Most Oil Sellers and Brokers Fail – Crude Oil Selling Procedures That Sell in Today’s Internet Era

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Most Crude Oil And Petroleum Product Sellers, Brokers and Agents, in the International “Secondary” Oil Market, Do Not Make Any Sales Or Income. Do You Ever Wonder Why?

A MAJOR “HIDDEN SECRET” OF OIL SELLERS & BROKERS: MOST DO NOT MAKE ANY SALES or INCOME

Crude oil and petroleum products sellers, and their brokers and agents, who operate in the so-called “secondary market” of the international oil market today, do not usually speak about this, or like to do so. Or like the fact about this to be known. In deed, many of them would rather that it be kept obscured, or simply misrepresented. But, the fact is that one distinctive part of their business “reality” is this: as a group, they frequently close no deals nor make any sales for the oil product they purport to have available to sell, and, in fact, the vast majority of them often go for months, even years, or perhaps for ever, without ever landing even a single sales contract or deal. It is probably what might simply be called “the open secret” of the oil selling industry!

C. Keila Nakasaka, a California attorney and real estate investor and entrepreneur, who conducted extensive market research and investigations into the D2 diesel oil trade to see if he could prudently recommend taking up the commission broker’s job to his clients, says he came away from his research greatly disillusioned and disappointed. According to him, the “stories that these brokers concoct are that the seller has some direct connection with a refinery. Some even claim that the seller is, in fact, one of the leading energy companies in Russia… [but] what bothered me [the most] is that almost every one of these brokers failed to be forthcoming. They often misrepresented themselves as mandates, direct representatives, and even buyer and sellers.”

Probably the principal and most sensitive thing about which most such sellers and intermediaries (the agents, facilitators, mandates, brokers, etc.) are least “forthcoming” and “misrepresenting” about, is concerning the number and volume of sales deals they have ever closed, if any, or the income they have earned in the trade, if any. Simply put, almost all of these operatives generally close no deals, and earn almost nothing. Most of them go for months, even years – or forever – without successfully closing any sales deals, not to speak of earning even a dime in commission income!

As Nakasaka put it, describing his findings: “Another factor which I thought was odd was that most of the brokers I spoke with never closed a D2 deal despite their months and sometimes years in this business. There was one broker who claimed that he had pending deals, and two who stated that they did in fact close these deals. However, I did not find them credible.”

MAJOR REASONS FOR THIS, WHICH ACCOUNT FOR WHY MOST “SECONDARY MARKET” SELLERS & THEIR INTERMEDIARIES NEVER CLOSE ANY DEALS

Why is this so – that they make no sales or income? Many factors account for it. They could roughly be summed up as follows:

1. MOST SELLERS (and their intermediaries) ARE FAKE, ANY WAY, WITH NO CRUDE OR OIL PRODUCT TO SELL

A fact that is by now well-established and not subject to any disputation whatsoever among credible experts in the industry, is that the overwhelming majority of selling offers peddled by crude oil and petroleum product “sellers” in the so-called “secondary” oil markets, and their brokers, agents, and other intermediaries, are fake and bogus. In deed, some objective studies and research have put its extent at a whopping level of some 99.999999 percent of all offers presented for sale. Probably the only thing of much redeeming value that could be stated about this, is that with particular respect to those who act as foreign brokers and intermediaries in the business, some of them may often be engaged fraudulently in the business but innocently and unwittingly, mistakenly believing that the deal or selling operation is authentic and legitimate, when it actually is not.

2.LACK OF PROPER TRAINING, SKILLS OR KNOWLEDGE IN THE FUNDAMENTALS OF THE BUSINESS

Put very simply, perhaps nowhere is the saying that “we live in a wide interconnected world” more applicable today than in the world of the international buying and selling of crude oil and petroleum products. For the most part, virtually all that one needs in order to become a “seller” of crude oil or petroleum product, or his agent, legitimate or not, who are operating out of any part of the world, is simply to have an access to a computer and an Internet connection. That’s just about all! Unfortunately, however, one dire negative effect of this so-called “revolution of the Internet” (among many others), has been that many who now claim to be, or operate as, “sellers” or the sellers’ “brokers” or “agents,” are largely uneducated or semi-illiterate, untrained and unskilled, and are lacking in any knowledge of the proper fundamentals of international oil trading.

Kamal J. Southall, one of the foremost experts on the subject, whose book, “Trade Fraud, Financial Fraud, and the Joker Broker,” is one of the most authoritative texts on the phenomenon, puts it this way:

“Have you noticed that as you’ve searched Google and libraries, and looked high and low, finding bits of information here and there, you encounter interesting phenomena: very little practical information on the art and science of dealing in International trade as an independent trader exists in any comprehensive way. Certain practices, documents, and procedures; mysterious acronyms such as “NCND” or “MPA,” are thrown back and forth, badly corrupted model documents and forms may filter your way, but the reality is that most attempted home based traders, brokers – or, more properly, intermediaries – learn through highly expensive ‘trial and error,’… often re-inventing the wheel each time, in that ever-elusive search for a deal and knowledge on how to close that deal.”

Southall estimates, citing another expert’s calculation, that out of some one million individuals currently trying to make it as brokers or trade intermediaries in the world, “perhaps no more than 1% has the training and skill needed to ever close a deal… [meaning that] the overwhelming majority, are trading blindly, [hence] deals are collapsing… and more to the point, [oil dealers are] being defrauded – sometimes massive..”

Mr. R. Ambardar, a broker of over 10 years of wide experience in international market development and advisory services, calls “lack of experience and knowledge” one of the principal reasons why many brokers and facilitators fail in crude oil endeavors. “Many people are attracted into this business because of [the tales they hear about the] kind of money one can earn on account of successful deals. Many agents fail, [however], to understand that requirements to succeed in this business are very demanding, [and that] Only those who have years of hands-on experience and thorough knowledge of the industry can strive to do well as middle-men.”

A great many number of brokers, Ambardar adds, forget that “To become a ‘Facilitator’ in oil business,… what you actually need is right knowledge and expertise [since this is what will help] you hook up genuine buyers and sellers. One should be in the industry for long to have acquired knowledge related to the dynamics of this business.”

Consequently, one fundamental way in which this general lack of competence or knowledge about the basics of the oil trade manifests itself, is in the inability of the average person among the string of brokers and agents and intermediaries that operate in the trade, to craft good deals and successfully close sales deals even after several months or years in the business.

3. BYE AND LARGE, MOST BROKERS AND AGENTS LEARN THEIR CRAFT FROM THE INTERNET, AND THIS HAS SOME SERIOUS DRAWBACKS

There is, for the average contemporary seller’s agent or broker, one other serious shortcoming and negative consequence that emanates directly out of the fact that the primary source of their education and training by which they learn the workings of the oil trading business, is essentially the Internet. Again, Kamal J. Southall sums up these negative consequences this way:

“The expertise in recognizing a questionable trade lead or tender request from a strong one, is generally lacking through the Internet, [and] there is no critical filtering of the leads you end up reading. Anything that can be put out there, is put out there, from the genuine to the questionable, to the fraudulent. Moreover, the nature of the “broker network” is such that information is often passed about with little critical filtering, lack of knowledge of proper trading procedures and the general tendency of information to become corrupted as it trades hands, [and this] leads to dangerous results.”

4.LONG STRING OF BROKERS, AGENTS AND MIDDLEMEN, MOST OF WHOM UNDERCUT EACH OTHER.

Partly as a result of the virtual lack of any objective requirements for qualification as an agent or middleman in the trade, and the ease of entry into it, these operators generally tend to function in a climate of little or no rules or standards, and of loose or no ethics, in which the “dog eat dog” mentality seem to prevail – a climate in which each broker, agent, or mandate, being only selfishly concerned with just his own personal gains and self-interest, is constantly trying to undercut and circumvent the other in deals. Thus, often leading to the ultimate detriment of ALL the parties involved in an offer, as ALL of them, as a whole, and not just one party or the other, invariably wind up the losers since NO deal at all is had with any buyer.

“[One] reason why it’s difficult to ascertain the truth [concerning the oil product market],” reported C. Keila Nakasaka, the California attorney and entrepreneur who investigated the industry in 2010 for possible recommendation of the trade to his clients, “is that there are multiple brokers involved in any given transaction; and they’re all afraid of circumvention. Hence, it’s almost impossible to know the end buyer or seller. Now, I understand that sometimes it requires teamwork to put a large transaction together, but what bothered me is that almost every one of these brokers failed to be forthcoming. They often misrepresented themselves as mandates, direct representatives, and even buyer and sellers.”

THE “JOKER BROKER” CHARACTER

Sure, admittedly, there’s no question that the phenomenon of having a lengthy string of players, including brokers, agents and intermediaries, in a business transaction, is a necessary aspect of international business. Even more so, especially, in today’s Internet world in which we are all so interconnected globally. Certainly, in oil sales transactions, it should come as no surprise or anything unusual to anyone that such operations, because they often tend to involve huge sums of money and elaborate logistics, would sometimes require teamwork to put the transactions together. And hence, should sometimes involve a multiple number of parties – traders, agents, intermediaries, brokers, mandates, buyers, distributors, etc – to conclude a deal. However, what is different here, is not so much the fact that in the Internet crude oil dealings one encounters a string of too many brokers and middlemen. Rather, it is the fact that most of these brokers and middlemen or intermediaries that get involved in it, typically act and behave in the detrimental manner of what is known as the so-called “Joker Brokers.”

As Kamal J. Southall put it, “But the experience of the underground string of international brokers trading meaningless offers and circumventing each other, left and right, illustrates well the term “Joker Broker” and resembles, often, a Zoo full of monkeys.”

Adding that “the character, [which is] often scorned as ‘the Joker Broker,’ is one thing most people encounter very quickly in their forays into the world of trading,” Southall, the author of a classic on the “Joker Broker” character, gives a definition and explanation of the essence of this “Joker Broker” behavior, this way:

“Defined in the first instance as a bit of a time waster, the joker broker is an individual who knowingly or unknowingly peddles and plies deals and products that, in the vast majority of instances, are non-existent, or badly defined. Characterized by a tendency to bluff his way through transactions, the Joker Broker is one… [who goes about] plying deals often involving a string of brokers from one end of the planet to another, and yet not a single one has verified the very existence of the goods at hand.”

.One significant result of this?

With a multiplicity of brokers and chain of agents often involved in a trade, and each party operating selfishly and undercutting and sabotaging each other in a working environment in which each party is untrusting of the other in a transaction, and is scared of being circumvented by the other; most deals which the “secondary” market sellers and their brokers and agents undertake, are automatically doomed to failure, even from the very beginning. And often do fail.

5. PERVASIVENESS OF “The Joker Broker” MENTALITY AMONG THE INTERNET BROKERS, AGENTS & OTHER INTERMEDIARES

However, probably the most fundamental and central factor which accounts for why most intermediaries involved in the “secondary” oil market are generally not able to, and do not, close any sales deals or earn any income or commission as brokers and agents even after several months or years of peddling their oil product, could simply be condensed into one broad term: namely, the powerful pervasive grip that the “The Joker Broker” mentality has come to have on the brokers and agents, most of whom today are merely Internet-based brokers and agents.

What Is meant by this?

Put very simply, many brokers and agents, driven and limited by the fact that they generally lack much training or knowledge in the fundamentals of international trading, and by the fact, in today’s Internet era, that their only “qualification” for assuming the mantle of being a “broker” or “agent” in the oil business, is simply that they have an access to the Internet and a computer, often behave in their conduct of the oil selling operation, in a manner that “resembles, often, a Zoo full of monkeys” – in the words of Kamal J. Southall, the author of a classic on “‘the Joker Broker” character. A common characteristic of these brokers and agents, is that they peddle, knowingly or unknowingly, crude oil deals and products that on the face of it, are in most instances seemingly non-existent or questionable, or at least badly defined, while yet acting as though all is well with the product they offer, and that there’s absolutely nothing for the prospective buyer to worry about concerning it. They are mostly blinded by greed and false belief that they “are going to be super rich next week or next month” by doing nothing, other than, just shoving around a few copied documents on the Internet usually passed down to them from other jokers, none of which any of them has usually verified as to the very existence of the goods they purport to be selling.

Apart from the fact that a good many of them would, whether they do it knowingly or not, frequently try to push fake deals on the Internet, they generally act out of many misconceptions and beliefs which are simply not true, usually passed down to them from other jokers. Many times, mainly concerned with “making a quick, fast buck,” they are innocently and naively trying to close a deal for someone who they believe or merely hope to be real, but who is, in fact really not. But oftentimes, they are too proud or conceited to simply accept or concede that their own beliefs and procedures are simply incorrect, refuse to change their ways, and continue to waste their time and others’ time for months and years still trying to push deals – until, perhaps, it finally begins to dawn on them that for so long no deals have been closed, or are likely to be closed, and not a dime of income has been, or would be, earned!

But above all else, perhaps the most detrimental factor that results in the lack of business or income for most “Internet” crude oil brokers and agents, is the fact that, lacking much experience or real understanding of the true workings of international business or the way it actually works, they are often totally unrealistic and impractical about the conditions and requirements they demand of, or expect that, prospective buyers would accept in order to buy the products they purport to have for sale. That is, they often present sales offers and proposals that are so impracticable, unworkable and outrageously unreal, and are totally contrary to the way normal and legitimate business has traditionally been done in the real world.

As one analyst put it, “Some of them [the “Internet” brokers or joker brokers] are quite entertaining [in the notions about business workings they present], and remind us of the Nigerian scam artists. The world simply does not work like that.”

EXAMPLE OF JOKER BROKER OFFER THAT CAN’T WORK

The following is a good example of the Joker Broker-type of offer that the oil sellers and their brokers and agents, most of whom operate mostly online today, typically demand of intending buyers. It is presented in the form of the transactions PROCEDURES they demand that the would-be oil buyer should meet and follow, such as these:

TRANSACTIONS PROCEDURES:

1) The Buyer submits ICPO (Irrevocable Corporate Purchase Order) & banking details

2) Seller issues FCO (Full Corporate Offer) on his letterhead with full contact details.

3) Buyer returns the FCO duly signed and stamped.

4) Seller and buyer sign contract.

5) Seller and buyer exchange the Proof of Product (POP) and Proof of Funds (POF) in the following sequence/order:

6). First: Seller issues POP to the buyer. Second: After buyer verification and within 7 banking days, buyer’s bank issues POF to seller’s bank.

7) Buyers bank opens non-operative Letter of Credit (L/C) to seller’s bank/or Bank Guarantee (at seller’s choice).

8) Seller issues 2% Performance Bond (PB) to activate L/C.

9) Shipment commences as per the agreed contract.

TO TODAY’S BUYERS, THIS IS WHAT THESE PROCEDURES ARE SAYING TO THEM

In point of fact, actually the procedures such as the above-outlined, are “standard” and should, in NORMAL and proper circumstances, ordinarily be a workable and acceptable set of terms and conditions or requirements for a credible prospective buyer to do business by. However, here’s what brings about the big difference here: there is one very serious and fundamental factor that is grossly missing here. And that is this: typically, such offer requiring the intending buyer to comply with these procedures, is made, NOT by or from by a known or established or even readily identifiable person or entity, or necessarily by an AUTHENTIC crude seller or supplier. But merely by an Internet “seller.” It is typically presented by someone who merely writes (or phones) and claims, usually via some Internet connection or communication (a portal, email or website), that he is a crude “seller,” or the broker or agent of one, who supposedly has some oil available to sell. And it is typically presented by someone who, invariably, would present virtually no tangible evidence or proof whatsoever establishing his (or her) bona fides and credentials as an authentic seller, or an intermediary of one, nor shows any real track record of having previously performed in the crude oil selling business, or any other products.

Thus, in effect, what is essentially happening here, is that a set of well-meaning procedures which have legitimately been designed by the industry professionals to be used by LEGITIMATE crude sellers, and have traditionally been used by RELIABLE and respectable crude sellers and buyers alike to do business, have suddenly been hijacked by a new breed of “Internet” brokers and agents – Joker Brokers – who now demand that prudent crude buyers are to adopt precisely those same procedures in transacting business with them! To put it another way, were these Internet brokers and crude “sellers” to have been some of the so-called oil Majors – such as Chevron, Valero, Shell Oil, Exxon Mobile, British Petroleum, Total Oil, etc. – meaning companies and business entities that are well-known, already established, readily recognizable, reputable and trustworthy, there would have been absolutely no problem or question about the crude buyers using those “standard” procedures and conditions set forth above in doing business with the Internet sellers and brokers. However, that is not the case all, here. Rather, quite to the contrary, these Internet-type brokers and agents (and the purported sellers whose offers they peddle), are largely Internet-based; and are generally obscure operations, or even non-existent, with no known identity, no recognized base of operations, or established record or history of past performance as crude sellers.

WHY THE INTERNET BROKERS’ PROCEDURES LARGELY DON’T & CAN’T WORK WITH BUYERS

Yet, this is, in the vast majority of instances, the kind of supposed crude “sellers” who want and ask that would-be buyers should be submitting to those same procedures and conditions in dealing with them. Clearly, that’s a ridiculous “Joker Broker” type of day-dreaming – virtually no credible crude oil buyer anywhere in the world would accept to submit an ICPO (Irrevocable Corporate Purchase Order) to a mere unknown, unproven, dubious Internet “seller” of crude oil to solicit business with such an entity. And certainly, no credible crude oil buyer anywhere in the world would accept to submit its Proof of Funds or financial and banking details to such an entity, or to even sign a contract with it – an entity about whom it knows practically nothing, and whose bona fides, credentials or existence as a supposed crude oil supplier, is largely dubious and unestablished.

A major, well-known, recognizable, or reputable entity or crude dealer, yes. But NOT an obscure, dubious, unknown entity, largely existing merely on the Internet.

Analysts at the JokerBroker.com website, which is a site devoted to extensive compilation of a database of the most notorious “Joker Brokers” persons and companies, sums it up this way, describing why most credible crude buyers would generally reject accepting such procedures and conditions often demanded of them by Internet brokers, outright:

“When a deal starts off with “send ICPO with BCL or Soft Probe, [POF], NCND and IMFPA,” this is “broker language.” Those that know broker language know what this means: “I’m a joker broker. I don’t have any real product for sale, and I don’t know anyone who has any, so I want you to give me an Irrevocable Purchase Order with your full financial details disclosed, so I can run around with your order and your money in my hands looking for product, and the next thing you see will be your company and banking details exposed to the whole world, running around unsecured on the Internet between thousands of other joker brokers.”… That is what this language means. I suggest you learn the language, and please do not send me even one “deal” which starts off with this procedure. Please just put them straight into the rubbish bin, which is exactly where I put them whenever anyone sends them to me.”

Kamal J. Southall, author of “Trade Fraud, and the Joker Broker,” describes the following as “some of the most notorious Joker Broker Documents”:

“The Irrevocable Purchase Order/IPO ICPO: Sometimes known as the Irrevocable Corporate Purchase Order, such a document simply does not exist. Or to put things more rudely, the ICPO is crap. There, we have said it, let the chips fall.”

SUMMARY

Here’s what might probably be called “the open secret” of the so-called secondary market oil industry: as a group, the crude oil and petroleum products sellers, and their long string of brokers, agents and intermediaries, generally close no deals nor make any sales or income out of the oil product they purport to sell, frequently after several months, even years, or perhaps for ever, of doing the business. There are several reasons which account for this. They range from the fact that most oil sellers and their brokers and other intermediaries, are fake operatives with no crude or petroleum product to sell, in the first, to lack of proper training and knowledge by these operatives in the fundamentals of the business, to the existence of certain serious drawbacks and shortcomings inherent in the fact that, bye and large, the principal source by which most brokers and agents today learn their craft today as oil dealers, is merely the Internet.

However, probably the most fundamental and most central factor of all which accounts for the above reality, could simply be condensed into one broad term: namely, the powerful pervasive grip that the “The Joker Broker” mentality has come to have on the brokers and agents, most of whom today are merely Internet-based brokers and agents. Typically lacking much experience or real understanding of international business or the way it actually works, and frequently blinded by greed and false belief that they “are going to be super rich next week or next month” by doing nothing, other than, perhaps, simply shoving around a few copied documents on the Internet, the conditions, requirements, and procedures often proposed by the “Internet” brokers and agents for prospective buyers to buy from a seller, are usually unrealistic, impracticable, outrageously unreal, even laughable and ludicrous atimes. They are unworkable conditions and requirements that are completely contrary to the way normal and legitimate business has traditionally been done in the real world. And consequently, credible buyers generally reject outright the sales offers coming from such Internet sales operatives, thus resulting in common lack of sales or commission income for such operatives, month after month, and even year after year.

For example, most of the selling offers one gets today for the sale of oil, are usually from Internet “sellers” – persons who merely claim, via an Internet communication, that they are “sellers” of crude or petroleum products with some product to sell, but typically have NO known identity, show no credible record or history of past performance as an AUTHENTIC crude seller or supplier, nor present any solid evidence that the supposed seller even exists. Yet, these mere “Internet” sellers would typically demand and expect a serious buyer of oil, to simply sign an “ICPO,” and enter into a binding contract with them committing itself to obligations valued in the several hundreds of millions of dollars with such a yet unproven and dubious Internet “sellers” (or brokers and agents), or to submit its most sensitive financial and banking details to them, etc! Demands which, clearly, virtually no credible crude oil buyer anywhere in the world would accept or submit to with merely a dubious, unknown, yet-to-be-established entity! On top of all that, add to that the reality that those harsh conditions are being demanded of intending buyers by the sellers and brokers in an oil industry that is, by all credible accounts, full of too many fakes and fraud in the contemporary oil selling industry!

And so, here you have it: why most supposed “secondary” market Internet oil sellers and their brokers and agents typically make no sales or income in their stint into crude oil and petroleum product selling business today in this Internet era, for months and years.

FOR A FOLLOW UP

WISH TO FOLLOW UP ON GETTING A CRUDE OIL OR PETROLEUM PRODUCTS SELLER OR BROKER WITH WORKABLE, REALISTIC PROCEDURES THAT A CREDIBLE BUYER CAN READILY ACCEPT? Please see the instructional information in the author’s resource box below

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Original article by Benjamin Anosike, PhD

Understanding Advertising Components – Marketing Basics

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Before advertising for a real estate investing business, the business owner should understand the components of advertising. Placing an ad in a newspaper, posting door-to-door flyers or using a voice broadcast message are all useful advertising methods; however, the advertising will not be successful unless the real estate entrepreneur designates a fitting message with the right medium in the targeted market.

The three main components of advertising, also known as the three big M’s, are: the message, the media and the market. To briefly summarize what each component is: the message consists of the words used in the advertising; the media is the type of advertising; and the market is the targeted group the advertising is meant to reach. Now, the brainstorming can begin. When engaging in the brainstorming session to determine your message, medium and market, you can either do this by yourself or include other associates. The more minds the better the flow of ideas becomes.

To start, asses the market you are attempting to reach. In order to reach a high level of success with your advertising, narrow down your market. You want to make sure that you are targeting potential motivated sellers. Do not necessarily think that a larger, broader audience is better than a narrow, targeted audience. On the contrary, it is much easier to shape a message and pick a medium when you have targeted your market.

Once you have narrowed down your market, it is time to craft your message. This can be anything from an “elevator speech” to an eye-catching phrase. Remember that people are bombarded with advertising practically 100 percent of the time. This puts an added pressure on making sure that your message will appeal to motivated sellers. Center your message on what your business can do for the motivated seller – how will working with you benefit them.

Finally, choose the medium for your advertising. This can include post card mailings, newspaper ads, television spots, etc. A good place to start is to analyze what other investors are doing – where are they advertising? Analyze how their choices have been successful for them or detrimental to their work. The results of your analysis can be a start for your decision making.

Once you have finalized your decisions on your market, message and medium, be sure to have a system in place to track the success of your advertising. Always come back to the drawing table after assessing the effectiveness of your advertising. If the advertising is not working to its fullest potential, ask yourself the following questions: Does my message need to be tweaked? Is this the right medium for my market? Is my market too narrow or too broad?

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Original article by James Orr

7 Popcorn Ceiling Removal Questions to Ask Before Hiring a Contractor

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Popcorn ceiling removal is very common these days. So is getting ripped off and scammed by your contractor. There are many good contractors doing great work, but there are also many scam artists and fly by night companies who are only looking to rip you off. Since real estate values across the nation have been depressed, many homeowners are choosing to update their existing home by easy and inexpensive interior renovations like popcorn removal.

Home owners need to ask their popcorn ceiling removal contractor these 7 questions before they hire them for the job. Removing popcorn ceilings is very common these days as many home owners are updating their existing homes. Popcorn ceilings are outdated and many home owners prefer knockdown texture over popcorn. Knockdown texture just looks better and there is a great return on investment because popcorn removal is an affordable improvement which may add incremental value to the home. Before hiring a contractor in the Orlando area, be sure to ask these 7 questions to avoid getting ripped and scammed.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Question #1 – “Do I need to worry about testing for lead in my house?”

If your home was built before 1978, then the answer is “yes”. If your home was built after 1978, the answer is “no”. According to EPA.gov, “Common renovation activities like sanding, cutting, and demolition can create hazardous lead dust and chips by disturbing lead-based paint, which can be harmful to adults and children.

To protect against this risk, on April 22, 2008, EPA issued a rule requiring the use of lead-safe practices and other actions aimed at preventing lead poisoning. Under the rule, beginning April 22, 2010, contractors performing renovation, repair and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in homes, child care facilities, and schools built before 1978 must be certified and must follow specific work practices to prevent lead contamination.

EPA requires that firms performing renovation, repair, and painting projects that disturb lead-based paint in pre-1978 homes, child care facilities and schools be certified by EPA and that they use certified renovators who are trained by EPA-approved training providers to follow lead-safe work practices.” It is important to use Lead Safe Certified contractors for popcorn removal projects.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Question #2 – “Can I remove my popcorn ceiling by myself and save some money?”

The short answer is “yes”. However, saving a few bucks may turn out to be a major headache in the long run for a few reasons. The first reason is the work will be difficult. You will need special equipment, respirators, eye protection and so on. In most cases, homeowners simply lack the expertise to do the job correctly and it can become very time consuming. Another reason is the work may cause damage to other areas in the house, the furniture, the walls and the floors. It becomes even more difficult if your popcorn ceilings have been painted.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Question #3 – “Is it more difficult to remove popcorn ceilings which have been painted?”

Removing painted popcorn is more difficult because it is a challenge to penetrate the paint with water to thoroughly wet the material prior to the disturbance. This is another situation where the expertise of a professional contractor can be a major benefit.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Question #4 – “Will my house be a complete mess after the popcorn ceiling is removed?”

Removing popcorn is inherently a “messy” job if you do it yourself or have a contractor do the job for you. This is why it is important for you to “cover off” the entire area of the work to be done. You will need to cover all vents with plastic, cover all fixtures with plastic and tape, cover all carpets and floors with plastic, and close off any areas you do not want affected by the job. In essence, you need to create a “containment area” for the job. Professional popcorn ceiling removal contractors will leave your house spot less and looking better than when they started.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Question #5 – “Will I have to move all of my furniture out of the house?”

The answer is “no”. Experts in popcorn removal, residential painting, ceiling repair, and drywall repair are specialists in protecting your belongings. The will “cover off” all of your furniture, TV’s, beds, etc. and protect them from any dust or damage. Most companies will want the homeowner to remove all of their “nick nacks”, pictures, small electronics, etc. before beginning work on the home.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Question #6 – “How long does it take to remove popcorn ceilings”

As you can imagine, every house is different. It all depends on the size and scope of the work, the condition of the house, the height of the ceilings, and whether or not the rooms where the work is to be done are empty or furnished. Remember, once you have removed the popcorn, you still have to apply knockdown texture and paint it. If you are doing the work yourself, you should plan on a being at it for a few days at the least. Professional popcorn ceiling removal contractors, like Textures by Blue Sky, Inc., can typically complete a 3500 sq. ft. house in one day. Just make sure you choose the right one to work with.

Popcorn Ceiling Removal Question #7 – “How do I know the popcorn ceiling removal contractor I have hired is going to do a good job?”

Do some research. Ask your friends and family if they know a reputable company in the Orlando area. Make sure you use a company that has been in business for at least a few years. It is also important to use a company that is licensed, bonded, and insured. A reputable company will also be registered with the Better Business Bureau, The Florida Ceiling and Wall Contractors Association, and will be “Lead Safe” Certified by the EPA.

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Original article by Clay Olesen

An Honest Jay Kubassek Review With All the Facts

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What Other Reviews Will Give You

Most other reviews on Jay will seem like night and day. Some will contribute positive feedback to this young entrepreneur, while others will slander the hell out of Jay. So why are there mixed reviews? It deals with the reviewers experience with Jay’s marketing system. Some have made money with the system and adore Jay. Some people didn’t make money with the system and then blame Jay for their shortcomings. In this review, you’ll get just the facts.

Who Is Jay Kubassek?

Jay Kubassek is a native Canadian and has been an entrepreneur all his life. He managed his family’s farm while he was only 19 years old. So it seemed almost inevitable that Jay would one day become the ultra success story he is presently. Jay dabbled in the home business industry, just like millions of other people with a dream to experience real freedom. He has been a member of Liberty League along with some other notable top earners in the industry as well as a few other MLM companies.

What Has Jay Accomplished?

Jay’s claim to internet fame came when he and his partner Aaron Parkinson launched Carbon Copy Pro in October of 2007. This is marketing system that now is worth over 20 million and is in over 160 countries. Jay is the owner of six businesses, part time philanthropist, professional speaker and trainer and real estate investor. Jay is relatively young and most would find it difficult to experience this level of success so early in life. Jay attributes his accomplishments to his desire to succeed and taking control of his life back when he was a lowly muffler salesman in Missouri.

So What Is Carbon Copy Pro?

This is by far one of Jay’s best accomplishments. Carbon Copy Pro is a marketing system that helps members sell products for Wealth Masters International (WMI), a direct sales company. Jay and Aaron basically took what they knew about becoming top earners in WMI and developed an internet marketing system so other people could leverage their results. This became a win-win situation for everyone because people with zero marketing experience could plug into a system and make money and Jay and Aaron benefited as well.

Can Jay’s System Help You Earn Money?

Absolutely. But only if two conditions are met. You have to be able to follow directions and know how to market. The system does work and there are about 15 members earning multiple five figures per month, but you must become a good marketer and generate a steady flow of leads. It soon becomes a numbers game and the system converts very high.

Final Thoughts On Jay

Jay is super successful. Additionally, Jay has helped hundreds of people to experience success online, even if they didn’t remain a member of his system. It is very admirable what Jay does with a lot of his money. He is a terrific example of what happens when you commit to your desire and let nothing hold you back. As far as working with the Carbon Copy Pro marketing system, this is a decision you will have to make on your own. In direct regards to Jay, he gets my stamp of approval and it will be awesome to see some more entrepreneurs break out like he did.

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Original article by Joey Fratantoni

Alternative Loan Options for Residential Real Estate Investment

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Conventional loans are typically the hardest to obtain for real estate investors. Some lenders don’t allow income from investment properties to be counted toward total income, which can make global underwriting a problem for certain investors, especially those who already have several existing conventional, conforming real estate loans reporting on their credit. In these cases, the investor must look outside conventional funding for their investments. Two of the more popular choices for alternative financing are portfolio loans and hard money loans.

Portfolio Loans

These loans are loans made by banks which do not sell the mortgage to other investors or mortgage companies. Portfolio loans are made with the intention of keeping them on the books until the loan is paid off or comes to term. Banks which make these kinds of loans are called portfolio lenders, and are usually smaller, more community focused operations.

Advantages of Portfolio Loans

Because these banks do not deal in volume or answer to huge boards like commercial banks, portfolio lenders can do loans that commercial banks wouldn’t touch, like the following:

  • smaller multifamily properties
  • properties in dis-repair
  • properties with an unrealized after-completed value
  • pre-stabilized commercial buildings
  • single tenant operations
  • special use buildings like churches, self-storage, or manufacturing spaces
  • construction and rehab projects

Another advantage of portfolio lenders is that they get involved with their community. Portfolio lenders like to lend on property they can go out and visit. They rarely lend outside of their region. This too gives the portfolio lender the ability to push guidelines when the numbers of a deal may not be stellar, but the lender can make a visit to the property and clearly see the value in the transaction. Rarely, if ever, will a banker at a commercial bank ever visit your property, or see more of it than what she can gather from the appraisal report.

Disadvantages of Portfolio Loans

There are only three downsides to portfolio loans, and in my opinion, they are worth the trade off to receive the services mentioned above:

  • shorter loan terms
  • higher interest rates
  • conventional underwriting

A portfolio loan typically has a shorter loan term than conventional, conforming loans. The loan will feature a standard 30 year amortization, but will have a balloon payment in 10 years or less, at which time you’ll need to payoff the loan in cash or refinance it.

Portfolio loans usually carry a slightly higher than market interest rate as well, usually around one half to one full percentage point higher than what you’d see from your large mortgage banker or retail commercial chain.

While portfolio lenders will sometimes go outside of guidelines for a great property, chances are you’ll have to qualify using conventional guidelines. That means acceptable income ratios, global underwriting, high debt service coverage ratios, better than average credit, and a good personal financial statement. Failing to meet any one of those criteria will knock your loan out of consideration with most conventional lenders. Two or more will likely knock you out of running for a portfolio loan.

If you find yourself in a situation where your qualifying criteria are suffering and can’t be approved for a conventional loan or a portfolio loan you’ll likely need to visit a local hard money lender.

Hard Money and Private Money Loans

Hard money loans are asset based loans, which means they are underwritten by considering primarily the value of the asset being pledged as collateral for the loan.

Advantages of Hard Money Loans

Rarely do hard money lenders consider credit score a factor in underwriting. If these lenders do run your credit report it’s most likely to make sure the borrower is not currently in bankruptcy, and doesn’t have open judgments or foreclosures. Most times, those things may not even knock a hard money loan out of underwriting, but they may force the lender to take a closer look at the documents.

If you are purchasing property at a steep discount you may be able to finance 100% of your cost using hard money. For example, if you are purchasing a $100,000 property owned by the bank for only $45,000 you could potentially obtain that entire amount from a hard money lender making a loan at a 50% loan-to-value ratio (LTV). That is something both conventional and portfolio lenders cannot do.

While private lenders do check the income producing ability of the property, they are more concerned with the as-is value of the property, defined as the value of the subject property as the property exists at the time of loan origination. Vacant properties with no rental income are rarely approved by conventional lenders but are favorite targets for private lenders.

The speed at which a hard money loan transaction can be completed is perhaps its most attractive quality. Speed of the loan is a huge advantage for many real estate investors, especially those buying property at auction, or as short sales or bank foreclosures which have short contract fuses.Hard money loans can close in as few as 24 hours. Most take between two weeks and 30 days, and even the longer hard money time lines are still less than most conventional underwriting periods.

Disadvantages of Hard Money and Private Money Loans

Typically, a private lender will make a loan of between 50 to 70 percent of the as-is value. Some private lenders use a more conservative as-is value called the “quick sale” value or the “30 day” value, both of which could be considerably less than a standard appraised value. Using a quick sale value is a way for the private lender to make a more conservative loan, or to protect their investment with a lower effective LTV ratio. For instance, you might be in contract on a property comparable to other single family homes that sold recently for $150,000 with an average marketing time of three to four months. Some hard money lenders m lend you 50% of that purchase price, citing it as value, and giving you $75,000 toward the purchase. Other private lenders may do a BPO and ask for a quick sale value with a marketing exposure time of only 30 days. That value might be as low as $80,000 to facilitate a quick sale to an all-cash buyer. Those lenders would therefore make a loan of only $40,000 (50% of $80,000 quick sale value) for an effective LTV of only 26%. This is most often a point of contention on deals that fall out in underwriting with hard money lenders. Since a hard money loan is being made at a much lower percentage of value, there is little room for error in estimating your property’s real worth.

The other obvious disadvantage to a hard money loans is the cost. Hard money loans will almost always carry a much higher than market interest rate, origination fees, equity fees, exit fees, and sometimes even higher attorney, insurance, and title fees. While some hard money lenders allow you to finance these fees and include them in the overall loan cost, it still means you net less when the loan closes.

Weighing the Good and the Bad

As with any loan you have to weigh the good and the bad, including loan terms, interest rate, points, fees, and access to customer support. There is always a trade-off present in alternative lending. If you exhibit poor credit and have no money for down payment you can be sure the lender will charge higher interest rates and reduce terms to make up for the added risk.

When dealing with private lenders make sure to inquire about their valuation method.

Also, with hard money lenders, you should be careful in your research and background checking. While hard money loans are one of the more popular alternative financing options, they are often targets for unscrupulous third parties. Before signing any loan paperwork make sure to run all documentation by a qualified real estate attorney and/or tax professional. If you suspect fraud or predatory lending contact the state attorney general office.

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Original article by Craig Grella

Save Yourself From Fake Realtors

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People across the globe have been fooled and cheated by land scamsters. The misleading claims of real estate dealers lure people in buying property, which was never open to sale! If you are thinking of purchasing land, do the necessary homework beforehand to avoid falling victim to such land scams.

In these tough economic conditions, investing into real estate is considered to be a potent tool to attain financial stability. This is the reason why people find investment in real estate more reliable and are therefore ready to pour down their fortune to own a piece of land. As usual, this boom has also given birth to frauds and scams and a considerable amount of people have fallen victim to these swindlers.

So, if you are thinking of acquiring a plot, beware of these con artists. You can follow these simple steps to avoid being a victim;

Reputation Of The Real Estate Dealer

First look around to know about the reputation of the real estate dealer. You can also check with the firm itself to know about its experience in the field. Tell them to show you testimonials from previous clients. Find out whether the dealer you are thinking of hiring holds and participates in property exhibitions periodically. This will help you judge the goodwill of the firm or the dealer. You can also research on the amount of expertise or capability of the personnel associated with this firm. Last thing that counts to judge the reputation of the concern is whether the top brass of the firm are invited or rather asked to speak at social gatherings. These points will really help you to judge the reputation of the real estate dealer.

Visit The Realtors

Sometimes, due to work pressures, we often find it hard to manage time for a visit to the real estate dealer. And therefore we try to get the entire work done either through phone or online. Studies show that maximum land scams occur due to this very reason. Though you can start a negotiation online or through phone but you are advised to visit the realtor personally. Doing so will let you spend some time with the firm which will further educate you on their capabilities and previous work reports. Moreover, you can also ask them questions regarding the property.

Legal Guarantees

When you acquire land, you also get inclined to several issues and tensions. To get rid of such complications you should make sure that the realtor or firm you are choosing offers guarantee that the land is indeed up for sale and they have the right to sell it. Go through the legal documents very carefully.

Verify All The Claims Made

Your watch out job starts when you visit the real estate dealer and are presented with a brochure. This brochure usually contain information about the plot as researched by the firm in due times. Studying them carefully will give you an idea whether the inputs are sketchy or true to sense. This also depicts transparency and honesty on the dealers’ part while assessing the property.

Mode of payment

Another thing you should do visiting the dealer, is to ask for a client account. This account comprises the details of the services the real estate dealer is going to provide along with the fee structure. You may have noticed the fact that some dealers ask for advance payment. Well, that is pretty reasonable, but the fact you need to check whether the dealer is asking for proportionately large amount or whether they are trying to pocket the money before the deal is concluded.

Another way to avoid a fraudulent land or dealer is to go for government lands. These lands are usually free of issues and are comparatively cheaper. Therefore if you have made up your mind to acquire a piece of land you are advised to purchase the government land for sale through trusted dealers so that you can avoid dealing with swindlers.

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Original article by Lori M