Buy property, skip the brokerage!

We know exactly how much you would hate paying that extra money, especially when you’re already spending a bomb on the property itself. Having a broker just crash your budget, probably reduces a few square-feet from your dream house and that is something you wouldn’t like doing. But it’s that time when the internet can simply take over anything and everything we did the old way! Here’s a few things you can do to skip paying the brokerage, doesn’t matter if you are looking for apartments for sale in Pune, or anywhere else in the country!

pune hdfc

  • Facebook

Mark has recently started trying to use Facebook for purposes other than socialization. Almost all cities have specific groups on Facebook that bring together people who want to buy, sell or rent property in their locality. The whole agenda is to skip the middle man and avoid paying brokerage fees. It’s also a good way to stay updated with properties that are for sale around the city, and you can always jump at an opportunity. Getting in touch with the owner is also made easier as you can simply comment on the post or write them a message.


  • Websites

The second option is a more recent one, where a lot of websites have come up trying to help people look for apartments either for renting and sale. These are user friendly and help you run a filtered search to provide you with exactly what you are looking for. Probably inspired by Facebook, these provide its users a platform to put details of their property that they might want to sell along with other details and images too. You can look through them and also skip the trouble of having to go house hunting when you could be sitting at home or working in the office, all while you simultaneously look for homes.


Although these seem fancy and very convenient ideas, make sure you find out more or call them up and pay a visit. Since no one is accountable in this process and it is entirely your decision, it is advised to be careful. Get in touch with the owner or whoever is advertising for the property and make sure you visit the place.


You might also want to look through all its legal documentation and previous records. A smart way to know better is to ask others living in the same locality or building about the previous owners or even about the infrastructure in general. You’ll know if the ceiling has leakage issues or if the water supply is short.


Most importantly, make sure you invest in the property only after you are 100% convinced of the same. It is an important decision and you wouldn’t want to make a hasty one. Happy Home Hunting to you!


Buying a Car? Take a Look at the Financing Options

You’ve been toying with the idea of buying a car and now finally you have zeroed into the perfect model. While it fits your personality and lifestyle perfectly, you just have to make it fit your budget. Like most Americans, you will be looking to finance the acquisition. However, not only are there a number of options for you to consider but the competitive nature of the auto finance sector makes it worthwhile to spend some time shopping around for the best deal. Some tips that will put you right ahead:

Dealership Finance: A Good Thing or Is It?

Most auto dealerships will offer finance to customers. This means that you do not have to visit multiple financiers. The dealer will be only too happy to make all the arrangement while you finalize on the model as well as the various bells and whistles. While the single-biggest plus of dealership financing is the convenience, it is typically a high cost option as the interest rates that will be offered to you will be higher than what will be available from standalone financiers such as banks or credit unions.

Surveys have revealed that if you are a member of a visible minority you could be subject to discriminatory interest rates. Many states have introduced caps on the interest that can be charged consumer loans and car loans for buyer protection. Additionally, a cap of 6% on the rate of interest has been implemented by Service Members Civil Relief Act (SCRA) for members of the armed forces. It is a wise decision to find out the average interest rates prevailing in your area before entering into any discussion with the dealer as this will arm you with the requisite knowledge and confidence to protest against any unfair deals offered.

Get Your Auto Loan Approved Before Approaching the Dealership

It can be a very good idea to get your car loan approved even before you start looking at the various models available at the dealership. Remember car salesmen can be really very persuasive and are trained to spot your weaknesses, as a result of which you could potentially be forced into buying a car that you really cannot afford. Today, with all the convenience of the Internet, you can get your auto loan pre-approved from the comfort of your home and use it to drive a hard bargain with the dealer. If he is not able to better the deal, at least you will have the comfort of falling back on your pre-approved loan. Even if you are not able to get a pre-approved loan, then you should make a firm budget from which, you should not deviate whatever be the seductions at hand.

Grab a Rebate Instead Of Opting For a Low Interest Rate

At the dealership, you will invariably be faced with an option of choosing between a cash rebate available from the manufacturer or a loan with a very low or even zero percent rate of interest. Even if the zero percent deals look very attractive, they will invariably end up costing you more. For example, if you are offered a $3,000 rebate or a zero percent loan on an $18,000 car on which a 10% down payment is required, you would be able to save $1,255 over a tenor of four year if you opt for the rebate and apply it towards your down payment instead of taking the loan. Further, the National Automobile Dealers Association has statistics that reveal that only very small percent of applicants of the zero percent loans are approved finally.

Use Your Home Equity to Finance Your Auto

It may be worthwhile to explore the possibility of taking a loan against your paid up home equity, as sometimes the interest rate available can be less than the best auto finance offer, and you may also be eligible to set off the interest payment against your income tax. However, be sure that you do not put your home at risk.

Buying a vehicle can really be quite tricky considering the number of options, high-pressure tactics and confusing terminology that you will invariably face at the dealership. It is best to educate yourself to the maximum possible so that you are able to extract the best possible deal.

Author bio: Dominic Tunney is a sales consultant at a leading auto insurance company. He has extensive experience of working in car dealerships, including Ideal Auto USA.

How to Establish an Exciting Career as a Vet Doctor

Employment growth of 12% for veterinarians and the ever-expanding pet care business mean that vets have many opportunities to establish successful and rewarding careers. However, you will need to distinguish yourself from the crowd if you are to become a rated vet doctor. You need not worry, as the insights in this guide will provide you with insider knowledge about the career, as well as tips on how to succeed as a vet doctor.

What Does A Vet Doctor Do?

As a companion animal vet, your roles will revolve around handling injuries, treating illnesses, and ensuring the health and wellbeing of pet animals whether in a private clinic or at a pet care institution. You will be expected to:

  • Examine, diagnose, prescribe medication, and treat pets for health problems
  • Treat injuries and dress wounds
  • Perform surgery
  • Vaccinate pets against diseases
  • Operate pet care medical equipment
  • Advise animal owners and pet care business operators about general care and health of animals

What Should You Do To Become A Vet Doctor?

Before you can begin your career as a vet doctor, you need to secure the required education, training, and licensing from accredited institutions.

  1. Education: A vet doctor career requires you to have a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Such education equips you with pertinent knowledge and skills on animal care aspects including animal physiology, anatomy, and immunology, and medical procedures, such as diagnosis, pharmacology, and surgery.

Admission to a Doctor of Veterinary Medicine program requires a bachelor’s degree with a science background, such as general science programs, animal science programs, or pre-vet undergraduate programs.

  1. Licensing: You will then need to pass a North American Veterinary Licensing Exam. This assessment will test your knowledge and abilities in vet medicine, diagnostic skills, professional behavior, and case management, ensuring you are well qualified to practice.
  2. Certificationand Residency: To be a more competitive candidate, you may complete a residency program to become board certified. Although you may practice after passing the licensing exam, the board certification earns you an extra feather in your cap.

Certification comes with extra training and experience in a specialty. Such certification will demonstrate to prospective employers that you posses proven expertise and exceptional skills in a particular field of vet practice.

How To Set Yourself Above The Competition

Many prospective candidates can achieve the aforementioned qualifications for a vet doctor career. To establish a successful, exciting, and rewarding career, you will have to prove your passion, adeptness, and efficiency in practice, necessitating that you master and refine the following qualities.

  • Compassion and empathy for animals: Working with pet owners requires that you demonstrate utmost and genuine care, kindness, respect, and sensitivity to both animals and their owners.
  • Decision-making and problem-solving skills: Your work will raise challenging situations and scenarios that require excellent decisions and solutions.
  • Interpersonal skills: Satisfying animal owners demands refined verbal and non-verbal communication skills, as well as strong listening skills.


Kurt Peyton is an expert in the pet care industry, with years of experience accumulated from working with Primp Play. Follow his blog to gain more insider information.

4 Easy Ways To Save Money At Home

One of the more effective ways to save money is to reduce the costs of doing the things that you do every day. You can find information today on solar panels that help lower electricity cost, but there are also ways you can save money at home without making that large of an investment.

Install A Programmable Thermostat

A programmable thermostat allows you to keep your home at different temperatures under a variety of situations. For example, you can lower your home’s temperature at night to make sleeping more comfortable and to save money on your energy bills. You can also lower your home’s temperature during the day, because no one is at home that would need to use up the extra energy. Within a short period of time, installing a programmable thermostat can pay for itself several times over.

Load Up The Clothes Washer

If you put full loads of clothes in the washer every time, then you reduce how much water your washer needs to get the job done. This means using less water, and using less energy to warm the water. You could take this a step further by utilizing the great outdoors to dry your clothes on nice days instead of using the clothes dryer.

Use More Natural Light

When you need some light in a room in your home during the day, then open a curtain instead of turning on an artificial light. The habit people develop to flip on a light switch whenever they need light is a hard one to break, but it can save you a lot of money if you can just learn to open the curtains instead.

Appliance Routine Maintenance

Once a year, you should bring in a certified technician to do routine maintenance on everything from your refrigerator to your furnace. By having routine maintenance done on your home appliances, you extend their lives and maintain their levels of cost efficiency.

There are a lot of ways you can save money on the things you do every day, and the home appliances you rely on. When you take the time to discover money-saving tactics, then you will have the extra money you need to take care of your debt, save for a vacation or help fund your child’s education.

UK new car registrations at all-time high in 2015, figures to show

Mini plant in Cowley, Oxford

Some 2.63 million new vehicles were registered in 2015, up about 6% on 2014 and the fourth consecutive year of growth, the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) said.

Stronger consumer confidence, special deals and cheap finance drove sales.

Registrations in December are thought to have been the best December figures on record.

It is thought that some 180,000 new cars were registered last month,

The previous record for sales in Britain was set in 2003 when 2.58 million new cars were sold.

Car registrations in the UK, Europe’s second-biggest auto market after Germany, fell sharply after the 2007-8 financial crisis but have gradually recovered, returning in 2014 to pre-crisis levels at 2.48 million.

Consumers have benefited from low interest rates and the strengthening of sterling against the euro which has made it cheaper to import cars from countries such as Germany and France.

The expected new record high for registrations comes despite declines in sales for Volkswagen, which accounts for around 20% of British car sales. Sales of some of its brands fell sharply in October and November following the diesel emissions scandal.

Despite this VW saw full-year sales rise 4% across all its brands last year.

Analysis: John Moylan, BBC industry correspondent:

A big factor fuelling sales is the availability and cost of finance on forecourts. The SMMT says that 80% of cars are bought with some form of finance and around 60% are purchased using PCP’s.

These Personal Contract Purchase plans mean customers can buy a new car for an affordable monthly payment in the same way that you might purchase a new mobile phone.

As PCP’s work on a 3 yr buying cycle, that keeps demand for new cars strong.

Before the downturn car sales averaged around 2.3m a year. The industry doesn’t know what the new norm for sales will be. But the Chairman of Ford of Britain has told the BBC that overall car sales could hit 2.8m this year.

However, sales of its Skoda brand ended the year down 1% and Seat finished 11% lower after a nearly 50% drop in sales in December.

The best selling car, for the seventh year running, was the Ford Fiesta.

More than 85% of Ford’s showroom sales are on finance plans known as PCPs – where customers in effect lease a car – and which are widely credited with having boosted vehicle sales across the industry in recent years.

Macy’s to cut thousands of jobs and shut stores

Macy's store

The cuts will impact 3,000 jobs, half of which are expected to be placed in other positions.

An additional 600 jobs will be lost in back-office operations, while 750 workers will go through the closing of a call centre.

About 36 stores will also be closed by early spring of this year.

The company expects a 2.7% drop in same-store sales for the year to January, more than the up to a 2.2% decline it had initially forecast.

“In light of our disappointing 2015 sales and earnings performance, we are making adjustments to become more efficient and productive in our operations,” said chief executive Terry J. Lundgren in a statement.

“In some cases, there will be short-term pain as we tighten our belt and realign our resources.”

Changing spending habits

Macy’s is the US’s biggest department store chain and operates upscale retail chain Bloomingdale’s.

A strong US dollar, low spending by tourists, warm weather and a glut of unsold inventory are being blamed for its disappointing performance over the key winter holiday season.

Consumer spending habits have also changed as people spend more money on travel and electronics and less on discretionary items such as clothing and cosmetics.

The retail giant has also been hit hard by deep discounts from e-commerce giants such as Amazon and low-cost rivals such as TJ Maxx.

Macy’s said the job losses and store closures would mean a saving of $400m (£273m).

Last year, the company announced plans to close up to 40 stores in the US in early 2015.

Macy’s shares were up more than 3% in after-hours trading as investors digested the news of the cost savings.

UK house prices rose 9.5% in 2015

Cottage on Scottish mountainside

In the last month, prices went up by 1.7%, said the Halifax, bringing the average price of a home to £208,286.

However, other lenders, such as the Nationwide measure, put the rate of increase much lower.

Last month, it said prices rose by 4.5% in 2015, less than half the Halifax estimate.

Halifax’s housing economist, Martin Ellis, said one reason for the sharp increase was the continuing shortage of property for sale.

“This situation is unlikely to change significantly in the short term, resulting in continuing upward pressure on prices,” he said.

The last time UK house prices rose so quickly was in 2006, when values soared by 9.9%.

House price graph

The 9.5% increase in 2015 was way ahead of experts’ predictions a year ago.

Martin Ellis himself predicted that prices would rise by between 3% and 5%, while most expected a figure around 4%.

Newham, in East London, was the town with the largest increase in 2015. Prices there rose by 22% in 2015, compared to 12% for London as a whole.

The different methodology of the most popular house price measures is explainedhere.

House price calculatorHouse price calculator

MPs summon FCA chiefs over dropping bank inquiry

Canary Wharf skyline

FCA chairman John Griffith-Jones and acting chief executive Tracey McDermott have been asked to appear before the Treasury Select Committee.

Andrew Tyrie, the committee’s chairman, told the BBC that the city watchdog’s decision to halt the inquiry was “odd”.

The FCA said it would now work with individual banks on improving conduct.

The report into the culture that drives behaviour in the banking industry was billed as an important piece of work, and was presented as part of its annual business plan.

When it shelved the inquiry last month, the FCA said it remained committed to helping improve culture and behaviour, but wanted to work individually, directly and privately with the banks.

Mr Tyrie told the BBC that it was important that banks and regulators were held to account for their supervision of an industry which took billions of taxpayers money during the financial crisis and had been found guilty of a string of misconduct scandals.

End of bank-bashing?

The decision to drop the inquiry was just one of a series of decisions many observers perceived as banker-friendly, and have led to accusations the city regulator is going soft.

In addition to the shelved culture report, the FCA decided to take no further action against HSBC after allegations it helped customers of its Swiss subsidiary avoid tax.

A report into incentive structures for financial product sales staff has also been abandoned.

The FCA has been without a permanent chief executive since Martin Wheatley, a robust critic of the banks, left last summer.

UK Chancellor George Osborne decided not to renew his contract and no replacement has yet been named, leaving Ms McDermott, former head of enforcement at the FCA, holding the fort.

There is no suggestion that the Treasury is issuing instructions to the FCA, and the watchdog strenuously denies they are going soft on the banks. The FCA points to nearly a £1bn worth of fines levied in the last five years.

But critics, such as Shadow Chancellor John McDonnell, suggest that it appears that time has been called on the era of banker-bashing.

They say it may be no coincidence that the FCA’s decisions come as HSBC considers moving its global headquarters out of London and that the government needs favourable conditions to sell its enormous stake in Royal Bank of Scotland.