How To Find Investment PropertiesWritten by Steve Gillman
If you really want best deals in investment properties, you have to increase your odds by finding more deals. Who is more likely to get a cheap apartment building, an investor that looks through MLS listings and calls it a day, or one that uses ten resources? Here are ten:
1. Talk. Let people know you are looking and sometimes properties will come to you. There are a lot of owners out there who want to sell, but haven't yet listed their property.
2. Use internet. Go to a search engine and enter type of real estate you are looking for, along with city you want to invest in. You never know what you might find.
3. Drive around looking for "For Sale By Owner" signs. Owners often don't want to pay to keep ad in paper every week, so you won't see all properties there.
4. Find abandoned properties. That's a pretty clear sign that owner doesn't want to deal with property. He might sell cheap.
5. Find old "For Rent" ads. Call if they are a few weeks old. Landlords are often ready to sell, especially if haven't yet rented units out.
Exporting to Europe: Not the Challenges You ThinkWritten by Steve McLaughlin
If you plan to do sell your product or service in Europe problems you encounter may not be ones you expect. It’s easy to focus on perceived difficulties, such as so-called ‘language barrier’, while not noticing real pitfalls – until it’s too late. I learned three lessons hard way: appreciate different cultures, understand value of quality vs. speed, and know which foreign language is key to your business.
If you hope to compete with local firms in Europe you must understand European business cultures. Notice use of word of word ‘cultures’ - plural. When I first started doing business in Europe, three years ago, one of first things I learned was that European business environment is much more diverse than in States. Despite introduction of single currency, Europe is not a single business entity. Different countries retain different ways of doing things. Like many Americans doing business in Europe for first time, I learned this hard way. After a number of awkward meetings and deals that mysteriously didn’t go through I began to understand that it was a bad idea to deal with Europeans like I dealt with people back home.
The American business model prevails in northern Europe – with UK and possibly Germany representing nearest thing Europe has to a US-style approach. Businesses in former Easter Bloc countries that have recently joined EU are also very US-friendly. During Soviet years America represented freedom; American business can now reap rewards of that iconic status.
The rest of ‘old Europe’ is a little different and you should be aware of each country’s customs. Italy, for example, retains a way of doing business that might seem bureaucratic and patriarchal to Americans. Even Silvio Berlusconi - a good friend of US business - is known as ‘Papa’ Berlusconi in some Italian circles. In France, a history of civil libertarianism twinned with state control that stretches back to revolution of 1789 has nurtured a business culture that favors consensus rather than individual leadership. It’s important to do your research – not only on a country’s business structures but also on its general culture and history. It’s even more important to get to know people. If you travel to Madrid to cut a deal having never before set foot in Spain you are at a disadvantage.
Business people in old Europe have slightly different perceptions of what constitutes good practice from their US counterparts. Although it would be patronizing to say that a mańana culture persists in southern European business, it is true that timeliness is not considered a virtue in way it is in States. For European business people, providing a quality product or service is much more important than adhering slavishly to deadlines or driving hardest possible bargain. Because of this difference in values, Europeans often perceive Americans as being ‘pushy’ – when Americans in question think they’re simply being businesslike.