Real Estate Investing – Free Vacations While Searching for Real Estate Acquisitions

Real estate investing professionals look for all possible tax deductions because of the generous profits derived from real estate investing.

For example, real estate investors are concerned whether the sale of their real estate is subject to capital gains taxation or qualifies as ordinary income. Determining this status in the sale of real estate investments affects net profit.

In addition to this consideration, tax deductions are allowed for expenses incurred in the normal operation of any real estate investing transaction. These deductible expenses include the costs of office supplies, professional fees, property repairs, and depreciation.

This article is not a legal or accounting commentary on IRS Code regulations, so you should ask your personal professionals about your qualifications for any specific deductions regarding real estate investing.

Consult with your accountant to determine if the search for new real estate acquisitions away from home would allow you tax deductions for travel, meals, and lodging.

If so, why not combine a vacation with a search for new real estate investing opportunities?

Tax deductible expenses always require that you obtain and keep all receipts relating to the property investment search while on vacation. Pick up newspapers, and mark properties investigated in the classifieds. Collect business cards of realtors contacted. Keep copies of submitted offers.

Many of us real estate investing professionals are workaholics, and a fine line might distinguish the difference between relaxing on vacation and work to find investment properties. But the “working vacation” also might be good therapy to clear your head while simultaneously generating new idea after keeping your nose close to the grindstone over an extended period of time.

Real Estate Bubble Burst – A Preview of Things to Come!

The LA Times ran a story on March 4th on the bust of the Shanghai, China, real estate market. In one of the world’s hottest housing markets, the last three years saw a doubling of prices. Things are now so bad now that thousands of real estate offices have closed, many homeowners have loan amounts that are greater than their properties resale value, recent buyers are fighting with developers to rescind their purchases, and banks are awaiting a wave of mortgage defaults.

Morgan Stanley’s chief Asia economist said “Shanghai’s housing slump is only going to worsen and imperil a significant part of the Chinese economy”. About the property now under construction, this same economist said “They’ll remain empty for years!”

The similarities to our hot US bubble markets, makes me believe this is preview of what we are already starting to experience (though at a much slower pace).

The first signs of trouble in our real estate markets were very subtle and only picked up, or acknowledged, by very few real estate professionals. Since mid 2005 the red flags have been quite obvious to even the layperson. Yet, the forever optimistic ‘it’s always a good time to buy’ industry line is embraced by the mass media (they certainly do not want to lose their immense source of real estate advertising revenue) and the naive general public.

In San Diego in particular and most other major metropolitan real estate markets, it’s quite acceptable to acknowledge and embrace the double digit real estate appreciation of the past. Yet, even the thought of depreciation of real estate is looked on with the same disbelief as if a child molester moved in next door.

There is a proven saying in our stock market: “You can never go broke taking a profit.” In many US markets, seasoned investors can still turn a profit. However, if Shanghai’s real estate market is any indication of what awaits the hot US markets…..the window of opportunity is closing very fast!

IRA Loan-Loan-To-Value Ratio

When you apply for a non recourse loan against your self-directed IRA, the lender will examine the proposed loan’s LTV (loan-to-value) ratio before extending a loan. The LTV ratio enables lenders to assess risk on the loan. The loan-to-value ratio usually applies to loans borrowed for property investment. Because an IRA loan for property purchase falls in this category, it helps to know what kind of LTV ratio lenders expect for approving a loan request.

An IRA loan is riskier to lenders because the IRS requires it to be non recourse. This means it frees the borrower from personal liability in the event of loan default. Therefore, lenders usually offer an IRA loan only when the loan-to-value ratio does not exceed 65% for single family homes.

For condominiums, multi-unit properties, and apartment complexes, the loan-to-value maximum is lower, at around 60%.

Calculating Loan-to-Value

To assess if your IRA loan proposal is feasible, find out the loan-to-value for the IRA loan. Typically, the loan-to-value is the ratio of the loan amount to the value of the property.

Therefore, if you want to purchase property worth $100,000 and expect to borrow an IRA loan of $85,000, the loan-to-value ratio would be 85%. The LTV is too high, and it is unlikely that your loan application would be approved.

Take another example. If you want to buy the same property (worth $100,000) and need a loan of $65,000, the loan-to-value is 65%. This increases the likelihood of a favorable response from the IRA loan provider.

If you are planning to borrow $70,000 to purchase a condominium worth $100,000, the loan-to-value ratio is 70%. This is higher than the acceptable LTV on condominiums and multifamily dwelling units. However, if you are willing to offer a down payment of $40,000 and borrow only $60,000, the loan-to-value ratio becomes 60%, and the lender might be more willing to consider your loan request.

The loan-to-value cap may also be lowered if the lender feels that the property is a risky investment; that is, it does not yield good returns, requires too much investment, and cannot fetch sufficient rental. Other reasons for a reduced LTV could include poor condition of the property, a unique property, or unimproved property (land).

Investing Smartly

Usually, it is a good idea to scrape together the funds without taking out a non recourse loan if possible. Some people partner with relatives; others may clear out their savings to come up with the required capital. However, getting hold of the money through these channels is often difficult.

Many people are unaware that, in this situation, they can finance the property purchase in the self-directed IRA by getting a non recourse loan. While the lender provides 65% of the property price, you can use your IRA to fund the remaining 35%. Though this loan does not put IRA assets at risk, remember that it does put your IRA’s future ability to obtain a loan at some risk, so you have to invest wisely. Choose a property that requires minimum operating expenses such as maintenance, security, utility bills, tax, etc. and offers maximum returns in rent.

Before you approach the lender for an IRA loan, you need to have a self-directed IRA with at least the 35% of the property price invested in it.

A self-directed IRA loan allows the investor to buy property within an IRA without putting the IRA at risk (the property you buy can be foreclosed, but other IRA funds are not at risk from lenders). Because your IRA is also funding a portion of the investment, you need to select the property cautiously.

10 Criminal Law Tips Everyone Needs to Know

Whether you are a past offender, currently facing criminal charges, or have a clean record, these criminal law tips are facts that everyone needs to know. Not only can having this knowledge protect you and your loved ones in various situations, it can help you navigate current and future legal issues that are in the works. Continue reading to learn 10 criminal law facts and advice, and be sure to pass this information onto your friends, co-workers, and loved ones.

Important Criminal Defense Tips

1. If you are pulled over and an officer suspects you have been drinking, you have the right to refuse a sobriety test. But there is a serious catch. Keep in mind that this also means law enforcement will arrest you on the spot, and your drivers’ license will be automatically suspended for 12 months. This is because most states, such as Indiana, are “implied consent” states. This means if you have a drivers’ license, then you automatically consent to BAC testing anytime.

2. If law enforcement shows up at your house or office requesting to conduct a search of the premises, you have the right to refuse. If they have a search warrant, you do not have this right and you must cooperate with them completely. If they do not have a search warrant, close the door and immediately contact a criminal defense lawyer.

3. If you are confronted by law enforcement, always be courteous and cooperative. Having an attitude, being disrespectful, and refusing to cooperate will only get you in more trouble. If you want the best experience possible with police, whether you end up getting arrested or not, be sure you are polite, well-spoken, and cooperative. They have all the power at the moment, and you must remember that you do not have control over the situation, so it is best to just give in and relinquish all the control. This will make your time with police and jail (if it gets to that) a lot easier for you.

4. If you are already on probation or parole for a previous offense, and you commit another crime, you will face additional legal sentences and penalties on top of the one you are currently serving. Many people are unaware how serious of an offense it is to violate probation or parole, especially by committing another crime. You can most certainly expect to be sentenced to jail time.

5. A minor is a person over the age of 10 and under the age of 18. However, minors can be charged as an adult in certain cases. This usually happens if the crime is very serious or if the minor is close to turning 18 years old. Being tried as an adult means that a minor faces adult penalties.

6. If you are a past offender, and it has been many years since your last offense, you may qualify to have your criminal record sealed from public access. This means that employers, banks, landlords, and the general public cannot look up a particular criminal charge or arrest. You must have a criminal defense lawyer help you file for record sealing, as the process is highly complex and demanding.

7. To get a complete copy of your criminal record, you must compile all records in every county and state they exist. That is because local, state, and federal records are all different. You will have to contact the clerk’s office or local authorities to get the records you need. You can also have your criminal defense lawyer help you with this.

8. Never waive your right to an attorney. Furthermore, never attempt to represent yourself in court. If you want to avoid the maximum penalties for your criminal charges, you need to have an experienced lawyer working on your defense. They are the only ones who have the knowledge and resources to protect your rights and preserve your freedoms.

9. You have to be very careful what you post to your social media accounts. You must understand that your social media activity can be used against you in a court of law, even traffic court, divorce court, and other civil courts. Law enforcement and government organizations have technology that allows them to identify IP addresses, locations, coordinates, times, dates, and more. If you post from a coffee shop on the corner of 9th and Main, they can find out. Nothing is private on your social media, and all activity is permanently logged forever.

10. The best way to avoid getting in trouble with the law is to surround yourself with positive and healthy people, and to partake in healthy activities. Furthermore, educating yourself on certain particulars of the law can help you understand your rights and obligations as a U.S. citizen. If you ever have questions about the law, contact a trusted criminal defense lawyer for professional advice and answers.

7 Common Immigration Mistakes To Be Avoided

While applying for immigration benefits, there are some common mistakes people make, but can be avoided. These mistakes can sometimes cause serious trouble at the end of the road, like not being able to reunite with their family, loss of both the application filing fee and the immigration fee, being deported and inability to re-enter the US. So, caution must be taken to avoid these simple mistakes listed below.

1. Providing Incorrect information:

When applying for immigration benefits, it is necessary to provide all the right information. This is right from the point where the immigration forms are filed. Fraudulent information or misrepresenting any facts for obtaining the immigration benefits must be avoided.

2. Late Responses to USCIS queries:

If the US Citizenship and Immigration Services needs any additional information for processing any immigration application, it sends a Request for Evidence (RFE) to the applicant. This request has to be replied with sufficient documentation within the stipulated deadline. Ignoring or missing the deadline for the RFE can lead to denial of the application.

3. Immigration Interviews and Court Hearings:

Attending the interviews set up by the USCIS and the court hearings is very important in the process of granting an immigration. Ignoring these interviews and court hearings can also lead to the application being rejected.

4. Filing application without the fee:

USCIS forms usually have a processing fee. Fee waiver is also available for most forms. Those who cannot afford to pay the fees, can send the application along with a request for fee waiver. USCIS does not process any application which does not have the fee or the proper fee waiver request.

5. Send the application to the wrong office:

The instruction form along with the application should be read carefully. The address to which the application form should be sent to is given clearly in the instruction form. The application must be sent to the correct address to avoid delay where the application is either returned to the sender or sometimes forwarded to the right address.

6. Not everyone who applies is successful:

Some of the applicants, even though they do not meet the criteria for immigration benefits, simply apply because their friends or relatives have applied and have obtained the benefits. Every applicant is evaluated and not everyone who applies is eligible for the benefit. Reading the instruction forms thoroughly clarifies the eligibility criteria and provides newer options available.

7. Eligibility:

Applying for an immigration benefit for which they are not eligible is a very common mistake. Reading the Instruction Form before applying and checking for an individual’s eligibility can be done before applying.

Bed Bugs and Public Health

Bed bugs have been around for centuries, and big cities have always had a certain low level of them. In fact, we’ve had a bit of a reprieve from them over the last 40 years because people used harsh poisons to keep them at bay, but due to a ban in poisons or toxic pesticides-bed bugs are now making a comeback are being blamed for the increase in infestations.

Well, the first thing that you need to know about is that bed bug bites are itchier than mosquito bites. This is because of the anesthetics in bed bug’s saliva. Bed bug rash will appear an hour after you were pierced. But to some people, the bed bug rash appear only after some days or week from being bitten. This depends upon the body’s reaction to chemicals being secreted by bed bugs.

The most commonly affected areas of the body are arms and shoulders. Reactions to the bites may appear delayed: up to 9 days before lesions appear. Common allergic reactions include development of large wheels, often>1-2 cm, which are accompanied by itching and inflammation. It has also been suggested that the allergens from the bed bugs may also be associated with asthmatic infections.

Even though the public health concerns are authentic, they are not good enough to importune widespread panic. Bed bug invasion can be eradicated or eliminated with pesticide sprays and dusting but the owner should get professional help, in case the condition gets traumatic or irritating.

So, above are some of the common symptoms and methods to detect and treat a bed bug infection. Keep your home and surroundings clean and neat, and enjoy a healthy life!

Is There a Houston Real Estate Bubble?

The real estate bubble refers to the bursting of the real estate market based on economic instability. It is what a lot of consumers worry about prior to investing their money in real estate. Realtors believe that real estate markets cannot crash because of several key factors. The real estate market is based on local or micro-local economies that are more stable than the world economy. They also believe that the real estate market is actually a compilation of local economies that have never been down since the 1960s.

The Houston real estate market has been subject to a lot of “bubble” rumors in recent years. Houston has seen a decline in its job market in the recent years, making Houston quite unpopular among professionals. Although living in Houston is fairly affordable, its lack of professional opportunities, compared to other urban areas, makes it less preferable. This may be one of the reasons behind the Houston real estate bubble. Local realtors, however, believe that the local economy is growing, and real estate sales have not declined significantly. This is accompanied by promising projections of more careers available in the years to come.

Real estate agents believe that the Houston real estate bubble has no basis at all, contending that real estate price appreciation rates may be considered high at almost 4 percent. Desirable neighborhoods in Houston still fetch high prices and may be sold even higher in a few years or when properties are developed further. Houston offers a little bit of everything, which makes it appealing to young families, especially with the insurgence of computer industries that are setting up facilities in Houston. The number of educational institutions in Houston that offer students a competitive edge over other areas also attracts a lot of individuals to Houston. Aside from these, Houston, despite being the fourth most populous city in the United States, has a fairly low crime rate. All these reasons make it quite improbable that the Houston real estate market will crash and never come back.

Get Your House With the Best Sound Proofing Now

Are you worried that your neighbors may complain about sound systems and high sound level of your new house? Well, forget it and be a party freak and get yourself moving to beats of music systems just by getting your new house sound insulated. Your house needs sound testing, which may be separated by equal or different distances from your neighbors. You just need to get an expert solution about sound insulation testing in order to get your house sound proof.

What is sound insulation testing?

In simple words sound insulation testing can be defined as minimum separations between the walls, which is required between walls & floors to meet the requirements as stated by Approved Document E generally termed as ADE by UK government. These tests are carried out to ensure that your building construction demonstrates an acceptable level of airborne and impact sound insulation performance. Pre assessment of construction is done and results are provided for desired construction.

Understanding airborne sound and impact

Airborne sound is a sound that is transmitted through air. This sound may be unacceptable in the nearby locality. Hence there must be well maintained distance between you and your neighborhood, according to ADE rules and regulation. Well, what is impact, then? Have you ever heard or felt the vibration of DJ and other song. These sounds tend to vibrate the walls of your house this is called impact of sound. Your construction must be in accordance with ADE rules for acceptable sound in the neighborhood.

What is Acoustic test and How to do it?

A poor quality construction and workmanship may cause airborne sound travel directly in between door gaps and windows which may result in flanking sound to the outer environment. Though the element itself provides insulation but still then a small sound from gaps may cause an increase in transmission of airborne sound.

The amount of airborne sound can be reduced by using acoustic absorption. This reduces the amount of sound reflected back to space by the surface enclosing it. This acoustic insulation reduces the sound transmitting into space from an adjacent space though a building fabric. This fabric becomes insulation between walls and air to eliminate air gaps for impact and airborne sound.

Procedure of Acoustic testing:

Some key and important procedures are explained below for efficient acoustic testing:

– Installation of all external construction must be done such as doors, windows, vents etc and doors and windows must be closed.

– Internal doors must be kept open

– All electrical fittings such as lights, fans, switches must be done.

– Make sure that accessibility to both sides of testing walls is done.

– For impact testing there must not be any cosmetic floor fitting

– The testing room must be the one where sound boxes are to be kept in future.

Testing:

Airborne sound transmission can be tested by placing a test loud speaker which must be capable of generating sound at a range of frequencies. Detection of the sound is carried out over a microphone. Later calculations are made and adjustments are made to account for sound absorption from receiving space. These tests are carried out from a range of 125 Hz to 4000Hz.

Many advanced technologies are coming up for acoustic testing. Every month reviews of new technology are in the market. Do stay in contact for further review of sound testing across the globe. Sound insulation testing and acoustic test are necessary requirements while constructing buildings and you should contact an engineer to guide you in this.

Texas Real Estate

Texas is the second largest state in United States next to Alaska in terms of area and California in terms of population. Texas has several metropolises due to its oil industry that contribute to its growth. Several cities have a lot of historic importance and are known for its cultural heritage.

Real estate scenario in Texas has shown an upward trend in many cities. Influx of immigrants from nearby cities and states has increased demand for real estate. Most immigrants prefer to settle down and buy on their own home.

Most cities in Texas offer reasonably priced homes that are affordable to most consumers. Dallas is one of the biggest cities of Texas and has a definite oil influence, which has contributed to growth of real estate in this city. Yet, real estate prices are surprisingly cheap as compared to other big cities. Austin is another good city preferred by many home seekers as an ideal destination for standard living. Real estate prices in this city are increasing rapidly and customers are advised to make an early bid to avoid increase of prices. Houston is another major city in Texas that is growing at a steady rate. San Antonio is a small city, which has now started growing and developing as compared to other established cities.

On an average, a good family home in Dallas is priced at around $ 260000 while that in Austin is approximately $ 200000. A similar home in Houston would cost approximately $ 150000 on an average while that in San Antonio would cost

$ 220000. It is observed that on an average, appreciation of real estate prices is a little over five percent every year. Thus the future of Texas real estate seems to be bright. Prospective customers need to take advantage of such low prices at the earliest to avoid higher rates in future.

The real estate market comprises of various agents and agencies dealing in buying, selling and leasing of accommodation for residential and commercial purposes. It has many professionals such as estate agents, brokers and lawyers that provide their services to individuals that require a home in Texas.

Gutter And Downspout Cleaning – Helpful Tips On Cleaning Rain Gutters

Have you been dreading the job of gutter and downspout cleaning? It’s not hard to understand why. Going up on the roof and trying to get all the junk out of your rain gutters isn’t something that anyone looks forward to, but it is definitely something that is necessary for any homeowner to do at least once a year. Here are some tips to help make this job a little easier.

Obviously, keeping your rain gutters and eaves free from leaves, sticks and other debris will help prevent clogging and keep them from sagging or coming apart from the roof and creating a more serious water problem in the future.

We don’t often consider the fact that our rain gutters and downspouts really do protect our home from damage. They aid in preventing water from pouring off of your roof and getting into your foundation and eventually into your home, as well as preventing rotting of your roof.

When it comes to cleaning gutters and downspouts you have a couple of choices; having a gutter contractor come out and do it for you, or climbing up the ladder and doing it yourself.

Before you go to climbing that ladder be sure you are physically able and comfortable in doing it. My father fell from a ladder a couple of years ago doing this and broke his leg in the process. He could have easily had the work done for him, but chose to do it himself even though he knew he shouldn’t have. I urge you to give this some careful thought. Using the services of a guttering company is not out of the reach of most budgets and it will prevent any possible accidents.

For those who are going to do it themselves you will need a good ladder, a garden hose, safety glasses, gloves and pole or something similar to help get some of the leaves and sticks out with. It may be possible to go on the roof and use a leave blowing machine if your gutter is dry and doesn’t have that much in it. It’s another option.

Once you are on the roof, pick out the large areas of debris in the gutter before hosing them out. You want to avoid washing the leaves and everything else down into your downspout or you run the risk of getting it clogged up. Then, once you have the major junk out of the gutter you spray the channel with water and get them cleaned out.

Although this is not a tough task to accomplish it is vital to the upkeep of your home. Depending on how many trees you have around your home you may need to do this once in the spring and once again in the late fall in order to keep things flowing freely.

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