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Time is Running Out Fast For Real Estate Bargain Hunters




WARNING! If you are serious about buying a home in 2010, you might not have much time left! With recession of 2007-2009 fading into history, buyers are returning to the real estate market in droves. However, what most of the buyers don’t realize is that there are many forces working against them that might make it difficult to find real bargains comes spring and summer. Here are five main forces shaping up the market early this year, and you better pay attention to them:

1. Under the provisions of the massive stimulus package designed to support the housing market, the Fed has been buying mortgage securities for over a year in order to maintain liquidity in the housing market, which also artificially supported the rates at sub-5% level. However, this part of the stimulus ER is winding down by March, and it’s already driving the rates higher in anticipation of the program grand finale. What does it mean for the mortgage market? It means that comes March or April, you will not find rates in low or mid-5% any more. The consensus of most economists and finance journalists is that we will have 6% mortgages by the summer time. What it means for you? Have your loan approved and lock the rate no later than Mid-February!

2. With “normal market” demand for mortgage backed securities still very low, the lenders will tighten their underwriting guidelines even more. The preview of this was demonstrated in December of 2009, when following FNMA and Freddy all lenders increased credit score requirements for prime mortgages by 20 to 40 points, FHA followed them with the increase of the minimum score from 595 to 620, and some lenders made 640 as a minimum score for FHA or any other government-backed loans. Comes summer, the credit system most probably will tighten even more, as the banks will have a much smaller market to sell their loans to, which will force them to pick only cream of the crop borrowers to bet on. If you are not one of them, you might need to have at least 25-30% down, ratios below 30% and 750 score in order to have any chance for a home loan.

3. Unnoticed to the buyers, the Government passed a number of new laws in the last two years, of course all of them were done under highly publicized slogans of helping Joe the Consumer. In reality, these new laws practically eliminated a mortgage broker as a viable player in the market place. The government blamed the brokers for pushing “creative” mortgage products onto uneducated consumers who couldn’t afford to pay for them, however the reality is that the brokers were only selling products pushed to the public by BANKS! Truth is that the brokers don’t offer their own products, brokers don’t participate in the meetings of the banks’ boards of directors who decide which financial products to offer to the public, brokers only sell what the banks offer if the public demands it. In 2006 the brokers were responsible for 60% of all loans originated in this country, by the first quarter of 2010 – less than 5%! Why should you be concerned about it? Very simple: while enjoying practically unlimited access to billions and trillions of your taxpayer dollars, the banks succeeded in eliminating the only serious market force that kept their mortgage rates competitive in the last decade. With brokers gone, all loan origination now goes to retail banks with their “friendly and knowledgeable” staff who doesn’t give a rat if you buy their mortgage today at 7% or not, because they are on salary paid for by your savings deposits and unfair bank fees, and because your only alternative is to go to a retail branch of another bank, where you will face just as much competence and desire to lower rates as at the first branch. Consider this: The banks quietly managed to monopolize a market worth $10-15 TRILLION DOLLARS, and their profits (spread between your mortgage rate and the current Fed Rate, which is a 0%) per loan are the highest they’ve been in history! Now, did you get a thank you postcard from your bank’s CEO last year for helping the banks out with some free money?

4. Home buyer tax credit program winds down in April too. You must be in escrow by April 30th and close the escrow no later than June, which means that in March/April we will see crowds of late-comers last-minute shoppers trying to take advantage of the program and the inventory of homes, especially in 200-400K price range will be under serious pressure from the buyers, just like we saw in October and November of 2009, before it became known that the tax credit program will be extended. This time it is different – there will be no more extensions. This was the final extension, and those who missed an opportunity to take advantage of this program because there was no inventory on the market, will try to buy something this time around.

5. Traditionally, March is the first month of the official buying season in San Diego. In my 10-year spreadsheet, March sales represent an average of 30-50% increase in the number of closed sales over February of the same year! Believe me that this year will be no different. However, those who wake up late and start shopping for a house in March will face a much tougher competition and will be forced to bid up on properties beyond what they will reasonably appraise for, which will force the buyers to increase their downpayment or get discouraged and end up on the sidelines again.

Housing market has been battered enough to the point where even the bitter pessimists started talking about a turnaround. Some are still talking about some massive “shadow inventory” of homes that the banks are supposedly holding back to avoid the market collapse and that when it finally comes, the market will tank, however, this talk has been perpetuated since late 2008 and nobody knows when and if this inventory will ever enter the market. Today the banks can dump four or five-times more inventory on the market, where home attract 10-30 offers in the first week, and the buyers will just swallow them and move on.

So, what should you do now in order to take advantage of the situation in what’s left of the true bargain hunting season?

1. Get your loan pre-qualified right now, don’t wait for that tax refund to hit your bank account. If you need to borrow money from the relatives for the downpayment, do it, you can pay it back with the tax credit money, with your tax refund, or do their laundry for the next 30 years, but get your loan fully approved at the highest possible amount and have it available when you are making offers. Nobody seriously looks at your offers today unless you can attach a solid loan approval together with a proof of funds for downpayment.

2. Make sure you have a clear idea what you are looking for and make sure it’s realistic. Don’t ask your agent to send you everything from Bonsal to San Ysidro in 100K to 800K range and expect to work with that agent. Sit down with your agent, outline the areas, types of properties you will target, maximum monthly payments including HOA, Mello Roos, property taxes, home insurance, utility bills and anything else that will become your monthly responsibility. Knowing what you want helps you achieve just that four-times faster!

3. Use technology to your advantage. There are many real estate websites that allow you to set up an automated search page and to receive listings that match your criteria the minute the listings hit the market, or with any other regularity of your choice. Such automated tools allow you to gain an “unfair advantage” over majority of other non-technically savvy buyers and realtors: if you are the first one to know about the listings, you have the advantage of making your offers before everybody else.

4. Make offers, more offers and some more offers! In sub-$300,000 price range in most areas of San Diego it takes now 20-30 offers before you get one accepted, so be patient, but also smart about it. Make offers on realistic listings, where you have a better chance of getting your offer accepted. If you have an FHA loan, don’t go after “investor flip” listings, FHA won’t allow it for 90 days after their original purchase date. Don’t make offers on short sale listings, where the listing agent sends ALL offers to the lender and waits for six months for the lender to accept one offer, which turns the process into a prolonged auction. Don’t subject yourself to some REO listings if the REO listing broker insists on seeing my buyers’ first-borne child, DNA tests and pre-approval by the lender of the listing broker’s choice BEFORE they will even look at your offer. (By the way, whenever the REO agent is asking for the pre-approval by their lender, understand that it’s done solely to facilitate a sales pitch by that lender, so complain about it to California Department of Real Estate, tell them that in your opinion it is against the spirit of California AB957 “Buyer’s Choice Act” of 2009, especially if you already have your pre-approval from another lender in place! If you end up putting 20 offers on REO listings, does it mean that you have to get pre-approved by 20 lenders BEFORE you even know if your offer is going to be accepted? Sounds ridiculous, doesn’t it?)

5. Be creative! If you can’t get what you want directly, look for other ways of achieving the same results. Consider buying a fixer upper and using a rehab loan to do the repairs, consider buying a smaller house and they adding square footage to your desired size of home, consider new construction, lease-options, seller carry-backs or other creative ways of getting in the house. Become familiar with these creative strategies, they may be your ticket to homeownership today.

This is not the time to procrastinate and wait for your April tax refund before you start shopping for a house. Act now, and take advantage of the last several months of the BEST time to buy a house in the last several decades!


Source by Alex Lisnevsky


Where to Find Those Efficient and Hardworking Affiliates?




Everyone wants a hardworking affiliate, employee, associate, partner, or even spouse, and why not? It’s the next best thing to doing the work yourself. However with the massive outbreak of work and income opportunities available online, how can you beat everyone else and find that one (or more) ideal person who will make your online business explode with success? Here are some of the most ingenious and uncommon ways to snag the idea affiliates for your affiliate program

Direct Sales Agents

Direct sales people are really one of the most enterprising, hard-working individuals in business. They mostly work on commissions or rebates and are willing to literally go door-to-door offering their products to anyone and everyone they bump into. Imagine how much easier their job would be if they could be an affiliate and simply work via the Internet and a mobile device or desktop.

Also, most direct sales people tend to carry more than one brand in their product arsenal so signing up as an affiliate would be almost the same type of work but using a different approach.

Colleges and Universities

Many college kids would be interested in a part-time income opportunity if it would mean funds to help pay for their education, loan, or partying. All you have to do is make sure to offer them products they can endorse as a student.


Did you know that the U.S. Census Bureau’s latest annual report show that 75% of U.S. businesses used freelancers in 2011? Freelancers earned a whopping US$990 billion in 2011 which is a 4.1% increase from the previous year. The only industries where the number of freelancers decreased were in insurance, finance, and construction. Most probably your affiliate program isn’t a part of these 3 industries.

Furthermore, online business and finance experts are predicting the growth to increase incrementally every year even with an economy that is improving. People just want income security and more control over their earnings. With the spate of lay-offs, it’s understandable why many would prefer to work as an affiliate than as an employee.

Scout For Them At Affiliate Conventions

There are annual affiliate conventions held in different cities around the country. You should try to catch one when it is held somewhere near your location. The average turn-out for these types of conventions has increased regularly over the years. Last year, many of them were sold out weeks before the event.


The US Census Bureau has said that as of 2012, 15% of Americans are poor, 43% of young adults depend on their parents to some extent for money. Even more surprising is that the median income of young adults in 1982 was $31,583 and last year it was $30,604 for the same age group! Income is dropping and people are looking for ways to earn additional income outside of their 9 to 5 jobs. That’s where you can come in playing the hero and helping others realize their dream income.

Finally, go online and talk about your product. Make the affiliate marketers come to you and have the luxury of picking the best candidates. You will need some help in marketing your affiliate program so target a marketer who’s experienced in affiliate program and SEO.


Source by Lina Stakauskaite

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Recession Is Here… Six Costly Mistakes Home Sellers Make During Recessions And How To Avoid Them




The U.S. is officially in a recession. What is a recession? A recession is a business cycle contraction or general economic decline due to significant drop in spending and other commercial activities. Most pundits and politicians will blame Covid-19 crisis for the recession, but even pre-Covid-19 the proverbial writing was on the wall.

The U.S. had over 120 months of economic growth, which was the longest expansion in the modern history. Other indicators, such as negative yield spread on treasuries (long term bonds having lower interest rates than short term T-notes), were pointing to an imminent change of the economic cycle and an impending recession. The only real question was: when and how bad?

Then Covid-19 came… If the cycle was going to change anyway, Covid-19 acted as a huge and unexpected accelerant to make the recession much more immediate and severe.

Inevitably during recessions all classes of real estate, including residential homes and condominiums, will be negatively impacted as lower consumer spending and higher unemployment rates affect real estate prices and marketing times.

Here are the six costly mistakes home and other real property sellers make during recessions and how to avoid them:

Mistake #1: This will pass and real estate market will be hot again soon

First thing to remember is that real estate cycles are much longer than general economic cycles. Even if the general economy recovers, which eventually it always does, a typical real estate cycle takes as long as 10 to 15 years. The cycle has four key stages: Top, Decline, Bottom and Rise.

Let us consider the last real estate cycle, which lasted approximately 14 years:

  • 2006 – Prices hit the Top
  • 2006 to 2012 – Prices Decline
  • 2012 – Prices hit the Bottom (Trough)
  • 2012 to 2019 – Prices Rise*
  • 2020 – Prices hit the Top
  • 2020 to? – Prices Decline

*NOTE: In 2016 the national residential real estate price index reached its pre-recession 2006 peak levels. It took 10 years for the real estate market to recover.

The way to avoid this mistake is to recognize that real estate cycles take years to run and plan accordingly. Additionally, nobody knows for sure when the prices will hit the top or bottom until after the fact.

Mistake #2: Low interest rates will make the economy and real estate market rebound

Between 2006 and 2011 the interest rates (Fed Funds) were continuously cut by the Federal Reserve Board and went from low 5% to almost 0%. However, that did not stop the real estate recession and depreciation of property values.

Undoubtedly, low interest rates made the economic decline and real estate recession less severe and saved some properties from foreclosures, but it still took six painful years for the real estate market to hit the bottom and then four more years for the prices to go back to their pre-recession levels.

Some markets had never fully recovered. For example, residential home prices in some parts of California, Arizona and Nevada are still below their 2006 highs.

To avoid this mistake, one needs to realize that although low interest rates help stimulate the economy and the real estate market, they do not cure them.

Mistake #3: I don’t need to sell now, so I don’t care

If you do not need to sell until the cycle plays out, which typically is over ten years, then you will not be as affected, especially if you have a strong equity position, limited mortgage debt, and solid liquid assets.

However, it is good to keep in mind that “life happens” and either professional or personal circumstances can change and we may need to sell property before the downturn runs its course.

Furthermore, if a property has a mortgages and its value declines to the point being “upside down,” meaning the mortgage loan balance exceeds the value of the property, then the options of selling, refinancing or even obtaining an equity line of credit, will be significantly limited.

This does not mean that everybody should be rushing into selling their real estate if there is no need to do so, just keep in mind that circumstances may and often do change and property options will be affected, so plan in advance. As one wise proverb says: “Dig your well before your thirst.”

Mistake #4: I’m selling, but I won’t sell below my “bottom line” price

This is a common and potentially very costly mistake. Generally speaking, every seller wants to sell for the highest price and every buyer wants to pay the lowest price. That’s nothing new. When selling real estate, most sellers want to achieve a certain price point and/or have a “bottom line.”

However, it is important to understand that the market does not care what the Seller, or his/her Agent, think the property value should be at. The market value is a price a willing and able buyer will pay, when a property is offered on an open market for a reasonable amount of time.

Overpricing property based on Seller’s subjective value or what is sometimes called an “aspirational price,” especially in a declining market, is a sure first step to losing money. When a property lingers on the market for an extended period of time, carrying costs will continue to accumulate and property value will depreciate in line with the market conditions.

Additionally, properties with prolonged marketing times tend to get “stale” and attract fewer buyers. The solution is to honestly assess your selling objectives, including the desired time-frame, evaluate your property’s attributes and physical condition, analyze comparable sales and market conditions, and then decide on market-based pricing and marketing strategies.

Mistake #5: I will list my property for sale only with Agent who promises the highest price

Real estate is a competitive business and real estate agents compete to list properties for sale which generate their sales commission incomes. It is not unusual that Seller will interview several agents before signing an exclusive listing agreement and go with the agent who agrees to list the property at the highest price, often regardless if such price is market-based.

Similarly to Mistake #4, this mistake can be very damaging to Sellers, as overpriced properties stay on the market for extended periods of time costing Sellers carrying expenses such as mortgage payments, property taxes, insurance, utilities and maintenance.

Furthermore, there is the “opportunity cost” since the equity is “frozen,” and it cannot be deployed elsewhere till the property is sold. However, the most expensive cost is the loss of property value while the real estate market deteriorates.

During the last recession, we have seen multiple cases where overpriced properties stayed on the market for years and ended up selling for 25% to 40% below their initial fair market values.

The solution is to make sure that your pricing strategy is based on the market, not empty promises or wishful thinking.

Mistake #6: I will list my property only with Agent who charges the lowest commission

Real estate commission rates are negotiable and not set by law. A commission usually represents the highest transactional expense in selling real properties and is typically split between Brokers and Agents who work on the transaction

Some real estate agents offer discounted commissions, in order to induce Sellers to list their properties with them. But does paying a discounted commission ensure savings for the Seller? Not necessarily.

For example, if the final sales price is 5% to 10% below property’s highest market value, which is not that unusual, due to inadequate marketing, bad pricing strategy, and/or poor negotiation skills, it will easily wipe out any commission savings and actually cost the Seller tens of thousands of dollars in lost revenues.

The solution is to engage an agent who is a “Trusted Advisor,” not just a “Salesperson.” A Trusted Advisor will take his/her time and effort to do the following: 1) Perform Needs Analysis: listen and understand your property needs and concerns; 2) Prepare Property Analysis: thoroughly evaluate your property and market conditions; 3) Execute Sales and Marketing Plan: prepare and implement custom sales and marketing plan for your property; and 4) Obtain Optimal Results: be your trusted advocate throughout the process and achieve the best possible outcome.

Finding such a real estate professional may not be always easy, but it certainly is worth the effort and will pay off at the end.

In conclusion, this article has outlined six costly mistakes real estate Sellers make during recessions and how to avoid them. The first mistake is not understanding that real estate cycles are long and take years. The second mistake is a misconception that low interest rates alone will create a recovery. Another mistake is not realizing that circumstances may change and not planning in advance. Mistakes number four, five and six pertain to understanding the market value, proper pricing and selecting the right real estate professional.

By understanding and avoiding these mistakes, real estate Sellers have significantly better chances of minimizing the negative impact of a recession while selling their properties.


Source by Robert W. Dudek

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Useful Tips To Build The Best Gaming Computer




Every gamer will want their computer to be the best gaming computer among their peers. Sometimes, with a little knowledge and tips and tricks, it is possible to build the best gaming computer and show it off to your peers. This article will show you how:

1) You can’t get the best gaming computer from computer retailers

If you want to get the best gaming computer, you have to build your own. Different gamers have different requirement for their gaming machine. Unless you are willing to pay a high price, you will not be able to buy a commercial computer that fulfills all your gaming needs. The only option you have is to build your own gaming computer.

2) You don’t have to be rich to build the best gaming computer

It is not necessary to burn a hole in your pocket to build the best gaming computer. With some due diligence, do some market research and compare prices around the marketplace. Merchant such as TigerDirect and NewEgg give regular discount to their products and you could save a lot of money if you catch them during their promotional period.

3) Most expensive parts do not have to be the best part

Sometime, the latest model or the most expensive model does not have to be the best part for your computer. It requires various components to work together to form the best computer system. When choosing a computer part, what matters is how well it can integrate with the rest of the components. Compatibility is more important than individual performance. What use is there if you spend lot of money on the latest quad-core processor and find that your motherboard doesn’t support it?

4) You don’t need to change the whole PC to own the best gaming computer

It is a misconception that you have to change the whole gaming machine to build the best gaming computer. If you already have a good barebone system, what you need to do is to upgrade the necessary parts and your gaming computer can roar back to life instantly.

5) Brand is important

Unless you want to see your computer system malfunction every few days, it is important that you purchase the parts from branded manufacturers with strict quality control. Motherboard brand such as Gigabyte, ABIT, ASUS are some quality brands that you can consider

If you follow diligently to the tips stated above. You will be on your way to build the best gaming computer. While price can be an issue, it is better not to scrimp on important computer parts such as motherboard, CPU, RAM and graphics card as it will cost you more to upgrade in the future.


Source by Damien Oh

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