Singing cow-poke celebrities like Gene Autry made giant returns on their investments in real estate. Even in the 21st century, real estate continues to be the very best investment, especially for the long term. In the early days of television, Autry bought the KTLA TV station for $12 million. He sold it years later for over $240 million! Autry, or his sharp money manager, could see that at the very least, no investment in land can ever lose all its value. This is the only type of investment that this can still be said of. Every other type of stocks, bonds, and certainly technology investment is completely speculative in nature, compared to the value of land.

The problem for many investors nowadays, is the cost of real estate is so high as to preclude many from even one investment in a single dwelling. They just do not have the income to swing the mortgages on the kinds of real estate that the big-time pro real estate investors have access to. Until quite recently, investments in private companies or commercial real estate was only possible for an accredited investor – meaning the investor had over $1,000,000 in net worth.

This problem has been met with new ways of doing business, plugging into the “crowd sourced” online markets through crowdfunding the purchase of commercial businesses and real estate. The law that made the change that allows for this is called the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act. In an economic environment where most investments return no more than a couple of percent, at most, commercial real estate returns often top an annual gain of 10 percent.

EquityMultiple is a crowdfunded investment platform for real estate. It is located in New York City and CEO Charles Clinton had this to say, “At a time when the stock market has been particularly volatile and where yield is hard to find because of low interest rates, the real estate is a sector where you can find relative stability and strong performance.”

Than Merrill, of FortuneBuilders – owner of a real estate investment education company – …

When installing windows to a new home or carrying out a regular maintenance, what factors do you look for before contracting a window company? Here are some key factors that you should review before hiring any given window company, especially if you live in Maryland or the neighboring regions.

Reliability
Several window companies and agents will approach you once you start a construction project. However, before settling on either, conduct a background check to identify their reliability. It is only prudent that you go for the company with a proven record to avoid disappointment. Chandler Remodeling Window Company and Anderson Corporation are just but a few examples of such companies.

Experience
The higher the number of years a company has on the job, the higher the level of its experience in the field. Therefore, contracting a company with several years of operation in the window industry is one way of ensuring quality fixes.

Professionalism
When vetting window companies in Maryland, consider checking if their workers are registered, insured, and if they have the right tools to get the work done. This is the only sure way to ensure professionalism and to reduce liability on your part in case of uncertainties.

Physical address
For your peace of mind, it is only advisable that you hire a company with a physical address in Maryland. Ideally, this refers to an office or showroom that you can visit to enforce your contract or inspect some of their work before hiring them.

Quality of service
There are a number of popular window companies in Maryland. The brand popularity equals the levels of service offered, which can be noticed by checking on the company’s websites for customer feedback and reviews. Where no websites exist, ask them for referees from whom, you can inquire directly.

Technological advancement
The high level of technological adoption by a company is enough proof of efficiency. A company that embraces new technology in its operations is more likely to carry out your work more efficiently and in a timely manner than one that doesn’t appreciate technology.

Flexibility
A good window company …

Instead of looking for a new home, try updating your current home. This is an idea that should save the average person a lot of frustration and money. Simply updating a few areas around the exterior will add instant curb appeal and value to the home. Those homeowners that are thinking about selling their home in the future should really take note of that fact. Homeowners should take a walk around the exterior of their home. Look for areas that could use home improvement or an update.

Now, it is time to settle down and perform some research. Decide which upgrades or home improvements will add the most value to the home. Real estate experts agree that any steps taken to improve curb appeal should add considerable value to the home. A book is judged by its cover. A home is judged by its curb appeal. A home with great curb appeal is very attractive to buyers and adds value to the entire neighborhood. The top home projects include;

Of course, there are several other ways to instantly upgrade the house and add to the value. Those home projects are limited to your own imagination. For example, one of the easiest ways to give a home a great new look is t simply wash the exterior of the home. Power wash the exterior before adding a fresh coat of pain. Power-wash the driveway and the sidewalk that is in front of the home and leads to the front door. Painting is a wonderful way to really give a new look to the home too. Perform a complete paint job, after power washing the exterior of the home. Take a look at the lawn. Perhaps, the shrubs need cutting and the weeds are getting out of control. Real estate experts suggest that landscaping the front of the home improves curb appeal and adds more value. Prune shrubs and trees. Pull up weeds. Seed the lawn and add a few colorful plants.…

Now that winter is here you may begin to notice signs indicating you need to update your windows sooner rather than later. You can save yourself valuable time and money by visiting Thompson Creek company reviews to learn about common warning signs that let you know your windows are in need of complete upgrade.

Do You Feel a Draft?

Drafts are the most obvious sign that your windows need to be replaced. In the summer, cool air from air conditioning systems is able to escape and warm outside air is able get in. A similar phenomenon happens in the winter time with cold air seeping in while warm air is able to escape. Drafty windows make your home uncomfortable and contribute to higher energy bills. If you notice drafts or your windows are cold to the touch in winter, it is time to contact an experienced window installer.

Difficulty Operating Your Windows

Another telltale sign that your windows may need to be replaced soon is difficulty opening and closing your windows. This issue is particularly common in older wooden windows and tends to be more of a problem in the summer months when high temperatures cause the wood to expand. A window that is difficult to open is more than just an inconvenience, it is a potential safety hazard in the event of an emergency. Avoid being trapped in the event of a fire by getting your windows replaced as soon as possible.

Fading Furniture and Flooring

If you begin to notice discoloration on sofas, chairs and carpeting there is a good chance that your windows may be the culprit. Windows in good condition are effective at blocking the sun’s harmful UV rays but windows in need of replacement lose this effectiveness over time. Installing new windows with UV resistant coatings will eliminate this problem and will provide better protection for your furniture and flooring.

If you are in the state of Maryland and need of professional window installation, there are many reputable companies that cater to your window replacement needs. Thompson Creek Windows is a highly ranked companies and …

While the road to selling your home can be long, increasing the value of your home is easier than you think. We all know the obvious home upgrades that add value to a house, such as remodeling kitchens and bathrooms to adding more square footage to a house. There are many other ways to add value to your home as well, such as protecting the structure and making the home more energy efficient. Here are a few overlooked quick tips that will add value to your home:

  1. Paint Everything – Painting is a cost-effective and simple way to improve the value of your home. Newly painted walls look clean and updated, and therefore appeal to potential buyers. When selecting paint for your walls, select colors that are neutral, as they’ll appeal to the greatest number of people.
  2. Focus on Energy Efficiency- Making your home more energy efficient is simple. Two easy ways to improve the overall energy efficiency of a home, while also working on curb appeal, is to focus on windows and your roof. New high performance windows, screens and films can add appeal to your house, provide energy savings year round, and even help reduce need of AC and heating usage. Similarly, applying a reflective coating to your roof can decrease the amount of heat coming from your house and help prevent the expansion and contractions that degrade roofs.
  3. Prioritize your foundation- This should go without saying but it’s often a step that homeowners overlook. Overtime, foundations are susceptible to damage through frequent water expose. A simple way to protect your home’s foundation is to add gutters to your house. The main function of gutters is to divert water from the structure base and help keep it as dry as possible. When looking for replacement gutters, finding ones that have a guard system can help eliminate seasonal gutter maintenance.
  4. Amp up curb appeal- Curb appeal is important when selling a home. Even if you aren’t planning on selling your house today, it’s simple to plan for the future. Landscaping a home can provide additional shade to the

The best front door is handsome and inviting, yet durable to stand up to the sun, intruders and other elements. It’s the first impression guests have of your home and it is a great way to tie together your home’s style with some unique flare. Below are some tips on how to pick custom entry doors:

How to know if you even need one: Entry doors are quite the investment, so make sure you get one that lasts! Many homeowners have found that their wooden doors begin to warp over time or the surface on their metal doors begin to peel. This is why it’s important to get a high-quality door. Sometimes you can just install a new one where the older one was, but sometimes you need to change the entire opening of the door, which requires the work of a professional.

Materials: The best choice for a harsh or a more humid climate is a fiberglass door. Though they are not made of real wood, they can look like they are with wood-mimicking finishes. If authenticity is more your style, wooden doors are luxurious and beautiful, but they are the most expensive option. There are also steel and aluminum doors, which offer some of the best security.

Whether you buy just the entry door or the whole system with a frame included, keep these tips in mind: If you’re picking a complete entry system, be sure all components come from the same manufacturer to make sure they fit perfectly. Also, pick from a high-quality installer and manufacturer like Thompson’s Creek, who can do full installation.  Picking the right front door will pay off in smoother operation, less maintenance, and added energy savings. You’ll also have an elegant entry that makes a great first impression for years to come.…

Did you know that 20 or more ants all gathered around like a posse in the same area is considered an ant colony? This colony is a telltale sign of an infestation, which you definitely want to nip in the bud. Last spring, my 12-year-old daughter kept on getting colonies of ants in her bathroom. I didn’t understand why there were little ants infesting her orange and pale pink bathroom, but I wanted to get to the bottom of it. I know that ants seek out shelter, moisture, and food, but why in my daughter’s bathroom?

Typically ants are known for congregating in kitchens where food is kept and served, which leads me being the type-A mother that I am, to be super anal and monitor this. In an attempt to prevent ants from attacking my pale green floral wallpapered kitchen, I take out the trash daily, and make sure that all food is properly stored and sealed tightly.

After the ant colonies in my daughter’s bathroom seemed to be multiplying overnight last April, I finally resorted to finding pest control in Maryland. It turns out that my not so type-A daughter, was throwing out remainders of bagels from breakfast, chips from snack, and other food in her bathroom trashcan, which I didn’t monitor as closely as the kitchen trashcan. The ants sniffed out the food and tried to take advantage of the opportunity.

What I later learned about ants is that they multiply quickly because queen ants sense danger and create more colonies as a defense mechanism. It is important to dispose of food all in one main location in order to prevent issues such as these. This incident was good for my family though because it set an example for everyone and freaked out my daughter enough to not let it happen again.…

If you can’t attend Than Merrill’s San Diego FortuneBuilders seminar, there are 10 ways to help you get the best offer for your home:

Tip 1

Remove all family photos, toys, nick knacks, and excess clothing. Replace the family photos with generic paintings. Eliminate anything that creates an odor-especially diaper pails or litter boxes.

Tip 2

Give each room a definitive function. Bedrooms should have a bed and a dresser. If it’s an office, remove anything that would distract from that purpose. Exercise equipment belongs in a gym or a storage building, not in an office.

Tip 3

Remove heavy curtains and valances, and replace them with lighter weight fabrics. Replace old or worn out light fixtures, and wash the windows.

Tip 4

Patching and painting walls will give the appearance of a well-kept home. Use neutral colors that will appeal to everyone. It does not have to be white, but a shade of white or tan should work. The darker a room is, the smaller it will look.

Tip 5

Remove and replace–if possible–old carpets. Call a professional steam cleaner if the carpets are in good shape. Look for specials on wood flooring or tiles to replace floors that cannot be saved.

Tip 6

The two rooms that are scrutinized most are the kitchen and bathroom. To sell a house for top dollar, these two rooms must be updated. Painting cabinets and replacing countertops will make a big improvement in their appearance. You should update the faucets and hardware, too. Replace any broken or leaking plumbing fixtures.

Tip 7

Paint exterior walls if they appear dull and old, and update the entry. The front door and outside lighting will be one of the first things prospective buyers will see. Damaged or old doors will deter buyers from even stepping inside the house.

Tip 8

Mow the grass and plant fresh flowers, or create planting beds and get rid of over-grown bushes and trees.

Tip 9

Stage the house so that rooms appear larger. A chair, sofa, coffee table, and an end table with an attractive lamp, are more than …

My house never seems to be warm enough and our heat bills seem to be increasing each month. We haven’t increased the number of times we shower a day or the amount that we use our gas stove to cook. What we seem to be adjusting each month or even each day is the temperature on our thermostat. I couldn’t take it anymore, both the cold breeze in our home and the rising prices on our monthly gas bill.

It turns out that our crawl space was the root of the problem and the cause of the cold air in our old colonial style brick home. We had specialists come out and take a look at our crawl space and we quickly learned that it was filthy since it was unprotected and had several unfinished surfaces. The dirt in our crawl space led to moisture, which was the cause of growing mold.

The air from our crawl space was leaking into the walls of our home, which was why it has been so chilly in our home the past couple of months. We are lucky that thankfully the air wasn’t too contaminated and did not cause anyone to get sick or anything.

We later learned that when you have a dirty crawl space with a lot of moisture it is an environment that insects, pests and wildlife gravitate towards. Our crawl space was clear of any wildlife or pests, which was truly a miracle.

The solution we chose to eliminate our crawl space issues was to install the CleanSpace Crawl Space Encapsulation System. The CleanSpace system essentially created a bubble in our crawl space, which works to keep the moisture out and locks in the heating and air conditioning. This bubble was installed on the floors and walls of our crawl space.

The system ensures that no moisture or toxic air is leaking through the walls into your home. Since we have installed the CleanSpace system we have watched our heat bills reduce by 20% a month, which definitely is nice to see. Now we can keep our thermostat at …

As we are quickly approaching squirrel mating season, I felt that it was necessary to share with everyone my squirrel story from last winter.

Let me tell you, my daughter’s tap dancing shoes sound quite similar to the squirrels we had scurrying around in our attic. At first, I thought it was my daughter practicing for her dance recital on the mahogany hardwood floor, but then I realized my daughter wasn’t dancing and the noise was coming from the attic.

I was too scared to go in the attic and check out the situation alone, so I had my son go with me.  I saw something scurry across the wooden planks, and I just couldn’t believe we had squirrels in the attic.

My son screamed, “Mom, look!!” as a squirrel practically threw its body across the attic to be united with its other squirrel pals.

While researching for a pest control company, I stumbled upon some basic squirrel facts.

I learned that squirrels are around year round, but especially during mating season, which is coming up in February and March and then again in July and August. My encounter with squirrels took place in early February, which I later realized was mating season.

Squirrels can cause major damage to your home by chewing through your insulation and chewing through the siding of your house. In the fall, squirrels start to enter homes when it gets cooler in order to seek out a warm shelter and food.

When the pest control company came to my house they told me that squirrels like warm and dry places, which is why they are drawn towards attics where they can create large holes, which serve as squirrel entry ways.

The pest control company really did save the day. They did everything from remove the squirrels to prevent future squirrel encounters.…