Wealthy Affiliate – The perfect accompaniment to a property business

This is a great side hustle to sit alongside a Property business

The perfect accompaniment to a property business is a website I discovered called Wealthy Affiliate. It is a community which comprehensively teaches about Marketing from scratch, including how to build a website, host it, get it indexed by Google, promote it, do keyword research and build an online business to be proud of.

The website features a community of 1.4m people who will help you along the way. Kind of like Facebook but without all the bitching. The focus is on building a business and you can get questions answered on any subject you need to know about. You can start as a free member and evaluate it, then move to a paid membership when you are comfortable to do so.

Wealthy Affiliate is very well respected in the industry, and if you’re an Entrepreneur looking to make good money, Wealthy Affiliate has a very nice affiliate program of it’s own. They basically pay 50% commission on anyone you invite who goes on to become a paying member. There are people on Wealthy Affiliate who can guide you to a fortune. The ultimate objective is to get to the Vegas conference every year. If you manage this, you’ll definitely have made it in Marketing.

Useful Links

Here’s a brochure showing all of the features : WealthyAffiliate.pdf

There’s a review of Wealthy Affiliate here at Earn-Online.Net

Click here to open a Free Wealthy Affiliate account : Open Account

Target Niches for your Online Business – How to Pick One

A Worldwide Audience to Address.

When you sit down and think about all the people in the world that would like to make more money, you could pretty much include just about everyone.

Every person from every little corner of the population could use extra cash and that is really the target audience. So in essence, your target audience consists of the close to 7 BILLION people that live in this world, 3.4 billion of them have high speed internet and would love to have access to a platform like Wealthy Affiliate.

That is a pretty MASSIVE target audience, so within this post I am going to give you a hand with some more targeted examples of audiences and show you exactly how to break them down.

Pretty big and pretty broad right? That was intended to prove the scale of the market that you can promote to, and within this section we are going to explain smaller more niche target audiences and also let you in on some ways in which you can research and market to these audiences.

When many affiliates begin to work on their keyword and industry research for Wealthy Affiliate research, they typically think of the most obvious marketers that are highly relevant to the services offered at Wealthy Affiliate. The main audiences that come to mind are:

Making Money
Work From Home
Internet Marketing
Affiliate Marketing
PPC Marketing
Email Marketing

These are fine and they are definitely targeted, however marketers typically run into a wall when they attempt to promote under these keywords as they are very competitive. They convert, but they are competitive.

More Targeted Niches

Because of this, we recommend also venturing into other very targeted niches. I have included a list of these below:

Entrepreneur Programs
Website Marketing
Local Marketing
Social Media Marketing
Twitter marketing
Facebook Marketing
Linked In marketing
Email Marketing
Google Adwords
Google content network
BingAds
PPC Marketing
Clickbank
Data Entry
Home Business
Search Engine Optimization
Article Marketing
Getting Rich Quick
Become a Millionaire
Search Engine Marketing
Self-Employment
Affiliate Programs
Affiliate Networks
Wordpress Plugins/Theme/Hosting
Website Hosting
Website Builders
Internet Marketing Tools

These are all hot topics and highly related to what is offered within Wealthy Affiliate. Anyone looking for help in any of these areas can easily get help and get training within the Wealthy Affiliate community if you look a little deeper you find that there are even more than the obvious.

Demographics to Target

These can all be target audiences and I am going to show you how to elaborate on these. However, there are complete demographics of people that should not be forgotten about. Massive groups of people that are looking for opportunities, to create businesses online or to expand their existing businesses online.

College Students
University Students
Retired Individuals
Middle Class Populous (large majority of US consumers)
Retired Veterans / Disabled Veterans
Disabled Individuals (who can work from their computer)
New Career seekers
Career Development/Advancement seekers
Laid Off Employees
Unemployment Benefits
People with massive hospital/health bills
Low Salary Employees
High Salary Employees that Want More
Minimum Wage Workers / McJobs
Passive Income Seekers
Residual Income Seekers
Baby Boomers About to Retire
People Who Vacation Lots (like the freedom)
Loans/Cash Advances
People with a mortgage
People that are forced to foreclose their homes
Debt Consolidation
People with Undesirable Jobs
Office Workers
People looking to win the lottery
Computer Jobs and remote jobs
People interesting in computer programming
Residents at business and Internet marketing schools
People looking to get a marketing, finance, or business education
Someone who wants to quit their job
Franchising/Franchisees
Ebay Sellers
Summer Job Seekers
Part-Time Employment
People seeking any type of employment!
Employment Search Engines (JobSearch, Monster, Careers.com)
Criminal Employment (employment for criminals)
People seeking post secondary education (can target University and College names)
Real Estate Investors
Online Surveys Takers
Related Forums and discussion rooms
TV Shows (Apprentice, Deal or No Deal, etc)
Famous Rich People (Bill Gates, Robert Kiyosaki, Tim Ferris)
Hard Copy Books (Rich Dad Poor Dad, Buzz marketing, etc)
Affiliate Network Keywords (CJ, Clickbank, Linkshare, Shareasale, Kowabunga, etc)

These are some demographic based audiences that you can target. These above ideas alone will give enough ammunition to promote your niche for a lifetime!

With what we have already given you, you could easily scale a campaign to make over $1 MILLION per year…in fact, if you put your effort into just one of these target audiences, you could likely make that with just one.

Remember, the average affiliate referral for Wealthy Affiliate is close to $150. Commissions and recurring revenue add up very quickly!

==> Click to learn more about The Wealthy Affiliate Training <==

New R2R Documents added


Hello property peeps! While i’ve been researching and learning about property, i’ve been struck by how many times people are asking about ‘agreement templates’. Everybody wants templates for getting Rent 2 Rent going and Lease Option Agreements setup.

I’ve recently purchased a Rent 2 Rent pack myself and it includes lots of useful files that can easily be adapted for use in your own property business. I’ve made the documents available here in the Property Document Store

They are at a reduced price until the end of the month, so if you want a copy, just follow the link above.

Mice in the walls | Dave O’Hara

Just had a bizarre email from one of my tenants via the letting agent about ‘mice in the walls’ (mental picture of little arches in the skirting boards like in Tom and Jerry). They’d noticed them downstairs, but now they’re noticing them upstairs they say. 😳They say they’re worried about them gnawing through cables.

Now, i have zero experience with ‘mice in the walls’ so If anything like this happens to you, simply contact your local council and get them to send a pest controller out. My local council charge £40+ vat for unlimited visits and erradication.

I do however think this will be last I hear of this. The house is mid-terrace, cavity wall injected, with concrete floors, so these mice must have some serious tunnelling equipment. The tenants have dogs as well, so there’s no way they’d come from inside. Watch this space. 😏

Time is your biggest asset, you need to maximize it. | Dave O’Hara

Tempus Fugit! as the saying goes. Time truly does fly, and frustratingly seems to speed up the older you get. I think there’s a name for that effect, but i’m not sure we need to really know it here. However, time is a finite resource for everybody and is thus the most precious in The World. Some of you out there have more of it left than others, but you can never be sure. The man with the big scythe always pops up uninvited.

We don’t make best use of our time though, and a good deal is wasted watching rubbish TV programmes or arguing on internet forums and Facebook about unimportant subjects. Time is the fourth dimension, and despite the best efforts of Einstein and Brian Cox, we can’t turn it back. It flows inexorably on, but each person has only a tiny snippet of it, then we’re gone.

The average life expectancy of a human in Britain today is about 80yrs (how many hours is that?). I know it varies by gender and by area of the country, but that’s roughly how long we have to make our mark on this Earth. That seems a long time, but let’s examine it in closer detail.

A 3rd of our life is spent asleep. That’s 56 hours of every week, or 27 years of our lifetime! That’s an incredible length of time just recharging our batteries. While we are asleep of course, we can’t do anything else. We can’t work or earn money in that time.

We don’t start work until 18 years old, and we stop when we are 65. That leaves us with a working window of 47 years. Still plenty of time to earn money though, right?

Now, let’s look at the week. Only 168hrs in each week, with 48hrs in a weekend. Most people only work on 5 days, so that leaves 120 hours. As we’ve already said, a third of our time is spent asleep, so that leaves us with 80 hours. Most jobs are 35-40hrs/week, so that means that during the week, we work for roughly 50% of our waking hours. No-one wants to work weekends, that’s family time (but plenty do).

Wages are typically between £8 and £12 per hour. So, doing a quick calculation, that limits earnings to between 35×8 = £280 and 40×12 = £480 per week. That’s roughly £1,100 to £2,000 per month. Tax will take a sizeable chunk out of that for most people. Indeed, mortgages or rent could easily consume 75%-all of this in certain areas of the country. It’s easy to see how most people have nothing much left at the end of the month.

So, what can we do about it? Conventionally, there are only two choices, we work longer or we get a payrise. We are already working for 50% of our waking hours, so increasing that will only lead to burnout and exhaustion. A pay rise? Most people only get 1-2% each year, and traditionally that is mostly eaten up by inflation. We are stuck! The answer is seemingly that most people can do little about it.

What is the answer? Is there an answer? Well, people like the Kardashians and David Beckham have stumbled on a way by being famous. The have multiple sources of income (perfume, endorsements, branding, media, public appearances, sponsorship) and the money rolls in 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. They appear to have multiple personas, all earning for 168 hours per week, 52 weeks of the year. They are money making machines! Can mere mortals do this too?

Well, to do it you have to think outside of the box. This is primarily a property blog and as most of you know, property is the way to a passive income. You do the work once (buy the house, rent it out) and are paid for it every month in rent. By rinsing and repeating this scenario, you can build up a nice little portfolio and a good income. But, remember what Grandma used to say about putting all your eggs in one basket? Rules change, markets crash and tenants leave. You need another secondary income stream to sit alongside your property business.

The Internet has made information the biggest product in the World. Everybody needs it and people will pay for it. This is where the opportunity lies to make limitless passive income. You don’t need a product or even a website, you can make really good money promoting other people’s products. Then, when you get good at it, you can start promoting your own products. What can you promote? Basically anything!

This is the way to earn money like the Kardashians and Beckham. It’s the ONLY way to break free from the hours/pay rate trap, because multiple income streams allow you to earn like there are 5 or 6 ‘you’s, all bringing in money 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. I’m enrolled with Wealthy Affiliate because I believe in multiple streams/diversity of income. You should seriously consider it yourself to both continue your education and maximize your potential.

 

Lease Option Agreements – How to Recognise if there’s money in the deal | Dave O’Hara

When you have put out lots of yellow letters to your target houses, you’ll soon start to get phone calls (well, hopefully you will if you’ve written a good letter). Quick tip – get yourself a dedicated phone to allow people to ring you. Don’t use your normal phone number. If the phone rings, don’t pick up. Chances are you’ll be doing something else and won’t be prepared for the phone call. Let it go to voicemail and then call back. Sometimes the caller leaves a message and sometimes they’ll drop you a text telling you which house they’re ringing about. This is all good info. Ring back when you’re comfortable and have all of your gear to hand (pen, pro-forma, script). Find a comfortable place to do it from. In the recent hot weather I’ve been using the garden as my office.

Run through your script and make sure you ask all your questions, but try not to make it sound like a list. Try to strike up a conversation and work the questions into it. This way, the vendor won’t feel uncomfortable. You’ll find it easier too. Sometimes the owner will be enthusiastically helpful, they’ll tell you all kinds of things in addition to the questions you want answers to. Sometimes you’ll get short answers and they’ll not go into any financials. I always say that without knowing all the facts it will be impossible to make them an offer. Sometimes that persuades them, sometimes not,
but when you’ve gathered everything you need to know, tell them you’ll go away and do some number crunching, then get back to them.

When you are first starting out with Lease Options, like we were a few months ago, you’ll not realise whether there’s anything in it for you as you fill in the forms. After a while, you instinctively recognise when a house is a possible lease option and there’s going to be a good positive cash flow if the owner takes up the deal. Try to get £250 positive cash flow each month if possible. Here are a few examples of the types of situations we’ve discovered.

A good opportunity – money in the deal for both parties

House for sale price : £70,000 (reduced from £80,000)
Mortgage : none
Reason for selling : Moving in with someone else
Wants to be a landlord? : No
Needs the money? : No, more interested in income
Likely monthly bills : £200 (council tax, gas/electricity, insurance, water)
Rental in area : £550 pcm

In this example, the fact the owner has no mortgage is a good thing because it gives you the latitude to pay them a good monthly amount, whilst still having a decent positive cashflow for yourself in the deal. It’s necessary to compute a likely term for your lease option. This depends on the rental value and the purchase price.

Now for a bit of maths. Decide what you purchase price will be. To give the owner an incentive, that would have to be £70,000 or more, so I always find out if the house has been reduced and by how much, then if that price seems reasonable, i’d offer them more.
The house is currently for sale at £70k, but i’d tell the seller that I could offer them £80k (the price before the property was reduced), but i’d need time to pay it.

An £80k house will need a £20k deposit for a BTL mortgage, so the next thing you need to do is calculate how long it’s going to take for the rental you intend to make on the property to add up to £20k. If you get £550 ppm in rental, a good offer would be £200 each and every month to the vendor. That would leave £350 to save for the mortgage, plus to pay for any monthly fees you may have. Let’s say that leaves you with £250 per month.

£20,000 / £250 = 80 payments.

This means it’ll take you just shy of 7 years to save your deposit. So your offer to the seller could be :

Lease Option Offer
Offer £56,000 [OR]

Option to buy the house in 7 years for £80,000
In the meantime, they’ll be paid £200 pcm until then

In 7 years you’ll have enough to get a BTL mortgage on the property, without using any of your own money! In the meantime, you’ll control the property and be bringing in £350 pcm from it for 7 years. The seller will be £350 pcm better off (no bills + your payment). Of course, all of this is negotiable and if the seller wants a higher price, you’ll need a longer term, and conversely, the sooner the seller wants his money, the lower the price you’ll pay.

You could also structure the deal so that the owner is paid more per month, but this will reduce the final purchase price after the option period. If the owner is paid £500 pcm then calculate how that extra payment reduces the final buy price.

A bad opportunity – no money in the deal for you

House for sale price : £70,000 (reduced from £80,000)
Mortgage : £65,000 remaining. Repayment mortgage (£450 pcm)
Reason for selling : Moving to a bigger house
Wants to be a landlord? : No
Needs the money? : Yes
Likely monthly bills : £200 (council tax, gas/electricity, insurance, water)
Rental in area : £400 pcm

The vendor wants to sell, but there’s no cashflow in the deal for you. Even if you rented out the house at the local rental rate, you wouldn’t be covering the mortgage payment. In addition, you wouldn’t be able to offer the vendor that lucrative income either. He would be better off by not having to pay the bills, but there’d be no money to save for your BTL mortgage after the period of the lease, so there’s no lease option offer that could be made. In this case, the owner has also said he needs the money immediately.

Offer
Cash Offer £56,000

As this offer is £9k less than the vendor owes on his mortgage, he’s unlikely to accept (unless you’re VERY lucky). At only £400 pcm available in rent in the area, the yield would also be on the low side when you rented it out.

Yellow envelopes take over the World | Dave O’Hara

Well, maybe not the whole World, but a very small part of it. Yellow envelopes are our secret weapon though. How many letters do you get every day in yellow envelopes? That’s right. None! If someone sent you a bright yellow letter, would you be intrigued by it’s uniqueness and be compelled to open it? We think so!

The whole point of writing to someone by conventional means is to have your letter read. If you can get them to do that, you are in a perfect position to get your offer across. Stats indicate that for every 100 letters you send, 10 will result in a call back, 3 of those will be seriously interested in the offer and one will actually sign up to your offer. So it’s a numbers game. If you want 10 sign ups, you need to send 1,000 letters. That sounds a lot, but you don’t need to send them all at once! Spread them out so you can take the phone calls, otherwise you’ll be deluged. One deal a month is fine, so send out 100 letters every month. In this particular type of property deal, each sign up should be worth £3,000 per annum, so after 10 deals in a year you’ll be receiving £30k of passive income! Awesome or what?!

Getting started is the hardest part. What should I ask? How do I ask the questions? What if they are hostile, or turn me down flat? Well, i’m no expert, i’ve only been doing this for a few weeks, but i’m getting more confident by the day and, believe it or not, people are usually nice. The fact that they’ve rung the number on your letter means they’re already interested in what you have to say, so don’t be afraid.

My advice, for what it’s worth is, try to strike up a natural conversation. Work your questions into the conversation so they don’t really feel like questions at all. I now say “Tell me about your house”, and folks will generally let you know all there is to know about the property they are selling. To find out if there is a deal to be had, you need to know the details of their mortgage (type, monthly payment, amount remaining) and you also need to find out how motivated they are as a seller.

Once you have gathered all your info (always have a proforma sheet available to fill in the blanks as you talk), thank them for their time and schedule a call back after you’ve crunched the numbers. Always ring them back at the agreed time, it builds trust and let’s them know you’re professional and value their time.

Crunching the numbers is all about working out if there is any money in the deal for you both. It needs to benefit both the seller and you the buyer otherwise there’s no point in making a deal. I’ve learned quickly what sort of nett rent I need for a particular purchase price to make a deal viable. Get used to that too. If you need to cover a £600/month mortgage but local rental income is only £500/month then it makes little sense. Aim for a minimum of £250/month nett positive cashflow (£3,000 per annum) if possible.

Comedy Call

Want to hear about a comedy call from a guy in Middlesbrough? This actually happened recently when we ‘yellow lettered’ the Teesside metropolis. You need to imagine the caller speaking in broad smoggie.

Me: “Hello, Dave O’Hara speaking, how can I help”?

Caller: “Alright mate, i’ve ‘ad a letter off yers”

Me: “Ah yes, we’ve sent a few letters to houses we’re interested in buying, can I ask the address please so I’m certain which house we’re talking about”?

Caller: “Aye, it’s number 10 mate”

Me: “And can you tell me the street name as well?”

Caller: “Aye mate” (long pause)

Me: (quickly realising this might not be straightforward) “OK, tell me about your house”

Caller: “It’s not my house mate, know what am sayin’ ?”

Me: “Are you the tenant?”

Caller: “No mate, it’s me mam and dad’s house like, know what i’m sayin’? ”

Me: “Ah right, well I think it’s them I need to speak to”

Caller: “Aye, probly”

Me: “Can I speak to them please?”

Caller: “Nah, ther in Benidorm mate, know what am sayin’ “?

Me: (knowing what he was saying) “OK”

Caller: “I’ve just split up with me girlfriend like, know what am sayin’ “?

Me: “Sorry to hear that, do you know when I can speak to your parents”?

Caller: “Problys aye. D’yer wanna buy the house like”?

Me: “Yes, I am interested”

Caller: “Me an me mates can buy this house like, know what am sayin’ “?

Me: “When can I speak to your parents please?”

Caller: “After August like”

Me: (with no intention of ever ringing back) “OK, i’ll ring back then”

Caller: “Alright mate, mint”

Thankfully, not all phone calls are like this, but sometimes you get them (know what i’m saying?)

Best Property Investment Blogs In 2018

The internet has open the gates to information, and we get bombarded with numerous new articles on social media, in our email inboxes (subscribed or simply spam), and pretty much everywhere we look, on a daily basis.

This has led us to have to work harder to find the best articles from the multitude of average or sub par content. To help our readers and those interested in property investing, we decided to dig in and search for the best of the best that 2018’s Blogosphere has to offer.

This list is obviously subjective, but we also tried to work with a few stats when we sort them.

The Subjective side of things – we tried to feature some of the best known sites in this niche, some that are known by many in this business, and also a few blogs that still have a lot of growing to do and are relatively unknown. This last category has a few blogs that we feel have good content, tips and/or insights.

The Stats criteria refers to data collected from:

Alexa.com – How much traffic they have
Social media – How many followers they have on Twitter and Facebook
Publishing schedule – If they write content on a regular basis, if they haven’t updated the blog in a long time and so on.

Top 20 Property Investment Blogs for 2018

Biggerpockets.com

The BiggerPockets Blog is the biggest resource of information about real estate, investing and personal finance on the web and thus why it’s our #1 choice.

Besides the usual written information, they also have a 65,000 listens per show podcast available for those that like to listen to the market news and insights.

Besides all the opportunities that the site offers (the platform, the forums, the blog and the mobile apps), what we like the most, and have rarely seen in this niche, is the regularly updated Youtube account.

They are posting 2-3 videos per week, and you can also check out the podcast in a video format if you want to actually see their guests. I like visuals more than just audio, so for me this is a big thumbs up.

Fortunebuilders.com

The mission of this blog is summed up by the three words featured in their logo – Inspire. Educate. Lead.

Inspire – To help and motivate others to pursue their dreams and change their lives for the better.

Educate – To commit to personal growth that will, at a later stage, improve their business.

Lead – To take action and follow through all the obstacles.

The blog is updated daily with articles tackling subjects like Real Estate, Investing, Finance and Business. People seem to really dig what they are saying and posting, as we can see from the almost 30,000 followers on their Twitter account.

Affordanything.com

Paula’s journey is one of those stories that you end up dreaming about having: a boring 9-to-5 job that turns into travelling around the world and working remotely. You can read the entire story on her About page, where she talks about how she started a real estate business, and enjoys the “easy money” that her investments yield every month.

The best content on her blog, in our opinion, is her Real Estate Investment Report posts, and by the multitude of comments on these pages, others share the same opinion.

In these posts she offers a break down on her monthly income and expenses, alongside many tips for those that will want to follow her business model.

Retipster.com

After nearly a decade in the commercial banking industry, Seth Williams decided to pull the plug and become a self-employed man starting on February 1, 2016. This great to see, especially if you are a long time reader of his blog because you’ll have the feeling that you are following someone who really knows his stuff.

Someone who has turned a part-time business in something full time that can guarantee an income big enough to keep him happy.

One page in particular to look for, especially if you are a beginner, is the Resources page where Seth has listed sites and services that he personally used to help him grow the blog and business.

Reiclub.com

REIClub is a website full of resources, very tightly organized by categories, a feeling that will strike you at the first sight of the homepage. It’s like a dossier full of all the resources needed for any person interested in Real Estate Investing.

Besides the video section, forum, laws or success stories, the blog is the best part of the website. Why? Because it is updated with articles from the community, and the many contributors that share tips and knowledge from their personal interactions with this business.

This can be a great thing when you think about it, because you get to learn from a vast array of people working in different locations, investing in different properties or businesses and telling the stories from their own perspective.

Realestateinvestar.com.au

RealEstateInvestar is a provider of online property investing tools that targets Australia and New Zealand.

It can help investors by letting them create capital growth forecasts, maintain real time portfolio tracking, and eliminate paper and data entry work to make it simple for your accountant and for tax and cash flow forecasting.

The blog focuses on providing tips for investors about how to manage and grow their portfolio, tips on how to spot properties that can lead to big returns in the near future, and mistakes that they should avoid.

Deangraziosi.com

Dean Graziosi is mostly known for his TV infomercials where he sells his real estate investing books and events.

The site mostly features his videos from the Weekly Wisdom series, but also contains deals that he closed recently, alongside any tips and insights that came with those experiences.

Beside the main website, there a two more sources of great info: the Forum and the Blogs section. Here you will get to know how other investors are doing, what kind of properties are bringing in big profits, and the most importantly, what bad deals to stay away from.

Realestateinyourtwenties.com

Brandon shows us in his blog that real estate investing is not only for big companies or very experienced investors, but that it can be done also by young people, in their twenties – pun intended.

He is the VP of Growth for BiggerPockets (our #1 listed blog in this list), and also a Co-host of the BiggerPockets Podcast. So, all in all, a well versed guy in the real estate investing market.

Cthomesllc.com

The CT Homes blog is arguably the most consistently update blog in our list. This means that every week day you will have a new article to read – everybody has to enjoy their weekend off, right? J

And even though the main website is a platform for investors and people wanting to sell properties in the San Diego area, the information posted in the blog section is generic and can be adopted by anyone from anywhere.

Memphisinvest.com

Shifting our focus a little more to the right of the US map, we encounter the guys from Memphis Invest who have grown from a small family owned real estate investing company, to one that serves clients from 45 states in 11 countries. At the moment they have three local offices located in Memphis, Dallas and Houston.

The blog features articles about real estate investing in general, but the most insightful posts are those that focus on the areas that they have the most knowledge in like the cities where their offices are. Insights, tips and news.

Cleverinvestor.com

The first thing that caught our attention on the site was the “Proof” page on the main navigation bar, so we took a look. Inside we saw a bunch of video testimonials and picture with happy sellers.

That made us curious and searched a bit more about him and everything seems to check out. This guy seems to be the real deal.

Cody is proud that he still practice what he preaches and likes to be an active real estate investor who hunts for great deals and find those win-win situations: happy sellers and happy buyers, with a small profit for the person in the middle.

Jasonhartman.com

When we speak about the real estate industry, Jason is a fantastic example of hard work and persistence. He embarked on his career in real estate quite early.

When only 19, he was brokering properties for clients, then he landed a place among the top one-percent of Realtors in the U.S.; won important awards in the industry and became a young multi-millionaire.

Jason is now the CEO of the Platinum Properties Investment Network and is blogging to provide real estate education and valuable information, including advices related to markets, ROI, cash flow, opportunities and much more.

Joecrumpblog.com

Working in real estate investments since 1986, Joe has experienced many ups and downs in the market.

So, behind the system he created for real estate investments is a lot of trial and error, but also a creative way of financing that he adopted, and he is sharing this knowledge on his blog.

Joe found a way to have more freedom and control of his life through real estate investing, and he is trying to help other achieve the same.

Theinvestorinsights.com

Voted as #1 real estate investing blog for two times in a row by the REIClub.com, in the “Single-Author” category, The Investor Insights provides excellent information for real estate investments.

An investor since 1994, Susan Lassiter-Lyons founded this blog in 2006 to share insights about her creative investing activities.

Owned and operated by real investors, who have closed more than 600 transactions in the last few years, this is more than just a blog, it really serves a coaching platform for those interested in the real estate investments business.

Hipsterinvestments.com

This is a blog that seems to bring a lot of energy to its readers, as there are many positive comments and good content reviews left by the blog’s visitors.

The Hipster Investments blog provides real estate education, and information about the industry and even helps investors to connect with reputable companies.

An interesting particularity of this blog is their “Latest Deal – What’s available on Wednesday?” section, where they post weekly deal proposals.

Reiwealthmag.com

A digital magazine with a team of experts and extensive media, marketing, and real estate history, REI Wealth Monthly has a blog that provides up-to-date real estate investing content.

Whether you need news, tips, or articles covering topics like strategies in the industry, you can rest assured that you will find them here.

The blog is wonderful for both those who just started out in the real estate industry, and the seasoned investors.

Kcinvestmentproperty.wordpress.com

Chris Lengquist has been blogging about Kansas City real estate investing since 2006, and he has been a professional Real Estate agent for several years, who works more in an advisory and consultation area of expertise than as a salesperson.

So, the blog has a focus on the Kansas City market, and will offer you real experiences or even guidance through any confusion related to these kinds of experiences.

Chris provides solid answers to the questions that come up for real estate investors.

Thebostoninvestor.com

When it comes to flipping houses, Justin Silverio has a lot of tips to share with those that are still new to the real estate business.

Out of Boston, he is a natural fit for the real estate industry. That’s because, first of all, he was “born with it”, we could say, as he comes from a family with decades of experience in construction and real estate and, second of all, because he has also a personal work experience background of over 10 years in the industry.

On his blog he shares advices about how should you get started in this industry, a lot of tips related to wholesaling and related to how should you work with partners and he’s also sharing up-to-date records of his real estate investment activities.

Investingnownetwork.com

This is the blog of Jim Ingersoll, a successful real estate investor who shares some great practical posts about real estate investments strategies and tips, giving solid guidance based on his vast experience of wholesales, flips, and rents.

He also leads webinars on these topics, so you will have the chance to interact on his blog with videos of this kind.

Jim shows us that you can do investments without using a bank or your own money. That’s something quite “disruptive” in this type of business.

Initially published at http://internationalmoneytransfers.org/best-property-investment-blogs/


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24 things estate agents say – and what they really mean

Just for a bit of fun, here are 24 things estate agents say – and what they really mean:

  1. Bijou – A tiny boxroom
  2. Cash buyers only – No bank in its right mind would lend on this
  3. Compact – Glorified cupboard
  4. Convenient for transport links – Feel the walls shake as a train passes
  5. Cosy – No more than one person per room at a time
  6. Close to good schools – Can get there in 10 minutes, if you drive like Lewis Hamilton
  7. Easily-maintained garden – Concrete as far as the eye can see
  8. Full of history – Doesn’t have electricity or running water
  9. No onward chain – Somebody died in there
  10. No photo available – The stuff of nightmares
  11. Peaceful location – God’s waiting room
  12. Perfect for a first time buyer – We know you can’t afford to be choosy
  13. Period property – Derelict and possibly haunted
  14. Popular area – You’ll be squashed in like sardines
  15. Put your own stamp on it – Half-built
  16. Renovation required – Watch your money magically disappear
  17. Rural – There is nothing there, except maybe some sheep
  18. Viewing recommended – The outside looks like something Stig of the Dump would reject
  19. Pied-à-terre – Fancy French phrase for cosy. See 5.
  20. Quirky – Nothing matches and the doors are four-foot high
  21. Three-bedroomed property – Two bedrooms and a cupboard where you could fit a sleeping bag… just
  22. Reduced for a quick sale – There has been no interest at all
  23. Within walking distance – If you have a spare five hours
  24. Sought-after area – Ridiculous price

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Case study : Tracking down an owner and buying the house for 30% BMV

When we first started on the property ladder we found we were quite good at spotting a decent house, but were obviously inexperienced at tracking people down. We’d started looking seriously in November 2016 and found a nice looking property on Rightmove that seemed to be cheap. It was a 3 bedroom end of terrace property listed at £55,000. By our reckoning that made it about 25-30% below market value. It had a nice little front garden and an enclosed yard at the rear.

The Rightmove blurb also said that this house was available by the ‘modern method of auction’ and this shouldn’t be confused with the traditional way. We didn’t know what the Modern Method of Auction was, but when we looked into it it seemed a ruse dreamed up by Estate Agents to pocket more cash by getting the buyer to pay a £6,000 reservation fee (non-refundable and NOT deducted from the purchase price). This would also pay the sellers fees. We thought, ‘bugger that for a game of conkers’. We still wanted to buy the house for £55k, but another £6k made it less attractive. We needed to buy without it. That meant we couldn’t alert the agent.

 

We did a drive-by, just to make sure the house looked like it’s online pics. These checked out ok and we were able to take a look in the windows (the house was empty) to see what the inside was like. It looked fine, with nice laminate floors and tidy paintwork. But who did the house belong to and how could we speak to them and secure the sale without alerting the agent? How could we buy without paying the extra £6,000?

First stop was the Land Registry website. We paid our £3 fee and downloaded the deeds. This gave us the name and address of the owner. They weren’t registered at the address of the property, but rather at an address in, shall we say, a less celubrious part of town. We rolled up the windows and went to visit the owners address. No answer. Just as we knocked a 2nd time, the next door neighbour came out in his vest for a ciggy. He said he didn’t think anyone lived next door, but he’d only moved in yesterday and wasn’t sure. A dead end. So, back to the property that was for sale. Our only option was to start knocking on neighbours doors to see if they knew where the owners had gone. We didn’t even know if they’d left town and gone to live in Stornoway, but we had to find out!

We started knocking. The first neighbour didn’t know where they’d gone as she’d only been there a few months and said the house was empty when she moved in. The next neighbour (two doors along) wasn’t in, and we were beginning to give up hope. The next door was definitely the last door we could realistically knock on. Fingers crossed. After a pause that was propably only 10 seconds but seemed like an hour, someone answered.

It turned out that the neighbour knew them quite well. Her son was in fact the owner’s sparky and had done quite a bit of work for them on the house. Things were looking up! 😉 Where had they gone? Did she know? Well, they weren’t in Stornoway, they were still in town. But she didn’t know the address! 😳 Our hearts sank again…… but she did know where they lived, it was the last road on the East side, about the third house along and they had venetian blinds up in the porch. We had visions of a whole road of venetian-blinded porches, but off we went.

It was spot on as far as directions were concerned. We knocked. A figure appeared at the window, motioning us around the back. We were greeted by the little dog and when we got to chat, the house was indeed theirs to sell and they’d had it on the market for nearly a year. We told them the ‘modern method of auction’ puts people off. It had nearly put us off. The owner took us up for a viewing and we put an offer in next day for the asking price of £55k, on the proviso that they withdrew it from the auction. They agreed and then we just had to wait 31 days. There might have been offers after that, but the owner assured us that they’d agreed to sell to us and no other offers would be accepted. They seemed to be people of their word.

A month later with the house removed from the agent’s jurisdiction, we bought it privately based on our agreement. We got the keys on February 8th 2017. There was very little work to do inside. We fitted some new kitchen doors and put some fresh lino down in the kitchen and bathroom, painted a bit and de-mossed the yard. It cost us £2,000 in all. After 6 months we refinanced and took back our entire deposit and renovation money. We already had a tenant by then as well.

Mission accomplished 👍🏻


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New Advert Board for Property Services

After joining multiple Facebook groups to see what property people are dealing in, it became clear that the different types of investments are scattered into many different places, so I decided to open a free property services directory section on the site to allow people to post their own property services.

If you are a seller, a property you’d like to buy but need sources of finance to allow you to buy, or if you have a lease option you’d like to pass on, then post your service details on the board. You can then link it to Facebook or Twitter and this will help spread the word and hopefully make your property services and your advert visible to many more people.

As we all know, THE most important thing to do in property is to Network and make connections. This becomes easy when like minded people gather in the same place. That’s what i’d like the Property services section to achieve if possible.

Please give it a go. Like I said, it’s free to use and hopefully will help you get your word out and make us all more money 🙂

Advert Board : https://dkohara.com/directory/


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Buying to let as a limited company

Here’s an article which we found very helpful with the decision of whether to buy BTL properties as part of a personal portfolio or as a Limited Company. I hope it’s useful for those looking for information about this.

Buying to let as a limited company By Steven Boyde

There are two ways of owning buy-to-let property: using your personal name, or through a limited company.

Since April 2017, there has been an increase in the number of landlords purchasing buy-to-let investments in a limited company rather than in their personal name. This is largely due to changes set out by the government in the 2017 Budget, including a reduction in the amount of tax relief available for interest on buy-to-let mortgages.

Previously, tax was due on the net rental income after allowable expenses have been deducted, including mortgage interest. This meant higher and additional rate taxpayers could claim relief at their highest rate, 40 per cent and 45 per cent respectively. The government’s announcement means that over the next four years, tax relief will gradually be reduced until only basic rate (20 per cent) relief is available.

One of the primary reasons for the growth in limited company buy-to-let ownership is the different tax treatment. Instead of paying income tax as an individual, a limited company pays corporation tax, which currently sits at 19 per cent. This is reducing to 18 per cent in April 2018 and 17 per cent in April 2019.

The differing tax treatment also means that lenders’ stress testing is often more favourable for lending to limited companies versus ownership in a personal name.

The mechanics behind a limited company purchase are that the borrower sets up a limited company or property special purpose vehicle (SPV), which is purely for the purpose of owning property. The borrower then deposits funds into the limited company and arranges lending to it, which, combined, allows the company to purchase the property.

While increasingly popular, there are several things to consider and it should not be assumed that limited company buy-to-lets are suitable for everyone.

Tax implications

Tax should be favourable in the first instance, but once the income (rent) is paid into an SPV, profits will ultimately be distributed. This is usually done via dividends, which can be more complicated.

Only corporation tax is applicable at first when you do annual company accounts, but if you want to withdraw money, you have to do it in the form of dividends. Dividends are favourable at a low level, because the first £5,000 is tax free [£2,000 from April 2018], but this gets higher the more your draw out.

The latest tax rates according to HMRC are:

Basic rate 7.5%
Higher rate 32.5%
Additional rate 38.1%

Furthermore, when selling a property, the proceeds go into the limited company and there can then be tax efficiency challenges in accessing it.

For UK residents who have purchased in their own name, the sale of the property will be subject to capital gains tax (CGT) at either 18 per cent or 28 per cent. However, if it was bought in a limited company, it will be taxed – as above – at a rate of corporation tax.

Differences in lending

While lenders will still underwrite the director of the company’s circumstances, given that the limited company is legally a separate entity, the stress testing is favourable as a result of its tax position. Lenders tend to relax the stress testing when it comes to rental calculations. Usually, in a personal name, rental income must cover 145 per cent of the mortgage payments stressed at 5.5 per cent, but when lending to a limited company, it is common for this to be stress tested at just 125 per cent.

However, costs vary depending on whether you are buying in a limited company or as an individual. Mortgage costs are often higher for a limited company. Depending on the structure of the company, they will be taxed differently. It is also necessary to take into account things like CGT and additional stamp duty costs before deciding if buying in a limited company is the most appropriate option for you.

For those purchasing in their personal name, generally the monthly rental income must cover the mortgage payment by 140 per cent if the client owns fewer than four properties, increasing to 155 per cent if they own four or more. They also assume a stressed interest rate of 5.5 per cent to protect the borrower should the Bank of England interest rate fluctuate upwards, or the initial rate plus 1.55 per cent, ensuring the mortgage will be covered.

Key points

  • One of the primary reasons for the growth in limited company buy-to-let ownership is the different tax treatment
  • Lenders tend to relax the stress testing when it comes to rental calculations
  • Owners of more than four buy-to-let properties will soon have to disclose all property details.

When buying as a limited company, the monthly rental income only needs to cover the mortgage payment by 125 per cent, with the stress test remaining at 5.5 per cent, or the initial rate product interest rate plus 1.55 per cent. This allows the borrower to fully maximise the borrowing.

There is also the advantage of opting for a five-year fixed rate, which will mean the lender will use the payrate in their rental assessment. The same 125 per cent/140 per cent/155 per cent still applies as this continues to give the lender security by locking the client into the term, so they will not suffer from any rate increases.

Changes to the market

If you own more than four buy-to-let properties (known as a portfolio) at the end of September, you will have to disclose all property details – that is, any income, expenditure or wear and tear – of all properties when it comes to re-mortgaging.

Portfolio landlords will still enjoy the same tax efficiencies, but their portfolio will be assessed as one, rather than on the merit of each individual property. Although the properties will be stress tested at the same rate of 125 per cent, and the process of buying in a limited company remains the same, this will have a big impact on a landlord’s ability to obtain finance.

For example, if one property in the portfolio performs less favourably than the others, this will have an impact on the underwriting of the portfolio as a whole, regardless of whether some are held in a personal name and others in a limited company.

Even with payrate products, it is more challenging to achieve higher loan-to-value loans, particularly for low-yielding properties.

Guiding on options

There are pros and cons to purchasing a buy-to-let in a limited company versus under a personal name. It entirely depends on the circumstances of the individual, particularly in light of recent and upcoming changes set out by both the Prudential Regulation Authority and the government, making the market more complicated to navigate.

An experienced mortgage broker will be able to guide you on your options. While they will not be able to provide tax advice, they will be able to put you in touch with property tax specialists.

This article Originally published by Steve Boyde, FT Adviser. September 20th, 2017
https://www.ftadviser.com/investments/2017/09/20/buying-to-let-as-a-limited-company/


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Review : Samuel Leeds Deal Finding Extravaganza / Never Use Your Own Money Again | Dave O’Hara

picture of Hilton Hall near Walsall

Hilton Hall, nr. Walsall

After waiting for what seemed like an age since we first went on the Samuel Leeds Property Investors Crash Course in Manchester in February, we rocked up to Hilton Hall just outside of Walsall for the next stage on our property journey. What a place to have a training session! It’s set in it’s own grounds with lakes and untold prettiness (squirrels and other furry critters abound). I bet working there is an absolute treat.

One of the first things we noticed was how many familiar faces we recognised from the earlier course. Everyone looked just that little bit more confident than some of the slightly timid characters we first met in the cold days at Salford. Maybe it was just the fact that summer had rolled into town this week that did it, but we got the impression that the crowd were very up for it.

This course was over three days. Everyone had paid a premium for these sessions; they’re more in-depth than the free Crash Course days. You can tell that the people are more committed and convinced that property investing is their future and everyone wanted to learn as much as possible from Samuel. The first day was the Deal Finding Extravaganza and day 2 and 3 were dedicated to Never Use Your Own Money Again, or as it’s catchily abbreviated, ‘NUYOMA’ (sounds like the Japanese teacup guy off Britain’s Got Talent). We all overloaded the Hall’s Wifi connection as the mass of electronic wizardry tried to log on to get access to RightMove, MousePrice and Zoopla.

Now, i’m not going to give away any information that Samuel taught us because that would undermine the integrity and point of the whole thing, but we watched as he found deals live from his computer at the front of the room and then worked out the yields and returns on investment. Very rarely did he turn up anything lower than 25% ROI. Then he set us all off to find our own deals in the lunch break.

The afternoon consisted of people revealing their ‘deals’, and then we all piled out to visit a couple of Samuel’s HMOs in Wolverhampton, followed by a visit to Cosmos Asian Fusion Buffet where I’m sorry to admit we rather stuffed our faces (but Samuel was picking up the bill). It seemed straightforward. We agreed to give a lift to Rob, who was in his camper van, and the idea was that we’d take him to his camp site, drop the van off, then take him to the HMOs, but we lost him in the outskirts of deepest, darkest Walsall and by the time we found him again, we’d missed the first HMO completely, and only got to the second one as everyone else was coming out! The day had been great though, and everyone was still buzzing in Cosmos even after 12 hours of intense property hunting.

NUYOMA

Day 2 opened with the brightest and bushiest tailed people in the room by 8:15am for the nine o’clock start. We were in the Travelodge Southbound on the M6, so frustratingly had to head south to the next junction, then do a U turn and come back again (about 10 miles in total). It was only after we’d done this a couple of times that Zach, a sprightly young student of accountancy, who unknown to us was also at our hotel, revealed a secret service road he’d been walking in on. It was only a mile and a half! We had to go through a no-entry sign, but it saved us loads of time. The second and third days are dedicated to No-Money-Deals. Basically, buying property with other people’s money. Sounds good doesn’t it?

Samuel taught us several ways to do this (a couple of which we’d already successfully done in ‘real life’) and there was a very interesting and valuable presentation by Sarah Poynton-Ryan who took us through Compliance, Bribery and Data Protection Laws amongst others, as well as introducing Deal Sourcing, Deal Packaging, R2R and Serviced Accommodation. (MEGA profits to be made on Serviced Accommodation, must look into that closer to home). The pace remained high until the slightly earlier finish time, with the usual role playing things to get everyone out of their comfort zone and thinking laterally. Thank God for the sandwich van is my only other comment.

On day 3, Zach took us on our little short cut, but the weather had turned foul and it was tipping it down as we got to Hilton Hall. Rob, who’d cycled in on day 2 had resorted back to the camper van. Sensible chap Rob. We again got stuck into some great exercises, real fun stuff, to show us how easy it is to network in a room full of similar minded individuals (and get deals). There was a question and answer session with a very loveable mortgage expert who managed to answer EVERY question thrown at him by the baying hordes (Stop it! – Ed) and by the time the lovely sandwich van came again the punters were salivating for more. Our working lunch was to go away and raise ‘virtual finance’ by thinking of how we could use our friends and countrymen to slip us a quid or two to invest in our property empires. Samuel set a target of £1m. Zach got the job of counting the money.

picture of myself, samuel leeds and deb

Myself, Samuel Leeds and Deb

Going round the room, it was clear that we were going to absolutely smash the target and when the final total was computed it was around the £4.5 million mark. FOUR AND A HALF MILLION POUNDS !! Granted, that was a fantasy fundraising exercise, but it just showed the power of networking and collaborating within a common goal. Summing up the successes and learnings were at the end of it all. When we all broke up I felt like I was leaving old friends. However, I think we’ll be meeting some of you again, maybe in a Joint Venture or maybe we can source a property or two for you ‘up north’.

Altogether, the 3 day course was well worth the money. We filled the gaps in out knowledge that we wanted to fill, and learned a whole lot more as well. Many thanks to Samuel Leeds and his team, the sandwich van, Cosmos and the staff at the Travelodge, as well as Walsall chippy that stopped us eating each other at the end of day3.


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Regional Property Trends May 2018

Looking at the Rightmove regional trend data for May 2018, the only area of the country where prices dropped from the previous month is our beloved North East (although the annual change is still marginally positive). The North East is also the slowest region to shift houses, with average time to sell pegged at 75 days. The average gaff here in the North East will cost just a shade under £150k, less than a quarter of the average price in Gtr London!


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Our property journey | Dave O’Hara

House 1 – 2 bed terraced

Our property journey really started when we decided to move to Durham in 2014. I had been living in my house for 18 years and then rented it out to enable me to move. I was an ‘accidental landlord’. The details are as follows and the values are current ones. All the houses are in NE England.

Purchase Price : £32,500
Current Market Value : £45,000
Rent Currently Received : £4,320 pa

House 2 – 2 bedroom semi

The house we bought in Durham in 2014 was built in 1999/2000 and again is 2 bedroomed, but it’s semi-detatched. It was owned by a former student of Durham who became a lecturer at Nottingham Uni. He’d rented it previously. We’re only 1 mile from the city centre, so the higher prices there are going to radiate out in coming years, giving us extra equity to play with (we’re down to about £76k on the mortgage, so maybe £50k to play with next year).

Purchase Price : £113,000
Current Market Value : £140,000

House 3 – 3 bedroom end terrace

We then started seriously looking at property as our way of making passive income. We sourced our next house which was up for auction with a £6,000 fee. This didn’t make it enough BMV, so we asked the vendor to drop it from the auction, waited 31 days then put our official offer in (we’d already verbally agreed a price). The house was in nice condition and only need £2,000 spending on it. We then refinanced after 6 months and took our deposit back, making the house completely purchased with other people’s money!

 

Purchase Price : £55,000
Current Market Value : £80,000
Rent Currently Received : £4,680 pa

House 4 – 2 bedroom mid terrace

The next property we bought was a 2 bedroomer, a relative new build at the end of a cul-de-sac, next to a church. The vendor lived in London and was in poor health, so a motivated seller. He had the house advertised on Rightmove for £59k. We secured it for only £44,000. This one needed more work, but we spent £11k on doing it up (some internal structural changes) before refinancing again after 6 months and taking our money back.

 

Purchase Price : £44,000
Current Market Value : £75,000
Rent Currently Received : £5,040 pa

House 5 would have been an £80k house; we had an offer accepted, but pulled out because the deposit money was needed elsewhere.

Currently financing

We are currently financing a 3 bedroom cottage for our son who bought it for £55k in Durham (so jealous because we sourced it for him). This one was also an auction property and we paid £6k to remove it from auction. It had a sitting tenant, but the vendor evicted at our request. He’s spending about £35k on it (it needed new windows, lintels, bathroom and kitchen and he’s removed two chimney breasts). The real market value when finished will be circa £115,000, so a tasty profit. He’ll then remotgage and we’ll get our money back out for future investments.

 

The rental from houses 1,3 and 4 pay for themselves as well as the mortgage payment on our own house (house 2). After 3 house purchases the whole thing becomes a cash generator. 😎

For the future, we are looking out for further opportunites in the North East.

Any comments or questions are welcome. 👍🏻


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22 Blogs that will help you make money blogging

  1. Shoe Money shoemoney.com
  2. I help you blog ihelpyoublog.com
  3. John Chow johnchow.com
  4. Daily Blog Tips dailyblogtips.com
  5. Problogger.com problogger.com
  6. Lorelle on WordPress lorelle.wordpress.com
  7. Incomediary.com incomediary.com
  8. Performancing performancing.com
  9. Build a better Blog buildabetterblog.com
  10. Copy Blogger blogcatalog.com
  11. Blogtrepreneur blogtrepreneur.com
  12. Successful Blog successful-blog.com
  13. Blog About Your Blog blogaboutyourblog.com
  14. Entrepreneurs-Journey entrepreneurs-journey.com
  15. Quick Online Tips quickonlinetips.com
  16. Internet Marketing for Mommies internetmarketingformommies.com
  17. Chris Brogan chrisbrogan.com
  18. Lip-Sticking lipsticking.com
  19. Cafe Blogger cafeblogger.net
  20. Social Hallucinations socialhallucinations.com
  21. Carl Ocab carlocab.com
  22. Bash Bosh bashbosh.com

Acknowledgements to Get Rich Click/Marc Ostrofsky for the original list.


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How to supercharge your online footprint

If you have a business, you’ll recognise that in today’s trading environment you need a website. But having a website in itself isn’t enough. You also need to be found. Google has billions of pages which it ranks as it sees fit for content. It’s important to know where you are in the pecking order and how your ranking varies from month to month. Local search is also becoming more important as it’s the way people search for services and businesses. We have a suite of reports that will allow you to monitor your footprint and see how you’re doing. The initial report is free. I’ll also receive the initial report and will be able to advise what to do next based on the results.

Just fill in your name in the form below to get started.

Who doesn’t want more customers, right?

These are the things that affect your business visibility we can help with:

  • 1. Links and Website Authority
  • 2. Search Rankings
  • 3. Local Business Listings
  • 4. Reviews and Ratings
  • 5. Google My Business
  • 6. On-Site SEO
  • 7. Social Channels
  • 8. Appendix

See a Sample of a Full SEO Audit Report


 

“I would absolutely recommend this set of reports. They’ve been very flexible and tailored their services to our business processes and workflow.”

 

“If you want to save time and save money, and also need to get the right local results first time every time, then these reports must be part of your local SEO toolkit.”

 

“These tools really ROCK! When it comes to local SEO tools, they really know their stuff!”

1. Links and Website Authority
These are key SEO indicators that play a big part in how high your business ranks in search engine results.

2. Search Rankings
The positions (‘rankings’) that your website or business appears in for your important keywords in the 3 largest search engines (Google, Yahoo!, Bing) and within their local offerings (Google Maps, Yahoo! Local, Bing Local). You obviously want to appear as high up the search rankings as possible.

3. Local Business Listings
For local businesses, it’s critical that the address and contact information is correct and consistent across the web. This provides reliable information to Google about your business and also ensures that your customers can find you or contact you.

4. Reviews and Ratings
Having positive reviews significantly impacts your reputation: the better your reputation, the more customers you’re likely to win online.

5. Google My Business
GMB is Google’s local listing and search product which contains listings of local businesses, organisations and places. Listings from GMB appear in organic search results and Google maps results on both desktop and mobile devices. This is why GMB is a hugely powerful marketing opportunity for local businesses – getting your optimization correct here is critical to attracting new, local customers.

6. On-Site SEO
On-Site SEO factors are elements of your website, either visible on the page or in the code of your website (which you can’t see, but search engines can), which affect the site’s search rankings. It’s easier to improve SEO factors on your own site because you have control over it.

7. Social Channels
It’s important to ‘socialise’ your business so that your customers can share their experiences with their friends and turn them into new customers. It’s also useful to use social media channels like Facebook to accrue reviews of your local business.

8. Appendix
Page by page, errors, slow page load times, sparse content pages, broken links, missing alt tags, word count and many other parameters will affect your ranking.


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5 Must Read Books To Start Earning Passive Income | Dave O’Hara

Getting yourself out of the rat race and earning passive income through various investment channels is a dream of many. It is also a good side income to look forward to every month. This article will suggest good books to equip you the reader with relevant knowledge to get started on your passive income journey. Read on to find out how to make money work for you while you sleep!

1. “Four Hour Work Week” by Timothy Ferriss

Highly regarded, what this book lays out may seem a tad unachievable and overly ambitious. However, exposing yourself to such ideals can provide perspective on what to work towards. Look forward to learning about Parkinson’s Law, the importance of outsourcing work, investing in the right people, finding a niche that you love and is in demand, as well as what goes behind a seemingly ‘effortless’ income stream. Behind the successful façade lies a lot of sleepless nights producing blueprints, developing your system, analyzing the business environment and more. This book is sure to motivate you to start working hard now in order to reap the rewards in due course.

2. “Virtual Freedom: How to Work with Virtual Staff to Buy More Time, Become More Productive, and Build Your Dream Business” by Chris Ducker

Often times, our attention is drawn towards new and brilliant business ideas. However, even unexciting business solutions can be profitable if executed well. As such, the team running a company can directly determine how successful the business will be. This book addresses just that by focusing on how to spend resources on building and improving a virtual team. If you need tangible examples and applications for business strategies, look no further. With a virtual support team, you can channel your energy on high level tasks. You can also be assured that your company will function 24/7 at a relatively low cost. Automation as a secret to a successful venture is made understandable through this read.

3. “Invisible Selling Machine” by Ryan Deiss

E-mail marketing takes the spot light in this book. A comprehensive read, Invisible Selling Machine provides you with a step-by-step guide for you to get started quickly. Doing your business right from the very beginning can build a solid foundation that will prove to be handy in future. Topics covered are not limited to consumer engagement, valuable content creation, reputation, buyer segmentation, consumer re-engagement and more.

For those with shorter attention span, you will be relieved to know that this is a short read with a great mix of stories, information and case studies to keep you going for more. Regardless of which stage you are at in your business, and regardless of your focus being e-mails, landing page or auto-responders, this book will prove to be helpful in improving your business to better your passive income stream. Having basic computer knowledge will also allow you to make full use of the content.

4. “KaChing: How to Run an Online Business that Pays and Pays” by Joel Comm

The catchy title has an equally catchy content. KaChing: How to Run an Online Business that Pays and Pays is a beginner’s guide to starting your own online business through a blog. If you prefer to feel as though you are speaking to the writer directly, this book is perfect for you. Hear him narrate and motivate through personal experience and learn about pitfalls to avoid, and how to translate your idea into an actual product. Business opportunities, uniqueness of product, content monetization, knowledge selling, affiliate programmes, membership sites, coaching and more are just some of the new media marketing tactics explored in this book.

 

5. “The Power of Passive Investing: More Wealth with Less Work” by Richard A. Ferri

Instead of actively picking stocks, Ferri proposes low cost index funds and exchange-traded funds (ETFs) as easy and accessible alternatives to allocate funds to stocks, bonds, and other asset classes. By providing exposure to selected broad markets, you reduce the risk of loss from individual securities.

This book is not just for investors, but also for brokers, consultants, people from trust departments, people overseeing endowments and pension funds as well as investment advisors. If you are confident of making passive income a full-time endeavor in the comfort of your home, give this book a read.

If you would like to know how to select and create a portfolio using low-cost index funds and ETFs, you can read his co-authored book, “The Bogleheads’ Guide to Retirement Planning“.

At the end of the day, passive investment is not the same as easy or mindless investment. While you play a less active role, there is still a need to research extensively and to monitor the market. The effort that goes behind the sustainable and income stream should not be forgotten.


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Being Buzz Lightyear

For about 3 years before I finished, I cycled to work. I decided that it was going to be good for my health. I bought myself a bike and chugged the six miles there and back every day; about 30 minutes each way. It was good to get out in the fresh air, although it was restricted to British Summer Time. I didn’t like cycling in the dark. Most of the trip was on cycle paths and there was only about 3/4 mile where I was on open road, so pretty safe. One night, back in my home town and about 200 yards from home, I was knocked off my bike and hit the road hard. I wasn’t going very fast, but it hurt a lot. The guy who knocked me off turned out to be a neighbour, living about 6 doors up from me. I picked myself up and pushed my bike home. The chain had come off and the handlebars were twisted. I was ok, just a bit shaken up. Nothing broken. A beer fixed it.

Turning into Buzz Lightyear

A few years later I noticed that the body had started getting really stiff around the torso. I was struggling to do simple things like tying my shoelaces and putting my socks on. I couldn’t bend down without a lot of discomfort. My partner started jokingly calling me Buzz Lightyear – when I twisted to either side, my upper body moved as a solid unit, without bending, as if made of rigid plastic like Buzz. I learned to compensate and just put it out of my mind (most of the time).

When we started investing in property, we did a lot of the renovation work ourselves. This was mainly painting and stripping wallpaper, that sort of thing. A bit of woodwork now and again. It was hard work, but I thought it was good exercise. However, I was finding my recovery time was getting longer and longer, often 3-4 days after a DIY session. I just seemed to seize up a bit more each time. One day, after a full day of painting, I started feeling a pretty intense ache in my right side. The ache turned to a pain and soon I found myself totally incapacitated with a back spasm. I couldn’t stand, sit down or even move. I needed help to get into the car and every bump and pothole on the way home sent electric shocks through my body. It was agony. The spasm only loosened after being 2 hours horizontal. Once the renovation was over, it didn’t happen again at that intensity. I’d just have to watch what I was doing.

A year later and i’m now finding the feeling brought on by heavy DIY was creeping into everyday life. Just standing up from a seat or adjusting my position in bed could end in a mini back spasm. Nothing like as bad, but it was coming. My flexibility was worse and I was feeling really miserable about it. Every time I was touched unexpectedly, brushed past something or made to jump I got pain. Even sneezing caused that electric shock spasm. It felt like the bones in my body were fusing together. I had to do something about it, but what? A few years ago i’d been to my GP who sent me for an X-Ray, which revealed degenerative damage to my neck and lower back. Great! But no solution.

Mrs dkohara.com who also suffers from back problems, saw an advert for an Osteopathic Clinic on Groupon and bought a session. This was up in Gosforth. It is called the Shield Clinic. She was examined and some tests run. The scans they run measure the electrical activity in the muscles around the spine, these being stimulated by the 32 pair of nerves branching from the spinal cord, connecting to the brain. These revealed a problem at the base of her spine. The readings were off-scale black in this area. She’d been complaining of her lower back for a few years and this confirmed that the nerves were sparking, over stimulating surrounding muscles. The rest of her back was ok. She started having weekly osteopathy sessions with ice pack applications. This has started to work and she got instant relief. I had to try this.

Today (March 31st) I went for my scan. I was a bit apprehensive about it, but wanted to find out why i felt so crap. The Surface EMG scan was off-scale black all the way from the base of my neck down to the base of my spine! No wonder I was having trouble! It explained my spasms and being Buzz Lightyear. I’m about to start my own remedial journey to try to fix me. This might take 6 months of weekly sessions at least.

Wish me luck. 😉

On the upside – Dave has been slightly downsized again


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If you still can’t figure out what the heck a bitcoin is …

bitcoin apple

an apple

…this simple explanation for a five-year-old may help you …

We’re sitting on a park bench (nothing to do with Jethro Tull).  It’s a great day. I have one apple with me, I give it to you.

You now have one apple and I have zero. That was simple, right?

Let’s look closely at what happened:

My apple was physically put into your hand. You know it happened. I was there, you were there – you touched it.

We didn’t need a third person there to help us make the transfer. We didn’t need to pull in Uncle Tommy (who’s a famous judge) to sit with us on the bench and confirm that the apple went from me to you.

The apple’s yours! I can’t give you another apple because I don’t have any left. I can’t control it anymore. The apple left my possession completely. You have full control over that apple now. You can give it to your friend if you want, and then that friend can give it to his friend, and so on.

So that’s what an in-person exchange looks like. I guess it’s really the same, whether I’m giving you a banana, a book, a quarter, or a dollar bill …

But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Back to apples!

bitcoin pixelated apple

a digital apple

Now, let’s say I have one digital apple. Here, I’ll give you my digital apple. Ah! Now it gets interesting.

How do you know that digital apple which used to be mine, is now yours, and only yours? Think about it for a second. It’s more complicated, right? How do you know that I didn’t send that apple to Uncle Tommy as an email attachment first? Or your friend Joe? Or my friend Lisa too?

Maybe I made a couple of copies of that digital apple on my computer. Maybe I put it up on the internet and one million people downloaded it.

As you see, this digital exchange is a bit of a problem. Sending digital apples doesn’t look like sending physical apples.

Some brainy computer scientists actually have a name for this problem: it’s called the double-spending problem. But don’t worry about it. All you need to know is that it’s confused them for quite some time and they’ve never solved it. Until now.

But let’s try to think of a solution on our own.

Ledgers

bitcoin ledger

a ledger

Maybe these digital apples need to be tracked in a ledger. It’s basically a book where you track all transactions  –  an accounting book.

This ledger, since it’s digital, needs to live in its own world and have someone in charge of it.

Just like World of Warcraft, say. Blizzard, the guys who created the online game, have a “digital ledger” of all the rare flaming fire swords that exist in their system. So, cool, someone like them could keep track of our digital apples. Awesome  –  we solved it!

Problems

There’s a bit of a problem though:

1) What if some guy over at Blizzard created more? He could just add a couple of digital apples to his balance whenever he wants!

2) It’s not the same as when we were on the bench that day. It was just you and me then. Going through Blizzard is like pulling in Uncle Tommy (a third-party) out of court (did I mention he’s a famous judge?) for all our park bench transactions. How can I just hand over my digital apple to you in the usual way?

Is there any way to closely replicate our park bench transaction digitally? Seems kinda tough …

The Solution

Ledger

bitcoin network

a network of ledgers

What if we gave this ledger  to everybody? Instead of the ledger living on a Blizzard computer, it’ll live in everybody’s computers. All the transactions that have ever happened, from all time, in digital apples, will be recorded in it.

You can’t cheat it. I can’t send you digital apples I don’t have, because then it wouldn’t sync up with everybody else in the system. It’d be a tough system to beat. Especially if it got really big.

Plus, it’s not controlled by one person, so I know there’s no one that can just decide to give himself more digital apples. The rules of the system were already defined at the beginning.

And the code and rules are open source – kinda like the software used in your mom’s Android phone. Or kinda like Wikipedia. It’s there for smart people to maintain, secure, improve, and check.

You could participate in this network too – updating the ledger and making sure it all checks out. For the trouble, you could get like 25 digital apples as a reward. In fact, that’s the only way to create more digital apples in the system.

I simplified quite a bit … But that system I explained exists. It’s called the Bitcoin protocol. And those digital apples are the bitcoins within the system. Fancy! So, did you see what happened?

What does the public ledger enable?

1) It’s open source, remember? The total number of apples was defined in the public ledger at the beginning. I know the exact amount that exists. Within the system, I know they are limited (scarce).

2) When I make an exchange I now know that digital apple certifiably left my possession and is now completely yours. I used to not be able to say that about digital things. It will be updated and verified by the public ledger.

3) Because it’s a public ledger, I didn’t need Uncle Tommy (third-party) to make sure I didn’t cheat, or make extra copies for myself, or send apples twice, or thrice…

Within the system, the exchange of a digital apple is now just like the exchange of a physical one. It’s now as good as seeing a physical apple leave my hand and drop into your pocket. Just like on the park bench, the exchange involved two people only. You and me , we didn’t need Uncle Tommy there to make it valid.

In other words, it behaves like a physical object.

But you know what’s cool? It’s still digital.

We can now deal with 1,000 apples, or 1 million apples, or even .0000001 apples. I can send it with a click of a button, and I can still drop it in your digital pocket if I was in Nicaragua and you were all the way in New York.

I can even make other digital things ride on top of these digital apples! It’s digital after all. Maybe I can attach some text on it - a digital note. Or maybe I can attach more important things; like say a contract, or a stock certificate, or an ID card …

So this is great! How should we treat or value these “digital apples”? They’re quite useful aren’t they?

Well, a lot of people are arguing over it now. There’s debate between this and that economic school, between politicians, between programmers. Don’t listen to all of them though. Some people are smart; some are misinformed. Some say the system is worth a lot; some say it’s actually worth zero. Some guy actually put a hard number on it: $1,300 per apple. Some say it’s digital gold; some say it’s a currency. Others say they’re just like tulips. Some people say it’ll change the world; some say it’s just a fad.

I have my own opinion about it, but that’s a story for another time.

Hey kid, you now know more about Bitcoin than most.

Originally posted on Medium

Go to Bitcoin University



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Durham City developments and the small trader | Dave O’Hara

Durham City seems to have been a building site for a long time now. The building of the two roundabouts at Leazes Bowl and Gilesgate took an age to complete, disrupting traffic and visitors alike. Then there were the repairs to Millburngate Bridge, and further digging up of Nevilles Cross. Now we have the changes in the City centre. New student accommodation is being built in Claypath, the Old Hospital on North Road and at Neville’s Cross. The old Passport Office demolition and the remodelling of the Millburngate shopping centre mean that the West side of the river will change beyond recognition in the next couple of years.

New millburngate development in Durham photo

There will also be a lot of new outlets, with a ton of money thrown in their direction. Footfall will be drawn to this side of the city. This will put the smaller traders in a very vulnerable position as business is in danger of being sucked away by the shiny new shops and outlets. Some say that the new developments will increase footfall elsewhere, but I’m not convinced.

Big Retailers Lost

We’ve already lost several businesses from Silver Street alone. The Post Office, Marks and Spencer, Krispy Kreme, Pret a Manger, Greenwoods and Cafe Rouge have all moved on from that one street (prime spots) in the last few months. Some big names there!  We all know about the BHS debacle and closure. Their old store stood empty for a long long time. New Look and Next are under pressure and Sweet Tooth Delivery seem to have abandoned their kiosk. There’s also a rumour that Boots will vacate their store in the Market Place. This is all in the space of a few weeks. What is going on?

It therefore becomes even more important for businesses to get their online representation sorted out, to maximise their exposure and give themselves the best chance of staying with us in Durham.


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I’ve always been extremely loyal to the town I live in and will support it and promote it as much as I can. The Council can be extremely biased when promoting Durham. It tends towards promoting the companies that either pay it directly, or it will benefit from. Walking around the streets reveals the places that the Council will neglect, that i’d love to start helping. As everything is online these days, futures, reputations and profits can rest on what the World sees when it looks for businesses online (if your website is found at all).

So, i’m offering to help local small businesses to maximise their online position by auditing their whole online presence, including search engine position, competitors position, your reviews, reputation and citations. It’ll show you just how well (or badly) your business is represented on the web.

Head on over to the SEO Reports page now to run a free report to see how your business is doing. You’ll then be in a position to do something about it.


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Active versus Passive Income | Dave O’Hara

 

scientists lab coat graphicI’m a Scientist!

I started work in 1979 as a lab technician with BIP (British Industrial Plastics, a monicker that is long gone). They kitted me out in a white lab coat and I got to call myself a scientist. That was pretty cool in those days. Being a lab technician was a bit like being a bakery worker. The principles of baking and making pvc are very similar, involving the mixing of ingredients in strict, controlled quantities. Believe it or not, Baking Soda is also used in PVC, but that’s another story!

Active Income

I was only 19 when I started work and there was no problem with the physical side of the job. We were all full of vim and vigour back then. It was hard work at times, lumping 25kg bags about, but when I got my pay packet it was all worth it. I got only £60 a week in those days, but beer was only about 35p a pint back then, so that was ok. I was no different from most people in the uk. We did 38 hrs a week and were paid a fixed rate per hour. We were earning ‘active’ income.

Some years later, as I became interested in the Internet and people were making obscene sums of money in the tech bubble, I came across the concept of ‘passive income’. Unlike my days as a lab technician where I was paid once and if I wanted another week’s wage i’d have to turn up for work for another 38 hours, this seemed unbelievable. Passive income means working only once, but getting paid for it over and over. “Surely that’s the future of work!”, I thought. That’s the way that entrepreneurs do it. I wanted to be an entrepreneur.

Google Adsense

Whilst still making plastic, i started investigating websites and monetizing them with Google Adsense advertising. Back in the day, Adsense became a good earner for me, around £4k in fact, back in 2006. It was true Passive Income. But, it became more difficult as Google changed it’s algorithms to weed out what they regarded as spammy websites. Unintentionally, it affected all website owners. Websites completely disappeared from Google overnight. Incomes were slashed. Reward became too low for the effort involved. I was back to Active Income for a while longer. Since then, i’ve dabbled with building websites for people, and still have active clients who pay me, but it was still ‘Active’ (except those paying hosting fees, who are ‘Passive’).

Zoom forward to 2014 when I rented out my house to move to Durham. I became an accidental landlord. But without really thinking about it, i’d started earning true Passive Income. The rent basically pays the mortgage. That’s when the penny dropped. We could earn passive income from property! But I didn’t really want to be a proper landlord and didn’t have money for the deposits anyway.

Passive Income

passive income graphic

Suddenly and out of the blue, I was made redundant in 2016. This meant I got a payment which after considering options we invested in more property and last year it started to generate ££££ in passive income through rent. This means we now have multiple properties and all our mortgages are paid for from their Passive Income. The house we live in is paid for by two of the others. How good is that ??????

Passive Income is truly what will set us free. The next stage is to find more quality properties to invest in. This time, we’ll be targetting other strategies to maximise the income.


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Downsize Dave Diet Update No. 1

Stepped onto the glorious scales this morning, 6 days in, to reveal 198.3lbs. That’s a great start, nearly 3lbs off in those 6 days. Wow! Out for a meal tonight though at a local Italian eatery. The plan is for steak and veggies to keep the discipline.

Samuel Leeds Property Crash Course Review | Dave O’Hara

If you’ve been following me since I jacked in the day job you’ll know that I’ve been hanging my hat on property as a sure-fire way of trumping the banks for making an income.

samuel leeds pictureOne thing you can never do too much of is research. The interweb is a dream for this, but sometimes it’s difficult to see the wood from the trees. Of course we watch all the property programmes on the telly as well, but realise they paint a rosy and very simplistic picture of what it takes to buy a house and make it work for you business-wise. There was a programme on last year where landlords and tenants would swap places, finding out what it was really like to live in the properties they were renting out.

Samuel Leeds

One of the landlords appearing on the programme was a guy called Samuel Leeds. He was a really humble guy and did his very best on the programme to help out his tenant, a lady who was worried about being evicted because she was struggling a bit. It turned out when he visited that she had a big hole in her roof, but didn’t report it because she thought he would put her rent up! I was impressed with the sympathetic way he treated her. In the end she had to leave for another reason, but only after Samuel bent over backwards to try to help her.

He turned up later in a Google search when we started looking for authorities on the subject of buying property. We recognised him from the programme and found out he had a good samuel leeds and sir richard branson picturebusiness going, mentoring and teaching other people how to make a living from property. He’s a Property multi-millionaire in fact, at less than half my age! Samuel Leeds rubs shoulders with the likes of Sir Alan Sugar, Sir Richard Branson and Arnold Schwarzenegger. He’s a little bit ‘evangelical’ at times in his presentation, not surprising considering he started as a church person, but his huge enthusiasm comes through loud and clear and he clearly knows his stuff. He’s also very ethical; ten per cent of his business profits go to charity.

Samuel has an excellent book published ‘Buy Low Rent High’, in which he outlines his strategy for property investment.

So, we’re booked on a two day property crash course with him in February in Salford, Manchester to educate ourselves further about property investment.


Samuel Leeds on Twitter

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Downsize Dave (again)

Too big for my shirts

Once again I find myself looking down and not liking what I see. My T-Shirt sizes have grown from Medium as a man in my 20’s to a portly XL now. This means i’m now about a couple of clem (2 stones) overweight. I actually weigh in at 201.1 lbs, which reveals that i’m actually quite short for my weight. An alternative view is i’ve become a bit of a porker!

plates of food with excess portions

Too much food!

Now, I must admit, I like my food. I’ll eat pretty much anything. Unfortunately i’ve found myself troughing increasing quantities of ‘anything’ (except Beetroot and Avocado, which I hate with a passion). Increasing portion sizes are the ruin of my waistline. I imagine i’m no different to millions of others who are wobbling their way around their daily lives, bloated and at risk of developing that horrible disease Diabetes. Something has to be done and done immediately.

Also like millions of others, i’ve tried tons of diets. None of them really work because they deny the foods we love and force us to scoff rabbit food and tofu. Not nice. I like chocolate and sweet things. So, to cut a long story short I need something that’ll make me feel like i’m not on a diet at all.

Don’t want Diabetes thanks!

I’ve been scaring myself witless by reading about Diabetes. I know people who have it and also folks who’ve pegged it due to complications derived from it. There are horror stories about people having legs sawn off and failing organs, all because they basically liked their food too much and over ate. I don’t want to be one of them. However, i’m starting to notice one or two early symptoms that lead me to take serious action now.

I’ve started on the Slimfast 3-2-1 program which fits in with my lifestyle. I don’t need to cook much, just drink shakes, eat choc bars and have snacks a couple of times a day. It also allows me a 700 calorie meal each day too. It should be easier to stick to. I’ll report back as I go, but I hope to have lost half of the excess in a couple of months. Let’s see how I go.

Current weight plot


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Exacta Weather Rubbish | Dave O’Hara

So you think you can forecast the weather?

Over the years of weather watching, it’s become apparent that there a lot of folks out there who’ve taken a stab at forecasting. One of the first who came onto the scene was Bill Foggitt, a local (farmer?) from North Yorkshire who made his forecasts by watching nature and writing a little column for a local newspaper. He didn’t try to make any money from it and just enjoyed talking weather with people. He was a local character. Everyone loved Bill.

Since the internet came along, weather forecasting has exploded. There’s a plethora of info out there for people to reference. As usual, there’s people who reckon they can make money out of it. Some of these people are really good and knowledgeable, but for every few that are, there’s the usual crop of charlatans who claim they can forecast better than the Met Office by using nothing other than an old sock and a laptop. They claim that their system (unpublished and unvetted) is superior in every way and can see waaaaay into the future. They also claim nearly 100% accuracy.


This guy can’t!

 

James Mad’un

One of these individuals is running a ‘business’ called Exacta Weather (i’m not giving him a link in a million years). He started up in 2010 when he luckily predicted the winter to be cold. He saw an opportunity to make money and has issued ‘forecasts’ ever since, charging ridiculous amounts of money for those gullible enough to stump up the cash for his vague tosh. He’s never predicted anything correctly since then. Whatever Exacta Weather predicts, the real weather does exactly the opposite.

The company (not registered at Companies House, so he’s a sole-trader) is run by a deluded guy called James Madden. The way he writes his forecasts, he tries to give the impression that he is an expert and has a team of devoted meteorologists working for his company, but in fact he is a one man band operating from a poky flat in Lancaster. That is his first deception. He has no meteorological qualifications whatsoever. He sends out spam emails by using disposable email addresses and sends his lies to all the papers like the Daily Express, where his ‘partner in crime’ is a guy called Nathan Rao. Between them they are responsible for 95% of the crap weather stories that appear in the media. None of the stories are remotely true or based on real science, they are just bulls**t generated to sell papers. The tabloids lap it up. It’s the ‘worst winter for 100 years’ every year according to them. The Met Office get the blame when they are wrong. It was the Weather Forecasters who ‘don’t have a clue’ and ‘can’t forecast for tomorrow’, let alone 5 days ahead. No-one noticed the original forecast didn’t come from the Met Office, but from James Madden or the other guy whose name must also be mentioned, Piers Corbyn (yes, he is the brother of Labour leader Jeremy and equally as potty).

Fiddling the figures

What usually happens then is the weather doesn’t ‘conform’ to his forecast, Madden then tries to claim he was right by verifying his own forecast of, for example ‘widespread snow’ against a dusting on top of the Cairngorms. He is so inept that the product he used to sell for ££££’s after his lucky break in 2010 can now be seen hawked for a few pence on his website. He is a complete charlatan and liar who makes money out of scaring old ladies they are going to freeze to death every winter.

Please don’t believe anything James Madden/Exacta Weather say. He is a liar and a cheat. His forecasts are total fiction, have no basis in the science of Meteorology and don’t stand up to scrutiny. He couldn’t forecast darkness at night time. 😉


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Review : Netatmo Weather Station

Since 1975 i’ve had a weather station in some shape or form (more or less). I started out with a home made screen consisting of a thermometer and a baked bean tin, opened out and painted white to form a screen, nailed to a fencepost in the garden. I became totally obsessed with that, recording 4 times a day. This was a manual thing in those days, so I had to go out in all weathers to keep it up. However it came with me through some monumental and historic weather, namely the hot summers of 1975 and 1976, the freezing cold winters of 1978-79 and 1981-82, before I moved house.


I didn’t manage to get another one together until I was married, in a different part of town (Ferryhill). This was a little digital unit with a separate rain gauge. It lasted a couple of years, but the only really notable weather it captured was the snow of February 1991.

By 1997 I’d gathered together enough cash to buy a Davis Weather Station. This was very expensive for me, but it attached to my computer and I could read the weather without going outside. It was all cabled together though and looked a bit unsightly. I ran this until about 2011, culminating in the phenomenal December of 2010. Then it died.

After moving to our Durham house, we had a garden back (although it was a total tip until last year). Making the garden good again, I began to appreciate it’s microclimate and wanted to get a station going again. These days, wireless kit has become commonplace and now interfaces easily with smart phones and tablets. One of the most difficult things about the Davis was getting it to run on a Mac. I needed the new station to run with Apple’s hardware, so I ended up picking Netatmo, a French Company.

Netatmo Weather Station picture

Netatmo Weather Station

The Netatmo station comes very well packaged, direct from France. Unpacking it reveals two sleek aluminium tubes – the larger one being the base station sensor that sits indoors, and a second smaller tube that’s designed to sit outside. Documentation is minimal, but points you to downloading an app to your phone to facilitate the installation. The first thing to do is get the base station talking to your wifi. The base station is mains powered and once that is plugged in the app leads you through the configuration of adding the second sensor. Pretty easy stuff.

Next thing is siting the two items. I chose to sit the base station in the corner of the living room, behind the TV. The base station monitors indoor temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, ambient noise and carbon dioxide.

Next, the outside sensor. This measures outside temperature and humidity. It also allows Dew Point to be derived. The small external sensor runs from two AA batteries which need to be installed when pairing with the base station. It comes with a mounting strap with velcro attachment, designed to secure it around a drainpipe or post. It also comes with a slot at the back of the aluminium casing by which you can attach it to a wall with a screw. This was my chosen route and I put it on the north facing wall of my shed (the only place in the garden not to receive direct sunlight. I had read online that the sensor needed sheltering from direct rain, as it would mean the humidity readings would stay high until the sensor dried out. For that reason I installed a little pelmet above it, made from PVC tongue and groove cladding, to protect it from the rain.

I also purchased the Netatmo rain gauge, but unfortunately forget to get a mounting bracket (sold separately) so I couldn’t set this up straight away. The rain gauge is very sleek and has a broad, transparent plastic funnel top and a black cylinder below housing the tipping bucket rain detector. Each tip is calibrated at 0.1mm of rain, so it’s quite high resolution. There’s a screw hole in the base for attachment to the bracket, which I secured to a fence post with three screws. It’s important that the top of the gauge is perfectly level to make sure the ‘tip’ works properly, so I set it up with a spirit level to make sure.

As can be seen, the data on the station can be shown via a Widget (actually from a 3rd party Netatmo site) and Netatmo also operate their own Network where other station owner’s data can be seen on a map. This is useful for local comparisons and it’s easy to see when a station is incorrectly sited. The third party sites can also enable much more extensive analysis than the Netatmo one and it’s possible to set up a weather station page to display current readings


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