Is it a good idea to dig up info on real estate deals?
Dear Dave: Iíve been a real estate agent for three years. I was wondering if you think the idea of a business that digs up information about potential deals for real estate investors is a good one. — Charles
Dear Charles: This is an interesting idea. The first thing I would do is see if thereís an investor group in your area. These are the folks who would stand to benefit from something like this.
Chances are if you were to gather good information on tax delinquencies, bankruptcies, foreclosures Ė anything with the potential to pick up a real estate bargain Ė packaged all the information and did the crunch work, you could publish a valuable newsletter to which investors could subscribe.
These days, with everyone gravitating toward technology, it might be even more economical and appealing if you made the service available via e-mail or on the Internet. This way youíd have no mailing costs, no paper costs and really streamline the marketing process.
Good luck, Charles! — Dave
Dear Dave: My father and his partner have owned a small business for 36 years. Iíve worked for them, along with his partnerís son, and now weíre looking to transfer ownership from them into our names. Whatís the best way to handle this? — Paul
Dear Paul: General partnerships arenít always the way to go. If your partner suddenly lost his mind and started running up a bunch of bills through the company, the business and you personally would be liable for that stuff. It can be a dangerous way to run a business in todayís world.
Incorporating would be an easy process. Youíd need to sit down with a good business attorney to make it happen, and Iíd suggest incorporating into a Sub-S where each of you owns 50 percent of the company.
Now, as the original owners of the business, your dad and your partnerís dad may want money in the deal, and that opens a whole other can of worms. Rather than have a note and owe them payments, you could let them participate in the process to a certain degree and have a retained ownership position.
Maybe just minor ownership as they go into retirement. — Dave
Dear Dave: I have a money market account that I use as my checking account. I get a decent interest rate, and they give me check writing privileges and a debit card. Iím trying to budget my money more wisely, though, and wondered if you thought I needed separate accounts for checking and savings. — Charlie
Dear Charlie: I think itís a very good idea to have some separation between your checking and savings accounts Ė for your emergency fund, in particular.
I have two different savings accounts, in addition to a checking account. One of the savings accounts is for miscellaneous stuff and the other is for emergencies only. You need that mental and physical barrier that makes you realize youíre about to dip into savings Ė the cash youíve worked so hard for and sacrificed to build up.
Otherwise, youíre likely to find yourself pulling cash out of your savings for everyday things. Then, what happens when you have a real emergency?
Bad news, thatís what! — Dave
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