What would you do in case the door of your house is removed? Obviously get it replaced. The same should be done for garages. You would require doors that shield your car or vehicle from the natural forces like wind or storm and thieves. For garages you may need overhead doors that are rolled up and pulled down for convenient safety of vehicles. There is a long list of companies that manufacture, install and also provide proper services for commercial garage doors. Philadelphia is a city in the US state of Pennsylvania that also has a long list of garage door makers. On your part, it is your duty to choose the suitable company according to your convenience.

You need to keep many factors in mind before finalizing the company from whom you will buy the garage doors:

1. The first thing that has to be noticed in any company is the legal evidence of its existence. Check out the physical address of the company that can be enough to prove that it is legit.

2. Do choose a company that provides you with services after installation of the commercial garage doors. Philadelphia has many dealers that provide you proper services and even damage repair after installation.

3. Make sure all agreements are done in writing to avoid discrepancy in the future. Finalize issues like payment structure, material to be used, and the number of visits.

4. There are a few companies that do not install all kinds of commercial garage doors. Philadelphia has companies that install and design remote control doors too. All that you have to do is tell them about your preferences.

What do you do in case you find that your garage door does not work and you need your care urgently? You will have no other option other than waiting for the technician to come. Philadelphia has companies that have the infrastructure to provide you 24 hour service. Even in case of an emergency you can expect quality services from them. You just need to dial their emergency number.

It seems that you are looking for a garage door service provider in Philadelphia. Here is a suggestion for you. You can check out the models available with Abstract Overhead Door Co that has everything that you can look for in a dealer of garage doors.



Source by Melville Jackson

Selling a home is a major financial decision. There are many people who are thinking about selling their home as the housing market continues to increase in value.

In certain areas around the country, the housing market is inexpensive. Boise is one of the most affordable housing markets in the country. Not only are the average home prices lower than the rest of the country, but other costs are also low in this area. This is a great place to live for people who want to save money and enjoy the outdoors.

One of the best ways to assess a local housing market is to understand the average days on market metric. This metric shows how long it takes the average house to sell. Even if a home sells immediately, there is still a closing process to go through. There are some housing markets where the average time to close is less than 50 days. This means that a home essentially sells as soon as it lists.

In Boise, the average days on market is 81. This metric is slightly lower than last year at this time. Boise simply does not have the demand for homes that other places around the country have. In addition, many people are saying, "sell my house" to local real estate agents in the area. With more inventory, it takes longer for the average home to sell.

One of the largest benefits of living in this beautiful Idaho city is the low cost of living. It is hard to find more affordable housing than here, and the average selling price of a home is around $ 180,000. This is less than half the cost of a home in many cities.

There are some massive homes in Boise that bring the average selling price up. It is really easy to find a modest home for less than $ 150,000. This is a great way for people to purchase a home without a huge mortgage payment.

There are several major trends taking place here. Housing costs are increasing, but costs are not increasing as fast as other areas around the country. Boise will never be a real estate market that mimics a major city. Anyone saying, "sell my house" to real estate agents should have success in the process.

The average days on market metric is also decreasing. This is a sign that housing demand is starting to increase. Many people are starting to build new homes. With the low cost of labor and materials, it is fairly inexpensive to build in Boise. Anyone who wants to find an affordable home should consider working with a local real estate agent.



Source by Shaun Greer

Many experts in the lighting field believe that the overall outlook for neon signage seems to be very optimistic. Neon signs have a record of 100 years of successful use in advertising. If there were no neon signs cities and towns would be darker places and the neon sign industry would cease to exist, but that is not likely to occur.

Let’s start with some general information about neon such as why it’s used, uses other than advertising, where it’s used here and in other countries, neon signage around the world, and so much more. Everyone knows its main use is for advertising and that’s what keeps the neon sign industry going, but it has many other uses that are beneficial to the public. Enjoy watching TV? Neon is used in in television tubes. Do you have a neon wall clock? Neon lighting is use in the home and in many businesses to enhance and highlight dark areas. It is used in gas lasers is used to remove eye cataracts and for other medical problems. Many people have flown, but did you know this? It has been used in beacons and it has can be seen by pilots have seen it 20 miles away when it was impossible for them to see other kinds of lights. Neon lights can be seen through the fog. Many travelers have found it very helpful when looking for a motel on a foggy night. Neon does all this and more.

However, neon’s biggest and most widely-known use is in neon signs. What makes it so useful for signs? There are two reasons for this. First neon is a first-rate conductor of electricity, and secondly it has the amazing ability to give off light that can be seen at great distances. As hard as it may be to believe neon technology started in Europe in 1675. It’s not that neon signs were invented then but just the idea that would grow into the modern neon sign. In fact, strange as it may seem electricity was not even discovered yet. These two ideas developed independently because neither was dependent upon the other being in place.

It wasn’t until 1910 that in Paris a, man called Georges Claude came up with the idea for neon signs. His first effort was a sign for a barber shop in that city. How and when did they first come to the United States. Earle Anthony, the owner of an auto dealership in Los Angeles, apparently heard about neon signs and visited Paris. The result was two Packard neon signs which he purchased for $1,250. The year was 1923. The idea spread quickly because both businesses and the public took hold of this new concept in advertising. Traditional sign advertising was hit with the brilliant explosion of neon signs. These first signs were called “liquid fire” no doubt because of the bright red light they emitted seem to signify danger.

The first sign that came to Las Vegas was a sign advertising a place called the “Oasis Cafe House”. Who realized then that the city would become one of the country’s two premiere neon signage showcases? It was a notable event but few people, gave much thought other than that.

When discussing neon signage in America the Las Vegas Strip(or “The Strip” as it is often called) and New Yok City’s Times Square are the logical starting points. It is easy to see how they earned their titles. Both receive millions of visitors each year who view neon displays that are almost blinding. Las Vegas may have an edge over Times Square because it receives many more visitors because of its casinos who provide the city’s neon display. In comparison Times Square signs are subject to more frequent changes due to the fact that businesses in that city change often while Las Vegas has casinos that are the mainstay of the city’s revenues and the casinos are always in business.

The Las Vegas Strip is home to a world famous iconic neon sign that was erected in 1959. The sign was the idea of Betty Willis, who worked for a local sign company. The sign contained the words “WELCOME TO Fabulous LAS VEGAS NEVADA”. The sign was never copyrighted because Willis considered it her gift to the city. This sign is synonymous with the City of Las Vegas. The Willis sign is number one on the list of the world’s 10 most impressive neon signages. Las Vegas is also home to the world’s largest neon sign which carries the name Hilton and is owned by the Hilton Hotel Corporation. This sign was erected in 1996 and covers over 70,000 feet, The Hilton name is 164 feet wide and the letters are 28 feet high. At a price tag of approximately $9 billion it could easily be called the world’s most expensive neon sign.

Times Square received its first neon sign in the mid-1920’s. The density of illuminated signs in Times Square has reached the point where it’s beginning to give the Las Vegas Strip a run for its money. This density is the result of the smaller size of Times Square compared to that of the Las Vegas Strip which runs for miles. In any case both of these locations are filled with thousands of signs.

Turning our attention from these two neon showcases there are other places in the Us that have notable neon signs. However, they are naturally not on the same level as the previously mentioned giants of neon signage. In Elk City, Oklahoma at the National Route 66 Museum proudly exhibits the giant iconic Route 66 neon sign. The city of Saginaw, Michigan claims it has the largest neon sign in the state an d the largest figural sign in the nation. Figural neon signs show humans and animals. This neon sign is 35 feet high and fifty feet long.

The list of the top 10 neon signs in this country has many neon signs that are nationally known. Many of them are long gone. They all once brightened a city street. Number one is Boston which had its Schrafftt’s n sign which was a symbol of the company’s candy and chocolate business. Second place on the list went to the “Vegas Vic” sign which was standing tall on the city’s Fremont Strees from 1951 to about 1995 when it was retired.

In number three position is the Great Grain Belt Bear sign in Minneapolis which was used a great many years since it was installed in 1940, and is now up for sale. Fourth is the Coppertone Girl sign that was erected on Miami’s Biscayne Boulevard to advertise the company’s product, suntan lotion. It was a city landmark and was there from 1959 to the 1990’s. What made the sign so noticeable was the puppy that was tugging on the little girl’s bathing suit. Next on the list is the Skipping Girl sign from Abbotsford, Australia. She was called”Little Audrey” and she advertised the Nycander Company’s product, sugar. She was gone in 1968 but due to the public’s outrage at the loss of this landmark she was replaced by a replica in 1970. Portland, Oregon’s “Made in Oregon” sign which advertised sugar was erected in 1941. It was changed over the years and remained in place when the company left the building in the 1950’s.

The Westinghouse Company’s sign in Pittsburgh to the number seven spot. It had been up since the early 1920’s and was taken down in 1998. Taking the number eight place is the Magikist’s Company of Chicago with its sign advertising carpets. The 41,400 pound lips on this sign were regarded as a city landmark However, all of the previous neon signs mentioned are gone. The number nine sign, the Reno Arch in Reno, Nevada which was built in 1927 and is still going strong. Last on the list is the Traveler’s Insurance umbrella sign which can be found in Des Moines, Iowa. It was built in 1963 and still in operation.

No mention of neon signs would be complete without including a list of the world’s 10 most impressive examples of neon signage. It should be of no surprise that number one on the list is the iconic WELCOME TO Fabulous LAS VEGAS, NEVADA neon signage. This is followed by the Times Square display. Third place goes to Hong Kong’s 15 minute entire skyline light show, The next spot belongs to Osaka’s Dotonbun signage which was the inspiration for the move, “The Blade Runner”. Shanghai’s Najinj Road takes position number five with Tokyo’s Ginza and Shibuya occupying the number six place. The Vegas Boneyard (where old and iconic Las Vegas signs are restored and displayed) is next. This is followed by the signage showing Vintage Times Square neon signs from the 1920’s to the 1950’s.

As for the last two on the list the Caesar’s Palace neon signage is in ninth place and Bankok’s soi cowboy road completes the list. It is interesting to note at this point that at an earlier time London’s world famous Piccadilly Circus would have most certainly come in near the top of this list. It received what many have called the first neon sign to come to Europe, a popular soft drink sign, which was replaced a new version in 2003. However, today all of the neon signs in Piccadilly Circus are on one building with the names all being large international corporations.

Many organizations have sprung up in all parts of this country. Their purpose to to collect, restore, and exhibit old classic neon and iconic neon signs. One of these is the Neon Museum of Philadelphia which opened in 1983 and shows neon signs from businesses. The Neon Museum in Las Vegas has iconic neon signs from closed casinos and businesses. It has more than 150 historic restored and non-restored neon signs. It is non-profit and was established in 1996. The American Sign Museum in Cincinnati, Ohio was founded in 1999 and is asid to have over 2,800 signs of all types including neon. The Los Angeles Neon Museum opened its doors in 1981 with the intention of preserving old neon signs and other forms of neon art. In a related vein a gallery and workshop called Let There Be Light opened up in New York City in 1972 to train artists how to use neon.

After illuminated sign usage started in the United States other cities followed although at a much slower pace. Tokyo seems to be one of the first cities outside of the United States to get them. They were installed in a city park in 1926. Australia’s first one appeared in a Melbourne suburb in 1930. Johannesburg, South Africa got its first one in 1935. India didn’t get its first one until about 1940. Shanghai, China had to wait until 1982 to get its first one. Puskin Square in Moscow got its first sign in 1989. It was a popular soft drink sign. Stockholm. Sweden received its first one around 1936. On the other hand, Zurich Switzerland is reputed to have no neon signs.

Even so, their are some cities in the world that have banned the use of neon signs within their jurisdictions. The Prime Minister of Pakistan, trying to combat his country;s growing power problem, banned them and brightly-lit billboards. In January 2010 the city of Sao Paulo, Brazil, which is the world’s fourth largest city, banned them to try and stop its rising pollution problem. In the US in 1996 the town of Avon, Connecticut passed an ordinance banning the use of what they called exposed tubes, but neon signs encased in plastic were alright to use. The town’s residents questioned the reasoning behind this ordinance. More recently a ban against the production and sale of illuminated tubes has gone into effect in Vermont and Massachusetts with other states looking to follow suit. Illuminated tubes not using mercury are permitted.

The city of Madrid, Spain, has an ordinance that prohibits all illuminated signs in the city’s center so as to reduce contamination, conserve energy, and to make the city more aesthetically pleasant. This ordinance covers all neon used in pharmacies, theater marquees, business signs, and bars. Madrid had had illuminated signs for over 70 years up to this point.The city of Duluth, Georgia prohibits neon signs, and even though these signs are not prohibited in Mesa, Arizona the city’s present day ordinances and policies weigh heavily against the survival of illuminated signs.

Starting in the 1960’s there was a movement in the United States and Canada against illuminated signs. The city of Vancouver banned the use of these signs on what once were brilliantly-lit streets which then became dark passageways that left the city with a cold, heartless, look.

Since we are talking about neon signs it might be a good thought to get an idea about the neon sign industry. In 2008 neon sign company total revenues were about $2.9 billion. The sign industry, as a whole, had revenues of about $11 billion. At that time there were some 35,00 sign shops, including illuminated sign shops, in this country. These amounts have grown in thw succeeding years.

What is a commercial neon sign worth? That’s really hard to say. However, when it comes to prices collectors might pay for them there are some figures available that show what they have paid for highly-prized illuminated signs. In fact, in June of 2006, at a memorabilia sale a Thunderbird Hotel illuminated sign sold for $26,000., while one that said Cloud 9 sold for $21,275., and the star part of a Holiday Inn sign went for $3,220. This shows what people are willing to pay for collectible neon signs. Prices for the commercial kind vary according to size and other factors.

Now it’s time to compare neon signs with another form of lighting, LED. Before getting into the advantages and disadvantages of these two methods as they pertain to their commercial use.

Let’s start by seeing what LED is and some information about it. The letters LED mean light emitting diodes. LED was first used as a replacement for incandescent indicators and for laboratory equipment displays. Later on it was used in television sets, watches, radios, indicators, and calculators. It isn’t only until recently that LED prices have dropped allowing for sales to residential and commercial markets. Outdoor lights and Christmas lights are part of LED home lighting products. With the energy crisis in effect and some foreign countries looking for ways to reduce energy costs LED lighting companies can probably look forward to a profitable future when it comes to their products.

Now that we have a working knowledge of LED lighting is we can make a fairer comparison to neon signs as we mention the good points and the bad points of each. The basis for comparison is the use of the two lighting methods in advertising.

First, with regards to neon sign usage the advantages are as follows – they have a very long life when used properly, neon has a very high operating range and can run on on very high voltages using AC or DC current, they don’t always require special power supplies, and these signs have a very low power consumption. A unique advantage, only enjoyed by neon signs, is that they can be made into any shape. This very important advantage, the ability to be bent into shape makes it ideal for use in advertising, wall clocks, and lighting for homes and businesses. Finally, it’s inexpensive for small indicators and decorative lights.

Neon signs also have their disadvantages. They have low light output for input power, only produce a small range of the color spectrum, make only one color at a time, require a large surface area to be used for general lighting, and is expensive for use as signs and displays.

The advantages of using LED lights are these – the US Department of Energy expects the cost of producing LEDs to decline below that of compact fluorescent lamps called CELs in about 2013, high level of energy efficiency, more durable, extended product lifetime, and reduced heat load to the space(an added benefit from reduced energy usage).

The disadvantages of using LED lighting include the “warm” lighting generated by LEDs is more expensive than “cold” lighting, LEDs are more expensive than some more traditional lighting concepts, limited selection and options, color quality, and lack of product standardization.

The purpose of this article was to provide on the many topics related to neon signs that are not often known by the general public. What the future holds for each of these kinds of lighting is hard to predict. By just referring to the material presented the most reasonable answer might be that both of them will be in use for some time to come, but that could easily change due to improved designs and advances that either could develop, changes in the economy, or any one of a number of other factors. Both industries have very large financial resources and will do whatever it takes to obtain the greater share of the signage market.

In the final analysis there are two basic factors that will influence the sign industry with regard to profits and investment. Businesses want to employ whatever method that works the most successful for them. Consideration of future advancements in technology with regards to each form of lighting, prices, and many other factors is crucial plus examining the advantages and disadvantages of each. Another idea is which one draws a better response from the buying public. This could well be the deciding factor. Like all industries these two competitors will undoubtedly look to marketing research studies as a reliable guide to their decision making. Each of these two systems has only one goal in common and that is the same as any business or company and that is to try and make the right decisions that bring in the most money and that’s the name of the game.



Source by Joseph Tedesco

Due to the present decline in the economic situation of the United States and the huge depreciation in the realty market interest rates have dipped greatly creating an interest in IRA real estate investments. This situation has essentially forced investors to look beyond the stock market and more and more people are now looking to invest in real estate. Many people are looking beyond mutual funds and even bonds in order to attain their retirement savings and create a better return of investment. Many people have also realized the fact that they can also use their money invested in their IRAs in order to purchase real estate ranging from raw undeveloped land to even commercial complexes.

According to most IRA experts it is not very wise to use your IRA in order to make property investments unless you are very clear about the rules and regulations. Most of the people get in trouble with the IRS due to the fact that they are mostly unaware of these complex rules. Though the investment may provide good return on an investment but it also holds a great disadvantage when compared to the tax advantages provided by the IRA. All things considered if handled very carefully and diligently using your IRA to make real estate investments can be profitable.

While choosing your IRA to make property investments you must always consider the pros and cons of all the account types and value them according to your personal preferences in order to make a wise choice. Some of the details for available IRA account types are given below-

1 Traditional IRA account- this type of IRA allows you to deduct annual contributions, set at a value of $3000 and $2500 for people over the age of 50. However if you choose to make your investment from these accounts the money you actually withdraw would be consider as taxable income.

2 Roth IRA account- this type of account offers you no deduction on your contribution set at $3000 but allows you to withdraw funds without incurring taxes. This type of account is very suitable for making real estate investments and holds those investments for longer. This type of account will be a very wise choice if the property you are investing in has a greater chance of increasing in value with time.

3 SEP-IRA account- this type of account is usually used by self-employed individuals as well as small companies. This type of account usually allows you to contribute up to 25% or $40,000 whichever is the smaller amount. But for people who have employees working under them they must also take into account the fact that they need to make contributions for each of the employees as well which makes these accounts very suitable for rapid buildup of funds.



Source by Mike Lautensack

I have worked at one business or another, since I turned 16. I worked for both private and nonprofit businesses, for big corporations and small professional firms. I still remember the excitement, as well as the culture shock, of my very first job. Because of my own experience, I made both of my children get part-time jobs as soon as they turned 16. It was not for the money, though they enjoyed that aspect of working. It was for the experience of being a part of the workplace.

While our children are in school, they lead a totally different life than when they graduate and enter the workforce. Whether they enter after they graduate from one of the Philadelphia schools or after college graduation, the culture shock is there. Children, who have worked in non-neighborhood, part-time jobs during their adolescence, have an edge over those who have not. They have been exposed to the expectations that will be placed on them by an employer. They have experienced the “office politics” that even exist at a neighborhood McDonalds®. They not only know what to expect, but they have learned how to live up to those expectations.

The United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania teamed up with 165 other businesses and organizations in January to sponsor Shadowing Day for Philadelphia schools’ ninth graders. Over 1,552 students spent a workday with a mentor at his/her workplace, giving the Philadelphia schools’ students a first-hand experience of the “real world” workplace.

Each Philadelphia schools’ participant was paired with an employee from a host business or organization. The student literally shadowed their mentor for an entire workday to see what they actually do in their job, what expectations they must meet, the interrelationships within that particular workplace, and how the employee handles his workload, coworkers and supervisors. The experience reduces the future culture shock, when these Philadelphia schools’ students enter the workforce.

The United Way campaign for mentors of Philadelphia schools’ teens first began in 1990. They work year round to provide an adult mentor for every adolescent in the Philadelphia schools’ region who needs one. There are well over 100,000 Philadelphia schools’ students, who have the potential of experiencing teen pregnancy and/or violence, as well as so many who live in poverty. The United Way believes a positive adult role model now is more important than ever in the Philadelphia schools’ area. They currently provide mentors for nearly 5,000 youth annually, training hundreds of new mentors and program leaders each year.

Studies prove that youth with a positive, adult role model are more likely to:

o View their educational opportunities in a positive manner, seeking to learn and attend school;

o Have less behavior problems while in school; and

o More likely to see a college education as a possibility.

Alba Martinez, president and CEO of the United Way of Southeastern Pennsylvania, sees mentoring as “essential, because success in school is key to success in life” for these Philadelphia schools’ students.

This year’s shadowing day for the Philadelphia schools’ ninth graders was part of the celebration for the sixth annual National Mentoring Month, which raises awareness of the need and power of mentoring, recruits new mentors, enlists new businesses and organizations into the mentoring program, and recognizes current mentors for their positive impact on their community.



Source by Patricia Hawke

Cris Collinsworth wondered during the Super Bowl last Sunday how many Pittsburgh fans were upset, even though the season had ended almost a month ago for their beloved Steelers. The announcer was referring to the two controversial catches that drew video reviews, only to be upheld touchdowns for the Philadelphia Eagles.

Their opponents, the New England Patriots, had reeled the benefit of a similar review back in week seventeen, when the Pittsburgh Steelers had been denied a touchdown pass after a call had been reverse after a rather lengthy replay.

Collinsworth may have been right about Steelers fans being upset about those upheld calls, but two nights later thousands of Pittsburgh fans were literally in tears. The emotion came not during a football game, but rather a long anticipated hockey match.

The occasion was the return of future Hall of Fame goalie Mark Andre Fleury, who helped lead the Penguins to three Stanley Cup championships. Because of last year’s expansion in the National Hockey League, Fleury was lost to Pittsburgh when he was drafted by the Las Vegas Golden Knights.

On Tuesday, February 6 Las Vegas played its first game in Pittsburgh, marking Fleury’s first appearance at the PPG Arena in a uniform other than the Penguins. It was, undoubtedly, an emotional homecoming.

During a break in the first half of period one, the video board displayed some of the career highlights of Fleury while he defended the net for the Penguins. Then the crowd stood in his honor in an ovation that lasted almost ten minutes. The Pittsburgh announcer stated that there was not a dry eye in the whole place, just as the camera showed Fleury himself with a tear on his cheek visible through his Las Vegas face guard.

It is not difficult to understand the love between the fans and their long time goaltender who, unlike most player departures, was neither traded nor bolted for free agency. Pittsburgh really had no choice but to lose Fleury in the expansion draft, which limited the Penguins to protecting just one goalie on the roster. The team wisely chose to protect Matt Murray, who is younger and figures to be around for the long haul.

Murray will have to stay around a very long time if he can even hope to break so!e of the team records Fleury established in his tenure, in addition to the three Stanley Cups. He tops the Penguins in most games, tended goal in 691 battles on the ice. Fleury’s 375 wins are also a team record, as are his 44 shutouts.

That night of looked for thirty minutes as if Fleury was going to shut out his former teammates, as his Golden Knights led two to nothing with just ten minutes remaining in period two. Pittsburgh’s Ryan Reaves then shot one past Fleury, and Ian Cole tied it a few minutes later.

The Penguins got additional goals from Evgeni Malkin and Phil Kessel, two stars who had helped Fleury win the three NHL championships. At the end of sixty minutes, Pittsburgh had proven victorious with a five to four win.

However, the two teams could very well lock up again in a much more important series at the end of the season,given their respective positions in the standings. Las Vegas currently sits atop the Pacific Division and Pittsburgh is second in the Metropolitan, meaning that Fleury could be facing his old team in the Stanley Cup finals.



Source by Doug Poe

When discussing the fact that LeBron James is far and away the best player on the planet, it seems that too many ignorant Laker fans try to argue that Kobe Bryant is at least on LeBron’s level, if not better. However, when asked to explain their reasoning, the only answer the Laker fans can come up with is that Kobe has won 5 championships. So lets take a look at the flaws in this argument.

Kobe Bryant was selected by the Charlotte Hornets with the 13th overall pick in the 1996 NBA draft. Now had Kobe done the honorable thing, the respectful thing, he would have shown gratitude to the Hornets for showing faith in his abilities, and worked his butt off to help the franchise turn things around, and possibly make a decent playoff run. But no, Kobe showed all the seedy characteristics of a spineless snake, and demanded he be traded to the title contending Lakers, where he could play under the best coach in the history of the game, Phil Jackson.

So the petulant little child got his way, betrayed the faith in which the Hornets had instilled in their draft pick, and headed West. Kobe saw little playing time in his first two seasons under Phil Jackson, although he managed to make his way into the Lakers starting lineup for their title run in 2000.

Playing alongside the leagues MVP Shaquille O’Neal, and veteran superstars Glen Rice and Ron Harper, Kobe’s number were very poor shooting a dismal 35% during his first finals series against the Indiana Pacers. He managed to average a sub-par 15 points per game, only slightly higher than Rice and Harper, despite the fact that Bryant took twice as many shots as the two of them combined. Luckily for Kobe, Shaq – the Lakers undisputed superstar – carried him on his shoulders, leading the Lakers to the championship with 38 points and 17 rebounds per game.

The 2001 finals series against the Philadelphia 76ers was the same old story – Kobe played Robin to Shaq’s Batman – riding the big mans coat-tails to a second consecutive title. Shaq lead all players with his 33 points and 16 rebounds per game.

A year later, the Lakers were confronted by a daunting task – how to overcome the Sacramento Kings. After being out-worked, out-hustled and out-played by their California neighbours, the Lakers found themselves in an unfamiliar situation, trailing 3 games to 2 in their Western conference Finals showdown. This time, not only did Kobe rely on Shaq to get the job done, he acquired the services of NBA commissioner David Stern, who together with the referees in charge, orchestrated one of the most disgusting displays of match-fixing in sporting history. In what is now commonly referred to as the ‘NBA’s biggest tragedy’, commissioner Stern ordered the referees in charge to “send the series to game 7, no matter what”. The commissioner was worried that the possibility of a Kings v Nets finals series would be terrible for TV ratings, and was determined to have at least one marketable franchise playing for the title in June…that marketable franchise he chose was the Lakers. Just YouTube the highlights from this game to see for yourself. Former NBA referee and convicted match-fixer Tim Donaghy was the scapegoat that the NBA used in order to sweep the scandal under the carpet – Donaghy went to prison, the Lakers won the title…that’s sweet old American diplomacy for you!

Despite the fact that the Lakers should not have even been playing in the 2002 finals, Shaq did what Shaq always does, and lead the Lakers to a 4-0 sweep over the New Jersey Nets. His 37 points and 13 rebounds earned him his 3rd straight Finals MVP award. By betraying the Hornets all those years earlier, Kobe was able to sit back and bask in Shaq’s glory.

After a very successful stint with the Lakers, Shaq decided it was time to move on – he had done everything possible for that franchise, single-handedly leading them to 3 straight titles, reminiscent of Michael Jordan’s impact with the Bulls back in the 90’s. In his first season without the big man, Kobe lead the Lakers to a shocking 34-48 record – quite embarrassing for a team who had just won 3 championships – but hey, I guess thats what happens when a team loses its Batman. A team of Robin’s simply cant compete.

So the evidence is clear – Kobe’s contribution to the Lakers championships is far from great – he played 2nd fiddle, just like Scottie Pippen played 2nd fiddle to Jordan all those years earlier. Without the influence of Shaq, the Lakers would have been a mid-table team struggling to reach the playoffs – and Kobe would have been ringless.

The difference between Kobe and LeBron is not the number of rings, but the options they chose to take. Kobe chose the easy way out, the spineless way – betraying the team that gave him a chance, simply to become a role player on a championship team. LeBron chose the hard road, the honorable road taken by some of the greatest to ever play the game including Jordan and Larry Bird. They were drafted by struggling teams, who put their faith in these young stars to turn turn their franchise around – Jordan did it for the Bulls, Bird did it for the Celtics, and LeBron did it for the Cavs.

LeBron could have followed Kobe’s path – he could have stabbed the Cavaliers in the back, and demanded a trade to a title contender such as the Detroit Pistons, to be coached by one of the greats – Larry Brown. But instead, he showed he had a back-bone. He showed he is a man of integrity, a man you can trust and a man you can respect – he stuck with the Cavs and agreed to play under little known coach Paul Silas.

One can only imagine how many Championship rings LeBron would have, had he taken the ‘Kobe’ approach. Playing alongside Rip Hamilton, Chauncy Billups, Rasheed and Ben Wallace, coached by Larry Brown – The King would in all likelihood have won 5 straight in his first 5 years, easily surpassing anything Kobe was ever capable of.

LeBron’s stats speak for themselves – he annihilates Kobe in scoring, rebounding, assists, blocks and steals – shoots a much better field goal % and a higher 3-point % – he is runner up defensive player of the year and 2x MVP – the only argument any Kobe fan can muster up is the rings, but hey, we have just disproven that argument too!



Source by Elle Jamison


If you’re a property investor and you’re looking to get into Section 8 properties, there are plenty of gurus online who will happily tell you to RUN! Section 8 tenants are too unreliable, too desperate, too disrespectful, too, well, poor to be good tenants.

In the most respectful way possible, we’d like to tell those gurus to take a short walk over a long cliff. One of the Metro Detroit cities we do business in, the City of Detroit itself, is one of the most desperate urban areas of America, and we almost have to accept Section 8 there to find tenants. After dealing with Section 8 for almost 20 years, we can attest that it’s not nearly as bad as the gurus make it out to be.

The Bad News

Section 8 requires a lot of work—specifically, you have to deal with Section 8 applicants who never seem to understand the program, even after being on it for years. Also, housing counselors who are overworked and underpaid (and almost absurdly hard to get ahold of) must be constantly nudged to move their process forward. Then there’s annual property inspections and, oh yes, even more paperwork to get the rent payments coming in.

The Upside

If you can handle the paperwork and have a good followup reminder system, the extra time and effort can pay off, with government payments coming in like clockwork. If you screen the applicants correctly, you can also avoid some of the pitfalls associated with Section 8. Let’s go over some of those pitfalls we listed a bit more closely, so you have a better understanding of them.

rent to section 8

How Much Will Section 8 Cover?

The problems start when they call on your ad for a 3-bedroom you’re asking $1,000 a month for. You need to ask how much their voucher is for—and understand they really don’t know or care what it is! They’ll tell you with complete confidence that their voucher will cover the rent amount when it really doesn’t. YOU have to understand the Section 8 program so YOU can ask the right questions!

Related: 8 Myths About Section 8, Corrected: Here’s the Profitable Truth

For the record, the (most important) “right question” is, “What is the HUD-determined Fair Market Rent (FMR) for a unit with ‘X’ bedrooms in my area?” The answers are available here—if the applicant wants to pay more than the FMR, they’ll have to make up the difference, and either way, they’ll pay 30% of their monthly income as rent, with Section 8 paying the difference between that amount and the FMR.

But! There’s a hitch. Because FMR isn’t intended to cover “rent,” it’s intended to cover “total costs of housing (TCH),” which includes electricity, gas, water, sewer, garbage, and recycling costs. So if the FMR for a 2-bedroom is, say, $911 (which it is in the Metro Detroit area for 2017), and the tenant has $281 in utility bills and is paying $750 in actual rent, the TCH for them comes to $1,031. But because Section 8 only covers 70% of the TCH up to $911, the most it can contribute is $638, meaning that regardless of their income, the tenant must pay the remaining $393. Of course, because your tenant is virtually guaranteed not to understand that, it’s up to you to either explain it to them up front or risk having the tenant vanish on you when they fail to pay (because failure to pay means they’re booted off of Section 8).

Section 8 Applicants

Telling everyone that they need to be better at tenant screening is probably one of our favorite pastimes. But if you’re going Section 8, you have to take that warning as though your life depends on it. Master your tenant screening process, make no exceptions, and dot every single “i” and “j” and “ö” you come across.

Here’s the simple logic: If everyone is complaining that Section 8 tenants are low-quality, be picky! Choose only the tenants who meet the “strict version” of whatever your standing requirements are and delve deep into every one of them. If you avoid the “bad” tenants, you avoid most of what people’s Section 8 nightmare stories are all about—so screen like you’ve never screened before!

good-real-estate-note-deal

Related: How to Profit Big & Help Those in Need by Renting to Section 8 Tenants

Certification

You have to get certified by the HUD, and you have to re-certify every year. That means inspections, paperwork, and doggedness in the face of mindless bureaucracy. We’re not going to lie: It can suck. Filling out the forms and waiting for them to call you back is the easy part—the hard part is dealing with the Housing Quality Standards (HQS) inspections that happen every year. There’s a pleasant little booklet called “A Good Place to Live!” put out by the HUD that explains everything you need to do or have to pass the inspection, but it’s 20 pages long.

Here’s the short version:

  • All windows must be present and undamaged; ground floor windows must have working locks.
  • All exterior doors must have deadbolts and locks.
  • The floor, walls, and ceilings must not have any serious defects such as would indicate structural problems or present a danger to the tenants.
  • The ceiling and roof must not leak.
  • The paint on the interior walls must not be chipped or peeling.
  • A fixed water basin, flushing toilet, and shower are necessary in every unit.
  • No water leaks are permitted.
  • The kitchen and bathroom must have hot and cold running water and a hard-wired light.
  • The bathroom must have a window or fan that exhausts outside.
  • All electrical outlets must have cover plates (and function!).
  • Every unit must have independent heat.
  • Every floor of every unit must have a smoke detector.
  • All stairs and railings must be secure.
  • All common areas must be maintained and free of dangers to the tenants.

Most of this is pretty obvious, but the inspectors are very meticulous—a 1/4″ crack in a window you never knew existed (like one of those tiny ones at the top of a basement wall that happens to be hiding behind an armoire), and you’re kaput. Then you have to reschedule, pay for a new inspection, and get the problem fixed.

What’s more, these inspections happen whether the property has a tenant in it or not, and the inspectors don’t particularly care if a particular problem was caused by the tenant or not—you still have to deal with it, and fast. But seriously, guys—that list basically amounts to “you can only rent out units that are safe to live in.” If you can’t handle that, you shouldn’t be a landlord in the first place.

Benefits

So, is Section 8 worth it? If you’re discerning, patient, able to follow rules to the T, and willing to put in a little extra time elbow greasing the red tape until it gleams, absolutely! The benefits boil down to four items:

  • Section 8 isn’t easy to qualify for—so (to a degree), anyone offering you a voucher has been pre-screened (but that’s no excuse to skip your own screening—ever!).
  • There is never a shortage of Section 8 applicants, so vacancies are limited.
  • You can advertise on SocialServe.com and at your local Public Housing Authority to fill vacancies even faster.
  • And the big momma of them all: Rent comes in on time, every month, like clockwork. The government pays part of it (sometimes all of it), and the tenant is well aware that any violation of their lease–including a late payment—will result in a loss of their Section 8 status. Now, this obviously doesn’t keep emergencies from happening occasionally, but by and large, the reliability and timeliness of Section 8 rental income is the big draw.

We’re republishing this article to help out our newer readers.

Investors: Do YOU accept Section 8 applicants? Why or why not?

Let me know your experiences with a comment!





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Real estate investing is one of the wells of wealth creation in the world today. The last time I looked at the Forbes list of 400 richest Americans, I could still count over 31 tycoons listed as billionaires.

In the same vein, you have individuals in your city and state who have made their fortune and hold their wealth in property investments.

Why you need to invest

In his essay "Theory of Human Motivation " first published in 1943, Abraham Maslow, father of behavioral psychology observed, that people are motivated to fulfill three basic needs. The three basic human needs are food, shelter and clothing. And many people will try to fulfill these three needs, before any other need.

When you invest in real estate, you add value to your customers in one of the important area of ​​human needs-shelter. You are investing in an evergreen industry.This is why, I believe you should include property investing as part of your wealth-building portfolio.

However before you go out and buy your first property you need to have the right plan of action to succeed. The first thing you have to be aware of is that …

Goals are important.

Your need to know, what you want to accomplish:

  • Are you looking at wealth accumulation within a short time frame (3-7 years)?
  • Are you investing for the Long term (retirement)?
  • Do you want to be a full time investor and debit all your income from your real estate investment?

When you ask yourself these critical questions, you are able to focus and achieve your dreams.

You need to develop critical success practices.

It is important you develop or become aware of the practices, you need to win as a real estate investor. Five main practices are important for success:

  • Competency in your niche, this means you know about the basics, at the minimum and then become excellent in the niche you decide to invest.
  • Control over your emotions . This is important if you are going to stay in the investing arena for the long haul because there will always be difficulties in the real estate market. The difference between a novice and a professional is the ability to ride the eye of the tiger without getting into the belly of the tiger. Being a real estate investor takes guts and you need to have them if you want to become wealthy
  • Comprehension . This means know your market cold. You understand who your customers are, what they are looking for, why they want to deal with you. If you lack these key trait-insight into your market-you are doomed to fail.
  • Consistency . This means you have focus and discipline to, take action daily, weekly until you accomplish your goals.
  • Integrity . You stay true to your principles, because integrity is important in real estate. This means you are trustworthy, to your bankers, investors and tenants.

Strategy vs. tactics

The strategy (what to do) is more important than the tactics (how to do) of real estate investing. Let me explain.

If for instance, you wanted to gain wealth in a very short term then to buy and hold real estate, which is a long-term strategy-will not be the right strategy to achieve your goals. Flipping and wholesaling properties- buying undervalued properties and selling at a higher price to gain profit-may be the best strategy.

Knowing enough vs. Knowing it all

I think it's important to have an understanding of real estate investing, however you do not need to know all about real estate investing to start.

You need to one thing that I think is important for an investor … You need know enough about the basics-how to analyze properties, how to get financing, and how to assemble you real estate team together. That is it.

If you want to make a full time career as a real estate investor, then you would have to know more. You would have to specialize in a niche.

I am not going to spend many hours learning about short sales, wholesaling and foreclosing investing especially if I am not going to be a full time investor. It would be counterproductive for me, when I should spend my time doing what I am best at doing.

Let's recap, to succeed investing in real estate …

  • You need to understand why you are investing in real estate.
  • You need to develop critical hits for success as a real estate investor.
  • You need to choose the right tactics to match your investing objectives.
  • You need to know enough about what you want achieve

This is how I have applied myself to real estate investing. Moreover, it has helped me transform my losses to wins and I enjoy the cash flow from my properties, with the knowing I will become financially free.



Source by Ajibola Osho

When marketing to find Private Lenders you need to apply the same formulas and techniques to your marketing to attract attention and get potential lenders to want to know more about you and your program. Let’s go through headlines in terms of what they’re trying to do and how to apply a few simple formulas to create attention grabbing headlines.

AIDA

 

One of them is a classic formula called the AIDA formula, which is Attention, Interest, Desire, and Action.

 

Attention is a key word. Free is obviously going to get attention. 100% will get attention. Sex will get attention. Guaranteed will get attention. Cash will get attention. All these words are really designed to grab somebody’s attention.

 

After you have their attention you must keep their interest. They must be interested in your product or services before they will ever buy. You generally keep interest in the body of your advertisement by telling a story or laying out your private lending program

 

Next is Action. They must take a desire to action. You must move them from interest to desire. You must move them along that scale to where at the end they’re going to take action. That’s what you want them to do.

 

The action may be simply emailing you back. They may be saying, “Hey, I’m interested.” You need them to take some action but that action does not have to be buying and can be to join your mailing list or attend a seminar.

 

Problem – Agitate – Solve

 

This is where you would highlight a problem. That’s not very hard today with what’s going on in the financial markets. You’d say, “Are you tired of losing 30-50% in your stock portfolio?” You would agitate that.

 

You might make some further comments about it. “The financial crisis is continuing to devastate people’s portfolios.” Now you’ve agitated that problem a little bit. Then you solve the problem.

 

“If you’re interested in a higher returning investment in the 9-12% range, please attend our free seminar.”

 

Do you see what I did there? There’s a problem – losing 40% on your stock portfolio. You’ve agitated it – the world’s coming to an end, do you hear all the press releases, etc. Solve – “Come to our free seminar and learn how to get 9-12% on your investment.”

 

So problem, agitate, solve. That is a classic formula. It works extremely well. Any time you can incorporate that into your marketing pieces absolutely do that.

 

Before and After

Kind of similar is the before and after. You can talk about before the financial crisis maybe what you should have done and didn’t do it. Then you can talk about after the financial crisis and what they should do is attend your free seminar, coffee, or free report or whatever.

 

It would be, “Before what you were doing was fine. Now it’s after and what worked then doesn’t work today so you need to attend my seminar.” Again, you can see what’s happening here, we’re kind of going through this.

 

Testimonials

You can work on testimonials. You can have other private lenders who have been successful with you. Providing testimonials you can even to a certain extent make that one of your headlines if that person said something particularly compelling. If it looks like it would be a nice headlines and you can put in quotes – “As said by so-and-so, a private investor of mine,” testimonials work.



Source by Mike Lautensack