Understanding (and Fixing) Property Tax Assessment

Imagine, if you will, Tinyville, a community of only ten houses. All ten houses were the same size and style, built at the same time on similarly-sized lots, using similar architectural drawings and building materials, each with comparable views and amenities, and each sold to its initial owner for the same price, $250,000. Assuming the fair market value of each of these houses was $250,000, (because after a reasonable amount of time that’s the price at which the sellers and buyers had meetings of the minds, neither being under duress,) Tinyville’s tax assessor valued each property at $250,000, resulting in an underlying total property value of $2.5M for all of Tinyville.

Like any municipality, Tinyville has expenses: police & fire departments, schools & libraries, water & sewer, sanitation workers, judges & clerks, engineers & inspectors, tax assessors & collectors, officials, and secretaries. To keep the math simple, let’s imagine that Tinyville’s annual budget is a mere $100,000, and that it has no other sources of revenue (such as parking meters, local sales or income taxes, or hunting/fishing permits). In order to meet its annual expenses, Tinyville’s tax assessor divides its $100,000 of budgeted expenses (known as a total tax levy) by each property’s proportionate share of the $2.5M total assessed value of the community. Dividing $250,000 by $2.5M means that each house is responsible for 10% of Tinyville’s property tax levy. Each homeowner (or their mortgage bank) gets a tax bill for $10,000.

For years, everyone is happy in Tinyville. The families each have kids in Tinyville’s schools, they march in Tinyville’s parades, and compete in Tinyville’s pie-eating contests. In the natural course of events, two of the original families were more prosperous than others and moved into better digs in Mediumville, one retired to Southville, one got transferred to his company’s office in Westville, and one died in a tragic car accident, but their heirs in Bigville didn’t want to move back to their family homestead. Anyway, five of the homes went on the market and because the market had been doing well for the past several years, four were sold for $300,000… except the one belonging to the heirs of the deceased couple – they let the house fall into disrepair, stopped mowing the lawn, and eventually squatters moved in and started trashing the place. When they finally sold it as a „handyman special,“ they got $150,000 for it.

Before any year’s tax assessment becomes „final,“ it is sent to each homeowner to review. Each homeowner has an opportunity to dispute the assessment. The five original homeowners continued to be assessed at a rate commensurate with their $250,000 property value, and knowing that many of their neighbors sold their comparable homes for $300,000, they silently accepted this assessment. The four new owners who paid $300,000 each are also assessed at $250,000. Strangely, it is illegal for a municipality to perform a „spot assessment“ of individual properties so although the „fair market value“ of those four homes has increased by 20% since last appraised, they continue to be assessed at $250,000 each. The tenth home, purchased by the handyman for $150,000, is also assessed at $250,000, but he disputes his assessment. He argues that the fair market value of his home should be based on his recent purchase price, and through the various legal methods at his disposal, he has the house reassessed at $150,000.

Assuming the total tax levy is unchanged at $100,000, what happens to each homeowner’s property taxes? Nine of the ten houses are still assessed at $250,000 each, but the last is now assessed at only $150,000. One might quickly (and incorrectly) guess that the houses with unchanged assessed values would have no change in their $10,000 property tax bill, and that the tenth house would pay just $6,000, but that doesn’t add up correctly; Tinyville needs to collect $100,000 in taxes to balance its budget, and this formula only adds up to $96,000. What actually happens is that the denominator changes, too. Tinyville’s total assessed property value is recalculated based on each property’s assessed value, and now adds up to just $2.4M. That means that each of the $250,000 houses now accounts for just over 10.4% of the total, and is now responsible for that percentage of the $100,000 levy, increasing each of their assessments to $10,417. The handyman’s $150,000 assessed value accounts for 6.25% of the total, so he’s now responsible for just $6,250 of Tinyville’s tax levy.

Some (including the handyman) would argue that the handyman’s house is worth less, and consequently, he should pay less tax than his neighbors. Others (including his neighbors) would argue that his house is the same size and shape, takes up as much land, and places the same demand on Tinyville’s police, fire, schools, libraries, sewers, and other services, and that he should pay the same amount as the other houses. Some (including the original five families) would argue that the resold houses should be assessed at their new, higher market values, and that the new owners should pay proportionally more taxes. Others (including the four new owners) would argue that the fair market values of their homes (as evidenced by their sale prices) are indicative of the actual fair market value of the five unsold homes, despite the fact that those homes haven’t recently changed hands. These are the sort of issues that confound homeowners and plague tax assessors, assessment review boards, and courts in every municipality, every year.

In a perfect world, when the handyman files for building permits to repair and restore his home’s value, the new value he creates by the work he does should bring his tax assessment back in line with the other comparable houses, thereby reducing his neighbors‘ percentage of the total tax, accordingly. Unfortunately, not everyone applies for building permits, and not every project even requires building permits. Upgrading your kitchen appliances improves the value of your home without requiring building permits. Many municipalities don’t require a building permit to add a new layer to your roof or to retile your bathrooms. Of course, there are also homeowners who build bedrooms in attics or lofts over their garages without permits, and not every new home buyer is savvy enough to realize that they are paying for such unpermitted improvements. If you complain to the tax assessor that your neighbor has an unpermitted finished basement, the tax assessor doesn’t have the same authority as a building inspector to knock and demand to see that basement so as to tax them appropriately… and not every building department inspector is willing to perform inspections on an anonymous tip, so you may have to go on record as the guy who ratted out his neighbor. Consequently, a lot of home improvements are not reflected on the tax assessment rolls.

Since buying a home in a market downturn gives you the ability to grieve your tax assessment based on its new apparent fair market value, other home owners can actually use your new „fair market value“ to argue that their house is comparable to yours, and that their assessment should be lowered, too. This creates added burden on the assessors as they try to determine new values of homes that haven’t recently sold based on evidence created by comparable homes that did. As more and more homeowners grieve their assessments, it reduces the denominator in the municipality’s total assessed value, increasing the actual tax bills for houses for which assessments haven’t been grieved. Naturally, that reinforces the process, inciting more and more homeowners to grieve their taxes, creating more and more work for assessors. However, taken to the unimaginable extreme, in a community where home values have fallen, it may take a few years for all of the homeowners to realize that they are being unfairly assessed (as compared to their neighbors), but ultimately, when the last of them finally grieves his taxes, everyone’s proportion to the new denominator should be comparable to their proportion to the original denominator, meaning that they’ll all on average, eventually pay just about as much tax as they did before. In the intervening years, the ones who got onboard first and had the largest and earliest reductions in their assessed home values will reap the greatest short-term benefits. Some would go so far as to argue that this is fair, like so many other instances in life when the early bird gets the proverbial worm.

The intervening chaos and disparity, however, causes more work, thereby costing municipalities more in assessments, review boards, and grievance hearings. In the worst cases, when grievance processes fail and are left for courts to decide, municipalities have to pay unanticipated refunds to vindicated homeowners, which reduces their immediate coffers and further increases tax levies in subsequent years to make up for those losses. For scholars of economic theory, Keynes would argue that these machinations are a necessary and productive part of the system, and that they employ lawyers who otherwise would earn less; these lawyers rent offices, hire staff, and buy office supplies, and in effect, keep the economy’s wheel turning. Hayek would retort that these legal costs do not so much enrich the system, as they do redirect capital that would have been employed elsewhere, such as the tax savings permitting the homeowners to buy new furniture, hire a gardener, or take a vacation. He would consider these inefficiencies in the tax assessment process an unnecessary cost that allocated resources in a less-than-optimal manner… and I’d tend to agree with him. I don’t know what the solution is, but I know that we should try to come up with a better one.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Brian Blum

5 Tips to Find the Best Online MBA Program

Masters in Business Administration is one of the most popular courses in brick and mortar as well as online colleges. Almost every online university offers this course. That is all the more reason why you should be careful in picking the right university for completing your degree. The wrong choice could waste your time and money and not provide any value either.


With a lot of students wanting get an MBA and add more security to their careers, a lot of colleges are out there to trick them. Not only is the course expensive, but it is also a good source of income for colleges, given the influx every year. That is why you must ensure that the college you are applying to, has an accreditation from recognised institutions and that the degree they offer is valid. Without checking for this accreditation it would be unwise to enrol for any online course for that matter.


If an online course has lot of students enrolled supporting all the students could prove difficult. Support could involve addressing students‘ questions and concerns, providing face time with the tutors and offering a mentor to provide career advice. Without this support, it would be very hard to complete Master’s in Business Administration, as it will prove really difficult. So the course you are enrolling in must offer support, with the teacher student ratio being as high as possible, preferably around 10 – 15 students per tutor.

Learning management system

If an online university doesn’t give you the benefits of a learning management system, there is no point enrolling in that college. A learning management system is more like a common platform for all the students, a website where every student has a login profile to get all the information related to their courses including timetable for exams, lesson schedules, online teaching material shared, downloads available if any etc.

Opportunity for internships

It would be unwise to think you will be able to think your Master’s in a field like business administration online entirely. The university should be reputed enough and have associations with top companies so that students of MBA programs can get a chance to complete projects and internships and learn more about the industry, adding to their learning experience. If the brand of the university couldn’t find your seniors decent internships or projects, chances are that the program is not highly valued in the industry and it is best to not enroll for it. The same holds for the opportunity of jobs when you complete education. Talking to past students will always provide sufficient information in this regards.


This is one factor that holds good not only for MBA but for all online courses. Unless you get the flexibility, online programs cannot be ruled a better option than joining full time college. This flexibility is possible through recorded lectures, good content, chat sessions with tutors etc. allowing those with a day time job to do justice to their course and education.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by John Jee

Massage Therapy Home Business – Free Marketing Ideas

Free Business Cards

A lot of online companies offer up to 250 free business cards you can design yourself. My favorite is Home Business Center. You can design your personal massage therapy business cards using any of their 42 card templates to deliver your message and contact information. Keep your business cards on you and hand them out to potential clients. Listen to what is being said around you in conversation. For example, when someone complaints about a back ache or a stressful week suggest a massage and give them your card. Also, ask friends and family to hand out a few to coworkers that might be interested in a home massage.

Local Directories and Home Business Directories Online

Submit your business information to local directories. Even if you do not have a web site for you massage therapy home business your services will appear in local search results. The top three directories or local map search engines to submit to are Google Local Business Center, Yahoo! Local and Bing Local Listing Center. Add contact information, specialty services, pictures and hours available. Also, submit your massage business to local company directories in your area.

Participate in Raffles Ticket Giveaways in your Area

Find local events in your area and donate a free massage to the community raffle. It is free advertising for your massage home business and if the raffle winner enjoys their massage (and I am sure he or she will) you got yourself a client and referrals from their network of friends.

Local Classified Ads

Create seasonal classified ads to market specials or gift certificates for holidays like Christmas and Valentine’s Day. Submit your ad to Craigslist.org and other local classified listings.

Existing Client Incentives

Once your massage home business starts taking off you can ask your clients to submit reviews to your Local Business Listings with the incentive to receive a discount on their next massage. Also, you can increase clientele by offering discounts when they refer you to 5 friends.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Catie Helfrich

Five Important Property Investment Ideas to Follow

Nowadays, planning for property investment continues to be high among individuals. Every investment should be about increasing your capital and secure the future. However, we cannot make sure that all real estate investment will deliver positive results. Thus, here are five important investing ideas that will be essential for every land investor.

Selecting the Right Real Estate Company/Agency/Broker

You may wish to buy an empty land, constructed home or plots for sale. If you are investing through a company, agency or individual broker, then ensure about their trust among people in the society. Further, check for their track-record and previous customer feedback or testimonials. This will be an important factor to end up with a successful property investment.

Know the Fundamentals of Realty Investment

While if you go for a property agent or broker for investment, then initially you should not rely on them. You should first gather information related to the condition of the current real estate market, and then know the fundamentals of investing in properties. As this will help you to avoid any possible risks and make a profitable investment in the city you live.

Types of Real Estate Investments

Since, there are different types of property investments such as, Buy-to-let, Below Market Value (BMV) and Off-plan properties. Thus, the type of stake is also important. So, make sure what kind of investment you are looking for to yield a good profit.

Location of the Property

The location of the property always plays an important role while investing in real estate properties. As you may want to use the property, or sell it to someone in the future. A residential or commercial property that is in a better location will always gain good future appreciation. Thus, a location of the property will be an added advantage and proves to be a wise investment.

Property (ROI) Return on Investment

While investing in a residential property and if planning to let it for rent, it brings you instant profit. In this case, it is vital to make sure that you can get tenants for your residential property and the rental demand in the locality. In addition, buying a rental asset depends on the location, home type and many other important factors. Some real estate companies also help home buyers for rental needs.

Therefore, make sure you stick on with these five important real estate investment ideas and follow it accordingly for a successful property investment.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Joel Jonathan

Second Chance San Diego Apartments For People With Broken Leases, Bad Credit Or Felonies

San Diego is a major California attraction and destination boasting thousands of unique visitors each year. These are attracted to the city by the pleasant climate and flowing picturesque beaches. The city is also a major commercial and transit center that links Mexico with the rest of California and the US with billions of dollars in trade each year. The city also attracts a lot of settlers; people who move here in search of business, work and academic opportunities. This puts a definite demand on the city’s many apartments. Renting an apartment unit in San Diego is more or less like renting anywhere else in any major US city. The apartments conduct background checks that center on the applicant’s credit, rental and criminal history. Of particular importance are broken leases which apartments in San Diego deem to be very serious. Applicants with a prior broken agreement with a previous apartment will most likely receive an automatic denial.

Places to rent with a broken lease and bad credit

Apartments which approve applicants who have had previous issues with other apartments elsewhere are generally known as second chance apartments. These are units which may or may not be located in section 8 areas of the city and which are usually willing to lease to problem tenants. Here are some places where one can rent an apartment if they have rental problems:

  • Allied Gardens
  • Alta Vista
  • Pacific Highlands Ranch
  • Bay Terrace
  • Black Mountain Ranch
  • Downtown San Diego
  • Clairemont Mesa
  • Del Mar Heights

The above is not an exhaustive list. There are many more units that can give applicants a second chance despite of a tarnished history. The challenge is being able to locate them because most of them do not easily advertise.

Important info to consider

Even though there are such kinds of apartments willing to grant approval to problem tenants, these apartments will nevertheless demand that those tenants fulfill a few basic requirements. One of them is being on a job at least six months. Some apartments will ask for a hefty deposit depending on the individual leasing office. Others will ask for three months of rent in addition to the deposit. One must also earn at least three times the amount of the rent.

Looking for such apartments in this apart of California can pose a challenge because as we said, they rarely advertise. The main reason they prefer to stay quiet is because they do not want a mad rush especially by people with problematic credit and history since this drives rental prices down.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Jimmy Jamm

Faith Is An Abstract Noun

Faith can be a misused word, both inside and outside the church. Inside, when asking to which church a person belongs, we often hear, „Of what faith are you?“ when intended is: „Of what church or denomination are you?“ Outside we hear, „I have no faith in government – in public education – in marriage.“ when intended is: „I have no confidence in government, etc.“ Misuse outside the church is easily remedied by inserting the correct word. Inside the church, however, misuse – since faith is the foundational means by which we come to God – may suggests a serious problem. Vigilance comes more readily with a better understanding of the English language and through a deeper study of God’s Word and His inspired writers at large.

The word faith in English grammar is a noun. Traditionally nouns are defined as the names of persons, places or things. Nouns also come in different forms. There are proper nouns which are capitalized and common nouns which are not. There are concrete and abstract nouns. Concrete nouns refer to something perceptible, which can be seen, heard, touched, and so on: shoe, soup, grass, teacher. Abstract nouns, on the other hand, designate a quality, condition, action, or state of being that cannot be directly perceived – that is, seen, heard, touched: faith, love, courage, honor.

Concrete, I understand. For instance, a mere glance at my old garden shoes tells me almost everything there is to know about them: dirty, whitish sneakers cracked open at the soles; broken laces, carelessly tied, stained by paint, grass and who remembers what. I can see them, touch them, smell them and, to prove a point, I could even taste them. Abstract, on the other hand, I do not easily understand. It’s vague, out of focus, out of reach, out of site around the corner. A mere glance will not suffice. To reach a correct understanding of faith, I must be taught.

Fortunately, I can be taught through parents, teachers in the church and the many fine writers in church history. Four examples: (1) The writer of Hebrews, a book of the Bible, gave a brief definition of faith in chapter 11 verse 1: „Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen… “ (KJV) (2) The Apostles Creed expanded the definition and provided the essentials of saving faith. (3) The Heidelberg Catechism in 1563, with its 129 questions and answers, gave the church one of the most expanded definitions. (4) After 450 years, the Heidelberg required some deciphering and one of the best books available is Dr. G.I. Williamson’s, The Heidelberg Catechism, A Study Guide.

In the end, perhaps faith is best understood, not by its definition, but rather by its purpose. A wonderful example found as a Theological Note in The Reformation Study Bible entitled, „Faith and Works,“ reads, „Faith is the means or instrument by which a person is saved. Christians are justified before God by faith and by faith they live their lives and sustain their hope… secured by Jesus Christ… called forth by the gospel as the gospel is made understandable through the gracious work of the Holy Spirit. Christian faith is a personal act, involving the mind, heart, and will,… directed to a personal God, not an idol or an idea.“

My old sneakers deserve only a mere glance, but the abstract noun faith merits a deep study of the Bible plus a serious look at the work of inspired writers at large. „Of what faith am I?“ May my answer always be, „The faith stated in the Apostles Creed; the means by which I am saved; the means by which I stand before God in the righteousness of Christ; the means by which I gain life eternal.“

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Robert D Avery

Cowboy Adventures During the Wild West

The Wild West

The Wild West refers to the period from the end of the Civil War in 1865 to around 1900.

It tells the stories of the pioneers, the settlers, the cattle kings, gold mining, railroads and steamboats, the cowboys, Indians, outlaws and gun slingers.

Famous characters of the Wild West include Whyatt Earp, Doc Holliday, Bat Masterson, Billy the Kid, Calamity Jane and Belle Starr.

After the first European settlers arrived in America, many move westward seeking a new life and the promise of prosperity.

The West offered land, good soil for farming and new opportunities to get rich that could not be done in the East.

The Two-Fisted Town Tamer

Thomas James Smith, also known as „Bear River Smith“ (12 June 1830 – 2 November 1870), was a lawman in the American Wild West and a marshal of cattle town, Abilene, Kansas.

Smith was a quiet-spoken lawman with a rugged reputation who came from New York City, where he worked as a police officer.

While working as a police officer in New York City in 1868, Smith was involved in the accidental killing of a fourteen-year-old boy, after which he resigned.

He also served as a lawman in small towns in Wyoming, Bear River and in Kit Carson, Colorado.

Marshal of Abilene

Abilene, Kansas, was a wild cattle town with numerous saloons, brothels and lawlessness.

From 1867, crime had increased to the point where murder and shootings were a regular occurrence.

Tom Smith was commissioned as Deputy US Marshal to bring law and order to Abilene in 1869 and insisted that he could enforce the law by using his fists rather than using guns.

Soon after taking office, Smith overpowered both, „Big Hank“ Hawkins and „Wyoming Frank“ and banished them from Abilene, after beating them both at the same time using only his bare hands.

Smith also introduced a „no guns in the town limits“ law which was extremely unpopular.

Over the next two months, Smith survived two assassination attempts.

His tough reputation and several arrests of law-breakers led him to become widely respected and admired by the citizens of Abilene.

On the 2nd of November, 1870, Smith and a temporary deputy went to serve a warrant to Andrew McConnell and Moses Miles about the murder of another Abilene citizen.

They located the suspects ten miles outside of Abilene where a gunfight erupted.

Smith was badly wounded in the chest and his deputy fled the scene.

Moses Miles then took an axe and decapitated Tom Smith.

McConnell and Miles were captured and arrested in March 1871.

Andrew McConnell got 12 years in prison and Moses Miles spent 16 years and released.

Tom Smith was buried in Abilene, and a huge tombstone was erected with a plaque to honor his service in Abilene.

Smith was replaced as marshal by legendary lawman and gunfighter „Wild Bill“ Hickock.

Ronald Reagan, as the host of the syndicated western television series, Death Valley Days, played Smith in the 1965 episode „No Gun Behind His Badge“.

Colter’s Run

John Colter (c.1770-1775 – May 7, 1812 or November 22, 1813) was a mountain man and explorer who was a member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition of 1803 to 1806 commissioned by President Thomas Jefferson, to explore and map the newly purchased American Northwest from Napoleonic France, and beyond after the Louisiana Purchase of 1803.

Colter also became the first person of European descent to enter the region which later became Yellowstone National Park and to see the Teton Mountain Range during the winter of 1807-1808.

Blackfeet Indians

In 1809, Colter teamed up with John Potts, another former member of the Lewis and Clark Expedition to trap for beaver for the lucrative fur trade near the Jefferson River in what is now Montana when they encountered several hundred of the dreaded Blackfeet Indians while traveling by canoe.

The Blackfeet demanded they come ashore.

Colter complied and was disarmed and stripped naked.

Potts refused and was shot and wounded.

Potts then killed one of the Indian warriors and was immediately riddled with arrows fired by the Indians from the shore.

His body was then brought to shore and hacked to pieces.


After the Blackfeet deliberated how to kill Colter, the chief decided to allow him to run for his life and to be chased by the Indians with spears.

They took him to a nearby plain and gave him a three to four hundred yard start.

Colter, knew that he must outrun the Blackfeet if he had any chance of surviving.

He started his run-for-life across the plain and had out-paced the Indians except for one who was about twenty yards behind him.

Determined to avoid the expected spear-throw, he suddenly stopped, turned around, and spread out his arms.

The surprised Indian, too exhausted from running, fell when he tried to throw his spear.

Colter immediately snatched up the spear and killed him then, continued his run with the rest of the Indians following at a distance.

Colter reached the Madison River, five miles from his start, and hid under driftwood near a beaver lodge.

He could hear the yells of the Blackfeet, who looked up and down the river to find him.

He waited till night, then climbed out and walked completely naked and frozen, toward a trader’s fort.

Colter became weaker from hunger and exhaustion, surviving only on roots and bark and had bloodied feet from prickly cactus thorns piercing his feet.

Miraculously, Colter reached Manuel Lisa’s Fort within seven days where he was greeted by his friends.

After a few weeks when he regained his strength, he headed back to Blackfeet country that winter to collect the traps he had left behind.

John Colter lived five more years after his incredible run, dying of jaundice in Missouri, where he lies in an unmarked grave.

Alexander Todd

Former clerk, Alexander Todd got gold fever so, he went to California to seek his fortune.

He soon realized that he didn’t have the physical stamina to endure the backbreaking work at the gold fields in the freezing rivers of the Mother Lode (rich source of an ore or mineral).

However, it didn’t take him long to find opportunities to make money without having to pan for gold.

California Gold Rush

California had grown fast with the gold rush that getting a letter from San Francisco to the Mother Lode country was difficult.

The federal government was shipping mail to California by way of the Isthmus of Panama, a route that was as lengthy and uncertain for the mail service as it was for the Forty-Niners (gold seekers in the California gold rush of 1849).

Todd scoured the mining camps and signed up hundreds of lonely miners who yearned for word from home.

The nearest post office was in San Francisco which was a two-week trip there and back.

The miners couldn’t leave their claim that long so they signed-up for the mail service.

On July 14, 1849, Todd began carrying mail to the San Francisco post office charging $2.50 a letter and an ounce of gold, $16 for personal delivery of any mail that he found for addresses in the mining camp.

On his first trip, he delivered $150,000 in gold for some merchants to a company in San Francisco and was paid $7,500.

When Todd handed the clerk at the San Francisco post office the long list of names, the clerk swore Todd in as a postal clerk so he could search the stacks of letters himself charging twenty-five cents for each letter he found.

That didn’t bother Todd because he had discovered another way to make money.

He bought old New York newspapers for a dollar each and sold for $8 back at the gold fields.

Another money-making business he introduced was packing gold from the mining camps to deposit in San Francisco in exchange for five percent of its value.

Everything he Did Turned to Gold

Without having to touch a pick or a shovel, Alexander Todd made a fortune using good old American ingenuity.

Charles Marion Russell (1864 – 1926)

Charles Marion Russell, „the cowboy artist,“ storyteller and author (also known as C. M. Russell, Charlie Russell, and „Kid“ Russell) was born in St. Louis, Missouri on March 19, 1864.

He was an artist of the American Wild West who created more than 4,000 works of art during his lifetime, working in paint, bronze, ink, and wax of cowboys, Indians, and landscapes, set in the Western United States and in Alberta, Canada.

Russell loved the „Wild West“ and would spend hours reading about it and enjoyed speaking to explorers and fur traders who came through Missouri.

He learned to ride horses at Hazel Dell Farm near Jerseyville, Illinois, on a famous Civil War horse named Great Britain from Col. William H. Fulkerson, who had married into the Russell family.

At the age of sixteen, Russell left school to follow his dream of the Wild West as a cowboy on a sheep ranch in Montana then, moved on to work with Jake Hoover, a hunter and trapper who had become a rancher.

From Hoover, he learned much about life in the Wild West and they remained lifelong friends.

In 1882, at the age of eighteen, Russell worked as a cowboy for a number of outfits in Montana.

It was in 1885 when he began to work as an artist.

During the winter of 1886-1887 while working on the O-H Ranch in the Judith Basin of Central Montana, he painted a number of watercolors.

When the ranch foreman received a letter from the owner, asking how the cattle had weathered the winter he sent a postcard-sized watercolor that Russell had painted of a haggard steer being preyed by wolves under a gloomy winter sky.

The ranch owner showed the postcard to friends and business acquaintances and eventually it was displayed in a shop window in Helena, Montana giving Russell his first taste of publicity and to receiving commissions for new work.

His watercolor, „Waiting for a Chinook“, became one of his best-known works.

Native American Culture

In 1888, Russell gained valuable knowledge of Native American culture when he spent time with the Blood Indians, a branch of the Blackfeet.

He became an advocate for Native Americans and supported the Chippewa to have a reservation established for them in Montana.

In 1916, Congress passed legislation to create the Rocky Boy Reservation.


In 1892 he settled in Great Falls, Montana and in 1896 he married his wife Nancy.

Between 1904 until his death in 1926, he also modeled 46 subjects to be cast in bronze.

His 1914 painting „When the Land Belonged to God“ is a nostalgic work from an ageing artist looking back on his youth in the Wild West..

Worlwide Acclaim

Charles Marion Russell had now become a celebrity and gained worldwide acclaim.

*Four Russell paintings sold for more than $100,000.

*“Water Girl (No. 1),“ sold for $220,000.

*“Blood Chief“ brought $200,000.

„Portrait of Indian“ sold at $150,000.

His 1918 painting Piegans sold for $5.6 million.

In 1955, he was inducted into the Hall of Great Westerners of the National Cowboy & Western Heritage Museum.

The Iconic Stetson Hat

John Batterson Stetson (May 5, 1830 – February 18, 1906) was an American hatter who founded the John B. Stetson Company manufacturering the classic cowboy hat in 1865 during the Gold Rush.

The Stetson is probably, the best known hat in the world and is synonymous with the cowboy lifestyle.

It has become an American classic like baseball, apple pie and the Fourth of July.

Stetson, had his name, John B. Stetson Company, embossed in gold in every hatband and became the most well-known hat in the West.

He sold his first hat for five dollars and by 1900, he had the largest hat factory in the world.

John B. Stetson

John B. Stetson was born in New Jersey, the 8th of 12 children.

His father, Stephen Stetson was a hatter so, as a youth, John worked with him until he was diagnosed with terminal tuberculosis.

In 1859, he left the hat-making business to explore his passion for the American West and hoped to cure his tuberculosis in a more natural environment.

While there, he worked during the Gold Rush at Pike’s Peak, Colorado, where an estimated 100,000 gold seekers took part in one of the greatest gold rushes in North American history.

During his time in the West, Stetson also met drovers, bullwhackers and cowboys and noticed their flea-infested coonskin caps, sea-captain hats, straw hats and wool derbies worn by many offered no protection.

He thought that an all-weather hat was better suited for the rugged environment of the West and decided to invent a waterproof, felt-hat that was durable, lightweight and natural in color with a four-inch crown and wide brim with a plain strap band.

„Boss of the Plains“

In 1865 Stetson returned to Philadelphia and founded the John B. Stetson Company as a manufacturer of hats designed in the style worn by the Vaqueros (cowboys) of Northern Mexico for the demands of the American West.

He mass-produced the „Boss of the Plains“ hat as a symbol of authority and elegance.

The wide brim protected people from the hot sun.

The crown could be used to water a horse.

The brim could be used by the owner as a cup to drink.

The hat could be used to shunt cows in certain directions.

And, it could be used to fan a fire.

Famous People Who Wore a Stetson.

Western icons such as Buffalo Bill Cody, Calamity Jane and Annie Oakley wore Stetsons.

So did famous cowboy actors like Tom Mix, Will Rogers, Roy Rogers, the Lone Ranger and John Wayne.

Many U.S. Presidents wore Stetsons which included Theodore Roosevelt and Ronald Reagan.

The company also made hats for the Texas Rangers, U.S. Cavalry soldiers and employees of the National Park Service.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Andrew Papas

The Origins of the Six Percent Real Estate Agent Commission

The commission paid to the Real Estate agent is a serious amount of money and a concern in any transaction involving the sell of Real Estate. Where did this six percent commission come from?

The idea of a 6% Real Estate commission being paid to the agent originated during the 1940’s when local Real Estate Boards openly engaged in price fixing to establish a standard rate. This process was an out and out case of an unfair practice, but the 1940’s was a time when the attention of the country was directed to some serious external matters and the idea took hold and spread quickly through the industry.

In the early 1950’s, the Supreme Court ruled that an established 6% commission was illegal. Rather than open up commissions to a more competitive and free market system, the Real Estate Boards merely shifted gears with a bit of fancy linguistic footwork and began to call the 6% commission the „suggested“ amount. During the 1950’s and 1960’s, they managed to get away with this practice without much trouble as the majority of real estate agents complied with the suggestion.

In the 1970’s lawsuits brought against the Real Estate Boards effectively put the skids on this practice. The Real Estate agent’s commissions were opened up to competition without the Boards either being able to mandate or even suggest 6% as the carved into stone rate. However, the rate did not alter very much in the years following these court cases. Although the rate may not have been carved into stone, it was pretty much established in the Real Estate market as a standard.

Generally, competitive markets benefit consumers. As long as someone is willing to offer a discounted rate, it would seem that the consumer stood to save money. However, the proponents of a standard 6% rate commission point to such things as health care to argue that the standard rate may actually be helping the consumer by holding the commission down to 6% rather than propping it up to that level. Although the cost of health care is not regulated, the general trend has been straight up off the charts.

Real Estate agents would be quick to point out that if you were to take a close look at just about any service or product being offered or sold in the 1940’s, you would find a very serious increase in cost to the consumer. Except for Real Estate commissions which are still right around 6%. The amount being paid to the agents has increased greatly merely because the value of the property being sold has increased. Today, the internet has been responsible for a few chips in the rock of the 6% commission by offering some straight fee or reduced rate services that allow the sellers to list their own properties. The results are still mixed and the 6% commission is still the standard.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Raynor James

How to Save for a House Down Payment – 5 Awesome Tips

Top 5 awesome tips to save for a down payment

Want to own your own house? Well, who doesn’t? You may not be looking to buy a house now but eventually you will. Owning a house is a dream of most people but only a lucky few manage to get a home that they really want. You are not alone if you are worried about saving enough money for a down payment. Hopefully, our tips for saving money will help you gather the amount required for the down payment on the flat that you have been eyeing.

Your bank will finance almost 80% cost of the house/flat (in some cases 90%). The balance is down payment that you will have to self finance. This is a substantial amount for a middle class family. For example, If your 2 bedroom kitchen costs Rs. 30 Lakhs, then your bank would finance up to 24 lakhs and the rest 6 lakhs has be self financing.

Home buying is a complex decision especially if you are a first time home buyer. You will need professional help that will help you get the best homes at best price. Enough money in the bank before going out shopping for a house will give you confidence and peace of mind while choosing a home. We are going to share some tips For saving money here that will help you take control of your finances and save for that daunting looking down payment.

1. Track your spending and expenses

OK, we admit this is one of the most boring and clichéd tips for saving money BUT tracking your spending really works. There are a plethora of apps and websites that help you track your spending and keeps a running total of the amounts you spend on specific items or categories.

This process is an eye opener for many. Sometimes we don’t see the obvious until an app tells us!! You will need to cut down on luxuries and divert money towards savings. Finding out where your money goes is the first step in figuring out how to keep more of it in the bank.

2. Invest in Mutual Funds- Don’t be afraid, Research

Do a simple research on the power of compounding or power of compound interest and you will understand why mutual funds are one of the most popular methods of investing these days. India has seen, in the recent times, a sudden spurt in the number of people investing in mutual funds. While there are many things that you need to consider before investing in mutual funds, we recommend that you start a monthly SIP in an equity fund that matches your risk appetite.

Generally, equity funds are the best since they offer you high rates of returns. These funds are also risky because the market fluctuations in these equity funds can be regular affair but over a period of time Mutual Funds usually offer better returns than the Bank FD rates.

Go to a website named valueresearchonline.com and read about Mutual Funds. The end decision is yours but we speak from personal experience-mutual funds offer good returns on investments. There are multiple number of SIP calculators that will help you plan the exact amount of savings, you require each month to reach your down payment in a particular period of time. For example if you are planning to buy a house in 2020, A mutual fund SIP calculator will tell you how much money you need to start saving for your 20% down payment.

This method of investing is not one of the usual tips for saving money but is a method that helps grow your money.

3. Make a Monthly budget and stick to it

Sticking to a monthly budget will be tough especially if you are used to a life of indulgence and luxury. Sticking to a strict budget often isn’t a lot of fun and is challenging. Remember, A penny saved is a penny earned. Having said that allow yourself an occasional treat or two but treat it as an exception and ALWAYS make up for the cost of this exception in other activities. Some belt-tightening now is a minor sacrifice that will quickly be forgotten when you are getting the keys to your new home.

4. Start Saving Early

Have you heard of the saying well begun is half done? One of the major deficiencies of our education system is that we are not taught financial literacy at a young age. We are not taught how to save and why to save. We don’t know about long term and short term financial goals.

Although our moms always insist on saving, majority of us lack proper financial literacy. Start saving early, dedicate at least 15 to 20% of your salary savings each month. Start with your first job when responsibilities are less. Some people save as much as 50%n of their savings while they can. Among numerous Tips for saving money this one is the most powerful.

Benefits of starting to save early is that by the time you reach 30 you will have enough money for a down payment on your house.

5. Look for ways to boost your income

For most of us middle class salaried people, there is only one source of money coming in (i.e. monthly salary). At the most, both husband and wife are working so in such cases there are two sources of money coming in. The number of avenues through which the money goes out is always more than the number of ways through which money comes in. Consider your income and expenses as an upside down funnel. Every successful person understands that additional sources of revenue need to be created in order to save money.

There are many ways through which you can create an alternate source of money. You can consider starting a blog, YouTube channel or simply affiliate marketing. You can start an online store and make good money if you have done proper research. There is multiple number of videos online through which you can learn about online businesses.

You don’t need a considerable investment to start any of these activities. All you need is a laptop and some time. There is TedX video on YouTube which says that you only need 20 hours to learn a skill to a satisfactory level.

Your budget consists of two parts: money coming in, and money going out. You’ll get the best results if you make improvements on both sides.

Open a saving bank account for the purpose of down payment and consider it untouchable. Barring a major emergency, don’t even toy with the idea of spending any of that money until you are ready to purchase a home. It’s easier to keep an off-limits down payment fund if you set up a separate account dedicated solely to this purpose.

Treat this bank account as a black hole in which light goes in but nothing comes out.

Here is a video with some more tips for saving money



We hope these tips for saving money for a down payment on your home have helped you. Saving for a down payment on your home is tough but not impossible. There are other things that you can do to get financial benefits. For Example, Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana is a great scheme that has benefited millions.

Also Listen to the Podcast

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Ankit Kashiv

Foreclosure Mediation

This is a program provided by many court systems. The homeowner who is looking at foreclosure on their home may be able to work out a solution that is mutually beneficial to the homeowner and mortgage company. To qualify for foreclosure there are different requirements according to the jurisdiction. Most people are eligible because it is in the best interest for both the mortgage company and the homeowner to work out an agreement instead of going through with foreclosure. Going through this program does not guarantee the foreclose will not go forward. It is up to both parties involved to work out the agreement that work for both of them.

A third independent part presides over the foreclosure mediation. This independent part is called the mediator who will meet with the representative of the mortgage company and the homeowner. Their role in this proceeding is to structure discussion so that it will lead to a production solution. They may also take a proactive role in suggesting solutions that will benefit the homeowner and representative. The mediator will often meet with the homeowner and representative privately to highlight the weaknesses and strengths of their position in the negotiation.

While there is no guarantee that foreclose will be delayed, canceled, or stayed it does give both parties the probability of a good outcome. One outcome is a restructuring of payments to ease the financial burden of the homeowner along with the repayment of any back debt that is owed on the mortgage. There is also a drastic possibility is forbearance. This is a temporary staying of payments until some event occurs where the homeowner could better meet their financial obligation. Forbearance does allow for a delay of payment but the interest on the mortgage will continue to accure.

When the homeowner comes to the foreclosure mediation it is important that they are able to show their ability to pay if they are given a proposed solution. If the homeowner is seeking forbearance then the homeowner will have to show the lender the likelihood of some event that will lead to their ability to resume the payments of the mortgage at some time in the near future. If the homeowner is requesting a restructuring of payments, they will need to show what is different about the restructure that will allow them to make the payments when they could not make the regular mortgage payments. One difference might be that the restructured payments are not as much as the regular mortgage payments.

It is in the best interest of the homeowner to request foreclosure mediation and comply with what agreed upon so they will not lose their home. For the mortgage company they would not have to worry about selling a foreclosed home.

Immobilienmakler Heidelberg

Makler Heidelberg

Source by Lora Davis

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