Real Estate Appraisal – Do It Yourself

For single family homes, there are two basic methods used in real estate appraisal. They are replacement cost analysis, and using comparable sales. A third appraisal method, based on capitalization, is used for income properties, and is covered in another article.

In figuring replacement cost the question is: What would it cost to buy this land and put this house on it? If the land (improved) would cost $40,000, and the house could be built for $150,000, the value indicated would be around $190,000 – if the house is fairly new. If it has used up 10% of its useful life, you can deduct $15,000 for depreciation.

Replacement cost is not really a very useful measurement. It is difficult to say what the land is worth in a city center where none is left for sale, for example, and tough to gauge depreciation. It is used as a secondary method, and for unique homes that can’t be compared easily with others. The primary method of real estate appraisal used for homes is a market analysis using comparable sales.

Real Estate Appraisal 101

To get a good idea of what a home should sell for, you need to compare it to homes that have sold. Find at least three similar homes in the same area that have sold within the last year, preferably within the last six months. This information is available in the county records, or from a real estate agent with access to the MLS (multiple listing service).

Now the confusing part. You start with the selling price of each of your comparables. If your subject home has a second bathroom, and the a comparable doesn’t, you add the value of the bathroom to the sales price of the comparable. If a comparable home has a blacktop driveway, and the subject home doesn’t, you take the value away.

You are rectifying differences, to see what comparable homes would have sold for if they were like yours. So if a comparable sold for $140,000, and a bathroom is worth $15,000 in your area (ask a real estate agent for help with these figures), you ADD $15,000 for the bathroom it doesn’t have. Then you subtract, say $4,000, for the paved driveway it does have. This gives you a comparable sales price of $151,000.

You do this with all differences between the subject home and each comparable. When done, you average the three comparable prices. So if the three comparables have adjusted sales prices of $151,000, 162,000, and 149,000, you add the three figures and divide by three. The indicated value of the home is $154,000.

Of course all appraisal is an inexact science. If you can only find comparables sold over a year ago, you have to estimate appreciation in the area. If one sold with seller financing, you have to decide how this affected the price. For all of it’s flaws, however, for single family homes, this is the most accurate method of real estate appraisal.

Steve Gillman has invested real estate for years. To learn more, and to see a photo of a beautiful house he and his wife bought for $17,500, visit

Stay – Say – Pay

Would you like to have customers that stay with you and
don’t buy from your competitors?
Customers that say nice things about your business to other
people; pay you on time and
accept the fact that you might be a bit more expensive then
other suppliers?
Of course you do but how do we perform this miracle? It’s
dead easy really; you only have
to consider two factors: be Reliable and be Likeable.

It almost goes without saying that it’s vital to have a
reliable product or service. Most
businesses spend a great deal of time and money ensuring
that their product does what they
say it’ll do and striving for exceptional customer service.

However, if you do this consistently,
don’t expect any “brownie points” and it won’t ensure stay,
say and pay. Providing reliable products and service is
vitally important however after a while customers start to
take it for granted.

I can remember the days when a motor car was difficult to
start on a winters morning. When a
telephone engineer took a week to fix your phone and a
retail store wouldn’t take back an item you’d purchased.
Nowadays, cars start first time, engineers come the same day
and retail stores give you your money back immediately.
We now take this kind of reliability and service for

To give your business the competitive edge and ensure stay,
say and pay you, your business and your people need to be
likeable. Too many organisations forget that their customers
are humans and the thing about humans is – they don’t always
make decisions logically. Customers are driven by their
emotions and they make decisions about organisations based
on their interaction with the people in the business.
They’ll even forgive your mistakes if they like your

So what do we need to do to ensure the likeability factor?
Run your eye down the following list and see how many you
can tick off:

* We always have a genuine smile for every customer.
* We are warm and friendly to all customers.
* We listen carefully and make it obvious that we’re
* We use the customer’s name and our name appropriately.
* We give the impression that we care and are interested in
the customer.
* We empathise with problems and complaints and respond
* We occasionally do something to pleasantly surprise the
* We always keep our promises.
* We give the impression that we’re fun to deal with.
* We treat the customer the way they want to be treated, not
the way we want to be treated.

(The * We means everyone in the business be they sales
people, delivery drivers, accountants, engineers, managers
or directors.)

How well did you do? If you’ve got lots of ticks then you
probably have lots of customers
who like you. Just a word to the managers and employers
amongst you; run your eyes down the list again and replace
the word customer with the words employee or staff

How many ticks did you get this time? Lots of ticks mean
your staff like you and it probably follows that your
customers do as well.

Have you noticed how being likeable cost so little? A lot
less than advertising or other
promotional activity required to replace lost customers.

Working a little bit harder on the emotional connection with
your customers will increase your likeability factor and
ensure they – stay, say and pay.

Discover how you can generate more business without having
to cold call!
Alan Fairweather is the author of “How to get More Sales
without Selling” This book is packed with practical things
that you can do to – get customers to come to you.

Click here now:

33 Reasons To Do A News Release

News releases are not the best way to get major media coverage, but they can be used to increase the frequency with which your company name appears in the press.

Press releases will get you coverage in set features like business notes, and new personnel columns. They also provide a good way to let allies, employees and customers know what you are doing. For these purposes, post releases on the company website, send out by e-mail, or distribute by one of the services like PR Newswire or PR Web.

Here is a quick list of 33 possible reasons for you to write and distribute a news release.

* New Products

* Business Start-Up

* Partnership

* Strategic Alliances

* New Or Innovative Business Strategy

* Restructuring The Company

* Going Public/Going Private

* Company Comeback From Adversity

* New Employees

* Important Executive Retiring/Resigning

* Executives Comment On Business/Economic Trends

* Employee Promotions

* New Branch Offices

* New Divisions Established

* Headquarters Relocating

* Research Results Announcement

* Major Anniversary

* Major New Client Acquisition

* Company Revenue, Sales or Profit Growth

* Company Name Change

* Winning Major Awards Or Receiving National Recognition

* Company Presenting An Award

* Receiving Important Accreditation or Certification

* Holding Free Seminar or Workshop

* Employee Appointed To Civic/Government/Professional Board

* Availability Of Guest Articles Or White Papers

* Issuing A Position Statement On Topical Subject

* Free Consumer Information Available

* Company Speakers Bureau

* Company Philanthropic Support

* Major Company Milestone

* New Board of Directors

* New Website

Harry Hoover is managing principal of Hoover ink PR. He has 26 years of experience in crafting and delivering bottom line messages that ensure success for serious businesses like Brent Dees Financial Planning, Focus Four, Levolor, New World Mortgage, North Carolina Tourism, TeamHeidi, Ty Boyd Executive Learning Systems, VELUX, Verbatim and Youth Link USA.

The Wholesale And Closeout Business Might Be The Perfect Match For Small Budget Entrepreneurs

The appeal of starting a business is universal. While there are many reasons for desiring to launch a business, there are definitely needs that are universally fulfilled by starting one.

As you have read many times, and as you might well know, starting a business can help you manage your time, supply you with a supplemental or full time income, and help you improve your quality of life.

But the reason most businesses stay in the drawing board, or in our imagination, is because of the financial resources that they require.

Most businesses need a capitalization of upwards of a $100,000 just to open their doors. That sum does not include variable expenses such as advertising, employee salaries, and insurance.

So what can entrepreneurial minded individuals do when they are faced with small budgets?

Speaking from my own experience, one of the easiest businesses to get into, which requires minimal spending, is the wholesale and closeout business.

I have been running my own wholesale and closeout business,, for the past 3 years, and I can tell you that besides the fact that its potentially lucrative, it also doesn’t require a large budget.

There are many scenarios where you can enter the wholesale and closeout business without having to buy merchandise up front.

By using this strategy you would locate wholesale and closeout merchandise, advertise it, and when you find a buyer, you would then buy and sell the merchandise.

You can also become a closeout broker and simply match buyers with sellers and receive a commission from the seller of the wholesale or closeout merchandise.

The level of success you will attain in the wholesale and closeout business is not based on your budget, but on your willingness to pursue and stay on top of deals.

Especially with global trade booming, there are opportunities for wholesale and closeout businesses to bring in five revenue figures with nothing more than a well equipped home office.

Donny Lowy is the CEO of, an online wholesale and closeout business, and, an educational resource for the wholesale and closeout business.

Shy Five Networking Questions To Expand Comfort Zone

Networking is by far the best vehicle for building businesses, careers, and your circle of influence. It is through networking that we find advice on personal and business challenges, learn of job opportunities, and develop new business. Yet to many, the social aspects of networking events are far outside their comfort zone. Whether it be shyness, introversion, or a lack of confidence in what to say, many at a networking event will gravitate to people they know and loss the opportunity to meet new people.If you are among these people, it is probably safe to say that your shyness or introversion has helped you build tremendous listening skills. This listening strength is a great weapon for you during networking events. The main problem you are probably having is that you are so focused on your discomfort with talking to strangers that you forget how great it is to be in a conversation with you.

That’s right! Great listeners are fun to converse with because they allow the other person to do the talking. People love to talk about themselves.

With the other person talking, they are typically revealing things about themselves and getting you to the point where you are no longer strangers and your comfort level with them is the same as your comfort level with your best friends.

How do you get them talking to you when your comfort zone stifles your vocal cords?

The best way is to expand your comfort zone just long enough to deliver short, open-ended question.

An open-ended question, one that cannot be answered with a number of the words “yes” and “no”.

They force the other to talk while you listen. Here are some examples:

= What kind of work do you do?

= How did you get into that field?

= What do you like most about it?

= What do you find most challenging?

= If you had a magic wand, what one thing at work or home would you change?

These questions will get you in a conversation where you will be able to do what you do best – listen. As they open up they are very likely to touch on something that you like to talk about. When that happens, talking will be easier for you. Until this happens, a gentle nod or “oh”, will make you a great conversationalist in their eyes and they will want to be around you.

Eventually the conversation will get back to you, but do not dwell on that. By the time it happens your comfort level will have risen to the point you will be okay with it.

This article cannot end until the issue of stretching your comfort zone for that initial question is even realistic. It is not easy to stretch one’s self outside of the comfort zone. In fact, it is extremely difficult. The problem is that when we think of stepping out, we are opening ourselves to potentially endless stress. However we can all step out for short periods of time. Think of a burning building. We would not think of casually walking around in a burning building – even if we had full firefighting gear. The most experienced firefighter struggles with that fear each time they must fight a fire internal to a home or office.

Yet they do it.


Because they know they can muster the adrenalin to do it. Now consider yourself. What if it were house and the Fire Department had not arrived? Would you be able to go into the inferno for a leisure stroll? Of course not – you would not even try. Now, what if a loved one was still inside? I venture to say you would not even think about your comfort zone, you would run inside. When you are at a networking event you CAN expand your comfort zone for very brief periods of time if your focus is on the briefness of the expansion and the rewards from venturing beyond its confines.

Are you frustrated by your networking experiences? MaxImpact’s Catapult program is a powerful coaching program that will expand your horizons and connect you to your dreams. When you reach the point that you are willing to invest in your dreams, contact MaxImpact at 248-802-6138 or via email to Remember, success is available to anyone – they just need to know how to tap into their potential.

Rick Weaver is an accomplished business executive with a wealth of experience in retail, market analysis, supply chain enhancement, project management, team building, and process improvement. Building on a strong retail background, Rick moved to full supply-chain involvement, working with hundreds of companies to improve sales, processes, and bottom-line results.

As Rick’s interaction in varied industries expanded, he became troubled as he increasingly noticed that people and companies had untapped or unfocused talent.

Coupled with Rick’s passion for training and development, popular style of interactive workshops and seminars, and strong desire for continuous improvement, he founded Max Impact Corporation to be singularly focused on helping individuals and organizations achieve high performance.

Rick is a popular speaker at seminars, workshops, and conferences. He has spoken in 43 states, including Alaska and Hawaii, and in Canada and Puerto Rico. He is available to speak at groups of all sizes.

Contact Rick at 248-802-6138 or

Debt Consolidation and Online Debt Consolidation

Online debt consolidation information is available through many Internet sources that specialize in assisting many American households in managing or eliminating their outstanding debt. The debt load of the typical American household is upwards of $10,000 just in credit card debt alone accounting for the popularity of debt consolidation loans. Debt consolidation and debt settlement options are among the most popular financial options that many consumers choose to handle their debt overload. Through personal loans and credit card charges, many consumers have gradually accumulated huge debt over a period of years. It has becoming increasingly difficult for many consumers to make payments, take care of everyday financial needs and maintain a good credit record. Online debt consolidation sources have become increasing appealing to debt ridden consumers.

For consumers who still manage to pay their monthly payments and have stable, earning ability, finding help from an online debt consolidation source may be the best debt elimination strategy. While debt settlement can wipe out total debt through negotiations with credit card companies, there is still a liability in many cases with debt settlements. A debt settlement can still leave damaged credit while the debt consolidation option can leave a consumer’s credit intact and eventually wipe out all debt. Online debt consolidation sources offer debt elimination strategies through debt consolidation that can wipe out debt within 3-5 years in the best cases.

Online debt consolidation companies can help a consumer develop a pay off plan through assuming one, consolidation loan that can be used to pay off all unsecured debt. A debt consolidation loan pays all debt off with one lump sum, and the consumer is left with only one, monthly payment instead of the previous multiple payments. An online debt consolidation company can contact all credit card companies and can sometimes negotiate a lower interest rate for pay off. Even though a consumer will still pay the debt off completely, the savings in interest on monthly payments can be significant. Usually the overall interest rate charged for the one debt consolidation loan is lower than the combined monthly credit card payments.

An online debt consolidation company can advise you on the best debt consolidation loan rates you can receive as well as the best pay off terms. Sometimes a debt consolidation loan will take more than the typical 3-5 years to pay off, depending on the amount of unsecured debt there is to pay off. There are many online debt consolidation sources available to help consumers with a debt consolidation strategy including non-profit agencies. It is good to note that the non-profit agencies receive a portion of consumer consolidation pay offs that they negotiate for credit card companies, which may or may not be favorable to consumers. “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want.” (Psalms 23:1)

For more information about debt consolidation, visit:

Now’s The Time To Get Christmas Media Coverage

Publicity seekers know that Christmas can provide a bonanza of media coverage. Every media outlet, it seems is cranking out a special edition on gifts for the winter holidays. So, Christmas is the time to get ink for your product.

For many of these opportunities you need to be thinking at least six months out so that your product or service finds its way into the special sections. Magazines like Better Homes have long lead times, while newspapers have deadlines a few weeks from the holiday. Don’t forget trade magazines that reach your customers. Electronic media typically will work closer to the actual holiday date. Another avenue to consider is syndicated columnists, who also have shorter lead times.

A great way to get coverage is to suggest an overarching story idea into which your product or service fits. Think about the users as well as the use for your offering, and think about the publication.

Let’s take some of my clients for example. Charleston Cookies might be positioned as part of a story in Southern Living about Gifts of the South, or Gifts For Southerners Who Moved North. Bank of Commerce stock, which is now on sale, could be part of a story on Kids’ Gifts That Keep On Giving. Ty Boyd’s Executive Speaking Institute might be part of a story on the Gift Of Learning.

A pet store might publicize Warm and Fuzzy Gifts. Your product might fit into Gifts for Teens, Gifts for Executives, Gifts For Chilling Out, Gifts For Those Who Have Everything: you get the idea.

Now, here is what you should send to the media. Send a pitch letter, or email, that explains how the gift fits into their editorial needs and with their readers or viewers. A one-page release and product photos also should be sent. If you send via email, do not attach a bunch of photos. Find out how the editor prefers to receive them and follow her instructions.

Our next task is to decide where to send the information. Yahoo! has a directory of media that you can use for free. There are all sorts of paid services – like Bacon’s – that provide media lists. Better still is the excellent Christmas Gift Guide produced by the League of American Communications Professionals.

Get to work now, and get the gift of coverage this Christmas.

Harry Hoover is managing principal of Hoover ink PR. He has 26 years of experience in crafting and delivering bottom line messages that ensure success for serious businesses like Brent Dees Financial Planning, Levolor, New World Mortgage, North Carolina Tourism, TeamHeidi, Ty Boyd Executive Learning Systems, VELUX, Verbatim and Youth Link USA.

Finding The Right Internet Marketing Technique For You

Finding the right Internet marketing technique that works best for you is probably going to be trial and error. Different web marketers have found their successful by using different marketing ideas. Each person’s target market is different as well. You will have to try a variety before you find the Internet marketing technique that works best for you and your web-based business. Here we will throw out a few suggestions to try and see what works for you.

The Internet marketing techniques that we will discuss first have to do with the basics of a website. Ask yourself these questions to determine what steps you may try to find the Internet marketing technique that works best for you. Does your site’s URL have search engine keywords in the title? Is your site easy to use for beginners as well as experienced web surfers? Do you offer easy accessibility for those to contact you? These three issues should be clear before you start to evaluate a certain Internet marketing technique.

Determine what your website’s visitors are really looking for before setting in on an Internet marking technique. Understand when they want to find on your website and make it easy for them to locate it. Trust, credibility, and site loyalty are crucial factors to build into your website. The main aim is to get your visitors to buy something. Give them the opportunity to cruise your site and not be barrage by pop-ups and other annoyances. If you choose to have an Internet marketing technique that keeps people for using your website easily, you will probably find visitors leaving as soon as they arrive.

One Internet marking technique that is sure to please your site’s visitors is the same as in the real world. That is customer service. Make your site as user-friendly as possible. To generate revenue from your website start by asking “How can I help?” Friendly service always attracts more buyers than making it difficult to use your system. Don’t start out with the attitude, “How can I sell ‘em?” Instead lead your customers to make their own decisions rather than forcing your favorites on them.


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FTC Botches Fight on SPAM, Microsoft Takes Over the Battle

While the Federal Trade Commission is busy fighting over definitions of “What is SPAM;” Microsoft and Bill Gates are taking it to the enemy. Today Microsoft announced another case and legal action, which is being taken against a spammer who is in Germany. Microsoft did not announce the name of the company it has filed suit against but it is based in North Rhine-Westphalia.

The company is alledged to have sent millions of SPAM emails advertising various things including web design companies, porn and online casinos. You probably have even had to delete a few of them yourself recently. Many Hotmail email addresses received these SPAMs and the company was able to fool the SPAM blockers set up by Microsoft. The Westphalia firm denied charges and said it was one of his partners, not him? The company ran a network out of the Ukraine said Microsoft on the Belyfish and stated: “In the context of these offers the deplored one offers at present US dollar also 750 to million E-Mail addresses for $499.00″

Not only did it send these SPAM emails it was actively recruiting more customers and clients to do the same for them. Thank you Microsoft; what is up with the FTC these days? Definitions? Think about it?

“Lance Winslow” – If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance;

Is Your Business Safe

Well, is it! Do you back up your files on a regular basis? Do you have a back up plan in place? What’s important to your business and what isn’t? What happens if you get hurt, who will run your business? Do you have customers come to your business? What if