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Selling And Buying All At Once?

For many people this can be a true nightmare but it doesn’t have to be. And that’s a good thing because a lot of people find themselves in the position of needing to sell and buy all at once.

If you’re in this situation then you know that timing and money are two critical issues. What you do or don’t do, can affect whether you have a successful sale and purchase of your next home.

Here are some important tips to expediting and effectively navigating the sell and buy process.

Collaboration. The real estate process is about collaboration and teamwork. When you begin the process, experts advise that you use a notebook to record your timeline of important dates such as when you absolutely must be relocated. For instance, if you’re moving to another city for a job, when are you starting? When do you have to have the kids in school, etc? In this notebook, jot down details of conversations with experts and any transactions. Also, use the notebook to write down your questions that you have for your team of experts so that you’re certain to get the answers you need.

Meet with your team which likely includes a real estate agent, lawyer, lender, inspector, appraiser, and advise them of your needs and time frame.

First things first–must sell that home. Many homeowners need the money from their homes in order to purchase their next one. With that in mind, be proactive. Get a home inspection so that you can find out any potential issues that will slow the sale process. Then repair or adjust your asking price before you list your home for sale.

Get your home on the market as soon as possible. Delaying listing your home will result in a shorter time-frame to get it sold.

When it comes time to sell, if you’re not ready to move in to your next home, work with your agent to arrange a long close or a rent-back option. This will help to avoid the hassle of an interim move.

It’s not always all about the price. When you’re in a situation that has some very particular time constraints, you might find that it’s not always all about the price. Prepare for the best possible offer by screening your potential buyers, make sure they’re pre-approved “within five to 10 days of accepting their offer,” writes

Sometimes a slightly lower offer may be the one that offers greater flexibility and just what you need when it comes to the closing schedule.

Get your buyer of your old home and the seller of your new one on the same page. Put in writing the specific window of dates. suggests, “negotiate financial penalties to encourage both stick to those dates.”

Know your price point. This is really important regardless of whether you’re selling a home in order to buy another one. However, when you’re in a time crunch, it’s even more critical to know and shop for the home that’s in your price range. And, of course, just like you’re asking for with your buyers–get pre-approved.

Get an inspection and make sure the new home can be insured.

Having a buyers notebook where you can record all of your notes on your home search and jot down questions is an excellent tool to have handy when choosing which home you want to make an offer on.

Ultimately, selling and buying a home is a lot to handle but it can be a smooth transition. Be clear about your time frame, new home purchase price, and any other details that are specific to your needs.

Written by Phoebe Chongchua

Pros and Cons of Condo Living

As purse strings tighten across the nation, and aging boomers enter retirement, many homeowners are making the decision to downsize. One popular choice among consumers is condominiums.

Here are some pros and cons of condo living to consider before you make a move.


1. Affordability: Are you looking to buy in a specific neighborhood? A condo allows many buyers to live in a desired location, even if they can’t afford a single family home.

2. Amenities: Many condominiums come with access to such things as fitness centers, pools, and club houses.

3. Low Maintenance: While you are still responsible for the inside upkeep, outdoor and community features such as the roof, foundation, sidewalks, pool, and yard are covered by the association. This means no mowing the yard in 100 degree heat!

4. Reserve Fund: The condo association collects funds and keeps them in reserve for larger repairs and upgrades needed down the road. If your association keeps accurate surveys and books, this means there should be no surprise expenses.

5. Safety: Many condos offer gated parking, security guards, and even doormen.


1. No Storage: You may find the rare condo that offers access to storage lockers, but condo living generally means no storage. If you have items that will need stored, be sure to include a storage facility rental fee into your budget.

2. Lack of Privacy: You will most likely have neighbors upstairs or down, or at the very least right next door. Some people love the sense of community this creates, though!

3. Monthly Association Fees: Nearly all condo units require you pay a monthly fee that pays for upkeep around the community. This means even if you own your condo free and clear, you are still responsible for monthly fees.

4. Rules: Who likes to follow the rules? But kidding aside, many condos have strict rules about guests, noise, decor, and even subletting.

5. No yard: While some homeowners love the idea of no yardwork, others enjoy planting and growing. Most condos have very little outside space, apart from small patios.

Be sure to take these elements into consideration when deciding whether a condo is the home choice for you.

Written by Carla Hill

The X Factor–Why Making An Offer On A Home Should Be Based On Value To You

Some people love negotiating and others hate it. Regardless of which side of the sold sign you fall on, the best possible deal is what both buyer and seller want. Arriving at that price can be a lesson in frustration or even cause a complete shut-out.

So what’s the X factor? In real estate, many buyers will shop around, find the home they really like, and then, rather than make an offer based on the value of the home to them (taking into consideration comp prices too), they’ll say, “How much less should we offer off the asking price?” That’s the X factor.

It’s as though there’s a magical X percentage that should automatically come off the listing price, regardless of what the asking price is. Many times the home is priced realistically––right in line with the comps. Buyers still want a deal and may want to start with a low-ball offer. Doing this can slow the process and not necessarily result in the outcome the buyer wants–the seller, feeling insulted, may halt any negotiation. If you’re a serious buyer looking to purchase a home, it’s a good idea to really heed the comps, and consider the value of the home to you–especially if the home you found meets your needs and desires.

Arriving at a purchase price for a home is very personal. What one buyer would pay, another might not for the very same home. Of course, there are appraisals to make sure that the home’s price is in line with how much the bank is willing to lend the buyers. But the buyers’ needs, the home’s location, amenities, and its overall appeal, significantly factor into its value. On the other side, the need to sell, the timeline, and the pressures of needing the money out of the home to purchase another property affect the sellers’ decision to accept an offer.

All kinds of negotiations begin when it comes to buying a home. Art, drapes, dishes, timelines… many different things are thrown into the negotiating process. If there’s something you absolutely must have, of course, negotiate to get it. Just understand that negotiation means compromise, so both sides will give a little and ideally both sides will win–not by a winner takes all stance but rather by each side getting their specific needs met through a compromise process.

If as a buyer you have a list of your top priorities jotted down before the process begins, it will be easier to keep them straight and ensure that those items are secured when the negotiating begins. Then, if suddenly, a non-top priority pops up and is causing the process to stall or come to a halt, you can re-evaluate your top priorities to see if this is truly a must-have or if, perhaps, you’ve fallen into the “winner must-take all” syndrome of negotiating. A lot of times emotions get ignited and sometimes the negotiation process becomes more about winning than really getting what the party needs or wants. In the end, that will create an unsatisfactory sale or no sale at all.

Meeting in the middle can often be a good tool for buyers and sellers who can’t come to an agreement on things like who will pay for the recording fee or certain cosmetic repairs. Splitting the costs can be less expensive than haggling for weeks, losing time, money, and maybe even the deal.

If you reach a really sticking point in negotiations, table it for a bit. Move on to other negotiations and see how many areas there are that both parties can come to agreement. Often the issue that was holding things up will then appear in a different light to both buyer and seller once the bigger items are resolved.

Written by Phoebe Chongchua

Give Your Fireplace a Hot New Look that’s Inviting to Buyers

Especially in cold areas, turning on the fireplace during an open house can be very attractive. However, real wood-burning fireplaces can be messy and leave a smoky odor in the air that can be too strong for some potential buyers. And if you opt for fake logs, well, they can sometimes look too fake. But a growing trend is to fill the fireplace with recycled, reflective glass—it’s clean, easy to install in a short time, and pretty to look at. Plus, an added benefit—the materials heat up quickly and give off a little more warmth.

If your fireplace is set up to burn real wood and has a natural gas starter log in it, you’ll need to consult with experts to modify it before you can install the glass. You’ll also need to use specially manufactured glass. Do not attempt to put ordinary glass in the fireplace—you’ll get an unwanted effect—glass can come popping out into the room as it heats up.

The reflective glass looks great and is easy to work with but it can be costly. Installing the right kind of burner (similar to one you’d use for fake logs) and material overlay will allow you to have variable flames that shoot up from beneath the glass—giving it a more realistic look. Note, that with modifications there are many codes for gas fireplaces, so be sure you understand the codes for your area.

There are many different types and shapes of burners, including pipes and pans that you can use. Check with the specialty stores and online. You can usually see pictures of the flame pattern to get an idea which one will give your fireplace the best look. Here’s what you’ll need. Sand, small lava rocks, your burner, fireplace paint, specially manufactured glass for fireplaces. There are many companies that can help you get the products you need and the correct amount. You don’t want to purchase too much because you can’t always return what you don’t need. If you consult with a fireplace specialty store rather than a hardware store, you’re more likely to find all the materials in one shop. The first step is to clean out the fireplace. If you’ve been burning wood in it, you might consider getting a chimney sweep to make sure that residual soot doesn’t fall onto your glass. Also, be sure to scrape the walls of the fire box to get rid of any heavy build-up.

Fireplaces Plus explained to me that the trick to saving money is to use sand and small lava rocks as the base layer underneath the glass. This fills up the fireplace and then only a thin layer of the glass is needed to create the unique look. The glass can be very expensive. Depending on your color selection it can cost $12 a pound or more. If you have a large fireplace, that’s going to add up very quickly.

Once you’ve cleaned the fireplace out you can paint and then install your burner. After it is properly secured in place and the paint is completely dry (read the directions on the paint, the time period varies), give it a test to see how the flames will look.

Next you can begin to layer your base. Start with the sand. If you’re using a burner that has a tray, fill the tray with sand, covering the burner pipe. The holes for the burner should be facing down toward the tray. The gas will emit through various areas of the sand creating natural-looking variable flames as opposed to an artificial appearing straight line of fire.

Next take the lava rocks and start at the back of the fireplace, layering the rocks around the burner to hide it and the pipe. The lava rocks should come all the way to the front of the fireplace. Now, you’re ready to put a layer of glass on top. Cover all the lava rocks and the sand with the glass. If you want to get really creative, you can make special patterns. Fireplaces Plus says you can buy sheet metal and stick it into the burner sides to create a rectangle, for instance, by adding a side. Then you can use another color glass if you want the shape to stand out.

Light your fire and enjoy the attention it grabs as potential buyers marvel at the unique look and warmth it gives off. Let’s hope that it doesn’t make you want to just curl up next to it with a cup of cocoa and a good book on the day of your open house!

Written by Phoebe Chongchua

“Do I Really Have to …?”

Do you have too much time on your hands? Probably not! In today’s world, it’s awfully easy to look for a more efficient system, a quicker method, and a more streamlined approach to doing whatever it is you should be doing.

Especially when it comes to our real estate careers, we’re all inclined to search for the most efficient strategy to get our to-do lists marked off so we can feel good about ourselves at the end of the day.

As someone who helps real estate agents be more successful, I’m often asked by my students if they “really have to” do whatever it is I’m advising them to do, specifically when what I’m advising them to do will take more time than doing it a “more efficient” way.

My response? “Of course not, but … .”

For example, I advise agents to handwrite the addresses on any mailed communication they send to their spheres of influence. So, recently an agent asked if he “had to handwrite his because he has over 400 names in his SOI database.”

My response? “Of course not, but do you agree that handwritten envelopes have a better chance of being opened?” The agent concurred that they did.

I continued, “And if you’re going to spend the time and money writing and mailing to your SOI, you’d like to make as big of an impression as you can with your time and money?” The agent again, concurred. “So,” says Jennifer, “do the best you can, realizing that every envelope that gets opened gives you one more shot at a paycheck.”

Another student asked me if she “has to” (as I recommend) preview competing listings prior to a listing appointment.

My response? “Of course not, but don’t you agree that the more you know about the seller’s local market, the more knowledgeable and confident you’ll be when you meet the seller?” The agent concurred that she would. “And if you’re going to take the time and energy to go on a listing appointment (not to mention whatever time, money and energy she spent getting the appointment), you might want to give it your best shot?” Again, the agent agreed. “So,” sez Jennifer, “do the best you can to prepare, knowing that your competition probably isn’t, and give yourself the best shot at getting a paycheck.”

Having fun? I am, so how about one more?

Jennifer Allan asks (herself): “Do I really have to put up all these open house signs?”

My response (to myself): “Of course not, but don’t I agree that having more open house signs as opposed to fewer open house signs might bring in more potential buyers?” Yes, I concur. “And if that’s true, doesn’t it make sense that if I’m going to spend my Sunday afternoon sitting in an open house; I might as well bring in as many potential buyers as I can?” Of course. “So, self, do the best you can and give yourself every opportunity to enjoy a $10,000 paycheck for your efforts.” Well, okay.

So, do you “have to” do more than you absolutely have to? Of course not, but …

Written by Jennifer Allan

Help Others Help You

The Internet is a vast electronic world with millions of people online at any one time.

Yet it is all too easy for a person to be online for 10 hours or more a day, even deal with hundreds of emails, and still feel completely alone.

This sense of isolation is bad for your outlook, and even worse for your business.

The good news today is that there is a simple philosophy that will eliminate isolation while increasing the size of your bank account. That idea…

Give… then get.

While some online hold the old philosophy that eBusiness is only about getting all you can as fast as you can, the ultimate “insider secret” I can offer you is this: The people who give are the ones who get on the Internet.

Whether it’s a free newsletter, a mini-course by autoresponder, free videos, a free eBook, or the time it takes to make a phone call, you simply cannot go wrong by giving of yourself to other people.

How can you apply this concept to your business?

Here’s a two-step method to get you started. Once you begin to give something of value to others and develop a reputation as someone who gives, someone who is helpful, you won’t need another step because nature will take it from there.

1. Find a need and fill it.

This six-word formula has been responsible for more business success over the centuries than any other. When you try to sell something, you encounter resistance. When you try to help someone fill his or her need, you find an open opportunity.

How can you apply it? Try this.

First, use your specific knowledge to create an “information product”.

Your information product could be one of many things. Here are some of the most popular formats for information products.

* An article
* A series of articles
* A newsletter
* An eBook
* A video
* A special report
* Or anything you like!

It used to cost money to do these things. Today, you can do each one of the things listed above with zero cash out of pocket.

Now offer your information product to those who need it.

Let’s say that you are a seasoned traveler and know how to travel light. You can get a three-bedroom apartment into an over-the-shoulder bag. UPS drivers ask for your autograph. But you’ve never made a buck based on that knowledge.

Take that knowledge and write an article about how to travel light. Be specific. Tell the reader exactly how you roll up a skirt so that it travels well and doesn’t require ironing. Tell them what kind of luggage you like. Give them tips on how to save time when checking in at the airport.

Now approach ezines that have to do with travel and offer your article free. They run your article and they display a “resource box” at the end of the article listing your name, email address and web site. Soon, new visitors are on the way to your web site. You could even offer a special sale to article readers only!

Who else could you approach to give away your free material? How about web site owners who sell discount airfare, hotel rooms, car rental agencies, local Chambers of Commerce… the list is endless.

In addition to all of this, you can publish your article on your own blog (you really do want to have a blog!) and add it to article directories as well.

Every time your article is run or your eBook is downloaded, your name goes out there.

This is free advertising at its best: the kind of advertising that money can’t buy. Only when you give something away can you receive this type of benefit.

Don’t want to write an article or eBook? Try this.

Try sending an individual email to everyone in your address book. Ask them what it is they need most. Once you find out what people need it’s simply a matter of finding the product or service that will fill that need and providing it to them as an affiliate. If you find a group of people who need the same thing you may want to consider creating a product to meet that need.

Now, rather than approaching people with a particular product to sell, you are approaching them as a welcome friend who can help them find what they need.

You give them your time in tracking down what they need and they buy it from you. A classic win-win.

2. Create joint ventures

People today simply do not have enough time to do the things they want to do. Take the information product you created in step one and offer to give it to someone who could use it to save time.

Ezine publishers are always looking for good, free articles to run in their ezines. They will be happy to include your resource box at the end of the article so you can win too. Include an affiliate link in your resource box and you have instant passive income.

People who sell a product that you have knowledge about would love to give away your free eBook as an incentive. You could even create your own newsletter!

While the possibilities are endless, your time is not. Don’t forget to take action on step 1. Having the material to give is the key.

Many people are yet to realize that the Internet is all about having multiple streams of income. The beauty of the above approaches is this: you put out the effort once, and reap the rewards for months, sometimes years, to come.

Create something you can give away today. Give freely of yourself and you will be rewarded many times over.


Investing Answers

Adding Value to Your Home: Nine Things You Think Add Value but Don’t?

If you’re a homeowner, you probably think that you know sure-fire ways to increase the value of your home. But before you begin construction,check this list to make sure you’re not throwing away time and money!

Uncover the Stocks Flying Below Wall Street’s Radar

To find the perfect stock before it pops onto Wall Street’s radar, seek out companies that toil in relative anonymity today, but are just moments away from becoming the next-big-thing. Uncovering these hidden gems isn’t hard,as long as you know what to look for.

Little-Known Retirement Secret Exposed [advertisement]

This “Secret $200 Retirement Blueprint” shows you step-by-step how to grow a monster-sized nest egg with a little time and a tiny grubstake.Full Details Here.

Currency Wars: Why These Four Countries are Racing to the Bottom

Currency wars are brewing all over. You may have already heard about one – a high-profile spat between the U.S. and China over the too-cheap Chinese currency.How these battles shake out will determine whether the global economy moves into harmony, or falls to pieces.

Gold ETFs Perfect for Conservative or Speculative Portfolios

Gold is heavy to carry, expensive to transport and a pain to insure.Luckily, there’s an easier way.Some gold ETFs buy and physically own gold bullion. Others trade in gold futures, giving you exposure to significant leverage. Knowing how each works will help you decide which ETF is right for you.

Homeowners Real Estate Taxes are rising

The property tax burden for residential property owners has not kept up with the present slide and erosion of market values. Everyday commercial businesses are failing and have little or no assets that make up the tangible personal property taxes and real property tax base. State and local tax collectors have lost revenue due to their inability to collect the property taxes that are due. It could take years to collect the back taxes for these entities, if the tax authorities are even able to collect the taxes. Defunct businesses are closing every day. Many tax jurisdictions have the legal right to seize and confiscate tangible personal property – i.e. machinery, equipment, and fixtures. These items can comprise a large percentage of the tax base. Typically, tangible property is taxed at the same millage rates as real property and goes to pay and provide the same government services that real property taxes.
It should not be surprising that residential homesteads will have to absorb the lost tax revenue. Most tax assessors will be ardent and steadfast in over assessing the homeowner to compensate for the business failures. Business bankruptcies will greatly impact each local and state revenue collection abilities
Home values have dropped over fifty percent in many states. This drop in market value should be reflected in each home owner’s tax assessment and property tax bill. For those home owners who have not lost their home due to mortgage foreclosure, they are faced with a home that is grossly over assessed and being upside down in their mortgage amount compared to market value. In a normal economy foreclosures are considered an exception. Today foreclosures are a norm in many localities and are the only sales transactions that are occurring. Talk to any real estate appraiser to confirm these market conditions. With this being the case, chances are that your local tax assessor is only making minute adjustments to truly compensate for the market conditions.
Property taxes are typically based upon market value and equalization. Paying more than your fair share of property taxes typically defies your states constitutional obligation. Before you pay that tax bill, shouldn’t you check out how it was computed?

Alan Trauger is a Real Estate and Building Consultant for residential and commercial properties. Mr. Trauger has attained over 35 years of diversified experience and knowledge in construction, finance, and real estate. He has been involved in various facets of asset management, acquisitions, real estate work outs, property management, construction, inspection analysis, development, sales, leasing, and Ad Valorem tax appeal for over 25,000 single family and multi-family units and over 2.5 million square feet of commercial buildings. A Court Appointed Receiver and Expert Witness. An experienced and knowledgeable problem solver, understanding processes, and issues related construction and real estate.

To learn more about how your real estate tax assessment is prepared and how to appeal your property taxes. Property Tax Reduction Manual To review Authors Bio, qualifications, and interest in receiving future email newsletters

Has your Bank walked away from your Mortgage?


(I found this article and thought it would be helpful to some people out there .. take a look)

Has your bank foreclosed on your property but not followed through on eviction? Think you got a break and can stay in your house, rent free? Think again!

Because of the high number of foreclosures throughout the United States, banks sometimes walk away from homes they own. When the house is worth less than the cost of foreclosing, banks have little or no value to return to their investors. This means the residents can keep living there, basically rent free until the bank claims the property.

People in this situation should not get too comfortable. While having a free house sounds great, it may not be. In fact, when banks do this, they leave the property in a state of uncertainty. No one knows when they will actually take over the property. And if they decide to do that, eviction could happen suddenly.

If you are in this position, there are a few things you need to know:

  • The foreclosure process can start up again at any time.
  • The bank may sell the loan to a collection agency, and you will be asked – and possibly harassed – for the money owed.
  • If foreclosure was not completed, the title is still in your name. That means you are still responsible for taxes, as well as code violations and upkeep – even if you move out.

Ultimately, you want to resolve the situation. Take advantage of the breathing room you’ve been given. Make your move towards getting out of this uncertain position.

Some things you can do that will put you in the driver’s seat, instead of the bank:

  • Stay in the house, but try to put your mortgage payments in an escrow account. You can use this as sign of good faith if the bank later tries to foreclose and you want to keep the house. In the worse case, you will have some money built up to get settled elsewhere.
  • Regardless of whether you want to stay or go, stay in touch with bank or loan servicer to find out what is happening.
  • Try to work with the bank to see if you can get a loan modification or short sale. Make sure you communicate in writing and note the date and name of anyone you speak to, preferably in the presence of a witness.
  • Think about bankruptcy, which will stop the foreclosure.
  • Get help from a HUD-approved housing counselor or from a lawyer. Even if you no longer want the property, you need help bringing the situation to a close.

If you find yourself heading for foreclosure, the time to act is now. Don’t wait until your get a notice from the bank. There is free help available to help you figure out your options, especially if you would like to stay in the home.

But if you want to sell your house before foreclosure starts, consider working with a home-buying company. Express Homebuyers offers answers to some frequently asked questions about working with a home-buying service. This might be just the answer you are looking for.

Abby Johnson works with Express Homebuyers– which buys homes in Baltimore and Southern Maryland; the Metro Washington DC area; and Hampton Roads, Richmond, and Northern Virginia.

Since the inception in 2003, Express Homebuyers has helped more than 300 families sell their house quickly. During all these years we have gained extensive experience dealing with all types of situations. It doesn’t matter what situation you are currently facing, our Homebuying Specialists have the necessary knowledge and experience to help you!

Tips when upsizing your home in a buyers market


-Some great tips if you are considering upsizing your home …

Here are a few things to consider if you are thinking about upsizing your home in this buyers market:

  1. When selling your current home in a buyer’s market, be realistic about the asking price. Stop thinking about what your home was worth at the peak of the market. What is it worth now? Say that you are taking a 5% loss on the value of your home from its peak. The seller of the home you want to buy is also taking a 5% loss. Say for example that you are taking a 5% loss on a $100,000, and your next home’s seller is taking a 5% loss on their $200,000. Then you will see a greater gain when the real estate market turns around with your next home
  2. Price declines in buyer’s market now make more desirable homes affordable.
  3. Make sure you speak with a mortgage specialist so that you know prices for your next home. Make sure you are comfortable with your new mortgage payments.
  4. Mortgage rates are at all time lows. You want to lock in at these low rates, so your rates will stay affordable.
  5. Don’t get caught up in the emotion when you are buying a home. If you fall in love with a home that could be your next home, you will not negotiate price with a clear head.
  6. A buyer’s market means a larger selection of homes. This gives the buyer more leverage, since the inventory is high. Make sure you take advantage of this when you are buying your next home.
  7. The current favorable market conditions won’t last long. Real Estate has proven over time to be a great financial investment.
  8. Upgrading your home allows you to gain more features in your next home. It also may allow you to move into a more desirable area.

Pat Egan is the Broker and Owner of Egan Real Estate in Ardmore, Pennsylvania. Pat has been investing in real estate since 1993. He grew up in construction, and has a good basic understanding of what is needed to make a  property work as an investment. Pat has a degree in Electrical Engineering, which he practiced for 6 years. Pat has been helping people buy and sell real estate since 2003. His engineering background helps when analyzing properties for his clients. Please feel free to contact Pat with any questions at
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