November 17, 2019

Live every day like you're on a vacation by owning a second home and renting it out

Here’s a fun thought: Why not own your own vacation property and make some money on it, too? This is possible if you purchase a vacation home in a good location and rent it out. Research shows that renting out a vacation home can help pay for most of the mortgage on it.

But to get cheap financing and potentially turn a profit on your getaway house, you’ll have to shop around carefully for the best vacation home mortgage rates.

In my latest article for The Mortgage Reports (available here), I explore the top markets for buying a vacation home, why second homes are becoming more popular, how to purchase an inexpensive one, and more.

November 11, 2019

That was then, this is noir

For Cineversary podcast episode #17, host Erik Martin welcomes guest Eddie Muller, host of Turner Classic Movies' Noir Alley, founder and president of the Film Noir Foundation, and author of several books including Dark City: The Lost World of Film Noir. Erik and Eddie commemorate the 75th anniversary of one of the all-time great noir films "Double Indemnity," and investigate why this masterwork is worth celebrating all these years later, its cultural impact and legacy, what we can learn from the picture today, how it has stood the test of time, and more.

Eddie Muller
To listen to this episode, click the "play button" on the embedded streaming player below. Or, you can stream, download or subscribe to the Cineversary podcast using Google PodcastsGoogle Play MusicApple PodcastsiTunesAnchorBreakerCastboxOvercastPocket CastsPodBeanRadioPublicSpotifyStitcher, and TuneIn.

Learn more about the Cineversary podcast at tinyurl.com/cineversarypodcast and email show comments or suggestions to cineversegroup@gmail.com.

November 3, 2019

Closing time

The ABCs of business—“always be closing”—aren’t easy to master. Turning a prospect into a paying client involves hard work and a lot of attention. In fact, three out of four companies indicate that converting leads into customers is their top priority; yet only around one in five businesses are satisfied with their conversion rates.

Of course, there is no single magic tactic for landing clients and closing deals. But attempting different approaches can increase your chances. In a recent piece I wrote for the US Chamber of Commerce's CO site, I reached out to a handful of experts for advice, and they suggested three key strategies, found here.

October 27, 2019

Nearly 8 million homeowners could benefit from a mortgage refi


Does a refinance make sense for you? A new report suggests it could be the right move for millions. But to properly answer the question "should I refinance?", it's smart to do the math, assess your finances, and shop around for the best mortgage interest rates.

A recent report by Black Knight had some interesting findings. It calculated that, in July 2019, an average of nearly 8 million homeowners could have qualified for and benefited from a refi. (That's assuming a 30-day window from application to closing.) That's a 10% rise from the June number of homeowners who could have qualified and benefited.

Learn more by reading my newest story published by HSH.com, available here.

October 15, 2019

Believe it or not, Ripley's first film is 40 years old

For Cineversary podcast episode #16, host Erik Martin is joined by not one but two great guests: Mike Muncer, the UK-based film journalist, producer, and host of the Evolution of Horror podcast, as well as Andrea Subissati, the Toronto-based executive editor of Rue Morgue magazine and co-host of the long-running Faculty of Horror podcast. Together, they honor the 40th anniversary of "Alien" and examine why this horror/sci-fi classic is worth celebrating all these years later, its cultural impact and legacy, what we can learn from the picture today, how it has stood the test of time, and more.

To listen to this episode, click the "play button" on the embedded streaming player below. Or, you can stream, download or subscribe to the Cineversary podcast using Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Anchor, Breaker, Castbox, Google Podcasts, Google Play Music, Overcast, Pocket Casts, PodBean, RadioPublic, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

Learn more about the Cineversary podcast at tinyurl.com/cineversarypodcast and email show comments or suggestions to cineversegroup@gmail.com.

October 13, 2019

Still on the fence about renting vs. owning? The former is getting more expensive

It’s an age-old question that gets asked time and again by folks on the fence: Is it better to buy a home or rent? The answer, of course, has always depended on personal circumstances and market conditions.

But lately, many experts say the verdict is becoming more evident. That’s because rent prices are through the roof in many metros. In fact, rent values have risen for nine straight months and are up year-over-year in 49 of the country’s top 50 markets, per the most recent Zillow Real Estate Market Report issued at the time of this writing. Looking closer, the median U.S. rent increased 3% on an annual basis to $1,483 a month. Compare that to about $1,372—the national average paid monthly for mortgage principal and interest plus taxes and insurance, according to an HSH.com report issued in May.

In my latest article for CTW Features, I explore this topic in greater detail. Check out its publication in the Kansas City Star here.