Io: Jupiter’s Hottest Real Estate

Unique among the known moons in the solar system, Io is a bizarre world whose properties have only been investigated for the past thirty years. NASA discovered that Io was anything but the cold, dead satellite they expected when the Voyager space probes flew past Jupiter in 1979. The probes showed a scarred and angry moon, bursting with volcanic life as plumes of lava shot far above its surface. Ever since then, Io has been a source of endless fascination for astronomers.

At roughly 3,640 km in diameter, Io is one of the four Galilean satellites orbiting Jupiter (the four moons Galileo Galilei could observe through his telescope: Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto). It is also the closest to the gas giant, approximately 420,000 km away from Jupiter, and mostly made of silicate rock, iron, and some sulfur. The “short” distance from its planet, as well as the gravity of the other Galilean moons, are what keep its volcanic engines running. Gravity pulls on Io like the moon’s gravity pulls on Earth to cause the ocean’s tide, and heat results from the friction that this gravity causes in Io’s interior. The heat leads to a tremendous number of volcanoes, as well as frequent eruptions.

With as many as four hundred active volcanoes on its surface, Io is the most geologically active body in the solar system. The plumes of these volcanoes can shoot hundreds of kilometers into the Ionian sky, thanks to lower gravity and different makeup than most magma on Earth (Io’s magma is mostly composed of basalt, magnesium, and sulfur); the erupted molten rock on Io is believed to be much thinner than ours, about the same consistency as olive oil. Io is believed to have turned itself completely inside out several times, over the billions of years since its formation. On a side note, this constant resurfacing explains why there are hardly any impact craters on its surface, unlike most of Jupiter’s other moons.

Io also has a very thin atmosphere, mostly made of gases and particles ejected during its eruption. Thanks to these particles and a strong magnetic field that Jupiter produces, there is a strong electric current running between Io and Jupiter, which causes giant lightning storms in the gas giant’s atmosphere.

These are just a few of the incredible facts we have recently learned about Io, Jupiter’s hyperactive moon. Not only is it one of the most important discoveries we have made in exploring our cosmological neighborhood, but Io serves as a compelling reminder that the universe is full of surprises, and that we never truly know what we could discover next.

5 Steps to Your Property in Spain: How to Buy Real Estate on the Costa Blanca

  1. Meet With a Real Estate Agent�

When buying overseas property, it is always advisable to take at least a few trips to the location. Photographs do not give enough information when spending large amounts of money, so it is best to deal directly with a real estate agent in the country itself. When looking for property in Spain, one should narrow their choices down to a particular area and then find a local agent to assist them in finding the ideal purchase. Many real estate agents in Spain can speak English, so there is no need to be bilingual. It is best to inform the agent what kind of property one is looking for and what kind of price one is able to spend. Although the agent makes a commission off of the sale and will want the highest price possible, they can shorten the list of properties to include only the ones the buyer can afford. Then, the Spanish agent will be able to personally take the buyer to the locations.

  1. Find a Desirable Location�

There are many things to consider when being shown various properties. If this is purely an investment venture and isn’t going to be the buyer’s place of residency, the decision will be more practical and emotionless. The investment in Spanish property is currently a profitable and stable one. So, if a good deal is found and it is plausible to find willing tenants for the location, then the choice should be easy. However, buyers that may want to stay in this particular location, either permanently or for vacations, will want to consider more. For example, is the location attractive and conveniently located? Are there nearby facilities, such as a hospital, restaurants, or shopping districts? New residents may also want to inquire about local schools, just as they would when buying a residency in their home country.

  1. Prepare Money for the Purchase�

There are two common ways of readying money for a real estate venture in Spain. One way, often reserved for the wealthiest buyers, is to merely pay for the property in cash. This may be an easy approach for some, but it can also interfere with the equity built by the purchase. Often, the best way to buy real estate in Spain is by obtaining a mortgage loan from a local Spanish bank. Luckily, the real estate industry is booming right now in Spain, so banks are fiercely competing with each other. A buyer should use this to their advantage by comparing interest rates and bringing competitors? offers to rival banks. Often, banks will attempt to match or beat their competitors? offers. Proper identification and proof of financial history must be shown to a bank when financing a purchase. One should be sure to bring their relevant documentation when traveling to Spain for the mortgage loan.

  1. Pay for Closing Costs

Whether one pays for property with cash or finances it through a mortgage loan, closing costs are due up front and must be ready when signing the dotted line. A deposit is made to the seller and is often 5% to 10% of the purchase price. It is wise to allow a trusted third party, the real estate agent, to hold onto the deposit until the sales agreement is signed. Optionally, a deposit agreement can be drafted in order to protect the buyer’s investment. Although it isn’t absolutely necessary, some buyers feel that this is the stage in which a lawyer should assist them. Other closing costs can include payment to the real estate agency, although that may be escrowed into the mortgage.

5.Sign the Sales Agreement�

The sales agreement, or opción de compra, is signed on closing day. Closing day will be a day that both the seller and buyer agree on. It is the buyer’s duty to make sure all of the mortgage lender’s affairs have been taken care of on the seller’s end. Then, it is only a matter of signing the final paperwork in front of a notary public. Those who are inexperienced with real estate and/or the Spanish culture may again opt to have a lawyer present. When choosing a lawyer to look over the final paperwork, the buyer should be sure to hire one that isn’t associated with the seller. That way, the buyer can be sure that the lawyer is completely unbiased. After the closing costs are paid and the sales agreement is finalized, the real estate transaction is finished.

Zhenya Zoning Real Estate Issues Earnings Warning


Zhenya Zoning Real Estate (ZEN : SLCAPEX) CEO Ashleigh Wade issued a press release yesterday stating, in part, that ZEN(SLCAPEX) was providing a warning that the firm may not make profits in December.

“We want to issue a precautionary warning regarding our financial trending for this month,” Wade said in the press release, “It looks like we will be right at break even or a bit shy of it. Not a huge shocker considering that we are a SL Estate Company and three months into a transition that included a floor to ceiling re-organization and development. You should know, however, our sales force is out there going gangbusters to fill our seven open parcels and things could turn out well. “

ZEN(SLCAPEX) also has a sale going on which Wade promoted, stating, “We have parcels available and we are selling them for nothing but two weeks tier up front (pay the land and we will set your box and notify you). We want you to have a little ZEN in your life. If you are in the market for a community of great people who are diverse, active, love to explore and share then you should check us out. From ZEN Fifth Avenue in Tamaqua to ZEN Live! in Tuscarora to the peace of Blue Mountain and picturesque scenery of Panther Valley we have a little bit of everything.”

ZEN(SLCAPEX) has been trading between L$1.20 and L$1.40 for the last ten days on an average volume of just over 3100 shares. ZEN(SLCAPEX) has a 2-Star Luminos Dividend Rating, with a 6DYA of L$0.0037.

Tips for Investing in Commercial Real Estate

Investing in commercial real estate can be a great way to add to both value to an investors assets and can also be a source of income. Commercial real estate that is well positioned can increase dramatically in price. Rented or leased commercial real estate can provide a steady cash flow for retirement, investing, or other financial pursuits. Here are some tips for investing in commercial real estate that individual investors can use.

Investing in Commercial Real Estate Tips – Use Personal Knowledge

Regardless of the sector, the best investment ideas come from an investor’s personal knowledge and experience. An investor should look for property in their home area or other areas where they are familiar with the market and use their knowledge to determine where and what to buy.

Investing in Commercial Real Estate Tips – Be Patient

Perhaps the worst mistake a commercial real estate investor can make is buying too quickly. Just because an investor has the money and has looked at what is available does not mean they are ready to buy. Investors need to be patient and buy only when they are comfortable with the real estate and the price.

Investing in Commercial Real Estate Tips – Develop a Real Estate Network

Every investor in commercial real estate, or other real estate, needs a real estate network. Having a friend or trusted business associate in the contracting, banking, legal, and real estate sales professions can help an investor find deals as well as make good decisions managing the investments.

Investing in Commercial Real Estate Tips – Have Short Term and Long Term Goals

A commercial real estate investor needs to be able to look at both the immediate impact of their investment as well as the long term prospects. Cities are filled with run down commercial property that was once profitable. Shifts in transportation routes and large employers can often be predicted with some success and these changes might greatly impact a property’s value in coming years.

Investing in Commercial Real Estate Tips – Diversity

Just as with any investment, an investor putting all of their money into commercial real estate is taking a big risk. While keeping the properties rented can provide a good cash flow a market downturn at retirement time can be disastrous. Commercial real estate should only be only one part of an investor’s holdings to provide protection from such an event. Even within the commercial real estate investing sector there are ways to diversify. Investors can spread their money around into different types of commercial real estate such as raw land, office buildings, retail space, apartment buildings, and hotels.

Make Money with Real Estate

It is every man’s dream; to one day own their own home. When a person purchases property, it is most likely for the purpose living in it. Research studies reveal that the average family stays in their first home for approximately five years before they purchase a new and larger home as their family increases in number. What most of these people do not apprehend is the fact that they can actually use their first home as a means to make money.

Truth is; property is one of the most valuable assets you can purchase in your lifetime. T is one way for you to make money while you sleep. Meaning instead of you working for money your property is making money work for you.

There are a number of ways that you can put your property to work for you:

  1. a) Renting the property out for a steady monthly income or you refurbishing it to make a huge profit on it. With the money you make in excess of the selling price and what you put into the property, you can use it to purchase another piece of property. Then repeat the same process repeatedly doubling your profit. This is perhaps the easiest way to make money with property.
  2. b) Another way is taking advantage of the government tax breaks offered on property. Many people do not realize that in most cases the money you make from selling your home is tax-free so you do not have to worry about paying taxes on this income. It is a free and clear way to make money from real estate and literally anyone can do it.

c) A third way that is more complex than the above two is private mortgage. Property can be used as a leveraging tool to grow your capital. Let’s say you have bad credit, you can use a private mortgages to purchase a piece of property and pay it off at a better rate than that offered at banks and save money and by the time you’re done you can sell it off at the market price and make a profit. Meanwhile the value of our house continues to appreciate

These are just three ways to make money on your property. There are numerous other ways, too many to mention here. But the misconceptions that people have with how to make money with property is very real; as most feel that this is only something the rich can do but in fact this is something that anyone can do if they play their cards right are stopping people from learning the right way to go about making money with property.

With the current global economy many feel that it is a risky get into the property business yet now is the perfect time to make money with property. And yes, before you do make your property investment decision it does help to check with local agencies and read widely on the property market to see the best way to go about making money with property. Alternative money making methods to raise starting capital for real estate projects is website development, such as travel site Iceland in 8 Days.

Real Estate Finance 101: How to Calculate Your Mortgage Payment

When making a real estate purchase, one of the largest factors that will determine whether or not you purchase a property is the amount of the monthly mortgage payment. Oddly enough, many buyers do not know exactly how to calculate the amount of the mortgage.

While your real estate agent and/or lender should be able to provide an estimate of the monthly mortgage payment, it is a good idea for you to know how those figures are calculated. This article breaks down the components of the mortgage payment, the typical amount of each component, and how the information can be obtained and determined.

The Components of the Mortgage Payment

Most websites that offer a mortgage payment calculator only calculate the principal and interest portions of the payment. In fact, the entire mortgage payment is typically comprised of principal, interest, taxes, and insurance, commonly referred to as PITI.

To calculate the amount of your mortgage, you will need to know:

The principal amount of the loan;

The interest rate of the loan;

The term of the loan (the number of months for your mortgage);

The annual amount of property taxes;

The annual premium for hazard insurance;

The annual premium for mortgage insurance (if applicable).

Let’s say that you have a 30-year, $200,000 mortgage at an interest rate of 6%. Annual property taxes are $3,000 and the annual hazard insurance premium is $500. The annual mortgage insurance premium is $1,000. In word form, the monthly mortgage payment is calculated by multiplying the present value of the loan principal amount by the monthly interest rate (6% divided by 12 months) for a term of 360 months (30 years). This results in the principal and interest portion of the payment. To easily calculate the payment, I usually use Microsoft’s Excel program and use the “PMT” (payment) formula.


Once you have the principal and interest portions of your payment, add the following to the payment: monthly amount due for property taxes, monthly amount due for hazard insurance, and monthly amount due for mortgage insurance. All monthly amounts can be calculated by dividing the annual amounts by 12. This makes up your complete mortgage payment.


The principal amount is the actual portion of the loan that is being repaid, while interest is the fee you pay to the lender for the use of their money. The interest on a mortgage is usually expressed as an annual percentage of the principal. It is important to note that the amount of interest is usually the largest part of the mortgage payment. The amount of interest paid is usually reduced as the loan amortizes. More of your payment then goes towards the principal amount of the loan.


The taxes that are included in your mortgage payment are the property taxes that are due annually, as assessed by your county of residence, while hazard insurance is the protection on your home in case of random “hazards” (i.e. break-ins, fire, earthquakes, etc). Depending on where your home is located, you may also be required to obtain flood insurance for your property (this is usually separate from the standard hazard insurance policy). Additional insurance that could be required as part of your monthly mortgage payment is private mortgage insurance (PMI) or a mortgage insurance premium (MIP). This insurance is usually required if the loan-to-value ratio for your home loan is more than 80%.


Please note that some people will tell you that taxes and hazard insurance are optional portions of the mortgage payment. This is true with some lenders. In this case, you would just pay principal and interest (and mortgage insurance, if required) to them, but you are responsible for paying your own taxes and hazard insurance when they are due. However, most lenders will require you to pay a portion of taxes and insurance monthly as part of your mortgage payment. This is because the lender wants to ensure these items are paid on time in order to mitigate the risk to their asset (your home that you have pledged as collateral for the funds that you’ve borrowed).


When taxes and insurance are included as part of your monthly mortgage payment, the lender places these payments in an escrow account and disburses the funds as the bills are due. This is advantageous to the borrower since you won’t have to worry about coming up with the funds at the end of the year to pay your property taxes and hazard insurance-especially if you are not as disciplined to set aside the funds yourself throughout the year.


How to Obtain the Information to Determine Your Monthly Mortgage


The principal and interest amounts for your loan are pretty easy to find. This information is included in your loan documents if you have already secured a loan and know the interest rate of the loan.


The amount of your property taxes can be estimated by looking at the last tax bill. This is always an estimate, as the tax value of your property can be adjusted annually, depending on the state and county in which you live. The rate at which your property is taxed can also change; therefore, the last tax bill is a good indicator of what to expect going forward.


Hazard insurance is determined by your insurance company, and depends on various factors including the age of the home, whether or not you have a security system, and the proximity of your home to a fire hydrant, just to name a few. Like car insurance, it pays to shop around for hazard insurance. Usually, the company that you have your car insured with will offer a discount for your home insurance.


Mortgage insurance is determined by the insurer and usually varies, depending upon whether you have a conventional loan (which is insured by a private company), or a loan backed by the Federal Housing Association (FHA) or Veterans Association (VA), for FHA and VA loans, respectively. This factor of the mortgage payment is the least readily determinable in advance, but the annual premium should not amount to more than 0.75% of the principal amount of your mortgage.

Real Estate Bust: What the #$!@&* Happened?

I recently sought out Countrywide Home Loans with the intent of attaining the necessary capital to purchase a base of operations. I completed a one page document of basic inquiries as follows: Income: A Lot. Employment History: Experienced. Ability to Repay: Dunno. Reference: Momma.

The loan officer verified my information by placing a telephone call to my mother who indicated that I had been a good boy and was deserving of the money. Shortly thereafter, $5 Million was placed into my account. I was to be held responsible only for meeting the interest payments over the time frame specified by the fine print. At this point; I would be forced to begin paying down principal and my interest rate would jump to LIBOR plus 15%. ‘Details, Details,’ grins the Cheshire-Cat mortgage broker. I could always dump the property on some sucker-ahem home buyer before the teaser rate expiration.


Days before hosting the Housewarming Party at my luxurious Biscayne Bay condominium, confusion sets in pertaining to who actually held the mortgage loan and to where I should remit interest payments. The loan had been combined with thousands of other mortgages, credit card debt, auto loans, layaway plans, and the $5 owed to your Uncle Frank. This pool of debt was separated into collateralized debt obligations; [CDO] classifications based upon risk and distributed amongst hedge funds, investment banks, mutual funds, and the school board of Lorain, OH. These units were to be held off the books; carried by structured investment vehicles [SIV] that I was told didn’t really exist. Of course, Ratings agencies employed a cosign-tangent-alpha-square root-divisor algorithm to award AAA platinum status to all debt issued in the United States since 1958. I was assured that in the event of disaster the U.S. Treasury and several banks would put together a ‘Big Fund’ called MLEC to purchase BBB CDOs from the SIVs. Got That?


The mood at my Housewarming Party became dour upon the entrance of Bad News Fred, a man who plagued the festivities with sob stories and incessant whining. Over the course of eight years, Fred’s wife had left him to be with a ‘real’ man; Fred dropped out of trade school because the course hours interfered with Happy Hour; and poor Fred was terminated from his position of Turnpike Tollbooth operator due to overall negligence. Indeed, The Republican Party is to blame!


I shouldered the responsibility, traveling to Washington to meet the leader of this Republican Party. I was informed that a Mr. George Bush had not been to work in weeks and that I should book travel to Crawford, TX. Upon arrival, my crisp interrogation was greeted with blank stares and smirks by this gentleman. We spent the weekend fishing, golfing, and shooting off guns-accomplishing nothing. Mr. Bush scribbled the words ‘Rudy – New York,’ and placed a phone call to this person.

The telephone prompted me to submit all personal telephone records, love letters, financial documents, diaries, and embarrassing photographs to the United States Government. Failure to do so would lead to my arrest as a terrorist. The phone call fell into a pre recorded stump speech by Rudy Giuliani: noun-verb- SEPTEMBER 11th. Next, surprise visitors Al Gore, Bill and Hillary arrived at the ranch to play a game of charades with Dubya. I found the interaction pleasant, as all partygoers began to smile and nod approval of every word that I said. Mr. Gore chartered a jet for us back East after mumbling about the environment.

Our entourage became witness to an intense shouting match featuring Jim Cramer, Alan Greenspan, and Ben Bernanke. Cramer began to yelp, cavort, and scream that I had ‘no idea’ pertaining to anything in life. Greenspan delved into quoting Shakespeare; while Bernanke chose to ignore the raucous and retired to his library. Shortly thereafter, money was airlifted and dropped from the sky from Blackhawk aircraft.

I giddily grabbed the cash-telephoning Countrywide that I may be able to afford my home. The bank agreed to drop my interest rate to 0% and I was ordered to make payments at my ‘earliest convenience.’

How Can We End the Real Estate Crisis?

The Real Estate Crisis

References: PBS News Hour and Wall Street. (I am not affiliated with PBS nor either PBS program.)


The Real Estate Crisis is yet another area where I am not hearing any real solutions from either political party. Tax cuts and incentives won’t resolve the crisis. Government intervention will not resolve the crisis. Home foreclosures only exacerbate the crisis by lowering house prices. Restructuring Fanny Mae and Freddy Mac may have long term benefits, but in the short term may have no effect on the current crisis.


In order to illustrate what I am talking about, let’s create an imaginary person named Mr X. Mr X is a successful business executive earning millions of dollars per year. He bought his current home for 150 million dollars. He took out a 120 million dollar mortgage at a 5% interest rate. Everything was fine when he bought it. He could easily afford the mortgage payments.


But then, other foreclosures forced the value of his home down to $400,000. The principal of the mortgage was still very close to 120 million dollars because most of his payments during the first several years covered the interest and didn’t significantly reduce the principal.


Mr X has two choices. Refinancing may not be an option because the principle of the mortgage is well above the actual value of the house and the outlook for rising home prices is poor. Mr X could continue dumping his money into mortgage payments. But this option is comparable to flushing money down the toilet. Especially since he could abandon his home, rent an apartment and save lots of money by defaulting on the mortgage. Furthermore, the savings could be used to send his children to college.


So, putting ethics aside, Mr X makes a decision to stop paying his mortgage. The bank ends up taking the loss when they foreclose and try to sell the house. There is no way the bank could win.


Experiences like this make the bank less willing to give out mortgages. Furthermore, people hesitate to buy homes because of the concern that they will end up in the same situation as Mr X. It all amounts to a downward spiral of the real estate market. This concern will not fade for years after the declining home prices turn around. People will be keenly aware that they may end up in a situation comparable to Mr X’s position.


The question is: How do we turn it around?


Restructure Freddie and Fanny Mae?


Provide insurance against mortgage defaults? Who will provide that insurance and how much will it cost?


Provide government subsidized mortgages?


Add tax incentives to encourage people to buy homes?


Provide tax credits for people who end up in Mr X’s position?


Provide a way for banks to lower the interest rate on an existing mortgage rather than having the home owner try to refinance with a new mortgage?


Government grants for housing market?


A combination of any of the above?


The most promising answer is bank insurance against mortgage defaults. But it doesn’t resolve the concerns of the current family thinking about buying a home.

Chicago’s New Eastside Offers Prestigious Real Estate

The New Eastside in Chicago is the location to a luxury building at 450 East Waterside. Located close to the Chicago River, this building boasts views of magnificent Lake Michigan and the Chicago skyline. Units available for sale in this building offer hardwood floors, custom mill work on the ceilings, terraces, a custom library and spa.

In addition, appliances include oven/range, oven-double, microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal and washer and dryer. The assessment includes air conditioning, heat, parking, gas, common insurance, exercise facilities, exterior maintenance, snow removal and scavenger services. Bounded by Lake Shore Drive and Michigan Avenue, The New East Side is also home to the Aon Center, Swissotel Chicago, One Prudential Plaza and Blue Cross-Blue Shield Tower. In addition, the Fairmont Hotel, the General Motors Building and North Harbor Tower call New Eastside home.


The area is undergoing major renovations and new development projects, making it an exciting time to live in this booming area.

Boerum Hill Spearheading a Resurgence of Real Estate in Downtown Brooklyn

The Brooklyn Eagle reported on the recent sale of The Boerum Hill building (179 Smith St.) which went for a reported $1.425 million dollars.

The property includes street level retail space that is currently occupied by a bar, in addition to two “extensively renovated,” unoccupied apartments on the second and third floors.


The transaction, the Eagle reports, was handled by Stephen Palmese of Massey Knakal Realty, who is quoted as saying that while the sale price actually represents a 5% drop in prices since the 2006-07 peek, it is significant because it represents only a 5% drop, and in actuality “symbolizes the resurgence of real estate in Downtown Brooklyn.”


No plans are reported for the building beyond continuing with the current retailer.


Click here for the complete story from the Eagle.


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