How to Buy Tax Liens

Tax liens are an excellent way to invest in property, if you know what you are doing. After tax liens are issued, the municipality that issues the return creates a tax lien certificate. A tax lien certificate is then auctioned off to the highest bidder. These auctions are generally one of the only ways how to buy tax liens, but it certainly isn’t the only way. It’s also possible to purchase a tax lien directly from a third-party. These third-parties purchase the lien themselves and then sell them on for a fixed price.

These tax lien auctions are held online through websites, and offline in physical settings. Investors bid down on the interest rate or bid up a premium they will pay for the lien. The investor who takes on the lowest interest rate or pays the highest premium is the one that ultimately gets the lien. Sometimes investors can get stuck in bidding wars. It’s important that you avoid them when you can. Bidding wars drive up the price of a lien, which reduces the potential return on investment. Remember the first rule of investing; buy low, sell high. There is also the potential risk of buying a property that needs repairs. Having to repair a property before you can sell it also reduces the potential return on investment. Not to mention the issue of having to deal with evicting the people currently living in the house, which could require the help for an attorney or a property manager.

Buying tax liens is a relatively simple process. Start out by going to the tax collector or county treasurer website of your county, or the county you wish to purchase a tax lien in. Or just do a quick Google search for buying tax liens in your area. Either way, you’ll end up at a website where you should be able to find a list of properties subject to sale.

From here, you can find all the properties that are tentatively up for auction. Choose a property that interests you and do due diligence on the property. Find out everything you can about the property from the website of the property appraiser. There should also be a lot of information about the property on the website that has the lien listing, including the tax information.

It’s also a good idea to contact the local zoning department. From them, you can find out if the property is indeed zoned for residential, agricultural, industrial, or commercial use; depending on which kind of property it is and what your plans for the property is. Every property your purchase at a tax lien auction is sold as-is. That’s why you need to put in all the hard work before the property goes up for auction. You need to ensure that the property is going to be worth your time and money, after all.

When you’ve settled on a property that you think is a good choice and will offer a good return on investment, it’s time to complete and mail your bidder registration form and Deed Information Sheet. These forms can be found on the website where you found the property. The county in question must have these forms on file if you want to get into the auction.

After securing your place in the auction, the only thing left to do is to attend the auction itself and make your bid. The winning bidder receives the deed from the county treasurer around four weeks after the auction is over, and then it’s up to you what you do with it. There are plenty of benefits and risks of buying tax liens, but hopefully you’ve learned a little more about how to buy tax liens with the help of this guide.

Year to Year: 5 Reasons Why More Millennials Are Choosing to Rent

A recent census study found that millennials (those born between 1982 and 2000) now outnumber all other age groups in the United States. At a staggering 83.1 million people, millennials now represent over a quarter of the U.S. population, and consequently have a significant portion of the nation’s buying power. When considering their impact on the housing market, it’s clear that the future of real estate is in their hands.

The most prominent trend emerging from millennial real estate activities is the consistent choice to rent rather than buy a home. This can be chalked up to an array of reasons, including their experience with the housing market, the desire for convenience and differential spending habits, as opposed to the preceding generations. Nonetheless, year over year millennial are choosing to rent properties rather than purchase, and understanding their characteristics and personalities will provide insight as to why they are doing so. Here are a few reasons:

Less of a Financial Commitment

A recent study found that the foremost priority for millennials in choosing their housing situation is affordability. Since the monthly cost of renting a home is often far less than that of monthly mortgage payments, millennials have opted to go with the more affordable option. Not to mention, a quick comparison of renters insurance with homeowners insurance also shows a much more affordable and attractive rate for millennials who are looking to save their money.

Freedom in Renting

In line with lower levels of financial commitment, millennials tend to lean towards renting due to the freedom it grants them. Millennial lifestyles have been characterized as being fast-moving and adaptable to change. They also have a desire to live in urbanized areas. When considering the long-term commitment that home buying entails, this generation is turned off by the idea of committing to a specific city or neighborhood for long periods of time.

Millennials are attracted to the freedom of renting a property, as it allows them to keep their options open to new experiences and lifestyles as they so choose.

Investing in Themselves, Not a Home

In previous generations, a major component of the American Dream entailed working hard to save money in order to buy in a house. Millennials are changing this whole perception, and creating their own versions of the American Dream. This generation is more focused on investing in themselves as opposed to real estate, as a means of enriching and fulfilling their own experiences. Rather than saving their money to invest in material items (i.e. a home), millennials have been more adamant about spending their hard-earned money on self-enriching things such as travel, education and personal development.

Minimizing Debt Levels

One key issue that is plaguing millennials’ financial situations is their overwhelming debt levels. Fresh out of college or graduate school, this generation has had a difficult time dealing with the debt accrued from student loans, which has impacted their capabilities as consumers. For many, buying a home means taking on even more amounts of debt, which is both daunting and unappealing. As a result, many millennials are turning towards rental properties as a means of keeping their debt levels as low as possible in the face of an unstable job market.

Convenience of Apartment Amenities

One of the more well-known characteristics of this generation is that they love convenience. Growing up in the technological boom, millennials have grown accustomed to an ease of access that was unparalleled in the previous generation.

Apartment complexes provide an array of amenities for millennials that are both appealing due to their convenience, but also in the costs they are able to offset. For example, a major selling point of apartment amenities are the fitness centers or swimming pools dedicated to residents. These features are both easily accessible for millennial renters, and offset the costs of having to purchase gym memberships outside of their complexes.

Why are millennials refusing to put a down payment on a house? They’re trying to save money! Renting is more affordable and offers millennials the chance to travel and wander at a moment’s notice. Really, who would want the added burden of a mortgage payment if you could travel cross-country instead? Millennials know what they’re doing.

The Four Big Reasons Most Newbie Investors Totally Fail

“Yeah, I’ve thought about investing. It’s a tough gig, though. Too risky, too confusing, too expensive.”

Whether you’ve heard such a statement or find yourself echoing the exact same sentiment, you’re certainly not alone. There’s an often-cited statistic that 90% of investors never make a dime; however, the sources for such a stat are dubious.

Besides, in the digital era with so much information available, there’s perhaps no better time to succeed as an investor. The technology is easier than ever to manage and you can come by tips on investments at a moment’s notice.

That being said, if it is true that most investors fall flat, what’s the deal? What separates the success stories from those who end up losing it all?

The frequent failure of financial newbies is rooted in ffour rookie mistakes. Some of these snafus may seem glaringly obvious; however, newcomers to the field of finance still make them time and time again.

They Don’t Have a Mentor

When it comes to managing your money, flying blind simply is not an option. However, newbies often find themselves in the same snag: there’s so much investment advice out there but they have no idea who to listen to. Therefore they end up listening to their gut and losing out as a result.

Having a mentor who can show you the ropes is a crucial piece of financial success. For example, you may want to familiarize yourself with success stories from the Tim Sykes Challenge who’ve made fortunes from small investments via penny stocks.

While there are plenty of “gurus” out there to guide you, it certainly pays to have someone with tried-and-tested experience helping you understand what to do and what not to do.

They Try to Invest Too Much, Too Fast

If you expect to dump a boatload of cash into any given investment and see fat returns, you’ve got another thing coming.

In the world of investing, slow and steady often wins the race. For starters, don’t invest what you can’t afford to part with. Start with your disposable income and use anything you’ve gained through previous investments to reinvest versus dipping into your checking and savings accounts. Once you’ve gotten your feet wet and are seeing legitimate returns, only then can you think about spending big.

They Expect Speedy Results

Overnight results simply aren’t going to happen, plain and simple. It may take years before you actually see returns; however, your persistence is exactly what separates you from those who fail.

But persistence doesn’t mean dumping money into risky investments. Instead, combine the aforementioned steps (think: smart, proven investments with small capital) and build up from there. Don’t assume that just because you haven’t become a millionaire overnight that you’ve somehow failed.

They Don’t Actually Try

Finally, you won’t make a dime through investing until you actually try. That means less reading books and speculating and actually getting started. Likewise, trying also means putting effort into your portfolio and paying close attention to your investments versus expecting them to sit there and net you cash.

The barrier to entry to becoming a successful investor is arguably lower than ever. Rather than fall prey to the problems that plague newbies, take the necessary steps toward making smart, sensible investments.

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What You Should Know Before Starting a Property Rental Business

Starting your own rental business can be a rewarding venture if you know the right approach. The business of property rental is not for the faint hearted, it requires a lot of capital and efforts to make it work. That is why you need to protect your properties with the appropriate insurance policies from any potential loss. Nobody wants to lose money in their business that is why being successful in rental business, requires certain skills set apart from your desire to start.

The first thing you need to consider is the capital. Owning a property in the UK no matter the location requires you to have a worthy startup capital. No business survives without a startup capital. Before venturing into property rental, you need to have enough capital. This would cover your expenses in buying the property needed for the business, as well as all your insurance. For instance, you need to buy land, or an already built apartment. Even if you have one, you still need money to furnish it, or get an agent who will take care of the negotiation process.

Another important thing you need to know before you start up your rental business is protecting yourself from any potential loss by getting an insurance policy. No matter how big or small you want to go in your rental business, there is always the need for you to have insurance policy that will protect you from any loss or damages. You may argue that you already have a home insurance, and you are not licensed to have property insurance; that is why insurance companies offers insurance policies that are flexible and covers you from certain risks that an ordinary home insurance policy will not.

While seeking for a property insurance company, you should ask yourself questions like what do they cover? For instance, you’ll want your landlord insurance policy to cover important areas like; Property owners’ liability, buildings insurance to repair or rebuild your property; re-house your tenants in alternative accommodation cables and underground pipes among others, are covered.

Other important things you need to consider are; the location of the property as it plays a major role in how much you get or spend; getting a broker or an agent for your contract negotiation.

Applying For a Personal Loan

Once you have decided to apply for a personal loan, it’s natural to worry a little about its application procedure. But this shouldn’t bother you too much since applying for a loan is quite easy. You only need to produce the required documents to obtain a personal loan. Since these personal loans are unsecured loans, you need not even worry about any collaterals. You only have to apply for the loan and pay the estimated Equated Monthly Installments every month, and that’s it!

Before you apply online for a personal loan, some other things to keep in mind are:

  • Credit Score: You need to ensure that you clear all your pending dues before applying for the loan
  • Interest Rates: They can vary as per the amount of the applied personal loan, total salary of the applicant, and reputation of financial institution
  • Paperwork: This usually includes identity and address proofs, although additional requirements may vary from an institution to institution

However, the first thing to be aware of are Equated Monthly Installments or EMIs, in simpler terms. So, what are EMIs? An EMI is a fixed payment amount made by a borrower to a financial institution at a specified interval of time. EMIs are used to pay for both interest and principal amount over a specified number of years (or months), in order to repay the borrowed amount of funds.

It is actually that simple. Personal loans, with their easy repayment method, have given people the power to purchase what they want when they want it, for as long as they can pay off the loan. It proves to be quite advantageous, especially when it comes to purchasing a house, a car or other expensive items.

The freedom that comes with EMIs is one of the biggest benefits. The time tenure is chosen according to the convenience of the borrower and rules of the financial institution. Once the tenure has been chosen, however, it is then fixed and needs to be strictly adhered to. Failing to make regular payments for the same could lead to several problems occurring in future.

Understanding how EMIs work is essential and crucial because it affects the amount of personal loan you choose to opt for. One way of doing so is, using the EMI calculator, which will help you accurately calculate your EMI amount. This is definitely not as difficult as using a set of formulae to calculate the same. With the help of this calculator, you will know exactly how much you need to pay per month in a matter of a minute.

There are three steps to follow:

  1. Enter in your desired personal loan amount (For example, INR 70,000)
  2. Enter in the loan tenure (For example, 8 months)
  3. Enter in the interest rate (For example, 13%)

The EMI calculator will calculate your total payable amount, your monthly payment, and the total payable interest. You can be sure of the accuracy of its end-result. This easy-to-use personal loan EMI calculator ensures that you find out your EMI amount in a hassle-free manner and aids your decision in choosing the right loan plan.

Funding Your Dream Vacation

It’s a sad irony that we often can’t afford the trips we want when we’re young enough to want them. Like the middle-age crisis car, they’re financially out of reach until many years down the road.

The good news is that it doesn’t have to be that way. There are ways to get enough money–even in your young, cash-strapped position–to make the trip of your dreams before kids, jobs, and commitments tie you down until retirement.

The first step is to plan a realistic trip, and then get to work on the details of what you’ll do and how you’ll pay for it. Here’s a guide to get you started.

Economize Your Travel

You can find lots of ways to cut the cost of your trip before you even start saving up for it. That goes from the attractions you visit to the mode of travel you use and the places you stay.

When we shoot for the stars in our travel dreams, we often include the number of stars on the hotels we want. And yes, there are lots of wonderful amenities associated with high-end lodging. But you don’t necessarily have to spend 4-star money to enjoy your trip. Remember that Chicago is Chicago no matter where you spend the night. 

And if you do stay in a nice hotel, remember that procuring a great rate on the room doesn’t affect the quality of your stay. You are in the same hotel as the people who paid 30% more, so invest some time in digging around!

Start With The Little Things

Once you know how much you need, you just have to figure out how to get it. Obviously, this is the hard part. Your overhead can really stretch your funds when you’re young, so that’s a great place to start looking.

You can save a bundle with bundling. Putting your TV and internet together through the same provider will help you save on the overall cost. DIRECTV Internet bundles provide substantial savings over purchasing the services separately.

And don’t be afraid of coupons. While we often imagine these tools as a way to get 2-for-1 shampoo and other boring necessities, but they are available for countless other functions. Many restaurants provide coupons with significant savings just for joining their loyalty program or downloading their app. The same is true of clothing stores and even vehicle maintenance providers. Saving 10% here and 15% there can really add up, so do it!

Track your Progress

Once you know approximately what your trip is going to cost, you have your goal set. It’s just a matter of plowing money into the travel fund until you hit that level.

The problem many people encounter is temptation. They see that pickle jar or (preferably) lock box where the travel money is stashed, and it becomes a tempting target when a new outfit is on sale, or when a “once-in-a-lifetime” concert comes to town.

You need accountability when money is so freely accessible. You’ve seen those giant thermometers used by many charities to track their progress. Adapt that to your own trip, with a personal twist. If it’s Vegas you want to hit, draw a growing stack of poker chips on a poster. If it’s Rio, draw an outline of the “Christ The Redeemer” status and gradually color it in. You get the idea. When you’re faced with a physical reminder of the progress you’ve made, it’s easier to resist the urge to rob yourself!

When you’re still slugging through grad school or just getting started in your career, vacation can be the furthest thing from your mind. But like any goal, it will never be reached if you never start taking steps. Once you begin to plan what to do and how to fund it, your dream vacation can turn out to be much closer than you think.

What to do When You are Still Over Budget

One common goal for our finances that we all have is to stay on a budget. This is truly the most basic way to take control of your financial future. Your budget will help you find out where you spend your money and make the needed changes so that you will not over spend. Some people have a difficult time getting motivated to do a budget and stay on one. If you are having a difficult time sticking to a budget, there are a few budgeting hacks that you will find here. It is imperative that you stop making excuses about budgeting and take back control of your finances immediately.

You may have gone over your budget countless times and still can’t find areas to cut back any farther than you already have. The tips you will find here will show you areas that you might not have thought about before.

Energy

How much are you paying for your energy? If you live in a deregulated area such as Edmonton, you might be able to save a bit more on your energy bill. Click here for more information on comparing rates to get the plan that is best suited to your budget and your needs.

Also, when it comes to energy, there are a few other things you can do to lower your bill regardless of where you live. Try to get a yearly energy audit to find out where you are losing energy and how to fix it. Make sure that all of your appliances are running efficiently and switch to the LED light bulbs as opposed to the old fashioned incandescent ones. Make sure that the areas around your doors and windows are sealed so that heat or cool air isn’t escaping. Is your insulation up to date and sufficient? If not, this could be causing you to use more energy than necessary to keep your home climate controlled. Also, your thermostat is responsible for about half of your energy costs. Getting a smart thermostat could help you lower those costs.

Health Insurance

It is a widely known truth that health care can be expensive. If you are paying high premiums for health insurance, there are ways to lower those costs. You can opt for a higher deductible to start with. If you are a pretty healthy person, you won’t be going to the doctor very much anyway. This might not be a great idea for growing families though. You can also compare the gaps in various coverage plans to see which one will best suit your needs. Also, consider whether you need dental and vision coverage in addition to your normal coverage. These will cost more.

Taxes

One place that you might not think to look for extra money in your budget is in your withholding taxes. Are you getting a nice refund every year? If you are, the chances are good that if you take a look at your filing status and make a few changes, you will be able to get more in your paycheck that you will be able to put towards an emergency fund or whatever else you might need the additional money for.

Groceries

You probably have money in your budget allocated for groceries. Are you making the most of this amount though? Are you going through all of the grocery ads looking for sales and comparing prices? Places like Walmart will match prices on advertised sale items so that you won’t have to waste gas going from store to store to get the great prices. Are you clipping and using coupons? Some stores have double coupon days when you can really save money. You might be surprised at how quickly these savings can add up.

Bag It

Are you getting lunch out every day at work? If so, consider making your lunch at home and taking it with you. This can save you a considerable amount of money over a year. Also, if you are getting your coffee on the way to work each day, consider making your coffee at home and taking it with you. If you go to places like Starbucks on a daily basis, you might be spending as much as $5 on a single cup of coffee. That adds up quickly.

If you follow the tips that you have found here, you will be able to find extra money in your budget that you might not have seen before. 

What Are The Differences Between a Will and A Living Trust?

When you work so hard for your money and assets, you likely want to leave it to the people you love after you pass away. That’s a natural inclination, which is why estate planning is so important.

When you consult with an estate attorney, one of the first things you have to decide are whether a will or a living trust is right for you. Often, even people well-versed in personal finance don’t know that a living trust is an option for them or that it may even be more advantageous than a will.

The following are some key differences worth highlighting between a will and a living trust.

What Is a Living Trust?

You may already have a clear idea of what a will is. It’s just a written document that spells out how you’d like your property to be distributed to your heirs when you die. You can also use your will to handle guardianship if you have young children.

On the other hand, a living trust deals with not only what happens after your death, but also during your life. A living trust is comprehensive in that it can cover not only the distribution of property, but it can also be used in the event that you’re incapacitated because of an injury or an illness.

Probate

One of the biggest and most significant advantages of a living trust, as opposed to a will, is the fact that it helps your beneficiaries avoid probate. The probate process can be lengthy, complicated and expensive, and often when people are putting estate plans in place, they try to help their beneficiaries avoid this experience.

Control and Privacy

Along with the concept of avoiding probate, some people prefer the creation of trusts because it allows them to maintain more of a sense of control over what happens with their money, and it helps keep their beneficiaries from being at the mercy of a court.

Also, there tends to be more privacy with a trust, and financial information doesn’t become public record as it would with a will.

If you’re particularly worried about the potential for a contested situation with your estate, a living trust can be one of the best ways to avoid that after you’ve passed away.

Simplicity

While a living trust can seem like a very good idea because of the ability to avoid probate while maintaining control and privacy, it’s not something that’s without certain possible disadvantages. The primary pitfall of a living trust is that there can be a lot more set-up time needed on your end during estate planning, to save your beneficiaries the time and effort after you pass away.

Living trusts can be complicated to create, and they can be more expensive as a result.

When you’re creating a trust, it’s critical that you work with an experienced probate or estate attorney who can guide you through the process correctly.

Changes

When you create a will, if you decide to change it, it can be as easy as actually tearing it up. On the hand, if you create a trust and decide you’d like to make changes, it can be more challenging and require further time and money to do so.

These aren’t all of the differences between a living trust and a will, but they are some of the most crucial distinctions that are worth thinking about if you’re trying to decide which is the right option for you and your finances.

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The Costs Involved in Undertaking a Masters Degree

A good college education certainly doesn’t come cheap, and you already know this if you have received your bachelor’s degree in any subject area. But if you wish to switch careers or advance your existing career, you might be thinking about going back to college for your master’s degree. How can you prepare, and what costs will be involved? Keep reading for the answers to these important questions.

Costs Will Vary Depending Upon the Program You Pursue

First off, it is important to note that the costs of getting your master’s degree will vary and will depend upon the school that you are attending and the program that you are pursuing. For example, a masters in nursing could cost a different amount in terms of tuition, books, and other supplies than a masters in business administration program would cost you. Also, if you are going to school online to get your online masters in business administration or your online nursing degree, you may pay a different tuition than you would pay if you were commuting to school. Finally, the school that you choose to attend will also determine how much you will pay. A school like Washington State University might provide a more affordable education than other colleges out there that have similar programs.

Remember, You Will Need to Buy Expensive Books and Supplies

In addition to tuition costs, you will also need to purchase books and supplies, as mentioned above. These could quickly add up, as they can be quite expensive. It is best to focus on money saving strategies, like borrowing books from the library, downloading e-books to your tablet, or purchasing used books online rather than from your school’s bookstore, so that you can drive down the costs of your education as much as possible. You can also make some of that money back by reselling your books once you are done using them.

There Could Be Medical Costs Involved

Another thing to keep in mind is that colleges will often require a certain set of vaccinations before they allow you to attend, particularly if you are going to be attending school in person rather than online. Therefore, you need to factor in the costs of going to your doctor and receiving the appropriate vaccines before you can even register for classes.

The Costs of Commuting to School

If you are not going to attend an online school to get your masters degree, another cost that you need to consider is the cost of commuting back and forth to your classes several days each week. You will need to maintain your car and pay for gas, and those costs can also add up over the course of your time in school. On the other hand, if you do not have your own vehicle, you will have to cover the cost of public transportation to get to and from school.

As you can see, there are several different costs that are involved with going to college for your masters degree. Once you graduate and can get a high paying job, though, all of these costs will be behind you.

Reasons why you should invest in Australia real estate

If you’re considering a real property investment in Australia, but are apprehensive about the apparent rising costs of homes in the market, fear not. Searching for your home, whether it be your first property or something to add to your portfolio is still possible and valuable – buying now is as good time as any other.

Remember, the property market might be unpredictable, but if history and stats are to be believed, it always recovers due to population growth and supply & demand. The house and land packages in Sydney, NSW, Jordan Springs, Bingara Gorge, Calderwood Valley, The New Rouse Hill and many other locations in Australia are currently hot right now and are a good start if you’re looking to invest in good homes with equally good amenities and neighbourhood.

Looking for the right piece of real estate to purchase involves a number of considerations, but you can be assured that property is the best bet for your hard-earned money. Here are the reasons why you should invest in Australia real estate.

The booming property industry in Australia. When looking to for the right locations to invest in, looking for great returns and stability are two factors that will help you make a decision about what to buy. Based on the CoreLogic Housing Market and Economic Report for February 2016, real estate is a cornerstone of the Australian economy. It actually accounts for $6.4 trillion, while listed stocks are about $1.6 trillion and commercial real estate is around $700 billion.

The encouraging national market. Around and beyond the country is people looking to invest in real estate every day, and in some cases, competing for similar properties. Based on the Digital Finance Analytics’ September 2015 Property Imperative Report, there were more than 1.3 million households around the country in September 2015 that are looking to purchase a house. Only 15 percent are reportedly looking to invest, while around 84 percent are looking for owner-occupied properties.

Investors look for properties that provide strong returns, and they keep their eyes peeled on the capital cities and suburbs near it. This is why the house and land packages in Sydney, Brisbane, Perth, and others are so hot in the market right now. Based on CoreLogic’s data, the annual capital gains growth in Sydney is projected to reach around 6 percent, while Melbourne can hit 7.4 percent.

The benefits of location. Location has always been a major key factor in assessing whether or not a property will gain value strongly over an amount of time, in turn boosting the worth of your investment. Since you’re making a big decision, it helps to get professional advice. Property agents will know exactly the right time and market circumstances to purchase a home for your exact needs. For instance, if you’re looking at Melbourne, house prices are not predicted to grow significantly for a few years, meaning that waiting for better prices could see a better return on the capital gains increase.

End note

The Australian Trade Commission also outlines some of the benefits of investing in properties in Australia, not just strictly for homeowners, but also for those who do real estate investing as full-time trade.

25th year of uninterrupted annual growth

Focused on innovation

Talented workforce

Connected to Asia

Etc.

Check out their website for complete information.