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Incentives for Home Security Systems

October 2nd, 2013

The most obvious reason to invest in a some top security systems is to protect the homes you own. However, there are a couple of other reasons that may entice you to fork up the cash.

Increase Home Value
One major incentive that will get you reaching for your checkbook is the possibility of added value to your home. When the time comes to sell your home, many prospective buyers will take into consideration the home alarm system you installed; in some cases it may even be the deciding factor.

There are a few things to keep in mind, though, when considering a system. To get the best return on investment, you must go for a system that is modern and fairly high-tech. Now, this doesn’t mean spending thousands of dollars on the best of the best equipment. There are fairly-priced systems that have just what you need. The best option is a system that can be controlled through a smartphone or internet-connected device. These days, more and more people rely on their devices to manage their lives; security is just another aspect. Remember that most of the new systems send notifications directly to your phone when an alarm is triggered. They also alert the proper authorities when an intrusion is detected.

Another thing to consider is the need for a comprehensive system. Just having a burglar alarm doesn’t cut it anymore. New homeowners are looking for systems that will alert them in the case of a fire, a flood, carbon monoxide leaks, and, of course, burglaries.

It’s important to also think about other security measures in the home. A metal door with a tamper-proof deadbolt won’t go unnoticed. Having motion-sensitive lights surrounding your home can also make a huge impact on potential buyers. Another simple security upgrade you can make is keeping the perimeter of your home clear of debris and obstructive shrubbery. This eliminates any potential “hiding places” for burglars.

Remember, people are usually looking for a ready-to-move home. They will likely disregard a home that can’t protect them from potential security threats.

Insurance Discounts
The second major incentive to installing a home security system is the potential discount you can claim through your insurance provider. The amount of the discount varies depending on the provider. The first thing you need to do is contact your agent. Ask them to give you a list of systems they approve for discounts. In most cases the systems they require must include a monitoring feature (alerting authorities when an alarm is triggered).

The discounts don’t stop there. Some providers offer even more discounts for additional security measures; discounting up to five percent of your premium for installing smoke and fire alarms throughout the home. You can also receive reductions from installing the deadbolt locks mentioned earlier.

Sure, there are plenty of incentives to convince you to get a home alarm system. But, none of those compare to the peace of mind you will receive by securing your home with a comprehensive system.

About the Author: Lukas Nicholson is a home security specialist and reviewer. He works hard to provide honest security system reviews and inform others about what they can do to better protect themselves, their family, and their homes.

More houses, more money: fueling the economy with help to buy (infographic)

August 29th, 2013


Balancing Two Residences — A Vacation Home and a Condo

August 16th, 2013

Homeowners who maintain two residences, a primary home or condo and a vacation home, know there is a lot to the balancing act. Juggling both places comes down to planning and relying on people you can trust.

Someone to watch while you are away

Getting someone you can trust to maintain your property while you are away is critical. This person serves as your eyes and ears for potential problems. Someone should be in the home to do a check every week. Be sure to get references before entrusting someone with your key. If you worked with a realtor, they may have recommendations of individuals as well as companies who will keep an eye on things for you while you are away.

Homeowners Insurance

It is important to have a policy that provides enough coverage especially if you plan to rent either residence for part of the year. You will need to add a separate policy that covers renters and negligence or damage caused by them.

Concierge Companies

This is quickly becoming a popular and convenient option for people with second homes. Concierge companies offer services like weekly home maintenance checks, cleaning services, hire landscapers and some even offer bill paying services. Concierge companies operate on a weekly fee or monthly retainer depending on your needs.

Other logistics to consider:

  • Transition as many bills to on-line pay as possible
  • Keep master documents in a safe deposit box at your primary residence and keep copies at your second home. Consider providing your attorney with a copy of these documents as well.
  • Keep a maintenance person on call at both locations for unexpected emergencies (flood, break-in, storm damage)
  • Turn off garbage, cable and other services at the location not in use. A mobile broadband card will provide you internet access while traveling between locations.
  • Turn off water heater, gas fireplace, washer and other items that could cause problems.

Maintaining two residences can be exciting and rewarding. Coming up with a plan while you are away, and a Plan B if something happens will provide peace of mind.

Rockford Homes is the leading home builder with range of homes for sale in Columbus Ohio. Call (614) 785-0015 to have a look at our homes for sale in central Ohio today.

Buying Your First Property: Is It Really Harder These Days?

July 5th, 2013

The refrain from many of today’s property investors is a familiar one to any real estate agent: while home prices have increased in value spectacularly in recent decades (2007’s crash notwithstanding), the costs of getting into the real estate investment game to begin with are becoming prohibitive to newcomers. So, this theory goes, while many people who invested 10, 20, or even 30 years ago have been flipping homes for a handsome profit all along, due to the rising price of home ownership it’s harder for today’s young professionals or retirees to become property investors in the first place. But is that sentiment truly accurate? Certainly home prices have increased in most areas over the past few decades, but generally so have incomes - so is it really harder for today’s young adults to become real estate investors than it was for their parents’ generation 30 years ago?

This is a compelling question, and one of great importance to property investors and aspiring home-owners of all ages. As one of the top-selling real estate agents in Oahu, Hawaii, I decided to compile decades’ worth of sales, income, and investment data to determine the true cost of buying a home in America over the past three decades, then compare how easy - or difficult - it has been for each generation in that time period. I present my findings in the form of this easy-to-read infographic, which I hope will prove as interesting and useful to you readers as it was to me when I put it all together. If nothing else, what you’ll learn about the affordability of homes in America since 1980 should surprise you!

Home Buying - You vs. Your Parents
Created by: Aloha Tony

Commercial Real Estate Tips and Tactics

January 2nd, 2013

While much of the world is going through the same economic crunch and just looking for a way to dig out of the hole we’re all in, some people are playing the markets smartly and setting themselves up for future wealth. Many of history’s greatest fortunes had their foundations established in rocky and tumultuous times, and this is no different – while it’s not exactly and ideal time to be a real estate seller right now, if you are able to buy property you can be assured to make a sizable return on your investment when the markets correct. And they always do.

The number one rule of negotiations is that the first number that gets thrown out will frame the rest of the decisions – make sure you make the first move

Getting the kind of property you are interested in at a fair price is the name of the game when investing in real estate, but you need to make sure that you are getting a profit when you buy the place, not when you sell it. Too many people make this mistake and are a big reason why so many see real estate as less than the ideal investment vehicle that it still is – you just need to be smarter with your purchases and make sure that even if you had to move the property tomorrow you could make some money.

And while there are a number of different things that come into play to make sure that this happens for you when you invest in commercial real estate, the most important thing to focus on would be the framing negotiations to work for you from the very start. And the best way to do this is to make sure you offer that is much lower than something you are willing to pay – in this way you are framing the negotiations from the start and when you move up your jump will be seen as more of a concession than it really is. There is obviously a lot more to proper negotiation that just this one little trick, but it will go a long way to making sure you are getting the prices you are looking for.

The second thing you need to be absolutely positive of when making a move in the commercial real estate world is that you’ve hired the right real estate agency for your needs

The other critical component that you need to make sure you have in order is the real estate company or firm you decide to work with. While there are professional standards that all companies must live up to, the fact remains that some will be much better than others, and you need to be certain that you are working with someone that has experience in the commercial real and can assist you in getting the results you have been looking for. This is a piece of the puzzle that cannot be underestimated and something that needs to be taken care of before moving forward.

Sharon Freeman is a freelancer who loves researching and writing about Tips for Estate Agents. She writes about buying, selling and renting real estate for companies like Taylors Real Estate.

Real Estate Investing Web Sites - New Upgrade Available

May 29th, 2009

We just completed the most ambitious upgrade yet delivering real estate investing web sites that are capable of adapting to any investing needs.

In case you don’t have one of our web sites, maybe a short introduction is in order…

These are database-driven, point-and-click web site for real estate investing that run and automate your business and work for any investing model. No expertise is needed to operate these web sites.

We are quickly on our way to becoming the market leader

We release new upgrades from time to time, and the section below covers only new features. Full features are given on our web site at

New Features

1) Ability to create custom forms to collect ANY information you want

Now you can create any type of forms without limitations.

Every time someone fills your form, you will get an email (if you choose to) and get all the information is logged on your web site.

AND if you want to send sequentially timed, follow-up autoresponder messages, you can create unlimited messages for each of your forms so you communicate with
your buyers, sellers or prospects hands-off; freeing up your time to make more money or have fun.

This is a huge asset for your marketing campaigns, or even when you feel one of our existing forms does not entirely serve your needs.


a) Create a form for your “squeeze page” and add them to a carefully timed sequence of autoresponder messages to convert them from leads to closed deals

b) Compliment your buying and selling houses with any other service you offer, e.g. “We Buy Notes” or to collect leads for your mortgage business, etc

c) Create a brand new web site with new pages and new forms that collect only the information you define

2) Added features when selling or wholesaling houses 

a) Allow other investors to post their properties on your web site


Let’s say you strike a deal with another investor to get a cut if you get them a buyer. This form will come in handy - they will enter all the information including pictures, videos and documents. You can create your own network where other investors also post their deals to your web site

b) Display your properties on other web sites

If you work with other investors, you can now display your properties on their web site. This will increase exposure and build your buyers list faster

c) Upload documents for your properties

Now you can include comparable sales, contracts, and other documents with property listings and choose if you want to display them to the public or keep them private. This is a tremendous asset for selling quickly

d) Import Buyers List

If you have an existing buyers list, you can easily import it to your web site so you maintain your subscribers in one convenient location. You do not have to manually enter your buyers one by one.

e) Allow someone to edit one property

If you are working with a partner (say managing a rehab), you can allow them access to that one property so they can both update it, while you still retain full control

3) Add Google Analytics

See exactly where your traffic is coming from and lots of other information to optimize your marketing campaigns. This helps to put your marketing dollar where you get the highest returns.

4) Upload files - pictures, audio and video

When you edit text, now you can add pictures, audio and video with a few clicks

5) Email handling enhancement 

a) Easily send your deals to your buyers list with a few clicks


Every deal is pre-populated with a pre-drafted email template complete with pictures ready to send out

b) Narrow down your buyers list

Easily select which investors to send a deal to by the states, metro regions, counties or cities they buy from

6) Add unlimited reference notes and automated reminders

On each record - Motivates Sellers, Buyers List, Private Money Investors, Properties, etc, you can make any notes and if you want, automate a future reminder so you are reminded of some important event on the day when you need it.


- Say you need to check with the title company in 2 days to make sure title work is expedited; just log that note reminder and you will receive it at 7 am on the day to follow up

- Say John Doe in your buyers list bought 123 Main Street, and you need to check in 3 days that all the funds have been wired to the title company for closing- just automate it

Of course, we cannot list down everything in an email. It’s all detailed at

We have a lot more coming shortly… stay tuned…


Have a great day!


Real Estate Investing Web Sites upgrade

March 21st, 2009

The first upgrade of Real Estate Investing Web Sites is out.

In this Version 1.01:

  1. Ability to customize seller form
    Collect only the information you need! You can customize the form your house sellers fill to collect the information you need depending on your business model.Choose which fields to activate/inactivate, and if to make them required or not.
  2. Ability to add extra pages to your web sites
    Sometimes, you just need to create an additional page that is not included in the default web site.Examples:
    - Create a “squeeze page” and make it the index page
    - Display MLS listings on your web site
    - Create a new page or new pages with more information about your services
    - Create an entirely new web site with new pages and content!
  3. Ability to add Youtube videos in your property listings  

  4. Ability to replace our default forms with third party forms
    Do you have your buyers lists (mailing lists) with a third party service provider, e.g. Constant Contact, Icontact, etc?If you prefer, you can easily replace our default forms with the form given by your provider so you maintain your current provider while enjoying top notch benefits of our web sites.

You get free lifetime upgrades and updates. To get your upgrade, just log into your investors web site page and download “Upgrade”.

Multiple Streams of Real Estate Income

March 4th, 2009

There are many great benefits from investing in real estate. Not the least of which is the opportunity to develop a number of streams of income from your real estate business. Having money coming to you from many different sources will not only give stability to your real estate business but is also a great way to generate cash flow which is the life blood of your business.

Other than the normal income from sales of homes and monthly rental income, there are many other streams of income that can be generated by owning and managing properties. Here is a list of just a few possibilities for income from real estate.

Money from:
• Notes
• Options
• Late Fees
• Rent Increases
• Additional Rent
• Loans Against Equity
• Deposits and Maintenance Fees
• Mineral Rights Sales and Leases
• Finder’s Fees
• Consignment Fees
• Consultation Fees
• Coaching Fees
• Tax Rebates and Certificates

Let’s take a closer look at some of these. Notes are a great way to set up additional income streams. When you sell a property you can usually get a much higher price if you are willing to finance part of the sale. By simply taking a note secured by the property you have your first small stream. Well it may seem more like a drop but for now we can call it a stream. Adding interest to the note will increase the income and give you a fair return on the money you are owed. Each note you add is another small income source.

Another great way to increase your income is by selling options to purchase your properties that include lease or rental payments. Option money is usually non-refundable and if you do lots of options you have another stream of money coming in.

It is unfortunate but when you manage renters—they are often late with their rent payments. Some landlords just let late fees slide and do not attempt to collect them. This is a big mistake. By being strong and charging what the contract spells out you win in many ways. The renter will either start paying on time or have to pay the late fees. Of course they just may decide to leave altogether and you also win because then you can get a better tenant. In any event if you stick to your guns and charge late fees like a real business you will find that you have created yet another stream of income.

At the end of every lease period you have the opportunity to generate more income by simply making small increases in the amount of rent due each month. This may seem trivial but if you have just ten single-family homes and increase the rent on each of them by just fifteen dollars per month you have an additional $1,800.00 a year coming in each and every year. If you continue to do this for five years that $1,800.00 will have grown to a whopping $9,000.00 and that is a nice stream.

If you have a big lot or even two lots, many times there are opportunities to rent out some of that space to be used for other things. An example might be parking or a storage building. Use your imagination and create another stream of income.

One of my favorite income streams comes from borrowing money from the equity from my existing properties. This income is tax free and can be a life saver at tax time or when your spouse wants that trip to Europe for your anniversary.

Deposits on rented property belong to the renter but when a renter leaves a property in poor condition the money to bring the property back up to good condition must come from somewhere. I prefer to use the renter’s money to do this fix up so I collect a substantial security deposit. Often renters will just leave the property without notice or without completing their lease agreement. When this happens, if your agreement is written well, you get to keep the deposit. It is not unusual for this scenario to take place several times a year and yet another stream is introduced.

With the price of petroleum products at an all time high—the mineral rights you have in you property might be worth a great deal. These rights are very marketable and petroleum companies are becoming very aggressive. These companies have a lot of money and might be willing to pay you some of it to lease or purchase your mineral rights. Leasing your mineral rights can create a healthy stream of income for you especially if oil or gas is discovered on your property.

The real estate investing business offers quite a few possibilities for income streams by charging fees. These fees could be for consignment of a contract or for consultation on a real estate project. You could charge fees for coaching new investors in how to get started or even for helping them find their first deal.

Finally there are a great number of tax advantages for the real estate investor and if you play your cards right you could be able to have the government provide you with an additional stream or two of income. By purchasing tax certificates you should be able to realize some exceptional returns from your investments and if you are lucky you could end up owning one or more additional properties.

I hope this article will help you in your quest to build wealth through real estate investing. For more articles on real estate investor training, visit my real estate training site. Also on that site, you may sign up for free reports, articles, and e-books and find free forms, documents, MP3 Downloads and much more. Also visit turbo-bidder for great real estate investor tools.
Thank You,
Dennis Henson

Have An Enjoyable Building Experience

January 8th, 2009

It’s almost the time of year when we in the upper mid west become afflicted with “cabin fever”. The holidays are over. Football is almost over. Winter is nowhere’s near over. This is the time of year when people start to think about spring and building a new home. Here are a few tips to make building a new home fun.

The first step is to take your time when picking a plan. This is usually the hardest yet the most enjoyable part of the building process. Spend some time thinking about how you use your existing space. You want to design your new home to fit your lifestyle. If you spend a significant amount of time in your kitchen, then focus on that area very carefully. If it’s important to you to have a large master suite, then focus on that area,etc.

It can also be beneficial to visit open houses to get ideas and to talk to Realtors. A Realtor can be very helpful in providing you with names of reputable builders. They may also have listings of completed new construction that you may find attractive.

If you plan on building a large and/or unique home, you may have to have plans drawn. The draftman usually charges per sq. ft. to draw your plans.

Some builders are able to include the cost of the drafting plans in their quotes. If you are building a relatively simple home, try to find an existing plan that comes close to what you want and make the necessary changes to that plan. This will help save you money by reducing drafting charges which may allow you to add amenities to your new home. Most builders have books of their plans that you can borrow.

To keep the building process enjoyable, keep in mind that no house is perfect. Go into the process with the attitude that a house is a man made product and will probably have a few minor issues. To help avoid issues, try to visit your job site every day. No one knows your new house better than you and you can point out mistakes to your builder when they occur.

Take pictures or video of the building process at various stages. In the future, you will enjoy having a record of your new home as it progresses.

Communicate with your builder. When you discuss changes to the plan and chances are you will make changes, make sure the changes are documented. Just because the builder says he can change something doesn’t mean he is willing to do it for free. Don’t be afraid to ask the builder how much the changes will cost.

Once the cost of the changes is agreed upon, have the builder write up a change order and have it signed. If the builder says he will make the changes for no charge, have him put that in writing also. No one likes to be surprised with upcharges at closing.

Building is not for everyone. It can be very time consuming and a lot of decisions need to be made in a timely fashion. Those who choose to build and go into the process prepared, however, find it can be a very enjoyable experience.

Take care.

Shawn Wollenberg

Use Backpage to get to the Front Page

December 13th, 2008

As a software developer and real estate investor I can tell you that the hottest Real Estate is Page 1 of Google. Whether you are trying to sell a wholesale deal, or rent out an apartment, or trying to get a motivated seller to call… you want exposure! The more people who see what you are trying to accomplish, the more likely you are to accomplish it! Nothing will get you more exposure than being on Page 1 of Google.

I read that when it comes to search engines Google has 75% of the market share (in the US and UK) and 84% of searchers never make it past Page 2!!

So how do you get to the top of page 1? I will tell you that it is a lot easier than you think! The key lies in …. That’s right! A free online classifieds site that is very Search Engine friendly has pushed a lot of my deals to the top of Google! You don’t have to pay thousands of dollars to get to the top… You can do it all for free!

Here’s how…

Step 1 - Pretend you are your potential customer. What would you type into Google to find your service? As an example, lets say we are trying to find motivated sellers in Columbus, OH. We would expect motivated sellers to search for something like “sell house fast columbus oh”. These words will be your “key phrase”. Think of another key phrase or two.

Step 2 - Go to and click on “Post an Ad” for your selected city

Step 3 - Using your key phrases create a Headline for your ad. In between key phrases I like to place a dash (-). to go along with our example I would make my headline read “sell house fast columbus oh - we buy houses - avoid foreclosure”

Step 4 - In the body of the ad describe your service, and try to work in your key phrases at least once or twice. Make it seem natural! Dont forget to give them a way to contact you!

Step 5 - Submit your ad

Now I can’t guarantee that you will be at the top of Google that day… or ever. I have had backpage ads push me up to #1 within 2 hours, and I have seen ads take me to the top 3 weeks later. I have had a bunch of ads never show up on Google. It can be unpredictable, but be patient. I have gotten a bunch of good calls from these ads. Keep in mind that you also have people looking through that you could sell to.

Other important (free) online classifieds for real estate investors - This is probably the most popular, but isn’t very Google friendly. There are tons of people buying stuff over craigslist so do not forget to post your ads here. In 2008 I sold my personal home over craigslist so fast that I was “homeless” for a while. - This is a place for investors to post their wholesale deals for other investors. Rehabbers, landlords and wholesalers who have joined the VIP Investors Club ask to be notified about deals in their selected cities. After a wholesaler has posted a deal it is emailed out to the VIP Investors for that city. Similar to craigslist with an email twist. - The more I mess around with Oodle the more I like it. It is a clean and more updated version of craigslist.

Shawn Wollenberg