Difference Between General Contractor and Remodeling Contractor

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If you are thinking of improving your home with the help of home improvement service providers, you have to keep in mind that one professional may offer a different line of services than another. There are those companies that specialize in interior designing for commercial buildings and there are those that have full-service offers in handyman services.

While there is a wide array of services that you can consider for your humble abode, two kinds of professionals are highly demanded in the market these days because of the growing need of homeowners when it comes to home improvement needs. Right before you hire a service provider who is professional enough in updating and reviving the glow of your home, you have to take into consideration the difference between a professional service provider and a remodeling contractor.

A general contractor is one kind of professional that you can hire if there is a need for several specialists to take care of your home improvement needs. He is the person responsible in supervising the project and assuring that the tasks involved to complete the project are appropriate for the scheduled time.

Furthermore, he makes it a point that the entire project is suitable for the budget you have agreed upon. There are times when this kind of service provider will not be the one to do the work in improving your home. He takes care of the hiring of specialists or subcontractors who will be the point of contact in the necessary duties of the project.

Remodeling Contractor
This type of service provider is a team of professionals who specializes in renovating and remodeling different parts of a house. They are the ones who hire electricians, interior designers, handymen, architects, and any other pertinent specialists who can take good care of your home improvement needs.

There is a different between an entity that focuses on remodeling and one that is commonly referred to as a professional service provider. A remodeling contractor has the tendency to offer various services that a professional service provider does not usually offer to homeowners.

One good advantage of hiring this kind of contractor is the inclusive warranties that they offer to their client. If you are about to decide on which kind of contractor you want to work with in improving your house, it is always best to determine your needs so that you will be able to hire the most effective professionals for your project.

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Source by Fidelio Orosco

Methods of Generating New Ideas for Entrepreneurs

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Summary: Even with a wide variety of sources available, coming up with an idea as the basis for a new venture can still be a difficult problem. The entrepreneur can use several methods to help generate and test new ideas including focus groups, brainstorming and problem inventory analysis.

The following are some of the key methods to help generate end test new ideas:

1. Focus Groups – these are the groups of individuals providing information in a structural format. A moderator leads a group of people through an open, in-depth discussion rather than simply asking questions to solicit participant response. Such groups form comments in open-end in-depth discussions for a new product area that can result in market success. In addition to generating new ideas, the focus group is an excellent source for initially screening ideas and concept.

2. Brainstorming – it is a group method for obtaining new ideas and solutions. It is based on the fact that people can be stimulated to greater creativity by meeting with others and participating in organized group experiences. The characteristics of this method are keeping criticism away; free wheeling of idea, high quantity of ideas, combinations and improvements of ideas. Such type of session should be fun with no scope for domination and inhibition. Brainstorming has a greater probability of success when the effort focuses on specific product or market area.

3. Problem inventory analysis- it is a method for obtaining new ideas and solutions by focusing on problems. This analysis uses individuals in a manner that is analogous to focus groups to generate new product areas. However, instead of generating new ideas, the consumers are provided with a list of problems and then asked to have discussion over it and it quite results in an entirely new product idea.

The entrepreneur is not limited by only the three methods presented in this article. There are other creative problem solving methods and techniques that are also available.

Copyright 2005 Stephen Pierce

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Source by Stephen Pierce

Types of Innovation

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Creativity can be defined as problem identification and idea generation while innovation can be defined as idea selection, development and commercialization.

There are other useful definitions in this field, for example, creativity can be defined as constituting of a number of ideas, a number of diverse ideas and a number of novel ideas.

There are distinct processes that enhance problem identification and idea generation and, similarly, distinct processes that enhance idea selection, development and commercialization. Whilst there is no sure fire route to commercial success, these processes improve the probability that good ideas will be generated and selected and that investment in developing and commercializing those ideas will not be wasted.

Types of Innovation

Tidd et al (2005) argue that there are four types of innovation; consequently the innovator has four pathways to investigate when searching for good ideas:

a) Product Innovation – new products or improvements on products. The new Mini or the updated VX Beetle, new models of mobile phones and so on.

b) Process Innovation – where some part of the process is improved to bring benefit. Just in Time is a good example.

c) Positioning Innovation – Lucozade used to be a medicinal drink but the was repositioned as a sports drink.

d) Paradigm Innovation – where major shifts in thinking cause change. During the time of the expensive mainframe, Bill Gates and others aimed to provide a home computer for everyone.

These and other topics are covered in depth in the MBA dissertation on Managing Creativity & Innovation, which can be purchased (along with an Innovation Bible, Creativity and Innovation DIY Audit, Good Idea Generator Software and Power Point Presentation) from http: // www .aging-creativity.com /

You can also receive a regular, free newsletter by entering your email address at this site.

Kal Bishop, MBA

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You are free to reproduce this article as long as no changes are made and the author's name and site URL are retained.

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Source by Kal Bishop

NMLS CE Review of Kaplan and Proschools

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In previous years the states regulated the mortgage industry. In 2011 the Nationwide Mortgage Licensing System & Registry (NMLS) is in place under the federal government. A requirement to maintain a NMLS license is 8 hours per year of continuing education (CE).

Options for CE are classroom or an online course. I got an offer for a discount price of $ 99.95 from "Kaplan Real Estate Education" and determined to do that. Having done CE courses for insurance and mortgage licensing for the last five years with no problems, it seemed like a good option. The Kaplan NMLS CE course is divided into multiple sections. You view the material for a section and then take a take a 10 question quiz. You must get 100% on the quiz to move to the next section. If you get 90% or less you do it over until you get 100%. This is very irritating. Then when you finally get to the end of the eight hour course (more if you spend a lot of time on the quizzes) there is a 25 question final exam. Kaplan gives you two chances to get 75% or better on the exam. Some of the questions are worded in a different way from the material presented. Other questions ask for statistical historical information that has no educational value. OK, I am making excuses for flunking the exam twice! The first time in five years I have had any problem with a CE exam. When I called to complain the Kaplan supervisor said I should pay again, do another 8 hours of CE class, and then they would let me try their stupid test two more times …. with no certainty of getting a CE certificate. When I asked about a refund I was told that they do not give refunds.

A couple days later a representative called from Proschools to see if I wanted to do their CE course. The rep said they had a satisfaction guarantee. She also said that students rarely had a problem with the exam, and that they allowed allowed attempts if needed. Preschools offered a discount that made the cost around $ 100 and I decided to give it a try. The material seemed to be geared a little more towards useful information rather than arcane historical data. Proschools has a quiz after each section but there was usually only two to four questions. This made it much easier to get 100% on the quiz. The quiz offered a choice of a practice or "final" mode. You have to do the "final" quiz, even if you get 100% on the practice mode that has the same questions. It is best to skip the practice and go straight to the "final" quiz. You get multiple opportunities for the final quiz if needed. Then came the dreaded final exam. The government requires the course provider to require 70% or better to pass. (Why does Kaplan require 75%? So more people will flunk and have to repeat their course?) I was short on time and rushed through the exam in about five minutes. I got 24 of 25 correct for 96%. See, IR smart !!

From my experience this year I would suggest Proschools if you want an online course. Ask if they are offering any discounts and they will give you the code to use for that, if it is available. Of course the quality of the course is far more important than a small difference in the cost.

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Source by Glenn Lamb

The History of UK Equity Release Schemes

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Equity release is an increasingly attractive option for those seeking financial relief. However, this was not always the case, and it's interesting to note that these plans first became available in the UK in 1965. When first introduced, the main goal of these plans was to create an option for those who had invested in property but needed cash funds to cover certain expenses.

In the 1970s, the prices of houses in the UK soared, and this made it possible for financial institutions to offer clients and even wider range of options in terms of equity release plans. At first, the equity release market took off, and a large number of property owners signed these agreements. However, for those who opted for the "home income" plan, things did not pan out quite as they were hoped. This plan meant that the property owner would need to agree to buy an annuity as well as an interest only mortgage loan. It was marked in a way that it appeared to those who were seeking an additional monthly income to subsidize their pensions. They only needed to make monthly payments to cover the interest.

In the 1990s, however, interest rates spiked, and house prices dropped. This was disastrous for many, and this claimed in a ban on this particular plan. Not to mention the bad reputation equity release received as a result of numerous unhappy clients. This was, however, during the earlier stages of these plans and, since then, several factors have changed.

By the end of the 90s, the prices of houses were on the rise again, and interest rates were improving too. Financial experts came up with improved equity release plans with added protection policies in place to protect everyone concerned. Despite its earlier slump, equity release made a remarkable comeback and, today, previous records are being smashed with more and more pensioners choosing these options to solve their financial problems. As added reassurance, homeowners also have the help and protection of rules set out by the Equity Release Council (ERC) and all plans need to conform to specific criteria. One of the most important protective measures in effect is the "No Negative Equity Guarantee". This means that, no matter what, the amount payable upon the conclusion of the transaction will never be greater than the value of the home. In other words, your equity release plan will never result in debt since selling your property will cover the full amount at least.

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Source by Andrew Larkin

A Secret Credit Score Your Car Dealer Will not Tell You About

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You're ready to buy a new car.

You've done all your homework.

You know your three FICO credit scores.

You determine that your highest FICO credit score is from Equifax (also known as your BEACON score).

So, you find a car dealer who uses your highest score (which increases your opportunity to get approved at a good rate).

You get to the dealership and ignore all the salespeople by going directly to the finance director's office.

But as the finance director reviews your credit file in front of you … you can not help but think something is wrong.

Sure enough … the dealer says your Equifax / BEACON score is not high enough for their lowest interest rate.

How can this be? You just checked your FICO credit scores through http://www.myfico.com/12 a few hours ago. It's possible – although illegally – the information on your credit report has changed and that your scores have decreased since you last checked them. Remember, your credit scores are dynamic and will change whenever information on your credit reports changes.

Your credit reports can change several times each month as new information is added or updated by your lenders. But more than likely, your scores would not change in this situation (especially if there were only a few hours between when you checked your scores and when the dealership reviewed your credit reports).

So, if your credit reports did not change, why is the finance director staring at your scores with such a discouraging face?

Car Dealers Can Use "Different" FICO Scores Than The Ones You See

The car dealer is probably using what is known as the FICO Auto Industry Option score instead of a traditional FICO credit score. You see, car dealers not only get to select the credit reporting agency they receive FICO credit scores from … they also get to decide if they will use a traditional FICO credit score or a variation of a FICO score called an Auto Industry Option score .

What's the difference between these two types of scores?

Not a whole lot to most people … but there's enough variation to make the major of auto lenders use the Auto Industry Option score. The real difference between the two scores is that the Auto Industry Option score pays a lot more attention to how you handled previous auto credit.

– Have you made late payments on a current or previous auto loan or lease?
– Have you ever settled an auto loan or lease for less than you owed?
– Have you had a car repossessed?
– Have you had an auto account sent to collections?
– Did you include your car loan or lease in your bankruptcy?

Those actions will affect your Auto Industry Option score more than they'll affect your traditional FICO score. Bottom line, if you handled your previous auto credit perfectly, you should have a high FICO Auto Industry Option score – that's a good thing.

But what if you've had a few bumps in the auto credit road in the past? You guessed it … your Auto Industry Option score will be lower. You'll be perceived as a greater credit risk and the auto lender may either deny you or use your lower score to justify charging you a higher interest rate.

You see, auto lenders are different than other types of lenders. And I'm not talking about their slimy ways, leisure suits, short ties, manly hairy chests, or gold bling.

A lot of other lenders look at your whole credit picture to determine whether or not to give you a loan. But many auto lenders care about only one thing … how you handled your past AUTO credit. That's what a FICO Auto Industry Option Score gives car dealers – a way to pinpoint how you've handled what matters to them the most.

So, even if everything else on your credit reports went down the toilet after your bankruptcy, if you did not include your auto loan in your bankruptcy and never defaulted or missed a car payment, your Auto Industry scores will probably be better than your traditional FICO scores!

What a Former Auto Finance Director Revealed to Me

I recently spoke with a former finance director, and this is what she told me …

"So many people I had helped could not believe their scores were so high with the FICO Auto Industry Option score. auto score is that it really helps the auto lender concentrate on what is important – how the customer handles his / her auto loans.

By our dealership having the auto enhanced FICO, it helped 30% or more of our customers get better rates. "

I do not believe I'm going to say this, but I think I may actually have something good to say about car dealers! Well, some of them, anyway …

As you can see, the FICO auto scores can work in your favor, if they are used correctly.

OK, I just would not be able to live with myself if I only said good things about car dealers.

So, in the interest of fair and balanced reporting, here's how to protect yourself against slimy car dealers that can use your FICO Auto Industry Option
scores against you …

A Dirty Trick Car Dealers Can Play with Your FICO Scores

Let's imagine your Equifax / Beacon FICO score is 585. Not too good. With a score that low, if you do get approved for a car loan, you'll probably wind up with a high interest rate and high monthly payment.

So you go to a dealership and talk with the finance director and tell him your Equifax FICO score is 585. The finance director then reviews your FICO Auto Industry Option score. And, unknown to you, this score is actually higher than the Equifax / Beacon FICO score you dropped.

With this higher score, you'll get approved at a better rate … right?

Not necessarily!

Here's what unscrupulous car dealers can do. They will not tell you that your auto score is higher than your traditional score!

They figure they have a sucker sitting in front of them. So they'll try to get you funded at a higher rate based on the lower FICO score (thus making more profit for themselves).

How Some Car Dealers "Play the Spread" to Get You to Pay More

Now check this out …

It's possible that a car dealer has the ability to pull your traditional FICO scores AND your FICO auto scores. That means they'll have six scores on you. It's a guarantee that some of those scores are going to be higher than the others. So which ones will they use when trying to get you funded?

It depends.

Are you familiar with the term "spread"? It's how car dealers make money when they finance you. If they can quote you a higher interest rate than you deserve – then they stand to make a nice chunk of change from the bank that finances you.

The only way to make a killer "spread" is to make you think that you have lower scores.

So, what can you do?

Do not despair … I can help you.

How to Use Your FICO Scores to Your Advantage when Buying a Car

Fortunately, you do not have to fall for their dirty tricks. Now that you know all about FICO Auto Industry Option scores, you can protect yourself. Here's what I suggest …

1. When you first walk into the finance director's office, do not tell him what your FICO scores are. Wait until he reviews the scores himself. Then ask him what your scores are.

2. If the scores he reviewed are higher than the ones you have, do not say anything and just go by his scores.

3. However, if your scores are higher, then pull them out and show him. If he has a choice in the type of scores he can use, there's a possibility that he'll be able to use your highest score. And, it will let him know that he does not have a fool sitting in front of him. He can not take advantage of you!

How do you find out what your FICO Auto Industry Option scores are before you walk into a car dealership?

You can not.

Sorry. They're not for sale – at any price. Only lenders have access to them.

FICO would like to sell them … but there just is not enough demand. I mean seriously, up until you read this article, had you ever heard of the FICO Auto Industry Option score?

Exactly.

Remember, we were just given access to purchase all three of our traditional FICO credit scores on June 11, 2003 at 8:00 am (I actually got misty that day … what a geek I am.)

Only a very small percentage of the population even knows they have three FICO credit scores … let alone three Auto Industry Option scores.

So How Can You Use This Information to Help You Get Your Next New Car Financed at the Best Interest Rate

1. First, get your three credit reports. If you handled your previous auto credit well – your FICO Auto Industry Option scores will be higher than your traditional FICO scores. So expect more from the lender.

2. You can also ask the lender to show you their tier levels. Tiers are basically charts lenders use that have different interest rates based on your scores. You want to see which tier your fall in. To see an example of an auto lender's tier schedule, click here.

3. If they will not show you … at least have them break it down verbally for you. (Personally, I like to see it with my own eyes, as I never believe a word that comes out of most car dealers' mouths.)

4. If you've handled your auto credit poorly … then you should simply try to find an auto lender that uses just the traditional FICO credit scores. When you find a lender that uses a traditional FICO credit score, you'll have your best chance to get the lowest interest rate.

5. Start by calling dealerships and asking the finance director if they use a traditional FICO credit score to make their lending decision or if they use the FICO Auto Industry Option score.

These steps will get you headed in the right direction. This will not be easy, as a lot of car dealers use the FICO Auto Industry Option score.

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Source by Stephen Snyder

Agent Marketing Minute: Let a Brag Book Tell Your Story

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In today's competitive real estate marketplace, I still am amazed at how few agents know how to communicate their real estate business story to a home buyer and seller. First impressions count, and you need to be prepared verbally and visually to tell your story and why the consumer should use you and not the competition. Soon after I started in the business I developed for lack of a better name, my brag book, that take on all listing appointments and first meetings with buyers.

My books' contents are always evolving and are constantly updated with current information and examples. The first section has as many active, pending, and closed listings as I can fit in. I include property brochures, postcards and virtual tours on CD-ROMs. Include a variety of price points and locations.

The second section has examples of newspaper advertisements, magazine features, and screen prints from my and my brokers web site to illustrate what types of marketing I do for a specific property.

Third in my brag book are the actual cards, letters, and emails that have testimonials from clients, both buyers and sellers, about their satisfaction with my real estate business.

Lastly, any awards or non-profit work I do in the community, I like to point out that giving back to the community is an important part of my business. After a client goes through my book, they have an comprehensive idea of ​​what benefits I bring to the table. Let your brag book help tell your story to prospective clients.

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Source by Mark Nash

Thinking of Buying a Condo Hotel? Here Are 20 Things You Need to Know!

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1. What is a condo hotel or condotel?

Think of a condo hotel (also sometimes called a condotel or hotel condo) as buying a condominium, although one that is part of a four-star caliber hotel. Therefore, as an owner, when you are on vacation, you'll get the benefit of more four-star services and amenities than you'd get in a typical condominium.

2. What types of services and amenities are found in condo hotels?

If you can imagine the niceties you'd find in an upscale hotel, then you can picture a condo hotel. Among the features are often resort-style pools, full-service spas, state-of-the-art fitness centers, fine dining restaurants, concierge services and room service.

In some locations, like Las Vegas, you'll find hotels with their own casinos, retail areas, and entertainment venues. In places like Orlando, you'll find condo hotels with their own water parks and convention facilities.

3. What is the difference between a condo hotel and a traditional condominium?

The big difference between a hotel and a condo hotel is that a hotel typically has one owner, either individual or corporate, but a condo hotel is sold off unit by unit. Therefore, a 300-room condo hotel could have as many as 300 unit owners.

4. Is it evident to hotel guests whether they're staying in a condo hotel or a traditional hotel?

A hotel guest will likely never know that the hotel has multiple owners because the property is operated just like a traditional hotel and often under the management of a well-known hotel company like Hilton, Hyatt, Starwood, Trump or W. Also, each of the individual condo hotel units will look identical in design and décor to every other, just as they would in a traditional hotel.

5. Who typically buys condo hotels?

They're primarily sold to people who want a vacation home but do not want to deal with the hassles typically associated with second home ownership such as maintaining the property or finding renters in the off season.

6. What is the demographic of the typical condo hotel buyer?

The spectrum of condo hotel buyers is pretty broad. There are families that want a second home in a vacation destination. There are baby boomers who are at or near retirement and want somewhere they can "winter." There are also plenty of investors who purchase a condo hotel unit with little intention of ever using it; they're in it for the potential appreciation of the real estate.

7. Can you live in a condo hotel?

Condo hotels are not typically offered as primary residences. In fact, many of them limit the unit owner's usage of the condo hotel unit (typically 30-60 days per year) because the unit is expected and needed in the hotel's nightly rental program where it can be offered to guests and generate revenue.

8. Who gets the money when your condo hotel is rented out?

The hotel management company splits the rental revenue with the individual condo hotel owner. While the exact percentages vary from property to property, the typical rental split is in the 50% -50% range.

9. Who finds hotel guests and then cleans and meets the condo hotel units?

The hotel management company markets the property and books hotel guests. It also maintains the unit and ensures the smooth operation of all of the hotel's services and amenities.

10. What are the advantages / disadvantages of purchasing a condotel over purchasing typical rental properties?

Advantages include:

Hassle-free ownership; no landlord issues

· Rental revenue to offset some or maybe all ownership expenses

· A fantastic vacation home available for use whenever you want

· A real estate investment at a time when other investments may seem less attractive

· Strong likelihood of appreciation

· Pride of ownership – "I own a piece of a Trump"

Disadvantages include:

· Annual cash flow could be equal to or less than annual ownership costs

· Pets are usually not welcome.

· An owner's condo hotel unit may be rented when the owner wants to it, so advance reservations are required to guarantee availability.

· The condo hotel unit is subject to the same dips in the market that affect all hotels in the competitive market set: hurricanes, terrorist threats, warm winters up north, price of gas, etc., all of which can affect a unit's occupancy rate and the amount of revenue it generates.

11. Are condo hotel units difficult to finance?

Not at all, but they do take 20% down typically, whereas condos can be purchased with less cash down. It's also important to make sure you use a mortgage broker who has had success in getting condo hotel financing deals done. Many banks still do not do them, but more and more are getting involved as condo hotels become more spacious available.

12. How long have condo hotels been around and where are they located?

Condo hotels have been around for several decades, but the huge surge of four-star and five-star condo hotels that have been making their way across the country, started around year 2000 in the Miami area. The Miami-Fort Lauderdale area still has the most condo hotels, but areas like Orlando and Las Vegas are developing condo hotel properties at an even faster rate and will likely exceed South Florida soon. Other up-and-coming areas are places like the Bahamas, Panama, Dominican Republic, Mexico, Canada and Dubai.

13. How much do condo hotel units cost?

That's like asking how much a car costs. There are different quality condo hotels. Some require greater amounts of money than others, obviously.

There are inexpensive condo hotels out there for as little as $ 100,000. These are typically found in properties that have converted their use from an existing hotel. They are hotel room-sized, lack kitchen facilities, luxury franchises, and other first-class amenities.

Then there are the four-star or greater properties that may start in the $ 300,000 to $ 400,000 range, but can go all the way up to $ 800,000 just for a studio unit. One- and two-bedroom units cost substantially more than a studio. Of course, the studios do come fully furnished and finished, and will be significantly larger in size than a typical hotel room, and may attract guests because of its name like St. Louis. Regis, Ritz or W.

14. What are typical maintenance costs?

On average about $ 1.00 to $ 1.50 per sq. ft., but the range can exceed $ 2.00 sq. ft. in the most luxurious properties.

15. Do you buy condo hotel suites after they have been built, or can you purchase condo hotels in pre-construction?

Unless you are in a hurry to get started vacationing or you need to complete a 1031 exchange, it's best to buy condo hotels in pre-construction as early as possible. That's when prices are lowest and unit selection is greatest. You will likely wait two years or longer before closing on and taking possession of your condo hotel unit, but you will have locked in the price and will get the benefit of maximum appreciation.

16. Is there anything else investors should want to know about condotels?

There is more to buying this type of real estate than the old phrase, "location, location, location." While most condo hotels are located in desirable resort and business area locations, what is most important is a good franchise with a strong reservation system.

Also, do not be fooled by an aggressive rental split. One way or the other, the developer of the property will have to staff, maintain and operate the hotel and its services like the restaurants, bars, spas and pools from his share of the proceedings. If he's giving you a very favorable share of the rental, he's also more likely to be charging you a higher monthly maintenance fee. Of course, this goes both ways. If the maintenance split that is offered is closer to 50-50, then your maintenance should be more reasonable too.

17. Any suggestions to investors in choosing which condo hotel to buy?

Get good advice. That means you do not want to merely only on the pitch provided by an onsite salesperson at a condo hotel. You want to talk with a broker who specializes in condo hotels and who knows and understands the entire condo hotel market, not just the facts relating to a single property. He or she will listen to your wishes and needs and then offer recommendations as to which properties best match your requirements. You'll have an opportunity to compare shop and consider the pros and cons of each available property.

A good broker can have the difference between your buying a condo hotel that will be problematic and not live up to your expectations or one that will provide you with years of great vacations, good annual revenue and a substantial profit when you sell.

18. Does it cost more to use a real estate broker to purchase a condo hotel than buying a unit on one's own?

No. With new condo hotel properties, the prices are always set by the developer and are exactly the same whether you buy directly from an onsite salesperson at the property or using a broker.

The broker's commission is always paid by the developer and is already built into the price regardless of whether an outside broker participates in the sale or not. Since a broker's representation is free to buyers, it does make sense to enlist their aid and get the benefit of their advice before making a purchase.

19. How can prospective buyers find a good condo hotel broker?

Ask friends for broker recommendations or search online for "condo hotel broker." Visit condo hotel broker websites and see if the information they provide seems comprehensive and unbiased. If their website looks to focus on selling homes or office space, and the condo hotel information appears to be an afterthought, steer clear. Your best bet is to work with a condo hotel broker who specializes.

20. How can buyers learn about new condo hotel properties coming on the market?

Condo hotel brokers can be good information sources as they often learn about properties prior to their release to the general public. Another option is for them to subscribe to a condo hotel newsletter such as the one we publish called Condo Hotel Property Alert. We offer it for free on our website http://www.CondoHotelCenter.com and it features a different condo hotel property coming on the market each edition.

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Source by Joel Greene

What TN Home Buyers Need to Know About THDA Loans

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Some of the best loan programs in TN are right under our noses, and THDA loans (TN Housing Development Agency) are one of them. A few reasons why there isn’t a ton of press about these great loans is because 1) not all TN lenders can do them, 2) THDA loans tend to be smaller loan sizes (on average) and coupled with the limitation on allowable fees, many loan officers who could do them choose not to, and 3) many loan officers do not offer them because they believe that THDA loans are a lot harder to get closed, which is not true at all as long as they know the program guidelines. For brevity’s sake, this article will provide an overview for the THDA program rather than detail each of the 3 loans THDA offers (Great Rate, Great Advantage, and Great Start).

The THDA loan programs were designed to offer help to low to moderate income buyers in TN seeking to purchase an affordable home. Here are the main things to know about THDA loans:

  • these loans can be used only for primary residences in TN from one to four units
  • the loans are always 30 year terms with fixed rates.
  • the borrower must qualify for an FHA, USDA Rural Development, or VA loan program before the loan can “become” a THDA subsidized loan program. The vast majority of THDA loans are FHA, since FHA loans have the broadest in eligibility requirements. Minimum credit score for any THDA loan is 620 as of right now.
  • THDA loans can effectively make FHA loans near-100% or 100% financing when combined with available THDA grant money, a “community” 2nd mortgage program like The Housing Fund, or THDA’s “Stimulus” 2nd mortgage program.
  • THDA loans are made generally to first time buyers (including people who haven’t owned a home in 3 years); the exception to this rule is when a buyer is purchasing in a “targeted” county; for example, middle TN “targeted” counties include Cannon, Clay, Dekalb, Franklin, Giles, Grundy, Hickman, Houston, Jackson, Lawrence, Lincoln, Macon, Marion, Maury, Stewart, Trousdale, Van Buren, Wayne, and White.
  • THDA essentially sets its own subsidized or below-market rates, which are dependent on how much grant assistance one might need. There are 3 basic loan types: Great Rate (0% assistance), Great Advantage (2% assistance), and Great Start ( 4% assistance)
  • since THDA loans are intended for “modest” homes, properties must meet eligibility requirements; for example, the sales price cannot exceed the county’s limit. There are only 2 limits in the whole state of TN- either $226,100 or $200,160 (these limits are actually fairly liberal by TN’s standards). The counties which have the higher limit are the following counties: Cannon, Cheatham, Davidson, Dickson, Hickman, Macon, Robertson, Rutherford, Smith, Sumner, Trousdale, Williamson, and Wilson. All other counties in TN fall under the lower limit.
  • the household income of the borrower(s) cannot exceed the median income limit for the county, based on the number of persons in the household; for example, in Davidson County (Nashville), for a 1-2 person household, the total household income limit is $64,900 right now. For a 3+ person household, the limit is $74,635. The lowest limit in TN is $54,500 for 1-2 persons and $62,675 for a 3+ person household.
  • THDA loans limit origination fees to 1% and discount points to.25%, which simply protects the buyer from getting overcharged. And since all THDA rates are the same regardless of the lender used, the main things a borrower needs to do is to make sure they feel the loan officer knows this program well, and that they feel comfortable working with that person.
  • a homebuyer education class is strongly encouraged on the Great Rate program, and required for the Great Advantage and Great Start programs; this class (if applicable) must be completed prior to the purchase, and must be done in-person. It only makes sense for these subsidized loan programs that borrowers know what they are getting into, how to budget, etc. The last thing THDA wants is for a borrower to lose their home.
  • all THDA loans are subject to a federal recapture tax provision if the purchased home is sold within the first 9 years. This tax sounds much worse than it is, though. A very small percentage of people have to worry about this, and even if they do, it’s typically because their income or home value have gone up a good bit since the purchase. That’s certainly not a bad thing!

THDA loans are a great way for first time buyers in TN in get into a home with little to nothing down, with a low interest rate and reasonable payment. Just knowing some of the basics of the program will hopefully help you know if you might be a good candidate for a THDA loan before you even speak with a lender.

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Source by Brian Randall Smith

What You Get From A Real Estate Agent Service

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Buying or selling a property? There are various tools for selling and buying a house and you can proceed with the process on your own. However, there is a marked difference between going through the process easily and just being able to buy or sell a property.

Surely you know that a big investment of time, effort and even money is involved in buying or selling a home. But you can benefit from the services of a realtor and avoid the complex process. Below are the reasons why home buyers and sellers enlist the aid of real estate agent.

They have the knowledge of the market.

Real estate agents leverage their knowledge and understanding of crucial matters in the market. Included here is the listing price. With the invaluable advice you get from these property professionals you can get the most of your investment if you are buying a property. If you are selling, then you can sell your property at a more competitive price.

They are well-versed in negotiating.

Your agent will talk on your behalf. With their negotiation expertise, you can get better deals as a seller or buyer. Otherwise, such deals would be unavailable to you.

They handle time and effort consuming tasks for you.

You can focus on other important matters because all the hard work of property buying or selling is done for you. Your real estate agent will handle works like marketing, showing the property to prospective buyers, open house coordination, and so on.

They have the access to new listings.

This means you also get the latest listings even before they get advertised. If you have a property you wish to buy, property professionals give you advice about the process of negotiation. If you are selling on the other hand, you get in touch with more prospective buyers through the network connection of your agent.

They have connections.

You can get your team of professional. With their connections, they can refer you to reputable lawyers, contractors, inspectors, movers, etc.

They are your trusted advisor.

Your agent offers timely and objective advice as he or she guides you throughout the buying or selling process. With his or her knowledge and experience, you can proceed with the assurance that you are making the right decision.

They give you the best outcomes.

With reputable property professionals, a buyer can get a good deal on a property and a seller can give a property at the best possible price.

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Source by Brian E Bell