12 Ways To Profit From Non-Performing Real Estate Notes

Non-Performing Notes (NPN’s) are an excellent way to invest in Real Estate, without getting dirty, or dealing with toilets, termites, or tenants. It involves buying the defaulted mortgage and promissory note from a bank, hedge fund, or its current owner. Now you are the bank, and no one ever calls the bank if the toilet is clogged, so you can have a restful night and weekend.

The promissory note, or note for short, is a secured debt, attached to the mortgage on the house. Depending on the state, the mortgage might sometimes be called Trust Deed, Contract for Deed, or Land Contract, though they are all instruments used to buy a home. Once the note is paid off, the mortgage & note is marked as paid, and the owner has full title to the property.

However, life throws many problems at us, and for whatever reason, someone stops paying the note off. They could lose their job, spouse, or sadly, their limbs and they don’t have the money to make the payments at this time.

When this happens, the banks for the most part really don’t care, and just want their money past due, now! They are not that good at getting them to repay no matter how hard they try, as you can’t squeeze blood out of a rock. Nor do they want the property back. When they can’t get the homeowner to pay, they want to clear this bad debt off their books. They sell them in bulk by the truckload to equity or hedge funds, which then sell them off by the case or the bottle to investors.

These defaulted and secured notes are available for pennies on the dollar. Ideally the goal would be to try to get them to repay. Getting them repaying is goal #1 goal, though it does not always work that way, so here is a list of 12 exit strategies to profit from them as investors.

Since you now own the note, and are now the bank, you can do whatever you want, and if you are creative, you can come up with many ways to exit.

Here Are 12 Ways To Profit From Non-Performing Real Estate Notes:

1. Repay or Modify The Note

The #1 goal is to help the homeowner stay in their house, and since the new owner paid very little for it compared to the value of the property, they can forgive some of the past due amounts, and still make a nice profit, though only If the homeowner wants to stay. You can lower the unpaid balance, payments, interest, or any combination of the three. After 6-12 trial payments to show good faith, we can modify the loan with any term we want.

2. Assumption Of Note By Someone Else

Since we own the note, we can find a family member or friend of the homeowner who would like to move in, and have them start repaying the monthly payments. If they keep paying, there is no need to modify the terms if it’s mutually agreeable to both parties.

3. Resell The Note For A Profit

Many people are looking for NPN’s, and they can be resold quickly for a higher price to another investor. Sometimes this makes sense to get a small amount upfront vs. spending time and money on a note that be a little too hairy, or you need the funds quickly.

4. Short Sale

If the homeowner has equity, a short sale is a good way to let them exit, and get their equity out. It requires our blessing as the mortgage holder, and a Real Estate Agent who will list it on the MLS. It’s a win-win for both parties.

5. Deed-In-Lieu Of Foreclosure

If the person does not want to stay, the next exit would be to ask them to sign the deed over to you in lieu of foreclosing or a DIL. Many times they will do this if they are upside down, and just don’t want the headache any more. It allows them to “save face,” exit with dignity, and we will not go after them for any amounts owed over the sale price, as well as not filing a 1099 with the IRS.

6. Cash For Keys

Sometimes they want to leave and they have equity, or are just being stubborn. This is when we offer them cash to leave, and sign the deed over to us. We typically give them a small amount to show good faith, then, give the rest after they leave the place cleaned out, and not damaged. The amount can vary from $500 to $100,000 or more depending if it’s a shotgun shack in the Ozarks vs. a $3 million Manhattan condo.

We saw a note for such a condo, and the person living in it was a retired schoolteacher with rent control, whose monthly payments were less than the taxes and HOA fees & they had no desire to move. The note was being offered for $1.5MM, so even a $500,000 cash for keys would have been a good deal to have a $1MM profit!

7. Foreclosure

Foreclosure is our last resort when all else fails. On a vacant property, we always start foreclosure right away. If the homeowner is still there, and refuses to work with us, we also foreclose. This takes anywhere from 2 months to 4-5 years, depending on the state. We will also pursue a deficiency judgment for any balance owed us over the price we get for selling the property when we have title, and if they are really jerks, we can submit a 1099 to the IRS for that amount.

The last three exits above are the starting point to obtaining title to the property, and also have multiple exits depending on how creative you want to be.

8. Sell As-Is

You can then just sell the property AS-IS to a rehabber or handyman, on your own, or with a Realtor. Advertising on Craigslist or at a local Meet Up is a great way to sell this.

9. Fix & Flip

In this case, you are like a traditional rehabber; you obtain title, fix it up, and sell it to a homeowner or investor as a move-in ready property for more than As-Is.

10. Fix & Rent

You can perform a low cost rehab, using lower quality paint, carpet, and tiles to rent out if there is a shortage of rentals in the area. Though you are now a landlord, and have to deal with the toilets, tenants, termites, roof, hot water, and all the other issues since you own the house.

11. Fix and Sell

This is a great way to create your own paper. You sell the rehabbed property, either As-Is or fixed up to a homeowner, typically for a higher price than selling. Since you are the owner, you can create a note out of thin air, and a mortgage or Land Contract or Contract for Deed that has terms the homeowner can afford and collect the payments, just like the bank for 20-30 years.

12. Fix, Rent, And Sell To An Investor

You can sell a “loaded” rental to an investor as a turnkey investment, typically for a higher price than a standard fix & flip. One method is 25% to 50% down, and write a seller carryback note that will use the rents to pay the balance off, with a monthly payment that is lower than the rent, so the investor gets some cash flow each month with the difference. This way, the renter pays off much of the cost of the property.

With so many ways to profit from a defaulted real estate note, it’s hard to lose money unless you pay too much for the note. There are no bad notes, just overpaying can get you into trouble.

Swimming Pool Heat Pumps – Highly Efficient Electric Pool Heaters

Heat pumps are not new to the market but the price of fossil fuels has made them a lot more attractive. Also, as technology has improved, their operating cost has dropped dramatically leading to higher levels of efficiency. What is efficiency? How do they work? When should you invest in one instead of a gas or solar system? What does it cost to run? These and some other questions are considered here so read on.

Efficiency

The efficiency which is talked about in relation to heat pumps is also called Coefficient Of Performance or COP. This gives a relationship between the amount of energy used to the amount of energy produced. To compare apples with apples, a common electric immersion heater (such as in a kettle) is around 90% efficient so would have a COP close to 1 but heat pumps can be rated with a COP of 5 which means an efficiency of 500%. This is because heat pump does not actually create heat (like an immersion heater does) they just move it from one place to another.

This is something the prospective purchaser must be aware of because heat pumps have a drawback. Electric heat pumps take heat from the air and transfer it to the pool water so as the air temperature drops so does their efficiency. In fact, once the air temperature hits around the 45 degrees F mark, they stop working and can even freeze up!

When comparing different brands for efficiency it is very important to make sure the COP is calculated under the same conditions for each pump.

How Does A Heat Pump Work?

If you have a refrigerator or a non-evaporative air conditioner you already have a heat pump. In fact a car radiator is a heat pump. In basic terms, you are using a liquid or gas to pick up heat at one point then pumping it to a radiator (or heat exchanger) and releasing it. A fridge is moving heat from inside the box and pumping it to a radiator outside the box where it goes into the air – that is why there is heat around the outside of your fridge.

So a swimming pool heat pump will take heat from the surrounding air and move it through refrigerant gas and a compressor to a heat exchanger releasing the heat into the pool water flowing around it. The cooled gas travels on through piping back to where it started and picks up more heat and so on. This is also called a "closed loop" because the gas keeps on traveling around it.

Should I Purchase A Heat Pump?

This is a more difficult question to answer. There are reasons for using heat pumps and there are reasons for opting for a gas or solar heater. The main question you need to ask is will you want to heat your pool water when the air temperature drops below the 45 to 50 degrees F mark? If so then forget it – your best bet is probably a gas heater. Will a solar pool heater extend your swimming season enough? If you have the space, a solar system may be best even though it could cost more to purchase initially.

A heat pump will heat your pool water on demand so you do not have to worry about overcast weather as you do with a solar system. Usually you would set the required water temperature and the heat pump will run as needed to keep that temperature. They can be used to heat a pool from cold if you only want to use the pool occasionally but gas heaters are better at this.

They are easy to install requiring some straightforward PVC plumbing and an electrical connection (use a contractor for that) and do not take up a lot of space.

There are above ground electric pool heaters available as well as in ground models.

What Is The Cost Of A Heat Pump?

The initial purchase cost will be somewhere between $ 2,000 and $ 5,000 depending heavily on the heating capacity (measured in BTUs). A larger heating capacity will result in faster heat-from-cold times but will add more to your power bill. The running cost is about half that of a gas pool heater. The running cost can be reduced by about 60 to 80% if you use a pool cover. Pool covers not only help keep debris out but keep water in by reducing evaporation. Evaporation accounts for around 80% of pool heat loss so installing a pool cover should be very high on your to-do list! Depending on where you live you could expect your power bill to increase by about $ 700 to $ 2,000 per year without a pool cover or $ 100 to $ 400 if you use a cover.

Heat pumps do have quite a few moving and electrical parts so it is a good idea to have them serviced yearly to get the best efficiency and lifespan out of them. Your user manual will normally have a recommended maintenance schedule. With proper maintenance they should last 10 years or more. Proper balance of your pool chemicals is vital other damage could result and efficiency will drop.

In conclusion, do a little homework before you commit to one type of pool heater over another. They can all sound great on paper but a little thought about your particular needs and situation could help you make the right decision. Heat pumps have some great advantages to consider and some disadvantages too.

The Link Between Diabetes and Thyroid Problems (and What You Can Do About It)

People with diabetes have an increased risk of developing a thyroid disorder. In the general population, approximately 6% of people have a thyroid problem in some form or other. However, this percentage increases to more than 10% in people with diabetes.

Indeed, thyroid disorders are very common in the western world … second only to diabetes as the most common condition to affect the endocrine system.

The endocrine system is a group of glands that secret hormones that help regulate the use of nutrients by cells, ie these glands play a central role in the proper functioning of your metabolism.

Abnormal thyroid function can have a major impact on the control of diabetes … untreated thyroid disorders can increase the risk of diabetic complications and can aggravate symptoms of diabetes.

But thyroid problems can easily be diagnosed through simple blood tests and effective treatment is available. Anyone with diabetes should be screened periodically for thyroid disorders.

What is the thyroid?

The thyroid gland is shaped like a butterfly sitting around the windpipe in your neck between your Adam's apple and your collarbone. It makes two hormones, T3 and T4, which set the speed for your metabolism … how fast your heart beats, how deeply you breathe, your body temperature, and how your body uses insulin are thyroid-related functions.

Hyperthyroidism , ie too much thyroid hormones being produced, increases insulin resistance, while hypothyroidism , too little of the hormones being made, raises cholesterol.

Hypothyroidism is far more common than hyperthyroidism.

Both hypo- and hyper-thyroid greatly increase the risk of heart disease.

Symptoms of thyroid problems

The symptoms vary with age and gender, and whether you have hypo- or hyperthyroidism.

The symptoms of hypothyroidism include feeling tired, feeling cold, gaining weight, experiencing depression, dry hair and skin, and constipation.

With hyperthyroidism you are like to experience weight loss, rapid heartbeat, shortness of breath, sweating, muscle weakness, and diarrhoea.

Both kinds of thyroidism, hyper- and hypo-thyroidism, can cause a goitre, a swelling of the neck as the thyroid grows larger.

Many of the symptoms are very similar to the symptoms of type 2 diabetes. For example, one symptom of a thyroid problem is cold feet. But someone with type 2 diabetes can easily mistake this symptom for diabetic neuropathy.

Testing for thyroid problems

Because you can not really tell from the symptoms alone whether you have a thyroid problem, you should get your thyroid checked regularly through blood tests. This is usually done by testing your blood for TSH, the thyroid-stimulating hormone.

TSH is the hormone your pituitary gland uses to tell the thyroid to get working. If thyroid function is low, the TSH level in your blood will be high which signals that your thyroid should be producing more thyroid hormones. If the thyroid is overactive, TSH will be low, trying to slow it down.

A TSH level between 0.4 and 4.0mU / L (milliunits per liter) is considered normal. But some people can have significant low thyroid functioning with a TSH of 2.0-4.0mU / L. Levels in this range may already be raising your lipids to harmful levels and possibly your glucose. In some European countries, patients with a TSH above 2.0 mU / L can be put on thyroid medication.

How to manage thyroid problems

There are three things you must do to manage thyroid problems … get tested periodically … take prescribed medicines, and … eat a thyroid friendly diet.

Testing … according to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), anyone diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes should be checked for thyroid disorders and then at five-year intervals thereafter. Those with Type 1 diabetes should be screened every year. It's also a good idea to be tested whenever you have unexplained changes in your glucose levels.

Medicine … hypothyroidism can be treated with levothyroxinen, a synthetic version of T4, the main thyroid hormone, which is made and released by the thyroid gland. However you have to try it out at different doses to find the best dose for you, which can take several months.

But levothyroxinen does not work for everyone. However, there are other medications, such as liothyronine, that can be used instead.

Note that it is important to take your thyroid pills every day at the same time.

There are medical and surgical treatments for hyperthyroidism as well.

Diet … eating the correct foods makes a difference.

Iodine is the most important nutrient for your thyroid. It is added to most commercially-sold salt in Europe and North America. If you use other, more specialist salts or no salt, you may need to ingest more iodine. Sea vegetables (seaweed) and sea animals are the best sources.

Medicine, food and exercise

The most common form of thyroid issues is hypothyroidism, ie a sluggish thyroid that is under-performing.

The get thyroid working up to speed you should:

Medicine … take the correct amount of medicine as directed by your doctor. Do not skip doses and take it at the same time of the day. Taking it at varying times during the day can prevent it working as it should. As you will probably have to take it for the rest of your life, make it part of your set daily routine.

Take your thyroid medicine on an empty stomach. Food can decrease its absorption, especially foods high in fiber. High fiber foods are good for you, so do not stop eating them … just eat them several hours before or after taking your thyroid medicines.

Avoid taking calcium supplements or supplements that contain iron (such as a multivitamins) along with your thyroid medicine as these can also block absorption of the medicine.

Food … cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, and cabbage can affect the production of the thyroid hormone. These are very healthy foods, so you must continue to eat them … just do not eat them at the same time as you take your medicine. Cooking these vegetables seems to lessen this effect.

Go easy with soy foods … soy contains genistein, which can decrease the production of the thyroid hormone … and, while you should keep eating them, do limit them to a few times per week.

Eat foods that boost the production of the thyroid hormone. These foods contain nutrients such as B vitamins, selenium, zinc, tyrosine, and iodine. Poultry, seafood, lean meat, whole grains, onions, beans, almonds, avocados, seeds, and low-fat dairy foods may be helpful.

Avoid or limit fatty and sugary foods … just as you do to control your diabetes.

Watch your portion sizes. Not overestimates like a no-brainer. If you need to lose weight, cut back on how much you eat.

A deficiency in iron is one cause of hypothyroidism. Ask your doctor to check your levels of iron if you have hypothyroidism.

Do not take dietary supplements, such as iodine supplements, geared towards treating thyroid problems without first discussing this with your doctor. Also, do not stop taking your thyroid medicine in the hopes of "treating" hypothyroidism by diet alone.

Exercise … not necessary to solve your thyroidism (or your diabetes) but helps the process. Keeping fit with a daily exercise routine will boost your efforts … you will also feel the better for it.

Stack and Tilt Golf Swing Instructions

For those who play golf, they are always on the lookout for new methods and ways of doing things that will give them that certain edge over other players and improve their overall game. A new method of swinging, the stack and tilt golf swing, has been hailed as the swing of the future. It's raw efficiency and consistency has made it popular among many different PGA tour players and has become a very hot topic among golfers everywhere. So it's no surprise that many different people are wondering and seeking information on stack and tilt golf swing instructions.

Originally this stack and tilt method was thought up by Andy Plummer and Mike Bennett, two golf swing instructors. They are praised and recognized as being extremely innovative and fresh in their approach to the golf swing as we know it. The stack and tilt golf swing gets its name from the fact that it stacks the golfers weight over and the ball there before creating much better contact.

Although the stack and tilt swing method isoted in simple principles, it deviates from the normal golf swings that are in use today by most golfers who play the game. The shifting of the golfer's weight is what makes this method so unique, as opposed to the traditional golf swing which focuses on weight shifting. By using the stack and tilt method, you're keeping your weight over the ball and gaining back much of the control and efficiency you lose with traditional swing methods. This way your front foot has all the weight on it the entire time, improving your swing dramatically. The largest benefit of the stack and tilt method is consistency and the fact that using this method will send your ball flying farther than any other swing method currently in use. It makes for a good smooth release and more distance as a result. It utilizes the complex aspects of the human body yet it's so simple to execute.

Outdoor Teak Dining Sets – The Best of Outdoor Entertainment

Let’s face it. The outdoors have taken on a new importance in American homes. It wasn’t so long ago that the indoors and outdoors existed separately and some homes didn’t even have an outdoor entertainment space, such as a patio or deck.

How times have changed. Today, few homes would even think of not having a deck, patio, balcony or porch where you can enjoy a warm summer day with friends and family.

In many ways, this area has simply become an extension of the inside of the home, particularly when it comes to enjoying a meal. In nearly every respect, outdoor teak dining sets are the equal of interior dining sets. Here, you and your friends can enjoy a sumptuous meal in the great outdoors nearly any time of the year.

In fact, even in colder climes, you can use your outdoor teak dining sets for much of the year, thanks to the addition of UV protected awnings and sails as well as propane heaters and outdoor fireplaces.

The year round popularity of these areas is due additionally to the growth in popularity in outdoor kitchens. These can range from simple barbecue areas to expansive cookeries with built-in ovens and gas ranges.

Outdoor teak dining sets are a natural part of an outdoor kitchen and homeowners have been quick to learn that teak is one of the best choices they could make for an outdoor table and chair set.

As we’ve said, teak is an extremely resilient wood. It can stand up to the harsh elements and it will continue to perform well even if left out in the extreme winter weather experienced by some parts of the country. Over time it will turn a silvery gray or you can choose to re-oil it every year or so, whenever it starts to turn color and restore it back to its original look.

That said, you can preserve the look of your outdoor teak dining sets further by keeping them covered during the winter months. There is a wide range of covers out there to provide protection. Before you get your outdoor teak dining sets ready for a long winter’s nap, you will want to clean the furniture thoroughly and let it dry completely. Remove all the cushions and put them in a dry place. Don’t cover your furniture too tightly. You want it to be able to breath. If you wish, you can set your table and chairs up on blocks to keep them out of standing water, but teak really isn’t that absorbent, thanks to the natural oils and tight grain.

If you have leaves in your table, you may want to leave them in rather than remove them for storage. While it would seem like a no-brainer to make the table as small as possible for off-season storage, you want all of the furniture to weather the same way. If you store the leave separately, you may find that they are a very different color than the rest of your outdoor teak dining sets.

The same can be true the rest of the year, too. As anyone who has an indoor dining set with leaves know, if can be quite a surprise when you pull out the leaves and find out that the sun has bleached the table ever so slightly. This effect is magnified even more in the outdoors, especially if you don’t have an awning, covered deck or patio or a sunshade to keep the sun off the furniture. Just remember that the color changes on your furniture is purely cosmetic, and a little re-oiling once a season will restore all the table, chairs and leaves back to their original condition.

Porch Awnings For Your Caravan

Porch awning can be used in more ways than just sitting on your porch. Another great application of porch awnings is to use them on your RV or camper. An Caravan awning is normally made from polyester or acrylic for the awning cloth and from aluminum or steel for the frame. They are obtainable in many dissimilar colors, sizes, and shapes, and if you are cautious, you can be housed within any particular budget. The unlucky side of the awnings is their weight. The size of several awnings makes them extremely hard to carry and very annoying to set them up, regardless of how much the technology advances.

However, the modern designs or the modern technology, have developed an Caravan awning that is preferably suited to the people that take pleasure in the weekend road trips all over the year. An Caravan porch awning has smaller dimensions than the large complement but it is also lighter and definitely easier to rise when you begin the trip and to disable at the end. The porch awnings are not only smaller, easy to rise and lighter, but they are cheaper than the complete awnings.

This way, you will not be obliged to trail the muddy boots into the clean Caravan or to drop the wet clothes. All you need is one Caravan porch awning. If you use your Caravan only in the summertime or for weekly escapes to the mountains, then sometimes it's time you to consider purchasing an Caravan porch awning. The shade from the sun and bad weather will make the cost absolutely worth it.

The Most Unusual Phobias

Phobias are the fear of something. Usually the fear is quite common – most of us know someone who is afraid of heights or spiders or public speaking. But it's possible to be afraid of lots of other things. Here are some of the most unusual phobias I've come across:

Chionophobia

This is the fear of snow. Which if you're a winter sports fan sounds pretty unusual but it often centers around a fear of snow flakes, making it an awkward phobia to have in certain climates.

Sesquipedalophobia

A not very appropriate name for the fear of long words. This is not a phobia I suffer from but its name is certainly outputting. Some people are afraid of long words because they are afraid they will mess up their pronunciation or otherwise make themself appear stupid.

Fear of gravity reversing itself

I have not been able to find an official name for this (although Barophobia covers the fear of gravity itself) but the thought of one of the laws of nature turning itself literally ends down is not one I'd personally like to dwell on .

Asymmetriphobia

This one is the fear of asymmetrical things. At first it does not appear too worried until you remember that lots of things in the world are asymmetrical – whether it's an odd number of leaves on a plant or slight differences between the left and right side of our bodies.

Somniphobia

The fear of sleep is adequately quite rare as we all need sleep (some more or less than others). It's a fear that we normally grow out of – children are more prone to this phobia, especially if they've suffered from nightmares recently.

Gephyrophobia

Another awkward worry to have: the fear of crossing bridges. If you're uncomfortable enough to suffer from this then your journeys could get a lot longer. Modern architecture helps prevent disasters like the Tacoma Narrows Bridge that collapsed spectacularly in 1940, just a few months after it was first opened to the public.

Melanophobia

Or the fear of black – so not a phobia that's popular amongst Goths. Black is regularly found in the world so this phobia is one that you'd want to get cured or at least reduced if at all possible.

Paraskavedekatriaphobia

Whilst a lot of us suffer from this fear it's usually only as a result of superstition – this is the fear of Friday the 13th. A few poor people do suffer from this rather more rigidly and, as such, are badly affected between one and three times every year.

Fear of cracks in the pavement

Another one I could not find an official name for. This is the phobia of stepping on cracks in the pavement and is normally coupled with the worry that the cracks will open up and maybe swallow you up or – in one of the more extreme examples I found – suck you into another dimension entirely.

Caligynephobia

This one is a fear of beautiful women – hard as that may be for most men to believe. It's thought to be related to the rather more common social phobia where people are afraid of social situations.

Never Burn a Bridge

Why should you always maintain a good report
with a business even when you are parting ways?

It is human nature to get mad and then rant and rave about what is not going well at work. Many of us spend time gossiping and socializing with the main topic of what the problems are and who is responsible. Although it may be a way to vent, it is not the way to gain further business with a client. When a relationship is no longer working, always debrief your findings, give suggestions for solving the problems and walk away with a handshake. It is this professionalism that will gain you respect and possibly more business in the future. Remember that the business relationship must be preserved in order to move forward with other business. You do not need to add skeletons to your closet, as you never know when someone you want to do business with will know the client that you just concluded your relationship with.

Never burning a bridge is one of the most difficult things to do in business. In the past, I have burnt a few and it has always come back to haunt me. I have made it a point to say that things are not working out, let's go our ways but remain friends. This may sound ridiculous but somewhere in the future, you will meet up with that person in a position that has a direct influence on whether you are the selected company or not. If you have burnt the bridge, you can be assured that the business will go somewhere.

I know this from experience. I worked for a person in government where I had a contract to provide certain services; even though my work was exemplary, this "boss" kept changing what was wanted. As a result, I quit in frustration and let them know how I felt. It felt good at the time, but then a couple of years later, I was bidding on a big training project and to my horror, this very same person was making the final decision. I did not get the business even though we had the best offering.

I think the worst thing of all was the egg on my face when I had gone to all the work of presenting a proposal. I had my staff all ready to go. Going back to the company and explaining we lost the bid because of my past actions was not an easy task, but we all learned from it and believe me, I will go to any length to keep a relationship and forgo the work.

Camshaft Concerns

Camshafts are responsible for timing the opening and shutting of engine valves, and as such are integral to the engine’s mechanical performance. Cams may be made of solid steel, low-grade steel or iron. They run the length of the engine head and have uneven-looking lobes set at regular intervals along the shaft. Under normal conditions and with adequate preventive maintenance, camshafts should last a great many miles.

As the engine runs, the cam turns using a chain or belt attached to the end of the crankshaft. This pushes the rods along the lobes, applying pressure to the valves and forcing them open during that phase of the engine stroke. The movement of the lobes then allows valves to close once the stroke ends. Lobe shape regulates engine timing and the time valves spend open. As such, lobe shape directly affects engine performance.

Symptoms of Camshaft Problems

  • Failing camshafts make a “ticking” sound or “valve clatter”
  • Engine makes “popping” sounds or backfires
  • Poor gas mileage or poor engine performance
  • Trouble starting
  • Signs get progressively worse
  • Dark, oily exhaust

If the valve train fails completely, the vehicle is immobilized. Fuel delivery and exhaust removal do not function.

Reasons for Camshaft Problems

  • Failing camshafts usually signal other problems
  • Cams fail due to other problems in the engine’s valve train.
  • Oil can be starved in the engine head, causing increased friction where the cam and rods meet, or causing excessive heat on the cam
  • Rocker arm assemblies can be adjusted incorrectly and cause binding
  • Valve springs may bind or break
  • Occasional manufacturer errors of shipping damage to the cam
  • Pitting or scratching on the camshaft from contaminated lubricants
  • Mechanical and material stress over time
  • Failure to change the oil and adjust valves as recommended
  • Poor quality fuel or contaminated oil

Repair and Replacement Costs

  • Replacing camshafts requires disassembling the engine timing components including belts and pulley.
  • Camshaft replacement requires intensive and difficult labor, driving up costs.
  • Camshaft replacement can cost between $1500 to over $3000, depending on the car and the repairs required.
  • The price of the camshaft alone can be between $250 and $1000 or more, depending on the model of the car.
  • Foreign camshafts may cost two to three times more than domestic ones.
  • Labor prices may be anywhere from $20 to $100 per hour
  • The average camshaft repair takes five to seven hours
  • There will be additional costs for engine parts that support the camshaft and the engine.
  • A camshaft position sensor will be needed, costing upwards of $150.

Mounting Canvas Prints

Canvas prints are a great way to turn your favorite photos into beautiful works of art. You can either do it yourself, if you have all the tools and equipment at home, or have a professional do it for you.

Once you have your canvas arts done, the next thing you have to do is to mount it. Some canvas artwork companies offer this as part of their service. If yours does not, you can easily do it yourself. Mounting a canvas art is fairly simple. It involves stretching the artwork over tempered hardboard. Once this is done, the canvas print will become easier to hang. Here is how to do it:

First gather all the things you will need:

Table saw
Spray adhesive
Razor blade
Utility knife
Long ruler or T-square
Scissors
1 piece of 1/2-inch tempered hardboard

Start by cutting the tempered hardboard with a table saw. The tempered hardboard should be the same size as the canvas art. Next, cut around the canvas print and while leaving a 2-inch perimeter around the print.

Spray the back of the tempered hardboard with adhesive. Do not forget to set some old newspapers around your work area to make sure you do not get adhesive over everything. Spray the adhesive evenly. Make sure that the entire back of the board is covered with adhesive.

Set the canvas artwork face down on a table or any flat, even surface and quickly put the side of the tempered hardboard that is covered with adhesive on it. Make sure the board is set exactly in the middle with only the 2-inch perimeter showing.

Using a rolling pin or baking roller, roll over the hardboard to make it stick perfectly to the canvas print. Apply even pressure.

Next, remove the 2-inch perimeter by cutting around sides of the board using a sharp razor blade with the print and board still facing down. Your canvas print should be the same size as the board and is now ready to be hung or framed.

Using a Sticky Board fort Mounting

If you do not have time to spray tempered hardboard with adhesive, you can purchase a sticky board or adhesive mounting board from a craft store or hardware store.

Simply set the sticky board on a table or flat surface without exposing the adhesive surface. Cut it down to size using a table saw or utility knife. Use a ruler or t-square to make a straight cut. Lay the canvas print flat on surface and cut it down to size as well, leaving a 2-inch allowance around the print.

Next, remove the protective cover from the adhesive side of the sticky board and then lay it on top of the canvas print. Make sure to set it right in the center.

Or, set the sticky board on a flat surface, adhesive side up. Set the canvas print on top of the adhesive board. You can fold it in half first for easier handling. Line up one edge of the print on top of the sticky board and carefully unfold it over the rest of the board.

From the center, smooth out the canvas by carefully drawing a ruler over the top.

Buy Old Hammered Coins Online

When it comes to buying old hammered coins, the internet is awash with opportunities for experienced buyers looking to make a very specific purchase and first time buyers that have a certain level of uncertainty about exactly what they are looking for. With the evolution of e-commerce it is now possible to find, buy and receive old hammered coins from the comfort of your own home.

When buying old hammered coins online, one problem that many people have is worried about whether or not they will receive exactly what they were expecting. Many specialized and well known hammered coin dealers do not have the same level of risk attached, however the same can not be said about everyone who is selling hammered coins over the internet. An example of this would be the many hammered coins that are available on auction websites such as Ebay. One way to make sure that you are less likely to end up out of pocket, can be to always ensure that you buy using a credit card. When you do this, you will always be able to do a charge-back should you end up not receiving the goods that you ordered.

As well as being able to do a charge-back, you should always do certain checks before hand to ensure that everything looks above board. If you are buying through a website, for example, you should look to see if the merchant makes their contact details publicly available – if they do not then you should stay well away. Another great tip can be to ask the seller for the contact details of their prior customers. You can contact them and see if they were happy with the service levels that they received. However, you can avoid these problems by buying from a 'known' dealer. The coin associations (British Numismatic Society or British Numismatic Trade Association) should be able to tell you if the dealer concerned is known to them. Alternately one of the major International dealers (ie Spink & Son) will probably know the dealer and his / her specialized field.

Before you make any purchase online, you should always make sure that you are paying a fair price which reflects the current rates in the market place. This is especially relevant when it comes to buying hammered coins. You should try and find out the price that coins, of a similar time period and value, sold for in the past. You can then use that information to find out if you are going to be charged a fair price. When you buy from hammered coin dealers you should be expecting to, and be willing to, pay more for your purchase. The reason for this is that they will go to the effort of checking the authenticity of the coin and do research with regard to its origin and condition. They will also make sure that buyers pay a fair price, and are not being ripped off due to their ignorance or excess desire to get a particular coin.

Finding a hammered coin dealer online is simple. Firstly go to a search engine and type in hammered coins, or a similar phrase that indicates your intention. You can even visit a directory and find out if they have a section that is dedicated to hammered coins websites.

How to Create Inspirational Mirror Mosaics in Your Bathroom

I recently came across this book entitled Inspirations Mosaics by Helen Baird that teachers you how to create mosaics. The author got her inspiration for creating custom mosaics when she visited a Roman Villa in France which had stunning mosaic tile floors. When people think of mosaic tiles they often think about the ancient Romans who had perfected the art of using mosaics so much that they used the craft extensively through their architectural endeavors. I would not expect you to use mosaics through your own bath because that would be cruel and unusual punishment for the newbie, but incorporating the classic art of mosaics into your bathroom decor will without a doubt give your washroom a classic feel that is reminiscent of the ancient roman bath houses. The great thing about mosaics is that there are many different types of materials that you can use to brighten up your bathroom, be it pieces of slate, broken floor tiles, colored glass, smashed crockery or conventional mosaic tiles. One cool way mentioned in the book to use ceramic mosaics in your loo is to frame your bathroom mirror with an inspirational motif to create a stunning artistic affect.

The alluring thing about mosaics is that you can take broken throw away materials and use them to create a pattern of harmonious elements that make up an inspirational picture of richly colored image fragments that can be enjoyed by all. While the process does require a bit of patience, skill and perseverance, it is not that difficult and can be mastered by anyone with practice and diligence. You can start off small and as your skill level increases you can tackle more ambitious projects that you can execute with confidence and creative style.

To create your own stunning framed mosaic mirror you will need brown paper to draw your design upon, pliers or nippers to break-up your raw materials (tile) into the desired sized pieces, silicone based adhesive, protective goggles, rubber gloves to protect your fingers, tile grout, a mirror, a wooden board to mount everything upon and cement based tile adhesive.

Place your mirror face down in the middle of your brown paper and attach with masking tape. Draw around the outline of the mirror and draw a border, divide the border into sections and draw a pattern around the mirror area slightly smaller than the desired width of the frame leaving a one-twelfth of an inch border. Put on your protective eye wear and with tile cutters, clip your tile into manageable sized pieces and stick them face down on the paper with water soluble glue. An important point to remember here is to keep the gaps between the pieces as even as possible. Continue until you have completed your design, let dry and then carefully lower it to your wooden board backing and attach the lip around the outside of the frame. Remove your mirror from the middle and cut out the section of brown paper where the mirror once was.

This is the very messy but fun part, put on your rubber gloves and rub some grout into the gaps of your mirror frame mosaic design, making sure to wipe off the excess grout with a damp cloth or sponge. Here we play the waiting game, leave until everything is almost completely dry then gently remove the whole mosaic from the board by turning it upside down and apply a tile adhesive to the wooden board. Make sure that the paper side of the mosaic is facing up and then position your mosaic frame over the board and press the mosaic side down into the adhesive. Once the mosaic is securely fastened to the back wooden board, its time for your mirror, fasten your mirror with a silicone based adhesive and let it dry for about thirty minutes.

Abracadabra! Now comes the magic! Dampen the top of the paper on your mosaic with water and let the water loosen the water soluble glue for about ten to fifteen minutes. Gently wipe off the damp paper to reveal your beautiful mosaic pattern. Make sure all glue and paper is gone and let your frame dry. Fill in any gaps with more grout and wipe off any access with a damp cloth. Let your bathroom mosaic mirror frame dry completely before you attach your masterpiece to your bathroom wall. And who said crafts in the bathroom was not fun! Enjoy!

Tips For New Gardeners Part 1 – Essential Tools

Getting out into the garden is increasingly popular once more, many people find that it helps them to relax and there is a sense of satisfaction as you see your plants grow and your garden develop into something special. In this series of articles I will introduce new gardeners to the art of gardening. It is not something that can be learnt overnight, but that is part of the appeal. There is always something new to learn, no matter how old, young or experienced you are!

Obviously, you are going to need some tools to get started. When you go to the Garden Center or the hardware shop to buy your first set of garden tools, you will be faced with a bewildering array. So what do you really need? The first question to ask is "am I a vegetable gardener, an ornamental gardener or both?" For most people, the answer will probably be both, a lot depends on the size of your garden and why you want to garden. So this set of tools should cover both needs and assures that you are starting a garden from scratch – just a bare patch of ground, no hedges, shrubs, lawn etc.

Garden Fork – essential tool for breaking the ground
Garden Spade – needed for turning over the soil and digging holes for larger plants
Hand Trowel – great as a mini-spade for planting bulbs, bedding and small plants
Hoe – quick weaving tool, but do not let the weeds get too large or you will need the trowel!
Rake – for preparing seedbeds and can also be used to gather up leaves etc.
Trug – gardening basket for collecting and moving weeds, stones etc (if your garden is large, get a wheelbarrow instead)

If you have a neglected and overgrown garden you would need to consider buying these tools …

Secateurs – sharp hand tool used for trimming shrubs, roses and similar woody plants
Loppers – similar to secateurs but with stronger and larger jaws, longer (often extendable) handles for trimming thicker branches
Shears – for trimming foliage and cutting down large weeds prior to digging them out

OK, so what about the quality? Beware of the very cheapest tools as they will not last long, especially if they are used a lot but there is no need to buy the most expensive either, unless your garden is large or your soil is heavy clay. When you buy, check that the handles are firmly fixed and do not feel flimsy, that the metal parts look to be well machined and the shafts are not warped. Consider also how light the tools are, turning over the soil can be hard work, you can reduce the effort needed by choosing lighter garden implements. The down side is that they may be light because the manufacturer has compromised on quality. Take time to consider the options and do not rush into your first tool purchases.

So, setting up as a new gardener need not cost a fortune, but you will need to spend some money on gardeners tools, however, if you spend your tool budget wisely, it will leave more for the hard and soft landscaping of your garden.

Interior House Painting Estimates

When deciding to upgrade the look of your house, it is best to obtain interior house painting estimates so that you can save money and time. Adding a new coat of paint to your home's interior will transform the look and feel of your house and at the same time add value to your home. Interior house painting estimates can be obtained online or from your local painting professional.

In understanding interior house painting estimates, it is important to know a little about the costs of materials needed. For starters, interior paint will cost you anywhere from $ 12 to $ 50 (if not more) per gallon, dependent on the quality of the paint. For a regular room of 12 x 12 feet, you can expect to pay up to $ 100 worth of paint and $ 50 for brushes, rollers, primers, and additional supplies. A licensed contractor using quality brand name paints will run anywhere from $ 200 to $ 400 for the same 12 x 12 room.

All interior house painting estimates should let you know the type of quality to be used in the paint (including primer) and prep work associated with the job, such as moving small items and taping. The reasons to buy quality paint over less expensive ones is that they last longer and oftentimes only require a single coat, instead or two or more. Understand also that if you are painting over dark colors, it will usually take more coats of paint, than if the walls were previously a light color. Keep in mind, that interior house painting estimates will also include costs such as the preparation work needed to start painting. The removal of heavy furniture from a room is not often covered in the interior house painting estimates you will receive. Be sure to talk with the painter and review any costs if heavy furniture is to be moved. There are additional things you need to consider in reviewing painting quotes, like the type of roller or brush the painter will use. It sometimes pays more in the long run to buy quality rollers and brushes, as cheap ones leave fuzz on the walls. Another additional cost that needs to be considered is if the contractor has to paint baseboards, crown molding, wainscoting and other detailed work, as this will add to the estimate.

Always been on the lookout for discounts the painter has to offer when soliciting interior house painting estimates. The costs to paint the first room is always the most expensive, however, additional rooms may be painted at significant discounts if painted all at once. Reduced rates can also be found dependent on the time of year the work is to be done. Interior house painting estimates will often be cheaper in the winter months, early spring and late fall, and more expensive in the peak summer season.

It is a good idea to contract with a painter with a proven track record of customer satisfaction. Ask for interviews from previous jobs he has done. Be sure that the color of the paint is exactly what you want before the job begins. You do not want to have to paint again due to choosing the wrong color the first time.

Clearance Chandeliers

A chandelier is one of the most important lighting fixtures in the room, and if chosen wisely, it
is an investment that can greatly add to the value of your home.

To choose the right chandelier, the first step is to identify the right size. In a dining room where there is a lot of traffic, where the kids work on their project or the family gets together for evening meals, the chandeliers may well be the centerpiece. So, it is important to make a statement with the kind of fixture you choose. Go for a decent sized chandelier. A chandelier that is too small for the room will look oddly out of place. At the same time, there is such a thing as an oversized chandelier. If you select a fixture that is too big for the room, you will end up with clutter. Select a chandelier that is just the right size for your room and place it
in such a way that there is enough illumination without it interfering with your activities. High ceilings can easily accommodate two to three tiered chandeliers. Lower ceilings can accommodate smaller chandeliers.

Once you have decided on the size, it is time to select the design of your chandeliers. Choose something that matches your paint, furniture and accessories perfectly. Mismatched pieces will give your room a shabby look. Formal rooms will look stylishly with traditional crystal chandeliers while modern homes look good with simple pendant designs and metal finish. Other popular choices may include mission chandeliers made in bronze or antiqued finishes. If your home leans towards ethnicity, choose bold fixtures with wrought iron finishes. For the rustic look, you can choose something with a woody look. In case you are still wondering what kind of style to choose for your chandelier, just go with the muted simple pendant chandelier.

Although the chandelier may be the centerpiece of your room, by no means is it provided to be the only source of illumination for a room. Use a number of light sources to supplement the glow cast by your chandelier. Wall sconces, recessed lighting and table lamps placed at the right places will do the trick.