Monday, July 13, 2015

Buying a Website

About a month and a half ago I purchased a website.

I didn’t even realize that you could buy a website until the beginning of this year. I found out about it from a interview on a podcast by SmartPassiveIncome.com. Pat Flynn interviewed Justin from EmpireFlipper.com.

The idea intrigued me, but was not something I was planning on doing for a while. Let’s be honest, I hardly have any experience with websites. This blog is run by a free Blogspot account by google. Yes, I have a little bit of experience…but not much. I’ve had this blog for about 3 years and have been able to monetize it a little (although, that has never been the goal of this blog). But, recently I decided to take a risk and purchase a website.

Here’s my experience purchasing a website



So I had been keeping an eye on the available websites every once in a while and just recently I decided to take the plunge…and I bought my first website. Definitely a nerve-racking experience. What if it goes bust?...it definitely could). What if there are problems that I don’t know how to fix with my limited website knowledge?

Here are some of the potential problems that I thought of:

  • ·      Is the site a legitimate site?
  • ·      Is the current traffic and revenue verifiable?
  • ·      Is the revenue/traffic a temporary thing that will soon decrease?
  • ·      Will running the website require too much time?
  • ·      Will running the website require too much knowledge or expertise that I don’t have?


Criteria I set for my purchase:

  •        Be able to afford the possibility of losing all the money. Yes, it would devastate me if the website was not profitable or if somehow I got scammed, but I understood that was a slight possibility. I was not using money that I absolutely need. i.e. I wasn’t using emergency savings.
  •       Website be at least 6 months old, preferable at least 1 year. I figured the longer the website has been around, the more stable it will be.
  •        Some organic traffic. I wasn’t too comfortable with traffic from paid advertisement. 
  •       No more than 1 hour/per week required to operate the website. Ideally, I wanted a site that was basically on autopilot. I would be okay wilh a little bit of time required to maintain the current levels of income. I know this is possible, because my blog doesn’t really require any time to maintain current revenue (if I stopped blogging, my blog would still continue to make the same amount of money).
  •       Purchase the site from a genuine person.  This is hard to really know for sure, but I wanted to be able to talk to the seller and get a feel for why he was selling and who he/she was. I wrote down a list of questions and went over them when I Skyped with him.
  •       Purchase a website that was no more than $15,000. For me, this is actually a lot of money, but there are many sites that sell for much more. If things go really well after my first purchase and if I have some more available capital, I might consider a larger purchase down the road.

  •       New listing. I did not want to purchase a website that had been listed for more than a week. My thought process was that if it wasn’t sold by now, it must not be that attractive of a website. 


When I was looking at the list of websites available on EmpireFlipper.com, I found a site that matched my criteria. I decided to pursue it further. I made my initial refundable deposit that gave me access to more information about the website and I was allowed to set up a Skype call with the seller to ask him more questions. I was the 5th person to put a deposit on the website so I knew others were interested.  You can actually make an offer to purchase the website that is less than what is being asked, but the 1st person that made a deposit on the site will have the opportunity to better your offer. If you offer the full asking price, you will get the website. I offered the full asking price because I was worried someone else would get it before me. In hindsight, maybe it would have been wise to try offering a lower price. Who knows though.

After I interviewed the seller I felt good about making the purchase and went forward with it. EmpireFlipper support mediated the transaction and transfer of the website. It took about 1 week for the complete transfer.

One nice thing about the sale, was after the website transfer is completed you can verify the traffic and revenue that is now under your name. EmpireFlipper asked me to verify this. I think if the traffic or revenue was not as expected, EmpireFlipper would not release the funds to the seller until it was. Thankfully, the revenue and traffic was as expected. Although, it is important to note that if things go wrong with the website going forward, I would have full responsibility.

Here is a run down of the website:


  •       Average monthly revenue over the last 3 months: $650
  •       Average monthly expenses over the last 3 months: $50
  •       Average monthly net profit over the last 3 months: $600
  •       When was site created: 2012
  •       Monthly Traffic: 6,000
  •       Revenue Sources: Affiliate marketing and Adsense


Basically the site makes most of its revenue from generating leads from people wanting to purchase forklifts. I get paid $23 for every person that fills out a form on the website (feel free to visit and fill out the formJ). It also makes a small amount from Adsense ads. 

My hope is that it will continue to make $400-$600 per month and have my initial investment of $12,000 paid for in 2-3 years. If it takes 3-4 years to do this, I would still be okay with that.

I also don’t plan on making any changes to the site. It doesn’t really have that great of an appearance, but I feel that if it’s working okay right now, why change it? Sometimes trying to change something that is working only makes problems. It shouldn’t really take any time for me to run and is basically on autopilot.


Am I crazy to purchase a random website? Have any of you ever done something like this? What are some nerve-racking investments you have made?



Monday, May 4, 2015

Selling My First Home

Yes, I suppose I'm stingy. I like to get the best deals on everything. Perhaps it's a little unhealthy. I feel sorry for my wife who has to deal with me! Recently, we sold our house and I was equally anxious to get a good deal on the sale of our home as I am with my other financial transactions. Here is my experience for your enjoyment...




We had been getting some interest in our home from friends-of-our-friends, so we (my wife and I) thought we would try to sell our home "For Sale By Owner" to avoid having to pay those expensive realtor commissions. Commissions typically run 6% of the sales price (3% for buyer's agent plus 3% for the listing/sellers agent). The commissions are almost always paid for by the seller.  If we sold our house for 180k then that would be a commission of $10,800. That's not small, and many homes are sold for much higher and therefore those commission numbers go even higher up. 

We thought we would try saving ourselves some money and our future buyers some money by listing it without any agents at a slightly lower price then market value. 


Here are the steps I took to sell my home:

Step #1: Determine the value of your home. 

This may be the most important step. 

You can do this in a couple of different ways. You can get an appraisal for $200-$400 that will give you an idea of what your home is worth. The nice thing about doing this is that it will include upgrades your home might have. The other nice thing about this is that you can use this appraisal to validate your pricing for your potential buyers (and it will give you confidence in your asking price). 

However, in the end, it may not matter what the appraisal says. What matters most is what the current real estate market is saying. So the preferred way of determining your home value is by getting a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA)

You can research this yourself by looking up comparable homes near you and seeing what similar homes have sold for and what the asking price is of similar homes currently on the market are. You can use websites like Zillow.com and Realtor.com to find out some of this information. 

The more accurate way of getting a CMA is to have a real estate agent do one for you. They have access to more accurate and up-to-date information than what you have access to. Almost all agents will do this for you for free. Just google "Free CMA in....(your area)" and you'll probably come across some websites that will get you started or contact an agent to get one done for you. It would be a good idea to get 2-4 CMA's from different people to make sure they are accurate. 

Now when you request a CMA from an agent they will most likely want your business. Don't feel pressured into that if you don't want their business. You can be up front with them and say that you are shopping around and trying to figure out the market value of your home. They are happy to help you out. 

Another, important step in determining what your asking price is, is assessing what the market is like. Is it a sellers market? If so, you might ask for a higher price. Is it a buyers market? If so, you might want to price it a little lower. 

How quickly you want to sell it is also important. If you need to sell the home ASAP, then you might want to price it a little lower. If you have more time, then you can price it more aggressively. It is important to try and price your home right, cause you don't really want it sitting on the market for long periods of time. That usually doesn't look good to potential buyers. 

What did I price my home?

In Phoenix its a sellers market right now. Homes are selling fast. I got a few CMA's that were showing a price around $175k. I decided to list my home on my own (zillow, craigslist, facebook) and I set an asking price of $179,500. I priced it thinking I wouldn't get that price after negotiations and counter offers were made. I would recommend having an asking price slightly higher than the CMA price...unless it is really hard to sell a home in your areas.

For 2 days, the only response I was getting was from real estate agents looking to get my business. One person, left a message with me saying she would list my home, handle all the paper work, and represent me for only 0.5% commission and list the home on MLS with a buyers commission of 2.5%. I thought this was too good to be true. If I sold my house on my own, I was planning on getting a real estate lawyer to help me process all the paper work. Having her (Karyn) would eliminate that need and the commission was so low. 

I went for it! Here is her website: www.adoreaz.com

The only stipulation for having such a low 0.5% commission was that we would take our own pictures of the house, we would be the point of contact when people called to see our home, and we would schedule those visits to see our home....Not a big deal at all for us and actually it was kind of fun to see everyone come look at our house. 

Step #2 - List your home on MLS

I found that this is very important. You have to expose your home to as many potential buyers as possible. The downside to this is that you will have to pay a buyers commission of 2-3%. I think you can set what the commission is. If the commission is too low, you might not get as many agents wanting to show your home. If you can sell your home directly to someone, that's awesome. However, I found that to get a really good amount of exposure, you need to have an MLS listing. You can do this on your own if you are "For Sale By Owner" (it will cost $300-$500) to do this. Otherwise, your listing agent will do this for you (no extra fees of course)...in my case it was the above mentioned Karyn.  

Step #3 - Show your home

Right when I listed my home on MLS, we got calls and scheduled appointments to see our home. In 3 days, we had about 15 people come look at our house and 2 offers. The better offer was for 174k, cash offer, and they were not asking for any closing costs. We decided to counter with a price of 177k and they accepted!

Looking back, we probably could have keep showing the home to more people and waited for more offers to get a little higher price. But in the end we were really happy about the price and how easy it was to sell. 

Step #4 - Paper work, inspection, Appraisal

Your agent will help you with all the paper work and signing. The buyers will have a certain amount of time to do an inspection and an appraisal if needed. You don't have to pay for any of this and will get a copy of the inspection and appraisal. An appraisal wasn't done in my case because it was going to be paid with cash and no lender was involved that would require one. 

The inspection came back with several things that could be fixed (there will almost always be something unless it's a brand new home). The buyers requested about six items be fixed before purchase. We responded saying we were not going to fix anything. They responded back saying they wanted $2000 off the home if nothing was going to be fixed or they would not purchase the home (they could have been bluffing). We responded back with taking $1000 off the home price and they accepted that. 

So there you have it. The final selling price was $176k. 

Total selling fees we had to pay:

-Commissions (0.5% and 2.5%):                          $5,280
-Title Insurance (seller is required to pay this):    $1,096
-Escrow fees:                                                         $504

Total:                                                                     $6,880

Note: I did not include prorated taxes, interest, etc. because these are things I would have had to pay for whether I sold my home or not. 

I included a screen shot of the "Final Settlement Statement" if you wanted to peak at that. 







I hope that was helpful for anyone thinking about selling there home in the future. I think it's nice to get a glance at what to expect. Of course, this was done in Arizona and the whole process might be slightly different in other states. 

I'm in the process of buying a home in Texas, so I'll let you know how that all works in a month or two. Sign up HERE if you want to receive monthly newsletters with my monthly income and expense statements. 





Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Visa Buy-One-Get-One Free (BOGO) Movie offer is back





UPDATE: It's Back! Enjoy BOGO movie tickets from April 22nd - Aug 21st 2015!

Buy one movie ticket, get one free!

Now through August 8th you can get a FREE movie ticket when you purchase one or more movie tickets. Here are the Key points:


  • ONLY available on FRIDAYS. It won't work if you try on a day that is NOT Friday. 
  • Must be purchased through fandango.com/visasignature. Don't go directly to fandango.com
  • You MUST have a Visa SIGNATURE credit card to make the purchase with. HERE is a list of credit cards that might qualify. Usually it will say "Signature" under the Visa logo. 
  • You can get this offer once per month per credit card...so if you have multiple Visa Signatures credit cards this is not an issue. 
  • Ends Aug 21st and the deal is while supplies/tickets last. 
  • This offer has been happening every summer so if you miss out this summer, there is always next summer. 
Here are the steps from their website:


Thursday, April 2, 2015

GoDaddy IPO with Loyal3



wrote about Loyal3 a few months ago and how using Loyal3.com can be an awesome way to get your hands on IPO allocations. Last year Loyal3 offered about 6 IPO allocations for it's customers in 2014.

So far this year, only one has become available. So they don't happen that often.

Recently, Loyal3 made GoDaddy IPO allocations available to it's customers. Here's my experience:


  • March 19th - Recieved email that GoDaddy IPO reservation sign-up was available. Max reservation was $5,000. Immediately I reserved the Max 5k for both my account and my wife's account. Making this reservation does not mean you can't cancel later. I always make the max reservation because I can always cancel or only put the amount of funds I am wanting, in my Loyal3 account (you will not be allocated more than what is available in your account). It's also very important to make your reservation immediately because the number of shares are limited and will no longer be available after a few hours most likely. I did my reservation on my smart phone. 
    • When you make the reservation, you will be asked some simple questions about your finances (how much savings, estimated net worth, etc)...error on the higher end to ensure you will be given the max reservation. Go back and input larger values if it says you are not eligible for the reservation. 
  • March 28th - I deposited 5k into my account and 5k into my wife's account
  • March 31st - IPO price set at $20/share. I am allotted $3,880 (instead of the full 5k) for each account. I would have like to be allotted the full 5k, but it's not too bad. 
  • April 1st - GoDaddy (GDDY) goes public on the stock exchange. I know that no matter how high or low the stock goes, my plan is to sell that same day. The stock starts up 30%! I put in my sell order on Loyal3. Loyal3 only has 1 sell time during the day at 2 pm eastern time (this is one negative thing about Loyal3). At 2 pm eastern time zone, my sell order goes through at $26.16/share. Total increase: 30.8%. 
  • Total profit: $1,195 (my account) + $1,195 (my wife's account) = $2,390.

Of course I'm pretty happy about the results. I will have to pay short term capital gains tax (which will probably be 15% for me), so the net profit will be about $2,000. Even though GoDaddy has been viewed as a questionable investment due to poor financials and a number of other factors, I still wasn't afraid to go in on the IPO and sell the same day.

Of course there is risk. If you don't want to miss out next time an IPO is offered, you should read my previous article before jumping into buying IPO shares from Loyal3.

I plan on doing this same strategy whenever Loyal3 offers me IPO allocations.

If you want to receive a monthly newsletter with my income reports, sign up here.

Disclaimer: I'm not a financial planner/advisor. I'm just sharing my experience!

What do you think? Any of you ever get an IPO allocation? How was your experience?



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

TARGET PREPAID REDCARD: WHY YOU MUST GET ONE NOW

This is a guest post by Eric Rich. Enjoy!



American Express and Target officially launched the Target Prepaid Redcard on Oct. 6th, 2014. Since its inception, it has been wildly popular. In fact, it has been touted by many as a game-changer in the world of credit card rewards. As we approach the product’s six month anniversary, now is a better time than ever to revisit this card, and why you should get one.

What exactly is Target Prepaid Redcard?
--Target Prepaid Redcard is a reloadable prepaid card. Why is this important? One reason. You can load money onto the card with a credit card, thereby earning credit card points/miles.

--Target Prepaid Redcard can be loaded with up to $5,000 per month. That’s 5000 airline miles. Don’t collect miles? With a cashback card like the Citi Double Cash, that’s $100 per month.

--Target Prepaid Redcard is only available for purchase in select Target stores, but can be reloaded at any Target store nationwide. There are no fees. There are no restrictions. There is no red tape. 
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1) Target Prepaid Redcard is easy to get. Buy a Prepaid Redcard in a participating Target store. Don’t live near a store? No problem. Buy one online from the premier reseller: Redcard Resales.

2) Target Prepaid Redcard is easy to register. The process takes less than 2 minutes. Simply enter your information on Target's official website. Receive your permanent card a few days later.

3) Target Prepaid Redcard is easy to use. Take your Redcard to Target. Ask the cashier to load up to $2,500 per day, or $5,000 per month. Go home, login online, and bill-pay the money you just loaded back to your credit card.  You just earned 5,000 miles or $100 cashback, for free.

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Why should you get Target Prepaid Redcard?
1) You are missing out on valuable credit card rewards. For example, if you had purchased a card in October 2014 and used a 5% cashback card such as the Wells Fargo Visa Signature, you would have earned $1500 cashback to date. With the Chase Sapphire Preferred, you would have earned 30,000 Ultimate Reward Points.

2) They are getting harder to get. People who live in select states where they are available for purchase in Target stores for sale are reporting that store managers are limiting purchases to one card per day. This limits the quantity that are available online for resale. Online resale prices are expected to rise to $100 per card within the next month. It’s important that you act fast and purchase one today.


Ready to get a card? Redcard Resales is extremely helpful. They offer instant online card delivery, 24/7 customer support, and articles featuring how to use the card. Questions? Just ask. They promise to reply back within the hour.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Updated on My Credit Score - March 2015


I have a lot of credit cards. Between me and my wife around 30. My score has stayed about the same from last year. With all the cyber crime going on these days, it's especially important to keep up-to-date on your credit score and report. You can get an annual free credit report at www.annualcreditreport.com, and there are several free sites that will give you a free credit score.

With so many different ways of getting a free credit score these days, there is no reason to get a paid monthly service for your score.

Here is the latest up-date on my credit scores from these free sources:

CreditKarma.com (Transunion and Equifax)

Credit score and lots of credit cards

CreditSesame.com (Experian)
Credit score and lots of credit cards



DiscoverCard.com (Experian)
Credit score and lots of credit cards


Barclay's (Transunion)
Credit score and lots of credit cards

US Bank (Experian)
Credit score and lots of credit cards

Citi Credit Card (Equifax)

Credit score and lots of credit cards


Mint.com (Equifax)

Credit score and lots of credit cards

Note: Of course you have to have a credit card with Discover, Barclay, US Bank, and/or Citi to get a score. 


I'm happy with a score that is over 740. Any higher then that does not really improve you ability to get new credit or better loan terms. There is a possibility that I will be purchasing a home this summer so I haven't been applying for new credit cards for a about a month and will not get any new cards until I decide on getting a mortgage or not. Check out other FAQ's about credit cards

Other places you'll be able to get a free credit score from soon: 
  • USAA
  • Chase Slate credit card
  • BofA
  • Capital One

My favorite source to use is CreditKarma.com because it updates every week and it will give you 2 different credit bureaus scores. 



How often do you check your credit score?


Monday, March 2, 2015

Financial Independence in 10 Years

My goal is to be financial independent in 10 years. Think that’s crazy? Maybe it is. But I have a plan to do it and I’m going to lay it out for you AND you can follow my monthly and yearly progress by subscribing to the newsletter. I share all the juicy details there including income, expenses, net worth, etc.

Why am I doing this?

I think it’s beneficial for both you and me.

Our society tells us how we should live our working life. Get a job, work a 9-5 job, get 'things' that will make us happy, go into debt, pay off that debt and work until you are 70. We are put in chains and don't have the freedom to do what we want to. Don't be a sheep. Change your paradigm and do something different!
 
Financial Independence in 10 years
Going with the Crowd


You’ll get to follow along to see what is possible in terms of saving, investing, spending, and earning side income. My hope is that it will motive someone to be inspired to succeed financially. 

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Free $40 for Filing My Taxes



REDcard prepaid by American Express will actually pay you $20 to have your tax refund deposited into their account.

Recently I wrote about an easy way to manufactured spend using REDcard.

This is another an added bonus to having a REDcard. Not only was I able to have my State and Federal taxes done for free, but I actually made $40 this year.  Sweet! Here's how:

 When you file your taxes, you are also given the option to split your refund into up to 3 different accounts. So I had part of my refund go to my wife's REDcard (aka Redbird) prepaid account and the other part go into my REDcard prepaid account.

Friday, February 6, 2015

Buying Visa or Mastercard Gift Cards with a Credit Card

Recently I described the easiest ways to manufacture spend. Once you have read that article and mastered the technique described (it's really not that hard) you may be ready for this article. This method of manufacture spending does take more time and understanding.

I will give all the details in this article. You may want to bookmark this post and refer back to it until you get a hang of how it works.

The Method:

The whole idea behind this method is to buy Visa or Mastercard debit gift card with a credit card. Then to use those gift cards to liquidate them back into a prepaid bank account (Serve, Bluebird, or Target Redcard). Once you have the gift cards liquidated into your prepaid bank account you can pay your bills, mortgage, or simple have the funds withdrawn into your bank account.

So it looks like this:
Visa Gift Card to Cash


Why Even do this?

Friday, January 30, 2015

Top 3 Sites to File your Taxes

Top 3 Sites to File your Taxes

filing taxes

About 80% of American's will get a tax refund this tax season. On average that return will be a little over $3,000. This is great, but it's also very important to remember where that tax money is coming from...YOU! You're getting back some of the money you ''loaned' the government.  

Well, that's not entirely true.

Millions of lower-income earners actually get more money then they gave the government. Not only are millions not paying income tax, but they also get tax credits. 

I should know because as a student I am one of those people (my gross income for 2014 was about $29,000). I paid about $1,100 in State and Federal taxes and I will get an estimated tax refund of $7,700. Isn't that crazy?!? 

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Update on the Easiest Ways to Manufactured Spend

The best and easiest ways to manufactured spend involve using the prepaid cards REDcard (aka REDbird), Serve, or Bluebird.

        
NOTE:  If you are not responsible with your credit cards, DON’T bother reading any further.

First off, what is manufactured spending?

Manufactured spending is a term used in the miles-earning and points-earning world. It is also more easily referred to as MS. Typically it refers to buying things that are cash equivalents with point/miles earning credit cards.

Such things might include visa gift cards, money orders, or funding a bank account or prepaid card account with a credit card. Basically, the ideas is buying cash with cash and then using that cash to pay your credit card that you bought it with. When all is said and done, you end up earning 0-2% in miles or points from those purchases.

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Everything you need to know about Initial Public Offerings (IPO's) - Made Simple

The Ultimate Guide to Initial Public Offerings

About: The Ultimate Guide to Initial Public Offerings (IPO's, including a review of Loyal3).


First off, IPO is an acronym and not worth that many points in scrabble (well, I don't even think acronyms are allowed). But it's a nice picture right?

Anyways, wouldn't it have been nice if you could have purchased Facebook, Alibaba, or GoPro at the IPO price? You could have made a nice chunk of money if that opportunity were available to you. The year 2014 was a big year for IPO's and 2015 may also be a big year.

I want to help make Initial Public Offers simple to understand. So follow along. Here is everything you need to know:

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