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Published by Ronald Gray on April 19, 2017

A galaxy in the making: Star Wars theme parks

One of the world’s largest media franchises (second only to Pokemon and ahead of both Harry Potter and James Bond), Star Wars has transcended way beyond its cinematic origins. This US$42-billion (as of December 2015) entertainment empire has amassed plenty of tie-in projects, which include merchandise items, graphic novels, books, and even video games.  There is no limit as to which platforms the franchise can foray into, owing to its very special place in popular culture.

 

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Image source: cnn.com

 

Ever since the 1970s, the Star Wars movies have been bringing the world by storm. They are hailed as one of the most watched films of all time in almost all markets. That is because of the impeccable story line, the unforgettable acting, and of course the larger-than-life special effects. They have captivated the hearts of not only children but almost every other age group as well. It also makes people want to become Jedis. Let’s face it, there is nothing cooler than using lightsabers and the Force. Now, Disney is going to take the entire experience a step further by allowing fans to immerse themselves in the subculture.

 

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Image source: gizmodo.com

 

In the Star Wars Celebration 2017, Disney Imagineers and Lucasfilm employees has broken to the public their plans to open a Star Wars themed park named Star Wars Land in 2019. It will be one of the many irresistible attractions in Disney World California and Disney World Florida. As a matter of fact, at 14 acres, it will become the largest single-themed expansion in the entire history of Disney.

 

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Image source: wikimedia.org

 

There is even news that there will be a luxury starship resort. Once finished, the wall decorations and roof ornaments will certainly make visitors feel like they are in a whole new dimension. To ensure that they are on the right track, the company has sent out surveys to guests regarding their interest in the spaceship-inspired project. The whole park will become available to the public the same time as opening night for Star Wars Episode 9.

Published by Ronald Gray on March 24, 2017

REPOST: The Top 3 Hottest Real Estate Markets for 2017 Are in Florida

Beachfront houses are still among the most popular properties in the market, and Florida is definitely a top destination for such coastal dream homes. The full story on this Coastal Living post:

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Where are the hottest real estate markets this year? Turns out the top ones are on the beach—meaning that this might be your year to make the leap and snatch up your dream house.

Trulia recently published its list of the 10 hottest real estate markets to watch in 2017, and—no surprise—several coastal markets made the list. Trulia based its ranking of the 100 largest metro areas across the country on five criteria: a high search interest, a decreasing rate of vacancy, high affordability, a high rate of job growth, and a high population of people happy with the outcome of the presidential election.

The “hottest” markets vary depending on who you talk to—Zillow’s ranking of the hottest markets of the year looked very different. But if you’re looking for coastal real estate in an affordable city that has few people moving out of it, this list of the hottest coastal markets of 2017 might offer some suggestions. If you’re looking to capitalize on the recovering housing market and purchase your dream coastal escape, consider these hot markets:

1. JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA
Number one overall and number one on the coastal list, Jacksonville has a high rate of job growth and high interest from out-of-towners looking to move there. Best of all, it’s more affordable than other, similar markets in the state.

2. CAPE CORAL-FORT MYERS, FLORIDA
Coming in at number two both overall and for coastal metro areas, the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area on Florida’s Gulf Coast has the fourth-highest rate of job growth in the country and a falling vacancy rate as people flock to its sunny shores.

3. DELTONA-DAYTONA BEACH-ORMOND BEACH, FLORIDA
Number three for coastal areas and number three overall on Trulia’s list, this area on Florida’s Atlantic side has a rate of job growth to match the Cape Coral-Fort Myers area and a great ratio of people looking to move there vs. people looking to move away—not to mention its long, sunny days and high temperatures year-round.

4. TAMPA-ST. PETERSBURG-CLEARWATER, FLORIDA
The Tampa-St. Petersburg-Clearwater metro area is on the Tampa Bay, on Florida’s Gulf side. It came in at five overall but is number four for coastal areas, with great job growth and affordability.

5. CHARLESTON-NORTH CHARLESTON, SOUTH CAROLINA
Charleston has been in the spotlight as a tourist hotspot so much lately that it’s not surprising that it’s also a great place to move. Ranked number seven overall and number five for coastal areas, this Lowcountry port city has a huge number of people looking to move there (while few are looking to move away), good affordability, and decent job growth—and an amazing culinary scene.

The next five coastal cities share the previous five’s high interest, good affordability, and job growth. Read on for the next best coastal areas to live:

6. NORTH PORT-SARASOTA-BRADENTON, FLORIDA

7. WEST PALM BEACH-BOCA RATON-DELRAY BEACH, FLORIDA

8. FORT LAUDERDALE-POMPANO BEACH-DEERFIELD BEACH, FLORIDA

9. NEW ORLEANS-METAIRIE, LOUISIANA

10. SAN DIEGO-CARLSBAD, CALIFORNIA

Published by Ronald Gray on July 5, 2015

Investing in Real Estate Properties

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Everybody knows that the price of the rent for a house is influenced by so many things, starting with the location of the house or apartment and ending with the contents of the said house. Some people earn a lot of money by simply renting out apartments in a complex, or houses to different tenants.

However, even if this can be a successful business, is not something easy. Real estate investment requires a lot of knowledge in this area, and always a thorough analysis of the market.

Here are a few tips about how to do great real estate investments, even if you are a beginner in this area.

The Budget

First of all, you need to know how much money you have available for buying a property that will bring you profit. You will need to have a considerable amount for this, as it’s better to buy a small apartment complex, than a single house. Identify the possibilities for using your own finances, finding a financial institution that offers you a loan or finding investors. Each of these options is viable, so start looking.

The Property

investing-briquette-press-equipmentOnce you have determined the amount of money that you can use, start looking for a property. There are many available properties in your area, so all you have to do is find the right one. Consider the location of the building and also what advantages are there for using it – the access roads, the magazines that are around, if there is any park. All these count, because with many advantages it would be easier to find tenants.

The House Inspection

This is something you will have to request, because it is the only way to know the condition of the property. The house inspector will tell you all about it, as he/she is highly trained in finding exactly if there is something wrong with the building. You will know about the structure of the building, the walls, the roof, the plumbing, and the materials that were used and if there are any faults with the building. The house inspection will also tell you if you need further investment in repairing different problems.

The House Valuation

investThis procedure will give you the market value and the investment value, if you ask for both of them. Usually, the second one is certainly needed, especially because you are looking to make an investment and not just buy the property for yourself. The valuer will give you a better evaluation if you have available the report from the house inspector. This way, you will know exactly what your building’s worth is if you plan to invest in it.

The Team

Once you have bought the building, determine who you will be working with. You certainly need a plan for making it work, and it is better that you are surrounded by people you trust. Managing a complex of apartments can be hard enough, so you will probably need a manager, if you can’t do it yourself. Keep in mind though that a manager will ask you the regular price for maintaining, Pyramid-Property-Group_Investingno matter if you have tenants or not.

Be Real

No matter what you’ve heard about real estate investments, make sure you remain realistic in your expectations. If you don’t find tenants, you will have to sustain your business for some time. A constant cash flow can be considered after all the apartments have been rented, and you remain with some profit after you pay the mortgage (if you have any), the bills and the utilities and so on.

For more info on investing in general, check out the guys over at LOM (they are offshore stock brokers)