home foreclosure

 

The other day, a friend of mine revealed to me that he’s been behind on his mortgage payments and he fears that foreclosure is coming.

I had no idea that he was dealing with this. Everything about him seemed so normal. I guess it goes to show what some people can hide beneath the surface.

The reason why he told me about it was because he wanted to find out options to sell his house. Since I work in real estate, I see tons of different kinds of situations related to housing and losing homes. Most people that deal with foreclosure are either in denial and stick to it until the very end or don’t know that they had options to sell it before it was too late.

Fortunately, my friend knew some of his options, but he didn’t know ALL the options available to him.

Most states run foreclosure auctions the same day each month, which means for him, it’s nearing that time and he can be placed in the auction if notified soon.

I told him that if he tries to sell the house the traditional way, that process might take too long for him to be able to sell it before it’s foreclosed, and he might want to check out some alternatives just to be sure. We did a search together and found this awesome article on how to stop foreclosure by one of the firms we’ve worked with here locally.

This definitely helped shed some light on some of the options my buddy had but didn’t know about.

Additionally, it goes to show that there are faster ways to sell a home if you really need to get rid of the property or need to liquidate it for the cash sooner than later.

I thought this would be useful to share, for any of those that are going through similar situations and scared out of their minds.

Potentially defaulting on a mortgage and being put out on the street is a scary thing. Sometimes people don’t even tell their families about it because they’re ashamed.

But it’s never too late to make some moves and do the best you can. The longer you wait, the worse it gets.

malta travel

Are you planning on having a holiday trip in Malta in a few months? If yes, then you might be wondering what’s the best way to go around this magnificent island. Malta is a small island so if you want to make the most out of your trip, it would be best for you to hire a car or go for a car rental.

Hiring a car in Malta is pretty straightforward so you won’t this task difficult to do. All you need is an ID, a deposit, and a debit or credit card and you’re good to go. There are a lot of car rental packages available and there are also lots of different car rental companies in Malta so you might want to do some browsing around and research first before you go ahead and book your reservation. Take the time to read reviews online and be sure to check the cost of the options available so that you’ll know which one among them is going to fit right into your budget.

You don’t have to worry too much about spending a fortune on your rental car because rental cars in Malta are fairly cheap. In fact, for as little as €7 per day, you’ll be able to explore the different great sites in Malta in your own comfortable ride.

Cars are available for rent both at the airport and in the different major tourist areas on the island. However, if you want to get the best deal for the lowest price possible, then you need to book your car online in advance since most car hire companies offer great discounts to people who book their cars ahead of time. There are a good number of international car hire agencies available in Malta such as Hertz, Avis, and Europcar if you want to go for the reliable names but you don’t have to discount the local car rental companies because they too offer reliable services as well as great quality cars that can easily help make your trip a memorable one.

Getting a rental car in Malta is an easy process and as we’ve mentioned above, you can book your car online. On top of that, you also have the option of having your car delivered right at the address of your accommodation or you can decide to pick it up when you arrive at the airport. When you get your car, you’re going to be accompanied by a car hire agent who’s going to inspect the vehicle with you to spot for any pre-existing damages so that you won’t be held liable for any of them afterwards. After that, you will then be asked to settle your bill. Most car rental companies ask for a deposit at the time of the booking in case of fines or damages.

There are a ton of great sites to visit in Malta and having a car handy will help you to see each and every single one of them with ease and comfort.

In the last few years, April and May have been dangerous months. In both 2016 and 2017, we’ve had torrential downpours that have caused flooding in multiple parts of the city. The amount of homes that have been affected has been growing even before Harvey hit, where homes were getting flooded for the first time in history. Then with Harvey causing these homes to flood a second time, they’re not forced by law to raise the homes if they need substantial work. This just adds to the cost, which most homeowners simply can’t afford and insurance rarely covers flooded homes.

So, what does this mean for the upcoming months? It’s time to prepare.

Get an inflatable raft!

I know this sounds silly, but if you’re in a flood zone, we know that getting an inflatable raft that you can store in the garage or in the attic can end up saving lives and most valuable possessions. In Harvey, this ended up being one of the most important things in order to get out safely from the floods. These things can be stored in fairly compact boxes and can be expanded so that you can fit multiple people (or pets) on them along with some bags and clothes.

Prepare with supplies

Make sure you have enough emergency supplies, including food, water, and first aid kits. Keep an unopened box of batteries that can be used if you need them, and get a portable charger for your phones that is large enough to recharge a phone several times. These rechargeable battery packs have improved over the years and can be pretty small while packing a lot of juice.

Create an emergency plan

If your neighborhood and home were to flood, what would be the primary and secondary plans for safety? What are the most important things to get and where are they located? Make sure all your necessary supplies are easy to get to and won’t get blocked off if there’s water in the home. Then decide what are the one or two primary routes to get out and to safety. What are the closest shelters to your home and how would you get to them if certain streets had flooded, based on flood history? These things will make an important impact on speediness of evacuation.

What to do with the home after a flood

Although there’s a lot to do with a home after it floods, the most important thing is to make sure that you get it dried as quickly as possible and prevent water from sitting in the home. You want to prevent moisture from absorbing into the walls and frame so that it doesn’t begin to warp the home and cause severe molding. The worst thing you can do is let it sit for multiple months, to the point where the exterior walls begin to warp. This will generally mean that the house must be torn down and you can only sell it for lot value. If the flooding was bad enough where you need mold remediation and repairs but you can’t afford it, then consider selling the flooded home quickly so you can get as much for it as possible before it worsens.

 

Remember, it’s important to create plans for emergencies, that way you and your family know exactly what to do. Floods are no joke, and there’s a lot that can be at stake when it happens unexpectedly. There’s no time to figure it out when it actually occurs. And now that we’re nearing the end of April and entering May, there’s still a chance that more flooding can happen before the spring’s end.

Information in this article provided by Home Buyer Houston (https://www.homebuyerhouston.net).

Check back for more with The Alex Zone.

 

Script Writers

In the old days, script writers had a very difficult time pitching their scripts in Hollywood. One had to not only move to Hollywood, but jump through many hoops to get their script in the hands of an agent or producer just for it to get thrown in the trash over and over again.

Inspirations

There’s the inspiring story of Sylvester Stallone, where he was flat broke and tried to have his script taken by a producer, only to be rejected repeatedly until one finally took the plunge and believed in him. Stories like this are a common occurrence among the greats, like George Lucas with Star Wars, which ran on a tiny budget and had several setbacks that made it nearly impossible to film and finish. The studio didn’t believe it would be much of a hit, but it turned out to break records with an over $350 million return in box-office sales. This is the challenge that most writers have faced when trying to have a breakout with their scripts and make it into actual production. It’s a wonder that most of these writers stuck with it so long without giving up.

What We Can Do Today

Now, instead of moving to Los Angeles, there’s an option that’s available via the use of the internet. There is a new platform that is making waves, allowing script writers to pitch to sponsors on the website, getting noticed in a much easier fashion and a very niche pool of writers. There are some reviews surfacing about the effectiveness of Virtual Pitch Fest, and how, despite some possible negatives, it allows writers access to the Hollywood group that they so desperately fought to get in front of over the last several decades. It lets writers focus entirely on the creative content that they’re producing and not worry so much about how they can get it in front of executives. Their energy can now be redirected to what their strengths are — writing, which in turns benefits everyone that its geared towards. More energy put into the writing means more energy into how creative these scripts can get, which can arguably give us better ideas on the big screen, plays, and TV shows, instead of having re-hashes of old movies and shows.

 

For more information, check out this Virtual Pitchfest Q&A with the founder, David Zuckerman, that goes over some of the goals and neat benefits to using VPF. You can also check them out on twitter.

 

In my endeavor to get my site ranking again after its rebuild, I started doing research on search engine optimization. At conferences, I’ve always heard that all it really takes to do SEO is posting a lot of content, guest posting, links from social media and other websites, etc, but that just isn’t really the case. If you think about it, if everyone knows to do that, then everyone should be ranking highly – but not everyone can be on the first page. So, there must be some secrets that are not well-known to make sites zoom to the top. I’ve seen it happen. There are many industries where if you Google the keywords periodically, there’s someone new at the top even if the previous site has a lot of content and age.

So, I contacted this Houston SEO firm, Impactnext. They’re entirely local, and I asked them for some info on how to get my site ranking. Here’s what they said:

Your URLs Matter

Google is now looking for relevancy regarding your URL. If you are going for a particular keyword, like Houston Plumber, then you’re going to want to have “plumber” and/or “houston” in your URL for the page that you want to rank. It’s one of the things that Google’s algorithm searched for and puts a lot of weight around.

 

 

 

Don’t Over-optimize Keywords In Content

The typical strategy back in the day was to do “keyword stuffing“. This is where you basically sprinkle your keywords all over your page, whether it made sense or not in the content. Google is on to that and it can read text and determine if it makes sense or is natural. If the algorithm senses that you’re using your keyword too many times, your site will get an over-optimization penalty.

 

On-Page Optimization Is Only A Small Percentage Of SEO
On-page optimization is basically all about making your site have proper content. But in reality it affects your SEO rankings in a marginal way. The biggest thing to your SEO rankings is your backlinks portfolio. How many other credible and relevant sites are linking to yours is what Google really looks at. This is because it’s the hardest thing to fake. And there are many ways that Google’s algorithm will test your site to determine if you’re trying to game the system. That’s why it’s important to not try to create fraudulent links, but generate them in a more meaningful and natural way. This supports to theory about generating good content on your site, but the good content is worthless if it’s not being linked to from other websites.

Thanks to Impactnext for their input. You can check them out at http://www.impactnextseo.com if you’d like to learn more about SEO or hire them for their services. They also run a Baton Rouge SEO agency. I’ve basically learned that it’s best not to try doing it myself and pay the professionals that specialize in this to do it. It’ll save me time and money in the long run.

 

I recently had to make a HUGE move, something that was very daunting and I procrastinated like crazy. However, a friend suggested that I just get a full service moving company to help me with it so I don’t have to bother. Here are some of the benefits and things I learned when researching Houston moving companies.

Reviews

It’s incredibly important to check the reviews on the companies in the area. Not only should you care about the star ratings, but read the review. Listen to what people are saying, why they like or dislike a particular company, and if they gave any description at all. In addition, check out the reviewers. I’ve sometimes found that a company can have a lot of great reviews only to find out that every single one of them have only ever reviewed that company. It’s entirely possible to buy fake reviews for a company in order to help them convert more customers or rank better, like in Google Maps. Take reviews with a grain of salt, but go through them as your screening process to get a feel for what companies might be your top picks.

Insurance

Insurance is a huge thing. If a moving company can not show proof of their liability insurance, then that’s a potential problem waiting to happen. There’s nothing stopping them from damaging your furniture or equipment and leaving you stuck footing the bill for those repairs or replacements. A legitimate moving company will have adequate mover’s insurance to take care of any potential issues regarding the state or well-being of your material.

 

 

Cost

You get what you pay for, to a degree. There are services that can be severely overpriced, but on the flip-side, paying too little for a service means that it will not be quality work. You’ll want to research all the companies in the area and get quotes from each. After narrowing them down based on their reviews, insurance, and other benefits, remove the outliers – ones that are far too expensive or far too cheap. I tend to look for the median then focus on services that are just slightly above that. The reason is because they may charge a premium because they know their work is quality and/or they are passing benefits in other forms, like not assessing a fee on your credit card, which could actually save you money.

These are just a few of the things I learned during my personal and office move. Check back for some additional information in the future, but remember to do your research when looking at services, especially moving companies. I ended up using a great company, Classic Moves, and I highly recommend them for any of your moving needs. But continue doing your research!

 

Real estate is a really fun industry, and I enjoy buying/selling as a real estate investor. But sometimes you just need to get rid of a property quickly, whether you need liquidity or there’s something wrong with the property. Traditional methods could be time-consuming, having to repair the home, get it cleaned up, hire a real estate agent, create a listing and wait, find potential buyers and show them around, and then deal with the haggling and buyers backing out or finding every little thing to reduce the price. It’s a very arduous process and can cost you a lot of time and money if you’re really just looking to off-load the property.

There are a few companies that can help get rid of properties quickly. You’ve seen the bandit signs for “we buy houses” or “Christie buys houses” all over the place. These seem sketchy, and a few of the highest ranking sites on Google tend to actually be scams as well. I’ll save you the trouble and recommend a service that I’ve been using – SellMyHouseEasyFast.com. This is a Houston local service that works to get you cash offers for your home in any condition as quickly as possible. How does this work? Well, they essentially have a network of real estate investors that are always looking to buy properties quickly and pay cash for them. These guys will basically act as a lead generator and ping the entire network of a house that’s ready to be purchased. The downside is that you’re not going to get top-dollar for your home, but you’re going to save on time and hidden fees, plus get cash in hand without dealing with appraisals and mortgage companies. For a lot of situations, I’d say this is a pretty convenient deal.

 

 

If you’ve got a home that’s at risk of foreclosure, has water or fire damage, is simply vacant/inherited and you want to get rid of it, going through divorce, or relocating and need to sell it off quickly, check these guys out. They may be able to get you a pretty nice cash offer deal that will take the burden off from your shoulders. Let me know if you do try them, I’d like to hear how your experience goes.

Check their Houston page out here at http://sellmyhouseeasyfast.com/we-buy-houses-houston-tx