Smart Real Estate Purchase Tips

unduhan-47We’ve all heard the horror stories – people paying way too much for a house, not getting an inspection and then finding a million (expensive) problems with the place. I’ve seen it countless time with homeowners on Income Property and from talking to eager real estate investors.

Here are my top five tips for making a smart real estate purchase so you don’t get burned!

  1. Stick to Your Budget
    It’s easy to get carried away here, especially if you make the mistake of looking at houses outside your price range. The important part is to have a plan. Don’t just think about your mortgage payments every month; also think about your monthly carrying cost and be honest about your lifestyle. Consider how much you spend every month on eating out, clothing, etc. There’s nothing worse than being house poor because you weren’t honest about your spending habits.
  2. Don’t be Afraid to Walk Away
    A house is an emotional purchase, since it’s where you’ll be living, raising your children and making a home for yourself. But it’s crucial to keep emotions out of the equation as much as possible. You should love your house, but you should love it because it’s in good condition and because the numbers work. Always get a home inspection and if you can’t afford it (or the work it requires), walk away!
  3. Give Every House a Chance
    I do most of my real estate browsing online, as do most people now, but you can’t always judge a house by the virtual tour – good or bad. If you see something online and it has bad pictures (or no pictures) but it’s in the right neighbourhood or in your price range, go look at it! Chances are you can get a good deal because so many people will skip it without photos online.
  4. Think Long-Term
    Before you jump into a real estate purchase, ask yourself: “What is the purpose of this property for the next 5-10 years?” Depending on your mortgage, you may have to lock in for a certain number of years, and if you think you’ll be moving in less than 5 years, I’d suggest looking at alternatives. You never want to be forced into selling your house.
  5. Have a Support System
    Having a real estate agent who understands your financial and personal situation is key, and great advice from a mortgage specialist and lawyer can be invaluable to the home-buying process. But what many people forget is to have a personal support system in place when they go house hunting. Advice from those close to you – family members, a partner, friends – is just as important to help keep you on track and avoid getting carried away. It’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of buying a house, so having the personal support will keep you grounded.

Steps up Cost Tips

unduhan-48The U.K.’s Lloyds Banking Group (LYG) said on Thursday it would cut another 3,000 jobs by the end of next year and close 200 branches amid expectations of a Brexit-induced slowdown.

Britain’s leading mortgage lender made the announcement as it announced a more-than-doubling of net profit to £1.86 billion ($2.6 billion) in the first half as so-called conduct provisions, reflecting Lloyds’ bill for compensation due to customers for “mis-sold”payment protection insurance and other misdemeanors, plunged. On an underlying basis profit slipped 5% to £4.16 billion. Jefferies noted that profit came in about 4% above consensus expectations.

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“Following the EU referendum the outlook for the U.K. economy is uncertain and, while the precise impact is dependent upon a number of factors, including EU negotiations and political and economic events, a deceleration of growth seems likely,” said CEO Antonio Horta Osorio in a statement.

The company kept most of its forecasts intact but said capital generation “may be somewhat lower” in the future than previously anticipated because of economic uncertainty.

Lloyds also said it would lift its run-rate cost-savings target to £1.4 billion from £1 billion by the end of next year and slash its non-branch property portfolio by 30% by the end of 2018.

“We believe an incremental £200m cost reduction target was already embedded in investor expectations, so this is incrementally positive,” noted Jefferies analyst Joseph Dickerson.

At the end of the first half, Lloyds said it had a core Tier One equity ratio of 13%.

The bank is still part-owned by the state after a credit-crisis-era bailout when the government brokered the purchase of the failing HBOS by Lloyds.

Lloyds said it would lift the first-half dividend by 13% to 0.85 pence, a level Jefferies’ Dickerson said compared with consensus  expectations for a payout of 1 pence.

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Lloyds shares closed up 3% on Wednesday at 55.75 pence. The bank, which has a market value of £39.8 billion, has shed almost 32% of its value in the past year, with most of the decline coming since the U.K. voted to leave the European Union.

Dickerson retained his buy recommendation on the stock.

“Much of the negatives are already reflected in the 23% fall in shares since 24 June,” he noted.

How to Staging Your Home

unduhan-49You don’t have to break the bank to have your house looking as though it was professionally staged. These tips and tricks will have your house sell-ready and gorgeous before you can say “why hasn’t it always looked this way?!”

1) De-Clutter

The first step in getting ready to sell is de-clutter, de-clutter, de-clutter so potential buyers aren’t overwhelmed by your stuff, but rather impressed by your home. Counters and other surfaces should be kept clear and any furniture that isn’t needed stored away. The good news about this tedious task is packing and purging will make moving day that much easier.

2) Lights and Mirrors

Warm lighting and well-placed mirrors can make your home feel bright, inviting and even bigger. Mirrors placed over fireplaces, and along hallway walls will make rooms appear larger than they are. Table lamps, and overhead lighting like chandeliers and sconces will brighten rooms and add some flair to your decor.

3) It’s Nothing Personal

Any personal effects should be packed away; family photos and mementoes, framed degrees, anything that’s a link to the current owner. Buyers want to imagine themselves in the house, so the more the house is a blank slate, the easier that is.

4) But Don’t Touch the Nursery!

Although the nursery and childrens’ rooms should be de-cluttered and tidied as well, personal effects can remain as they are. There’s something reassuring and touching about seeing a baby’s room that can mean all the difference to a potential buyer (especially ones that are starting a family).

5) Neutrals

Although you love that fuchsia accent wall, some buyers may not. A fresh coat of bright, neutral paint will not only enlarge the house and make it feel airy and more spacious, but it will also help buyers with their vision (there’s that blank slate again).

6) Accents and Colour

To complement the neutral house, a few well-placed bright pops of colour will bring the decor together. Bright throw pillows, or a canary yellow kettle on the stove will be noticed as soon as you enter the room and will stick in buyers minds once they leave. Fresh flowers are another great idea, and single flower arrangements are most effective.

7) Inviting Scents

Warm inviting scents will help your house be remembered. Taking the time to bake cookies or mull cider on the stove may not be in the cards (and the stove and elements should be off for open houses) but a safely placed candle or air freshener will do the trick.

8) Draw Attention to Selling Features

As a general rule closet doors should be kept closed, but if there’s a walk-in that should be noticed, a small note to alert potential buyers is ok.

9) Freshen Your Linens

Now’s the time to use your spare “good” set on beds, and ensure your towels and hand-towels are in tip top shape. And if it’s perhaps time to replace them, think neutral again.

Following these tips will have your house in tip top selling shape and make it the most appealing to the most potential buyers faster than you can say “SOLD!”

How to Get Friendly Suburbs

Whenever you move, be it to a new city, or an entirely different country – expect there to be a bit of culture shock. What may be considered polite in one area may be considered rude in another, the food may be different, the clothing may be different as well. But there’s a certain shock to the system that many people have when they move to the suburbs from the city. Why are all these people smiling?

Yes, welcome to the happy environs of the suburbs. Maybe it’s the extra space, the fresh air, the abundance of parks, and schools that are less crowded. It could be that many suburbs these days are for all intents and purposes “free standing” – with all the shops, restaurants and jobs right there. No need to fight your way in to the city. But whatever the reason, many people will tell you that the atmosphere in the suburbs is just that much friendlier.

Now that’s not reason alone to move to the suburbs. But it can have a serious impact on your future, and the future of your children. Schools in the suburbs tend to be much less crowded, and parents are very involved in the day to day of what happens in their school district. If you’re new to a community, getting involved on this level is a great way to meet new friends and develop a social network. You may also be surprised at the cultural diversity that you will find in the suburban schools. Your children will meet other children from countries all around the world – a obviously it’s a great plus for youngsters to be exposed to a variety of cultures. This diversity can actually help children make friends, – in an environment where differences are embraced, tolerance of others because the norm.

Typically suburbs are less crowded, with less traffic, and the concerns of the city, such as crime rates, tend to not be as worrisome. You are definitely more likely to see children playing hockey in the streets, or basketball in the driveway – if for no other reason that there is a driveway to play in, and those streets are significantly quieter! You are more likely to see kids walking to school in groups than you might in the city. And those suburban schools often have more resources than their crowded city counterparts. On top of that, the cost of property per square foot is often considerably less than what you pay in the city, and that means that your children will have more space in your home for friends to come over, and for adult entertaining as well.

The adults in the family will appreciate the great resources that the suburbs have to offer, from community centers and book clubs, to local gyms and even senior care homes. Of course, all these activities are available in the city as well. The difference is the accessibility. If you are new to a country, or to a style of living, this access can mean the difference between finding your footing in a new situation, or feeling isolated and alone.

I’m certainly not saying that cities aren’t  nice places, – but lets face it – the hustle and bustle, the smaller homes squished in side by side, busy streets not conducive to children playing, – can cause some distance between people. You may never really know your neighbours. You may not feel comfortable letting your kids play outside unsupervised. Everyone is in a rush. If this is what you are used to, the slower pace and more relaxed vibe of the suburbs can come as a bit of a shock. But don’t let that be a negative. When given the opportunity to live with your family in an area that is affordable, with good schools, great amenities and shopping, diversity, and most of all, a friendly neighbourhood atmosphere – who wouldn’t want to give that a try?

So, if you are thinking of making a move outside of the city, take a drive one day to the suburb of your choice. Check out the various neighbourhoods, and notice the home owners mowing their lawns, and children on their bikes. Enjoy the parks, see the shopping areas, and take a peek at the schools. Walk around a bit and enjoy what you see. While you’re at it, see how many people smile at you.

Return on Investment

Adding value to your home is the number one concern for most homeowners. It doesn’t matter if you’re prepping to sell or looking to build long-term equity, knowing the right renos to invest in is important to ensure you get the most bang for your reno buck.

5. Flooring
Ever wonder about the number one request from both homeowners and tenants when they’re looking for a home? Hardwood floors. And why not? Hardwood looks amazing, is timeless and is incredibly durable. It’s also expensive, so it’s wise to weigh your options before shelling out big bucks for the big impact that hardwood delivers. You can go with traditional hardwood or engineered hardwood, or if hardwood isn’t what you’re looking for (or if it isn’t in the budget) there are plenty of great laminate options available to you as well. Regardless of your choice, a flooring update always brings new life to a space and instantly gives the impression of a renovated and redecorated space.

4. Hardware & Fixtures
It sounds like a simple little update that doesn’t mean a lot, but replacing relatively inexpensive items like faucets, sinks, toilets and drawer pulls can make a big impact.

Let’s face it: Switchplates are $.49 at your local hardware store, so there’s no excuse. Cabinet and drawer pulls are also a drop in the bucket and things like doorknobs, light fixtures and faucets are also inexpensive, minor updates that can really improve the entire feel of a room. A small investment can equal a big return, making the space feel fresh and modern.

3. Bathrooms
The first rule of bathroom renos: If it’s pink or blue, rip it out! Pastels, seashell tiles and fuzzy toilet seat covers scream ‘grandma’s house,’ and while you probably have fond childhood memories from grandma’s house, chances are you don’t sit around reminiscing about the décor.

When you ask people to describe their perfect bathroom, about 95% of people use the words “spa like.” What does that mean exactly? From my experience it means a soothing colour palette, clean lines, modern materials and chic finishes. You may be hearing “cha-ching”, but keep in mind that bathrooms are small and therefore require less material. Consider making a statement with a stand-out tile or funky sink or faucet to set the tone of the space – a little goes a long way.

2. Kitchens
Kitchen remodels are notoriously expensive. When you start throwing around words like “granite,” “stainless steel,” and perhaps the scariest – “custom,” it can make a lifetime courting takeout menus sound like a good idea. But don’t panic – I have good news on two fronts: Not only can you do a great kitchen renovation on realistic budget, but kitchens also give you the biggest return on investment far beyond any other room in the house.

Don’t believe the hype – there’s almost never a need to invest in custom cabinets. Out of all theIncome Property reveals over the years, only two have been custom. The trick? You can customize standard, out-of-the-box cabinetry to almost any kitchen layout.

When it comes to counters, while stone is still the number one choice, there are more and more affordable alternatives that look expensive – butcher block, composite, and high-end laminates are all great options.

1. Income Suites
No shock here, but it’s true – there’s no renovation you can do to your home that will increase its value as adding an income suite. Whether it’s your basement, a third floor or loft conversion, or even a coach house style suite in a garage, income suite renovations, when done correctly, easily allow you to double your investment. The extra bonus?  Not only will an income add a huge amount of value to your home, but it’s an investment that will actively make you money while you build equity. What more could you ask for?

What is wrong with real estate agent

Real estate agents tend to get a bad rap. But let’s face it, there are unprofessional people in every line of work. That also means there are plenty of great real estate agents – the kind that will help you earn more money as a seller or get more for your investment as a buyer. The key is to find those agents when it’s time to buy or sell a home. Need a hint? Keep an eye out for these common real estate gimmicks…that may not have the best interests of the client in mind.

Real Estate Agent Gimmicks to Watch Out For

1. “I have a buyer for your home.”

Whether it’s delivered in a letter or by phone, this a common trick some real estate agents use to get their foot in the door with a potential home seller.

“When I first started in real estate, that was one of the first things we were taught,” says Carl Seier, a real estate agent with Sigmar MacKenzie Real Estate in Winnipeg. “They told us that there’s an agent out there who will have a buyer for that area, so technically you’re not lying. But that’s not the reason to hire a real estate agent. You want one with the best marketing plan.”

If a real estate agent really has a buyer for your home, he or she should arrive with an offer. Otherwise, that agent is probably just trying to get your attention – and your business. What you really want is an agent who’s willing to price your home competitively and market it to sell.

2. “This is definitely the property for you – but it probably won’t last.”

Good real estate agents don’t sell houses; they help buyers through the process of finding the best home they can afford. So, if you feel serious pressure from your agent to buy a particular house, something’s up.

“Agents want to make a sale. A lot of agents are living paycheck to paycheck, so the quicker they can close a buyer, the quicker they get paid,” Seier said.

Plus, in some provinces, agents may be looking to “double-end” a real estate deal. This happens when they represent both the seller and the buyer, and therefore cash in on both commissions. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but if an agent pressures you to buy one house over another, you should be wary.

3. “If your house doesn’t sell, I’ll buy it.”

Offering to buy an unsold house is another common tactic some real estate agents use. It isn’t dishonest (sellers will have to sign a contract with all the details), but while it may help agents attract more clients, it isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. The problem? The price you’ll get for the home in this case is much lower than list price – often as little as 85 percent of the home’s appraised value, Seier says.

“It’s not a reason to list your home. List your home because your agent has devised a thorough marketing plan,” Seier said.

4. “This price will get you a bidding war.”

A bidding war happens when buyers get competitive with each other while making offers on a property. This often drives the home’s price up well beyond list price. This is an outcome many sellers (and, let’s face it, agents) fantasize about, but Seier cautions that it’s exceedingly rare. Plus, the strategy often involves listing the home for less than it’s worth, and that, says Seier, is a big risk to take.

“Agents are promising bidding wars, but when they don’t happen, the agent increases the home’s price. That’s the kiss of death,” Seier said. “Choose a list price you can actually live with, not one that might get bid up.”

5. “I’m the biggest, I’m the best.”

Every city has at least one big-shot real estate agent. Maybe it’s someone who’s been working in the business for decades. Maybe he or she has invested a lot of time and money into high-quality advertising. Or maybe that individual is just a great agent who gets a lot of referrals. Or…maybe not. While a lot of clients can be a sign of an agent with a track record for getting the job done, it might also be a sign of what you might call “incumbent advantage”.  Everyone likes a winner, so they pick the biggest agent, the one everyone else is hiring.

The problem is that this can often mean poorer service. If an agent is listing 40 to 50 houses at one time, chances are he or she isn’t going to have much time for you. Plus, many of the biggest agents use a team approach. So, while you might think you’re hiring the guy whose face you see on bus benches, what you really get is one of his assistants.

Great Real Estate Tips

When Scott McGillivray first joined the HGTV Canada team, he’d spent ten years prior transforming homes into income properties. At the time he was managing 18 properties with over 100 tenants! He opened up to HGTV.ca and shared the ultimate checklist to managing your own income property.

Just when you thought the real estate season was winding down, Scott swooped in and explained whyDecember is the perfect time to buy a new home. Surprised, right? And if you get stuck in a bidding war, there’s no better ally than Scott. Read the five tips up his sleeve for winning a bidding war.

If you’re thinking about flipping your home, or just want to up its value over time, Scott shared the top five renovations with the best return on investment.

And when it comes to selling, Scott’s got your back with five tips on how to stage your home, and why these actions have big rewards.

And you thought navigating the world of real estate would be tough!

Vacation for Properties

So You Want to Buy a Vacation Property…

Just because summer is over doesn’t mean you should stop thinking about sun and sand. Fall is actually a great time to start thinking about next year’s vacation and where you’re going to stay. Cottages are a big part of the Canadian vacation experience, and buying one might be a great investment if you go about it the right way.

Smart investment or luxury item?

The answer? It’s a bit of both. An inherited cottage or one you bought decades ago during the golden age of affordable lakefront properties could make you a pretty penny today. If you’re in the market to buy though, you have some factors to take into consideration that will drastically affect the price. Buying a property that is accessible, usable and desirable year-round is a much better investment than a property that you can only get to in the summer, isn’t insulated and doesn’t have any merit in the winter. Take advantage of winter sports enthusiasts, as their options for winter rentals are usually pretty limited.

Being less than a 2-hour drive from a city is also going to command a higher price tag, but don’t be afraid to go a little off the beaten track or settle on a smaller lake. There are still deals to be had if you look a little further out and are willing to put in some work. There’s always going to be more work involved with maintaining a cottage, so keep that in mind when setting a budget. Don’t put yourself into a “cottage-poor” situation where you can afford the cottage, but not all the other fun accessories that go along with it, like building a dock for a boat.

Fractional ownership

Want all the perks of a cottage without all the costs? Fractional ownership might be the answer. Of course, the catch is that you only “own” the cottage for half the year. Fractional ownership may not be for everyone – but it is certainly something to consider if it suits your needs and wallet. Buying a property with friends or family may be a way to put cottage ownership within reach. While it sounds like a great way to pool resources and leverage your buying power, have a lawyer draw up an agreement that clearly states who is allowed to use the cottage when and other expectations such as upkeep, mortgage payments and property taxes and how to manage other unforeseen expenses. Also make sure you come to an agreement about the rules on renting out the property during the weeks you “own” the property, but aren’t using it. The best way to maximize a cottage purchase is to maximize the income potential.

Owning a cottage is an amazing idea but before you sign on the dotted line, do your homework. Cottages, unfortunately, are not exempt from taxes, and just like at home, require regular maintenance, cleaning and grass cutting. And while it’s hard to put a price on those summertime memories by the lake, making a smart investment should be your number one goal.

Sales Edge To Get More Advantages

Pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca  (AZN) reported smaller-than-expected declines in quarterly revenue and earnings and said progress on the development of new products boded well for a return to growth.

Revenue fell 11% in the second-quarter to $5.6 billion after the company lost exclusivity on the Crestor anti-cholesterol statin in the U.S. in May. The figure was slightly better than consensus expectations for just under $5.5 billion of revenue, while earnings per share of 83 cents, down 31% year-on-year, compared with a forecast for 82 cents.

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AstraZeneca is pinning its hopes on a new product pipeline as it strives to lift revenue to $45 billion by 2023 from $24.7 billion in 2015. Three products on which it has is or is about to lose patent protection by the end of next year – Nexium for heartburn, Seroquel for schizophrenia , as well as Crestor, account for almost 40% of revenue.

CEO Pascal Soriot said the pipeline is progressing, and that recently introduced, and patented, drugs are doing well.

“Our growth platforms continued to advance and made up over 60% of total revenue. Importantly, our transformed pipeline is advancing quickly and delivering a rich flow of differentiated medicines, boding well for our return to growth.”

AstraZeneca’s pipeline products include benralizumab for severe asthma, which would compete against a product being developed by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and for which it expects to seek approval from U.S. and European regulators in the second half. They also include the Faslodex breast cancer treatment and Tagrisso for lung cancer.

The company is augmenting that pipeline with M&A, such as its December deal to buy 55% of Acerta Pharma for $4 billion to get its hands on acalabrutinib, a potential blockbuster cancer drug.

AstraZeneca is also cutting costs to mitigate against declining revenue and earnings and expects to slash $1.1 billion of costs by the end of next year.

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AstraZeneca kept its full-year forecast unchanged for a low to mid single-digit decline in revenue and core earnings per share, though it said core EPS would gain a booster of the same magnitude from the recent depreciation of the pound.

It held the first-half dividend steady at 90 cents.

Astrazeneca shares were up 1.8% in early trading in London at 4,763 pence. Like peer GlaxoSmithKline, the shares have gained sharply since the U.K.’s June 23 Brexit vote and are up by around a quarter.

Trading Strategy For Finance Tips

Point72 Asset Management’s Steven A. Cohen, the billionaire investor operating under a two-year ban from managing others’ money, is putting $250 million of his own funds under management with Boston-based startup Quantopian, and has bought a $2 million piece of ownership in the algorithmic trading platform.

It’s a major profile booster for Quantopian, which last reported managing just $5 million in investments through its trading platform.

Quantopian is unusual among algorithmic hedge funds in that it does not rest its trading strategy upon proprietary algorithms developed in-house. Instead, the firm’s crowdsourcing model allows it to vacuum up trading algorithms from a global community of over 85,000 contributors. The algorithms they submit are able to plug into Quantopian’s massive data sets, and the company vets strategies in a test environment.

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Those that perform well get access to capital allocations and the algorithm authors reap a share of any returns.

The $250 million investment is Cohen’s biggest public vote of confidence yet in algorithm-driven trading, variations of which are also known as quantitative strategies or systematic CTAs. Cohen is set to emerge from a two-year ban on managing others’ money in early 2018, the result of insider trading charges against SAC Capital Advisors, Point72’s predecessor firm. (Cohen himself was not criminally charged.)

The ownership interest in Quantopian is the first publicly announced investment by Point72 Ventures, Cohen’s venture capital firm that launched in March. The deal, along with recent news of a massive office lease he’s signed in Manhattan’s Hudson Yards development, signals Cohen’s major ramp-up for a return to managing other’s money.

“It definitely seems like he’s coming back with a quant twist,” said Bartt Kellermann, the CEO of the quantitative investing conference series Battle of the Quants. “It’s an investment that could make a massive impact on the quant world by nurturing those different strategies.”

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In 2014, Cohen spun out his own quantitative strategy portfolio, Cubist Systematic Strategies. The portfolio does not report assets separately, but Cohen’s net worth is estimated at over $11 billion.

Cohen’s top five publicly traded holdings through his own funds at the end of March were Facebook (FB) , Alphabet (GOOGL) , Netflix (NFLX) , Zoetis (ZTS) , and ConocoPhillips (COP) , according to filings.