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October 18, 2017

ALL ABOUT OWNER FINANCING

property financeYou and your family have made the decision to move out of your house and sell it. Or, perhaps you are wanting to sell an office building or a piece of vacant land. Most people think that there are only two ways that a potential buyer could pay for that property. Either the buyer has to have a load of cash or they must be able to get a loan from their friendly, neighborhood bank (or a less friendly mega-bank, but that is a discussion for another time).

What is Owner Financing?

A third way of selling a property – one which has been used for centuries – is to offer owner financing. You could use owner financing to sell a used car, an appliance, or just about anything else of value, but using owner financing for real estate is the safest and most profitable way to do it. So, what is it? Owner financing means that you are acting in some ways like a small bank, albeit a nicer and easier-to- work-with bank. When selling the property, you receive a down payment from the buyer and set up a real estate note stating the interest rate, term, and monthly payments.

Let’s try an example in which you are wanting to sell a house valued at $100,000. You and Betty Buyer agree that she will give you a $10,000 down payment and make payments to you on the first of every month at an interest rate of 6% and a loan term of 30 years. An attorney or title company would normally prepare the needed documents, including the real estate note, a deed of trust (or mortgage, in some states), and a title commitment. Each side signs in the appropriate places, the deed of trust or mortgage is recorded with the county, and you are done.

Advantages of Owner Financing

  1. There are a number of positives from offering owner financing, which include:
    Can be completed much more quickly than with a bank loan, and you have the flexibility to set up the note however you want, subject to state and national laws.
  2. The pool of potential buyers becomes much larger. They may be good credit risks but perhaps do not qualify for a bank loan.
  3. More income for you since you are recovering the original profit plus interest from the note.
    4. It helps the buyer to purchase a property that they probably could not have otherwise have bought.

When Not to use Owner Financing

  • Of course, owner financing is not appropriate for any of the following situations:
    You, as the property owner, still owe a lot of money on the property to a bank or other financial entity.
  • You need all of the cash from the property right away.
  • You need the cash from the incoming payments to survive. If the payer ever defaults, you may need to pay for a foreclosure and go without the note income for several months.

What’s Next

You successfully sold the house to Betty Buyer and all of the documents were properly created and signed. The hard work is done, so you can mostly wait for the monthly payments to come in. However, at least once per year, you will want to make sure that the property has adequate fire insurance (with you as the primary beneficiary), that property taxes are kept current, and that the property is kept in good condition.

If, down the road, you decide that you need some cash out of the note right away, you can contact a note buyer. Good note buyers will explain that you can sell all of the note or just some of the payments, how the process works, and when you can expect to receive funds.

There are a lot of note buyers out there, with varying levels of expertise and integrity. Be sure to work with a real estate note buyer with whom you feel comfortable, that is a licensed real estate broker, and that has a high rating from the Better Business Bureau or a comparable entity.

Alan Noblitt is the owner of Seascape Capital Inc., which buys real estate notes and business notes. He may be reached at (858) 672-4678 or toll-free at 1-800-634-4697. If you would like to learn more about real estate notes and read informational articles, visit www.seascapecapital.com.

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September 5, 2017

Why property investment should be a key part of Estate Planning?

plan for your estatePeople underestimate the importance of property investments within estate planning until it’s too late. Estate planning is your declaration after you pass away. You may not want your family to receive money and other assets you intended for your wife and children. Molly McCollough found out how essential property investment within estate planning is the hard way.

Meet Molly

Molly McCollough is a 54 year old woman who is the founder of Theature Company. Molly thought she and her husband has everything figured out. They never thought they needed life insurance or a strategy for financial planning because they were married and didn’t have children, so everything would be left to Molly. After her husband, Joe died, Molly found out being his wife didn’t carry much weight in collecting his estate.

The Issue

Molly’s husband didn’t have a will, and the money he left behind was in a foreign bank account that did not have her name on it. Because Molly’s name was not on any of the accounts, she didn’t have access to anything.

Molly was afraid and mourning the death of her husband. Molly needed to figure out a way to gain access to his estate before his family tried to claim any part of the estate. Molly felt her husband was hiding secrets, and she didn’t know where to turn or who she could trust.

Molly said, “There’s just something about death and greed and money and long-buried resentment that bubbles to the surface when there’s any substantial inheritance. It tears families apart. People lie and steal and cheat.” In her situation, she was right. Joe’s family did just what Molly hoped they wouldn’t. They came and took all of his estate and left her with nothing. Inheritance drama is something no one wants to deal with and it can cause years of frustration, and put a rift between families.

Life insurance, financial planning, and estate planning are things you need to discuss with your partner before it’s too late. Make sure you and your partner have a will whether you have children or not. If these things are not in place before you pass away, the state will do what they see fit, and most of the time, it’s not what you wanted.

The Solution

At Unified Lawyers, we work tirelessly to help people who don’t understand wills, trusts, estate planning, and similar assets. We understand the urgency in these situations and always put our best foot forward. We are not a traditional law firm. We believe in helping people instead of collecting a check. All our fees and costs are straightforward so each of our clients know how every cent of their money was spent. We are here to help you get your situation resolved.

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September 4, 2017

Loan Types to Consider if You Own a Small Business

offering business loansSmall business owners are earning increasing visibility in Western society, and are increasingly applauded for their courage in setting off on their own. Founders pour their hearts and souls into both startups and other types of small businesses, and for many people their lives revolve around their company. But even once your small business is off the ground, you’ll likely need to take out loans of some type to cover expenses and to help you expand your company. Read on for some basics on the different types of loans that you could take out, depending on your business’ specific needs.

Business Line of Credit

A business line of credit offers you readily available cash whenever you need it for your business. Like a line of credit for a credit card, there is a fixed maximum, but you only pay interest on the amount of money that you actually use. Also as with a credit card, funds are there for your business when you need them, even if what you really need is physical cash.

Different lenders will have different terms with your business line of credit, but some may require that you routinely pay off the entire amount. Even if your specific line of credit only requires you to pay interest, it is always a good idea to pay off portions of the principal as regularly as possible.

Business Credit Cards

Business credit cards are very similar to the personal credit cards that you already have open. Unlike a business line of credit, withdrawing cash from a business credit card typically incurs high fees, but there are other benefits to business credit cards. Depending on the specific card, you can earn cash back bonuses or “points” on various purchases, which may help you cut costs in the future. You can also build your business’ credit, even if you already have the capital you need, by making relatively small purchases on your business credit card and paying them off quickly.

Term Loans

Small businesses can apply for term loans, which would give you a lump sum of money that must be repaid within an agreed-upon amount of time. Term loans do also accrue interest, which typically must be paid back monthly. Term loans may be repayable in extremely variable time periods, from several months to several years. These loans are best for business that are looking to make big purchases or investments, but need a one-time financial boost in order to do so.

Equipment Loans

If your business needs to purchase new equipment or machinery (including computers, printers, or other industry-specific needs), equipment loans may be the way to go. These are especially beneficial when a business has no other costs that require a loan, except for the equipment costs. Equipment loans are typically made for the exact amount of the desired equipment, and may sometimes be kept for the entire lifespan of the equipment. As with all loans, equipment loans will accrue interest, which will need to be paid back regularly.

In addition to these more standard loan types, there are also some less traditional loans, such as competitive loans offered to small businesses by online companies such as LendGenius. To learn more about these non-traditional finance options, and the potential benefits for your business, visit their website.

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August 7, 2017

The Path to Paper Trading and Beyond

trading papersBecoming a day trader is a great way to start an alternate career that will prepare you as jobs become obsolete and independent sources of income are needed. And to become a good day trading you need to spend time in a trading simulator.

As we make our way in a world that is awash in information, the future for traditional jobs is bleak. You are not going to sit at a desk for years, poring over spreadsheets and writing articles for a paltry salary and benefits. That model is going to go away, slowly and then very quickly.

The question is: what do you do about it? Here is one solution: Start day trading. Day trading penny stocks is an exciting and interesting business that can be very lucrative for the right people. It takes time to be able to learn the techniques that will make you a good day trader and it takes grit to work your way through the hard-knock experience it takes to become profitable.

But by cultivating an independent source of income, you can insulate yourself against the trials and tribulations of the regular economy. Not many companies, and not many industries, for that matter, are ready for the coming waves of technological change.

So day trading is a way to protect yourself from what is ahead. In fact, to get good at day trading you need to be OK with volatility and uncertainty. Volatility is a day trader’s great friend. However, you need to be able to see the patterns in a chaotic market in order to profit from them.

Day trading education sites like Warrior Trading can teach you skills and strategies for spotting those patterns. You can learn about stock scanning and advanced chart reading, it is just as vital to move from study to practice.

That is where the paper trading comes in. Spending time in trading simulator is important, because it allows you to understand how to trade at the speed of the regular market, but with virtual currency, so you are not risking any real money. That allows you to make mistakes and learn from mistakes without endangering your life savings.

Working in a trading simulator with Warrior Trading means you will be able to trade in real time, with Level II quotes and veteran traders looking over your shoulder as resources to rely on. It is the ultimate practice for becoming a profitable day trader and creating an independent source of income for yourself.

To learn more about how working in a trading simulator can bring you from novice to expert, check out Warrior Trading on Facebook.

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July 17, 2017

8 Common Misconceptions About Setting Up a Merchant Account

merchant account set upWhen you run your own business, staying in touch with the times isn’t just a good idea. It’s a necessity if you’re serious about succeeding. This is especially the case when it comes to the payment options you offer your customers. Cash and checks are becoming less and less common by the day. In fact, many consumers don’t even carry them anymore. They simply assume they’ll be able to use their credit or debit card wherever their day happens to take them.
In other words, you need a merchant account if you want to stay relevant. If you’re not willing or able to offer your customers the convenience they’re looking for, you can bet your competitors will be. The good news is getting a merchant account isn’t nearly as complicated or difficult as you may think it is. Let’s go over a few of the most commonly held misconceptions about the process and address the truth behind each one.

1. Merchant accounts are too difficult for certain types of businesses to get.

Back in the early 2000’s, ecommerce was a relatively new concept. Not only were consumers not yet used to doing the bulk of their shopping online, but the entities in charge of granting merchant accounts weren’t sure what to make of it either. It didn’t exactly help that the only real way to set up a merchant account was to go through a traditional brick and mortar bank. There were certainly a lot of hoops to jump through if you were in ecommerce or ran any other business that could be considered high risk.

These days, that’s no longer the case. To begin with, there are lots of different merchant account providers to choose from when you’re ready to open yours. Many of these specialize in setting up accounts for small businesses or ecommerce companies.

Also, the requirements attached to the process are relatively easy to satisfy. For instance, registering your business as a sole proprietorship instead of incorporating is a great option for self-employed service providers. Modern business bank accounts can be obtained with little hassle and at a very low cost. Even registering a business name is pretty simple and inexpensive. You don’t need much else to qualify for a merchant account here in 2017!

2. You can’t get a merchant account if your business is a start-up.

Traditionally speaking, a bank sees a start-up business similarly to the way they’d see a person with no credit history. Although there’s no tangible reason to think that business isn’t a good risk, there’s no positive track record to definitively prove it is one either. In the past, this made getting a merchant account notoriously difficult if your business was still just getting started.

Today, people are more entrepreneurial than ever and many merchant account providers recognize this is a chance to connect with an emerging market. Some of those providers actually specialize in working with smaller, newer, or independent entities. They pride themselves on their ability to provide personalized service, strong client relationships, and unique solutions designed to help start-ups succeed.

3. The application process is always difficult and confusing.

In actuality, the application process could be difficult if the criteria attached to your unique business are very complicated. However, in most cases and for most businesses, the application process itself really isn’t that daunting or complicated. The key to success lies in making sure you select the right service provider.

A good merchant account provider that’s right for your business will pride itself on simplifying the application process for its would-be clients. Many allow you to begin the process online by entering basic information about your business via a web form. They then use what you’ve told them to prepare the correct documents for you. All you need to do is read them, sign them, and return them along with anything else you’re asked to send (i.e. a void check).

4. Merchant accounts are expensive, both to set up and to maintain.

Here we have another myth rooted in a distant past when ecommerce businesses still weren’t understood or accepted as a valid concepts. This meant they were almost always considered high risk ventures by default and high risk often also means high cost.

These days, all sorts of people are in business for themselves and the fees associated with having a merchant account often reflect that. Many account providers provide options that don’t call for set-up charges or continuing monthly fees. Instead, you pay a small fee each time you actually process an associated transaction – perfect for very small businesses or sole proprietors that only process credit card transactions occasionally.

In other words, there are options out there that were designed with your business and budget in mind. You no longer have to be a big corporation or a large company doing lots of volume when it comes to credit cards to benefit from having a merchant account.

5. It takes forever to receive funds attached to a credit card transaction.

Back in the day, it wasn’t uncommon for credit card processing agencies to deliver a merchant’s deposits once a week or even once every other week. The perceived risk attached to a given transaction was a lot higher then. Holding onto funds a little longer gave that processing company a bigger buffer against possibilities like chargebacks, fraud, or merchants that closed their accounts while still owing service fees.

The more common credit cards, debit cards, and the like become as payment options, the lower the perceived risk of such transactions. Here in a day and age that finds most consumers using credit or debit cards to complete their everyday transactions, processing companies are often on a daily (or near daily) deposit schedule. Depending on where you bank and who you work with as far as credit processing, you’ll probably see funds hit your account within 48-72 hours of the original transaction.

If you choose the right merchant account provider, you’ll have some choice as to when and how often you receive your deposits though. Most business owners do prefer to receive daily deposits, but if you actually prefer weekly deposits instead, that can be arranged.

6. Establishing PCI compliance is also difficult and expensive.

If you’re exploring the possibility of opening a merchant account, you may already be familiar with the concept of PCI (Payment Card Industry) compliance. The term refers to the standard every merchant needs to meet in regards to data security if they’re going to accept credit cards as payment options.

The cost and effort required to continuously meet that standard can be complicated or costly… for some businesses. For others, this is hardly the case. For instance, you’d expect a really big retail company like Macy’s or Wal-Mart to have more different tech requirements to meet than an independently owned dress boutique across town. You’d also be right to expect that. What is often super involved for a large business is usually pretty simple for a small one.
Again, your choice in merchant account providers can really help you here. Look for companies that go out of their way to educate clients about how to achieve PCI compliance and make the process simple. Many are happy to provide individual clients with additional help or advice if needed or desired as well.

7. Processing rates are the only factors that are important.

Ask a business owner that still isn’t accepting credit or debit cards as payment why they do things that way and they’ll probably tell you they don’t want to waste money on processing fees. They assume they’re being smart and saving while money is actually walking right out the door in the form of dropped sales and lost business. It’s not uncommon for such business owners to assume processing rates are all that matter when it comes to a given merchant account option.

As you would when opening any other kind of financial account, it’s important to look at the big picture which includes monthly minimums (if there are any), possible cancellation fees, and setup fees. Sometimes additional fees are charged for online access or changes made to your account as well, so make sure you’re looking at your final tally when evaluating options.

8. One merchant service provider is as good as another.

Just as there are lots of different ways to price merchant services attached to an account, there are lots of different providers out there. Some will be better fits for you than others. Some specialize in working with specific types of merchants like non-profits or businesses in a certain industry. Some focus on customer service as a selling point while others may offer clients free equipment, flexible rates, or other incentives.

Just take the time to carefully evaluate each of your options from top to bottom. No matter what business you’re in or what your needs are, there’s a merchant account provider that’s just right for you. Explore the possibilities today!

MobiusPay specializes in high-risk merchant activation, domestic and international processing. MobiusPay helps online businesses with payment processing, high risk merchant accounts, chargeback & fraud prevention, online check ACH processing and with maintaining PCI compliance. Please visit https://mobiuspay.com/ to learn more.

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