Every month we read a book together in the office, and today I’d like to review one that we just went through. It’s called Head Strong, by Dave Asprey. Dave Asprey calls himself a “biohacker”. He’s an individual that is always on the look for new ways to more energy, thinking clear, and being more productive overall; and all of these are accomplished through the implementation of life habits tweaking along with the use of interesting technology applications. He’s done research and experimentation of all of this on himself, and this book is based on those findings. We found several bits of useful information in this read, and I’d like to share a bit of that with you.
One of the more interesting topics he speaks about is that one related to how the energy in our cells actually function, and how their efficiency levels change under certain circumstances. First mitochondria provide cellular energy and are the basis for healthy cellular function. These are the “powerhouses of the cell”, the parts of cells that turn sugars, fats and proteins that we eat, into forms of chemical energy that the body can use to carry on living.
When mitochondrial energy reserves dwindle due to any given cause (being sick, lack of food, etc.), one of the first areas that is affected in our body is our brain; more specifically the frontal area of our brain, the one that takes care of higher thinking and all of that which makes us productive. The back of our brain remains a priority, since it’s in charge of maintaining all of the basic functions that we need in order to not die – It’s also important to consider that the brain uses approximately 10 times more mitochondrial energy in it’s cells than most of our other body parts. In the book, he mentions several tips and hacks designed to help us manage this energy reserves and keep our bodies as efficient as possible, in order to maintain focus and keep our higher thought processes in levels that help us maintain our productivity and creativity.
He also speaks about a concept called “light pollution”. Light pollution refers to how we, in our endless quest to embrace more and more technology into our lives, are bombarded by different spectrums of light which are different from the Sun’s spectrum and overstimulate our visual cortex. This area specifically, burns 10 times energy than other areas of our brain, and when overstimulated, can deplete our energy reserves very quickly.
Some hacks he mentions in order to combat this over stimulation is the use of red lights near screens and other blue light sources in order to balance their output and reduce the impact. This is because blue light is the most troublesome type of light when speaking about visual over stimulation, and fluorescent sources as well as LED bring in lots of it with them. Also, the use of blue light-filtering glasses is recommended, and these can be purchased online. Basically, they work by filtering out the amount of blue light we receive into our eyes on different levels depending on the glasses (these can be easily purchased online if you’re interested).
Wim Hof, also known as “The Iceman”, is also mentioned in his book. He holds several world records regarding to survival and resistance to cold. Some of the techniques used by Hof have been recommended by Asprey. Special breathing techniques and cold therapy can dramatically increase energy, modulate immune systems and hormones in order to help you increase and better manage your energy reserves. These are only a few applications of his work, but more exist – if you’re interested in this field as we are, or are looking for ways to make changes to the quality of your lifestyle, we can’t recommend this book enough.
I’d like to give you some information about corporate entity strategy in order for you to be able to better protect your assets. Even if you find this information useful, remember to always consult your attorney and your certified public accountant before you make any important decisions.
Let’s begin with taxes. Here at RTS we issue 1099s as required for most of our owners based on gross income received by us, when it is received by us. Your money comes directly to us, and when it does, IRS considers that money is becoming yours at that point. So, it’s not the net income you receive after it owner pay out, it’s the gross income we receive in your name. After we receive it, you can use our statements and deduct any expenses off your taxes from that 1099.
If you have a property that is in an LLC, you have certain level of choice in regard to the way you file it. This means you can basically choose how your LLC will be looked at by the IRS. You can file you LLC as a S corporation, C corporation, or a pass-through sole proprietorship. This means that the LLC lets all income and expenses pass through directly to the owning entity, whether it’s a person or another corporation.
Usually, if you have several properties, each with their own special LLCs we recommend to take them and turn them into sole proprietorships, passing all of the income and expenses directly to the owning entity. This allows you to reduce accounting expenses, since you will be doing fewer filings and movements for these properties. This is in general terms what we’ve seen most of our clients that own several properties do (as well as myself), but there could be other advantages or disadvantages related to doing this, depending on the amount of money and context that are being taken into consideration. Either way, always check with your legal advisor and accountant in order to know what’s best for you.
The key to maximizing profitability and minimizing risk as a landlord has a lot to do with choosing the right tenant. That starts with the marketing of the property, and the energy that can be produced off that. There are a few tricks to creating effective advertisements to help find the best tenants for your properties. You can advertise in the newspaper, on billboards, or on the Internet; however, you may be wasting your time and money advertising to people who either aren’t interested in what you have to offer or aren’t qualified to meet your criteria.
A good ad campaign lets you target and attract the kind of tenant you’re looking for. An advertisement works best when it’s appealing. So, before you decide what information to incorporate, think about what characteristics you value in a tenant. Here are some good examples:
· Stable employment
· Pays rent on time
· Has never been evicted or used a landlord as a revolving line of credit
Once you’ve identified characteristics you like in good tenants, think about what factors contribute to a good rental experience for landlord and tenant. What did you as the landlord have to offer your last tenant? Was the last tenant happy and satisfied? Assessing this information will help you decide how to focus on the marketing aspect for the property.
Often you will attract high risk tenants who use landlords as a revolving line of credit when advertising your rental property, so it is imperative that you attempt to identify these tenants immediately. Here at RTS, we have a very specific checklist process for screening tenants and filtering out bad elements for your property. Sometimes we even go as far as contacting up to two previous landlords for the potential tenant in order to verify their background. This can get tricky, since some landlords will lie in order to either keep their tenant (say they’re awful when they’re not) or lie in order to get them to leave (they will say they’re great when they’re not). This is why we have such a detailed process, and it will reduce the risk of you getting a bad tenant for a good property.
It’s important to note that, if the marketing aspect of the property is done right at the beginning, usually bad tenants will filter themselves out even before the screening begins. Rest assured though, that we will do our best to get you the best tenants we can find for you to do business with.
After years of experience in the industry I have learned that it’s a really common practice for many real estate agents to not only mis-value properties during their first encounter with the owner, but also declare a fixed price for it, in hopes of trying to get your business. This goes for both rental price evaluation and sales price evaluation. You would think that, since they are professionals, they probably know about this and have the expertise needed to place a price on your home or apartment with one look. Well you would be wrong.
One very important thing to remember is that value is not a synonym of price. In general terms, the word price represents the amount of money that is asked for in order to purchase a certain something. Pretty basic right? That’s when value comes in. Value represents the actual benefit you are gaining by paying a price at the time you make a purchase. Value is that extra space you would love to have in your bedroom for a triple dresser. Or those extra square feet you need in your backyard for the vegetable garden you want to grow. Or a good view of the beach from the second floor.
And this is why stating that your property is worth a fixed amount and can only go for a certain price is plain wrong. It is wrong because even when an expert is able to assess the approximate worth of a property based its characteristics and recent history, a whole set of additional circumstances go along with that into actually defining the end value of the same property for individual potential buyers.
Maybe there’s a very specific circumstance in relation to the neighborhood surrounding the property that will give one buyer a less attractive standpoint in regards to the value of the property while at the same time, another person will actually offer an additional premium due to the fact that its really close to their workplace. In the second case, as this happens, and this new offer appears due to a single need met by this specific property, the market value begins to vary. This is basic supply and demand going into action.
For this same reason, when stating a property’s potential worth, it’s common practice to use ranges when speaking about actual pricing. This way agents take into account a variation of value that a set of different additional circumstances offer, as well as other changes in market behaviour that could very well affect the value of the property at any given time.
So, if you get to meet a new agent and he/she instantly states a fixed pricing for your property, always remember – they are either lying to you, or they have a crystal ball.