1978 got the lead out!

Image courtesy of hywards from www.freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of hywards from www.freedigitalphotos.net

Of course we all know that lead is considered to be a harmful environmental pollutant.  According to the EPA and HUD approximately 75% of the houses built before 1978 contain some lead-based paint.  So what?  Well if you are looking to buy real estate built prior to 1978 you should be fully aware of this issue.

To keep tenants safe, some rehabbers will “encapsulate” the lead paint to make sure that it is sealed.  As a landlord you must be diligent to make sure the paint is fully intact and does not get chipped or else the lead is exposed.  There could also be multiple sources of lead in the home so be sure to test thoroughly.

The EPA has lots of information on lead and can provide information on “abatements”.  This must be done by a Lead-Safe Certified firm and can be very costly. 

Another option is to only buy property built after 1978.  We like this option the best as it provides the least risk for lead issues.

Any real estate investors out there with any lead stories?  Please share…


Deal or no deal?

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

If you have elected to get your life insurance coverage through your employer, please take a closer look.  Generally the benefits offered by your employer are a good deal but life insurance may be a different story. 

Carefully look at the amount of coverage to make sure it is adequate to cover your dependents in the event of your death.  Chances are the coverage is much too low.  Typically the standard coverage recommended is 10 times your gross annual income.  If you don’t have enough you should seek additional insurance.

Another point to watch of course, is the cost of that coverage.  In many cases the insurance from your employer is much more expensive per thousand than traditional term insurance.  So be sure to price it out and make sure you’re getting the best DEAL!

Do you have adequate life insurance coverage?  Click like!


Phases to FREEDOM!

Check out our “Phases to FREEDOM!”.  This webinar goes over our “5 Phases to Financial Freedom” which are (1) Always watch your nets, (2) Starters, (3) Debt destroyer, (4) Self first, then kids and (5) Put your money to work.

Are you on the path to financial freedom?  If so, please comment on what phase you are in.

Expect the unexpected

911 by Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

911 by Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

Establish and maintain an emergency fund of at least six months of expenses.  This is extremely important and should only be used in emergencies.  It should be easily accessible so that you can withdraw the funds quickly.  It should only be used for unexpected costs, it should not fund vacations, new expensive clothing, dining out or other luxuries.  Be sure to keep the emergency fund in a separate account so it is not mixed with other funds for other purposes.  Stay away from temptation!  A good way to make it grow consider is to set up automatic monthly transfers to ensure it gets fully funded.  The emergency fund is for unexpected expenses like appliances that stop working, getting laid off from a job, long illness or an accident.  Be sure to keep this fund for the unexpected and you will be prepared!

Please click “Like” if you have an established emergency fund.

Don’t have a small business? Create one and reap the rewards!

Image by imagerymajestic from freedigitalphotos.net

Image by imagerymajestic from freedigitalphotos.net

Even if you have a JOB (Just Over Broke) open a business!  You will earn extra income AND get to keep more of what you make with some tax deductions.  **Disclaimer!  Please ALWAYS consult your tax professional regarding tax matters.  We are not tax professionals!**  One of those is the home office deduction but be honest, you should be able to defend your deduction in an audit.  Meals and entertainment when you conduct business with a person you are entertaining during the meal or event.  Be sure you keep good records of what the activity was, when, with whom and how it relates.  Another possible deduction is internet and phone directly related to your business.  Vehicle deductions for local business trips can be deducted either by the standard mileage rate or your actual expenses.  Education for yourself can be deducted as well.  The list goes on and on.  Another VERY helpful benefit of a small business is being able to contribute to a Self-Employed Retirement Plan and the tax benefits you can recognize.  These are a twofer!  They are particularly valuable for reducing your tax bill now and racking up tax-deferred retirement savings for later.

Can you share more benefits of having a small business?  Please comment.

Test the water before you jump in.

Image courtesy of by tratong from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of by tratong from freedigitalphotos.net

Paper trading allows you to swim in the sea of the stock market without risking any of your money.  It allows you to try out trading strategies for FREE!  These accounts will use the current stock market conditions to reveal your results.  This is a fantastic tool to help you develop a written trading plan and get prepared to fund your stock market trading.

A word of caution, paper trading can seem very easy since there isn’t any real money on the line.  If you don’t take it seriously and simulate trades that you intend on executing, it will be a waste of time.  Wade slowly and tread carefully.

Have you used paper trading and has it helped improve your trading?  Please comment.


Brand spanking new houses!

New home by Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

New home by Stuart Miles from freedigitalphotos.net

There is something to be said for brand spanking new!  Speculative or spec home building can be very profitable under the right market conditions and in the right locations.  It is a blast to design and build something beautiful with all the bells and whistles, then sell at full retail (hopefully).  People love new houses. 

Here you will be looking for a good piece of land in a nice neighborhood. Depending on your comfort level, hire either a general contractor for the entire job or sub contract with various companies yourself to complete the construction.   Be sure the house you build is not at the top of the market (biggest house on the block), you should build a moderate home for the neighborhood.  You will need comparable homes or “comps” to make sure the value of your home appraises at the value you intended.  Always do your homework in your market to make sure the current conditions will yield good results.  Look for a high demand, low inventory market to give you the best chance of success.

Are there any neighborhoods that you feel would be a good market for a spec house?  Please comment.


The Strangest Secret

I thought that if you are in the stormy North East today you might have some time to listen to this classic.  It will stand the test of time.  Take a few minutes and please comment below your thoughts.

Would you like a job in healthcare or IT? 2015 could be the start of a great career!

Image courtesy of by Praisaeng from freedigitalphotos.net

Image courtesy of by Praisaeng from freedigitalphotos.net

According to US News article, “The Best Jobs of 2015” the top jobs of 2015 will be in healthcare or IT.  To give yourself the best chance, focus on health care.  Seven out of the ten top jobs are in healthcare.  As the baby boomers age, it only makes sense that jobs in healthcare expand.  It has great prospects with huge growth potential.

If you aren’t a touchy, feely, people person, the IT field might be for you.  Again the growth potential is huge. The job flexibility can be great and salaries just keep going up.  Keep in mind computers aren’t going anywhere and we will always need them.

Maybe a job in IT for the healthcare industry would be ideal by combining the two industries! 

Please comment your thoughts on the HOT jobs for 2015.


Taxes; The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Just in case you missed it…A fantastic webinar, Taxes; The Good, The Bad and The Ugly with Kim Landry, CPA from Landry and Associates.  Kim gave us some great tax strategies and planning techniques to be able to keep more of what you make.

What is a tax strategy that has saved you from paying more taxes than necessary?  Please share.