Tips on Getting a Great Deal on Commercial Real Estate

Getting involved in real estate investment can give you a great opportunity to make money, in particular within commercial real estate, an area of real estate that is often overlooked. Sometimes the scale of the project puts people off investing in commercial real estate or sometime the amount of money that is attached to it, the rewards however can often be far bigger than with residential properties. If commercial real estate is something that interests you then here are some ways that you can get a great deal on your next property.

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Use a Broker

Many people dismiss the idea of using a broker due to the costs attached but the benefits of using one far outweigh the negatives, especially if you are new to the game. I began investing around 3 years ago and use The Welfont Group, they have not only negotiated some excellent deals for me in the past but found property when I wanted it, managed my investments and more importantly, helped me to make a considerable amount of money. The cost of paying a broker is well worth it, they are the geniuses of the industry who have insider knowledge and who will watch your back when it comes to your assets.

Learn All That You Can

Even if you opt to use a broker, it is imperative that you learn all that you can about the commercial real estate industry and in particular the way in which it operates differently from residential real estate. Before I made my first investment into commercial real estate I read as many books, magazines and websites as I could for around a year. My idea was that if I was going to part with so much money then I simply had to know everything about the industry in which I was putting it into and you should do the same, that way nobody can pull the wool over your eyes.

Don’t Discount Run Down Properties

Very often people completely discount the idea of a property that is simply in need of some TLC, this gives you a great opportunity to snag a bargain. Naturally there are some buildings that are more trouble than they are worth but at the same time there are many that, with a little investment and hard work can turn you a great profit. Much of the time the owners of these properties simply want to get them off their hands so will accept a low offer and, providing you have a team in place to renovate the property, you can make great profits from these buildings. If you do see a dilapidated property then contract someone in the know to look it over for you, often there can be problems that the untrained eye can’t see and the last thing that you want is to buy a property that simply can’t be saved. The cost of paying a professional to the view the property beforehand will pale in comparison to investing on a property that requires large-scale renovation work.

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Visiting Philadelphia Soon? Don’t Miss out on These Experiences…

Looking to go on a memorable city break this Fall? Dropping by Philadelphia, which is the home city of Adrian Rubin, is one that will fill your weekend with excitement from the moment you arrive. During your time here, try to fit in the following experiences.

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The birthplace of a nation

Of all the reasons to visit Philadelphia, this is probably the biggest. Back in 1776, this city was where the Declaration of Independence was signed, making the United States of America a sovereign nation.

In order to keep that status however, a long bloody struggle with the British Empire ensued. Thanks to the bravery of many soldiers, tourists can come and view the Declaration of Independence for themselves in a country where human rights and freedom are respected.

The Liberty Bell is another symbol of American freedom can also be visited in Philadelphia. It is widely believed that it rang on the day that the founding fathers declared their autonomy from the British, despite the fact that there is no first-hand account of this occurring.

A five-sport town

If you are a sports fan, you will enjoy the time that you spend in Philadelphia, as all five major sports have professional representation in this city.

Summers belong to the Philadelphia Phillies of Major League Baseball (MLB), while the autumn is when the seasons of the Philadelphia Flyers (NHL), the Philadelphia Eagles (NFL), the Philadelphia Union (MLS) and the Philadelphia 76’ers (NBA) all begin.

There have been 16 championships won between all of these teams, so you can be sure that you will be subjected to a great game no matter which sports match you decide to take in here.

Philly cheese steaks and more

With a long history of immigration, it is no surprise that Philadelphia is a hotbed of culinary innovation.

The most famous dish that this city has produced is unquestionably the Philly cheese steak, which is made by lining a submarine sandwich roll with thinly sliced beef steak, and then covering it with a cheese sauce, and sliced onions.

Some shops use jars of cheese whiz for their sauce, but others insist on using slices of provolone or American cheese to top their sandwiches. Other foods that have their origin in Philadelphia include the hoagie sandwich, the funnel cake, and the soft pretzel.

Other attractions you shouldn’t miss

While most people think to visit the attractions surrounding America’s independence and make time to eat an authentic Philly cheese steak while in Philadelphia, there is more to see in Philadelphia than just these headline attractions.

Fans of culture will love what they find at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, as it contains over 200,000 works of art sourced from cultures all over the world.

Those traveling with families will enjoy exploring the Franklin Institute, as this historic science museum communicates concepts in a way that children can easily understand.

If you want to get a picture with an icon of modern art, dropping by Love Park will give you a chance to take a selfie with the infamous love sculpture.

With a dramatic fountain behind you, it will be one of the better photos that you will take with your travel companions this year.

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Best ways to keep your WordPress site safe

Close to 19% of all websites on the internet use WordPress software to organize their internal system functions. It’s not hard to see why, as the back end of WordPress sites are extremely user-friendly, making them the top choice of many webmasters.

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However, the commonality of this platform makes them a very attractive target for hackers and cybercriminals. What are the best ways to keep your WordPress site safe? This post will give you several ideas to keep your presence on the web free of unwelcome visitors.

1) Download a comprehensive security plugin 

One of the easiest ways to keep your site clear of viruses and malware is to download a security plugin to your WordPress back end. Of all the options available on the market, SiteLock is one of the best overall programs.

Despite what you may have heard about the supposed SiteLock scam (which is a myth based on unbalanced negative reviews), SiteLock is a security program that has a lot to offer your website.

It scans all the pages on your website on a regular basis, downloads malware definitions as soon as they are discovered in the wild, and displays a trust label that lets visitors know that your site is protected against the worst the web has to offer.

2) Always update to the latest version of WordPress 

As annoying as it is to log into your website to update it to the latest version of WordPress, this simple action will keep you safe from security weaknesses that are uncovered periodically in this popular web platform’s code.

Many of the minor updates to WordPress contain patches that close loopholes that a hacker could use to break into your site, so don’t be lazy about it: Take two minutes to go into your back end and click the update button when a new version is ready to be downloaded.

3) Keep all plugins and themes up to date 

While you’re at it, be sure to update all plugins and themes while you are in the update tab of your WordPress back end. Clicking a few buttons is all it takes to update your plugins and themes, as every one that has an update available will have a check box to their left.

Above all the plugins and themes, there will be a box that will select every one in the list when checked. Click it, scroll to the bottom, and hit the update button.

In mere seconds, your site will be protected from exploits that take advantage of poorly coded plugins, so don’t neglect your updates tab when it tells you that new downloads are available.

4) Change your administrator name from ‘admin’ 

You would be shocked at how many people give away half their login simply by not changing the default administrator user name from ‘admin’ to anything else.

The first user name that hackers try is ‘admin’, as most people are too lazy to shift away from this default user name.

Don’t make a cyber criminal’s job easy: rename your administrator user name to something that is not easily guessable, and you will make it that much tougher for them to compromise your web properties.

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Don’t Let Your Business Be Destroyed by a Poor Online Reputation

Combat Poor Online Reputation with a reputation management strategy
Photo by CC user y0mbo on Flickr

If someone wants to get to know about your company, brand, or product, they will do so online. Unfortunately, people tend to only look at the first page of Google (90% of people don’t look further), and they believe whatever shows up there. So, if something negative shows up, they will instantly have a bad opinion about you. This is why you need online reputation management to make sure people see the good things about you instead. Let’s take a look at key things to remember.

Reviews Are Important

A poor online reputation can be caused by a wealth of different things, but mainly by poor reviews. A 2012 Nielson study demonstrated that online reviews are almost as trusted as word of mouth recommendations. 80% of people, in fact, didn’t buy something after they saw a negative review. Plus, there are five times more negative reviews than positive reviews out there. Unfortunately, a single poor experience can therefore completely transform people’s opinion about you, even if they are unfounded.

Remember Dell? In 2005, a blogger called Dell’s customer service “Dell Hell”. His post went into great detail and went viral, getting shared all over the world. Dell saw a huge decline in their business as a result of this single post. Dell didn’t think a single blogger could make any kind of difference, but they were wrong. His post was catchy, it was shared, and Dell suffered.

Social Media Is Dangerous

Sometimes, something that seems not so important can get out of control. Twitter and Facebook, for instance, have become hotspots for people who want to complain, and they have expectations. In fact, 50% of people think that businesses should resolve complaints if they have been aired on social media. Unfortunately, some companies don’t monitor their accounts or, worse still, delete negative reviews. This is a huge mistake.

Take Hyundai, for instance. A Melbourne Hyundai dealer was quoted on their Facebook page, saying there was an issue with the inflated prices. Hyundai ignored it, but the rest of the country (Australia) didn’t. The post was shared 18,000 times, 38,000 people liked it, and 10,000 comments were posted in a single week. It hit national news before Hyundai finally responded, and their reputation was badly damaged.

Hoaxes Also Exist

Unfortunately, some people just like to complain. They will write things that are completely untrue, and internet trolls find it hilarious to spread rumors based on false information. These can be very difficult to combat as well.

Take the Just Jeans debacle. Somebody downloaded the Just Jeans logo and created a fake social media page in its name. Anyone who posted on the page, believing it to be the actual company, received an abusive response. The result was that Just Jeans had to apologize for something that they didn’t do, and didn’t even have any control over.

The lesson to be learned is that you have to monitor your online reputation, control it, and, if it is broken, fix it.

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How Women Can Learn to Help Themselves

There are many ways How Women Can Learn to Help Themselves
Photo by CC user Kendl123 on Wikimedia Commons

Over the past few decades, we seem to have been inundated with self-help books, courses, programs, and more. Some of these are very good, others are absolutely terrible. Either way, the self-help industry is worth billions of dollars and has a presence all over the world. And thanks to self-help offered through Oakland womens counseling, women all over the world feel like they no longer have to be subservient to their husbands.

Female Issues

In the past, the man was the only provider to the household, which meant any type of counseling was geared towards them as well. Women, after all, should be fine as they could live their life in enjoyment, looking after house and home. Luckily, this has changed a lot and there is now a lot of help out there for women. And it is needed, because women continue to have a hard time with the media enforcing ideas of perfect body images, perfect relationships, and more. Through self-help, however, women are able to grow in their health, whether mentally, physically, or spiritually.

Women all over the world continue to be marginalized and objectified, and the media has a huge role to play in this. What women look for is someone who has been through what they are going through, and have come out victorious. They want to hear from someone who speaks in a language that they understand. This is why they love women like Oprah Winfrey, for instance, who has come from a life of extreme poverty and has grown into one of the richest women on the planet. She has battled racial issues, body issues, relationship issues, financial issues, and more.

Of course, sometimes self-help books and programs are no good at all. It is all too easy for someone to write a book and claim that it will help women change their world. You have to be very critical in this, in other words. While you can trust someone like Oprah Winfrey to a degree (she is a lot of things, but she is not a counselor or psychologist), you can’t trust any book that seems to be on the shelves. A recommended plan of action is to visit a counselor, preferably one who focuses on women’s issues, and have some therapy. They can then provide you with recommendations on which self-help books do work and which ones you need to avoid.

Women face very complex issues and it is heartening to see that we now live in a world where this can be openly discussed. Unfortunately, women’s issues are starting to be commercialized, with capitalism and the media always trying to find an opportunity to make more money. Try not to become a victim of this, since you, as a woman, have already been the victim of thousands of years of patriarchy, media bias, the glass ceiling, oppression, and more. It is time for them to truly take the power back and to learn how women can learn to help themselves in order to achieve that.

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How to Create a Fantastic Habitat for Birds in Your Backyard

If you know How to Create a Fantastic Habitat for Birds in Your Backyard, it will be a lively place indeed
Photo by CC user 24874528@N04 on Flickr

Lots of people put up some bird food in their garden and quickly find themselves hooked. Before you know it, they are turning their entire garden into bird habitats, so they can enjoy all that nature has to give. If this sounds like you, the following tips may be of benefit.

Feeder and Foods

If you want to learn how to create a fantastic habitat for birds in your backyard, you have to start by putting out a feeder in the backyard behind your home. But you also have to get the right food. Commercially available feeds in grocery stores is usually quite bland, and won’t attract many birds. Instead, choose black oil sunflower seeds, which birds find super tasty, as well as easy to eat. Furthermore, it has a really good nutritional value. You will soon attract a range of birds, from woodpeckers to finches.

You can also get feeders that attract specific types of birds. For instance, you can use a thistle seed or nyjer sock, which will attract purple finches, house finches, and American goldfinches. Woodpecker suets, obviously, attract woodpeckers. Nectar feeders attract hummingbirds, although you do have to be patient for these. You can also scatter seeds on the ground, or on a platform, and attract doves, robins, and juncos.

Water

Besides food, you also need water to get birds to your yard. This is perhaps the most enjoyable thing of all. Water is obviously important for the survival of all animal life, but having water available in your yard will also enable birds to play, bathe, and generally enjoy themselves. There is nothing quite so enjoyable to wash as a little finch having a bath on its feathers. Best of all, it is really easy to make a water supply for birds. For instance:

  • You can use a pie tin on a stand.

  • You can fill a plant hanger with water.

  • You can place a casserole dish or large bowl on a tree stump.

  • You can hang a bucket from a branch.

  • You can turn the lid of your garbage can upside down and put it on the garbage can again.

Make sure, however, that you put your water supply away from places where cats could hide. An open space is always best, because it stops predators from hiding nearby. If you can make the water move, birds will love it even more, as they love both the movement and the sound of flowing water.

Your Landscape

Last but not least, there is your overall landscaping. If you make sure that you have different density and heights of plants, you will also attract more birds. Have everything in your yard from tall canopy trees down to perennials to attract the greatest variety of birds. Do make sure, as well, that some of your trees have nuts, berries, and more, as the birds will love this. And make sure you have some dense foliage and height, so that birds can nest as well. An ideal garden is one that also has plenty of nesting material in it.

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Mergers and Acquisitions are not the same thing – learn the difference

Mergers and Acquisitions are two different things - know the difference between the two terms
Photo by CC user nyphotographic.com and jphotostyle.com

The words “merger” and “acquisition” are often used interchangeably. In fact, people speak of corporate mergers and acquisitions as if they are one and the same thing. In reality, however, they are two very different things. Yes, both financial constructions are about two companies coming together. But how they come together, however, are two very different stories altogether.

What Is a Merger?

Mergers are friendly constructions. It happens when there are businesses that are generally quite equal in financial performance and size, agree that they would be stronger together. This can be so that they increase their client base, but more often it is because one company makes something that the other one needs. For instance, if one company is a brewery, and the other company makes bottles, then both could make more and spend less at the same time. It can also be a case in which a company wants to have a wider geographical reach, which can be achieved in a far more affordable manner than through a unique expansion, particularly if there is already a lot of competition out there. Very simply put, a merger is about two companies joining forces to become a greater unity. Usually, they also take on a new company name that incorporates both the original names.

What Is an Acquisition?

So then what is an acquisition? Simply put, it is a takeover. One company, usually a larger one, completely swallows up the existing company, which then no longer exists. The company that made the acquisition gets to keep the name of the new company as well. There are many friendly acquisitions. For instance, companies like Oracle, Google, and Infor regularly make acquisitions and then allow the companies to retain their own name, but turn them into a department. But other times, acquisitions aren’t friendly at all. This is when they are known as a “hostile takeover”, whereby a large company buys out a smaller company that had no intention of selling up. They can do this, for example, by influencing board members, or even to buy a majority stock share in the company.

What Happens to Staff

The question of what happens to staff is always the big one. Whenever two companies join together, there is bound to be duplication. Only one CEO is needed, one CFO, one CIO, one Director of Human Resources, and a single admin pool, for instance. Unfortunately, redundancies are very common, in both mergers and acquisitions. However, in an acquisition, only the real top talent is likely to be kept on, and then as a new position, not to replace somebody in the existing company. As such, acquisitions are very often incredibly negative constructions for those involved, and those who do not lose their job are often highly resentful and do not like staying with the new company. At the same time, mergers often fail due to company culture clashes, and it is important that everybody is aware of this in order to resolve it.

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Where Did Dance Music Come From and Where Is it Going?

Where Did Dance Music Come From, anyway?
Photo by CC user LilRockit on Wikimedia Commons

House is a popular style of music that some say was developed in 1981 in Chicago. The music was designed to help people escape from gang and street life, settling the untampered consciousness of youths. They were able to mingle with likeminded peers, while also dancing away their troubles. If you attend music college, you will generally learn quite a lot about this part of music history. where did dance music come from? In this post, we will give you a brief taste of its past, and its path towards the future.

The Evolution of Dance Music

Then, there was techno music, which was developed in the early 1990s in Detroit. It is believed that this stemmed from the fact that new sounds, patterns, and textures were developing on a global scale. Techno was its natural progression. Electronic sounds become more unique, and new electronic instruments and devices were being developed. The song’s heartbeat was suddenly down to kick and snare, and the bass was now a backbone of the song. The melody was created by the synthesizer, bringing people to club doors and getting them to have fun dancing the night away.

There are have been many different styles and genres that are all part of dance music. This includes techno, dee house, electro house, megabeat, funky house, disco house, techo, garage, electronica, industrial, trance, underground, minimal techno, ambient, and so on.

We see this type of music as something modern, but it was actually heavily influenced by bands from the 60s. You may not have hear of The Tornados, but their song, Telstar, released in 1962, was arguably the first techno-pop ever created. It also become a number on hit. In the song, the main instrument was the clavioline, which is quite similar to the electric keyboard. The Tornados were a British group and the first ever to score a US number one hit. Intended as a novelty to consider space age, they actually created something that evolved the world of music.

Since The Tornados, many remixers and DJs have emerged on the scene, creating a whole new futuristic sound. Remixing beats and cuts, DJs have created a range of songs, many of them turning into number one hits. At the same time, they have ensured the music industry started to listen to them, competing with each other and against each other for domination of the music scene.

It has to be said that, today, there isn’t a single, standalone genre or sound anymore. They are all influenced by each other, by cultures, and more. Even creator of music has a unique imagination, adding little bits of themselves to things that already exist. It is very rare for a true groundbreaker to come along, like Kraftwerk and The Tornados, but when they do, they change everything.

The reality is also that today’s groundbreaker is probably already in the studio right now, or at least in their own bedroom trying to make something new. We don’t know what it is yet, we don’t know what it will be influenced by, but we do know that it is out there.

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The Features of Construction Towers

There are many features of construction towers that need to be paid attention to for safety's sake
Photo by CC user 422737 on Pixabay

Scaffolding is one of most important tools in real estate and other types of construction. For anything to be built, it has to be done properly. This can be done in many different ways, but scaffolding is almost always present there. It doesn’t matter whether you work for a construction company, for yourself, or if you’re doing a DIY job, you have to get to know scaffolding, what it is made up of, and how it works. Scaffolding is dangerous if not used properly, which is another reason why you should properly acquaint yourself with the key features of construction towers. Doing so may just save your life.

Thinking about the Platform

In order for scaffolding towers to be safe, the platform has to be just right. There has to be a stable and firm plane for the scaffold to be erected on. If this platform is made from soil, then the experts have to firstly make sure that it is able to hold the structure without subsiding once erected an in use. The platform is perhaps the most important feature of a scaffolding structure of all, as important as a building’s foundation. Without a solid foundation, you basically don’t have a safe construction.

Thinking about Guard Rails and Ladders

You also have to consider how the ladders and rails are constructed. These are very important for the safety of the workers and must comply with OSHA standards. The rails have to meet certain measurements and the ladders have to be inspected first to make sure they fit properly. The height of guard rails, for instance, has to be near 45 inches at all times. Ladders, meanwhile, cannot have a gap large than 10 inches to the top most point of the rest of the construction. Once you know that all of this is in place, you have to start thinking about the strength of the structure itself.

Aluminum Is Best

The majority of scaffolding towers now rely heavily on aluminum. It is very important that the construction is able to carry its own weight, that of the workers, and that of the materials that they carry. This is why a lot of companies now choose aluminum, which is known to be very strong. While traditional constructions would use galvanized steel poles, this is becoming less common. Aluminum is able to hold very high weights, more than most other materials can. As an added benefit, it is very lightweight and resistant to corrosion. These factors make it an ideal product.

These are just some of the details that you have to be aware of when it comes to scaffolding on the site of any construction business. You have to prioritize these issues, as they are the ones most related to keeping the structure itself safe. Once you know the structure is safe, you have to make sure that those who use it also know how to maintain their own safety and that of others in the vicinity. Put together, you should be able to avoid any of the often fatal scaffolding accidents.

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Is Your Project on Schedule?

"Contractors Review Plans" by the US Army Corps of Engineers, used in accordance with CC BY 2.0

When you have commercial and/or residential projects under construction, you know that you invariably are up against deadlines.

That being the case, it is important that you make sure all your products, services, not to mention your employees both in and out of the field, are ready to go.

Whether you are working on a major outdoor commercial project or a sizable indoor residential project, you don’t get paid to miss deadlines.

Yes, weather and other circumstances can (and oftentimes do) come into play, but you find a means to get around them, allowing you to complete your work on time, making for happy customers when all is said and done.

If meeting deadlines is something you have found to be a bit of a challenge over time, work on completing those deadlines sooner rather than later.

Products and Services Must Be Ready

One of the ways to all but guarantee your projects will make their deadlines is by reviewing the products and services you use for each and every project you are tasked with on a regular basis, checking for any hiccups along the way.

For example, if you use and/or sell plastic injection molding nozzles, review them regularly to be sure they are up to snuff with whatever projects you are using them for.

One of the ways to go about this is by reviewing the different companies offering such nozzles, valves, other injection products etc.

Some of the items to look at include:

  1. Company history – Where you buy products and services from goes a long way in whether or not you meet your customer expectations. Is your vendor good at meeting deadlines when it comes to supplying you with your needs? If they have a track record of meeting those deadlines, all inclinations are you should stick with them. On the other hand, those having a so-so record of meeting timetables need to be brought back under reconsideration. The last thing you need and want is having your customers upset with you because you failed a deadline, failure that originated in not getting the desired parts in time;
  2. Timing of your projects – If you’re doing any outdoor construction and/or renovations, the time of the year certainly can play a factor. For example, having a construction or renovation business in Buffalo does limit you during the wintertime in terms of how much outdoor work you can typically fit in. The best road to take here is making sure you schedule as much work as possible before winter typically sets in. In some cases, you will catch some breaks and have decent wintertime weather, though you should not count on it as a given. Also make sure any parts you are using (especially in outdoor instances) like nozzles, valves etc. can hold up to biting cold weather conditions. If you have parts that will not service you and your customers in dire winter weather, it becomes both a financial expense and ultimately a PR one for your business. The bottom line is you don’t want to waste the time of customers nor that of your employees;
  3. Being honest with customers – One other important area that you should never overlook is being up front with your customers. For instance, if your project is running behind (for whatever reason), don’t try and paint a rosy picture with the respective customer or customers. Always level with customers as to the projected timeline of completing the project, along with any snafus that currently are happening etc. One of the ways to keep customers for years to come (along of course with good work) is making sure you are honest with them at all times.

Keeping your projects (commercial and residential) on schedule doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you work with vendors supplying you with the best parts possible.

In the end, meeting customer deadlines should always be a priority, not an option.

As 2016 winds down to a close, review how you’ve done this year to date with meeting those deadlines.

If you have fallen short in some instances, look to see how you can improve that moving forward in the New Year.

When you do that, everyone comes out ahead.

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