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June 29, 2017

7 Tips on How to Buy a Luxury Home

luxury home buyingLooking for a luxury home or condo? Don’t know how to find the best deal. The following 7 tips can help you buy your dream home.

1. Get familiar with the search process

Many luxury homes do not protect the privacy of their sellers. Those properties are quite often found later through the personal connections of Realtors. The large search engines don’t always cover everything you need. So, you may need to check a lot of online sources when searching for a real estate.

2. Go beyond the photos

Do not dismiss a real estate based on its front elevation photographs. The large homes and condos are often not photogenic. Your best bet would be to see a property in person. It’s also a good idea to do some search on Google Earth. This computer program can help you explore the property itself and its vicinity as well. This way you will be able to see what is around the home you’re looking for. You can also use the online search tools when searching for the luxurious properties. If you’re looking for a real estate within Hilton Head Island, make use of such a tool to find the best sea pines real estate.

3. Contact a local expert and reliable adviser

Once you’ve determined the location of your property, you should contact a buyer agent. A local expert can provide you with important info about the property you want to buy. Some high-end areas have a controlled access with the fewer open houses. Sometimes, you will have to make a few appointments to get access. Besides a local buyer agent, you should also hire a reliable Realtor for some suggestions.

4. Gather your financial documents

It is critical to document everything before heading to the high-end market. Pay attention to financial documentation in particular. People who are making a lot of money have an accountant or a manager to shelter their money.

5. Bank on your relationship

The banks keep the portfolios of their clients for many years. So make sure to go to the bank(s) you have the relationships with. It’s good to know the difference between the prequalification letter and pre-approval letter.

6. Don’t forget your title insurance

The title insurances ensure that you’re protected against possible issues that may occur. Before closing time, you need to take a look at the exceptions page. This page is included in the title insurance, but many people are not aware of it.

7. Get familiar with co-ops and condos

You need to know in advance what to expect with condominiums and cooperatives. Your attorney should represent you for condos and co-ops when you enter the field. The attorney should also do a thorough research on the financial viability of the real estate you are interested in. There is always a room to negotiate before you make an offer. Let your agent investigate the comparable real estates that have recently sold in that area. That will help you get the more affordable closing price.

Look into the future. Try to find out what buildings are planned around your property in the near future. And be aware of the timeline. Don’t tie your money up for an extended period of time. You may miss a good opportunity due to the construction delays.

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June 10, 2017

Time to Honor your Parents by gifting them a House

property to giftNo matter who you are and where you are, you can never fully repay your parents for all the care, love and sacrifices that they have made. Isn’t it?

But increasingly, many people who have already taken care off their financial responsibilities (like buying a house, paying for children’s education, etc.), are honoring their parents by gifting them a house. Also, father’s day is around the corner.

This is indeed a great gesture that shouldn’t be only evaluated from the financial angle.

Gift or not, there is no doubt that house purchases are major decisions. And they cost a lot of money. But if you too are planning to gift your parents a house, then it shouldn’t be a problem as home loans are easily available at very low rates. Ofcourse you need to have a good credit history and a reasonably good repayment capacity to avail home loans.

But even before getting into the financial aspect of the house purchase, you need to be careful before selecting a house for your parents. More so if they would be living in that house.

Any house that is to be occupied by senior people should be built keeping in mind the ease-of-use from seniors’ angle. Like if you are looking to buy a flat, then it should have the lift facility or it should be on the ground floor. To ensure proper ventilation and lighting, its better to opt for a house/flat that has more open windows/balconies.

Security is another factor while selecting a property for parents. If the flat being considered is in a residential society, then security aspect is taken care off. But if it’s a standalone house, then you need to think about how secure would the property be, if the parents were to live there alone. Of course all these factors will reduce the number of options (properties) that fit all your criteria. But that is necessary considering the limitations that seniors have.

So all in all, once you have taken care of most of your financial responsibilities, go ahead and surprise your parents with the biggest gift of their lives.

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December 16, 2016

NPS and How to Maximize Asset Allocation

asset allocationsThe National Pension System (NPS), introduced by the Indian government in the year 2004 is mandatory for all government employees except the armed forces personnel.This scheme was extended to the private sector in 2009. It is a portable retirement savings account, which can be efficiently used to provide financial security to senior’s through a pension income.

This scheme offers benefits such as tax deduction of INR 1.5 lacs under section 80CCD (1) of the Income Tax Act (IT). An additional tax deduction of up to INR 50,000 under section 80CCD (1B) of the IT Act is also available. Subscribers also have the flexibility of choosing asset allocation between equity, fixed income instruments, and government securities.

NPS is known as a defined contribution scheme because returns under this scheme are market driven. The NPS interest rate changes based on the performance of the market and the asset allocation chosen by the subscribers.

Asset allocation under NPS

Funds invested in NPS can be invested into 3 types of assets namely equity, corporate bonds, and government securities. There are two investment options available under this plan;auto choice and active choice.

Under auto choice, funds are automatically allocated in a pre-determined proportion based on the age of the subscriber. For example for subscribers under the age of 35 years, funds are allocated as follows: 50% in equity and balance amongst corporate bonds and government securities. As the subscribers age, the exposure to equity is reduced and investment in government securities increase.

Under the active choice option, subscribers may choose the asset allocation as per their preferences. The NPS scheme allows subscribers to allot upto 50% of their contributions to equity. Subscribers may use this option to their advantage to maximize the potential returns. For instance, an Investor approaching retirement age (between 45 to 50 years) may opt for a conservative allocation by investing a substantial portion of his funds in government securities.

Maturity and Annuities

The primary objective of NPS is to create a corpus that is used to buy an annuity plan for regular income during the post-retirement years. At the age of 60, the subscriber may with draw a maximum of 60% of the funds as a lump sum. The remaining corpus is used to purchase an annuity that will provide regular income to the subscriber.

Subscribers may choose not to withdraw any funds and use 100% of the corpus to buy an annuity. However, if the corpus at the time of exit from NPS at the age of 60 years is less than 2 lacs, the subscribers may withdraw the entire amount in lump sum. To determine the potential income, individuals may use an online pension plan calculator.

Joining NPS

In order to join the NPS scheme, the subscribers must submit the NPS application form, along with Know Your Customer documents to a Point of Presence (POP). Upon submitting the documents, the subscribers are issued with a Permanent Retirement Account Number (PRAN), T-Pin and I-Pin. Subscribers are informed of their PRAN application status via email and SMS. They may also know their application status by contacting the issuing bank. However, the subscribers may get in touch with the Central Record Keeping Agency (CRA) which manages the issuance of PRAN, in case the PRAN card is not received.

NPS is focused on offering financial security to the individuals after their retirement. The flexibility available for investors to allocate their contributions in different asset classes allows them to maximize the returns and accumulate a higher post-retirement income.

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April 30, 2016

Gold or Silver? How to Choose the Right Bullion To Invest In

investments in gold & silverSo, you’ve done your research. You know a well-balanced investment portfolio should ideally include exposure to bullion. But do you go with gold or silver? Truth be told, there’s no one correct answer to that question – at least not one that’s applicable to every investor. Learn the key differences between gold and silver and base your decision on factors including how long you plan to hold onto your investment, how much you are able to invest and what sort of risk profile you want to adopt. Remember, both metals offer inflationary protection and carry no credit risk, whilst each has taken its turn in the limelight as far as past price performance goes. The canniest of investors are likely to go for a long play investment in both metals. Read on, and find out more.

The Case for gold

Gold’s volatility factor is up to 70 percent lower than silver’s. Gold also carries more prestige. This is largely due to its rarity. The yellow metal is 18 times rarer than silver. And new discoveries are on the wane. Production has likewise fallen considerably over the last decade. Meanwhile, central banks are still buying up large quantities of the stuff, which is encouraging. Over the longer term, gold’s price has performed exceedingly well. Also in its favour is gold’s unrivalled status as the accepted alternative to currencies. The yellow metal has been used to store wealth for more than 3,000 years. You simply cannot say this of silver.

The case for silver

Silver has much going for it as a savvy investment choice, though its volatility means it is more speculative than gold. Notably, silver is more widely used in industrial applications. Whatsmore, the industries it’s used in – like, solar power and electronics – are growing. Silver’s price may be currently weak, yet it is this very weakness forcing producers to scale back operations. These aforementioned factors, at some point, are likely to affect silver’s supply and demand ratio to the point where its price will be pushed up. In addition, analysts concur silver may well offer investors better value than gold, as the gold/silver price ratio is currently further apart than it theoretically should be. Finally, even though VAT must be paid on silver purchases, it remains, of course, much cheaper per ounce than gold to buy. This offers those with even only US$1000 in capital to invest in bullion, an ‘in’ into the market.

To conclude

Silver or gold? Each is likely a good investment choice over the longer term. Yet as you’ve just read, they have their differences. Which is precisely why many advisors would suggest owning both. If you choose a total exposure to bullion amounting to 10 percent of your portfolio for instance, go ahead and split that 10 percent between silver and gold. How you weigh the split largely depends on your views on the health of the stock market and worldwide industrial growth.

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February 20, 2016

The Benefits of Adding Alternative Investments to Your Portfolio

alternative finance ideasTraditional assets consist of stocks, bonds, or money. Individuals capitalize in such products with the expectation of capital appreciation, surplus on the original investment, and earnings on interest. For many years, people have been limited to financing only these asset products.

Alternative investments have created a broader field for individuals to capitalize in. This type of investment relies upon asset classes that have little to no correlation with more traditional forms of ventures.

Types of Alternate Financing

Private equity: there are a greater number of private corporations than there are public ones. These private companies tend to take on investor capital. Private equity firms are essentially ones that raise the necessary funds from a variety of investors. These resources will then be placed with favorable private corporations. The money is then returned to investors once an IPO or acquisition has taken place.

Venture capital: this is a division of private equity. Here the investment takes place among companies that are just beginning, before they have had a chance to grow. Venture capital firms gather funds from various groups. They then disperse these reserves to a variety of companies that are just starting out. This type of financing is usually more of a gamble. In the event that these start-up corporations succeed, however, the investors can expect an impressive return of their capital.

Hedge funds: these funds consist of a compilation of several investments. These are then placed in a variety of schemes and assets. The difference between hedge funds and private equity is that hedge funds will also place ventures with public companies. There is also more liquidity offered with hedge funds. This way investors have more access to their money and can withdraw it with greater ease. Some of the more typical hedge fund strategies are distressed investments, arbitrage, and macro-trends.

Advantages of Alternate Financing

The inclusion of alternative financing asset classes in a portfolio will greatly increase its diversification. This is because they have very little or no association with more traditional asset classes such as stocks. This means that your investments are less likely to be affected by the performance of the stock market. Thus, the inclusion of this type of investment reduces the overall volatility of the portfolio.

Alternatively, this type of investment has a good correlation with inflation. This property ensures that it serves well as a hedge against inflation. This indicates that it would provide a solid return rate on a long-term investment.

In certain instances, alternate investments can actually produce greater returns than traditional investment. One of the advantages afforded to this non-traditional form of investment is the wider range of financing opportunities. The investors can choose to invest in both public and private corporations. They also face less constraints and are subject to fewer regulations. This can result in better returns subsequent to long-term performances.

Typically, these types of investments have always been considered more of a risk than stocks, bonds, or cash. It is, however, this increased gamble that can ensure that the return against the venture is also impressive.

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