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Snowbirds Leasing Luxury Apartments for Rent in Orlando Year Round

We like the Orlando area close to Clear Lake. We go there in the winter. We have been renting apartments on six month leases that are furnished. We never had been very happy about that. We thought that investing in a motorcoach was a waste because we go to the same place each year. When looking for newer apartments for rent in Orlando, we found the Murano that is opening in 2016. We were thinking of renting year round and maybe coming down more than just in the winter.

Our store is up north. We have been used to summers in the northeast. They are not as hot as Florida. However, we have been liking it warmer rather than cooler. The heat feels great on my bones. Instead of just going through the hoops to lease a place for a winter stay each year, we looked at the costs of keeping one of these luxury apartments for rent in Orlando year round.

Top 10 real estate website portals in India

Here is a list of top 10 real estate property website portals in India.













Land Trusts Made Simple

Much has been written about land trusts. What are they? What do they accomplish? Why would anyone go to the trouble or expense of using a land trust?

A trust is nothing more than a piece of paper. With this legal document (known as a TRUST AGREEMENT) you transfer the ownership of property to a TRUSTEE. A trustee can be a friend, business associate or institution (i.e. a bank, title company or law firm). The trustee technically “owns” the property and is shown as the owner of record at the county seat.

However, the trustee cannot do anything with the property unless directed to do so by the BENEFICIARY. The beneficiary of the trust agreement is usually the person who put the property into trust to begin with. The identity of the beneficial owner is held privately, protected from the public eye in the Trust Agreement which is not a public record. The beneficiary retains the right to full management and control of the property. The trustee executes deeds, mortgages or otherwise deals with the property at the written direction of the beneficiary. The beneficiary collects rents (if the trust holds title to rental property), improves and operates the property and exercises all rights of ownership other than holding or dealing with the legal title. When the beneficiary dies, the trust does not cease (or die with him/her). The trust continues on for the benefit of the SUCCESSOR BENEFICIARY.
As a result of this almost continuous life, a trust by-passes probate upon the beneficiary’s death. Thus giving privacy to the transfer of assets after death. Trusts can hold real estate, notes, options, mortgages, or leases.

The cornerstone of asset protection is financial privacy. Financial privacy begins with not making public the extent of your holdings. Trusts provide privacy by taking ownership of assets out of your name (or preventing them from going into your name to begin with) and keeping you out of the “public eye.” If someone does get a judgment against you, they cannot levy against your trust.

There are numerous types of “trusts” that have been used in our country over the last 200 years. In fact, LAND TRUSTS and the law behind them followed the settlers over from England. Almost 500 years ago in medieval England, land trusts were used by the common man, “serfs”, to protect their property rights from those who were in power at the time. Trusts served not only to protect assets, but also to avoid taxes and laws of descent. Even though King Henry VIII tried to bypass the use of trusts (to prevent serfs from holding title to property in “trust” and avoiding the responsibilities of land ownership), the medieval courts of England (and most courts since) have upheld the use of land trusts and the rights of their beneficiaries.

This report will concentrate on the unique benefits of using land trusts. Other types of trusts such as: Testamentary, Inter-Vivos and Business Trusts will not be explained here due to the limited space available.

Land and the improvements built upon land have been the most exposed evidence of wealth since man began accumulating assets. Imagine walking out to your mailbox one breezy Saturday morning and finding a letter from a local shyster (contingent fee lawyer). The gist of the letter is that you are being sued for 1.2 million dollars because one of your tenants in your 10 unit apartment building was broken into, robbed and beaten by an assailant. The negligence claim against you includes pain, suffering, medical bills, legal fees, loss of income, personal property replacement, and perhaps long term disability payments. How can you protect yourself from unwarranted lawsuits? Read on, serf.

Now, just because you have put your apartment building into a land trust doesn’t mean that you won’t get sued. But, let’s analyze what protection a land trust affords the landowner and how this type of ownership could slow down the legal eagles swarming around your assets.

First, in a land trust, you do not hold the title to the property (as is typically done by most property owners). Your Trustee is the “owner” and therefore, his/her/it’s name appears on the local county registry as the owner of said 10 unit building. This is your first line of defense. NEVER OWN PROPERTY IN YOUR OWN NAME! (Unless it’s property you don’t mind losing–which may be an intentional move on your part).

The trust agreement (signed by both the trustee and the beneficiary) spells out the rights and duties of the parties involved. All the benefits, rights, and powers of ownership are retained by the beneficiary. Different types of property can be placed into a land trust including but not limited to; land, improvements, leasehold interests, options and a variety of personal property. The distinctive feature of the land trust is the separation of ownership from the rights of ownership. It must be emphasized that a trustee for a land trust is NOT an agent of the beneficiary in any sense under the law.

Once you have placed each of your properties (or individual assets—it doesn’t have to be real property) into its own individual trust, you have at least removed yourself from the public eye. Now, don’t thwart this move by bragging to all of your friends about the 10 unit building you own over on Main Street, USA. Keeping the knowledge of your assets private is your second step to concealment and therefore, protection from unwarranted litigation.

Beware! When you first acquire property is the time to place it directly into a trust. Do not put the property into your own name first! This way no record of an individual’s ownership exists in the public record. However, if your property is already in your name now, it’s still better to transfer the ownership into a trustee’s name then to leave it in your own name.

When placing your property into a land trust you will need the services of a trustee. The best trustee is a private individual that lives in a state other than yours and certainly lives in a state other than where the property is located.

The reason why you want each property in its own individual trust is for the utmost protection of each asset. Should someone get a judgment against you it will be much harder (and a lot more expensive) to attach each and every trust. If all of your assets are located in one trust, it’s a slam dunk for your opponent, once he gets his judgment against you. Remember, the name of this “game” is: delay, delay, delay and make it as difficult and expensive as possible on your adversary.

You might consider being the trustee for property owned by your out-of-state trustee, so you can help each other out—and save trustee fees. Now, when the gumshoe goes looking for the “owner” of the property to set his lawsuit in motion, he will have to find out who the beneficiary is. This process of looking for the real owner is one in which you want to put up as many obstacles as possible. You are trying to slow down the process and make it expensive to reach you and your assets.

Ultimately the property itself can be reached in a lawsuit (even with an out-of-state trustee), but your plan should be to stay as far away from the eye of the storm as possible so they don’t reach any of your other assets. A judgment lien levied against your individual 10 unit building is one problem. But, a judgment rendered against you–in your personal name, is a much worse situation.

Randy Hughes

(For more in depth information on Land Trusts go to:

How to Value Real Estate Companies

How to Value Real Estate CompaniesReal estate companies are unique, however, in terms of market valuation they can be a little difficult to understand. One tool you can use to help is the stock market. The stock market is one of the most dynamic markets in the world. There are a number of real estate companies that trade on the stock market. They are called REITs or Real Estate Investment Trusts.



Review the definition for a PE (Price to Earnings) ratio. A PE ratio is calculated by dividing the current price of a stock by the earnings for the stock.


Determine the PE ratio for your real estate company. Obtain the price from any stock market quote tool on the net or your broker and the earnings per share from the annual report or the company website under Investor Relations.enefits!


Compare the PE ratio to the average PE ratio for real estate companies. You can do this on most investment research sites.


Determine if your company is under- or overvalued. The company is undervalued if the PE ratio is below the industry average and overvalued if above the industry average.


Use the industry average to back into what the value of the real estate company is. Since the PE ratio is price divided by earnings, if you know the average PE ratio you can multiply this by the earnings per share to get the share price. Multiply this by the number of shares outstanding for the market value of the company.

How to Become a Real Estate Agent in Oklahoma

Become a Real Estate Agent in OklahomaGetting into the real estate market is a great way to make money and be your own boss. Real estate agents enjoy a high level of freedom at work, and are generally great at working with people. Each state has different requirements, and if you think that you would be a good real estate agent, you’ll need to complete various degrees of training and licensure to be able to legally practice in Oklahoma. With some hard work and training, you could begin your dream job as a real estate agent in Oklahoma.



Complete 45 hours of Part 1 of real estate education. This education must be completed with a licensed real estate school.


Take and pass a Provisional Sales Associate exam with at least a 50 percent grade. A PSA is legally allowed to work as an assistant to a licensed real estate agent. A PSA may not enter into any contracts in buying or selling homes.


Complete 45 hours of Part 2 of real estate education as a PSA within one year of receiving a PSA license.


Submit a Sales Associate application to the state to have the provisions removed from the license once the second phase of education has been completed. Application approvals are contingent upon a passing grade on a Part 2 real estate exam, and the application costs $60.


Complete at least 12 hours of additional instruction within three years of receiving your Sales Associate (Real Estate Agent) license to keep it current and valid.

Real Estate Salesperson License

To obtain a real estate salesperson license, you must first qualify for and pass a written examination. Those who pass the examination are provided a license application which must be submitted to and approved by the DRE.

This license is required of individuals who conduct licensed real estate activities as described in the Real Estate Lawunder the supervision of a licensed broker. A license may also be obtained by a person who does not immediately intend to be employed by a broker. However, a salesperson without an employing broker may not perform acts requiring a real estate license.

General Requirements
• Age: You must be 18 years of age or older to be issued a license.
• Residence: Proof of Legal Presence in the United States is required.
• Honesty: Applicants must be honest and truthful. Conviction of a crime may result in the denial of a license.

Failure to disclose any criminal violation or disciplinary action in an applicant’s entire history may also result in the denial of a license

Choosing the Right Window for the House

Most of the people rely on columbus windows contractors when it is about windows replacement. It’s because they have both the experience and skills. Today, window technology has improved extensively. The highest quality windows make the home more beautiful and energy efficient. Reliable contractors will recommend the best windows for the customers. There are many considerations people must consider when buying new windows, though. One thing, windows should withstand harsh weathers. Choosing the right windows for the house is compulsory.

Several Aspects to Inspect

If windows are broken bad, the only solution is to replace them. Otherwise, damaged windows can trigger more troublesome issues. First things first, people must check the condition of their wood windows. It can be done by tapping the frame to find out the condition. Decayed windows are easily penetrable. Buyers also need to determine their design, budget, and needs. Not to mention they must consider about window functions. Overall, buying windows requires a commitment.

The next thing to know is the window materials. Today, people can find various windows materials such as vinyl, aluminum, fiberglass, and wood. Usually, people choose wood frames as it’s the most versatile option. This type of frame requires a thorough maintenance, though. What makes it popular? Wooden windows give a classic look to the house. Also, they are original. The next popular choice is clad-frame windows. They combine vinyl and aluminum shell. Many constructions have used this type of windows recently.

Choosing the Right Glass

What about the glass? Well, it’s indeed an important aspect to think. People can find different types of window glass on the market. The contractors will help them with the options. In mild climates, single-panel glass is the most suitable choice. On the other hand, double panel windows are suitable for the cold season. It’s because the glass layers include a sealed air space. It helps reduce heat loss.

The best choice of window glass during a cold climate is triple-panel windows. They have krypton and argon gases seal. They are the best for insulation. Not to mention they can save heating bill more than a double-panel window. The thing is that they cost more than other types of window glass. Still, they are the best investment that people can make when it comes to replacing windows.

AC Repair Glendale AZ: Entrust Your AC System Problem to Morehart AC

1Are you confused to find air conditioning contractor in Arizona? It seems that you have to try AC repair Glendale AZ by Morehart AC if you encounter a problem on your AC system. Choosing the best service air-conditioning system is a very important thing for you if you want to get a full and professional service. Therefore, we really recommend you to use AC repair Glendale AZ by Morehart AC. Why you should choose Morehart AC as your best partner in dealing with the HVAC system in your home. There are several reasons that you should know about why you should use the services of our air conditioning repair.

2As we know, during the summer, Arizona can be very hot, so it is really important for you to check your AC system just in case there is a trouble on it. By using AC repair Glendale AZ by Morehart AC, you can make sure that your air conditioning system works well, so you will not panic again when summer comes. If you do not contact us, you will never know if your air conditioning system will still work during the summer comes. If this happens, then it will make you irritated and regretful because you do not do maintenance and repair earlier. Why should you trust AC repair Glendale AZ by Morehart AC while you have never tried our service? Let us tell about the features that we offer to our customers.

Full-Time Service

3Why do we call it a full-time service? The reason is because we offer all of our time to you if you have a problem with the air conditioning system at your home. AC repair Glendale AZ by Morehart AC can serve you for 24 hours for 7 days so you do not need to panic when you get your air conditioning system to be broken at midnight. We have specialists who are ready to work whenever you want. Isn’t this an interesting thing? You will probably never find air conditioning repair contractor as we offer to you, not only quality but Also time.

All AC System Service

4Not many companies that offer all air-conditioning system service in Arizona, some of them only offer repair and installation. However, you may think about our service that offers you the whole air conditioning system service Including Heating system service, Air Cooler system service, and Air duct system service. Also, we specialize in handling mini split air conditioning system service. In this case, if you want to save more money or save the power bill, so you can use a mini split air conditioner at your home. This is a kind of ductless mini air conditioning system which is suitable for small homes or small apartments. So, just simply contact AC repair Glendale AZ by Morehart AC now and get our best deals right away.

Reasonable and Final Price

You may thing about the hidden cost that we may ask, but there will be no hidden cost at all. Since we will discuss the price at the beginning when you want to use our services. Besides, the price or the cost of service we offer is also quite reasonable. It is just appropriate with the result that we will give you. However, you are no need to worry about the quality of our work, because we will always make sure everything is perfect and works well. Our technicians can handle any kinds of air-conditioning system problems due to their many years’ experiences. Just want to tell you that AC repair Glendale AZ by Morehart AC has been running for years, so you do not have to worry about our professionalism.

Those are some information about the features that we offer to you so that you can start to entrust your AC system problem to Morehart AC. You should not worry at all because we have told you that our company has been doing this job for many years. Our customers’ satisfaction becomes the priority where we have to make sure that you will have it.

In summary, now you know how important to check up your AC system before the summer comes. Therefore, you have to call AC repair Glendale AZ by Morehart AC that can handle any kinds of AC system problem at your homes. Don’t let your HVAC system broken, it is better to perform early maintenance anyway by using our service.


Make Your Home Energy Efficient With Vinyl Windows

Windows play a crucial role in grabbing attention of visitors and leaving an ever-lasting impression over them. They are responsible for a number of tasks from making the home beautiful to providing security to the inhabitants. When a home has a crowd more than usual, it may create suffocation because people will be inhaling oxygen from the surrounding and exhaling carbon dioxide along with other gases to make the environment more unpleasant. While in a closed room and the place is having many occupants, people will experience difficulty in breathing thus, making them to leave the place. So what should you do? First of all, you have to be sure about the major elements in the home i.e. doors, windows, internal environment etc. Windows tend to be the primary thing that you should think of replacing them. What sort of windows you must replace? Yes, vinyl windows! These windows will not only add aesthetic appeal to the home but also make it energy efficient and secure.


If you do not know the significance of replacing old windows with new ones, this article will try its level best to convince you since it is one of the crucial things when it comes to making your home a dream place to live in.

Windows are actually responsible for allowing natural light and fresh air to come inside so as to make the internal environment comfortable and healthy for the inhabitants. In daytime, you do not have to consume energy as sunlight is enough to maintain illusion inside the home. For this, you will need to install vinyl windows as they are energy efficient and can only draw the light, by keeping heat out of the place. Normally, old or traditional windows are made up of wood, they are not as efficient in maintaining temperature as you would have thought because their material does not work to restrict energy from entering the home. This ultimately increases energy bills in summer because air conditioners will have to work harder and consume more electric power to keep the environment cool. However, during winter, the vinyl windows will be quite useful in keeping the inside temperature warm, thus subtracting a few dollars from energy bills.

Due to the aforementioned facts, wood has become obsolete in modern construction sites and most of the window manufacturers have started to produce vinyl windows. Another reason of producing these windows is to adhere to Energy Efficiency Act that wants all windows to create a comfortable environment for the inhabitants. To find high quality windows, you can log on to and come up with various options that can satisfy your needs. You can even talk with their experts and explain your idea or problem to get the best solution. They will pay a visit to your home, analyze the situation along with the surroundings and plan the project. This way, you will get an appropriate quote with assurance that your project will be completed within the given period of time.

Moving into Your New Home? Choose the Right Windows First

When you are moving into a new house, you need to make sure that every little detail works out well. At times, this may mean a little addition or alteration to the current space. One of the points you need to check first is whether the windows of the house are in good condition and function properly. If they don’t, it’s time to replace them with new ones.

If you have decided to replace the old windows of your new home, you had better start at the basics. What kind of new window would suit your home? You need to have a clear idea about the pros and cons of the window types available before you make the choice.

Double hung windows are simple and stylish. Ideal for bedrooms, living spaces, and kitchens, these offer improved ventilation, ease of opening and closing, and add to the beauty of the space. They can also be made to open only at the top, thus making them a safer option for your kid’s room.

Simplicity in appearance makes double hung windows suit any aesthetic. Whether your home décor is traditional, rustic, modern, vintage, eclectic, or any other style, these windows can readily blend with it.

Casement windows are good for hard to fit places such as over the kitchen sink. With the proper hardware and axis, it is possible to install these to let in natural light and air with ease. Once fitted, they could freshen up a space as they can capture cross and side breezes. Opening and closing these windows is effortless too.

The energy-efficiency of this type of windows is also high; however, if the hardware is rusty or the panels are cracked, the threat of burglars may become very real. It is best to install new casement windows if the old ones aren’t in good condition.

Whatever type of windows you choose for your home in Mississauga, you need to focus on the quality of the materials and the standard of the installation. Get in touch with the windows Mississauga Company to help you with the details. Materials, style, colors, and such other points need to be decided upon before you order windows for your new home.

Contact Total Home Windows and Doors to get a clear idea about what types of windows are available, as well as the advantages and disadvantages of each type. This would help you make the right choice.

Hassle-Free Carpet Cleaning Peoria AZ

A home with a carpet is quite comfortable. It’s also beautiful to put a carpet in the living room. However, the owners should clean it appropriately. When it is about carpet cleaning, people are into the idea of hiring a carpet cleaning Peoria AZ service. Why? They don’t have enough time to do such kind of job. DIY carpet cleaning is both tiring and time-consuming, in fact. The cleaning task becomes more troublesome if the carpet is too dirty and large. This leaves only an option that is to hire a professional carpet cleaning service. Using the help of an expert will ensure the cleanliness and quality of the carpet.


People Avoid the Troubles

People have different reasons why they hire a carpet cleaning service. Some of them consider it as a more efficient and faster solution to clean their carpet. A large and dirty carpet will take much time of cleaning. They don’t want to involve into such tough and time-wasting job. That’s why they prefer hiring an expert rather than cleaning it by themselves. They can rely on the professional for an effective and fast carpet cleaning. What they need to do is to call a reliable service and everything will be taken care without minutes or hours. There are many cleaning companies to hire in Arizona. People should choose the best one.

There’s also a reason related to the cost. Most people think that they can save money by cleaning their carpet by themselves. They are definitely wrong. DIY carpet cleaning often ends up in damages. This means the owners should spend more money to deal with those problems. They don’t have appropriate cleaning products and technique. Wrong cleaning agents may damage the carpet and it costs more money to fix the problems. This kind of risk won’t happen if they hire a professional carpet cleaner. Why? They have years of experience to deal with any types of carpet problems. Their techniques are unquestioned.


Hiring a Carpet Cleaning Company

Next reason why people like to hire a carpet cleaning Peoria AZ service is the convenience. Things have changed today. People don’t need to carry their carpets to the cleaning center. The cleaning companies will come to their house to take the carpet from the customers instead. This means people only need to make an appointment with a particular cleaning company beforehand. Everything will be done professionally by those experts. Due to the convenience, people can save much of their energy and time. Not to mention carpet cleaning companies are quite reliable. They have professional cleaners and they deal with any types of cleaning services.

What about the quality? It’s important to pay attention to how well carpet cleaning companies handle their job. Most of them are efficient and fast when it comes to cleaning carpets. They will do their task in a timely manner, too. However, the customers should conduct a small research before hiring a particular cleaner. Not all companies provide a satisfying result. With the help from the experts, the carpet can be more durable and beautiful. It’s cost-effective as customers don’t need to spend money on the cleaning equipment and agents.

There are many cleaning carpet companies out there. How can people determine the best one? It can be quite daunting for those who never hire a cleaning service before. The most important thing is that the companies should use safe products so there won’t be any damages on the carpets. This means there’s no risk of hazards after the cleaning that may affect the environment and people’s health. Next, the companies should know how to handle many types of carpet problems including moisture, stain, dust, and more. They are the experts, after all. That means they have the experience and techniques to eradicate those troubles.

A reliable carpet cleaning Peoria AZ service always performs their job in a timely manner. They are efficient and trustworthy. People only need to relax and wait for the job done by the professionals. Quality Master Carpet Care is one of the most famous cleaning companies in Phoenix, Arizona. They handle many types of jobs including tile cleaning, repair, carpet cleaning, and more. They are affordable and they work better when compared to other companies. Not to mention they have been in this industry for years.

Looking for the Best Custom Drywall Phoenix Contractor

What do people modify their house? The answer is simple. They want to put an improvement for the home. There are many ideas when it is about home improvement. For example, a custom drywall Phoenix installation can make their house more beautiful. It’s an important feature of home improvement, but many people often overlook it. What is custom drywall, exactly? It’s the section that serves to hide wiring and insulation. This makes the house neat and tidy. When it comes to installing custom drywall, the help from a professional is a must. This is due to the reasonable charge and warranty of the companies.


Why Do People Need a Contractor?

Hiring a professional contractor to perform such kind of installation is quite daunting. There are many available contractors in Phoenix. It takes the time to find the best one, for sure. The first thing to know is to get familiar with those contractors. People need to gather information and reference of custom drywall installation either from friends or families. Each contractor has different quality and technique to perform their job. That’s why customers need to weigh and compare those contractors before recruiting. The internet helps them review those companies, actually. It becomes simpler to get quotes and information from a home remodel companies. Thanks to the technology.

Professional and reliable contractors should have a license, after all. This is an important qualification to ensure the customers’ satisfaction. Companies that have a license and insurance are safer as they will perform a proper installation with a lesser risk of liabilities. How can people recognize these companies? A site like BBB is quite handy to find out the reliability of a company. People can evaluate the contractors’ professionalism by using that site. If they hire a contractor that has no license, there’s no warranty of both safety and satisfaction. This means the corporation won’t take the responsibility for any liabilities that occur.

A custom drywall Phoenix is quite helpful when it is about renovating and remodeling a house. The installation is intricate so people need to get help from the experts. To put it simply, a custom drywall installation is something that they can handle easily by themselves. Professional contractors have the expertise in painting, drywall, and carpentry. They help the customers take care of any related tasks with a minimum risk. It’s a customized project. That means the installation would be different from each house. Which company is the best? People only need to gather some options of general contractors before choosing the one that they need.


What Should People Consider?

When it is about hiring a contractor, people should pay attention both to the reputation and experience. Some companies fail to deliver excellent projects and they make the customers disappointed. Reliable contractors have years of experience. They have taken care of many different projects so people can rely on their expertise. How much is it? When it is about the cost, each custom drywall service is different. Some people are looking for cheap contractors in order to save much money. However, quality comes with the price. Great companies are more expensive, after all.

Builders bids vary from one to each other. Customers need to research these before hiring a particular contractor. Some people are into cheap contractors while others use the best one for a more expensive price. The next thing to consider is their staffs. How long have they been in this industry? Experience comes as an important qualification in choosing a good company. No one wants to hire a contractor that is incapable of handling intricate custom drywall installation. Ask them whether they can provide the best team for their customers or not. Never sacrifice the satisfaction to unreliable companies.

It’s also important to get the timeline. Many people expect a custom drywall Phoenix installation to be finished no more than a month. Not all contractors are able to fulfill that demand. The best companies will finish the job within days or week. They will tell the clients beforehand regarding how long the project may take. This means customers need to establish a fixed timeline with that company as a contract. If it is about reliable contractors in Phoenix, people can choose Thunderbird Custom Design. Why? This company has a specialization in both custom media walls and drywall.

Amazing Landscaping Concept from Custom Landscaping Peoria AZ Agape Turf

Having a wonderful landscape around the house is a dreaming for most people in Peoria, Arizona. Landscape can make our house environment looks alive and fresh, since it mostly uses combination concept between modern and natural. There are many ideas of landscaping concept that you may apply on your backyard and front yard. However, in creating such a good landscape, you should entrust a company who has professionals to handle it. In this case, you may use Custom Landscaping Peoria AZ service to decorate your yard.

Agape Turf is one of the most popular and reputable custom landscaping company which offers good concept in creating such a wonderful landscape at your backyard or front yard. We install some landscaping concepts like artificial grasses, pavers for driveways and patio, and build a custom barbeque pits.

A6rtificial grass by Custom Landscaping Peoria AZ has some adorable concepts and designs which can be applied on your backyard. We offer Blended Bermuda grasses and Libra. Bermuda style has two types concept with 70 oz and 80 oz. Bermuda 70 oz has deep green artificial grass as well as Bermuda 80 oz. Meanwhile, Libra also offers two types concept with 65 oz and 80 oz. This artificial grass used in Libra is light green. The Bermuda 70 and Libra 65 also use the same brown thatch design to make it look more natural.

What is the benefit having such an artificial grass at your yard? As we know, actual grass needs water to grow. Therefore, if you use actual grass to decorate your yard it may cost more money to fertilize the grass. In fact, artificial grass does not need it. Since, it is just a synthetic turf which does not need watering. In addition, it also comes with manufacturer warranty, so you are no need to worry about the quality.

Agape turf also has a license as a proof that our company is registered and has many experiences to manage any landscaping. We will always make sure that your artificial grasses are long lasting. Our grasses are pet friendly, lead free and UV protected providing a safe and durable lawn. Custom Landscaping Peoria AZ is ready for first base preparation until installation. We also give maintenance for keeping your artificial grass remains clean and fresh. By removing everything on the yard, it makes us ready to install the turf for your better custom landscaping. And we always give our best service and give warranty to the customers.

7Paver for driveways and patio can also be handled by the experts of Custom Landscaping Peoria AZ. We use special material for the paver which is very strong and tight. You can also choose some textures we offer for the proper design and can be adjusted with your front yard nuance. Actually, you can see the samples of pavers showed on our gallery on the website. See some of those examples for you to get inspiration. Instead of for driveways, the paver can also be applied around your fire pit are, patio, outdoor kitchen, sitting area, and walkways.


8Making your backyard landscaping look good is our expertise. What if you have such an outdoor kitchen at your backyard? Well, it sounds wonderful anyway, since this concept of kitchen is exclusive. You may see some samples of outdoor kitchen in our gallery. There are some kitchens which are designed with open space. It has not roof and wall, but it seems pretty fresh and natural due to plants growing around the kitchen. The kitchen appliance used is just like the common as it is used indoor. It has no difference look from the actual kitchen by the way. The most amazing kitchen showed in the gallery is built around a swimming pool. It is also completed with nice dining table and chairs which make it look like indoor kitchen. Thus, the whole outdoor kitchens also have nice scenery and nuance by combining several accents like brown, white, green, metallic, and silver.

In summary, Custom Landscaping Peoria AZ by Agape Turf can be the best contractor for your front and back yard custom landscaping design. We prioritize perfection for designing any yards with artificial grasses or other landscape which could create harmony between modernity and nature. You don’t need to worry because we have a lot of hands which are fulfilled by creativity. Now, you can contact us immediately for reservation, or you can consult with us first to get more information.

Having Some Professionals from Chimney Sweep Glendale AZ by Goldens Good Air

A good house is sometimes completed and designed with chimney. This chimney has function as a heater using fire which is already used for centuries. Having chimney at home is kind of unique idea, but it is sometimes bothering us because it is easy to get dirty. Since, chimney uses fire and wood which can leave some dust and charcoals. And you must clean them up regularly, but it takes time and makes you tired somehow. Thereby, you probably can ask cleaning service as a contractor to handle your chimney. Chimney Sweep Glendale AZ may be the best choice for this matter anyway.

In Glendale, Arizona, there are a lot of cleaning services which offer you chimney sweep. Chimney Sweep Glendale Az does not only offer you chimney sweep, but also chimney repairs. We are one of the most reputable chimney cleaning Service Company called Goldens Good Air that can be the best choice for any chimney sweep and repairs in Glendale. Goldens Good Air is an Arizona certified chimney sweep service which offers not only cleaning up, but also offers some repairs and maintenance. And we have been running this cleaning service business since many years ago.

By cleaning up your home chimney regularly, it may help to protect your home against house fires and chimney damage. Thus, you will have no worry anymore and always feel safe. Chimney sweep Glendale AZ by Goldens Good Air offers you full-service of chimney sweep done by some professionals which already have a lot of experiences for many years. Therefore, you should not worry about Chimney sweep Glendale AZ service, because we will give our best to solve your chimney problem.

How do we work in order to handle any home chimneys? Well, before doing some cleaning up, the first thing that we have to do is to inspect your home chimney. By inspecting it, our professionals will understand how to handle it correctly. Why do you need to sweep you home chimney? There are some things happened in your chimney that make it looks so dirty and bad. Birds may build a nest above your chimney where you cannot see it, or a spider web which block the chimney hole.

This may be only a small number of disturbance inside your chimney, there are another things such as black dust and charcoals which stick on its wall. The dust can also cover your inside your home. Moreover, when your chimney hole is blocked by something, it can make the dust and smoke get inside the house. Therefore, you need regular chimney sweep by contacting Chimney sweep Glendale AZ, at least 1-2 times a year.

Our company, Goldens Good Air, is a good choice for your chimney problem. Inspection may be needed before cleaning up. Or when we start to clean up and find some problem, we are also able to repair it. You may still question our professionalism and experience. Thus, you may ask our customers who have already got our service. All of them feel satisfied with our cleaning up and repairs service. Since, our professionals have been cleaning up thousands chimney in Glendale, Arizona. Most of them know who we are and how we work.

Our existence is really helping the people in Arizona, especially for the people who still utilize chimney at their home. Instead of cleaning and repairs, we also offer some installation. In this case, additional feature may be needed for your chimney such as chimney caps installation which can make you safer, or a damper with energy saving. Damper inside the chimney caps which can give you some benefits like energy efficient, keeps animals out of the chimney, preventing odors, Made of cast-aluminum and stainless steel, and can be operated easily from inside the firebox.

At last, suppose you want to try Chimney sweep Glendale Az service, you can call us now. We will serve you with care because customer is our priority. Thereby, you may no need to worry about our works and service. Our experiences what make us professional. We are a company which has expertise in handling the problem of your chimney. Cleaning up and repairs can be done perfectly by our professional’s hand without leaving dirt anymore. Giving the best is becoming our key of success. Since, Chimney sweep Glendale AZ by Goldens Good Air prioritizes good service for the customers. Handling with care may become our slogan which can give us spirit to work.

The best way To Choose a Moving company

Locating a great mover could be a mind-boggling activity, however by browsing here at this process could be made a little bit simpler.

House Movers in Malaysia can help reduce costs. Their website provides advice and suggestions on deciding on the best moving service and steering clear of swindles.

Counsel of friends, co-workers and community real estate professionals can help men and women find moving businesses having offices close to their residence.

Prior to selecting a good moving service it is very important get an in-person estimate of precisely how much this transport will cost. Rates ought to include all the rooms and even closet. As soon as the estimator reaches the property, he must view anything being transferred – don’t neglect the wardrobes, the basement, that attic space, the garden. On moving day in the event the mover believes there may be far more to be transferred than what ended up being estimated on the quote they can contest the initial estimation.

Make certain the estimator is familiar with circumstances in the new home that might confuse the move – stairs, elevators, the exact distance from the curb to the front door.

Obtain all of the information regarding the moving companies as is possible by way of estimator. Make certain they will not be employing the transfer away to a different moving company. Determine just how long they have been operating a business. Preferably, a business that has been operating for 10 years or maybe more is better. The following specifics ought to be furnished before they go away:

• The name of the organization as well as any alternative titles under which they do business.
• The firm address, telephone number, and electronic mail and web page addresses.

Once all of the estimates are in hand, assess the estimates. Watch out for firms that estimate far lower than all others. Check out high estimates to determine just where the added costs are generated from. Make inquiries if necessary. Negotiate with companies providing affordable estimates to get the best attainable fee.

Finding a good mover can be a mind-boggling process, but by doing at the process can be made a little easier.

House Movers in Malaysia can help movers save money. Their website provides advice and tips on choosing the right mover and avoiding scams.

The recommendations of friends, co-workers and local real estate agents can help people find moving companies with offices near their home.

Before choosing a mover it is important to get an in-person estimate of how much the move will cost. Estimates should include every room and closet. When the estimator arrives at the home, he should see everything being moved – don’t forget the closets, the basement, the attic, the backyard. On moving day if the mover believes there is more to be moved than what was calculated in the estimate he can dispute the original estimate.

Make certain the estimator is aware of conditions at the new home that might complicate the move – stairs, elevators, the distance from the curb to the door.

Get as much information about the moving company as possible from the estimator. Make sure they will not be contracting the move out to another mover. Find out how long they have been in business. Ideally, a company that has been in business for ten years or more is best. The following information should be provided before they leave:

• The full name of the company and any other names under which they do business.
• The company address, phone number, and email and website addresses.

Once all estimates are in hand, compare the bids. Be cautious about companies that bid much lower than all others. Check high bids to see where the extra costs are coming from. Ask questions if necessary. Negotiate with companies providing reasonable bids to get the best possible rate.

Environmentally Friendly Roofs

People need to be aware that everything they do can impact the environment in some way, starting with your home, more specifically the roof. The roof is one of the biggest parts of a house that contributes to the erosion of the atmosphere. This is why the term “green roof” has become more relevant recently. A green roof is simple a roof that has plants on it. That might sound a bit odd and eccentric, but it really does help. If you click here, you’ll find some more information on how and why a green roof is better.

With a plethora of experience in handling many different roof problems, Raleigh Roofing is ready to give you a solution to having an aesthetically appealing, yet environmentally friendly roof. It has been proved that lots of roofs have caused in the inside of houses to be a lot warmer than they should. This is because of the heat from the sun is being absorbed into the house. The use of your air conditioner will only help to a certain extent before your electric bill is sky high.  I don’t know about you, but a hot house is terribly uncomfortable. Here’s how to get started:

·  First and foremost, the thing you need to consider right away is the budget. Don’t get too worried if you’re not sure what it should be. You can do your research online and get several quotes to find out what you should be spending. You can even consult directly with your contractor and they should be able to guide you through it.

·  You’ll then think about the materials to be used. This is when it might be best to consult directly with your contractor. You can do your own research, but if you speak directly with the roofing company, they can explain the differences and pricing to you. You may have to adjust your budget to cover the materials. Even though it might be more money up front, it’s well worth the investment in the long run.

·  The last thing you should consider is durability. If you don’t take of your roof, its lifespan will drop significantly. The efficiency and quality of a roof depends not only on the material and amount of money you spend, but also your willingness to take care of it. Although a green roof may seem like a lot more work, it’s really not. Not only will it help improve your day to day routine, it’s also helping the environment. What can be wrong with that?

Chennai Remains a Property Hotspot in 2015


The city of Chennai has always been a centre of attention. It started off as a Presidency city and then emerged as the major metropolitan city in India. In the past two and a half decades, it became the hub of a large number of manufacturing units, particularly those in the automobile sector. The city has often been called ‘The Detroit of India’ for being home to the manufacturing units of the major motor brands across the world. However there are many other businesses in the city that are also thriving. All in all, it is a major contributor to the national economy and therefore there is a high demand for property in the city as well. Over the years, the city has presented itself as a lucrative property investment option. However it too suffered during the economic recession which left the property business across the country in a slow growth phase. But Chennai real estate has witnessed a revival in 2015 and there are a number of factors that are behind it.


What has helped Chennai bounce back from the slow phase?


When the property sales started slowing down, there are were a number of factors that came into play. The builders realized that they had to market their products and to those buyers who were willing to invest. The property demand remained high in the city but the high interest rates caused problems for the buyers who felt that the home loans that they were trying to opt for were expensive. They needed cost effective accommodations. This is where the demand for affordable housing arose in the city. There was a builder segment which had approached the expat community. The expat community in the Middle East was willing to invest in houses on a nominal scale. However those expats who were living in the Americas and Europe wanted to follow the lifestyle they had acquired over there. Therefore, there rose a demand for luxury properties unlike ever before. Chennai became one of the first few cities to witness the rise in development of luxury accommodations. There were preparations for affordable housing projects as well. As a result, the markets of the city kept ticking; although at a slow rate.


By the end of the year 2014,it was clear that the economic conditions of the country were improving and that people were willing to buy properties and apartments for sale in Chennai. therefore many new projects- including those from Tata Housing- were launched in the city. By the time RBI had declared a reduction in the lending rates, the Chennai property markets had already picked up pace in sales. The actual reduction in the interest rates now has pushed sales as well as investment. It is expected that the property demand would grow at a sustainable pace as economic activity increased in the city. IT parks have been planned and the presence of IT businesses here would add to the existing array of businesses unlike ever before.


To Conclude-Searching for houses in Chennai


If you are looking for properties in Chennai, then you can now use property portal to find them. The portal has established operations in the city and allows one to find the best house for sale in Chennai with great ease.


How to Scout Out a New City

You’ve always been an adventurous person, perhaps the first one in your family to attend college thousands of miles from your home. Your first “real” job had you settling in a new city, but after several years of life on the job, you’re ready to pull up stakes again and head out.

Before you move, you’ll want to scout out a new city. With your sense of adventure, you’re ready to take in what it has to offer. You can begin this scouting by starting right now.

  1. Identify your wants.

It may not be so important where you end up, but what you’ll find when you get there. You may have grown up near Los Angeles, attended school in New York, and began your career in Chicago. These are the three largest cities in the US — do you want the big city life or is something smaller in order?

Lots of smaller cities have much to offer and cities like Houston, Philadelphia, Dallas, Atlanta, and Miami are large enough to compete and give you a similar experience as the big three. Then there are slightly smaller cities such as Charlotte, Boston, San Diego, Detroit, San Antonio and Milwaukee that have their own vibe.

For some people, up and coming cities such as Raleigh, Denver, Louisville, Seattle and Portland are enough. Then there are the small cities such as Asheville, NC; Stamford, CT; Fresno, CA; and Wichita, KS, that have their own appeal. Only you can decide what cities fill your wants, so begin researching online to sample what is out there.

  1. Identify your needs.

Of course, moving to a new city may be something you want, but will that city meet your needs? If you have a specialty, such as engineering, are there enough jobs in the area you want to live? On the other, a career such as nursing means you’ll find jobs wherever you go.

Your needs may include many other things, such as your social life. If you’re looking to find a significant number of people in your age bracket, it behooves you to find out if that city provides or strikes out. Also, if you see yourself settling down in a new city, is the housing stock affordable, abundant, and attractive? You already know that New York requires many sacrifices to live in the Big Apple. Is this something you can handle?

  1. Plan a visit.

With your research well under way, you may have pinpointed two or three cities that seem right to you. But the only way you will find out is by visiting each one. Plan some time off to visit these cities.

If you know someone where you will be traveling, contact them. They may be able to put you up for a weekend or longer. The advantage here is that this individual is familiar with the city and can show you around.

On the other hand, if you don’t have a place to stay, consider an Airbnb location. Such rooms to rent are much less costly than a hotel and can give you a personal glimpse of the city. You might find a place to stay near where you’re interested in living. If so, that’s a bonus. Lastly, if time permits, spending a few weeks in a city can reveal much for you. In that case a short-term sublet may be best.

  1. Make your decision.

“Should I stay or should I go?” That’s the question only you can ask. With your research behind you, you’re in a position to make that decision.

At the same time it may be something you’re not ready to make, which means that research can simply be shelved and recalled for a time when you’re ready to spread your wings and fly away.

Moving Considerations

When you are ready to make a move, consider how you will bring your stuff from one location to another. It may be a simple as packing your stuff and placing it your car or having it shipped ahead. If your accumulation is much greater than that, then enlisting the services of a moving company to help you make your move can be wise decision advises the Allied Moving Companies .


90,000 Keller Williams real estate agents go mobile with Google Apps

Editor’s note: We’re excited to announce that Keller Williams Realty International, the largest real estate franchise company in North America, is going Google. We sat down with Jason Tang, Executive Director of Technology, to learn about what drove the move and what they’re looking forward to. See what other organizations that have gone Google have to say.

Can you tell us about Keller Williams and your decision to move to Google Apps?
Keller Williams is the largest real estate franchise company in North America. We have 200 employees in our Austin, Texas headquarters and support 90,000 agents across our 670 franchise locations throughout the U.S. and Canada. Having a central corporate team and a vast network of independent associates puts us in a unique position from an IT standpoint: we’re responsible for making decisions that help both our internal employees and our agents in the field, whose day-to-day roles differ quite a bit.

Our path to Google Apps was driven by two immediate features both groups needed: a better email platform and a more integrated calendar system. We ran on-premise Microsoft Exchange in our headquarters and a separate system built on an open source platform for our associates. It was an antiquated solution, to say the least. We evaluated Google Apps and Microsoft Office 365, and what clinched it for Google Apps was the future we saw with it. At the 80,000-foot view, our decision wasn’t just about solving our two biggest problems today, but about innovating for the years ahead. We’re betting on a great platform that we know will only get better.

Real estate agents are always on the go. How did mobile play into your decision to use Google Apps?
Mobile, mobile, mobile is our rallying cry. Our agents don’t succeed sitting behind a desk, and when it comes to mobile apps, they want it to “just work” – whether they’re using a smartphone, tablet, or laptop. We’ve spent plenty of time imagining a typical day once we’ve got our associates on Apps. Let’s say an agent and her office team receive an email from a client asking to schedule a showing. The office team sets up an appointment in Calendar for 4:00 p.m. that afternoon. The agent, who is out showing properties, gets an alert on her smartphone for the 4:00 p.m. meeting and shows up at the property at the appointed time. If the meeting changes to 5:00 p.m., no problem, she’ll get an instant alert on her smartphone. What’s more, the back-office team has already uploaded a video presentation of the property and the full disclosure packet to Drive. During the viewing, the agent can pull up the video and documents on her tablet to give a very polished presentation.

That fact that this scenario can play out on whatever device our agents prefer is a game-changer for both us and them, and everyone wins.

What excites you most about the future with Google Apps?
What excites us most is the potential with Google Apps. Yes, we’re thrilled to roll out the core products, like Gmail, Calendar and Drive, with the help of Cloud Sherpas, and our employees and agents are thrilled to upgrade to a system they’re so familiar with. From where I stand, I see endless possibilities beyond the core products. I imagine agents using YouTube to feature videos of properties, Drive to upload disclosure packets, Voice to manage their client calls, and Blogger to create blogs on local real estate trends. Google Apps are the building blocks to create a whole new technology infrastructure for our company.

Google Apps Marketplace will also play a big role at our company. Keller Williams is unique, in that our 90,000 associates are independent operators, not employees. Our agents are free to use many different technology tools to run their businesses. For example, some agents use MailChimp or ConstantContact for email marketing. With the Marketplace, our agents will be able to download these and hundreds of other business apps for use within our Google Apps universe. Our agents use the tools they’re most familiar with, and we support them in their choices however we can.

Hackers Perpetrate Wire Transfer Fraud In Real Estate Transactions

Wire transfer instructions are emailed to the buyer. The buyer complies with the instructions to the letter. The next day, escrow contacts the buyer asking if the money has been sent yet. The buyer checks with his bank and is assured that the funds have been transferred out. When the money has still not shown up, everyone begins to retrace steps. As it turns out, the wiring instruction was bogus. The email came from an address that looked very much like that of the escrow or title company, but it was not actually theirs.

And the recipient bank account? It was real; it just wasn’t the correct one. And, yes, it has been emptied out by now.

The scheme has been perpetrated by hackers, and it has been going on around the country for a while now. Chicago Title put out an alert that described the steps involved. We summarize them here:

First, hackers identify the email accounts of real estate agents and brokers. Then they hack directly into the accounts “and identify emails referencing pending real estate deals. From these strings of emails, the hackers pull out specific details about the deal, such as: (a) the parties/ names, (b) the title company involved, (c) the escrow officer in charge of the deal, and (d) other information specific to the transaction.”

Next, they send fraudulent email “directly to the buyer or lender, making it look like it was sent by the real estate agent, mortgage broker, or escrow agent. These fraudulent emails now direct the buyer and/or lender to wire the funds necessary to close escrow directly to a different bank account than provided in the preliminary report or in the escrow instructions. Obviously, this new bank account is controlled by the hacker, not the title company or the escrow holder.”

Then, if the buyer, or the lender, does not detect the fraud, “the money is wired to the bogus account controlled by the hacker and is immediately withdrawn. Due to the amounts involved and the complex nature of investigating and prosecuting wire fraud, the odds are that the authorities will do nothing to help in these instances.” [my emphasis]

For the most part, prevention recommendations tend to focus on the non-secure nature of most email accounts. It’s a fair bet that most real estate agents do not have secure accounts and they can be easily hacked. But, in a world where Target, Sony, and the Defense Department get hacked, it is not plausible to think that most agents, escrow companies, and clients are ever going to enjoy a very high level of security.

While suggestions like two-factor authentication and encrypted emails may have their place, it is refreshing that a practical, non-technical word of advice comes from, of all places, an alert put out by the Silicon Valley Association of REALTORS®. To wit:

“Buyers and sellers should confirm all email wiring instructions directly with the escrow officer by calling the escrow officer on the telephone. In that conversation, the correct account number information should be repeated verbally before taking any steps to have the funds transferred.”

Certainly, if wiring instructions are changed via email, the buyer should confirm that by phone with the escrow officer and the buyer’s real estate agent.

Bob Hunt is a director of the California Association of Realtors®. He is the author of Real Estate the Ethical Way.


Retiring real estate on Google Maps

At Google one of our key philosophies is to take risks and to experiment. To that end, in July 2009 we announced the ability to find property for sale or rent directly on Google Maps. This is one of the “search options” next to the search box on Google Maps, and is currently available in the US, Australia, New Zealand, the UK and Japan.
In part due to low usage, the proliferation of excellent property-search tools on real estate websites, and the infrastructure challenge posed by the impending retirement of the Google Base API (used by listing providers to submit listings), we’ve decided to discontinue the real estate feature within Google Maps on February 10, 2011.
We’ve learned a lot and been excited to see real estate companies use Google Maps in innovative ways to help people find places to live, such as Coldwell Banker’s use of Google Maps and YouTube, or’s Android app that lets you draw a shape on a map to find all properties you’re interested in.
Yet we recognize that there might be better, more effective ways to help people find local real estate information than the current feature makes possible. We’ll continue to explore this area, but in the meantime, Google offers other options to home-seekers: you can still access other information in Maps such as local businesses, directions and transit times, as well as aerial and Street View imagery to explore where you might want to move, and also use Google search results to find helpful real estate information and websites.
Real estate companies can also continue to use tools from Google to help connect with buyers and renters who use the Internet to research properties. For example, companies can use the Google Maps API to embed customized maps that are useful to potential clients right on their own web pages. Our Google for real estate professionals site contains various methods for generating leads and improving real estate business operations

Lugano Real Estate Agents

“Moving on, is a simple thing, what it leaves behind is hard.”
Dave Mustaine

Springtime not only brings out the flowers, blooms and strawberries (yes, we are big “Fragole” lovers) but the season also uproots many expatriates who start planning their move from one place to another over the summer period in order to fit in with childrens’ scholastic calendar.

I have received quite a few requests via my blog over the last couple of weeks from people who are considering moving to Lugano.

With these readers in mind, I have posted more logistical information over the past days and will continue doing so up until Easter. I have written about Shipping companies, Supermarkets and the Cost of living in Switzerland. Furniture stores, Kitchen outfitters and tips for moving to Switzerland will follow soon.

Below you’ll find a list of Real Estate agents that I have worked with in the past either to buy or to sell our house. Remember Lugano is a small town so make sure you don’t waste time visiting the same house twice, especially if you are only flash-visiting and need to decide on the spot. Been there, done that! 😉

The two largest Real Estate websites in Switzerland and Just click on the link, chose your region and you’re surfing.

By the way, our house is also on the market. Click her to take a peek inside:Villa for sale in Lugano.

Salt Cay Divers/ Coral Reef Bar and Grill 

Asking price $975,000 US dollars 
Perfect opportunity to operate a dive and snorkeling business and gorgeous ocean side café. 

Salt Cay Divers has been in operation for 18 years and Coral Reef Bar and Grill opened 12 years ago. Both have excellent reputations and offer an excellent business opportunity for someone looking for a turn-key business. 

These businesses are located on the gorgeous sunset side of the island offering fabulous sunset views. The boats are docked directly in front of the dive shop. The café can seat up to 50 people and offers a full service bar and grill. This location has been a favorite for the excellent viewing of the Humpback whales as they pass in front of the café and dive shop. 

There are two main buildings which sit on over 1/3 of an acre of land. The café is open air and the kitchen, bar and dive shop are in buildings made of block and concrete with Ondura roofing There are two rest room facilities one large cistern rinse tank area one large storage shed for supplies for the café and a smaller storage shed for the boat supplies and gasoline. 

Owners are open to a lease purchase option for the land and building. For a list of all contents go to

Beach Front Property, South District, Salt Cay

1/2 acre Beach front property. Gorgeous views and lovely sandy beach on western side of Salt cay. Gorgeous sunsets. Asking $325,000.

Luxury Real Estate Company Improves Mobility, Security and Email Performance with Google Apps

Editors note: Today’s guest blogger is Colleen Barry, Director of Marketing for Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty, a luxury real estate company in Boston. Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty joins other real estate businesses like Baird and Warner, Ray White, and Cadillac Fairview in switching to Google Apps. Learn more about other organizations that have gone Google on our community map or test drive life in the cloud with the Go Google Cloud Calculator.

We are the Boston-based franchise of an international luxury real estate company. To support sales and marketing, as well as 200 independent agents who are constantly on the go, we needed a more mobile, secure, and fast solution for communication and collaboration. We were providing email services centrally for 300 mailboxes using SmarterMail, but this solution’s capabilities were very limited. People only had 10MB of storage. The service was slow and somewhat unreliable. Everyone had to use an email client, and because many are independent contractors, they chose whatever they wanted to use. This ultimately led to complexity and a higher likelihood of data loss. With Google Apps for Business, the company now has a more secure, consistent toolset that is increasing sales productivity while reducing IT complexity.

Over the years, I have had so many agents call me on the verge of tears because their machine had crashed and they lost everything on their hard drive. If Microsoft ® Outlook is your record-keeping mechanism, you’re in trouble unless you back it up – and let’s be realistic – people rarely do that. They also lose their computers and phones. We wanted to move into the cloud so that we no longer had to worry about data loss or data back-ups.

Another motivation for change was the need for better mobile access. We were using POP mail so agents and others could see emails on their mobile phones, but the experience was limited and ultimately frustrating. Because the email wasn’t in the cloud, you couldn’t do much more than view it. In an industry like real estate, it’s essential that our agents can access their information instantly from wherever they are.

We were pleasantly surprised at how easy it was to deploy Google Apps. We worked with Google reseller, SADA Systems, to purchase Google Apps, but two office administrators and I completed the implementation on our own. Because Google is so great at making information available, we didn’t even need to hire anyone to migrate our data. We brought 300 email accounts to Google Apps, without needing a partner for the deployment.

The ability to share and collaborate on Google documents and spreadsheets has saved us from having to do a lot of repetitive and manual tasks. For example, we can now share “show sheets” – brochures about a property listing – in Google Docs directly with our clients. We previously created PDFs and emailed them around to agents and then the agents downloaded them and attached them in emails sent to clients.

We’re also using Google Forms for requests for services that we offer to our agents. Instead of receiving countless email requests, we can now just circulate a survey, which populates instantly into a Google spreadsheet. That spreadsheet also lets us track trends and forecast. All of the essential data is there and accessible to the entire team.

With all of the snow we’ve gotten this year, Google Talk has been a lifesaver. People can work from home yet still preserve the connected, social aspect of their work while getting questions answered and discussions taken care of in minutes. These examples may not seem like much, but they add up to big productivity gains and help our employees feel connected and part of a team, even when we’re not physically in the same office.

Our employees are happier, and our IT costs are decreasing. With Apps we are dealing with fewer IT problems and are operating at a much quicker pace. Google Apps quickly begins to pay for itself. Our employees know that we’re investing in them and giving them the tools to do their jobs better and work together. We are providing a more valuable service to our agents and, ultimately, to our clients. We believe moving to Google Apps will be one of our great achievements this year.

Why keeping the budget balanced at all costs is a bad idea

Finance Minister Joe Oliver


Finance Minister Joe Oliver skipped the annual spring gathering of the world’s top economic officials in Washington last week. It was just as well. He would not have liked what the International Monetary Fund (IMF) had to say.

The IMF was once a reliable ally of policymakers who see balanced budgets and lower taxes as the answer to every economic problem. The institution in the 1980s and 1990s was the champion of the “Washington Consensus,” the name given to the kit of free-market policies the IMF would force on any country in need of a bailout.

But the IMF has become far less doctrinaire under the leadership of Christine Lagarde, the former French finance minister. Lagarde had a simple message for finance ministers: Unless you are broke, you should be using fiscal policy to generate economic growth. The IMF predicts the global economy will expand 3.5% in 2015—about the same as last year, but dramatically slower than the 5% rates that preceded the financial crisis. “Overall, we believe that growth is just simply not good enough, not good enough to reduce high unemployment still, not good enough to boost middle-class incomes, not good enough to drive poverty reduction,” Lagarde told reporters at the beginning of the semi-annual meetings of the IMF and World Bank.

Oliver is actively ignoring Lagarde and the best thinking of the world-class economists she employs. He has made clear that the budget he presents in Parliament today will be “written in black ink”. By doing so, he will be condemning Canada to economic mediocrity. He will argue that fiscal prudence will inspire confidence and boost spending by households and investors. That is only true when public spending is out of control. Canada’s problem is a lack of demand. The federal government alone is in a position to generate some of it immediately.

Every quarter, when the Bank of Canada updates its outlook for the economy, it breaks out the contributions to growth from seven key sources: consumption, housing, government, business fixed investment, exports, imports and inventories. The central bank said earlier this month that gross domestic product will increase 1.9% this year. Most of that gain will come from exports. Moderate household consumption will be mostly offset by a decline in business investment. Housing will contribute nothing to GDP growth in 2015, according to the Bank of Canada. Government spending and inventories will make negligible contributions.

There is little scope within that breakdown for a better-than-expected result. The global economy could grow faster than the IMF predicts, allowing Canadian exporters to generate more sales. Forget about household spending: with debt at record levels, consumer spending on new goods and services will be restrained. Ditto for business investment. The collapse of oil prices wiped out profits and killed the incentive to expand in the oil patch, and economic growth of less than 2% offers little incentive for non-energy companies to expand.

That leaves governments. If Oliver were a provincial finance minister, his commitment to fiscal austerity would be defensible. Most of the provinces had a tough go of it during the Great Recession. Provincial debt, which was 50% of the federal debt in 2000, is now almost 80%, according to calculations by the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce.

But the federal government has plenty of room to manoeuvre. The federal debt is about 30% of GDP—extremely low by international standards. (More than a dozen countries have debt-to-GDP ratios in excess of 100%.) The cost of servicing that debt is extremely low, as the Finance Department itself noted in its latest debt-management strategy. The interest rate on 10-year bonds was 1.79% at the end of 2014—about half as much as the federal government had to offer to get investors to buy its debt a decade ago. The Bank of Canada’s surprise decision to drop its benchmark lending rate by a quarter point in January will keep downward pressure on interest rates.


If there were ever a time when the federal government could loosen the purse strings without putting excessive strain on its finances, it is now. One of the reasons the IMF has changed its tune on fiscal policy is because research it has done in the past year shows that borrowing to pay for infrastructure pays for itself over the longer term by generating faster economic growth. The federal government could also increase transfers to individuals or the provinces as a way to lighten the burden of the excessive debt each is carrying. Oliver could even try some tax cuts aimed at coaxing executives off the sidelines.

The finance minister may well try some of these measures. The problem is that he has unnecessarily set a ceiling on what the federal government could achieve. He will call his approach prudent. The opposition will be on solid ground if it insists otherwise.


Licensing Process

In Wisconsin, a real estate salesperson or real estate broker license is required to practice real estate. This includes selling houses to buyers, listing properties for sale, regularly selling your own real estate and selling commercial real estate, land and businesses. Another activity that requires a real estate license is taking care of a property owner’s rental units. This is property management and can include not only residential real estate but also offices and shopping centers.
The Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services issues Wisconsin Real Estate Salesperson and Broker licenses. Education is required prior to taking a Wisconsin state administered exam that must be passed before an application for a real estate license is submitted to the Department. The real estate salesperson licensing class is taken before the real estate brokers licensing class. It is not necessary to become a real estate broker to work in the real estate industry but a real estate salesperson cannot work independently and must be employed by a licensed real estate broker. Many students choose to obtain a real estate brokers license right away. When doing this, the best way is to take both classes, then both tests and in that way you will not have to obtain a real estate saleperson license but rather just your real estate brokers license.
All real estate licenses are issued or renewed for the remainder of a two-year licensing period that ends on December 14th of even-numbered years. Approval of an application will include a review of criminal convictions or actions against any other license held by the applicant and confirmation of the completion of the appropriate education and exam requirements. If you have questions as to how prior criminal convictions or actions are factored into the licensing process, contact the Wisconsin Department of Safety and Professional Services at (608) 266-2112.
If you are an out-of-state resident who has had an active real estate salesperson’s license in the last 2 years, you most likely will need to attend only 13 hours of the pre-license real estate salesperson licensing class. If you are a resident of Illinois or Indiana who has had an active real estate salesperson license in the last 2 years, you are not required to obtain any pre-license real estate education. However, please be aware that you still need to take and pass the entire state exam of 140 questions. Many students have attended the entire prelicense real estate class, even though they didn’t need the hours, to prepare themselves for the exam and learn the forms that are required in Wisconsin. You do not need to provide proof of your state’s license to take the class, however, you will need to provide a copy with your application for a license.
If you wish to obtain a Wisconsin real estate broker’s license and you have an active real estate broker’s license in another state within the last 2 years, you will be required to attend only 3 hours of the Broker pre-license real estate class. If you do not hold a Wisconsin Salesperson license, you will need to attend 13 hours of the Salesperson real estate class. If you live in Illinois or Indiana, you will not have to attend class but you need to have been licensed in real estate for 2 years prior to taking the exam. Please be aware that in both situations, you will need to take and pass the entire 140 question WI real estate salesperson licensing exam and the 100 question WI real estate broker exam.


This gorgeous oceanfront property is located on the western (leeward) side of Salt Cay, the southernmost island in the Turks and Caicos.  Known as the historic Morgan property, it consists of a vintage cottage, one bedroom, one bath, tastefully updated;  a new separate guest cottage with bath; and an architecturally unique, original kitchen-by-sea with large historic Bermuda fireplace, now perfect for dining.

Walled quiet location on 4/10 acre it is protected from sea by a 100 foot long, 200 year old, restored, seawall;  it has a huge, 14,500 gallon fresh water cistern, all updated;  The original homestead foundation, of all cut stone, 55 by 32 feet,  has been preserved, (presently used as a lovely sunken Zen garden), and could become the foundation of the oceanfront house of your dreams.

Take one step through the donkey gate onto a near private, secluded deep sand beach to enjoy great swimming and snorkeling.  Watch the annual humpback whale migration from property.  Enjoy Caribbean sunsets over water each evening.  A step-back in time, unlike any other.  Offered at $375,000.

Salt Cay, North District – Land only

Land property for $59,900
1/3 acre of residential or commercial property near the airport

Inspection Home Purchase Check List

When purchasing a property, whether residential or commercial, one of the due diligence line items is to conduct a ‘home inspection’.  In this “Seller’s Market”, many properties are being sold with an up front clause denoting “Sold in As Is Condition”.

This clause does not preclude the Buyer/s the option to conduct an Inspection.  However, the Seller/s are stating that any inspection items discovered that are in need of correction will not be addressed by the Seller/s to correct. Key is the size of the problem discovered (if any), and the opportunity for the Buyer/s to consider the cost factor to replace (e.g. furnace) or correct (roof at end of life) in the purchase price of the property.


The inspection, whether “as is in current condition”, provides the Buyer/s to conduct a thorough due diligence of the property, if only as knowledge for Buyer/s Beware.  As real estate broker, I provide qualified inspectors to conduct the home inspection.


Side note: if the loan is FHA, the Lender is required to utilize a Inspector that is FHA approved to determine any if any deficiencies.  If any exist, the problem or problems must be corrected prior to closing.  The Inspector will return to the property to determine that the problem has been corrected.  Seller/s or Buyer/s negotiate as to who has to pay for the correction.


To acquaint you with the various aspects of a home inspection, provided below is an extensive list of the subject categories that will be inspected in a thorough inspection of a property:


Key inspection categories include:
– Structural
– Roofing
– Exterior  (siding – drainage)
– Electrical
– Insulation
– Plumbing
– Cooling & Heating  (CO or Gas Leak)
– Interior  (moisture – window types/functionality)
– Appliance
– Deferred Maintenance
– How the inspection will be presented


As a Realtor, I too attend an inspection debrief.  Key items will be reviewed verbally by the inspector, any problems pointed out, and the inspector will provide a detailed Inspection Report, including pictures taken of any issue.  Depending on the level of any discovered problems, an Inspection Resolution will be submitted that will become part of the Loan (if not a cash transaction).


Real Estate Agents in Almaty

In some previous post, the topic of accommodation was covered, however,  I thought I should just create an additional post about real estate agents, as this question is asked quite frequently by visitors to this blog.

There are quite a large number of Real Estate agencies available in Almaty.
My personal experience is that some agencies are more interested in the higher end of the rental market, so if you find that you are receiving poor service just move on the next agency… I am sure someone will value your business.

Here is a list of those that I am familiar with… there are many more but they tend to be smaller agencies.

Almaty Property Solutions

Almaty Real Estate

Cores Group

Luxor Realty  email: Tel: +7 727 3179996, 2324233

Mayor Mr

Scot Holland

Solomon Real Estate


The Real estate agencies don’t update their websites frequently and I have found that some apartments and houses has been on some of these sites for years. They also tend to “recycle” the photos, using one apartment’s photos to advertise a different apartment. So, it can be really hard to judge an apartment based on their websites. The only way to know what you are getting is by viewing the actual apartments.

However, if you really want to do your research, I have a solution.
Krisha is a local website where agencies and individuals can post their properties for sale or for rent
This is a good site if you just want to get a realistic idea of what is available at what price at this moment in time, as individuals post on this site on a daily basis. Many locals and those fluent in Russian use this site to find their apartments in Almaty and skip the real estate agents all together. However, if your company will not be assisting you with all the legal paper work etc. in renting accommodation in Almaty, I would not suggest this option to you.
Google chrome to translate the website in to English – if your Russian is bad or non- existent, at least this site will give you a better idea of what you could find in your price bracket.

Two Lots on Salt Cay’s North End with Sunset Sea Views

The first lot is a gorgeous one acre lot in the Salt Cay North District with ocean views. Vacation real estate in the Turks & Caicos!

Two minute walk to the beach and beautiful sunset side of the island. 

Easily sold as is or can be subdivided into ¼ acre lots, asking $120,000. Price just reduced to $89,500!!
The second lot is one full acre, directly across the street from the Sea.  Incredible ocean views and privacy.  Listed at $89,500.
First Lot location

Please inquire about the special discount for the purchase of both of these one acre lots!

Cold Calling Tips for Commercial Real Estate Agents

Preparation is the key to Cold Calling in Commercial Real Estate

Some commercial real estate salespeople struggle with the issue of finding people to call as part of a call contact and prospecting process.  They see that finding the name and address of just one property owner is such a task that all subsequent prospecting is put off.  They do not want to spend time in research to get the numbers and make the calls.

Here is an article from our online community and website

Prospecting is not hard, you just need to find out what works and start doing it.  Creativity and consistency are all part of the process.  Here are a few facts about the call contact and prospecting process:

  1. Research required to make the calls always takes time, but that is only with property owner contact details.There are many other things you can do that take less time.


  1. Local businesses are either tenants or they own the property in which they are located.On that basis they should be contacted because you can find out so much about their needs with property.  With the right questions they will give you a lot of information.  Use the business telephone book to contact business owners and tenants.


  1. Get out into your sales territory to do some ‘drop in’ contact.This also helps with local market intelligence.  Business owners know far more about their street and location than you do.  Ask the questions and all will be revealed.


  1. You must make the call contact time a central part of you diary day and time commitment.In that way you will build a habit that can grow your market share.


  1. The most successful salespeople in the industry have a great database that they keep up to date.It takes hard work but it is worth the effort.


  1. Practice in the call process will build your confidence and momentum.You simply have to challenge yourself to improve.


  1. It takes about 3 weeks of real effort to build call momentum.That process is up to you in all respects.  With a little creativity you can find 30 people to call on a daily basis.  Soon you will find new property opportunity.


So just who do you call?  Try this list for starters:

  • Business owners
  • Tenants
  • Landlords
  • Property owners
  • Solicitors
  • Accountants
  • Developers

All of these groups need help and assistance with property from different angles and at different times. Some of these sources of business are easier to locate and some are harder, but wouldn’t you expect that?  When you put in the effort you get results out the other end.

Yes the process takes effort, but for those that break through the barrier of contact and prospecting on a daily basis, the property market is your oyster.  I like salespeople to give me solutions and not obstacles. Prospecting is an obstacle for some, so find your solution that really works.

How The Tech Industry Is Redefining Real Estate

The banner statement of the tech revolution is adorned with the words “innovation” and “disruption”. More than creating products, the tech industry is about creating ideas that change the way we think about everyday commodities and activities. It seems only logical that the shifting vision of this industry, as well as its needs, practices, and personnel, would begin to change the shape of real estate markets where tech is centered. Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2015 predicts that the love/hate relationship real estate investors have with tech will intensify. Intentional or not, the wants and needs of the tech industry is changing the face of residential housing, urban trends, and the notion of the office itself, making it one of the more interesting trends to follow this year.

One of the heaviest tread stories in real estate for the past several years centers on incredible property price jumps in tech-centric areas like San Francisco. Outpacing most other major metropolitan areas in the nation, San Francisco home prices and rents skyrocketed as it became a sort of urban bedroom community for Silicon Valley workers.

Median rents in San Francisco hit $3,200 the first quarter of this year, a monumental high that has pushed many former residents out into other Bay Area cities like Oakland and Berkeley (each of which is seeing climbing prices as a result). Similar home price and rent pushes are underway in other cities, such as Seattle where giants like Amazon are driving prices, as well as upstart 18 hour cities like Denver. Prices are driven largely by the high salaries of tech workers, salaries that outpace the average growth of American middle class jobs in other industries. Even worker bees at Google, Twitter, or even many startups can expect to make upwards of six figures yearly.

What gets less press is how the tech industry is revolutionizing changes in office and retail real estate. While a lot is said about how tech is changing the shape of workspaces, offering a variety of amenities to appeal to workers, these larger campuses are more revolutionary for their placement near urban centers rather than in office parks. What could really shake up the real estate industry though is the downsizing of office and retail spaces “as technology enhances workability, shopping and overall living,” as Emerging Trends notes.

Technology is allowing more people to work from anywhere–homes, cafes, shared hourly workspaces, and the like. Tech also allows workers to work from smaller spaces, with less need for storage such as file cabinets, etc. As Co-Star notes, “Ten years ago, 250 square feet per office employee was the gold standard in office real estate. Today, that average has dropped to approximately 195 square feet.” Tech is also more reliant on freelance workers, who often work offsite, bring their own equipment, and therefore require less space.

Tech and creative industries are leading the way towards urban cores, both with a younger and hipper worker demographic and affinity for public transit options. A recent study from George Washington U School of Business notes that “walkable urban office space in the 30 largest metros commands 74% of rent-per-square-foot premium over rents in drivable suburban areas.” This makes urban workspace a highly desirable option for investors, driving capital away from office parks and towards core cities. While this may not spell doom for drab suburban office parks, it may drive the need for repurposing these spaces towards new economic means as older business models compete with upstarts tech-oriented companies.


Learn Your Rental Property Law to Manage Tenants Effortlessly

Knowing your rental property law is the most effective way of managing your tenants smoothly and staying out of trouble. Learn more about the important and common landlord tenant laws today.

When You are Screening and Choosing Your New Tenants

As a landlord you are allowed to screen anyone who is applying to be your tenant and choose people that you think will be able to pay their rent on time and follow the rules of your rental agreement.

However rental property law prohibits you from discriminating someone as your tenant due to their nationality, race, gender, religion or physical disability. When you reject someone as your tenant, be sure to give them a valid reason and not lie to them that your property is already rented out – That’s how landlords commonly land themselves in hot soup.

When You are Setting Your Rent and Late Fees

If your tenants belong to a subsidized housing program or regulated tenancy, you may not be allowed to set your own rent according to the market rates. Instead your local housing authorities will decide the rent rates for your rental property.

You are generally allowed to set your own late rent fees if your tenants don’t pay up their rents on time. However in most areas the rental property law disallows the landlord from imposing late fees that are too high. Generally any late fees that are over 30% of your monthly rent will be considered too steep.

When You are Handling Your Tenant’s Security Deposit

There are usually strict rental property law and rules regarding how you can collect and use your tenant’s security deposit. In most countries the landlord is allowed to collect security deposits equal or less than 2 month’s rent.

Valid and common reasons for deducting money from your tenant’s security deposit include overdue rent, unpaid property expenses and property damages caused by your tenant. Whenever you take money from his security deposit, you will have to give your tenant a written list stating the reason and amount for every deduction.

When You Want to Evict Tenants from Your Rental Property

You may have horrible tenants but your landlord tenant law will prohibit you from simply chasing away them away with a broom. Firstly you will have to give your tenant a written notice to quit. The tenant will have a last chance to clean up his mess within a time limit before the landlord can kick start an eviction lawsuit.

To formally begin your eviction lawsuit, you will have to go to your local authorities to obtain an unlawful detainer’s order. This will fix up a date for your court hearing and your tenant will be summoned to appear for it. If all goes well and you win the eviction lawsuit, your tenant will have to leave your rental property within 3 to 7 days.

If you are a residential landlord, it’s important to know that your local rental property law does not grant you the right of self help. This means that you cannot change the locks by yourself or cut off the electricity and water supply to chase away bad tenants. You will have to wait for the local authorities to do that for you.

Real Estate Marketing Strategies: How To Thrive In Today’s Rising Market

Here are the 3 stumbling blocks that almost every real estate agent has:

  • Procrastination
  • Prospecting
  • Disorganization

These can prevent you from thriving in today’s rising market. Here are some techniques to help you overcome these obstacles.


If you have suffered from procrastination for years, you are not alone. 99% of all Americans report being held back by their procrastination patterns.

While there is no “quick fix” to get rid of procrastination, there are some powerful steps you can begin to implement right away.

Step 1– Stop beating yourself up. If you keep beating yourself up, you only lower your energy, drive and motivation and start creating a vicious circle of negativity, which leads to more procrastination. Whenever you hear your mind beginning to put you down or beat you up, just say the word STOP, either out loud or inside. Take a DEEP BREATH. Put in a positive new thought such as,

  • “I love and approve of myself 100% of the time.”
  • “I refuse to judge or criticize myself when I make a mistake.”
  • “I accomplish all tasks in a timely manner.”

Don’t hesitate to intervene on your own behalf. In fact, be very vigilant about it.

Step 2– Become aware of the Self-Limiting Beliefs that cause your procrastination. These could be subconscious beliefs about yourself, such as “I’m not good enough.”, beliefs about money, such as Tthere is never enough money.” or beliefs about success, such as “If I’m successful I won’t have balance in my life”.

Remember these are not facts, they are just beliefs, and beliefs can be changed.

Step 3– Replace Self-Limiting Beliefs with Empowered Beliefs. Make it a point to say these empowered beliefs to yourself every morning and every evening. This creates a new groove in your subconscious mind, leading to an increase in confidence and a boost your self-esteem:

  • “I have all I need to succeed.”
  • “I am perfectly imperfect like everybody else.”
  • “It’s safe to me to be as visible as I want to be.”
  • “I give myself permission to ask for what I want.”
  • “I have a valuable service to offer and people are happy to hear from me.”

Here’s a BONUS TIP: The next time you get an idea, trust yourself, don’t hesitate, just take action. If you take action right away, you will be riding the wave of energy that created that idea in the first place. The action will seem easy and effortless. That’s called Inspired Action.

It requires that you Trust yourself, instead of second-guessing yourself.


If you have the mindset that says prospecting means you are begging or you are asking for business, then you will hate it and avoid it. On the other hand, if you have the mindset that prospecting is about offering your gifts and talents to people who really need you, then you will begin to have a positive feeling about prospecting. You will see it as an opportunity to be of service and to give your gifts and your expertise to people who really need it.

The most common self-limiting beliefs, that stop you from prospecting are:

  • “If I prospect, I’m bothering people.”
  • “It’s not okay to reach out and ask for what I want.”
  • “If I prospect, I won’t know what to say.”

The good news is that the power to change a belief is in the present moment. No matter how many decades you’ve had a belief, you can change it. You are not stuck with it.

Change your mindset to one of making a contribution. When you wake up in the morning ask yourself, “Who can I help today?” People will sense this and will be immediately attracted to you.

Self-limiting beliefs can be replaced with these updated Empowering Beliefs:

  • “I now realize I did is perfectly safe to be visible.”
  • “I attract my Ideal Clients.”
  • “I have a valuable service to offer and people are happy to hear from me.”

If your offer matches what another person needs then you have a client. If not, then go onto the next. Always remember, there’s no such thing as REJECTION.


Most people who are disorganized just think that they were born that way and they can’t do anything about it. The truth is that our beliefs create our reality, and if you believe that disorganization is a sign of success, then you will create that. Take a moment to think about what deep-seated subconscious self-limiting beliefs might be causing you to feel stuck about that part of your life.

Ask yourself, “Do I always, 100% of the time, feel that I DESERVE it”?

If you want to thrive in today’s Rising Market, you need to feel deserving of having an abundance of all good. Check inside yourself and see if you have picked up any old self-limiting beliefs such as: “I don’t deserve a lot of money” or “I don’t deserve to have it all”. If you look deeply enough, if very likely be picked up a belief like that in your conditioning.

When you release and reprogram your old Self-limiting Beliefs, you leave room to install updated empowered beliefs. Procrastination, fear of prospecting and disorganization will then become things of the past. You’ll be operating from a Pro-Success Mindset which makes you “unstoppable”.


Salt Raker Home, South District – SOLD

SOLD – South District asking $150,000 Lovely two bedroom, one bath Salt Raker home. Large walled in yard 1/3 acre, cistern, new roof and septic. Nice, quiet neighborhood near government historical district.

Main Street Commercial Real Estate

-Truckee-Tahoe’s Moonshine Ink reports Truckee commercial real estate market overview and conducts interview with James Macdonell.

Blue Zone  Sports opens 6,800 square foot store in the Truckee Save Mart Plaza in the former Porters Sports Building…transaction by James Macdonell

Tesla Motors opens Truckee Charging station, James Macdonell, Broker.

Tahoe Forest Hospital, Truckee, acquires land for cardiac center expansion, James Macdonell, Broker.

-James Macdonell asked to join the NTBA North Lake Tahoe economic vitality committee/board to create a vision of the future of business in North Tahoe and implement that vision.

,,-Studio Tahoe Yoga expands into 3,000sf industrial flex studio space for largest yoga studio in the region, James Macdonell, Broker.

-Main Street Commercial Real Estate contracted to source and recruit business tenants for the Capital Theater Building in historic downtown Truckee…a two story building built in 1802 with a theater (Charlie Chaplin performed there).

-James Macdonell asked to join Truckee Tomorrow…The Truckee economic redevelopment board consisting of top area business leaders, politicians, and CEO’s tasked with branding the region and recruiting knowledge based companies and entrepreneurs to the area.

Tahoe Mountain Sports relocates to the Truckee Safeway Shopping Center, James Macdonell Broker

-Keena Boutique relocates to the Truckee Safeway Shopping Center, James Macdonell, Broker.

-Bay area 76 Gas Station negotiated and acquired for petroleum company, James Macdonell, Broker.

-James Macdonell hired by a national law firm as a consultant and expert witness.

-James Macdonell contracted to broker and consult with offshore private equity fund throughout the United States.

-James Macdonell hired for property consulting for national real estate investment trust for select nationwide properties.

-James Macdonell, Broker, contracted to assist national corporate retail tenant with regional lease transactions, site acquisitions and consulting.

-Internet .com company leases 1,500 sq.ft. in the Phoenix Office Building, (Transaction by James T. Macdonell)

-Internet consulting firm locates their corporate headquarters in the Phoenix Office Building.

-Main Street Commercial Real Estate locates their main offices in the Phoenix Office Building, (Transaction by James T. Macdonell)

-Main Street Commercial Real Estate awarded leasing contract for the Phoenix Office Building adjacent to the Truckee-Tahoe Airport.

O’Reilly Auto Parts to open 8,000 sq.ft. Truckee superstore in the Truckee Crossroads Shopping Center (Transaction by James T. Macdonell)

-The Niche Boutique relocates to the Gateway Truckee Shopping Center (Transaction by James T. Macdonell)

Bare Bones Workwear opens 4,500 sq.ft. Truckee outlet store in the Gateway Truckee Shopping Center (Transaction by James T. Macdonell)

Subway Sandwiches relocates and opens brand new store in the Truckee Crossroads Shopping Center (Transaction by James T. Macdonell)

Supercuts to open in the Gateway Truckee Shopping Center (Transaction by James T. Macdonell)

-High Camp Home Interiors expands and opens new warehouse (Transaction by James T. Macdonell)

-Mamasake Sushi expands with warehouse to house Food Truck operations in Truckee (Transaction by James T. Macdonell)

New Moon Natural Foods Grocery expands it’s Truckee location in Donner Center Shopping Center

Placer Title Company relocates it’s Truckee main office to Donner Center Shopping Center (Transaction by James T. Macdonell)

-Truckee Automotive relocates to Airport Business Center (Transaction by James T. Macdonell)

-Bobby Pages Cleaners opens Truckee store in the Gateway Truckee Shopping Center (Transaction by James T. Macdonell)

Office Boss opens next to Safeway in Gateway Truckee Shopping Center (Transaction by James T. Macdonell)

-Revolution Athletics / Truckee Crossfit locates in Truckee Crossroads Shopping Center (Transaction by James T. Macdonell)

Pullen Realty acquires office building for their headquarters…Nick Pullen hired James Macdonell to represent them in the building acquisition.
Sothebys International real estate hires James Macdonell to represent their various commercial project interests.

Sears Homestore Truckee hires James Macdonell to negotiate shopping center lease transaction.

Verizon Wireless locates to Gateway Truckee Shopping Center (Transaction by James T. Macdonell)

-James Macdonell represents The Money Store corporate real estate and call centers through it’s acquisition by First Union Bank and Wacovia Bank. He relocates the First Union Bank national HQ from the Zigarat Building in Sacramento to a new office campus in Roseville..118,000 square foot transaction which was the largest commercial real estate lease of the year in Northern California…transaction by James Macdonell

-James Macdonell acquires or relocates branch offices for Charles Schwab Corporation in the following locations:  Chicago-IL, Manhattan-New York, Dallas-TX, San Francisco-CA, Miami-FL, Los Angeles-CA, Newport Beach-CA, Sacramento-CA, San Diego-CA, Phoenix-AZ, Fort Worth-TX, China, Palm Desert-CA…and 65 other locations.

Salt Cay: South District, Large Single Family Home

This quaint single family home sits on 0.75 acres of land. With 2 bedrooms and 2 and a half baths, this property is ideal for the family looking to enjoy the quiet Island style life that is indigenous to Salt Cay, Turks and Caicos Islands. Enjoy relaxing on the wrap around balcony as you take in stunning panoramic ocean views. More info:

Commercial Real Estate Proposal Structure and Strategy

When it comes to the process of listing and marketing a property for sale or lease, your proposal to the prospective client has to be specific to the property and the existing property market.  Generic proposals are a waste of time for all concerned and will usually be declined or unsuccessful.  Here are some tips from our Newsletter for Commercial Agents.

When you specifically write your proposal to the requirements of the client and incorporate factors relating to the prevailing market conditions, you have a far greater chance of winning the listing.

Your document should be simple and straight forward; set a limit on the number of pages so the document is not overly large.  You really need the prospective client to read it or at least most of the important bits.  Bulky documents are not read; that’s the findings and the rule.

A Good Structure

Your proposal structure can be optimised with local property and market information.  The document should be making specific strategies to the client about how you can solve their current property pressures.

That being said, you should take the time to understand exactly what the client is looking for in taking the property to the market now; they will also have some concerns and pressures to be accommodated in your recommendations.

Here is a good proposal structure and order for your proposal.  You can add to the list and categories as the property type or market requires:

  1. At the front of the proposal you should always have an ‘Executive Summary’.  It will be no more than 2 pages long and will feature all the high points for the process of sale or rent (as the case may be).  The format of the summary will be in ‘dot point’ configuration.
  2. Detail the property facts and include legal and locational descriptions in ‘The Description’. This helps the client understand that you really have looked at all the issues in the property and the issues nearby.  You can show them that you have all the right facts to move ahead.
  3. Summarize the client requirements in ‘The Brief’.  The client can then see that you really do understand what they want to do, when, and why.
  4. Detail the current market conditions in ‘The Market’.  As part of this, tell the client about the prevailing property market, the nearby properties, the competition, and the recent results of other sales or leases as the case may be.  As part of this section you should give some estimates of price or rent that the client could expect.
  5. Define the target prospects in ‘The Target Market’. That should include the levels of interest currently in those categories, and how you are going to reach them.  Tell the client about the current levels of enquiry and how many people you have in your database currently that could qualify for an immediate inspection when the property comes on the market.
  6. You should have a part of your document that deals with the parts of the property that need attention or improvement before the campaign commences.  Call this section ‘The Recommendations’, and give the client some clear ideas of the things that will need to be fixed or upgraded before you take people to the property.
  7. Make specific recommendations in ‘The Strategy’.  Those factors will include your marketing efforts and budget, the timing of the campaign, and the best methods of sale or rent as the case may be.
  8. Tell the client about the people that will be running the marketing campaign for them and give some testimonials for the office and the salespeople.  Call this section of the document ‘The People’.
  9. Give a timeline to the process of helping the client.  This should be done in a ‘Pert’ or ‘Gantt’ model of graphing.  They can then see how you intend to move forward and the timing of all the processes.


Close off your appointment with a listing form or appointment that is applicable to the property concerned.  Make it easy for the client to accept your offerings and recommendations.

72 Hour Broker Pre-License Course

In order to obtain a broker’s license in Wisconsin, a person must either have a salesperson’s license or be qualified (education completed and exam passed) to obtain a salesperson’s license.  As of July 1, 2014, there will be a a requirement to work for 2 years as a salesperson before obtaining a broker’s license.  Laurel Stone School of Real Estate offers 2 options for obtaining a Wisconsin broker’s license, both of which are distance learning courses.  At this time, there are no live classes scheduled.

Please review these links regarding the exam and the online application process.

Option #1:  Cost $315.00

This course is completely online and designed for you to work at your own pace.  For those students who prefer to have some information in print, Study Guides and Activities are provided for downloading, however, the entire course is online.  The first step is to set up an account with Continuing Ed Express and then purchase the course.  Upon logging in you will move from screen to screen by clicking “next” in the lower right corner.  Within the course you’ll find a combination of text, photos, drawings, website links, and activities. I have written this course and am available for questions.

Requests for cancellation for Option #1 must be submitted by email within sixty (60) calendar days from the date of purchase.  No refund will be issued when the course has been completed.

Click here to get started immediately.

If you get started immediately, please email me at
so I can send you additional information.

  Please review these links regarding the exam and the online application process.

Option #2:  Cost $405.00

This course offers students a combination of reading chapters from the course book, short video reviews and exercises.  After completing the required assignments, you will take a practice exam for course completion. Books and instructions will be shipped upon registering for this course. To register for this course, please contact me or call me at 920-428-0146 and I will explain the registration process. 

Requests for cancellation for Option #2 must be made in writing within two weeks of registration and prior to the start of the course.  Refunds will be processed minus a $25 cancellation fee when books are returned in reusable condition.

Please review these links regarding the exam and the online application process.

I look forward to helping you achieve your goal of becoming a real estate broker!

Grants for Real Estate Investors

Real estate investors can search and apply for for grants through the government website real estate grants are provided to local governments and non-profit organizations that are committed to serving low income communities. Real estate investors are eligible to apply for funding as long as the real estate project will provide affordable housing or create jobs for low income communities. The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, Economic Development Administration and the U.S. Department of Treasury provide grants and tax credits for real estate development projects.

Affordable Housing Grant

  • The Community Development Block Grant Program provides funding for low income housing. HUD administers this program to local governments who then distribute the funds to qualified organizations who provide affordable housing to low income households. Typical affordable housing projects include housing for seniors, people with disabilities and families. The affordable housing developer must agree to keep rents affordable for low income households as a condition of the grant. A real estate investor can partner with a affordable housing developer to apply for funding. The developer must allocate a portion of the units to be restricted for only low income households.

Emergency Capital Repair Grant

    • HUD provides capital grants to affordable multifamily housing property owners for emergency repairs. These repairs are anything that affects the health and safety of the tenants that reside in the affordable housing project. These grants are available to property owners on a one time only basis. The maximum grant award is $500,000.

Assisted Housing Stability and Energy and Green Retrofit

  • HUD provides funding to retrofit affordable housing properties with energy and green improvements. A survey is conducted on the property to determine the grant amount. The property owner must agree to continue to keep rents affordable as a condition of receiving the grant. The grant must be spent within two years of receiving the funding. As of December 2010, HUD has allocated $250 million for the Assisted Housing Stability and Energy and Green Retrofit program.

Economic Development Grant Programs

  • Economic development grant programs are for the purpose for stimulating economic growth in low income communities. These grants are provided to organizations to create job opportunities for qualified applicants. The jobs are created by acquiring, constructing, or rehabilitating a building to be used as a place of employment. EDA provides investment assistance to qualified projects in distressed neighborhoods. The organizations will be required to match EDA’s contribution with their own funds. The New Market Tax Credit program administered through the Department of Treasury allows investors to take a 39 percent tax credit on the costs of a development over a seven year period. The tax credit helps reduce the costs of developing employment opportunities for low income communities.

Island Retreat Home for Sale, South District, Salt Cay

Turn Key Home-Income Producing Guest House

 South District, Salt Cay, Turks and Caicos Islands

Compass Rose Cottage is a fully licensed guest house accommodation located on an approximately ⅓ acre walled and elevated lot.   
The home is within 200 yards of the western shore, sitting on a rise (approximately 20 feet above sea level) on the south end of historic Salt Cay.  
 The home is about 1450 square feet, featuring a modern, fully equipped kitchen, furnished living area with entertainment system,1 large bedroom and a large bath with glass block shower, tiled counter and huge closet.   There is a large furnished screen porch, shop, laundry room, single car garage.    
The property is completely walled with rock and cement cap and has a very large free standing cistern providing the potable water supply.  There is a full-sized satellite dish ready for hookup.   
The property is income producing, comes turn-key for immediate rental income with all furnishings, equipment, web sites and VRBO listing.  For more information click on this link or contact Debbie Been for investor specific inquiries. 

Price:  $389,000.00

Gorgeous Sea Views on Salt Cay, Turks & Caicos Islands

Elevated lot, gorgeous ocean views, excellent access.  This beautiful Salt Cay real estate is approximately  1/3 acre.  Quiet area in desirable South District of Salt Cay, Turks & Caicos Islands.  Less than 200 yards to the beach.  $59,500

Click on photos for larger view

Sneaky Real Estate Agents, Protein, Protein, Protein, Goodbye To Two Typewriters & This Week’s Wristwatches.

suggested that I go into selling cars. One fellow I knew used to work in the after-care department at one of the major European dealerships and he told me just how precarious a car salesman’s life could be; “You work with these guys for months and if they don’t make their sales targets, they’re gone. I went in on a Monday and asked ‘Hey, where’s Joe? I saw him on Friday’, and they’d tell me ‘We finished him up on Friday afternoon. He didn’t hit his targets for the last week.’ “
And that’s why I never went into car sales. A few customers suggested I go into real estate, but…
And that’s why I’ll never go into real estate. I think I’d have to make too big a compromise of my moral code, and after a while, I’d look in the mirror and begin to despise the person looking back at me. No matter how much money he was making.
Looking at the plans of this house, we decided anyway that it would need some serious configuration of rooms, since the third bedroom was pretty small. Lady Teeritz and I have sat down and written up a checklist of what we’d like in our next house. And what we don’t want. No flat roof, no corner block, no shoe-box sized bedrooms. The hunt goes on.
Been on a bit of a protein kick this week. The average adult male requires 56 grams of protein per day. So, I began taking a closer look at foods that offered a healthy dose of the stuff. I went slightly overboard on the first day;
– 1 egg (hard-boiled)     13 gms
– Almonds (handful)       3 gms
– Sustagen Sport            14.7 gms (it’s a chocolate powdered milk additive for use after exercise)
+ Skim Milk (250ml)      8 gms
+ 1 egg thrown in          13 gms
Total Protein = 51 gms
And it wasn’t even midday yet! For lunch, I had a tuna salad. That’s another 22 grams of protein. Afternoon snack was another handful of almonds, so there’s another 3 grams right there. And, for dinner, Chorizo sausages with some vegetables, mainly potatoes. That was 22 more grams for the day. Total intake came to 98 grams! Okay, slow it down a little. Next day’s intake? Thirty-seven grams.  Now, if I can just get it all somewhere between these two totals, I should be fine.
Found a copy of Captain America: The Winter Soldier on BluRay for $25 bucks! When I got home, my wife looked at me and raised an eyebrow; “I don’t know how you could have forgotten that I bought a copy of this on eBay a few days ago. You were sitting right next to me when I hit ‘Buy It Now’, and I even asked you if I should get it.” 
I need to improve my memory. After I return this movie to Target.
I was going to switch to the Submariner 5513, but decided to keep the Omega on instead. Looking forward to getting the Skyriter. Seller claimed that it had been recently serviced and is working properly. I certainly hope so. It’s one typewriter that’s been on my mind for a couple of years.
Anyway, gang, it’s now Friday afternoon. It’s been a sunny day here. Although, the nights do get quite cold. Another thing we’d like in our next house- central heating. We’ve spent too many a cold Winter’s night in a chilly house.
Hopefully, we’ll find something sooner rather than later, but I think we’ll have to listen to a little more BS before we get the keys to our next house. Yeah, I’m feeling a little more cynical than usual. ‘Cos I don’t like getting jerked around by real estate agents who keep changing their story.
However, there’s a great deal more good things in my life than bad. And the bad things are just inconveniences, after all.
I switched over to the Submariner, too. Call me weak.

Boutique – Today’s Real Estate Brokerage Business Model

Current Trends in Real Estate Brokerage Business Model – Observation – Prediction – Opinion

Yes, it was a very timely meeting – with many potential opportunities for members. I can see how this group could thrive, to continue to increase in numbers, especially as more folks become disillusioned with the status quo real estate business model of yesterday.

I fully realize I’m not saying anything most of you don’t already know, or have at least thought about. Real estate brokerage has really changed. A permanent change in consumer behavior (largely driven by the internet and technology) is forcing a fundamental makeover of the traditional real estate brokerage business model, the way real estate services are delivered.

The operative word in the new real estate business model is disintermediation, i.e., a reduction in the use of intermediaries between producers and consumers, for example by investing directly in the securities market rather than through a bank.

For today’s highly informed consumer of real estate services it’s evident the internet and new technology has caused fundamental change in the way real estate brokerage is conducted. Clearly, multiple real estate offices with hundreds of agents is yesterday’s news. Most of today’s business gurus who study the impact of innovative disruptive technology agree traditional real estate brokerage is a relic of the past. Old line traditional real estate brands are struggling in the new marketplace and without affiliate owned real estate services they could not stay in business. and countless other web based business models demonstrate how the internet has permanently disrupted and transformed the way business is conducted. Why would consumers go to a bookstore to buy a book when it can be purchased online? Traditional bookstores have largely become irrelevant for the needs of today’s consumer of books.

With real estate listings/data now everywhere available online, the challenge for real estate agents/brokerage is how to remain relevant to the real estate transaction, i.e., why would the consumer want or need to work with a real estate agent? Not unlike other sectors of the new web based economy, it appears the new real estate business model will require far fewer people to do things than the old business model. So, how can real estate agents avoid becoming (obsolete) irrelevant to the real estate transaction in the new world of e-commerce?

Fortunately for some, current trends strongly point to the emergence of sophisticated tech savvy (boutique) brokerages that specialize in a niche market. And are able to provide local specific content information and services to clients not available elsewhere. These hybrid boutique companies will likely work closely with numerous real estate service providers and 3rd party real estate portals such as Google, Zillow, Trulia, et al. It’s already happening in plain sight. It’s definitely a changing, challenging, exciting time to be in the business. It’s enough to make your head spin..

Thanks much for your time and see you in the new world of real estate..

The Real Dope on Buying and Selling Real Estate

Note:  This is a revised re-posting of an article that originally appeared on December 19, 2008 under the title ”  The Real Dope on Real Estate” .

Buying or selling a home is something most people do only a few times in their lifetime.  As a result, most folks don’t understand the process or the players.

Buying and selling a home is something that most people do maybe two or three times in a lifetime. So most of us do not get enough experience in Real Estate transactions to understand what is going on. Many home sellers (and buyers) make the same common mistakes, over and over again.

Now that the bubble in Real Estate has burst, we are going back to the “old ways” of doing things in Real Estate – making money slowly, over a long period of time. But even in this new market (or especially in this new market) it pays to understand what Real Estate agents are all about, and how they can help you, or hurt you. It also pays to understand the basics of how to sell a home.

The following is a summary based on my years in buying and selling Real Estate for investment purposes, and also based on my experiences with friends who were Realtors(R), Mortgage Brokers, and Closing Attorneys:

Commissions: Real Estate agents generally charge a 6% commission on sales of Real Estate. This commission may be divided between the “listing agent” and the “buyer’s agent” if separate agents are used in the transaction. As we shall see, one of these agents has to work for the money, the other gets mostly a free ride. During the bubble, many folks got tired of handing over a big chunk of the profits to Real Estate Agents and as a result, commissions have been dropping to 5% or even 4.5%. Usually the broker who brings a buyer keeps the full 3% while the listing agent takes a cut. Some Real Estate Agents have tried to raise fees to 7%, on the theory that “inflation” justifies this raise. However, since home prices have skyrocketed in recent years, this argument makes no sense at all.  (And in addition, percentages match rises in prices, so increasing the percentage of a commission makes no sense at all, but then again, “you don’t need to know math in real life” – right?)  In reality, this raise is used as a gambit to get customers to accept a “reduced” commission of 6%. In many markets, however, a seller should shop for a reduced commission.

REALTOR(R): The term “Realtor” is a licensed trademark of the Realtor association. You do not have to be a “licensed Realtor” to sell Real Estate, but you may have to be a licensed Real Estate Agent in your State. The Realtor organization provides a lot of benefits to its members, including the Multiple Listing Service (MLS). In the past, the Realtor organization and specifically the MLS have been accused of monopoly practices.

MLS: The Multiple Listing Service is what sells houses, period. When you list your house, the Real Estate Agent enters the data on the MLSdatabase. How this data is entered is critically important, so be sure to ask for an Agent’s copy of the listing and scrutinize it carefully. Whether an agent shows your house or not to a prospective client depends on how well the listing reads and how good the photos are. Make sure the information is accurate, and don’t be afraid to put in laudable details. If the photos are no good, take some of your own and give them to the Agent or ask for new ones. 90% of houses are sold through the MLS, so your presentation on this database, as we shall see, is of the utmost importance.

REALTOR.COM: This website of the Realtor(r) organization hasMLS listings for consumers to look at. Many home buyers are now using this website, or ones like it, to find listings. The listing on is based on your MLS listing, so again, it is important that your MLS page not suck. You’d be surprised how many do.

LISTING AGENTS: There are two basic types of Real Estate Agents – those who list houses for sale (listing agents) and those who work with buyers trying to find a house (buyer’s agents). Some do both. There is no formal breakout between the two. However, generally the newer agents tend to do the harder job of working with buyers while the older, more experienced agents try to list houses. Listing a house is the better part of the deal. You put your sign up crooked in the front yard, screw up theMLS listing, and then go to Starbucks and get a Latte and wait for the money to roll in. Seriously, many listing agents do little or nothing to sell a house, other than list it. And yet they get 3% of the take.Cramming down the listing agent’s commissions is not a bad idea, provided the agent does at least some minimal marketing of your home. Nothing is for free, and if you cram down her commission, expect less in the way of services.

BUYER’S AGENTS: Again, this is not a formal title, but many agents end up spending more time with buyers, trying to find them homes, than they do with listings. It is the harder of the two jobs. The buyer’s agent works with the buyer to determine what kind of house they want, and then goes on the MLS to search for houses meeting that criteria. Again, if your MLS listing is poorly done, with vague wording and bad photos, the buyer’s agent might pass it over. Note also that pricing can put your house just out of reach of some search criteria. The buyer’s agent then drives around showing the buyer maybe as many as a dozen houses or more. It is hard work and time-consuming. Once a house has been selected, it is the buyer’s agent who puts together the offer and then tries to push it through. Buyer’s agents help with getting financing, competing inspections and paperwork, and lining up a closing attorney, and the like. Without the buyer’s agent pushing to get all this done, no house would ever sell. Listing agents typically will not raise a finger to help. They just want to get paid, thank you. The buyer’s agent does the lion’s share of the work all the way to closing, so trying to cut their fee is foolhardy. If the buyer’s agent has 10 houses to show, and yours has a reduced 2.5% buyer’s commission, do you think the buyer’s agent is going to show it or promote it to his buyer? Heck no!

HARRIET HAIR HELMET: These are agents who have been working the system for years, and are usually listing agents and they are usually wildly successful, at least for a time. They can be Harry Hair Helmets as well – either gender. You can spot them by their immaculate hair, which can survive a Cat-5 hurricane, and the fancy car (usually a Mercedes or Jaguar) they drive. These agents get a lot of listings because…they get a lot of listings! One mistake many homeowners make is that they see Harriet’s listing signs and advertisements everywhere and they say to themselves, “That Harriet sells a lot of houses! We should list with her!” In reality, it is some unsung buyer’s agent that “sells” the house. The listing agent shows up in a nice suit, fancy car, and gets the listing, but does little else to “sell” the house. Again, most houses SELL through the MLS listing.

OPEN HOUSES: If you list with Harriet Hair Helmet, don’t expect her to show up at your open house. She will pawn this task off onto a young associate who is looking for buyers to represent. Harriet wants nothing to do with driving around buyers all day long. She wants LISTINGS! Open houses sell houses – not your house, though, other people’s houses. Young agents do open houses in order to attract business. Curious would-be buyers show up, and the agent shows them the house (usually out of their price range, anyway) and then tells the would-be buyers he can run some listings for them and show them something next week. The young Real Estate Agent gets a client, but not for yourhouse. The major traffic for an open house is usually the curious neighbors, who are dying to see exactly what sort of squalor you live in. If your agent suggests an open house, go for it. But don’t expect miracles from it. Also, lock up all your valuables. There are groups of criminals who prey upon open houses – with one person distracting the agent on duty while another rifles through your possessions. In addition, there are some “perverts” who might try to collect your soiled undies (eeeeeew!). Yes, that’s an open house, I’m afraid!

FSBO or Fizbo (pronounced “Fizz-Bow”): Real Estate Agent slang for “For Sale By Owner”. Selling your house yourself is often a difficult process. The typical Fizbo owner thinks that since he is selling the house himself, he’ll make 6% more. In reality, if you are going to go the Fizbo route, you should lower your asking price at least 3% instead, as you will save money, but the extra hassle involved for the buyer is worth something. One problem with either route is that home prices are hard to quantify with that certainty. So if you claim you are “lowering” your price 3%, but your house was overpriced to start with, you are offering no bargain. If you are not in the MLS database, chances are, people are not going to find your house, unless they drive by it. If a buyer is working with a broker, the broker has no incentive to show them the house, if they are not going to make any money on it. For this reason, you should always put “broker protected” (meaning you will pay 3% to an Agent bringing you a buyer) on your listing so that brokers will have an incentive to bring you buyers. Very few Fizbo sellers are successful, and most end up listing with an agent. It takes time and talent to sell a house, and if you don’t have either, hire an agent to do it for you.

Seller’s Assistant: (HELP-U-SELL, etc.): There are a number of quasi-FSBO services that have sprung up in recent years to help the Fizbo seller with his listing. For a small flat fee or percentage, the Seller’s Assistant, usually a licensed broker, will list the house on MLSand give you some ideas on marketing, perhaps a yard sign, and maybe a video or book on how to properly market your house. Some of the advice is just common sense – pick up your dirty laundry, clean the house, fix the small broken things, etc. Making your house show well is half the battle. If you are going to try the FSBO route, I would suggest a seller’s assistant, as most folks are not equipped to deal with selling a house, and getting that MLS listing is essential to selling the home.

PRICING: Pricing is one area where many people fall down flat when selling their home. Forget about what you “think” your home is worth, what it is worth is what similar homes in the neighborhood are selling for. Condition and options are not going to add much to the sales price. Some items, like swimming pools, can actually detract from the price in some areas. If you have a hard time setting a price, consider spending $300 on an appraisal – and then list for below the appraised price, so it appears to be a bargain. Many folks fall into the trap of selecting a listing agent based on which one tells them their home is worth the most. “Harriet Hair Helmet told me our house was worth $500,000 while Joe Trenchcoat said it would fetch only $450,000 at best! We’re going with Harriet!” Unless Harriet BUYS your house, she is not going to “get” you any price above market value, no matter how popular her signage is. What ends up happening in this scenario is that the house SITS and SITS for months, and then finally the sellers lower the price to where Joe said it should be – if not lower! By now, though, the listing is “old” and thus harder to sell.

PRICE BRACKETS: When Agents run listings in the MLS, they select criteria such as location, size and, of course, price range. For this reason, think about the range you are in when picking price. For example, if many homes in your neighborhood are selling for $275,000 or more, you may find your house hard to sell at $305,000 as most agents will run a printout of listings between $250,000 and $300,000 for their buyer – and your listing will not show up. If you plan on negotiating down to $295,000 anyway, it might make more sense to list at $299,999 and end up with more hits. Note that this can cut both ways – sometimes if you list too low, your house may not show up when a buyer is in the market for a $300,000 to $350,000 house. Figure out where the price breaks are in your neighborhood for your type of house (starter home, family home, condo, whatever) and then price accordingly.

COMPS or Comparables: When pricing your home, ask to see prices for houses recently SOLD in the same area in the last six months or so. Make sure you are comparing equivalent homes in the same school district and the same layout or size. In some unique areas, this is hard to do. But for a subdivision or urban area, comparable homes are not hard to find. Note that a comparable LISTING is not a “comp” but may help you in your pricing decision. If there are three homes like yours on the market for about the same price, list yours for a few thousand less and watch it sell the first weekend.

DAYS ON MARKET: Why the number of days a home is on the market should affect its saleability is a mystery to many. In a brisk market, any home that SITS on the market has “overpriced” or “has something wrong with it” written all over the listing. Why has it sat for so long, when other homes are selling faster? Some sellers will actually take the house OFF the market and re-list it, in order to get a lower “days on market” number. Note also that new listings are touted by theMLS system to Agents, so when you re-list, it brings the listing back to the agent’s attention.  In a typical scenario, a homeowner will over-price their home, watch it sit for too many days-on-market (months, if not years) and then have to fire-sale price the home to sell it.  Overpricing a home is often not a wise move!

PREPARING YOUR HOME FOR SALE: A surprising number of people are clueless when it comes to preparing their house for sale. I’ve been to houses like this, with dirty dishes in the sink, laundry on the floor, and many personal items scattered throughout the house. If you are serious about selling your house, then you are serious about MOVING. Get a head start on this and rent a storage locker and put at least 1/4 to /13 of your stuff (as much as HALF in some instances) into storage. Family photos and personal items go first. Buyers want to project their lives and possessions into the space, so your “wall of family photos” is very distracting and a turn-off. The buyer feels he is in someone Else’s house, not his. This is one reason why builders have such an easy time of it – every house they sell is impersonal. Excess furniture is next. Most homes have too much furniture, making navigation difficult and making rooms seem crowded and small. Take out extra end tables, lamps, chairs, and whatever else you need to do to make the place seem bigger. Clean out the basement, attic, and garage – they should all be empty of boxes and junk. Throw it away or put it in storage. Renting a storage locker for a few months does not cost a lot. The goal here is to make the home as blank and impersonal as a hotel room. It should look good and it should be attractive, but it should not look like the owner is coming back in 5 minutes, either. “Homey” does not often sell a home.

MAKING A HOME UNSELLABLE: Bear in mind that every home ends up getting sold, either by yourself, or your executor. So think long and hard before altering the home with odd additions or other “improvements”. Disconnecting from the grid and going solar might be the “green” thing to do, but bear in mind that few people want to tend to your bank of car batteries in the attic. That geodesic dome addition may be all Bucky Fuller, but it just makes your house “odd” and hard to sell. Redecorating your home as a medieval castle may be fun, but few folks want to live in a house with a built-in dungeon. Personalizing your home is all well and fine, but be prepared to de-personalize it before selling, or your house may linger on the market or sell at a steep discount as a result. Note that additions (See my article “Should You Remodel or Move?“) can add some value, but if poorly done, may detract from value. Many homes have tiny, awkward additions that look odd (e.g., flat roof addition with a peaked roof house) or require that you go through one room to reach the other (e.g., bedroom leading to another bedroom)

CHOOSING AN AGENT: When picking a listing agent, find someone who is familiar with your area. Picking an agent from out-of-town because you used him in the past is often a bad idea. For example, here on the Island, there are two agencies who sell most of the Real Estate on the Island. Yet there are some sellers who will pick an agent from another city entirely, and then wonder why their home does not sell. The local agents are reluctant to show houses listed by out-of-town Agents. Local agents know the market and conditions, and can realistically price your home. They also can “be there” when the house is shown to answer questions and generally show up on occasion. The out-of-town agent just wants his check. While Harriet Hair Helmet’s sign may be “everywhere”, that does not necessarily mean she is the best person to list with. You will have better luck sometimes picking an agent that is less well known, but more hungry to make a living in the business. Harriet has hundreds of listings – whether yours sells or not makes little difference to her.

BOTH SIDES OF THE DEAL: For a buyer’s agent showing homes, oftentimes the sweetest deal is selling a home that he is also the listing agent for – and getting a full 6% commission. For this reason, many agents will try to steer buyers toward houses that they are also the listing agent for. This is unethical, of course (act shocked). Some agents will discount their commission if they sell their own listing, and this is definitely a good idea. Some Agencies give agents bonuses if they sell listings by other agents in the Agency. So you see, buyer’s agents have motivations to steer sellers toward certain homes and away from others.   In your negotiation with your selling agent, be sure to ask if he will discount his commission if he “gets both sides of the deal” and have that in writing in the listing agreement. Most good Agents will have this in the agreement before you even mention it.

INCENTIVES: One other quasi-ethical thing done with listings sometimes, is to offer a cash bonus to the buyer’s agent who brings a buyer. Such incentives ($1000 or more) create a conflict of interest, as the buyer’s agent may be thinking of the bonus, rather than whether the house is right for the purchaser. If a house is not getting a lot of showings, this can be a way of generating interest in the property, however.

BUYING A HOME – get a buyer’s agent: If you are a first-time home buyer or inexperienced, finding a buyer’s agent to show you homes may be the way to go. A good agent will run listings that will find homes in your price range in the neighborhoods you want – and show you those homes. Bad agents will do shoddy work, try to steer you toward listings you don’t want (but have cash incentives for the agent) or generally ignore you until you find something on your own. Pick an agent carefully, and walk away from any agent who is showing you homes that clearly are not what you had in mind.

BUYING A HOME – go to the listing agent: If you are a more savvy buyer and don’t mind spending the weeks or months necessary to research a particular area and properties (much easier today with and other MLS websites) you may be able to get a better deal by dealing directly with the listing agent. If you have already retained a buyer’s agent, you should go through that agent, particularly if you have a signed agreement. But if you’ve done the legwork on your own, you might find you can drive a better bargain by dealing with the listing agent directly. The listing agent can make as much as 6% on the deal, twice as much as usual, so they have great incentive to “sell” your offer to the seller as the best deal (again, act shocked). An offer for more money, through another agent, will result in a lower commission for the listing agent. In addition, since the listing agent is making more money, she may offer to lower her commission in order to “sell” the seller on your low-ball offer. For the sophisticated buyer, this can be the best option, if you know what you are doing and have done the research.

EXAMPLE OF POOR SELLING: Suzie and Harry think they want to sell (mistake #1, they are not SURE they want to sell) so they hire the agent who sold their last home in another town (mistake #2, agent doesn’t know the area). They think they owe that agent a “favor” (6% of their last home wasn’t enough?) and besides, he has so many FOR SALE signs all over their old town (mistake #3, assuming popularity means effectiveness). They sign an agreement listing the house at what they “think” is a good price, but is far above the asking prices and sales prices of neighboring houses. Their price is based on what they owed on the house and how much they wanted to make on it (mistake #4, overpricing the home). They also neglect to negotiate the listing agent’s fee, particularly for situations where the listing agent sells the home (mistake #5, not cramming down the listing agent).

The listing agent puts up a sign and leaves. He puts the house in the MLS with some unflattering photos that fail to mention the new roof, new furnace, and also place the house in the wrong zip code (mistake #6, not policing the MLS listing). Since Suzie and Harry are not serious about selling, they do not properly present the house – and their listing agent gave them no guidance in this regard. The house is overcrowded with furniture and family mementos, and there is dirty laundry, dishes and other detritus throughout the house and the garage is full of boxes (mistake #7, not properly merchandising the house). Some brave selling agents show the house to prospective buyers (mostly to make other properties look more attractive), but at the price they are listed at, most of these buyers are expecting a whole different level of home. (mistake #8, pricing in the wrong bracket).

Months go by with no offers (mistake #9, too many days-on-market) and the sign out front is tipping over, dented, rusty, and covered with lawn clippings. Discouraged, they take the home off the market.

Oftentimes this scenario can result in a home staying on the market for months, if not years. Or, desperate, the sellers take a “low ball” offer that is lower than even the local market values would dictate.

Few people become “expert” in buying and selling a home, and as a result, many folks make the same mistakes over and over again.

EXAMPLE OF STELLAR SELLING: Sarah and Bill decide they need to sell their house as it is too small for their growing family, and adding on an addition would not increase the value much and the hassle of construction would be too much (kudos#1, being serious about moving). They contact three listing agents and pick one that is familiar with their area, and suggest ways in which they can make their house sell quickly for a reasonable price – based on local “comps”. (kudos#2, picking a reasonable price).

The agent put a sign in the yard and left Sarah and Bill with a laundry list of things to do before putting the house on the market. They took out 1/3 of their furniture and re-arranged the remaining furniture to make the house look roomy and spacious. They got rid of family photos and knick-knacks and put it all in a storage locker. They then cleaned the house from top to bottom and threw out garbage bags of stuff they had no intention of taking with them when they left. (kudos#3, merchandising the home) They also packed up everything in the attic and basement and garage. Bill went through a list of small “chores” – fixing a broken gutter and repainting the mailbox. He painted the garage floor to cover years of oil stains. They put bright fluorescent lights in the basement laundry room and painted the concrete basement walls to make it bright and airy (kudos #4, fixing up broken stuff). Once done, the house showed like a model home.

Meanwhile, their agent entered all the data in the MLS, including flattering photos of the home. Sarah and Bill read the listing and made some suggestions for improvement (kudos #4, making your MLS listing shine!), Meanwhile, on a daily basis, Sarah and Bill made it a point to keep the house spic and span at all times – doing laundry daily and washing and putting away dishes after each use. It was hard, but the house was always ready to show on a moment’s notice. And show it did. Since it was priced realistically and attractively, it went to the top of many buyer’s agent’s lists. Buyers who saw the home were impressed with how clean and well-maintained it was, and could see themselves living in it. In no time, they had multiple contracts on the home and were able to get MORE than the listing price for the house.

* * *

As you can see, with some hard work, and a little foresight, you can sell a house effectively and quickly.  Sadly, most people fail to understand these basic principles, and wonder why their house “won’t sell” after months, or even years on the market.

Pricing attractively and merchandising your home for sale, and policing your listing agreement are the smartest things you can do.  Most people instead, assume that getting the “right listing agent” is what will sell your house, when in fact, whose sign is on your lawn has little or nothing to do with a quick sale.

Now in this market, some of this advice may be of no use to you. If you own a condo in Las Vegas, it ain’t selling, period. The bubble condos will probably revert to rental properties much as they did in the 1990’s during the last bubble, many after going through foreclosure. For most folks, a deed-in-lieu-of-foreclosure may be the best option. But not understanding Real Estate is what got those folks in trouble in the first place, frankly.

Note that this article deals mostly with SELLING your home.  In a future article, I will address BUYING a home.  Buying a house is a task doubly-fraught with hazard, as there are so many emotional issues tied up in a home purchase.  And I can say this first-hand, having bought homes on little more than impulse in the past!  Fortunately, it has generally worked out for me.  But for others, it can end up being a life-changing and costly mistake.  So, more on that, to follow.

holly street estate: past and present

Photo by Chris Dorley-Brown

The Holly Estate lies on the eastern edge of Hackney, among rows of Victorian terraced streets and squares. It was built on the site of buildings bombed during the war and others that had just been left in a state of disrepair. Everything was razed to the ground to make way for the new development.

The picture above gives a historic view of the area (it was taken in 1988) – when the four towers of the estate were still standing. Built between 1966 and 1971, it lies to the north of Hackney Road between Queensbridge Road and Kingsland Road.

Because of the footprint of the buildings the estate earned the nickname ‘The Snake.

Its buildings were all named after trees Silverbirch, Pine, Rosewood among others, with the four towers called Rowan, Cedar, Lomas and Grange.
Like so many estates of the time the construction wasn’t that great. Even worse was the layout of the buildings. “At the foot of the towers are 16 five-storey deck-access blocks; at the fourth-floor level these are connected by one continuous, quarter-mile-long ‘street in the sky’. This has been a dream rat- run for the estates’ many muggers and a nightmare for most residents. Those living on the fifth floor have been robbed by burglars who have punched their way through flat roofs,” said a report in the Independent.
One resident said: “I remember walking around corrdiors and not even seeing daylight for at least 20 minutes.”
Despite these problems it was initially seen as a desirable place to be. “Holly Street was not a bad place to live in those days but slowly it declined and never recovered. The parks which were always full of young children became empty, the flats became shakey and some of the newer residents brought mayhem,” said another resident.
There were widespread reports of prostitution and drug deal and all the menace that comes with it. The estate even had its own gang The Holly Street Boys, who still hang around the area to this day finding ways to harrass the neighbouring London Field Boys.
Luckily for the estate it was on Tony Blair’s hit-list of places to improve (no doubt fuelled by the fact that he used to live in a house on nearby Mapledene Road) and the prime minister himself came there to express his concerns.
“I got used to the society of fear in the Eighties canvassing on the Holly Street estate in Hackney, now thankfully greatly improved, when people were too scared to open the door and the letterboxes had burn marks around them where lighted rags had been shoved through them,” he said.
By that point 80% of the residents themselves said they no longer wanted to live in the estate, so armed with money the council began demolition of all but one of the towers.
The Holly Street Estate post demolition
And here is the masterplan, as designed by Levitt Bernstein Associates to mimic traditional London streets. You can see the one remaining tower to the right which was fully renovated for housing for the elderly.
Levitt Bernstein Associates
 The new estate opened in 2003.
It wasn’t an immediate success. Residents reported continuing anti-social behaviour of various kinds, brought to a head in 2006 by the murder of Stevens Nyembo-Ya-Muteba.
The father of two girls, aged five and eight at the time, was stabbed through the heart and lungs by 19 year-old Joseph Ekaette in Evergreen Square – an open space in the middle of the new estate.
Ekaette, who was with a group of other youths who filmed the attack on a mobile phone, has been jailed for life.
Evergreen Square
Work is now ongoing to finish the final phase of the regeneration of the estate, Queensbridge Quarter.
It’s style is unique for Hackney and a welcome relief from the blandness of the rest of the regenerated estate.


GENESIS BEACH HOUSE asking $425,000
Great location, great rental or private home. Furnished two-two bedroom, on bath, living rooms, kitchen and porch duplexes facing the ocean. Located directly across the street from the gorgeous sunset side of the island, the dive shop and two of the cafes.  Live in one side and rent the other or open the doors and make it one four bedroom two bath house. Must see.

How Real Estate Webmasters plans to take on U.S. giant Zillow

Morgan Carey in Real Estate Webmasters' Nanaimo office

The Nanaimo, B.C., digital marketing company that landed the richest deal ever on Dragons’ Den—then rejected it in favour of a better offer—has made an acquisition that its founder says gives it “the complete package” to take on its super-sized American rival. Real Estate Webmasters has bought Guaranteed Sale Inc., giving it a series of domain names and a customer base for generating property leads from motivated sellers.

“Basically there’s an agent in every market who offers your home sold, guaranteed, or I’ll buy it,” says CEO Morgan Carey. Those are now effectively REW clients. Every time someone who wants to sell their home enters their address for a free valuation, the Guaranteed Sale platform initiates a lead-generation process for that Realtor.

Webmasters’ impressive growth to date has been built on generating sales leads for real estate agents on the buy side, through marketing and search engine optimization—helping agents connect with first-time buyers or those looking for a first home in a particular city. With the Guaranteed Sale platform, the company can offer Realtors a lead-generation tool on the sell side too. The company also sells transaction management software-as-a-service.

By giving Realtors these web-based tools, they are better able to compete cost-effectively with web-based for-sale-by-owner sites while doing more for the end customer, Carey says. “We’re a race-to-the-top kind of company, not race-to-the-bottom.”

But the Goliath to Webmasters’ David is Zillow, which recently acquired the No. 2 real estate portal in North America, Trulia, for US$2.5 billion. “Agents don’t like these portals because they try to sell their leads back to them and they control the price,” Carey claims. Real Estate Webmasters, by contrast, sells its services on a subscription model, so clients can generate an unlimited number of leads for no extra cost.


Currently Webmasters works with 60,000 Realtors in the U.S., representing about a 6% market share, with strong beachheads in some cities and little presence in others. “We want to take those guys [Zillow and Trulia] out in local markets,” Carey says. “We won’t be able to do so everywhere because they have such a big head start. But maybe in five years, we can.”

The Guaranteed Sale acquisition was financed out of cash flow, Carey says, not out of the new investment by American real estate tycoon and Shark Tank star Barbara Corcoran and silent partners. After attracting an offer of $2 million from Dragons Michael Wekerle and Jim Treliving for a 5% share of the company on the Canadian reality show in 2014, Carey dropped that deal in favour of Corcoran’s offer of the same amount for a 4% stake in January—effectively upping Real Estate Webmasters’ market capitalization to $50 million. The deal has not yet closed, he says.