10 Things to Check When Inspecting a Potential Property Investment

House Buying Checklist

Buying a house can be a wonderful experience, but it can also be a regret-inducing nightmare if you aren’t careful.

If you’ve been approved for your Homeloan and are ready to buy your dream house, make sure you check off these 10 items during the home inspection process to be sure that you are not buying a lemon.

Electrical

This is best left to a professional electrician who specialises in home inspections. Ask them for a complete report on the state of the houses electrical system and all the existing hard wired devices such as air conditioning and heating units, pumps, solar panels and so on.

Also ask about the capacity of the system and whether it might need upgrading to handle supply new appliances that you may wish to install in the future.

Plumbing

Again, a professional plumber who specialists in inspections is essential here, all pipes should be tested for leakages, blockages, and the build-up of rust, mineral deposits and algae. Water filters should also be opened and inspected for build-up and it might also pay to have the water tested for bacteria levels.

Structure

Here, you need to check the buildings foundations for signs of crack or bulges, it is also essential to check if the house as the foundation may have subsided over time. Check for signs of water damage, mould and termites that may have weakened the structure.

Drainage

The efficiency of the property’s drainage system, both natural and plumbed can be hard to ascertain unless you happen to be inspecting during a heavy downpour. Check the natural slope of the block and see where water will pool, inspect these areas for marshy, damp ground.

Inside, check the basement for signs of previous water damage and have the storm water run-off pipes checked for blockages that may cause the house to flood in heavy rain.

Roofing

Check for cracked or shifted roof tiles, or if it is a metal roof check for rust and deterioration. Examine all the houses ceiling for signs of water damage and if found carefully check the roof above those areas for potential leaks. Check all the roof gutters and downpipes for leaks and debris build-up.

Trees that lean onto the house can give access points for rodents and other pests and could fall on the house during storms.

Pests

Termites are the number one pest to check for, as they pose the biggest most risk of serious damaging the structure of a house. Look for signs of other pests like ants and rodents, but these are less of a concern and can be removed with adequate pest control measures.

Another thing to check for is the presence of nesting flocks or birds, which can be very noisy and messy.

Heating and Air conditioning

All heating and cooling appliances should be thoroughly tested for operation and efficiency, older units may need to be replaced and this can add a large to the repair bill for the house.

Make sure to check the insulation for signs of deterioration and this can greatly affect the efficiency of you heating and cooling devices.

Documentation

Check with the local council and the owner that all the documentation for extensions and renovation are in order or you could find that you have to tear down half of the house that wasn’t built to regulation.

Doors and frames

Check all doors and window for signs of warping and ensure that they open, close and lock properly. Also check for termites and general deterioration of paint or materials.

Garden and grounds

Check for large trees whose root systems might eventually crack paving or even damage the foundations. Plants like ivy growing on the house can also cause structural deterioration over time. Lots of deciduous trees mean you’ll have your work cut out for you in autumn. Don’t forget to check any sprinkler systems for leaks and general damage as well!

Once you are satisfied that you are fully aware of the condition of these ten aspects of your house, you can move forward with confidence and use your Clear Path Home Loan from BOQ to your best advantage and make a sound investment for the future.

Six Steps to Making Your First Sale through an Online Store Today

OnlineStore

Everything is ready to go – your inventory, eCommerce website and online payment gateway account are up and running. The only thing that you are missing right now is your very first sale.

Using your online presence and a few quick yet effective offline tricks, you can generate at least one sale today to get the ball rolling.

Reduce the Loading Time of Your Site

One of the biggest reasons why so many customers abandon eCommerce websites is because of delayed loading times. Remember, the average consumer shops online to save money as well as time. However, if customers are not saving time on your site, they will find one of your competitors and offer their money to them instead.

One study shows that more than 40 percent of your prospective customers will completely abandon your website if a page takes longer than ten seconds to load. Therefore, integrating Flash animation and large media files within your web design can actually backfire and harm your chances of closing sales instead of helping sales. Don’t wait to hear complaints about your website from your key demographic; take time to test it out now to identify and address any problematic issues right away.

Check the Prices Offered by Your Competitors

Keep in mind that you are more than likely not the very first company to offer your products within your respective market. If that is the case, there are quite a few other companies that have already found the perfect price to attract your key demographic and convert them into paying customers. Instead of trying to reinvent the wheel when starting up an online store, follow in their footsteps and use their current pricing as a guide when setting your own prices.

Drop Your Prices for an Introductory Promotion

To get the ball rolling and generate some buzz, you need to “take one for the team” and drop your prices to a considerably low introductory rate. Keep in mind the cost of goods sold because the last thing you want to do is cut your price to a point where you will take a loss. Even breaking even and giving goods away would allow you to increase conversion and generate sales, although you won’t be able to generate a profit by doing so. The primary goal for hosting this introductory special is to draw attention to your site and make your presence known. By doing so successfully, your customers will return to your website in the future with repeat business.

Offer a Captivating Prize in a Giveaway

To generate more buzz and even go viral with your online content, you should offer a captivating prize in a giveaway that will compel consumers to purchase products from you as soon as possible. For instance, requiring customers to make a purchase in order to be entered into a drawing for a large cash prize is an effective way to open the door wide open for sales and conversion increases.

Even customers who aren’t usually interested in the products you have to offer will be willing to finalize a purchase just to have a chance at winning the cash prize. This will at least get your foot in the door and allow you to turn those one-time buyers into long-term customers.

Spread Online Call-to-Action Buttons Freely

The next step you want to take is to spread your call-to-action buttons, graphics and hyperlinks freely in strategic places throughout your website. Using an “Add to Cart” button on several key pages within your website, such as your homepage and product pages, is a great start. However, you need to make sure that these buttons and links are used in other aspects of your company’s online presence as well.

For instance, don’t forget to add them into your social media profiles and pages – such as your Facebook brand page. Remember that more than 50 percent of all marketers were able to find customers through Facebook in 2013 alone, according to Social Media Today. Having call-to-action links within your social media profile pages, therefore, could very well lead to you closing that first sale.

Reach Out to Your Family and Friends

Don’t be afraid to reach out to your family and friends for your first sale. The most effective form of advertising is word-of-mouth and there’s no one who can spread the word about your products and services more efficiently than the people you already know, either personally or professionally.

You are more than likely already friends with them on Facebook and other social media platforms, so they can easily help you to promote your company just by “liking” or “following” your page. Keep in mind that a sale is a sale; whether it comes from someone you know or a complete stranger shouldn’t matter. By refusing to reach out to your friends and family, also referred to as your “warm market,” you will basically be giving away potential sales instead of generating them.

Quick Tips On Installing Entry Doors

ExteriorDoors2 New entry doors can do a lot for your home. Like a smile for your house, a nice door creates a positive impression for those approaching it. A good door can save you money on heating and cooling, improve security, and add value. The only bad part is that there are so many to choose from!

Regardless of the type of door you’re installing, there are some universal rules that apply. Getting the rough opening right is critical. Obviously it’s impossible to install a door in an opening that’s too small, but overly large openings are a problem as well.

If there is a gap greater than what you can handle with shims, you need to consider using a piece of dimensional lumber to reduce the opening size and create a better fit. Excessive shimming will allow the door frame to twist and get out of square, creating a drafty door or causing the door to stick.

ExteriorDoors So begin your project by removing the trim and getting a good measurement of the rough opening. Don’t remove the door until you have the new one, for the obvious security reasons but also in case you run into a delay in delivery.

Ensure that you are measuring both the height and the width in several different places; time and construction methods can create openings that aren’t truly rectangular. Once that’s done, you know what size of new door you will need and you can get it purchased and brought to your home.

Here are some useful considerations for installing different types of doors, taken from IronDoors.com.

Sliding Doors

Sliding doors provide a large, sunny opening into your home. The advantages are the brightness and warmth they provide, and as it turns out, those can be some of the disadvantages as well. If you situate a sliding door on a sunny side of your home, there could be too much sun and heat.

In terms of installation, sliding doors require a double-door space and must be installed in a very level, square opening. If the bottom of a sliding door is not level, the door will not slide smoothly.

Standard Hinged Doors

A more forgiving option is a regular hinged door. It can be fully opaque or include any imaginable choice in glass, and it can be a single or double unit. This gives some greater freedom than sliding doors at the expense of the view.

Installation is also simpler. Some imperfections in your rough opening can be tolerated with a few adjustments on the threshold and sweep. Think in terms of getting the sides and top to a perfect fit, then compensating at the bottom.

Colorful Wooden Doors

It’s probably not fair to go ahead and call this a “trend” since classic colors like red and yellow have been used to make doors stick out for years, however adding a bright color that is contract to the rest of your house is becoming more common. The color of the door doesn’t need to be neon or something silly, but a sharp contract to the exterior paint brings focus to your front door. The entry should be the focal point of your home from the street and using start contrast is a cool and stylish way to do so.

Wrought Iron Doors

These designs provide a classic beauty that can evoke Old World Europe or the energy of New Orleans. They install like any other hinged door, but because of the high weight of the components used in quality wrought iron doors, it’s doubly important to ensure strong, deep screw installation in hinges and to properly space sweeps and thresholds to prevent binding. Familiarize yourself with the door’s construction before installing it; this will make it easier to clean the glass areas later on.

Like so many renovation tasks, replacing doors is about finding the intersection between what you like and what you can use. Plan ahead to avoid costly disappointments.

Sources:

http://www.irondoors.com/installation

http://www.lowes.com/cd_Install+an+Exterior+Door_554148183_

http://construction.about.com/od/Doors-And-Windows/a/Door-Installation-How-To-Install-A-Door.htm

http://www.houzz.com/ideabooks/4772981/list/DIY–How-to-Install-a-Door

 

 

4 Ways to Start Investing Today

Living Room

If you aren’t investing your money, then you’re missing out on a great opportunity to let extra cash work for you.

Don’t let your money sit in a savings account that barely earns any interest. Instead, find ways to make your money grow through smart investments.

Buy Stocks

To buy stocks, you’ll need to find a broker who can purchase and sell them on your behalf. Some people use online brokers that don’t offer any advice. That might work for experienced traders, but it’s a bad place to start investing.

Instead of using a broker that doesn’t offer any help, get the up-to-date Fisher Investments address so you can visit professionals who take care of their clients. People can make a lot of money in the stock market, but they can also lose a lot. Having a licensed professional on your side could make all the difference.

Buy, Sell, and Rent Properties

If you have enough money to purchase homes, apartments, and other types of property without borrowing, then you could make a lot of extra income buying, selling, and renting real estate.

Renting is a great option right now because a lot of people who lost their homes during the mortgage crisis have turned to rental properties. With 32 percent of households living in rentals, you don’t have to worry about your properties sitting empty for long.

Flipping houses is also a good way to make money, especially if you have construction skills that will let you refurbish an old home without hiring many workers. When possible, use cash to purchase short-sale properties that banks want to unload quickly. Lenders selling these homes want to make their money back as soon as possible, so they often lower prices to unbelievable rates. Use that to your advantage.

Buy Bonds

People interested in buying bonds have a lot of options. The ones that you choose should depend on how much money you want to spend and how long you want to wait for a return on your investment.

If you have between $25,000 and $50,000, then you should consider buying individual bonds. This will let you choose a diverse selection of bonds that protects your investment.

Those who have less than $25,000 to invest should consider buying bond funds or mutual funds. When you put money into bond funds, you invest in a bond portfolio that has already been diversified.

Also, consider how long you can part with your investment dollars. Long-term investments often reap the largest benefits, but you won’t have access to your money for over a decade. If that’s financially feasible for you, then it’s a great option. If you need a quicker return, look for funds that don’t require such long-term investments.

You can buy funds directly from the Fed. Considering how many factors go into choosing funds, though, it makes sense to use a broker who can help you choose an option that matches your personal goals.

Hedge Funds

Hedge funds can earn you a lot of money, but there are also a lot of barriers that prevent most people from using these investment opportunities.

Investment capital is the biggest obstacle. Many hedge funds require investments of $100,000 or more. If you don’t have that kind of money sitting around, then this option probably won’t work for you.

You also have to pay a lot to maintain your hedge fund. Hedge funds usually have fees between one and two percent. Then you have to pay about 20 percent on any profits that your investment earns. These fees encourage hedge fund managers to make as much money as possible, but they also take a huge chunk out of your profits.

Hedge funds also get to decide who can and cannot buy into the investments. Anyone with enough money can buy stocks and bonds. But hedge funds often care more about who you are than how much money you can invest. If you don’t have the right connections, you might not have a chance to invest.

Now that you know more about how you can start investing, do you think you’ll invest on your own or will you talk to a professional first?

 

Image via Flickr by Ardyiii

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