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Sweet Pictures Of The Luxury Yacht Allegedly Owned By Kim Jong Un


The eagle-eyed hermit kingdom watchers at NK News have noticed something unusual in the latest round of photos from North Korean news agency KCNA — a luxury yacht, mysteriously docked at the ‘August 25th Fishery Station.'

kim jong un yacht

The image of a luxury yacht in North Korea might take some by surprise, given that UN Security Council blocked the sale of ‘luxury goods’ to North Korea in 2006, but in practice there are a lot of ways around this law. Last year a South Korean newspaper reported that young leader Kim Jong-un had dramatically increased the amount of luxury goods imported into the country. From Dong-a Ilbo:

Imports were especially pronounced for high-end cars, TVs, computers, liquor and watches. Inbound shipments of luxury cars and associated components almost doubled to 231.93 million dollars last year from 115.05 million dollars in 2009. Ship exports increased more than 20 times from 17.48 million dollars from 840,000 dollars over the same period.

Artworks and antique imports reached 580,000 dollars last year, more than 10 times the figure of 50,000 dollars in 2009. Perfume, cosmetics and fur saw their inbound shipments double. Among items that saw sharp drops in imports were leather products and musical instruments.

NK News deduces that the yacht appears to be a $7 million, Princess 95MY yacht. A spokesperson for Princess Yachts, a part of the luxury LVMH group, told NK News that as the boat had not been produced for several years, it was likely bought on the secondary market. The company is said to be conducting its own investigation.

Here are some pictures of the yacht from the Princess website:

Kim Jong-un Yacht Princess 95MY

Kim Jong-un Yacht Princess 95MY

Kim Jong-un Yacht Princess 95MY

Kim Jong-un Yacht Princess 95MY

Kim Jong-un Yacht Princess 95MY

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Here's How We Calculated The Most Underrated Colleges


We recently published our list of the 25 Most Underrated Colleges in America.

In order to determine which schools were underrated (and overrated), we considered two factors: reputation and salary. We figured that schools with a bad reputation but a high salary would be underrated, and schools with a great reputation but terrible salary would be overrated.

We used the following rankings to compile this list:

We determined that each school — there were several hundred in the analysis — had two variables: their college ranking (US News) and their salary ranking (PayScale). Schools with a low college ranking and high salary were "underrated" and schools with a high college ranking and low salary ranking were "overrated."

We plotted the two variables and ran a simple linear regression of the data using the regression line formula:

Salary Rank = 2.75 * College Rank

This means that a school that is ranked 100th on the college rankings is expected to be ranked at 275th on the salary rankings. 

college ranking charts

We looked for schools where there was a large disparity between their college rank and their salary rank — the so-called most "overrated" and "underrated" colleges.

As an example, here are four colleges from the set, and how we interpreted their plots:

college ranking charts

In order to quantify our interpretation, we looked at each college's residual, or the distance between their expected salary rank in the regression and their actual salary rank in the set. 

college ranking charts

Colleges with a residual length of around zero are appropriately ranked. Their salary ranking performance is in the ballpark of what you would expect it to be.

Colleges with large negative residuals are schools that are underrated. They're highly ranked on salary, but aren't given due credit on the U.S. News ranking. 

Colleges with large positive residuals are schools that are overrated. They're highly ranked on the U.S. News college ranking but have low salaries.

We found that most of the underrated schools (the set of schools with large negative residuals) were engineering and technology schools with relatively low U.S. News rankings but outstanding salary performance. And most of the overrated schools (schools with large positive residuals) were small liberal arts colleges and art schools, with low expected salaries but high rankings.

Makes sense.

Here's a crude visual illustration of what we were able to compute:

college rankings

On the main slideshow, the U.S. News College or University ranking has been doubled to make it clear to the reader the disparity between the scores, and to accommodate the fact that we combine the sets.

This doubling is called "the reputation score" and does not in fact work its way into our analysis, it is only their for the purposes of demonstration.

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The 25 Most Underrated Colleges In America


college rankingsFuture income isn't the only factor that should determine college choice, but it may be the most important one.

So how good are the famous college rankings from U.S. News & World Report at predicting future income? It turns out there are some majorly underrated and overrated schools.

We plotted U.S. News' ranking of the best colleges against PayScale's mid-career salary rank to identify the outliers (read the full methodology here).

University of Massachusetts Lowell emerged as the most underrated school, heading a list of state schools and lesser-known tech schools.

#25 Widener University

Ranked #378 in our composite of U.S. News's college and university lists.

Ranked #319 in PayScale's mid-career salary list.

(As you can see, Widener ranks much better on salary than it does in the standard college ranking.)

Widener is a private school with 6,000 students on a 108-acre campus just outside of Philadelphia. Almost 30% of the students major in business and 22% major in health professions, which may explain why graduated have such high mid-career salaries at an average of $78,200.

Note: Although U.S. News ranks colleges and universities separately, we combined these lists by doubling the ranking. Read the full methodology here.

#24 Northern Illinois University

Ranked #378 in our composite of U.S. News's college and university lists.

Ranked #314 in PayScale's mid-career salary list.

Located in DeKalb, IL, Northern Illinois is a large public school that's comprised of seven colleges offering degrees in a variety of subjects, including speech, psychology, nursing, and accounting. The average mid-career salary is $78,300.

Note: Although U.S. News ranks colleges and universities separately, we combined these lists by doubling the ranking. Read the full methodology here.

#23 University of San Francisco

Ranked #212 in our composite of U.S. News's college and university lists.

Ranked #82 in PayScale's mid-career salary list.

The University of San Francisco is a private Jesuit university that was founded in 1855. Even though it's not ranked very high at #106 on US News' list, students are drawn here for its great location right near the Golden Gate Bridge and for its small class sizes. The average mid-career salary is high at $92,400.

Note: Although U.S. News ranks colleges and universities separately, we combined these lists by doubling the ranking. Read the full methodology here.

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A Late Legendary Value Investor's Hamptons Chateau Has Sold For $21 Million



Curbed reports that "Chateau Aromois", a beautiful East Hampton home built by late value investor Christopher Browne, has sold for $21 million.

It's unclear who the buyer is, but they definitely got a stunning summer home and for much less than the asking price.

The five-bedroom, five and half bathroom home listed by Brown Harris Stevens was initially put on the market for $28.5 million. The price tag was recently reduced to $22.9 million.

Browne, a famous value investor and the co-founder of mutual fund company Tweedy Browne, did much of the lush landscaping on the property himself, according to Curbed. He died three years ago of a heart attack. He was 62.

Here's an aerial shot of the property.

Source: Brown Harris

The home was built in 1998.

Source: Brown Harris

The house features a stucco exterior.

Source: Brown Harris

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New York Real Estate Is Hotter Than The Weather Right Now



As you've no doubt heard, New York's real estate market is sizzling, with buyers feeling the heat as low inventory constrains options and bidding wars are commonplace.

Here's how experts predict the market will play out this summer--and how you can prepare as a buyer or seller.

The summer 2013 market outlook

Inventory was near a 12-year low in the first quarter of 2013, says Jonathan Miller, president of appraisal firm Miller Samuel. And it's likely to stay that way.

Miller expects an active summer market with strong activity.

"I don't think we're going to get a lot of relief from any of the new development hitting the market," says Miller. New developments are targeted towards the "upper echelon" --which often means high net worth or foreign buyers who pay in all cash.

"It seems like it's pre-2008 all over again, where you've got 100 people coming to open houses and sometimes 10 or more offers coming in over the asking price," says real estate attorney Adam Stone of Regosin, Edwards, Stone & Feder. "From what I hear, it's very frustrating for buyers."

What if you're looking to sell?

Because demand is outpacing supply, asking prices are often increasing. In particular, "All of downtown is busy," says real estate agent Dan Bamberger of Citi Habitats.

Most sellers can expect strong demand, and usually don't need to be concerned about whether their home will sell if priced appropriately.

"The answer is going to be almost always yes, unless there's something strange about your property," says Stone.

Bamberger encourages sellers to be "flexible" when it comes to holding open houses and to have as many as possible to accommodate summer and weekend vacation schedules. That said, though traditionally weekend open houses can be slower than weekday open houses during the summer, he expects solid traffic both on weekends and weekdays this year because of high demand. 

Perhaps the biggest question for sellers is whether they can get a good deal for their next apartment and ultimately come out ahead after selling for a profit.

Some of Stone's clients have decided to take temporary rentals.

"They've sold, and they're done, they've got their money. And they'll figure out what they can buy afterwards," he says. Being able to offer full cash bids in the future also gives them a big advantage over buyers who need financing.

An important turning point--which may come within the next few months--will be if prices begin leveling off, which could encourage more sellers decide to list their units and help increase supply.

"I expect at some point in time that there will be some new psychology change: We better sell now or prices will go down," says Bamberger.

Generally speaking, sellers should look for an all-cash buyer or a buyer willing to waive mortgage the mortgage contingency in order to avoid any potential financing wrinkles.

If you accept an offer from a buyer who needs financing, bear in mind that in a rising market like this one--and especially in a bidding war situation--there's a bigger possibility that your apartment will appraise too low. So if you do agree to a mortgage contingency, consider a reduced contingency clause.

"You and your buyer agree that if the appraisal comes in too low for the amount of the loan, the buyer will make up the difference in cash and accept a lower loan amount from the lender," says Stone, the attorney.  "For instance, instead of the bank lending 80% of the sales price, it will lend 80% of the appraised value. If you have this limited appraisal contingency and the appraisal comes in $50,000 lower than the sales price, the buyer has to put in $10,000 more cash instead of having the right to cancel the contract."

How to prepare as a buyer

Besides a willingness to go above list price in many cases, buyers who are on the hunt this summer need to have strong financial credentials, says Miller: "It's all about your ability to close."

While cash offers are still expected to hold sway this summer, if you need financing, get yourself prequalified first--a quick process that can usually be completed online. You'll submit a standard uniform residential loan qualification form and details like income, assets and a credit report, says Robbie Gendels, a senior loan officer of National Cooperative Bank in Manhattan. 

Buyers who can put up a 20 percent downpayment and have a credit score of at least 680 will have the best chance of getting a mortgage, says Gendels, noting that employees with regular salaries tend to have an advantage over those who are self-employed.

To compete against all-cash offers, you may need to waive your mortgage contingency (or agree to a reduced contingency as described above), as well as abandon hope of negotiating a funding contingency, which would protect you if the bank decides not to lend for reasons having nothing to do with you personally. The risk of the latter can be mitgated by asking your lender to pre-approve the building too, says Gendels of National Cooperative Bank.

Also important during the summer months: Get a lawyer who is "here, available and can move quickly," says Stone.

And if you are a buyer battling it out in a bidding war...

Thanks to the strong sellers' market, more and more buyers may find themselves embroiled in bidding wars. Here are some tips for coming out on top:

  • Make an all cash offer if you can. If you can’t, and you feel comfortable that you’ll be approved for a mortgage, waive any financing contingencies. (As noted above, to get comfortable that the building itself will be approved by your lender, ask your lender to pre-approve the building before you sign the contract.)
  • Don't be afraid to show interest. Sellers will often think favorably about someone who's passionate about their apartment. Playing it too cool may be underwhelming for a seller.
  • Stay in touch with the listings broker to find out things like how long it'll take the seller to accept an offer, how many rounds of bidding there will be and whether anyone's offered all cash.
  • Try to accommodate the seller. If they want to close quickly, let them. Or do they want to stay in the apartment longer? Sure.
  • Put a clear deadline on your offer.The seller may be more compelled to take your offer, and at least you'll know the status sooner rather than later.
  • Apply a personal touch. Some sellers are swayed by a personal letter explaining their situation. Obviously this is something that'll affect long-time owners and not developers.
Finally, even if a seller accepts your offer, prepare for the possibility that you are not the only "winner"--and, whether you know it or not, whoever gets a signed contract first will win. 
Move through the due diligence and contract negotiation phase as quickly as you can, and don't get hung up on any issues that are trivial in the grand scheme of things, says Stone. 
If you suspect you're in a race against other buyers, make sure your attorney knows that time is of the essence, and come up with ways to improve your offer.
These may include raising your bid, raising your downpayment (to show you're serious), waiving a mortgage contingency, accepting the seller's demand for a specific closing date, or even allowing the seller to rent back for a short period of time if they need to, says Stone.

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You And Your Friends Can Now Tour Brooklyn's Brunch Scene On Bikes


bike brooklyn

WILLIAMSBURG — If caffeine, chocolate, cycling and breakfast tacos weren't already on your to-do (or to-eat) list for Sunday morning, one young local company is ready to lead the way.

It's a brunch-and-ride bike tour — and yes, a mimosa is included (at the end of the journey).

Get Up and Ride — a 1-year-old Brooklyn group whose guides expose visitors and locals to the borough's history and culture on two-wheelers — is launching its new foodie-focused morning tours this weekend, to capitalize on "synergy between local weekend brunch-goers, travelers looking for quirky local experiences, and exciting narrated bike rides," the company announced.

"I created the brunch in Brooklyn tour because there's nothing more New York than brunch and North Brooklyn has so many great places to check out," said the company's founder Felipe Lavalle, 28, of the route that has a "foodie" emphasis.

The tour, which kicks off by McCarren Park, includes a beverage at Cup Cafe, a jaunt for pastries at Ovenly bakery, a breakfast taco and orange juice at Whirlybird Taqueria and a chocolate taste at Mast Brothers (all followed by an optional mimosa stop).

"Our two and 1/2 hour tour is within the same format as our other tours in that we showcase authentic, off-the-beaten-path sites that only locals know," Lavalle said. "We include the rental of lightweight and comfortable bikes made specifically for the city and even provide commentary via walkie-talkies with headsets."

More details about the tours (which include bicycles and helmets) and prices can be found on Get Up and Ride's website.

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The 15 Best Hats At Britain's Royal Ascot


AP596305656855 (2)

Unusual and elaborate hats abound each year at The Royal Ascot, one of the most highly anticipated events of the year for Britain's elite and the media alike.

The famed horse races began on June 18th and will run until June 22nd, but for members of the royal family, socialites and celebrities, the Royal Ascot is much more than just a sporting event. 

Most use it primarily as an opportunity to see and be seen, often dressing outlandishly. Since the dress code has become stricter and more conservative in recent years, many attendees have taken to expressing their style by way of their headpiece.

This year has been no exception, and we're sure to see more eye-catching hats throughout the week.

Designer Larisa Katz wore an elaborate hat made of chocolate packaging.

British TV personality Anika Svenska seemed to have a sense of humor about her outlandish hat.

Socialite and famed hat-wearer Florence Claridge smiled for the cameras in a unique yellow number.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Lots Of Huge Brands Are Giving Away Free Tattoos To Get Their Names Out There



The black trailer blended in perfectly among the food trucks on Austin's East 6th Street, but instead of hawking kimchi tacos to the masses gathered for 2013's SXSW interactive, film, and music festivals, it was supplying free tattoos.

The benefactor behind this handout? Reebok.

Just sign a release, choose any image, and—oh, yeah—agree to have video of your session used to promote sneakers online.

Forty-five people—from college students in matching sunglasses to bearded musicians—eagerly accepted.

Once a mark of rebellion, tattoos are fast becoming one of corporate America's favorite branding tools. This spring, Red Bull and the British e-tailer ASOS also set up pop-up tattoo parlors (at Miami Music Week and SXSW, respectively), and Sailor Jerry rum hosted a SXSW party where attendees were offered free tattoos of anchors and other brand-related designs.

Last year, HBO gave away Game of Thrones tats, and this August free tattoos will be offered at a VIP Lollapalooza event hosted by Chicago's Hard Rock Hotel. For today's marketers, tattoos are just another gimmick—a sort of permanent promotional T-shirt. "Who needs a food truck at your party when you can do a tattoo truck?" says Bruce Starr, a partner at BMF Media, the agency behind the Hard Rock and ASOS events.

Fifteen years ago, big brands rarely even let inked models appear in their print ads. The first wave of commercialization was the "skinvertising" of the early 2000s, when dot-coms paid people to inscribe their logos onto various body parts. Today it's subtler, with tattoos used to curry favor with consumers for whom body art is as familiar as fair-trade coffee.

It's hardly the first time companies have co-opted a subculture to sell stuff (remember OK Soda, Coca-Cola's grunge beverage?), a move that often heralds the end of a trend's relevance. It's hard to stick it to the Man when you're letting the Man (literally) brand you. Could the rise of tattoo-as-marketing-tool mean the end of tattoo-as-hipness-signifier?

So far, the danger of impending lameness doesn't seem to faze marketers. After all, people remember the stories behind their tattoos. Taylor Gregory, a 26-year-old craft-beer distributor from Houston, took advantage of Reebok's SXSW promotion to get Texas inked on his chest.

For the shoe brand, it may be a smart investment.

"I'm making clear to everyone that Reebok footed the bill," Gregory says. "I'm also more interested in the company. I hadn't thought about Reebok in, like, 10 years."

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6 Places Where A Tattoo Will Buy You Discounts For Life



We recently asked our readers literally, how far they would travel to get a deal; now we're asking in a more figurative way. If you're the excitable type whose first reaction to either meaning of the question was:

"I'd go all the way for a deal! I will even permanently modify my body in an indelible way for savings!" and then you make some kind of primal noise indicating seriousness.... Well, firstly, let us say that such a reaction is a bit surprising.

Then, second, let us tip you off to six deals that are right up your alley, as each requires you to get a tattoo to redeem them!

Ecko Unlimited

Ecko's ongoing "Branded For Life" promotion gives anyone who inks one of the company's two logos on themselves a discount of 20% off for life. But before you head to your local shop with dreams of saving coin on some threads, note that this discount applies in-store only. So far, over 40 people have taken Ecko up on this promotion.


This small grilled cheese chain in Ohio bestows a 25% off discount for life to any customer who inscribes a permanent image of one of the store's three approved logo designs on her body. After a rough count of the images in their gallery, over 300 people have gotten in on this deal.

Rapid Realty NYC

If you work for this realtor in the New York City area and are willing to put its logo on your skin, you will be given a 15% pay raise. Normally one has to go through a whole year of pain at a job to get a raise! [*Rimshot*] Not surprisingly, more than 40 employees have chosen to get a Rapid Realty tat to get a fatter paycheck.

Rocket from the Crypt

In a 1992 interview in a Zine (which was like a blog, but before there was the Internet), rock frontman John "Speedo" Reis said that any fan who got a tattoo of his band's logo would get free entry to their live shows for life. While many people get questionable band tattoos simply because they like the artist, this offer includes at least a fringe benefit. Fourteen years later, Reis noted that over 3,000 people have gotten a Rocket from the Crypt tattoo ... which often results in poor ticket sales at their shows.

Casa Sanchez

Thinking no one would actually do it, San Francisco Mexican restaurant Casa Sanchez put up a joke sign in 1998 saying that any customer who came in with a tattoo of the eatery's logo would eat for free for life. Well, the restaurant miscalculated folks' humor and underestimated the lengths they would go for a free burrito: the company suffered losses of $5.8 million after just 50 people got the store's tat. Yet surprisingly in 2010, Casa Sanchez brought the promotion back!

Hot Doug's

This Chicago hot dog shop will serve up free dogs for life in exchange for putting its logo somewhere on your body. Unlike the other restaurants, it seems like Hot Doug's will let you even pick up items for friends:you don't have to get the Hot Doug tattoo, just be friends with someone who loves getting such random tattoos in general.

Are there any brands or restaurants out there that you would get a tattoo for if they gave you a discount or free stuff? Let us know in the comments section below!

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Sriracha Fans Will Go Crazy For A New Documentary About The Beloved Condiment


Huy Fong Foods Rosemead C sriracha documentarySriracha hot sauce has gone from a cult favorite to a refrigerator staple.

Inventor David Tran started selling his version of Thailand's spicy, red jalapeño Si Racha out of the back of his van three decades ago.

Now, his company Huy Fong Foods is expanding into a new factory, and the flavor was recently considered for a new kind of Lay's potato chip.

In 2012, long-time Sriracha fan and Illinois-based independent filmmaker Dan Hammond set out to create a 30-minute documentary about the hot sauce, covering everything from how it's made to the folks who love it.

"I've been eating it for nine or ten years now," Hammond told Business Insider. "It's just a really good sauce. There aren't a lot of people I've talked to who don't like it."

Hammond's film is still in production, but he has just unveiled his Kickstarter campaign, which has surpassed the $5,000 Hammond was hoping for. At the time of this post, the Sriracha movie has over $7,000 pledged with over 300 backers, and 30 days left to go on Kickstarter.

Those who invest the minimum of $5 will receive digital copies of the movie and have their name mentioned in the credits.

Hammond gave us some stills for a sneak peek at his project.

This is David Tran, the founder of Huy Fong Foods and the man behind cult-favorite condiment Sriracha. He first started selling Sriracha out of the back of his van in Los Angeles in the early 1980s.

You might think from the exotic packaging with phrases in Vietnamese, Chinese, French, English, and Spanish that the bright red sauce is imported. But though the Americanized "rooster sauce" is based on a similar recipe from Thailand, Tran's popular version is actually bottled in California with jalapeño peppers from an independent farm.

For the last 25 years, Craig Underwood has been the sole supplier of the red jalapeños that go into Sriracha. The sauce company and the farm have grown together over the years.



See the rest of the story at Business Insider

4 Secrets To Successfully Flipping A House


fixer upper home

Two mild-mannered school teachers taught me everything I know about flipping houses -- and not in a good way.

I met this couple in 2006. They were very nice people -- but extremely aggressive investors. They were buying and flipping property in Las Vegas using a third-party turnkey real estate investing company.

They made a ton of money at first. But they lost everything despite knowing better. 

How did this happen?

While they made profits on each sale, they used that profit to fund larger and larger projects. This made sense to them at the time since real estate was appreciating so quickly. Rather than using their own money (of which they had none) for rehabbing the homes, they tapped an equity line loan that grew larger by the month.

Of course, when the real estate merry-go-round stopped in 2008, and that appreciation evaporated, they got stuck holding property that nobody wanted to buy or rent. And they were on the hook for a very large equity line that they couldn’t afford to pay. As a result, they lost the real estate empire they worked so hard to build.

While these people suffered a great deal, their loss illustrates some of the four hard and fast rules of house flipping that simply can’t be ignored:

1.  You Must Understand Your Risk.

Obviously, as you take on more debt, your risk compounds. Only buy flip homes for cash. No mortgages. No equity lines. If you don’t have enough cash to swing these deals yourself, take on a silent partner who does have the cash and split the profits.  

The problem with loans is that they are a fixed obligation you must service, no matter what. When the couple above couldn’t make the payments, they lost it all. But if you take on an equity partner, you don’t have to come up with any money until there is a profit on the sale. 

Also, borrowing money takes time and costs money.Let’s say you plan on flipping two houses over the next 12 months. Further, assume you need $100,000 for each deal. It might take 30 days or more to finalize each loan and cost $2,000 in points or fees each time you take out the loan. 

That means you’ll spend two months waiting and pay $4,000 in costs. Borrowing to invest in house flipping is costly. 

And because of the time delays, it will be harder for you to compete with buyers who have the cash on hand. As a result you’ll end up with less attractive deals that cash buyers don’t want. 
In essence, that makes borrowing to invest even more expensive.

2.  You Must Understand Where The Profit Is.

When you flip homes, you must move quickly. Not only do you need to buy quickly, you need to sell the house fast -- and that means you must sell under-market.  

If you wait for the buyer who is willing to pay top dollar, you’ll wait- a long time and increase your risk that the market may turn against you. You’ll also lose valuable time that could be used flipping other homes.

If your profit is $30,000 per deal and you flip three houses in a year, you pocket a sweet $90,000. But let’s say you hold out for more profits and you can only turn two houses in a year. Even though your profit might be $40,000 a deal, you still earn $10,000 less. Got it?

If you consider the implications, you’ll see that in order to sell a home under-market and still make a profit, the key is to buy it inexpensively.  

That often means it’s a good idea to buy property that has been foreclosed on. You have to master your market and find good Realtors to work with.

3.  This Doesn’t Work All The Time In All Markets.

Even though you profit when you buy the house, you want to flip property in an appreciating market. If you live in an area that isn’t appreciating, you might be better off doing this somewhere else. 

And if home prices are dropping, you are playing Russian roulette by getting into this game no matter where you are. Just the same, you can’t predict when the market is going to turn.

To be on the safe side, make sure that you’ll be able to hold on to the home as a rental property for a while, if need be. 

4.  Rehabbing Works.

In order to make money in this business, you must understand what work a house really needs, what that’s going to cost and how that will impact your offer. That sets the stage for you to do all the work, sell the house under-market and still make a profit.  

Your best bet is to buy real estate that needs cosmetic work that is inexpensive to perform yet makes the property much more attractive to buyers.  

Pass on any projects that need structural repair. Hire a good contractor, and get him to inspect the property. Don’t buy homes that need bathroom or kitchen renovation unless they are super cheap. That work will cost you big bucks and take lots of time. Look for a simpler deal. 

The Investing Answer: The key to making money flipping houses is to buy right and slash risk.  You buy right when you understand your market and your repair plan. You cut risk by only using cash, never borrowing money and by completing the flip fast.

If you are interested in getting into this business, your next step is to figure out how much money you have (or can put your hands on using investors) without borrowing. Next, scope out the market that makes most sense and find good Realtors to work with. Take these steps first and then make sure you expertly understand the market and property rehab.  At that point, you're ready to go.

This post was written by Neal Frankle.  He is a Certified Financial Planner in Los Angeles, a real estate investor and the owner of www.WealthPilgrim.com   and www.mcmha.org.

SEE ALSO: 5 Tasty Recipes With 5 Ingredients Or Less

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Billionaire Saudi Prince Alwaleed Is Scoping Out A Site For His Mile-High Skyscraper


Prince Alwaleed

Saudi billionaire Prince Alwaleed bin Talal says he is looking at the world's largest cities, including Shanghai, Moscow, London, and New York, as possible locations to build a mile-high skyscraper that would be the world's tallest building by far.

The prince is inviting Dubai's biggest real estate developer Emaar Properties, chaired by Mohammed Alabbar, to team up with his investment firm Kingdom Holding on the project.

"Right now we are discussing and evaluating the possibility of building a one-mile (1.6-kilometer) tower,"Alwaleed told Reuters by telephone late on Monday.

"We also need good partners. I invite Emaar and Mr. Alabbar to join forces with us and see how we can build the ultimate one-mile tower somewhere in the world."

Alwaleed did not say how the project would be financed if it went ahead, or when it might be completed. He said the cost had yet to be decided.

But his ambition reflects the growing confidence of many Gulf companies as they expand overseas, aided by booming economies and rising asset prices in their home countries.

"I am now inviting the major cities of the world like ShanghaiMoscowNew YorkLondon and regional cities in the Middle East to come and give their offers," Alwaleed said.

He said countries interested in hosting the world's tallest tower would have to offer attractive financing terms, tax breaks and other government support.

Alabbar could not immediately be reached for comment. Over the past year, Emaar has committed itself to several other huge projects in Dubai and nearby countries.

Industry experts have said building a one-mile skyscraper would involve technical and design challenges, such as how to supply water economically at that height, but would not be impossible.

If it is built, the mile-high tower would surpass the world's current tallest skyscraper, the 828-meter (2,717-foot) Burj Khalifa in Dubai, as well as the one-kilometer-high Kingdom Tower now being built by Kingdom Holding in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah.

The Kingdom Tower is expected to cost around 4.6 billion Saudi riyals ($1.2 billion) and will form part of a hotel, retail and luxury residential project.

The structure is expected to reach ground level by the end of this year and to be completed in 2017, said Talal Al Maiman, executive director at Kingdom Holding.

About 30 percent of useable land in the overall project, which will have an area of about 5.3 million square meters (57 million square feet), will be allocated to hotels. The remainder will be divided equally between retail and premium residential space, Al Maiman added.

Kingdom Holding, which went public in 2007, has a market value of about $18.5 billion, making it one of the largest listed investment firms in the Middle East. Its assets include stakes in top Western firms such as Citigroup, News Corp and Twitter as well as luxury hotels around the world.

(Editing by Andrew Torchia)

SEE ALSO: The Fabulous Life Of Prince Alwaleed

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Dunkin' Donuts Just Changed The Game Again


dunkin donutsDunkin' Donuts is going to start selling gluten-free pastries. 

The move is a first for a sweets-focused fast food chain, and could give Dunkin' an edge over competitors like Starbucks and McDonald's, reports Leslie Patton at Bloomberg News. 

The retailer will sell gluten-free donuts and muffins in all its U.S. stores this year, a spokesman told Patton. 

Gluten is a protein complex found in wheat flour. A growing number of people are allergic to the protein, and going gluten-free has become a fad diet endorsed by celebrities like Miley Cyrus. 

Domino's offers a gluten-free pizza, while Starbucks has said it's considered adding items to the menu. 

Patton points out that the gluten-free items aren't always lower in calories than regular. For instance, a wheat-free donut has 320 calories, compared with 260 for a glazed donut. 

Dunkin' Donuts has experienced rapid growth since it started offering specialty coffee drinks and breakfast sandwiches in addition to its standard products. 

The company didn't say whether the donut breakfast sandwich would be available in a gluten-free variety. 

SEE ALSO: The 9 Highest-Calorie Drinks You Can Get At Starbucks >

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Here's The New Aston Martin That's Being Called The 'World's Sexiest Convertible'


Aston Martin Volante

Meet the world’s sexiest convertible; the all-new 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante.

Yes, Aston Martin has finally taken the covers off the convertible version of last year’s Vanquish coupe, and we must say the car's seductive lines look even better with the roof removed.

Beautiful surfacing and incredible attention to detail really set the Vanquish Volante apart from the competition, and that’s before taking a look at the car's technology.

Thanks to the latest generation of Aston Martin’s bonded aluminum VH platform (generation four for those counting), the Vanquish Volante is expected to retain its coupe sibling's full breadth of dynamic character and sporting capability. The car also benefits from a full carbon fiber body, which helps to keep weight down while increasing rigidity. Torsional stiffness is up 13 percent on the DBS Volante, which the new model replaces.

Power comes from the automaker’s latest 6.0-liter V-12, which rates at 565 horsepower and 457 pound-feet of torque and has a beautiful exhaust note as evidenced in the video above. It promises 0-60 mph acceleration in around 4.0 seconds and a top speed of 183 mph.

Drives goes to the rear wheels only, via Aston Martin’s a Touchtronic 2 six-speed automatic gearbox. The dynamics have been tuned precisely, with new springs and damper settings calibrated to deliver the same crisp handling yet compliant ride as the coupe.

Also unique to the Vanquish Volante is its roof structure, naturally. The car's triple-skin lightweight fabric roof can be operated at speeds of up to 30 mph and takes just 14 seconds to fold. The windscreen, meanwhile, is now full height--a first for Aston Martin--which means that the glass runs up to meet the fabric roof, thereby reducing visual 'clutter'.

Aston Martin is once again offering the choice of 2 or 2+2 seating, though we should warn, if you opt for the latter you’ll find it near impossible squeezing anyone older than 12 in the back.

The rest of the cabin gets full grain Luxmil leather with optional quilting, Alcantara and satin accents, and a modern center stack inspired by the version in the One-77 supercar. The facia trim now stretches down the whole centre stack and is manufactured from a single piece of material giving a uniform finish.

Other tech features the Vanquish Volante benefits from include an adaptive suspension damping system with three different settings (Normal, Sport and Track), speed-sensitive power steering, and carbon ceramic brakes from Brembo.

Sadly, the 2014 Aston Martin Vanquish Volante won’t be available this summer. It arrives in showrooms early next year, priced from $297,995. To get a feel of its performance, be sure to read our First Drive report on the 2014 Vanquish coupe.

Announcing the arrival of the Vanquish Volante, Aston Martin CEO Dr. Ulrich Bez said: "This car is what luxury super GT driving is all about--great performance, fantastic style and exhilarating Volante motoring in one superb package.”

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A Local Shares Her Favorite Places To Eat, Drink, And Play In Paris


vespa paris

We caught up with Doni Belau, CEO and founder of Girls Guide to Paris, for an insider look at life in the City of Light. 

On your first day here, seeing this is a must: If you are a Paris Virgin (never been before) I recommend hopping on a segway, via Segway Tours of Paris and taking their three-hour tour. You’ll cover some of the key sights in central Paris such as Invalides and the Eiffel Tower, Place de la Concorde and the Tuileries with a little history thrown in. It’s a much more fun and fast way of seeing the highlights of Paris than on foot.

If this is a second or third trip, then consult my must do’s list. These are my personal favorite places, locations and things to do in Paris. I am terribly happy when I’m wandering around the Place des Vosges, shopping for a book at Shakespeare & Co or visiting the Musée Rodin. Each of these evokes something that feels to me – quintessentially Paris.

Most people don’t know this, but to get a true taste of the local culture… Grab a bottle of cheap rosé, head to the canal at Martin and chat with locals while you watch the sunset on a lovely summer day.

For a glimpse of daily life, I recommend this form of transportation: The bus. While the metro is typically more convenient, and a taxi most direct (and expensive) the bus allows you to look out the windows and sometimes stop unexpectedly if you see something compelling. If you’re a little bit more adventurous, renting a Vespa is great fun. I recommend Left Bank Scooters.

pont neuf bridge parisThe meal at this local eatery had me salivating for days: Saturne. I adore this wine bar/restaurant that opened a few years ago right in the 2nd Arrondissement. It’s modern, smart and stylish and has a spectacular list of vins naturel (natural wines). 

I vividly remember a mushroom dish there that I had that was so fresh it felt as if I was actually in the woods while eating it. Plus their sommelier Ewen Lemoigne will absolutely steer you the right way when sampling some of their natural wines.

Best place to find artisan handicrafts: Of course Paris is the mecca for shopping, worldwide and there are so many unique, original and interesting shops that one could create a whole website around it (which we’ve done but specifically for artisan handicrafts).

Visit the Artisan Monastique  for honey, herbal oils, knitted items and beautiful linens all made by French monks or nuns.

I had my best night’s sleep at: Well, I’ve had many but currently I’m in love with the Citizen Hotel for hip modern design, great beds and a view of the Canal St. Martin. There is nothing as cool to me right now as the Canal neighborhood. Plus, the hotel is very affordable for Paris with many rooms under 200 euros. For a splurge, renting Oscar Wilde’s room at L’Hotel and then booking the private pool and hammam below for yourself and a lover would be a deliciously sensuous Parisian experience.

I’m not sure how much sleeping one might do though! Another thing that I love to do is to rent an apartment, if I’m staying at least a week. I am a huge fan of Erica’s taste at Haven in Paris, most all of her apartment offerings are special and well decorated. An apartment stay makes you feel like a vrai Parisian for the week.

Local celebration not to be missed: Nuit Blanche, an all night art fair that is both exhausting and exhilarating. Paris literally lights up with art and people roaming the streets at 2 a.m. becoming more cultured. What could be more fun? Tips on how to do it without completely exhausting yourself here.

Favorite pastimes: Walking around Paris with no destination in mind; stopping at a café, discovering a street I’ve never walked down or a park I’ve missed; finding a museum I’ve never gone to; or getting a deal during the Soldes (sales) in January or July.

For a more bucolic/green setting I escape here: Park Floral, especially during the jazz festival.

Louvre Museum, Paris

The art/music scene is alive and well here: The art and music scene in Paris is absolutely alive. For a glimpse of artists at work head to L’Association 59 Rivoli, an artists collective and former artist squatter’s space.  

I think jazz is the most interesting thing to listen to in Paris because they are devoted jazz-ophiles. But all types of music can be found in Paris from Gypsy Jazz at Le Piano Vache to Opera to Indie Bands at Flèche d’Or.  More on venues here.

Where the locals get tipsy: For the best bar recommendations, I turn to Forest Collins – aka @52Martinis. She is Paris’ unequivocal Bar & Pub diva. She has contributed to our upcoming e-book guide and I can divulge just two of her cutting edge cocktail picks.

Glass is the best dive bar in town if your looking for a real rock and roll attitude and the newly opened Le Coq has more of a sexy 70′s vibe.

rodin museum parisIf I had only 24 hours to explore Paris I would: Be upset, but I’d calm myself first by sitting at a café near my hotel and ordering a café crème and un croissant avec confiture (jam). You must order jam, it doesn’t come with it. Then I’d head out to see whatever I deemed to be the best show of the season.

The Paris tourist office always has the up to date info on the exhibits.  If I didn’t find anything that I liked, I head to the Rodin Museum, which is my absolute favorite. If the weather is good, I’d have lunch there outside in their garden. Then I might head over to the Bon Marché or Galleries Lafayette for a little shopping.

With only 24 hours I wouldn’t be able to stroll the streets of the Marais or the 6th for door-to-door boutique shopping, which I love best. I’d head after the department store to the Marais for a spot of tea at Le Loir dan la Thérière at #3 rue de Rosiers.

If I hadn’t had lunch yet, I’d dive into a Falafel at L’as, great 5 euro street food as I’ve got no time to waste. Then I’d just roam around the Marais as dusk falls, perhaps grabbing a small glass of wine at Ma Bourgogne on the beautiful Place des Vosges.

I’d retire for a casual dinner of steak on the grill at Robert & Louise and after I’d walk off my meal by walking down the rue Vieille du Temple to the Seine, crossing over the bridge and walking on the Ile St. Louis, ending up in front of Notre Dame which is beautiful when it is lit up at night.

I’d jump into Shakespeare & Company (the bookstore) before it closes and then I’d head back to my hotel around midnight grateful to have been in Paris even just for one day.

SEE ALSO: The Ultimate Guide To Exploring Paris In Style

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This Photo Of 'Anti-Pervert' Hairy Leg Stockings From China Is Going Viral


Early this week, a confusing picture of what appears to be a woman wearing "hairy leg" stockings went viral.

It was first posted on China's micro-blogging service Sina Weibo before being picked up by ChinaSMACK, and then shared by major media outlets around the world. 

The translated caption of the picture reads: "Super sexy, summertime anti-pervert full-leg-of-hair stockings, essential for all young girls going out."

The supposed stockings are covered with thick, 3D black hair, and appear to stop at the wearer's ankles. The insinuated goal is that men would be too repulsed to hit on or molest a girl wearing faux-hairy legs.

It's worth noting, however, that this picture is the only one of its kind and that searches for companies who make leggings or tights that look like hairy legs has proved futile. 

For all we know, this could just be a really good Photoshop job, or a picture of someone's actual hairy legs.

See for yourself below:

anti pervert hairy stockings for girls in china

SEE ALSO: China Has Built A Miniature Version Of Italy

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A Man Is In A Coma After Organizers Dumped Liquid Nitrogen In The Pool At A Jägermeister Party In Mexico


A promotional party held by Jägermeister in Leon, Mexico on Saturday turned tragic after party organizers  poured liquid nitrogen into a swimming pool, creating a toxic brew that put one man in a coma and sent eight others to the hospital, the UK Mirror reported.

The combination of chlorine from the pool and the liquid nitrogen created a noxious fog that hung over the pool area and rendered many partygoers unable to breathe. Several quickly became unconscious and were in danger of drowning, according to the Mirror.

“They realized that I had fainted because they saw the tray floating alone in the pool,” Jael Jimenez, a hostess at the party, told Milenio.com, according to the Mirror. “Otherwise, I might have drowned.”

A 21-year-old attendee, identified by Univision Noticias as Jose Ignacio Lopez del Toro, is now in a coma in intensive care. Eight others were reportedly hospitalized and are being treated.

The liquid nitrogen was intended to create a smoke effect in the pool.

A spokesperson for the popular German liquor company said:

“We are aware of this incident in Leon, Mexico, which is currently being investigated by our headquarters in Germany. Fortunately, all of those who required medical attention are out of danger and recovering.

“We are liaising with our responsible distributor in Mexico who is working with the event organisers and the investigating authorities to understand the full circumstances surrounding the events last Saturday night.

"We fully support responsible drinking and adhere to the guidelines within each market in which we operate.”

A video of the party was posted on YouTube. Some screenshots and the video are below.

jagermeister pool party


jagermeister pool party


jagermeister pool party

SEE ALSO: 3 Things To Do If You're Arrested In Mexico

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How To Pack A Suit (So You Won't Look Crappy When You Get There)


It's every business traveler's nightmare: Flying into town for an important meeting and finding that your suit is wrinkled beyond repair.

One easy way to avoid creases is to wear your suit jacket on the plane instead of cramming it in your suitcase, said Eli Chess, managing partner at custom menswear maker Alabaster & Chess.

But if you dread the thought of wearing business attire for any longer than you have to, there are also a few tricks to minimizing wrinkles, even if you're packing in a carry-on suitcase. 

In the video below, Chess shows us the right way to pack a suit for a business trip. 


SEE ALSO: How To Pretend To Be A Wine Connoisseur

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Here Are The Most Affordable Cities To Buy A Home In The US


Although mortgage rates are currently low, the nation’s home ownership rate is at 65.4%, the lowestit has been in 16 years. Homeownership is integral to the American Dream (polls show that it is important to 96% of Americans), however the recession led to reduced job security and lower salaries, pulling this dream out of reach for many Americans.

NerdWallet took a look at over 100 U.S. metro areas to determine where homeownership is feasible for the average consumer.  By dividing the home sale price by the median household income in each city, we determined how expensive homes are in terms of salaries.  In South Bend, the average home costs just 1.5 years of a household’s pre-tax income, while in Honolulu a home price equates to almost 9 years of pre-tax income.  This is a simplistic, back-of-the-envelope measure that does not take into account local tax rates, mortgage rates, credit scores or the ability to make a down payment, but the numbers show the relative difference between cities in home affordability.

As evidenced in this chart, the difference between the 5 least affordable and most affordable cities to buy a home is striking:

For more information, check out our cost of living calculator.

Most Affordable Places to Buy a Home

Rank Metropolitan Area Home sale price Median household income Home price/income
1 South Bend-Mishawaka, IN $67,600 $44,372 1.52
2 Lansing-E.Lansing, MI $81,500 $48,524 1.68
3 Rockford, IL $80,600 $47,183 1.71
4 Toledo, OH $74,200 $43,418 1.71
5 Kankakee-Bradley, IL $92,400 $48,208 1.92
6 Appleton, WI $116,800 $57,874 2.02
7 Topeka, KS $98,900 $48,421 2.04
8 Dayton, OH $93,500 $45,765 2.04
9 Elmira, NY $99,200 $48,046 2.06
10 Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, GA $115,100 $55,280 2.08
11 Davenport-Moline-Rock Island, IA-IL $103,200 $48,904 2.11
12 Saint Louis, MO-IL $111,000 $52,388 2.12
13 Cleveland-Elyria-Mentor, OH $101,000 $47,147 2.14
14 Gulfport-Biloxi, MS $92,500 $42,351 2.18
15 Wichita, KS $108,400 $49,458 2.19
16 Syracuse, NY $114,700 $51,528 2.23
17 Akron, OH $108,300 $48,395 2.24
18 Cincinnati-Middletown, OH-KY-IN $121,000 $53,302 2.27
19 Rochester, NY $118,100 $51,729 2.28
20 Springfield, IL $121,700 $52,925 2.30

As a contrast, here are the least affordable places to buy a home.

Least Affordable Places to Buy a Home

Rank Metropolitan Area Home sale price Median household income Home price/income
1 Honolulu, HI $625,800 $70,166 8.92
2 San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, CA $705,000 $86,278 8.17
3 San Francisco-Oakland-Fremont, CA $593,890 $74,927 7.93
4 New York-Wayne-White Plains, NY-NJ $432,800 $63,973 6.77
5 San Diego-Carlsbad-San Marcos, CA $412,320 $61,247 6.73
6 Los Angeles-Long Beach-Santa Ana, CA $345,540 $58,900 5.87
7 New York-Northern New Jersey-Long Island, NY-NJ-PA $368,200 $63,973 5.76
8 Barnstable Town, MA $307,900 $58,551 5.26
9 Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, WA $312,600 $65,452 4.78
10 Miami-Fort Lauderdale-Miami Beach, FL $219,900 $46,592 4.72
11 Boston-Cambridge-Quincy, MA-NH $332,200 $70,454 4.72
12 Burlington-South Burlington, VT $278,400 $60,229 4.62
13 Bridgeport-Stamford-Norwalk, CT $360,100 $79,408 4.53
14 Portland-Vancouver-Beaverton, OR-WA $246,500 $55,598 4.43
15 Denver-Aurora, CO $261,200 $60,452 4.32
16 Sarasota-Bradenton-Venice, FL $189,900 $46,519 4.08
17 Washington-Arlington-Alexandria, DC-VA-MD-WV $348,700 $87,653 3.98
18 Riverside-San Bernardino-Ontario, CA $216,720 $54,629 3.97
19 Atlantic City, NJ $210,100 $53,288 3.94
20 Gainesville, FL $157,700 $40,421 3.90

Data came from the National Association of Realtors and the U.S. Census 

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6 Semi-Secret Parks In New York City


Gantry Plaza State Park

Maybe it's not your first time to New York City. Maybe you're sick of the sweaty scene at Central Park. Maybe heading off to the end of the subway line in another borough sounds cool. Whatever the reason, you've just got to check out these six semi-secret city parks in the Big Apple.

Note that these six are not just some we're listing off because we've been once or twice; all of them we frequent on the regular, after having had our fill of Bryant Park, Central Park, Battery Park and the other usual suspects. We're not even sure it's wise to spread the word since there's the chance you could end up sitting on our favorite bench, but that's a chance we'll happily take if it means you'll stray from the beaten tourist path every so often.

Peter Detmold Park, Manhattan

Pros: Super secluded (you have to zoom in quite far on Google Maps to find it, and know what to look for), right along the East River with water views, fenced-in dog run, cool secretive route to reach it (walk down 51st street to the end, then down some stone stairs).

Cons: No grass, occasional beggar, occasional PDA hotspot.

Who should go: Solo travelers in the company of a good book, friends wanting to play chess/checkers, anyone with a dog.

Nelson A. Rockefeller Park, Manhattan

Pros: Enough grass to attempt lawn games, picnic-friendly, right along the Hudson River with water views, upscale grocery markets within a quick walk.

Cons: Out of the way if your focus is Midtown, or really anywhere that's not the Tribeca/Battery Park zone.

Who should go: Families, tourists looking to have a nap in the grass after visiting Battery Park or the 9/11 Memorial, tourists staying in downtown hotels (like the Ritz-Carlton).

Four Freedoms Park, Roosevelt Island

Pros: Super new and clean, in the middle of the East River with water views all around, grassy picnic lawn, never crowded. 

Cons: Could take a while to reach (via the Roosevelt Island tram + red bus, F train + red bus, or MTA bus from Queensboro Plaza), closes early at 5pm.

Who should go: anyone, everyone.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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