Archive | August 2013

Chiacgo (9 photos), by Michael Wagner Vero Beach Florida Chief Marketing Strategist


I’d like to share my Snapfish photos with you. Once you have checked out my photos you can order prints and upload your own photos to share.
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One Bright Night, by Michael Wagner Vero Beach Florida


I’d like to share my Snapfish photos with you. Once you have checked out my photos you can order prints and upload your own photos to share.
Click here to view photos

Michael Wagner Vero Beach Florida

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Duane Michael Wagner Vero Beach Florida, Chief Marketing Strategist

Buying a house? Don’t make these mistakes

U.S. NewsBy Kimberly Palmer | U.S. News – Mon, Aug 5, 2013 3:46 PM EDT

  • Yahoo! Homes/Thinkstock –

 

First-time homebuyers can get easily side-tracked by fixable “problems,” like an unappealing paint color, and they often overlook hidden costs of home ownership like maintenance expenses. Such rookie errors are hardly their own fault, since they lack the experience that comes with owning property over time. With low mortgage rates luring many newbies into the marketplace, we gathered up four of the classic mistakes they tend to make:

1) Being turned off by problems that are easily fixed. According to a survey by Coldwell Banker, almost nine in 10 first-time buyers are looking for move-in ready homes. They don’t want to have to fix the kitchen or redo the bathroom before settling in. They also want to live near shops, their work and “highly-rated” schools.

While location isn’t negotiable, many smaller fixes are, such as a dirty carpet or scratched hardwood floor. Jane Hodges, author of the book “Rent Versus Own,” was concerned about cracks in the plaster of her first home, but she later found they were just a cosmetic blemish that could easily be painted over. Hodges suggests asking your real estate agent for help understanding how costly fixes will be and to grill the home inspector as well. “Buyers sometimes focus on things like carpet, but that’s really a renter’s mentality. They forget you can make all these changes,” she says. (Read: When Homeowners Insurance Won’t Protect You.)

The buyer-friendly market means that many first-time buyers can satisfy their high standards. Most participants in the Coldwell Banker survey of 300 first-time buyers found they could buy a home sooner than they expected – and at a better price than they expected. Four in 10 got more space and half scored a neighborhood that exceeded their expectations.

[Thinking about buying a home? Click to compare mortgage interest rates from lenders now.]

The lesson: High standards can work to your advantage, but don’t forget that some fixes, like cosmetic makeovers, are relatively easy (and cheap).

2) Overlooking hidden costs. In addition to the down payment and subsequent regular mortgage payments, home ownership also brings a slew of other expenses, from closing costs, to appliance maintenance, to homeowners insurance. That’s why Hodges warns against doing a simple comparison of monthly rental payments versus mortgage payments. Home maintenance typically costs 1 to 3 percent of the purchase price, which is as much as $9,000 a year on a $300,000 home. “If your motivator is that rent is going up, you need to think about the actual operating costs,” Hodges says. “Homes might not be as cheap as they look,” she adds, especially if you buy a distressed property that hasn’t been well-cared for in recent years.(Read: What Can you Afford: House, Car or Vacation?)

The lesson: Leave plenty of room in your budget to absorb the extra expenses of homeownership. That usually means borrowing far less than the bank approves and taking expected income fluctuations into account.

3) Failing to budget for DIY projects. Not so long ago, do-it-yourself television shows and Home Depot ads lent an air of romance to giving your home a little TLC. But more recently, the art of fixing up houses has fallen out of favor. According to market research firm Mintel, the DIY home improvement market has fallen 21 percent in the last 10 years. The reason appears to be financial. While about one in four would-be-DIYers say they want to start on a major renovation, they simply can’t afford it right now.

[Click to shop around and compare mortgage interest rates from multiple lenders now.]

The lesson: When purchasing a home, reserve some cash for needed DIY projects during the first year of home ownership. (See: 50 Smart Money Moves.)

4) Misunderstanding new homeowners insurance coverage. New homeowners often falsely believe that their homeowners insurance covers flooding, for example. A 2012 report from the Consumer Federation of America found that consumers are often surprised by their expenses, including deductibles and coverage gaps, after they experience an event, such as a hurricane or fire, that requires them to work with their insurance company.

The lesson: Read the fine print of your insurance coverage, and if you don’t understand it, talk it through with your agent or insurer.

Since there are bound to be plenty of unexpected costs during that first year of home ownership, padding your budget can prevent late-night panic attacks when the dishwasher starts leaking all over your new floor.

 ImageMichael Wagner Chief Marketing Strategist Vero Beach Florida

Michael Wagner Vero Beach Florida

Russian Man Who Got Bank to Sign Homemade Credit Card Contract Now Suing Them for Not Following Terms

Business InsiderBy Adam Taylor | Business Insider – 23 hours ago

 

 

Tinkoff Credit Systems

In 2008, Dmitry Agarkov received anunsolicited letter from Tinkoff Credit Systems (TCS) offering the 42-year-old Russian man a credit card with what he found to be unattractive rates.

While most people would have just thrown away the letter, Agarkov decided to do something different. He scanned the contract in the letter into his computer and altered it in his favor, including, for example, a 0% interest rate, no fees, and no credit limit. Moreover, every time the bank didn’t stick to these rules, they’d be fined 3 million rubles — $91,000 — which of course would go to Agarkov. If they broke the contract, they’d have to pay Agarkov 6 million rubles ($182,000).

Agarkov’s altered contract was, surprisingly, accepted and he received a credit card. “The Bank confirmed its agreement to the client’s terms and sent him a credit card and a copy of the approved application form,” Agarkov’s lawyer Dmitry Mikhalevich told Kommersant this week.

Two years later TCS sought to close the account due to overdue payments, and at this point, things began to get difficult.

Russia Today reports that in 2012 TCS decided to sue Agarkov for 45,000 rubles ($1,363), an amount that featured fees and charges not included in the altered contract. This week a Russian judge decided that Agarkov was right — as the bank had signed the contract (apparently without looking at it), they were legally bound to it, and Agarkov was only asked to pay his outstanding balance of 19,000 rubles ($575).

TCS isn’t out of trouble yet either. Agarkov has reportedly decided to sue the group for breaking the terms of the contract, allegedly for 24 million rubles ($727,000). The court will review his case in September, Russia Today reports.

In a counter move, RAPSI news agency reports that TCS is attempting to start a criminal case for fraud against Agarkov. TCS founder Oleg Tinkov took to Twitter to say that his lawyers think the 24 million rubles figure is a “pipe dream” and that Agarkov will get four years in prison for fraud. Agarkov’s lawyer told TV Rain that these comments made his client fear for his safety.ImageMichael Wagner Chief Marketing Strategist Vero Beach Florida

Duane Michael Wagner First Time home buyer mitakes

First-time homebuyers can get easily side-tracked by fixable “problems,” like an unappealing paint color, and they often overlook hidden costs of home ownership like maintenance expenses. Such rookie errors are hardly their own fault, since they lack the experience that comes with owning property over time. With low mortgage rates luring many newbies into the marketplace, we gathered up four of the classic mistakes they tend to make:

1) Being turned off by problems that are easily fixed. According to a survey by Coldwell Banker, almost nine in 10 first-time buyers are looking for move-in ready homes. They don’t want to have to fix the kitchen or redo the bathroom before settling in. They also want to live near shops, their work and “highly-rated” schools.

While location isn’t negotiable, many smaller fixes are, such as a dirty carpet or scratched hardwood floor. Jane Hodges, author of the book “Rent Versus Own,” was concerned about cracks in the plaster of her first home, but she later found they were just a cosmetic blemish that could easily be painted over. Hodges suggests asking your real estate agent for help understanding how costly fixes will be and to grill the home inspector as well. “Buyers sometimes focus on things like carpet, but that’s really a renter’s mentality. They forget you can make all these changes,” she says. (Read: When Homeowners Insurance Won’t Protect You.)

The buyer-friendly market means that many first-time buyers can satisfy their high standards. Most participants in the Coldwell Banker survey of 300 first-time buyers found they could buy a home sooner than they expected – and at a better price than they expected. Four in 10 got more space and half scored a neighborhood that exceeded their expectations.

[Thinking about buying a home? Click to compare mortgage interest rates from lenders now.]

The lesson: High standards can work to your advantage, but don’t forget that some fixes, like cosmetic makeovers, are relatively easy (and cheap).

2) Overlooking hidden costs. In addition to the down payment and subsequent regular mortgage payments, home ownership also brings a slew of other expenses, from closing costs, to appliance maintenance, to homeowners insurance. That’s why Hodges warns against doing a simple comparison of monthly rental payments versus mortgage payments. Home maintenance typically costs 1 to 3 percent of the purchase price, which is as much as $9,000 a year on a $300,000 home. “If your motivator is that rent is going up, you need to think about the actual operating costs,” Hodges says. “Homes might not be as cheap as they look,” she adds, especially if you buy a distressed property that hasn’t been well-cared for in recent years.(Read: What Can you Afford: House, Car or Vacation?)

The lesson: Leave plenty of room in your budget to absorb the extra expenses of homeownership. That usually means borrowing far less than the bank approves and taking expected income fluctuations into account.

3) Failing to budget for DIY projects. Not so long ago, do-it-yourself television shows and Home Depot ads lent an air of romance to giving your home a little TLC. But more recently, the art of fixing up houses has fallen out of favor. According to market research firm Mintel, the DIY home improvement market has fallen 21 percent in the last 10 years. The reason appears to be financial. While about one in four would-be-DIYers say they want to start on a major renovation, they simply can’t afford it right now.

[Click to shop around and compare mortgage interest rates from multiple lenders now.]

The lesson: When purchasing a home, reserve some cash for needed DIY projects during the first year of home ownership. (See: 50 Smart Money Moves.)

4) Misunderstanding new homeowners insurance coverage. New homeowners often falsely believe that their homeowners insurance covers flooding, for example. A 2012 report from the Consumer Federation of America found that consumers are often surprised by their expenses, including deductibles and coverage gaps, after they experience an event, such as a hurricane or fire, that requires them to work with their insurance company.

The lesson: Read the fine print of your insurance coverage, and if you don’t understand it, talk it through with your agent or insurer.

Since there are bound to be plenty of unexpected costs during that first year of home ownership, padding your budget can prevent late-night panic attacks when the dishwasher starts leaking all over your new floor.

 ImageMichael Wagner Chief Marketing Strategist