Real Estate

NMLS CE Review of Kaplan and Proschools

In previous years, states regulated the mortgage industry. As of 2011, the National Mortgage Licensing Registry and System (NMLS) is operational under the federal government. A requirement to maintain an NMLS license is 8 hours per year of continuing education (CE).

Options for CE are face-to-face or an online course. I received an offer for a discount price of $99.95 from “Kaplan Real Estate Education” and decided to go for it. Having taken CE courses for insurance and mortgage licensing for the last five years with no problems, it seemed like a good fit. The Kaplan NMLS CE course is divided into several sections. You view the material in one section and then take a 10-question quiz. You must get 100% on the quiz to proceed to the next section. If he gets 90% or less, he does it again until he gets 100%. This is very irritating. Then, when you finally get to the end of the eight-hour course (longer if you spend a lot of time on quizzes), there’s a 25-question final exam. Kaplan offers you two chances to score 75% or better on the exam. Some of the questions are worded differently from the material presented. Other questions ask for statistical historical information that has no educational value. OK, I’m making excuses for failing the exam twice! This is the first time in five years that I have had a problem with a CE exam. When I called to complain, Kaplan’s supervisor said I had to pay again, do another 8 hours of CE class, and then they’d let me take their stupid test twice more…with no certainty of getting a CE certificate. When I asked for a refund, I was told that they don’t give refunds.

A couple of days later a representative from Proschools called me to see if I wanted to take their CE course. The rep said they had a satisfaction guarantee. He also said that students rarely had trouble with the test and allowed unlimited attempts if necessary. The preschools were offering a discount that brought the cost to around $100 and I decided to give it a try. The material seemed to be geared a bit more towards useful information rather than arcane historical data. Proschools has a quiz after each section, but there were usually only two to four questions. This made it much easier to get 100% on the quiz. The quiz offered the option of a practice or a “final” mode. You have to take the “final” quiz, even if you get 100% in the practice mode which has the same questions. It’s best to skip practice and go straight to the “final” test. You have multiple opportunities for the final quiz if needed. Then came the dreaded final exam. The government requires the course provider to require a 70% or higher to pass. (Why does Kaplan require a 75%? So more people fail and have to repeat the course?) I was short on time and rushed through the exam in about five minutes. I got 24 out of 25 correct for 96%. Look, go smart!

From my experience this year I would suggest Proschools if you want an online course. Ask if they are offering any discounts and they will give you the code to use, if available. Of course, the quality of the course is much more important than a small difference in cost.

Real Estate

Two reasons why you should hire a real estate attorney

Whether you’re buying or selling a home, land, apartment building, or office space, the hoops and hurdles you have to navigate can be overwhelming. For basic transactions, a licensed agent can handle the paperwork and any other issues that may arise. However, for more complex deals and even some of the largest transactions, it is definitely worth the time and money to hire a real estate attorney. Lawyers who specialize in this field are able to offer their clients a level of service and security that an agent simply cannot match. These are two of the main reasons why you should hire a real estate attorney.

To discover any unknown problem

When you are in the process of buying or selling a property, there are basic questions that most people know to ask. Are there any hazardous or toxic materials such as asbestos present? When was the last time the plumbing, electrical wiring, and air conditioning systems were replaced? Is there termite damage? These are all physical issues, and a good agent and/or contractor can help you with the basics.

But what about more complex topics? Is the seller the real owner of the house or does he have a long-lost brother who actually owns half of it? Border disputes, mining or oil rights, and tax issues are all potential problem areas that a real estate attorney can explore and protect you from. Sellers incur less risk, but it’s still a good idea to hire an attorney. If you’re reluctantly selling a single family home, for example, you may want to know if the buyer is a real estate developer planning to tear down your home to build an apartment complex, as this could upset your decision to sell.

If you are buying for business reasons

Purchasing property for your personal use carries with it a host of potential risks. But buying one for commercial use, such as rental or retail space, comes with many, many more. One of the main problems for anyone dealing with commercial properties is understanding the complicated zoning laws. It may be zoned for a restaurant that sells takeout, but not for seated customers. In this case, you can have customers seated, but you cannot serve alcohol. Maybe it’s zoned to operate as a bar, but that stage in the back is useless because it’s not zoned for live music. If you plan to rent a house or apartment, you’ll need help drafting a legally binding lease. If you have bad tenants, it will help navigate the maze of evictions, property damage by tenants, and any other possible problems. A real estate attorney can help guide you through all of this and more.

Real estate attorneys can save you from the stress and anxiety that big transactions inevitably bring. They can help uncover any potential issues with your buyers or sellers, and even the property itself. They can also help you handle any issues related to the business use of your new property. Hiring a real estate attorney can save you time and money.

Real Estate

Tax HELP for Independent Contractors

Entrepreneurs and freelancers who want to maximize their personal income tax deductions would do well to remember the acronym HELP when filing taxes. It stands for Home Office + Equipment + Logbook + Postage, four of the best ways for independent contractors to reduce their taxable income.

home office deductions

If you don’t maintain a store or office for your business, you may be entitled to deduct a portion of the rent for your house or apartment, plus heat, electricity, and other household expenses at tax time. To qualify, you’ll need to move from the dining room table to a spare room designated for business use only. No folding sofas for house guests, off-season storage of holiday decorations, or other non-commercial use in a tax-deductible home office.

Inventory storage space also qualifies for the home office deduction, so if you use a room in your house just for inventory, you could also get a tax deduction. Household services would not be part of the deduction if this storage unit is not located within your living space.

To take the home office deduction you will need to know the square meters of your house, as well as those of the office or storage room. The part of your home that is occupied by the office becomes the percentage of expenses that you can deduct at tax time. For example, if your bedroom is 10′ x 20′ (200 square feet) and your home has a total of 2,000 square feet, your office will take up 10% of the total space. That would make 10% of the shared household expenses deductible for the business.

In the event of a tax audit, it helps to have a photo of your office or storage space in use, as well as copies of all utility bills and receipts for expenses you deducted. Homeowners can deduct household expenses without depreciating their home.


Every piece of equipment needed to run your business is deductible, along with all the supplies you need to run that piece of equipment. Equipment purchases would include the tablet you buy to keep up with business when you’re out of the office, the camera or cell phone you put on your credit card and use to take photos of products and furniture for your home office . Even equipment converted from personal use to exclusive business use is deductible at current value.

Any business equipment you buy that has a life expectancy of two years or more and costs more than $75 will need to be included individually at tax time. Equipment supplies and small equipment purchases do not need to be itemized; these can be grouped together. Keep receipts for purchases of equipment and supplies with the rest of your income tax receipts; If you want to keep the original receipt with the warranty documents, a copy will do.


Entrepreneurs and small business owners often overlook the importance of recording car expenses and business mileage. This logbook has two purposes. You’ll get higher tax deductions and win IRS audits. If you don’t write down every mile driven for your small business, as well as actual car expenses, you could end up paying hundreds of dollars in income taxes that you don’t owe. This includes all business mileage done in the family car.

During the first year a vehicle is used for business, you can choose whether to deduct mileage or out-of-pocket expenses, as long as you use that car or truck 50% or more for business. Once you choose to deduct mileage, you can’t go on to deduct actual expenses. That’s why it’s important to add up your car payment, gas, oil, repairs, insurance, license, and other vehicle expenses that first year, before selecting mileage as your deduction. Which one is better will depend on how many miles you drive vs. your actual expenses.

Shipping costs

It’s amazing how many small business owners use stamps purchased with personal funds to mail their business invoices. It may seem easier when you tell the grocery store clerk to add that book of stamps to the total, but it’s a tax-deductible expense he’s letting slip through his fingers. Take the receipt and stamps, circle the amount paid, and post them in your office. You’ll reap the savings at tax time.

There you have it, real tax HELP for entrepreneurs. But don’t stop there, because almost everything you do on behalf of the business is deductible at tax time when you understand what the IRS allows. Whether you hire an accountant to do your taxes or prepare them yourself, every independent contractor should take the time to learn the basic IRS rules for small businesses. You will keep more money in your pocket and make it audit proof at the same time.

Real Estate

The Gift of the Wizards of O Henry: An Analysis According to Longinus Sublimy

To be honest, I don’t quite understand sublimity, because I was absent the day you initially discussed it. And that’s not a joke and this is a disclaimer, I won’t deny that even though I know you don’t appreciate disclaimers. But as far as my preliminary qualification is concerned, I still got this, sir.

The Gift of the Wizards is a story about a married couple, Jim and Della, who are having the biggest problem we all encounter in the Christmas season: what gift to give. It started with the sentence ONE DOLLAR AND EIGHTY-SEVEN CENTS, which eventually gives us the problem, which is obviously financial. Della doesn’t have enough money to buy Jim a present and vice versa, and the only precious thing they have is Della’s knee-length hair and Jim’s watch. So she took one last look at her hair lying flat in the mirror before selling it for $20, which makes her money $21.87, so she was able to buy Jim’s silver watch bracelet, which costs her $21. . She now goes home with short hair but with a gift in her hand and a smile on her face. She waited patiently at home for Jim to arrive and when he arrives her face has an unlikely expression as she sees her now short hair. And this reaction was justified by her opening the gift she gave him. It was a set of combs that she desperately wanted, but now she has no hair for them. And when she gives Jim her gift, he just sat on the couch because he sold his watch for the combs. And O. Henry being the person that he is, he ended it in a peculiar way. They sighed and Jim decided to just eat dinner and keep the gifts they gave each other. And as the narrator concludes that they are the true Magi, that they are the Magi that are in the Bible (the Three Magi), in the end everyone is smiling and satisfied.

The first rule of sublimity is the Greatness of Thought that is established in the story itself, from the structure to its meaning. The story presented us with the problem and the situation from the beginning, literally. And he had us all the way to the end wondering how foolish the characters have been for missing the opportunity to use the gifts they received to give gifts, but leaving us comparing these characters to the wise men of the Bible, because they were wise enough to sacrificing the things that are precious to them just to have something for the most precious possession they have: others.

The second rule is the capacity for strong emotions. What greater emotion is there than love that can be shown and talked about? The whole story is a real manifestation of how love makes us sacrifice ourselves and how love is not for us but for the person we love. It shows how they loved each other, when she lost her hair and he lost her watch and when she did that to give him a doll for her watch and when he did that to buy her combs. It was never just for her or him, it was for both of them.

Real Estate

Want to know how an appraiser extracts offsets for an in-ground pool?

I just pulled comparable sales on a house with an in-ground pool. The home is a split entry home with two bedrooms on the upper level and two bedrooms in the basement. This is what the appraiser will want to prove.

First, what are the sales in the immediate market area? Are there homes with similar design and curb appeal, square footage, and number of bedrooms? What about houses with swimming pools as a theme?

The first round of comparable sales will be selected to support the immediate area. The appraiser will pull comparable sales that match square footage, design and curb appeal, and number of bedrooms based on lot size. If the appraiser can find a home in the area that has sold within a year and offers similar square footage with similar amenities, then great, the appraiser will use this as a fourth comparable sale to support the in-ground pool. This will provide support for both the same type of home as the inground pool.

If there are no sales in the immediate area with similar services, the appraiser will search outside the immediate area. Your goal will be to find the same characteristics with homes that offer a general age and quality level similar to those of the subject. If the appraiser feels that the sale with an in-ground pool is not similar to the house, he will not use it. It’s best to use a home with similar square footage and layout with the same amenities.

If there are no pool sales, the market area will be expanded until one is found that supports the pool. So what is more important, the in-ground pool or the location? In most cases, the location will trump the inground pool. If a group is outside the market area, it must have some other similarities to be truly comparable to the subject. For example, if the subject is a split-entry house and offers two bedrooms, a two-bedroom house or a two-bedroom house may be acceptable.

If the market is considered stable and there is not much activity, an older sale with an in-ground pool will be acceptable. If the market is really fluctuating, this may not be the case. It will just depend on each comparable sale.

In this case, I used two sales to support the immediate market area. It is important to support the split entry design. I used two sales to support the design and appeal. Even if they are outside the immediate area, they at least offer homes of similar desirability, which is important in most cases. I considered two indents and used one indent to support the inground pool. In this case, they offered a different layout, but the same number of bedrooms.

It turned out that the inground pool added some value to the item (about $12,000). But here is the trick.

The pool installation cost $20,000 or more, probably the owner still hasn’t collected the full cost of the pool. So if you can get the pool installed and use it over the years, it may be worth it, but never, ever install an in-ground pool and think it will increase the value of your home.

Turns out this house was going to the FHA. There is a huge misconception about safety and in-ground pools. I talked to two HUD government employees about the inground pool. One in California and one in Alaska. No, I repeat, they require the pool to be fenced or covered with a safety cover if your local area (city or county) does not require it.

The only requirements they have is that the pool is filled with water and in good working order. Both HUD government employees told me that if they are approved by the city or county, they will pass the FHA requirements. If the appraiser thinks the in-ground pool is a safety hazard (children and adults drowning in the pool), the lender can override the appraisal condition and finance the loan, unless the city requires the pool to be fenced .

Real Estate

Awakening to the existence of the dangers of electromagnetic radiation

Many sources of man-made electromagnetic radiation have been shown to contribute to today’s health problems. The highest level of electromagnetic radiation hazards is caused by the saturation of our personal and public environment by radio frequency (RF) microwave radiation.

A shocking fact is that wireless technology, especially Wi-Fi, has never been tested since its inception in 1997. Wi-Fi has not been tested due to the fact that it uses an unlicensed part of the radio spectrum. As long as basic interference and compatibility requirements were met, consumers could purchase Wi-Fi devices.

This is also true for the full switch to digital television broadcasts. No health hazard testing has been done here, even though it is 250 times stronger than the previous analog signal.

Several German doctors wrote to President Obama and Congress to ask the US to stop the introduction of DTV (Digital Television) due to the negative health effects that had taken place in their country.

Unfortunately, there is more, related to cell phones and the location of cell towers. According to the Telecommunications Act of 1996, no state or local government can regulate where cell phone towers are placed, based on the “environmental effects” of radio frequency radiation, as long as these towers follow “safety guidelines”. “from the FCC.

In the meantime, we have cell phone towers located in school buildings, in parks, and in neighborhoods. Basically, they can be placed anywhere the telecommunications industry wants because they have never been tested for their health effects.

To truly understand the dangers of electromagnetic radiation to our physical, mental, and emotional health, it is essential to understand the basics of how wireless and digital technology works.

First we need to know about the type of signals that are used. All radio wave signals were transmitted in analog format before digital technology arrived. In its most basic definition, an analog signal is unmodulated, meaning that it moves through the air in a sine wave. This type of wave moves up and down in a continuous rhythmic manner, which is the way energies flow in nature. This makes them harmless to us because it is a natural flow of energy.

However, a digital signal is a modulated radio wave, which is an unnatural pulsed artificial ‘square wave’ that emits microwave radiation. Pulsed signals are enabled (1) or disabled (0). Cell phones, digital TV broadcasts, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, cell phone towers, and all other wireless technologies work this way. This is where we have the biggest health threat.

With this type of wave, the power of the radio goes up and down from high power to low power. The data transmission, part modulated, is of low frequency and very high power. It operates on the same frequency (3-25 Hz) as the human biologically active range. This is where it can mess up everything from brain processes to hormone production to cell repair.

The AUVA (Austrian General Accident Insurance Institute) Report of July 2009 confirmed that electromagnetic radiation from mobile phones damages the brain, nervous system and immune system and caused changes in protein synthesis, leading to increased DNA breakage rates. This report also found that children and young people were highly susceptible to the dangers of electromagnetic radiation because they are still growing, developing, and reproducing cellularly.

And here we are in the midst of this eco-pollution, suffering its effects and very few are aware of its existence.

Real Estate

How to get a good condo unit in Singapore for homestay or investment

Many properties are being built in Singapore, construction started in the fourth quarter of 2009. This is due to the new Singapore Integrated Resort, Amusement Park and Casino, completed in 2010. There is also the new double helix bridge that joins with the Super Trees to be planted on the new and renovated front of the marina.

New launch units good for homestay include verdana villas, estri villas, cyan, tri-light. These have 2 and 3 bedroom penthouses and penthouses which is ideal for a family of 3 and 4.

Get the units of choice at the lowest psf prices.

1. Pre-launch

The developers will provide pre-launch prices in order to sell the first units. As such, buyers can be found lining up the night before to get the choice units they want. Typically, buyers will hand over a check to an agent company that will handle the transaction for them. The purchase is always made through a marketing company who, with the right contacts, can obtain discounted prices.

2. Talking to the developer about the price

Even if you’ve missed the pre-launch, it’s still possible to get $25 psf off unit prices. Especially if you plan to get a 4-bedroom unit or a penthouse, one of the larger units, developers can often be flexible. 2 bedrooms are often hotly contested, especially units that are away from the setting sun to the WEST.

3. Subscribe to mailing lists

If you are interested in investment properties, then it is a good idea to sign up for the mailing lists to stay informed about new property launches. You can then have time to plan your finances and decide earlier if getting a unit is right for your current situation.

Real Estate

Property Management 101 – Rental Property Brand

From a property management point of view, branding covers the personal branding of property managers. This includes signage (office and street signs), the office, the website, profiles, uniforms, brochures, window cards, and the properties they are renting.

If a home is not well presented it will reflect on the property manager and owner as well as the real estate business and will not attract the desired tenants. While some homeowners understand this and keep their homes well presented, others don’t see the relevance.

I always suggest that our owners, when possible, stop by or visit their property at least once a year. Things like faded paint, overgrown trees, leaning fences, etc. really put tenants off and your investment becomes ‘the rent’ on the street. It can also mean the difference between good tenants and not-so-desirable ones applying for your property.

Most repairs and upgrades are tax deductible and actually prevent higher maintenance costs. Your tenants will also appreciate the upgrades that ensure tenants stay longer, minimizing costs and giving you security. You may also consider that tax depreciation will guarantee higher tax returns on your investment.

It would also be worth considering some internal work between tenants. He may consider painting the entire property, changing the carpeting or window fixtures, re-tiles, or even stain the hardwood floors. All these items are really difficult to do with the tenants of the house. It’s hard to predict how long someone will live in your property, and no one wants to move a big tenant for renovations. Simply doing one of these things between tenants at each move can increase your rental income.

While a good property manager will tell you about this, sometimes it’s helpful to see for yourself so you can make an informed decision about routine maintenance and future preventative or upgrade maintenance. Ask them to help you with quotes, hire dealers, organize key collection and even pay bills on your behalf.

I believe there are three types of maintenance on your investment property:

1. Routine Repairs: These are common, wear and tear items. Routine repairs can be leaky faucets, broken air conditioners, or a garage door that won’t roll smoothly.

2. Emergency repairs: These are unexpected and usually require immediate repair. Emergency repairs include hot water systems splitting/bursting, a gas leak, pipes backing up or bursting, or property security.

3. Future repairs: This is your long-term list of things to do when you have the money or between tenants. Future repairs include things like carpet replacement and painting as noted above.

There is also another side to consider. Don’t spend so much that you have no income. While it’s lovely to make everyone happy, it’s still an investment, so you don’t need to do all the bells and whistles.

Did you know that you can attend a routine inspection of your property? It might be worth considering.

Real Estate

real estate

Many beginning real estate investors start out selling real estate to make a quick buck. If you want to make more money investing in real estate, you need to know a few essentials.

What is the definition of real estate flipping?

Simple definition: buying a property and quickly reselling it, hoping to make a big profit. Typically, people think of selling houses, or buying and selling a house quickly, as the only way to make money selling real estate. However, some investors specialize in other types of real estate, such as land or shopping malls.

Some confusion arises about the process of making money selling properties. People who specialize in finding bargain real estate, obtaining a purchase contract, and then selling the contract before taking title to the property are known as “Bird Dogs.” These beginning real estate investors start with no down payment by:

  • Finding a seller under stress with a bargain property
  • Secure a sales contract
  • Sell ​​your contract for approximately $500 to $5,000 to an experienced real estate investor

Isn’t it illegal to sell real estate?

Flipping real estate is not illegal. However, many unscrupulous investors committed mortgage fraud to make a quick buck. Some of these investors, working with mortgage brokers and appraisers, resold homes to unqualified buyers by inflating property values ​​and homebuyer ratings. Often these home purchases had little or no money to start with. When these new homeowners defaulted on their mortgage, mortgage lenders lost money because the house wasn’t worth the inflated purchase price.

To avoid legal problems in the sale of real estate, do not commit mortgage fraud.

To make money selling real estate:

1. Prepare your financing so you can close a deal quickly.

2. Know your market so you know what makes a good business.

3. Find a bargain property owned by a seller under stress to sell.

4. Secure a sales contract in your favor.

5. During escrow, plan your selling actions.

6. Close the property on time.

7. Immediately put your sales plan into action. If the property needs fixing, be prepared to do it right away.

8. Market your property to your target market. Don’t just list the property and hope for the best.

9. Find a qualified buyer. Have a loan officer verify that your buyer meets all mortgage requirements.

10. Stay legal. Don’t use an inflated appraisal. Don’t give your buyer the down payment. Don’t help your buyer create fake W2s, write fake letters of credit, or prepare fake documents. You can pay many of your buyer’s closing costs to make the purchase easier.

You can make money selling real estate. Buy low, sell for full market value, avoid mortgage fraud and enjoy your profits!

Copyright © Jeanette J. Fisher

Real Estate

Ask the old RF curmudgeon: “What about RF interference from LED fixtures?”

As for your observation of the LED transmitter, I only have a UHF two-way radio in my car, so I haven’t noticed the “LED effect” on the high VHF band. We have a lot of LED traffic lights in my area, so part of the equation is in place. And don’t forget all those red LEDs in car taillights now. I also haven’t noticed any LEDs directly on FM broadcast channels, including IBOC stations, but that’s more of a reflection that we have such strong broadcast signals in my area of ​​the country.

In response to your other comment, yes, the FCC doesn’t give a damn about the RF spectrum or its purity. I believe that this trend started more than a decade ago and is driven by two deeply entrenched political positions within the Commission. First, they really want to get out of the enforcement business. They don’t get major points or funding from Congress for running the Office of Field Enforcement (or whatever it’s called now), spectrum enforcement is a bottomless pit for them, and it’s a never-ending task. They prefer to auction off the spectrum and say to the happy buyer, “Keep *your* bands clean! We’re outta here!”

The second is the deeply ingrained regulatory notion that “cellular broadcasting” with its simultaneous frequency reuse is the highest and best use of the spectrum. If you use cellular, you don’t have to worry too much about the ambient noise level since the transmitters are always quite close to the users. The cellular regulatory model works not only in public land mobile telephony, but also in private land mobile telephony (where it is very difficult to obtain new PLMRS licenses for large area stations on top of mountains or major towers, and if you get a over most stations then you can run “walkie talkie” power levels. And on broadcast (LPFM and LPTV, which also conveniently use all available channel slots). And on unlicensed consumer Part 15 wireless LANs.” Et cetera, etcetera, etcetera, as the King of Siam would say.

I don’t know if you got it at the time, but a few years ago, the Commission introduced an NPRM proposing to *allow* sources of interference on licensed channels (in this case, microwaves), using a concept known as “Interference Temperature! ” The idea was that the “smart radios” at the source of the jammer would “know” when the source had gone a bridge too far and then turn off. Lacking that degree of equipment capability on the part of jammers, the channel licensee could always monitor and yell when the measured “jamming temperature” exceeded set limits.

The industry quickly dropped that idea *^@(&^!

So, spurred on by these two philosophical points, the Commission now says, “Please go ahead and trash the spectrum with lots of low-power, unlicensed devices, power lines that rattle, power meters that screech, high-speed digital logic with time femtosecond switching (I exaggerate, but not by much!), screeching LEDs – we don’t care, and we don’t enforce the law here in Dodge City anymore!

As soon as some clever businessman discovers a use for the 4 Kelvin cosmic microwave background radiation, it too will be quickly licensed and eventually auctioned off.

You and I, being veterans of this art and science, understand what an invaluable resource the RF spectrum represents and we respect it and do what we can to keep it in good working order. The Commission, especially in recent years, has been run and managed by lawyers, economists and politicians who do not know the physics behind electromagnetic transmission, have none of the “vision” for future non-economic uses for which the spectrum silent could be used, and they consider the spectrum mainly as an exploitable economic good. What would you expect?

Adding to this outrage, there is too much transfer of communications from wired to wireless modes today. Most people don’t really need a “belly button web service”. Now my eleven-year-old granddaughters have their own cell phones. Give me a (&#%[email protected]& break!

Many, many services could be provided well and cheaply over cable, if only we had a universal fiber broadband network in this country. But that is another failure of the Commission on the “vision issue.” The Asians and perhaps the Europeans will “clean our clocks” only with this failure.

So, sayonara RF spectrum, my dear old love! I will always remember you as you were in those distant days when you were still young, fresh and beautiful.