Apartment Buildings – The Money Making Machine for Real Estate Investors

Many new real estate investors often consider buying homes and land for investment; however, few consider the much more lucrative area of apartment building ownership. One of the main reasons for this is because newbies to the real estate investing business just simply do not know just how they would choose an apartment building for a solid investment. Where single family homes generally start at a reasonable cost, an apartment building is a much larger investment, and thus is often too daunting or scary for the new real estate investor to even think about.

The truth of the matter is that apartment buildings are money making machines, plain and simple. If you purchase the right building, it will make you money, and it will do it month after month, year after year. They are an area that you really should consider if you are looking to buy and hold properties for investment. And, if you are not too thrilled with the idea of becoming a “landlord” then you simply need to hire a management company and let them deal with all of the tenant issues of the building.

Apartment Building and Multi-Family Home Valuation

To determine the value of an apartment buildings or multi-family homes, you can use the following two equations:

Yearly Income from Rents -Yearly Maintenance/Upkeep Costs = Net Operating Expense

Net Operating Expense x10 = Approximate Value of the Property

While people will try to give you all kinds of numbers and figures on the property, the above is all you really need to make a good estimated valuation of the property itself.

Financing an Apartment Building or Multi-Family Home

Once you have found an apartment building or multi-family home that you would like to purchase for investment, you will then need to secure financing for it. If you have good credit, and you want to use a bank or traditional mortgage lender, they will generally lend to you on a property where you are seeing at least 75% of your net operating income each month in rents. In other words, if the cash is flowing through the property, the bank will want to lend to you.

If you choose to go with private money to fund your apartment building purchase, then you will find the process is much easier and cheaper for you as well.

If you decide to forage into the apartment building or multi-family home property investment arena, make sure to do all of your deals based on hard numbers. Those numbers tell the story of whether the building will be profitable for you or not. Just as the old adage says “numbers don’t lie.”

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Trade Europe Global – European Business Directory

The best way to maximize profit as a business man or woman in Europe is to get listed in the European business directory – well this is a known fact. But, there are still some businesses not listed in the various business directories. Everyone should utilize this avenue since it provides a reference for all those involved in global trade. This way European trade acts like a focal point to other international trading activities. Every importer or exporter around the world has a major interest in the European Business, making it very necessary for a directory containing information and details of products from different companies around the continent.

Anyone in business looking for investment opportunities in Europe can access the required details from the European business directory as it provides trade leads and links to enable partnership establishments which creates a healthy environment for export and import. If you are interested in the European business either as an exporter or importer, the first place to start will be to browse through the categories, selecting the category fitting for your product or the product you desire to purchase.

If you are a global trade buyer with particular interest in the European trade go through the directory of business and pick the company with the particular product you want to purchase. For example, here is a list of the different companies in the finance category of the directory of European business. In the finance, real estate and insurance company category, the following companies can be contacted for business:

Sabomi Consult is a company based in Romania that provides the enabling environment and trading platform which provides the link between Romania and other parts of the world. Alfa Bank is based in Russia providing banking solutions through retail banking, corporate banking, Asset management and investment banking. BFG – CREDIT BANK is also based in Russia, also providing banking solutions.

These are some of the financial institutions enlisted in the business directory.

The computer, electrical and electronic equipment category is another example of one of the categories in the business directory, and you will find these companies below and others.

DELTA is a company dealing in science and production which specializes in the production of televisions, microwaves, x-ray and ultrasound equipment and other equipments. Urals Mechanical and Optical Plant, this company specializes in the production of electronic and optical devices. It services the military also. Burevestnik is another European based company producing recovery machines of x-ray luminescence. They also produce diffractometers and spectrometers.

For those interested in agricultural products there is a category for that as well, in this category you will find companies like:

AI SI VI, which is basically a farm yard where they breed livestock like sheep, pig cow for both import and export. AGROESCORT is another company in the agricultural category. This company is a construction company that constructs or develops factories which produces forages. Agrionvest is an agricultural company that develops and manages projects of agribusiness for all type of agricultural products. ARRIVIP is a medical agricultural firm that deals with the diagnosis and vaccines for agricultural products.

To summarize, every company or business needs to get listed on the directory for business in Europe; this makes your products and services accessible to every one around the world.

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Everything You Need to Know About Cattle Farming

The most important thing that anybody should know about anything about cattle farming is that no farm or ranch is the same. No one farm follows the production practices of another, and no one producer manages his or her cattle the same way as the next one does. If you want to know about everything involved with cattle farming, get to know the basics first, what makes every farm click and everything else in between before anything else. Dairy farming or beef farming, it doesn’t matter what, there are certain things within those enterprises that make them run, from the feed fed to the cattle and the finances needed to run the farm to the cattle themselves.

It’s a lot of Hard Work…

Anybody would be a fool if they said raising cattle was easy. You have to be a veterinarian, an accountant, a mechanic, a carpenter, a plumber, a salesperson, an electrician and everything else in between to manage a farm. You have machinery, buildings, fences, and handling facilities to maintain, repair–even replace if it’s absolutely necessary–cattle waterers to fix if they freeze over in the dead of winter or if they quit working on you all of a sudden, hay to haul, finances to keep on top of (loans, utility bills and taxes to pay), fences to maintain and repair, the list keeps going on. You will experience periods of fatigue during times when the farm needs you the most–be it mental or physical fatigue. Your muscles will ache, your head will ache, and there will be times when you wonder why in the heck did you get into the cattle business in the first place!

It can be Life Threatening, Dangerous Work…

When you experience fatigue or get complacent around machinery or livestock this can result in serious injuries or even death. It is so easy to get caught when you least expect it, and by the time you realize you’re caught it’s often too late. It can be as simple as forgetting to never step over a running PTO shaft, never turn your back on a seemingly docile bull, cut with your knife away from you, things like that. The best thing to ensure your survival and to keep all your limbs intact is to always be aware of your surroundings, know if and when you’re feeling tired, never wear loose clothing around running machinery, and show the utmost respect to all bulls and new momma cows with their new calves. There is a whole list of farm-safety things I could lay out in this article, but I fear it will only take up more space than I intend and cause me to severely veer off track.

Regardless, bulls and cows must be respected and often not trusted either, no matter if you’re working or managing a dairy or beef farm. Dairy bulls are especially dangerous and ones to never turn your back on. Beef bulls can be just as bad: at first they may seem quite gentle and docile, but they can turn on you with the slightest provocation. This is a concern if you haven’t established dominance with them and if they don’t respect you and your space. Hormones can play a large factor in a bull’s aggressiveness. If a bull sees you as competition for his harem, he will come after you. If not, and sees you as just a two-legged human and not a two-legged bovine, then you should be safe, but don’t take my word for it because who knows what goes through a bull’s mind during breeding season!

Hormones are also a big factor in aggressiveness in cows. A cow’s initial instincts when that calf hits the ground is for her to nurture, suckle and protect it with her life. This means that no other animal should come within ten yards (some more, some less) of her baby without her explicit permission!! To some she can attack without warning, but I can say I doubt that–they do give you a warning to stay away if you know what to look for. A curled lip, that cold gleam in her eye, head shaking, that sort of thing are body language signs to look for when she’s telling you to stay away. Bulls also have their way of communicating that they’re not tolerant of your presence too: showing their sides, arching their neck showing their size, head shaking, not acknowledging your presence at all (in other words, ignoring you) when you’re in the pen with them, etc. These are all warning signs to either get out, or be prepared to stand your ground and make it known that you don’t tolerate their behaviour towards you. Then be prepared to go through with your escape plan, if you have one.

It Takes Knowing a bit of Bovine Psychology

When raising cattle, you really have to know a fair bit about what cattle are telling you in order to tell if they’re just being friendly, a nuisance, a threat, or a potential cull. Cattle that acknowledge your presence, and come up to you but keep their respective distance from you (except if you invite them) are friendly. Some of the friendly ones can also be the ones that don’t ignore you but go back to what they were doing before you disrupted them can also be considered friendly. Even those that come running towards you when they see you–can be considered friendly, especially if you know them well enough to know when they come running like that it’s to get fed, and not as to create a stampede! Cattle that get high-strung, high-headed and make a run for it every time you are around are ones that should be culled–cattle should keep their respective distance from you, but not go so far as to try jumping over the fence to get away from you! Sometimes these types of animals can be trained to be calmer around people, but there are times when this can be more vain than rewarding. Some cattle just can’t be tamed and remain “wild.”

Breeding, Calving, Weaning, Growing…

Though not applicable to backgrounding/stockering and feedlot operations, knowing the basics about breeding, calving and weaning is important. The gestation period of a cow or heifer averages around 285 days or just over 9 months. A cow or heifer as a 50% chance of giving birth to a bull calf or heifer calf when not bred via sexed semen (artificial insemination or natural service). Calves on cows can be weaned when they are around 6 to 10 months old. Dairy calves are taken away from their dams a day or two (sometimes less) after birth, but aren’t weaned off the bottle until they’re around 3 to 4 months old. Estrous period for cows and heifers is 21 days long and estrus or heat lasts 18 to 24 hours long. Majority of heifers are ready to be bred by the time they are around 15 months old. A bull is ready to breed by the time he’s 12 months of age. Age of maturity for most cattle is around 3 to 4 years of age.

Calving and breeding periods will coincide, and the optimum length should be around 45 to 60 days. There is plenty of debate what time of year it is best to calve out cows, however a cow can be bred–and thus calve–at any time of the year. A cow can be bred either naturally–via a bull–or artificially–called artificial insemination via AI gun and semen straw.

Once the calf comes, the milk follows. The first milk a cow produces for her calf is called colostrum. After 48 hours she starts producing “normal” milk. Her highest nutritional requirements occur from late pregnancy to the third month of lactation. Her lowest is when she is dry and in her second trimester of pregnancy. Calves, once weaned, though, have different nutritional requirements–as they get older, protein requirements decrease.

Know What to Feed Them

Not all ranches and farms feed their cattle the same thing. This is probably where the greatest variations in how cattle are raised begins, and something which I can only cover briefly here. Essentially there are five types of feedstuffs that are fed to cattle: hay, silage, grain, alternative feeds, and pasture. The latter isn’t exactly fed to cattle, but rather cattle are set to feed themselves. However, with the former four, each farm and ranch varies in how much and what of each is fed to their animals.

All dairy farms need to feed their dairy cows a mixed ration–called a TMR or Total Mixed Ration–of high-quality hay, silage and grain to meet their cows’ nutritional requirements in protein, energy, calcium and phosphorus levels. The majority of hay fed to dairy cattle is comprised of alfalfa or clover and grasses like orchard grass and timothy. Silage–which is chopped up and fermented feed–is often of corn, since it has higher nutritional quality than barley or wheat. The grain portion of the TMR ration can be corn, barley or wheat, depending on what is more suitably grown in the area where the dairy farm is located.

As for beef farms, rations for cattle varies much more greatly than on your average dairy farms. There are three main enterprises involved in beef farming: cow-calf, backgrounding/stocker, and feedlot. The lowest-quality rations are given to cow-calf operations, and the highest-quality to feedlots. Cows on cow-calf operations often have no problem subsisting off of grass and hay, though some producers like to feed them grain and/or silage during the winter months. Backgrounding/stocker operations need to feed their calves so that they grow, so pasture, silage and good-quality hay is often fed. Feedlots finish cattle for slaughter, so an 85% grain-based “hot” ration is needed. The other 15% is comprised of roughage like silage.

All cattle need to be fed clean water and have access to mineral at all times. Beef producers feed their mineral to their cattle free-choice, sometimes mixed in with the feed. Dairy producers tend to have these minerals mixed in with the feed.

Where Are You Getting Your Feed From?

That’s a big question to ask yourself if you intend on starting your own cattle farm. Basically you have two choices: Make your own, or purchase it. If you make your own, you need your own equipment and the time to make the feed. You may need the extra labour if it’s required, depending on what type of feed you’re making. Making your own feed may bite into your profits because it means more money spent on fuel and maintenance/repair costs. Purchasing feed has its risks too. Though you don’t near half the machinery required for making your own feed, you still need a place to store it and risk the feed you’re getting to be not as good quality feed as you want it to be. There may be health risks associated with the feed you purchase–the hay you get may have bits of metal or garbage in it, or the feed you purchased from your feed store may be contaminated with something that will kill your animals.

Machinery Needed On a Cattle Farm

You can literally have as little as only a couple pieces of machinery to as many as to make any agricultural machinery retailer business proud. I’ve known a couple cattle producers that only have a few pieces of equipment: a hay-hauler truck, a livestock trailer, and a four-wheeler ATV. A lot of other producers can get by just fine with a good tractor with a front-end loader, a baler, haybine or mower, a good truck, a livestock trailer, and the choice between using the four-wheeler ATV (I prefer to call a “quad”) or a good cow horse. Many other cattle farmers need to have a lot more machinery than that: two to three tractors, a combine-harvester, several pieces of tillage machinery (disc, plow, cultivator, flexi-coil harrows, harrows, etc.), a few swathers, a few grain trucks, several grain augers, a forage harvester, a baler, a haybine, the list goes on. What type and how much of machinery you think you need to have (try not to think of it as “want”) on your cattle farm will affect your bottom line and how you raise your animals.

Think of it this way: If you want to graze your cattle on pasture all year round, there will be a point in time where you will realize that the machinery you want isn’t necessarily the same pieces of machinery you will need!!

Your Finances

Every producer of every cattle farm should take account of their finances–purchases, loans, utility bills, fuel bills, fertilizer bills, feed purchases, veterinary bills, repair/maintenance payments, rent payments/income, cattle sales, feed sales, and other things that affect the operations of your farm. From there you can do the evaluation to see if you are losing money, just breaking even or actually making a little money from your farm. It can also tell you where you are weakest or strongest, and what choices you should consider if you wish to increase income levels to your business. Making and maintaining a business plan can help a lot here too.

Sheltering Your Cattle

Shelter isn’t as big an importance, though a simple lean-to shed or a stand of trees will suffice for most. Dairy cattle need to be kept confined to a barn during the winter months. This may not be so in areas where they don’t experience as extreme, frigid or snowy winters as much of North America has. If they don’t have much shelter, they need to compensate for the lack of warmth by eating more feed so that they can stay warm. This is also true with thin beef cows.

Herd Health and Signs of Illness or Disease

Most herds need to keep up to date with their vaccinations every year, depending on the age and gender of the animals as well as where you are farming them. In most areas of the USA and Canada, vaccinating for diseases such as Blackleg (with Clostridia sp. related bacteria), Bovine Viral Diarrhea, Bovine Respiratory Disease Virus complex and others is very important. Leptospirosis vaccinations for heifers and trichomoniasis vaccinations for young bulls are also important for a breeding herd. Some areas require vaccinations against Anthrax as well. Check with your local large-animal veterinarian for what types of diseases you need to vaccinate your animals for.

Check your herd regularly for signs of illness or disease. The most obvious symptoms I’ve found with the cattle we had were listlessness or lethargic activity–calves that normally should be interested in food are not, they are either slow to get up or wanting to lay down and rest instead of get up and eat. Other signs include lameness, dull eyes, loss of body condition, hairless patches, kicking at the belly, coughing, snotty nose, too many abortions in your herd to be considered normal, or anything unusual about the animal’s behaviour or parts of its anatomy, ranging from the udder or scrotum to the eyes. Be cautious that one symptom you see may be a sign of a much bigger problem.

Where You Get Livestock, You Will Get Deadstock

As the Circle of Life goes around and around, you cannot expect any one of your animals, young and old alike, to live forever. You will get cattle that will die on you, unexpectedly or otherwise. That is just something to expect on every livestock farm or ranch. It is hard for every producer to have an animal die on them, but that’s just a part of life. Many people who are generations removed from farm life do not understand this, but as someone who wants to get into cattle or any kind of livestock business this is a hard fact you must learn or else you’re not going to last very long in it.

What you do with those dead animals depends on local laws. Some ranches are so big and vast that it’s no problem to drag a carcass out to the middle of a pasture and let the scavengers take care of it. Other areas require such carcasses to be immediately buried or burned or have a livestock-rendering truck come to take them away for you. Some people who have grown attached to a particular cow or bull, prized or not, choose to bury that animal just like someone would bury a pet dog or cat that was a part of the family for years.

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A Race to Debt Free Finances

Living under a cloud of debt is bad enough, but having it in your mind that it could go on for the rest of your life can almost make you lose hope. It is because of this sense of futility that many people try to get out of debt in one big leap, perhaps by putting everything onto a credit card or taking out an ill-advised loan. It’s easy to see why. An all-or-nothing attitude can take hold, and the thought of adding another five grand to a twenty grand debt doesn’t seem all that serious.

Humans don’t tend to be very good at long-term thinking. Maybe it comes from our prehistoric past, when every day was a case of foraging and avoiding big cats. But at some point in time, we started to see the sense in planting crops, or building a house in the summer that would shelter us from the snow in winter. The success of this mindset can be seen wherever civilisation has trodden. Yet still, when faced with trying to solve a problem in the here and now, we all too often go for a solution that will make matters worse in the future.

So why is this article called “A Race to Debt-free Finances”? Well, we need to recognise that there are different kinds of race. There are sprints and there are marathons. Sprints involve vast amounts of power being forced into seconds of all-out release. Marathons involve pacing yourself, conserving energy and keeping your nerve for long periods. If you could think like a marathon runner while you’re trying to sort out your debts, you’ll be much more successful. You’re travelling more slowly and for a much longer time, but you’re keeping something back that will help you in the future and not blowing everything in one go.

Applying this mindset to your financial life almost always proves successful. Watching your debts slowly shrink away can be like growing a flower. You don’t see much happening on a day-to-day basis, but one day you see a beautiful bloom and you can say to yourself, “That was a bulb a few months ago.” Keep looking forward to that day when you can see your finances break through zero and then start growing ever higher into the black. It might be a long wait, but it will happen if you stay disciplined.

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Managing Your Family’s Finances – The Importance of Savings

The main reason we end up having a family is because of this romantic notion called love. We swoon, we blush, we fantasise, and then we purse-all in the name of love. Then we have a family and we live happily ever after, right? Wrong. We form a family, and then we start this struggle called life.

Scientists have explained this genetic programme that is ingrained to every single living thing in the world that drives us to procreate to ensure the survival of our specie. When there were no computers yet, no mails, no malls, no Hollywood, no Bollywood, no Mills and Boon. It’s just us, homosapiens barely standing erect foraging for food and staying away from trouble (predators, baby! It’s the wilderness.)

And then, as our genetic programme commands us to procreate to perpetuate our race we find a suitable partner. Anthropologists have often believed that the family forms the primary economic unit.

Yes, no matter how we may vehemently deny it, our marital bond all boils down to being just the modern version of our ancient ancestors’ quest for survival. After the elaborate wedding ceremonies, and after the honeymoon, we find ourselves taking stock of the basic reality: our economic pursuits.
We need to earn, make money to pay the bills, raise children, etc.

It is so unfortunate though, that after society has placed so much emphasis on an individual’s capacity to earn, it stops short at emphasising the value of frugality. Commercialisation takes over. Digital media bombards us with the latest gadgets that make us drool so much that we have to reach for our credit cards. We are so programmed to want the things we don’t need. And sadly, we are so programmed to compete that it translates to our wanting not to be left out with the latest fads and trends. We “have to” keep up with the Joneses! This brings to mind John Ng’s (he’s one of my favourite writers!) recent rant about 4WD strollers in “Parenting Par Annoyance.”

The truth is: the amount that we save could be more important than the amount that we earn. Have you ever thought about how much money you had and you have nothing substantial to show for it now? I remember looking at my totally useless (because they’re outdated) gadgets, at the exercise machines that sit rusty from disuse, and I remember wondering where have all my money gone while I have my credit card swiped for my son’s hospital bills because I have no cash!

Parenthood has a way of jolting us out of our follies. Being broke while facing a family emergency could be any parent’s worst nightmare. The amount I earn became irrelevant because I have nothing saved! This was one important lesson I learned, and thankfully I learned it at the early stages of our family life.

To avert future occurrences of this nightmare, my wife and I have devised a system of making sure we always have something left for the rainy days:

Savings first

The usual mistake most people commit is to allocate their month’s earnings to expenses first, and if ever there’s something left, they save it. Who are we kidding? There always is nothing left! And if ever we get lucky with a little left-over, we wantonly spend it on non-essentials to “reward” ourselves for working hard.

What we did was: for every net income we get, we immediately save a certain percentage and put it in a separate bank account. Yes, it could make your monthly budget a little tighter than it already is, but we consider “savings” as important as everything else on the budget.

What do this savings do for you?

1. It makes you feel secure knowing that despite present financial difficulties, you still have something to turn to when things get worse.
2. It’s like a fire extinguisher. It sits there seemingly useless, but when fire breaks out…

30-day budget

We were so reckless before that what we spend totally depends on how much cash we have on hand. This was totally irresponsible! Haven’t you noticed that no matter how much you earn, it always is not enough?

Now, we have a strict 30-day budget that we have devised to religiously follow. When you have a budget, you control your spending-this could sound too basic that anyone with a bit of a gray matter between the ears knows this. However, you would be surprised to discover that a lot of us have totally neglected this simple bit of wisdom.

30-day advanced allocation

We devised this system to further entrench our 30-day budget plan. When we had enough savings, we took out the exact amount that we need for our 30-day budget. We get a sense of empowerment and security, knowing that today’s expenses is already taken care of, and what we are earning now would be used for the next cycle. This is a 30-day buffer to shield us from any eventualities.

What it does?

1. Makes our spending money sit longer in the bank.

2. We have 30 days to work on our next cycle of expenses (“oh-uh! We’re gonna be short next month! What do you say if we do a garage sale? No? Okay, I’ll just take in more clients then.”)

3. Helps you stick to your budget.

Use accounting tools

There are a lot of useful accounting software like PeachTree Accounting tool that could hugely impact the way you manage your personal and business finances. I am using Microsoft Money to help me keep track of our finances, stay a step ahead of our bills, gives us a good idea of where our money is going, what percentage are we spending on what, and it gives us an insight on our future cash positions with its scenario-making feature.

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