10 months ago ·
by Erin Carlson ·
There are those that negotiate for the most reasonable deal possible and those that negotiate for the sake of negotiating. Sellers and buyers alike need to realize that the best deal possible is one where both get what they want in the deal.
This isn’t necessarily an easy point to arrive at and is often a lesson in patience. In real estate, there’s something called the X-factor – a potential home buyer spends countless hours viewing properties until they finally find their perfect home. Instead of making an offer based on what the value of the home is to them and what comparable prices are, they immediately start to ponder how much less they should offer than whatever the asking price might be.
Sorry, but there isn’t some tacit X-factor percentage that should just automatically be subtracted from all listing prices. Home owners are more often than not just as eager to sell as the buyer is to buy. If so, the price of the home is usually realistically priced and priced closely to its comps.
Still, the quest for a deal spurs many to start with a low-ball offer that’s not only unrealistic, but often insulting to the seller. If the seller is offended, negotiations usually die before they’ve ever begun. So, any serious buyer shouldn’t have some magic automatic deduction from an asking price in their head. Look at the comps in the area and determine what the value of the home is for you based on how congruent it is to the needs and desires of your family.
How a purchasing price is arrived at for both owner and buyer is a very personal process. When accepting an offer, a buyer considers how fast they need to sell the home, how bad they need to sell the home, pressures from having already purchasing a replacement home, what is owed on the home, and so forth.
On the other hand, two potential buyers can look at the very same property and come up with two very different personal values for the home, depending on how congruent it is with each of their needs, the location of the home, appeal of the home, amenities, school system, and so forth. Aside from personal value, buyers and sellers must also look at the how much a lender will lend on the home based on it appraisal.
Price isn’t the only thing negotiated during the sale of a home. There’s also time lines, what will stay and go from the home, and who will pay for any problems found upon professional inspection. The most important thing for buyers and sellers to remember is that negotiating isn’t about one side getting everything they desire; it’s a give-and-take process of compromise.
To avoid a winner-take-all complex from forming, buyers and sellers should both have a list of top priorities prior to starting any negotiations. As new issues arise during the process, priorities might need to be re-evaluated to see if the priority is truly a must have for the home to change hands.
Many problems, such as fees and repairs, often can be solved by the buyer and seller meeting in the middle. Agreeing to split the costs evenly can be a much better option than wasting time and money to negotiate for weeks. For example, a seller that will pay another mortgage payment because of the additional time spent negotiating might actually find it cheaper to pay half the cost of a minor repair and close the deal before the next note is due.
Sometimes there are legitimate deal breakers. If so, then it just wasn’t the best option for the parties involved. But, before giving up, do try mulling over the troubling aspect of the negotiation for a few days. You can move on to the other areas of the negotiation. If everything else is agreed on, then there may be more encouragement to compromise on the problematic area.
10 months ago ·
by Erin Carlson ·
Want to make sure your little one grows up to be a money genius? It’s time to get to work. You might be thinking, “But my son just mastered potty training!” However, it’s never too early to start grooming your child into a money-managing pro. Although your children will probably learn the basics about money in school, it’s up to you to teach them how to manage their finances. Here are a few tips to help you raise a money-managing genius.
Start early. From the time children start walking and talking, you can start teaching them some important lessons that will put them on the financial fast track. Of course, the complexity of these financial lessons will depend on your children’s ages.
Teach preschoolers about money by showing them how you use those mysterious green bills to make every day purchases. When you’re paying the cashier at the grocery store, explain that you are giving the store money in exchange for the items in your cart. Once your little urchins learn how to count, you can really get down to business. Help them tally up the coins in their money bank and discuss how much more they need to buy that fancy toy. When they’re preteens, show them how you balance the checkbook, pay the bills, and deposit checks at the bank. By the time they’re in high school, you should be talking to them about your family budget and investments. You could even check your IRA or 401(k) statement together. Your teens might not fully understand all the specifics right now, but these exercises could plant those first financial seeds.
Make them work for it. If you want your little ones to blossom into true financial planning masterminds, make them work for their weekly allowance. Don’t just hand over a wad of cash. If you set that precedent now, your kids will be in for a rude awakening when they enter the real world. So, if your son insists that he has to have that super-cool, high adrenaline Xbox game, don’t hand it over immediately; make him work for it. Tell him if he really wants that game, he’d better get busy mowing the lawn, taking out the trash and bathing Fido.
Although some parents are anti-allowance, many financial experts say that a weekly allowance is often a great learning tool. Your children will learn that they have to work to earn money, and then they will have the option to either spend or save that money in whatever way they choose. Before you agree on a weekly allowance, it’s important to set some ground rules. Figure out which household chores your children will have to complete each week in order to receive their weekly pay. You can even help them set “financial goals” with their allowance. For example, if your daughter has been eyeing a pair of designer jeans, tell her that she could buy them if she saves up her allowance for a couple of months. This teaches her a valuable lesson about saving.
Give him a head start. Want to give your kiddo a financial head start on his path to financial security? If you’ve got the cash, and they have some amount of earned income, you might consider making a small monthly contribution to an IRA in their name. When it comes to retirement accounts, the sooner you start investing, the bigger the nest egg grows.
Here’s an example: If you contributed $56 a month from the day your child is born until her 18th birthday, her retirement account will grow to $1 million by the time she’s 65 (assuming an 8% average annual growth).
If you decide to open an IRA in your child’s name, sit down with her and tell her how it works once she’s old enough to understand. This will teach her the importance of investing and saving.
Lead by example. Of course, the most effective way to teach your child about money is to demonstrate smart financial planning yourself. You can’t rightly tell your child how important it is invest and save when your own savings account is empty and you’re busy racking up thousands of dollars of credit card debt.
In other words, if you’re going to talk the talk, you’ve got to walk the walk. After all, children generally mimic their parents’ behavior and develop similar habits. So, if you want your child to be financial planning genius, you’ll have to become one yourself. With a little bit of encouragement, lots of love, and plenty of financial advice, you can put your kiddo on the road to financial brilliance.
10 months ago ·
by Erin Carlson ·
Men are less likely than women to visit the doctor, but men do face several serious health concerns. Learn the top 10 risks as you stay healthy this Father’s Day and all year.
- Accidents and Unintentional Injuries
Men tend to take more risks than women, and that increases their chances of being injured from accidents. Slow down while driving, don’t overestimate your abilities and think before you act as you avoid accidents and unintentional injuries.
- Heart Disease
More than one in three men suffers from a form of cardiovascular disease, according to the America Heart Association. Keep your blood pressure in check, eat a balanced diet, exercise regularly and get routine physicals as you keep your heart healthy.
- Respiratory Diseases
Smoking, asbestos exposure and environmental toxins can lead to respiratory diseases like emphysema, COPD and lung cancer. Stop smoking, eat a balanced diet and avoid environmental triggers as you reduce your risk.
- Liver Disease
The size of a football, your liver digests food, absorbs nutrients and gets rid of toxins. Protect it from cirrhosis and cancer when you avoid alcohol and smoking.
Anxiety, depression and sexual impotence result from high blood sugar. It can also cause nerve and kidney damage, vision problems and heart disease or stroke if it’s not treated. Exercise and eat a nutrition diet to combat this health risk.
- Prostate Cancer
One in six men develops prostate cancer. It’s not aggressive, but gets regular screenings as you protect yourself.
- Skin Cancer
Men over 50 face a high risk of developing skin cancer. Lower your risk when you wear long sleeves, pants, a hat and sunscreen while working or playing outside, and see your doctor about any suspicious spots.
- Flu and Pneumonia
Flu and pneumonia can affect any man, but it’s more common if you already have a compromised immune system. Get the flu shot and avoid anyone who’s sick as you stay healthy.
Drinking too much alcohol can lead to chronic illnesses like oral, liver and colon cancer. It also interferes with reproductive health and increases aggressive behavior. Never binge drink, cut down on your alcohol consumption and address any underlying issues like depression that cause you to overindulge.
As many as six million men suffer from depression, including suicidal thoughts, reports The National Institute of Mental Health. Stay connected to friends, exercise regularly, get enough sleep and seek professional help if you’re struggling with this health challenge.
This Father’s Day, give your loved ones the gift of health when you address the top 10 health risks for men. Visit your doctor for regular physicals, and discuss ways you can get and stay healthy.
10 months ago ·
by Erin Carlson ·
Don’t wait until the weather forecast calls for prolonged heavy rains before buying flood insurance. While this practical insurance can be purchased anytime, the policy does not take effect for 30 days. As the most common natural disaster in the country, flooding ruins millions of dollars of homes and property every year. Even so, flooding is not commonly covered in your typical homeowner’s insurance policy, making it necessary to purchase additional coverage for this costly, devastating disaster.
If you are in a high-risk flood zone, a federally regulated lender will require a would-be borrower to buy flood insurance in order to qualify for a mortgage loan. To satisfy the lender, flood insurance must be purchased in an amount that sufficiently covers the loan.
A homeowner should also buy flood insurance if he or she resides in a flood plain with no fail-safe controls, such as a dam. Flood policies even pay off if the President does not declare the area a federal disaster area, which can prove to be invaluable. Because the nation’s Chief Executive Officer rarely issues such a declaration, protecting yourself is extremely important. Besides, you have to repay the federal aid you receive for home repairs related to a natural disaster so providing your own protection is the only way to ensure financial recovery suffered from flooding.
Not all homes qualify for flood coverage. For instance, flood insurance for beachfront or ocean-side property may not be available for the obvious reasons.
The Federal Emergency Management Association (FEMA) reports that more than 20,000 communities have agreed to tighter zoning and building measures to control floods. Residents of these communities can buy flood coverage from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which FEMA oversees. As of 2009, NFIP had 5.7 million flood policies inforce nationwide.
Premiums for flood insurance vary widely, depending primarily on individual risk. In determining price, flood insurance underwriters consider several factors including the property’s elevation, proximity to bodies of water, and whether the dwelling has a basement. Flood insurance is available to homeowners, renters, condo owners/renters, and commercial owners/renters.
Call our office today! We’d be happy to assist you through the murky waters.