Residential Lease Option

Real Estate Investing 7 Comments »

Ever wanted to sell your home via a lease option? Houses that are sold in this manner are a low risk, high gain scenario. I am going to give you an example of how great this residential sales strategy is, but before I do that, I want to cover just exactly what a residential lease option is. The basic premise of lease options are a “rent-to-own” strategy. A typical buyer would contract with the seller to rent for a certain period of time, in exchange for a set price to buy at the end of the lease period. That doesn’t sound very good for the seller, but in exchange for guaranteeing a certain selling price in the future, the seller collects an option fee. It is kind of like earnest money, except it is earnest money for a future purchase.

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Seller Financing Agreement

Real Estate Investing 3 Comments »

Using a seller financing agreement to sell your house can attract an unbelievably larger number of buyers in today’s market, over conventional mortgage buyers. There are so many people out there, especially with a burst in the sub-prime market, that have marginal credit, and little or NO cash. But a word of caution before we begin - make sure you are comfortable with their credit, don’t just take the first person that sends you a contract, scrutinize them as much as possible, and check their income sources, as well as their rental and employment history. With that said, let’s look at some possible scenarios to negotiating a seller financing agreement:

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Renting Out Your House

Real Estate Investing 2 Comments »

Renting out your house, or houses, can be challenging. But I want to give you some pointers on how to effectively market your house, and some documents you can use to manage the property. I want you to understand that you can manage your own rental property, and that realtors do not provide that much value (most of them, anyway). I believe that most people think that the paperwork portion of renting out your house is something they do not understand enough to do on their on own. So I will help you with that, but first, let’s look at what I have found to be effective methods to marketing a house for rent:

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Property Rehabbing

Real Estate Investing 3 Comments »

Continuing our series on RE Passive Income,  I am going to show you my approach to property rehabbing. Rehabbing properties is probably the hardest (manual, if you do it yourself) labor portion of acquiring passive real estate income. However, to me, rehabilitating investment properties is probably the easiest (mental) labor step to passive RE income. In the handful of properties that I have fixed up for investment so far, I have done some of the work myself. I think it is important that an investor do some of the work himself, just to have an appreciation for the process, and the pitfalls to home repair. I have learned much about methods and styles to utilize, and what works with a potential buyer / renter. So let’s get into the guts of property rehabbing:

Other Articles in this series: 

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Xpress Loans

Student Loans, Paying for College 2 Comments »

Xpress loans are another popular choice for students looking for ways to pay for college. Like the Astrive Student Loan, the Xpress student loans are another way to help you bridge the gap between all monies you receive from any grants, scholarships, Federal student loans, and even work study programs and the actual cost of your education. They offer competitive rates, customer service, good terms, and an instant answer on your approval for a loan. Like other student loan agencies, all payments are deferred until after your graduation or residency, and you have up to 20 years to pay off your loan. However, 0ne of the great things about Xpress student loans are that they have guides to help parents and students learn how to apply for financial aid and details about their eligibility. They are extremely helpful and ready to help you get ready for college, and are available to a variety of students, as listed below.

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Credit Card Debt Payoff Calculator

Paying Off Debt, Credit Cards 3 Comments »

This article is dedicated to giving you a Credit Card Debt Payoff Calculator. My intention is to provide you an easy way to determine which credit card to focus your payments on, and simultaneously predicting the number of months left to pay on all your cards. Now, the spreadsheet shown below is an outlandish situation, but I wanted to show you an extreme circumstance, and how to use the spreadsheet. Ok, enough introduction, let’s get into the details of the spreadsheet.

Here are the quick and dirty directions to inputting the data:

  1. Delete all the rows that you don’t need. Trim it down to just the number of cards you are running balances on.
  2. Determine how much money you can devote to all of your credit cards per month, and enter that number in the cell labeled Available to Pay.
  3. Update the Balance column to reflect your current balance on each credit card.
  4. Update the Interest Rate column per your agreement with each credit card.
  5. Enter the minimum payment for each card in the Minimum Payment column (the default method uses a calculation based on 2% of the balance, you may update this function per your card agreement, to minimize the maintenance necessary on the spreadsheet; post a comment at the end of this article if you need help).

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How to Find Colleges

Paying for College No Comments »

Growing up, there were several colleges around the state that I knew of, and I was pretty familiar with the layout of the campuses, but I didn’t really want to go to any of them.  I learned how to find colleges, and found one that suited my needs and degree plan. It’s sad, but many college freshman will readily admit that the only reason they are attending the college they are is simply because when they were applying to different schools, they merely went with the ones they knew, or the ones that were close by. My favorite excuse is that a particular friend was going there, and so they have decided to base their future off of where there friend is going to college. Not smart. Once they start choosing a career, they may find that they will need to transfer schools, and not all of the classes taken will transfer over.  This is a costly mistake.

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How to Find Scholarships

Paying for College 5 Comments »

One of the top questions on any parents mind is how they are going to pay for college. But knowing how to find scholarships can ease the burden of college expenses. The truth is, it’s more expensive to attend college today than it has ever been. You may not have saved any money for college, or started too late, and now you and your college student are searching for ways to help pay for the expensive costs of tuition, books and other hidden fees. Of course there are always student loans out there you can get, but not many people are real excited about getting themselves more into debt than they already are. Plus with the average college costing about $15,000 a year for public colleges, and $30,000 a year and above for a private college, the debt you quickly rack up is astounding.

What many parents and students alike don’t realize, is that there are plenty of government grants and scholarships available to anyone willing to look and apply for it. In fact, there are over a million different scholarships available for students of all ages, however most use the excuse that they just don’t know how to find scholarships, and that if they did then they would probably just be denied anyway. That’s a negative outlook, and there is plenty of money out there to help pay for school, made for people just like you. I’m going to give you some hints about where to look for it. After that, it’s your job to apply.

  1. http://www.fafsa.ed.gov
  2. http://www.collegeboard.com
  3. http://www.fastweb.com
  4. http://www.supercollege.com/channel.cfm
  5. http://www.nelnet.com
  6. http://www.scholarships.com
  7. http://www.college-scholarships.com/free_scholarship_searches.htm
  8. http://www.studentawards.com/english/us/profile.asp?RefToken=882*a14
  9. http://www.careersandcolleges.com/
  10. https://collegescholarships.com/applicationform.html ($39.95 charge, I have not tested this site)

If you are not willing to do much with this list, at the very least, follow link number 1, and fill out your FAFSA. You may be shocked at just how much you are eligible to receive via government scholarships / grants, or subsidized loans. This will also give you a PIN that you can use in conjunction with the financial aid office of the school you will be attending.

Good luck in your searching. It may take some time to set up your membership accounts at these sites, but it should be well worth the effort to find that free money for college. Write and let me know if you have a favorite site for finding scholarships that you don’t see listed above (you may comment at the bottom of this page).


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Bond Calculate

Retirement Investing No Comments »

I was going to put together another spreadsheet to help you calculate a bond and its various attributes, but I found a tool online that is better than I can do for you. The issue with a spreadsheet is that it does not have access to current bond rates, and therefore cannot be accurate unless you track current bond rates (Yuck!). So I will just do a quick overview of the tool, and then provide you with a link.

  1. In the “Value as of:” box, enter the month and year (MM/YYYY) that you want to calculate.
  2. Choose the bond series from the dropdown box.
  3. You may enter the bond serial number, but it is optional.
  4. In the “Issue Date:” box, enter the month and year (MM/YYYY) that you want to calculate.
  5. Click the Calculate button.

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Investing in Bond Funds

Retirement Investing No Comments »

Investing in bond funds is not one of my particular favorites, due to the traditionally lower rates of return vs other investments, however, it does serve a purpose. Typically, bond funds have lower risk, and therefore become more attractive as people age, and become more protective of their money. Let’s look at some typical indicators to be aware of when evaluating bond funds:

  • Return
    Of course, return is what we are most interested in. But bond funds, like other funds, usually show an annualized rate of return averaged over a 1 year, 3 year, 5 year, 10 year, and since inception date. I pay most of my attention to the rate of return since inception. I like to know through the good times and the bad, how a particular fund averages out. So when I am evaluating different bond funds, the most important factor is the return since inception.
  • Inception Date
    As previously stated, the return since inception is most important to me, but it carries less weight if a fund has only been around for say, 6 months vs 10 years. I like to see a fund that has at least been around long enough to see a recession, and an expansion in the economy. Generally speaking, if a fund has been around at least 5 years, it probably has seen down and up markets.
  • Domestic or Foreign
    I will look at foreign stock funds, but not foreign bond funds. To me, if I am going to see less return due to investing in bond funds vs investing in stock funds, I am definitely not going to bear the load of increased risk due to foreign governments or foreign companies and their bond funds. I will stick to US bond funds only.

I have to be honest here, this is about all that has any importance to me when investing in bond funds. I don’t really care about the bond yield, because it is just a current snapshot of what a particular bond fund is doing. I want to know that the fund manager is making good decisions over time, and creating a quality average rate of return. Let me know what you think by leaving a comment or question below. Am I not looking closely enough at these funds? What would you do differently?


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