Money and Bank

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    Secret Offshore Bank Account – Is It Possible

    Secret offshore bank accounts are the stuff of legend. This article intends to debunk some of the myths about secret offshore banking by setting out what is and isn’t possible.

    1) It’s impossible to open an offshore bank account without first somehow identifying yourself. This means sending a notarized copy of your bank account/passport details to the bank or intermediary.
    2) Most offshore banks will also require a reference from a bank at home.
    3) If you open an offshore account in the name of your offshore company, you still need to provide all the formation documents, and the name and address of a real person. No bank will let a faceless entity open an account without pinning it down to a real person.

    So how is it Secret?

    Well, the reasoning behind all this, is that if you open an offshore account the bank may let you have a ‘number’ rather than a name. This so called ‘numbered account’ allows you to send wire transfers without third parties knowing who you are. An account in the name of a company will do a similar thing, allowing you to send and receive payments almost anonymously, because the company name rather yours will show up on all transactions.

    The problem is, this doesn’t shield you from government inquiries. If for example a government authority suspects you of having an undeclared offshore account, that you are hiding money from your spouse or otherwise engaged in funny business they can go to the country or bank in question and request your details. While some countries will reject the majority of these requests others are more pliant.

    Switzerland and the Cayman Islands are two in particular that co-operate with US and EU authorities. Although both have strong bank secrecy laws on paper, these are not so closely followed in practice. Swiss banks UBS and Credit Suisse have made headlines recently over IRS investigations into US held offshore accounts.

    The truth is, if you really want a secret account you may have to look further than ‘traditional’ tax havens. That means jurisdictions without tax-information exchange agreements or other links to high-tax countries.

    Another option is using an offshore bank account alternative. This could be (for example) sending your funds to a trust company which then opens a bank account for you in their name. Although this is also not 100% foolproof, it does offer another level of privacy in the same way that an offshore company will shield your identity.

    Whichever option you choose to take, it pays to follow some ‘golden rules’ of privacy:

    1) Limit the number of people who know about the offshore bank account to as few as is humanly possible.
    2) Fund the account with a cheque or western union transfer, rather than by wire from your home bank. 3) Never send funds directly back home from the offshore account.

    Good luck!

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    Steps to Owning Bank Foreclosure Properties

    Owning bank foreclosure properties is a simple process which anyone can undertake without the help of agents or brokers. There are real deals to be made in buying one of these distressed properties as long as the buyer approaches the entire affair with diligence and caution.

    The process for buying bank foreclosure properties begins with research. The best place to start is the Internet where there are multitudes of web sites providing listings and information on foreclosures. There are free sites that offer country-wide listings but they are highly susceptible to inaccuracies. Your best bet would be the web sites that charge for subscription. For a small investment you get access to all types of foreclosures all across the country as well as news and studies on the market. You can customize your search in these sites to yield only the properties that suit your needs and buying capability.

    Once you have subscribed to a web service offering foreclosure listings and before selecting your main prospects, you need to prequalify for home financing first if you do plan to pay for your purchase in cash. You can go to your bank and submit for a financial assessment to know the kind of loan and the amount you qualify for. You need this pre-approval certificate when you make your offer.

    The Value Appraisal

    If you have selected the home you would like to purchase you need to get an appraisal of the value of the property or at least the most likely price of the home compared to others like it in the market and the neighborhood. Bank foreclosure properties are typically sold at around 20 to 30 percent less than their market value.

    The Offer

    A typical offer for a bank owned home comes with good-faith money given upfront which can be around three percent of the purchase price. Your loan pre-qualification document should also be included in your offer. After your offer is accepted the deed of sale is drawn up. Some important matters to take care of at this point are the inspection period and the closing date as this could impact the overall cost of your purchase. The bank will allow an inspection contingency phase where buyers can cancel their purchase based on the inspection results.

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    The Real Deal With Bank Properties Listings

    While there are indeed many bargains that can be found in the foreclosures market, you should not expect that every property that appears in bank properties listings is a bargain. There are many factors that could drive property prices either up or down. Knowing how to appreciate the market as well as the forces that move behind foreclosures and the entire real estate industry can level your expectations. When dealing with bank properties in particular, take note of the following as smart guides so that you may be able to purchase properties wisely.

    The Real Deal With Bank Offerings

    It is a common notion that bank properties are the safest to buy in the foreclosures market, owing to its ability to erase all liens and transfer clean, good property titles to the buyer. However, despite the screaming ads that boast of low prices and steep discounts, you should be aware that banks do not pass everything on a golden plate.

    When pricing a property and before putting up in bank properties listings, the bank would usually price it almost near to what it is worth, unless it foresees that the property would hardly sell in the market. To attract buyers, banks would commonly employ marketing strategies that would entice the average buyer. This includes offering the property as a move-in-ready property or including some furniture with the sale or even waiving some of its closing costs.

    Also, while banks generally aim for quick sales, this does not mean that they jump in on every offer that they receive for a property. In fact, many foreclosures stay on the market for several months before signs of its being sold even become apparent. The main reason is because it could take weeks or even months for a bank to respond to a buyers offer. And when it does, it almost always makes a counter-offer which could again prolong the negotiation.

    Another thing to be aware of when dealing with bank properties is the fact that defects in property conditions are hardly disclosed by the banks. This is understandable, since many state laws do not or even exempt them from disclosure liability. Another reason is that banks could not be expected to know the condition of all the properties in its inventory.

    Finally, when looking at bank properties listings, bear in mind that there are very few banks that will offer or even entertain pre-closing repairs. If you think that you can insert the deal at any time in your negotiations, you may be in for a surprise. The way to deal with this is to do your own inspection and approximate the repair costs to determine its level of acceptability to you.

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    Money Flows Like Water

    Money is an uncountable noun. The best thing you can do is count units of money. And every nation has a different name for those units and they are valued relatively to a particular unit’s buying power at home and it’s buying power after conversion somewhere else. And this value is always changing. In other words, we all have a pretty good idea (at least we think we have a pretty good idea) of what money does, but the fact remains that money is completely relative to a extraordinarily complex set of factors, among those including political and economic ones. In a simple sense, diamonds are only valuable because they are rare, and gold (which used to be used as money) was like that as well. But now hardly anyone knows what exactly is determining the value of money- even the economists don’t know.

    So how then is money like water? Because most of us have a very simplistic and narrow view of money, and in general, the more you have, the better. But money, like water, always has to go somewhere, doesn’t it? You can, I suppose, accumulate it and keep it, like a water reservoir, in a big bank account for future use. But water evaporates into thin air and so does money (through inflation or economic voodoo spells), so you either must then invest it and make money off your money (which is always risky in one way or another) or spend it ahead of inflation. In any case, if you’re not in the business of making more and more money, (if you’re on a fixed income) money can become a very difficult paradigm to figure out.

    I don’t have to worry about that at the moment, though I do find that position enviable (well, a more or less fixed income- I’d like to deal in goods rather than work for cash). But right now my bankbook reads like a riverbed in an extreme environment of a monthly flash floods, immediately followed by a month long drought. Money flows in, I pay all the bills, and there’s nothing left to save. So the nation of me is very water poor.