Friday, November 2, 2012

Fence Tips

Some tips to prevent your fence posts from rotting:

Timber fence posts tend to bear the full brunt of any prevailing weather conditions. Therefore, their life span tends to be dictated by the preservation measures and maintenance you carry out.

Here are some tips for getting longevity out of your timber fence posts:
  1. The bottom of each fence post should be thoroughly soaked in wood preservative.  This should give it some protection from the elements underground.
  2. Thoroughly paint the rest of the post in wood preservative. Give it a couple of coats.
  3. Make sure the posts are thoroughly dry. This could take up to 24 hours.
  4. Apply new wood preservative on the fence post every couple of years.

How To Nail Fence Panels to Fence Posts

Recently I had the chance to do some improvements to the fence enclosing my above ground pool (that I got a great deal on at Swimtown Pools if anyone's on the market).
The tools you will need are:
  • Drill.
  • Various bits.
  • Hammer.
  • Screw driver.
  • Fence panels (I picked mine up at Ace Hardware, but not sure if everyone's local Ace will carry them).
  • Posts - one more than the number of panels.
  • Alloy nails - 50mm.
  • Fence clips - four per panel.
You should use the following procedures:
  1. Drill holes for the nails into each panel. You will need six holes at each end. Three on each side through the inner face of the panel frame at the top middle and bottom. Drill the holes completely through.
  2. Keep the panel pressed into position against the first post. You should leave space at the bottom of the panel for a 150mm gravel board - do this by perching the panel on a couple of bricks.
  3. Secure the fence by nailing the panel to the first post. Hammer the nail in at a slight downward angle - this should prevent the panel easing away from the post at a later date.
  4. Place the second post at the other end of the panel. Make sure the posts are level with each other. Fix together by hammering the nails through the panel and into the post.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Low Taxes With Real Estate

investment as percentage of national cash flow...

An attractive element of real estate investment is that it creates a paper loss when in actuality you have gains. To understand how this can lower your taxes while increasing your income, here’s a quick example.

Rental Condo
Rent Collected
Mortgage Pmts
Total Cashflow
Total Income

The rental condo produced $2,000 in income - $2,000 of real money in your pocket. When depreciation expense is included, the condo shows a loss of $5,000. However, the loss is a result of depreciation, a non-cash expense. What this means is that depreciation is expensed on the income statement, but does not represent a real cash outflow, so it creates a loss on paper despite the positive cash flow in reality.
Now if you had 5 condos just like this one, you have reduced your taxable income by $25,000 (the passive rental loss limit you can deduct by law), when you have actually earned $10,000 from your properties.
Case in point. Last year, my salary was in the six figures. But my taxable income, due passive rental losses and other deductions, was a mere $36K. I paid only $5K in taxes.

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Thursday, August 2, 2012

Looking at Direct Mortgage Lending

My Mortgage Docs to be Reviewed by an Expert
My Mortgage Docs to be Reviewed by an Expert (Photo credit: Casey Serin)

With mortgage interest rates dropping, we shouldn't be surprised to see a huge surge in refinancing. Yes, it is what got this great nation of ours in trouble a few years ago, but there are much better restrictions and regulations in place to help avoid the same pothole we hit before. 

As of today, 30 year mortgage rates are sitting at just over 5%! Not bad, but don't jump in just yet. A lot of families have been scammed by fraudulent lenders. I was browsing the web the other day looking for information on loan scams, looking for information that would help protect me as a home buyer. I came across quite a few obvious scams, so make sure you get some help before you make the big decision and don't fall into a predatory mortgage lending scam!

Here are a few big things you should know before you dive into any mortgage loan commitment:

1. What is qualified residence interest?
2. Definition of acquisition indebtedness.
3. Amount of home acquisition debt.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Most Expensive Apartments in the US

Columbus Circle
Columbus Circle (Photo credit: cisc1970)
Just because it's Friday, and my mind's off in fantasy land, I thought I would look at some of the most expensive apartments in the world. Here are a few notable ones on the market that made the list. What I couldn't believe was that there is only one listing that was not in New York city! Apparently if you're looking for expensive apartments, better head to the Big Apple.

25 East 77th Street - $60 million
25 Columbus Circle - $55 million
15 Central Park West #35-AB - $51 million
188 Minna Street - San Francisco - $42 million
80 Columbus Circle, 76B - $35.5 million
998 5th Avenue - $34 million
1020 Fifth Avenue - $34 million

These may be out of your price range, and none of them are in Ohio! If you're looking for apartments in Ohio, take a look at First Troy Corp. Rentals, they have many quality apartment options available at a good price.
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Thursday, July 12, 2012

Standing Out from the Neighbors

A Buyer's Market
A Buyer's Market (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
It's not easy selling your home when you're not the only house on the market on the street. Home prices start to get competitive, and your once friendly neighborhood becomes a bit of a turf war. You have a few options when it comes to avoiding this messy situation, and although neither of them guarantees you selling your home, it puts you and your property in a much better situation.

A. Stand out from the crowd
There are plenty of little things you can do to spruce up your home. Some of them are cheap, most of them are expensive. The trick is doing a lot of little things that go a long way. A few ideas to get you started: clean up rooms, put away your pets, weed the sidewalks, and put out a candle.

Be Patient if possible
Right now is certainly a buyer's market, and if you have the patience and time to wait a bit longer, home prices could jump if you are lucky. Then again, they might not be going anywhere, and we could be stuck in this buyer's market for a long time. Everything is relative though, so if you can last longer than your neighbors, and not as many new homes are go on the market (which they are not expected to) then you have a better chance at scoring a better deal in the long run. Focusing on what I know best, after looking at homes for sale in Corvallis Oregon, prices have seemed to jump within the past few months, which has helped bring up the prices in the surrounding area.
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Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Clearing a home for a Home Showing

Engineered stone countertops, consisting of qu...
(Photo credit: Wikipedia)
We've all walked in on a home that was clearly not ready for its home showing. Messy tables, un-dusted countertops, and unmade beds are simple steps that go in a long way in the presentation of a home. Although a dirty counter doesn't say much about the value of a home, a home buyer may be wondering "what else should I be concerned about?". To avoid being "that house", follow these easy steps when preparing for a home showing before inviting the next home owners over to take a look around.

Put away toys - Or at least put them in one room. Most home visitors will love seeing kids, but they might now want the rattler in the kitchen, or the fake car in the middle of the lawn. The same goes with toys for pets, which leads right into the next section.

Put away the animals! - Even if you have a non-shedding pooch, animals may make some home visitors a bit uncomfortable. Allergies can be a major turnoff for any home buyer, and if they want to leave because of their allergies, odds are they won't be coming back. Do some basic cleaning and vacuuming a good 3 hours before anyone's expected to come. If you don't have a good place to put away your pets, ask a neighbor or friend if they wouldn't mind watching Fluffy for a few hours.

Add plenty of lighting - No one wants to feel like your home has something to hide. Fill the rooms with natural light if possible, and turn all the lights on. It also helps bring out the color of wood floors and furniture if you have them, and it helps liven the mood.

Get rid of the Bugs - If you're showing your home in the summer, and odds are if you're reading this, you probably area, then you know how bad bugs in the house can be. Do some bug reading to find ways to get rid of bugs in your house. Number one rule for the most part is not leaving out food for long periods of time.

Nice smells - You shouldn't go all out on this one, but one candle in the center of your home should do the job well. If you don't want to go that route, just make sure there aren't any bad smells coming from anywhere.
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Friday, May 4, 2012

Property Investing

Graph showing the rate of a $1000 initial inve...
Graph showing the rate of a $1000 initial investment over a ten year period with a steady interest rate of 20%. Created using the graph feature of Excel 2007 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Investing in properties was once considered a low risk investment, but like all markets, nothing is guaranteed. Although we are still lingering in the hangover of the real estate market crash from a few years ago, foreclosure rates are down and property values are slowly starting to increase. One might even be optimistic and say that now is the time to become a property investor and ride out the possible growth. My advice would be to go for it, but know what you're up against and have a plan.

Although national real estate markets overall have been good over the past year, there are plenty of outliers. Towns like Houston and Phoenix have seen spikes in real estate development with emerging businesses and markets, but towns only a few miles away have reaped no benefits. When investing in anything, it's always good to know with what you understand and know. Don't make big time decisions based on hints you hear from the media or public opinion articles.