Friday, 15 June 2012

Real Estate Tips: Selecting the Best Homes for Sale in McKinney TX

Homes for sale McKinney TX
First time buyers are understandably apprehensive when assessing a house for sale in McKinney TX. Everything from mortgages to building inspections will affect their decision. Realtors typically provide a support package but it is often geared towards making a quick sale. In this article we examine some of the important considerations that first time buyers will need to get acquainted with.
properties for sale
homes for sale in texas
  1. House prices: Given the fragile nature of the housing market at the moment, the homes for sale in McKinney TX are relatively affordable. However it is important for first time buyers to look beyond the quoted price. The intrinsic value of the house for sale in McKinney TX is contrasted with the external factors such as the neighborhood. For example access to amenities such as schools, roads, shopping centers and medical facilities can affect the price considerably. [1] Likewise there are negative factors such as proximity to a landfill site.
  2. Affordable Mortgages: One of the critical mistakes that many first time buyers make in regard to homes for sale in McKinney TX is to become ambitious with their mortgage requests. Although the guidelines recommend up to 5 times the annual salary, consumers should be aiming for something closer to 3 times their annual salary. [2] A large deposit will ensure that the mortgage costs are kept at a minimum. When you are looking for a house for sale in McKinney TX, you should be prepared for some extensive and detailed paperwork. Ignoring this critical aspect of real estate is going to create problems in the future.
  3. Legal support: It is rare that ordinary home buyers will be able to complete the transaction without the support of a qualified attorney. Some estate agencies which list homes for sale in McKinney TX will also recommend lawyers. It is best to check out their credentials as well as the feedback that is provided by previous clients. The mortgage paperwork might be particularly challenging. Checking a house for sale in McKinney TX is not just a question of looking at it; you have to understand the legal technicalities. A smart attorney will save you from being exploited.
Getting to know Texas
texas land real estate
They say that everything is bigger in Texas and they are right. First of all the prices are relatively cheaper than anything you would find in say…California or New York. The people of Texas are (quite rightly) proud of their state and status. Before you inspect the house for sale in McKinney TX, it helps if you get to know the local people first. This is the community where you will be spending the next phase of your life and it helps if you start off on a good note.
Highlighting property for sale in Texas
Currently there is a house for sale in McKinney TX at 1105 Dove Brook Drive (Allen TX -75002). It is an Allen traditional build which was constructed in 1999. For $205,000 you will get 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms. The homes for sale in McKinney TX are reasonably priced at the moment but this Allen property is a real gem. It stands on a 0.17 acre lot and provides the buyer with 2,522 square feet worth of living space. [3]
  1. C. Bell, “7 tips for first-time home buyers”, accessed 14th Jun 2012,  Real Estate MSN
  2. Editorial, “The top 10 expert tips for buying a home”, 7th May 2010, This is Money
  3. Hood Realty Property Number 11724724 

Wednesday, 13 June 2012

The 38 Studios Company Faces Serious Financial Problems

The video game company issues a bad check and faces financial ruin
38 studios game
It has been reported that a check worth $1.125 million issued by the 38 Studios video game company has been returned unpaid.  The reason given by the bank was that there were insufficient funds to cover the payment which was accumulated as a result of a fee owed to the state of Rhode Island. The news has seriously damaged the credibility of the company in question.
The company officials had made inquiries about the possibility of sending the money electronically but instead a check was hand-delivered. Governor Lincoln Chafee of the state said that the company had defaulted on the payment the month before. Curt Schilling (a former Red Sox pitcher) owns the troubled company. The state is demanding settlement of the debt with costs.
Early warning signs that the video game company was failing
In June 2011, it became clear that the company was in trouble. At the time the company had moved from Massachusetts to Rhode Island. It was offered $75 million in loans as an incentive. In return it was expected that 38 Studios would bring hundreds of jobs to the state struggling with unemployment and the national recession. A regulatory filing made in March indicated that the video game company was still compliant.
38 studios
By the 24th of June the company had issued a warning to the effect that they required more funding in order to implement future operations. According to the report “the company will require additional financing to fund future operations… [there is] substantial doubt about the company’s ability to continue as a going concern.” [1]Critics argue that this should have sent warning signs to the Governor and his team.
The loan scheme was controversial and on the 17th of May Keith Stocks (the Rhode Island State Economic Development Corporation Executive Director) resigned. A payment of $1.1 million on the loans was due in May 2012 but the company defaulted. They asked for more emergency assistance. Governor Chafee did not support the loan in the first place indicated that there was an emergency meeting to determine a way forward.
Corporate indiscipline and state regulation is on trial
The issue for the state at the moment is to save the situation and the governor summarized the concerns: “How do we avoid throwing good money after bad — that’s the crux of the question”. Taxpayer funds are at stake and many people remember the Wall Street Crash which virtually debilitated the American economy. How could a private company get over $100 from the state without sufficient guarantees?
38 studios games
There are some people who argue that regulation kills business and that the state has no role to play. This is the result of such a paradigm. If a company is getting a ‘bailout fund’ then they need to be answerable to the state. Moreover there have to be guarantees of the payment.
Companies that are unable to raise sufficient capital should not be in business and they should certainly not be relying on the state to prop them up. The 450 jobs promised to Rhode Island are probably going up in smoke. It is ironic that Curt Shilling is a famous Republican who does not support state bailouts. Hopefully the company will follow that philosophy in the future.
  1. G.J. Remal and F. Quaratiello ,” Schilling’s company didn’t have money to pay the check”, 17th May 2012, Boston Herald, 
  2. A. Groberman,” Republican Curt Schilling Needs a Bailout for His Failing 38 Studios Company”, 18th May 2012, Opposing Views
  3. The author recommends articles about used cars and prescription medicine.  

Monday, 11 June 2012

Three Things to Look For When Buying Second Cars

Three Things to Look For When Buying Second Cars

A Simple Guide for Buying Used Cars

I personally never restrict my options when buying used cars. Why should you? Everyone is looking for a great deal. Why restrict your choices to the local dealership which has been exploiting your community for years? I would recommend that you visit trade-ins as well as browsing the internet for private sales. Some sellers also put up notices at the community center or in the department store. Of course you should not forget the power of the dealerships because they have the purchasing power to give you some really great deals.
  • What about purchasing a new car? I would not recommend this. My personal experience is that the value of cars will deteriorate rapidly by up to 15% every single year. In fact some people are of the view that you start losing value the moment that you leave the parking lot at the dealership! That brand new BMW that you bought for $90,000 could end up losing $30,000 in value within a mere 12 months. No thank you…I would not risk my money on a brand new car. However some people are happy to take the plunge partly because it gives them the chance to show off. Of course the brand new car will almost always pass the MOT (Ministry of Transport) test (in the UK). It is less likely to break down and that can save you loads of money. It is also more likely to be environmentally friendly when compared to an old banger. I personally choose a car that is between 3 and 5 years, subject to a detailed test. It must be said that I have sometimes bought cars that are older than 10 years and they have invariably given me great pleasure. It is all part of the magical inconsistency of buying used cars.
  • What about the mileage issue? I have had so many run-ins with used car salespeople about mileage. Invariably they will play about with the odometer. Therefore I recommend that you check the records and compare it with the digital reading. Of course ‘manual’ ones are easier to manipulate. Do not trust that smooth salesman. They are trained to tap into all your emotional and psychological weaknesses in order to close the deal. I would recommend that you buy a car than is ‘younger’ than 3 years but has a mileage of not more than 15,000 on the cloak. If the mileage is less than 10,000 then you have to make further inquiries about the accuracy of the reading. Likewise if the mileage is over 20,000 for a relatively new car then you should run a mile. Do not take on company vehicles or public transport write-offs. The seller is merely passing on their mechanical problems to you at a price. Cars that are driven hard are going to collapse at some point. You just have to ensure that you are not behind the wheel when this happens.
  • What about luxury? Trust me, there is absolutely nothing as pleasurable as driving a luxury car. I once owned a Jaguar XJS and it often made me forget that I was still very much in this world. There are two schools of thought on this. You can either have a blast and repent at pleasure or live sparingly and never enjoy driving. Generally speaking the medium saloons and small cars are much easier to maintain that the convertibles. The hatchback will cost you almost $10,000 less per annum than a fully fledged luxury car. Even the standard service alone can set you back at least $1000 for each session if you are dealing with a Rolls Royce.
These are my top tips for buying used cars. There is no guarantee that you are going to get it right. In fact the chances are that you will get it wrong. The trick is to persevere and get as many options as possible going. If you find a good dealer then you must stick with them. It is nearly impossible to replace them in the future.
  1. Extract,” Hints and Tips When Buying a Secondhand / Used Car”, accessed 28th May 2012, H&T
  2. The author recommends articles about Used Cars and the Samsung Chromebook Series 5 550.

Saturday, 2 June 2012

The Solar Eclipse and Ring of Fire

Welcoming the annual solar eclipse
Americans are preparing to celebrate the annual solar eclipse on Sunday the 20th of May. This is one of the rarest world events when the sun appears as only a thin ring behind the moon. There will be a visible path from northwestern Texas right through New Mexico. It will pass Southern Utah, California, Nevada and Oregon. The ‘special sun’ will be seen on the North Pacific, South China and Japan on the 21st of May.
Jeffrey Newmark from NASA says that this is a rare event which is not to be missed: "I recommend anyone who has the chance to see this; because while they do happen occasionally, it's a fairly rare event…It's a neat thing to see." [1] The last time that it was seen in the USA was in 1994. Small crowds have flocked to Kanarraville in Utah to welcome the solar eclipse.
Earth and sun movements in focus
The tourism sector is benefitting from this level of interest. Bonnie Char from the Cedar City Tourism Bureau anticipates that the small cities will be flooded by visitors. Therefore local authorities are planning to provide some amenities including sanitation, policing and even food. The so called ‘ring of fire’ might turn out to be very profitable for the communities that experience it.
The Brian Head Resort has decided to open the ski lift to the general population so that they can see the solar eclipse from the mountain peak. They will have a vantage point of view that is 11,000 feet above sea level for a modest fee of $8. The economic boost will be welcomed by local communities who are bearing the brunt of a biting recession.
Viewing parties are going to be held at the Chabot Space and Science Center as well as the University of Nevada. Even the urban communities of California will get a chance to experience this rare phenomenon. The CapRock Winery in Texas has invited revelers to watch the eclipse outdoors. The South Plains Astronomy Club is hosting the event.
The Japanese vantage point
Even as USA enthusiasts camp in different locations to watch the solar eclipse, a Japanese satellite will be watching from the orbit. The Hinode spacecraft is set to cross the path of the solar eclipse at least 4 times. That means that clouds are not going to be a problem. Jonathan Cirtain of the Marshall Space Flight Center explains: "Given the low altitude of the orbit, if Earth is eclipsed, so is the spacecraft”. [2]
94% of the star’s light will be blocked by the moon from the perspective of watchers at specific earth points. The moon is very close to apogee, there will be no complete blackout. It is too small in the sky at the moment to create a total eclipse. Therefore enthusiasts have been warned not to look at the sun directly since it may cause damage to their eyes. This is a unique opportunity for the public to view a phenomenon that rarely occurs.

  1. M. Gray,” Weekend solar eclipse to project 'ring of fire'”, 16th May 2013, CNN,
  2. T. Malik,” Satellite to watch "ring of fire" solar Eclipse from space Sunday”, 18th May 2012, CBS News,
  3. The author recommends this article about American-Pakistan diplomatic relationships as interesting reading.  FJA4ZGRYVV43

Friday, 1 June 2012

Explaining the Forex Market after the Euro Collapse

The Euro has reached a four month low after a financial crisis in the major economies
Most people accept that the Euro is going to face plenty of turbulence over the coming few months. Although the politicians are saying otherwise, there are rumors that Greece and Spain might exit the regional currency in the future. The question for traders is how they handle the fluctuating market. Will it be an opportunity or hindrance in the future? What about existing stock?
The biggest headache for financial analysts is the threat of a wholesale exit of the major European economies that have been relying on the Euro. A Greek caretaker government has been put in place until the second round of elections between the 10th and 17th of June. Joshua Raymond from City Index points out the political dimensions: "It remains open for debate as to just how much authority any caretaker government may have." [1]
The volatility of the forex markets
Investors are not confident about either the recovery or the measures that have been put in place as a means of triggering that sort of reaction. The US dollar is the winner because it is perceived to be a safe (albeit boring) bet. Lauren Rosborough from the Societe Generale SA argues that risk aversion is become a reality in the market today. As the Euro fell by 1%, the USD rose by 1.1% according to the Bloomberg Correlation Weighted Index.
It is very important that investors do not place all their bets on the US Dollar. For example as the Eurozone crisis deepens, the ramifications are likely to touch other currencies. At the moment the USD is at the lowest level it has been in half a year. In some areas it was 97.98 US cents. The last time it fell lower than that figure was on the 29th of November in 2011.
Tony Darvall from Easy Forex argues that comments such as the one made by Mike Smith (ANZ CEO) affected investor decision. [2]He said that credit markets were closing and therefore banks were reducing lending portfolios. These financial institutions are running out of cash to spare: "People are wary; people are very scared…That's why you're seeing stock markets under pressure and Australian banks under pressure."
Do investors have alternatives?
One of the options that might work is gold. This precious metal is unlikely to lose its value over the longer term because it never physically deteriorates. Of course the relative value placed on it is likely to fluctuate with investor perceptions. At the moment it seems like a relatively safe bet given the problems that both the Euro and the USD are facing.
Is this the time to take a significant risk on the forex market? The seasoned investors know that strategies depend on whether the person is in for the long run or if they want to cream off short term profits. Currencies like the Euro on the other hand can collapse completely in a matter of days. Unless the politicians can get their act together, this increasingly looks likely.
  1. WDM Group,” How to Trade Forex as Euro Reaches Four-Month Low”, 16th May 2012, Business Review USA,
  2. AAP,” Dollar down on eurozone fears”, 18TH May 2012, Herald Sun,