Category Archives: home business

Mortgage Prepayment – Five Reasons Why You Should Pay Off Your Mortgage Early

paying mortgage earlyPaying Off Your Mortgage Early

The dilemma of whether to pay off the mortgage early or not is something we all have at some point in our life. But when you put things in perspective, it’s not as tough as it sounds. You certainly enjoy a lot of benefits in paying off your mortgage early. Given here are the reasons why you should go ahead and make the decision.

The interest rate

This is easily the most obvious benefit of all. If you look at your amortization schedule, a large portion of the amount you pay in the first few years would go to the interest. For example, if you had a loan of $100,000 and paid $600 every month, more than $400 would go only for the interest in the first few years.

In other words, a loan which could be finished off in just under 14 years is stretched up to 30 years, with tens of thousands going to the interest alone. Prepaying your mortgage allows you to save this amount and cut down your loss.

Makes you feel secure

Let’s face it; 30 years is a long period to be in debt. When you prepay your mortgage, you feel relieved as you are debt free. This gives you more control over your life, as you can plan your income the way you want. The odd feeling of owing money goes off, and it makes you feel secure as you have a debt free asset that you can bank on.

Retirement solutions

Paying off your mortgage early helps you plan your post-retirement life by investing in plans that offer steady returns. It also helps you meet your living expenses. Moreover, a debt-free property is what you would like to leave behind for your heirs.

Cuts down the costs

In most of the middle-class homes, paying monthly mortgage payment is a huge liability. Once it’s paid off, your cost of living could be brought down which helps you go easy on your otherwise stringent monthly budget.

Improves your credit ratings

Prepaying your mortgage will have a great impact on your credit ratings and they tend to improve. Most importantly, it helps you get future loans with lower Annual Percentage Rates (APR), which reduces the chances of you paying more than the actual amount of the loan while repaying it.

Things to look out for

· Most people retain their mortgage due to the tax benefits they get. However, those who are subject to minimum taxation will not get the full benefits. So, check your status thoroughly before taking a decision.

· A lot of financial institutions have penalties for prepaying the mortgage. It’s always better to avoid such schemes which might prevent you from paying off your mortgage whenever you want.

Avoiding home foreclosure – Practical suggestions to avoid foreclosure

Home foreclosure, once considered a rarity, has become commonplace nowadays. As the Mortgage Brokerage Association statistics point out, the number of home foreclosures has risen sharply from 200,000 to over 600,000 in just under two decades.

While missing your loan payments could be the most obvious reason for a foreclosure, there are a lot of other reasons which play a big role in this process to sell my Houston home. Divorce, medical expenses due to sudden health related problems, credit card debt, job loss, and death of the only breadwinner of the family are some of the major reasons for home foreclosures.

Having said all this, you cannot rule out the fact that home foreclosures can be avoided. With a little bit of calculation and caution, home foreclosure could be completely taken out of the equation. Given here are some of the dos and don’ts about avoiding home foreclosures.

Make your payments regularly

This is possibly the easiest way to avoid a foreclosure. Preplan your expenses accordingly and make sure you don’t miss a single payment. Even when you miss a couple of payments, your credit undergoes a major setback, which might be a big issue in your loans.

Disclose to your lender

Most people don’t reveal their problems to their lenders and treat their letters as threatening calls. When in trouble, discuss with your lenders and explain the reason for not making the payments. Banks and mortgage lenders always want their money back, not your home. You can also get help from professional foreclosure negotiators who are trained to talk the talk with the lenders and sort out the problems.

Prioritize your obligations

Say you have missed out a few months’ payment and your mortgage company insists you to make the due payment in a single installment. The commonest mistake people do is to pay off credit cards, phone, and other regular obligations and then with what little they have, try and negotiate with the mortgage company. It simply doesn’t work that way. When you have reached the point where your company asks for a bulk payment, make it without a second thought. Remember – mortgage payment should be your first priority as your most valuable property is at stake.

Seek help from your near and dear ones

While it may be embarrassing for you to admit your crunch and ask your friends and relatives for help, it is much better than moving out of your home and the news hitting the papers. The support from friends and relatives not only helps you financially, but also serves as a big morale booster.

Lookout for the options

When it comes to foreclosures, as they say, “It ain’t over until it’s over.” Most people succumb to the pressure of the mortgage companies and think they have no other options. But, there are options available to help you out. You can opt for a special forbearance in which your lender will reduce or defer some of your payments. You can also modify your mortgage and ask your lender for an extension of the loan period. When talked about, most of the lenders would come up with such options to get you back on track.

Reverse mortgage – What everyone should know before going in for reverse mortgage

A reverse mortgage is the credit taken against your home equity, which you need not repay as long as you to continue to live there. The credit has to be paid back only when you die, sell your home, or move out of your home permanently. Reverse mortgage is ideal for old people who are in need of cash, as it helps them meet their needs while retaining the ownership of their home. Reverse mortgages are applicable only for senior citizens that are 62 or older and live in their home.

How does it differ?

In a normal loan, you get credit against your home, which you repay through regular installments. As you continue to repay the amount with interest, the equity on your home increases and at the end of the loan period, it would have increased considerably.

In case of reverse mortgages, you get credit against your home and don’t repay it. The equity on your home decreases with every payment you get from your lender. In other words, the higher your debts, the lower will be your home’s equity.

Different types

There are three types of reverse mortgages available – single purpose reverse mortgages, federally insured reverse mortgages or HECMs, and proprietary reverse mortgages.

Single purpose reverse mortgages are the cheapest of their kind and meant for home owners who fall in the low-income group. They are not easily available and funded only by few non-profit organizations and local government organizations. Single purpose mortgages are limited to specific purposes stipulated by the government such as home repair, improvement, and property tax payments.

Federally insured reverse mortgages, also called Home Equity Conversion Mortgages (HECM), are not limited for few purposes and also readily available. Federally insured mortgages have high fees and require you to do some groundwork. You have to meet a government housing counselor who will explain whether you qualify for the loan or not and the intricacies involved. This mortgage is federally insured and supported by the HUD, which serves as a big advantage.

Proprietary reverse mortgages are funded by private companies. Though the costs involved with this type are high, you also stand to get a bigger credit if you have a high priced home. They can be used for any purpose and have no medical or income constraints.

Flexible payment options

The credit you get from reverse mortgages can be paid

· As a lump sum

· As equated monthly installments for a fixed number of months

· As equated monthly installments till the full amount is settled

· As credit line payments, in which you determine the amount to be paid whenever you need it, till you reach zero balance in the credit offered

· As a combination of the aforementioned plans

Things to look out for

· Get to know about the type of mortgage thoroughly through authorized sources. For example, you cannot use the credit from single purpose mortgage for any other purposes apart from the stipulated ones and you cannot get proprietary mortgage if you have a low-priced home. Area Agencies on Ageing (AAA) should be able to give you relevant information about these things.

· Usually the credit you get from mortgage is not taxable and hence your Social Security and Medicare status will remain the same. However, in single purpose mortgage, if there is some amount left in your account after your expenditures, it will be considered an income and may affect your Medicaid status.

· You can opt for fixed or variable interest rates on your reverse mortgage.

· Maintaining your home, paying property taxes, and insurance are your sole responsibility.

· Check out for the non-recourse clause to make sure at the end of the mortgage you don’t owe more than your home’s value.

· In case of a violation of the law, you can report to your state attorney general, state banking regulatory agency, and the Federal Trade Commission (FTC).

Points and their effect on your mortgage

Mortgage points and origination fee have always been the most discussed topics in the market. Yet, there has always been a sense of ambiguity among people about points and their effects in mortgage. This article aims to throw some light on the topic and provide you with some useful suggestions.

Origination fee and points

Origination fee and point are both charged as a small percentage of your loan amount. Origination fee is charged to start your mortgage, and is usually 1% of the entire loan amount. A point is an amount that is equivalent to 1% of your entire loan amount. After you pay the origination fee, which is a must to get started with your mortgage, any other percentage of your loan amount is calculated as a point.

What are they meant for?

Points are usually meant for lowering the interest rate of your mortgage. They are nothing but prepaid interest on your credit. They are also called discount points, as they provide the customer with a discount in the interest. Technically speaking, you pay a little more in the beginning to lower the interest rate throughout your loan period.

How do they work?

Points can be effective only for long term loans. To understand this clearly, you need to do a little math. For a loan amount of $100,000 at an interest rate of 6%, the monthly payment would be $600. Now when you buy a point worth 1% of the loan amount, which is $1000, the interest rate is brought down to 5.75%, which means you pay only around $584 per month. You stand to save around $16 every month, $192 every year.

Are they meant for everyone?

If you think buying points would be profitable for everyone as it brings down the interest rate, here’s the catch. Again, you can do a little math to understand this. According toe the example above, for a point of $1000, you save $192 every year. Now, at the rate of $192 every year, it will take you around five years to break even. If your loan period is less than five years, the point is of absolutely no use as you can’t make up for the amount you paid initially.

Who can buy points?

Buying points is a wise option when you have a long term mortgage plan. When you have a mortgage period of say 15 years, you save $2880 at the end, making up for the $1000 you paid and clearing up $1880. As a thumb rule, the longer your loan period, the more advisable it is to buy points.

Things to look out for

· Buying points is best when you take high risk loans. These loans usually have the highest interest rates in the market and it makes more sense to buy points and bring the interest to a manageable level.

· If your mortgage is meant for buying or refurbishing your home, the points are completely deductible in the current year, which works at your advantage.

· In case of refinancing your home, your points will get deducted over the entire period of your loan. For example, points bought worth $2000 for a 20-year period would be deducted at $200 per year.

memorial programs

Unique Funeral Programs for their Loved Ones

memorial programsHere’s a great business opportunity a lot of people aren’t aware of…

Unique funeral programs. Okay, it might sound a bit morbid, but let’s face it, death is a huge business that amounts to the multi-billions of dollars yearly in the United States alone.

And setting up a home business as someone who can make their loved one’s death a bit more unique and special to them is not only an opportunity, it’s also a public service.

Just think of the possibilities. You can create beautiful programs using Photoshop that are totally unique to each individual. Or to really be able to charge a lot, create beautifully hand written programs or memory cards for unique funerals.

You don’t even have to stick to using funeral programs. You can venture out into funeral player card templates as well.

Now obviously this home business idea would be great for someone to understand Zen can use graphics software. But that’s not completely necessary.

I’ll tell you a little secret, personally I love design. But I am no graphics person.

Rather what I do is outsource all of the graphics work. I simply sketch out ideas on regular paper using a pencil. I buy reams of copy paper and used those to draw out the basic idea of what I want.

I then scan those pictures and send them to an outsourcer.

This is really beneficial in a few ways.

funeral brochureFirst, the outsourcer can visually see what I’m trying to achieve. This really helps with getting back work that I am happy with. Because when you just use words in order to describe of visualization, you often come back with some disappointment.

And it’s not the outsourcers fault. They simply don’t know what’s in your head. That’s why I really like drawing things out so there’s no ambiguity.

And you don’t even need any graphic skills at all if you don’t want to go that route.

If you have beautiful handwriting, or your skilled at calligraphy, just having a hand written funeral prayer cards can be enough to give you a full time and profitable business.

And let’s face it, funerals are not cheap!

There are a lot of people will pay a lot of money in order for their loved one to be remembered the way they want them to be remembered.

And nothing says class like a hand written funeral program or funeral prayer card.

So how would you get clients for something like this?

As morbid as it would seem, probably the best place to contact the right people would be to go through the obituaries.

Create a nicely laid out and written hello letter and send it through regular snail mail to the bereaved.

Another thing you can do is give a kind of affiliate program to funeral homes.

Meaning, just go right to the funeral homes and tell them about your unique service. Then tell them if they offer your services in the package that the people choose from when making burial arrangements, you will give them a certain percentage of whatever that person spends.

So for example, the funeral home shows someone that is burying their loved one today. They decide on a Cascades and all the funeral services. Then the mortician explains how they could have beautifully created funeral programs made especially for their loved one.

If the person decides to go for the package, then you give say 10 or 25% of the money they pay to the funeral home.

It’s perfect for the funeral home because they don’t have to do all the work. All they are doing is referring one of their clients to a great unique service that you are providing. Yet they still get paid.

And you get a new client. It’s a win-win for everyone involved.

And this is one of those home businesses where you don’t really even need to leave the house. So if you have a handicap or there are some other reasons why you’re unable to leave your home, this could be a great way to earn income.

It’s the perfect home business opportunity for those with solid Photoshop skills or excellent penmanship.

how to start a catering business from home

How to Use Catering to Close a TON of Clients!

how to start a catering business from homeOne way to get more clients for your business is to take them out to a fancy dinner or something similar.

The problem with this is that it can become costly quite quickly.

And because you’re dealing with people one on one, it’s not the best use of your time either.

But what if I told you there’s a better way?

And you can save a ton of time AND money?

Sounds to good to be true?

Okay, I’ll cut to the chase. What I’m talking about is hosting a kind of mini-event.

This is something I did while I was in Houston.

The company I used was Houston catering. And they did a great job!

So why is catering such a great way of doing business?

First, you control everything. The time, place, decorations, and the food.

Second, you can invite who you want. For example, I invited around 80% prospective clients.

catering business namesThen I also invited about 20% of clients that were already ecstatic with my services.

And during the “event” my main job wasn’t to sell, but rather hook up my happy clients with my other guests (perspective clients).

And just to cut to the chase again, it worked beautifully.

Far better than if I was just having a stagnant dinner and trying to close my client the traditional way.

So think about this and try to come up with other ideas of your own.

Start with the end in mind. What do you want to archive?

I wanted to close the most amount of clients in the shortest time. And I realized the old way of doing things wasn’t working.

It took a few days to get to the idea, but I’m so happy that I finally did.

What about you? Any awesome ideas you can share with the readers here? Let us know by leaving a comment below.

Just because you have a home based business doesn’t mean you can never meet your clients!

Staying Focused

focus

 

Many people dream of doing things, but they don’t often realize them. If you’re like most people, you get easily distracted and don’t always follow through. It’s not that you don’t have the ability or intelligence to realize your dreams, you may simply underestimate the power you exert over your attitude and the direction of your life. You may not know you have a wealth of choices. You have good reason to believe in yourself.

You may think about buying that new power tool, about how much your car could benefit from a good weekend tune up in your back yard. You might think of saving up for a house or vacation, of making a concerted effort to lose that extra weight, or to take steps to change your work schedule and relax more. You may tell yourself you should devote more time to deepen your personal relationships. So, what holds you back? Is it other people? Is it your inner voice or other things? Consider these five tips to reorganize your life:

1. Make a List – what do you wish to do and why? Some people use an agenda to remind themselves of appointments. You can also use a calendar to organize projects. Marathon trainers set daily goals. You can set your own daily goals and encourage yourself as you achieve them. Forgetfulness will no longer be a valid excuse. Writing reinforces ideas and jogs the memory!

2. Talk about your plans – not everyone will agree with your plans. Some people may try to talk you out of them. Listen to opinions yet, believe in yourself. The more you talk, the more real goals will seem and the more likely the vision will grow. The more you speak about plans, the less likely you are to procrastinate.

 

 Here’s a great Zig Ziggler video.  Someone to REALLY listen to!

3. Identify your timeline (i.e., for the next 3 months) – breaking big dreams down into incremental goals is what makes them less scary and more achievable. Until you do this, you may not know yourself what time commitment is required and what sorts of input and effort are needed to move ahead. Gaining a better idea of what is involved enables you to estimate how long it will take. This will enable you to realize your goals faster.

4. Re-define Priorities – as you expand on what is most important to you to achieve in the short-term, this may require you to cut back on activities which are less important. Each of us has 24 hours per day. You benefit from considering the time you wish to allocate for adequate rest, exercise, spiritual or other pursuits. Any current activities which would prevent you from reaching your new goals would be best abandoned. For example, if you wish to train for a sports event, then the nightly television may no longer be a priority. If you wish to lose weight, then continuing to eat large, unhealthy snacks will not help you move ahead.

5. Seek advice from people who have succeeded – no matter what your personal, professional, spiritual or other dreams, its useful to learn from people who have already experienced what you hope to experience. You can read books about their life stories. You can attend public conferences or contact them directly. Developing your own motivation and concentration will be easier with mentors.

Making Money with Google Adsense

adsense

 

If used properly, it can generate a very large and healthy income for you. However if you are not using it correctly and just maximizing the income you squeeze from it, you are actually leaving a lot of money on the table, something all people hate doing. How you can start earning money with Adsense can be done quickly and easily. You will be amazed at the results you get in such a short period of time.

Start by writing some quality content articles which are also keyword optimized. There are a lot of people given the gift of being good with words, writing comes easy for them. Why not make it work in such a way that you will be earning some extra cash in the process.

There are actually three steps to keep in mind before you begin writing your ads and having an effective Adsense.

Keyword search. Find some popular subjects, keywords or phrase. Select the ones which you think has more people clicking through. This is actually a keyword selector and suggestion tool that some sites are offering to those who are just their Adsense business.

Bottom-line is this. You need targeted traffic. So here are some tips on how you can generate exactly the traffic you need and bring the visitors you want to your website without having to chase after them.

Writing articles. Start writing original content with keywords from the topics that you have achieved in your search. Take note that search engines are taking pride in the quality of their articles and what you will be writing should keep up with their demands.

Quality content site. Build a quality content site incorporated with Adsense ads that is targeting the subject and keywords of your articles and websites. This is where all that you’ve done initially will go to and this is also where they will prove their worth to you.

The proper positioning of your ads should be done with care. Try to position your ads where surfers are most likely to click on them. According to research, the one place that surfers look first when they visit a certain site is the top left. The reason behind this is not known. Maybe it is because some of the most useful search engine results are at the top of all other rankings. So visitors tend to look in that same place when browsing through other sites.

Some of those who are just starting at this business may think they are doing pretty well already and thinking that their click-through rates and CPM figures are quite healthy. However, there are more techniques and styles to generate more clicks to double your earnings. By knowing these techniques and working them to your advantage, you will realize that you will be getting three times more than other people who have been previously doing what they are doing.

Finally, Adsense has some excellent tracking statistics that allow webmasters and publishers to track their results across a number of sites on a site by site, page by page, or any other basis you wanted. You should be aware of this capability and make the most of it because it is one powerful tool that will help you find out which ads are performing best. This way, you can fine tune your Adsense ads and focus more on the ones being visited the most rather than those that are being ignored.

Another thing you should know. Banners and skyscrapers are dead. Ask the experts. Surfers universally ignore these kinds of ad formats. The reason behind this is that they are recognized as an advert and adverts are rarely of any interest that’s why people ignore them.

To really start making money with Adsense, you should have a definite focus on what you want to achieve and how you will go about achieving this. As with any other kind of business venture, time is needed coupled with patience.

Do not just ignore your site and your Adsense once you have finished accomplishing them. Spare some time, even an hour, making adjustments to the Adsense ads on your sites to quickly trigger your Adsense income.

Developing Systems for your Business

building systems in your business

 

A successful business can not be run without having it’s own systems and processes. You cannot possibly be there in your office 24/7 picking up calls from customers, doing sales everyday by yourself, and at the same time, doing all the administrative stuffs too. If this is the case, you are not a business owner, you are a self-employed.

I know for a startup company, it is wise to handle most of the operations in your business by yourself. But, when your business starts to grow and mature, it is time to develop systems that you can hand over to employees of your company to handle them.

Let’s take handling customer calls for example. You can develop a list of standard questions and answers for every call. To do this, you will need to be picking up the calls yourself first, and then developing the list out from your experience. Once you are confident that when you hand over the list to another person and he/she can produce the same results as you, then you have developed a system.

Let me share with you 2 ways that work should be done in your business:

1. If it is an activity that’s ongoing, or is something that is done more than once, you should develop a systemized way of doing it in your business.  The more you can systemitize something, the more you’re able to cut costs and create faster.

2. If it’s temporary, goal directed, has a beginning and an end, then it should be managed as a project. But understand, good project managers are hard to find.  Once you have one, hold on to them any way you can.

Once you have developed systems in your business, you can then concentrate on other areas to grow your business like marketing, product creation and maybe even employing a complete sales force.

The Importance of Building Rapport

building rapport

 

There is a saying “It is not how much knowledge you know, it is the people that you know that will help you to succeed.” I agreed that knowledge is essential, but knowing the right people and developing good rapport with them is the key to success.

You will not be able to know everything is this world. There will come a time when you need to seek help from people who know better than you at a certain thing. Let me ask you, if you are not in a good term with someone that you wish to seek help from, do you think that person will help you? I personally do not think so.

In the business world, you will need to develop rapport with people. When you develop rapport with someone, he or she will feel that you are connected with him or her. Once both of you are connected, negotiation will be more easy. The website by Abraham Lincoln basically sums this up “If you would win a man to your cause, first convince him that you are his sincere friend.”

Building rapport with people will not only benefit you in the business world. It will serve you good in other aspect of your life as well.

Just imagine that you can build a good rapport with the girl of your dream, anytime, anywhere. It will definitely increase your chance of succeeding at wooing her right?

One of the techniques to build rapport is to get into the world of the other person. Mirror their action, mirror the way they speak. Try these out, and you will find that you will be communicating better with other people, and thus building strong rapport with anyone that you meet in the future.

6 Ways to Create Multiple Streams of Income

income streams

 

To achieve financial freedom, one cannot only depend on the earned income from his/her day job. One needs to create multiple streams of income, by tapping into the different channels of opportunities.

Let me share with you 6 main types of income streams that you can do in your spare time and from home:

1. Write your own books; create your own audio cds, e-books, video etc. Then earn royalties and fees from licensing or selling your intellectual products. Or “partner up” with an author and record their book for them and get royalties from that.

2. Conduct seminars and workshops so as to magnify your value by reaching to more people at one time. In this way, the money that you will earn from each workshop or seminar will not be fixed; it will all depend on how many people you are willing to reach. This should grow over time. Be sure to get people’s contact information so you can invite them back.

3. Start your own business. Earn dividends as an investor or directors of a business, earn salary as a CEO, and earn through royalties from the brand of a business.

Yes, this is something that WILL take time, but it’s worth it. Especially if it’s something you love doing! You can fund your new start up with your own money, or even look to investors or try a Kick Starter campaign.

4. Earn commissions from sales, or referrals. For e.g. through online affiliate programs, through downlines, Google Adsense, etc.

5. Earn through investment in real estate by collecting passive income from rental fees

6. Earn through investment in paper assets such as stocks, mutual funds, bonds, etc.

Numbers 5 & 6 do take initial investment. And to be successful takes time and a knowledge of markets, so resort to these options ONLY if you have a large appetite for risk.

8 Strategies to Manage Your Personal Finance

personal finance
Managing personal finance is a very important skill that everyone must master. But sad to say, our schools do not teach this important skill.

Let me share with you my 2 cents worth of insights about managing your personal finance.

1. Always buy your stuffs at a discount. Some people think that buying at a discount is being cheap, but I think only fools will not take advantage of this chance to save some money.

2. Always ask for a receipt. Review all your receipts at the end of the day so that you can track your expenses of the day.

3. Record your daily or monthly expenses. Do some simple bookkeeping so that you can understand your spending habits.

4. Pay yourself first. EARN, then you SAVE, before you SPEND it. Usually people adopt this system of EARN – SPEND – SAVE, rather than EARN – SAVE – SPEND.

5. Cut off all credit cards but one. You do not need so many credit cards. Kill off the temptation.

6. Use a credit card whenever you can, but you MUST be able to PAY OFF the FULL BALANCE every month. Credit card company will send you your spending statement every month, which can serve as a reference for you.

7. Do your monthly income statements checking. It is essential to know every single detail of your income statements.

8. Before you decide to buy anything, stop and procrastinate. Usually if you tell yourself to buy the stuff later, you will not buy it.

Taking on the Challenges in Life

life challenges

 

Along one’s life journey, there will definitely be ups and downs. There will be storms and difficult times. Have you wondered why this is so?

Basically, there are 5 reasons, which are:

1. To develop your character. When you are facing the most challenging time in your life, it is usually the best time to see your character. Do you give up easily? Or do you continue to bite your teeth and fight on like a warrior?

2. To test your faith. Usually prior to your success, you will face a lot of setbacks, and will start to lose confidence and faith. During this difficult time, it is the best time to test your faith, whether you believe that your success will be a reality in the near future.

3. To learn new things. Every setback results from a cause, and this is the best time to learn from your mistakes, correct them, and not to make the same mistakes again in the future.

4. To strengthen yourself. There is a quote which says “Things that do not kill you will only make you stronger”. After every setback, bounce back and be stronger.

5. To get out of comfort zone. Sometimes, when you are too comfortable in your work or journey to success, you will not improve, and tend to become complacent. Setbacks will only wake you up, and urge you to become hungrier for success.

Just remember, success is usually 1 step away. Work hard towards your goal now.

Or regret not even trying for the rest of your life.