MORE than Finances

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4 Preventable Mistakes First-Time Property Investors Make


First-time property investment and home buying can be an overwhelming endeavour to say the least. Making such a major purchase and investiture of your time and money is challenging and there are many mistakes that can easily be made in the process.
You certainly don’t want to fall victim to the market and end up losing money. If you want your first property flip to be a success and hopefully continue to do well in the real estate game, avoid these common mistakes like you would avoid buying a run-down shack in Humpty Doo, Australia.

Emotional buying

While home may be where the heart is, your wallet should be where your brain is. Thinking critically and using logic when making your first property buy is absolutely necessary.
Investment properties should always be bought by doing market research, not because you think your kid would like the swimming pool. A mindset for financial gain will win every time over emotional impulse when trying to flip real estate.
Your first purchase should be geared towards return on investment and nothing else. If you plan on renting the property out, for example, consider factors such as: what kind of occupants do I want and does this location provide them?

Underestimating the costs

There are many costs apart from the sale price of your home that need to be considered before making your first purchase. If you fail to take these extra costs into account, you can be sure that you will spend well over your budget.
Some calculations to factor into your budget:
• Realtor commissions
• Moving costs
• Property taxes
• Maintenance fees
• Insurance payments
Another thing to keep in mind is whether or not you will be using any loans to help cover your expenses. If so, it’s important to be informed of things you should consider when looking for a personal loan.

Not buying for the market

This ties in with the earlier point about thinking logically and doing research beforehand. If you don’t know the market, the chances of you buying the wrong property increase substantially.
What does buying the wrong property mean?
It means purchasing a property that won’t sell according to your area’s demographics. For example, if you’re looking to make a purchase in a suburb that primarily brings in families, you don’t want to invest in a bachelor’s pad.
Buy according to your market and avoid being stuck with a large family home in an area full of hipsters in condos.

Neglecting inspection

Neglecting to perform a property inspection could probably be paired with underestimating costs but really deserves its own heading. One of the silliest things a first-time home buyer can do is fail to have it properly inspected by a professional.
Inspections and appraisals are two entirely different matters and you should be aware of this fact. Having an inspection performed can actually allow you to negotiate a lower price on the home if anything such as sloping floors, poor insulation or faulty plumbing should be discovered.

Final thoughts

Many first-time property investors fail to see success because of simple mistakes that are easily avoided. Don’t give in to emotional buys, make sure you are factoring all costs into your budget, do the necessary market research and opt for a professional inspection to make sure your property brings you significant returns.


How Your Workday Will Improve With Business Automation

student-849825_640Automating business processes in your organization can greatly improve your day-to-day activities. It can help companies by introducing intelligent workflows and removing repetitive tasks. Aside from that, it can also increase visibility of what’s really going on in the production environment, which means that you can have more free time to focus on essential business matters.

In general, automation makes the business more efficient and it can simplify tasks and projects. There are a lot of areas in the business that will improve once you’ve automated, but here are several areas that do benefit daily:

  1. Streamlined communication. For an organized collaboration, incorporating an automated workflow can enable your team to communicate on tasks assigned or still pending, and they can even discuss those individual items in the workflow and have it done in a simpler and streamlined way. This means that there is no need for communication based on email threads as the manager of the project can immediately see the progress, if there are people lagging behind on the task at hand and the goal of the campaign.
  1. Cut down inefficiencies. There is a big chance that there are countless of hours wasted performing tasks manually. The biggest time-consumer in a business is administrative work – and even the small-time business owners complete this type of task. Automation can change up the daily approach, which can then free your time so that you can focus more on essential business insights.
  1. Systematized workflow. Automating this process ensures that you will have a systematic workflow – your employees take full responsibility of the area and tasks they are assigned in. This makes it a lot easier to see the inputs, whether it succeeds or fails. It can also help you identify which of the tasks are taking longer to complete or in what point a task gets stuck frequently. An effective management system allows you to gather informed decisions so that you can address any hiccups, establish better business processes and smooth out the workload among all employees.
  1. Improve the business overall performance. Automation not only lets you see individual items but gives you the entire view of the whole system. Just imagine what you can do with several months of data from the system – you can focus on areas that needs improvement as well as save time as you can get this taken care of immediately.
  1. Save daily costs. Automation can reduce a lot of tasks such as staffing, creating a paperless environment and cut down redundant tasks and ineffective work methods. You will not see instant savings but there should be a gradual reduction on those practices that can lose your business time and money.

Automating processes in the business won’t be an easy process as it will take training and transition. However, an effective workday professional services automation can be one of the reasons to determine why your business will survive in the industry you’re in. It will not always be easy to implement automation, but there are long-term benefits that your business will reap.


Buy Me Something Big: Making up Your Mind When You Get a Cash Windfall

6551534889_9c8ae52997With potentially the highest housing prices and living costs in the world, many Canadians seriously struggle to afford steep mortgage and utility payments. Because of this, millions of people find it almost impossible to save any money, leaving them with a huge problem if a sudden expensive payment was due.

So, when a cash windfall comes through from something like inheritance or a tax refund, the temptation to go crazy and mindlessly spend can be overwhelming, simply because you may have never had that luxury before. But despite temptation, it’s important to get the balance right between being sensible and treating yourself. After all, regret is one of the worst feelings to experience and, if you look back and seriously regret how you spent the money, you’ll be left feeling very miserable. So, if you’ve just received a sudden cash windfall or are soon-to-be expecting one and want to ensure you make the right decisions, here are a few pointers to get you started!

Pay any outstanding debts or bills

Whilst it may be tempting to head straight to your favorite store and buy everything you like, taking care of the important stuff first is crucial. Establishing exactly how much you owe and paying it all off will not only give you a great sense of satisfaction but will likely reduce how much you would have owed as many debts gain interest the longer you leave them.

If you’re in the fortunate position of not having any debts or outstanding bills to take care of, brilliant news! But it’s always good to remember that anything can happen at any moment, so try to keep some saved just in case you end up having to take out a loan in the future.

Make lists of what you’d like to buy

Once all your debts are cleared, now is the time to start treating yourself and your family. But before rushing ahead and mindlessly spending, try making a list of everything you’d like to buy. Then, once you have your final list, identify the pros and cons of each one and establish which is most worthwhile.

If you’re choosing between an expensive vacation or luxury car like the Chrysler 300, which one is likely to benefit you the most in the long-run? Probably the car. Making decisions based on this principle is a great way to ensure you spend wisely whilst still buying what you want.

Don’t buy for the sake of it

If after clearing your debts and buying all worthwhile luxury items you still have a substantial amount of money left over, don’t just spend for the sake of it! Keep it safe in a deposit account to ensure you don’t mindlessly waste it.

Whilst receiving a sudden windfall of money is hugely exciting, it’s important not to go off the rails with it. Remaining sensible and getting the spending balance right will ensure you use your money in the most worthwhile, beneficial way possible!


Give Yourself Some Credit: Good Ways To Use Personal Loans

Working Overtime - A Blessing Or A CurseWhat is always important to remember is that not all borrowing is bad and personal loans are a prime example of an effective and sensible form of lending that can prove to be the right option, as long as you use the money in the right way.

Here are some insights into a number of different scenarios where taking out a personal loan could be a viable and sensible option.

There is a look at how to define what a personal loan is and what you can do with the money, plus some tips on good ways to use the credit you are applying for, including how to get a better deal on your borrowing and when a loan could help improve your circumstances.

Before you apply

There are plenty of loan options available, as you will see when you visit a site like PersonalLoan.Co, but before you make any sort of application for finance it is a good idea to review what you want to borrow the money and whether borrowing money in this way is the right solution.

A personal loan can be used for just about any purpose and although lenders will often want to know what you intend to use the loan for, there are very few restrictions on what you use the money for, provided it is viewed as being borrowed for a responsible and legitimate reason.

Reducing your loan costs

A good example of when a personal loan could be a good borrowing option would be when you are taking out a loan to pay off other debts.

If you are paying off credit card debts that are attracting an annual interest rate of more than 20% and you can get a personal loan at a much lower rate of interest that allows you to clear those more expensive debts, you will be reducing your overall loan costs.

Consolidating your borrowing with one personal loan is a good strategy and will reduce your total borrowing costs.

You won’t be reducing your debt levels at that point and you have to be disciplined to ditch the credit card afterward so that you don’t build up a balance again, but debt consolidation using a personal loan can help reduce your loan costs, and it’s easier to manage just the one payment each month.

Appreciating assets

As a general rule, try to use a personal loan in circumstances where you the money is going to be used to enhance your own prospects or improve the value of something like a property.

Investing in educational expenses could open the door to a better-paid job in the future and that would be a good justification for borrowing money to gain better qualifications.

It can also be argued that if you spend money on home improvements this could increase the value of your home and this at least give yourself a chance of recouping the money you borrowed.

Always think about what you need the money for and how it will improve your situation. Taking out a personal loan for a vacation is a bad idea, for example, but borrowing to take better control of your finances overall, is just one scenario where applying for a loan could be a smart move.


Auto Loan & Car Loan Actual Cash Value?

girls-1209321_640If, like many people, you purchase a car using an auto loan, one concept that’s important to understand is your car’s actual cash value. Here’s what you need to know about actual cash value and how you can protect yourself.

Your Car’s Actual Cash Value

It’s common knowledge at this point that new cars depreciate the moment buyers sign on the dotted line and drive off the lot. At that point, cars go from new to used, and that difference alone can shave a considerable amount off a car’s value.

New cars also tend to depreciate very quickly. The first two to three years of a car’s life is when it will depreciate the most. One of the potential problems with this is when you obtain an auto loan to purchase a car.

The standard insurance policy will cover a car’s actual cash value. If the $20,000 car you purchased now has a value of $16,000 and you total it, insurance will pay you $16,000. But auto loan payments have interest, and you may not have paid as much on your loan as the car has depreciated.

So, what happens if you still have $18,000 left to pay on your auto loan, but the insurance company only pays you $16,000 for your totaled car? You’re out $2,000, plus whatever your deductible was, and you need to get a new car. This obviously isn’t a great position for you.

What You Can Do

To protect yourself, you have a couple options. The most common safeguard is to purchase gap insurance, which is an optional insurance coverage. If you go through an experience like the one described above where your car is totaled and its actual cash value is less than the loan amount, your insurance company will cover the difference.

The lender that issued your auto loan may require that you have gap insurance. If not, it’s still a good idea to add it on. It won’t add much to your insurance premiums, and it’s well worth the peace of mind you’ll have.

Another option which is even more expensive but also provides much more protection is getting auto insurance that covers your car’s replacement cost. In this case, your insurance will pay you whatever it costs to buy a similar vehicle new instead of the actual cash value. If you bought a new 2015 Hyundai Sonata, purchased replacement value insurance coverage for it and then totaled the car in 2017, your insurance would pay for a 2017 Hyundai Sonata. If you’re thinking about going with this option, check with your insurance provider to confirm that you can, and remember that you will need to pay much higher premiums.

After Your Auto Loan Ends

Your car’s actual cash value is also important after you’re done paying off your auto loan. The most obvious reason is that you want to have property with as high of a value as possible so you make good money back if you decide to sell it.

The actual cash value of your vehicle can play a significant role if you ever need to use it as collateral on a loan. Let’s say you needed to get a Pittsburgh title loan. The lender would take your car’s actual cash value into consideration when deciding how much to lend you, because your car would serve as the collateral on the loan. This could also be the case with other loans where you put up your car as collateral.

The main thing you need to remember is that your car’s actual cash value can be much less than the remaining balance on your auto loan. You need to keep that in mind when purchasing insurance so in a worst-case scenario where the car is totaled, you’re at least paid enough to cover the loan.