April 20, 2009

Sold My Car - Some Experience to Share

After posting my car on the AutoTrader.ca and buysell.com for sale on last Saturday, I was able to sell my car in just a couple of days. This usually means that it is priced too low compared to the market price, but I am very happy with the selling as I sold it for $1,000 less than the purchase price of $6,500 three years ago.

Because of the lower than market price, I've been getting well over 20 inquiries in the last two days. It's said that the pre-owned auto market is in much better shape than the new car market due to this recession, and this might also explain why there are so many people interested in getting my car in the last two days.

Here is some of my private car sale tips that might be helpful for people:

1. Know your own as well as market price of the car.
  • Check the Canadian Black Book or Kelley Blue Book for the price of your car based on its condition.
  • Check the prices of the similar cars, and price your car accordingly, because Black or Blue books only tell us the average prices.
2. A good picture of your car is important for online ads. If a car's picture looks bad online, a seller is going to lose at least 20% of potential buyers.

3. Clean your car throughly specially inside of the car. I spent about $15 on the upholstery cleaner and cleaning wipes at Walmart, and about 3 hours valumning and clearn up my car before I posted the ads on Saturday, and it paid off as most of the viewers praised the cleaness of my car. Of course, I also took it for a wash as well for the appreance.

4. Make sure putting "sold as is" on the bill of sale so that you will not be hold for liability later on.

Safety vs. Fuel Economy

I am big money saver when it comes to cars, but I am concerning how much money that people can save compared their life safety.

Let's admit it that accident happens, and sometimes it's not you being a bad drive, but it cannot be prevented from others running into your car. The recent study done by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has shown that the 2007 death rate for minicars was substantially higher than those for larger cars – from nearly twice as high to more than three times greater, depending on the type of crack-up.

As their test results, minicars – small, fuel efficient and thus by definition relatively “green” -- did poorly in car-to-car frontal crash tests with midsize sedans at 56 km/hour. No surprise here. This is all about the laws of physics. When an object of greater mass meets an object of lesser mass, the smaller one loses. In fact, the Toyota Yaris, Honda Fit and Smart fortwo all collapsed into the space around where a driver would be. In this test the driver wasn't breathing; crash test dummies don't do that. But a real person would not have fared well in such a mash-up. Head and leg injuries would likely have resulted even though air bags deployed in all three cars.

Unless everyone else is going to drive sub-compact cars like Yaris, Fit, Versa, Smart, Aveo, Rio, and Accent., I will personally avoid those car for my own safety. After all, I am the MOST important part of the car while I am driving.

April 19, 2009

Weekly Trading Update - April 17, 2009

Positions From last week,

S&P 500 Bull Plus ETF, HSU: 2200 shares at total cost of $12,681.95

Transactions this week,

S&P 500 Bull Plus ETF, HSU
Apr 13, Sell, 2200 shares @ $6.09 - $9.95 commission
Total Cost: $13,388.05
Realized Gain: $13,388.05 - $12,681.95 = $706.10 (5.57%)

Trading Gain/Loss from the last week: $706.10

Year-to-date Trading Profit: $2724.25

April 16, 2009

Canada Auto Sales for March 2009

Acura: -42% to 1,211
Audi: +25.4% to 979
BMW: +8% to 1,711
Chrysler: -26.6% to 15,846
Ford: -15.1% to 17,021
General Motors: -17.6% to 24,695
Honda: -20% to 11,359
Hyundai: +25.5% to 8,818
Infiniti: -29.8% to 581
Jaguar: -57.8% to 57
Kia: +12.6% to 3,555
Land Rover: -26.9% to 171
Lexus: +21% to 1,363
Mazda: -22% to 7,060
Mercedes-Benz: +26% to 2,181
Mini: +3.7% to 307
Mitsubishi: +8.9% to 1,983
Nissan: -6.5% to 7,024
Porsche: +9.6% to 172
Saab: +117.7% to 172
smart: -34.6%% to 212
Subaru: +14.6% to 1,878
Suzuki: -14.4% to 948
Toyota: -25.5% to 14,538
Volkswagen: -10.6% to 3,156
Volvo: +5.6% to 491

The sales numbers are compared with last year's numbers.

April 15, 2009

How to Avoid Defaulting on Your Mortgage Payments

The market conditions have changed quite dramatically over the past twelve months. As a result, some homeowners may stumble upon financial hardships that make it difficult for them to pay their mortgage payments. Once your mortgage loan defaults, the chance of foreclosure increases.

If you or your spouse has lost employment and no longer make as much money, and you see meeting your mortgage payment obligations is going to be problematic, the first step is to take a deep breath. There are literally millions of people that face the same problem. You are not a bad person, so leave any feelings of guilt at the door. You do not have time for them. Instead, you need to focus on your options.

Fortunately, there are ways to avoid default and keep your home, so read on for more information on how to avoid a mortgage default.

1- Get moving on a solution
Your first option is to find a way to make up the back payments and continue fighting to make your payment on time every month. Although not an attractive options, it is an option.

Explore options to decrease expenses and increase income, such as an additional job, selling possessions, and look to community resources for help. You may have to temporarily cut back on things like dining out, internet and cable.

If you have a basement or spare room you may consider renting it out. The extra income could be up to 50% of your mortgage payment. True, there is some inconvenience, but it is a small price to pay for the extra income. If you are uncertain about taking in an extra lodger, remember, you are able to choose who lives with you. Make sure you meet them before they enter. If a spare room is not immediately available; be creative, see whether there is another room you could cheaply convert.

2- Work with your lender
Contact your mortgage lender. Banks do not want to foreclosure on properties. The process is long and costly, and in the end, mortgage lenders lose money. Instead, they would rather work alongside borrowers that are slightly behind on payments, and come up with a practical solution.

Consider extending your mortgage term to reduce your monthly payments. The downside is that you will end up paying more in the long term. However, if it means you are able to continue meeting the minimum mortgage payments, it is worth doing.

Set up a repayment plan. If you are unable to pay your mortgage payment for one or more months, the lender may agree to a repayment plan. The mortgage lender adds additional money to each subsequent mortgage payment until the loan is up-to-date.

Your lender may also suggest an Interest Only Mortgage. This will also reduce your monthly mortgage payments, often quite substantially. However, again the disadvantage is that, in the long term, you will need to find an alternative investment plan to pay off your mortgage capital—might be good short term option.

3. Refinance your mortgage
This is perhaps the easiest and most effective method. If you happen to be on your bank’s existing standard rate, the chances are you will be able to find a much better deal.

4. Talk to a Financial Advisor
If the situation is becoming overwhelming and you are really in danger of defaulting, you may need to consider speaking to a financial consultant or accountant. This will arm you with expertise and resources with which to approach planning your financial future and make the most of your current circumstances.

5. Resell - Downsize
This option is probably the most drastic and only to be undertaken when the others have failed. If you are able to sell your house, you can temporarily rent somewhere cheaper or buy a cheaper house in a different location. The money saved can be used to pay off your mortgage. This option is not easy, due to the costs involved in moving, but it might be worth doing in the long term.

If you can see that things are going to get bad in relation to meeting your mortgage payment obligations, take a deep breath then face up to the problem. Take action now, procrastination will not help you.

April 12, 2009

Weekly Trading Update - April 3 & 10, 2009

I only made 3 transactions for the last two weeks, as one of my projects is coming alive, and had to work some extra hours to get it done.

Well, overall, going against the trend made me take a loss of $2700, and bring my trading profits down to a little over $2000 for this year.

Transactions this week,

S&P/TSX Capped Energy Bear Plus ETF, HED
Mar 30, Buy, 1000 shares @ $15.28 + $9.95 commission
Total Cost: $15,289.95

Apr 8, Sell, 1000 shares @ $12.60 - $9.95 commission
Total Cost: $12,590.05
Realized Loss: $12,590.05 - $15,289.95 = -2699.90 (-17.66%)

S&P 500 Bull Plus ETF, HSU
Apr 8, Buy, 2200 shares @ $5.76 + $9.95 commission
Total Cost: $12,681.95

Trading Gain/Loss from the last 2 weeks: -$2699.90

Year-to-date Trading Profit: $2018.15