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Home “Buyer’s” Beware Part III

It’s A Racket!

If you remember the housing bubble, then you should remember when it burst.  Well get ready for the Housing Bubble Burst Part II

The Property

This is not for the property investor/flipper.  It is intended for the first time home buyer.  The buyer that is intending to make a commitment, an investment and intends to live in their home for the rest of their lives. 

This is an investment for a life time, covering up to 30 years.   You want to take your time, this is a commitment second only to marriage.   You want to look, get the feel of and imagine the potential.    You want a good location, well built and strategically appointed rooms, bathrooms and windows.    Don’t allow your agent to down play the flaws.  Here are just a few things to look for.   broken or cracked windows, lose hinges on doors and cabinets,  lumps in carpet, uneven floors (bring a basketball or soccer ball),  counter tops out of level,  check above the corners of windows, if the house has settled to much there will be a crease on either or both sides.  The entry doors will also reveal this defect. 

Check the driveway, if it is cracked, it’s only going to get worse.   check for discoloration in the ceiling, this will sometimes reveal a leaky roof.   Use a circuit tester to test the wiring. If it has a three prong outlet it should be grounded.   Insure that the wiring is done correctly on each outlet in every room.   Be vigilant on renovations.  Most garages will have gas furnaces and water heaters.    If a garage has been made into a bedroom or family room, insure that any gas lines has been totally removed.   some renovators will only cap off the gas lines which could result in future problem leaks.  If a home has been switch from gas to electric, insure that the gas has been capped outside at the meter. 

Flipped houses

These houses are bought at auction for as little as $10,000 and sold a few months later for upwards of $200,000 with little more than carpet,  paint, appliances and maybe some carpentry work.    These houses are listed with the highlighted attribute “New Carpet, cabinets, appliances, paint inside and out.”   As with anything, you are going to have the can-do’s  and also the can’t even if they tried.    Be careful with these properties.  They are  more of a cover up than a fix up.     Mildew is sometime covered up with paint only to be revealed in a few months.   squeaking floors are repaired by drilling in screws to quiet the squeak.   Most of the time it will make the floor even.  wear soft bottom shoes to get the feel of the floor.  

foreclosed home

For what ever reason the home owner no longer was able or wanted to continue living or paying for the house.   In many cases they were over extended from the beginning by over paying for the home.    You want to be able to make the payments, maintain and make improvements over time.  If all you can do is make the payments, the property would soon result into blight.   Usually sold as-is.

Short Sale

This home has more owed on it than it is worth.   This type of sale will require a third party approval and sometimes more.  Often times it will also have a second or even a third mortgage.  It will usually take longer to close on a   sale of this nature.  It is not worth the hassle.  Usually sold as-is and not worth the asking price and will have to be approved by all parties involved and it only takes one disapproval to squash the deal.   This hassle is not worth it….Run!!!

The bait Homes

These homes are put on the market solely to stimulate the market and flush out any potential buyers.  These homes are usually under priced and in immaculate well kept condition.   The old saying “If it seems to good to be true” should be well observed.    I don’t think that there is a law anywhere that say “If you put your home on the market, you must sell it”.   Open houses are mostly stages that are put together to gather info on potential buyers.    It’s not to far fetched to imagine a home owner receiving  compensation to stage such an event.   Whether it is really for sale or not, these bait homes are out there, be mindful of them and just walk away.     Because, if you manage to  get an offer in, it will be countered with a stipulation that even a 1st year law student would advise against.

These homes are sometimes advertised as “Bank Approved”.  You should know that if you are getting a conventional loan, your bank will have to approve it. As every bank has their own approval standards.   Your bank  will not give any credibility to the approval of another bank.


In ‘flopping,’ a home is purchased by insiders at a steep discount, then immediately sold for a big profit.

After the Deal is closed.

While looking at you perspective home, you imagined the improvements you will be making.  Well, not so fast.  While you creativity may get the best of you, there are those who are chomping at the bit to take advantage of you.   The covert actions of those will no be apparent until it is to late.

While choosing the home you want  the payments and taxes you are able to afford, you will need a lot of wiggle room.   Those predators don’t really care if you are a in a home or homeless.   They just want your money, and by hook or crook, they intend to get it.

There is a thing called market value.  This is the value that real estate companies will put on a house.   There is  True value of the house, the value that it would take to replace the house.    THEN….there is the taxable value of the house.   This is the value that the county auditor will arbitrarily place on your house/land.   This value is the amount that the county will use in the (X tax rate) equation to calculate your yearly taxes.   Not only do the tax rate increase but also the taxable value can increase.  The taxable value can be lower  (not likely) or can be substantially higher than the actual market value of the house.   There is a case where a house was listed at 169,500 and sold for 154,000 and within 3 years, a popular online real estate listing had that same home for over $250,000.  During that same time, the county auditor had increase the taxable value $50,000 higher than it was at closing.   This was without any improvements made to the property other that mowing the yard and trimming the trees.    Needless to say that the hopeful would-be owners would not be able to afford to pay taxes on a taxable value of 250,000.  This tactic is used to keep homes in rotation.  Especially in areas where home building is low and cities and towns are blocked in and can’t expand.   When this happens,  Houses are torn down and condos are put up to increase the tax base at the same time abolishing affordable housing.

When your home value goes up, your insurance goes up, your taxes goes up and your payments goes up.   So that budget you were working on before you bought the home, just went out the window.

This is a system designed for you (the working class) to fail.  It’s a RACKET!…..

To Be Continued……….But you should be getting the point by now.

The Solar Energy Equation

power needed x 2 = inverter power

if you needed 250 watts

250 X 2 = 500

500 would be your inverter power

inverter power / 500 = batteries @ 100ah

500 / 500 = 1 battery @ 100am

if your inverter power was 750-1000 watts you would want 2 batteries @ 100ah

if your inverter power was 2000 watts you would want 4 100ah batteries.

solar panels =  90 watts x 100ah batteries

if you had 1 100ah battery you would want 90 watts of solar panels to be useful  

keep in mind that 15 watts = approx. 1 amp.   an ideal charging rate is 10 amps which is about 150 watts.  

if you had 2 100ah batteries you would want 180 watts of solar panels.

Don’t get me wrong, you can have a 45 watt solar panel system but don’t let your battery go flat 11.9 volts you will be days on end to top off your 100ah battery


The ideal beginner solar system would be 500 watt inverter, 1 100ah battery and 90 watts of solar panels.   

Give Yourself a Tax Break (Tax Cuts For The Rest Of Us)

You can’t depend on a politician to give you a tax cut.  He may appear to give you a tax cut while putting money in your right pocket while at the same time,  taking it out of your left pocket.  He will lower your taxes with one hand and raised them with the other hand.  The really bold ones with lower your taxes by 10% and in one place and raised them 15% in an other place.   Got to watch those politicians.   The are a “Smile in ya face, frown at ya back” breed.   Besides, the way they see it is, all you gave them is your one vote, the other guys, you know the lobbyist, gives them millions to serve their client’s (big business) cause.

Tax cuts for big business, well, we need to learn a lesson about how big business do business.    For instance, if big business need more capital, they will appeal to legislators via Lobbyist for tax breaks.   Well my friends, the buck stops with you.   If you don’t do business with these companies they won’t have a tax to cut.

The old conception that businesses will provide more jobs with these tax cuts has not been proven.  After 10 years the jobs  has not came to reality.   The economy is slowly sinking yet these tax cuts for big business are still touted as the remedy to pick this economy up.

Here is a concept,  eliminate the tax cuts, everybody pays their fair share.   When those companies make so much they stop production, other companies will pick up production therefore hiring more employees to keep up production.   It’s called sharing the wealth.   Take a 10 million dollar company  with tax breaks for instance,  why not have 2 five million dollar companies with no tax breaks.   Or even better have 4  2.5 million dollar companies with no tax cuts.    Face it, if a company gobbles up another company with tax cuts, it not only have it’s own tax cuts but the company’s tax cuts that it consumed.   Then after 6 months if not immediately, the layoff  begins, the trimming starts, yet the tax cuts stay in place.

Unlike big business, you don’t have lobbyist.   Oh, you mean your senator,  congressman or governor, lol.   They are the ones being lobbied by big business.   Big business is filling your elected official’s pockets with millions of dollars of your money to do their bidding.   Here’s how it works,  taxes are collected from you and big business.  Lobbyist on behalf of big business, stuff the pockets of senators, congressmen and governors so they will pass legislation for tax cuts,  local taxes (utilities, car tabs, gas tax, sales tax, property tax) are raised to compensate for the tax cuts for the rich and big business.  Oh, and because big business don’t pay their fair share, a lot of social programs take a trip out back to the chopping block.

Now, it’s our turn.  let’s give ourselves a tax brake, yes that’s right, brake as in stop, slow down, discontinue.  BRAKE.

Take your utility company for instance.   They will provide you with tips on how to save energy.  Some will even come out and check your home for air leaks that your heat or AC may escape.   They will do this out  one side of their mouth and at the same time apply to the utilities commission for a rate hike out of the other side of their mouth.

As soon as you hear about a utilities rate hike, immediately start thinking of ways to cut back usage and stick to it.

1. Put plastic over your window.

2. Insure that doors are well sealed.

3. Turn off lights and heat  in rooms that are not being used.

4. Turn you water heater down to 120 degrees.

5. Consider washing the dishes once a day.

6. Set up a solar charging station for your electronics. You may want to consider setting up a small (45 watt solar system from Harbor Freight).   Use a power strip (one with an on/off switch) that will accommodate  those wall chargers.   When not in use turn the switch off.  Those wall chargers consumes energy any time it’s plugged in even though its not charging your electronic device.  Keep all chargers in one drawer, using clear zip lock baggies to put each one in.  Lable them if needed.

7. Did you know that your tv (flat screen/HDTV/DTV) consumes energy even when it’s turn off.  It would be a good idea to have it plugged into a power strip with a switch also.  Turn off the strip when away from home long periods of time, such as when you go to work, school or play.

8.  At Night, turn the heat down and put on an extra blanket, you might consider sleeping in socks and  a night cap (the one that goes on your head).

9.  Arrange it so that you can charge your cell phone, mp3 players and other electronic devices in your car when possible even if you have to use an inverter.

10. Desktop Computer….Us a power control panel to plug in you speakers, external modem and any other items.  switch off the panel when not in use.

11. On really cold consecutive days, go to the mall, library.

12. Spend days off volunteering.

If your utility company goes up on your electric bill 10%, cut back your usage 15% or even 20%.

A little motivation to save on your utilities is the fact that the higher your bill is, the more taxes you pay.

Take a look at your Light bill and see who all have their hands in your pocket

So, do you want a tax brake,  lower your utility bill.

If you pay water bill, in some areas your sewer bill is determined by how much water you use.  So, when you wash your car or water your lawn or garden your sewer bill goes up even though the water is not going down the sewer.  They too will also talk out the side of their mouths touting saving you money by offering sometimes even free shower head and faucet aerators.   At the same time, doing everything they can to raise your rates.

Support local organizations that hold car washes i.e. girl/boy scouts, school bands/choirs and other non profit organizations.

Use rain barrels to catch water for your garden and feed your animals.    A friend of mine even use rain water to flush his commode.

Do you want a tax brake, lower your water and sewer bill.

I would mention how to make the price of gas go down but the last time we did that, everyone went out the day before the boycott and filled up their tanks and the stations closed on that day and gave the employees two days paid vacation.  The price of gas didn’t go down and it was considered a miserable failure.

So, I can only say…..

1. Yes, keep your tires inflated to recommended PSI, Thanks Barack.

2. Combine trips to the store.

3.  Keep your car properly tuned.

4. Avoid sudden stops and accelerations.

5. Operate vehicle smoothly, don’t get into a position battle with the car beside you.

6. Take the extra load out of your vehicle.  i.e. golf clubs, luggauge and junk.

If your vehicle holds more than 15 gallons, don’t buy more than 10 gallon at a time, All the extra weight causes you to get less gas milage, especially driving around town.   If there were no state and federal gas tax, gas would be half the price it is now.  Did you know for instance in Washington state Owners of LP Gas vehicles pay an annual fee of 37.50 to make up for the taxes loss by not buying gasoline.   There is pending legislation  for electric vehicle owners to pay $200-$300 annual fee in addition to tab fees.

Do you want a tax brake, lower your gas bill.

Do you use your cell phone more than your home phone (land line)?   You might consider disconnecting your home phone.   You would be be surprise that how many people do not have a home phone.  There is a utility tax for your home phone service.

Look at you phone bill and see who all have their hands in your pocket.

Want a tax brake, discontinue your land line (home phone) service.

I’m saving this one for last because I know how hard it will be.   You might want to chip away at your cable bill.  Discontinue some premium channels.

Your internet, if you call your company to discontinue you internet, you may be introduced to a GREAT deal for continued service.  Sometimes this works and sometime they will attempt call your bluff.   You may have to discontinue for a few months (frown) then call up on one of those deals you get in the mail or see on tv.

Want a tax brake, lower your internet bill.

You are on your own, nobody is going to give you a tax brake.   You have to give your self a tax brake.

Brake….stop, discontinue, halt.  To be slowed or stopped.

So put the brakes on your taxes.

Start cutting your taxes today!!!

Stay tuned!!!

To Be continued………

Here is a link to an idea that will save you money.   If you try it, let me know how it works out for you.

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