May 2018 - Page 2 of 3 - NWMAR

The 5 Step Process to Buying a New Car

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The 5 Step Process to Buying a New Car

Shopping for a new car is oftentimes stressful and overwhelming. For many people, this is one of the biggest purchases of their lives, so it’s important that you make the right choice. Doing so will ease the stress associated with car ownership while allowing you to get the most use and benefit from your new vehicle. To make the process a little easier, we’ve created a list of the five steps to buying a new car.

#1) Identify Your Needs

First, consider what exactly you need in a new car. No two drivers have the exact same needs. If you have a large family, you may want a four-door sedan with enhanced safety features. If you plan to use your new car to commute to and from work, you may want a model with a high fuel efficiency rating. According to a report by Forbes, some of the most popular features in new cars include a motorized driver’s seat, heated seats, blind-spot detection, easy-to-clean floor mats and USB ports.

#2) Research Cars

After identifying your needs, you should begin to research cars online. According to Autotrader, car shoppers spend more than half their time researching vehicles online. This is because the internet is an invaluable source of information about cars, providing shoppers with an unparalleled level of transparency. Using Google and popular automotive websites like Edmunds and J.D. Power Cars, you can narrow down your selection of prospective cars to buy.

#3) Begin Your Search

While some websites sell new cars, it’s best to buy them in person at a local car dealer. This gives you the opportunity to inspect the car, ask questions and compare it to others on the lot. Even if you find a car with all your desired features and specifications, the dealer may have another, better car on the lot for sale at a lower price.

#4) Inspect and Test Drive

Never purchase a new car without inspection and test driving it. A car may have a pristine, immaculate exterior but with the engine falling apart. When scouring the dealer’s lot, ask to look underneath the hood of prospective cars. You can tell a lot about a car by looking under the hood. If you see coolant residue, engine oil, transmission oil or other fluids, for example, it could be indicative of a leak, in which case you should head in the opposite direction.

According to a study cited by Driven, the most common problems found in new cars are a faulty exhaust or emissions control system, followed by satellite navigation failure. When inspecting prospective cars to buy, inquire about these features to ensure they are functional and not faulty or otherwise broken. Test driving, of course, is the best way to identify problems in new cars.

#5) Choose Financing

Paying cash for a car is undoubtedly the best option because it eliminates the need for monthly payments to a finance company, which usually includes added interest. Furthermore, you’ll legally own your car, meaning you can use it to secure a car title loan in the future. But paying cash isn’t always an option, with most buyers opting to finance their cars instead. If you’re going to finance your new car, contact multiple banks or lenders to inquire about a loan. Some dealers also offer in-house financing, but you can expect to pay higher interest interest rates than you would with outside financing from a bank. Shopping for a new car shouldn’t feel like a chore. Follow these five steps to simplify the process of finding the perfect vehicle.

Source: Realty Times

Home Renovations That Pay Off

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Home Renovations That Pay Off

There are two main reasons why homeowners invest in a home renovation or major redecorating project: They want to enjoy the results of the new kitchen, bathroom, flooring or other improvement they’ve made; and/or, they hope that the money they spend will come back to them – at least in part – when they sell their home.

So which projects are most likely to increase the resale value of a home? A story by Joanne Cleaver, featured on MoneyWatch.com last year, identified five renovation projects that give you the most bang for your renovation buck.

Floors. Old, scuffed or dated flooring tends to get noticed by home buyers, regardless of how well the rest of the room is decorated. New flooring – especially stone, ceramic tile and hardwood – can make any room look larger and more inviting.

Kitchen. When it comes to selling your home, the kitchen is one of the most important rooms. The more modern, new and spacious it looks, the faster your home will tend to sell. That’s why you can expect a pay back of up to 80% of the cost of a kitchen renovation.

Bathrooms. Who isn’t impressed by a new and gleaming bathroom with a big shower, modern faucets and other attractive décor? That’s why hotels spend so much time and money making their bathrooms look great. According to the Cleaver article, homeowners tend to get a pay back of up to 75% of the cost of a bathroom upgrade.

Closets. Any improvement that makes a closet look roomy and organized tends to result in a pay back of most of its cost. Even something as simple as installing a good closet organizer can have a dramatic effect.

Energy-saving upgrades. In this age of increasing energy costs and environmental concerns, home buyers are drawn to such features as energy-saving windows, lighting, thermostats and more.

Keep in mind that home improvements don’t just have an impact on the selling price of your home, they also help to sell your home faster.

Source: Realty Times

Buying Property in Canada? Here are 5 Things You Need to Know

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Buying Property in Canada? Here are 5 Things You Need to Know

In Canada, non-residents are free to buy property. But the process isn’t as simple as making an offer, closing, and moving in permanently. If you plan to buy a home or condo in Canada, here are five things you need to know.

1. The Rules of Foreign Ownership

In Canada, citizenship and property ownership aren’t directly related. Anyone can buy property, and there are no restrictions on the type or amount of real estate that can be purchased.

With that said, owning property doesn’t provide you with any immigration privileges. If you plan to move to Canada, you’ll need to qualify under the country’s immigration laws.

So, you’re free to buy a condo or a home in Canada, but you won’t be able to live there permanently without going through the immigration process.

2. The Tax Implications

As of April 2017, anyone who is not a permanent resident or Canadian citizen will be subject to a Non-Resident Speculation Tax of 15% of the property’s purchase price if located in: Toronto, Durham, Brant, Haldimand, Dufferin, Hamilton, Niagara, Kawartha Lakes, Halton, Peel, Northumberland, Simcoe, Peterborough, Wellington, Waterloo and York.

When buying property in Toronto, foreign buyers will pay the same land transfer taxes that Canadians pay.

Non-residents will also face tax implications when selling their property in Canada. Failure to comply with the Canada Revenue Agency’s rules would lead to penalties.

3. Getting Insurance Can Be a Challenge

Both homeowners and condo insurance can be challenging to obtain for non-residents. Policies can be more expensive, too.

Proof of insurance is required to even obtain a mortgage, so it’s important to get quotes before you even consider making an offer on a property.

4. How to Get Financing

Non-residents can obtain mortgages through Canadian lenders, but they typically require a much larger down payment – usually 35% in cash.

The down payment will likely need to be in a Canadian bank for at least 30 days before closing. And most banks want to be able to trace the source of the down payment back to at least 90 days.

Lenders will also require non-residents to verify their credit worthiness and income before being approved. In some cases, interest rates are higher than what Canadian residents would pay.

To qualify for a mortgage, most lenders will require:

  • 35% down payment

  • Employment letter verifying income in U.S. or Canadian dollars

  • A reference letter from the bank

  • Canadian credit check

  • Three months of bank statements

It’s important to note that non-residents will not qualify for any first-time buyer programs or tax rebates offered by the Canadian government.

If you have 100% of the funds to purchase the property, there’s no need to worry about obtaining a mortgage. The cash would need to be transferred to your lawyer before the closing date.

5. Location is Still Important

Location is still important when buying real estate in Canada. Housing markets vary widely by city.

In Toronto and Vancouver, where demand is high and supply is low, prices may be significantly higher than other areas, like Saskatoon or Montreal. In Calgary, the local economy is highly dependent on oil, which may mean that the market fluctuates regularly.

Purchasing property close to transit lines can boost the value of a property, so this is something that should be kept in mind when searching for real estate.

Source: Realty Times

Hiring a Reputable Austin Moving & Storage Company

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There comes a point in the lives of most people when they decide to move to a different home. In fact, the vast majority of people will move many times. You might even need to hire a moving company to help your children move into their college dorm. Therefore, it is very important for every person to know all of the steps that are required in order to determine the reputation and dependability of a moving company. You might have the common misconception that all moving companies are basically the same. However, this is not even close to being true. Some moving companies do not know how to properly handle your possessions. The best companies will go out of their way to make sure that all of your property makes it to the destination in one piece. Here are some useful tips that will assist you when you need to hire a moving and storage company that is located in Austin, Texas.

1. You should always check to see what sort of rating a moving and storage company has with the Better Business Bureau before you decide to hire them.

The BBB can be relied on to give you accurate info regarding the business practices of many companies that are involved in the moving and storage industry. The info they have compiled is very comprehensive and not biased in any way. The BBB exists to give consumers a good idea of what kind of service they can expect to receive before they hire a particular company. Therefore, it would be in your best interests to find out everything the BBB has to say about all of the various moving and storage companies that are currently operating in Austin, Texas. You should definitely pay close attention to the rating that is provided on the profiles of all the moving companies in Austin that are profiled by the BBB. The letter grade that is given by the BBB can be used as a very quick way to narrow down your list of potential moving and storage companies that you will consider doing business with. Ideally, you should only hire a company to move your property if they have received an A+ rating from the BBB.

2. You should only hire a moving company that has a license.

You will find that many of the moving companies that are listed in your phone book or online do not have a license. This is important because licensed companies have the training that is required to move various large and heavy objects in a safe manner without damaging them. You will have no idea what type of skill a company has if they do not have a license. This is because they have not had to meet any of the requirements of your state. People will often just assume that a moving company is licensed. There are also people who will knowingly hire an unlicensed moving company because that can save a few bucks. This is a huge mistake that usually comes back to bite the customer.

3. Be certain that the moving company you hire has insurance.

Verifying that a moving company has insurance coverage is one of the most important things you can do. This is because the people who work for the moving company could damage some of your property when they are moving it. They might drop something fragile or fail to pack some of your possessions with enough protection. There is also the chance that they could damage the home you are moving out of or the one you are moving into. Whatever the case may be, the moving company’s insurance will pay for any damage that is caused to your property. You should never take the moving company’s word for it that they are insured. You should ask to see documentation that proves they are currently covered by a valid insurance policy.

4. Talk to people you know who have previously hired moving companies.

You should also talk to your friends and family before you make your final decision about the moving and storage company you will hire. Find out about their various experiences. Did the moving company properly protect all of their possessions? Did anything get damaged during the move? How long did it take? How much did the company charge? Did they arrive at the destination on the scheduled day? You will then be able to use the info these people give you to select the best moving and storage company in the Austin area.

Source: Realty Times

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