Friday, September 29, 2006

Your Customer must be your Focal Point

Keeping Your Focus on the Customer
by Nan Wood

With so many ecommerce web sites out there and strong competition in each category, it is very important to keep your focus on the customer. Many people are so short sighted on making a profit, that they forgo the most important part of the business equation-the customer.

Most online web developers spend lots of time and money building a web site as well as attracting web visitors to their web sites. Once a visitor lands on your web page, don’t throw all that hard work away, keep your focus on the customer so that they stay longer, hopefully buy a product and become a return visitor.

Everyone has probably landed on a web site that is out to make a quick sale with no respect for the visitor. You probably encounter pop up ads, an overload of flash advertisements and a mouse trap that makes you close your browser window just to leave their web site. Most visitors would run from a web site like this, let alone purchase an item. So if you are a web designer, create a web site that accommodates your visitors, treats them fairly and has a long term philosophy to build a relationship with visitors and offers a fair product.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Changing Real Estate Market – Does this Create an Opportunity?

Changing Real Estate Market – Does this Create an Opportunity?
By Nancy Wood

Yes, it definitely does create a new opportunity. Since the Real Estate market is slowing down, there is a larger inventory of houses. Since a larger inventory of Real Estate exists, buyers can move somewhat slower in making decisions and signing on the dotted line. The market is more balanced at this point in time and there are benefits to this situation for both the buyers and sellers.

Buyer’s advantages are:

1. More choice in houses
2. Decisions can be made slower
3. Sellers will have fewer offers to choose from.
4. Properties will be competitively price from the beginning.
5. Mortgage rates are still at historical lows.
6. Since appreciation is expected at a slower rate, moving up is more affordable.

If you are considering moving, now is a good time to enter the market looking for your perfect home. You will still find a reasonable interest rate; particularly if you have a good credit history and credit score. Sellers will give your offer more attention since they will be receiving fewer multiple offers.

Atlantic County, New Jersey, is one of the areas where prices have just skyrocketed in the past few years. Homes in my neighborhood have risen 75% in the last three – four years. This appreciation makes it difficult for the new buyer or young buyer to enter into the marketplace. The slow down of the Real Estate market will help them tremendously.

Nancy is a Real Estate Professional and Accountant. Visit

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Selling Timeshares

Sell Time Share the Best Way
by Nan Wood

Timeshare selling can be a lucrative business. Timeshare on a property like that of a condo, vacation resorts, yachts, houseboats or motor homes can be a financial exchange as well.

An owner who has time share can sell it to other interested buyers. One reason why one would want to resort to selling his timeshare is he might not be able to use it at that given time and it was already paid for by him. So as to not go through a fiscal loss, he’ll compensate for it by letting somebody else use it – and that someone will be paying him instead.

To avoid the illegal re-selling of timeshare, it is best that the parties involved comprehend fully well the terms of their transaction. First of all, one must know what kind of timeshare does the owner own.

Running it briefly, the different kinds of time shares are:

1. Fixed week ownership
The most basic timeshare unit. Example: Fourth of July Holiday is always in high demand. If you own this particular week at an often-visited resort, you can use it every year to your advantage.

2. Floating
Ownership is the number of weeks. Example: Weeks 22 to 36.

3. Rotating
If the time share has many owners, the weeks that are often most demanded such as week 26 which normally includes the Fourth of July holiday will be rotated among them.

4. Deeded and Right to Use
The use of timeshare in deeded contracts is often divided into weeks and are sold as if they were real property. Therefore, the owner can do whatever he chooses to with his week – he can use it, rent it out, give it to those who are requesting for it or make it an inheritance to his heirs. As for right to use, the person who buys the timeshare must use the property with what is stated on his contract.

5. Vacation Clubs
These are organizations owning units in various resorts in different locations. They are sold as deeded contracts, as well as right to use. Therefore, club members can make reservations at any time at the locations as long as it is available.

Therefore, if you are going to sell your timeshare, you must tell buyers all the information they need to know. Discuss it clearly with them.

You could also seek the help of Timeshare Resale Services. They have programs which will place advertisements in for you. They call these as “Ad-Listing.”

Being the seller, you need to have an exposure. That is exactly what those Timeshare Resale Services provide. With Ad-Listings, your timeshare is made available to the interest of other resale companies, rental companies and most importantly, potential buyers.

You could also opt that they hold an auction for your timeshare. Usually, Timeshare Resale Services conduct auctions each week, considering a lot of timeshare owners can not always use their week at that given point.

With Timeshare Resale Service’s advertising campaign, more people will be made aware of what you are selling. Their campaign covers newspapers, yellow pages, magazines, radio and even direct mail. Lately, the internet is also being used to announce the recent selling of timeshare.

Finally, you must be up on your toes whenever your timeshare is being evaluated. Like yourself, you must know how much your timeshare is worth. Some timeshare resale companies say that your timeshare is worth more than it really is and charge you way too high.

The key is selling your timeshare week for less than what the resort is selling. Mark it down around 20 to 50%.

Or if you’re up to it, you can just not sell it and donate it to charity. Thus it will reflect a write off on your tax return. If you want, you can also trade it in for another timeshare week at a different resort. You can actually trade what you have for something better.

Like what is mentioned earlier, timeshare is a business. And in a business, you always, always have to use your head.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Engery Bills

Real Estate – Saving Money and Energy in your Home
By Nan Wood

You can save some of both with a little effort. Energy bills rise as the rates move upward. So why not make an effort to conserve your hard earned money and as a byproduct, help the environment at the same time?

1. Reduce wasted energy

Limit showers. Use a simple timer - thirty minutes is the max. Since water heaters suck energy, this will help. Just maintaining the temperature of the water in the water heater drains your energy. When you empty it and refill, you just keep the clock on the meter moving upward.

There are systems on the market today that don't use tanks!! Bosch has a system that creates hot water on demand. These units start at about $500 but there is a tax credit available and the long term savings must be considered.

2. Heat Pumps

Heat pumps are more expensive to install but they are environmentally sound. They can reduce your heating and cooling bill by as much as fifty percent. Check out the websites of the manufacturers.

3. All those Lights

I researched this subject for myself. Using small fluorescent light bulbs consumes less energy overall.

4. Windows and Doors

Are your windows air tight? Cracks around the windows allows leakage. When it is time to replace your windows, consider double pain. The energy efficient windows today can cut costs by 15%.

Replacing doors and windows taking advantage of modern efficient models will curb energy costs. You can do this over time as your budge allows. I saw a window that allows you to tint them in the summer but lets all that winter sun flow though.

These are four areas I suggest you check out. There are many more areas you can research to help you make good choices that will save you money in energy costs in the future. Sites online will provide you with good research.

Nan is an Accountant and Business Writer with an information site online

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Safety for Real Estate Agents

Real Estate Agents – Safety is an Issue
By Nancy Woodward

As a Real Estate Agent, I read articles from various sources. I read an article today that gave me reason to think. Is safety an issue when you are showing a house?

The article I read indicated the agent gets to an open house and hides the knives and sharp objects prior to hosting the open house. This agent is very safety conscious. She protects herself from the public as much as she can. Her point - I’m doing an open house. Everyone knows it is going on - see the sign and balloons. They know there is a potential to find a Real Estate Agent alone if there are no vehicles in the area.

This agent checks the sex-offender registry before going to an appointment with a potential client she is has never met. Agents in other areas have experienced problems in vacant houses.

Is she right? Well, I think that is a matter of opinion. I agree you must be safety conscious at all times. You must be aware of the potential, the crime rate in your area, the trends going on in the area you work, the neighborhood you are visiting and/or working in regularly. Use good judgment and mostly importantly “be aware”.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Roofing Materials

Real Estate Improvements – Non-metal Roofs are now Available
By Nan Wood

There are advantages to using the new roofing products. The cost, durability, and life cycle are longer. The new products are created from recycled and natural materials. When your roof, made of shingles, needs repair, the old shingles are removed and taken to a landfill.

If you are considering one of the newer roofs, you must take the weight of the material into consideration. Some of the newer materials, such as slate and tile, can weight five to ten times more than asphalt shingles; therefore, the supports must be strong enough to hold the added weight.

While this will increase the expense of installation, the expense will only occur once. To determine the actual cost, you must take both the cost of the product and the added expense of strengthening the rafters or trusses. Then determine the length of time of your product warranty.

If you are concerned about the environment, you can use recycled plastic products. Since they weigh approximately the same as shingle, you will not have to strengthen the support system. This will save you added expense while still allowing you to gain the benefits of the new materials. Plastic can carry a warranty as long as fifty years.

Other quality materials to consider using are:

1. Slate
2. Tile
3. Shakes
4. Fiber-cent
5. Cedar Shakes
6. Pine shakes

There are companies out there today specializing in a variety of roofing materials. Check online for more information.

Nan is an Accountant, Real Estate Professional and Business Writer. She is online with an information site RealEstate

Friday, September 15, 2006

Plumbing Requires Maintenance

Maintaining Your Home Plumbing
by Nan Wood

Home plumbing is an important facet of your home. Your home plumbing obviously consists of all your sinks, bath tub, shower stalls and washing machine outlets as well an incoming water line and outgoing sewer line. Here are some tips on maintaining your home plumbing.

While it is easy to view and inspect your home plumbing whether it being your sinks or bath tubs, it can sometimes be difficult to inspect the pipes that connect to your home via the underground municipal water line. Most exterior pipes are made out of galvanized steel which usually lasts for decades with relatively little issues. If you find that there are always puddles of water on your lawn, by your sidewalk, street or drive way, this can be a sign that there might be a leak. Most of the time, you will need to contact your municipalities water department for them to come inspect the pipes. If you have a leak on your land, you municipality will either do the work or you can hire a plumber that will probably need certain permits.

The only thing worse than an incoming pipeline leak is a sewer leakage either going out to the municipalities sewer system or to your septic tank. You will need to contact someone immediately to correct the problem as it can be very messy along with foul smelling.

Indoors, check your pipes regularly. If you notice rot, talk to your plumber about replacing your older pipes. Nowadays, indoor plumbing usually consists of PVC plastic piping so they are much easier to replace and last much longer than older metal piping.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Fireplaces add light

Home Lighting – Another way to add light to your home while saving on heating expense and adding value to your home.
By Nan Wood

There are many benefits to finding creative lighting ideas. The top one is the mere saving on utility bills within your home. A new fireplace will help both. Actually, dollar for dollar, a fireplace adds more value to your home. Houses with fireplaces sell six percent higher than those without this improvement.

There is a growing trend in the housing market for new homes to have more than one fireplace – living room, master bedroom, and in the family room. Peninsula fireplaces are the latest decorative fireplaces I’ve seen in many homes. Fireplaces today come in many styles and colors and they can be installed almost anywhere since they no longer require an outside wall.

Consider the special glow coming from a fireplace. The glow adds ambiance to any room. My particular fireplace is gas. I find it throws off enough light to illuminate my family room in the evening requiring less artificial lighting in the room. Since the fireplace also gives off heat, I am simultaneously increasing the room temperature while I am enjoying the fireplace.

Take the time to consider your options to determine whether you want a gas or wood burning fireplace. Wood fireplaces are very attractive and certainly have become more environmentally friendly; but a substantial amount of heat goes into the flue not your room. Gas units work with switches and provide a lot more heat. They are cheaper to run and don’t give off smoke that can cling to your furniture.

Consider improving your home by adding a fireplace or two. You will increase the value of your asset while enjoying the benefits and beauty it will provide.

Nan is an Accountant, Real Estate Agent and business writer. She has an information site online on HomeLighting and research for RealEstate

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Keep it Simple

Simplicity Can Help
by Nan Wood

For most entrepreneurs starting a small business can be a huge undertaking. Even the smallest business can require lots of time, labor and mental energy. If you are looking to succeed but feel defeated, here are some tips to empower yourself as well as your business.

Simplicity can sometimes be the key to your businesses success. Many entrepreneurs sometimes feel overwhelmed, because it is difficult to grasp many parts of their business, it is very helpful in these situations to take a step back and take a look at the big picture. Many entrepreneurs break things down until they are easier to understand. There are many different organizational tools that can be used to efficiently look and analyze your business to make better sense of it.

Sometime what entrepreneurs need is a mentor to talk to when things get rough and confusing. Mentors are a great way to get first hand knowledge on what might be wrong with your business and some possible tips to fix it. If you don’t have a mentor, there are plenty of resources where you can also find great commentary and talk to contemporaries, such as online forums. If you are finding your business difficult to run, look at the above tips.