Real Estate Investing Financing Truths – Part 2

No Money Down and other ‘Creative’ Real Estate
Investment MethodsFor many years, investors have seen the traditional
real estate investment methods described in Part 1
of this article as a lot less than desirable!They began looking at the prices of houses and
finding methods of bringing the price more in line
with making more money in a faster way.These savvy investors developed ways to get loans
on properties that allowed them to pull money out
whenever they buy a real estate investment (cash
back at closing) and lower their payments to build up
their cash flow (‘creative’ investing).They even developed methods of determining a
Sellers motivation for selling – and bought the
property at a discount price.These creative investors also saw that some Sellers
were not able (for whatever reason) to sell the
property at a discount price, however, they still
needed to get rid of the property, as they didnt
know how to manage it as a landlord, or make
money from it – not that it couldnt be done, they
simply lacked the knowledge of how to do it.The Seller just never learned how to profit from a
real estate investment.These investors understood how to make money
from such properties, and did.They bought the property on discount terms, and
made money from the spread by selling it at retail
price and/or terms (certainly one of my favorite
methods of real estate investing).Buy Every Real Estate Investment via Discount Price
or Discount Terms.Several years ago (actually, it really took off in the
1980s), Real Estate Investment Experts began
seeing the potential for making money in bringing
this treasured knowledge to the public in the form of
home-study courses, seminars and Boot Camps.They found that it wouldn’t create competition for
themselves, as many people, even though they
purchase real estate courses and attend seminars
and Boot Camps, will not actually take the
information and utilize it to make the hundreds and
even thousands of dollars possible for anyone
serious about Real Estate Investing.These Real Estate Investment Experts (being
dubbed ‘guru’) found that this side of the business
was lucrative often making more income from
teaching about real estate investing than the actual
real estate investments themselves.It is important to understand that these real estate
investment gurus learned early that they can only
teach others what to do, not be responsible for the
other persons success.Providing the information to those that choose not
to use it is very similar to the old adage “You can
lead a horse to water, but you cant make it drink”.Yes, these real estate investment gurus got wealthy
from selling this information, but their theories,
principles and techniques taught thousands of
others (those that take action on what they learn)
how to realize their dreams utilizing their tried and
true methods of real estate investing.From home-study courses and seminars, to boot
camps and one-on-one training, these methods
have been proven to be not only interesting to
millions of people, but capable of bringing massive
wealth to those that take action on what is taught –
those that go on and actually make real estate
investments themselves.Knowledge changes things…This knowledge of no money down real estate
investing techniques being known by thousands of
Sellers has made changes in the industry.By bringing the Seller into the knowledgeable realm
of Real Estate investing, Sellers now know many of
the methods that the gurus teach.This is both a blessing and a curse.To the talented investor, these knowledgeable
people are more likely to work to create a WIN-WIN
situation.Investors that avoid the tricks and stick to the basic
real estate investment techniques and terms that
have been proven to work over and over again,
have proven these powerful real estate investment
strategies work even with these informed Sellers.Oh, yes, many of these real estate investment
techniques work today, as they have for many
years. So much so that it is almost possible to say
they have become principles; things that work, over
and over, the same way no matter what happens –
like gravity.However, sadly, they are not really principles, as
several of the real estate investment methods and
techniques that worked in the 1980s and even
through the 1990s are today not as powerful, nor do
they work as often as they did before (although
some ‘gurus’ are still teaching the same methods –
even after 20 years…).Some of this decline is due to a more educated
society (due to the flood of real estate investment
information available via books, tapes, home-study
courses and the Internet), while some of it is due to
simple changes in policies and laws.It seems like a wave started late in 2003, the FHA
announced that flips (transactions where investors
buy houses cheaply and sell them at or near market
rates) are “illegal”. (Note that illegal in this context is
not a legal term, but one that has been adopted
from “you are not allowed to do that and do
business with us”.)The FHAs announcement started a wave of concern
(if not panic) throughout the Real Estate investing
community.Title and Mortgage companies began to tighten up
their reigns. Many of these companies, in lieu of
direct information, began simply not completing any
transactions that did not follow the traditional real
estate investment system. This made it hard for
investors to complete transactions that involved
simple buy-then-resell agreements (as they are not
really real estate investments, but a rather nice way
to make some fast CA$H!).In rapid appreciation areas (California and Nevada,
for example), the ability to flip a property all but
stopped (became ‘illegal’). All the ‘traditional’
creative real estate investing methods were virtually
put on hold.Ingenuity to the rescue, other methods of real
estate investing always seem to pop up. After all,
“Necessity is the Mother of Invention”, and “Where
there is a Will, there is a Way” are absolute
principles.Investors have to make a way to get things done – a
way to keep their real estate investments profitable,
and even more creative real estate investing
methods were developed – to keep real estate
investors, and the love of real estate investment,
alive forever.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Selling a Luxury Property on Video Can Bring Successful Results, But Only When It’s Done Correctly

In times of economic hardship, or maybe because of it, there appears to be a new trend, (which may have started as a ‘fad’) in the way the very wealthy, and now, even the moderately well off are choosing to buy and sell their property. Video. Unfortunately, whilst some can have huge successes, others can have a pure disaster on their handsBefore we expand on the latter, I’m not just talking about normal video from the family video cam, but by ultra-professional, commercial, high definition video. Now for example in the UK, this type of sales strategy for the affluent is growing at a very fast pace, but, one needs to be very selective when choosing a company that you’ll entrust to showcase your property. There’s a number of reasons for this ‘selection process’, some of which (but not limited to) is ensuring the company has the proper professional equipment, the experience and ethical standards in showcasing properties, and last but not least, keeping the cost to the client at a reasonable levelLet’s take for example the subject of experience and ethical standards in showcasing a luxury home on video. Property owners are becoming increasingly aware that images can be manipulated through re-touching, enhancing and stretching perspectives to make a property’s space appear larger than it really is. These can be tactics used by unscrupulous editors, however, this will soon be found out with disastrous out-comings. (more on that a bit later) To the average lay person, it may not be very obvious when a video is manipulated and so when a prospective client visits a said property, they can be bitterly disappointed that it hasn’t been represented factually on the video.Video manipulation, such as changing the frame to appear unlike its original native document can be a ploy used by production houses, but if they considered the hours and money it takes to undertake special effects it should be realized that just filming the property professionally in the first place far outweighs any type of manipulation.The disastrous results can be a total re-filming, bad reputation for both the production house and any agents representing the client’s property, the risk that the property owner, (plus production house, and agent) may have uncomplimentary comments posted on the internet about the property, and of course, the huge additional costs that can accumulate because of unscrupulous tactics.It also takes very hi-tech equipment to properly film a property to ensure all the finer points are presented which are likely to excite potential buyers. We’re talking about equipment that is used in making movies and very expensive TV commercials. This gear isn’t cheap, and therefore eliminates a lot of the would be players that imagine they’d like to enter the property video production industry. So it pays for property owners to ensure that the company they select to sell their property on video not only have the experience, but also a portfolio both “on” and “behind” the scenes.Research indicates that a person is more likely to remember only 20% of what they hear and 30% of what they see. However for the viewer of a commercial video, this is boosted to 80% of what they “hear and see”. As an online tool, commercial video is a growing marketing edge that creates an environment whereby the viewer experiences a strong emotional response that ‘still’ pictures and text just cannot provide. A viewer will relate with greater emotion to visual and emotional splendor of a three-dimensional-space. Simply put, it’s like they’re embodied within the video.But, when property owners are thinking about selling their home or other type of property on video, there is an important factor to consider… COST!. Just because you are affluent, doesn’t mean you need to be penalized. You’ve made your money, and have property assets because you’ve most likely been prudent with your investment portfolio. So, there’s no need to give more of your money away than you have to, to the ‘hungry sharks’ that may promise you the world, but deliver an acre. There are companies out there that have extremely modest charges to produce a full blown commercial quality property video and STILL meet the criteria of professionalism, can present a great portfolio, practice moral & work ethics, have the correct equipment and most of all your interests at heart.Video can save a luxury property owner and prospective buyers other fundamental costs. For example, travel, loss of time, and other necessary expenses are unheard of, at least in the preliminary stages, and it certainly beats traipsing around looking at properties where costs can multiply exponentially, particularly when it involves at least two or more decision makers. (Which very often it does) Interested investors can view properties, look at the pro’s and con’s then compile a shortlist of one, two or more to then inspect in person.Not only that, but major discussions and negotiations can be well underway before a foot is even put forward to look at possible properties acquisitions, again saving valuable time and of course, costs.When dealing with a property video production company to showcase your luxury property, look for a company that can provide the ‘cinema of properties’. By that we mean that you have to imagine yourself sitting in a theatre and simply being awestruck by the presentation of a property before your very eyes and then, imagine it was yours. Affluent, international audiences require information swiftly and that information must be portrayed precisely within the 2 – 5 minutes that your property is before a viewer’s eyes. Therefore it is important to realize that all aspects of a property’s features, both internally, externally and, facilities surrounding it are captured in absolute commercial quality so that decisions can be made by purchasers with absolute confidence.So the questions beg to be answered… Can your property be sold successfully on video or could it be a disaster? Is it a growing trend? Well, to answer the last question first, it does appear to be an absolutely necessary tool in today’s real estate market, not only for the wealthy, but also for the moderately well off who view this as a fast, efficient and very cost effective strategy to sell or buy properties.But, and there is a BIG but… Choosing the right company to present your property on video can be the difference between success and disaster, a quick sale or a no sale, great comments or loss of face and cost effective or downright expensive. Selling a property on video works for all provided they follow the simple guidelines here, and because of that, the trend will most likely continue to grow for a much larger property audience.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off

Can You Really Purchase Off Plan Property For Up to 70% Below Market Value?

You know how the saying goes “if it’s too good to be true, then it most likely is”? Well in most cases that is correct, however many property developers who put these “two good to be true” concepts together are making investors a fortune if taken advantage of. How? Because the developers are simply selling their off plan property far below current market value.Before going any further, it’s important to know what off plan property even is. Off plan property is a property that is either currently under construction or has not begun construction yet. At some point or another, every single property in the world went through its off plan phase. When a developer decides to build in a certain area, he or she first needs to obtain planning (building) permission from the state or government before allowed to begin construction. The developer can still buy the land and hold on to it while planning permission is pending, and in some countries the developer can even start pre-selling units before planning permission is even granted. This is of course very risky to the investor as permission has not been granted but is done quite often. Because the risk is far greater before planning permission is granted, the developer decides to incentive property investors with a discount that rewards them for taking on such risk. Often times, the developer will state in the contract that if for any reason planning permission is not granted that the investor will receive a full refund plus a certain percentage of interest for tying up their capital. (Don’t ever invest in to an off plan property unless this is clearly stated in the contract between you and the developer). So let’s consider the fact that you, the investor were looking for a heavy discount in the market and decided to contact developers or investment firms that were recommending off plan property as an investment. Take the price of a one bedroom apartment for example in North West London that costs on average £204,000. If you were to purchase this apartment at market value, you are not leaving yourself with very much upside potential, unless of course you wanted to wait for the markets to appreciate over the next 7-10 years to see a sizable return. To most aggressive investors, this is NOT an exciting investment strategy. So you decide to look at off plan property as an option and you are told of a property that is currently being sold for only £170,000, but has not yet begun construction. How can this be? This is a 20% instant savings on a 1 bedroom unit very similar to the completed properties you have been looking at. Because the developer is still obtaining planning permission, but is very confident that they will be granted rights, they decide to start selling units at a very heavy discount. Remember, at this time the developer and his team have everything in place including renderings of the development, but are just waiting for the planning committee to give them the green light. With a completion date set for two years out, you only need to put down 30% and nothing further due until the property is finished. Depending on the location, a mortgage is not required until the property is built which gives you more time to build up your savings and borrow even less when it comes time to apply for a mortgage. In many cases, by the time the property is complete, you may not even need to apply for a mortgage because you have saved enough funds to go ahead without it. So with a property price of £170,000 and only 30% needed to lock in this transaction, you only need to come up with £51,000. And it’s get better…Once planning permission is approved, the investment case dramatically changes because now the property is guaranteed to be built. This gives the developers the confidence to ask for more money on each unit. It also gives the banks the confidence they need to finance the development in line with the developers needs. Immediately the developers raise the prices on each one bedroom unit to £185,000 giving you an instant unrealized gain of 8.8% in just a matter of months. Typically at this time, there is a rush of investors to get in on this new build, and if there’s enough hype you may even be able to sell your property to the next investor which would give you a profit of £15,000 or a 29% realized capital gain on your initial 30% deposit. Because you only invested £51,000 and your take home is £66,000, you genuinely are able to see big returns in a very short period of time.Now let’s imagine that you decided to hold on to your property or there wasn’t enough hype in the market for you to be able to sell just yet. You now wait until the second phase in the property investment which typically occurs when the developers break ground. At this time, you can expect the prices to go up again, but not by as much as they will when the property is completed. On average you may expect the price of the property to rise roughly 5-10 percent and in some cases maybe 15%. Let’s be ultra conservative in this case and say that the property only went up another 5%. The value of your property is now worth £194,250 and the developers begin to list the investment at this price therefore giving you another opportunity to make even a bigger gain on your 30% deposit. If at this time you were able to sell your property you would now be taking home £24,250 which increases your gross capital gain on cash employed to 47.55% in just one year.Finally when construction is complete, the developers officially launch the development to the public and sell each unit at market value. By this time, you have two options. One, take out a mortgage and continue to wait for the property to appreciate to a price that you would be happy with. Two, sell the property to a new investor that is happy to purchase this completed property at market value which in this case is £204,000. Let’s say that everything worked out perfectly and you were able to sell the property immediately before applying for a mortgage. You would now be taking home £34,000 (£204,000 – £170,000) giving you a realized capital gain of 66.67% increase in just two years.This aggressive property strategy is known to many savvy investors as “flipping” and must be done in line with your financial situation. If you cannot afford to hold on to the property when it comes time to apply for a mortgage, then you should not enter this strategy with the intentions of flipping it before completion. You may get caught out not being able to sell which then forces you to take out a mortgage, therefore generating a massive burden on your financial situation if the mortgage payments are not in line with your financial budget. On the other hand, for investors looking for “a quick buck” (or pound in this case) can absolutely do so through the use of off plan property. It doesn’t always work out this way of course and more times often then others will you need to hang on to your property for a little bit longer then you originally planned, but if your financial situation permits it and your financial advisor highly recommends the investment, then go for it! It’s OK to take on little bit of risk every once and a while in order to see the potential big rewards.So now that you understand how the strategy works, how do you know which off plan property to select? You should always speak to an investment advisor regarding the purchase of off plan property. Real estate agents aren’t qualified to give you the investment advice needed, and if you want the real story it’s best you speak to a financial advisory firm.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Productivity Tips for Travelers – How To Be A Productive Road Warrior

You have seen them, they all look alike, the regular ‘road warrior’ with their determined expression, wrinkle proof suit and pulling a beaten up carry on bag…whether you travel a little or a lot with your company there are many ways you can boost your personal productivity when you travel. These before, during and after strategies will help you maximise your time, limit your stress and overall increase your travel productivity.Before You TravelBuy the tools – you wouldn’t build a house without the right tools, travel is no different. To be a productive traveler you want to ensure you have a variety of tools to assist the comfort and productivity of your trip. Tools to consider purchasing are quality luggage, Ipod, noise cancelling earphones, soft briefcase and GPS system.20-22 inch Carry On expandable luggage – I like Briggs and Riley, it is durable, light weight, expandable, self healing and well made. Check out http://www.briggsandriley.com. These are allowed in the US and other countries as carry on baggage. When you are buying luggage look for features such as pull along, strong wheels, stability foot on the bottom (in case it gets too heavy), external zippers (to hold travel documentation and the Ziploc toiletry bag) and also make sure the pop up handle is a ‘one pull’ action.IPOD or MP3 – this is not a luxury, this is a requirement for any travel. I have a created a selection of play lists, including one with very relaxing music so that when it is time to sleep I can turn to this group and fall asleep.Noise canceling earphones – these are a little bit of a luxury, but I wouldn’t travel anywhere without them. My husband previously flew many long international flights and he turned me onto this great invention. I prefer the Sony small ear bud type and take them where ever I go http://www.sony.comBriefcase – I like a soft tote briefcase that allows me to include personal and work related items. My favourite is from Coakley Business Class (sorry guys these are just for women) and they are the best travel briefcase I have ever found (and you can use it everyday!) [http://www.coakleybusinessclass.com]. For the gentleman, try the soft Samsonite one, it has great suspension in the shoulder strap. When looking for a brief case also make sure it has the feature to be able to slide it over your carry on luggage (many have a soft strap or a zippered section to allow you to do this).GPS (Global Positioning System) – this was the best gift I ever got! They are now getting smaller and smaller and are perfect to plug into your rental car when you arrive in another city. Also when we were in Italy last year we downloaded the European maps and it was great fun to get around tiny little towns. I have named mine ‘Bella’ – she keeps me company when I am driving late at night or in a city where I don’t know my way.Consider clothing – When you are regularly on the road I suggest a few strategies to help make your life easier for both packing and arriving looking together.Travel Outfit – Create your own travel outfit, yes it can be the same every time. Mine is a pair of black pants, black top (I have a short sleeve one for summer and a long sleeve one for cooler months), pantyhose and a pair of black patent leather flat slip on shoes. I wear the same silver jewellery with it all and I know when I arrive at the security line I don’t have to remove anything (except my shoes) – that is why pantyhose (or socks) are good when you have to take off your shoes. The fabric of this outfit doesn’t crease and is comfortable (which makes a huge different on those long flights).Airport shoes – think about the quality and make of the shoes you wear to the airport. I suggest slip ons of some description so you are not awkwardly trying to tie up laces or straps. Also ensure they are comfortable and well made as you often have to walk long distances between gates or to the parking area.Carry a pashmina – for the ladies, I recommend you invest in a dark coloured pashmina that has many uses. On the plane it is a great blanket (and so many airlines in the US don’t supply pillows and blankets). When I rent a car it becomes a booster seat for me (he he). When I have to sit on an airport floor (yes I have done that living here in the US) it is great to place on the floor … oh and yes I can wear it if I need to keep warm.Jewellery – wearing the same silver jewellery when I travel I know I can wear it the next day and I can walk through the screening area without having to remove it. It simplifies the process and speeds up the line.Belts – if possible, don’t wear an outfit that requires a belt as it is only one more item of clothing you have to remove at the airport line.Productive Packing – there are many opinions on what to pack and I find the most productive way for me is having a series of pre-packed bags. This includes luggage, carry on plane survival kit, brief case, make up and toiletry bags.Pre-packed luggage contents includes: Ziploc toiletry bag Underwear First aid items (band aids, safety pins and head ache tablets) Make up bag Gym gear Clothes brush (I have a long haired cat and her fur seems to make its way across the world with me) Book of interest Cell Phone charger Laptop power pack Stamped stationery (note cards and envelopes)Carry on plane survival kit contents include: Ipod Noise cancelling earphones Spare battery for noise cancelling earphones Lip balm Eye mask (for those long flights) Pen Eye drops Travel size toothbrush and toothpaste Breath mintsMake up kit – ladies if you travel a lot I suggest you buy a full set of make up and make up brushes and tools and keep them in a separate make up bag so you never have to go looking for something and you never forget something on your trips.Ziploc Toiletry Bag contents include travel sized: Decanted shower gel Skin care Hair care products Travel sized perfume or aftershave (most brands now supply a smaller size compliant with airline safety standards) Toothpaste Spare contact lensesMany department stores and pharmacies carry a range of travel sized products. I was fascinated when I was in Sephoria in Times Square recently that the merchandising near the payment counter had changed significantly and provided 50+ choices of regular band products in travel sized convenient containers.Plastic helps – My friend Camille was an airline goddess for many years and gave me this great tip, using the plastic you receive from your dry cleaners around your clothes helps avoid creases.Duplicate copies – to be more productive (and for a few extra dollars) consider investing in duplicates of everything you travel with. If you are a regular traveler, having a pre-packed bag will allow you to leave with minimum notice and save time and stress before any trip. On your list of items to buy you could include: Toiletries available in travel size Brushes – make up brushes, hair brushes or combs Cell phone charger Laptop power pack Make up Stamps and stationery Spare items i.e. pantyhose, clothing brush.Choose your seat – I like to sit in an aisle seat so I can get in and out and I don’t feel cramped by others. For longer flights (especially the red eye), my friend Shawn books the window seat so you can lean against the window to sleep, choose your seat wisely. If you have an option of an exit row choose this seat as it gives you more leg room. You may like to check out http://www.seatguru.com – it is a great website to see exactly what your seat will be on most major airlines.Pre-print your boarding pass – whenever possible go online 24 hours before you fly and select your seat and print your boarding pass. This will save you time in the long lines at the airport check in and also help you find the seat you want.Join airline clubs – if you fly frequently to same cities join the airline programs of those major airlines so you can also gather frequent flyer miles for all your travels. You may be able to use them for a fun trip with those you care for later on.Join airline lounges – if you fly with the same carrier regularly to invest in a membership for that lounge so you have a quiet place to snack, get changed or to catch up on reading. I noticed in Australia this was a great use of money and well worth it however in the US the gates and lounges are so spread out and there are so many options to travel with different airlines this hasn’t been a worthwhile investment for me here, however if you fly the same airline every time it might be worth it for you.Create a one page itinerary – create a one page template that includes your confirmation codes of all flight details, hotel and rental car information. Include on this template all your frequent flyer clubs and associations also so that if you arrive and they haven’t included this in your booking you can quickly get credit for your travel.During Your TravelAllow extra 30 minutes – add at least 30 minutes onto any amount of time you think it will take you to get to the airport or park. This additional time will save you stress if you are stuck in traffic, can’t find a car space or the security line is longer than you expected. If you have pre-packed a book or magazine you can use that 30 minutes to read or to connect with a friend or client.Know the Parking Garage – if you regularly travel on the same airline, know the shuttle system or design of the car park so you can get in and out quickly.Take your ticket – when you receive a parking receipt/ticket on your arrival place it in the same compartment of your bag or briefcase so you know where to find it upon your return.Write the parking space on your ticket – in the US the parking garages are so big that I always write the colour and space on my parking receipt so that when I arrive back after a few days away (often late at night), I can quickly find my car and not waste time wandering around the parking garage.Ground transport notice – when you enter an airport, notice where the taxis, rental car shuttles or parking garages are. This will save you time when you return and allow you to quickly make your way to the next place.Regular rental – Use the same rental company each time you travel will also boost your productivity because you will expect a certain standard each time you fly. You might also consider joining their frequent customer program too. I like using Enterprise because they are affordable and also each time you arrive they look so happy to see you and they pay attention to small details including water bottles in the car and also pre-printed local lists of radio stations and areas of interest.Play music – by creating different play lists on your IPOD you will enjoy your travel more if you can listen to music and block out the noise around you. This is effective in the airport lounge, at the gate and on the plane. You might also like to include a CD in your packing checklist for the rental car.Getting through security – there are several tips to help you get through the line faster: Wear an outfit that doesn’t require any removal of items or have any metal. Place your cell phone and keys into your briefcase or purse before entering the security line. Keep your Ziploc bag of toiletries in an outside zippered compartment for quick access. Get your laptop out of your briefcase before you reach your place in line. Place your laptop, shoes and toiletries in one container on the security screen belt. Keep your boarding pass and photo identification in your hands.Check in or carry on – I always carry on luggage (up to a five day business trip), I have learnt to pack well and have invested in a minimum number of outfits. I think there is so much time wasted waiting for luggage (not to mention the concern it may not arrive with you!) wherever possible try and carry on luggage for your business travel.Laptop … or not – if your trip doesn’t require you to take your laptop, leave it at home. It is one less thing to juggle through security and some laptops add significant weight to your briefcase. Leave it behind if you can. If you have to take it with you consider buying a smaller, light weight model one that is easy to use and you can balance in small places. You do pay more for smaller, lighter models but it is money well spent.Keep a reading file – as you collect articles, newspapers or journals you want to read, take them with you when you travel. Each week I receive the Philadelphia Business Journal and I take it with me on the plane to read and enjoy. It is a paper that keeps my interest and small enough it doesn’t crowd the person beside me.Buy bottled water – part of my routine as soon as I get through the security line is to head to the nearest store to buy 2 bottles of water. During the flight it is essential to drink water to keep you hydrated, two bottles allows me to drink before the plane arrives (has been helpful when there are large delays) and during the flight.Eat healthy – many airlines don’t supply quality food on board so try to find healthy solutions within the airport to satisfy your hunger. You may also like to buy something to eat on board for longer flights so you are snacking on healthy items. I like to travel with a bag of almonds and pecans so that I always have a yummy (and healthy) snack available. AS you are flying from the same airport each week, become familiar with the food offerings inside the terminal so you can quickly find something you enjoy eating.Hotel routine – no matter what time I arrive at a new hotel I have the same routine. I open my suitcase, remove my suit and hang it on a hanger. If it has gathered small creases in the travel I take it into the bathroom, hang it up and turn on the hot shower to create a ‘steam room effect’ and this removes any creases. Now for my Australian readers who are experiencing a drought right now that seems very wasteful so you may want to hang these clothes while you are showering the next day to avoid water waste. You might like to take this opportunity to iron your clothes instead. I then plug in my laptop, set up my cell phone charger, set my alarm and pull out the documents or reading for the next day. By having the same routine each time you will be productive and not forget important details (and you save time in the morning also).Exercise – if you don’t have a gym in the hotel consider either taking a walk outside at the beginning of your day or exercising in your room. I often place a towel on the floor and then do a series of stretches, yoga, sit ups and push ups. You can establish a routine especially for travel that doesn’t require any equipment i.e. push ups, sit ups, squats and any yoga.Call a client – you often have down time in the airport so it is a great time to reconnect with a client or colleague. I use this time to touch base with important people in my life and it becomes part of my business development time.Be strategic – time in hotel rooms can be lonely or unproductive so I use this time to design new products, review my business plan, catch up on reading and design new models or programs for my business. Some of my best ideas have come while sitting in my hotel room – use this time for strategy and thought space instead of turning on the TV to keep your company.Stay connected – when you arrive at your location notify someone important to you. I like to call my husband when I have arrived in my hotel so he knows I am safe and sound and I get to hear his voice. Calling your family or friend is a great way for you to keep connected on the road.Write thank you notes – because I carry stamped stationery with me when I travel, I use the flight home to write notes to people I met during my trip. When I arrive my next destination I post them. It is a great way to reconnect with people after you have met them and is a productive use of flight time.After Your TravelKnow the quickest route home – understand the quickest and least traffic congested way to get out of the airport so you can be home with those you care for in the smallest amount of time. Where I live there are 2 major ways home and if you take the wrong one at some particular times during the day it can add up to an hour to your ride home (not so much fun after a long flight) so know which ways are best at different times during the day.Unpack quickly – if you arrive home early enough, unpack your bag, refill any necessary toiletry items and allocate clothes for washing or dry cleaning.Refill and replace – update any items in your ‘pre-packed’ toiletries or luggage that need attention to save you time for future trips. Note any additional items you may have forgotten on this trip and place them in your luggage so you don’t forget them next time.Debrief your trip – recall any items you missed, notice things that you enjoyed or frustrated you and make the changes that are within your control. Each time you travel you may learn something new that will help you save time or save you frustration for your next travel experience.Thank your team – if you have an assistant, let them know what went well about the trip and any enhancements you would like to make for your next trip. Thank your travel agent for the trip planning and also let them know if something didn’t go well and discuss how to fix it for the next trip. Thank your client for the opportunity to work with them. If you experienced great service at some point in the trip take the time to email or write a thank you note to that organisation. The simple art of thanking people is often overlooked but is one of the most powerful things you can do to boost your productivity and make someone else’s day!Gather your receipts – there is so much paperwork collected on trips including boarding passes, rental agreements, and food and hotel receipts. Keep this in a central place when you travel (I take a clear plastic folder for this very purpose each time I travel). When you arrive home quickly sort through the paper, action business cards and file any receipts or keep them aside for your clients. Process all your paper within 24 hours.Action business cards – if you have met new people during your productive trip take the time to now action those cards. You might like to write a ‘nice to meet you’ note, scan them and add them to your database and write a note for any follow up action required. Following this process diligently each time you travel will avoid piles of business cards gathering on your desk (reminding you of action you haven’t taken!)Be grateful – if you are travelling for business it means you have a successful job that is supporting you and your family. Stop hating it and start enjoying it. Giving thanks for the opportunity to see new places, meet new people and share your experience is a privilege.Change your language around travel, enjoy it, embrace it and you will be more productive! Next time you see another road warrior smile at them and let them know you understand. You can be more productive every time you travel by applying these before, during and after you travel strategies… now where am I off to tomorrow?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Selling a Luxury Property on Video Can Bring Successful Results, But Only When It’s Done Correctly

In times of economic hardship, or maybe because of it, there appears to be a new trend, (which may have started as a ‘fad’) in the way the very wealthy, and now, even the moderately well off are choosing to buy and sell their property. Video. Unfortunately, whilst some can have huge successes, others can have a pure disaster on their handsBefore we expand on the latter, I’m not just talking about normal video from the family video cam, but by ultra-professional, commercial, high definition video. Now for example in the UK, this type of sales strategy for the affluent is growing at a very fast pace, but, one needs to be very selective when choosing a company that you’ll entrust to showcase your property. There’s a number of reasons for this ‘selection process’, some of which (but not limited to) is ensuring the company has the proper professional equipment, the experience and ethical standards in showcasing properties, and last but not least, keeping the cost to the client at a reasonable levelLet’s take for example the subject of experience and ethical standards in showcasing a luxury home on video. Property owners are becoming increasingly aware that images can be manipulated through re-touching, enhancing and stretching perspectives to make a property’s space appear larger than it really is. These can be tactics used by unscrupulous editors, however, this will soon be found out with disastrous out-comings. (more on that a bit later) To the average lay person, it may not be very obvious when a video is manipulated and so when a prospective client visits a said property, they can be bitterly disappointed that it hasn’t been represented factually on the video.Video manipulation, such as changing the frame to appear unlike its original native document can be a ploy used by production houses, but if they considered the hours and money it takes to undertake special effects it should be realized that just filming the property professionally in the first place far outweighs any type of manipulation.The disastrous results can be a total re-filming, bad reputation for both the production house and any agents representing the client’s property, the risk that the property owner, (plus production house, and agent) may have uncomplimentary comments posted on the internet about the property, and of course, the huge additional costs that can accumulate because of unscrupulous tactics.It also takes very hi-tech equipment to properly film a property to ensure all the finer points are presented which are likely to excite potential buyers. We’re talking about equipment that is used in making movies and very expensive TV commercials. This gear isn’t cheap, and therefore eliminates a lot of the would be players that imagine they’d like to enter the property video production industry. So it pays for property owners to ensure that the company they select to sell their property on video not only have the experience, but also a portfolio both “on” and “behind” the scenes.Research indicates that a person is more likely to remember only 20% of what they hear and 30% of what they see. However for the viewer of a commercial video, this is boosted to 80% of what they “hear and see”. As an online tool, commercial video is a growing marketing edge that creates an environment whereby the viewer experiences a strong emotional response that ‘still’ pictures and text just cannot provide. A viewer will relate with greater emotion to visual and emotional splendor of a three-dimensional-space. Simply put, it’s like they’re embodied within the video.But, when property owners are thinking about selling their home or other type of property on video, there is an important factor to consider… COST!. Just because you are affluent, doesn’t mean you need to be penalized. You’ve made your money, and have property assets because you’ve most likely been prudent with your investment portfolio. So, there’s no need to give more of your money away than you have to, to the ‘hungry sharks’ that may promise you the world, but deliver an acre. There are companies out there that have extremely modest charges to produce a full blown commercial quality property video and STILL meet the criteria of professionalism, can present a great portfolio, practice moral & work ethics, have the correct equipment and most of all your interests at heart.Video can save a luxury property owner and prospective buyers other fundamental costs. For example, travel, loss of time, and other necessary expenses are unheard of, at least in the preliminary stages, and it certainly beats traipsing around looking at properties where costs can multiply exponentially, particularly when it involves at least two or more decision makers. (Which very often it does) Interested investors can view properties, look at the pro’s and con’s then compile a shortlist of one, two or more to then inspect in person.Not only that, but major discussions and negotiations can be well underway before a foot is even put forward to look at possible properties acquisitions, again saving valuable time and of course, costs.When dealing with a property video production company to showcase your luxury property, look for a company that can provide the ‘cinema of properties’. By that we mean that you have to imagine yourself sitting in a theatre and simply being awestruck by the presentation of a property before your very eyes and then, imagine it was yours. Affluent, international audiences require information swiftly and that information must be portrayed precisely within the 2 – 5 minutes that your property is before a viewer’s eyes. Therefore it is important to realize that all aspects of a property’s features, both internally, externally and, facilities surrounding it are captured in absolute commercial quality so that decisions can be made by purchasers with absolute confidence.So the questions beg to be answered… Can your property be sold successfully on video or could it be a disaster? Is it a growing trend? Well, to answer the last question first, it does appear to be an absolutely necessary tool in today’s real estate market, not only for the wealthy, but also for the moderately well off who view this as a fast, efficient and very cost effective strategy to sell or buy properties.But, and there is a BIG but… Choosing the right company to present your property on video can be the difference between success and disaster, a quick sale or a no sale, great comments or loss of face and cost effective or downright expensive. Selling a property on video works for all provided they follow the simple guidelines here, and because of that, the trend will most likely continue to grow for a much larger property audience.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Can You Really Purchase Off Plan Property For Up to 70% Below Market Value?

You know how the saying goes “if it’s too good to be true, then it most likely is”? Well in most cases that is correct, however many property developers who put these “two good to be true” concepts together are making investors a fortune if taken advantage of. How? Because the developers are simply selling their off plan property far below current market value.Before going any further, it’s important to know what off plan property even is. Off plan property is a property that is either currently under construction or has not begun construction yet. At some point or another, every single property in the world went through its off plan phase. When a developer decides to build in a certain area, he or she first needs to obtain planning (building) permission from the state or government before allowed to begin construction. The developer can still buy the land and hold on to it while planning permission is pending, and in some countries the developer can even start pre-selling units before planning permission is even granted. This is of course very risky to the investor as permission has not been granted but is done quite often. Because the risk is far greater before planning permission is granted, the developer decides to incentive property investors with a discount that rewards them for taking on such risk. Often times, the developer will state in the contract that if for any reason planning permission is not granted that the investor will receive a full refund plus a certain percentage of interest for tying up their capital. (Don’t ever invest in to an off plan property unless this is clearly stated in the contract between you and the developer). So let’s consider the fact that you, the investor were looking for a heavy discount in the market and decided to contact developers or investment firms that were recommending off plan property as an investment. Take the price of a one bedroom apartment for example in North West London that costs on average £204,000. If you were to purchase this apartment at market value, you are not leaving yourself with very much upside potential, unless of course you wanted to wait for the markets to appreciate over the next 7-10 years to see a sizable return. To most aggressive investors, this is NOT an exciting investment strategy. So you decide to look at off plan property as an option and you are told of a property that is currently being sold for only £170,000, but has not yet begun construction. How can this be? This is a 20% instant savings on a 1 bedroom unit very similar to the completed properties you have been looking at. Because the developer is still obtaining planning permission, but is very confident that they will be granted rights, they decide to start selling units at a very heavy discount. Remember, at this time the developer and his team have everything in place including renderings of the development, but are just waiting for the planning committee to give them the green light. With a completion date set for two years out, you only need to put down 30% and nothing further due until the property is finished. Depending on the location, a mortgage is not required until the property is built which gives you more time to build up your savings and borrow even less when it comes time to apply for a mortgage. In many cases, by the time the property is complete, you may not even need to apply for a mortgage because you have saved enough funds to go ahead without it. So with a property price of £170,000 and only 30% needed to lock in this transaction, you only need to come up with £51,000. And it’s get better…Once planning permission is approved, the investment case dramatically changes because now the property is guaranteed to be built. This gives the developers the confidence to ask for more money on each unit. It also gives the banks the confidence they need to finance the development in line with the developers needs. Immediately the developers raise the prices on each one bedroom unit to £185,000 giving you an instant unrealized gain of 8.8% in just a matter of months. Typically at this time, there is a rush of investors to get in on this new build, and if there’s enough hype you may even be able to sell your property to the next investor which would give you a profit of £15,000 or a 29% realized capital gain on your initial 30% deposit. Because you only invested £51,000 and your take home is £66,000, you genuinely are able to see big returns in a very short period of time.Now let’s imagine that you decided to hold on to your property or there wasn’t enough hype in the market for you to be able to sell just yet. You now wait until the second phase in the property investment which typically occurs when the developers break ground. At this time, you can expect the prices to go up again, but not by as much as they will when the property is completed. On average you may expect the price of the property to rise roughly 5-10 percent and in some cases maybe 15%. Let’s be ultra conservative in this case and say that the property only went up another 5%. The value of your property is now worth £194,250 and the developers begin to list the investment at this price therefore giving you another opportunity to make even a bigger gain on your 30% deposit. If at this time you were able to sell your property you would now be taking home £24,250 which increases your gross capital gain on cash employed to 47.55% in just one year.Finally when construction is complete, the developers officially launch the development to the public and sell each unit at market value. By this time, you have two options. One, take out a mortgage and continue to wait for the property to appreciate to a price that you would be happy with. Two, sell the property to a new investor that is happy to purchase this completed property at market value which in this case is £204,000. Let’s say that everything worked out perfectly and you were able to sell the property immediately before applying for a mortgage. You would now be taking home £34,000 (£204,000 – £170,000) giving you a realized capital gain of 66.67% increase in just two years.This aggressive property strategy is known to many savvy investors as “flipping” and must be done in line with your financial situation. If you cannot afford to hold on to the property when it comes time to apply for a mortgage, then you should not enter this strategy with the intentions of flipping it before completion. You may get caught out not being able to sell which then forces you to take out a mortgage, therefore generating a massive burden on your financial situation if the mortgage payments are not in line with your financial budget. On the other hand, for investors looking for “a quick buck” (or pound in this case) can absolutely do so through the use of off plan property. It doesn’t always work out this way of course and more times often then others will you need to hang on to your property for a little bit longer then you originally planned, but if your financial situation permits it and your financial advisor highly recommends the investment, then go for it! It’s OK to take on little bit of risk every once and a while in order to see the potential big rewards.So now that you understand how the strategy works, how do you know which off plan property to select? You should always speak to an investment advisor regarding the purchase of off plan property. Real estate agents aren’t qualified to give you the investment advice needed, and if you want the real story it’s best you speak to a financial advisory firm.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Productivity Tips for Travelers – How To Be A Productive Road Warrior

You have seen them, they all look alike, the regular ‘road warrior’ with their determined expression, wrinkle proof suit and pulling a beaten up carry on bag…whether you travel a little or a lot with your company there are many ways you can boost your personal productivity when you travel. These before, during and after strategies will help you maximise your time, limit your stress and overall increase your travel productivity.Before You TravelBuy the tools – you wouldn’t build a house without the right tools, travel is no different. To be a productive traveler you want to ensure you have a variety of tools to assist the comfort and productivity of your trip. Tools to consider purchasing are quality luggage, Ipod, noise cancelling earphones, soft briefcase and GPS system.20-22 inch Carry On expandable luggage – I like Briggs and Riley, it is durable, light weight, expandable, self healing and well made. Check out http://www.briggsandriley.com. These are allowed in the US and other countries as carry on baggage. When you are buying luggage look for features such as pull along, strong wheels, stability foot on the bottom (in case it gets too heavy), external zippers (to hold travel documentation and the Ziploc toiletry bag) and also make sure the pop up handle is a ‘one pull’ action.IPOD or MP3 – this is not a luxury, this is a requirement for any travel. I have a created a selection of play lists, including one with very relaxing music so that when it is time to sleep I can turn to this group and fall asleep.Noise canceling earphones – these are a little bit of a luxury, but I wouldn’t travel anywhere without them. My husband previously flew many long international flights and he turned me onto this great invention. I prefer the Sony small ear bud type and take them where ever I go http://www.sony.comBriefcase – I like a soft tote briefcase that allows me to include personal and work related items. My favourite is from Coakley Business Class (sorry guys these are just for women) and they are the best travel briefcase I have ever found (and you can use it everyday!) [http://www.coakleybusinessclass.com]. For the gentleman, try the soft Samsonite one, it has great suspension in the shoulder strap. When looking for a brief case also make sure it has the feature to be able to slide it over your carry on luggage (many have a soft strap or a zippered section to allow you to do this).GPS (Global Positioning System) – this was the best gift I ever got! They are now getting smaller and smaller and are perfect to plug into your rental car when you arrive in another city. Also when we were in Italy last year we downloaded the European maps and it was great fun to get around tiny little towns. I have named mine ‘Bella’ – she keeps me company when I am driving late at night or in a city where I don’t know my way.Consider clothing – When you are regularly on the road I suggest a few strategies to help make your life easier for both packing and arriving looking together.Travel Outfit – Create your own travel outfit, yes it can be the same every time. Mine is a pair of black pants, black top (I have a short sleeve one for summer and a long sleeve one for cooler months), pantyhose and a pair of black patent leather flat slip on shoes. I wear the same silver jewellery with it all and I know when I arrive at the security line I don’t have to remove anything (except my shoes) – that is why pantyhose (or socks) are good when you have to take off your shoes. The fabric of this outfit doesn’t crease and is comfortable (which makes a huge different on those long flights).Airport shoes – think about the quality and make of the shoes you wear to the airport. I suggest slip ons of some description so you are not awkwardly trying to tie up laces or straps. Also ensure they are comfortable and well made as you often have to walk long distances between gates or to the parking area.Carry a pashmina – for the ladies, I recommend you invest in a dark coloured pashmina that has many uses. On the plane it is a great blanket (and so many airlines in the US don’t supply pillows and blankets). When I rent a car it becomes a booster seat for me (he he). When I have to sit on an airport floor (yes I have done that living here in the US) it is great to place on the floor … oh and yes I can wear it if I need to keep warm.Jewellery – wearing the same silver jewellery when I travel I know I can wear it the next day and I can walk through the screening area without having to remove it. It simplifies the process and speeds up the line.Belts – if possible, don’t wear an outfit that requires a belt as it is only one more item of clothing you have to remove at the airport line.Productive Packing – there are many opinions on what to pack and I find the most productive way for me is having a series of pre-packed bags. This includes luggage, carry on plane survival kit, brief case, make up and toiletry bags.Pre-packed luggage contents includes: Ziploc toiletry bag Underwear First aid items (band aids, safety pins and head ache tablets) Make up bag Gym gear Clothes brush (I have a long haired cat and her fur seems to make its way across the world with me) Book of interest Cell Phone charger Laptop power pack Stamped stationery (note cards and envelopes)Carry on plane survival kit contents include: Ipod Noise cancelling earphones Spare battery for noise cancelling earphones Lip balm Eye mask (for those long flights) Pen Eye drops Travel size toothbrush and toothpaste Breath mintsMake up kit – ladies if you travel a lot I suggest you buy a full set of make up and make up brushes and tools and keep them in a separate make up bag so you never have to go looking for something and you never forget something on your trips.Ziploc Toiletry Bag contents include travel sized: Decanted shower gel Skin care Hair care products Travel sized perfume or aftershave (most brands now supply a smaller size compliant with airline safety standards) Toothpaste Spare contact lensesMany department stores and pharmacies carry a range of travel sized products. I was fascinated when I was in Sephoria in Times Square recently that the merchandising near the payment counter had changed significantly and provided 50+ choices of regular band products in travel sized convenient containers.Plastic helps – My friend Camille was an airline goddess for many years and gave me this great tip, using the plastic you receive from your dry cleaners around your clothes helps avoid creases.Duplicate copies – to be more productive (and for a few extra dollars) consider investing in duplicates of everything you travel with. If you are a regular traveler, having a pre-packed bag will allow you to leave with minimum notice and save time and stress before any trip. On your list of items to buy you could include: Toiletries available in travel size Brushes – make up brushes, hair brushes or combs Cell phone charger Laptop power pack Make up Stamps and stationery Spare items i.e. pantyhose, clothing brush.Choose your seat – I like to sit in an aisle seat so I can get in and out and I don’t feel cramped by others. For longer flights (especially the red eye), my friend Shawn books the window seat so you can lean against the window to sleep, choose your seat wisely. If you have an option of an exit row choose this seat as it gives you more leg room. You may like to check out http://www.seatguru.com – it is a great website to see exactly what your seat will be on most major airlines.Pre-print your boarding pass – whenever possible go online 24 hours before you fly and select your seat and print your boarding pass. This will save you time in the long lines at the airport check in and also help you find the seat you want.Join airline clubs – if you fly frequently to same cities join the airline programs of those major airlines so you can also gather frequent flyer miles for all your travels. You may be able to use them for a fun trip with those you care for later on.Join airline lounges – if you fly with the same carrier regularly to invest in a membership for that lounge so you have a quiet place to snack, get changed or to catch up on reading. I noticed in Australia this was a great use of money and well worth it however in the US the gates and lounges are so spread out and there are so many options to travel with different airlines this hasn’t been a worthwhile investment for me here, however if you fly the same airline every time it might be worth it for you.Create a one page itinerary – create a one page template that includes your confirmation codes of all flight details, hotel and rental car information. Include on this template all your frequent flyer clubs and associations also so that if you arrive and they haven’t included this in your booking you can quickly get credit for your travel.During Your TravelAllow extra 30 minutes – add at least 30 minutes onto any amount of time you think it will take you to get to the airport or park. This additional time will save you stress if you are stuck in traffic, can’t find a car space or the security line is longer than you expected. If you have pre-packed a book or magazine you can use that 30 minutes to read or to connect with a friend or client.Know the Parking Garage – if you regularly travel on the same airline, know the shuttle system or design of the car park so you can get in and out quickly.Take your ticket – when you receive a parking receipt/ticket on your arrival place it in the same compartment of your bag or briefcase so you know where to find it upon your return.Write the parking space on your ticket – in the US the parking garages are so big that I always write the colour and space on my parking receipt so that when I arrive back after a few days away (often late at night), I can quickly find my car and not waste time wandering around the parking garage.Ground transport notice – when you enter an airport, notice where the taxis, rental car shuttles or parking garages are. This will save you time when you return and allow you to quickly make your way to the next place.Regular rental – Use the same rental company each time you travel will also boost your productivity because you will expect a certain standard each time you fly. You might also consider joining their frequent customer program too. I like using Enterprise because they are affordable and also each time you arrive they look so happy to see you and they pay attention to small details including water bottles in the car and also pre-printed local lists of radio stations and areas of interest.Play music – by creating different play lists on your IPOD you will enjoy your travel more if you can listen to music and block out the noise around you. This is effective in the airport lounge, at the gate and on the plane. You might also like to include a CD in your packing checklist for the rental car.Getting through security – there are several tips to help you get through the line faster: Wear an outfit that doesn’t require any removal of items or have any metal. Place your cell phone and keys into your briefcase or purse before entering the security line. Keep your Ziploc bag of toiletries in an outside zippered compartment for quick access. Get your laptop out of your briefcase before you reach your place in line. Place your laptop, shoes and toiletries in one container on the security screen belt. Keep your boarding pass and photo identification in your hands.Check in or carry on – I always carry on luggage (up to a five day business trip), I have learnt to pack well and have invested in a minimum number of outfits. I think there is so much time wasted waiting for luggage (not to mention the concern it may not arrive with you!) wherever possible try and carry on luggage for your business travel.Laptop … or not – if your trip doesn’t require you to take your laptop, leave it at home. It is one less thing to juggle through security and some laptops add significant weight to your briefcase. Leave it behind if you can. If you have to take it with you consider buying a smaller, light weight model one that is easy to use and you can balance in small places. You do pay more for smaller, lighter models but it is money well spent.Keep a reading file – as you collect articles, newspapers or journals you want to read, take them with you when you travel. Each week I receive the Philadelphia Business Journal and I take it with me on the plane to read and enjoy. It is a paper that keeps my interest and small enough it doesn’t crowd the person beside me.Buy bottled water – part of my routine as soon as I get through the security line is to head to the nearest store to buy 2 bottles of water. During the flight it is essential to drink water to keep you hydrated, two bottles allows me to drink before the plane arrives (has been helpful when there are large delays) and during the flight.Eat healthy – many airlines don’t supply quality food on board so try to find healthy solutions within the airport to satisfy your hunger. You may also like to buy something to eat on board for longer flights so you are snacking on healthy items. I like to travel with a bag of almonds and pecans so that I always have a yummy (and healthy) snack available. AS you are flying from the same airport each week, become familiar with the food offerings inside the terminal so you can quickly find something you enjoy eating.Hotel routine – no matter what time I arrive at a new hotel I have the same routine. I open my suitcase, remove my suit and hang it on a hanger. If it has gathered small creases in the travel I take it into the bathroom, hang it up and turn on the hot shower to create a ‘steam room effect’ and this removes any creases. Now for my Australian readers who are experiencing a drought right now that seems very wasteful so you may want to hang these clothes while you are showering the next day to avoid water waste. You might like to take this opportunity to iron your clothes instead. I then plug in my laptop, set up my cell phone charger, set my alarm and pull out the documents or reading for the next day. By having the same routine each time you will be productive and not forget important details (and you save time in the morning also).Exercise – if you don’t have a gym in the hotel consider either taking a walk outside at the beginning of your day or exercising in your room. I often place a towel on the floor and then do a series of stretches, yoga, sit ups and push ups. You can establish a routine especially for travel that doesn’t require any equipment i.e. push ups, sit ups, squats and any yoga.Call a client – you often have down time in the airport so it is a great time to reconnect with a client or colleague. I use this time to touch base with important people in my life and it becomes part of my business development time.Be strategic – time in hotel rooms can be lonely or unproductive so I use this time to design new products, review my business plan, catch up on reading and design new models or programs for my business. Some of my best ideas have come while sitting in my hotel room – use this time for strategy and thought space instead of turning on the TV to keep your company.Stay connected – when you arrive at your location notify someone important to you. I like to call my husband when I have arrived in my hotel so he knows I am safe and sound and I get to hear his voice. Calling your family or friend is a great way for you to keep connected on the road.Write thank you notes – because I carry stamped stationery with me when I travel, I use the flight home to write notes to people I met during my trip. When I arrive my next destination I post them. It is a great way to reconnect with people after you have met them and is a productive use of flight time.After Your TravelKnow the quickest route home – understand the quickest and least traffic congested way to get out of the airport so you can be home with those you care for in the smallest amount of time. Where I live there are 2 major ways home and if you take the wrong one at some particular times during the day it can add up to an hour to your ride home (not so much fun after a long flight) so know which ways are best at different times during the day.Unpack quickly – if you arrive home early enough, unpack your bag, refill any necessary toiletry items and allocate clothes for washing or dry cleaning.Refill and replace – update any items in your ‘pre-packed’ toiletries or luggage that need attention to save you time for future trips. Note any additional items you may have forgotten on this trip and place them in your luggage so you don’t forget them next time.Debrief your trip – recall any items you missed, notice things that you enjoyed or frustrated you and make the changes that are within your control. Each time you travel you may learn something new that will help you save time or save you frustration for your next travel experience.Thank your team – if you have an assistant, let them know what went well about the trip and any enhancements you would like to make for your next trip. Thank your travel agent for the trip planning and also let them know if something didn’t go well and discuss how to fix it for the next trip. Thank your client for the opportunity to work with them. If you experienced great service at some point in the trip take the time to email or write a thank you note to that organisation. The simple art of thanking people is often overlooked but is one of the most powerful things you can do to boost your productivity and make someone else’s day!Gather your receipts – there is so much paperwork collected on trips including boarding passes, rental agreements, and food and hotel receipts. Keep this in a central place when you travel (I take a clear plastic folder for this very purpose each time I travel). When you arrive home quickly sort through the paper, action business cards and file any receipts or keep them aside for your clients. Process all your paper within 24 hours.Action business cards – if you have met new people during your productive trip take the time to now action those cards. You might like to write a ‘nice to meet you’ note, scan them and add them to your database and write a note for any follow up action required. Following this process diligently each time you travel will avoid piles of business cards gathering on your desk (reminding you of action you haven’t taken!)Be grateful – if you are travelling for business it means you have a successful job that is supporting you and your family. Stop hating it and start enjoying it. Giving thanks for the opportunity to see new places, meet new people and share your experience is a privilege.Change your language around travel, enjoy it, embrace it and you will be more productive! Next time you see another road warrior smile at them and let them know you understand. You can be more productive every time you travel by applying these before, during and after you travel strategies… now where am I off to tomorrow?

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Selling a Luxury Property on Video Can Bring Successful Results, But Only When It’s Done Correctly

In times of economic hardship, or maybe because of it, there appears to be a new trend, (which may have started as a ‘fad’) in the way the very wealthy, and now, even the moderately well off are choosing to buy and sell their property. Video. Unfortunately, whilst some can have huge successes, others can have a pure disaster on their handsBefore we expand on the latter, I’m not just talking about normal video from the family video cam, but by ultra-professional, commercial, high definition video. Now for example in the UK, this type of sales strategy for the affluent is growing at a very fast pace, but, one needs to be very selective when choosing a company that you’ll entrust to showcase your property. There’s a number of reasons for this ‘selection process’, some of which (but not limited to) is ensuring the company has the proper professional equipment, the experience and ethical standards in showcasing properties, and last but not least, keeping the cost to the client at a reasonable levelLet’s take for example the subject of experience and ethical standards in showcasing a luxury home on video. Property owners are becoming increasingly aware that images can be manipulated through re-touching, enhancing and stretching perspectives to make a property’s space appear larger than it really is. These can be tactics used by unscrupulous editors, however, this will soon be found out with disastrous out-comings. (more on that a bit later) To the average lay person, it may not be very obvious when a video is manipulated and so when a prospective client visits a said property, they can be bitterly disappointed that it hasn’t been represented factually on the video.Video manipulation, such as changing the frame to appear unlike its original native document can be a ploy used by production houses, but if they considered the hours and money it takes to undertake special effects it should be realized that just filming the property professionally in the first place far outweighs any type of manipulation.The disastrous results can be a total re-filming, bad reputation for both the production house and any agents representing the client’s property, the risk that the property owner, (plus production house, and agent) may have uncomplimentary comments posted on the internet about the property, and of course, the huge additional costs that can accumulate because of unscrupulous tactics.It also takes very hi-tech equipment to properly film a property to ensure all the finer points are presented which are likely to excite potential buyers. We’re talking about equipment that is used in making movies and very expensive TV commercials. This gear isn’t cheap, and therefore eliminates a lot of the would be players that imagine they’d like to enter the property video production industry. So it pays for property owners to ensure that the company they select to sell their property on video not only have the experience, but also a portfolio both “on” and “behind” the scenes.Research indicates that a person is more likely to remember only 20% of what they hear and 30% of what they see. However for the viewer of a commercial video, this is boosted to 80% of what they “hear and see”. As an online tool, commercial video is a growing marketing edge that creates an environment whereby the viewer experiences a strong emotional response that ‘still’ pictures and text just cannot provide. A viewer will relate with greater emotion to visual and emotional splendor of a three-dimensional-space. Simply put, it’s like they’re embodied within the video.But, when property owners are thinking about selling their home or other type of property on video, there is an important factor to consider… COST!. Just because you are affluent, doesn’t mean you need to be penalized. You’ve made your money, and have property assets because you’ve most likely been prudent with your investment portfolio. So, there’s no need to give more of your money away than you have to, to the ‘hungry sharks’ that may promise you the world, but deliver an acre. There are companies out there that have extremely modest charges to produce a full blown commercial quality property video and STILL meet the criteria of professionalism, can present a great portfolio, practice moral & work ethics, have the correct equipment and most of all your interests at heart.Video can save a luxury property owner and prospective buyers other fundamental costs. For example, travel, loss of time, and other necessary expenses are unheard of, at least in the preliminary stages, and it certainly beats traipsing around looking at properties where costs can multiply exponentially, particularly when it involves at least two or more decision makers. (Which very often it does) Interested investors can view properties, look at the pro’s and con’s then compile a shortlist of one, two or more to then inspect in person.Not only that, but major discussions and negotiations can be well underway before a foot is even put forward to look at possible properties acquisitions, again saving valuable time and of course, costs.When dealing with a property video production company to showcase your luxury property, look for a company that can provide the ‘cinema of properties’. By that we mean that you have to imagine yourself sitting in a theatre and simply being awestruck by the presentation of a property before your very eyes and then, imagine it was yours. Affluent, international audiences require information swiftly and that information must be portrayed precisely within the 2 – 5 minutes that your property is before a viewer’s eyes. Therefore it is important to realize that all aspects of a property’s features, both internally, externally and, facilities surrounding it are captured in absolute commercial quality so that decisions can be made by purchasers with absolute confidence.So the questions beg to be answered… Can your property be sold successfully on video or could it be a disaster? Is it a growing trend? Well, to answer the last question first, it does appear to be an absolutely necessary tool in today’s real estate market, not only for the wealthy, but also for the moderately well off who view this as a fast, efficient and very cost effective strategy to sell or buy properties.But, and there is a BIG but… Choosing the right company to present your property on video can be the difference between success and disaster, a quick sale or a no sale, great comments or loss of face and cost effective or downright expensive. Selling a property on video works for all provided they follow the simple guidelines here, and because of that, the trend will most likely continue to grow for a much larger property audience.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

Keep These 5 Rules in Mind for Successful Commercial Designing

Who doesn’t want an excellent commercial design? Excellent commercial design is important to maintain the reputation and brand image of the company. As it is said, the first impression is the last impression, a good impression always attracts potential customers. It’s obvious no one would ever love to walk in a congested environment with bad lighting.

Bad design and interiors deteriorate the productivity of the employees. It can be a confusing task when planning a commercial designing project for the first time, hiring expert Commercial Architects Melbourne can be the best option to know about the latest trends and perfect matching designs.

This blog is about some basic rules to consider for making the commercial project successful.
Keep structures versatile

When it comes to transforming any commercial space, focusing on convertibility and keeping office interior decor versatile can be the best option. It can be done by implementing a versatile structure to spaces such as cafeterias, offices, and many more. Everyone gives preference to comfort hence, focusing on spatial and versatile design will help to complete commercial designing projects in an optimal way.

Consider the latest technology implementations

Technology plays a supportive role to enhance the commercial designing project. Moving forward with the latest technology is important to execute any business smoothly because technologies make the work much easier and comfortable for the employee as well as organizations. Implementing centralized and decentralized digital control is much needed in any commercial design.

Keep office aesthetics updated

Good aesthetics and interiors impact the overall representation of the office and make the place functional and attractive. Hire a reputed designer for modern décor and furniture ideas. Hiring a designer reduces half of the project stress and helps to meet the contemporary fashion and latest trends. They can help to choose the perfect theme that blends well with the office decor, atmosphere, and colour.

Provide personalized space to prevent congestion

Majority of customer prefers personalized space such as different seating to seat comfortably and do the personal work. Personalized space is one of the crucial factors for customer-based service offices such as hotels and cafeterias to provide an ambient and comfortable place.

Always keep safety first

Safety is the central feature of every construction and designing project. Hence, it’s the high-priority factor to keep the aesthetic and functional safety at the working place. It can be compromised for interior decoration and design purposes but it’s not at all affordable to compromise for safety purposes.

Following the above useful ideas can easily help in the successful completion of a commercial designing project in a safe and pleasing way. In today’s, modern construction, reliability, and comfort is also an equally important factor.

Final words,

It’s important to hire the experienced Building designer Melbourne to make the commercial designing project worthy. Hope the above rules helped you to scale up your interior designing projects with a better outcome. Follow the above tips for any renovation or remodelling project and surely you will get award-winning and achieve a better office experience.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off

How Long Should A Laptop Battery Last And How To Increase the Battery Life

No matter how expensive your laptop is, its battery won’t last more than four years. According to experts, a new laptop battery gives you as many as 1,000 cycles. In other words, you can charge and recharge the battery up to 1000 times. However, many factors play their role to increase or decrease the lifespan of a laptop battery. For instance, the material used for producing the battery substance. So, if you want to ensure that your battery stands the test of time, given below are some of the tips that can help.

1. Install a good battery monitor

If you are looking for an alternative, you can choose from tons of third-party utilities. Basically, the software programs help you monitor your laptop battery. These programs have no compatibility issues with any type of laptop.

Using these tools, you can find out which programs are using most of the battery power. You can then close the unwanted programs to save battery power.

2. Install maintenance apps

You can use some manufacturer-recommended maintenance tools for maintaining your laptop battery. Based on the type of your battery, you will receive different suggestions. Apart from this, your operating system will come with a built-in utility that can help you keep an eye on your battery condition.

3. Maintain your device temperature

You should try your level best to ensure your laptop maintains its temperature. In summer, electronic devices tend to heat up, which negatively impacts the life of the battery packs.

Therefore, you should make sure that there is a little bit of space between the bottom of the device and the table you have placed your device on. Besides, the ventilation system of your device should be working properly. For this purpose, regular cleaning of your device is quite important.

4. Don’t use maximum brightness

When your screen brightness is at maximum level, your device will use the maximum power. So, turning down the brightness is the first thing you can do to save power. Also, it is not a good idea to keep the brightness at max level as it can have a negative impact on your eyesight.

So, by following these simple tips, it will be easier for you to extend the life of your laptop battery.

5. Change the power-saving settings

Before you do anything, go into the power options of your laptop. If you are using Windows operating system, you can go to the control panel to access the power options. The control panel can be accessed from the Start Menu.

Some users have MacOS. If you are one of them, you need to access Energy Saver, which is found in the System Preferences. If these values are set to default, your computer will use the least amount of power.

So, what you need to do is make small changes to the settings so that you achieve a balance between power and performance. For best performance, there is always the choice to connect your device to the AC outlet.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off