Real Estate Investing is Simple But It’s Not Always Easy

I watched my husband sprint off as if he were a contestant on The Amazing Race, only this was the real estate version.

We’d spent months touring different properties, conducting market comparisons and studies; finally we’d found two properties that met our objectives. Each property was in decent condition and priced to sell. We were excited to find two good potential deals.

Our plan was to purchase both of them (one single family home and a duplex). The plan ran smoothly at first, until a problem arose with our investment partner.

In the beginning we thought we could quickly sidestep this glitch by simply acquiring new partners. The dilemma: any potential partners would have to decide right away since there was only 48 hours left. It may be easy to decide to invest $500 in a weekend, but $50,000 takes a lot more finagling to make happen. My husband I decided to attempt to make it happen because we believed wholeheartedly in the potential of the investment.

For two days straight we made phone call after phone call looking for someone with the interest and the means to go in with us on these deals. At the end of the 48 hours we were ecstatic…we’d found two new investors willing to join us.

Next step: put together the financing.

Along with my husband and I, we had found a medical doctor and a veterinarian to partner with us; with some high income and high net worth individuals on our team we assumed securing financing would be a piece of cake – we were very wrong

I started out by saying it, and now I’ll say it again:

Investing in Real estate may be simple, but the process is not always easy.

I always get disturbed at these infomercials which promise people “instant riches” through real estate investment. These unsuspecting individuals buy videos and books and attend seminars thinking that with little effort they’ll be able to become a millionaire real estate tycoon- this is far from being true.

So back to our story: Dave, my husband, was in a race against time trying to get to his destination. See, when we got our partners was when the real problems began. Neither of them qualified for loans to purchase the properties. At this point the only thing left to do was ask for an extension, which we received (only 4 days), and set out on our next quest: we needed to secure private financing – so we headed back to the phones!

For 4 straight days we called everyone we knew looking for the necessary funds. When it was over we had what we needed, except there was still one problem. The cheques needed by over 7000 kilometers away in Kelowna, BC. Unfortunately we were in St. John’s, Newfoundland; we had 48 hours to get the cheques there in time.

After doing a lot of checking we realized that our options were limited. In the end we decided see if we could take the cheques to the Post Office in order to get them delivered the next day, which was our deadline day.

It turns out that we had less than 30 minutes to get to the Post Office before the courier departed for the evening. Seeing as this was our only option, we thought we may have to say goodbye to the overnight shipment option.

This is where we pick up the story with Dave making the mad dash to the post office. Thankfully, he made it in just the nick of time.

I will admit that every deal is not filled with so much suspense and drama. However, the lending landscape has changed dramatically in recent months and financing your investments is going to be very challenging. Those looking to invest in real estate will find the many of the financing programs which used to be available have gone away. Both conventional and private lenders can be really strict when it comes to protecting their investment capital.

Disappointment and let downs are a natural part of the real estate investment game; if you are easily discouraged, pick a career with less risk. You have to be persistent to succeed in real estate investing.

The reality is that both the veteran and inexperienced investor make the mistake of thinking real estate is the way to ‘get rich quick’. The truth is that real estate investing is a great way to get rich, but there’s work involved!

Real estate investing is quite simple. By following certain tried and true strategies you will certainly experience success, if you don’t give up. But, it’s not easy. Anything that sounds too good to be true probably is.

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Home Contents Insurance – Taking Care of Your Assets Inside and Out

Our homes are precious. Insuring the bricks and mortar seems second nature to us, not least because our homes represent a major investment and a lot of very hard work to pay for it. We often forget however, just how much we have invested in turning a house into a home with our personal possessions and the cost of furnishing a home for our comfort.

The average cost of replacing the contents of a house is in excess of thirty thousand pounds which may seem like a lot, but just consider what your buildings insurance policy does not cover. Carpets for instance, are not covered by a buildings insurance policy yet they are the first things that are damaged in the event of a flood. Just consider the value of all the electronic equipment in your home from digital televisions, computers, stereos and home entertainment systems and you start to see how quickly the bill will mount if we ever were in a position where we have to replace everything.

Contents insurance covers the contents of our houses and flats. We are protecting the very things that make our property our home. A buildings insurance policy may replace the roof of our house, but it is not going to cover the cost of the fittings that have been damaged during a storm. Given the relatively cheap cost of insuring contents and the greater possibility of making a claim when compared to the building, it makes real financial sense to put contents insurance cover in place.

Contents insurance cover cannot replace valuable heirlooms or collections that have taken years to accumulate but it can alleviate the financial loss and help you replace the irreplaceable. Contents cover tends to make owners seriously consider the protection of their valuables and review the security arrangements that may help prevent loss or aid in the recovery of their belongings in the event of theft or loss.

It pays to seriously consider the extent of coverage. Cash for instance, is frequently not covered or has strict conditions that attach to how much can be insured. You may find that a contents policy will not insure for equipment that is used outside of the home, for instance a video camera whereas some do. Bicycles are a particular risk for insurers so check to see if they are insured or not, and always see what conditions are attached to such articles being insured in the policy.

Given the variation and different features and options that can be included or excluded with a contents insurance policy, the ability to compare one policy to another on a fair basis is important. You must check the policy terms and conditions very carefully so you know exactly what is insured and what is not. This is a difficult task even for experts so take your time and do not hesitate to seek help with this.

Contents cover nevertheless, tends to be reasonably cheap and the cover provided offers a very good deal to the policy holder. Setting up a contents policy is frequently done at the same time as insuring the building but this is not always the case. It also pays to check whether combining a policy with the buildings insurance is the best deal for you financially so be prepared to shop around.

Contents insurance should never be ignored. The cost of replacing our valuables is much greater than we may at first sight think. It pays to make sure you have adequate cover or risk suffering the loss of our valuables that really make a difference in our lives. Peace of mind cannot have a price when we are dealing with the very things that we have worked so hard to provide for ourselves and our family, so take some time to make sure you have the cover you need.

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Honduras – Second Home Ownership and Financing

The ability of non-nationals to buy property in Honduras is a relatively new development. Honduran Constitution prohibited foreign ownership until 1990 when a decree was passed allowing foreigners to purchase properties in designated tourism zones established by the Ministry of Tourism. In a capsule, foreigners can own up to three-quarters of an acre subject to certain building requirements. Construction must begin on vacant lots within 36 months of purchase. Larger parcels may be purchased by forming a Honduran corporation.

Financing is available, but it is not common in Honduras. Offshore bank financing is expected to be available later this year as U.S. and European lenders and fund managers look to assist the equity-rich baby boomers who are fueling the rapid second-home growth and appreciation. Traditionally, local banks have charged 10-11 percent interest while requesting reams of unrelated loan documents. As an alternative to the red tape and high loan rates, home buyers have paid cash – usually via a home equity loan on their primary residence – or obtained financing from the seller or developer.

While every seller-financed situation is different, buyers usually pay 30 percent down with the balance payable within five years. Now, some local banks like Banco B.G.A. ( are making loans on approved properties with 10-year payback periods. The buyer typically is responsible for transfer taxes and some closing costs amounting to approximately 6.5 percent of the price if the property. Real estate agents charge 5-10 percent commission, usually paid by the seller. Property taxes are extremely low and usually run one-third of one percent of the value of the property. While U.S. dollars are common yet the official currency is the lempira (HNL).

Real estate agents say their typical second-home customer is a 40-60 year old American looking to retire in five years, followed by Canadians, other Central Americans and Europeans. Some U.S. buyers want to try out retirement by buying a second home now, using it a few weeks out of the year and renting it out for the remaining time.

More information:

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Warning Overwhelmed Business Owners: Busyness May Stunt Your Growth!

Wearing many hats is not uncommon at all among many overwhelmed business owners who are trying to do it all by themselves. Especially when first starting out, there may not be enough cash flow to justify hiring employees, let alone drawing a paycheck from the business, leaving an overwhelmed small business owner. Unfortunately, this may be a counter-productive process.

Alleviating the time consuming busy tasks which are necessary in running a business would offer not only peace of mind but the opportunity to grow a business and allow the business owner to work on the bigger picture.

How does one deal with busyness? The answer is actually quite simple, yet can be difficult to jump into. Outsourcing. It may seem like a scary concept at first for several reasons, but outsourcing is a great way for business owners to delegate the busy tasks by hiring contractors such as virtual assistants, bookkeepers, graphic designers, copywriters, marketing consultants and web designers. This would allow the business owner the chance to see how well an outsourced contractor would fit in with his or her vision without the expense of hiring employees. The beauty of a contractor is that you only pay for the project you need done at any given time, and then you’re done. You do not have a paid employee sitting around waiting for something to do.

Allowing themselves to step out of their comfort zones and outsource tasks may allow overwhelmed business owners to concentrate on areas that are key to their growth and success.

The first step in assessing whether outsourcing is ideal and whether it would be beneficial to your business’ growth would be to just jump in and try it. There are many resources on the internet to start get started, including Guru, oDesk and One could even contact a local business organization such as a chamber of commerce or a women’s group, to see if there are any contractors in the area.

Another benefit of hiring a contractor would be the opportunity to “test the waters” until you find the right person who fits in well with your business, and even maintain a relationship with more than one contractor.

One will never know if one doesn’t at least try. Once a biz owner tries, he most likely will find himself way ahead of where he used to be and will probably ask herself, “why didn’t I do this sooner?”

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