4 Small Details that Boost the Value of a Home

It may be a seller’s market, but that does not prohibit some houses from sitting on the market for months because they are missing what potential buyers crave in a new home. Luckily, there are many inexpensive, relatively quick fixes that can help boost the value of your home before you sell.

  1. ‘Smart’ technology

In an age where almost anything can be automated or accessed from a smartphone, household appliances should be no different. With technology constantly changing and updating, large, expensive technological updates may not always be a smart investment. However, there are less expensive, easy to install devices that can provide a facade of a high-tech home. An electronic thermostat or a doorbell with a built-in camera can typically be purchased online, installed by the most novice DIY-er, and can be customized through a smartphone.

  1. Greener grass

The outside of your home serves as a buyer’s first impression and your best chance to entice them to look inside. This is why clean landscaping and a neatly kept lawn is so vital for your home’s curb appeal. A lawn that is freshly mowed and flower beds that are neat and tidy give the illusion of a low maintenance yard – every homeowner’s dream. Furthermore, your neighbor’s lawn can impact the perceived value of the neighborhood as a whole. If they are close enough to your property, quickly trimming your neighbor’s grass for them before a showing can go a long way, and also count as a nice deed between neighbors as well.

  1. A facelift for your fixtures

Fixtures that are used daily are often the first to show signs of aging in your home. Even though they are small, fixtures like light switch panels, bathroom sink faucets, kitchen cabinet handles, and closet door handles can quickly give away the real age of your home. These details are typically inexpensive and easy to fix and don’t require heavy installation. As a bonus, changing handles and faucets can add a unique touch of your own style to an otherwise plain room.

  1. A fresh coat

Whether it is the crown molding in the dining room, the front door, or your master bedroom, paint is one of the easiest ways to bring new life into a room. Currently, light, neutral colors like grays and whites are very popular. Not only do they typically appeal to most any potential buyer’s style, but they also can open up a room. Light colors reflect more natural light, and in turn, can make a room appear larger than it really is. Utilizing natural light is also a great way to save electricity, which buyers will appreciate.

This article was originally published on http://matthewgorelik.io

Familiar Faces in Philanthropy

When a member of Forbe’s 400 pledges to give most of his wealth away, a ripple effect occurs, prompting other members of the nation’s richest to follow suit. That is what happened when Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that he and his wife Priscilla Chan would be donating 99% of their total wealth to various charitable organizations in their lifetime.

Most people look at the top 400 and think of what intelligent business people they must be to achieve such successes, and they would be right. However, people don’t always consider how charitable most of the 1% are. Zuckerberg is an epitome of a philanthropist, but there are some other notable members of Forbe’s elite list that deserve mention as well.

The CEO and Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett, holds the title of the number 1 top philanthropist, according to Forbes. To date, Buffett has donated over $34 billion, about 28% of his total net worth, so far and does not plan to stop anytime soon. He donates every year to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among many other charitable organizations.

As chairman of the world’s largest private charitable foundation, it is no surprise that Bill Gates ranks as the second most philanthropic person, right behind longtime best friend, Warren Buffett, according to Forbe’s. Bill and his wife Melinda, along with Buffett, started The Giving Pledge in 2010, committing billionaires who sign it to give away more than half of their worth. Gates has lived up to this commitment and is still very involved in the foundation.

Oprah Winfrey’s claim to fame may have been sparked through her daytime talk show, but the television star quickly became one of the most popular ‘self-made’ billionaires. With this fortune, Winfrey has not only donated over $400 million to various charitable causes, but she has also created the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. Winfrey primarily focuses her philanthropic contributions to organizations that aid women and children.

Former Mayor of New York and co-founder of Bloomberg LP, Michael Bloomberg is very involved in various philanthropic organizations. Some of his most passionate causes that he has donated to are that of public health and safety efforts, and education support, to name a few. Bloomberg has also donated a record-breaking $1.8 billion to his first alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, to provide the opportunity for students to complete their studies there without the fear of affordability. To date, Bloomberg has donated over $6 billion and his organization Bloomberg Philanthropies has donated close to $700 million.

This article was originally published on http://matthewgorelik.info

Student-Run Philanthropy

Philanthropic events are lead by people of all ages and groups, from successful billionaire entrepreneurs, to non-profit organizations, to young girls selling $4 boxes of cookies. Many educational benefits pair with participating in philanthropic activities and events, especially for students. In many ways, student-run philanthropies are becoming very popular at all ages, from elementary and high school to higher educational institutes.

At a young age, students can join organizations like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, and learn fundamental life skills. In addition to practicing these skills and lessons, the scouts heavily partake in fundraising through various outlets to raise money for their organizations, as well as to help support local foundations. The delicious cookies in exchange for a donation make it all the more worthwhile as well.

In some high schools, students have the opportunity to participate in grant programs for local organizations, as well as fundraisers for scholastic clubs and athletics. These activities can directly impact students at a young age and provide them the experience to learn about working in teams, building creativity, and the effects of fundraising and charity on a community. They also serve as a great way to build relationships between the schools and the local communities in which they reside.

One perennially trending topic that is helping to raise money and awareness for important causes is student-run dance marathons. In universities across the United States, students are quite literally dancing their way to supporting great causes, such as cancer research in most cases. Students will collect donations for these dance marathons leading up to the event, in exchange for a pledge to stay awake and dancing for the entire event. In most cases, these dance marathons last 24 hours and include entertainment, music, food, and an ecstatic atmosphere. In addition to being a fun event that students look forward to each year, they tend to raise an incredible amount of awareness and money for their respective causes. In fact, Penn State University’s THON (short for dance marathon) currently holds the record as the world’s largest student-run charity, raising over $150 million towards pediatric cancer research since 1973.

Today’s youth is tomorrow’s future, and instilling an understanding and appreciation for philanthropic work in students has many benefits for not only the students and the next generation of workers, but for the greater good as well.  

This article was originally published on http://matthewgorelik.info

Using OPM in Real Estate Investment

One of the biggest obstacles that potential real estate investors face is not having the cash capital that it takes to get started. Real Estate is an investment and investments essentially require using money to make more money. One technique in real estate investing is rapidly becoming more popular today, which is the Private Bank Concept or using other people’s money (OPM) to acquire properties.

What is OPM?

OPM, short for Other People’s Money, is when investors borrow money from individual people instead of banks or loan institutions. When utilizing an institution, like a bank, to fund the property, the investor is typically still required to pay a portion of the cost, in most cases a 20% down payment. For those without the means to pay this 20% portion, private lending or OPM is a great way to receive the funds without actually having the capital.  

How does OPM benefit both parties?

It seems bizarre that a private lender would be willing to advance a large sum of money to help someone break into the real estate investment world. However, OPM methods have a benefit to both parties involved. Typically in these scenarios, each investor has an ideal part to play. The initial investor is willing to do the work to receive the highest return on investment (ROI). This could involve finding tenants for a rental property, handling maintenance, and is the point of contact for all transactions involved. The private investor supplying the capital would then likely act as a silent lender – someone who is interested in real estate investment but not in the maintenance involved after the property is acquired.

The loan will have an agreed upon interest rate and date that it must be returned to the lender. In the lender’s case, they would receive their funding back in full, and then interest. To the initial investor who lacked capital, they would receive only a portion of the profits from the property, but without providing any personal capital, only labor. Both parties close the deal with a profit of some amount. Using OPM for multiple properties also enhances the speed at which the investor can close on properties as no bank or mortgage is involved.  

How do I get OPM?

Seeking family or friends who have a healthy sum in their 401k, IRA, or savings is a great place to start. Lenders are more likely to invest in someone that they know. The key to attracting investors is to first gain knowledge on the situation to better sell the deal. A good selling feature to convince someone to break into their retirement plans for funding is that any return profit would not be taxed. After some hard work and ROI build up, you can gain enough capital to invest yourself.

This article was originally published on http://matthewgorelik.co