Selling Stocks You Don’t Own – An Introduction to Short Selling

You’ve probably heard the old expression that the only way to make money in the stock market is to buy low and sell high. While this is for the most part true there is often overlooked alternative using the very same words, just in a different order; sell high buy low. This is what short selling is, but how does it work and what are the dangerous that could be disastrous to your portfolio?

How Short Selling Works

Taking a short position in a stock is selling a position in a stock that you don’t currently own. This type of transaction is executed in the belief that the price of a stock is going to fall. So imagine that you believe the share price of Company Z will be going down in price from $10 to $6 and so you want to short the stock. You would contact your investment advisor or brokerage firm notifying them that you want to short the stock. The firm would then lend you the stocks and you would sell them directly into the market and receive the proceeds from the sale of the stock. There is however a minimum amount (margin) that your account must have in it in order to allow the transaction to occur.

Being the insightful investor that you are, the short trade paid off and the share price fell to $6, you now want to „cover your short.“ This is a Wall St. term for buying back the shares you initially sold. Since the price you bought the shares at ($6) is less than what you sold them at ($10) you get to keep the difference. You don’t keep to keep the shares however since they were just lent to you by the brokerage firm. The brokerage firm will charge interest on the loan of stocks, this is how they make their money on this transaction. You will profit when the short position is covered.

Margining Short Positions

The terms of margin used to determine how much money is the minimum you need to have in your account when you take on a short position in a stock. To cover the risk in this situation though the client must put up more than the total value of the short sale. The following is a list of the maximum loan values for short positions:

Stock Price… Maximum Loan Value

Reduced Margin Stock… 130% loan

$2.00 and above… 150% loan

$1.50 to $1.99… $3 per share

$0.25 to $1.49… 200% loan

$0.24 and below… 100% loan + $0.25 per share

The Risks Of Short Selling

Although there is a great opportunity to make money from downward markets by short selling, there is also considerable risks to be considered before beginning a short trade. Here are a few:

– Potential for unlimited losses. When you’re long a stock, the most you can lose is 100% (if the stock goes to $0). But when shorting a stock a price could go up infinitely, so you could stand an unlimited amount of money.

– Difficulty in finding enough of the stock to cover the short sale (therefore extending your losses, if it is going in the wrong direction).

– You are required to pay any dividends that are declared during the time you have shorted the stock.

– The price is subject to greater volatility when a lot of people are trying to cover their short positions at the same time (in Wall St. terms this is called a short squeeze).

With Great Leverage Comes Great Responsibility

Short selling is considered to be a leveraged position, much in the same way as buying a stock on leverage. Many of the same risks apply although short selling does have a few more risks it is also a great weapon to have in your investing arsenal. With short selling you are able to profit during the down turns and buy long in up markets. Profiting in both down and up markets should greatly increase your chances of profitability in the markets provided you know the risks and take the right safety measures to protect yourself.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Joseph Leo

1031 Exchange As A Marketing Tool – For Realtors

How Can 1031 Exchange Help You In Generating Business?

The §1031 tax deferred treatment of capital gains is one of the most attractive real estate investor vehicles for preserving and building real estate wealth: This provision of the tax code allows property owners to exchange their property for other like-kind property without recognition of capital gains.

The capital gain and tax liability are both transferred („deferred“) from the „old“ property into the „new“ one, so there are not tax consequences or liability to the seller at the time of the sale of the „old“ property.

The beginning


The concept of exchanging properties to avoid („defer“) tax is not new. 1031 exchange reformed variation of Two and Multi-party exchange.

First; Two-party exchange


Direct exchange (i.e., a swap), or the „your property“ for „my property“ is called a two-party exchange. Here there are two property owners who each want the other’s property. When this rare situation occurs, the parties exchange properties and avoid („defer“) tax liabilities. The main problem here is that rarely there will be two property owners who each want the other’s property.

Then; Multi-party exchange


The three-way or multi-party exchange technique was designed to solve the dilemma of a two-way swap. The big problem here is that if one or more of the parties would not cooperate with the exchange, the entire exchange failed like a „Domino Effect“.

Now; 1031 Exchange


By permitting you to „sell“ your Relinquished („old“) Property now and use the proceeds to buy the Replacement („new“) Property later 1031 exchange eliminate the need of finding another real estate owner who agrees to exchange properties (instead of selling) to avoid tax liability.

Exchange Requirements




There are three conditions that must be met to accomplish non-recognition of gain under §1031:

1. The properties exchanged must qualify, and be of „like-kind“.

2. There must be an actual exchange, not a transfer of property for money only.

3. The time requirements must be strictly followed.

Qualify, „like-kind“

To qualify as a like-kind exchange, the property must be both (1) qualifying property and (2) like-kind property.

What is a qualify property?

For income tax purposes, real estate is divided into four categories made as of the date the transaction:

1. Held for business use (§1231) – property used in normal course of business or rental property; Qualify

2. Held for investment (§1221) – property purchased and sold for generating capital gain; Qualify

3. Held for personal use – vacation home, second home; Does not Qualify

4. Held primarily for sale (dealer property) – resale or inventory; Does not Qualify

The first two classifications „held for business“ and „held for investment“ qualify for §1031 treatment while the second two „held for personal use“ and „dealer property-do not“.

What if a property falls under two categories?

For example what if a property held for investments partially used for personal use? The sale will be allocated between the two categories based on the portion of each one.

The Exchange Process


The following is a review of the process and timeline:

Sale of Relinquished („old“) Property

To trigger the tax deferred transaction, you must sell your property.

Identification the Replacement („new“) Property

You have 45 days from the day you sell the „old“ property to identify the replacement („new“).

Replacement Property is identified only if it is designated as one in a written document signed by you. This document must be hand delivered, mailed, faxed or otherwise sent before the end of the identification period to a person (other than yourself or a related party) involved in the exchange. The document must include unambiguous legal description or street address of the property.

Number of Replacement Properties that can be identified

You may identify more than one property as Replacement Property subject to three rules:

3-Property Rule:

The maximum number of replacement properties you may identify is three properties regardless of their fair market values.

The 200 Percent Rule:

There is no limit on the number of properties you identify as long as their total fair market value does not exceed 200 percent of the total fair market value of all Relinquished Properties.

The 95 Percent Rule:

There is no limit on the number of properties you identify as long as during the Exchange Period you actually received identified Replacement Properties having a fair market value equal to or more than 95 percent of the total fair market value of all identified Replacement Properties.

Value of Replacement („New“) Property


The value of the Replacement Property must be equal to, or greater than, the adjusted sales price of the Relinquished Property.

All proceeds from the Relinquished Property sale need to be invested in the Replacement Property.

Sale Proceeds Go To Qualified Intermediary


Section 1031 requires an actual exchange of properties. If you simply sell your property and reinvest the money in another property, you will not qualify for exchange treatment, even though it is a simultaneous close.

A Qualified Intermediary is a person (or company) who, for a fee, acts to facilitate the deferred exchange by entering into an agreement with you for the exchange of properties.

The Qualified Intermediary does not provide legal or specific tax advice to the exchanger, but will usually perform the following services:

1. Coordinate with the exchangers and their advisors, to structure a successful exchange.

2. Prepare the documentation for the Relinquished Property and the Replacement Property.

3. Furnish escrow with instructions to effect the exchange.

4. Secure the funds in an insured bank account until the exchange is completed.

5. Provide documents to transfer Replacement Property to the exchanger, and disburse exchange proceeds to escrow.

Receipt of Replacement Property

You have 180 days from the day you sell the „old“ property to receive the replacement („new“).

Replacement property is treated as received before the end of the exchange period if:

1. You actually acquired the Replacement Property (close the transaction) prior to the end of the exchange period (180 days, or the due date of the taxpayers tax return, whichever is earlier), and

2. The Replacement Property acquired is substantially the same as identified during the 45- day identification period.

Boot and Taxable Gain


Money and unlike property in an exchange is called boot.

If, in addition to the Replacement Property, you receive money or some other kind of boot, you may have taxable gain. The tax is due only on gain that comes from the money and other boot received.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Arik Rozen

Why Serious Investors Use Real Estate Investment Software

In this article we’ll consider why serious real estate investors–those who want to make the best return possible on their real estate investments–use real estate investment software to evaluate investment opportunities.

  1. It’s fast. Good investment property analysis software makes it possible to analyze cash flows, rates of return, and profitability of rental properties in minutes. This enables investors to collect the data needed for decision-making quickly.
  2. It’s precise. Good investment evaluation software makes accurate calculations for a wide-range of returns and measures deemed crucial to sound real estate analysis. The last thing analysts should have to worry about is faulty math.
  3. The reports are informative. Good real estate investment software creates professional-quality reports investors can confidently pass on to colleagues, partners, and lenders.
  4. It knows what data is required. Good rental property software includes forms specially designed to gather the appropriate facts and figures about a property. This is particularly helpful to investors with little or no real estate analysis experience because they just fill in the forms and print.
  5. It keeps the seller’s data honest. Investors who have the ability to run the numbers themselves prevent anyone from making an unrealistic presentation of the property and perhaps „slipping one“ by.
  6. It’s inexpensive. Good realestate investment software does not have to cost an arm and a leg. Anyone can create top-notch real estate analysis presentations forever for just a few hundred dollars.

Okay, now let’s consider the alternative.

  1. You can create your own spreadsheet. Excel makes it possible for anyone to mimic investing software solutions. But it takes time (lots of time) to develop the reports and calculations provided in good real estate investment software. You should ask yourself whether you are inept enough about real estate investing and Excel before you get started. Plus, remember that your goal is make a profit on investment properties and not to shave a few bucks off your analysis presentations.
  2. You can rely on rules of thumb. It’s easy to calculate a property’s cap rate or gross rent multiplier. But what about cash-on-cash return, cash flow after tax, internal rate of return, and mortgage amortization? Bear in mind that you are planning to make a huge property investment, so you should rely on something more meaningful than on simple calculations you can do in your head.
  3. You can accept the seller’s data. But it’s never a good idea to accept property data point blank because it leaves too much room for others to embellish reality. You should always be prepared to verify the numbers you are presented about any investment opportunity to be sure that they comply with your real estate investing plan.

Once you’re ready to invest in good real estate investment software you’ve got to know what to look for. So here are a few suggestions.

  1. Foremost, be sure that the software is user-friendly–that you know what to do from the moment you open it. If not, be sure you have a number you can call for tech support.
  2. Preview the reports. Are they easy to read? Do they contain all the crucial returns you will need (or desire) to make an intelligent investment decision? Are they professional quality?
  3. Consider what rates of return you desire. For example, are you interested only in suitable returns calculated without consideration for the elements of tax shelter, or would you prefer full consideration of tax shelter? If so, then look for real estate investment software that includes calculations for things such as depreciation, mortgage interest, amortization of loan points, and cash flow after tax.
  4. Would you like both analysis and marketing presentations? If so, then look for a software solution that will create an Executive Summary or Marketing Package in addition to an APOD, Proforma Income Statement, and Rent Roll.

You get the idea.

The important thing is to realize that real estate investing is a business and real estate investment software is a tool that will help you to grow that business wisely. And in the same way that serious investors have come to rely on good real estate investment software to help them make smart investment property decisions, so should you.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by James Kobzeff

Stocks VS Bonds – Differences and Risks

In the world of investments, you’ll often hear about stocks and bonds. They are both feasible forms of investment. They allow you the opportunity to invest your money with a specific company or corporation with the possibility of future profits. But how exactly do they work? And what are the differences between the two?


Let’s start with bonds. The easiest way to define a bond is through the concept of a loan. When you invest in bonds, you are essentially loaning your money to a company, corporation, or government of your choosing. That institution, in turn, will give you a receipt for your loan, along with a promise of interest, in the form of a bond.

Bonds are bought and sold in the open market. Fluctuation in their values occurs depending on the interest rate of the general economy. Basically, the interest rate directly affects the worth of your investment. For instance, if you have a thousand dollar bond which pays the interest of 5% yearly, you can sell it at a higher face value provided the general interest rate is below 5%. And if the rate of interest rises above 5%, the bond, though it can still be sold, is usually sold at less than its face value.

The logic behind this system is that the investors deal with a higher rate of interest then the actual bond pays. Thus, the bond is sold at lower value in order to offset the gap. The OTC market, which is comprised of banks and security firms, is the favourite trading place for bonds, because corporate bonds can be listed on the stock exchange, and can be purchased through stock brokers.

With bonds, unlike stocks, you, as the investor, will not directly benefit from the success of the company or the amount of its profits. Instead, you will receive a fixed rate of return on your bond. Basically, this means that whether the company is wildly successful OR has an abysmal year of business, it will not affect your investment. Your bond return rate will be the same. Your return rate is the percentage of the original offer of the bond. This percentage is called the coupon rate.

It is also important to remember that bonds have maturity dates. Once a bond hits its maturity date, the principal amount paid for that bond is returned to the investor. Different bonds are issued different maturity dates. Some bonds can have up to 30 years of maturity period.

When dealing in bonds, the greatest investment risk that you face is the possibility of the principal investment amount NOT being paid back to you. Obviously, this risk can be somewhat controlled through the careful assessment of the companies or institutions that you choose to invest in.

Those companies that possess more credit worthiness are generally safer investments when it comes to bonds. The best example of a „safe“ bond is the government bond. Another is the blue chip company bond. Blue chip companies are well-established companies that have proven and successful track records over a long span of time. Of course, such companies will have lower coupon rates.

If you’re willing to take a greater risk for better coupon rates, then you would probably end up choosing the companies with low credit ratings, companies that are unproven or unstable. Keep in mind, there is a great risk of default on the bonds from smaller corporations; however, the other side of the coin is that bond holders of such companies are preferential creditors. They get compensated before the stock holders in the event of a business going bankrupt.

So, for less risk, choose to invest in bonds from established companies. You will be likely to cash in on your returns, but they will probably not be very large. Or, you can choose to invest in smaller, unproven companies. The risk is greater, but if it pays off, your bank account will be greater, too. As in any investment venture, there is a trade-off between the risks and the possible rewards of bonds.


Stocks represent shares of a company. These shares give part of the ownership of the company to you, the share-holder. Your stake in that company is defined by the amount of shares that you, the investor, own. Stock comes in mid-caps, small caps, and large caps.

As with bonds, you can decrease the risk of stock trading by choosing your stocks carefully, assessing your investments and weighing the risk of different companies. Obviously, an entrenched and well-known corporation is much more likely to be stable then a new and unproven one. And the stock will reflect the stability of the companies.

Stocks, unlike bonds, fluctuate in value and are traded in the stock market. Their worth is based directly on the performance of the company. If the company is doing well, growing, and attaining profits, then so does the value of the stock. If the company is weakening or failing, the stock of that company decreases in value.

There are various ways in which stocks are traded. In addition to being traded as shares of a company, stock can also be traded in the form of options, which is a type of Futures trading. Stock can also be sold and brought in the stock market on a daily basis. The value of a certain stock can increase and decrease according to the rise and fall in the stock market. Because of this, investing in stocks is much riskier than investing in bonds.

The Wrap-Up

Both stocks and bonds can become profitable investments. But it is important to remember that both options also carry a certain amount of risk. Being aware of that risk and taking steps to minimize it and control it, not the other way around, will help you to make the right choices when it comes to your financial decisions. The key to wise investing is always good research, a solid strategy, and guidance you can trust.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Markus Heitkoetter

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Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Michael Russell

Glossary Of Consumer Finance Terms

A guide to many of the terms used in the consumer finance market.


Acceptance Rate – The percentage of customers that are successful when applying for a loan or credit card. 66% or more applicants must be offered the advertised rate know as the Typical APR (See ‚Typical APR‘ below).

Annual Percentage Rate (APR) – The rate of interest payable annually on the loan or credit card balance. This allows potential customers to compare lenders. Under the Consumer Credit Act Lenders are legally required to disclose their APR.

Arrears – Missed payments on a loan, credit card, mortgage or most kinds of debt are termed Arrears. The borrower has a legally binding obligation to settle any arrears as soon as possible.

Arrangement Fee – Generally for the administration costs of setting up a mortgage.


Base Rate – The interest rate set by the Bank of England. This is the rate charged to banks for lending from the Bank of England. The base rate and how it may change in the future has a direct influence on the interest rate a bank may charge the consumer on a loan or mortgage.

Business Loans – A loan specifically for a business and generally based on the businesses past and likely future performance.


Car Loan – A loan specifically for the purchase of a car.

Consumer Credit Association (CCA) – Represents most businesses in the consumer credit industry. Government, local authorities, financial bodies, finance focused media and consumer groups are all members. Members sign a constitution and must follow a code of practice and business conduct.

County Court Judgement (CCJ) – A CCJ can be issued by a County Court to an individual that has failed to settle outstanding debts. A CCJ will adversely affect the credit record of an individual and can possibly result in them being refused credit. A CCJ will stay on a credit record for 6 years. It is possible to avoid this major negative stain on your credit record by settling the CCJ in full within one month of receiving it, in this case no details of the CCJ will be stored on your credit record.

Credit Crunch – A situation where Lenders cut back on their lending simultaneously usually down to a shared fear that borrowers will not be able to repay their debts.

Credit File – Information stored by credit reference agencies, such as Experian, Equifax and CallCredit, on an individuals credit and borrowing arrangements. The Credit File is checked when Lenders consider a credit application.

Credit Reference Agencies – Companies that keep records of individuals credit and borrowing arrangements, amounts owed, with who and payments made, including any defaults, CCJ’s, arrears etc.

Credit Search – The general search undertaken by the Lender with the credit reference agencies.


Debt C0nsolidation – The transfer of multiple debts to a single debt via a loan or credit card.

Default – When a regular debt repayment is missed. A default will be recorded on an individuals credit record and will adversely affect the chance of success of any future credit applications.

Data Protection Act – An act of Parliament in 1998 and the main legislation that governs the use of personal data in the UK. Lenders are not allowed to share an individuals personal data directly with other institutions or companies.


Early Redemption Charge – A fee charged by Lenders if a borrower pays back their debt before the debts agreed term is reached.

Equity – The value a property has beyond any loan, mortgage or other debt held upon it. The amount of money an individual will receive if they sold their property and repaid the debt on the property in full.


Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) – The government appointed institution responsible for regulating the finance market.

First Charge – The mortgage on a property. A Lender who has first charge on a property will take priority for repayment of their mortgage or loan from the funds available after the sale of a property.

Fixed Rate – An interest rate that will not change.


Homeowner Loan – Also commonly known as a secured loan. A Homeowner Loan is only available to individuals that own their own home. The loan will be secured against the value of the property usually on the form of a second charge on the property.


Instalment Loans – Multiple loan repayments spread over a period. Depending on the Lender their may be flexibility in the repayment amounts and schedule.


Joint Application – A loan or other credit application made by a couple rather than a single person e.g. husband and wife.


Lender – The company providing the loan or mortgage.

Loan Purpose – The purpose for which the loan was acquired.

Loan Term – The period of time over which the loan will be repaid.

Loan To Value (LTV) – Generally associated with a mortgage and taking the form of a percentage. This is the loan amount in relation to the full value of the property. e.g. an individual may be offered a mortgage of 90% LTV on a property worth £100,000. In this case the offer would be £90,000.


Monthly Repayments – The monthly payments made to settle a loan including any interest.

Mortgage – A loan taken specifically to finance the purchase of a property in most cases a home. The property is offered as security to the Lender.


Online Loans – Although most loans are available online. The Internet has allowed for the development of technology that allows for the faster processing of a loan application than traditional methods. In some cases a loan application, agreement and the funds appearing in your account can take as little as 15 minutes or less.


Payday Loan – A short term cash advance of up to 31 days which is repayable on your next payday. Payday loans come with a high APR because of the shorter term of the loan.

Payment Protection Insurance (PPI) – Insurance to cover debt repayments should the borrower be unable to maintain their repayments for any number of reasons including redundancy, illness or an accident.

Personal Loans – A general loan for any purpose and in varying amounts that can be provided to an individual based up on their credit history.

Price For Risk – Lenders now have a range of interest rates that are chosen based on an individuals credit score. An individual with a poor credit score is deemed High Risk and will likely be offered a higher interest rate as the Lender factors in the possibility of them defaulting on their repayments. Conversely an individual with a high credit score and a good credit history is considered Low Risk and will be offered a lower rate of interest.


Qualifying Criteria – The eligibility requirements required by the Lender. The most basic criteria required to qualify for a loan in the UK are; permanent UK residency, age 18 or over and a regular income. Many Lenders may also include extra lending conditions.


Regulated – financial ‚products‘ that are overseen by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). Lenders must follow a code of conduct and individuals are protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme (FSCS).

Repayment Schedule – The time period over which a loan will be repaid and the details of the loan repayment amounts.


Second Charge – A second loan, in addition to any other loan, that is secured against an individuals property.

Secured Loan – Also commonly known as a Homeownr Loan. A secured loan is only available to to homeowners. The loan amount is secured against the value of the property. The Lender has the right to repossess your property should you fail to maintain the loan repayments.

Shared Ownership – An agreement in which an individual owns only a percentage of the property. The remaining percentage is owned by a third party often a housing association. The individual may have a mortgage on the part of the property they own and pay rent on the part of the property they do not own.


Total Amount Repayable – The total amount of the loan plus the interest and any applicable fees.

Typical APR – The advertised interest rate that is offered to a minimum of 66% of successful loan applicants.


Underwriting – The process of verifying data and approving a loan.

Unregulated – Not covered and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

Unsecured Loan – A loan that does not require collateral and is provided on ‚good faith‘. Under the belief by the Lender that you can repay the loan based on your credit score, credit history and financial standing amongst other factors.


Variable Rate – An interest rate that will change during the loan repayment period.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Ken Barnes

Detroit Travel – First Impressions, a Driving Tour and Dinner at Sinbad’s at the Waterfront

After my explorations in Windsor, I had about an hour and a half to explore Detroit on my own before my scheduled driving tour of the city. With its impressive 20th century architectural heritage, Detroit had long fascinated me and I was going to take the next four days to explore this city up close.

One of the buildings making up Detroit’s skyline that has always captured my imagination is the Michigan Central Depot, an imposing 18-story former Beaux-Arts railway terminal that dates back to 1913. Somehow railway terminals have always held this aura of excitement and mobility, connecting people with far-away places. Although now long out of use, sadly run down and fenced off, I wanted to see the beauty of this magnificent building first-hand. I located it right away on my map and drove there to see it up close. This imposing and gorgeous building has been empty since 1988 when the last Amtrak train departed from here, and the ravages of time and human vandalism have taken their toll. Nevertheless, The Michigan Central Depot remains a gorgeous component of Detroit’s skyline and is a must-see for any architecture fan. Even in its current condition, it is easy to imagine the former glory this now defunct transportation hub.

After my first exposure to Detroit’s magnificent architecture, I drove across town to Belle Isle, a 982 acre (4 km2) island park in the Detroit River, east of downtown. It features a variety of attractions: the Anna Scripps Whitcomb Conservatory, the beautiful James Scott Memorial Fountain with three levels of water displays and numerous sculptures designed by famous architect Cass Gilbert.

I drove back downtown for my meeting with Jeanette Pierce, co-founder of Inside Detroit, a non-profit organization that runs the Detroit Welcome Centre and provides numerous thematic tours of Detroit and sells various products created by local Detroit artists. Jeanette is one of the most vocal proponents of Detroit and started to show me several destinations along Detroit’s eastern waterfront.

Along the way Jeanette told me a bit more about herself: together with her friend Maureen Kearns, Jeanette founded Inside Detroit in 2005 with the intention of introducing locals and out-of-towners to the city from an insider’s perspective. Maureen and Jeanette offer various custom tours and outings to get to know the city which connect participants not just with the city’s history and architecture, but also with pubs, bars, theatres, art galleries and other cool city hotspots. Some of the tours are targeted to locals to show them how to get the most of living, working and playing in the Motor City. These two entrepreneurs have even come up with a concept for a Detroit Scavenger Hunt that leads participants all throughout Downtown Detroit in search of information.

Obviously I could not have found a better local expert and urban enthusiast than Jeanette Pierce, so off we went on our driving tour of „the D“, one of Detroit’s nicknames. Heading east from the downtown business district, we made stops at Stroh River Place, a 25 acre mixed use campus development that brings together business amenities and upscale housing. All along Jeanette gave me an overview of Detroit’s history and background. Further east we made a stop on Belle Isle, Detroit’s urban island park.

Located as an island in the Detroit River, Belle Isle is connected with the mainland through the MacArthur Bridge. One of the highlights is the stunning marble James Scott Memorial Fountain which was designed by renowned architect Cass Gilbert in 1925. James Scott was a controversial entrepreneur who left $200,000 to the City of Detroit to create a fountain in his name. From here we embarked on a slow drive past the major sights on the island, including the Belle Isle Casino and the Nancy Peace Brown Carillon Clock. On the north side of the island we stopped to have a look at the Detroit Yacht Club which began in the late 1870s. The imposing present-day clubhouse had cost more than one million dollars when it was opened in 1923.

From upscale Indian Village we drove into a more working class area that featured many run-down houses. Since the 1950s the City of Detroit has experienced an extensive decline in population, as the advent of an extensive highway system led many urban residents to move into the outlying suburbs. As a result, large numbers of residential houses and apartment buildings were abandoned and demolished in order to curb crime. What is left behind is a phenomenon called „urban prairies“, large stretches of empty grassland in the middle of the city that often remain unused.

Jeanette wanted to introduce me to an innovative use of some of this vacant urban land. Next to the Gleaner Community Food Bank is a community garden that uses empty green spaces for urban agriculture. The Gleaner Community Food Bank helps to feed hungry citizens, and some of the fresh vegetables and fruits come from the community garden that is located right across from the warehouse.

Our next stop focused on a really unusual space: the Heidelberg project, an outdoor art installation in an African-American neighbourhood on Detroit’s east side.

This extraordinary environment includes an entire city block as well as several houses and integrates bright paint colours and a large collection of found discarded objects. Creator Tyreee Guyton grew up on Heidelberg Street and was displeased with the deterioration in his neighbourhood. As a form of social protest he painted his grandfather’s house with bright polka dots and created the now famous „Dotty-Wotty House“ in 1986.

Together with his grandfather and his former wife, Tyree Guyton began to clean up the neighbourhood and transformed the refuse they collected into massive art installations. Since the beginnings many other houses and outdoor creations have followed. Even city-ordered demolitions in 1991 and 1999 could not stop the success of the Heidelberg Project. Creator Tyree Guyton has been featured on various television programs (including Oprah) and won numerous awards for his work.

During our brief stroll on Heidelberg Street we saw a group of joggers come through as well as various international visitors from Toronto and Boston. Another example of creative use of space in Detroit, the Heidelberg Project today attracts around 275,000 visitors a year, and creator Tyree Guyton travels all over the world giving presentations about this project. We even ran into the artist himself who graciously talked to us and told us about the significance of this project which has transformed vacant lots into colourful and meaningful urban art.

After unsuccessfully trying to reach some friends of Jeanette’s, artists who live in a local loft, we briefly stopped at Detroit’s Eastern Market which truly comes to life on Saturday mornings. We stopped into the R. Hirt Jr. store which features cheeses and delicacies from all over the world. Market activities have been taking place here since the mid 1800s and the sales sheds seen today date back to 1891. Detroit’s Eastern Market is the largest historic public market district in the United States.

From here we drove north through Midtown Detroit, also referred to as Detroit’s Cultural Centre which is anchored by Wayne State University, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Detroit Public Library, the Detroit Science Center, the Detroit Historical Museum, the Museum of African American History as well as the Max M. Fisher Music Centre. We stopped in at the Bureau of Urban Living, a hip local urban general store. Right next door are the Motor City Brewing Works, a microbrewery with a bar and an upstairs deck. Jeanette successfully demonstrated that Detroit is a hotbed of young urban entrepreneurs who are taking opportunity by the horns.

Further north we visited the area of New Centre whose main highlight is the historic Fisher building, an ornate 1928 skyscraper and Art Deco jewel designed by renowned Detroit architect Albert Kahn. The structure was originally designed for the Fisher Body Company which had become General Motors‘ in-house coachbuilding division in 1926. Forty different kinds of marble decorate the lavish three-story barrel vaulted lobby which today holds a shopping concourse with various cool stores and cafes. The Fisher Theatre, with its lavish Aztec-style interior, is a popular destination among theatre lovers.

Then Jeanette took me across the street to Cadillac Place, another stunning example of 1920s architecture. Designed by Albert Kahn in 1923, it was the second largest office building in the world. It was the headquarters of General Motors from 1923 to 1996 when GM moved to the Renaissance Centre downtown. This ornate high-rise office building features 31 elevators and has been a designated National Historic Landmark since 1978.

After this extensive insider’s overview of Detroit our tour had come to an end I thanked Jeanette and dropped her off at the Detroit Welcome Centre. By now it was late afternoon and I had not had anything to eat since breakfast, so it was seriously time for an early dinner. I had wanted a waterfront dining experience and back home had already done some research into riverside dining options in Detroit. One place called „Sindbad’s at the River“ had caught my attention since it was located right by the river and has been a family owned business for almost 60 years.

So I headed off east again to locate Sindbad’s restaurant for a waterfront dining experience. Owned since 1949 by the Blancke family, the second generation of Blanckes, Marc, Denise, Linda and Brian, run this river-front restaurant as a team. I settled down at a cozy table and was waiting for a chance to talk to the owners and find out about this culinary landmark in Detroit.

Denise and Marc sat down with me and started telling me about this venerable institution. In 1949, the siblings‘ father, „Buster“ Blancke together with his brother-in-law „Van“ VanHollebecke opened Sindbad’s in a ramshackle building at the Detroit River. (In true Belgian tradition, the gentlemen’s real names were Prudent Octave Blancke and Hilaire VanHollebecke, but the shorter nicknames were much easier to pronounce). „Van“ had worked for Hiram Walker and looked after the Detroit sales of the distillery. Grandpa Boudewyn Blancke had owned a meat market and lent the young gentlemen some money to set up their new business.

In the early years the restaurant served mostly hamburgers, sandwiches and steaks, but over time the restaurant developed a specialization in seafood. Marc added that he only buys the best ingredients and explained to me that the scallops come all the way from George’s Bank, a hundred miles off Cape Code. He added that they are full of nutrients and always perfectly fresh. His menu even carries a fiercely named creature called „wolf of the sea“ (loup de mer). Sunday brunch is also very popular and offers a variety of eggs, made to order, as well as smoked salmon, fish, pasta and chicken dishes.

Sindbad’s customers mostly come from Detroit and the surrounding counties, and due to its riverside location and the fact that Sindbad’s also functions as a marina, many of the restaurant guests arrive by boat. Sindbad’s is particularly popular during special events such as the Detroit Grand Prix and the Red Bull Air Race, an exhilarating high-speed obstacle course for lightweight racing planes. Hundreds of weddings and special events are held at Sindbad’s every year.

To give me a feel for Sindbad’s expertise in seafood, Marc put together a seafood platter for me that consisted of local fish such as perch and pickerel as well as of the famous scallops which simply melted in my mouth. Campeche shrimp and coconut shrimp rounded out the seafood platter. Accompanied by deliciously spicy Jalapeno Poppers I had a very satisfying evening meal and could start to relax a little after a full day with a hugely packed schedule.

After a very filling seafood medley and a nice chat with Marc I headed off for a good night’s sleep at the just reopened luxurious Westin Book Cadillac Hotel, my abode for the next two days. After being shuttered for about 24 years, this stunning 1924 Art Deco jewel has just undergone a complete renovation at a cost of about $200 million. I was already looking forward to seeing more of this historic hotel in the next few days.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Susannne Pacher

Home Staging Tip – How to Live in a Staged House Without Wrecking It!

You’ve done every thing right. The home is in mint condition, it’s been brilliantly staged, it’s priced right, comps out well, and now… sits. It’s gonna. That is unfortunately the most likely scenario in any buyers‘ market. Eventually the home will sell, and chances are, in the end, you’ll do just fine, but how to get to that end? We can all „learn how to live clean“ as I tell all my customers, knowing full well that’s like asking someone to stick to a diet. Whether you have young children or not, for lost of folks it’s stressful living in show shape. There are some tricks (shortcuts, really) that you can deploy. Here’s three:

1. Special Towels for Show, soaps, too!

Most likely when staging the home for sale, white towels got placed in all the bathrooms. Lovely fresh, fluffy, WHITE towels, that no-one’s allowed to use! you know how it is, as soon as you wash them, even once, they’re not half as nice, so you want to leave them as is. You could put them underneath the sink, or in a pile somewhere, but a creative solution is to put a colored towel on top. Let everyone use those. They don’t show dirt and wear in the same way. The contrast with the white towels gives an even richer look to the bathroom.

Designate a new piece of soap for show purposes too, and put that out every morning as the last person leaves the room. Now you have the hotel look maintained for months on end.

2. The Tidyness

  • Stay on top of each room, as you leave it. (it becomes a habit after a while) Always fluff up the sofa pillows last thing at night. My mother used to do this religiously and I never understood why until I tried doing it in my own house. It makes such a difference to come downstairs to a clean (ish) room in the morning… and I swear it keeps the place smelling a little fresher longer!
  • A place to chuck stuff at the last minute. If you clear a drawer in every room, then you have a place to quickly stash miscellaneous items as the buyer walks up the path to the front door.

3. A Show Routine

Get a routine organized that you can do on automatic as each showing appointment approaches. Do the order of the rooms the same way each time, so that it becomes second nature. Also, a similar path around each room makes it faster. That path should include light switches, pillows to fluff, smoothing out surfaces, shaking a curtain or two and spraying as you cast the last look back…

It boils down to, literally — Lights, Fabreze, Action!

The Bonus Tip is about the flowers. Rather than „silk“ (a.k.a plastic, who are you kidding?) I recommend paper roses. They look fantastic, completely real, never show dust and stay looking exactly the same for months on end!

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Juliet Johnson

Illumination Above Germany, A Poem


Long I watched your light arrive, from east to west, now enmeshed

from dark to dim to light! Your arms no longer severed from your body–.

O Munich, Munich! Evermore –dancing on your wooden floors

drunker than a skunk, young men, young punks, young everyone

Oktoberfest tents, tents, tents, echoes everywhere with bronze horns;

a taste of flavored birch-beer, swims down pleasing to my guts!

Ah! an endlessly serge, the Oktoberfest–of ’70!)–: down, down

pour it down, down, backed chicken all around, light arrives…!

The Black Forest,‘ of Bavaria: wherein the beauty of its deep

resides, where no sunlit gleams within, where is the tender sky?

Too much white, too much gleam, too many trees–lovemaking

on leather seats, cramped in the front like birds in a tree!…

Nothing penetrating, but white, white, restless white…!

Here, yes here is where splendor dies, with cold memories.

Augsburg there’s an old Roman wall of stone, homeless

looking, as if a dog left a bone, forgot to retrieve it–.

This old ruin: soundless, secretive she stands, unbothered under

the grave sun: can’t find the doors only old mortar and rock,

I wonder what’s in its cryptic past, surely Roman death, death

I cannot answer why, but the blood runs faster, faster, down

my neck to catch up with its sardonic past….

Along the banks of the River Mosel high above the lower hills

Are ancient orchards fresh and mild?–Castles with valley breeze!

That was the Mosel for me, back in ´76. Cochem commands the Mosel´s slopes

formed by volcanic upheavals, long ago–here the towering Reichsburg blows

Bows to the Valley River below to its mighty volcanic slopes…!

It is marvelous in all senses, to have walked on these ancient stones

to have carry memories of this marvel, to cast light on this–long ago…,

Heidelberg, an ancient courtyard, women carrying men, like children

carrying dogs, five-hundred years ago, such a victory, but for who?

Walls and halls battered. Johannisburg Castle–the Pink Palace

Down around the River Main: Pink-sandstone, king size courtyard

simply majestic, Aschaffenburg´s gem! Wuerzburg´s also a legacy.

Note: The author lived in Germany in the 1970s for five years, and has seen much of West Germany, and enmeshed within this multi rhythm poem is his experiences as a youth. No: 1922 7-28-2007

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Dennis Siluk Dr.h.c.

Sell Your Home: Inexpensive Ways to Increase Your Home’s Salability

You don’t have to spend a great deal of money to attract more buyers to your home at sales time. Remember, your home is in the limelight once you place it on the market, and people will be looking at it more closely than they would if they were just making social calls.

Making sure your house is spotlessly clean, odor-free, and devoid of clutter will go a long way toward getting more and higher offers, but there are other small and inexpensive things you can do that can pay big dividends when it comes to selling your home. The time to begin is BEFORE your home is put on the market.

First, hold a garage sale to rid your home of as much clutter as possible. After the sale is over, call your local charity and donate everything that’s left over. Everything else that you don’t use on a daily basis should be packed away or placed in a storage unit so your home will seem more spacious and open.

One source of clutter that’s often overlooked is the kitchen refrigerator. If you’re like most folks, your fridge is covered with magnets, pieces of paper, recipes, your children’s artwork, photos, and a hundred other things. While they say „home“ to you, they say „clutter“ to potential buyers, so clear off the refrigerator before your home goes on the market.

Next, make sure the entryway invites people into your home. Put out a nice, friendly new doormat, put pots of flowers on the porch, and make sure the door is clean. If the front door needs paint to make it say „welcome,“ do it. It’s an inexpensive way to make a favorable first impression on potential buyers.

Inside the home, some home stagers recommend that you set the dining room table with your finest place settings, including candles and nice cloth napkins. However, you want to be careful that your home doesn’t look too „staged.“ The idea is to give buyers a feeling for how nice it would be to entertain in your home once it has become THEIR home. You can do this with candles and a gorgeous flower arrangement. If you don’t have flowers in your garden to cut and need to skip the expense of florist flowers, cut branches of trees and bushes. Fresh greenery provides eye appeal and also makes buyers feel connected to the outdoor natural environment from inside your home.

Make every effort to eliminate any unpleasant odors. If you don’t detect any odors yourself, bring in someone else and ask them to walk through your house and tell you if they smell anything unusual. You may be surprised at what you find out, but unpleasant smells are one of the biggest turn-offs for buyers, so don’t skip this important step.

Fix all squeaky doors or sticky drawers, especially in the kitchen. Since it’s one of the focal points of most home searches, everything in the kitchen must be in perfect working order to make the most favorable impression upon potential buyers. That also means clearing off countertops to make sure buyers can see how spacious and efficient your kitchen really is.

When it comes to selling your home, you want it to stand out from the competition, but you don’t have to spend large sums of money to accomplish that goal. Some common sense and some good old-fashioned elbow grease will go a long way toward selling your home more quickly and for more money.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Jeanette Joy Fisher

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