Category: Blogging

8 Staycation Ideas For Families

A staycation doesn’t mean you can’t have an adventure…

Staying home instead of spending the holidays at one of the more luxurious locations your children would enjoy, like Disneyland, the beach, or camping might sound boring.  But if you are on a budget it’s easy to sell an exciting staycation to your little ones.

Below are our favourite eight kid and budget friendly ideas full of fun and adventure.

Camp Out In Your Own Backyard

It’s time to go camping!  There is no better place then in your own backyard.  Pitch a tent, grab the camping chairs and roll out the sleeping bags to create an exciting experience just as authentic as being in the wilderness.

Explore the plants, wildlife, and spot constellations all from the comfort of home.  Don’t forget the smore fixings!

Build A Fort

Gather your supplies.  Boxes, blankets, chairs, and pillows. Grab it all and construct the ultimate playhouse. Build it up tall or keep it small, add tunnels or even a moat made of cushions.  Any kid would be happy to play all day in such a fortress.

Looking for something more cozy.  Bring pillows and blankets inside and turn your fort into a quite movie theatre.  Don’t forget about the movie snacks.

Learn Something New

Take your little ones out to the zoo or perhaps the park to spot new and enticing animals.  Incorporate a new skill into some playtime for a more education twist.  Maybe it’s time for the family to all learn a new sport or language using tools like the internet or the library.

Plan A Treasure Or Scavenger Hunt

By hiding clues or treats, much like an easter egg hunt, you can occupy your smaller children all afternoon.  Recruit the help of the internet to make your scavenger hunt full of fresh ideas and clues.  Keep them interested with a prize or promise of an outing to keep them engaged. 

Play dress up and see who is the scariest pirate to make it even more memorable.

Family Carnival

Take the kids to your very own town fair.  Involve the neighbourhood to add realism and extra fun.  Incorporate classic fair foods like corn dogs, french fries, funnel cake, and cotton candy.

Set up activities like ring toss, balloon darts, a fishing hole and more.

As a grand finally, wrap up the day with an outdoor movie projected on the garage.

Cool Down With Water Play

Hard to keep up with the kids in the extreme heat?  Cool down in the backyard with your own mini water park.

Sprinklers, squirt guns, and water balloons.  Gather up your supplies and cool off while keeping those kids entertained.

For a change in scenery, bring the kids to your local splash pad or community pool.  Give them the opportunity to make new summertime friendships.

Find Your Inner Artist

Let your kids get creative with arts and crafts time.  Let them create unique pieces any parent would cherish forever.

Perhaps, tie dying t-shirt or sculpting with clay is your kiddos interest.  Although, it can be as easy as letting them run wild with sidewalk chalk.

Get Your Chef On

What better place to bring the excitement then into your kitchen.  Introduce new foods and work as a team in your very own cook off.

Not a competitive family? No problem.  Take the family for a trip to the famers market allowing them to explore ingredients you wouldn’t likely find in your grocery store.  Let them do the shopping and see what adventurous foods they come up with.

On the sweeter side.  Throw a television like baking competition and see which member produces the most delicious confection.

No matter the circumstances, it is easy to have a fun and adventurous staycation, regardless of your budget or free time.  Don’t miss out on creating memorable experiences with your children this summer. 

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Real Estate Mentoring Program

The moment you’re just getting started with a new venture, especially those that revolve around professional financial investments such as real estate, you have a tendency to make a lot of mistakes.

Most people who develop an interest in real estate investment end up looping from one mistake to another for years, even after devouring lots of ebooks, videos, and training courses on the subject.

What is the missing link stopping most wannabe investors from attaining financial freedom with real estate investments? Why do some folks attain huge financial success whereas others see not even an ounce of success?

Why Ebooks And Courses Simply Serve To Confuse You

Some hard-working investors have been able to get started on their own and make tons of money, but they are the exception. When you find yourself failing continuously, what you need is a real estate coach.

Electronic books and training courses drag you in various paths, but a real estate mentor sets you on the right path to success. You gain extensive information from their experience, and through their coaching, you are able to focus on one goal at a time, which is paramount to success.

They can also notice errors you’ve overlooked and guide you on what to do as an alternative. It’s like they’re an instructor, gripping your hand and telling you exactly what to do. With that type of support, your possibilities of success rise significantly.

The Only Real Estate Coaching Program I Endorse

You’ll find many real estate coaching programs online, all with identical assertions of helping you turn into a six-figure real estate professional in as little time as possible.

Every one of these programs are obviously costly, so selecting the right one is of vital importance. Select the wrong one and you’ll likely end up regretting wasting time and cash you simply cannot really get back.

I’m a successful realtor, and I obtained my training from my coach, Phil Pustejovsky. Phil Pustejovsky runs the Freedom Mentor coaching program – a program that explains to you the ropes on the way to achieve financial freedom in real estate. Here are some Freedom Mentor reviews to help you guage the effectiveness of the program.

The Freedom Mentor coaching program is not really a program you can simply buy any time you want. You have to put in an application initially, and you’ll only gain access to the program if your request is approved.

The actual fact that Phil Pustejovsky screens applications goes to show how much he wants you to succeed. He’ll only take coachable, action-oriented, and optimistic applicants.

Phil was once an amateur as well. He began from rock bottom and only started to attain success right after he met his mentor, Tom.

Since then, he has been able to finalize tens of millions of dollars worth of deals while earning millions of dollars in profits throughout the process.

If you think Phil’s knowledge will have a positive impact on your real estate journey, then you have to pay special focus to the next paragraphs as I talk about his Freedom Mentor program in even more detail.

Why Freedom Mentor?

Through subscribing to the Freedom Mentor coaching program, you’ll gain access to premium tools and resources to assist you close your very first real estate deal.

These consist of access to a lender database, an instruction/lead-generating software to help you find deals quicker, and a customized investing plan.

That’s not everything, though. You’ll also receive 3 real-time coaching calls every month with Freedom Mentor’s coaches, 2 conference calls every week, and the capability to ask questions as well as instantly receive responses from the coaches by means of an instant messaging platform.

There are a couple of really good features of the coaching program that help it stand apart from the competitors. The first feature is the array of helpful mentors and coaches it includes.

You won’t have access to just Phil Pustejovsky’s mentoring once you become a member. Freedom Mentor is made up of a team of mentors and coaches directly taught and mentored by Phil.

These are the coaches you’ll be getting assistance from. You’ll get access to a combined pool of knowledge and experience from many of the best coaches in the field.

The second feature that makes this program so remarkably good at helping ambitious realtors achieve success is its 50/50 split.

This essentially means Phil shares all of his priceless real estate secrets with you, and you share 50% of the profits from your first few deals with him.

When you’ve finalized your first few deals, you can then carry on to become an independent real estate investor, equipped with all the knowledge you’ve acquired from the mentorship program.

If you have a knack for teaching or mentoring, you can even establish your very own mentoring program and show your students the actions needed for success just like Phil does.

Some of Phil’s previous students are presently managing their own mentoring programs after becoming successful real estate investors.

Note: I know the program offering improvements every now and then as they continue to fine-tune it and improve it. However, this is up to date as of this writing.

Conclusion – Action Takers Desired

The Freedom Mentor coaching program is tailored towards folks who are 100% committed to becoming successful real estate investors. If you aren’t ready to treat real estate investing just like a business, this program might just not be for you.

The tools, resources, and mentoring provided in the program are sufficient to set you on the best path to financial freedom.

Considering that you’re sharing your first few profits with Phil, it’s in his benefit to make you succeed, and you possess as much resolve to do just that. It’s a jointly beneficial arrangement, so you practically can’t go wrong if you invest the effort and time to help make this work.

Overall, the Freedom Mentor program is the most effective means to get started in real estate investing. You’re getting all the help you need from a professional in the field. There’s really nothing more you need to have to help make your real estate ambitions come true.

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Some Of The Things To Learn Before Making Real Estate Investments

Real estate investing can be very risky, but it can also be highly lucrative. You may believe location, location, location is the number one rule, but the reality is that knowing who you are dealing with is even more important. The reality is that there are some seriously shady characters in the world of real estate. These are the ones you see on late night telly, promising you untold riches.

If you do really want to invest in realty, you must have the right things. First, you need the capital to make an investment. Also, make sure that you get to know the real estate market and learn about the neighborhoods you are interested in.

You also need to be a manager and negotiator and have people skills. Then, you also need to ensure you are able to do repair work, or know the people who can do it for you. Finally, you need a property inspector. In most cases, a real estate investor becomes a landlord. Hence, you will need to learn how to find good tenants and how to be a landlord too. To make it in real estate investing, you need money to spend so you an make more. It is almost impossible to make it in this world without having some money of your own. Now that the practicalities are behind you, you can start looking into locations. You can find out all sorts from the internet, local libraries and town board meetings. You must get to know the location as it is at present as well as looking into future development plans.

Generally speaking, it is easier to get started with rental properties if you are younger, particularly if you don’t have a lot of money to put down. Banks will generally want at least a 20% deposit before giving you a mortgage. 20% can equate to a lot of money, particularly if you will also need to do repairs. However, those who are younger can often get better deals on mortgages, as they have longer to pay them back. There are many other things to think about as well. Of course, one place to start is actually finding a property. However, even this requires a whole lot of research and analyzing. Plus, you will need to find a representative realtor to help you as well. They will help you to find the best properties for your needs. You will then also need to learn about and research what it means to be a good landlord, which takes a significant amount of time as well. Don’t let this put you off, however.

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Easy Recommendations When Thinking Of Selling a Property

Comparing The Best Strategies For Finding Selling a Property

A lot of people are starting to invest in real estate so if you have any plans of selling your home, you should do it now. The only dilemma here is that it’s going to be challenging to sell a house.

You may have seen plenty of articles stating that selling a property is easy or you have seen some advertisements telling you that they can sell your house within a certain amount of time. If you’re going to bring down the asking price of the house, it’s going to be a lot more appealing to the customers, but this isn’t a good thing to do.

Even though the supply outstrips the demand in the real estate market, there are still plenty of techniques to sell your home. We are going to give some guidelines on how you can do this efficiently.

Take note of Curb Appeal

First impression lasts so your house must have a particular punch when a buyer sees it for the first time. You should put yourself in the shoes of a buyer and assess the curb appeal of your home.

Head out into the streets and take a look at your property to see all of its shortcomings. You should make sure that it is appealing enough to leave a good impression to prospective buyers and verify all the things that need maintenance.

The prospective buyer would see the outside of your house as soon as he goes out of his car and many of them always take notice on how the new house would look like in the outside. You need to get everything ready and repair everything.

Make Some Upgrades to The House

You must make all the necessary improvements inside and outside of your house to make certain that the customers will probably be attracted to it. They need a complete package when buying a house so you will need to make repairs. If you are the seller, you should make sure that you can fix everything. Even so, you must not over improve your property because some upgrades will not really make a huge difference to the value of the house. Upgrades can definitely boost the value of your property and its odds to be sold, but you can’t make an improvement that will not pay in the end. You must do your research and put money in the things that can offer the best ROI.

Depersonalize Your property

Most individuals will state that adding more design to the interior can make it more desirable to the buyers, but it is an error because personal items, art works and collectibles will not really attract them. You may remove these items and leave out the important furniture so your house will look larger. The goal is to enable the customers to picture themselves in your property.

They will begin pointing at the various parts of your home while visualizing what they need to put in there if they are likely to buy it. It only implies that your personal items should be eliminated in the house because it is going to make it difficult for them to visualize.

Put a Competitive Value For Your house

If you want to sell a home, you will need to put a competitive price for your property. If you’ll put a lower price, it is going to be similar to leaving money on the table and putting a high price will make it unappealing to buyers.

When it comes to home buying, most customers will take a look at the houses that are similar to yours and compare the costs. If your house is too expensive, they won’t even have a look at it as one of their choices.

You must keep in mind that most buyers are only depending on home financing so they will not be selecting a house that is too costly. If you put a low price, you can sell the house very easily, but your investment will not be returned to you.

Search For a Real Estate Agent

If you think that one could sell your house on your own, you are making a mistake. If you’re not a professional real estate agent, do not sell your house on your own, particularly if you do not have the experience and knowledge to do this.

If you’ll choose to do this on your own, it is possible that you will not be able to sell your home or you’ll get a bad deal for this. You could get fortunate and find a good deal for your house, but you should understand that selling a house is not about fortunate since we are referring to a lot of money.

It is best to employ an agent and let them manage everything. You’ll need to pay them, but it’s better than getting a bad deal for your house.

Before you do anything else, you should be sure that you recognize how to sell your home effectively. The real estate market is undoubtedly complex so you should know how this works before you sell your house.

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How to Nail a Home Photo-shoot

How to Successfully Photograph Your Home to Sell

You may choose to hire a professional photographer to help you take the most effective photographs, but it’s also possible to DIY. There are many benefits associated with hiring a property photographer. They will have extensive experience in the industry, and will know how to make the most of your property for the photo shoot. They are also very expensive. Should you choose to embark solo, here are some helpful tips.

An effective, professional photo shoot will start with the right equipment. If you are taking photos yourself, it’s a good idea to use a high-quality camera with a wide-angled lens, because these are commonly used to make rooms look larger. A tripod will also be beneficial, to avoid blurriness caused by shaky hands.

You’ll need to shoot in high resolution, because this will make the photos look far more professional when you put them online. Make a plan of the features that you wish to focus on. This is a good time to consult with your real estate agent, who may have more advanced knowledge of which features in your home should be accentuated.

Some features to focus on could include ensuites, fireplaces, walk-in closets or wardrobes, cellars, terraces and balconies, and spiral staircases. You’ll want to get clear photographs of bot the interior and exterior of your home. Before you take any photographs, remove personal items from the shot and clean and tidy up each area thoroughly. Evidence of pets, vases of dead flowers, or obvious stains should all be covered or removed. Setting the table with attractive dinnerware and wine glasses could invite viewers to imagine themselves throwing dinner parties, for example.

Photography Tips for Individual Rooms

The following are a few tips for photographing each individual room:

  • Living Room: Because this is the part of the home where a family spends the majority of their time, be sure to create a comfortable, relaxing atmosphere. You can stage your home, by moving furniture around or remove it altogether, to create the desired effect. If you aren’t photographing for a while, you can also shop for some decorative items online if you don’t have many accessories to use.
  • Bedroom: This is also a very important part of the home. It’s where the owner will begin and end each day, and should be a private and restful sanctuary. As you prepare your bedroom for the photo shoot remove clothes from the floor. Buyers want to see a clean slate, not your private items. Make sure you’ve made the bed neatly and have highlighted any extra perks, such as a stunning view out the window.
  • Kitchen and Dining Area: This is usually an area that can benefit from a little bit of extra cleaning before a photo shoot. Remove any detergents or other household cleaning products, and tidy away dirty dishes. Focus on the best features to detract from a small space, if applicable.
  • Bathroom: Even a large bathroom can seem quite small in a photograph if shot from the wrong angle. Stand in the corner of the room to get the right angle, and make the room look larger. Take care not to accidentally include a photograph of yourself in the mirror!

As you shoot the exterior of the home, you’ll need to ensure that you have even lighting. Shooting your home at sunset or during twilight can create a beautiful atmosphere, casting a warm and inviting glow. You can even consider shooting your photo at dusk with all of your lights on, which will create a stunning contrast.

The beauty of digital cameras is that you don’t have to worry about the cost of film. You can now take as many photos as you like. It’s best to have as many photos as possible to pick and choose from, to ensure you get the most flattering and unique shots.

Here is an incredible article from a real seller who wanted to tell other sellers how big of a difference photos make. Read the article now at My Photos Helped Sell My Home in 8 Days That Was On The Market for 8 Months.

Also be sure to watch this great video on How to Sell Your Home Using Photos.

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How Are Property Taxes Calculated?


Calculating Your Current & Future Property Taxes

Many homeowners and homebuyers have questions about how property taxes are calculated. These days, real estate consumers can get all sorts of information online about a particular property. Multiple Listing Service (MLS) data comes stocked with all sorts of numerical disclosures to help prospective buyers rule a property in or out at a glance.

When it comes to the property tax data in many property listings, more often than not the numbers provided have little or nothing to do with how much a buyer’s tax bill will be after they purchase the property. So while publicly available property information can be empowering, ensuring its accuracy is key.

How Property Tax is Determined

In most areas, the property tax details in a listing summarize the current year’s property tax bill are applicable to the home. Consider it strictly historical and informational. Property taxes are  calculated annually based on the county’s assessed value of the parcel of real property. Generally, when a home is sold, the assessed values are reset at the sales price, the assessor considers the sales price to be a reflection of the fair market value of the home at the time of sale. However, in many areas, when a number of years or decades pass between sales, the assessed value can get out of alignment with the actual fair market value of the home. Often, this is because the property appreciates faster than state law will allow the assessor to grow the assessed value. In other instances, though, the market value of the home has depreciated below the assessed value.

The property tax amount provided in an online property listing may be much lower than the taxes a buyer on today’s market would pay. The converse is also true; many bank-owned, foreclosure listings have dropped in value since the last sale. As such, their property tax data is much higher than the eventual buyer will be billed. The accuracy of the tax amounts provided in the listing for predictive purposes depends largely on how close the previous assessed value is to the final sales price of the home.

And, just to complicate matters, the previous homeowner might have been eligible for any number of property tax exemptions and exclusions that may or may not apply to a prospective buyer. For example, if the previous owner lived in the home, and the prospective purchaser is planning to rent it out, that fact alone would cause a differential tax amount in counties offering a homeowner exemption to owner-occupants, but not to landlords.

Revising a Property’s Tax Assessment

Most often, the mechanism for revising the tax bill to accurately reflect a new owner’s property taxes is called a supplemental assessment. The first tax bill issued after a transfer in ownership may still reflect the previous owners’ assessed value, exemptions and exclusions and the resulting property tax charges. In the months that follow close of escrow, the county assessor may send a second, supplemental, property tax assessment that shows the new owner’s revised tax data and charges based on the property’s most recent sale price. This supplemental assessment can either increase or decrease the new owner’s tax bill, depending on the circumstances.

Estimating the Tax on a Property You’re Buying

While it does prevent the sometimes scary surprise of getting a second tax bill, knowing that a supplemental assessment is coming in the weeks and months after escrow closes does not resolve the issue of predicting what your tax bill will be before you buy. To predict your property taxes on any given home you are considering asking your realtor and mortgage professional help you research the typical taxes on the areas of property you are considering.

Pay a visit your county tax assessor’s website to determine if there are any direct or special assessments that apply, and add them to your base property taxes to get a more complete estimation of the amount you should plan to pay for property taxes every year. Keep in mind that this is only an estimate.

Watch this video to learn about Property Tax Basics, as well as an extremely useful article on Property Taxes and Your Mortgage – What You Need to Know.

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Is Renting-to-Own Smart?


What You Should Know About Rent-To Own Homes

Rent-to-Own homes, also called lease-option or lease-to-own homes, offer a way for people who don’t yet qualify for a mortgage or who aren’t quite ready for the commitment of ownership, to occupy a home. They do so for a year or two or three, with the option to purchase at the end of that term. It’s not a common way to purchase a property, and the selection of rent-to-own properties is tiny compared to the selection of properties available purely for lease or sale. In addition, rent-to-own contracts tend to favor the owner/landlord and can put renters at a disadvantage.

Still, some people manage the process successfully. Let’s walk through the circumstances that can make renting to own a home a good idea.

Mortgage Within Reach

What does it mean to be close to qualifying for a mortgage? You might have a bad credit score– one that’s below 620, the bare minimum some lenders will accept – but the circumstances that depleted that score are behind you and you’ve been steadily improving it ever since. Maybe your debt-to-income ratio is too high, but not by much, and you have enough room in your budget to make extra payments and reduce your debt significantly over the next couple of years. You might have a good job, or gotten one with a significantly better salary, but you haven’t been there long enough for a lender to consider it a stable source of income to repay your mortgage over the long run. Similarly, you might be successfully self-employed, but not have a long enough track record to make lenders comfortable.

If any of these describe your situation, renting to own might be a good idea. You can lock down a property you like now and possibly save yourself a move or two. Then you’ll have some time, typically in two to three years, to improve your credit score, lengthen your employment history, increase your savings or do anything else you need to make yourself a stronger mortgage applicant.

Are the Fees Feasible?

When you rent to own, you pay a lease option fee to secure your right to purchase the property at a later date. This fee usually nonrefundable. So be wary of getting into this if there’s a more than 50/50 chance you’re going to move and not buy.

If you don’t ending up buying, you’ll also have wasted money on the nonrefundable rent credits. These are a portion of your monthly rent payment that the landlord/seller credits toward your down payment if you buy, but keeps as compensation for having taken the property off the market if you don’t. Factoring in these credits often makes the monthly payments slightly higher than the “going rate” for regular rentals. So that means you’ve paid more each month for nothing if you don’t purchase. It isn’t likely that you’ll get a landlord/owner to agree to a refundable rent credit and refundable option fee to give you the flexibility to move.


Since it’s less common, the rent-to-own process isn’t as tightly regulated as the home-buying industry or even the rental industry. This lack of regulation can be a good thing, in that it gives would-be buyers and property owners more freedom in negotiating the purchase option part of their contract (the lease agreement and purchase agreement are still subject to all the usual real estate laws). On the other hand, the lack of industry standards might make it easier for unscrupulous owners to take advantage of unsophisticated buyers. In addition, there isn’t nearly as much educational material available on renting to own as there is on buying a house outright.

The Bottom Line

Renting to own a home isn’t for everyone. In fact, it’s not for most people, but if you’re considering it, there are some great tips to follow. You’ll face a limited selection of properties. There are many things that can prevent you from buying the home at the end of the lease term, from a change in your life circumstances to a continued inability to qualify for a mortgage – and there are penalties, in the form of nonrefundable fees and costs, for not carrying through with the purchase. Nevertheless, for those who just need to buy some time, renting to own can be a way to reside in your dream home now, and pay in full for it later.

Watch this great video on How Rent-to-Own Works, and another article from CNBC on Are Rent-to-Own Homes a Good Option to Consider?

Also check out this article by FOX: What to Know Before Jumping into a Rent to Own Lease

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