Investment Guide to Mutual Fund Investing

This down-to-earth investment guide is geared to investing for beginners. In this investment guide you will learn to invest with your eyes open, plus: what mutual funds are, what kinds are available, and how to save cash when you invest money.

Investing for beginners is like learning how to swim. Not recommended: jumping in over your head in choppy waters off the coast of Maine in January to learn the butterfly stroke. Suggestion: learn to float first, getting your face wet under calm clear water.

Don’t try to learn to invest by speculating in the stock market or in the bond pits, either. Start investing in mutual funds where professionals pick the stocks and bonds for you. These funds are designed for the investing public. In my opinion, at least 95% of the investing public is best off investing here. Mutual funds simply pool money from investors and manage a portfolio of securities like stocks and bonds for the investors. You simply invest money in a lump sum, like $5000; or periodically, like $200 per month. The money you invest buys you shares in a fund.

The vast majority of funds fall into one of four categories based on what they invest in: stocks (also called equities), bonds, money market investments, and a combination of all of the above. For example, if you invest money in an equity fund, just about all of it will likely be invested in stocks.

Equity funds are the riskiest and have the greatest profit potential, with growth and perhaps some income as their primary objective. Bond funds invest in bonds to earn higher income for investors at a moderate level of risk, generally. Money market funds are the safest and pay interest rates that vary with interest rates in the economy. Balanced funds are the fourth category and invest in a balance of the other three major investment asset classes; and this makes them a great place to start investing.

Income or interest earned in a mutual fund is paid to investors in the form of dividends. Most investors simply choose to have their dividends automatically reinvested to buy additional shares in the fund in order to make their investment grow faster. What makes investing for beginners a challenge is that each general fund category has a number of varieties.

Now here’s your basic investment guide to saving money when you start investing. There are two primary costs when you invest money in funds: sales charges called LOADS, and yearly expenses. You pay a sales charge when you buy funds through a representative. For example, you write a check out for $10,000 and hand it to your financial planner who works on commission. Then, 5% comes off the top to pay for sales charges; and each year you are invested, expenses are automatically deducted from your investment. These yearly expenses can be 2% or more of the value of your investment.

Or you can buy NO-LOAD funds directly from some of the biggest and best fund companies in America and pay NO sales charges, with less than 1% a year deducted for management and other expenses. To cut costs even more go with index funds of either the stock or bond variety. Index funds simply track an index of securities, rather than trying to outperform the stock or bond market. Expenses are low because management costs are low; sometimes costing you less than ¼% a year. Plus, index funds have another advantage. You won’t beat the markets, but you shouldn’t under perform them either.

Investing for beginners need not be a game of sink or swim. Call a no-load fund company that deals directly with the public and ask for a free investor starter kit. Then start investing when you feel comfortable, and save cash when you invest money. If you have a limited financial background I suggest you find and read a complete investment guide before you invest.

A retired financial planner, James Leitz has an MBA (finance) and 35 years of investing experience. For 20 years he advised individual investors, working directly with them helping them to reach their financial goals.

The Best Investment Guide

The best investment guide would cover investment options and investment strategy. This investment guide would be complete and start with basic financial concepts and expand to include the entire universe of investments. That’s a tall order, so let’s just start with a simple version, and talk about all of the investments in the world in plain English.

Your best investment is a good, complete investment guide. I’ve been tuned in to the world of investing for 35 years and have read over 100 books on investments and investing. Most of them center on the stock market or some form of investment technique or get-rich-quick scheme. Many are time sensitive and out of date by the time you read them. Many tell you how to invest money like the author did when he made his millions.

What you seldom get with an investment guide or book is an understanding of investment basics and a simplified blueprint of your many investment options. So, here’s your simplest and free best investment guide to all of the investments in the world. There are only 4 different investments or asset classes out there depending on how you categorize things. Once you bring it down to this level you have a basic framework to work with.

CASH EQUIVALENTS and other safe investments pay interest. Either your principal or rate of interest is fixed for a period of time. Examples include U.S. Treasury bills, money market mutual funds and bank savings accounts. Advantages include high liquidity (access to your money) and safety, low risk.

BONDS are long-term debt instruments and they pay more interest income than the above. Examples include U.S. Treasury bonds, corporate bonds and bond funds of various types. Advantages include relatively high interest income with a moderate level of risk.

EQUITIES or STOCKS represent ownership in a corporation. Examples include blue chip stocks, growth stocks and equity funds. Advantages include ample liquidity, growth and some income in the form of dividends. Risk is significant and profit potential is high.

ALTERNATIVE INVESTMENTS is our final category. Examples include real estate, gold, and foreign investments. Advantages include high profit potential and an alternative to stocks when they are out of favor. Risk can be significant here as well.

That’s about as simple as an investment guide can get. All investment options can be fit into one of these asset classes. The important thing is that you have a perspective, and that you understand the investment characteristics of any investment before you invest money. For example, someone pitches an investment to you. Where does it fit in our above format?

How does it rate in terms of: safety, liquidity, growth and profit potential, income provided and risk? All investment options can be and should be rated in terms of the above to assure that they fit your needs and risk profile.

If you learn how to invest you’ll have a means of supporting yourself for the rest of your life. Once you have a sound understanding of investment basics you’ve built a great foundation for learning how to invest. The best investment guide would cover both.

A retired financial planner, James Leitz has an MBA (finance) and 35 years of investing experience. For 20 years he advised individual investors, working directly with them helping them to reach their financial goals.

How to Invest and Prosper

Learn how to invest money and prosper; or don’t learn how to invest and continue to invest and lose money. It’s fun to invest money when you are winning. Get a financial education and see for yourself. You will NEVER feel left out once you know how to invest with a sound investment strategy. Let’s start that financial education now.

INVESTMENT BASICS

You can not put together a complete investment strategy without an understanding of the investments that are included in the package. Nor can you build your own house without knowledge of the pieces, parts, and tools required. Concentrate on investment basics before you decide on what plan to go with, or you may not be able to finish the job successfully. This means that you need to understand the investment characteristics of stocks and bonds, and how they compare to each other and to other investment alternatives.

Only then can you learn how to invest and put together a complete investment strategy. Like I said, it’s fun to invest when you’re making money; but you’ve got to start with the investment basics. Most people don’t know stocks from bonds. Start by reading articles or other publications that get down to the basics. For example: what are stocks, what are their risks and potential rewards, and how do they compare to bonds and other investment alternatives.

Now you are ready to learn about mutual funds, which are the investment of choice for most average investors. For most people they are the easiest and best way to invest in stocks and bonds, plus other asset classes. Mutual funds are simply investment packages that are professionally managed for you. To pick the right funds you’ll need to understand the asset class they invest in: stocks, bonds, money market or specialty (other).

HOW TO INVEST

Now you’re ready to learn how to invest and put the pieces together with a sound investment strategy. ASSET ALLOCATION is a crucial part of your investing and financial education, because how you allocate your money to the various asset classes will determine your success or failure… more than anything else. Simply put, how much should you invest in stocks vs. bonds vs. other investments? This is also called your asset mix. It’s much more important than what specific investments or funds you pick.

Once you’ve put a balanced portfolio of investments together you’ve got a great foundation. But if you want to continue to build and prosper you’ll need an ongoing investment strategy to make additions and changes over time as necessary. Read articles on investment strategy, asset allocation, and how to invest. It will all come together for you if you start at the beginning and build a step at a time.

Learn to invest like your financial future depends on it. With Uncle Sam in debt up to his eyeballs and employers fighting to survive, it does.

A retired financial planner, James Leitz has an MBA (finance) and 35 years of investing experience. For 20 years he advised individual investors, working directly with them helping them to reach their financial goals.

All Credit Cards Are Good

All credit cards offer many benefits and features. Some come with a few disadvantages. To convey my point I will leave the disadvantages for others to write about. All credit cards are good in their own way for their own purpose and for that specific applicant. There are many credit cards for applicants with good credit, bad credit or with no credit at all. There are the so called “bad credit cards” and the “good credit cards.” Bad credit cards fit consumers looking to build “good credit.” Good credit cards fit consumers with good credit looking to take advantage of benefits that suit their daily lives. So are all credit cards good? Yes, because in some cases you have to start somewhere and sometimes, it comes at a price.

Consumers with good credit attract the credit cards that would better suit their income, credit history, spending habits and paying habits. Many credit cards that approach consumers with good credit tend to offer great transfer rates and lower interest rates on future purchases as long as the consumer’s credit doesn’t change in the wrong direction. Everyone has their individual needs and perceptions of their credit. So the only challenging factor for someone with good credit is to maintain the good credit status and keep a close eye on your credit limit to credit debt ratio. In my opinion, your ratio should be at around 25% to 40% because it is a responsible level to be proactive in managing your credit cards. A 25% credit limit to credit debt ratio would be $250.00 balance on a $1,000.00 credit limit. Investing in a credit monitoring service also helps to keep a third eye on your credit so you can focus on your busy life.

Consumers with bad credit attract the credit cards that seem to be outrageous because of interest rate, credit line or terms of the agreement such as annual fees and processing fees. In my opinion, their is no such thing as a bad credit card as long as they report the account to Experian, Transunion and Equifax (CSC Credit Service). Instead of them being called bad credit cards they should be called credit building cards. If you cannot get over yourself by accepting a credit building card, maybe a secured credit card from your bank would be the best choice as long as they report to the credit bureau. Never think bad credit is forever or that it can’t ever improve, it can with responsible steps. If you get a so called bad credit card then make sure you fulfill your end of the agreement, and don’t make excuses for not paying on time or letting it charge off because it was only $300.00. I think one factor that makes that type of card good is that the credit lines are usually no more than $500.00. That low of a credit line is a good thing because worst case scenario your minimum payment is between $15.00 – $25.00. Not bad for establishing a credit line that will be worth dividends in the long run. Yes, it will benefit you as time is established behind the credit card. Credit building cards are only short term because once you have began to establish yourself with 2 – 3 credit building cards your score will reflect the responsible habits and your score will begin to rise. So are bad credit cards good, of course they are.

Whether you have good or bad credit cards the responsibility is the same. Make your payments on time and watch your credit limit to credit debt ratio. These two simple steps, if followed consistently, will keep your credit cards as the good benchmark for your credit score to be based from. I have only referenced your credit cards that allow minimum payments and not any other types of credit cards or other credit lines on your credit report. I have also not referenced the impact of derogatory items on your credit report that would affect the establishing of your credit. All cards have benefits and features that are advantageous to consumers or contain hidden value, even if the card does not seem very desirable. When you decide to get any credit card base it on your own financial need and on the advantages that will benefit you and your credit profile. Credit is life and life is credit, understand it wisely.

All Credit Cards Are Good

All credit cards offer many benefits and features. Some come with a few disadvantages. To convey my point I will leave the disadvantages for others to write about. All credit cards are good in their own way for their own purpose and for that specific applicant. There are many credit cards for applicants with good credit, bad credit or with no credit at all. There are the so called “bad credit cards” and the “good credit cards.” Bad credit cards fit consumers looking to build “good credit.” Good credit cards fit consumers with good credit looking to take advantage of benefits that suit their daily lives. So are all credit cards good? Yes, because in some cases you have to start somewhere and sometimes, it comes at a price.

Consumers with good credit attract the credit cards that would better suit their income, credit history, spending habits and paying habits. Many credit cards that approach consumers with good credit tend to offer great transfer rates and lower interest rates on future purchases as long as the consumer’s credit doesn’t change in the wrong direction. Everyone has their individual needs and perceptions of their credit. So the only challenging factor for someone with good credit is to maintain the good credit status and keep a close eye on your credit limit to credit debt ratio. In my opinion, your ratio should be at around 25% to 40% because it is a responsible level to be proactive in managing your credit cards. A 25% credit limit to credit debt ratio would be $250.00 balance on a $1,000.00 credit limit. Investing in a credit monitoring service also helps to keep a third eye on your credit so you can focus on your busy life.

Consumers with bad credit attract the credit cards that seem to be outrageous because of interest rate, credit line or terms of the agreement such as annual fees and processing fees. In my opinion, their is no such thing as a bad credit card as long as they report the account to Experian, Transunion and Equifax (CSC Credit Service). Instead of them being called bad credit cards they should be called credit building cards. If you cannot get over yourself by accepting a credit building card, maybe a secured credit card from your bank would be the best choice as long as they report to the credit bureau. Never think bad credit is forever or that it can’t ever improve, it can with responsible steps. If you get a so called bad credit card then make sure you fulfill your end of the agreement, and don’t make excuses for not paying on time or letting it charge off because it was only $300.00. I think one factor that makes that type of card good is that the credit lines are usually no more than $500.00. That low of a credit line is a good thing because worst case scenario your minimum payment is between $15.00 – $25.00. Not bad for establishing a credit line that will be worth dividends in the long run. Yes, it will benefit you as time is established behind the credit card. Credit building cards are only short term because once you have began to establish yourself with 2 – 3 credit building cards your score will reflect the responsible habits and your score will begin to rise. So are bad credit cards good, of course they are.

Whether you have good or bad credit cards the responsibility is the same. Make your payments on time and watch your credit limit to credit debt ratio. These two simple steps, if followed consistently, will keep your credit cards as the good benchmark for your credit score to be based from. I have only referenced your credit cards that allow minimum payments and not any other types of credit cards or other credit lines on your credit report. I have also not referenced the impact of derogatory items on your credit report that would affect the establishing of your credit. All cards have benefits and features that are advantageous to consumers or contain hidden value, even if the card does not seem very desirable. When you decide to get any credit card base it on your own financial need and on the advantages that will benefit you and your credit profile. Credit is life and life is credit, understand it wisely.

Credit Cards For Bad Credit

Bad credit credit cards are offered by many banks as financial tools to help people establish or re-establish their good credit rating. Bad credit credit cards are primarily intended to make it easier to obtain and re-build credit, which is good for consumers and merchants as well. For all practical purposes, bad credit credit cards are just like regular credit cards, but they are specifically for high risk cardholders. If you have arrears, defaults and general bad credit score or bad credit rating, you may find that bad credit credit cards are available to you. Bad credit credit cards are considered the best choice for credit card deals if your credit score is below 550.

If you find that there are problems in approval of a traditional credit card then you can apply for other options like prepaid debit card, First Premiere Bank Cards and Orchard Cards and secured credit cards. Applying for these cards is exactly like applying for a standard credit card, with applications available on paper and online. Bad credit credit cards typically have a higher interest rate and lower credit limit than standard credit cards, but the issuers are more lenient when looking at past credit history. The fact that bad credit credit cards carry a high interest rate (most likely 20% or more) shouldn’t prevent you from getting one in an effort to get your credit back on track. Still, it is true that bad credit credit cards must be used responsibly, or your situation will just worsen.

From astronomically-high interest rates to ridiculously-exorbitant fees, erroneous information abounds. When it comes to bad credit credit cards, the myths definitely abound. In fact, bad credit credit cards are some of the most misunderstood financial tools of all time. Fortunately, the myths are oftentimes unfounded and bad credit credit cards are no longer the stigma they used to be. You might be relieved to find out that bad credit credit cards can actually have pretty decent interest rates. With so many credit card companies and so many different offers, it’s easier than ever for consumers to take advantage of reward programs. However, you must consider the factors such as financing fees, annual fees, introductory offers, credit requirements, availability of online banking, and others.

In spite of the additional fees bad credit credit cards are an excellent method for the people with bad or no credit, to improve their credit rating and to enjoy the benefits of credit cards. There are many other benefits to consider, which might be more valuable than a low rate. By paying off the monthly balance and avoiding high interest rates, you steer clear of more debt and show yourself to be a lower risk borrower over time. However, as you maintain regular payments, the creditor may gradually increase the spending limit. If you use a bad credit credit card for small purchases for a year or two and consistently pay the entire balance every month, not only will you not be charged interest, but you will rebuild your credit and be able to get lower rate loans in the future.

As you can see, bad credit credit cards are unique cards geared towards people who have had trouble getting approved for a standard unsecured credit card. However even with bad credit, its still possible to find a credit card for you, even if it means that you have to pay a slightly higher rate of interest. So if you are trying to rebuild your credit don’t think about it to much because bad credit credit cards when used properly are a cheap way to rebuild your credit.

Eight Ways to Reduce the Cost of Your Banking

Banks are a necessary part of any modern financial system. However, that doesn’t mean you should pay more in fees or charges than you have to. Listed below are eight money saving tips to help you get the most out of your banking, and minimise and fees or charges.

Tip 1: Sign up for banking alerts: Many banks provide SMS alerts before bills and payments are to be made. Sign up for this service. This way you will be less likely to forget about bills and pay late payment fees. It will also warn you when your Gucci shopping wife is on the rampage. Get that bottle of vodka ready!

Tip 2: Take advantage of FSA: Flexible spending accounts let you set aside money on a pre-tax basis for medical expenses. Generally they are offered by employers under health benefits. It can definitely be worth it.

Tip 3: Avoid loan products with early payout fees: If you have to get a loan, avoid one that has an early pay out fee. These fees can be quite substantial and punish you for paying off a loan early.

Tip 4: Keep an eye on bank deals: Banks often keep their best deals for new customers. Every 12 months keep an eye out for a Bank that may have a better deal. If you bring five or six accounts over, you may be rewarded even more.

Tip 5: Transaction fees when refinancing your mortgage:: when refinancing your mortgage, keep an eye on what banks offer no transaction fees if you bring your mortgage over to them. Transaction fees can be quite significant.

Tip 6: Balance your Cheque book every month: Writing cheques that bounce will cost you between $20 and $35. Make sure you always have the money before writing a cheque. But if you do have one bounce depending on your credit history the banks can be surprisingly forgiving and refund you the money. Worth a try. Although not where we live as expats…if a cheque bounces it is a criminal offence and you have to go to court and possibly jail (definitely a good incentive to balance the books!)

Tip 7: Keep minimum funds in your cheque account: Cheque accounts don’t earn large amounts of interest, therefore it makes sense to transfer access money in these accounts to your savings accounts where they earn a higher rate of Interest. Just make sure that you have enough in the account to cover all of the checks that you write. As recommended above, $1000 is good.

Tip 8: Use a no fee cheque account: Why should you pay for writing your cheques. Find a bank that offers a no fee checking account. There are quite a few banks out there that offer these accounts. Something, you have to have a minimum balance. If this is the case weight up the difference between paying fees and the Interest you would earn in a normal account. Go with the one that saves you or makes you the most money.

5 Tips in Buying a Bank Owned REO

The new home sales index came out today and it reported that 46% of new home purchases in this market are foreclosures. Construction is down 65%, building permits are at an all time low, and the deepening housing values are making it harder for homeowners to refinance to lower rates or pull cash out of their homes. Is it all doom and gloom? Not for the first time home buyer or investor looking to make a profit on buying a foreclosure. The following are ten tips that will ensure you a smooth process from loan application to closing and funding your first deal. Foreclosures are at a record number right now, and each and every day, more and more of these properties are coming on the market, which means opportunity for you. The buyer.

TIP #1
Get pre-qualified
This is the first and most important step in the home buying process. With the tightening of credit with all lending institutions, you need to be prepared on this step, and get with your mortgage broker and loan officer to find the right mortgage product for you. Within minutes, a good loan officer, can tell you how much of a home you will qualify for, with the information you give them for your income and assets. Normally Debt to Income Ratios will not exceed 45%, however, even in this market, we have seen automated loan approvals up to 65%. Getting a pre-qualification letter from your loan officer is vital to the home buying process, and should be given to either your real estate agent, or the agent of the seller, to prove that you are fit to buy the home, and that you willing, able, and ready to be a buyer.

TIP#2
Receive Daily and Weekly MLS Lists
Let’s quickly define what a bank reo is. It simply means that the property owner went into a foreclosure, and no one bought it for cash at the auction. When this happens, the foreclosing bank, will hold onto the asset, which is (REO) Real Estate Owned, by the bank. Each and every day that this property is not sold, the bank is losing money on this property and paying interest on it. Normally, with many lending institutions, their fiscal year ends Dec 31st, so they are more willing to negotiate on better terms for you, the buyer, so they can finally get this asset off their books, post their 4th quarter loss, and move forward.

Once a property is bought back from the bank as an reo, it is normally listed with a selling agent assigned from the bank, to list the property on the MLS. Multiple Listing Service. A good way to get these lists emailed to your inbox, would be to first find a Real Estate Agent that you are comfortable working with, and who can accommodate your request to start receiving these reo lists. You can even tailor it to equity position, zip code, square feet, seller contributions, etc.

TIP#3
Be Prepared To Make a Solid Offer
Many potential buyers and investors get excited when they are sitting with their real estate agent, who is preparing to write an offer to the seller. An offer is only binding when it is accepted by the seller, so many people take advantage of this. A bad approach for putting an offer together would be to lowball the seller and offer way less then the property is worth. Many investors will subscribe to this strategy in putting many offers in on properties daily, 40% to 50% below the asking price, in an attempt to hopefully get a really great deal on the property. When putting your offer together, make sure that you have a solid offer. What I mean by this is try to avoid having contingencies that might cause the seller to not accept your offer. If you are trying to sell your home now, and take the profits from that sale to buy your new home, is an example of something being contingent on you being able to purchase the home. A banks will look at all offers, and if there are multiple offers on a bank owned properties, they will usually see who will pay the most for the property. Also, be aware that real estate investing is a career for many people, and they are here in Colorado in big numbers. Hedge fund groups, private investors, wall street types, all have representatives here in Denver, waiting for properties to come on the market at a deep enough discount, so they can buy it for cash, and flip it for a profit. It happens every day. Usually the bank is willing to go with the investor on a multiple offer purchase, because the investor will pay cash, while you are financing the loan for up to 30 years. Some banks have even commented on the type of loan you are getting and will go with the investor for that reason. A recent example is of a lender who said FHA were not strong, and that worried the lender, with the tightening of credit. The lender opted to go to the investor who was paying cash.

TIP#4
Be Aware Of Cash Investors As Property Drops On the Asking Price
A perfect example of this was on a duplex for sale in the Denver, CO area. The asking price was $165,000 and the comparables in the neighborhood had the property listed at a 10% discount. This was in quarter 2 of 2008. My client put his offer in at $155K, and it was denied or rejected. In early November of this year, which is Quarter 4, which is the indication of the last quarter of fiscal year business for many banks and companies. The property still did not sell, and the bank dropped the price to $130K. That is another 10-20% drop in price, and my client offered the fill ask of $130K. What happened at this point, was that the investors watching the property, knowing their profit points, entered on this deal in a cash only deal for $130K as well. The bank reviewed both offers, however the deal went to the investor because they had cash to close in full for $130K right away. You need to be aware that there are many great real estate deals out there, however the deeper the discount, the more eyes are on the property. A smart thing to do would be to try and obtain property at least 10-15% below value, since many of these cash only investors are looking for equity positions on the purchase of 30%-40% below market value.

TIP#5
Have The Bank Pay All Closing Costs and Minor Fix-Ups
On owner occupied properties, you can receive up to 6% seller concessions on your loan. What that means is that the seller will agree to pay up to 6% closing costs, to induce you to buy the property. A good example is of a VA loan I did for my clients last month, where they bought the property using their VA benefit for $315,000. Under VA guidelines, the seller can pay up to 4% of the closing costs, which in this case was $12,600. The entire loan was paid for by the bank, they bought down their interest rate to a lower 5.5% rate, in addition to the bank fixing up the built in pool in the backyard, and putting in a new pool liner and cover. Banks will do whatever is necessary to induce the buyer to move in, if they have a solid offer.

4 Tips for Buying Bank REO Foreclosure Properties

If I could give you only one word of advice for buying a property in the turmoil of today’s distressed housing market, it would be REO. REO is an acronym for “Real Estate Owned” and it refers to all properties owned by a bank after they have foreclosed on the previous owner for non-payment of their mortgage. Banks are a for-profit business and having REO properties severely impact their profitability. If you looking to buy a property for up to 70 percent below market value, buy an REO.

Anyone with a pulse and the desire to purchase a home has the same goal of buying REO properties just like you. This means there is a lot of competition that you will have to overcome to get your dream property. Some people shy away from competition because they are resigned to the thought they will not be successful in purchasing the property. Let me give you some tips on how to greatly improve your chance of crushing your competition and get your offer accepted.

Tip 1: Money talks

The quicker a bank can sell a property, the better it is for their bottom line. If your offer is contingent on getting a mortgage that slows the time frame for you to close to 30 days or more, the bank will jump your offer for one that will close much quicker. Banks will accept a lower priced offer over a higher priced offer if the lower priced offer can close in a few days instead of a month or longer. If you are able to make an all cash offer and can close in a week, your offer will immediately be put at the top of the pile and will have the best chance of being accepted by the bank.

Tip 2: Highest Net Price Wins

Banks use a form called a HUD-1 or a Net Sheet to evaluate competing offers. This form shows the net amount the bank will receive on an offer after paying for all commissions, closing costs and other fees. The highest offer price doesn’t always win but the highest net offer will almost always be accepted. If you are relying on financing in your offer, don’t ask for many concessions from the bank so that your net offer to the bank will be high. This will allow you to purchase properties when you require financing and may allow you to beat out all cash offers.

Tip 3: AS-IS

Most banks want to dump a property as quickly as possible. They are definitely not interested in paying someone to fix up the property to your standard just to get you to purchase the property. Banks will rarely, if ever, make repairs to a REO property that they are selling. So do not ask for them to make repairs in your offer.

Tip 4: Pre-Qualified or Proof of Funds

If banks enter into a contract with you to purchase their property, they want assurances that you will be able to actually close on the property. This assurance can be found in a pre-qualification letter from a bank that states you have met their requirements to qualify for a loan that will allow you to purchase the property. If you are an all-cash buyer, you can offer then a Proof of Funds letter from your bank that states you have the necessary funds available to purchase the property without requiring financing.

There is a pot of gold waiting at the end of the REO rainbow. Follow these tips and you will be able to crush your competition and buy your dream REO property.

Simple Tips To Protect Your Online Bank Account

It seems like everyone is using online banking to manage their money. Online banking is great because it allows fast access to your money and a wealth of convenient services.

But how would you feel checking your bank statement one afternoon only to realize that you’ve been wiped out?

Unlike a real bank, with online banking your money isn’t protected inside a big steel vault. Instead, it is being guarded by computers and webpages. This creates an attractive target for hackers to try to steal your savings without having to shower, put down their Mountain Dew, or leave their parents’ basement.

If you don’t know these 5 Safety Tips for Protecting Your Online Bank Account, you are putting your nest egg at risk.

Tip 1 – Use an Insured Bank
If your bank is insured, then you have nothing to worry about if your account is robbed. Sure, it may be inconvenient dealing with the process, but you’ll get your money back (up to a maximum insured amount – currently $250,000 in the United States). To figure out whether your bank is safe, look for a sign saying “FDIC,” which stands for the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation. Even though it’s called a corporation, don’t worry: it’s backed by the government, so your money should be returned to you.

Tip 2 – Do not Online Bank Using a Public Computer
Public computers are ones shared by a lot of people. For example, they can be found at the library, an internet café, or a high school. Because so many people have access to these computers, accessing your banking account puts your money at risk in at least two ways. First, someone may have placed a virus on the computer to track every keystroke you make. Second, sometimes computers store sensitive information in their cache which could be accessed by anyone. Both of these allow for someone to easily hack your account later on.

Tip 3 – Remember to Sign Out
Always remember to sign out of your online banking account, even on your home computer. A roommate could accidental use your account thinking it was theirs and mess things up. At work a coworker could get your information. If you are not physically at your computer, you should be signed out of your account.

Tip 4 – Don’t Put Too Much Personal Information Online
Many banks use the same basic security questions if you forget your password. Don’t put sensitive information, like your high school mascot or your first car, online. Otherwise, it is too easy for hackers to access the information and try to break into your account by claiming they lost their password.

Tip 5 – Create Unique Passwords
Building on the previous tip, make sure your password isn’t something that could be easily guessed at by someone viewing your Facebook profile. Use a mixture of upper- and lower-case letters, symbols, and numbers. And try not to use the same password for all your accounts. Otherwise, if a hacker gets one account, she can get them all.

Breath Deep, You’ve Learned How to Protect Your Online Bank Account

While the world of online banking can be a scary place, you minimize your exposure a lot by following these simple, easy tips! Of course, there’s always more you can do to protect yourself…