Why Each Home Owner Needs A Property Tax Doctor

Because each home owner who protest their assessments, with a knowledge of how the property tax assessment system works, often receive $500 to $1000 tax savings, if not more annually on their property tax bill. Simply stated the property tax bill is calculated by multiplying the homeowner’s assessment times the local property tax rate and subtracting any tax deductions for which the individual home owner is eligible.

The property tax doctor can show you how to lower your assessment and thereby reduced your property tax bill! The property tax doctor is a former tax assessor who knows first hand how difficult it is for the average person to penetrate the tax assessor’s bureaucratic jungle comprised of arcane terms and practices. No government document does this for the home owner.

Just like going to a medical doctor’s office the first thing that you need to do is to gather the necessary information with which to do the paperwork. The primary sources for that information is the homeowner’s property record card obtained at the assessor’s office and comparable home sales. Most homeowners armed with one or both of these information items get their assessment reduced the majority of the time without going beyond their local tax assessor’s office.

Just as you ask your medical doctor informed questions to get some pain relief, so also you must ask your tax assessor (with the help of the property tax doctor) some informed questions in order to win some property tax relief. The best advice the property tax doctor can offer is to go to your local tax assessor’s office and check your property record card for mistakes of fact! Clerical errors and plain mistakes do occur during the valuation process. Here is a partial list of common mistakes you should check up on.

1. The dimensions of your home or the dimensions of your land are wrong.

2. Failure to note depreciation on adverse-onsite conditions or no depreciation or minimal deprecation shown for an older home.

3. The dimensions of your land are wrong.

4. Check all computations, whether or not you understand where the factors came from.

5. Failure to note depreciating off-site influences — a factory or landfill producing toxic fumes.

6. The quality of improvements are wrong — you have a stone not a macadam driveway, or — you have the low priced whirlpool tub not the big name expensive whirlpool tub.

7 Finished areas are listed incorrectly — basement is shown as finished and it is not.

8. The age of the home is listed incorrectly or the number of stories is wrong.

My father would not let the local tax assessor, who was also his best friend, go past the kitchen table at our farmhouse. My father was afraid he would see certain interior home improvements and he would increase our assessment. My father mistakenly believed that improvements he had made inside the farmhouse like a new bathroom sink, plaster repairs, wallpapering, new ceilings, new light fixtures would add to our assessed value. Likewise he put off making outside repairs until after the next revaluation because of fear of an increased assessment. Surprisingly, he was wrong. Outside repairs like roof replacement, repairing masonry, repair of porch, steps, stairs, etc. do not increase the homeowner’s assessment. Neither does replacing garage doors, or sheds, sidewalks, etc

Often establishing the proper combined property value for your home and the land under it is the key to your property tax appeal. To win your appeal the homeowner must establish his or her property’s value at a level lower than the one the assessor used.

To establish market value the homeowner can go to the web site http://www.zillow.com to get a rough estimate of the value of his home. The site uses some basic variables like square footage, number of baths, acreage and number of bedrooms to calculate a market value for the home based on a formula that is driven by other home sales in the neighborhood. Where zillow has the sales data this is a good first step to see if your home is assessed way too high.

In years after the revaluation year the homeowner should find out what the assessment to sales ratio for his or her taxing district is in New Jersey. This ratio is announced each year and is available from the local tax assessor’s office. It represents the average at which the assessed value for all properties that sold in the past year was compared to their sales value in the municipality. Why is it important? It may provides a key factor in proving that you have received an unequal assessment and are entitled to file a discrimination challenge to your property assessment to win a tax reduction.

An unequal assessment is one made at a higher proportion of market value than an average of the other parcels on the roll. A year or so after a revaluation housing inflation often makes the assessment your tax assessor placed on your home look low compared to sales prices of comparable sold homes in your neighborhood. But watch out!

A low assessment to sale ratio in a municipality can fool some taxpayers into thinking that they are being assessed below market value and are therefore getting a break. However, if all assessments are set below market value then the tax rate must be increased in order to collect the necessary amount of tax revenue. The same amount of tax is collected, but the taxpayers are fooled into thinking they’ve gotten a break and do not search for malassessments.

Now, do not forget that the assessment to sales ratio (or common level ratio) is a key factor in getting you property tax relief. Let me explain. An important test for fairness of your assessment is not just its relationship to market value. It is also whether or not it is fair in relation to assessments on other properties in your town. For example, if you have a home with a market value of $800,000, but it is assessed at $600,000, you may think you are getting off cheaply. However, if your neighbor’s house which is comparable to yours is assessed at only $200,000, you are paying three times as much real property tax as you should!

When your property is under appeal the County Board of Taxation can adjust your home’s value to the common level. The taxpayer should know the average ratio in the municipality where the property under appeal is located before filing a tax appeal. Remember the ratio changes annually on October 1, for use in the subsequent tax year. Also, remember this adjustment to the common level is not used in the year of revaluation or reassessment when all properties have been brought to 100% of market value.

Once the County Tax Board determines the true market value of a property they are required to automatically compare that true market value to its assessment value. If the ratio of the assessment to the true value exceeds the average ratio by 15%, then the assessment is automatically reduced to the common level. The homeowner gets his property tax relief. But watch out! If the assessment to true value ratio falls below the common level, the County Tax Board is obligated to increase the assessment to the common level. The homeowner would then get his property tax increased. If the assessment falls within the common level range no adjustment is made.

Each year on October 1 of the pre-tax year the assessor establishes a value for each of the properties in the municipality for the following tax year. The annual assessment value is considered tentative during the period of public inspection of the new tax list from January 1 to January 10th. The purposes of the inspection period is to enable the taxpayer to ascertain what assessments have been made against him or her and to confer informally with the assessor as to the correctness of the assessments.

At this point your approach can be informal and will not require a formal, written appeal. Taxpayers have an opportunity only once each year to file a formal property tax appeal. Get your tax form for property tax appeal purposes from your County Board of Taxation web site. Generally, it must be received by the County Board of Taxation on or before April 1 of the tax year. If the taxpayer misses the deadline for filing a formal appeal the taxpayer must wait until the following year to make a challenge for any tax relief.

The Property Tax Doctor can help the average homeowner win his rightful property tax relief. Under the common level adjustment, described above, the New Jersey’s statutory standard for an acceptable property tax assessment margin of error in its calculation is 15%. In New Jersey where the average homeowner in 2006 paid about $5,000 per year in property taxes that amounts to an acceptable error of $750 in the propertytax bill. If we administered our Federal Tax bill with that 15% margin of error we would have a taxpayer revolt.

Gerald Dowgin © 2006

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Gerald Dowgin

Successfully Selling Silver on eBay – Article Two – Hallmarks, Maker’s Marks, Standards, and More

(Warning: This article is long and reading it may improve your ability to make money on eBay)

In Article One I discussed the opportunities for savvy eBay sellers in the growing investor market for antique and collectible silver. The many types of marks on these goods can be confusing, however, often resulting in poorly described listings. One can be assured that at least 30% of the 12-15,000 weekly listings in the ‚Antiques-Sterling‘ category will have inaccurate or misleading descriptions. The resulting buyer confusion and uncertainty causes poor selling prices, lost sales and seller credibility issues.

In this article eBayers will learn how to identify and understand the many different marks and where to research them. With this background sellers can write professional descriptions in their eBay auctions, eBay stores and other selling venues. Properly identifying and listing silver items gives sellers credibility and an edge over the hundreds of uninformed sellers in this competitive market.

Think of it this way – if one were going to get into the car selling business he or she should know as much as possible about makes, models, engines, performance, etc. Right? The same thing applies to selling silver goods. The marks tell the story behind the piece i.e., the maker, age, origin, history, quality, pattern, etc. Understanding marks will increase the sellers‘ ROI because they become better buyers as well as resellers.

Identifying and Deciphering Silver Marks – The list below provides the basics for learning the many marks and and metal types. For further research and education there are many excellent reference books available for both beginners and experts. I’ve provided a short list of suggested books at the end of the article. Understand that many reference books are narrow in their scope i.e., specific to certain time periods, countries, etc. For this reason one should purchase only one or two books which cover a wide array of marks from many makers and countries. As experience is gained by listing and selling silver one can build a good reference library. For online research there are several excellent websites that are contributed to and used by collectors and dealers worldwide. I’ve linked one of the best sites at the bottom of the article. Professional valuations and appraisals are also available for those who want a quality listing but don’t want to research marks.

Those who are just starting into silver sales need to be very careful not to misinterpret marks. As stated above, one-third of the eBay sellers incorrectly list and describe items because they’ve learned just enough information about marks to be dangerous. Often these erroneous sellers think because there is a lion, crown, or anchor mark on their item it is English sterling when, in fact, it is silverplate bearing a pseudo mark. Just today I saw a new seller’s auction of a creamer and sugar bowl set that she listed as English sterling made in 1903. In reality it was American silverplate circa 1877-1880. She thought the pattern number, 1903, was the date it was made and that the lion in the trademark meant English sterling. This is just one example of many that make sellers look bad and limit their chances for a profitable sale.

Use Knowledge As A Selling Point – After properly researching the marks on the merchandise one can accurately title and describe the listings. Items can be guaranteed to be as claimed because the seller has enough confidence to do so. This gives credibility to the seller and the merchandise which will draw smart investors and collectors to the auction. The result will be strong bidding action and higher sale prices.

Use Accurately Identified Marks for Search Optimization – For example, a seller identifies a piece as Danish and made by Georg Jensen circa 1909-1914. When used to keyword the auction title and description this information will be a magnet for high-end collectors . This translates into bigger profits. Which of these two titles works best? „Antique Silver Bowl with Hallmarks“ or,„Beautiful Georg Jensen Art Nouveau Sterling Centerpiece c.1909-1914“. The second one of course. This is simply using strategic keywords in the title which gives life to the listing.

Okay, so what’s to learn? There’s plenty. The following is just the short list, but with this foundation a seller can build their road to success as an expert silver dealer on eBay and other venues.

Things You Must Know:

  • Hallmarks – Just about every eBay seller misunderstands this. Specific to precious metals, a hallmark is defined as a mark or series of marks struck into the metal that officially authenticates the metal purity (fineness or content) and which is internationally recognized as a guarantee of purity. eBay sellers frequently confuse hallmarks with maker’s marks, logos, company trademarks, and simple number marks such as 925 or 835. While such number marks are used to indicate purity or content they are never to be considered as hallmarks unless they are accompanied by the official standard mark of the country of origin. Why? Because anyone can fraudulently strike these numbers into the metal without official assay. Hallmarks are the official marks of guaranteed metal purity in precious metal items. Trademarks and maker’s marks are simply the mark of the manufacturer of the item. Think of it like the karat marks on gold jewelry. If a ring says Cartier 18K, the hallmark is the 18K, not the maker’s name, Cartier. It guarantees the ring has a gold purity of 75% and it is recognized worldwide. Silver hallmarks work the same way, there’s just a lot more of them than there are for gold.
  • Country Marks – Almost every country requires official nationalized marks or symbols to be used as the hallmarks for their precious metals standards. Probably the best known of all is the Lion Passant used by England to guarantee sterling since the 14th century. There are far too many country marks to list here but you can research them in the online reference sites listed at the end of this article.
  • City Marks – A mark or symbol used in many countries to denote the city where the item was made. The leopard head representing London and the anchor representing Birmingham are two of the best known and most commonly seen on eBay. Again there’s too many to list but they can be researched in the reference guides listed below.
  • Maker’s Marks – These are the registered names, initials, trademarks, logos, brands, symbols, or other marks used over several centuries by silversmiths and manufacturing companies to identify their wares. There are literally hundreds of these worldwide. You will usually find these struck or imprinted onto an inconspicuous place on the item along with the hallmark and other marks.
  • Date Marks – Also called Date Codes, these are unique symbols, characters, letters, or numbers used by some well known manufacturers as a means of dating the production year of their merchandise. These are cataloged and are very useful in accurately dating many items. Unfortunately many companies didn’t use date marks which makes precise dating of their work impossible.
  • Pseudo Marks – These marks were created by silversmiths to mimic the well known and long established British sterling hallmarks. These smiths typically made silverplate items and silver items of lesser purity than sterling. The marks were intentionally designed to give a perception of sterling quality about their work in order to profit on the reputation and renown of British sterling. This does not necessarily mean they were all practicing fakery, though some certainly were. In fact, many pseudo marks are legitimately registered trademarks of reputable firms which manufacture in sterling, coin and silverplate. For example Gorham, a highly respected American sterling and silverplate maker, incorporated the Birmingham anchor mark into their maker’s mark. Much of the 19th century Chinese export silver also bears pseudo marks on some very high quality 800 and 835 standard marked goods. Pseudo marks are often mistaken for British sterling hallmarks so buyers and sellers alike must be able to recognize them. This is one of the main reasons why research is so critical to successful selling.
  • Pattern Numbers – These are proprietary numbers which are often found along with the hallmarks and maker’s marks. These are used by the manufacturer for patent registration, pattern identification and inventory control.
  • Sterling – Sterling is defined by the U.K., the U.S. (refer below*) and most other nations as an alloy containing at least 92.5% pure silver. The other metal in the alloy is copper which strengthens the metal for fabrication into usable and decorative wares. The word sterling comes from 14th century England. The sterling standard in Great Britain and elsewhere has been 92.5% (925) fineness since that time.
  • 925, 0.925 or 925/1000 – This number is often found stamped into silver items. It represents sterling when accompanied by the official standard hallmark of the country of origin. The presence of this number on an item does not guarantee it to be sterling unless the official country hallmark is also present.
  • „Solid Silver“ – This is defined by the U.S. government (refer below*) as an alloy containing at least 92.5% pure silver which means it has to be sterling. It is illegal in the U.S. to represent any product by this name that is not sterling silver.
  • „Coin Silver“ – This alloy gets its name from 18th and 19th century American silversmiths who melted down silver coins in order to fabricate items to sell. Typical items were silverware and other table service wares. The U.S. government defines this to be an alloy of 90% (900) purity (refer below*). Many items with less than 90% purity are frequently and illegally sold as „coin silver“ in the U.S. on eBay and in other venues.
  • Continental Sterling – This is a misleading term used by some who sell European made items which have purity standards less than 92.5%. Similar terms used are Russian Sterling, German Sterling, French Sterling, etc. all of which are marked with official national standards that are less than 925. Continental Silver is the correct way to describe European goods provided the official hallmark and assay mark are present to authenticate the actual purity.
  • Silver Standards – In the U.S. the standards are pure (.9999%), sterling and coin (refer below*). In the U.K. the standards are britannia (95.8 % purity) and sterling. Britannia was used exclusively in Britain from 1697 to 1720 and has been optional since. Other countries have their own sets of official standards. Typically, but not without exception, these are 950, 935, 925, 900, 875, 850, 835, 812, 800, 750, and 675 purities as determined by official assay. These numbers represent the decimal fraction (percentage) of silver content in the manufactured item. For example, an item marked ‚800‘ is 80% pure. 950 and 935 can be legally referred to in the U.S. as sterling, regardless of the country of origin, but the lesser standards cannot. 950 is sometimes referred to as Martelé Silver. Note: In the U.S. it is a federal crime to import, sell, label, advertise, or otherwise represent any item as „sterling“ or „solid silver“ which does not have a purity of 92.5% or greater (refer below*).
  • Loth Numbers – This was a numerical system used in Austria-Hungary and Germany-Prussia in the 18th and 19th centuries for authenticating official assays. It is based on a purity of 16/16. So that 15/16 is 15 Loth equaling .937 purity, 14/16 is 14 Loth equaling .875 purity, 13/16 is 13 Loth equaling .812 purity, and so on. Most of the antique silver from these countries found listed on eBay is 13 Loth and, as noted above, it is often misrepresented as German Sterling. Austria-Hungary used this system until 1866 and Germany-Prussia until 1886.
  • Zolotnik Numbers – These numbers are found on Russian silver items going back several centuries. The root of this system began in the 11th century with the Russian gold trade. A lot of antique Russian items are auctioned on eBay and other venues so it is important to know some basics. The numbers are based on 96/96 being pure. What is sold mostly on eBay is the more common 84 Zolotnik, or 84/96 which equals 875 (87.5%) purity. 88 Zolotnik is 88/96 or 916 purity and so on. A common problem with the 84 mark is mistaking certain types of French silverplate for Russian 84 Zolotnik. One way to tell the difference is the French silverplate mark will have either a ‚Gr‘ or ‚G‘ after the 84 which represents grams of silver used in the plating process. Also the Russian 84 Zolotnik will always be accompanied with one or more official marks and a maker’s mark in Russian Cyrillic letters. If an item is claimed to be Russian and it bears on the number 84, then consider it to be fake or plate.
  • Silverplate – This is a very thin layering or coating of pure silver over a base metal. The most common base metals used are copper, brass, nickel-silver, white metal, and Britannia metal (see below). The two types of silverplate are Sheffield plate and electroplate. Sheffield derives its name from Sheffield, England where it originated. The technique used was a ’sandwiching‘ of a layer of base metal between a top and bottom layer of pure silver. The metals were wrought or rolled until the two metals were bonded. Thus the base metal was ‚plated‘ and could then be used for manufacturing. Electroplating was invented in 1805 but didn’t come into popular use until 1840. This is an electrolytic process whereby molecules of silver are deposited onto the surfaces of a sheet of base metal until the desired coating or thickness is achieved. Because electroplating is quick and not labor intense almost all plating was done this way by 1860 which doomed the Sheffield plate method. Today Sheffield plate is prized by collectors due to its superior hand-wrought quality and antique value. There are several different quality grades of electroplate/silverplate. These are based on the thickness of the plating resulting from the amount of silver used. The two common types of Victorian Era silverplate are triple plate and quadruple plate. You will see a lot of these types auctioned on eBay. The key thing to know about silverplate is that it has no significant silver weight, thus there is no precious metal value associated with it. The market for silverplated items is based on rarity, uniqueness, antique qualities, craftsmanship, and design qualities only.
  • Sterling Silverplate – There is no such thing! This description is often used by eBay sellers who don’t know anything about silver or who are keyword spamming to increase clicks on their listing. Because sterling is an alloy it is unsuitable to use as a silver source for plating.
  • E.P.N.S. – You will see these letters marking the bottoms of many older American and British silverplated items. This stands for Electro Plated Nickel-Silver. Many novice eBay sellers and those who don’t bother to do any research mistakenly list E.P.N.S. items as sterling. Common variations on this are E.P., E.P.C. (Electro Plate on Copper), E.P.W.M. (Electro Plate on White Metal), E.P.B. or E.P.B.M. (Electro Plate on Britannia Metal). Just know that any item marked with E.P. is silverplate and as such has no precious metal value.
  • Nickel-Silver – This is a common base metal alloy consisting of nickel, copper and zinc. There is no silver in it whatsoever. The name was coined because the metal is silvery in color and polishes to a shine. Other names used for the same metal are: Alpacca or Alpacca Silver; Brazil Silver; German Silver; Peru Silver; New York Silver; New Silver; Nevada Silver; Norwegian Silver; Silverite; Venetian Silver; Potosi Silver; and Sonora Silver to name just a few. Many people have been stung buying things like old German Silver ladies purses thinking they had something of real value. Nickel-silver is strong and durable but it doesn’t have any metal value.
  • White Metal – This is a silvery colored alloy usually containing a mixture of antimony, tin, lead, zinc, and cadmium. In the U.K. the British fine arts trade uses the term ‚white metal‘ to describe all foreign items which do not have official British Assay Office marks struck on them.
  • Britannia Metal – Another non-silver base metal similar to pewter which is popular because it is durable and polishes to a silver-like luster. This is an alloy of 93% tin, 5% antimony and 2% copper. Not to be confused with 958 Britannia from Great Britain.

The hundreds of known marks and their meanings are complex and often confusing. The information you’ve received in this article should increase your understanding of what many of the marks represent. You can now build upon these basics to become an informed buyer and reseller with a substantial edge over your competition. Thanks for following this article series and please watch for Article Three: A Focus on British Sterling.

Suggested Reference Books:

  1. Kovels‘ American Silver Marks by Ralph and Terry Kovel; Random House Reference, 1st Ed., 1989. ISBN-13: 978-0517568828
  2. Dealer’s Guides: English Silver Hall-Marks by Judith Banister; Foulsham Publishing, 2004. ISBN-13: 978-0572029999
  3. Encyclopedia of American Silver Manufacturers by Dorothy T. Rainwater, Martin Fuller and Colette Fuller; Schiffer Publishing, 2003. ISBN-13: 978-0764318870
  4. American Silversmiths and Their Marks: The Definitive (1948) Edition by Stephen G. C. Ensko; Dover Publications, 1983. ISBN-13: 978-0486244280
  5. All About Antique Silver with International Hallmarks by Diana Sanders Cinamon; AAA Publishing; 1ST edition, 2006. ISBN-13: 978-0978516802
  6. Discovering Hallmarks on English Silver by John Bly; Shire Publishing, 9th Ed., 2008. ISBN-13: 978-0747804505
  7. English, Irish, & Scottish Silver: at the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute by Beth Carver Wees; Hudson Hills Press, 1st Ed.,1997. ISBN-13: 978-1555951177

(These and other excellent reference books on this subject are available at Amazon.com and other fine booksellers.)

* U.S. Guide to Precious Metals & Jewels: Laws & Standards (See paragraph 23.6)

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Wayne Morrison

Excuse Me, Are You Visiting or Have You Moved In? The Freeloader Nightmare

Shanty towns or squatter communities known as „Hooverville’s“ during President Hoover’s term as President (or back in the day as my son might say) began to sprout up all over the United States because of the fallout from the Great Depression. These ragtag „communities“ were composed of people who had been evicted from their homes or their farms. These individuals, labeled hobos, were forced to live a degrading existence among grotesque piles of accumulated trash, made of discarded public scraps of food they had to eat or of various items of value that they could sell. The poor and disposed would cook their meager portions of food in tin cans over open fires, covering themselves with old newspapers while wearing Hoover shoes with holes in the soles. The only scenery was blurred by dust in the summer and mud in the winter as they inhaled the stench from all of the trash and the extremely unsanitary dilapidated outhouses. These poor Depression era hobos, though, are no comparison to today’s modern freeloaders, lazy, selfish people who are calculating in their tactics, and who by no means suffer as much as those displaced victims of the Great Depression.

Yes we’re suffering, and indeed the times, they are a changing, but eating banana peels and wearing newspapers is not the same as eating all of your family or friends potato chips while you watch a re-run of Friends on their cable TV. With today’s economic crisis, many people have had to depend on family, friends and relatives to help them out until they get over their financial set back. However, the thing is, too many find this life of „luxury“ very accommodating, and so they remain as permanent guests taking advantage of a loved one’s hospitality. This is no new occurrence, it’s just happening more often today thanks to our lovely crumbling economy, but I, for one, think free-loading is wrong, and it must be stopped. There’s a difference between visiting a loved one and commandeering their home.

Here’s, an example. Several years ago my husband and I moved to Florida. Every year we would come back to New Jersey to visit family and friends. Well, my husband was always inviting everyone to come down to Florida and stay at our house, so they didn’t have to spend money on a hotel, forgetting that we were only renting a small 2 bedroom apartment. Naturally everyone jumped at the opportunity, including his drinking buddies, who came in a car loaded with suitcases and booze. I was working the graveyard shift at the Post Office and needed to sleep during the day. Well, one time, it seems that our bedroom was offered to his drinking buddy and his buddy’s wife, while I had to make do crammed into my two little kids‘ room. These moochers came empty-handed and ate as there was no tomorrow. One week turned into two weeks, which looked as if it would be extending to more. I told my husband to kick them out which he refused to do saying that they were his guests, and that would be rude on his part. I was furious, working nights, and not getting proper sleep. During the day, they went down to the beach or explored the area, having a grand old time. The woman did nothing to help me. I couldn’t take it anymore. I called around to hotels in the area and asked what their prices were, and when the couple returned that afternoon, I told them that they had to leave, it was two weeks already, and I needed my room back. The man said he was paying my husband $20.00 a week for the room, which was ridiculous… Imagine thinking that $20.00 a week was going to cover the cost of 3 square meals a day plus my room for two people. No way Jose, has he had to be out of his mind. Well I must say after they saw how mad I was, they got the message loud and clear immediately calling a nephew who lived in the area. That annoyed me even more, knowing that they had a nephew that lived nearby, and I had to be inconvenienced by this pair of moochers. So instead of going to a hotel where they had to pay, they ended up in their nephew’s house. Good riddance, finally, but that still didn’t stop the flow of guests coming and going and free-loading off of us. This created a lot of hostility between my husband and me. Finally, after 7 years of acting like a drunken bed and breakfast, we moved back to New Jersey. That stopped the family and friends from visiting.

The thing is, all of the moochers and freeloaders acted in the same rude, selfish manner. No one understood why I’d get irritated, working, sacrificing living space, cooking, doing all the shopping and being imposed upon for far too long. I suppose there’s a moocher’s guide out there that they all swear by.

The Moocher’s Guidebook:

Law Number 1: Find a nice, giving, trusting friend or relative and arrange a „short“ but indefinite visit.

Law Number 2: Convince these marks to become your personal ATM.

Law Number 3: Always manipulate others to get out of paying your fair share, stiff drinking buddies with the check, bum rides, sponge cigarettes, meals and so forth.

Law Number 4: Never, under any circumstances, clean up after yourself. This sets a dangerous precedent.

Law Number 5: Always raid any unattended refrigerator. Leave nothing.

Law Number 6: Never be courteous. Assume it is yours by natural law, consume and destroy.

Law Number 7: Have fun while the marks are working. What are vacations for?

Law Number 8: Make yourself scarce when chore time arises.

Frankly, freeloaders are a menace to society. People that have freeloader problems rightly become depressed and angry. To make the situation worse, moochers often don’t bathe, don’t flush the toilet or wipe the seat when finished or don’t wash their own clothes. What moochers do in fact is use the phone all night, leaving it off the hook when they’re done. They leave the TV on all night and are loud while you try and get some sleep to avoid them. If subtle hints and veiled insinuation won’t work, then throw all their belongings outside and change the locks. The following is my own handbook, listing problems with moochers and ways to deal with them.

Miriam’s Handbook:

PROBLEM: A friend or loved one shows up uninvited, looking for sympathy and a place to stay.

SOLUTION: If someone shows up uninvited, you can tell the person in a courteous way that you were just leaving and don’t have time to chit-chat. The strongest weapon that a freeloader has is using guilt to get what they want from you. Be prepared for this. Don’t feel guilty. Always be leery of those who love to tag along but who always seem to forget to bring their wallet. Always mention before you go anywhere involving a cost, that if the other person has his or her wallet with them. Or you can simply say its best that you go Dutch. If the person then says they don’t have any money, you tell them, ‚I’m sorry I don’t have enough, to pay for you too so we will have to skip it.‘

PROBLEM: A friend or loved one always wants to visit you but doesn’t invite you to visit them. Always try to interchange home visits.

SOLUTION: If someone was at your house this week watching the game and eating all your goodies and drinking your beer, then you recommend doing it at their house the following week. If they are uncooperative, don’t bother with them. If they are taking advantage of you, begin to control your dealings with them or stop it altogether. You want to tell them that you are not a money tree nor are you their restaurant, hotel or maid service. You have to nip this behavior in the bud, because the longer you wait, the more tensed you will get, and the more difficult it will be to get rid of these people. Then it becomes squatter’s rights. They have all the rights and you get squat.

PROBLEM: Your relative wants to stay with you until they get ‚back on their feet.‘ If they live with you, you have to give them some time frame to get out of your house.

SOLUTION: One way to prevent moochers from staying in your home is to keep the fridge or the cabinets as bare as possible. Hide your supplies somewhere; give them a list of chores to do. If they complain then tell them to buy their own food or they can leave.

PROBLEM: You feel like a maid with all the mess left behind and get sick of things like your guest leaving dirty linens, damp towels on the bed or the bathroom counter.

SOLUTION: House-guests should clean up after themselves. If they are there for one week or so, then they should offer to take the host out to dinner for their trouble. If they plan to return, then tell them that you already have plans for that time and that no one will be home. Try to make your apology seem sincere and convincing as best as you can.

PROBLEM: Relatives will come to your house and stay as long as they want, in order to save on hotel expenses. So the longer they stay, the more resentment builds, which will eventually damage family relations.

SOLUTION: Relatives don’t have the right to barge in because they are family, they must first call or write. If they happen to show up unexpectedly, then take them to a hotel or give them a ride to the nearest transportation. Do not let moochers have the run of the house; they need to help by cooking, doing their own laundry and throwing in some cash. They have no right to take advantage of you to save on expenses because somewhere up the family tree, you inherited some of their blood or your spouse did.

PROBLEM: The guests who won’t leave when it’s getting late.

SOLUTION: If you feel your eyelids are starting to get heavy or like you have a severe case of the hives, start yawning, scratch and get up quietly and in a polite way; mention that you had a lovely evening, that you must repeat the visit at ANOTHER, more convenient time. If you continue to stand, they will get up, at least you hope so, then start walking to the door. If they don’t take the hint, then come right out and tell them that you have to go to work the next day and that you are tired and want to go to bed. My mother swears by the broom. She said when you wanted the company who were over-staying their welcome to leave turn the broom upside down by the door, and you will see that it works. Yeah, right mom, like in your dream, that’s not going to happen.

PROBLEM: The friend or relative who always sponges money off of you and never pays it back or who considers you their personal, unpaid taxi service.

SOLUTION: Just say you don’t mind taking them where they are going, but that you don’t have gas in your car or money to pay for gas to get there and NEVER lend anyone who has stiffed you money twice.

Follow these simple tips and you’ll soon be free of freeloaders. Good luck!

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Miriam B Medina

Houston TX Apartments You Can Rent Without a Job

Houston, the 4th largest city in the United States, has numerous apartment homes for anyone wanting to lease. One question that many people ask, especially in this type of economy we’re in, is how one can be approved for an apartment without necessarily showing proof of income. For many complexes in the sprawling city, having a job is a major prerequisite to being approved. Not only does one need to have solid employment, but one needs to be earning enough to afford the monthly rent. Those who are jobless are therefore at a major disadvantage when it comes to being approved. But is there a way to actually get approved in Houston even without a job?

A few places where you can rent without a job

  • Westchase District
  • The Heights
  • Mission Bend
  • Katy
  • Alief

Navigating joblessness when applying

We have seen that in Houston, renting an apartment involves being able to prove both income and employment. Many apartments actually go to the pain of verifying and this is usually done by a simply phone call to an 800-number or asking for original paycheck stubs or tax returns. Unfortunately in this economy, there is a sizeable chunk of apartment applicants who are without gainful employment.

One of the best ways to get approved for an apartment if you are indeed jobless is to have a co-signer. This is someone in good standing in the community who can attest that they know you and are willing to vouch for your authenticity. Some apartments will approve on the strength of this alone but some will insist on additional information.

Another layer of qualifiers that you can possibly provide is a list of your assets. If you own any property that brings in income, for instance, a rental property, you can show this as proof of income. Some apartments will take this in addition to having a co-signer.

A last and final step you can take to get approved in Houston without a job is to offer to pay a deposit. In addition to a deposit, one can also offer to pay 3 months of rent in advance and also show that they are actively looking for a job. This gives the leasing management the impression that the tenant will find gainful employment soon.

Remember that even after providing all this information, it is still the apartment’s discretion to rent to you or not. Some might also conduct credit checks and background checks to make a determination.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Jimmy Jamm

Shopping Mall Leasing Strategies for Real Estate Brokers

The leasing of a shopping mall is a specific strategy relative to the location, the property type, the customer demographic, and the landlord. All factors come together to contribute towards a successful leasing outcome and tenancy mix.

It should be said that a successful leasing strategy will contribute towards the greater the benefit of the property. More customers will be encouraged to visit the property and purchase goods or services. On that basis retail leasing is quite special.

Here are some tips to help you with leasing a retail mall in today’s property market:

  1. Understand the vacancy factors that apply to the precinct or location. An excessive number of vacant tenancies will have an impact on market rentals and incentives. Check out the factors of supply and demand that apply within the region. Look for any new property developments that could have an impact on tenant movement and market rentals.
  2. Understand the types of incentives that can be offered by the landlord to attract tenants. Also understand the requirements of tenants when it comes to incentives in today’s market. Any vacancy that you have available for lease needs to be matched to the prevailing market conditions. That will include the rental types, and the incentives offered. The landlord needs to adjust to the prevailing market conditions. Get some details of comparable rentals and other properties nearby to help the landlord understand the packaging of their vacant tenancy.
  3. It should be said that a lease incentive cost should be recovered through the rental structure over the lease term. In other words, any money that is lost or offset in the incentive availability should be recovered by rental growth and escalation across the lease term. You can do this calculation through an assumption of market rentals and a discount cash flow calculation. The net present value of the deal can be compared across the duration of the lease.
  4. Successful leasing executives usually have a substantial database of retail tenants to contact. Any new leasing opportunity can be offered through the database to targeted tenants, anchor tenants, retail specialists, franchise groups, and other industry professionals. Any vacancy can be directly marketed to these groups through cold calling, direct contact, e-mail marketing, and direct mail.
  5. It is acceptable and normal to market a vacant tenancy through the generic media. That will involve newspaper advertising, and Internet listing. There are costs associated with that marketing activity and the landlord should contribute towards those costs.
  6. Most successful leasing transactions occur through the involvement of the leasing executive and direct marketing to the right people. I go back to the point that the database for each broker or agent is quite important to converting more commissions and listings.

It should be noted that any quality property in a good location will create good inbound enquiries. If you are selective with your property appointments and vacant tenancies, you will create more churn and activity in property leasing.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by John Highman

Best Road Trips – The Pacific Coast Highway to the Amalfi Coast Road

Best Road Trips for Adventure: Explore the edges of the map on these remote roads.

Classic American road trip destinations, Death Valley and The Pacific Coast Highway both have names promising adventure. Death Valley and the ghost towns, narrow canyons and open deserts around it are like an invitation for tough guys and people looking to escape society’s bars, while the Pacific Coast Highway promises the clear beauty of American beauty oceanside – dramatic cliff-faces, beaches, secluded coves, mountainous forests, and protected wildlife.

Best Road Trips for Luxury: Wind in your hair freedom in style.

These road trips are made for honeymoons. Best case scenario the car is something sleek, open topped and Italian. The clear seas, bright villages and stone churches of the Amalfi Coast between Positano, Sorrento, Ravello and Amalfi, are well stocked with small boutique hotels, hidden coves and intimate cafe terraces on which to watch the sun go down, and make for the classic eloper’s dream. A trip along the French Riviera between Nice and Monte Carlo reeks of playboy chic, especially if you happen to win money in any of the casinos lining the route. For lovers by title, the Romantic Road from Heidelberg Castle to Neuschwanstein Castle, runs along the old trade route between medieval towns and fairytale castles.

The Karakoram Highway follows the route of the old silk road up to one of the world’s highest altitude passes amongst some of the world’s highest scenery round K2, Nanga Parbat and Gasherbrums I-IV. The Carretera Austral or Southern Highway runs on a largely unpaved odyssey through Patagonia, stopping at remote towns along the way.

Journeying between Marrakech and Essaouira via the Atlas Mountains is going a bit out of your way, but the trip south, through spectacular desert scenery, amongst the snow capped sky scrapers of the Atlas Mountains and along ridges over lush, hidden valleys will take you to the edge of the Sahara, as well as into the Atlases before the coast lays out in front of you at Essaouira.

Best Road Trips for Sightseeing: Drive by some of the world’s best sights.

For scenic days packed with distractions and attractions and evenings spent in comfortable B&Bs, a trip along Ireland’s Antrim Coast Road, past the Mourne Mountains, Carrickfergus Castle, Bushmills, Dunluce Castle, the Giant’s Causeway and the Glens of Antrim, or on America’s Blue Ridge Parkway, though the Great Smoky Mountains, are great family road trips.

Finland’s 1000 Lakes Trip is an eight or nine day Scandinavian family classic. Ex Helsinki it weaves around the beautiful lake country, between the 187,000 lakes, with overnight stops in cozy country towns. The Reykjavik to Akureyri Route by Geysir, the Reykjanes Peninsula and the Snæfellsnes Peninsula is another excellent choice for sightseeing and you can do it in a day, taking snaps along the way or go slow and admire the sites.

Hawaii’s Hana Highway, from Pa’ia to Hana, is a much shorter trip, but with plenty to see, from bamboo and eucalyptus groves by waterfalls to panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean that you’ll remember for the rest of your life, while the Overseas Highway from Miami to Key West, which runs for 113 miles over 43 long, flat, straight ocean bridges, is the road trip equivalent of island hopping.

Best Road Trips for History: Retracing historic routes.

Follow in the unpaved footsteps of Che Guevara between Santa Cruz and Vallegrande, as he travelled though Bolivia and was finally laid to rest, or trace the Viking’s first inroads into Canada on the Viking Trail. Past the Norse landing site at L’Anse aux Meadows, and though the Gros Morne National Park, for the rock art and remains there, this trip also passes between pretty coastal towns most of which have a local Viking museum in which to house the local relics.

Route 66 is the classic road trip route into American folklore, following the old commercial route between rural villages. From the fields of Illinois, Kansas and Oklahoma, to the deserts of Texas and New Mexico to the coastline of California, this road is also referred to as Main Street USA.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Bea Metcalfe

Security Cameras in Nursing Homes – Useful or Wasteful?

To install or not to install?

This question is at the forefront of debates concerning the management of nursing homes. At present, the issue of whether or not to put security cameras in nursing homes and where these should be placed is extremely controversial and is far from resolved.

Merits of Installing Security Cameras in Nursing Homes

The most important argument in favor of security cameras is their deterrent value against abuse and substandard care. These security cameras have been given the moniker „granny cams“ and are said to be a positive step in reducing the potential for elderly abuse. Experts believe that granny cameras could singlehandedly restore public confidence in nursing homes because they give family members instant access to recently stored footage. They can, thus, closely monitor the well-being of their parents or grandparents.

Security cameras retail for at least $630 and may go up as high as $1,590. On top of this, there is a $20 monthly fee for accessing the server and another $10 monthly to upload images via a data-only line.

Drawbacks of Installing Security Cameras in Nursing Homes

Not surprisingly, the strongest opposition to the use of granny cams comes from the industry itself. Nursing-home operators and staff consider video surveillance a needless invasion of privacy. They fear that security cameras would make it so much harder to retain good staff and attract new ones. Moreover, they believe that use of security cameras will compromise a patient’s dignity, particularly when bathroom and bathing activities are filmed and then reviewed by security. Another argument used is the additional expense. After all, a nursing home would need not just one, but several, security cameras distributed in strategic places throughout the nursing home.

The Debate Continues

While not trifling, however, the costs of purchasing the equipment and the installation expense are comparable to the cost of updating housekeeping, food, or recreation services. This means that the purchase and installation of security cameras should be treated as necessary an overhead cost as staff salaries, for example.

Additionally, experts believe that security cameras help nursing home operators minimize their legal responsibility should an employee or a nursing home resident be found guilty of abusive behavior. By having digitally captured evidence on hand, nursing home owners can thereby reduce unnecessary and groundless litigation.

At present, a dozen state legislatures are actively considering passing the granny-cam legislation. Existing laws mandate that an operator must inform the staff ahead of time of the presence of cameras and their respective placements. Otherwise, video surveillance may be considered illegal. There are no law expressly prohibit the use of security cameras. What prevents their wide use, however, are practical barriers in the form of pricing and vehement opposition from the nursing-home industry.

So, to install or not to install security cameras?

Nursing-home operators vehemently answer „no“ while experts openly advocate their mandatory use. If you are a nursing-home owner, the added institutional cost would mostly likely make you cringe. If you are one of the many in search of a nursing home for a loved one, your answer to this question should dictate your choice of nursing homes. However, do not make it your only consideration. Check the facility’s history of deficiencies and citations from formal regulatory inspections.

It will be very difficult for this controversy to be resolved speedily because it is an issue that hits too close to home. It simply is not possible to put a price on safety, or negotiate dignity.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Nahshon Roberts

Private Schools Near Virginia Water, Surrey

Virginia Water is located in the affluent county of Surrey. Virginia Water is one of most expensive areas in the country, with its millionaires neighbourhood at the Wentworth Estate. And as a result of large number of families with high income, there is a big supply of private schools in and around Virginia Water:

Woodcote School in Windlesham is the ultimate family-run boarding and day school. Owned by the Paterson family since 1931, they seek to provide a ‚home from home‘ for 100 boys between the ages of 7 and 13. Many aspects of life at Woodcote are unique to their school. Courtesy towards others, high standards of personal conduct and a balanced education really matter at Woodcote.

Sunningdale School is a small country preparatory boarding school which offers an outstanding all round education to 100 boys. This is a family run boys‘ prep school in Berkshire founded in 1874 it stands in 25 acres of mature gardens and grounds.

Bishopsgate School here children learn and play in a beautiful woodland setting on the edge of Windsor Great Park. The grounds provide a wonderful learning resource and there are acres of space for healthy play. A recent school inspection report gave the top grade of „Excellent“ in each of the 8 key areas.

Sir William Perkins founded by a wealthy Chertsey merchant, in 1725 to educate the town’s children. Today this girls school has around 580 pupils aged eleven to eighteen and is situated on attractive Green Belt land.

St Georges College in Weybridge is a leading independent co-educational Roman Catholic day school in Surrey for 3-18 year olds offering a values led education for all. St George’s College is proud to have a reputation for being a friendly school where all students are individually known and valued equally whatever their strengths and weaknesses.

Hurst Lodge an independent day and weekly boarding school for boys and girls aged 3-18 set in twenty acres of beautiful Berkshire parkland. Here children are offered challenging and diverse opportunities, teaching in small classes and the opportunity to develop new skills and interests.

Licensed Victuallers is co-educational, independent day and boarding school for young people aged 4 to 18, based in Ascot, Berkshire. Good Schools Guide 2012 said: „A school with timeless values that makes non-selectivity the starting point for success rather than a justification for its absence.“

St Georges in Ascot is a thriving boarding and day school for girls aged 11 to 18. Founded in 1877 boys‘ Prep School, with 41 pupils this was school the school that Winston Churchill attended at the tender age of seven. It became a girls‘ school in 1904 when Miss Pakenham-Walsh opened it as a finishing school.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Sarah Basford

5 Tips for the First Time Home Buyer

Buying a home is a big step in your life and should be a very exciting time. Unfortunately, many individuals rush into buying a home with out considering the implications is has on their future. If you’re considering making the move to own it’s important you weigh all the options, and consider what if anything will affect the feasibility of you’re purchase. If this is you’re first time in the housing market consider the following before you make your big move.

  1. Get Your Finances in Order

    Have a lot of debt racked up? If thats the case, you may want to play catch up before you even think about buying a home. Bad credit is bad news for those who want a buy a new home. In most cases you will need to get a mortgage before you buy and this means your credit will be under scrutiny. Start getting acquainted with your credit score and begin fix the problems well before you apply for a mortgage.

  2. Think about the Future

    If you have a job or other obligation that may require you to move or travel for extended periods of time you want to think twice about rushing into the housing market. Buying a house is a commitment that will tie you down to a particular location for at least a few years. It’s not easy or economically feasible to pack up and sell your home at the drop of a hat.

  3. Educate Your Self

    As a first time home buyer one of the worst thing you can do is go into the market unprepared. Familiarizing your self with words and phrases that are used will allow you to better comprehend the market. A better understanding of the home buying process will enable you to make a well educated decision when it comes to you’re final purchase. Entering the market blindly can turn you’re home buying dreams into a nightmare.

  4. Be Rational

    We all want to live in the home of our dreams. Unfortunately, like most things in life, the housing market must be approached from the bottom up? Renting is the start of the home owners journey. With your dream home serving as the final destination you will most likely need to take a few stops on the way there. The logical step is to buy a house you can afford not one that lands you in economic turmoil. Consider your first home an investment that you can improve upon over time. Once the home is improved you can sell it and bring yourself one step closer to your dream home. Buying out of your league can be a huge problem so set a budget and find a home within your means.

  5. Ask For Help

    Don’t be determined to have a go at it alone. Buying a home is a complicated process and sometimes it really helps to have someone walk you through it step by step. Agents are more than willing to help you look through home listing, find what your looking for, and ultimately take you from start to finish.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Jennifer Wasilewski

How to Protect Yourself As a First-Time Homebuyer

Buying properties in Florida takes more than just contacting the seller or their real estate agent. To get the most value for your money, it helps to know the many ways you can protect yourself as a buyer. To the first-time home buyer, one might get so excited going through the public listings and try to negotiate with the real estate agent or the seller himself. But without professional advice, there are many ways that additional costs can easily add up. These are costs that the new home buyer may not realize until the final transaction or closing.

First of all, it helps to know that there are different agent relationships in Florida. There are transaction brokers who are there to facilitate a transaction with neither loyalty to the seller nor the agent. Then there are those seller’s agents whose main role is to get the highest price for the seller as well as protect the seller’s interests and facilitate a fast sale. The third agent relationship is a buyer’s agent but working in a listing office. This clearly has a conflict of interest because they may have the buyer’s interest in mind but, since he/she is working in a listing office, said buyer’s agent is bound to protect the interests of the listing office as well.

These options do not really have the full buyer’s interests in mind. Yet, for a first-time home buyer, doing it on your own may present you with surprises like hidden costs in terms of repairs or closing costs passed on to the buyer. There are many other surprises that a new buyer may not realize, and your best bet is to have an agent whose interests are fully for the protection of you as the buyer. With having a buyer’s agent, you have peace of mind that you have a professional who knows the right questions to ask the seller or the seller’s agent, who knows how to negotiate, and lastly to determine the correct value for the buyer’s money.

For example, what is the current real estate market trend in the area? Are there repairs needed and what is the best way to negotiate about the repairs? When was the last time the roof was changed? Is there no past repair that still has a record of a violation?

These are just a few of the many other issues that can come up for first-time buyers. It helps to have a real estate professional, an agent whose sole motive is to protect the home buyer.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Hazel Christine Herber

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