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Rajasthan - The Historical Destination

Monday, March 31, 2014

Rajasthan is a vast state that stretches over 342,000 sq. km. The Aravalli Range bisects the state that runs diagonally from the northeast to the southwest. The main river that runs through Rajasthan is the Chambal. The Thar Desert, Jaisalmer, Jodhpur, Bikaner, etc are the bustling places of Rajasthan. Jaipur is the capital of this state. Rajasthan possesses opulent palaces and historic sights. Here in this state, tradition and modernity run side by side. There are many enticing places that has attracted the tourists, since time immortal. The natural treasures and the historical legacies of Rajasthan has been the real charm of attraction for the tourists throughout the entire globe. The splendour of the place justifies it as a real part of Incredible India.

Many brave kings ruled over Rajasthan, which narrates amazing legends of bravery. While exploring in different parts of Rajasthan, you can witness magnificent forts and Palaces. These forts and palaces are the legacies of ancient India. The tourists can find numerous forts in Udaipur, Jodhpur and Jaipur. A parallel range of hills runs along Jaipur. There are many fascinating places that can be admired in the Jaipur district. The Jal Mahal is one of them. This was built in the mid of the 18th century by Madho Singh-I. The tourists can view a variety of water birds here. The terraced garden that is enclosed by arched passages adds feathers of beauty to the Jal Mahal. One can also witness the Jantar Mantar. It is described as a realistic and logical landscape with 16 instruments, resembling a giant sculptural composition. Some of the instruments are used to forecast the weather condition.

The travelers can visit the Pushkar valley, which is only 14 km from Ajmer. It is famous for the Pushkar Dham, a well known Hindu pilgrimage place. The Pushkar Lake is a famous lake for the Hindus. Many devotees used to come to take a dip in the lake. The devotees believe that by taking a bath in the Lake they will get rid of the sin that they had committed throughout the lifetime. There are many fascinating temples in the Pushkar valley that have never failed to allure the travelers, since time immortal.

Many tourists from all over the world come to visit the state of Rajasthan during the India tour. Also, there are many heritage hotels that ensure a comfortable stay in this state. Many Palaces have turned into heritage hotels that provide modern amenities to the tourists during their stay in the Palace.

Student Loan Consolidation Rates: Options Available To Students

Sunday, March 30, 2014

There is a trick to turning a difficult financial situation into an easy one. Consolidating the different loans and debts that exist is the key, clearing the headache and replacing it with more manageable terms. For students facing huge debts after graduation, consolidation is invaluable, but getting competitive student loan consolidation rates is a core aspect to the deal.

It is only obvious that the lower the interest rate the better, so a consolidation plan that has lower monthly repayments is important if the plan is to be as effective as it can be. After 4 or 5 years borrowing money, either to pay fees or simply survive, clearing college debts becomes a huge undertaking, but selecting the best program with good rates is essential.

Finding the right student loan consolidation program, and sifting through the individual terms and conditions, will take a bit of time and effort. But it will be worth it, if the pressure is eased and life becomes less stressful.

Consolidation Deals Explained

The core point to a consolidation plan is to ease the existing debt pressure, and securing the best terms means the debt is eased to the greatest degree. Each of the loan balances are combined and then repaid using the consolidation loan. This means 4 or 5 loans with different interest rates are replaced with one loan and one interest rate that is more affordable.

When it comes to consolidating student loans, consolidation rates can vary quite a lot from lender to lender. So knowing your own financial situation well, and what your existing costs are, is important. The total monthly repayments can be quite high, but when total balances are bought out, the repayments can be lowest by as much as 50%.

However, the most significant aspect to clearing college debts in this way is the fact that the loan term is lengthened. This means that the monthly repayments are kept to a minimum, thereby helping to make the student loan consolidation program so much more affordable.

Choose Your Rate

When dealing with student loan consolidation rates, it is important to remember that affordability is the number one concern. A part to establishing this is the choice of interest rate, and there are two types to choose from: fixed interest rates and variable interest rates.

Both have pros and cons. Fixed rates, for example, never change throughout the lifetime of the loan, making them easy to budget for. Even in times of financial crisis, the repayments will stay the same, so it is an ideal option when clearing college debts. The negative aspect is that the interest is higher.

In comparison, variable rates are lower but because they can fluctuate with the markets, they do not always stay that way. For example, if the starting rate is just 9%, then after 12 months, market events might have forced the rate up to 10%; after 24 months it might be 11%. Of course, they could also drop, making student loan consolidation repayments lower.

Mixing The Rates

Of course, it is also possible to mix the two rate types, if the term of the consolidation plan is very long. It means that students are given the chance to get on their feet initially, with student loan consolidation rates fixed for the first 2 or 3 years before switching to a variable rate.

Alternatively, a certain percentage of the debt (say 25%) is fixed, with the remaining sum charged at a variable rate. Even if the variable rate on the student loan consolidation plan increases, the student should be in a better position to afford it. It may seem to be a very complicated way of clearing college debts, but the result should be the same - keeping repayments low.

The History & Legacy of Welsh Gold

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Welsh gold is a rare and precious form of gold which is becoming scarcer by the day. There are only 3 mines in the world that have extracted Welsh gold. Clogau gold mine is one of those 3 mines that supplies this one of a kind metal. This mine is situated in North Wales in the Snowdonia mountain ranges. Welsh gold has a unique aspect than other sources of gold because it is has minerals of copper giving it a pinkish hue. Many of the gold mines have either shut down or been turned into tourist attractions because there is very little gold left. Throughout the years several members of the royal family have sought out Clogau gold to use in wedding rings.

As far back as 1923, The Duke of York had 2 rings made out of a single Clogau gold nugget when he married Lady Elizabeth Bowes-Lyn. Lady Elizabeth's daughter who is now Queen Elizabeth II, also used this gold for her wedding ring. Thereafter using Clogau gold in weddings rings became the royal family tradition. Princess Margaret, Princess Diana, Prince Charles were some of the royal family members who followed suit. Queen Elizabeth II was gifted a kilogram of pure Welsh gold on her 60th birthday. Many celebrities have also been enamored by the uniqueness of this precious metal. In 2000, when Michael Douglas married Catherine Zeta Jones he bought her a Welsh gold wedding ring.

Because pure Welsh gold is so expensive to buy, it is often mixed in with regular gold so people have a touch of it in every piece. This is also how Clogau gold jewellery is manufactured. Most of the gold production from Clogau mine took place during the gold rush of 1862. Clogau mine continued provided a steady source of Welsh gold until 1911. During this period alone, Clogau mine provided 2,442 kilograms of gold. Since then it was reopened for small scale mining operations but they did not sustain because it became too dangerous and costly. There were plans to open the mine as a tourist attraction but even that was impossible because it was too treacherous. There are varying predictions of when the supply of this precious metal will cease to exist.

Because it is prized and valued so highly, each piece of Clogau gold comes with a certificate of authenticity. Most of the Welsh jewellery designs are inspired by Welsh symbols, landscapes and the language. The Sessile oak tree lives for approximately 300 to 500 years and is the national tree of Wales. Because the people of Wales consider this a symbol of their heritage, you will find the sessile oak acorns and leaves in a number of Clogau gold jewellery designs. The Welsh dragon and a number of celtic weaves are also other heavily used designs incorporated into this kind of gold. Popular Welsh phrases such as "Cariad" and "Am Byth" are inscribed on pieces of Welsh gold jewellery. "Cariad" is the Welsh term for love or sweetheart whereas "Am Byth" means forever.

How You Can Choose the Correct Insurance Company

Friday, March 28, 2014

Too much of something can be a bit overwhelming. Yes, even if it is meant to help and serve people and ensure that they are protected, having a little too much to choose from can be quite difficult at times. That seems to be the case when it comes to choosing the right insurance company for yourself. While there are many insurance companies out there right now that are offering all kinds of policies that are no doubt great and beneficial, it can also be confusing and overwhelming.

The decision has been made to purchase a policy - now comes the more challenging part and that is to select the right company to buy it from. Perhaps a few tips on how to do it right could help the people who are still undecided about how to go about choosing the right insurance company. These are only a few tips and do not go into the details and any in depth analysis of the subject, but it would at least point you in the right direction.

  • A little research is always helpful. You definitely can't go wrong researching about the insurance companies that you are considering, and it has gotten much easier with the help of the Internet. It would certainly be helpful if you try to know the company or companies where you get your insurance policy from, and you also need to be sure that you could absolutely rely on your choice. Going online to research is very fast and convenient anyway, so there's no reason not to do it.

  • You could then check out if there have been complaints against the company that happens to be of interest to you. Of course this might not be the most helpful way to decide if you are going to select the right insurance company, but it can certainly help. With insurance companies being under the guidance of state departments of insurance, complaints that are made against it are more easily known and recorded. Just remember though that information involved could possibly be different from one state to another. You can check the National Association of Insurance Commissioner's database to search for complaints.

  • Getting the services of a professional in any field is always helpful, and it is no different here. An insurance professional will certainly be able to help you a lot in terms of advising you about the right thing to do and about explaining the different policies to you as well. And since a lot of people do buy their insurance policies from brokers and insurance agents, one might suspect that there is an actual reason why they are doing that. Especially if you get in touch with a qualified insurance professional, he would be able to conduct a very detailed insurance needs analysis. After that, he should then be able to offer you recommendations regarding the kind of policy that you should get.

Real Estate That's Out Of Sight

Many real estate investors have been flocking to some of the less expensive or newly appreciating parts of the country and plunking down their hard earned cash in order to get into the game. In this Special Report, we are going to take a look at what you need to know before you invest in real estate that's out of sight.

One of the mistakes that many real estate investors can make is to confuse what seems like inexpensive investment property with investment property that is a smart buy. This happens especially when real estate investors are used to the high prices of hometowns such as Los Angeles, New York City and Washington D.C. Real Estate investors that hail from these cities must take off their hometown "real estate goggles" and heed the advice of local experts in the cities they are considering for investment.

Ron Akin, owner of Sunridge Management in Dallas Texas, says, "I have seen real estate investors come to Texas from places where the property is expensive, like California, and they get so excited to see apartments selling for $22,000 per door when they are used to $80,000 - $120,000 per door. The key is to understand that what seems inexpensive for your home town does not mean it is inexpensive for our town. There is a lot more to consider than the price of the property before you purchase in a new market."

Once you leave the comfort of your own town to venture out to exciting new real estate destinations, real estate investors need to be aware that if property prices are lower it is also going to mean that rents are most likely lower. Sometimes rents are so low that properties won't cash flow even if they do seem "cheap". Another consideration is maintenance and management expenses. When buying out of state you are going to be at the mercy of someone else watching your building and you aren't going to have the ability to do things as inexpensively as you would if you were close to your property. "Here in L.A. I have access to a very large, very reasonable labor pool. In New Jersey, where I own investment property, the available labor pool is extremely limited and at least two to two and a half times as expensive," says real estate investor Sandy Shaud.

When you are considering investing out of town or out of state, one of the first things to do is find a local investment real estate agent. It is crucial to be aware of all of the special considerations of your potential new city. Joanne Ferraro of Prudential Fox and Roach in Margate NJ says, "Our city has restrictions on renting, like how many occupants you can have per unit and also restrictions on how you can't terminate a tenant, even if their lease is up. Unless you get assistance from a local real estate agent, there is no way you can know all that you will need to know as a new property owner in our town."

If you are considering a larger purchase like an apartment building, have a few professional property managers check out the building and the rents and expenses to see if they are realistic. Ron Akin says, "I have seen a lot of cases, especially sales of buildings that were managed by private owners, where the number of vacant units or the monthly expenses were not the least bit accurate. A good property manager can review the building and the books and give you their neutral opinion on whether a property can give you the cash flow you are looking for."

Another consideration is property taxes. Property taxes can vary greatly and have a great impact on your bottom line. The latest run up in real estate prices has been great for many real estate investors net worth yet bad for their monthly cash flow. If you own property in an area that reassesses property values every year, you could see a big jump in your tax liability since your property value has gone up. Sandy Shaud says, "My property taxes in California are set permanently at 1.25% of the purchase price of my property. In Dallas, where I have a large apartment building, my taxes are about 3% and reassessed every year. Three percent is a huge bite out of my monthly operating budget."

Finally, you want to look at the tenant base and vacancy rate of your potential new investment town. You can buy plenty of inexpensive rental property all across the country, but will you be able to rent it out for at least a break-even cash flow? Again, this is where your local real estate agent comes in handy. They can tell you the going rents and how difficult it is to find tenants in the neighborhood you are considering.

Another consideration is the type of tenants you will most likely attract depending on where you buy. "I have an investor who bought a property for $55,000 and it cash flows, but he wants to sell because he is having trouble dealing with the tenants. He bought in a rough part of the city and the occupants of his property are of a different mindset," says Megan Weil of Prudential Fox and Roach in Philadelphia. "Frankly, he is scared to deal with them." Sometimes it works out better to buy a more expensive property in a neighborhood where you will be dealing with like-minded tenants, even if the cash flow isn't as good.

There is a lot to consider before you jump into a real estate investment outside of your home town. Many seasoned investors will not buy out of town or out of state due to the increased expenses of managing a property from afar and the lack of control. Randy Bach, a CPA from Encino, advises, "I tell my clients that they shouldn't buy out of town unless they have the time and money to visit their property at least once a year." Hormoz Azizzadeh, a long time investor in Los Angeles says, "I won't buy rental property out of my area as it is too expensive and difficult to manage from far away."

However, many new real estate investors need to start in less expensive areas, as they don't have enough money to buy in a more expensive town. Investor Sandy Shaud says, "It is possible to have a successful real estate investment outside of your own home town. Just be prudent, do your homework and personally inspect the property and neighborhood. I do not recommend buying property from a meeting or on line without a personal visit."

Exactly How To Fight Tax Fraud - The Risks Of Cheating The Government

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Tax fraud is a crime that could land you in prison if found accountable. It is your lawful obligation to file income tax returns and unable to accomplish this amount to fraud. Whenever you ignore your lawful duty of paying the income taxes, criminal investigators will catch up with you, and you won't be able to escape. If you are working or perhaps doing a business, and you knowing to fail to file the income tax, or you don't pay the right amount, then you are doing a tax fraud.

Overstating the deductions in your business or including your personal deductions as company deductions amounts to fraud. When you hide or move earnings from your business to another business or simply anywhere else are law violations and they amount to tax fraud. The Internal Revenue Service can find whether you are just being careless, or perhaps you are committing a tax criminal offense.

If you are having 2 sets of books, you have given the wrong social security number, or you are claiming a blind spouse is a dependent, you are doing a tax crime. It is too sad that the auditors do not look for fraud as much as they've been taught to look for it. They never suspect it, and that's the reason why there are so many people failing to pay their taxes, and even though they do, they do not pay the correct amounts.

The auditors understand that the tax laws could possibly be difficult and that there'll always mistakes with regards to filing for income tax returns. Sometimes they provide the benefit of doubt, and they might not also go after you in case one has do an honest mistake. In some cases the line between tax fraud and carelessness isn't clear even to the courts or the IRS.

By auditors evaluating on nokia's documents from time to time, they'll be capable to recognize freshly made receipts that are fake. Modified checks are used to raise the deductions. These are easy to spot as there is often a distinction amongst the numbers on the checks and the amounts that are in the pc or even in the bank.

Tax fraud is cope with by penalizing the offenders harshly so that others will be scared of the punishments. This will deter people who have been planning to commit the crime. These culprits face criminal and civil charges and depending on the charges you're either slapped with a criminal penalty or perhaps a civil penalty. If you're faced with a civil penalty, the consequences begin to affect you forever unlike the criminal charges, which might take a little time.

If you've been under-reported, your taxes by 25 percent or a lot more, INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE might get back 6 years from the day, your books were looked, and you will be faced with a tax underpayment charge. Sometimes INTERNAL REVENUE SERVICE might possibly go back as much as they wish when they discover that you have been intending to evade taxes. This comprises of all the fines, interests and also the unpaid taxes dating back from the time that taxpayer began paying taxes.

You now already learn the dangers of cheating the government. This type of cheating is never forgiven. You know how the government is dealing with the tax fraud issue. You really know what amounts to tax fraud, and you can be capable to avoid it.

West Virginia: A Blend of Culture, Art, And Natural Beauties

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Enjoy the Endless Fun Events and Activities: Being bordered by five other states, West Virginia is situated in the Appalachian and southeastern region of the United States. This state was formed by breaking away from another state named Virginia during the American Civil War. This is the only state that formed by splitting from a Confederate state and one of only two states that was shaped during the Civil War. In this sense, this state has some interesting historical value. This state is important for its historical coal mining and logging industries, prosperous labor and political history, and diverse ecology and mountainous settings. It is one of the aspired tourist spots with its endless beautiful green forest coverings, rugged mountainous areas, beautiful landscapes, and year-long outdoor activities. The azure blue sky and the green-carpeted earth surface have made it a place that can offer endless fun events and activities. Museums, art centers, shopping malls, restaurants, parks, as well as wonderful natural scenarios have contributed to its touristic centralization.

Array of Cultural, Artistic, and Historical Legacy: One of the main attractions of West Virginia lies in the way it displays its cultural, artistic, and historical legacy. The city Charleston is a place where several art and cultural centers are to be found. These centers have been playing the role of flaunting the best of West Virginian cultures and arts. The West Virginia Cultural Center is situated in this city. This center houses the West Virginia State Museum and showcases the historical legacy by conserving the historical records, archives, and a library completely dedicated to history of the state. It has a gift shop for the visitors and holds a venue for arranging cultural events, performances, and other related programs. The Clay Center for the Arts and Sciences is another venue, which presents the province's cultural legacy. This comparatively modern, three level complex has been established for bringing the enterprises of sciences, performing arts, and visual arts under one single roof. There are thirteen monuments, statues, and memorials built-in the Capitol Complex's grounds for honoring the renowned West Virginians for their great contributions to the state. For celebrating festival, people can join West Virginia Black Walnut Festival. This festival is held annually and is appealing to everybody. Agricultural products, canned goods, flowers, everything is exhibited in this outstanding celebration. The true colors of the province can be found from these celebrations and cultural and historical representations.

Magnificent Landscape Beauty: The landscape beauty of West Virginia is also a thing of great tourist attraction. For enjoying the diversity of geographical splendor, tourists can visit the Potomac Highlands situated in the eastern part of the state. Here is situated the Tygart Valley which serves a scenic ride of the whole area through the railroad. Here is also the historic depot and rail yard that appease the touristic interest. Here is the Seneca Rocks, which is a Mecca for open-air sports buffs. There are several trails that offer hiking, horseback riding, biking, etc. There are also picnic areas and opportunities of watching wildlife. The Canaan Valley has parks and ski resorts and has all the arrangements for the tourists to try all kinds of natural sports. Big Mountain Country is another interesting place that offers sights of steam-powered railroads, observatories related to astronomy, and most of the outdoor sports and activities. In fact, West Virginia is a gold mine for tourists. He, who is really enthusiastic, can find out the treasures it has to offer.

Top Five Reasons to Invest in Real Estate Today

When it comes to real estate, the topic of the day is the downturn in the market, the number of people losing their homes, and how much this is going to hurt the economy. In the seventeen years I have been in the real estate business, I have witnessed every fluctuation the market has to offer. While it is true that many property owners are enduring trying times, rarely does the same happen to knowledgeable real estate investors.

There are those individuals who remain emotionally unattached and invest wisely in real estate. As a result, they live a very comfortable, if not lavish, lifestyle. Investing in real estate, especially during a downturn, can widen an investor's opportunities and bring about lucrative returns. This is a truth. If you are thinking about becoming a real estate investor or have already made the decision to start, the following information is priceless.

Wanting to secure a comfortable financial future, most of us go to work every day hoping to build a nest egg. Since, it is common knowledge that real estate investors have the capacity to not only build a nest egg but also create a fortune, why aren't more people joining the ranks of real estate multimillionaires? Why aren't there more people fighting for a seat on the real estate bandwagon?

Well, the truth behind real estate investing is that it is a business and therefore, must be treated like one for it to prosper. Just like any other promising venture, investing in real estate requires a well-defined vision, a strategic plan, and an entrepreneurial mindset. Even with the overwhelming evidence revealing success, only a microscopic segment of the population is willing to take the risk, do the work and follow through. The rest simply watch and call those of us doing the work "Lucky".

When I began my career in real estate, I didn't have a plan. I didn't invest. I didn't even see past my next commission check. What kept me hanging on was a desire to live like the people I worked for, most of whom were real estate investors. Years later, I committed to create serious wealth through real estate. As soon as I mindfully committed to my goal, I began to make deals and more money than ever before.

By choice, I am not one of those investors who vacations six months out of the year. I work all the time meeting with clients, looking at properties and refining my strategy. Add to that a growing number of mentoring/coaching clients and my schedule is officially full. Nevertheless, I am continuously increasing my net worth as I am doing something that never feels like work.

Besides creating amazing wealth, being your own boss and having a place or two to call home, owning a real estate investing business has many other advantages. The following five play a special role for the novice investor.

1. Safe Investment

When we use a timeline to compare the real estate market to other investments, such as the stock market, it is easy to see that real estate continues to increase in value over time without any serious instability. Although, there is currently a housing crisis in various parts across the country, every indicator points out that what we are actually experiencing is a readjustment of highly inflated real estate prices. Just as prices may be dropping, in time they will undoubtedly increase. In contrast, the stock market has put investors through a dizzying rollercoaster ride made up of swift highs and abrupt lows throughout history. Regardless of what type of market we are in, it is clear that an investment in real estate guarantees a profit over time.

2. No Cash Necessary

For beginning real estate investors, sometimes the only investment they can make is their time. For every real estate investor, finding a lucrative deal is as good as striking oil. There are plenty of seasoned investors with money in their pockets itching to buy a piece of discounted property. Wholesalers often utilize this method. Therefore, if you are new to the game, consider finding a deal, tying it up and connecting with an investor who can take it off your hands...for a price, of course.

3. Almost Anyone Can Do It

Real estate is such a lucrative field that it opens doors to countless amateur investors everyday. There are how-to books and seminars at every turn teaching would-be investors a myriad of ways to make huge profits in the real estate market. While it is true that overnight success is practically unheard of, anybody with the heart, mind and determination can make it big in real estate. The keys are to continue learning and to monitor market conditions.

4. Leveraging Power

While novice investors can turn a quick profit by wholesaling their deals, Buy-and-Hold investors can yield a profit by borrowing against (leveraging) their properties. Typically, lenders will allow holders of owner-occupied property to borrow up to ninety-five percent of their property's value and up to eighty-percent of non-owner occupied units. This means that you can either purchase property with a minimal out-of-pocket investment or acquire financing that will allow you to pull cash out of your property's equity to use for future ventures.

5. Tax Breaks

The popular 1031 exchange and depreciation are just two of them. The United States government has set up multiple tax breaks favoring real estate investors. Owning real estate with the goal of making a profit allows you to deduct interest payments, repairs, and vacancies among other expenses when preparing your tax return. It is important to note that purchasing real estate makes economic sense; it should not be purchased solely for the tax benefits.

Ultimately, owning a real estate business is the way to achieve financial freedom regardless of economic conditions. Whether you quit your job and dive right in or you work at it in your spare time, you can make it happen. Worthwhile benefits are waiting faithfully for the taking.

Ways To Search For The Right Bad Credit Loans

Monday, March 24, 2014

Individuals can have a hard time obtaining a property, rental, car, and various other things when they have a bad financial record. This can make life extremely difficult, especially since many factors in life may require certain people to obtain a loan in order to get things started. Because of this, some may opt to use bad credit loans, which can be highly beneficial, providing the right one is obtained

Under normal circumstances, a loan can be fairly easy to get. However, much will also depend on a person's financial history and score. Other factors will include various things about their personal debt, how they pay their bills and when, and how much they earn as income. The same can sometimes be said for those with negative scores and histories.

People with a bad history are still able to get a loan in most cases, although it helps to research ahead of time. This usually entails learning about one's credit scores, history, and other factors. This can help individuals to learn about what they can expect when applying for a loan.

Aside from obtaining a loan, you can also work towards rebuilding your credit with the loan itself. This is usually done by making sure that your account with the lender remains in good standing order, as well as by looking into your financial history and current scores with all three credit bureaus. It's also key to make sure that you get a loan that will be right for you, and to perhaps verify how the lender might report your payments, if at all, so that it can possibly improve your score.

One of the things to expect with this kind of loan is to pay higher interest rates than usual. It's also common to see loan outfits that will have different types of payback conditions. Payback conditions usually involve when or how often the person borrowing the money will need to make payments to repay the loan. This could be monthly, bi-monthly, or even weekly.

Determining your budget can be quite useful when looking for a loan. This can help you to ensure that you can afford the loan itself, as well as keep up on reoccurring payments. Making payments on time and in the amount set can be important, particularly since late payments or non-payment will further damage your score. When considering your budget, also consider what other payments you'll have to pay, and make sure to provide a financial cushion for yourself in the event of an emergency or unforeseen problem.

Two types of loans usually apply to this kind of borrowing method: unsecured and secured loans. A secured loan is often used by lenders, since clients are expected to have some form of collateral, helping to ensure that lenders will be paid. Even though rates for a secured loan are higher than a regular one, they are often the less expensive of the two categories for bad credit.

Unsecured loans usually require lenders to look into the client's character references, detailed contact information, along with other things. Even though they do not usually require any form of collateral, it's common to see higher fees and rates when compared to a secured loan. This is why it helps to make sure that you apply for bad credit loans that will work best for you, since those who have a strong history of not making payments may not be able to obtain an unsecured loan as easily as a secured one. This can also be important since being denied or applying too many times may show on your history in the future, possibly lowering your score.

IRA Real Estate Investing When the Going Gets Tough

Sunday, March 23, 2014

IRA real estate investments are booming in 2008 for soon to be retirees who are worried about their future retirement plans. With the economy looking wobbly, the stock market plunging and the big investment banks going under, with us bailing them out, some traditional forms of retirement investing are starting to look a little sick.

For these reasons IRA real estate investments are increasing. Increasing? Surely not. Along with an economic meltdown, a stock market collapse and all sorts of economic turmoil, isn't the real estate market headed for oblivion as well? Who in their right mind would consider investing their IRA in real estate?

Surely in 2008 real estate is a one way trip to the poorhouse.

No, not quite. Have you ever heard the expression that there is opportunity in adversity? There is plenty of opportunity in real estate right now, if you know where.

But lets look at IRA real estate investing first. How can you invest your IRA in real estate? Is it allowed? Is it legal?

Traditionally the majority of the population invest their IRAs in investments that are promoted to them by their custodian. In fact some custodians limit allowable investments to their own. So, it's estimated, over 90%, in fact around 96% of IRA funds are invested this way. Mutual funds, CDs and stocks, and so on.

No problem if the markets are pushing ever skyward, but quite a problem right now.

But what about IRA real estate investments? Yes it's entirely allowed to invest your IRA in real estate through a self directed IRA. Although this is not widely recognised, IRA real estate investing is one of the best forms of wealth accumulation for retirement. Real estate is a traditional long term wealth accumulation model, and as such is in fact ideal for IRA investing.

If you're not certain about the details of how to set yourself up for IRA real estate investing consult your CPA, that's outside the scope of this article. However take my word for it, it's quite legal, and many canny IRA investors are doing it right now, and have been for a long time. You may need to execute an IRA rollover into a self directed IRA, but the trouble is worth it.

And there's powerful reasons to consider investing your IRA in real estate. Did you know, for example, that it's estimated that 85% of all wealth in the US was created through real estate?

And that through your IRA you can secure up to 70% bank non-recourse financing to invest your IRA retirement funds in income producing real estate?

Its food for thought isn't it?

Now back to the real estate market. After all there's no point in IRA real estate investing if the value of your real estate investment is going down is there?

Although we all hear that the real estate investment market is dreadful this isn't the whole story. PARTS of the real estate market are dreadful, but not ALL of it. It's perfectly possible to find excellent opportunities for investing in the lower priced end of the market. Simple comfortable homes for the working class who live in those faceless suburbs in cities right across America. There are some fantastic IRA real estate investments available in the right place RIGHT NOW.

But if you're looking to get out there and find them yourself then you may be in for a shock. It's not something that is realistic for the individual IRA real estate investor. You need professional help.

Buy in the wrong place and you'll probably get burnt, big time.

But right now there are some excellent opportunities available for securing a great real estate investment, no cash down, at under market value, with tenants supplied, rental guarantees and even a guarantee that you will double your current investment return.

All through a major US public corporation with a reputation for solid real estate investment returns, for both IRA real estate investing and ordinary credit investing in real estate.

Yes you can secure your retirement future through a good IRA real estate investment, or more than one. However it's the time to leave it to those who really know what they're doing in hard times, and you can relax and leave the hard work to someone else.

But which corporation could possibly offer an opportunity like this?

Affects of Service Oriented Architectures and Web2.0 Phenomenon: Evolution or Disruptive Innovation

Friday, March 21, 2014

Wikipedia / O'Reiley defines Web 2.0 as the "second generation of Internet-based services" and while it is technically correct, it does little to communicate the significance of said advances. As used by its proponents, the phrase "Web 2.0" refers to one or more of the following:

  • The transition of web-sites from isolated information silos to sources of content and functionality, thus becoming computing platforms serving web applications to end-users
  • A social phenomenon embracing an approach to generating and distributing Web content itself, characterized by open communication, decentralization of authority, freedom to share and re-use, and "the market as a conversation"
  • A more organized and categorized content
  • A shift in economic value of the Web, possibly surpassing that of the dot com boom of the late 1990s
  • A marketing-term used to differentiate new web-based firms from those of the dot-com boom, which (due to the bust) subsequently appeared discredited
  • The resurgence of excitement around the implications of innovative web-applications and services that gained a lot of momentum around mid-2005
In the opening talk of the first Web 2.0 conference, Tim O'Reilly and John Battelle summarized key principles they believed characterized Web 2.0 applications
  • the Web as a platform
  • data as the driving force
  • network effects created by an architecture of participation
  • innovation in assembly of systems and sites composed by pulling together features from distributed, independent developers (a kind of "open source" development)
  • lightweight business models enabled by content and service syndication
  • the end of the software adoption cycle ("the perpetual beta")
  • software above the level of a single device, leveraging the power of The Long Tail.

Let's take a quick look at one of the representatives of Web2.0 applications, LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a professional (social) networking platform that allows professionals to connect with each other in search of common connections, joint projects, business opportunities, etc. LinkedIn is a web-based application. The value of the service is extremely dependent on participation and the service is powered by the data that its members provide about themselves and their services. The business model is subscriptions, advertising and marketplace driven and the company provides only one product. Other applications representative of Web 2.0 include:

  • Google AdSense - Monetization of content

  • MySpace, LinkedIn - social and professional networking
  • BitTorrent - peer-to-peear content distribution
  • WIKI - user driven content management
  • del.icio.us - bookmark sharing
  • Blogger, Typepad, WordPress - content generation
  • Digg - content syndication
  • SalesForce.com - move of enterprise applications to the web
  • Writely and Online Spreadsheets - web-based office applications

Innovations Service Oriented Architecture Service Oriented Architecture is one of the principal components of Web2.0 world and is the thinking behind some of the most innovative Web2.0 applications. In computing, the term service-oriented architecture (SOA) expresses a perspective of software architecture that defines the use of loosely coupled software services to support the requirements of the business processes and software users. In an SOA environment, resources on a network are made available as independent services that can be accessed without knowledge of their underlying platform implementation.( Barry, Douglas K., 2003. Web Services and Service-Oriented Architectures)

The convergence of SOA and Web 2.0, two highly interrelated trends that are very focused on:

  1. connecting people and systems together easily,
  2. making software and data available for reuse via services, and
  3. building new value upon the foundation of existing information resources and IT assets.

At the core of Service Oriented Architecture is the ability of one application to be built on the top of another application (service) and possesses the following characteristics:

  • - interface abstraction
  • - leverage of the existing systems in building new ones
  • - ease of extending the functionality through "mashups"
  • - an elegant implementation of data, logic and interface independence

Situational Software

Situational Software is a term for Rapid Software Development by non-programmers solving a particular business problem. Situational software allows for building such components/application as registration interface, task list, workflow and other functions without knowing any computer language syntax. This is a powerful new development as it exponentially extends the number of users who can develop their own application logic thus lowering the need for IT resources every and providing business functions with a much quicker way to accomplish their goals.


One of the most consistent trends on the Internet is the rise of open APIs and the applications built on top of them, known as mashups. Programmable Web currently lists over 300 APIs that can be used for everything from building Web sites on top of Google Maps to using Amazon's powerful infrastructure APIs for storage and cluster computing. The underlying trend: The desire to easily remix the vast pool of high value data and services on the Web today into useful new solutions, at home and in the enterprise.

Mashups provide a way to combine several existing services with a new User Interface and possibly new logic to create a new application. Examples of mashups are services build on Google Maps, RSS news feeds, Stock information, etc.


Real Simple Syndication (RSS) exposes the data behind a particular news or data source in order to be syndicated by other applications or services. RSS has become incredibly popular in the last few years with nearly every news or information source exposing their content as RSS. This type of content packaging allows the content provider to easily get their wares outside of the immediate readership group and provides an inexpensive marketing mechanism.

Social Networks

Social Networking represents a modern trend in maintaining and developing personal and business relationships. Internet services like MySpace, Classmates.com, LinkedIn, Ecademy are redefining how people go about staying connected and looking for new connections. Proliferation of the social networking sites with increasing specialization tells a story about the acceptance of the concept.


Practically all the applications in the Web2.0 category are taking advantage of collaborative properties offered by the centralized data storage. Some of the most notable implications of this trend is the ability to "associate on the fly" instead of having rigid, pre-determined groups, ability to share and version control documents accessible to groups of people, and finally, ability to assign tasks to the group members related to projects or documents.

Asynchronous Communication (AJAX)

One thing that characterizes Web2.0 class of applications is the fact that they are easier to use then previous generation of applications and start behaving in ways similar to desktop software. One of the difficulties that web-based applications had to face was the "stateful" nature of internet applications. In other words, the page had to be reloaded every time there was a new query to the database. This experience fit well with transactional applications that didn't require a lot of user interaction, but prevented introduction of more complex applications where user interaction was key.

This is now changes with a new paradigm in web-based development, known as AJAX. AJAX is a methodology and technology to enable asynchronous data exchange with the server without requiring page reloads. This approach results in significant speed and usability improvements found in a lot of Web 2.0 applications.

Office 2.0

Office 2.0 applications represent the well known class of applications for word processing, spreadsheets, calendaring, email and collaboration shifted to the instead or in addition to being installed on the personal computers.

Office 2.0 represents freedom from the tyranny of installing software and updates, remembering where you keep your data and your programs (it's all in the cloud with Office 2.0), and dealing with pesky things like admin rights, software versions, virus scanning, and more. Though browser-based software still has its limitations (like what happens when the server is down or you don't have a connection), it's increasingly clear that the network is going to become the pre-eminent location for most meaningful business software, if it hasn't happened already. (Dion Hinchcliffe, Blog)

Web 2.0 in the Enterprise Enterprise computing is far more complex than personal computing. It includes legacy environments, innumerable vendors, mismatched data sources, stringent regulations and far flung users. While Web 2.0 can deliver genuine advantages for both business users and consumers, the real "Enterprise 2.0" will encompass a far broader and more complex vision. (M.R. Rangaswami, The Birth of Enterprise 2.0)

One company that's leveraging the SOA in the enterprise to the fullest is San Francisco based Salesforce.com. Salesforce.com has recently announced it's Apex platform basically providing IT departments with ready to use platform for building logic and tying to legacy systems with seamless integration with it's Customer Relationship Management functionality as well as any other partner driven applications.

Impact of Web 2.0 and Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)

The impact of Web2.0 and SOA is going to be very significant on a variety of industries.

With the advent of Service Oriented Architecture, Situational Software and Mashups, creation of applications is becoming faster, cheaper and available to a much wider audience. This phenomenon has a potential to reduce the specialized IT workforce required to churn out often redundant, lower-level code and bring the emphasis on creating business logic by those who possess immediate domain expertise.

Acceptance of Service Oriented Architecture inside the enterprise is allowing said enterprise to deploy software solutions much quicker, thus providing a competitive and productivity advantage. With this come shorter IT development cycles and more creativity in developing and utilizing applications. It's likely that the days of huge, monolithic ERP software applications are counted as each department is striving to deploy what's best for its needs without being stuck with a global roll-out which can take years to accomplish.

New web-based office applications such as Google Calendar, Writely, on-line spreadsheets and on-line Wiki's are making it possible for the user to enjoy much the same benefits brought to them by current Microsoft Office applications, for free or at a much lesser price, while providing an extra layer of functionality through collaboration. This trend will allow more and more underprivileged societies to participate in digital economies and will provide an extension to the office application for those wishing to collaborate.

Blogs (RSS) are providing a way for everyday people, specialists and companies to distribute information without needing to be associated with a news source. Whether done for marketing, public relations or fun, blogs are becoming a great mechanism for knowledge management and dissemination changing the way people go about getting information to improve their lives, careers, businesses, etc...

Because of the shift of access control and storage to the network, the services provided by the client operating system are going to become less relevant. With the advent of SOA applications, the client operating system is being reduced to supporting the browser and networking functions. The browser on the other hand is going to undergo continuous enhancement process improving its support for browser-based programming, asynchronous communications and Javascript processing.

This brings us back to the main question of this paper, namely "is Software Oriented Architecture a natural continuation of the existing technologies with minimal effect on the underlying industries or does it represent a disruptive innovation".

Disruptive Innovation

Clayton Christensen defines disruptive innovation or disruptive technology as a technological innovation, product, or service that eventually overturns the existing dominant technology or product in the market. A new-market disruptive innovation is often aimed at non-consumption, whereas a lower-end disruptive innovation is aimed at mainstream customers who were ignored by established companies. Sometimes, a disruptive technology comes to dominate an existing market by either filling a role in a new market that the older technology could not fill, or by successively moving up-market through performance improvements until finally displacing the market incumbents"

If we were to look at the innovations that Web2.0 and Service Oriented Architectures are introducing and apply the definition above to gauge the disruptiveness factor, we would find that most of the innovations listed here indeed qualify as disruptive:

New Technology/Product

Old Technology/Product


On what basis?


Traditional or Software Encyclopedias


Cost, Easier to use, universally accessible

Online Word Processors & Spreadsheets

Microsoft Office


Cost, adds new area of functionality (collaboration)


Microsoft SharePoint; Web sites


Cost, adds new area of functionality (content management)

Online CRMs

Oracle, SAP


Cost, available to users who weren't served before




Cost, fill role old technology couldn't fill

Social and Business Networking Applications

New market


New, fills the role old technology couldn't fill

Situational Software

IT departments, small consultants


Cost, fills the role old technology couldn't fill

Software as a Service (SaaS)

Traditional Software Applications


Fills the role old technology couldn't fill

Peer-to-peer Lending

Banks and Credit Cards


Cheaper, more convenient


With Wikipedia is rapidly gaining popularity, and while the opponents argue about the accuracy of information on this open source information resource, it's definitely eating fast into traditional and software encyclopedia market.

(Traffic statistics in reach per million internet users, Alexa)

Online calendars, word processors and spreadsheets eliminate the cost of having to purchase Microsoft Office applications, while providing collaboration capability not found in lower-end office applications.

(Online Calendar Application from Google)

Salesforce.com, a web-based CRM/ERP solution offering quick deployment options to corporations in addition to a much palatable pricing when compared to the traditional stalwarts like Oracle and SAP, has signed up over 100,000 corporate customers in less then 5 years on the market.

Conclusion Web2.0 and Service Oriented Architectures are having a tremendous effect on the world around us, specifically how we collaborate, how we communicate and how we innovate.

Web2.0 is changing the way software is designed and developed. Gone are the carefully planned software cycles. After the first version of the software is opened to public, the functionality grows continually in short incremental updates and the value grows proportionately to the usage.

What's even more important, however, is that they are becoming a threat to a lot of established firms and technologies. The largest end-user operating system vendor Microsoft is under a threat as a lot of its Windows system services become unnecessary due to the tasks being transferred to the network layer. Media reporting has to reinvent itself to compete with a cheaper albeit less dependable source of news, the bloggers. Software development organizations are facing a threat from new breed of service based applications. Large software powerhouses, like Oracle and SAP, are under siege from the new entrants into the ERP space with the most well-known of them, Salesforce.com, reinventing the business models and proving to be extremely effective at winning the market share away from the traditional ERP vendors.

SOA applications in general have a tremendous capacity to change the landscape of many industries through changes in the product development lifecycles, harnessing innovation and introduction of the new business models.

The large incumbent software companies and media conglomerates are understanding the threats and opportunities provided by the SAO/Web2.0 generation of products and services as evidenced by a few high-profile acquisitions (Siebel by Oracle, MySpace by Newscorp, JotSpot by Google) and in-house development of competing SAO applications (Microsoft Office Live, SAP hosted services) The question remains whether the incumbents are flexible enough in their business models to be able to embrace the SAO movement or will the new entrants be able to capture large markets with the new SAO/Web2.0 technologies. Bibliography:

Leveraging the convergence of IT and the next generation of the Web, Dion Hinchcliffe

The Birth of Enterprise 2.0, M.R. Rangaswami

Paul Graham (November 2005). Web 2.0. Retrieved on 2006-08-02.

Tim O'Reilly (2006-07-17). Levels of the Game: The Hierarchy of Web 2.0 Applications. O'Reilly radar. Retrieved on 2006-08-08.

Jürgen Schiller García (2006-09-21). Web 2.0 Buzz Time bar. Retrieved on 2006-10-29.

Jeffrey Zeldman (2006-01-16). Web 3.0. A List Apart. Retrieved on 2006-05-27.

Tim O'Reilly (2005-09-30). What Is Web 2.0. O'Reilly Network. Retrieved on 2006-08-06.

Dion Hinchcliffe (2006-04-02). The State of Web 2.0. Web Services Journal. Retrieved on 2006-08-06.

Tim O'Reilly (2002-06-18). Amazon Web Services API. O'Reilly Network. Retrieved on 2006-05-27.

O'Reilly and CMP Exercise Trademark on 'Web 2.0'. Slashdot (2006-05-26). Retrieved on 2006-05-27.

Nathan Torkington (2006-05-26). O'Reilly's coverage of Web 2.0 as a service mark. O'Reilly Radar. Retrieved on 2006-06-01.

Tim O"Reilly. 9-30-2005. Design Patterns and Business Models for the Next Generation of Software.

Barry, Douglas K. (2003). Web Services and Service-Oriented Architectures: The Savvy Manager's Guide

When You Might Need To Worry About A Transportation Bond

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Most of the time, if you have ever encountered the term "transportation bond" it is something you are asked to vote for or against and it has to do with your local or state government planning to fund some kind of transportation project such as a road or a rail line. A different meaning does exist. A bond may also be a guarantee of something, a specific insurance policy written to protect you from some type of wrong-doing by a company you have hired. It may in fact also cover some sort of breakdown on your part such as withholding payment or not paying on time. But, in this case, this type of surety bond is designed for your protection.

Occasionally, you might have need of having something transported by a professional company. Instances like this might include when you are moving and all your worldly assets are being hauled across the state, country, or the continent by a moving company. You would definitely want a transportation bond if this is in reality your current circumstance. These types of bonds insure your valuables in the event pretty much anything happens such as the truck catching fire, the belongings being stolen or the driver fails to show up at all, you are compensated for whatever is lost. While the loss or damage might not be extensive, you would still be covered for that loss. As an example, if the movers damage a mirror or break the leg off your kitchen table, you will be reimbursed for it. Of course, the moving company would very typically pay for these types of problems anyway. Yet, if the moving company fails to act or it turns out that they just outright stole your things with no intention to deliver them, then in that case, this is where a bond would come in handy because the bond company would pay your claim and then try to get repaid by the moving company.

Another instance where you might be glad to have a transportation bond is if you are getting a car transported for you. For example, say you bought an expensive sports car in Germany and are having it transported to you in Ohio. In case for some reason the company you contracted with failed to deliver for any reason or the car gets destroyed in any way, the bond would insure you get compensated for the loss. Once again, if it is a reliable company, then they would pay you if the car was damaged or never showed up. Nonetheless, in this day and age there seem to be lots of shady companies out there and if you happened to have hired one of them, they might deny that they owed you anything and then you could be in a serious financial bind. The bond company would investigate the situation in any event with a transportation bond and you would certainly get paid and the insurance provider would then go after the company which caused the loss. Not like any insurance you commonly pay for, bonds similar to this are totally different. This is something most professional businesses already have because it protects them, as well. However, if you are looking into employing a company to do some sort of major transportation for you, then guaranteeing that such a transportation surety bond is paid for and active would be a very important part of investigating them.

These types of transportation surety bonds nonetheless, only cover the goods you are having shipped to make sure you are protected up to a specific amount should the company refuse to pay in times of loss, damage or theft.

Insider Secrets to Investing in Real Estate in Nicaragua

The word is out: "Nicaragua is the new Costa Rica" but with prices 45-55% lower than its southern neighbor. Nicaragua is well and truly bouncing back from its troubled and often misunderstood past and beginning to transform into a sought-after investment and tourism destination. Misconceptions still persist, but in many ways that only increases the opportunity that Nicaragua offers.

Nicaragua's democratically elected government is showing a great capacity to reform in line with its commitment to a free-market economy. The country is booming and tourism is now the number-one industry, increasing by over 19% in 2005 even considering a record-breaking year in 2004. There is a real buzz in the air for this land of opportunity. Whether you are looking for a retirement or vacation destination, a place to start a business or a place to invest for the future, Nicaragua is definitely worth considering.

How much is good real estate information worth?

Market knowledge based on fact and base trends, rather than exaggeration and hype (in both directions) can make the difference between a good investment and a great one. The aim of this article is to capture the essence of the successful real estate investor in Nicaragua. We have consolidated the experience of hundreds of investors and identified seven success strategies for successful real estate investing in Nicaragua.

We hope that this encourages more investors into taking the first step in exploring real estate opportunities outside their home countries with confidence. Although imbued with a Nicaraguan flavor for the purposes of this article, many of the principles and steps highlighted in this article will also hold true in other investment destinations and contexts.

Seven success strategies for real estate investing in Nicaragua

1. Understand the link between tourism and real estate

Tourism brought in almost $200 million in 2005, according to the Nicaraguan government, more than any other single industry in its $5 billion economy. Current projections indicate that by 2007 there will be more than one million visitors to the country. The profile of visitors has shown a marked shift from budget tourists to more affluent and sophisticated travellers and higher-end hotels in tourist areas show consistently high occupancy.

There is strong relationship between leisure and vocational markets and the market for second homes and retirement homes. The areas attracting the most tourism are also generating the greatest levels of real estate activity. For certain real estate products, the link between tourism and real estate is particularly direct and immediate. Pelican Eyes...Piedras y Olas the highest quality hotel in San Juan del Sur, boasting occupancy levels well above industry standards since it opened, offers the possibility for investors to purchase a villa or duplex unit and participate in the revenues generated by the hotel.

2. Know where you are in a property cycle

Nicaragua has seen considerable price rises in the past few years. We have calculated percentage price changes for serviced lots between 2002 and 2005 for seven well known real estate developments on the Pacific that have been active over this period (most developments are more recent) and are still selling property. Over this period prices have risen by an average of 87%. Unimproved colonial homes in Granada have been rising by around 25% per year for the past three years. These price rises indicate that Nicaragua is now on the map as an investment destination, the positive price trend has started, but we are only just seeing the beginnings of a "second wave" of investors: the pre-retirement and retirement market.

Speculators still make up a considerable proportion of investors but an increasing number of pre-retirement / retirement and second home buyers are emerging. Much has been made of the 'baby boomer' generation when analyzing future buying trends in many markets worldwide. Baby boomers began turning 50 in 1996 and 78 million of them began to enter their period of highest earnings and greatest discretionary dollars. It is said that over the next 20 years the baby boomer generation will likely constitute the largest potential market ever for real estate products, especially second homes and timeshare/fractional ownership offerings.

The real estate product on offer has also evolved from simple lot sales (sold mainly to speculative buyers) to turnkey products with sophisticated facilities and services for longer term investors and the retirement market. A consistent growth in condominium constructions and sales has been evident for 18 months and is accelerating.

3. Follow trends not events

The bulk of foreign investment into the real estate and tourism sectors in Nicaragua is focused on the south-western part of the country. To take the Pacific coast as an example, in conjunction with Calvet & Associates, we have catalogued over 70 developments on the Pacific marketing to foreign buyers between El Transito and the Costa Rican border. The south-west of the country also includes the colonial town of Granada, Lake Nicaragua and the beautiful Laguna de Apoyo crater lake.

A number of investors are seeking out areas where there is less activity, for example beachfront areas further north. The prices may be lower in the northern part of the coastline - but for a reason - and it is important for investors to take this into account before they make an property purchase. The south western coastline has more dramatic geography, whiter sand beaches, richer biodiversity, better surfing, safer swimming areas and cooling lake and ocean breezes and, yes, also more recently investor momentum. This is not to say that there will be no price appreciation and development on beach areas further to the north but that a significant price differential will likely remain into the future.

4. Build a good network

Investors commonly complain of an overload of market information and building a good network will allow you to triangulate and contextualize information that you receive. Not surprisingly, given the excitement about the real estate market, there is a great deal of story telling and exaggeration that goes on. Do your due diligence, work with realtors who know the market, learn from professionals and be skeptical about claims that you can flip your property for 100% more "when the International Living investors come into town in a few weeks."

A solid piece of advice is to buy only what you see. Make up your mind on what you think the inherent value is of the property that you are looking at is. Don't factor in the "new coastal road" the "new airport" the "new Marriott" into the price. Certainly not if you are investing for the short term. Coldwell Banker Nicaragua has a network of lawyers, project managers, master planners and investment analysts who have a long track record of advising investors on real estate acquisition and development in Central America - these are independent third parties who can provide un-emotive grounded advice.

5. Due diligence everything

More specifically, retain competent legal representation and take out title insurance. Nicaragua has a particularly complex title history and some buyers who have not looked deeply enough into the title history of purchased property are now mired in difficult legal problems. A number of real estate developers try and persuade buyers to use their own legal team for property purchasing. Our advice is to employ independent legal advise at least to review (if not draw up) the purchase contract you are signing and check the title history on the property.

Coldwell Banker Nicaragua recommends investors to take out a title insurance policy. Other realtors do not recommend title insurance as the due diligence that ensues can slow down the purchase process and raise difficult questions. Seeking title insurance will force your lawyer to delve many years back into the property history of the property you are purchasing and follow a set of criteria in their reporting. If you are buying raw land parcels outside of a development your due diligence list needs to be longer and will cover infrastructure issues, environmental issues and development permits.

6. Invest with a confidence, develop with a conscience

This is the strap-line of the Nica Dev campaign run by Donn Wilson a developer, entrepreneur and surfer who has made San Juan del Sur his home. Nica Dev recognizes that real estate investors are entering into another country and have an obligation to respect the land, the people and the environment. When you arrive in Nicaragua the impression that you get is of a warmhearted nation that is welcoming to international visitors. In order for this warm feeling to endure into the future, local Nicaraguan also need to benefit from the real estate and tourism activity that is going on in the country.

Las Fincas, a development aligned with the Nica Dev campaign, is designed with sustainable development principles built in. For example a basic solar power setup is provided for everyone who buys and the project runs a series of active community outreach projects introducing highly effective, yet low-cost and low-tech, solutions for cooking and purifying drinking water. Skills and suppliers for low impact construction with elements such as rain water capture, composting and recycling, hard to find 18 months ago, are now readily available in-country. Coldwell Banker Nicaragua is launching its own campaign to generate funds for the Nica Dev fund as well as other projects that our clients are involved in here in Nicaragua. We will be giving our clients the opportunity to contribute to selected projects at the time of closing.

7. Become and expert in investing in real estate in Nicaragua...before you invest

Coldwell Banker Nicaragua Real Estate has launched a series of concise buyer briefings to help investors interested in the real estate market in Nicaragua in their decision making. The briefings highlight real estate hotspots, analyze market trends and set out good value investment opportunities.

Greek Architecture

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Architecture in ancient Greece was usually done with wood or mud-bricks, so their ground plans are the only evidence of their existence. Greeks established most of the most enduring themes, attitudes, and forms of western culture. Architecture is one of the Greek legacies that the western civilization has inherited, as Greece established many of the structural elements, decorative motifs, and building types still used in architecture today.

The two main styles of Greek architecture are doric and ionic. The doric style is much more disciplined and austere, whereas the ionic style is more relaxed and decorative. There was a strong emphasis in building temples for the Greek mythological gods and goddesses. But, there were also well known public buildings like the Parthenon.

Building materials used were limestone and some native stones. Highly expensive marble was used mainly for sculptural decoration found in grand buildings of the classical period. The roofs of their buildings were made up of timber beams covered with overlapping terracotta or occasionally marble tiles.

The structure of ancient Greek architecture consists of a basic cube or rectangle, flanked by colonnades, and a long sequence of columns. Building will have a pronao or a portico that open up to a large open court peristyle. Greeks used very little of the principles of the masonary arch, individual blocks bound together by mortar. The front end of the roof has flat triangular shaped structure, the pediment which is usually filled with scultural decoration.

Temples are the best known form of Greek architecture. The altar of the temple was usually found in the sacred fane, an enclosure, in front of the temple. The inner building of the temple, cella, served mainly as the storage room. The other common public builds of the Greek architecture are gymnasiums, the palaestra, and theatres.

In ancient Greece, architects were hardly treated as valuable master craftsmen, unlike today where the architects are closely associated with the work they produce. And moreover, architecture was not seen as an art form, as it is in modern times.

Why Your Business Shouldn't Exist Without General Liability Insurance

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Today's society is a contentious one. Even simple or little accidents can result to serious legal charges. This is where insurance comes into the picture. A term for the liability insurance that covers both public liability and product liability insurance is general liability insurance.

General liability insurance is an insurance coverage for almost any type of business wherein there are occurrences of bodily injuries and property damages on clients inside the business premises due to negligent actions and behavior of the employees and/or its owner. This type of insurance policy covers claims from a person injured due to usage of a product supplied and/or manufactured by a business, and from a person injured during the general operation inside the business site.

Insurances like these are vital for any business or company. It enables them to protect their assets and properties when they are sued for something that they did or did not do, no matter how little or big the damage or injury that has occurred. Usually, persons and businesses that are more likely at risk of getting liability claims purchase this type of insurance policies as a separate one.

There are ways for a person and his business to decrease the chances of getting sued. They should set their product quality control with the highest standards. They should ensure that all of their company records are complete and updated. They should also ensure that their employees are skilled in their work and properly trained, and acquire safety tips on liability claims based on their business type from the insurance company. Moreover, majority of the insurance companies oblige their policyholders to inform and report as early as possible any accidents that can result to a liability claim.

When choosing a general liability insurance policy, the owner and its business must consider two important factors. The first factor is the perceived risk and the second one is the state wherein the business operates. For the first factor, the business owner should contemplate over the amount of risk associated with their company. For instance, an enterprise using heavy machines would most likely be sued than a trade of dresses and clothing. While for the second factor, a business that runs in states that have a history of giving high damage amounts to claimants normally have high coverage limits with their liability insurance.

Professional liability insurance is essential for every business. This serves as their protection to whoever claimants that charges them due to any injuries and damages whether it is the companies fault or not. Businesses and its owners should always be ready and prepared from litigation claims because no matter how careful they are, there will come a time that they will experience events similar to this.

Chicago Commercial Real Estate

Monday, March 17, 2014

There is currently a booming market for commercial real estate in Chicago. There are local firms and brokers who specialize in commercial real estate in Chicago. In addition, there are online resources available that can help one buy, sell, or research Chicago commercial real estate.

Retail businesses occupy a large percentage of the commercial properties in Chicago. Because there are a numerous federal and state laws that must be followed when to buying or selling commercial real estate, it is advisable to ask the advice of a professional real estate firm and/or attorney before doing so.

A number of websites provide online listings of commercial properties for sale. These lists are regularly updated. One can search these lists to gain a general idea of the quality of the properties that are available within a given budget. (The prices of commercial real estate typically vary according to their location, size, and quality of construction.) If you are planning to put one of your commercial properties up for sale, it might be to your advantage to add your property to one of these lists.

Although it is often more convenient to do research online, there is no dearth of professional service firms that can help one research commercial real estate in Chicago.

Some Chicago real-estate firms deal with only premium commercial properties. Most middle and small level firms, however, deal with all categories of commercial real estate. There are many individual brokers and commercial real estate attorneys who can help a buyer or seller close a real-estate transaction quickly and efficiently.

An attorney will complete and verify the necessary legal documentation. Real-estate attorney fees are usually commission based. The rates of commission vary according to the price of the commercial real estate being bought or sold and the reputation of the individual firm or broker.

Financial Aid Options For College Students

Saturday, March 15, 2014

If you are a parent concerned with being able to pay for your child’s college tuition, especially if college is fast approaching for your son or daughter, you should know the aspects of your financial situation that will be reviewed by organizations that are willing to provide financial aid to those in need. If you qualify, your child will have access to public funding that will help him or her get the education necessary to have a brighter future in today’s tough economic times and difficult job market.

As soon as your child is a senior in high school, you should be looking at the financial aid options available to your family. Do not wait until the last minute, as these funding institutions may have deadlines for their applications.

Free Money in the Form of Grants

The great thing about grants is that they are given out based upon a family’s financial need and they do not need to be paid back like loans do. Instead, these tax-free forms of funding are like gifts given to your family to use to put your child through college. Do some research into grants that are given to individuals who earn low incomes and make sure you submit fully completed applications, along with all necessary paperwork proving your eligibility, by the deadline specified.

You can receive grants from both public and governmental agencies as well as private organizations. Your child’s high school can probably point you in the right direction, but you can also find grant opportunities online.

Scholarships for Academic Performance

Encouraging your children to always strive to do their best in high school is the first step to attaining financial aid, in the form of scholarships, from colleges. Many colleges and universities will gladly offer financial assistance to those students they have accepted into their programs and have found to be excellent students. Therefore, the harder your son or daughter works during his or her high school years, the more likely it is that he or she will be awarded a valuable scholarship.

Sometimes scholarships are awarded upon the completion of a college application and subsequent acceptance into the college, however you can also find scholarship opportunities online or request applications from the college your child is planning on attending. Also, some scholarships are based upon academic performance, while others are based upon financial need, ethnicity, or other distinguishing factors.

Borrow Money in the Form of Loans

If you take out one or more loans to pay your child’s college tuition, you need to understand that this is not free money like grants and scholarships. Instead, you are required to pay back the loans within a specified amount of time. Often, your child will graduate and get a job and still be paying off his or her student loans as a result of the interest that is tacked onto the principal that is borrowed. The longer it takes your family to pay back the loan, the more interest you will be paying in the long run.

Low Maintenance Organic Landscaping Using Blueberry Plants

You have always wanted a great looking landscape to brighten the yard. But who has time to spend every free minute caring for the yard? With some planning and a little know how it is easy to cut down on the drudgery of yard work. Having an easy care landscape means you must develop a realistic plan. Trees and shrubs give substance to a landscape and flowers provide excitement and surprise. You can enjoy the fruits of near effortless edibles including blueberries and strawberries. Blueberries are a low maintenance plant. They have few pest and are native to North America. They require a soil pH of 4.6 to 5.1.

Take a look at your landscape
Knowing the physical characteristics of your site, the soil, climate, topography, and exposure is a vital part creating and maintaining a low maintenance landscape. Choose well adapted plants to design a functional, attractive layout for your yard.

Some factors like climate you have no control over and it affects your whole yard. Other factors you have some control over, Like the amount of shade which can differ widely in different parts of the yard. Growing plants can be a breeze if you have deep, fertile soil rich in organic matter. But even if you don't (very few of us do) you can still have a productive low maintenance yard. You can decide to improve your soil by adding organic matter or using raised beds and adjusting the soil pH if needed. You can also look for plants that are adapted to your soils existing conditions. Raised beds can provide ideal growing conditions for a variety of vegetables, bushes, and flowers. Where the soil has poor drainage raised beds can solve that problem.

Test your soil. Your local extension service can provide a test for a sample you supply. Test results will tell you the soils fertility, pH, and organic matter content. Getting your soil in shape before planting will go a long way toward promoting healthy, trouble-free plants in the future.

Reduce maintenance on tough to mow slopes by replacing turf with a mixture of low care flowers and shrubs such as low growing easy maintenance blueberry bushes and using a mowing strip. For example, North Country blueberry plants grows 18 to 24 inches tall or North blue blueberry plants that grows to a height of 20-30 inches could be good selections.

Reduce mowing chores by replacing some of the lawn with shrubs, trees or ground cover. Eliminate grass growing under or along fences and walls and low branching trees. The kind of grass you grow has a lot to do with how much maintenance it requires. There are grasses that do not grow tall and thus require minimal mowing.

For example, No mow grass ultra low maintenance grass. Eliminate hours of lawn mowing and lawn maintenance each month with Pearl's Premium grass. Pearl's Premium grows slowly above ground. Below ground, it can put down 12" roots, tapping into naturally occurring moisture and nutrients. This type of grass will reduce watering requirements and a lot of mowing. Mow only when it needs it not on a regular weekly or bi-weekly schedule.

End edging forever- For the busy person trees, shrubs and flower beds can quickly turn into a night mare. The shaggy edges that form between planting and the lawn area can give any area an unkempt look and be a real pain to trim. Mowing strips are the solution. A mowing strip is a flat band of brick or flat rock that sits flush with the soil surface and you just mow over the area eliminating the need for the hand or string trimmers to cut the grass at the edge of the of the bed. You just let one wheel ride on the strip and the other on the lawn.

Ground cover
Utilizing ground cover can help to change a bare or dull part of your yard into a beautiful, low maintenance show area. Low growing ground cover plants can serve you well in some areas. For example in our yard we had a rock area that we could not mow and looked ugly. We let low growing ground cover plants grow over this area to transform it into a beautiful area that required essentially no care. You might consider RUBY CARPET a ground cover blueberry plant. The height of the ruby Carpet plants grow to be 4 to 6 inches at maturity and spread outward to create the Red Carpet. Ruby Carpet is selected for form, color and resistance to dryer soil conditions than most blueberry plants.

Blueberries make a beautiful delicious Landscape
When planting blueberries as part of your landscape you should consider combining them with other plants that thrive in acid soil such as azaleas, rhododendrons and camellias. The following are some example of plants you can consider.

Legacy blueberry plants grows 4 to 5 feet tall and can create 4 seasons of interest in your landscape. Spring brings white flowers that develop into shiny green fruit which turn bright blue in the summer. Smooth, glossy-green leaves look attractive all spring & summer in the fall they produce beautiful orange-red leaves.
Sunshine blue is a short plant that is very suitable for growing in a landscape or in containers.
Ornablue grows about 3 feet tall and is considered to be the best ornamental of its size and stature.
North Country grows 18 to 24 inches tall and is an outstanding blueberry plant for landscapes and container growing.
North blue, grows to a height of 20-30 inches. It is good for landscapes and container growing. It's large glossy, dark green leaves turn dark red in the fall making it of good ornamental value.
Patriot grows 3 to 5 feet tall and is also an excellent container and landscape variety. It is also a very good producer of fruit.
For tall hedges you want to use for privacy use the faster growing, upright varieties such as Jersey, or Ozark Blue. To make solid hedges or screens, place plants 2½ to 3' apart.
Rabbiteyes grow tall so they can make excellent plants for areas you want to screen off for privacy. Tifblue is considered among best rabbiteyes.
Blueberry plants grow slowly, and grow about a half-foot a year on mature branches. The plants are multi-stemmed with new shoots often developing from the base.

Eatable landscaping
Recently edible landscaping has received more attention. Part of the reason is because of the well documented health benefits and another is because of the economics of growing your own fruit and vegetables. Raised beds can provide an excellent controllable space to grow blueberry bushes and vegetables. Anyone who has eaten really fresh produce knows a food-producing garden is worth the effort. It is surprising that it hasn't caught on earlier. It's such a brilliant way of taking advantage of the little bit of land that many of us have but usually use strictly for ornamentals. Blueberries make a beautiful delicious Landscape. Blueberry plants can serve as ornamentals while also being grown as a food source.

Border plantings and along Walkways
You can plant shrubs along the borders of your property that can serve several purposes. Serve for privacy, eliminate grass growing under or along fences and the related mowing problems, serve as perimeter border to define your property boundaries while at the same time beautifying you landscape. If you use eatable bushes such as blueberry bushes you are can grow blueberries for your health and enjoyment. Ornablue blueberry plant can serve this purpose well and is considered to be the best ornamental varieties of its size and stature.

Border plantings along walkways or surrounding a planting bed can work well, choose Sunshineblue, Ornablue or Northcountry. These can be planted along with dwarf rhododendrons or compact azaleas. All three of these blueberry bushes will grow well in Kentucky. Ornablue is considered to be the best ornamental variety of its size and stature. Northcountry will grow well all the way up to growing zone 3. The Sunshine blue blueberries we planted on our properties in Kentucky and Tennessee have turned out to be pretty much evergreen bushes the year around. Rhododendrons and azaleas can be planted along with blueberry plants to blend into borders or serve as a prickly hedge.

Choosing Blueberry Plants to grow
Purchase your plants state-inspected reliable nursery. Bare root plants are usually sold by most nurseries unless you pick the plants up at the nursery. you obtain plants to be planted in the spring or fall. What is important is to plant them when they're dormant, either well before or well after they start new growth of leaves, blossoms and berries.

Usually two-year-old potted or bare-root plants are sold by nurseries and are your best purchase. Older plants may give you a harvest sooner, but they are generally not cost-effective because of their added expense and can be harder to establish. Younger plants need to be grown under nursery conditions before they can be planted in the field.

Why Do Would-be Real Estate Investors Fail?

Let's face it, there's tons of real estate investing information out there.  But of all the people you've seen at seminars lapping up the words of wisdom from the real estate gurus, or the people you see at Barnes and Noble skulking around til 11 PM reading all the real estate investing books they can get their hands on (A charge of which I am guilty!), how many do you think actually succeed in their real estate investing businesses?

I don't have exact figures, but based on my experience as a real estate investing information provider and coach, I would guess it's close to only 1-2% of people who want to be real estate investors get into the business and stay in the business and make it profitable.

Those figures are so disappointing.

Why is it so hard? Why do so many would-be investors fail before they begin?  And why do others, who are able to take the first steps of their real estate investing career successfully, still fail to meet their goals long-term?

I realized the deck was stacked against me as I begin as a real estate investing student at a seminar a few years ago.  I bought all the real estate investing courses, signed up for private coaching, and watched as many of the people around me fell by the wayside.  There were many times I wanted to quit, myself.  You probably have your own story of struggle in your real estate investing career.

It's the million dollar question.  Here are the conclusions I've been able to come up with.

Why Do Real Estate Investors Fail In Spite of Great Real Estate Investing Information?

1) The Myth of Get Rich Quick - Why do would-be real estate investors fail?

Just because there are real estate investment strategies, such as flipping homes, that can be implemented quickly (60-90 days), that doesn't mean that it is easy to find deals, negotiate them and close them in the first month or two after you start your real estate investing career.  In my experience, most people need to take a little time to become familiar with the real estate markets in their area, real estate terminology and strategies, and then get started implementing so they can practice finding and negotiating with motivated sellers. 

Even with a good deal closed, you might only walk away with $5,000 or so from a flip.  With a subject to or lease option deal, the property may take years to "ripen" in your portfolio before you are able to sell it for a significant profit.  The biggest money I've seen people make quickly is coming from rehabs and short sale negotiations.  Pursuing these types of deals can verge onto a full time job.  They do work, and work quickly, but they take a lot of time to implement.

2) The Myth of No Money Down

So many times, I have heard students come on coaching calls with me and say, "I just lost my job, so I am really motivated to make this work quickly."  or "My goal is to flip one house a month every month because I need some cash for start up capital."  These sentiments are probably being perpetuated by the gurus out there who encourage people to think that real estate investing is a no-capital-required business.  Even after you get the formula down, it can take years before a paper-profit becomes cash-in-hand if you own rental property or do lease/options.

The exception proves the rule and I'm sure it's true that some people during some periods of time are able to make "thousands" quickly, when they need it most. For example, I know folks who get a lot of free deals off of craigslist or calling through the newspaper.  However, for the vast majority of real estate investors, some money is required for marketing to find motivated sellers if they want to keep their deal pipeline reasonably full.  In addition to marketing to find motivated sellers, deals take money for due diligence, legal fees, inspections, and so forth.  If you plan to hold property as a landlord, the costs escalate even more steeply.  If I had to put my finger on one major reason for lack of success in this business, besides false expectations, I would list lack of funding right at the top.

3) The TRUTH in "It doesn't work where I live." 

There's a cliche in the real estate guru field that speakers like to joke about.  It's that a lot of students like to say, "Your strategies won't work where I live."  Guru's play it off as a joke, like the person is making an excuse for not getting started in their investing, because they "can't." 

The truth of the matter is, there is a LOT of variation in the performance of real estate markets across the country.  In some areas, like the South and Midwest, property values are relatively stable and properties cash flow well.  In other areas, Southern California, Florida, and Las Vegas come to mind, property values fluctuate wildly and you can make a fortune or lose your shirt on the changing tides of appreciation. 

It's very important to understand real estate market cycles and where your market fits within the current phase of the market.  You implement to take strategies that work in your marketplace if you want to be successful locally.  Otherwise, you need to do what I've done and learn to invest where it makes sense, without being constrained feeling a need to invest where you live.  There are pros and cons to each strategy.  However, my point is that it's not right for the gurus to mock people who raise this objection.  It's a valid concern raised by thinking investors, even if it doesn't help sell the guru's real estate investing courses.

So, I've raised a lot of concerns about the mis-information being circulated in the real estate investing industry.  Have I disappointed you too much?  I are you "off" of investing now?  If you are good - if you can be talked out of it that easily, I'm glad I got you out BEFORE you invested any more of your precious time and money pursuing a strategy that doesn't appeal to you.

If not, even better. it is certainly possible to take a realistic approach to real estate investing and make it work for you.  You can grow your net worth to millions, but it does take time and perseverance.  I hope you're willing to stick it out.

Insurance Professionals - An Independent and Trusted Advisor

Thursday, March 13, 2014

As we mature and grow it can get harder to know who we can trust and depend upon. When we are young it is the foundation of our security that our family, teachers, and loved ones advise us impartially and with our well being at heart.
But, when dealing with the many complexities of life, advice is harder to come by and even harder to trust. Knowing when to ask for help and using good discretion in choosing who to trust is an invaluable life skill. One good rule of thumb when choosing an advisor is to look for independence and experience. This is vitally true when you enter the complex arena of health insurance for the first time.

Obtaining health coverage at any time in one's life is a complicated and time consuming process. But it is much more involved when you are doing it as a young adult, just leaving the safety of your parent's coverage, and seeking coverage for yourself for the first time. Graduating from college, getting a job, and signing up for your employer's health care plan all used to come in logical progression. But, today, many employers are eliminating health care coverage from their benefits package and many young people will go to work in one of the millions of small businesses who can't afford to offer health insurance. Thus, shopping for and acquiring coverage is a rude welcome to the adult world for many young people. Just who can you trust to give you the best advice and recommendations? In the health insurance industry there is a valuable resource with no hidden agendas that offers sound, impartial, and independent guidance-an Independent Insurance Broker.

An Independent Insurance Broker is an agent that owes no allegiance to any specific carrier, nor do they represent any one company. An Independent Broker can be the mentor every young person needs when first purchasing insurance coverage. Rather than opening up the Yellow Pages and calling an agent that offers only one company's coverage, they can turn to a Broker who can research all the relevant companies and make the recommendation that can give them the insurance and financial security they need. It is all a matter of trust.

An Independent Insurance Broker is, by virtue of years of experience and impartial commitment, an expert at finding the right coverage for the best value. In addressing life skills with it's young people, many college placement advisors and counselors are including information about how to find balanced and impartial legal, insurance, and financial advice for its graduates. Insurance brokers can be the difference between years of medical and financial strain and the beginning of a responsible and successful life.

A young person needs mentors to succeed in life and they can find such a mentor in an Independent Insurance Broker. At their jobs, recent graduates will find the guidance they need in their more experienced co-workers who have learned the ropes from their more experienced co-workers. The right of passage in learning from the adults who came before them is evident in every phase of life.

Health insurance is something that many young adults take for granted because Mom and Dad provided coverage and it is surprising how little many graduating seniors know about health insurance. It isn't something they have ever had to deal with and the experience Mom and Dad have with insurance may be equally lacking because they have always had employer sponsored health care coverage. But the world our young people are entering is a lot different than Mom and Dad's. The demands and decisions they have to make are in many ways more complicated. Independence and a lack of agenda are the hallmarks of Insurance Brokers and they answer a critical need-unbiased recommendations.

When the stakes are so high, parents and educators owe young people not only the benefit of their experience but up-to-date solutions to today's problems. One of these solutions is going to an expert and independent Insurance Broker the guidance to start adult life off on the right foot with the best health insurance coverage.


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