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Doing Your Own Car Buying Research

car buyingEveryone has experienced it at least once or twice in his or her adult lives’ the time when it comes to buy a car. Whether that car is new or used, the buying experience can be quite eventful. If you’re looking to do your own car buying research, there are a few things you must consider before making that first google search.

Searching for a car is certainly a lot of work. You need to check all parts of the car to be sure that everything is up to critical standards. You need to make sure that the car is fairly represented in both presentation and price. This means that you need to ensure that you are getting what you see. All too often, customers are misled simply by the physical presentation of the car, such as:

  • how it looks on the outside, i.e., color, style, etc.
  • how good the interior looks, i.e., leather, buttons, bells, seats.

When you’re dealing with car brokers (used or new car salesmen), you’re going to be dealing with individuals who have the best interest of the sale in mind, rather than your own best interest in mind. They’re more focused on making the sale, and getting as much money as they can out of the sale, so they’re likely not to be inclined to go into as many details as possible.

This is why you must always be ready to go into “investigator’s mode”.

This is not to imply that car salesmen are dishonest, by any means. They are simply business people, like any other, and that is how you must look at the business interaction. For you as a customer, this simply means that you must also be prepared to do your own homework to make sure that you’re getting the car that’s being represented to you, and that there aren’t any details that aren’t discussed, but ones that you may find very important. For instance:

  • Accident Details

Let’s say the used car was in an accident, but was successfully repaired with no signs of visible impact. The car salesman will most certainly disclose this to you and will likely assure you that you have no worries as far as that is concerned. But it’s also likely that in the future, the impact from the accident may affect other parts of the car in terms of its operation, which may cause you to spend even more money in getting it repaired later. If you know exactly what type of impact it was, and what parts of the car were affected, you can determine if you’re likely to expect other problems down the road. This is a personal decision, but having all of the details of the situation is going to best serve your interests.

  • Car Owners

car buyingJust how many owners has this car had? Why is that important to know? Well, every owner treats and handles their car differently, so this is subjective at best. What one person deems good care, another one may consider it marginal. Knowing how many owners there were helps you in deciding if it’s worth it to invest in a car that’s had three or four owners. You also have to determine why there have been so many owners. Does the car operate erratically? Why did the first owner sell it? What about the second and subsequent owners…why did they sell?

Getting all of the information you need in order to make an informed decision about purchasing your vehicle is important, so the best way to do that is to search and look for pertinent information. You can launch searches on just about everything, including auto information. The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of the car will give you all of the information that you need to know about a its history. You can also launch searches about the car company selling the car(s), and make purchasing determinations based on the information that you receive.

Be as thorough and investigative as you can be about the vehicle, its past and the car company that is representing it. Ask questions, but also look for and read information that’s not readily available from the dealer. You’ll be more informed in the decision process, but more importantly you’ll be glad to have so much detailed information at your disposal.


Planning a Road Trip with Online Databases

Online databases can be a great help to anyone planning a road trip. You can use them to not only map out your driving route in detail, but also to locate the best bargains: the cheapest food, gas, lodging and entertainment.

Now, if you want the absolute lowest-priced accommodations possible – that is to say, free accommodations – look no further than Couchsurfing.com. This website, which began as a nonprofit operation in 2003 but has since gone the for-profit route, is a database in which members in over 170 countries offer their couches, for free, to weary travelers. On Couchsurifng.com you can also read biographies of each couch’s owner before asking to crash at someone’s place. Who knows? In the process of surfing couches you might end up making lifelong friends.

You might be concerned about missing some of the most colorful and exciting attractions as you’re driving along. But with MySights, a tool within RoadsideAmerica.com’s comprehensive database, you can search through a list of more than 5,000 of the most compelling landmarks, amusement parks, monuments and museums – trust us, some of these are truly strange – that the Unites States has to offer, and choose those that sound the most fun to you. This website will then take your choices and create a detailed map showing you how to get to each of them. (You can pick up to 30 different sites per map.)


“It is better to travel well than to arrive.” – Buddha


If you’re as fascinated by the roads you drive on as the attractions you visit, try out the National Scenic Byways Program’s database at byways.org. It will provide you with directions, maps and descriptions of the United States’ “nationally designated scenic drives” – and there are 96 of them. So instead of traversing endless, bland interstates, you can cruise the Death Valley Scenic Byway, the Cherokee Hills Byway, and many more.

Maybe you’re more interested in events than landmarks, and maybe your main reason for traveling is to attend concerts, county fairs, book fairs, festivals, fiestas and the like. If so, a terrific database for you can be found at WhatsonWhen.com, a website operated by Frommer’s. At this site you’ll find daily listings and descriptions of major events worldwide. You can also search for upcoming events in categories such as “Kids & Family” and “Sports & Outdoors.” Or, if you know you’ll be in a certain city on a certain date, you can look that city up and discover practically every exciting happening scheduled for that day.

You might wish to take advantage of more traditional road trip-planning databases, too. One that’s been around since the invention of cars  – at least, it seems that way – is the American Automobile Association’s TripTik. TripTik provides travelers with highly detailed, accurate maps specifically tailored to their travel plans. Since 2007, TripTik has been free to everyone on the Internet; before 2007 it had been reserved for AAA’s members. And this program not only makes it simple to map out multi-destination trips, but when you use TripTik, all the lodging reservations you need to make are just a click away. Another old-school tool for traveling, one your grandparents may have used in its non-digital iteration, is the Rand McNally map. Now called TripMaker, Rand McNally’s online database debuted in 2005. It lets you instantly plan out a round-trip route, and it optimizes any route that includes four or more stops.

Gasoline calculators are a huge help in reducing trip expenses; you can easily search for them on any Internet search engine. On a website such as Gasbuddy.com, you simply enter the addresses of your starting point and destination, as well as the type of vehicle you drive, and the database will tell you the locations of the gas stations offering the cheapest gas en route.

The websites and databases listed above are just a few of the places available online to facilitate the planning and budgeting of a road trip. Many more such sites exist – sometimes it seems like there are as many road trip-related websites as there are places to visit on a road trip. Happy travels!




Eviction Searches

Evictions are certainly not a pleasant event to encounter, but for property owners, it’s simply a part of the business on a daily basis. When a tenant fails to pay his rent for space that he is using, it is up to the property owner to launch an eviction process to remove the tenant from the space so that other users can occupy it and so that the owner can gain some revenue from paying customers.

Eviction Searches

Property owners and apartment managers see a lot of tenants and also rent to a lot of tenants on a regular basis. They have to go through a lot of detailed records and information in order to approve potential tenants. Background checks, criminal checks and credit checks are generally a part of the system of information that is checked and verified before someone is approved for a lease arrangement.

Although eviction is certainly not pleasant, it is in some cases very necessary. It is also a lengthy, detailed process that, if not followed accurately, can become a long and tedious method. Property managers also like to have access to eviction databases so as to pre-determine candidates before to choosing to rent to them. If the applicant has a history of evictions or a pattern of paying their rental fees slowly, the manager may choose to not take a risk and rent to that applicant.

Property managers also do a job of checking tenants records that may have prior evictions or negative information on their rental records. For those property owners who must do massive or large-scaled searches, it is more advantageous and thorough for them to launch eviction searches that will give them more thorough and complete information overall.

By launching eviction searches, the owners can find out detailed information like;

  1. The date of an eviction, which can be as late as 30-60 days or as late at 12-36 months out.
  2. The amount or balance that the tenant owed, which can also include multiple property addresses or property that falls under multiple names with the same social security number or EIN number.
  3. The address where the eviction occurred, which can be a personal or business address.
  4. The name(s) that the eviction occurred under, which can also include multiple names, maiden names or hyphenated names.

This eviction information is usually gleaned from public records information, so launching a search will return accurate information back to them. Any information that is not gained through public records database may be gathered from personal or private sources, but will have detailed information about the tenant and his activities, so the information is still regarded as good.

Evictions searches are not only limited to personal rental property tenants but can also apply to business tenants as well. In cases where there are evictions of business clients, the public and private records databases are also accessed in order to find detailed information. Some business clients that have multiple locations may also have eviction records available or rental property information that relates to the searches.

To ensure that detailed information is gathered, it’s ideal to use search engines and search portals that specialize in gathering this type of detailed information. Services like this will go into specific details about the evictions and will generally only access resources where the information is verifiable and reliable. Also, search engine services will also allow cross searches, which will enable customers to check other related information as well. In the case of eviction searches, clients may also be able to access employment records or property addresses that are also associated with the evicted customers.


Sell Your Home and Profit…or Lose

In today’s current economy, home sales fluctuate from profits to losses, and both buyers and sellers are looking for the ideal situation that will best fit their needs. If you are considering to sell your home; sellers need to conduct research if they are going to sell the home themselves or hire a broker.  For buyers, that means the need to do as extensive research as possible on their home purchase is going to be very important.

Buyers are going to be looking for:

  • The best deals on any new and/or existing homes.
  • Finding the most house they can get for their money.
  • Homes which are easy to get into (down payment, less remodeling, etc.)

Sell Your Home and ProfitThere are some great tools that buyers can use to get home pricing information. Buyers can simply type an address into any search engine to discover a wealth of knowledge. But what if you want to find public records for a particular address or zip code, or research a house number in a zip code?

By the same token, sellers want to get as much as they can out of the sale of their homes as well. This ease-of-selling is true for the homeowner as well, especially if they’ve been in the home for a number of years and have quite a bit of equity built up in the home.

Since some situations can either be a buyer’s market or a seller’s dream, it’s best to have as much resourceful information that you can before you embark on any buying/selling scenario. One such type of resource to have at your disposal, no matter which side of the fence you find yourself on, is to have a current list of home sales and prices of the sale in your area. This is information that’s provided by the local County Recorder’s office in your local area, and the information provided is generally updated weekly, if not more often than that.

Realtors and real estate professionals use this information religiously when they’re searching for home sales and information. Access to this information gives them a solid idea of what kinds of property are selling in an area, the listing prices, the sales prices and other information. When realtors work with buyers and sellers, they can better represent them and give them accurate information on home sales and what the buyer or seller can reasonably expect to experience as they embark on their journey.

Sell Your Home and ProfitFrom a customer’s perspective (buyer or seller), information about home and property sales gives them an idea of what they can expect, even if they’re not ready to start the process. Veteran homeowners are usually always interested in the equity that’s in their homes, more than anything else. They want to know what they can reasonably expect to profit if their homes sold today. This information of course is not solid since other variables can affect that information (listing price, selling price, negotiations, etc.), but it gives them more of a reasonable idea of what they’re working with. As a result of finding out this information, they may choose to wait a while longer before selling, or if the price is right, they may sell right away and make a big profit!

Now, while those homeowners are looking for sales information, they will also want to know other statistics about the home, and not just the asking or selling price.


So moving to and living in a burgeoning city certainly has its perks, but there are a few consequences that can accompany that, like the crime rate for that particular area. What is the crime rate like in the area that interests them? Has it grown or decreased in recent years? Is it going to be a safe place for me to raise a family? Usually, when an area experiences a growth spurt, it also experiences somewhat of an increase in crime as well. This is not always the norm, but in general instances.


What is the average temperature like in the area? Are there cold, cold winters or blazing hot summers, or both? Believe it or not, there are many people who make major home buying and selling decisions based on this type of information. This is why it’s important for them to research the topic thoroughly before making a decision, since it’s likely going to be one that will affect them for quite some time.

Home and population statistics are available from local, state and federal sources that both professionals and homeowners use in making decisions. These resources are invaluable, and having access to the right kind of resources with helpful and usable information can make a significant difference in helping users to make the right choices.