Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Rent then Buy: Advantages, Disadvantages

Rent then buy or rent-to-own is one of the marketing strategies being applied by real estate brokers these days. It is a very engaging strategy since it allows the renter of the unit to have the option to buy the property afterwards. This transaction is also sometimes referred to as lease-to-own or a lease purchase. Rent then buy transactions are usually initiated by the renter the moment an option fee, usually amounting from 1% to 5% of the selling price of the house, has been paid. Afterwards, the renter of the unit pays for a certain amount of money representing the rent and an additional rent premium that is also charged to the purchase price. At the end of the term, the renter has the option to buy the property. If not, he loses the option fee and the additional rent premium that had been charged to the selling price of the unit. The advantage of rent then buy transactions is that it allows for lower cash out in the beginning of the transaction. For some buyers, the purpose of entering into this kind of transaction is to have the exclusive right to buy the house without the presence of banks or other financial institutions upfront. It is usually cheaper to rent than to buy a home directly. The buyer also has greater flexibility to rent a property first before buying it, giving the buyer the choice to buy the property or not in the end. With the rent then buy set up, your monthly overhead remains the same and is not affected by interest rates. Also, the repairs and maintenance of the house will not be your burden. The most significant advantage that this transaction offers is that you could secure a home immediately even with bad credit. The rent then buy transaction allows you to repair your bad credit standing while building up a better one to obtain financing. The disadvantage of a rent then buy transaction is mainly the financial risk. This arises in the event that the buyer decides not to exercise his right to purchase the property at the end of the lease period. The amount of purchase option as well as the additional rent premium will be forfeited upon the termination of the lease. Another disadvantage of this transaction is the unavailability of inventory to the buyer because most sellers need to liquidate immediately to purchase a new home. The rent then buy transaction offers advantages and disadvantages at both sides. The best way to treat it is to weigh which is more applicable to you as a buyer. The rent then buy transaction is a fast becoming the trend in real estate markets because of the flexibility and convenience it offers when it comes to cheaper charges and the allowance to buy the property afterwards. More people are looking for alternatives to buy their own homes. The rent then buy transaction allows for buyers to secure a home without a perfect credit history thus making it a more viable choice. This method is usually utilized by those who do not have enough money to pay for the down payment of a house or to secure a house in the traditional manner. Still, proper precaution is very important when entering into these kinds of transaction.

Rent then buy or rent-to-own is one of the marketing strategies being applied by real estate brokers these days. It is a very engaging strategy since it allows the renter of the unit to have the option to buy the property afterwards. This transaction is also sometimes referred to as lease-to-own or a lease purchase.

Rent then buy transactions are usually initiated by the renter the moment an option fee, usually amounting from 1% to 5% of the selling price of the house, has been paid. Afterwards, the renter of the unit pays for a certain amount of money representing the rent and an additional rent premium that is also charged to the purchase price. At the end of the term, the renter has the option to buy the property. If not, he loses the option fee and the additional rent premium that had been charged to the selling price of the unit.

The advantage of rent then buy transactions is that it allows for lower cash out in the beginning of the transaction. For some buyers, the purpose of entering into this kind of transaction is to have the exclusive right to buy the house without the presence of banks or other financial institutions upfront. It is usually cheaper to rent than to buy a home directly. The buyer also has greater flexibility to rent a property first before buying it, giving the buyer the choice to buy the property or not in the end. With the rent then buy set up, your monthly overhead remains the same and is not affected by interest rates. Also, the repairs and maintenance of the house will not be your burden. The most significant advantage that this transaction offers is that you could secure a home immediately even with bad credit. The rent then buy transaction allows you to repair your bad credit standing while building up a better one to obtain financing.

The disadvantage of a rent then buy transaction is mainly the financial risk. This arises in the event that the buyer decides not to exercise his righ t to purchase the property at the end of the lease period. The amount of purchase option as well as the additional rent premium will be forfeited upon the termination of the lease. Another disadvantage of this transaction is the unavailability of inventory to the buyer because most sellers need to liquidate immediately to purchase a new home.

The rent then buy transaction offers advantages and disadvantages at both sides. The best way to treat it is to weigh which is more applicable to you as a buyer. The rent then buy transaction is a fast becoming the trend in real estate markets because of the flexibility and convenience it offers when it comes to cheaper charges and the allowance to buy the property afterwards. More people are looking for alternatives to buy their own homes. The rent then buy transaction allows for buyers to secure a home without a perfect credit history thus making it a more viable choice. This method is usually utilized by those who do not hav e enough money to pay for the down payment of a house or to secure a house in the traditional manner. Still, proper precaution is very important when entering into these kinds of transaction.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

Iron rules about renting a car

Iron rules about renting a car

Wrote and edited: Yair Bar-Zohar

Date: 01.07.2004

Recently updated: 02.02.2009

A rented car abroad Advantages: comfort, transportation from one place to another, freedom to travel independently, the option to stop at any time of the day, the option to reach places where public transportation doesnt, cheaper (sometimes) than organized trip and public transportation. The profitability of renting a car rises when the number of passengers rises.

It's very recommended (yet not mandatory) to work with international rental cars companies because they can solve any problem around the clock and they have a large variety of new cars. The only disadvantage is the high price. The price in local companies is quite cheap, but their downsize is that their service is not always available, so you'll need to check if the renting point is open at the time and day reserved.

The advantages of the big/international (and k nown) renting companies:

Deploying branches: when you're driving with the rented car and everything is fine, then there's no problem and you are satisfied. But in life, everything doesnt always go according to plan, and sometimes there are car failures, and then the problem begins: Where is the nearest branch, whether the workers come to you or you come to them. I had a serious failure with the car when I was in the Niagara Falls. I rented at a known company, and even then, I had to wait for about 12 hours for an alternative car, it took from me a lot of nerves, and the other car was malfunctioning as well. I have lost 2 days of my trip ( dont forget that wasted time is wasted money). What do I want to say? That you need to choose the company with the best deployment.

You need to check when the place is open. It is better to take the car keys from the workers and not counting on the luck that others put them in a box (though most of the time there are no proble ms with that). Not every company (especially the small ones) open their branches for a long period of time and they dont always have an airport branch. In cases like this, you have to wait several hours for the opening (mostly in the early morning hours). Again dont forget that wasted time is wasted money.

It is very important to choose your renting company directly and not trough a travelling agent because they usually offer sales that others cannot compete with, and if you belong to any big organization like "hever" or the teachers association, you might get a discount up to 15%.

Favorite client in big companies: when you reserve a car, you usually get the car you asked for and only rarely get upgraded. Why not be a favorite client without payment by signing up for it in the company's website (not every company has one): pay for class B (for example), and get a class C free. As a favorite client you wait for the car no longer then 10 minutes, and you dont wai t in line. In case you do need to wait longer, most places will give you a refund, from my experience.

The count of the rental days begins when your lease form gets stamped at the car receiving station. A delay of an hour and above is being considered an additional renting day. The reserve and the following computerized reports allow a delay of up to 59 minutes in the return. A delay above 59 minutes, even if it's because you waited in line, means another renting day. Day=24 hours.

It's important to be precise in the reservation form with the driver's name, the location where you take and give the car back, when you take the car, and most important the flight's number (since you've made your reservation in advance, the renting company is expecting you at the time you have written. if there is a delay in the flight, they have your flight's details and can track it accordingly. Your car will be saved for you 2 hours after the ordered time, in case you havent give n away your flight's details. You cannot change those details abroad. Changing the time of the takeoff requires changing the approximate time of taking the car and You'll need to verify that the information is known to the renting company (if you won't inform them, there's a big change you will have to wait for a long time).

A big part of the insurances offered to the renter of the car when he gets the car is only a suggestion and not really mandatory.Pay attention and dont sign any form without checking it's content before you receive the car, in order to prevent unnecessary payments in the future.

When you rent a car, take in account that it's not recommended to rent one in crowded cities (like: New-York, London, Barcelona, Paris, Las-Vega, etc) unless you plan to drive outside the city.

In the summer (for example Italy), order a car with air conditioning, and at ski areas in the winter, order a 4X4 car (better grip of the road) with snow tires + chain s, and with enough trunk for the ski equipment.

A 2 doors car is cheaper than a 4 doors car (same size and car, just less doors). It will be abuse and lack of consideration to the other passengers in the back if you drive a 2 doors car with 3 or 4 people.

Special vehicles (Jeep, Van, Sport, etc) need to be ordered far in advance. Otherwise, you won't have that kind of car to rent.

Days count: sometimes it is cheaper to rent a car for a week and return it after 5 days then to rent a car for 5 days. There is no refund in unused days.

In most cases, ordering a car from your home country is much cheaper than ordering in the USA or Europe.

Compare renting prices between big airports (or nearby airports) and cities. Renting a car at Kennedy airport is almost double the price of renting the same car, at the same company in New-Ark airport, New-Jersey. Its important to know that at airports there have port taxes.

Young drivers, below the age of 24-25: at the USA, most of the renting companie s dont rent to those under the age of 24 or 25. Those who does, rent for drivers at the age of 21 and above, but charge for extra daily (between 10-40 dollars a day. The sum of money depends on the renting place). Few are the companies who rent for drivers at the age of 19 and above (and charge from them 20 dollars additionally).

We advocate you plow the market, check, compare and only then order. It's recommended to start the trip at the country that has the lowest renting prices compared to the others.

It's always good to order the car from a company that is known in your country, its cheaper.

When you order a car, the company undertakes to the ordered car's category and not to the type of the car.

It is important to make sure what are the unique add-ons, that you must pay when you order.

Ask for a diesel car (check diesel prices at the destination country it's not always cheaper than regular fuel, but in most cases, they are). In some a reas, the price of the diesel is significantly lower than regular fuel (the gaps between the prices can come in some countries to 50%). Also consider the fact that you can drive much more (almost double) kilometers in a diesel tank instead of regular fuel.

Payment at home- it is cheaper to order at your home country than abroad. The place where it's cheapest to rent: Europe Germany, USA Florida.

It's a must to compare the kinds of insurances and benefits (full tank, sunroof, etc). You should ask how much you must add, if you return the car in a different country from where you rented it, find out how much is the extra insurance with you move to eastern Europe countries, what is the Deductible in case of an accident, etc. You need to make sure there are no safety limitations: traveling on ferries, entering certain countries, especially in the east, entering Italy, Mexico, age limitation, etc.

Its very recommended to make an extended insurance against ac cidents with a third side insurance, as well as an included Deductible insurance, in addition to the mandatory ones(theft for example). Other than then, there is no need to pay for any insurance program.

Insurance Codes:

CDW - Collision Damage Waiver: insurance for the rented car and for the other car. There is Deductible.

Many Companies dont give you the Deductible included in the rent itself, charge you about 5-6 Euros per day, and if god forbid there is any damage to the car, you begin a tiring journey: You pay a fine about 400 Euros Deductible without any right to appeal, When you get back to your home country, you start negotiating with the company, fill out forms and eventually, they pay you back the money, but a lot of time pass till you reach there and along the way, you get very annoyed. There are some companies that do include the Deductible and save you a lot of money.

PAI - Personal Accidents Insurance.

TP - Third Person Liabi lity Protection: insurance against all kinds of third person faults (theft for example).

STP Deductible Included not mandatory but recommended.

SLI expended third person insurance (recommended only in the USA).

You can cancel the add-ons within 24 hours.

CDW TP all the offers are included (there is a deductible different in each country).

It's recommended to order the add-ons in your home country.

The insurance company is exempted from paying you any compensation if the car keys were left somewhere by you and thus allowing or making the stealing of the car an easy job.

The insurance companies won't pay the full value of the content of the cargo inside the car if the keys were left inside or if you didnt lock the car properly.

None of the insurances above cover for damages to the panes, tires and to the lower part of the vehicle.

International driving license + valid Israeli driving license: Remember!! Not every country acknowledges the Israeli driving license. By Israel laws and other places around the world, it is stated that the national driving license is the international one. The insurance companies won't acknowledge the international driving license abroad because it's a result of an agreement between ministers and not the result of the law, and that being so, they are not insured with Lloyd's. Their policy demands international driving license along with the national one. There is also a situation that certain authorities are not aware of the law existing in their country. Therefore, its best to take both driving license (international+national).

Places you can get an international driving license: MEMSI, and some of the mail branches. Anyway, it's preferable to get the license near the date of your flight so you'll have more time to use it.

Make sure that you have an international credit card. Most of the renting compan ies doesnt allow taking their car without giving them your credit card number to ensure payment for every damaged made to the car or for an empty tank needed to be filled.

Make sure that you have the right renting car voucher.

In every rent there is a registration payment that costs about 9 dollars in case of cancellation.

Payments made abroad: road taxes, equipment like baby chair, ski roof, snow chains, additional driver insurance or a young driver insurance, insurances expansions , harbor taxes if they weren't paid in your country, traffic fines, highways taxes, etc.

When you are at the rental company, check that you have written the address and phone number of the return point, in order to avoid uncertainty and unnecessary delays. Also, ask for a map that would help you find the return station. It's very much recommended to take the road maps at the rental station, they will help you. Ask the workers there for instructions on the map on how to get out of the area, to the destination direction.

25. On the roads: crossing between certain countries requires buying a sticker at the border station, which allows you to drive on that country's roads. Driving on those roads without the sticker might get you a fine. In any case, its recommended to ask for one when you get the car. Make sure that you have a parking clock that allows you to park the car for several hours. If you dont have one, you should buy one. Make sure that you have a stamp for driving the roads (some countries demand it). Again, it's recommended to buy one if you do not receive it from the rental company.

Most of the central airports in Europe have a service box when the renting station is close, and you need to put the keys and the lease contract inside it. In that case, you won't get any confirmation of returning the car, no refund will be given back to you due to partial use of the coupon if you return the car sooner than determined.

General rules:

Please follow the traffic laws accepted in the county where you drive. Traffic laws vary from one country to another, regarding the driving speed allowed, signs, traffic lights, directional movement, parking, road signs and more. Fines in most of Europe countries and the United States, even parking fines, are not normal. If you get caught and get a fine, pay it before you leave the country, because the car's renting company will charge you for additional expenses beyond covering the fine.

In case of a malfunction, accident or car theft, please report the renting company. Please demand the emergency number of the company (usually printed on the lease contract). In case the rent includes road services, make contact with the renting company to get an immediate help or a car exchange. In cases like accidents or car theft, you must also report the local police. You must keep copies of everything in case of a claim...

Ke ep the car locked, and take valuable belongings and hand bags each time you exit the car. In case you have rented a GPS system, remove it every time you leave the car.

It's recommended to print this article.

Look & See

http://www.tiulim.net for israelies travelers

http://all4free.co.il for Israelies entertainment

http://addyourpoint.com for all travelers in the world

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Sunday, July 29, 2012

To Rent a Home in Runing Market

It is known that the current housing and real estate industry worldwide is experiencing a crisis. That's why many couples, families and individuals who planned to buy houses and dwellings are now temporarily suspended their plans to purchase until the situation improves.

While many real estate and house prices cheaper, it can be frustrating to buy, because there are many issues to resolve including the valuation of assets falling within the general, security and liquidity shortage. These days, when high inflation, bank lending rates rise and the cash reserves running low, this is a logical and practical to tighten belts and to postpone any investment or acquisition.

The decision to buy or rent housing should be affected by several factors. The first is to assess your money and spending capacity. If you have sufficient savings and monthly basis, you have spare money after paying for all purposes, you can safely afford to buy their own apartment or home , especially those in the monthly installment basis. It is not safe, if such investment, if you are unable to guarantee yourself that you have enough money to shoulder the monthly return.
You should also look at the monthly rent and deposit and monthly payments to the bank the difference. Typically homebuyers prefer to buy a bike to own homes, since the required monthly payments almost always the same as monthly rent for the rented house. Why do not you choose your house you are renting? Seeking a home for such a practical, because it gives a feeling as if you are renting, but after a few years, you will be fully and legally own home.

For security purposes the term of office, buying a home is ideal. If you are afraid to easily evicted from his apartment, you should choose a place to buy and have their own home, where no one can evict you. If you think you will enjoy your home location, as well as neighbors, the company will hire more ideal and recommended tool. If you rent your home, you can easily decide to leave the place and move to a better and more conducive to one, but if your home, you have no choice but to endure and be patient lives.< br />
Responsibility for the home will save you from the residential market situation. Owners will always be the usual nominal rental rate prevailing in the market. When demand is very solid and large, expect your monthly rent to go along with the climb. The good thing about this is that when demand is strong, rents can also cool down. The monthly return for the acquired homes under the party has a fixed price. So, you pay a fixed price, even if demand rises or falls.

How do you weigh the advantages and disadvantages of buying and renting homes, you should also ask yourself, "Which one will be even more useful for a long time?" Consider these factors before you make your important decision.

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Saturday, July 28, 2012

Why Renting A Home Instead Of Buying A House Gives You Peace of Mind

One dilemma that most people face now is to buy a home or to just continue renting a house. This is one subject that would merit hours and hours of debate among people. True, there are good reasons why people choose to buy their dream house, but there are also reasons why renting a home instead of buying is advantageous.

The Present Economy

The recent events have prompted a lot of people to think twice before purchasing their own house. The news would often feature people being forced to give up their houses because they could no longer afford to pay the mortgages and taxes. Of course, you do not want that happening to you. This unstable condition will really make you uncomfortable in investing your money in something that may be taken away from you. The high cost of mortgages and taxes make it hard for people to continue on paying especially if they have no source of income. So if you are not so sure about your job then you would rather invest that money somew here else that would enable it to earn interest and grow in value.

Thinking Long Term in Terms of Expenses

Some people say that renting a house is like saving money in a piggy bank with a hole. This cannot be really true. Buying a house does not only involve the cost of the house itself. There are other things that you would be paying for to keep it. The high rate of the taxes that you pay every year is one. You should incorporate that in your expenses every year.

Depending on your location, the taxes you are paying will make you think why rent a home instead of buying a house is better. When you rent, you do not have to worry about property taxes that seem to be increasing each year. Insurance is also another expense that you should think about when deciding to buy a house or not. Of course, some landlords require renters to get insurance. However, this is priced lower compared to getting a full insurance for a house that you own.

Applying for a Mortgage

Unless you have tons of money, getting a mortgage is the only way that will enable you to purchase your own home. As many people have experience, it is not easy getting one. This is one long process that will really test your patience. For one, there is a lot of paperwork that you need to do as part of the process. A good credit standing will help you out in securing that approval as well as having a large amount of money for initial payment is needed to get a good inte rest rate.

If you are not careful with your dealings, you might end up being in debt. Renting gives you peace of mind because as long as you are able to pay your rent, you do not have to worry about loan sharks knocking on your door and confiscating all your possessions. You do not have to go through that lengthy process of applying for a mortgage only to find out in the end that it is not approved.

Maintenance Issues

Having your own home will make you more aware of maintenance issues. This is one of the reasons why renting a home instead of buying a house is popular among single people and those still starting out. Up keep of the house including the yard is the sole responsibility of the home owner including finding the budget for its maintenance.

So if something goes awry inside the house, the owner has no choice but to have it fixed. Unlike renting, you just have to call the landlord when the pipe under the sink is leaking or if the door knobs get busted and not worry about the cost.

These are just some of the reasons why renting a home instead of buying a house is more convenient. Of course it all boils down to personal choices and finances to decide on whether to rent or to buy your house.

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Friday, July 27, 2012

See Why Renting a Home Instead of Buying a House is More Practical

They say that buying a home is better than renting one. You can have something that you can call your own as many will say. Make the best decision that you can when deciding to rent a home instead of buy one. For some people, buying or building a house is practical, especially if they have found the perfect place to settle down and raise a family in. But on the other hand, for some people they see it as not a wise move to make.

Is Renting For You?

First, depending on your personal lifestyle, renting might be your best option especially if you find yourself being relocated by a company every few years. This is true for career executives in multinational companies whose world revolves around their work. A lot of these people are always relocated to some part of the country and sometimes even to other countries.

So purchasing a home will be impractical for them because they will never stay long enough in one place. To these people they will tell you the reas on why rent a home instead of buying a house is more practical and convenient for them for they will not have to worry about looking for a buyer when it is time for them to move on to another state.

Another great thing about renting a home is to look in the eyes of a financial executive. The savings that you get from not paying property taxes, and other costs involved in the upkeep of the house will be great. If you are able to wisely invest the money saved, it will lead to a bigger savings account for you in the long run.

Think of the Costs

It is more practical for one to rent because of the costs involved in owning your own home. First, you will have to pay property taxes every year, which does not come cheap. Second, there might be unexpected costs that might come up like repairs. If you are not able to budget your money properly, you might come up short and find yourself looking for ways to raise funds to cover for it. Third, you must pay to have your home insured, which is again another expense in you are responsible for.

These are just some of the things that will make you think twice when asked why rent a home instead of buying a house. One el iminates these expenses for you because it becomes your landlords responsibility and not yours. This will be one less source of a headache for you.

Matter of Personal Choice

It really depends on the person, and rather or not they want to rent or buy a home. It is a matter of personal preference. The things listed here clearly say why renting a home instead of buying a house is a better choice. It still depends on your choice. Involve your family especially your better half when deciding which to choose.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Pros and Cons of Renting a Home

Many a times, when a person cannot afford to buy a home or has to shift from one city to another pertaining to professional requirements, one of the best and only options are to rent a home. However, like anything else in the world, there are both advantages and disadvantages associated with renting a home. In this article, we shall take a look at some of the greatest advantages and disadvantages of renting a home. Let us therefore take a look at the advantages and then follow up with the disadvantages.

The greatest advantage associated with renting a home is for those who are mostly on the move all around the year. For a person who has to keep moving from one place to the other frequently, setting up home spending loads of money might not be very feasible. Renting a home in such a case is the most helpful option. At times, renting a house on rent can be much more cost effective than buying one. If there is ever the need to repair the house or any part of it, the responsibility to do it is on the shoulders of the landlord.

Now let us see some of the disadvantages of renting a house.

The obvious disadvantage of renting a home is that you do not own home, so there is not development or establishment of your wealth. A house is a wealth and an asset for a lifetime, and if you cannot stay in that house for a long stretch of time pertaining to your shifting job, at least owning it is a big thing. If you want to make some changes in the architecture of the house, you will not have the responsibility to make any changes in the house whatsoever. Your cost of living, most of the times, becomes too unpredictable if you are living in a rented house. For example, you may be living in a particular city that has a certain price range for house renting and then you move to another that is absolutely different from the one that you just came from. It might be too high or too low. In any case, your balance is lost to a great extent. Cost of living does not remain the same each time and therefore, your entire budget and its application get a little unpredictable.

Therefore we see that there are both advantages and disadvantages associated with renting a home. You just need to understand your requirements well and act accordingly. There are many things that you need to keep on mind and take into consideration before you make any significant move towards buying or renting. Think well, do your planning well and you will e able to make the right decision for yourself.

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Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Renting A Home Instead Of Buying

With the wave of foreclosures past and future, renting in today's economy can be a much better choice for you. The benefits of renting a home can far outweigh buying a home.
Here is a list of the top 5 reasons renting a home can be better than buying a home:

1. When renting a home, you have no maintenance or repair expenses. When you buy a house, all these costs are the responsibility of the buyer. Just because you can afford your monthly house payment, doesn't mean you have anything leftover to fix any problems that occur. When you rent, these expenses are incurred by the landlord or rental company.

2. The ability to move if you had to. If you get transferred, or lose your job, your not locked in to a monthly mortgage payment. In today's real estate market, trying to sell you home could prove very costly. Even if you have to break your lease, it's much better than defaulting on your mortgage. If the neighborhood or schools start to go downhill, you can move to a better place easier. Renting gives great flexibility until you find a place you want to spend the rest of your life.
3. Mortgages have become increasingly harder to get. With the foreclosure mess, requirements for mortgages are much higher. Stellar credit and down payments of +10% are standard. Why not rent for a few years, and build up your nest egg, so when you do purchase, you will immediately have some equity in your investment.

4. Renting can cost you much less. With the greater availablilty of rental properties, rents have fallen. You will be able to rent a much higher end home then you would be able to if you purchased. You have much higher debt to income ratios when renting, as opposed to buying.

5. Home ownership is not for everyone. People have had it ingrained in them, that the American dream is home ownership. For many people, this should not be the case. Buying a home brings many new challenges and headaches, renting is much simpler.

Owning your own home has many benefits, but renting has just as many. You have to decide for yourself, bas ed on your situation. For people with transient or unstable jobs, finanical concerns, or limited resources, renting is a good decision. Home ownership is a big decision, and should not be entered into lightly.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

You Could Buy Your Sell and Rent Back Home Even After Selling It

One of the main things for you to see with a sell and rent back home is that you will not be considered as the owner of that home. This will be done as a means of making sure that you can avoid repossession while still being able to live in your property. However, a sell and rent back transaction will be one that could limit your ability to do a variety of things with your home. These include things like making home improvements on it or using it for business purposes.

A sell and rent back company will allow you to work towards buying your sell and rent back home back from the company. This is a good thing for you to take a look at because of how it can help you to get more control over your home as time goes by.

In order to buy back your home you will need to work towards meeting a certain number of requirements. These requirements are used to help with making sure that you are able to pay off your home. When you meet them you will be able to buy back your sell and rent back home with ease. It will help to know though that these requirements will vary by each provider.

You may need to work with getting the exact amount of money that your home is worth ready. Sometimes you could work with a repayment plan that can be used to get you to take time to pay off the cost of your new home. The process that you will be using will help you to make sure that you get the money needed to take care of your transaction.

You should also be aware of how you will be able to work with this type of service for your sell and rent back home at any point in time. You can do this a few months after taking care of the sell and rent back process. You can also do so years after you get into the sell and rent back transaction. The main thing about this is that you will not have to deal with any pressure with regards to getting your home bought back.

This is a good thing to see in that you will be able to afford getting into this kind of deal. After all, in many cases a person may get into a sell and rent back transaction simply out of the means of being able to make one's home payments easier to handle on a temporary basis. There can be some cases where a person will have to work with reduced payments due to some kind of financial hardship. That person could end up buying back one's home after that person has become able to afford to pay off one's home payments or when that person receives a large amount of money that the person is expected to get.

You should also see that you will not be required to buy back your property if you don't want to. A sell and rent back company will make money from rent payments on your sell and rent back home. It will not force you to give it more money by making you go and buy your home back if you cannot do it.

Asell and rent back home that you have can be bought back after a period of time. This is as long as you have the money that would be needed to work with taking care of the transaction. Be sure to think about this when getting into this plan.

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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Should I Sell or Rent My Home?

Some home owners have the choice to sell or rent their homes after moving elsewhere, which can be a difficult decision to make. Here are some details on the pros and cons of either option, along with factors that should be considered when making the decision to sell or rent...

If you choose to rent the home, you may be able to generate additional income, and will retain the option to eventually move back. Chances are you bought the home for more than one reason in the first place, so you may have good reasons to hold onto the home. However, there are many costs associated with renting a home (appliances, hot water, property taxes, etc.), and the owner remains responsible for its maintenance. There is also the potential for problems with non-paying or careless tenants. Being mindful of the tenants you let come into your home is an important factor. Be sure to check out as much history and background on the potential tenant as you can, to try to save you from future troubles.

On the other hand, if you successfully sell the home you won't have to worry about making mortgage and property tax payments, finding trustworthy tenants, or maintaining the building. Generally, it will be necessary to pay a realtor's sales commission and a portion of the closing costs, as well as spending time preparing the house for showings to potential buyers. Putting your home on the market is a big decision. You must be ready to move if you get an immediate offer. With todays economy homes are taking longer to sell, and preparing your home before you put it on the market is the key. Making sure your home is in the best condition possible. Having things fixed, and freshened before potential buyers see it, will help it sell. The first impression may determine whether the buyer will make an offer on your house, or go on to another house they like.

One last option is to rent the home while trying to sell it. This option usually decreases both its rental and sale values. Trying to sell it while renting can be hard, and risky. You cannot guarantee that the renter will maintain the property in the same manner you, the owner would. Basically, the best decision depends upon the real estate market in your area, your personal financial situation, the home's attractiveness to renters or buyers, and your home maintenance abilities.

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Saturday, July 21, 2012

Finding apartments for rent, and how easy it is to rent your home in my website

There are thousands of people who spend endless amount of time looking around for apartments for rent at least once their life time. This can be a task that may seem difficult initially but with time this can get much easy. You need to find the right method to look for apartment. In case you are having PC and internet connection at home then things might get very much easy for you.

Rent my Home might not be a tough task for you if you try and browse through different categories in my website. If you have an access to internet then there is possibility for you to try and perform your search online looking for some of the most affordable apartments for rent in your preferred locality. One main advantages of searching online is that you just don't have to wait for the estate agent to open his shop as websites are available 24x7x365 for anyone. Within minutes you certainly may come across thousands of search results and you can always begin by preparing your list. One of the most effective ways to get started is to try and log on to any website that can be trusted like rentingtime.com. This is also one of the best sites if you wan to rent your home by simply clicking the category rent my home. The website also displays some of the best results that are placed by best reputed estate agents from around the globe.

You can also try and go through profiles that are placed by different estate agents and a complete list of Apartments for Rent from around the world. The moment you are performing your search there is also possibility that you may get a chance to view complete details of the rental property along with photographs of the property. You can also go through all features that are offered by the property owners like fireplace or central air conditioning system. There are chances that if you are staying nearby to the apartment then you can try and pay a visit to the site. One another way to begin your search for apartment for rents is to try and drive around your town.

This is one way in which you may have to try and spend little extra amount of time and money. You can also try and take the help of your friends and relatives. Words of mouth are in fact more effective and so there is also possibility that you get to meet house owner who might offer you with little concession. The moment you come across any such place it is better to try and speak to the owner to arrange for meeting. In case you are interested in renting the apartment then you can also try and proceed with the process of application form.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

Points to Remember When You Rent a Home

A great number of families are currently leasing homes. Many of them would rather rent residences because they only wish to reside in a particular location for a brief period of time. There are also other individuals who will be compelled to rent houses since they still do not possess sufficient funds to buy one. Then again, this is simply not essentially the most essential thing. What is still more essential is that a family group lives comfortably and securely in the home that they occupy. Families that happen to be planning to rent a home must make it their objective to discover a dwelling in which they are going to really feel safe. These families must go for a house that they can certainly call a home.

Locating the best home to lease could be hard. Even though there are numerous residences which are available for residents, people must recognize that they have to give it some consideration before they figure out that it is the residence that they will lease. Some house owners would demand their tenants to go into commitments. Thus, an upcoming renter should very carefully analyze every one of the essential factors in home rental. One important factor to take into account is the location of the home. Is it in the vicinity of your office? Is it found in a safe spot? Then again, various people have diverse needs. Other people want to reside in the heart of the town where they are near to malls. There are also a lot of those who prefer to reside in areas that are quiet and far from the bustle of the city lifestyle.

When you search for US rent a home, you should also find out exactly how much you are willing to devote. In fact, it is the most critical facet because all others would merely be dependent on your spending plan. The size of the home, the facilities offered, and the rules of the house owner are other factors to bear in mind. Then again, you still need to consider the spending plan before other things.

Folks who are in search of homes to rent should also think about the idea of leasing a residence that possesses the rent to own option. There are plenty of residences and many home owners that offer this choice to their tenants. Families who want to purchase houses in the near future are provided the chance to inhabit a house for a number of years and determine if they wish to make it their own or not. This gives them the chance to save cash for the house and enables them to assess if the property is what they need. Living in the same residence for several years should be sufficient for a person to genuinely say that it is the house he or she wants.

Folks who wish to find a US rent a home are lucky that the net is all they need to discover the home that they need. All the info they require are available. They could even see pictures of the homes. This conserves them considerable time and energy. Rather than taking a peek at every one of these properties, they can stay in their homes or workplaces and browse through the readily available properties.

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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

How To Find A Good Sell And Rent Back Home Dealer

There are so many agencies and sites for that matter that promise to help you retain the stay at your home even when you cannot pay your mortgages. Yes, they promise that they would buy your home and still maintain you in the home as a tenant at terms that you would agree upon.

Well, many of them are genuine and they would help you just the way they promise. However, you have to be careful with your selection on the right dealer to work with. You cannot find the right one unless you make use of the following guidelines.

Sell and rent back home with a leading provider

You would need to see the claim on the home page of the provider. Even the way they rank on the search engines is enough to let you know about their popularity. What they say about themselves is also important. You can be sure that you would never fail when you do that.

Sell and rent back home from testimonials

Because you r situation is not unique, you would need to find out what others have had to say about the solutions that they took. You would read the testimonials that have been left by previous beneficiaries of the scheme you are looking forward to make use of.
Sell and rent back home with flexible terms

Since you are planning to rent the home, you need to find out how you would be paying the rent. This is mostly about the terms, like the rates and if there are any deposits that you would be required to make payments of. The best dealer for you is one whose terms are convenient and flexible for you.

Sell and rent back home with no hassles

There should be a guarantee to this effect. You have to be sure of how the process would be done. In your meeting with the solicitor, you would need to get the explanation they have about the process. Then, you would be able to make a selection of the right dealer to sell to.

Sell and rent back home services

The services that you get when you are trying to sell your home and rent it back should be very efficient. All of your questions have to be answered to your satisfaction. Every proced ure should be transparent.

Sell and rent back home with a financial advisor

The right dealer to sell your home with should be one that has financial advisor. This advisor would help you understand the aspects of the deal and also help you find out whether in deed it is a good idea that you proceed with the deal.

Sell and rent back home with comfort

Comfort comes when you know what you are looking for. So, you have to look at the rent back options that are given to you by the dealer in order that you make the right choice.

With all these guides in mind, you would certainly be able to identify the right sell and rent back home dealer and the process would be so smooth for you.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Should You Buy or Rent a Home

The cost of renting a home is usually less than it would cost to buy one. In todays economy interest rates are at historical lows and first-time buyers mortgage payments are less than renting, in most cases. However, there are other factors to consider when renting. Renters dont pay property taxes, maintenance fees, repairs and other costs that come with home ownership. The down payment and savings on additional costs related to home ownership could be invested in other assets or investments with greater returns. One thing to ask yourself is if your wealth would accumulate faster in real estate or in some other investment. Renting also provides flexibility to relocate in a moments notice. People with careers that require travel or possibly relocation may find that renting is the best alternative under the circumstances. A portion of your rental costs can be deductible for tax purposes if you use part of your rental home as an office for a business or even self-employment. Lower-income families who rent their home in the province of Ontario may also qualify for a tax credit when filing their tax return. When looking to rent a home check out www.rentcharlie.com and find a home to rent anywhere in North America.

Now, lets look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of home ownership. If you own your home the appreciative value of a home is not taxable if it is your principal residence. At the beginning of your mortgage little principal is paid on amount owing, However, in the latter years of your mortgage the equity in your home will grow at a much greater rate.If you are a first time home buyer you may borrow from your RRSPs to a maximum of $25,000 each (up from $20,000 in previous years). The borrowed amounts can be taken out tax-free if you purchasing the home as your principal residence, and repayments to your plan are made over a minimum of 15-years.With rising housing costs financial institutions and private lenders have become more creative with mortgage amortizations and down payment requirements. This has allowed qualified purchasers to buy a home with as little as nothing down.

People looking for a mortgage should always be cautious when banks are lining up to give you money, as it is today. Marketing hooks like no money down popular with car dealerships and big banks are often misleading. Check for extra fees associated with nothing down. No money down does not mean no fees. Carefully check the true total amount you are borrowing, it may not be the amazing deal they lead you to believe. Your name may be on the title, but how much of the house is really yours? Current interest rates are at historical lows. You can choose either fixed or variable interest rates (based on the prime rate). Calculate your mortgage payments if interest rates were to rise by one or two percentage points. Ask yourself if you can still afford your mortgage if and when these rates rise. A homeowners carrying costs are generally greater than renting. Some of the carrying cost may be tax deductible, providing it is used as a home office for a business, self-employment or to earn rental income. Lower-income earners, in Ontario, may be able to claim the Ontario tax credit for property taxes when filing their annual tax return. With more than 70 per cent of Canadians owning their own home there is no value that can be placed on the pride of home ownership.

So, at the end of the day its a choice based on lifestyle, careers, and future goals. There are obviously advantages and disadvantages to home ownership or renting a home. The choice is your just make sure you make the right choice for you and your family.

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Buying vs. Renting a Home

At one point or another, most people are in the position of deciding whether they should buy or rent a home. There are advantages and disadvantages to both, some of which are detailed below.

Advantages of Buying

One of the main benefits of owning your home is just that; that you own it and it belongs to you. You have 100% choice in any changes you wish to make, whether that be decorating the home, adding an extension or how you would like the garden. As well as this being advantageous while living there, it also gives you the opportunity to make alterations that add value. In fact, you control everything as there is no landlord who has to have their say and who you have to run things past. You can also live there for as long as you like; there is no chance of a landlord wanting to sell and you having to move out.

Owning a home is also an investment. You can sell the house at a later date for a profit, increasing the chances of you being able to upgrade. Although most people require a mortgage to own a home, once this is paid off you will no longer have to pay for it. This isn't the case with renting, as the rent is ongoing.

Disadvantages of Buying

The first disadvantage is an obvious one; it costs more. Generally the monthly outgoings will be more for a mortgage than rent (although you may eventually pay if off). There is also the deposit for the mortgage. Although renting also requires a deposit, it is usually only one or two month's rent, while a deposit for buying a home will be several thousands. A mortgage is a long-term financial commitment, and you may lose your home if you are unable to pay it.

There are also many other costs associated with buying property. There will be extra taxes (depending on which country you live in) and conveyancing solicitors and surveyors to pay for.

As already mentioned, the main benefit of buying is the investment aspect. But, if you don't even pay the mortgage off this benefit will be redundant.

Advantages of Renting

In some ways there is more freedom with renting. If you like you can easily move at short notice. You don't have to go through the process and stress of having to sell your home and find another. Selling a home is a long process while moving out of a rented property is not. This is particularly beneficial if you move fairly regularly. Having to relocate for work, for example, is not such as big problem.

There is less stress associated with renting. If something is broken then the landlord has to pay for it. For example, if the boiler needs replacing and you own your home, it can cost you a lot. If you are renting, it is the landlord's problem. Bills, including council tax, are sometimes included in rent.

Disadvantages of Renting

When renting, you are giving someone else your money. Rather than paying off a mortgage to eventually own your home, you are giving it to someone else. Rent is never ending, so if you rent for life you will be paying every month for the rest of your life. You will not ever make any profit out of renting.

Andrew Marshall (c)

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Sunday, July 15, 2012

Winning Tips on Decluttering Your Home

Tips on Decluttering

Below are some tested tips on decluttering that will get your home in order as fast as possible. They'll help keep your home clean, create lots of space and keep you motivated with a bang.

Some of the tips are little known, at least talked about. For example, one tip suggests a better idea to build a strategy on and one suggests that the traditional 4 box method should be altered.

Strategies With Quick Payoffs Motivate

For every 1 hour of planning a course of action, studies show, you save 3 hours of decluttering, organizing and just plain work!

So the first step in our tips on decluttering strategies is to create one that saves time and makes things easier and smoother. Whatever declutter 'system' or 'program' you choose, here's a test to see if it will work over the long haul:

*"Make your projects small and the rewards immediate," says Daniel Hommer, M.D., an expert on motivation and chief of brain imaging at the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism.

Immediate rewards excite; delayed results and rewards make it harder to want to start and a lot easier to give up. So pick a program that features quick results and rewards at every step.

*Some strategies, though, need only cover a single area. You may need, for instance, only a better laundry system since the laundry room is a disaster but the rest of your home is pretty neat and organized. You may want to install some new shelving, purchase a hamper system or other organizational systems.
The same goes for a single messy closet or a den with too much furniture crammed in it. For a closet, hooks and shelving, clothing sorted according to length all create space and will sort your possessions into a place where you can find them in a flash.

For the den, over time you may want to purchase furniture that provides storage space within as well as more room and comfort without.

*Or every room for a decade or more has piles of stuff that need to be 'unpiled,' so to speak. This will require you to make a more detailed strategy of your whole area. The traditional way to attack a project of this size is with a 'keep it, trash it, or sell it or donate it mentality.' Anything you have not used in six months is fodder for the sell, trash or donate piles, excluding of course seasonal items.

Boxes and Temporary Storage?

*It's rarely mentioned that number of boxes actually needed will multiply faster than you think or that you'll have a hard time finding a place to put them all.

The traditional 4 box traditional solution may turn into a score or more boxes with some half- and others completely full and overflowing!

*So some of us set aside a whole room or closet or even temporarily rent a storage unit to place the many boxes that don't belong to the room we're organizing. Their turn will come.

Overwhelmed? 3 Sources of Outside Help

Once you are all set up you may still feel overwhelmed, so don't be afraid to call in the troops.

*Family and friends will often dive in with you and rid you of your problem in half the time. They'll also think more about you and your genuine need for space and organization than hanging on to items which you don't need, are too emotionally attached to get rid of, and that are crowding out your joy.

*Another super suggestion is to join with a couple of fri ends who share a common need to declutter their homes. Swap weekends to declutter and arrange your home one week and to do theirs in another. Agree that the owner of the home has the last say!

*If you have the money, a professional organizer can make a real difference. He or she will suggest more tips such as sorting mail and important papers in your home office immediately; organizing coat hangers by color, or hanging shoe organizers over closet doors and and more.


When those boxes sit around for more than a day or two they become a part of the clutter again, we've found. So, immediately stick the donation box in the trunk of your car. Put the sell stuff boxes in the attic or garage until the big yard day sale arrives. A final note on the selling aspect of decluttering: if it doesn't sell don't bring it back in the house! Donate or trash any leftover items.

Final Thoughts

"When I know everything's done, and I just need to look after today's mess, I can deal with things. When I let things pile up, I can't!" [Comment from Sheila G]. These steps and tips on decluttering your home will make your vision of your home come true.

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

Top 10 Tips for Selling Your Home

Tip 1 Before you put your home on the market it is a good idea to do some research beforehand. The quickest and easiest way of doing this is through looking as a few property classifieds in your local newspapers or by going online. This way you can gather information regarding what prices houses similar to yours are selling for currently.

Tip 2 - It is important that you find yourself a good agent to sell your home for you. Rather than going with the first one you come across spend time doing a little research into each one. Dont be afraid to ask friends, family members and work colleagues if they can recommend someone to you. The other choice is to sell it privately through the property classifieds, but if you do you need to be aware of the right procedures to follow first.

Tip 3 - It is important that you first put yourself in the shoes of any potential buyers of your property and make a list of its positive features. Then think of ways that you can enhance these further and so ensure that you get a more positive reaction from those that come to view it.

Tip 4 Getting your house looking great inside is crucial but you need to make sure that the house looks great outside as well. Remember the first thing that is going to be making an impression on any prospective buyers of your home is the front area. So make sure that this area is kept clean and tidy at all times.

Tip 5 Although you may like the lived in feel to your home if you want to sell it then you need to make sure that you show it to its full potential. If you need to remove as much clutter as you can from your home and put it into storage until the sale has been completed. If there is too much in any room it can make them look much smaller than they really are.

Tip 6 Getting those little jobs done that seem like a waste of time and money to you can actually stop you from getting the price you want when selling your home. So spending a little could end up making you a lot more than you originally expected. No one wants to buy a home where they are going to have to spend money on making it liveable for them especially in todays economic climate.

Tip 7 Although you dont think your home needs it repainting the main rooms in your home in neutral fresh colours is a good idea. This way the prospective buyers will be able to see the rooms more clearly and get a feel for whether their own belongings will fit into them.

Tip 8 - It is important that before every viewing you make sure that your house is clean and tidy. This is especially important if you have pets as although you may not be able to smell the odours potential purchases will.

Tip 9 Spend time on staging the rooms to show them off to their full potential. By doing this you can actually get rid of those pieces of furniture that are not required and either sell them or put them into storage. As you do this make sure that the focal point in each room stands out so if you have a wonderful looking fireplace make sure that it is not hidden behind ornaments or sofa.

Tip 10 The final 10 top tips for selling your home that you may find useful to use is to put the coffee machine in prior to any potential buyers arriving. It may seem a silly thing to do but the smell as they come into your home makes it more warm and inviting and certainly gives them the feeling of how loved the home has been.

Hopefully you will find that the tips we have provided above extremely useful and should get you on your way to selling your home at the price you want.

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Friday, July 13, 2012

Rehab-Real-Estate: Killer Tips For Rehabbing a Home

A lot of people have already proven the potential of rehabbing a home to yield huge money in little time. In fact, many millionaires are living proofs of this business potential to change your life for the better. But before you jump into the trend, make sure you know what youre doing. One killer tip is to hire a mentor. He will help you learn faster. Here are other killer tips for rehabbing a home.

First, you must have an exit strategy. Before you go through the entrance, make sure you know where the exit is. While this is a splendid business, things might not turn out good for you especially if you did a lot of steps wrong. The best thing to do is to be prepared for the worst. What if the house does not sell fast? What if no one wants to buy it for your asking price? You need to answer these questions first.

In case it loses value because it remained unsold for a lot of months, one thing you can do is open it for rentals. This is a good idea if you are in college towns. Open the rooms for rent. While you wont get the returns fast, getting a steady monthly cash flow from rent is better than getting no money at all.

Another killer tip for rehabbing a home is to know well the place you will operate in. Learn where the most desirable areas in your town or city are. Research where new shopping centers, schools, and hospitals will be built in your town. These are factors that often make buyers decide to purchase a property.

Once you start rehabbing a home, make sure to pay particular attention to three areas: kitchen, bathrooms, and the front yard. Buyers often scrutinize these parts of the house. In the kitchen, make sure you throw in new appliances. Refinish cupboards or reinstall new ones if necessary. In bathrooms, be sure to install new fixtures. Illuminate the ro om with plush lighting fixtures. Give it a more luxurious touch by placing shiny towel and robe holders.

For the front yard, the first thing you must remember is keeping the lawn green. Throughout the rehabbing process, dont forget to water the grass. Before you open the house to prospective buyers, be sure to trim the lawn. You can also place some potted plants here and there. To complete the front yard makeover, be sure to put up a new mailbox.

Rehabbing a home will be much easier when you know killer tips. Get more at rehab-real-estate.com today.

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Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Few Tips To Rent Out Your Home

Renting a home is a good decision for those who are looking to have some extra income. As this way, you not only give a shelter to someone who cant afford to buy a house but also an extra monthly earning for yourself.

As you are not planning to rent a property specifically designed for renting but a home instead, it is obvious that you would like to be more careful with the terms you set in the lease.

1. First and foremost, consider hiring an agent to rent out your property - A rental agent will take down all the information important for your house. He would advertise the listing and review any potential tenants that submit an application and present them to you. But an agent will charge a fee, ranging from a half-month to a full-month fee for his services. A half-month fee of a client represents one-half of one month's rent, while his full fee equals one month's rent. If your agent is able to secure a suitable tenant, this amount will be deducted from the amount you receive from the tenant at the signing of the lease. Real estate agencies usually choose one of these three options: first of all charging only the landlord a full-month fee, then charging only the tenant a full-month fee, or splitting the fee between the two (two half-month fees). Also, make sure you are clear on the fee structure of the agent before you sign any contracts or make any agreements with him / her.

2. Agent will work for you - If you hire an agent to rent out your home, he / she will perform a credit check, call past references and verify employment and wages. After the review gets completed, he / she will present results to you and, based on the information provided by him / her, you can choose to accept or deny the applicants. The final call is yours - if you do not have an agent, you can follow these steps yourself, but you will need an agency to perform the credit check for you. Also, pay thorough attention to the applicant's credit and employment history. If the person interested in buying your property has poor credit or is not making enough to afford rent comfortably, you should immediately consider finding a different tenant. Besides that, take a feedback from the applicants past landlord, if he gives a poor recommendation, think twice.

3. Duration of lease After deciding your tenant, it is important to decide the duration of the lease. But remembe r that after signing the lease, it is difficult to terminate the contract.

4. Do want to rent a Furnished or un-furnished hours It is important to decide whether you want to let the tenant use your furniture or if the apartment will be delivered vacant to him / her.

5. Do inform your neighbors - If you have plans to rent out a home that has been your long-term residence, make sure that you inform your neighbors. Regardless of the duration of the lease, your neighbors might just get confused when they will see strangers using your garage, so send a letter or make a house call to prevent any problems.

Keep certain things in your mind always while you are planning to rent out your home:

Do review mortgage documents for restrictions about renting out your home while the mortgage is in effect Try to determine the rent you should charge by carefully checking rental rates of similar properties in your area in the classified section of the newspa per Advertise your property to attract tenant applicants Prepare or obtain a rental lease for the property that spells out specific terms and conditions. Legal concerns are very important to avoid future troubles. It is very important to interview prospective tenants while showing the property. Accept applications and security deposits provided them. Meticulously check credit, personal, and rental references of applicants, then decide on tenants for the property in a non-discriminatory manner Remember to review the terms of the lease with the selected applicants to make sure that they understand all conditions before signing A "walk-through" of the property with tenants on the day they move into your home is a good idea

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Tips on Renting Apartments in Odessa Ukraine

Renting an apartment in Odessa is quite a straightforward arrangement, with very few pitfalls to be aware of. Odessa apartments for rent are certainly a better option than staying in one of Odessa, Ukraines over-subscribed and comparatively expensive hotels for your vacation. What are the kinds of things you need to be particularly aware of, though, when looking for Odessa apartments in Ukraine?

Naturally, you are going to be concerned with the propertys location and the standard of the accommodation. Personal safety is going to be another issue, especially when considering going out and about by yourself at night. So, what tips on renting apartments in Odessa, Ukraine do you need to be aware of for you to get the most out of your Odessa travel?

Ensure your Booking is Secure

Naturally enough, you are going to be concerned that accommodation you have booked via the internet is a reality that it actually exists and, moreover, you do actually have an apartment booked in your name for the dates you will be in Odessa. This means you need to trust the booking agent. Probably, the first rule of thumb is that if the Odessa flats you have your eye on seems too good to be true, go with your gut feeling: there is no such thing as a free lunch!
Our website offers you genuine Odessa accommodation, at an excellent standard for a reasonable rent. If worried, pick up the phone and give us a call. Our phone number is displayed quite prominently. Our web site is genuine and each and every apartment advertised as available for rent really is the genuine article.

Self-contained Apartments

As soon as you have completed the booking-in process and all the paperwork has been finalised you will be given the door key to the apartment you are renting. Each one of our apartments in Odessa for rent is self-contained units, your home-from-home for you and your family, not shared with anybody else. This should provide you with an element of safety and security; once you close and lock your front door you can put your feet up and know you are not going to be disturbed by any stranger walking in on your privacy.

Different Tariffs, Different Standards

Certainly, when you are considering r enting Odessa, Ukraine apartments you need to consider the budget you have available. While it might sound great to find particularly cheap Odessa rentals, you need to be realistic: nowadays, in Odessa, you are not going to find anything at all below US$45 per night and that is to rent a studio at the budget end of the Odessa rentals range.

You can expect to pay between $45 and $55 per night for a studio apartment; unless the studio flat you choose belongs in the luxury range of Odessa apartments to let. If you are considering a luxury apartment, you can expect to pay anything from $90 per night up to $250 per night and more.

Standard range apartments start at about $70 per night and more for a two-bedroom apartment. Visitors to Odessa may consider Odessa travel to be a cheap option but this is most certainly not the case; the city of Odessa is a modern, chic and sophisticated city and the rent for an Odessa apartment reflects this facet. Odessa Ukra ine hotels also reflect these tariffs, although Odessa hotels dont offer nearly such good facilities and amenities as Odessa apartments for rent.

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Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Top Tips To Find Rental Homes In Colorado

This is an easy guide for anyone who is looking for Colorado homes for rent. Properties in Colorado have witnessed a huge surge in demand because of their location, excellent features and affordability. These properties are rented by tourists, students and professionals who come to cities like Denver in search of accommodations. Here are some top tips as recommended by experts which shall help you to find rental homes of your choice in Colorado.


Whether you are going to stay with your family or stay alone, you need to feel safe. Thus when you are checking Denver rental homes, you have to see where the house is located. Try and check if the home is secure and find out the cases of crime in the locality. You can speak to one or two families who are staying in the place for long and find out if there are any alarming problems in the neighborhood.

Age of the building:
You need to know the age of the Colorado home which is ava ilable for rent when you are looking for Colorado houses for rent. It is true that you won't get a completely new house for rent. It is normally seen that Denver rental homes which are old and have been occupied since long are available for rent. The older the house is the more will be its problems related to features like electricity, basic structure and plumbing. You need to be very careful about this.
Room size:
You have to check the different sizes of the rooms such as your kitchen, living room, bathrooms and bedrooms when you are looking for houses for rent in Denver. This would be your rented home and not your own and hence you won't be able to make changes in its structure later on, if you find something very difficult. Thus, be assured that you are comfortable and happy with the size of the room when you are selecting such properties.

Check other facts:
You should also check various appliances, wiring and furniture which shall come with the property. If the home is well furnished you will be paying more as rent in such a case, it becomes more essential to check the properties. You have to check that every such appliance and wiring is in a working condition. In most cases such problems are discovered when it is too late and the tenant spends money on such problems. When you are looking Colorado homes for rent check out such small things so that you do not face trouble later

This is the final stage of renting a home. When you have finalized your property, you have to make a comparison of the different available properties, their features and rental value. This shall help you to know if you are getting a fair deal and if the rental value is worth the property. There are innumerable properties available for rent in Colorado thus, you should make a proper search, compare and then rent properties which are available. Comparison is very essential for every person who is looking for some good properties.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Tips for buying or renting holiday homes

You immensely wait for the big day to come on which you'll be embarking on a journey to your holiday home. Renting or buying holiday homes at a place, miles away from homeland is trendy among Europeans these days. Holiday homes used to be owned by the rich and affluent in the past. But now with the upsurge in holiday home business, others can also think of buying or renting holiday homes. Before buying a holiday homes, you need to work out a bit on where you want to buy a holiday home, the locality of the holiday home, people and culture of the place and more. Here are some tips that may help you buy a holiday home.

The first and foremost thing is that you should first decide is where you want to buy your holiday home. Generally coastal areas are more preferable when it comes to buying holiday homes. Some coastal areas are very crowded with tourists and vacationers. If you want some sort of isolation where you can enjoy being with just your family, you should look out for places that aren't very crowded, yet perfect as a holiday home destination. You can also think of buying a holiday home in hilly areas where you may not get to play at the beach but get the best of picturesque mountains and fresh air.

It is good to weigh your pocket before deciding on buying a holiday home. Prepare yourself and think how much you can spend on a holiday home. Holiday homes come for different prices that vary by location, facilities offered etc. For example, if you are looking for buying holiday homes in Italy or England, you should be well prepared to spend a king's ransom. If you want something cheaper but still want to own an exquisite holiday home, you can look for one in Thailand or Bali. But wherever you buy your holiday home, make sure all basic amenities are at your disposal. Imagine you bought a holiday home and later came to learn that there is no provision of electricity or communication at the place; nothing can be worse than that.

Gather enough information on the people and culture of the place. Your decision can alter upon finding out that there are more diverse cultures and interesting people at a place than the other one. Make internet your friend; learn about the local shopping malls, recreational centers and other places that you think are necessary. Also make sure that the location is well served by all air and road transportation.

After buying a holiday home, you should take care of various things that may not be apparent in the beginning. You'll have to take care of taxes and make sure that they are paid on time. In some countries, the rate of tax for land and other immovable asset is very high. Also make yourself clear on this and calculate beforehand if you'll be able to afford it in the long run.

Some people buy holiday homes with business motives. Buying holiday homes and then renting them throughout the year is a good way to make easy money. If you are of the type, do proper research on the internet regarding things like the popularity of a place, the cost of buying a holiday home there, availability of basic services at the place etc. Look at your holiday home from a customer's perspective because your holiday home should allure your potential customers. Focus on Unique Selling Points like beautiful views at the place, lavish room furnishing, availability of electricity and internet connectivity and all other things that will give your property an immediate marketing value.

Do extensive research before buying a holiday home and maintain it properly after buying.

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

How to rent a home – 10 top tips

Renting a property is also not an easy decision to execute just like property buying and selling, if you want a property on rent then you need to take care of many things if you are willing to stay in comfort for a long time and want a good return on investment.

Below are 10 tips that should be considered before renting a property.

Select the district well
Properly assess the qualities of your future rental, checking in particular access to transport and local services, chat with neighbors can help you detect nuisances that you have not been identified.

Pay attention to the environment
If you are going to rent a property, check its location, size and amenities which you actually need. Detect any nuisance which may be a subject of un-comfort.

Make sure the rent is within your reach
Admittedly, the apartment you want is a bit expensive. Do n ot get carried away without doing your accounts and be sure you can bear the load.

Read the contract
If you are dealing with a particular lender, detect any illegal clauses. They are common in the leases. For example, require you to make a direct debit of the rent is prohibited. Your ability to host someone, too. These are just small examples. There are many others, identified by the Commission of unfair terms. You can also take help of any real estate consultants in India if you are renting an Indian real estate/property.
Do not pay before signing the contract
The first payment of rent and security deposit is made when signing the lease. No way to pay anything before.

Ask for an inventory in your presence
The inventory allows you to identify potential damage from a previous tenant and the landlord could charge you when you leave. You must have the eye and make note in the finding anything that looks bad. It is very important because, at the exit, you may be required to repair damage that is not your thing. At the exit, in fact, a contradictory report will be prepared. Attach the same importance there. There will not be any refund of your deposit and the landlord can withhold the money necessary for repairs that you're responsible.

Do not neglect your obligations
Renting a home, you agree to use it without creating a nuisance to your neighbors and the proper maintenance.

Pa y your rent on time
Do not be careless. The lease provides the due date of the rent. Make sure to respect the term, so that your relationship with the owner established a good foundation.

If you encounter a problem, talk to the owner
Do not wait until the head under water to a problem of payment of rent. Instead, once you have a problem, it is better to explain to the owner who may be more accommodating if you flee the discussion. In addition, unpaid rent can be adjusted easily by a sprawl, but when the debt grows, it becomes more difficult.

Peel counting charges
Each month, you pay a lump sum for expenses of housing to the owner in advance. Every year, it must rectify the situation according to what he actually paid. If you have not paid enough, it will ask the complement. If you have overpaid, you will reimburse. In any case, feel free to ask for proof of what you actually paid.

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Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tips for Renting a Mobile Home

There are many advantages in renting an apartment unit at some point in your life. A starting couple or a single young adult will find renting a house more advantageous in their needs both economically and socially. Renting an apartment may offer you a number of privileges which are not available to those who are living in their own houses. You can enjoy recreational spaces like swimming pools, gyms, tennis or basketball court, etc. that are available. Moreover some of the rental apartments offer cleaning and laundry service and added security services that will give you more expenses if you acquire it in your own home. The best thing of all is that the fact that you have no responsibility for the maintenance and repair of the unit that you know can cost you your precious time and money.

Mobiles home for rent are different thing from other types of homes for rent although they offer the same flexibility to your pocket and your lifestyle. You dont only rent the mobile home but you will also have to pay for the rent of the land where it stand, though there are some mobiles home for rent that have been fixed to the ground that you will have to pay only one rent. This is one particular thing that you must look into the rental schemes of mobile homes.
In addition, you should know what are that other charges you should pay. Waste disposal service fee, security fee will apply if your rented mobile home is located in a park that include security service, and other kinds of services like snowplowing your front lawn have fees that you should be aware of. Obviously, the owners will pass it to you since you will be the one who will benefit from such services.

When considering mobiles home for rent, check the necessary details such as pipes, heaters or air conditioners, baths, sinks, ceilings, doors, walls, floors, etc. You should also consider the age of the mobile home you will be renting. The older your mobile home the more chances that trouble will arise, but there are some exemption of older ones that were fixed up to meet current building codes and standards. Check everything form top to bottom. You have nothing to lose if you do this.

You should be aware that it is not easy to have rental ins urance in renting mobile homes. Keep looking for an insurance company which will give you a rental insurance that have a low rate, since renting a mobile home has rental insurance rate that is higher than those offered in renting an apartment or a house.

There are mobile parks that offer a space for you garage and some are not. Ask the owner if adding a garage in your rented mobile home will violate a certain mobile parks regulation. It is also advisable that you enquire with the mobile parks rules through the park manager. To know and abide to these rules will make you a responsible part of the mobile park community.

Mobiles home for rent is the best offer you can have for your starting family. Even the number of retired couples living in mobile homes is increasing for the past previous years. Just consider the tips above before you rent one. You dont like to be spending much time and money in a home you are not satisfied.

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Friday, July 6, 2012

5 Tips To know When You want To Rent A home

If you plan to rent a home, a good place to start is discovering a property management service such as Property Management Eugene Oregon in Eugene, Oregon.

You need to know some tips for renting a home as to what you are able to and cannot do. You'll need permission in the property owner or property management service prior to you make any cosmetic adjustments to the home. If you would like to paint the walls or change the appear of the woodwork, you'll wish to obtain permission. If you do not have permission in the property management business, you might be in violation of the lease agreement.

If you've a yard, you are able to pretty much make this as beautiful as you would like, but you cannot let the property go with out correct care. Regardless of the stipulations are for your yard and care need to be respected. If you are renting a home, usually ask the owner or property management service how they expect the yard to look and what they expect fro m you. By discovering out much more information, you and also the property owner will get along better.
If the home includes a pool or any other outdoors recreational equipment, you have to know how you can take care of the equipment and maintain it in great working order. Renting a home with kids along with a pool will need even more attention. You will want to keep the children away in the water when you aren't around, this may need putting up a fence around the pool and also the owner will have to okay this first. Some owners will discover this unacceptable, so this may not be a great location to rent.

There are lots of tips for renting a home, and Property Management Eugene can provide you with a few of individuals whenever you check in with them. You might think about different tips while you start to look for homes. Not everybody will know exactly what she or he wants or needs until they find it. Occasionally you'll find a home that is just what you have been looking for with out even knowing it. Even in the event you discover a home or apartment you want, you need to fill out the rental application, but maybe look at a few much more locations to make sure. This just helps you reassure your self that you've discovered what you're searching for in a rental unit.

If you need a home with so many bedrooms otherwise you need a place that includes a handicap accessible ramp for a wheelchair, you will have to talk about alterations using the property owner. For your most part, ramps are heading to become at your expense and if a property owner or management group likes your application and references, you will more than probably have the ability to accommodate a wheelchair if there is enough room required by the housing authority. Just speak to us here at Property Management Eugene and we will see what can be arranged.

If you need things changed within the house itself, this might be an cost that the property owner may not want to share. This might outcome in you having to pay for some thing out of your own pocket f or any rental that only advantages you as long while you live there. You should always talk to a possible property owner about your needs if they are not something that occurs everyday for them.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Importance of Mold Testing with Home Purchasing

Home purchasing and mold:

As a home buyer you are probably worried about mold being present in the home that you are thinking about purchasing. Mold is quite a hot topic today with the media, consumers, insurance companies and health care professionals. Certain molds can cause health problems in both healthy and immune system compromised people. Mold can be considered toxic if it produces mycotoxins.

Mycotoxins can be produced by many different mold species and its production is somewhat unpredictable. One point to be noted is that the presence of mold does not indicate the immediate presence of toxins. Some molds are not capable of producing these toxins. Mycotoxin production is known to be effected by several different variables such as temperature, humidity, time mold has been established, and aeration.

How do you know if the home you are purchasing has mold?

The first thing to do when you are walking in a home you are thinking about buying is t o look for visible mold. Often mold can be seen on interior walls and finishes. Look for mold on all interior finishes. Pay particular attention to the basement or lower level. It is here in the lowest levels that mold will be more prevalent. Look for water stains and seepage. Ask the seller about any basement water issues that have occurred in the past. Mold requires moisture to grow. The more moisture in the basement or in the interior rooms the greater the probability that mold will grow. Use your sense of small to locate mold. If you small a musty or moldy odor in the basement or in the interior rooms then mold exists. Musty and moldy odors should put raise red flags for you and further research and investigation on your part as the buyer is warranted.

Secondly, use your home inspector as a resource. When you have your home inspected the inspector will inspect all accessible areas of the home. Explain to him or her that you are concerned about mold. Most home inspectors disclaim mold as part of their home inspection because it's an environmental concern rather than a structural or systems concern. However, most good home inspectors will tell you if they see mold. Follow the home inspector around so you can view all of the areas more closely. The home inspection is the time for you to really pay attention and look at all visible areas of the home. Some home inspectors are certified mold inspectors and can provide mold testing in the home.

Third you should ask questions of the seller. Ask the seller if there was ever flooding or water infiltration in the home. Ask the seller if there have been any leaking waste or plumbing pipes. Ask the owner if there has ever been water infiltration in the basement or lower area. If the seller states that they are not aware of any water infiltration or leakages have them sign a sworn statement stating that. If your basement floods after a month of moving in then at least you have some firepower in the form of the sworn statement from the seller. If the seller is reluctant then you may want to consider another home.

Fourth ask questions of your realtor. Your realtor is an "agent" which means to act in your best interests. Ask the realtor about the neighborhood and the potential for flooding. Ask the realtor if he or she is aware of any issues in the home.

You may want to consider putting in a mold or inspection contingency in the contract. This will allow you to release yourself from the transaction if mold or other issues are found in the home.

If you are very concerned about the presence of mold in the home or have known asthma problems then you may want to hire a certified mold testing professional. The mold inspector will be able to conduct air testing and surface sampling for mold. Usually this is done by taking a control sample from the outdoor air then taking several additional samples in the interior rooms of the home including the basement or lower level. Usually these samples are performed every thousand square feet of living space.

Surface samples are done to define the type of visible mold on a surface. These are usually performed using swabs or tape lifts. Air sapling coupled with surface samples will allow you to have a clear picture of the air quality present in the home you are thinking about purchasing. With proper mold testing you can make informed decisions about the home.

In any event make sure to keep your eyes and nose open for mold.

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Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Internet A Medium or a Message

The State of the Net

An Interim Report about the Future of the Internet

Who are the participants who constitute the Internet?

Users - connected to the net and interacting with it

The communications lines and the communications equipment

The intermediaries (e.g. the suppliers of on-line information or access providers).

Hardware manufacturers

Software authors and manufacturers (browsers, site development tools, specific applications, smart agents, search engines and others).

The "Hitchhikers" (search engines, smart agents, Artificial Intelligence - AI - tools and more)

Content producers and providers

Suppliers of financial wherewithal (currently - corporate and institutional cash gradually being replaced by advertising money)

The fate of each of these components - separately and in solidarity - will determine the fate of the Internet.

The first phase of the Internet's history was dominated by computer wizards. Thus, any attempt at predicting its future dealt mainly with its hardware and software components.

Media experts, sociologists, psychologists, advertising and marketing executives were left out of the collective effort to determine the future face of the Internet.

As far as content is concerned, the Internet cannot be currently defined as a medium. It does not function as one - rather it is a very disordered library, mostly incorporating the writings of non-distinguished megalomaniacs. It is the ultimate Narcissistic experience. The forceful entry of publishing houses and content aggregators is changing this dismal landscape, though.

Ever since the invention of television there hasn't been anything as begging to become a medium as the Internet.

Three analogies spring to mind when contemplating the Internet in its current state:

A chaotic library

A neural network or the latter day equivalent of previous networks (telegraph, telephony, railways)

A new continent

These metaphors prove to be very useful (even business-wise). They permit us to define the commercial opportunities embedded in the Internet.

Yet, they fail to assist us in predicting its future in its transformation into a medium.

How does an invention become a medium? What happens to it when it does become one? What is the thin line separating the initial functioning of the invention from its transformation into a new medium? In other words: when can we tell that some technological advance gave birth to a new medium?

This work also deals with the image of the Internet once transformed into a medium.

The Internet has the most unusual attributes in the history of media.

It has no central structure or organization. It is hardware and software independent. It (almost) cannot be subjected to legislation or to regulation. Consider the example of downloading music from the internet - is it tantamount to an act of recording music (a violation of copyright laws)? This has been the crux of the legal battle between Diamond Multimedia (the manufacturers of the Rio MP3 device), MP3.com and Napster and the recording industry in America.

The Internet's data transfer channels are not linear - they are random. Most of its "broadcast" cannot be "received" at all. It allows for the narrowest of narrowcasting through the use of e-mail mailing lists, discussion groups, message boards, private radio stations, and chats. And this is but a small portion of an impressive list of oddities. These idiosyncrasies will also shape the nature of the Internet as a medium. Growing out of bizarre roots - it is bound to yield strange fruit as a medium.

So what business opportunities does the Internet represent?

I believe that they are to be found in two broad categories:

Software and hardware related to the Internet's future as a medium

Content creation, management and licencing

The Map of Terra Internetica

The Users

How many Internet users are there? How many of them have access to the Web (World Wide Web - WWW) and use it? There are no unequivocal statistics. Those who presume to give the answers (including the ISOC - the Internet SOCiety) - rely on very partial and biased resources. Others just bluff.

Yet, everyone seems to agree that there are, at least, 100 million active participants in North America (the Nielsen and Commerce-Net reports).

The future is, inevitably, even more vague than the present. Authoritative consultancy firms predict 66 million active users in 10 years time. IBM envisages 700 million users. MCI is more modest with 300 million. At the end of 1999 there were 130 million registered (though not necessarily active) users.

The Internet - an Elitist and Chauvinistic Medium

The average user of the Internet is young (30), with an academic background and high income. The percentage of the educated and the well-to-do among the users of the Web is three times as high as their proportion in the population. This is fast changing only because their children are joining them (6 million already had access to the Internet at the end of 1996 - and were joined by another 24 million by the end of the decade). This may change only due to presidential initiatives to bridge the "digital divide" (from Al Gore's in the USA to Mahatir Mohammed's in Malaysia), corporate largesse and institutional involvement (e.g., Open Society in Eastern Europe, Microsoft in the USA). These efforts will spread the benefits of this all-powerful tool among the less privileged. A bit less than 50% of all users are men but they are responsible for 60% of the activity in the net (as measured by traffic).

Women seem to limit themselves to electronic mail (e-mail) and to electronic shopping of goods and services, though this is changing fast. Men prefer information, either due to career requirements or because knowledge is power.

Most of the users are of the "experiencer" variety. They are leaders of social change and innovative. This breed inhabits universities, fashionable neighbourhoods and trendy vocations. This is why some wonder if the Internet is not just another fad, albeit an incredibly resilient and promising one.

Most users have home access to the Internet - yet, they still prefer to access it from work, at their employer's expense, though this preference is slight and being eroded. Most users are, therefore, exploitative in nature. Still, we must not forget that there are 37 million households of the self-employed and this possibly distorts the statistical picture somewhat.

The Internet - A Western Phenomenon

Not African, not Asian (with the exception of Israel and Japan), not Russian , nor a Third World phenomenon. It belongs squarely to the wealthy, sated world. It is the indulgence of those who have everything and whose greatest concern is their choice of nightly entertainment. Between 50-60% of all Internet users live in the USA, 5-10% in Canada. The Internet is catching on in Europe (mainly in Germany and in Scandinavia) and, in its mobile form (i-mode) in Japan. The Internet lost to the French Minitel because the latter provides more locally relevant content and because of high costs of communications and hardware.


Most computer owners still possess a 28,800 bps modem. This is much like driving a bicycle on a German Autobahn. The 56,600 bps is gradually replacing its slower predecessor (48% of computers with modems) - but even this is hardly sufficient. To begin to enjoy video and audio (especially the former) - data transfer rates need to be 50 times faster.

Half the households in the USA have at least 2 telephones and one of them is usually dedicated to data processing (faxes or fax-modems).

The ISDN could constitute the mid-term solution. This data transfer network is fairly speedy and covers 70% of the territory of the USA. It is growing by 100% annually and its sales topped 10 billion USD in 1995/6.

Unfortunately, it is quite clear that ISDN is not THE answer. It is too slow, too user-unfriendly, has a bad interface with other network types, it requires special hardware. There is no point in investing in temporary solutions when the right solution is staring the Internet in the face, though it is not implemented due to political circumstances.

A cable modem is 80 times speedier than the ISDN and 700 times faster than a 14,400 bps modem. However, it does have problems in accommodating a two-way data transfer. There is also need to connect the fibre optic infrastructure which characterizes cable companies to the old copper coaxial infrastructure which characterizes telephony. Cable users engage specially customized LANs (Ethernet) and the hardware is expensive (though equipment prices are forecast to collapse as demand increases). Cable companies simply did not invest in developing the technology. The law (prior to the 1996 Communications Act) forbade them to do anything that was not one way transfer of video via cables. Now, with the more liberal regulative environment, it is a mere question of time until the technology is found.

Actually, most consumers single out bad customer relations as their biggest problem with the cable companies - rather than technology.

Experiments conducted with cable modems led to a doubling of usage time (from an average of 24 to 47 hours per month per user) which was wholly attributable to the increased speed. This comes close to a cultural revolution in the allocation of leisure time. Numerically speaking: 7 million households in the USA are fitted with a two-way data transfer cable modems. This is a small number and it is anyone's guess if it constitutes a critical mass. Sales of such modems amount to 1.3 billion USD annually.

50% of all cable subscribers also have a PC at home. To me it seems that the merging of the two technologies is inevitable.

Other technological solutions - such as DSL, ADSL, and the more promising satellite broadband - are being developed and implemented, albeit slowly and inefficiently. Coverage is sporadic and frustrating waiting periods are measured in months.

Hardware and Software

Most Internet users (82%) work with the Windows operating system. About 11% own a Macintosh (much stronger graphically and more user-friendly). Only 7% continue to work on UNIX based systems (which, historically, fathered the Internet) - and this number is fast declining. A strong entrant is the free source LINUX operating system.

Virtually all users surf through a browsing software. A fast dwindling minority (26%) use Netscape's products (mainly Navigator and Communicator) and the majority use Microsoft's Explorer (more than 60% of the market). Browsers are now free products and can be downloaded from the Internet. As late as 1997, it was predicted by major Internet consultancy firms that browser sales will top $4 billion by the year 2000. Such misguided predictions ignored the basic ethos of the Internet: free products, free content, free access.

Browsers are in for a great transformation. Most of them are likely to have 3-D, advanced audio, telephony / voice / video mail (v-mail), instant messaging, e-mail, and video conferencing capabilities integrated into the same browsing session. They will become self-customizing, intelligent, Internet interfaces. They will memorize the history of usage and user preferences and adapt themselves accordingly. They will allow content-specificity: unidentifiable smart agents will scour the Internet, make recommendations, compare prices, order goods and services and customize contents in line with self-adjusting user profiles.

Two important technological developments must be considered:

PDAs (Personal Digital Assistants) - the ultimate personal (and office) communicators, easy to carry, they provide Internet (access) Everywhere, independent of suppliers and providers and of physical infrastructure (in an aeroplane, in the field, in a cinema).

The second trend: wireless data transfer and wireless e-mail, whether through pagers, cellular phones, or through more sophisticated apparatus and hybrids such as smart phones. Geotech's products are an excellent example: e-mail, faxes, telephone calls and a connection to the Internet and to other, public and corporate, or proprietary, databases - all provided by the same gadget. This is the embodiment of the electronic, physically detached, office. Wearable computing should be considered a part of this "ubiquitous or pervasive computing" wave.

We have no way of gauging - or intelligently guessing - the part of the mobile Internet in the total future Internet market but it is likely to outweigh the "fixed" part. Wireless internet meshes well with the trend of pervasive computing and the intelligent home and office. Household gadgets such as microwave ovens, refrigerators and so on will connect to the internet via a wireless interface to cull data, download information, order goods and services, report their condition and perform basic maintenance functions. Location specific services (navigation, shopping recommendations, special discounts, deals and sales, emergency services) depend on the technological confluence between GPS (stallite-based geolocation technology) and wireless Internet.

Suppliers and Intermediaries

"Parasitic" intermediaries occupy each stage in the Internet's food chain.

Access to the Internet is still provided by "dumb pipes" - the Internet Service Providers (ISP)

Content is still the preserve of content suppliers and so on.

Some of these intermediaries are doomed to gradually fade or to suffer a substantial diminishing of their share of the market. Even "walled gardens" of content (such as AOL) are at risk.

By way of comparison, even today, ISPs have four times as many subscribers (worldwide) as AOL. Admittedly, this adversely affects the quality of the Internet - the infrastructure maintained by the phone companies is slow and often succumbs to bottlenecks. The unequivocal intention of the telephony giants to become major players in the Internet market should also be taken into account. The phone companies will, thus, play a dual role: they will provide access to their infrastructure to their competitors (sometimes, within a real or actual monopoly) - and they will compete with their clients. The same can be said about the cable companies. Controlling the last mile to the user's abode is the next big business of the Internet. Companies such as AOL are disadvantaged by these trends. It is imperative for AOL to obtain equal access to the cable company's backbone and infrastructure if it wants to survive. Hence its merger with Time Warner.

No wonder that many of the ISPs judge this intrusion on their turf by the phone and cable companies to constitute unfair competition. Yet, one should not forget that the barriers to entry are very low in the ISP market. It takes a minimal investment to become an ISP. 200 modems (which cost 200 USD each) are enough to satisfy the needs of 2000 average users who generate an income of 500,000 USD per annum to the ISP. Routers are equally as cheap nowadays. This is a nice return on the ISP's capital, undoubtedly.

The Hitchhikers

The Web houses the equivalent of 100 billion pages. Search Engine applications are used to locate specific information in this impressive, constantly proliferating library. They will be replaced, in the near future, by "Knowledge Structures" - gigantic encyclopaedias, whose text will contain references (hyperlinks) to other, relevant, sites. The far future will witness the emergence of the "Intelligent Archives" and the "Personal Newspapers" (read further for detailed explanations). Some software applications will summarize content, others will index and automatically reference and hyperlink texts (virtual bibliographies). An average user will have an on-going interest in 500 sites. Special software will be needed to manage address books ("bookmarks", "favourites") and contents ("Intelligent Addressbooks"). The phenomenon of search engines dedicated to search a number of search engines simultaneously will grow ("Hyper- or meta- engines"). Meta-engines will work in the bac kground and download hyperlinks and advertising (the latter is essential to secure the financial interest of site developers and owners). Statistical software which tracks ("how long was what done"), monitors ("what did they do while in the site") and counts ("how many") visitors to sites already exists. Some of these applications have back-office facilities (accounting, follow-up, collections, even tele-marketing). They all provide time trails and some allow for auditing.

This is but a small fragment of the rapidly developing net-scape: people and enterprises who make a living off the Internet craze rather than off the Internet itself. Everyone knows that there is more money in lecturing about how to make money on the Internet - than in the Internet itself. This maxim still holds true despite the 32 billion US dollars in E-commerce in 1998. Business to Consumer (B2C) sales grow less vigorously than Business to Business (B2B) sales and are likely to suffer another blow with the advent of Peer to Peer (P2P) computer networks. The latter allow PCs to act as servers and thus enable the swapping of computer files asmong connected users (with or without a central directory).

Content Suppliers

This is the underprivileged sector of the Internet. They all lose money (even e-tailers which offer basic, standardized goods - books, CDs - with the exception, until September 11, of sites connected to tourism). No one thanks them for content produced with the investment of a lot of effort and a lot of money. A really qualitative, fully commerce enabled site costs up to 5,000,000 USD, excluding site maintenance and customer and visitor services. Content providers are constantly criticized for lack of creativity or for too much creativity. More and more is asked of them. They are exploited by intermediaries, hitchhikers and other parasites. This is all an off-shoot of the ethos of the Internet as a free content area.

More than 100 million men and women constantly access the Web - but this number stands to grow (the median prediction: 300 million). Yet, while the Web is used by 35% of those with access to the Internet - e-mail is used by more than 60%. E-mail is by far the most common function ("killer app") and specialized applications (Eudora, Internet Mail, Microsoft Exchange) - free or ad sponsored - keep it accessible to all and user-friendly.

Most of the users like to surf (browse, visit sites) the net without reason or goal in mind. This makes it difficult to apply traditional marketing techniques.

What is the meaning of "targeted audiences" or "market shares" in this context?

If a surfer visits sites which deal with aberrant sex and nuclear physics in the same session - what to make of it?

The public and legislative backlash against the gathering of surfers' data by Internet ad agencies and other web sites - has led to growing ignorance regarding the profile of Internet users, their demography, habits, preferences and dislikes.

People like the very act of surfing. They want to be entertained, then they use the Internet as a working tool, mostly in the service of their employer, who, usually foots the bill. Users love free downloads (mainly software).

"Free" is a key word on the Internet: it used to belong to the US Government and to a bunch of universities. Users like information, with emphasis on news and data about new products. But they do not like to shop on the net - yet. Only 38% of all surfers made a purchase during 1998.

67% of them adore virtual sex. 50% of the sites most often visited are porn sites (this is reminiscent of the early days of the Video Cassette Recorder - VCR). People dedicate the same amount of time to watching video cassettes or television as they do to surfing the net. The Internet seems to cannibalize television.

Sex is followed by music, sports, health, television, computers, cinema, politics, pets and cooking sites. People are drawn to interactive games. The Internet will shortly enable people to gamble, if not hampered by legislation. 10 billion USD in gambling money are predicted to pass through the net. This makes sense: nothing like a computer to provide immediate (monetary and psychological) rewards.

Commerce on the net is another favourite. The Internet is a perfect medium for the sale of software and other digital products (e-books). The problem of data security is on its way to being solved with the SET (or other) world standard.

As early as 1995, the Internet had more than 100 virtual shopping malls visited by 2.5 million shoppers (and probably double this number in 1996).

The predictions for 1999 were between 1-5 billion USD of net shopping (plus 2 billion USD through on-line information providers, such as CompuServe and AOL) - proved woefully inaccurate. The actual number in 1998 was 7 times the prediction for 1999.

It is also widely believed that circa 20% of the family budget will pass through the Internet as e-money and this amounts to 150 billion USD.

The Internet will become a giant inter-bank clearing system and varied ATM type banking and investment services will be provided through it. Basically, everything can be done through the Internet: looking for a job, for instance.

Yet, the Internet will never replace human interaction. People are likely to prefer personal banking, window shopping and the social experience of the shopping mall to Internet banking and e-commerce, or m-commerce.

Some sites already sport classified ads. This is not a bad way to defray expenses, though most classified ads are free (it is the advertising they attract that matters).

Another developing trend is website-rating and critique. It will be treated the way today's printed editions are. It will have a limited influence on the consumption decisions of some users. Browsers already sport buttons labelled "What's New" and "What's Hot". Most Search Engines recommend specific sites. Users are cautious. Studies discovered that no user, no matter how heavy, has consistently re-visited more than 200 sites, a minuscule number. The 10 most popular web sites (Yahoo!, MSN, etc.) attracted more than 50% of all Internet traffic. Site recommendation services often produce random - at times, wrong - selections for their user. There are also concerns regarding privacy issues. The backlah against Amazon's "readers' circles" is an example.

Web Critics, who work today mainly for the printed press, will publish their wares on the net and will link to intelligent software which will hyperlink, recommend and refer. Some web critics will be identified with specific applications - really, expert systems which will incorporate their knowledge and experience.

The Money

Where will the capital needed to finance all these developments come from?

Again, there are two schools:

One says that sites will be financed through advertising - and so will search engines and other applications accessed by users.

Certain ASPs (Application Service Providers which rent out access to application software which resides on their servers) are considering this model.

The second version is simpler and allows for the existence of non-commercial content.

It proposes to collect negligible sums (cents or fractions of cents) from every user for every visit ("micro-payments") or a subscription fee. These accumulated cents or subscription fees will enable the owners of old sites to update and to maintain them and encourage entrepreneurs to develop new ones. Certain content aggregators (especially of digital textbooks) have adopted this model (Questia, Fathom).

The adherents of the first school pointed at the 5 million USD invested in advertising during 1995 and to the 60 million or so invested during 1996.

Its opponents point exactly at the same numbers: ridiculously small when contrasted with more conventional advertising modes. The potential of advertising on the net is limited to 1.5 billion USD annually in 1998, thundered the pessimists (many thought that even half that would be very nice). The actual figure was double the prediction but still woefully small and inadequate to support the Internet's content development.

Compare these figures to the sale of Internet software ($4 billion), Internet hardware ($3 billion), Internet access provision ($4.2 billion) in 1995.

Hembrecht and Quist estimated that Internet related industries scooped up 23.2 billion USD annually (A report released in mid-1996).

And what follows advertising is hardly more enocuraging.

The consumer interacts and the product is delivered to him. This - the delivery phase - is a slow and enervating epilogue to the exciting affair of ordering through the net at the speed of light. Too many consumers still complain that they do not receive what they ordered, or that delivery is late and products defective.

The solution may lie in the integration of advertising and content. Pointcast, for instance, integrated advertising into its news broadcasts, continuously streamed to the user's screen, even when inactive (they provided a downloadable active screen saver and ticker in a "push technology"). Downloading of digital music, video and text (e-books) will lead to immediate gratification of the consumer and will increase the efficacy of advertising.

Whatever the case may be, a uniform, agreed upon system of rating as a basis for charging advertisers, is sorely needed. There is also the question of what does the advertiser pay for?

Many advertisers (Procter and Gamble, for instance) refuse to pay according to the number of hits or impressions (=entries, visits to a site). They agree to pay only according to the number of the times that their advertisement was hit (page views).

This different basis for calculation is likely to upset all revenue scenarios.

Very few sites of important, respectable newspapers are on a subscription basis. Dow Jones (Wall Street Journal) and The Economist, to mention but two.

Will this become the prevailing trend?

The Internet as a Metaphor

Three metaphors come to mind when considering the Internet "philosophically".

The Internet as a Chaotic Library

1. The Problem of Cataloguing

The Internet is an assortment of billions of pages containing information. Some of them are visible and others are generated from hidden databases by users' requests ("Invisible Internet").

The Internet displays no discernible order, classification, or categorization. As opposed to "classical" libraries, no one has invented a cataloguing standard (remember Dewey?). This is so needed that it is amazing that it has not been invented yet. Some sites indeed apply the Dewey Decimal Syatem (Suite101). Others default to a directory structure (Open Directory, Yahoo!, Look Smart and others).

Had such a standard existed (an agreed upon numerical cataloguing method) - each site would have self-classified. Sites would have an interest to do so to increase their penetration rates and their visibility. This, naturally, would have eliminated the need for today's clunky, incomplete and (highly) inefficient search engines.

A site whose number starts with 900 will be immediately identified as dealing with history and multiple classification will be encouraged to allow finer cross-sections to emerge. An example of such an emerging technology of "self classification" and "self-publication" (though limited to scholarly resources) is the "Academic Resource Channel" by Scindex.

Users will not be required to remember reams of numbers. Future browsers will be akin to catalogues, very much like the applications used in modern day libraries. Compare this utopia to the current dystopy. Users struggle with reams of irrelevant material to finally reach a partial and disappointing destination. At the same time, there likely are web sites which exactly match the poor user's needs. Yet, what currently determines the chances of a happy encounter between user and content - are the whims of the specific search engine used and things like meta-tags, headlines, a fee paid, or the right opening sentences.

2. Screen versus Page

The computer screen, because of physical limitations (size, the fact that it has to be scrolled) fails to effectively compete with the printed page. The latter is still the most ingenious medium yet invented for the storage and release of textual information. Granted: a computer screen is better at highlighting discrete units of information. So, this draws the batlle lines: structures (printed pages) versus units (screen), the continuous and easily reversible versus the discrete.

The solution is an efficient way to translate computer screens to printed matter. It is hard to believe, but no such thing exists. Computer screens are still hostile to off-line printing. In other words: if a user copies information from the Internet to his Word Processor (or vice versa, for that matter) - he ends up with a fragmented, garbage-filled and non-aesthetic document.

Very few site developers try to do something about it - even fewer succeed.

3. The Internet and the CD-ROM

One of the biggest mistakes of content suppliers is that they do not mix contents or have a "static-dynamic interaction".

The Internet can now easily interact with other media (especially with audio CDs and with CD-ROMs) - even as the user surfs.

Examples abound:

A shopping catalogue can be distributed on a CD-ROM by mail. The Internet Site will allow the user to order a product previously selected from the catalogue, while off-line. The catalogue could also be updated through the site (as is done with CD-ROM encyclopedias).

The advantages of the CD-ROM are clear: very fast access time (dozens of times faster than the access to a site using a dial up connection) and a data storage capacity tens of times bigger than the average website.

Another example: a CD-ROM can be distributed, containing hundreds of advertisements. The consumer will select the ad that he wants to see and will connect to the Internet to view a relevant video.

He could then also have an interactive chat (or a conference) with a salesperson, receive information about the company, about the ad, about the advertising agency which created the ad - and so on.

CD-ROM based encyclopedias (such as the Britannica, Encarta, Grolier) already contain hyperlinks which carry the user to sites selected by an Editorial Board.

But CD-ROMs are probably a doomed medium. This industry chose to emphasize the wrong things. Storage capacity increased exponentially and, within a year, desktops with 80 Gb hard disks will be common. Moreover, the Network Computer - the stripped down version of the personal computer - will put at the disposal of the average user terabytes in storage capacity and the processing power of a supercomputer. What separates computer users from this utopia is the communication bandwidth. With the introduction of radio, statellite, ADSL broadband services, cable modems and compression methods - video (on demand), audio and data will be available speedily and plentifully.

The CD-ROM, on the other hand, is not mobile. It requires installation and the utilization of sophisticated hardware and software. This is no user friendly push technology. It is nerd-oriented. As a result, CD-ROMs are not an immediate medium. There is a long time lapse between the moment they are purchased and the moment the first data become accessible to the user. Compare this to a book or a magazine. Data in these oldest of media is instantly available to the user and allows for easy and accurate "back" and "forward" functions.

Perhaps the biggest mistake of CD-ROM manufacturers has been their inability to offer an integrated hardware and software package. CD-ROMs are not compact. A Walkman is a compact hardware-cum-software package. It is easily transportable, it is thin, it contains numerous, user-friendly, sophisticated functions, it provides immediate access to data. So does the discman or the MP3-man. This cannot be said of the CD-ROM. By tying its future to the obsolete concept of stand-alone, expensive, inefficient and technologically unreliable personal computers - CD-ROMs have sentenced themselves to oblivion (with the possible exception of reference material).

4. On-line Reference Libraries

These already exist. A visit to the on-line Encyclopaedia Britannica exemplifies some of the tremendous, mind boggling possibilities:

Each entry is hyperlinked to sites on the Internet which deal with the same subject matter. The sites are carefully screened (though more detailed descriptions of each site should be available - they could be prepared either by the staff of the encyclopaedia or by the site owner). Links are available to data in various forms, including audio and video. Everything can be copied to the hard disk or to CD-ROMs.

This is a new conception of a knowledge centre - not just an assortment of material. It is modular, can be added on and subtracted from. It can be linked to a voice Q&A centre. Queries by subscribers can be answered by e-mail, by fax, posted on the site, hard copies can be sent by post. This "Trivial Pursuit" service could be very popular - there is considerable appetite for "Just in Time Information". The Library of Congress - together with a few other libraries - is in the process of making just such a service available to the public (CDRS - Collaborative Digital Reference Service).

5. The Feedback Option

Hard to believe, but very few sites encourage their guests to express an opinion about the site, its contents and its aesthetics. This indicates an ossified mode of thinking about the most dynamic mass medium ever created, the only interactive mass medium yet. Each site must absolutely contain feedback and rating questionnaires. It has the side benefit of creating a database of the visitors to the site.

Moreover, each site can easily become a "knowledge centre".

Let us consider a site dedicated to advertising and marketing:

It can contain feedback questionnaires (what do you think about the site, suggestions for improvement, mailto and leave message facilities, etc.)

It can contain rating questionnaires (rate these ads, these TV or radio shows, these advertising campaigns).

It can allocate some space to clients to create their home pages in (these home pages could lead to their sites, to other sites, to other sections of the host site - and, in any case, will serve as a display of the creative talent of the site owners). This will give the site owners a picture of the distribution of the areas of interest of the visitors to the site.

The site can include statistical, tracking and counter software.

Such a site can refer to hundreds of useful shareware applications (which deal with different aspects of advertising and marketing, for instance). Developers of applications will be able to use the site to promote their products. Other practical applications could also be referred to from - or reside on - the site (browsers, games, search engines).

And all this can be organized in a portal structure (for instance, by adopting the open software of the Open Directory Project).

6. Internet Derived CD-ROMS

The Internet is an enormous reservoir of freely available, public domain, information.

With a minimal investment, this information can be gathered into coherent, theme oriented, cheap CD-ROMs. Each such CD-ROM can contain:

Addresses of web sites specific to the subject matter

The first pages of each of these sites

Hyperlinks to each of the sites

A browser

Access to all the important search engines

Recommended search strings (it is extremely difficult to formulate a successful search in the Internet, it takes expertise. "Ready-made searches" will be a hit in the future, as the number of sites grows)

A dictionary of professional terms, a speller and a thesaurus

A list of general reference sites

Shareware specific to the field

7. Publishing

The Internet is the world's largest "publisher", by far. It "publishes" FAQs (Frequent Answers and Questions regarding almost every technical matter in the world), e-zines (electronic versions of magazines, not a very profitable pursuit), the electronic versions of dailies (together with on-line news and information services), reference and other e-books, monographs, articles and minutes of discussions ("threads"), among other types of material.

Publishing an e-zine has a few advantages: it promotes the sales of the printed edition, it helps to sign on subscribers and it leads to the sale of advertising space. The electronic archive function (see next section) saves the need to file back issues, the space required to do so and the irritating search for data items.

The future trend is a combined subscription: electronic (mainly for the archival value and the ability to hyperlink to additional information) and printed (easier to browse current issue).

The electronic daily presents other advantages:

It allows for immediate feedback and for flowing, almost real-time, communication between writers and readers. The electronic version, therefore, acquires a gyroscopic function: a navigation instrument, always indicating deviations from the "right" course. The content can be instantly updated and immediacy has its premium (remember the Lewinsky affair?).

Strangely, this (conventional) field was the first to develop a "virtual reality" facet. There are virtual "magazine stalls". They look exactly like the real thing and the user can buy a paper using his mouse.

Specialty hand held devices already allow for downloading and storage of vast quantities of data (up to 4000 print pages). The user gains access to libraries containing hundreds of texts, adapted to be downloaded, stored and read by the specific device. Again, a convergence of standards is to be expected in this field as well (the final contenders will probably be Adobe's PDF against Microsoft's MS-Reader).

Broadly, e-books are treated either as:

Continuation of print books (p-books) by other means

or as

A whole new publishing universe.

Since p-books are a more convenient medium then e-books - they will prevail in any straightforward "medium replacement" or "medium displacement" battle.

In other words, if publishers will persist in the simple and straightforward conversion of p-books to e-books - then e-books are doomed. They are simply inferior to the price, comfort, tactile delights, browseability and scanability of p-books.

But e-books - being digital - open up a vista of hitherto neglected possibilities. These will only be enhanced and enriched by the introduction of e-paper and e-ink. Among them:

Hyperlinks within the e-book and without it - to web content, reference works, etc.

Embedded instant shopping and ordering links

Divergent, user-interactive, decision driven plotlines

Interaction with other e-books (using a wireless standard) - collaborative authoring

Interaction with other e-books - gaming and community activities

Automatically or periodically updated content


Database, Favourites and History Maintenance (reading habits, shopping habits, interaction with other readers, plot related decisions and much more)

Automatic and embedded audio conversion and translation capabilities

Full wireless piconetworking and scatternetworking capabilities

The technology is still not fully there. Wars rage in both the wireless and the ebook realms. Platforms compete. Standards clash. Gurus debate. But convergence is inevitable and with it the e-book of the future.

8. The Archive Function

The Internet is also the world's biggest cemetery: tens of thousands of deadbeat sites, still accessible - the "Ghost Sites" of this electronic frontier.

This, in a way, is collective memory. One of the Internet's main functions will be to preserve and transfer knowledge through time. It is called "memory" in biology - and "archive" in library science. The history of the Internet is being documented by search engines (Google) and specialized services (Alexa) alike.

The Internet as a Collective Brain

Drawing a comparison from the development of a human baby - the human race has just commenced to develop its neural system.

The Internet fulfils all the functions of the Nervous System in the body and is, both functionally and structurally, pretty similar. It is decentralized, redundant (each part can serve as functional backup in case of malfunction). It hosts information which is accessible in a few ways, it contains a memory function, it is multimodal (multimedia - textual, visual, audio and animation).

I believe that the comparison is not superficial and that studying the functions of the brain (from infancy to adulthood) - amounts to perusing the future of the Net itself.

1. The Collective Computer

To carry the metaphor of "a collective brain" further, we would expect the processing of information to take place in the Internet, rather than inside the end-user's hardware (the same way that information is processed in the brain, not in the eyes). Desktops will receive the results and communicate with the Net to receive additional clarifications and instructions and to convey information gathered from their environment (mostly, from the user).

This is part fo the philosophy of the JAVA programming language. It deals with applets - small bits of software - and links different computer platforms by means of software.

Put differently:

Future servers will contain not only information (as they do today) - but also software applications. The user of an application will not be forced to buy it. He will not be driven into hardware-related expenditures to accommodate the ever growing size of applications. He will not find himself wasting his scarce memory and computing resources on passive storage. Instead, he will use a browser to call a central computer. This computer will contain the needed software, broken to its elements (=applets, small applications). Anytime the user wishes to use one of the functions of the application, he will siphon it off the central computer. When finished - he will "return" it. Processing speeds and response times will be such that the user will not feel at all that it is not with his own software that he is working (the question of ownership will be very blurred in such a world). This technology is available and it provoked a heated debated about the future shape of the computi ng industry as a whole (desktops - really power packs - or network computers, a little more than dumb terminals). Applications are already offered to corporate users by ASPs (Application Service Providers).

In the last few years, scientists put the combined power of the computers linked to the internet at any given moment to perform astounding feats of distributed parallel processing. Millions of PCs connected to the net co-process signals from outer space, meteorological data and solve complex equations. This is a prime example of a collective brain in action.

2. The Intranet - a Logical Extension of the Collective Computer

LANs (Local Area Networks) are no longer a rarity in corporate offices. WANs (wide Area Networks) are used to connect geographically dispersed organs of the same legal entity (branches of a bank, daughter companies, a sales force). Many LANs are wireless.

The intranet / extranet and wireless LANs will be the winners. They will gradually eliminate both fixed line LANs and WANs. The Internet offers equal, platform-independent, location-independent and time of day - independent access to all the members of an organization.Sophisticated firewall security application protects the privacy and confidentiality of the intranet from all but the most determined and savvy hackers.

The Intranet is an inter-organizational communication network, constructed on the platform of the Internet and which enjoys all its advantages. The extranet is open to clients and suppliers as well.

The company's server can be accessed by anyone authorized, from anywhere, at any time (with local - rather than international - communication costs). The user can leave messages (internal e-mail or v-mail), access information - proprietary or public - from it and to participate in "virtual teamwork" (see next chapter).

By the year 2002, a standard intranet interface will emerge. This will be facilitated by the opening up of the TCP/IP communication architecture and its availability to PCs. A billion USD will go just to finance intranet servers - or, at least, this is the median forecast.

The development of measures to safeguard server routed inter-organizational communication (firewalls) is the solution to one of two obstacles to the institution of the Intranet. The second problem is the limited bandwidth which does not permit the efficient transfer of audio (not to mention video).

It is difficult to conduct video conferencing through the Internet. Even the voices of discussants who use internet phones come out (slightly) distorted.

All this did not prevent 95% of the Fortune 1000 from installing intranet. 82% of the rest intend to install one by the end of this year. Medium to big size American firms have 50-100 intranet terminals per every internet one.

At the end of 1997, there were 10 web servers per every other type of server in organizations. The sale of intranet related software was projected to multiply by 16 (to 8 billion USD) by the year 1999.

One of the greatest advantages of the intranet is the ability to transfer documents between the various parts of an organization. Consider Visa: it pushed 2 million documents per day internally in 1996.

An organization equipped with an intranet can (while protected by firewalls) give its clients or suppliers access to non-classified correspondence. This notion has its charm. Consider a newspaper: it can give access to all the materials which were discarded by the editors. Some news are fit to print - yet are discarded because of space limitations. Still, someone is bound to be interested. It costs the newspaper close to nothing (the material is, normally, already computer-resident) - and it might even generate added circulation and income. It can be even conceived as an "underground, non-commercial, alternative" newspaper for a wholly different readership.

The above is but one example of the possible use of the intranet to communicate with the organization's consumer base.

3. Mail and Chat

The Internet (its e-mail possibilities) is eroding traditional mail. The market share of the post office in conveying messages by regular mail has dwindled from 77% to 62% (1995). E-mail has expanded to capture 36% (up from 19%).

90% of customers with on-line access use e-mail from time to time and 60% work with it regularly. More than 2 billion messages traverse the internet daily.

E-mail applications are available as freeware and are included in all browsers. Thus, the Internet has completely assimilated what used to be a separate service, to the extent that many people make the mistake of thinking that e-mail is a feature of the Internet. Microsoft continues to incorporate previously independent applications in its browsers - a behaviour which led to the 1999 anti-trust lawsuit against it.

The internet will do to phone calls what it has done to mail. Already there are applications (Intel's, Vocaltec's, Net2Phone) which enable the user to conduct a phone conversation through his computer. The voice quality has improved. The discussants can cut into each others words, argue and listen to tonal nuances. Today, the parties (two or more) engaging in the conversation must possess the same software and the same (computer) hardware. In the very near future, computer-to-regular phone applications will eliminate this requirement. And, again, simultaneous multi-modality: the user can talk over the phone, see his party, send e-mail, receive messages and transfer documents - without obstructing the flow of the conversation.

The cost of transferring voice will become so negligible that free voice traffic is conceivable in 3-5 years. Data traffic will overtake voice traffic by a wide margin.

This beats regular phones.

The next phase will probably involve virtual reality. Each of the parties will be represented by an "avatar", a 3-D figurine generated by the application (or the user's likeness mapped into the software and superimposed on the the avatar). These figurines will be multi-dimensional: they will possess their own communication patterns, special habits, history, preferences - in short: their own "personality".

Thus, they will be able to maintain an "identity" and a consistent pattern of communication which they will develop over time.

Such a figure could host a site, accept, welcome and guide visitors, all the time bearing their preferences in its electronic "mind". It could narrate the news, like "Ananova" does. Visiting sites in the future is bound to be a much more pleasant affair.

4. E-cash

In 1996, the four corporate giants (Visa, MasterCard, Netscape and Microsoft) agreed on a standard for effecting secure payments through the Internet: SET. Internet commerce is supposed to mushroom by a factor of 50 to 25 billion USD. Site owners will be able to collect rent from passing visitors - or fees for services provided within the site. Amazon instituted an honour system to collect donations from visitors. Dedicated visitors will not be deterred by such trifles.

5. The Virtual Organization

The Internet allows simultaneous communication between an almost unlimited number of users. This is coupled with the efficient transfer of multimedia (video included) files.

This opens up a vista of mind boggling opportunities which are the real core of the Internet revolution: the virtual collaborative ("Follow the Sun") modes.


A group of musicians will be able to compose music or play it - while spatially and temporally separated;

Advertising agencies will be able to co-produce ad campaigns in a real time interactive mode;

Cinema and TV films will be produced from disparate geographical spots through the teamwork of people who never meet, except through the net.

These examples illustrate the concept of the "virtual community". Locations in space and time will no longer hinder a collaboration in a team: be it scientific, artistic, cultural, or for the provision of services (a virtual law firm or accounting office, a virtual consultancy network).

Two on going developments are the virtual mall and the virtual catalogue.

There are well over 300 active virtual malls in the Internet. They were frequented by 32.5 million shoppers, who shopped in them for goods and services in 1998. The intranet can also be thought of as a "virtual organization", or a "virtual business".

The virtual mall is a computer "space" (pages) in the internet, wherein "shops" are located. These shops offer their wares using visual, audio and textual means. The visitor passes a gate into the store and looks through its offering, until he reaches a buying decision. Then he engages in a feedback process: he pays (with a credit card), buys the product and waits for it to arrive by mail. The manufacturers of digital products (intellectual property such as e-books or software) have begun selling their merchandise on-line, as file downloads.

Yet, slow communications and limited bandwidth - constrain the growth potential of this mode of sale. Once solved - intellectual property will be sold directly from the net, on-line. Until such time, the intervention of the Post Office is still required. So, then virtual mall is nothing but a glorified computerized mail catalogue or Buying Channel, the only difference being the exceptionally varied inventory.

Websites which started as "specialty stores" are fast transforming themselves into multi-purpose virtual malls. Amazon.com, for instance, has bought into a virtual pharmacy and into other virtual businesses. It is now selling music, video, electronics and many other products. It started as a bookstore.

This contrasts with a much more creative idea: the virtual catalogue. It is a form of narrowcasting (as opposed to broadcasting): a surgically accurate targeting of potential consumer audiences. Each group of profiled consumers (no matter how small) is fitted with their own - digitally generated - catalogue. This is updated daily: the variety of wares on offer (adjusted to reflect inventory levels, consumer preferences and goods in transit) - and prices (sales, discounts, package deals) change in real time.

The user will enter the site and there delineate his consumption profile and his preferences. A customized catalogue will be immediately generated for him.

From then on, the history of his purchases, preferences and responses to feedback questionnaires will be accumulated and added to a database.

Each catalogue generated for him will come replete with order forms. Once the user concluded his purchases, his profile will be updated.

There is no technological obstacles to implementing this vision today - only administrative and legal ones. Big retail stores are not up to processing the flood of data expected to arrive. They also remain highly sceptical regarding the feasibility of the new medium. And privacy issues prevent data mining or the effective collection and usage of personal data.

The virtual catalogue is a private case of a new internet off-shoot: the "smart (shopping) agents". These are AI applications with "long memories".

They draw detailed profiles of consumers and users and then suggest purchases and refer to the appropriate sites, catalogues, or virtual malls.

They also provide price comparisons and the new generation (NetBot) cannot be blocked or fooled by using differing product categories.

In the future, these agents will refer also to real life retail chains and issue a map of the branch or store closest to an address specified by the user (the default being his residence). This technology can be seen in action in a few music sites on the web and is likely to be dominant with wireless internet appliances. The owner of an internet enabled (third generation) mobile phone is likely to be the target of geographically-specific marketing campaigns, ads and special offers pertaining to his current location (as reported by his GPS - satellite Geographic Positioning System).

6. Internet News

Internet news are advantaged. They can be frequently and dynamically updated (unlike static print news) and be always accessible (similar to print news), immediate and fresh.

The future will witness a form of interactive news. A special "corner" in the site will be open to updates posted by the public (the equivalent of press releases). This will provide readers with a glimpse into the making of the news, the raw material news are made of. The same technology will be applied to interactive TVs. Content will be downloaded from the internet and be displayed as an overlay on the TV screen or in a square in a special location. The contents downloaded will be directly connected to the TV programming. Thus, the biography and track record of a football player will be displayed during a football match and the history of a country when it gets news coveage.

Terra Internetica - Internet, an Unknown Continent

This is an unconventional way to look at the Internet. Laymen and experts alike talk about "sites" and "advertising space". Yet, the Internet was never compared to a new continent whose surface is infinite.

The Internet will have its own real estate developers and construction companies. The real life equivalents derive their profits from the scarcity of the resource that they exploit - the Internet counterparts will derive their profits from the tenants (the content).

Two examples:

A few companies bought "Internet Space" (pages, domain names, portals), developed it and make commercial use of it by:

renting it out

constructing infrastructure and selling it

providing an intelligent gateway, entry point to the rest of the internet

or selling advertising space which subsidizes the tenants (Yahoo!-Geocities, Tripod and others).

Cybersquatting (purchasing specific domain names identical to brand names in the "real" world) and then selling the domain name to an interested party

Internet Space can be easily purchased or created. The investment is low and getting lower with the introduction of competition in the field of domain registration services and the increase in the number of top domains.

Then, infrastructure can be erected - for a shopping mall, for free home pages, for a portal, or for another purpose. It is precisely this infrastructure that the developer can later sell, lease, franchise, or rent out.

At the beginning, only members of the fringes and the avant-garde (inventors, risk assuming entrepreneurs, gamblers) invest in a new invention. The invention of a new communications technology is mostly accompanied by devastating silence.

No one knows to say what are the optimal uses of the invention (in other words, what is its future). Many - mostly members of the scientific and business elites - argue that there is no real need for the invention and that it substitutes a new and untried way for old and tried modes of doing the same thing (so why assume the risk?)

These criticisms are usually founded:

To start with, there is, indeed, no need for the new medium. A new medium invents itself - and the need for it. It also generates its own market to satisfy this newly found need.

Two prime examples are the personal computer and the compact disc.

When the PC was invented, its uses were completely unclear. Its performance was lacking, its abilities limited, it was horribly user unfriendly.

It suffered from faulty design, absent user comfort and ease of use and required considerable professional knowledge to operate. The worst part was that this knowledge was unique to the new invention (not portable).

It reduced labour mobility and limited one's professional horizons. There were many gripes among those assigned to tame the new beast.

The PC was thought of, at the beginning, as a sophisticated gaming machine, an electronic baby-sitter. As the presence of a keyboard was detected and as the professional horizon cleared it was thought of in terms of a glorified typewriter or spreadsheet. It was used mainly as a word processor (and its existence justified solely on these grounds). The spreadsheet was the first real application and it demonstrated the advantages inherent to this new machine (mainly flexibility and speed). Still, it was more (speed) of the same. A quicker ruler or pen and paper. What was the difference between this and a hand held calculator (some of them already had computing, memory and programming features)?

The PC was recognized as a medium only 30 years after it was invented with the introduction of multimedia software. All this time, the computer continued to spin off markets and secondary markets, needs and professional specialities. The talk as always was centred on how to improve on existing markets and solutions.

The Internet is the computer's first important breakthrough. Hitherto the computer was only quantitatively different - the multimedia and the Internet have made it qualitatively superior, actually, sui generis, unique.

This, precisely, is the ghost haunting the Internet:

It has been invented, is maintained and is operated by computer professionals. For decades these people have been conditioned to think in Olympic terms: more, stronger, higher. Not: new, unprecedented, non-existent. To improve - not to invent. They stumbled across the Internet - it invented itself despite its own creators.

Computer professionals (hardware and software experts alike) - are linear thinkers. The Internet is non linear and modular.

It is still the age of hackers. There is still a lot to be done in improving technological prowess and powers. But their control of the contents is waning and they are being gradually replaced by communicators, creative people, advertising executives, psychologists and the totally unpredictable masses who flock to flaunt their home pages.

These all are attuned to the user, his mental needs and his information and entertainment preferences.

The compact disc is a different tale. It was intentionally invented to improve upon an existing technology (basically, Edison's Gramophone). Market-wise, this was a major gamble: the improvement was, at first, debatable (many said that the sound quality of the first generation of compact discs was inferior to that of its contemporaneous record players). Consumers had to be convinced to change both software and hardware and to dish out thousands of dollars just to listen to what the manufacturers claimed was better quality Bach. A better argument was the longer life of the software (though contrasted with the limited life expectancy of the consumer, some of the first sales pitches sounded absolutely morbid).

The computer suffered from unclear positioning. The compact disc was very clear as to its main functions - but had a rough time convincing the consumers.

Every medium is first controlled by the technical people. Gutenberg was a printer - not a publisher. Yet, he is the world's most famous publisher. The technical cadre is joined by dubious or small-scale entrepreneurs and, together, they establish ventures with no clear vision, market-oriented thinking, or orderly plan of action. The legislator is also dumbfounded and does not grasp what is happening - thus, there is no legislation to regulate the use of the medium. Witness the initial confusion concerning copyrighted software and the copyrights of ROM embedded software. Abuse or under-utilization of resources grow. Recall the sale of radio frequencies to the first cellular phone operators in the West - a situation which repeats itself in Eastern and Central Europe nowadays.

But then more complex transactions - exactly as in real estate in "real life" - begin to emerge.

This distinction is important. While in real life it is possible to sell an undeveloped plot of land - no one will buy "pages". The supply of these is unlimited - their scarcity (and, therefore, their virtual price) is zero.

The second example involves the utiliz

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