Top 5 Things You Should Know About Residential Real Estate Appraisals

When buying, selling or refinancing a home there are many steps involved in the process. One of those steps is having the appraisal done. When getting your home appraised, here are 5 things you need to know about residential appraisals.

The Steps
First you should know about are the three different steps of the appraisal process. When an appraisal is ordered, usually either by a bank or lender, the first step is that the appraiser, or inspector, will come to your house to evaluate it to determine its fair market value. Next, he’ll do a comparative market analysis by looking into similar homes that are near yours and into recently bought homes to find a fair price. Lastly, he’ll generate his final report according to his research and the inspection.

The Purpose
The purpose of the inspection is to determine the physical condition of your house to calculate its fair market value. The appraiser is also ensuring that the property actually exists and is suitable for residency. He’ll look at the condition of every room and check for damage on the interior or exterior that would lower the value. He’ll also verify that any improvements you provided on the pre-inspection paperwork truly did happen and he’ll look into permanent fixtures that affect a home’s value. There’s no reason to withhold information or lie to the appraisers so to make sure your appraisal is on the schedule be sure to provide full and correct information from the start.

Inspectors are Objective
No matter what the result of your appraisal is, you should keep in mind that the appraiser will always be an objective inspector. He won’t take into account anything in your personal life or why you need to sell your house. He’s there to figure out the home’s current value based on its location, age, features, and size and nothing else.

Value Can Change
Values can change overnight and without warning. If your appraisal ends up being much lower than what you researched last week, it could be that the home’s value decreased in that time. If you sell months after an appraisal was done then you’ll probably want to get another one done. Also keep in mind that the money you invest in renovations or upgrades may not increase the home’s value by the same amount. For example, putting $10,000 toward bathroom upgrades doesn’t mean your homes overall value will increase by that much. It could but there are no guarantees.

Second Opinion
Just like with medical care and car damage, you can always get another opinion from a different appraiser. The first inspection isn’t necessarily completely accurate so if you’re unhappy with the results, you can have another appraiser come. That’s completely up to you. You’ll have to pay for the subsequent appraisals but if you find one that appraises your home at a higher value, the money could come back to you.

Once you’re through your appraisal, you’re ready to buy, sell, or refinance your home! To make the process easier on you, consider hiring a realty company like SFI Realty, Inc to help through the many steps.

Mistakes People Make When Renovating a New Home

Buying a new home can be a wonderful experience. However, most people will find that the house isn’t exactly the way they envisioned there home would be. They generally want to do some renovations after they first move in. Here are some common mistakes that you will want to try to avoid.

Not Deciding What You Want

You need to be absolutely clear what you want before you start remodeling your home. Far too many people end up gutting the entire house before they start renovating it. This can lead to very costly mistakes that are nearly impossible to fix. Think about what you are going to want long-term before you reach out to a contractor.

You will want to conceptualize an idea for your home that you will enjoy living in for the entire time you are going to be living there. You may live in that house for another 30 years so make sure that you can commit to a particular layout during that time. Try to stay away from chic designs, because fads change over time. You will probably be better off living in a contemporary style home that you will always be comfortable in.

Using Substandard Materials

You need to use quality building materials for all your projects. Lower quality materials are going to be more likely to fail and lead to other costly problems down the road.

Don’t start working on a project until you know you have the money to pay to do it right. This may mean that you will have to hold off on some less urgent improvements until further down the road.

Failing to Do the Necessary Preparations

You need to do everything right from the very beginning. This includes doing all of the necessary prep work. Most contractors understand that nobody enjoys doing prep work, but it is something that everyone will need to. Starting a particular task too early or without doing the necessary preparations can cause very expensive mistakes.

You will need to measure everything properly before you proceed with anything. Find out what windows and frames you need and what tools you need to set them in.

Not Getting the Right Permits

Most homeowners feel irritated that they need to ask for permission from the government to do anything on your own home. Many first-time homeowners decide to proceed without getting a permit. You don’t want to make that mistake. Your homeowners insurance won’t cover any damages for work that you did without a permit.

Refusing to Hire a Contractor

Many people want to save money doing all the work themselves. I can understand the temptation, but you will need to be realistic about what you can tackle yourself. There are some projects that you definitely cannot do on your own. You shouldn’t do any dangerous electrical work unless you are a licensed electrician. It is easy to even make mistakes on more mundane tasks such as carpet installations, which is why you may want to try using a carpet flooring Phoenix company to help.

Do Your Due Diligence

Renovating a home can be difficult, especially for first time homeowners. You will want to do all your research before you tackle any home improvement projects.

About the author: Kalen is a lifestyle, home improvement and financial writer. He suggests that you visit Superior Stone & Cabinet if you are working on a home improvement project in the Phoenix area.

How to Negotiate Your Medical Bills When You Don’t Have Insurance

Millions of Americans don’t have health insurance. If you’re one of those millions, the costs of seeing a doctor even for small issues can be exorbitant and may lead you to avoid visiting the doctor whenever possible. For those times you can’t avoid the E.R. or a doctor visit, you can try and lower your medical bills through negotiation. Many never think to do this with their healthcare providers because we’re used to our system in which insurance companies have already done the negotiations for us. Next time you have to go to a doctor, use these tips to try and negotiate your medical bills down.

Make your situation known right away, before the service has been rendered. If you can open up to your doctor, the service provider, or the billing manager before the procedure or service has even started, you’re more likely to be successful. Whether you’re unemployed, uninsured, or on an especially tight budget you might be able to lower your medical bills by just talking with them. The doctor’s office may even have payment options or other help available for patients who are unemployed or on a fixed income but they won’t know you need help unless you tell them.

You might get turned down at first; don’t give up. Keep requesting help. You can also try paying in cash. During your visit ask the billing manager if you can get lowered costs if you pay them directly. If she says no to that, then offer to pay with cash in full as soon as the service is rendered. One of the biggest headaches for medical billers is getting the money from insurance companies so if you pay them directly, they may be willing to help you out. If you pay them directly in cash, they may be even more willing to help you since receiving direct cash is rare in the healthcare world.

In some cases, it will be impossible to negotiate your medical bills before the service takes place so for these instances, just plan to start negotiating with the billing department as soon as you can. Research what a fair price for the services you had is; these prices are what a medical office would accept from an insurance company as full payment. You can do this online, in the Healthcare Blue Book, or with insurance companies. Once you collect a range of numbers, find the average price and mark that as the price you negotiate for. When working with the billing department, every time the person you’re talking to turns you down, ask for his supervisor. Keep doing that until you get what you want or until you’ve reach the end of the line.

It will be easier to negotiate medical bills for necessary surgeries and procedures but you may even be able to bring the cost of that nose surgery down using the tips mentioned above and with the right attitude.

If all else fails, you should at least be able to negotiate a fair and doable payment plan with the medical office. Medical bills are a huge stressor for many Americans but with persistence and politeness, you’ll be surprised how far you can get. Good luck!

Inside the World of Couponhunting

The concept of “couponhunting” has blatantly exploded in the last year. This is a combination of a popular reality TV show, several websites and a ravaged economy. These days, everyone is looking for ways to save a few dollars. By couponhunting, you can substantially decrease your food expenses, for one.  Be warned though:   there is a steep learning curve. The first few grocery shopping trips you take may be intense; keep with it, however and you’ll learn the tricks of the trade.


How to Get Started

Be prepared! It’s true for the Boy Scouts and it’s true for you, too. Proper preparation prevents panic (say that a few times fast). Gather these items to prepare to become an all-around successful couponhunter:

  • Binders! These serve to sort and classify various coupons. Having a pile of coupons is fine for the average coupon user, but to go “pro,” you’ll need the right equipment.
  • A shopping list! Every trip, compare your coupons with your grocery needs. Make a list based off of this information. This will help you avoid “deals” on things you don’t actually need.
  • Coupons! To be a great couponhunter, you definitely require coupons. Set up a subscription to the Sunday paper. Visit your favorite brands online for printable coupons. Follow them on Facebook, as companies are known to post coupon codes. There are even coupon-clipping services that will send you coupons from other parts of the country that may be quite lucrative. Check into coupon services and promo codes found on the internet. Compare the costs of these programs to the possible amount of savings before signing up, to make sure you get the most for your money.

Now you’re ready to become the next legendary couponhunter! There are some practices worth adopting and others to completely avoid.

Best Practices to Adopt

Expert couponhunters have tested a variety of techniques to go from saving a couple bucks to saving hundreds. Fortunately for you, these tried-and-true tips are compiled below:

  • Know your store’s policies – Learn the coupon polices for every store that you frequent. This allows you to save money by stacking coupons or avoid wasting time by trying. By knowing their policies, you can get the maximum out of your time and money.
  • Know your expiration dates – Experts sort their coupons by expiration date, so they don’t have to constantly go through their collection. They try to use the coupons at the beginning of their binder before the rest.
  • Plan out your shopping trips – Investigate sales before you arrive and know which coupons you are going to use. Know which stores to visit and which items to look for.
  • Be courteous! – This is perhaps the best practice to adopt. Imagine being the cashier that has to enter and process all of these coupons. It’s a lot to deal with, so be nice! Do not argue over a coupon they say they can’t accept. Take it back and save it for later, or altogether toss it. Is saving 50 cents on a can of tuna worth a headache?
  • Keep storage space in mind – You only have so much freezer room! This also applies for your fridge and pantry. Take note of how much space is available before embarking on your trip. There is nothing worse than having to throw out a great deal.

Worst Practices to Avoid

Many would-be couponhunters end up chasing their tail and quitting by adopting some bad habits. Avoid the following worst practices:

  • Avoid over-shopping – Set a budget before each trip and stick with it. If you spend more money than you have in pursuit of a deal, you lose. The goal is to save money,
  • Don’t compare yourself with others – Everyone is in their own unique situation. If a friend is saving more than you, be happy for them. Don’t compare your savings with theirs. They are buying different items; they have different needs. Let them inspire you!
  • Don’t chase every deal – Just because something is on sale doesn’t mean you have to stock up. Spending money on items you don’t need and won’t use is a complete waste, even if it’s on sale. Do you really need 300 bags of pasta?

Don’t Quit Your Day Job

Couponhunting is a great way to save some extra money at the cash register. However, take it easy! Treat it like a hobby. If you spend three full days clipping coupons and planning your shopping list, and save 20 dollars, was that really worth it?

You may be tempted to imitate the professionals, but they do this for a living. They don’t make money from couponhunting; they make money from the TV show or website that shows you how. You don’t. Keep your day job and save money whenever possible.


This article was written by Kim Jacobsen, who as a mother of five is always looking for ways to save money.  She recently visited where she found Orbitz promo codes that saved her and her family money on an amazing vacation.

What do lenders think your credit score is?

A credit score is a rating given to a consumer by a lender in order to risk assess the likelihood of that consumer paying back the money they owe without incident.

Consumers with high credit scores will be offered the best loans and the best rates of interest, so it is essential to make sure your credit score is as good as it can be possibly be before asking to borrow any money.

The first thing to understand about credit scores is how lenders work them out. Each lender uses their own formula and sets their own thresholds for who they will and will not lend money to, but there are certain things that almost everyone will take into account.

First and foremost, the lender will look at your income, how long you’ve been in your employment, whether you are a homeowner and what your outgoings are, including whether you have any dependants.

These things give the lender an idea of whether you are in a stable financial position and whether you are likely to be able to meet your monthly loan repayments.

Other things the lender will look at include your borrowing history, whether you have defaulted on any repayments in the past, whether you have ever declared yourself bankrupt and whether you have recently made any other applications for credit that have been refused.

These things will give the lender an idea of how good you are at managing your money and whether you are a responsible borrower.

Each of these items will be given a value using a formula that is based on past experience of lending to consumers who have a similar profile to yourself.

You will then be given a credit score, which is a number between 1 and 1,000. The higher the number, the better your score and the less risk you are seen to represent.

You can find out your own credit score for free by contacting credit agencies such as Experian and Equifax. It’s a very good idea for you to know your credit score before applying to borrow money, as a poor credit score will only get worse if you add a loan rejection to your record.

If you check your credit score in advance, there are things you can do to increase your rating and give you a better chance of getting the best loans and interest rates.

Closing down accounts you no longer use, building a positive credit history by using a credit card or flexiloan which you regularly pay off and clearing debts early can all help boost your rating.

It is also important to make sure the credit agencies have your details down correctly and that your file is up to date.

If you have a negative history of falling behind on payments, perhaps due to a change of circumstances such as being made redundant or going through a divorce, it is possible to add a note to your credit file explaining the background to any problems.

If a lender knows any difficulties making payments in the past were due to one-off circumstances, they may be more likely to take a favourable view of events.

Knowing what a lender will see when they look at your credit score gives you more control over your finances and allows you to make sure you only apply for deals you are likely to be granted. It also means you stand a better chance of being accepted for the best loans and credit agreements.

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Brainstorming sessions- bring them on!!

It is often said that the best of ideas and innovations come from brainstorming sessie. Brainstorming sessions have been instrumental in some of the best marketing and other success. It is the perfect way to bring out some mind boggling, stupendous ideas and implement them for a greater purpose, thus helping the organization achieve its goals. It might be difficult initially to challenge the status quo and people might be reluctant to initiate anything different. However, once people get in the groove i.e. get into brainstorm, there are ideas and concepts abuzz in the room.

There are some grand tips for a successful brainstorming session, following which can solve the purpose of a successful and productive session.

  • Moderator holds the key – An effective moderator holds the strings of a successful brainstorming session.  A moderator sets the tone of the discussion and can make the session lively, thus reliving from boredom in between.  A moderator needs to identify the objectives of the sessie, the agenda and the possible outcome of the session. He needs to elaborate the importance of the session and get the best out of everyone present in the room. He or she also has other tasks at hand. He needs to sound peppy and keep everyone upbeat at all times.
  • Know your people- To have the right mix of persons in the fold is essential for the perfect brainstorming. A group of people who are extremely zealous about the product needs to converge with a host of sane and not over excited comrades who are also keen to contribute towards the product.  This eclectic mix would generate enough buzz regarding the product and points and ideas would simply flow.
  • Importance of a venue – The ambience holds equal importance for a productive brainstorm session. A venue could be a poolside restaurant, a banquet hall or even a resort facing a beach! The location is also a deciding factor of a great session.
  • Break into sub sections – Fragment the brainstorming sitting into some sub sections if need be to get into the crux of the matter and for digging deep into the concern. Encourage some non conventional ways to approach the subject within a defined time frame and try to cover every nuance of the subject.
  • Respect – Ensure every person gets the chance to talk about his points without appearing to impinge on other speakers. Any idea is a great idea and in no way should an idea be suppressed with others intruding in between. A mark of respect to all the persons should be known at every time. Everyone must be egged on to speak and share his thoughts, no matter how outlandish it might be.

The end of a brainstorming session does not mean people would stop working or thinking on those ideas.  People should be informed to come back with further ideas or suggestions later as well. There would be some half baked ideas too, which other participants can use to devise new ideas from the source. Ideas in such sessions could be extremely creative in building success.

Will a Master’s Degree Enrich My Life?

Master’s degrees are incredibly popular these days. Over 354,000 students enrolled in master degree programs from 2009 to 2010. It’s the latest trend in education it seems. Employers want them and students, understandably, both want and need jobs. You may be considering pursuing a higher degree of education. You may be asking yourself, “will a master’s degree really enrich my life?” It might, but it might not. What does “enrich” personally mean to you? Do you simply want more money? Do you want to pursue a meaningful career that will make you happy throughout your professional life?  To determine whether or not a master’s degree will add significant positive or negative impact to your life, you must ask yourself a few questions and take a good look at your prerogatives.

What Do You Want to Do?

Have you found your life calling? Are you certain about the career path you’ve chosen?  Master’s degrees are expensive and a considerable time investment.  All your hard work will go to waste if you end up not using it once you graduate.


Do some job-related soul-searching. A master’s degree will specifically train you for a job in a certain field; for example a Masters in Public Administration focuses on administrative duties like budgeting, marketing and management.  If you are not positive that you want to work in this field, then a master’s degree wouldn’t be the right move to make.


However, if you are 100 percent set on your career path, a master’s degree may augment your life by opening you up to more fulfilling job opportunities. For example:  a RN to BSN degree will open you up to a multitude of career options. There are also a variety of schools that offer RN to BSN Online Programs to suit your current schedule.


Some career paths require a master’s degree. If you wish to enter the field of urban planning or any type of public administration at all, a Master’s in Public Administration is a requirement. While it may be somewhat possible to enter this field with a bachelor’s degree and experience, it is not totally probable.


If you have thoroughly considered your career path and you are positive it is something you wish to do for the rest of your life, then a master’s degree may be the next step for you.


Conversely, if all you want is to pad your resume and increase your job options, a master’s degree is not such a great idea. There are millions of jobseekers out there with a master’s degree that are unemployed. Unless it is used wisely and required for your career, it will not automatically guarantee future employment.

Can You Afford It?

Master’s degrees don’t grow on trees. The precise cost of each master’s degree will vary based on the program and school; generally, expect to pay five digits.


Like many who pursue master’s degrees, you may have just completed your bachelor’s degree. You already have a hefty amount of debt; do you really want more? Racking up six digit student loans is extremely daunting. Once you are done with your master’s, you do not want to be in a hopeless situation with an insurmountable amount of debt to your name.


Consider your financial situation thoroughly before pursuing a master’s degree. Attempt to garner financial aid and scholarships. If you are currently employed, you may even be able to have your boss pay the tuition.


What’s In It For You?

Master’s degrees do have their benefits and plenty of them at that. During your master’s program, you will inevitably meet other students. This allows you to work closely with 15 to 30 other professionals in your field. These connections may directly lead to a great job opportunity. You may end up needing their services and they may end up needing yours!


You will also be learning from experienced mentors in your chosen program. Their knowledge can be invaluable. Many times, your professors will still be active in the field and teach part-time. They are able to provide real life applications to everything you learn.


While a master’s degree that is unfocused and sought for the wrong reasons won’t guarantee a job, a focused master’s degree can open you up to a whole new realm of employment. Many employers are seeking applicants with master’s degrees and many professions actually require them nowadays.

Feeling Enriched?

Take a moment and imagine life after your master’s:  will you directly use it to seek employment in that field? Or will it simply be another sentence on your resume and another student loan payment to make? Master’s degrees will enrich some lives, while be a complete burden on others. Research your options and choose wisely.


This article was provided by Travis Mabe.  Travis is a freelance writer and student who is currently taking rn to bsn online programs.

Marking Fifty Years of CFA Exams

Earlier this year, the CFA Institute celebrated its fiftieth anniversary. This marks fifty years of the Chartered Financial Analyst program offering three levels of testing to charter financial analysts. As a part of the celebration, the New York Stock exchange and 23 other financial centers worldwide closed their doors. Ceremonies will be held to celebrate the fifty-year mark. These ceremonies set the stage for 150,000 candidates who took part in Level I, II and III CFA exams.


What is the CFA Exam?

The CFA exams must be taken in order to receive a CFA Charter. This distinction is granted to individuals who pass a rigorous graduate-level exam. Many financially centered schools offer courses in CFA exam prep solely for individuals who wish to earn a CFA Charter. This prep is often a part of the curriculum for Information Technology Management, as the fields often overlap. Candidates must receive passing scores on three separate levels of exams.

The Level I exam is centered on the foundations of the investment business and tools used to invest. Candidates are tested on applicable knowledge and comprehension. The Level II exam tests the candidate’s understanding of derivatives, alternative investments, asset classes, equity investments and places emphasis on the candidate’s ability to apply this knowledge. The Level III exam combines all of this knowledge into understanding portfolio and wealth management, and applying it to making investment decisions.

In addition to the exams, candidates must also complete four years of investment industry work experience. Once the exams are passed and the work experience is completed, they must take a pledge to uphold the CFA Institute’s Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct. Once completed, they may apply to become a member of a CFA Institute society.

Who is the CFA Institute?

The CFA Institute is an association of global investment professionals. This well regarded Institute sets the standard for professional excellence and credentials. They are champions of ethical behavior in investment markets and all areas of the financial community. Their overall goal, as stated by the CFA Institute, is to “create an environment where investors’ interests come first, markets function at their best and economies grow.” The CFA Institute further states that they strive to create an investment environment that serves the overall greater good of society by raising standards of professional excellence.

Currently, the CFA Institute has over 110,000 members throughout 139 countries. There are 100,000 charter holders and 136 member societies.

The CFA institute can be traced back to the Financial Analysts Federation (FAF) that was established in 1947.  In 1959, FAF created an independent organization, the Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts (ICFA), to create and administer CFA credentialing programs. ICFA opened their doors to candidates in 1963, when 284 candidates applied for the CFA exams. Membership continued to grow and charters were continually granted. The FAF and ICFA eventually merged and formed the Association for Investment Management and Research (AIMR).  In 2004, AIMR changed its name to the CFA Institute, and has continued to operate solely under this name.

Throughout this extensive history, the exam process has evolved and grown to adapt to an ever changing financial and investment environment. The program aims to equip charter holders with practical and applicable knowledge needed for a variety of career fields in the investment profession. The program has stayed relevant in today’s financial climate as it provides a tremendous value to both charter holders and perspective employers. A charter holder is prepared to immediately begin working in the investment industry. Employers know that by hiring a charter holder they are hiring someone who is qualified, has received a thorough education and has pledged to uphold the CFA Code of Ethics and Standards of Professional Conduct.

An Institution of Respect

Marking their fiftieth anniversary this year, they have continually provided charter holders with applicable knowledge and credentials to find gainful employment in the financial industry. When they opened their doors and began to offer CFA prep exams, they had 248 candidates. For their fiftieth anniversary weekend, over 150,000 candidates enrolled from all over the world to take various levels of the exam. The CFA Institute is held in such high regard, that their fiftieth anniversary marks the single largest global closing of financial centers worldwide.


This guest post article was written and provided by Kendra Lorenzo. Kendra finished her Bachelor’s degree online this last fall. She is now continuing her education by pursuing her Master’s degree online.



Surviving the Economic Recession, Is Gaining an MBA a Wise Financial Decision?

Seeking any college degree requires a great deal of sacrifice, just ask anyone attempting to earn their MBA, or Masters of Business Administration. Read the biography of almost any captain of industry, millionaire philanthropist or Fortune 500 executive and chances are most earned an MBA from a prestigious, Ivy League university. Your aspirations might not be that lofty, and instead you’re seeking an MBA to climb the ranks in a small corporation, or devote yourself to working for a non-profit organization. Either way, seeking an MBA is no longer considered the surefire way to achieve success in the business world, especially in this cut throat economy. Ask yourself a few tough questions, and consider the ultimate return on your investment, before taking the plunge and devoting the next two to three years of your life to earning an MBA.

Pros and Cons of Pursuing an Advanced Degree during an Economic Downturn

Now more than ever, children and adolescents are told that success in any field isn’t possible without a combination of determination, and a college degree. This idea, and the desire to earn a hefty salary, led a multitude of business-minded university graduates to take their education a step further and aspire for that widely coveted MBA. Unfortunately, many found that even an advanced degree wasn’t enough to impress an HR representative, as the marketplace became inundated by qualified applicants. Consider a few of the ins and outs associated with earning your MBA in this financially risky period:


  • To remain competitive, it’s a necessary evil to earn an MBA, which ultimately makes holding that degree a huge plus.
  • The practical experience garnered during your studies will prove invaluable once you enter the workforce.


  • The cost of earning your MBA, especially through a top ranked university, is increasing rapidly. It’s also no guarantee you’ll land a lucrative position with an Ivy League pedigree, either.
  • Earning an MBA is an all-consuming venture, which leads many to either quit their job in the field, or at the very least drop down to part-time status. While you’re studying, the competition is gaining real world skills, which many employers now consider more valuable than your advanced degree.

Should I Take the Plunge?

The question of whether or not anyone should make the huge financial sacrifice required to earn an MBA is highly subjective. One individual might need to worry about supporting a family and working fulltime while earning an advanced degree, while another is grappling with the prospects of incurring an enormous debt before they’ve even purchased a home, or moved out of their parent’s house. No matter what you’re situation in life, the one point you should consider is the potential return on investment. If you’ve chosen a field that doesn’t require an advanced degree to succeed or remain competitive, earning an MBA isn’t a wise financial decision. Conversely, if your MBA will guarantee that promotion at work, and a hefty raise in salary, go ahead and increase your earning potential by obtaining your MBA.

The Best Jobs for MBAs

The employment landscape for MBAs is forever evolving, and many are finding their destiny lies outside the boardroom. If you’ve recently earned this advanced degree, or are mulling over heading back to school, here are a few of the hottest jobs in the business world today:

  • Convention, Event and Meeting Planners
  • Accountant
  • Financial Advisor
  • Human Resources Representative
  • Financial Analyst
  • Management Analyst
  • Sales Manager
  • Compliance Officer
  • Business Operations Manager
  • Insurance Agent

Considering Online University

After weighing the pros and cons, you’ve decided that earning your Master of Business Administration is a prudent decision. However, the prospect of getting back into the classroom while attempting to hold down a fulltime job, or support a growing family, leaves you rethinking your initial judgment. Many are finding that flexibility of online MBA degree programs are making their dreams of earning an advanced degree a conceivable reality. Online universities not only allow you to attend classes on your schedule, the tuition is often less expensive than traditional campus-based colleges.

If you’re still squeamish about the potential cost of earning your MBA, and currently employed in a business-related field, inquire if your employer is willing to pay a portion of your college tuition. This is a common practice for several corporations seeking to promote within, or employ the most qualified, well-educated candidates possible.


This article was written by Justin Jensen who is currently pursuing an online Masters degree in organizational leadership and expects to have his degree by next year.

Are E Greeting Cards The Future For Corporate Communication?

In years gone by, companies mailed greeting cards to customers over the festive season and for special occasions. As technology progressed, emails became the common form of communication and the e greeting card evolved. Are these electronic cards the future for business communication?

A multimedia greeting card option.
Electronic greeting cards are the newest form of corporate communication between businesses and clients. These multimedia cards can be used to communicate wishes or send regards for a special occasion and are the ideal way for large companies to add a more personalised touch to their liaisons with clients. These electronic cards are not only impactful and fun, but are also cost effective and suitable for the budget conscious.

Businesses can save on card materials, postage and customisation, as an electronic card offers all these options at little or no cost. A site such as Eco 2 Greetings offers hundreds of design options and ensures that there is a card suited for every corporate occasion.

Greeting card occasions.
The electronic version of a greeting card has opened doors for companies who wish to keep in contact with their clients on a more personal level, without spending a fortune. There are so many occasions on which a card can now be emailed, including:

Individual birthdays

Corporate birthdays

Corporate anniversaries

Festive Season greetings

New year’s greetings

Thank you cards

Electronic cards can also be used to keep client updated to happenings such as:

Moving premises

Special offers

New products

New releases
These cards can also be used for inter-company purposes such as rewarding a team for doing well or meeting a sales target, or for an individual’s birthday. In addition to these cards enhancing inter-company and customer relations, they are also environmentally friendly as no paper is wasted.

An alternative form of advertising.
Electronic business cards can also be a great form of obvious or more subliminal marketing. Cards can be customised with a company logo or branding and can reflect both the personal and corporate side of a business. Personalised animations also offer a versatile and modern take on this multimedia form of greeting and are guaranteed to make an impact on the recipient.

In addition to custom messages and personalised greetings, these electronic cards can also include email signatures and business information in each message. This opens up the market for obvious advertising and corporate branding. Companies can benefit from sending their clients a birthday wish or festive greeting over the holiday season and this opens up the line of communication between both parties on a more personal level. A more personal and regular communication channel also serves to strengthen the relationship between a client and business.

With so many benefits and such cost saving properties, corporate e cards look set to be the way of the future. Multi functional and incorporating the internet, the world’s most used media platform; the trend is not one that should be ignored.


Kristy Jones is an experienced business and marketing analyst who specializes in technology trends. She uses sites such as Eco 2 Greetings to keep in touch with her clients over the festive season and encourages them to embrace the latest multimedia networking opportunities. Kristy has written extensively for online business blogs internationally.

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