When Life Gives You Lemons: Understanding Automobile Lemon Laws | Automobile

If you are buying a car, are you having thoughts of your chosen vehicle turning out to be a “lemon”? Would you call it some kind of paranoia or just a skeptic hunch? Lemons refer to those cars that are defective. If the automobile possesses several serious defects that have not been obvious before the purchase and if there were numerous attempts to fix those defects but still no luck, then you just might have a lemon in front of you. This would be the right time to look into automobile lemon laws. You may ask: what am I going to do if my car is indeed a lemon? What are the steps that I should take to fully understand and eventually make use of those automobile consumer protection laws?Lemon Laws: What To Learn About It?Perhaps the very first thing you should do is learn about your state’s automobile lemon laws and the provisions of the law in general. Knowledge is power. Information is king. You will be able to protect your rights and achieve your goals if you know what to do and how to do it. Learning about the automobile buyer protective laws will help you plot your next move and do the right thing when dealing with this issue. You can start with the federal consumer protection laws and perhaps take a look at the Magnuson-Moss Warranty Act as well. After that, you have to move on to your particular state’s consumer protection laws.Even if you think your vehicle is a lemon, there’s a chance that it won’t qualify as one under your state’s lemon car statutes. There are certain factors and considerations to keep in mind first when it comes to determining if your car is indeed a lemon. There’s the warranty period. There’s also the mileage and the number of repair attempts. In some states, the coverage of those automobile laws depends on the type of vehicle and its purpose and some more factors that you need to know. No wonder you should check out these details before making a move on how you can defend your rights as a consumer using these laws.Determine If Your Car Is Indeed A LemonAfter learning about automobile consumer protection laws in general and the lemon law details of your state, your next move is to determine if your car is indeed a lemon in accordance to your state’s guidelines. Some of the things that you should look into are fluid leaks, issues with brakes, unusual noises, problems with the electrical system or the engine and others. Is there something wrong with steering or suspension? How about the heating and the air-conditioning? Perhaps you should consult with a trusted mechanic or repairman. Have you been in the auto repair shop because of the same problem for more than three times? There are even sites offering free case evaluations that will help you with your issues regarding defective automobiles and in determining whether your car is indeed a lemon under your state’s guidelines law or not.Finding A Qualified LawyerIf you have determined that your automobile is one hell of a lemon and that you can make use of your state’s lemon law to pursue your rights as a car consumer, then you will have to find an experienced lawyer. Aside from being an expert in automobile consumer protection laws, s/he should be someone who you can fully trust and who understands how valuable it is to protect your rights.
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Investing in Real Estate – Active Or Passive? | Real Estate

Many investors are turned off by real estate because they do not have the time or inclination to become landlords and property managers, both of which are in fact, a career in themselves. If the investor is a rehabber or wholesaler, real estate becomes more of a business rather than an investment. Many successful property “investors” are actually real estate “operators” in the real property business. Fortunately, there are other ways for passive investors to enjoy many of the secure and inflation proof benefits of real estate investing without the hassle.Active participation in property investing has many advantages. Middlemen fees, charged by syndicators, brokers, property managers and asset managers can be eliminated, possibly resulting in a higher rate of return. Further, you as the investor make all decisions; for better or worse the bottom line responsibility is yours. Also, the active, direct investor can make the decision to sell whenever he wants out (assuming that a market exists for his property at a price sufficient to pay off all liens and encumbrances).Passive investment in real estate is the flip side of the coin, offering many advantages of its own. Property or mortgage assets are selected by professional real estate investment managers, who spent full time investing, analyzing and managing real property. Often, these professionals can negotiate lower prices than you would be able to on your own. Additionally, when a number of individual investor’s money is pooled, the passive investor is able to own a share of property much larger, safer, more profitable, and of a better investment class than the active investor operating with much less capital.Most real estate is purchased with a mortgage note for a large part of the purchase price. While the use of leverage has many advantages, the individual investor would most likely have to personally guarantee the note, putting his other assets at risk. As a passive investor, the limited partner or owner of shares in a Real Estate Investment Trust would have no liability exposure over the amount of original investment. The direct, active investor would likely be unable to diversify his portfolio of properties. With ownership only 2, 3 or 4 properties the investor’s capital can be easily damaged or wiped out by an isolated problem at only one of his properties. The passive investor would likely own a small share of a large diversified portfolio of properties, thereby lowering risk significantly through diversification. With portfolios of 20, 30 or more properties, the problems of any one or two will not significantly hurt the performance of the portfolio as a whole.Types of Passive Real Estate InvestmentsREITsReal Estate Investment Trusts are companies that own, manage and operate income producing real estate. They are organized so that the income produced is taxed only once, at the investor level. By law, REITs must pay at least 90% of their net income as dividends to their shareholders. Hence REITs are high yield vehicles that also offer a chance for capital appreciation. There are currently about 180 publicly traded REITs whose shares are listed on the NYSE, ASE or NASDAQ. REITS specialize by property type (apartments, office buildings, malls, warehouses, hotels, etc.) and by region. Investors can expect dividend yields in the 5-9 % range, ownership in high quality real property, professional management, and a decent chance for long term capital appreciation.Real Estate Mutual FundsThere are over 100 Real Estate Mutual Funds. Most invest in a select portfolio of REITs. Others invest in both REITs and other publicly traded companies involved in real estate ownership and real estate development. Real estate mutual funds offer diversification, professional management and high dividend yields. Unfortunately, the investor ends up paying two levels of management fees and expenses; one set of fees to the REIT management and an additional management fee of 1-2% to the manager of the mutual fund.Real Estate Limited PartnershipsLimited Partnerships are a way to invest in real estate, without incurring a liability beyond the amount of your investment. However, an investor is still able to enjoy the benefits of appreciation and tax deductions for the total value of the property. LPs can be used by landlords and developers to buy, build or rehabilitate rental housing projects using other people’s money. Because of the high degree of risk involved, investors in Limited Partnerships expect to earn 15% + annually on their invested capital.Limited Partnerships allow centralization of management, through the general partner. They allow sponsors/developers to maintain control of their projects while raising new equity. The terms of the partnership agreement, governing the on-going relationship, are set jointly by the general and limited partner(s). Once the partnership is established, the general partner makes all day to day operating decisions. Limited partner(s) may only take drastic action if the general partner defaults on the terms of the partnership agreement or is grossly negligent, events that can lead to removal of the general partner. The LPs come in all shapes and sizes, some are public funds with thousands of limited partners, others are private funds with as few as 3 or 4 friends investing $25,000 each.
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