Cost to Build – Surprise! Hidden Costs to Improve Land Prior to Building Your Home

It’s easy to overlook things when preparing to build a home. The cost of land improvements (utilities) is a good example of that. Land owners are often shocked to find out how much money is needed just to ready their lot for building. Land purchasers should take stock.

 

Buying a parcel of land to build on requires a bit of homework to avoid unnecessary or unwanted fees. Sometimes it can still be a shot in the dark.

 

2000 and Counting …

 

Some two years ago I had people in my office who had a dilemma. They had spent $85,000 for their parcel of land to build on and it didn’t have any access to utilities. Okay, not the end of the world in most cases but, imagine this: they had already drilled a 2000 foot well and still no water!

 

They knew the area was hit and miss as far as well depths but they figured they would chance it. How would that affect you? Probably not your best strategy unless you’re willing to pay the extra money to gain other advantages that you may greatly value.

 

Water, Power & Sewer

 

Livability and resale values are dependent on the three main services of water, power, and sewer. They can be provided by the local government or they can be independently accessed.

 

It’s easy to figure the cost when provided by the local government agencies and rather nebulous when you go looking for them yourself! And, as far as an overall homebuilding budget goes, you can’t afford to estimate this cost too low. You can easily spend upwards of 5-10% (or more!) of your building budget on self-provided utilities.

 

Let’s break it down:

  • Water: What would you do in the above scenario? Drill deeper? Drill another well? Sell the lot? Who would buy it now? Certainly a situation you would want to avoid.
  • Power: Another example came with clients who ended up having to spend $80,000 just to bring in power and power poles to their land. This was way more than they imagined when they purchased the land years before.
  • Sewer: If your land is not on the city sewage system you will need to install a septic system. Normally this is not too big of a problem but in certain areas, the system needs to be specifically engineered due to soil percolation problems. This can increase the usual cost by five times or more!

Fore-warned is Fore-armed

 

No one likes to be the barer of bad news but it is critical that you do your homework before you purchase your building lot. If you own already, thoroughly assess your situation before you get too far in your planning.

 

Sometimes it’s better to purchase your second choice in land or sell the land you have if it turns out that you can’t build the home you want. Do your homework … make some calls. You’ll be glad you did. And you might even thank me later! 



Source by Mel Inglima

Which Chinking Should I Use?

Perma-chink, Sashco and Weatherall are the leading chinking manufacturers for log homes. Sashco makes Log Jam and Chinker’s Edge. Weatherall produces 1010 and Triple Stretch while Perma-Chink makes Perma-Chink cabin sealant. Selecting the right chinking material depends on what color you like and which manufacturer you or your application contractor prefers. Our job at Mountain Home Building Products is to help provide you the right answers to your difficult log home related questions. Below you will find a brief history for each of the chinking related manufacturers.

Perma-Chink started producing log home finishing products in 1981 with the introduction of a latex chinking. The product was designed to look like old time mortar but had much greater capabilities of stretching and flexing in order to provide a tight seal for new and existing cabins. Permachink soon began to manufacture a complete line of stains, finishes, preservatives and cleaners that were geared specifically for the log cabin market.

Weatherall Company first introduced Weatherall 1010 Chinking to the log industry in 1982. Shortly thereafter they developed a new log finish that was compatible with their chinking. Next they introduced a new type of backer rod which helped them launch the first total log care system.

Finally, Sashco is located in Brighton, CO and has been manufacturing log home chinking, caulking and stain products for the past 30 years. The company was founded by Donald J. Burch in 1936 and originally produced windows but soon evolved into a manufacturer of glaze which eventually led to them producing log home sealants. Sashco is widely recognize for products like Log Jam, Log Builder, Capture and Transformation.

In conclusion, chinking is available in a number of different colors, sizes, textures and price ranges. Special colors are usually available upon request but may take additional manufacturing time. Plan ahead and take advantage of free chinking color charts provided by most log finishing product suppliers.



Source by Michael Carey

Loan Sharks – What You Need to Know

Loan sharking is the practice of lending money to desperate people at extremely high and illegal rates of interest. Loan sharks, or shylocks, make a big profit from people who can’t get loans from legitimate sources, such as banks or other lending institutions. For as long as people have needed money they don’t have, there have been loan sharks there to provide their services for a fee. They introduce themselves as a solution to a problem; they are businessmen who want to help a borrower get out of a bind. Prey to these sharks can be compulsive gamblers, single parents, the elderly, illegal immigrants, white-collar executives, or anybody else who desperately needs more money than they have access to.

Most people associate loan sharks with gangsters and organized crime. Loan sharking is a very lucrative business for criminals, and it’s a major source of income for the crime families. They receive a very good rate of return on their investment, and in a short amount of time, often a matter of weeks. They may charge interest at rates of up to 20% per week, and possibly even higher. In one New York investigation, it was found that a loan shark syndicate was netting 3000% annual interest! Dallas mobsters were more competitively priced, they charged only 585% annual interest. These were rates in the ghetto. Shylocks would be more competitively priced for corporate white-collar businessmen; rates might be more in the 5% weekly range.

In the mafia world, shylocking is also known as six-for-five; you borrow five and pay back six at the end of the week. You can see how this can turn very expensive. If someone borrowed five hundred and did not have the full payment, the loan shark would accept the interest payment of one hundred and extend the loan for another week, with interest. If they can’t pay when they’re supposed to, they would be forced to take out another loan, interest is added on top of interest and the debt can quickly become impossible to get out of.

The funds for shylocking would usually come from the top, the family boss. The boss would loan money to his capos (lieutenants), knowing he could trust them to pay him back with interest. The capos then loan money with interest to the lower ranking members of the mob. These are the loan sharks that made loans to the common citizen, and enforced payment.

Loan sharks ensured payment with threats of violence. They require no collateral other than the borrower and his family’s well being. “Leg-breakers” were often employed by loan sharks to be sure they receive payment. It’s not true that people were always killed if they didn’t pay. Dead people can’t pay back their debts, so it would not be good business practice to eliminate resources. They would occasionally “make an example” of some who owed very little to be sure other borrowers took them seriously. The borrower, worrying about life and limb of himself and his family, would have no option but to pay the shylock even if it meant he had to lie, cheat, or steal.

Modern Day Predatory Lending

There is no legal definition for predatory lending, but it generally includes the use of unethical practices by lenders who use tactics that skirt around the law. They might give unfair loan terms, use confusing language, charge hidden fees, and use high-pressure sales methods. They make money as long as they can keep borrowers in debt to them. They commonly target the elderly, low-income, minorities, or people with poor credit, but anyone can be a victim of these unscrupulous lenders. Predatory lenders thrive on consumers who need or want more than they can afford to have, and trick borrowers into believing the loans are necessary and affordable.

Many commonly accepted loan services are available to consumers that work on the same principles as a mob shylock. There are laws regulating the amount of interest that can be charged for a loan, but lenders can charge “service fees.” Check cashing places offer “payday loans”, you can write them a post-dated check for the amount of the loan, plus a hefty fee for use of that money for a week or two. The fees can amount to 400% APR, these places are happy to loan as much as possible based on the borrower’s expected paycheck. Then what happens when he gets his paycheck and realizes that it’s already spent? He’ll go back to take out another payday loan so he can pay his bills and buy groceries. This cycle of borrowing more to pay back a loan can trap a person into being perpetually in debt and never getting ahead. These places are usually found on the same block as a liquor store in low-income neighborhoods. These lenders prey on people with limited means and encourage them to live paycheck to paycheck.

Title loans are another way people are getting ripped off. People who own their car free and clear can bring in their title and an extra set of keys, and drive away with up to half the value of their car. They agree to a loan at an extremely high rate, or with a large balloon payment without realistically being able to pay. The title loan companies don’t care what kind of credit the borrower has, because they win either way. They receive an excellent profit on the interest charges or they repossess the car and sell it for twice the loan amount. Sounds like a “can’t lose” situation for them, so it must be a “can’t win” situation for the borrower.

I’ve heard predatory commercials on the radio from car dealerships. The announcer might say something ridiculous like, “We’ll give you $5000 for your trade on anything you can push, pull, or tow in here, and we don’t care how ugly it is!” We’d all be rich if we could sell junk cars for $5000, but who would buy one? These predatory lenders just add that $5000 that they “gave” you to the price of your new car being financed. You’ll drive away in a shiny new car and you’ll get stuck with a loan for $5000 more than the car is worth.

What if you owe more on your trade-in than it’s value? It’s known as a negative equity loan or an upside down loan. This is quite common, considering car dealers want to sell expensive cars more than cheaper ones, and consumers want to drive the best car they can get a loan for. Cars depreciate faster than the loan can be paid down, and when you spread the payments over five or six years instead of three, this can amount to thousands of dollars. Eager to sell you another new car, dealerships work with lenders and add the difference to your loan amount, ensuring that vicious debt cycle.

It is appalling that greedy predatory lenders would go so far as to trick people out of their homes, but it happens. Abundant offers for second mortgages or use credit card balance transfers to pay off credit card debt come daily in the mail. It’s shocking that lenders would encourage you to take equity from your home to buy a two-week vacation, a hot tub, a motorcycle, or other big “toys”. Would a sensible person really want to pay 15-30 years with interest for some unnecessary material items that make life just a little more fun? These predatory lenders like to remind you of all the improvements you could make in your life if you just had access to the equity in your home. They encourage you to dream of everything you’re missing out on because your assets are tied up in your house. They sell you on the idea that you’ll “save” money by consolidating your high interest debt. You might have smaller monthly payments… but the debt is stretched out over many years, increasing your total interest costs. Many borrowers just rack up new debt after getting that second mortgage to pay off bills because their formerly maxed out credit cards are now freed up again. When the borrower can’t afford his mortgage, second mortgage, and new credit card debt, the home goes into foreclosure and the borrower loses everything he’s worked for.

Home-improvement scams have also hit America hard, particularly the elderly. Someone who has been making regular mortgage payments for many years has most likely built up lots of equity in their home, which makes them a prime target for these ruthless predators. Contractors offer to make repairs or improvements to the home, and can even be so “helpful” as to set up financing for the unsuspecting homeowner. An elderly widow, who can’t do the work herself, is grateful for the nice young man who can help her get her home back in shape. When it comes to the confusing legal jargon in the contract, she trusts him and his simple explanation of what it is she’s signing. She unknowingly agrees to take out a high-interest second mortgage that requires a balloon payment at the end. She later finds out that all her payments have gone to pay mostly interest, barely making a dent in the principle owed. She can’t pay the huge balloon payment when due, and loses her house in foreclosure. It is unfortunate that these predators are willing to put someone’s grandmother out of her home to make their fortune.

My neighborhood is several years old and a part of it is still in construction. This addition draws many first-time homebuyers. When I shopped for mortgages, I thought it was odd that my builder’s mortgage lender approved my loan for an amount about 30% more than a regular mortgage broker could get for me. Don’t we all want the best house we can afford? It’s tempting to take a mortgage that’s barely affordable, to get that bigger house with more options. It’s interesting to note that there are quite a few foreclosures in this neighborhood, usually the houses that are about two years old. On brand new homes, you would only pay taxes on the value of the empty lot, that is, until it is reassessed with the value of the house on it. This happens where I live about a year and a half after the home is built and closed on. The mortgage lender does warn you that your payments will go up in a couple of years after the taxes are reassessed, but still approves your mortgage based on your current income and the tax on the empty lot. You might not think much of it then because you believe you’ll figure something out by the time your payments go up. About 18 months later, your PITI payment increases by a couple of hundred dollars a month, but your income hasn’t. Many families have lost their homes to foreclosure because they weren’t prepared for this dramatic increase in payment.

Predatory lending has many more faces; I gave just a few examples. You’ve heard of scams people have reported in the newspapers. You can read about victims in internet blogs. The nightly news is always showing a new story about a new way predators are trying to take our money. You’ve seen the ads that the lenders themselves have run. These unscrupulous businesses may be fraudulent, or just plain tricky. They thrive on the “Gotta have it now” attitude that many consumers live by. The only way to protect yourself is to educate yourself. I’ve referred to the borrowers several times as “victims”, but truly they are victims of their own lack of awareness.

Protect Yourself From Predatory Lenders

  • Use your financial common sense; if you can’t afford it, you shouldn’t buy it.
  • Plan a realistic budget and stick to it.
  • Have a savings plan so that you’ll be prepared in case of a true emergency.
  • Keep your credit rating high so that you won’t be forced to go with “sub-prime” lenders, where predatory lending is common.
  • Be skeptical about quick fixes and easy money.
  • If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.
  • Bad credit, no credit, no problem! This is one of predatory lenders favorite lines.
  • Buy here, pay here! Rent to own. No money down! You must act now! Some of their other favorite lines.
  • Any loan, including your first mortgage, which uses the equity in your house as collateral should be looked at very carefully.
  • Know what it is you’re signing, and never sign documents that don’t have all the terms filled in.
  • If you don’t understand the contract in question, consult an attorney. Lawyer fees can be a bargain compared to the potential loss.
  • Shop around for loans of any kind; never say yes to the first offer.
  • Visit The Center For Responsible Lending for information about laws to protect you, or how you can get involved in the fight against predatory lending.
  • Don’t let salesmen pressure you into something you aren’t sure about.
  • Refuse to take out more loans to pay off already unmanageable debts.
  • Beware of the temptingly low interest rates that skyrocket after you’ve had enough time to shop more than you should.
  • Take responsibility for your financial well-being.
  • Predatory lenders are out there taking money, but don’t let them take yours.



Source by Michael Yanda

Insurance Sales – Do You Have a Strategic Sales Action Plan?

Do you want to shake up your sales results? It’s time to rethink you’re approach and come up with a plan that will produce results. A strategic sales action plan provides an implementable quantifiable path to significantly improve your results.

Let’s begin by identifying the key elements of a strategic sales action plan. The key elements of your strategic sales action plan include: the value you provide, your unique market position, your marketing plan, your sales plan, and your follow-up plan. Each element is critical, but you want to develop or review them in a specific order.

Start by identifying how creating the value that you will provide that people are willing to pay money for. This very simple concept is often overlooked, but people will buy from you if doing so is more valuable than buying from someone else like a competitor. And please realize that this value must be provided by you not the company whose products or services you may be selling.

You as an individual sales person need to establish your position in the market. Otherwise you’re just like everyone else and there isn’t any advantage to buying from you. There are numerous ways to position yourself, but you may want to start by considering: your areas of expertise, who you work with, what you do for the people you work with, speed, quality, etc.

You need a marketing plan to market yourself to the people you want to sell to. A marketing plan isn’t just a list of random marketing activities you plan to do hoping to get results. A marketing plan is the overall plan you devise to generate a specific number of qualified leads that you can consistently and predictably repeat. And every action on your marketing plan must be track-able and measurable so you can make adaptations and improvements.

You’re most familiar with a sales plan. Your sales plan should specifically tell you how you will proactively move the qualified leads entering your sales funnel into buyers. And you should be tracking each phase making adaptations and improvements.

Do you have a follow-up plan for building and extending the relationship you’ve started generating more business and referrals? That’s the whole point of a follow-up plan. Once you start a relationship with a buyer you want to at least maintain the relationship so they will buy from you again. And your follow-up plan should include sales coaching to help your loyal buyers to refer you.

Shake up your sales results by developing a strategic sales action plan to get the results you want. Of course, a plan in and of itself won’t produce the desired results. You produce the desired results by taking the actions you now know are the most effective actions and expecting your desired outcomes to follow.



Source by Cheryl Clausen

Factors Considered in Home Appraisal – The Most Important Ones

Appraisal is simply an estimation of value. A licensed appraiser will evaluate the property and give his or her opinion about the property condition performs it. Although, it may be similar to inspection but there is a big difference. The main goal of this activity is to give a justified opinion about the property value. They need this because it can help in various decision-makings. For example, the seller can use this as a basis for pricing. The buyer can use this to know how much to offer. Lenders need this to know how much money to credit to their borrowers. It has also uses for other purpose like taxation and many others.

However, one must fully understand home appraisal. This can help you determine the factors that will be taken into consideration in determining the appraised value. These factors could either increase or decrease it.

So of you want to know the important ones, check out below:

1. The type of house- it could be identified as one story, two-story, split-level, factory-built.

2. Features of the home (including design)- The materials used and the kind of structure present and how they were built.

3. Improvements made in the property- new components of the house are identified and described.

4. Comparables- Just like in the CMA, several comparables will be listed and will also be described using the same factors.

5. Sale with involvement of financing

6. Location- The kind of neighborhood is identified. Any zoning areas are will be considered as well as its proximity to other establishments.

7. Age of Property-

8. Size

9. Depreciation

The value of the property can be identified using 2 approaches. It could be through sales and cost approach. In sales comparison approach, the appraiser draws the value of the property simply by identifying comparables within the area. He or she would compare the features of a home including lot size.

As for cost approach, the appraiser draws the value of the property by looking into the value of the land, the depreciation, the overall value of the property and the cost of replacing them upon destruction.

After the appraiser has performed the appraisal, he or she would have to create a report stating the following things:

– The method used for determining the value.

– A description of the property including its size, condition and other features.

– Any problems related to its structure.

– A description of the location.

– The comparables used

– The intended use of appraisal

– Certification

– Limiting conditions.

When you seek appraisal services, make sure you hire a good appraiser. He or she must be certified or licensed. Hiring someone with these credentials would mean they are able to perform their job according to the standards set by the accredited appraiser organization in the country (USPAP). But this is not all that defines competency in the field of appraising. Your appraiser must have enough experience. He or she should have appraised various properties within the area.



Source by Katrina Marie Santes

Office Renovation Pros and Cons

An office renovation is always a complicated task that requires careful planning. These renovations allow you to contemporize your space and improve various features of your offices including layout, technology, energy efficiency and more. However, despite the many benefits associated with your renovation, there are some growing pains along the way. Before you start remodeling, you should carefully consider all the pros and cons. If you decide the advantages of a remodeled office outweigh the potential disadvantages, you will be ready to go ahead with the work.

Pros of Office Renovation

Some of the basic aspects of your office layout and functionality can be made more efficient with a renovation. You’ll have the opportunity to restructure work stations so that you utilize the most efficient use of space. Ultimately, renovations not only allow you to reconsider the aesthetic qualities of your office, but to make changes that will improve worker productivity as well.

Through a renovation you can also upgrade the technology in your office. Even without spending a hefty amount on new office equipment, you can improve the infrastructure of the workplace. During renovations, you’ll have the opportunity to install upgraded routers, fibre optic cables, and if you have the budget, new computers and other equipment.

Another advantage of an office renovation is the fact that you can increase the value or rental income associated with the property. A more attractive, efficient, and advanced office will certainly be appealing to potential leasers. Ideally, you want your office renovations to address your current concerns, while also making the space a more viable workplace.

Cons of Office Renovation

Unfortunately, most office renovations are associated with a number of costs of well. Obviously, the financial costs will be considerable, depending on what kind of renovations you have planned. You’ll want to consider whether the initial financial costs of completing an office remodel will translate into increased worker productivity or an improved client base; after all, in an ideal world, you would like to know that the money spent on renovations will positively impact your bottom line.

Yet, even aside from the cost, office renovations can cause a number of headaches. During the renovation, you should expect some disturbance of workflow. You may have to consider finding temporary offices, or you’ll have to reorganize the office during renovations so that work can continue. Without question, worker efficiency is going to be reduced during renovations which can be especially risky for small businesses.

Fortunately, an experienced commercial contractor can help to reduce the negative impact of office renovations. Should you decide that renovations are necessary for your business to continue to grow, a professional contractor can help you plan the renovations so that your day to day business doesn’t suffer.



Source by Alex Pupkin

The Life Cycle of an Estate

Some estate life cycles turn up very quickly, so that few years or even months separate the initial building and the final phase. In other cases, an estate may remain for several centuries in a single stage of its life cycle. It is impossible to indicate the average period for an estate life cycle to complete its revolution, but in the case of ordinary domestic buildings of traditional construction, a term of 60-100 years is usual. There are signs of, however, that with the increased pace of technological development, this period will tend to be shortened.

In the center of our older towns, there are many examples of estates which have passed through a series of life cycles, and successive buildings have been erected and later replaced, but more common is the estate which is now in some stages of its first cycle. A building reaches complete obsolescence or dies either when it is physically exhausted or when it is no longer economically worthwhile to keep it in use. In practice, the latter is usually the determining factor as the pace of physical obsolescence can be controlled by repairs and improvements, provided the economic incentive to carry the cost is present. A special case is that of a building of outstanding historical interest which may be preserved as a living fossil long after it might have been expected to perish.

While it is not possible to describe in detail the pattern of an estate’s life cycle, it is easy enough to indicate the main stages experienced by most estates that pass from initial development to renewal, and to describe the principal estate management problems relevant to each stage as follows

1) The pre-development stage.

2) The newly developed stage.

3) The middle life stage.

4) The old age stage.

5) The total obsolescence stage.

The Pre-development stage

The site available for development may either be one never previously built upon or cleared of its previous building. Land in this stage of expectancy tends to become neglected as the owner restricts expenditure on its existing use, whatever this may be, such as agriculture, market, gardening, car park, it must be noted that any investment on improvement must be written off as soon as development takes place. Consequently, sites awaiting development are often prey to nuisance and even when well fenced, may be subject to rubbish dumping, trespass, fly-posting and other similar afflictions. Where the pre-development stage is short, these difficulties are not serious, but when the length of this period is uncertain, effective management and use of the land may become impossible.

The Newly Development stage

When an estate is newly developed, it should fit its use in every aspect and so be unaffected by obsolescence. In practice, however, very few buildings even when new, meet this standard. For instance, imperfect planning, external changes that take place between the planning and construction stages and perhaps, slight defects in construction, all may introduce elements of obsolescence. Nevertheless, the utility of a building when new is usually greater than at any subsequent time. In the early years of life, obsolescence is likely to take place at a higher and regular rate as the advantages of being new and modern are lost. This will be determined, to a large extent by the speed by which comparable new and more modern buildings are erected, which force higher standards through competition. Occasionally, as in the case of speculative development that does not find an occupier, a new building may be obsolete as soon as it is completed.

The middle life stage

This is normally the longest stage in the life cycle and can be extended to last almost permanently. It begins as soon as the advantages of being new and up-to-date in the initial development stage have disappeared and the building settles down to its long term level of utility and value. Where the value of new buildings tends to be very much greater than that of older properties, however, the inducement to increase the pace of renewal can lead to a shortening in the average period of middle life. During middle life stage, physical decay is normally kept in check by proper maintenance and the annual decline in value due to modifications, extensions, improvements and perhaps, conversions which may be sufficiently major as to constitute virtual replacement and a recommencement of the whole life cycle.

The old age stage

The end of middle life is marked when the property begins to sink rapidly in status. It shows the outward signs of obsolescence like physical deterioration, adaptation to some poorer class of use than that which it it was designed, out of date fittings and equipment, and its remaining life becomes predictable. The problems of management at this stage are dominated by the short life remaining, which is usually less than fifteen (15) years. Fresh investments in order to improve the premises or even to maintain them in an efficient state for use becomes more difficult as the increase in an annual value likely to result is insufficient to provide a reasonable return on capital and sinking fund to replace the capital sum by the end of the investment life. In consequence, improvements and adaptations needed to maintain the estate are first limited and then neglected altogether. When this stage is reached, it is often the policy of an estate to restrict all expenditure to a minimum and to run down existing assets awaiting development. Where premises are leased, there is also the need to limit the grant of new tenancies so that the duration of their terms does not run beyond the date when development is contemplated. Tenants holding short interests pending development will usually have little incentive to maintain the property beyond the lowest standards of repair and physical condition, and may give rise to other management problems relating to its use and care.

Total Obsolescence

Firstly, the stage of complete obsolescence is reached when the old buildings and layout have little or no value as they stand. If all goes well, clearance and redevelopment follow quickly but there may be factors that prevent this. The first is that the site may have insufficient value to justify demolition of the old structures and its replacement by something new. In order words, the economic pressure may not be enough to propel renewal. Secondly the pattern of redevelopment may require changes in the size and shape of the site that cannot be secured at ones. This arises where comprehensive renewal is needed to meet modern traffic conditions and the existing small units of development have to be amalgamated for rebuilding purposes. In these circumstances, it is often necessary for individual obsolescent building to remain until the whole areas are capable of total clearance. Thirdly it happens that a building is totally worn out and judged by contemporary standard, is no longer fit for occupation. But because of the shortage of accommodation, it continues to command a use and income. It retains therefore, a value, sometimes, a high one, and is not strictly obsolete from an economic point of view, although it may be so regarded in social terms.



Source by Anderson Nwoko

Real Estate Characteristics

Real estate has several unique characteristics that affect its value. There are economic characteristics and physical characteristics. Real estate is a product to be purchased but it is different from anything else due to the characteristics that will be discussed here.

The economic characteristics that influence value are scarcity, improvements, permanence and area preference. Scarcity is simply demonstrated in the saying, “They aren’t making any more.” The supply of land has a ceiling and cannot be produced more than what exists today. This value of this supply however, is influenced by other characteristics.

Improvements, such as buildings on one parcel of land may have an effect on the value of neighboring parcels or the entire community. If a large company builds in a certain depressed neighborhood, the value of living their will probably increase because of the introduction of jobs. This value would impact on neighboring communities, thus increasing value in some ways to the real estate in these areas.

Permanence has to do with the infrastructure. As buildings, houses or other structures are demolished, the infrastructure, such as sewers, drainage, electricity, and water remain intact. Permanence effects real estate, or the type of infrastructure. If you buy a piece of land in an area with no utilities, drainage or paved streets, it will most likely be worth less than a parcel of land that has this infrastructure intact and developed.

Area preference refers to the choices of the people in any given area. This is usually referred to by most people when they talk about real estate as, “location, location, location.” The location of a preferred area, for whatever reasons, is what makes values of homes higher. Conversely, the location of a nonpreferred area, for whatever reason, is what makes the values of homes less. 8000 square foot brand new homes on the coast of Long Island’s, East Hampton will be worth much more due to their area preference, over an area with 1200 square foot starter homes in the middle of Long Island, located next to a garbage dump.

The physical characteristics of land represent its indestructible nature, immobility and nonhomogeneity. Working backwards, we’ll start with nonhomogeneity. This simply points out that no two parcels are the same. Two pieces of land may be very similar, but every single parcel is different geographically because each parcel is located in a different spot. This includes two lots right next to each other. It is important to remember that parcels are created by subdividing land, so as one large parcel of 20 acres is subdivided, each individual lot becomes its own separate piece of land.

Land cannot be moved, therefore it is immobile. Even when soil is torn from the ground, the part of the Earth’s surface will always remain. It is important here to note how this physical characteristic affects real estate law and markets. Immobility of land is the reason why real estate laws and markets are local in nature.

The indestructibility of land simply means that it is durable and cannot be destroyed. It can be damaged by storms and other disasters, but it remains and weathers the changing times and will always be there. This is a main reason why land is talked about as being a sound investment.

So the basic characteristics of real estate include scarcity, improvements to the land, permanence, area preference, nonhomogeneity, indestructibility and immobility. Please note there is a big difference between land and real estate. Land is the the part of the earths surface, subsurface and air above it. Real estate is anything that becomes attached to land. So when you’re looking for investments, it is important to note the infrastructure of the area, the surrounding neighborhood and the preferences of the area or…location, location, location!



Source by Thomas McGiveron

Difference Between General Contractor and Remodeling Contractor

If you are thinking of improving your home with the help of home improvement service providers, you have to keep in mind that one professional may offer a different line of services than another. There are those companies that specialize in interior designing for commercial buildings and there are those that have full-service offers in handyman services.

While there is a wide array of services that you can consider for your humble abode, two kinds of professionals are highly demanded in the market these days because of the growing need of homeowners when it comes to home improvement needs. Right before you hire a service provider who is professional enough in updating and reviving the glow of your home, you have to take into good consideration the difference between a professional service provider and a remodeling contractor.

A general contractor is one kind of professional that you can hire if there is a need for several specialists to take care of your home improvement needs. He is the person responsible in supervising the project and assuring that the tasks involved to complete the project are appropriate for the scheduled time.

Furthermore, he makes it a point that the entire project is suitable for the budget you have agreed upon. There are times when this kind of service provider will not be the one to do the work in improving your home. He takes care of the hiring of specialists or subcontractors who will be the point of contact in the necessary duties of the project.

Remodeling Contractor

This type of service provider is a team of professionals who specializes in renovating and remodeling different parts of a house. They are the ones who hire electricians, interior designers, handymen, architects, and any other pertinent specialists who can take good care of your home improvement needs.

There is a different between an entity that focuses on remodeling and one that is commonly referred to as a professional service provider. A remodeling contractor has the tendency to offer various services that a professional service provider does not usually offer to homeowners.

One good advantage of hiring this kind of contractor is the inclusive warranties that they offer to their client. If you are about to decide on which kind of contractor you want to work with in improving your house, it is always best to determine your needs so that you will be able to hire the most effective professionals for your project.



Source by Fidelio Orosco

Evaluating Change

How to Evaluate Change

The final and most important stage of the change planning process is to determine which measures you will use to monitor and evaluate the project outcomes (i.e. were the objectives met?). For example, if the aim was to increase productivity, your measures might include the collation of figures relating to outputs, levels of variation and errors in order to check that they have increased or decreased favourably.

The timeframe over which the measures will be taken should also be determined at the outset, especially when in a turn-around situation where instant results are required. It is essential that you take measures before the commencement of a change or improvement project so that there is sufficient data to compare post-project results to.

How you measure the objectives will depend on the change project, examples of which follow:

Organisational performance – Finance

Organisations often embark on change programmes to improve the financial performance of the organisation in order to increase shareholder value. Here, financial measures are used:

  • Turnover
  • Profit
  • Cost
  • Return on Investment (ROI)
  • Loss
  • Share Price

Organisational performance – HR

Organisational performance is heavily dependent on, and influenced by, the level of engagement of its staff. Measuring the effectiveness of the HR function can often reveal issues that impact directly on the bottom line. Here, engagement and employee satisfaction measures are used:

  • rate of staff turnover and associated recruitment costs
  • absenteeism
  • average length of service
  • number of disciplinary and grievance cases
  • results of employee surveys

The analysis of the information gleaned from the measures would not only reveal the current level of engagement, but would also help set targets, objectives and budgets for succession planning, training and development initiatives and recruitment.

Productivity

It should be common practice for organisations to regularly examine their systems of efficiency around the creation of outputs and change or amend them accordingly. Productivity measures centre on:

  • the time, costs and resources needed to design, develop, create and deliver a product or service.
  • the quantity of outputs, or number of customers served, etc..
  • the amount of variation in the quality of the products or services, i.e. the number of errors or defects

These types of measures are easily quantifiable and can be obtained from production, financial and sales reports. They will be statistical in nature and many organisations will have automated systems, particularly on production lines and in call centres, for recording the data.

It’s imperative to know whether a change initiative has had the desired effect or not. Therefore, it is very important that you determine at the outset of the project what outcomes are expected, how you will measure them and when.

Dependent on the initiative, your measures will either focus on the performance of functions, processes or people. There are numerous ways in which to measure performance outcomes using data, figures or subjective information. Whichever method you use it is, of course, important to measure levels of performance prior to any project then compare them again afterwards. Remember that some initiatives will be monitored over a period of time, while others will be designed to create immediate improvements.



Source by S Park