the office, but from any Internet contact point-which, thanks to wireless hotspots, is just about anywhere in the world, any time of day. Since voice data travels over a company's computer network, VoIP also has the advantage of easy maintenance and integration with data communications applications such as CRM.

VoIP technology is more likely to run into quality issues, however. In its early stages of development, VoIP was prone to time delays and poor sound quality. These issues have all but disappeared with technological advances. But the fact remains that VoIP depends on an active Internet connection. Limited bandwidth, compatibility of the recipient's hardware, and incorrect sequencing of voice data packets could compromise sound quality-and if the connection is lost due to power outage or server problems, so is the call.
Integrated telecommunication systems combine the best of both worlds-they bridge the gap between analog and digital telephony. Integrated technology allows voice and data networks to communicate. By maintaining both networks, companies protect their capital investments. Rather than scrap their legacy systems, they simply extend them by attaching VoIP functionality as needed. This enables gradual migration to VoIP's next-generation functionality without the disruption of a complete system overhaul. And the redundancy between the two networks prevents system down time in the event of a power outage or server failure.

VoIP Equipment
Each networking solution: analog, VoIP, and integrated, involves a different set of equipment.
Conventional network equipment consists of phone handsets, a keyboard system or PBX connecting the equipment to the PSTN. PBXs are often prohibitively expensive for small , and are increasingly obsolete with the advent of IP PBX, which can handle both analog and digital signals. But companies that have already invested in an on-premises PBX can leverage that technology in an integrated phone system, rather than starting from scratch.

A VoIP network calls for IP-enabled phones, access to an IP PBX (on-premises or leased from a service provider), and cables for connecting the phones to the data network.

Integrated network equipment may differ according to the company's legacy system, and includes various hardware and software designed to repurpose analog equipment for use in a converged voice-data network. Nortel, Inter-Tel, and other telecom leaders have developed technology that retrofits conventional systems for digital voice technology.

At the centre of any integrated system is the IP PBX, a central switchbox capable of interpreting and transmitting signals in either analog or digital format. Companies that already have a traditional PBX can retrofit it to work with an IP network as well. Nortel's Business Communications Manager, for example, converts traditional PBX equipment to IP with add-on boards and gateways. Even traditional phone handsets can be converted to IP, with Analog Telephone Adapters (ATA).

Hosted IP Platform
Your telecommunications hardware purchase will also depend on your service contract. Service providers often provide access to either the PSTN or the Internet. Or they may provide both network access and the necessary communications infrastructure. For example, businesses have the option to purchase a PBX for on-premises installation or lease access to a central PBX maintained by the service provider. Since PBX systems involve a significant upfront investment, hosted service offers an affordable alternative for small and mid-sized businesses.

Jay Littleone from Best4IP - a UK based company specialising in the provisioning, installation and support of VOIP Equipment says: "We are seeing, these days, a rapid transition from the traditional telephone system to a fully integrated and strategic model which can be installed quickly and cheaply - empowering the user rather than the provider."

The scalability of hosted service makes it a good choice for small, seasonal, and rapidly growing businesses. Service providers such as Avalle offer monthly subscriptions on a per-user basis. Subscribers can choose functionality a la carte, paying only for the features they need. Hosted service offers the ultimate in flexibility-providers are always on hand with high-capacity equipment when needed. Subscribers can ramp up or add advanced features instantly. In addition, companies save on IT costs-maintenance is the provider's responsibility.

So all in all you can be sure that modern improvements in Voice Over Internet Protocols have lead to scalable, sustainable VOIP systems which lower the TCO (total cost of ownership) for the telecommunications purchaser and give greater flexibility to the user.

Addicted to Real Estate - Seven Figures Easily

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

I often tell people that becoming a millionaire in the real estate business is an easy thing to accomplish. They usually give me a look of bewilderment. I say that you don't have to understand every aspect of real estate in order to begin investing. The best thing to do is start with a basic buy-and-hold strategy purchasing whatever type of property you are capable of buying with as little money down as possible. How you buy something with as little money down as possible depends on your financial situation and what types of mortgages you're capable of qualifying for. Since guidelines for mortgages and government intervention changes daily, it's impossible for me to tell you the best way to do that. I can tell you how I did it for years using the all-money-down technique I described earlier in the book. But I'll give you a quick refresher course below.

If you bought $100,000 house through conventional means, you may have to put 20 percent down is $20,000 plus closing costs that will cost you approximately $3000. In this example, you put $23,000 down to buy $100,000 investment property. Using the all-money-down technique, you would buy a $100,000 property for cash putting all $100,000 down plus the closing costs of $3000. At this point, you have $103,000 down on the property and you begin to invest an additional $5000 to fix the property up. You now have a total of $108,000 of your money into the property. You put the property up for rent and you find a good tenant, so now you're empty investment property is a business making money and shows a profit. Now you go to the bank and you get the property appraised with the intention of doing a cash-out refinance. Because you fixed up the property and it's a money-making business, the property appraises for $114,000. The bank is willing to lend you an 80 percent mortgage on the $114,000 appraisal giving you a mortgage of $91,200. You originally put down $103,000 and received back a mortgage for $91,200 making your out-of-pocket costs $11,800.

When using the all-money-down technique as compared to buying a property through conventional methods, you save $11,200. Now of course, you're going to have a higher mortgage and less cash flow coming from the property, but you're also going to have $11,200 to buy the next property with.

Sometimes the homes you buy are going to cost you $10,000 to buy; other times you're going to break even on the deal. You might even be lucky enough to actually get paid to buy a house, which has happened to me once or twice. The goal was simply to just keep buying as many properties as possible until you build up a portfolio worth millions of dollars. You will make a profit from the cash flow, but most likely that's going to go back and do things like repairs and vacancies in all the other issues that come up with real estate. If you do end up banking $10,000 during the year from the cash flow of your buildings, there is your down money to buy an additional property and expand your portfolio further.

I have constantly repeated that you're not going to find the cash flow to be something of tremendous value to you. The cash flow will help pay for the necessary things and give you down money for future deals, but in the end you will work hard for very little money. The real surprise will come when you've ridden the cycle from bottom to top and created a gap between your portfolio's value and the amount of mortgages that you owe for the building. Accruing equity in your buildings, you will slowly begin to see your net worth increasing as the years go on.

For example let's just say you bought one property a year for five years valued at $100,000 a property. Since the five years that you bought the properties, values have gone up somewhat and the mortgages have gone down, and your net worth is the equity in between. As you begin to see this throughout your investing career, especially when the market is on the rise, it can be an exciting time.

Your expectations should be to live off of the income from your job while the profit from the rental property business is used to fuel its needs. You'll usually get to a point somewhere when a real conflict will develop between your current career and your real estate investments. It's hard to be in two places at once, and ultimately it will begin to catch up with you. For me this conflict was easily resolved since I only wanted to be doing real estate anyway, but if you love your day job and you plan to continue it through your life, you're going to have to make some tough decisions. You could keep your day job, but someone is going to have to run your portfolio.

I maintain that getting a seven-figure net worth in equity strictly in your real estate holdings is not that difficult to do. I recommend you join real estate investment clubs and read as many books as you possibly can. As you begin to make investments, you'll find friends in the businesses that relate to your industry such as people in the mortgage business. I recommend that you associate with as many of these people as possible so that your knowledge of the industry expands tremendously.

A friend of mine who's an intelligent guy took some of this advice and began moving quickly. In his first year, I think he bought two properties, but by his second year he was already doing $300,000 flips and buying multiunit investment properties with a partner that he has. First of all, I'm not a big fan of partnership for the deal size he was doing, and second, I think he was growing a little too fast. If he didn't have a job, I wouldn't have a problem with the speed of his growth, but because he had a well-paying job, I cautioned him not to move too fast. The second half of 2009 was a rough year for him as his $300,000 flip was not selling, and he's already had to do two evictions. Carrying the mortgage and his $300,000 flip was expensive and was already causing some tension in his partnership. It's not going to be all fun and games; as your portfolio grows, your problems grow with it and the workload grows.

Another thing I can say about the issues in the real estate business is that they seem to come in waves. Even when I owned dozens of homes, I would go six months where I wouldn't need to change a doorknob and then all of a sudden all hell would break loose. I'd be dealing with an eviction, two vacancies, and apartments that were destroyed. When it rains it pours in the real estate business; at least that's the way it worked out for me. I remember on two separate occasions during the summertime one year followed by the next summer a year later I was bombarded with all kinds of issues. In this business, you can't let a vacant property sit and wait because you're losing money every day it's not rented. The process of getting it renovated and re-rented is the highest importance.

As bad as I make it sound, I think you'll find it all to be worth it in the end. It seems that no matter how much money I made, I have learned in my career I never really save. As you earn more money, your lifestyle increases and you begin to upgrade your homes and cars to the point where your bills go right along with your salary. The real estate business is almost like a bank account you really can't touch easily without selling a building, so it continues to grow and feed off of itself. It's a terrific feeling when you realize that your $550,000 portfolio experienced a 10 percent increase in values in the last year and you're up an additional $55,000.

I'm using the same principles today in the commercial arena buying larger buildings with similar strategies. I can't buy a $3 million building with the technique, but there are many other things that can be worked out in the commercial world. Nowadays I use strategies that involve complex negotiations with the sellers where I convince them to carry paper or lease option the building. I can also borrow money from banks for commercial investments giving the bank that piece of real estate I am buying as collateral as well as existing pieces of real estate as collateral. I call it redundant collateralization and am seeing more and more of it every day from banks.

If you can go from broke to seven figures in one real estate cycle as I've suggested easily making yourself $1 million during your first real estate cycle, then just imagine what you can do in your second real estate cycle. I plan to be carrying a real estate portfolio with the value north of $10 million and have that portfolio under my control before the real estate market begins to show any gains. I expect the gains will begin to show sometime around 2013 or later. Can you imagine if you're holding a $10 million portfolio and the real estate market goes up a meager five percentage points? It doesn't matter how much money I made that year in income because as long as I can keep my business afloat I am up half a million dollars in equity in one year. If I'm ever lucky enough to see the crazy increases that we saw in 2005, can you imagine what it will feel like to see a 20 percent increase in values in one year when you're holding a portfolio worth eight figures?

"Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs even though checkered by failure, than to rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy nor suffer much because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat." Theodore Roosevelt

Let's dream about holding a portfolio worth $12 million when the market goes up 20 percent giving me a one-year tax free gain of $2,400,000. I believe that this is a realistic expectation for my second cycle of the real estate business. In the year 2025, I will be sixty years old. I feel certain that if I continue to just do what I've been doing my whole life, I surely should have a net worth of many millions of dollars strictly for my real estate holdings. I know of no other way to make money in these types of numbers as easily as I do in the real estate business. I don't deny that other people have the means to make this kind of money or even more, but I am not familiar with those methods. I consider myself an expert on real estate, and I certainly feel as some of the things I'm talking about here will happen to me as long as I'm lucky enough to still be breathing when 2025 rolls around.

This is why I love the real estate business, and this is why I'm pumped every day to get out and keep it going because I can see my future is filled with bright and sunny days. I feel terrific about getting up in the morning and going to work, and when you have that kind of attitude, there's no way you can fail. This morning I woke up at 5:30 a.m. and went to my office building to reorganize some equipment in our communication room. I'm spending some afternoon hours on a Sunday working on my book and feeling great about my possibilities. If you love what you do, you will be much happier and much more successful at whatever you try.

I don't even consider the things that I did this morning or writing this book as work in the regular way people think of it. Obviously, it is work that I'm doing, but I don't have a negative feeling about the word work or what it entails. I get a terrific sense of accomplishment from getting up in the morning and making things that happen furthering along my career each day in baby steps toward the ultimate goal of massive wealth accumulation. I hope that some of you reading this book will really grasp the things I'm talking about above. I feel that may be the most important message in the entire book.

Here's an idea you should think about after you buy your first property. Make sure that you take some time after you bought it to really analyze what's going to be involved in being a real estate landlord. If you like it or even love it, let's get the party started, and if you don't get out right now. If you're going to proceed in the business just for the money but despise dealing with tenants and working on buildings, you really have to be careful and reconsider what you're about to do. This business is not for wimps, and it takes a heck of a lot of guts to be a real estate investor. To get to the level that I have achieved, you may have to take half of your net worth and roll the dice on some large commercial building risking the twenty years of hard work on one deal. Until you go through that process, I can never truly explain to you what that will feel like. My name is Phil, and I'm addicted to real estate.

Professional Insurance Marketing Campaign - I Refuse to Tolerate Poor Planning Ideas

Poor planning ideas for an insurance professional marketing campaign cannot be tolerated. While my opinions of your marketing and planning ideas might not matter, those of Internet searchers do. You might be an insurance professional but a traffic planning campaign to drive visitors to your site might be long overdue.

It is astounding how far insurance selling agents are behind others in effecting promoting products and services. Hundreds of thousands of insurance agents have not taken the time or money to even start by establishing an Internet website presence. Millions of potential clients do not even know that you or your services exist. Remember you are an insurance seller, not merely an order taker, clients must find you, and you find them if your career is going to last.

An internet sight is an investment in you. The cost of webhosting for a year, registering a site name, and building a small site is probably less than a good suit or outfit. On the internet, your new suit or outfit will not be of any benefit on bringing in business. In fact, with websites looks, expensive designs and features are more of a distraction. You can take out loans and still have an internet website that incorporates feeble traffic planning ideas. With less or little money, there are ways to build a professional marketing campaign that drives visitors to choose your site from the millions of others.

Take the Internet qualities by the horn and disregard all the false advertisers that will get you fame and fortune if you pay for their frauds. After you have a website, there are many ways to choose getting the attention of insurance seekers. These planning ideas take the time to discover them and a little money and time to implement them. The internet will not necessary provide quick insurance sales, however many of your competitors have had sites for ten years and have only had their ideas make a handful of sales.

Professional Marketing Campaign Ideas for Traffic Planning

1. Make your website informative. People searching for products to buy do not do so because of your 20-year reputation and company brands your represent. They want information that goes into detail of just what each of your products can do to benefit them. Give them what they are searching for, and to locate your site keyword phrases must be used so internet search engines will drive them to your marketing site.

2. Be an insurance professional by either starting a forum on your site or visiting other insurance forums. You get recognition plus the ability to put a link back to your site. This is free planning idea you can use immediately.

3. Like forums, you can likewise use blogs. These are excellent when you have topics that you want others to read and respond back directly to you.

4. Use the extreme power of Article writing. Get the information on the topic you wrote or paid a reasonable fee for a professional to write about your insurance topics and product uniqueness features. Get it informative and not sounding like a business ad for you or your company.

5. An article review is a low cost method often worth at least a $1,000 in short term value. Pay to have an independent opinion written and published. Then also put a copy on your website for added credibility. The experienced writer may be able to boost your website ratings on the keywords carefully injected. These will produce traffic possibly for years.

6. Also check into joining Business social networking sites.

7. Search website announcements to see if you can get added benefit here.

Implementing these marketing campaign planning ideas should get you started on long-term results.

Easy Blogging With Android Devices

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Android Operating System is commonly used in many devices nowadays. The devices that utilize this operating system are usually mobile phones, tablet computers and small notebook computers. It is logical for the manufacturers to choose Android in designing their latest devices since this operating system is superb and dynamic in many ways. Newer versions are always released as well that are always better than previous ones. There are absolutely fabulous and noteworthy things Android users can do with their devices, there aren’t any dull moments.

For new Android users, it would not take too long to familiarize how the operating system works, but Android tips would certainly be helpful. Tips are readily available online, wherein you can find lists of the highly-recommended applications. These apps are available to make things so much easier, and there are thousands of them available in the market, both free and paid. On the Android store, comments from other users are available and it’s best to check them out before downloading or paying for the applications to avoid disappointments.

These thousands of Android applications are divided into several categories that make browsing for the right ones so much easier. These application categories include books, business, travel, health, lifestyle, medical, music, sports, tools and a lot more. All these Android applications make tasks so much easier, but in order to maximize the use of these applications, reading articles containing Android tips would be very effective. There are also Android apps designed for different social media sites and blog sites that may come from site creators officially or from external app developers. These blogging applications make the entire blogging experience much more convenient.

Installing these blogging apps into a mobile phone running on an Android Operating System would also allow bloggers to blog readily, even while the events are ongoing. There’s no need to run to find the nearest computer. In fact, if the Android user is not yet an avid blogger, the ready access to blogging applications just might tempt the individual to start blogging! Desktop versions of the blog sites are also available on mobile devices. For bloggers who are just starting out, there are a variety of blogging tips available online, from the very basic information about blogging up to the more complex tips and tutorials. The most important tips that a blogger should consider are those that focuses on the writing of the content. Always remember to write for your readers, especially if you’re aiming to get extra income out of your blog.

Blogging tips are essential especially to those who blog not only for pleasure but for extra earnings. There are many strategies that a blogger can use in order to generate income from simply doing what they love to do, which is ranting about products hey used, places they’ve been to and events they’ve experienced. Mostly, bloggers tend to write reviews of restaurants, shops, hotels, and other businesses. In turn, these bloggers may receive payments for their reviews. They can also earn money through the ads posted on their blog pages. For this to work, effective blogging tips and SEO strategies should be strictly followed.

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