Category: Tax

Are House Prices Likely To Go Down?

balance house pricesWhenever you hear people talk about the housing market it’s all doom and gloom. Prices have been rising consistently for years and there’s a serious fear that a whole generation of young people isn’t ever going to be able to afford a house. Last year was set to be a positive one for housing and an increase in house building was predicted, but the reality is, that didn’t happen. Things did improve a little but not as much as we hoped they would. So, it doesn’t look good at the moment and it feels like it’s never going to get better, but is that really true? Nobody knows for sure but these are some of the major predictions from experts.

Prices Will Rise, But Not As Much

This is good news and bad news. Prices rose by a significant amount every month last year, especially in the latter half of the year. Some people predict that trend will continue, but the increases will slow right down. There are a couple of reasons for this prediction. Firstly, unemployment is going down and people are able to afford houses more easily. Demand is stronger and there will be a slight increase in the number of people that are actually buying houses.

Another factor to consider is the number of people opting for alternative housing situations. More people are opting for prefabricated mobile homes, sometimes called mobile homes. These are far cheaper because the components are made separately, shipped over, and constructed on site. The impact of this is minimal but people choosing to go for alternative housing is going to alleviate some of the strain in terms of housing shortage. It also means that houses can be built far more quickly.

On the other hand, real estate as an investment is on the rise so if all of the houses are being bought up by investors, prices could carry on increasing.

This prediction is good news overall because what they’re essentially saying is that, while there won’t be an immediate turnaround in house prices, we’re coming toward the top of the peak and will soon start to see a downturn in prices.

Affordability Will Go Down

Wages are forecasted to grow in some of the larger cities in America which you would think is good news for buying houses, unfortunately it’s not. The amount of homes that are affordable to somebody on a medium income isn’t growing. That means they are unable to access the cities where wages are growing in the first place, so they can’t get the higher wages they need to buy a house. This disparity is one of the biggest problems in the housing market at the moment. Even if house building does increase this year, they aren’t likely to build the affordable housing that is needed to redress that imbalance.

Credit Availability Could Improve

After the crash of 2008, the availability of credit was regulated more strictly in order to avoid the same thing again. However, the new Trump administration has floated plans to roll back a lot of that regulation so banks will be more free to lend money again. It could go one of two ways; either they’ll start lending more freely and people might be able to afford to buy a house, or they may carry on operating the way that they are at the moment.

There’s no telling exactly what will happen with the housing market but these are three of the best theories so far.

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That’s Your Lot! Why Auctions Are Great Real Estate Investments

money in real estateWhen a person invests in real estate, he or she doesn’t go to an auction. Usually, they find a realtor, view a variety of properties, and make a few bids. There is nothing wrong with this method. In fact, it’s a tried and tested technique which has provided excellent results on many occasions. But, that doesn’t mean that an investor only has one path to walk. Regardless of how you feel, auctions provide a range of benefits which make them a no-brainer. For the non-believers, below are the reasons why they are great places to find cheap properties.

Seller’s Circumstances

No one likes to address this topic, but the conditions of the seller play a significant role in the price. Anyone who can afford to wait doesn’t have to go to auction. Instead, they can put their house up for sale and go through the normal channels. By definition, people at auction can’t do the same thing. They either have to make a quick sale for financial reasons or have gone bankrupt. Again, it isn’t nice to admit, but this is an opportunity. Because people need an immediate injection of cash, they will accept lower offers and you can pick up a bargain. Sometimes, the bank will set the price and that will reduce the value further.

Less Popular

There is no doubt that the majority of people use the method above to find an investment property. Therefore, auctions are less attractive and not as well frequented. The reason this is important is due to a lack of competition. If there are fewer people at an auction, the price is bound to stay steady. When that happens, you pay less for the building than normal. Yes, auctions are usually packed, but not every person bids on every lot. For the most part, you will have competition from one or two people and that will keep the price low.

Perceived Risks

Another reason an average investor stays away from traditional and online auctions is the risk factor. In their eyes, the negatives outweigh the positives. Yes, there are risks and you will have to take a gamble of sorts. Still, the dangers aren’t as big as people like to imagine. After all, everything is in document form, signed and accounted for. Plus, there is a description of the house flaws. By reading this, you can get an idea of what to expect. Ultimately, the stigma keeps investors away and increases the chances of a bargain.

Play The Game

Think of an auction like a game of poker. By bluffing the other people in the room, you can keep your cards close to your chest. If they don’t know which properties you find appealing, they won’t up bid and increase the price. For example, a great trick is to bid on lots which aren’t attractive. This will get the ball rolling and people thinking the property is a keeper. When it comes to the one you want to buy, the competition will be less as everyone will have made their bids.

As you can see, an auction is an excellent place to find an investment property.

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Is Bankruptcy The End… Or a New Beginning?

are you bankruptShakespeare once said “Neither a lender nor a borrower be”. That’s a nice sentiment, but the bard didn’t live in an era of subprime mortgages, negative equity and business insolvency. In his day, all you had to do was write a few sonnets for a wealthy patron and you were golden. In the 21st century, however, lending and borrowing are not only essential in a realistic business climate, they’re the basis of our entire global economy.

In both personal and business finances, peaks and troughs are inevitable, and even the most successful among us have our rough times. From hip hop icon 50 Cent to Mark Twain, many of successful business and creative types face stared down bankruptcy and come through it stronger than ever. Even the billionaire president Donald Trump has been declared bankrupt four times.

Myriad circumstances may result in individuals and businesses filing for bankruptcy. While it’s undeniably a stressful and upsetting experience, it’s important to remember that though there are certainly repercussions following bankruptcy, by no means is it the end.

If bankruptcy is looking like a possibility, or even an inevitability here are some tips that will help you to make an informed decision whether or not to file:

Remember… You are not alone

Facing bankruptcy and feel like an isolating experience, but you are most assuredly not alone. In fact, over 800,000 people applied for bankruptcy in federal court last year. Filing will neither make you a social pariah nor mark you out as a failure. It is, however, important that you do it right, so hiring a bankruptcy attorney should be one of your highest priorities. Your spouse or partner doesn’t even need to file alongside you.

There are different kinds of bankruptcy

In the US there are two forms of bankruptcy; Chapter 7 and Chapter 11 and which you file for will depend on your circumstances. A Chapter 7 requires the business or individual’s assets to be liquidated, using them to pay creditors as much of the outstanding debt as possible. A trustee will be appointed to facilitate the liquidation and ensure that creditors are paid in proportion to the debt. A Chapter 11, on the other hand, reorganizes the debts and adjusts them in terms of repayment amounts and interest rates (much like consolidation).

You may still be able to get credit

You may feel that it’s the end for you and your business, but lines of credit will still be open to you. Remember, however, that over-reliance on credit is what leads many to bankruptcy in the first place. Bankruptcy is a highly instructive tool for many as it teaches them to really appreciate the importance of budgeting and financial planning. That said, the bankruptcy is not quite as prohibitive in terms of credit as many believe.

But it’s important to be realistic

Bankruptcy is intended to wipe the slate clean. It’s a fresh start for businesses and individuals, but it’s not without financial consequences. Credit gets harder to come by (but not impossible) and it could have repercussions on your business borrowing. Bankruptcy can help you but it should also be considered a last resort. You should first consider an alternative such as a consolidation plan before filing for bankruptcy.

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Why Every Small Business Needs QuickBooks

small business taxFinances are very crucial to business organizations. They are basically the main reason organizations are in business. Firms invest their resources and through their operations and product offerings, they aim to recoup as much finances as possible. To be able to tell their financial position after all this, businesses have to account for every penny invested into the business as well as funds earned from the products and services rendered. Initially, firms would rely on excel sheets for their accounting processes. Different columns would be created for funds invested into the business and another for funds generated from the business operations. The figures had to be entered manually of course and the firm’s bottom-line generated manually as well. This method was error prone and as a result, it could not be relied upon to give the best financial position of a firm at a given time. Accounting software were invented specifically for this purpose. Using these software, and particularly QuickBooks, businesses are now able to manage their finances in a stress-free manner. This post about QuickBooks explains in detail why every small business needs QuickBooks for its business operations.

1. QuickBooks provides real-time financial insights into a firm.

QuickBooks has an online version known as QuickBooks Online that allows firms to access their financial data and information online and in real-time from their PCs and mobile devices. You, therefore, don’t have to be at the office for you to access your company’s finances. This ensures that you can go about your business remotely and this goes a long way to help you save time. This online visibility gives you secure access to information such as profits and losses, incomes and expenses at a given time. Other activities that have been made possible with this online feature is the management of payrolls as well as sending invoices. Impressive isn’t it?

2. Minimizes accounting errors.

The use of excel spreadsheets for business operations results in a lot of errors. Misplaced figures and data entry errors can put the entire bookkeeping process into disarray and this makes the financial position arrived at using excel sheets false and misleading. QuickBooks feature a level of automation whereby financial information is fed directly from your bank and other financial institutions. QuickBooks is also quick to identify mistakes early in the bookkeeping process and this helps the concerned parties to correct them early in advance.

3. Filing your taxes is easy.

Filing tax returns was a labor-intensive process that small businesses had to go through way back before QuickBooks was invented. Firms had to rifle through its paper records to find receipts and invoices needed for filing the returns. This process has been made easier with QuickBooks whereby you get to update your tax figures in real time every time you upload financial records into the system. This takes place throughout the year and when the time comes to file your returns, you are able to do it in a very short time.

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Paving the Road to Financial Security

financial safetyFor many people, financial security is something that always seems to be just out of reach. And while there is no doubt that it cannot be achieved overnight (unless you have a big lottery win) paving the road to financial security is something that you should be aiming for your entire life. Ultimately, it is all about getting into some good habits and making some savvy decisions. So, here a few financial points that you should consider whatever point of life you are at.

Recognize Yourself as Your Biggest Asset

Developing your skills, knowledge and experience will stand you in good stead when it comes to your financial future. You never know when you may need to call on these things that you have learned over the years. Rather than squirreling away that extra bit of money every month, you will be far better off treating yourself as an investment. So you could decide to complete a course or have some lessons in something instead.

Set Short-term Goals

Many people have long-term financial goals that they aim to achieve, but it is impossible to predict what twists and turns your life will take. Instead, you should choose some measurable and attainable short-term goals to focus your time on. As an example, you could aim to pay off your credit card debt. Make sure that you set a specific time limit on this, as you are much more likely to enjoy success if you do this rather than letting it drag on indefinitely.

Become Financially Literate

Saving money every month is obviously a good habit to get into, but it is not helping you to become financially literate. For example, have you done the necessary research that tells you that this account is giving you the best return on your investment? Are you aware of the other investment opportunities that are out there? People who keep up with the finer details of finances are much more likely to enjoy financial security in the future.

Keep an Eye on Your Lifestyle Costs

Making sure that you aren’t living beyond your means is one of the best habits you can get into during your life. The best way of doing this is by keeping a close eye on your expenses. Write out a list of your regular outgoings so you can decide whether or not there are any savings that can be made. As your living situation changes and your expenses adjust, it is important that you reassess and reapportion your expenses.

Don’t Borrow to Finance a Lifestyle

If you decide that you want to start a business, you may well find that you need to borrow some money to finance your venture. This is an example of a calculated financial risk. If you want to buy a new car, you shouldn’t be racking up credit card debt in order to do this as this will never stand you in good stead in the future. Not buying what you can’t afford is one of the most important financial lessons you can learn.

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