Destinations in Southern Germany: The Romantic Road

The Romantic Road follows an old trade route and leads from the city of Würzburg (see a previous article of mine for a description) to the foothills of the Alps. Driving along the Romantic Raod, or part of it, gives you a chance to experience medieval towns, baroque palaces and King Ludwig’s castle.

You can see a map of the Romantic Road at http://www.romanticroad.com/.

After driving south from Würzburg, your first stop should be the palace in the town of Weikersheim, with its marvelous baroque gardens. Further along the road, the town of Creglingen offers the Herrgottskirche, a church famous for its altar carved by Tilman Riemenschneider in the early 16th century.

The road then follows the Tauber river to Rothenburg (which I have described in an other ezinearticle). Take your time to walk around this charming town enclosed by a wall and towers. Among the main tourist attractions are the Crime Museum, St. Jacob’s Church (with another altar by Riemenschneider), Käthe Wohlfart’s Christmas Village, where you can buy Christmas-related items all year long, and the Doll and Toy Museum.

The town of Dinkelsbühl is similar to Rothenburg, as it has preserved its medieval character, though its is much less overrun by tourists. Further south, you reach Nördlingen, a walled town dominated by the 270-foot steeple of St. George’s Church. Nördlingen is famous for a geological feature, as it is situated in the center of a 15-mile wide meteor crater. You can learn about it in the Rieskratermuseum.

The city of Augsburg, which was founded by the Romans 2,000 years ago, is the largest city on the Romantic Road, so be prepared for some heavier traffic here. Among the highlights are the town hall, the cathedral and the Fuggerei, a settlement that the rich merchant family Fugger created for poor citizens in the 16th century.

Further south, as you begin approaching the foothills of the Alps, you should visit the Wies Church, a perfect example of the Rococo style. And finally, near the town of Füssen, the is Castle Neuschwanstein, built by Bavarian King Ludwig II in the late 19th century.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Pamela Bruce

Maryland Real Estate Price Increase

If you are interested in buying Maryland real estate, you might want to consider your finances and seek counsel from financial advisers. Though the state is a great place to settle in with a bustling business district and good life standards, there are certain issues about Maryland real estate that you must know. The issues are not as bad as property fraud, but they could wreck havoc in your finances. But if you have high income and can afford a high-priced property, then, you are most welcome in Maryland.

Maryland real estate prices are continuously rising prompting realty analysts to conclude that housing will be less affordable to Maryland families and others planning to settle in the state. Maryland Association of Realtors surveyed state residents and reviewed the current housing trends in Maryland. The association found that the cost of purchasing a home and its maintenance are further complicated by unmet strong housing demands and supply shortage across the state. Alan Ingraham, the association’s top realtor assessed that the current issues will affect real estate for the succeeding 15 years.

Deborah Ford, a professor of economics from Maryland, affirms statements by Ingraham that Maryland real estate has not yet reached its most affordable price. She even asserts housing prices are not likely to go down in the near future due to the law of supply and demand. According to Ford, the demands for housing are not met by developing new properties so there is a housing scarcity. The law of supply and demand understandably functions like this — higher demands with lower supplies merit higher prices. So unless Maryland developers and builders start building and developing new properties, it is unlikely that the cost of Maryland housing will decrease.

The study by the realtors‘ organization also points out other factors in the rise of housing costs. It is likely that housing affordability in Maryland will be an impossibility if the following are not taken care of: population growth, high interest rates, continued house-value appreciation, slow income growth, and added real estate taxes. Rising costs of energy are also starting to factor in housing costs. Ingraham states that the problem of Maryland real estate is not an isolated case; other states are suffering the same thing.

However, statistics show that entry-level home buyers suffered from a four-fold price increase which began in 2003. The future does not bode well with Maryland real estate as employment rate is only expected to increase by 8% while salary increase is only pegged at 1.9% over a period of five years. Significant population growth is expected within the next 15 years. The property market in Maryland will continue to suffer because of no-growth policies; this means that no new properties are to be built. If you feel that you can handle the pressure and you’re up for high-risk investment, Maryland real estate is a good opportunity to exploit the real property market.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by William Teleo

Selling Real Estate – Choosing a Realtor to Help You Sell More Easily and for Higher Profit

Selling Real Estate: Choosing a Realtor to Help You Sell More Easily and Make More Profit

Whether you are planning on purchasing a home, selling a home you already own, or both, statistics show that you will benefit from using the services of a Realtor. These benefits include both higher profits and an overall smoother transaction.

A Realtor, also sometimes referred to as an agent, a salesperson, or a broker, can make all the difference in how your transaction moves along from start to finish. You will be spending lots of time with this person for several months so it is best to make sure that you choose someone who understands you and your particular situation.

If you have a home to sell, look for a Realtor who is familiar with your neighborhood. No one can be an expert in every part of a city, but many people who work in real estate pride themselves on being extremely familiar with a small section of streets and homes. Ask your neighbors for recommendations or look at „for sale“ signs that are currently posted in front of homes in your neighborhood. You may be in contact with the person who sold you your home and they may still work predominantly in your area. Also, look for Realtors who „farm“ – they go door to door handing out pens and notepads and answer any questions homeowners may have. If you are ready to purchase a home, follow this same procedure in the area where you are looking to buy.

Set up appointments at different times to meet with the three Realtors that match your criteria. Make sure the appointments are several hours or even a day apart so that each Realtor has sufficient time to talk to you without having the times overlap with each other. Real estate people are aware that you will be talking to others before choosing someone to work with but it is best to avoid a potentially awkward situation.

Be prepared to spend at least an hour getting to know something about them. Allow them to walk through your home, ask you questions, and give you their presentation. Many Realtors will bring a presentation book with them that shows what they have done over the months or years they have been in the business and any awards or recognitions they have received during this time. When they are finished ask them questions that have not already been answered. Find out what they did before they were in real estate, where they live, what activities they are involved with in the community, and so on. Thank them for their time and tell them that you will call them in three days with your decision. Never sign a listing or any other agreement with someone until you have met with all three Realtors and had a chance to discuss your findings with your spouse and other family members.

Over the next three days you will see how the various Realtors you interviewed handle this type of situation. Remember that this behavior will be indicative of how they will act during the months they are representing you. Be sure to call each one and tell them of your final decision. Be positive when telling the two you did not choose what led you to your decision.

You will find that spending the extra time and effort ahead of time to interview and get to know several Realtors will make your real estate transaction go more smoothly and result in substantial financial benefits for you when the deal is finally completed.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Connie Ragen Green

Buying Real Estate, Things to Avoid

When investing in real estate or buying properties there are some things you should avoid. One thing you should avoid when buying real estate is properties that the taxes are not up to date on. The reason for this is if the taxes are not paid the government can take a way the property. The last thing you want is to invest some time and money and end up not being able to buy or even worst lose a property. It is recommended that you get the information about the taxes before you buy a property.

Another thing you should avoid when buying real estate is properties that have over due bills like water and sewage. The reason for this is if the water and sewage are not paid the government can take away the property. If you do buy property that the bills or the taxes need to be paid, it is important that you do have the money to pay them off.

One last thing you should avoid when buying real estate is properties that are overpriced. If a property is over priced and the housing market goes down, if you do sell the property you can end up losing money. It is recommended that you buy property at or below market value. If you do buy property at or below market value you will usually make more money if you decide to resell it. Buying houses can be very profitable if done right. If you use the information you read here you will have a better idea on some of the things to avoid when investing in properties.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Kevin Cox

Union Vulnerability Assessment: Are You at Risk for Unionization? And What You Can Do Today

All businesses that wish to remain union-free should have some type of union prevention strategy in place. However, this strategy doesn’t come in some „one size fits all“ program. There are many factors – internal as well as external- that are used to gauge a businesses „union threat“ level, and understanding this will give management a better idea of what type of union prevention place needs to be in place.

Pre-Assessment: The Basics

Before getting started, it’s important to lay the foundation for avoiding unionization. A 3-part approach will cover the basics. The first of these is for your newest employees. A straightforward explanation of the company’s union-free philosophy should be a permanent part of the employee handbook, and should be communicated on day one in a powerful but not heavy-handed way.

Second, also on the policy side but for current employees, consider crafting a legal non-solicitation/non-posting policy that covers all electronic and printed materials. Be sure to consult legal counsel on the best wording for these policies, but educational information is available online.

The third leg of this basic foundation is to make sure supervisors and managers have been educated on lawful union avoidance tactics.

Union Vulnerability Assessment

With this 3-part foundation in place, a more comprehensive vulnerability assessment can take place. Begin with five key areas: employees, geography, industry, local factors, and corporate concerns. You could rate these areas on a 10-point scale, with a „1“ being low risk, and a „10“ being an area where serious and immediate attention must be given.

1) Employee concerns. Positioning the company as an „employer of choice“ can be a strong component of an effective union avoidance strategy. It’s important to know what employees feel the company’s key issues are (not just wages, but job security, healthcare, etc.), and how you have responded to them. One way of getting an accurate gauge is anonymous employee surveys; an open and frank ongoing dialogue with direct supervisors is also a powerful tool.

2) Location, location, location. Geographic diversity and number of locations are also factors to consider. Differing factors can affect different locations, making some locations more prone to unionization than others. Understand pro or anti-union culture of each area, and research statistics on organization and unionization. In many companies, there are locations where unionized and union-free employees work side-by-side. This can make union-free employees much more susceptible to organization, whether or not it’s in their best interest, as unionized employees will see the potential for strength in adding members.

3) Wisdom of the industry. Of course, certain industries are more prone to unionization than others. Organized labor has publicly announced that their current plans include organizing workers in healthcare, construction and transportation. But even that is evolving to include very visible fast-food industry organizing campaigns. A generation ago, the industries most likely to be unionized were manufacturing or automobile parts, but that effort has seemingly run its course. Today, becoming a target can have more to do with the living standard within an industry: low wage, low skill set workers are those most likely to be supportive of unions and their promises.

4) The local level. Know which unions are most prevalent locally (not just in the relevant industries, as almost every union today recruits outside their core specialty). Local unions will often outline their playbook on their website or at least post key documents and information that provides insight into targeted areas and even lists local companies. Know the local union well – their finances, membership, local corruption cases, and whatever other information may help illuminate the truth if the need arises.

5) The big picture. Corporate campaigns, when unions engage in all-out media, PR, and public campaigns to pressure a company into unionization, are increasingly common. Union organizers will research public records, including lawsuits filed by employees (or former employees), FLSA or safety violations, even going so far as staging protests, and calling on religious and community leaders as a way of spearheading their organizing drive. The more infractions or weaknesses they can dig up, the sooner the targeted company is likely to give in, even without employee consent. But because corporate campaigns are costly and time-consuming, unions often ask for a neutrality agreement instead. Within a neutrality agreement, companies agree to allow a union access to employees without interference in exchange for not having the company’s name damaged in the court of public opinion.

Developing A Personalized Union Prevention Strategy

After assessing these 5 key areas, it is time to develop a personalized union avoidance strategy and the communication plan to put that strategy into action.

5-10 points: Low-risk. If the assessment shows high employee morale, little to no union interest, and lack of union presence in the area then the company can be considered to be at a low risk for unionization. Don’t assume that at the low risk level there is no need to take action. The truth is essentially the opposite. Unions have long had their best success with unsuspecting businesses, who are simply not talking with their employees, assuming that all is well.

Being low-risk simply means that the strategies (or luck) in place are working today, not necessarily that they will continue to work tomorrow. Provide supervisors with effective labor and employee relations training. Have your labor & employment attorney review the employee handbook for legal compliance and maximum union prevention effectiveness, and analyze state and local laws. Complete preliminary research on any unions that may be a threat. While it may seem counter-intuitive, it’s also vital to begin communicating directly with employees about the company’s union-free philosophy. This communication should include an introductory „labor relations 101“ video (for new hires and current employees) that explains the company’s union-free philosophy and the reasons behind it.

11-20 points: Moderate risk. At the moderate risk stage, companies have employees who are in a demographic group that is receptive to unions, there is often evidence of union interest at the facility, and unions are present in the immediate area. More aggressive strategies are necessary at this point. Comprehensive role-play-based supervisor training on legal methods of dispelling union propaganda is vital. As for employees, review any issues that have been raised and immediately address all legitimate concerns. This would likely mean taking a hard look at terms and conditions of employment. Education campaigns should also continue. A video on cardsigning could be utilized to dispel union myths and explain the dangers of signing a union authorization card. At this point, it may also be necessary to develop a web presence, such as an employee-centric website to reach beyond the company and into employees‘ homes. A website is also a powerful and effective resource to counteract the online organization that is undoubtedly taking place.

21-50 points: High risk. If you are in the high risk zone, danger signs include low employee morale and a strong union presence within the area, and may include card signing activity and immediately obvious union organizing activity. Legal counsel is strongly recommended at this point, as all union prevention measures must be done within the confines of the NLRB’s rules. Direct communication with employees is vital, and should come in a form employees expect based on previous communication: personal contact, meetings, videos, websites, letters, and newsletters. This communication strategy should be crafted immediately, beginning with a custom-developed role play video to get the issues out into the open, adding a campaign-specific web presence for employees, and implementing training resources on topics such as organizing, bargaining, job security, and strikes.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Walter Orechwa

Animal Farm – George Orwell – Review Summary Notes

Animal Farm is one of the two greatest works of George Orwell, the other being 1984. Animal Farm makes satirical allegories of the totalitarian communism of Soviet Russia. The novel is regarded as one of the all-time bests ever written by any author.

Animal Farm is a novel of betrayed revolution. It presents the corruption that followed the revolution led by Lenin.

In Animal Farm, the characters are animals and human beings. Among the animals, many of them are pigs, who are more often than not rulers. Apart from pigs, we see three main horses, a donkey, a goat, some puppies, rats, the sheep (plural number), a raven, a cat and hens.

The animals are more allegorical than real. The interpretation of the meanings is often left to the reader, but generally the consensus is that they represent different classes. Again, the humans represent another class. Thus, the novel demonstrates multiple classes.

All animals are equal, but some are more equal than the others.

All animals are supposed to be of the same class, but in reality, some animals are of superior class.

Pigs: Old Major represents Lenin/Marx. He had introduced the animals to the song Beasts of England. Napoleon (allusion of Stalin), the villain, a Berkshire boar, gets more powerful gradually, with help of the puppies whom he uses as secret police. He drives out Snowball (allusion of Trotsky), from the farm and uses dogs to enforce his dictatorship. He changes the commandments to allow him have privileges such as eat on a table. He and the other pigs learn to walk upright and behave like those humans against whom they had revolted. Snowball, allusion of Trotsky, was working for the good of the farm and had won over most of the animals hearts, but was driven out by Napoleon and his dogs. Napoleon also had spread negative rumors on Snowball. Squealer (allusion of Molotov) is Napoleon’s minister of propaganda, and his main assistant for all practical purposes. He uses statistics to confuse the animals and show that they had improved quality of life, and the animals, with little memory of life before revolution, accept. Minimum is a poetic pig representing all the admirers of Stalin inside and outside Russia.

Humans: Mr. Jones, a heavy drinker, the disposed tsar. His attempt to recapture the farm is spoiled by the Battle of the Cowshed (Russian Civil War). Interestingly, Napoleon eventually becomes as much a drunkard as Jones. Mr. Frederick, the tough owner of Pinchfield, a neighboring farm, represents Hitler and his farm represents Nazi Party. Mr. Pilkington is apparently nice but is shrewd. He and Napoleon draw the Ace of Spades (the highest card in a card game) and begin a bad fight, symbolizing the tensions between US and Russia. Mr. Whymper (loosely alluring Western intellectuals) is hired by Napoleon to represent Animal Farm in the human society.

Horses: Boxer is the hardest-working entity in the animal farm. He is dedicated to the success of the farm. Boxer invests all his loyal, kind, dedicated self to the farm’s „good“ as portrayed to him by the farms leaders. His hoofs eventually splits and he is sent to death by Napoleon when he could not work any more (and Napoleon spread the rumor that he died peacefully in a hospital). „I will work harder“ was the motto of Boxer in any tough situation, and his brain-washed trust was shown by his maxim „Napoleon is always right“. Clover is Boxer’s companion. She works with Boxer and loves him and cares for him, and takes the blame on herself when Boxer splits his hoof. She is deeply respected by the three younger ones who eventually take Boxer’s role. Mollie is a third horse – a self-centered mare – who wears ribbons in her mane and eats sugar cubes (lives a life of luxury), and is pampered by humans. Later she leaves for another farm seeking better comfort.

Other animals: Benjamin, the wise donkey who could read also, represents the Jews and lives till the end of the novel. Muriel is a wise old friendly goat like Benjamin, but dies earlier in the novel from old age. The cat represents laziness, the rats represent some arbitrary people who roam around, the sheep represent the masses (and Napoleon manage the sheep such that he is supported and believed by them) and the hens represent the rich peasants. Moses is an old raven (bird) that sometimes visits the farm from Sugarcandy Mountain, a place where the hard-working animals go after death he claims. The puppies are the ones that Napoleon specially raises and makes a secret police out of them. They become one of the backbones of Napoleon’s power in the Animal Farm.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by S Dey

The School of Interior Design For You

Unlike most education programs, the school of interior design allows students to cultivate their creativity and turn it into a profession where they can earn money. Who would have thought that designing rooms by means of changing their color scheme, furniture placement, and choosing the appropriate materials would become one of the more heralded jobs out there? Simply put, interior design has become a viable profession that most schools have devoted courses to help those with a genuine interest in design.

However, this is where the dilemma arises. With new interior design schools and programs springing up here and there, it has become difficult to determine what school is right for you. Run a search of design schools on the Internet and you will come across tons of programs from schools you probably may not have heard of. Although the choices of these courses have increased, it dilutes the program with unaccredited schools and scam artists who are simply interested in getting your money. As a student, you would want to get the safest and best school that has a great design program and will provide you with a great career in the future. In other words, know the right school of interior design for you.

First, locate interior design schools near your area and find out more information about them through their contact details. Some schools have websites that gives interested students a free copy of their course catalog. The purpose of gathering information about the schools in your area is two-fold: first, you minimize the time and effort spent, and second, you can easily verify the eligibility of the school with regard to the program. Attending a nearby school will not only help cut down your expenses from taking a dormitory while studying in a school far away, but also save travel time. Also, as mentioned earlier, determining the eligibility of a program is difficult at the onset when the school if far away from your place. By knowing the schools near your place, you immediately get acquainted with the interior design school and figure out the validity of the school, which helps you to decide which school to take.

Second, learn more about their online interior design courses. This is ideal for people who are simply unable to enroll in a brick and mortar school because they have a lot of responsibilities to fulfill. Online education is slowly making headway as a lot of courses have incorporated the choice for online classes to their students. Basically, the advantage of taking up classes through your computer is that you can study at your own pace and at the comforts of your home. This may be a lucrative way to study because it further helps save more time and money, attending classes in an actual room and interacting with students in the flesh is still the foundations of great education. Still, this is something to think about in order to choose the best school of interior design for you.

Lastly, determine what courses you will specialize on. The beauty of interior design is the vast choices of designs available to a particular room. Designers can go for an Asian motif or a French design, depending on what the client wants. As a student, you are advised to decide what type of design you wish to master. Schools offer various courses about certain designs, so if the school has classes for the specialty you want, then that is the school you should pursue. Once you graduate from the school of interior design, people with hire your services for where you are good at. Cultivating your specialty will help you garner clients looking for the design you are good at.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Benny Balneg

Red Velvet Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke – Dessert, Deception, and Death-Mystery Book Review

The Grand Opening party of the newly renovated Albion Hotel in Lake Eden, Minnesota, is the crime scene in the latest Hannah Swensen caper, „Red Velvet Cupcake Murder,“ by Joannne Fluke.

Townspeople gather in early June to celebrate in the Red Velvet Lounge. Hannah and her business partner, Lisa Herman Beeseman, own The Cookie Jar, the hamlet’s popular coffee shop. They cater desserts for the affair, including their delicious Red Velvet Surprise Cupcakes.

Amidst the gala, Hannah’s sister, and town realtor, Andrea, promotes the hotel’s available condos, and opulent penthouse, featuring its own elevator, a spectacular view of Lake Eden; and a huge tropical garden and Jacuzzi.

The penthouse, under final renovations, awaits delivery and placement of its massive climate-controlled dome. Safety sawhorses prevent penthouse visitors from moving too close to the building’s edge.

Partygoer, Barbara Connelly, excitedly tours the penthouse to locate her residence from atop the hotel.

Soon, revelers see Barbara’s body whizz past the hotel lounge windows, ultimately landing face down in the rose bushes. Barbara is rushed to Lake Eden Memorial Hospital for care.

At 4 a.m. Hannah groggily receives a soon-to-be disconnected call from a woman believed to be Barbara shouting, „He tried to kill me!“ And Hannah’s off to solve another Lake Eden mystery.

Who wants Barbara Connelly dead? And why?

When Hannah questions Barbara in the hospital, she’s adamant that her brother is the culprit.

But how could he be when she’s an only child?

Complicating matters is Barbara’s request to see her father, who, along with her mother, died years ago.

Minneapolis moneyman, Roger Dalworth paid for the Albion Hotel’s renovations. He attends the grand opening with his new flame, dentist Doctor Bev. He’s also in town visiting his wealthy, terminally ill father, Warren Dalworth.

The town’s abuzz because Doctor Bev, a renowned gold digger, once lived in Lake Eden; and twice became a fiancée of Norman Rhodes, a current romantic interest of Hannah’s.

Doctor Bev brazenly brags about her latest conquest in Roger Dalworth; and haughtily displays his tokens of love, including a new red Maserati convertible.

On a subsequent drive to visit Hannah in the hospital, Hannah’s route takes her past Miller’s Pond. There she discovers a submerged car and instinctively swims to check for passengers.

Astonished, Hannah realizes it’s Doctor Bev’s sports car; and that she’s still behind the wheel. Hannah laboriously pulls Doctor Bev to land; yet her attempts to save her are unsuccessful.

Detective Mike Kingston, who also vies for Hannah’s affections, must confront her in an uncomfortable, official manner when he names Hannah as the prime suspect in Doctor Bev’s death.

Doctor Bev had ordered Hannah’s Red Velvet Surprise Cupcakes to take to the viewing of the penthouse dome being placed that afternoon. Toxicology tests showed she died before crashing into the pond from a potent tranquilizer. Her stomach contents consisted only of coffee creamer, artificial sweetener, and Hannah’s cupcakes.

In tradition, crowds gather at The Cookie Jar to hear Lisa entertain them with exciting details of the latest crime Hannah’s determined to solve. It’s standing room only since Hannah’s the prime suspect.

Soon, Hannah confronts the person who attempted to kill Barbara; and the thrilling conclusion begins.

Fluke’s narrative includes small town chat that reflects worldwide wisdom, in lines like, “ When you get used to seeing something, you just take it for granted until it’s not there anymore;“ and her signature recipes too.

Her flawless writing allows new readers to quickly bond with Lake Eden’s residents; and piques interest in experiencing her previous murder mysteries. „Red Velvet Cupcake Murder“ is a treat for both your mind and mouth.

If you enjoy reading fictional, small town, murder mysteries, complemented with tasty recipes, check out the series of books by Ann B. Ross. Miss Julia is the main character living in Abbotsville, North Carolina. Visit: Http://www.MissJulia.com.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Timothy Zaun

First Time Homebuyers and Down Payment Assistance Programs

May 27, 2010 Down Payment Assistance Programs (DPA’s) for First Time Home Buyers By: Michael A. Foote, CMB

There is money available for first time homebuyers today. In a much needed addition to financing products available today, down payment assistance programs are available once again. Down Payment Assistance Programs are generally a local, state or federal grant or bond program designed to assist certain persons with certain income levels in certain areas, with money that can be used for down payment and closing costs on many purchase loans.

These tax free grants or loans are generally forgivable provided the buyer stays in the home for a designated amount of time. And these dollars can dramatically change the amount of money required for closing when these first time homebuyers buy a home. For example, a typically FHA borrower may have to come up with over 4-7% total of the sales price whereas a borrower with a WISH down payment assistance program may only need to bring in 2-3% total. That’s a huge amount of money on a several hundred thousand dollar transaction. If you amortize out that difference the savings are literally tens of thousands of dollars since most closing costs are financed in the new mortgage.

So what does the process with „DPA“ look like when compared to the regular loan process. Quite frankly, it’s seem less to the user insofar that the lender will generally have to deal with the additional hoops during the process. For the borrower/buyer they probably wouldn’t know the difference. The only real difference is a potential for a slightly longer loan processing time. So is DPA a good idea? Well, lately it has been a challenge for Realtors to get clients using FHA let alone FHA WITH Down Payment Assistance so an argument could be made that using DPA on an Offer to Purchase could be a determining factor for the seller’s side when these choose the offer to open escrow with. The only cure for this pitfall will need to be more product on the market for properties up to the $400,000 range as DPA generally have no purpose and no qualifying borrowers as the sales price rises and/or in areas of high per capita income. Undoubtedly, DPA has a place in today’s financing landscape and those of in the industry are happy to have it, it is one more additional tool to increase homeownership for low to mid income families. And this product will help sell the forecasted shadow inventory rumored to be lurking around the corner.

Only time will tell if that come to fruition or not. These programs are not free from abuse, there have been in the past scams related to DPA and officials, lenders, and large institutions have really scaled back what is allowable as DPA. Also economics play into the availability of these from all the time. There are many DPA’s completely drained of funds.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Michael Foote

The Advantages of Using a Realtor

This subject gets pondered a lot, by both buyers and sellers. I want to address it, but I want to disclose upfront that I am a realtor, so my perspective will be somewhat biased.

If you are purchasing a new home, I would always, ALWAYS recommend using the services of a realtor. First of all, and this may be your most important reason, you do not pay for any of the services provided. That’s because the realtors on both sides of the transaction are paid by the seller as part of their Listing Fee.

Beyond any economic reasons, however, a realtor will have access to every property for sale that is listed on the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) for your area. Simply by providing a few details about what you are looking for and where, a realtor can literally make hundreds of homes available to you for your review (depending on how specific your parameters are). That gives you the chance to review the list from the comfort of your home and weed out those properties that don’t suit your needs. If any questions are raised during your research, your realtor will be the one to track down the answers for you..

When you have narrowed down your selection and have chosen properties you’d actually like to visit, working with a realtor is key. Most sellers that list their home, do so in order to make sure that their home is being shown to „real“ buyers being accompanied by a licensed real estate professional. For convenience, most listings provide for a lockbox or Sentrilock box for secure access to the home. Obtaining the lockbox code will be impossible unless you are a licensed realtor. Homes that are being sold by the owner (FSBO’s) are a different matter and I will get into that later in this post.

The buying process includes a number of steps that a realtor can not only facilitate, but expedite, as well. Once a buyer has decided on a property, the realtor can prepare your offer documents (contracts, addenda, disclosures, etc.) for your signature and present them to the seller. One your offer is accepted, your realtor can guide you through the process to a successful close of escrow. This will include having the home inspected, the attorney review of the contracts and the processing of your mortgage financing. If a buyer doesn’t have access to an attorney, lender or home inspector, a realtor will be able to provide references for those services.

Your realtor can also provide significant help in the negotiating process. They know the current market and can tell you whether the home is priced accordingly. They will also be able to assess the market value of the home based on its condition or any upgrades the seller has made.

From a buyer’s perspective, it only makes sense to utilize the services of a professional as you search for your dream home. This is especially true when you consider that you pay no fee for those services.

As a seller, the decision becomes a bit more complicated. Many sellers are discovering that the market value of their home is not as much as they had hoped and they have to sharpen their pencils in order to break even. When you consider a realtor may charge a listing fee of anywhere from 4-6%, the list of costs to sell your home, after the payoff of your mortgage, can make that break even point difficult to attain.

The advantages to listing your home with a realtor are myriad. They include, but are not limited to, the accurate analysis of your home’s market value, the Open Houses, staging recommendations, signage, Multiple Listing Service inclusion and, most of all, the extensive marketing of the home (THE most important advantage).

If a homeowner decides to sell their home by themselves (FSBO or For Sale By Owner), all these costs are borne by the seller. Obviously, the marketing becomes the most costly item. Putting a For Sale sign in your yard and paying for a 2″ x 2″ ad in your local newspaper will not reach the amount of prospective buyers needed to sell your home in a reasonable amount of time. The speed at which a home is sold is directly proportionate to the amount of buyers that view the home. A realtor’s marketing campaign, if effective, can produce a consistent stream of showings. Showings produce offers and offers lead to successful closings.

In the final analysis, a seller has to look at their net proceeds to determine the viability of listing with a realtor. Even with all the advantages listed above, if a seller has to bring money to the closing table, that will weigh heavily on their decision. Being a realtor, I would always recommend listing your home with one of my esteemed colleagues. However, I am not oblivious to the economic conditions that many homeowners face and many people have successfully sold their homes as a FSBO.

Whatever your decision and whether you are a buyer or seller, there are always going to be obstacles that you must overcome. If you find you can’t seem to navigate these obstacles alone… call your local realtor.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg



Source by Dennis Scaman

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