The Benefits of an Apartment & a House

Apartment living is convenient for many families, but not always the most cost-effective home choice. Although renting is not a long-term investment, it provides a suitable temporary home while you shop for or build a house. If you are considering a move, weigh the pros and cons of houses and apartments to determine which choice is best for you and your family.

Family Apartment

Apartments are a convenient choice for people who cannot afford monthly home loan payments. With an apartment, you don’t have to worry about homeowner’s insurance or home maintenance. Plumbing, electrical and other common household problems are your landlord’s responsibility and won’t cost you a dime to repair. You’ll also not have to worry about lawn maintenance and driveway repairs. You’ll only have to notify your landlord, who will take care of the expenses for you.

Apartments with monthly rent lower than home loans generally have much less square footage, resulting in a cramped space that doesn’t provide enough room for an entire family. Apartments also frequently don’t have access to a yard, balcony or any other private, outdoor area. Other disadvantages of apartment living include the close proximity to neighbors, maintenance rules provided by the landlord and the need to ask permission before updating lights, painting or remodeling.

Purchasing a home helps you save money in the long run. Although renting is usually less expensive than buying up front, you will never get back all the money you give your landlord. However, when you buy a home, you will see a return on your investment when and if you decide to sell, even if you want to sell before you get the home paid off. By owning your own home, you can decide when and if to make repairs, when to upgrade to new appliances and when and how to remodel your kitchen, bathroom or even add new rooms when your family grows.

Although you’ll see an investment return when you sell your home, buying a house means you are responsible for all expenses, including insurance, repairs, maintenance, upgrades and property taxes. If you decide to buy, you will be responsible for taking out home loans and coming up with any necessary down payments – financial responsibilities not necessary when renting.

Renting an apartment is not always cheaper than buying a home. Consider the square footage of each, and think about the cost per square foot, you might find that some small homes are much easier to afford than a penthouse apartment. Prices often depend on location. If you welcome the idea of country living versus urban dwelling, you may find much larger homes in rural areas, offered at prices lower or equal to apartment rates within city limits. Create a budget list to compare your income to your monthly expenses to determine how much money you have available and decide which housing option best fits your finances.

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Preparing an Apartment for Your First Baby

Getting everything ready to bring home your sweet little bundle of joy can be a daunting task. While the first question on your mind may be about the pending delivery, your approaching due date is also an indicator that it is time to prepare your apartment for your newborn. After shopping for all the necessary supplies, use your remaining time to create a cozy nest for your new family.

Apartment for Your First Baby

Pregnancy is an excellent time to make your apartment spic-and-span from top to bottom with non-toxic, environmentally-friendly cleaners. Family-friendly cleaners are readily available at stores, or you can make your own with simple ingredients. Make an all-purpose spray with distilled water and liquid castille soap to clean most surfaces, or create specialized cleaners for kitchen, bath and laundry with basics like borax and vinegar. Scrubbing with items such as baking soda and vinegar can clean stains and grime from counter tops along with killing mold and eliminate soap scum.

Before bringing your newborn home to your apartment, address any safety concerns that you may have. For example, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recommends setting your water temperature to 120 degrees to reduce the risk of scalding your baby with hot water. Place a carbon monoxide alarm in the apartment near where your family sleeps to prevent CO poisoning and install smoke detectors if your landlord has not already done so. Install baby gates on the stairs, put child-proof latches on drawers and the toilet seat, and cover all electrical outlets to keep little fingers out. You should also anchor large or heavy furniture to the wall to prevent it from toppling over.

Prepare a place in your apartment for your little one to sleep peacefully (hopefully!). The safest place for your newborn to sleep, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) on its website Healthy Children official website, is in the room where you sleep, in his own bassinet or crib, on his back, without any extra pillows, blankets or stuffed animals. A firm mattress, well-fitted crib sheet and a sleep sack are all your newborn will need for a safe night’s sleep. The AAP recommends considering giving your baby a pacifier at nap and bed times to reduce their risk of SIDS, so consider having a couple available near your baby’s crib.

Baby bath tubs can make bath time easier, even if your apartment bathroom has a tub. Parents can place a baby tub in a large sink, on the counter, or in the larger tub to give baby a safe bathing place. If space is a precious commodity in your apartment, a separate changing table may not be necessary — consider placing a changing pad with safety strap on top of a dresser or simply change the baby on a portable changing pad on the bed or floor. The months before baby arrives is an excellent time to stock up on daily necessities, such as diapers, wipes and diaper rash ointment, and find a convenient place to keep them all. Creating a cozy place to feed your baby, such as a rocking chair in the nursery, can also help you feel ready for the day baby comes home.

Many parents find bouncy chairs to be almost as useful as an extra set of arms. They offer a convenient, comfortable, safe place to put your baby when necessary. And since they are small, lightweight and portable, they are ideal for apartments since there is no need to designate a particular place for them. Buying at least one bouncy chair is almost essential to preparing for your newborn.

Apartment Buildings Investment – Make More Money During Inflation

Those in the field of real estate investment know that it is a wiser option to spend money for apartment buildings than buying houses. It is less risky, much easier, and more profitable. Owning a multi-family apartment is considered as a fabulous real estate investment idea today, especially when the world economy is going through a dreadful low-phase. When prices increase, people need more money. There need to be more choices for a long term financial security than stocks and bonds. Apartment buildings prove to be the right investment vehicle that offer a steady flow of cash even at the times of economic downturn.

A lot of facts go into making apartment buildings the most desired real estate investment option. First and foremost, the truth remains that even though the value of assets have gone down considerably low, rents are on the rise. In the view of the increasing rents, the decision to invest in multi-family apartment is sure to bring pots of money for the buyer. Another fact is that more and more people are forced to live in rental property as a result of mortgage and foreclosure issues; many consider living as renters a less expensive option. There is a great demand for rental property. It is expected to continue to rise in the coming years too. And, no one else can make more profit from this trend than the wise investor who has bought an apartment building.

There is an obvious benefit in buying an apartment building. The cash flow is quite stable for an apartment building owner. Even if one tenant fails to pay or leaves the apartment, there are many others who live there and pay on time. That is not the case with single family homes; if the tenant does not pay, that is the end of your profit. If the single family moves, the owner has to find another one to live there to continue to get rent. Though you may be dealing with many tenants in a multi-family property, it is good as it provides a steady income when compared to the uncertainty of cash flow with single tenants.

Again, rent is higher for single homes and many would prefer to rent a place which is cheaper like apartments. Maintenance cost is also less in the case of apartment buildings. Banks are willing to provide loans for buying apartment buildings. Most banks provide up to 80% of the price for buying multi-family properties. As you own more apartment buildings, your profit increases and it is also easier to pay off the mortgages. If the money you earn after paying monthly mortgage installments and operational costs is considerable, then be sure that you are in the right path of investment.

When you have bought a multi-family property, it is always better to get the services of a property management company to take care of the day-to-day issues of the tenants. This will give you more time to concentrate on your investment matters than worrying about managing your property and its residents.

How to Buy an Apartment Building and Create Wealth

With the real estate market in the unstable state that it is, investors need to look further than the tradition methods of gaining capitol. One of these investment opportunities that is little known, but is worth taking a second glance at is the purchase of a multi-family apartment building. Surprisingly, owning an apartment building doesn’t mean the tradition misconceptions of hounding tenants for rent, and spending weekends performing upkeep on the property. Owning an apartment building is great for novice investors, or those looking to diversify their portfolio.

With foreclosure rates at an all time high, financial connoisseurs are investing. Warren Buffet, one of the biggest names in investing prefers times like this when the real estate market is in an uproar. Like all things, the real estate market will inevitably turn around – and this is when the gurus look for investments, and find some of the best ones – when others aren’t looking!

Many people are making the transition into multi-family investing with the high foreclosure rate, and the high cost of owning a home. Savvy investors are taking advantage of this information. As prices decline in homes, multi-family prices continue to remain steady. There are always going to be people seeking shelter, it is a fact of life. Why not buy into an investment that can provide shelter to as many people as possible, creating larger value for the investor.

Rental property has never been at a higher demand. According to the most recent census more than a third of the country is residing in rented housing. This is thirty six million households choosing to rent, rather than own, in this uncertain time. 83% of those under 25 are currently renting their home. 55% of those over 25 are renting their home – and as well, growing numbers of senior citizens are choosing to rent their home. Demographics are on the side of the investor choosing to purchase a multi family apartment building.

Purchasing newly developed multi-family buildings may come at a high cost, but the rent will also be higher – this makes older apartment buildings more manageable, cheaper and more popular with those seeking ap lace to live. There are many ways that the investor can increase the value of the home – or raise rent to increase monthly cash flow. Contrary to popular belief, older buildings are indeed in competition with those newly developed buildings.

The banks are also on the side of investors that choose to use their money to purchase multi-family buildings. Lenders are willing to finance up to eighty percent of most multi-family properties. The bank will often make adjustments allowing the homeowner to put as little as ten percent down towards the cost of the apartment building. This is done by creating a second mortgage, allowing the owner flexibility within regards to payments.

Seeing as the bank will provide up to eighty percent of the purchase price, leverage becomes one of the main benefits to owning an apartment building. Purchasing a property for as little as ten percent down can increase your initial investment up to four times per year, if the apartment building gains value.

A multi-family property becomes an even more attractive investment option when the cash flow theory is introduced. Cash flow is the amount of money that is left over each month after the mortgage and operating expenses have been paid. Cash flow can be used in a high interest saving account, or can be used to pay down the mortgage increasing the equity within the investment.

If you are looking to expand your investment portfolio and you would like to learn more about the many benefits of an apartment building investment then I suggest that you read my free mini course on apartment building investments that can be found at Apartment Building Investor

If you are really serious about learning exactly how to find, buy and manage very profitable apartment buildings then you must enroll as a student in my Buy Your First Apartment Building E-Course

A Commercial Mortgage Lender Reveals Hot Apartment Sectors – Theses Deals Are Getting Funded

All residential mortgage lenders have tightened their standards; fewer people can qualify for home loans today. Consequently, the multi-family (apartment buildings) sector of the commercial real estate industry is booming. Nearly 15% of all Americans now live in rented housing and that number is projected to grow.

Many smart real estate investors are thinking about entering the apartment building market or, if they already own apartments, expanding their rental portfolio. There are several hot categories of apartment units, each with much opportunity for profit.

Standard – Market Rate Multi-family

Small families, baby boomers and the new “echo boomer” generation are fueling tremendous growth in the multi-family, rental housing. There is a growing demographic in America that has consciously deferred the American dream of home ownership and prefers the lower maintenance apartment lifestyle. Even today in the middle of a “credit crunch” leased-up apartment buildings are fairly easy to get financed. Lenders are also willing to fund well thought-out apartment rehab projects in growing or developed areas.

Affordable Rental Housing

Without doubt affordable apartments are in the greatest demand in the entire multi-family sector. The lower income population has the least options when it comes to housing. Many simply must rent. The opportunity in affordable units is tremendous but I don’t recommend it for the beginner or those looking for an easy buck. The regulation, tax credit laws and Federal as-well-as State oversight make this category of commercial real estate among the most cumbersome. Getting a mortgage loan for affordable housing is complex and difficult but it can be accomplished if investors work with specialists in that market segment.

Senior Housing

Life expectancies continue to rise and the baby boom generation is getting older at a rapid pace. The demand for senior rental housing is strong and fast growing. Developers are building assisted living facilities, independent living facilities, skilled nursing facilities and even apartments specifically for seniors with various forms of dementia, such-as Alzheimer’s. Real estate investors with the ability to team up with knowledgeable elder care specialists will find their projects enthusiastically embraced by renters and the financial community.

Student Apartments

College enrollment rates are strong (especially among females) and are projected to grow by double digit percentage rates over the next several years. Investing in student housing can be very profitable and is an exciting and expanding market. Students are easy to please. They want an reasonable rent, a central location and to be near their friends. But, keep-in-mind, it is very often the parents who pay the bills. Parents want safety and security for their kids more than anything else. Apartment investors who can find a way to please both the student and the parent will never lack for positive cash flow, and positive cash-flow is the key to getting a commercial mortgage application approved.

Consider Multi-Family

After years of great expansion, the economy is slowing, there is no denying that. However, weaknesses in home sales and residential lending have created a boom in the apartment sector. After all, people have to live somewhere. Now may be the time to enter the multi-family market or to acquire more apartment buildings. Mortgage lenders love rental income and will approve and fund apartment houses faster than any other type of property. High, sustainable income is available to the savvy apartment investor.

Apartment Building Investments Are Easy and Profitable

In today’s volatile financial markets the savvy investor needs to look beyond traditional financial vehicles such as stocks and bonds to ensure long term capital growth and security. Ownership of a multi-family apartment building can be a great investment strategy as part of a larger well diversified portfolio. Unfortunately, many novice commercial real estate investors have been deterred from apartment building investment with thoughts of weekends spent painting or even trying to collect past rent from overdue tenants. Nothing could be further from the truth. There are some surprising facts about apartment building investments that will completely change the way you view this unique investment vehicle.

Warren Buffet once famously said that he prefers to invest in a market “when there is blood in the street”. In other words, the investment guru looks for opportunities while others are looking away. Residential real estate markets across the United States are in a tail spin. Foreclosure rates are at record highs in many metropolitan markets.

Nobody knows if there is an end in sight or if more families will be pushed from their homes due to rising mortgage payments and an economic slowdown. Instead of buying into a weak residential housing market while prices are still declining, a strategic investment made in a medium sized apartment building allows the investor to provide much needed housing, to a potential base of millions of displaced people.

Even with a slowing economy and business cutbacks people always will need a place to live. Demand for rental property has never been higher. According to a recent United States census, currently one-third or 36 million of all households in the United States are renter-occupied. In fact, a full 83% of all households under age 25 rent and 55% of households between 25 and 35 are renters. The growing population of senior citizens will also continue to depend on rental housing as a less expensive and less burdensome alternative to home ownership.

In contrast to residential homes, many multi-family properties can be purchased for a price that is well below he replacement cost. This makes older, well run multi-family properties more competitive with newly constructed properties that must charge higher rents to cover their mortgage payments. In addition, newly constructed multi-family buildings can bring up the value of existing properties and increase the value of your investment.

One of the greatest advantages of an investment in an apartment property is the fact that you will be able to leverage your investment. Even as the sub prime residential mortgage market is crumbling, banks are more than eager to lend money on a good apartment building. Banks will generally lend up to 80% of the purchase price and in some cases will actually allow the existing owner to hold up to 10% of the purchase price in the form of an owner financed second mortgage. This allows the investor to purchase the property for as little as 10% down. Try getting a bank to loan you 80% for the purchase of common stocks.

As with any real estate investment, apartment buildings not withstanding, leverage is one of the primary benefits to ownership. A bank will supply you with 80% of the purchase price on an apartment building. For example, if you purchase an $800,000.00 property with a $600,000.00 mortgage and $200,000.00 cash, and the property increase in value by $24,000.00 after one year, that’s a 3% increase in value but a 12% increase on your $200,000.00 investment.

Don’t forget about cash flow when tallying your potential rates of return on an apartment building investment. Cash flow is simply the money left over each month after you pay your operating expenses and mortgage. You can put that money in an interest bearing account to increase your overall rate of return or make improvements on the property to increase its value.

Mending the Broken Family Unit

Mending the broken family unit begins with just one person. It may be you especially if you have been the rock of the family so far. You may be the mediator of the household. If so then you need to make use of this role, and instead of using it to smooth things over use it to assess and rectify the problems that are ripping your family apart. Start with dealing with each of the family members individually. Talk to them to find out what is bothering them, why they are doing the things they are doing that is upsetting the other family members. Even if they can’t provide the answer right now determine if they are willing to help put the family back together again. You need to do this with everyone that lives within your home.

The next thing to keep in mind is to take small steps. What may have started out as a very small incident a long time ago that was left to fester could be the root cause of all the damage that has been done to your family. You need to work both ends against the middle here. You need to go back and mend the gap that first started to ruin your family, and at the same time you need to begin to undo the damage that is taking place now as a result of it.

This is no easy task and the biggest mistake would be to believe that just because everyone has come to the agreement that they want to pull the family together again that you will all live happily ever after. There is a lot of hard work ahead of every person in the family.

A mistake that you don’t want to make is to forget about yourself either. You are part of the family, and even if the relationship strengthens amongst the rest you have been wounded along the way, but just too busy to deal with it. You must include yourself in this healing process as well.

Mending the family is like trying to put together a huge puzzle. Each piece interlocks and its just a matter of finding the right pieces and where they fit. Think about it though, if you have ever put a puzzle together how did you begin? First you laid out all the pieces so you know what you had to deal with. Then you grouped the pieces together that were similar. By identifying all the issues in the family you are laying out the pieces. Then by putting these issues into categories you are grouping them. Then the next step in the puzzle is to do the outside frame. In your family the framework is built around calling a truce while you work on fitting the pieces together.

The 7 Steps to Torpedo Your Estate and Tear Your Family Apart

If you currently have a trust, or are thinking of setting one up, this checklist from my book, The 7 Biggest Mistakes Trustees Make and How to Avoid Them, will show you what the most common and serious mistakes are and how to avoid them.

Each one of these seven mistakes has the potential to ruin your financial plans and to turn family members against each other. Here they are in brief:

Mistake #1 – Failure to Communicate: Failing to communicate properly with all the parties involved with the trust is, perhaps, the biggest mistake trustees make. From my experience, parents must deal with three important predicaments before considering advanced planning:
1.Do we have enough money to last the rest of our lives?
2.Do I want my spouse to know all the financial details of the estate?
3.Do we want our children to know all the financial details of the estate?

I have also found that once planning takes place, children must also deal with two common reservations:
1.I don’t feel I should interfere with my parents’ finances.
2.If I take an interest, will I be perceived as being greedy?

Through my experience, families that avoid mistake #1 have a foundation that is able to withstand almost any type of problem in the future.

Mistake #2 – Failure to Hire the Appropriate Advisors: Estate planning is a growing sector that is becoming more complex with its constant changes. Every year laws are revised and added. It’s important that when it comes to making important financial decisions that you consult professional advice from a team made up of: attorneys, accountants, and financial planners.

Mistake #3 – Failure to Follow the UPIA: This mistake is more legal in nature than the previous two. It involves the UPIA, or, more specifically, the lack of knowledge of it. UPIA stands for Uniform Prudent Investor Act. Do not ignore this new law! Ignoring this law increases your chances of being sued. It provides an easy way for a disgruntled heir and a slick lawyer to prove that a trustee is unfit to manage the trust, and owes significant amounts of their personal money back to the trust.

Mistake #4 – Failure to Follow the Terms of the Trust: The most important part of estate planning is the trust. The trust is something that should not be taken lightly. It must be well thought out and written to express your exact desires. There can be no ambiguity in a trust. There can also be no assumption that your heirs will know what your intentions are. You must be as specific as possible when writing this document.

Mistake #5 – Failure to Minimize Liability and Risk: The trustee has many duties and responsibilities to the beneficiaries. The trustee is the protector of the assets. He is responsible for not only maintaining the current level of investments, but also ensuring that the investment will grow at a reasonable rate of return over the years. When planning for future finances that involve minimizing liability and risk, there are three areas to be considered: long-term sickness, taxes, and general lack of knowledge.

Mistake #6 – Failure to Review Regularly: A common mistake among trustees is the failure to review the trust regularly. Your life changes over time. So it is necessary to keep on top of these changes. The review process is divided into three critical areas: investment strategy, trust assets, and advisors.

Mistake #7 – Failure to Treat it like a Business: As a trustee, you need to think of yourself as a manager. You have a finite number of assets to manage, and your long-term goal is to make them grow. This is your business. Separate yourself from the beneficiaries, even if you are one. Think of them as shareholders, and it is your job to maximize profits without taking on too much risk.

You are accountable to the beneficiaries for your actions. It is your job to protect yourself and do the best job possible. You are taking on a great liability, so you need to make sure you get good advice. There are many decisions that need to be made over the life of the trust, many which are not pleasant to make. Some even have absolutely nothing to do with assets or money. Yet, they must be faced. The more aware you are of the potential problems, the better trustee you will become.

How ADHD Almost Tore My Family Apart

ADHD is not an easy illness to deal with as a family. And yes it does involve the whole family whether you like it or not. When one family member as ADHD it’s every body’s job to help, at least this is what we found. In order to understand this illness we had to look at the definition and this is what we found.

ADHD is a condition in which a person has trouble paying attention and focusing on tasks, tends to act without thinking, and has trouble sitting still. It may begin in early childhood and can continue into adulthood. Without treatment, ADHD can cause problems at home, school, work, and with relationships. In the past, ADHD was called attention deficit disorder (ADD).

My stepson was diagnosed very young because both of his parents have this illness and since the only evidence that researcher have found is inheritance in the main source of getting ADHD, it was inevitable that he also would have it.

I knew nothing about this ADHD stuff so through some research that I did and talking with professionals about the topic, I’ve come to learn a great deal about the medication and treatments that were necessary in order for my stepson to live a nice and healthy life. His father is against medication (for personal reasons) which I and his mother also agree with the reason of dependency issues but something needed to be done.

My understanding of this medication is that it only should be use to suppress the symptoms so you can implement other techniques and methods (medication is not the permanent answer), but it can be a helper. We as a family had to all get involved with the help of his teacher and doctors to implement all the necessary action, such as Behavioral therapy, Interactive metronome training, and neurofeedback treatment; also in the meantime developing a well structured schedule and diet, including such thing like omega-3 fish oils and a zinc supplement.

How To Determine What Is Destroying Your Family

If you are living in a unsettled household eventually you are going to come to the realization that you have to change things. It may be the point in time where you are contemplating leaving your partner, because things have become so bad that being on your own with the kids couldn’t get any worse. It is the present situation that is driving you to these thoughts but the current situation is not the beginning of the destruction to your family although it may be the end.

If you have any hopes of salvaging the family unit you must find the cause of all the problems. No doubt they have been going on for some time and have just been mounting up. Its almost like an argument that goes on for so long that in the end both parties forgot about the real reason they were fighting to begin with.

There is no way you can fix the problem if the cause of the problem still exists. For example, lets say for a period of time you found your husband just didn’t seem to be the same anymore, and eventually you found out he was having an affair. He ended it but it really hasn’t changed the family atmosphere much. There are many different scenarios that could be taking place here. Did your husband give up the other woman because he truly wanted to make his marriage work? What were the factors present that caused him to start seeking out attention from another woman to begin with? Were these issues that were dealt with at the time the agreement was made between you two to patch things up? Did you come up with any solutions to help to prevent it from happening again? Or did nothing change and your husband has remained in the home out of remorse and guilt and for the sake of the kids. Many times in a cases like this all you have done is put a band aid on the marriage wounds.

Problems that occurred five or ten years ago and were swept under the carpet could still be tearing your family apart. If you have young teens they may not be aware of what happened all those years back and are totally confused and lost as to what is happening in their home.