Ten Money Saving Ideas

Budgeting 1 Comment »

With our declining economy and weakening dollar here in the United States, it is going to be time for us to return to some old fashioned money saving tactics. The price of gasoline, the price of food, all contributing to a much higher cost of living overall, and driving up almost every market we work and interact in. In my mind, you can sum up the old fashioned money saving techniques in one short phrase - “delayed gratification”. ARGGGGHHH!!! EEEWWWWWW!!! Yucky. Nobody wants to do that. We all want to find some magic bullet to save us, while we keep all our vices and entertainment. Well I want to submit to you today, ten old fashioned, smart, family oriented, money saving ideas that can produce massive benefits to you down the road:

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A Tip for Finding Investment Properties

Real Estate Investing No Comments »

This is going to be short and sweet today. I ran across a potential deal about a week or two ago, which I am following up on, for four duplexes about a block away from where I already own/manage property. But these properties were not on the market, there is no MLS listing, for sale by owner sign, advertisement in the paper, etc. I found these properties through a tenant connection, which I will explain in a minute.

Before I move on, I want to give you some help in finding your own deals. I have talked about some of the different types of properties to look for, that would typically be sold for less than market value. Properties like HUD repossessions, and  multifamily properties are some examples. The tip I am interested in discussing today involves one of these strategies - Farming Markets.

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Real Estate Negotiations for Buyers

Real Estate Investing No Comments »

For everyone out there that is intimidated by negotiations of any kind, this should be a help to you, especially if you are looking for real estate. Some of these real estate negotiation tips will be basically negotiating tactics, while others will be very specific to getting the price down. Often, real estate agents are the primary negotiators, and frankly, I haven’t seen any good ones yet. All I have seen is this typical scenario:

Buyer’s Real Estate Agent:

“Mr. Buyer, the seller has said they won’t go below $X. What do you want to do?”

Great negotiating tactics huh? My thought exactly. And yet, this is very often the case for most buyers. Again, this is another testament to how bad realtors are, as a whole. But if you understand some basic principles about negotiations, you can use them to turn the tables your way. Let’s look at some of these principles:

Knowledge is Power

No, I am not talking about “The More You Know” commercials on TV. However, this principle is the most powerful principle in real estate and in any other negotiations. It demands listening and research, to understand what is motivating the seller to sell, what the property is worth, what repairs need to be done, etc. Let me just quickly touch on a few tips you can use to gain the advantage in your negotations:

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A Quick Update on My Recent Real Estate Investing Activities

Real Estate Investing No Comments »

I don’t have a whole lot of time today to share with you all that is happening (I have a couple of real estate appointments setup for later today), but I wanted to give you a quick update. I was able to successfully remove a slow/non-paying tenant out of one of my investment properties. A few days later, I was able to lease it back out. This is the first tenant that actually read all the through the contract, and point out some issues that she had with it. This came as a refreshment to me, in that most people don’t read it, which is not really the problem, the problem is, they don’t think they have to abide by it, or they don’t care. So hopefully with this savvy renter, there won’t be any issues with keeping up the property, or paying the rent on time.

Also, one of my appointments today will be with someone who is looking to lease out my doublewide just north of Belton. As you may remember, I had to ask the previous tenants to vacate due to non-payment of rent. It is amazing how many people don’t care about paying their rent. But, I digress…anyways, these people sound like they might be more stable renters, and I have introduced a price slightly above what the previous tenants were paying. So we will see what we can do.

All in all, things are kind of in a lull, but with the potential to ramp back up. Come back soon for more information on real estate investing and personal finance.


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Grow Your Own Food Part 4

Budgeting No Comments »

It has been a little while since the last time I gave yall an update regarding our garden and growing your own food. Well, our garden is in somewhat of a bittersweet state. We have squash and green beans coming up very well, but some of our other vegetables, like our onions, romaine lettuce, bell peppers, carrots and tomatoes are not doing as well. We do have some growth in all of the struggling vegetables (except for the onions, they just don’t seem to be coming up), but they just are nearly as strong as the squash and green beans. But before I show you the pictures, I wanted to give you a few pointers that you can use in your garden, that I think will help you to do better raising your own food:

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4 Basic Tips for Getting a Mortgage

Mortgages No Comments »

I wanted to give y’all some basic tips to financing that home you’ve been wanting to buy. Getting a mortgage these days is not quite as easy as it used to be. With the fallout of the sub-prime loan market, banks are getting back to the basics in lending, i.e. people with strong credit, some cash, and a stable job. On the whole, we have been spoiled in being able to spend everything we make each week, and still being able to obtain financing on a house. I for one am glad that this has happened, for many reasons, such as this will teach people to be responsible with their money, it will limit my competition in buying properties, it will create more demand for rental properties, and it will provide some better tenants as well.

But real quickly here, I wanted to give you some basic pointers so that you will know and be prepared for the bank or mortgage company is going to want to see when you apply for your mortgage:

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Property Rehabbing: Tips to Protect Yourself

Real Estate Investing No Comments »

Well, here we are again, with me giving you information on how I am getting burned, so that you won’t get burned. Just last week, while working on an addition for one of the duplexes we have, we had some materials and tools walk off the job site. Now, understand that I am in Belton, TX, and theft in the historic district where we live (and also, where this duplex is located) is extremely low. Often, I leave the door to my shed wide open, and have not ever had anything stolen yet. But, even so, we had some 2 x 4 studs and 1 x 4 pieces of lumber that walked off the job site in addition to a ladder, and pry bar. This is very disturbing, considering I did take some preventative steps prior to the theft.

When the delivery truck showed up on the job site, I had them deliver the materials into the back yard of the property, that was not fenced, but did however have many trees, a debris pile and other obstacles that prevented easy access by vehicle to the job site. So, these crooks must have gone on foot to retrieve the lumber, and carry it out to their vehicle. It is a sad day we are living in. So, since we don’t have a secure area to place the materials (other than inside the duplex) we have resorted to placing them on top of the roof. One other note that I will make, it is interesting that the materials didn’t disappear until I was on business out of town. So here are a couple of practical, but hopefully obvious tips:

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Commentary on Gas Prices in the Near Future

Budgeting 1 Comment »

With the recent soar in gas prices, I feel compelled to contact my readers and urge them to take action against the oil companies. Goldman Sachs has put out a recent estimation that the price for a barrel of crude oil could reach as high as $200. Currently the price is somewhere around $120 per barrel. So, if the price of gasoline at the pump is somewhere around $4 nationwide now, then the price at the pump with crude oil being $200 per barrel would be somewhere around $6.50 per gallon! Do you think you are stretching now on your gas bill? Do you think food prices are high now? Just wait.

The only way the American people can influence the price of gasoline is too reduce their consumption. I am putting my best foot forward by looking for a motorcycle to buy, and severely limiting my trips around town, and out of town. Getting the number of miles driven down combined with obtaining a much more fuel efficient vehicle will dramatically reduce the number of gallons of gas I will be buying at the local gas station.

But let me just give you some suggestions and ways that you can cut back on gasoline consumption, some of these are obvious, and have already been covered, but I want this to be a fairly comprehensive list, so here goes:

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Motorcycle Gas Mileage: A Simple Payback Calculator

Budgeting, Car Shopping 2 Comments »

I have put feelers out there, but as of yet, I don’t have any solid leads on obtaining a motorcycle. But as you know from my Motorcycle Gas Mileage article, not only can you save a lot of money getting a motorcycle, but you learned how highly I esteem the Honda brand of vehicles (that was thrown in here for free :) ).

Motorcycle Gas Mileage Payback Calculator
http://personalfinanceresources.com


Input Area
Price Per Gallon of Gas $4.00
Your Current Car/Truck Gas Mileage 25
Your Prospective Motorcycle’s Gas Mileage 60
Your Average Miles Driven Per Month 1,000


Automatic Calculation Area
Price of the Motorcycle for 6 Month Payback $560.00
Price of the Motorcycle for 1 Year Payback $1,120.00
Price of the Motorcycle for 1.5 Year Payback $1,680.00
Price of the Motorcycle for 2 Year Payback $2,240.00
Price of the Motorcycle for 2.5 Year Payback $2,800.00
Price of the Motorcycle for 3 Year Payback $3,360.00
Price of the Motorcycle for 3.5 Year Payback $3,920.00
Price of the Motorcycle for 4 Year Payback $4,480.00




This xls spreadsheet is super easy to use. In the input area, all you have to do is enter the price per gallon of gasoline in your area, the current mileage you are getting on your car or truck, the mileage the particular motorcycle you are interested in is getting, and the average number of miles you drive in any particular month. The calculator then spits out the top end price that you can spend on your motorcycle in order to get paid back in full over a specific number of months. So given the defaulted values, if you spend $560 for your motorcycle, the gas savings that you will receive will pay for your motorcycle in just 6 months! If you spend $1,120 on your motorcycle, it will be paid back in gas savings in just 1 year, and so on.

I came up with this tool in order to see what the top price would be that I could spend in order to get paid back around 6 months to a year. So I have done all the work, and you can download the spreadsheet for free!


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Get Your Property Management Deals in Writing, Up Front!

Property Management No Comments »

Continuing on the theme that I was writing about in my last article, I wanted to give you a specific example that happened to me just last week in property management. A friend on mine that I manage property for referred me to one his friends to help him get his property leased. This man seemed very friendly and easy to work for. His house payment was somewhere around $1,200 per month, and you guessed it, the going rate for a property like his in that area was somewhere around $1,200-$1,300 per month.

So after talking with him, he wanted to gross $1,350, but I needed to make at least $100 per month to manage the place. So I decided to go ahead with the property management marketing for him without an agreement up front. Now, normally when I manage property, all the money flows through me, so the problem of having the up front written agreement with the owner is not “as much” of an issue. So I proceeded to market the property for $1,500 per month, well over the going rate for the area.

Well, when the rubber met the road, I was only able to rent the property for $1,400 per month. So I went ahead and got the contract going with the new tenants. But when I talked to the owner about it, he wanted to manage the property, and just pay me the monthly fee that we agreed on. Now, I went ahead and met him in the middle, and dropped my fee down to $75 per month. So getting the news that he was going to take care of all the hassle of the tenants really had me excited.

The Penny Drops… 

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