Alternatives to Craigslist for buying/selling your stuff

One of the tough things about buying and selling things on Craigslist is never knowing who youre dealing with. More concerns have been raised after a woman was brutally attacked while responding to an ad trying to buy baby clothes. 

We found a few great places where you can buy and sell your things online, without having to risk meeting someone random out somewhere.

Watch the video above for info on Swappa , Threadflip , and Book Swap Florida – from The Now Tampa Bay, weekdays at 4PM.

Auto Loan Basics for First-Time Buyers

Auto Loan Basics for First-Time Buyers

By

Kelsey Mays

on

March 18, 2015

iStock/Thinkstock photo; Cars.com illustration by Paul Dolan

By now, you know what sort of car you want to buy and have a general budget in mind. Thats half the journey. Unless you have piles of cash, youll need to get a loan, and that can be tricky.

Related: More #FirstTimeBuyers Advice

When should you start looking for a loan? Are shorter terms or lower interest rates more important? How much should you drop on your down payment?

Heres what you need to know.

The basic parts of a typical car loan are:

  • The total amount you finance, which equals your cars negotiated out-the-door price (including any incentives and all taxes and fees) minus your down payment and the value of your trade-in, if you have one
  • The interest rate
  • The length of the loan
  • Your monthly car payment

Know Before You Go

See that ad for zero-percent financing? For many consumers, thats pie in the sky. The Consumer Federation of America estimates that only about 15 percent of car shoppers qualify for zero percent loans. Thats because your credit score a number between 300 and 850 has to be pretty high to get it.

Its easy enough to check your score online, and contrary to popular notion, it doesnt hurt to check your credit frequently because those are considered soft inquiries, said Alexis Jonnson, site director at TheNest.com.

Once you have an idea of your credit score and out-the-door budget, it doesnt hurt to get preapproved for an auto loan from a bank or credit union. Having pre-set terms can encourage your dealership to make a competitive offer. And if the dealer cant, you can go with the loan you have lined up.

Loan Lengths Matter

The length of car loans can vary, and a quarter of auto loans were running from 73 to 84 months long, according to Experian, a credit-information provider. Some lenders will make car loans for up to 96 months long. Lengthy terms make for a cheaper monthly payment, but youll have to pay the piper elsewhere.

Thats because cars depreciate (meaning, they lose value) the minute you drive them off the lot, and initial depreciation is steep. A typical family sedan is worth between 50 and 65 percent of its original value after two years of ownership, according to residuals calculator ALG, and the bulk of that depreciation comes in the first year. If you havent ponied up enough of a down payment that can lead you to being upside-down, or owing more money on a car than its worth, for several years into your ownership.

Being in that boat may seem like only a theoretical problem, but it can turn into a real concern:

  • Crashes or theft: What happens if your car is stolen or totaled? Insurance typically pays only the value of your car, not the remaining balance on the loan[2]. Many insurers offer whats called gap policies to pay the difference between the value of a car and what you owe on the loan, but thats more money out of your pocket.
  • Mounting costs near the loans end: Lengthy car loans often extend beyond your new cars warranty. That means if the car needs drivetrain repairs after the warranty expires, youll have to shell out the cash while youre still making payments.
  • You need a different car: What happens if you add another family member and outgrow your current car? Its not easy to trade it for a larger car when youre upside-down on your loan; youd have to make up the difference between the trade-in value and whatever you owe.

To make sure your car is worth more than you owe on it, commit to shorter loans and higher monthly payments. The good news is shorter-term loans often carry lower interest rates. And if you commit more money as a down payment, youll maintain positive equity in your car for the entire ownership.

Just how much? Mike Sante, managing editor at Interest.com, advocates at least 20 percent of the vehicle price as your down payment because a car depreciates by about that much the second youve driven off the lot.

Consignment shops offer an alternative for buying and selling furniture

Several antiques from the loggia of a Tanglewood home later were offered for sale at Atelier 1505. The bird cage above the fireplace, made in France in 1946, sold to a client in Bermuda. The matching chairs are part of the inventory now at the store at 1505 Sawyer.

Tax-saving tips for buying and selling a property

Irrespective of class or income, Indians are fond of buying gold and real estate. Purchasing and selling the metal is a straightforward game but a property, through its lifecycle (buying, owning and selling), can be taxing. If played right, you can reduce the tax outgo.

While buying
A house is the biggest purchase most people make in their lifetime and the government realises this. To give buyers relief, the government has allowed income tax (I-T) deductions if the property is bought on a loan. Under Section 80C, the borrower can claim deduction of up to Rs 1.5 lakh. For a self-occupied property, a Rs 2 lakh benefit is available under Section 24 (b) of the Income Tax Act for interest on the home loan. If the property is not self-occupied, the entire interest paid to the lender can be deducted from income. This applies even if a person borrows money from a friend, his family or a private lender provided appropriate loan document between the borrower and private lender is done and there is either a letter or a confirmation of interest charged by lender, said Hemal Mehta, senior director, Deloitte in India.

Problem area: Under the current market conditions, project delays are a common thing. This can cause financial trouble to the borrower. A person can#39;t claim deduction for the interest if his or her house is still under construction. A buyer can, however, get benefit for the principal amount. On possession, the borrower can claim deduction for the interest paid during the pre-construction period. This needs to be done in five equal instalments, starting the financial year you are handed the property.

Tip: To take advantage of current laws, a couple should take a joint loan in equal proportion. This will allow each to claim full tax deductions available for the principal and interest. This also applies to a child and a parent.

While you own it
If it#39;s the borrower#39;s only house and self-occupied, there#39;s no taxation. For those who have two or more houses and these are neither let out nor occupied, the taxation can get tricky.

According to I-T laws, in such cases the owner should take a notional rent value and pay tax on it. There#39;s a prescribed method to calculate the notional value, which takes into consideration the municipal value of the property and the rent control legislation (either of the two) or the prevailing rent in the area for a similar house. In a case of a notional rent, there is no rule to submit a certificate from a third party. However, it#39;s better that a person submits a letter from a broker stating the prevalent rent in the area, said Mayur Shah, executive director – tax regulatory services, EY India.

Problem area: If you are claiming housing loan deductions and housing rent allowance (HRA) at the same time, it can cause trouble. Many people claim HRA by showing rent paid to parents or wife (if there#39;s a house in their names). A taxpayer is allowed HRA and loan deductions both under certain conditions. For example if your house is in a different city than that of residence. The department also allows you to claim HRA if you have a house in the same city as your residence, but you need to have a genuine reason. For example, many people in metros such as Delhi and Mumbai own house in far-off suburbs and can find it difficult to commute, owing to the distance. In such case, the person can claim both.

Tip: While calculating the notional value of a second home, you are allowed to claim few deductions such as municipal taxes. Also, an owner can claim deduction of a sum equal to 30 per cent of the value of the house property towards repair and maintenance charges.

While selling
When a person sells a property, he or she needs to pay tax on the profits made. If sold within three years of acquisition, the seller needs to pay short-term capital gains tax (STCG). In this case, the profits are combined with the income and taxed on the I-T slab rate.

If the property is held for more than three years, it attracts long-term capital gains tax (LTCG). The tax is levied at 20 per cent (plus surcharge and cess) after adjusting the gains for inflation using the cost inflation index the government issues.

A seller can save entire tax outgo if he or she uses proceeds equivalent to long-term capital gains for buying a new house located within India within one year prior to the sale date or two years from the sale date. If the property is under construction the time period permitted is three years.

The amount used for buying a new property is exempted from tax and if there#39;s any balance, it will be taxed at a flat 20 per cent (plus cess and surcharge). If you are not immediately buying a house, this money needs to be kept in the Capital Gains Account Scheme (CGAS), and withdrawn within the stipulated timeframe.

If you don#39;t want to go for a residential property, you can still save LTCG tax by investing in specified bonds issued by the National Highways Authority of India or Rural Electrification Corp (under section 54/54EC) within six months from the date of sale. These bonds have a lock-in period of three years. Also, the seller can only invest a maximum of Rs 50 lakh in these bonds, while you have to pay tax on the remaining amount.

Problem area: If the seller had inherited the property or it was gifted to him, the capital gain will be computed on the basis of the cost to the previous owner. If the house was purchased before April 1, 1981, the I-T department will consider the acquisition cost by the original owner or the fair market value of the property as on April 1, 1981, whichever is higher.

If a person sells an under-construction property after holding it for over three years, the taxation rules completely change. This is because the I-T department considers the person as a property owner only when he or she has received possession.

Tip: While calculating STCG and LTCG tax on sale of property, one can deduct the money spent on improvement and also cost for acquiring the asset such as stamp duty, legal fees, and payment of brokerage.

TDS WHILE BUYING A PROPERTY

  • For property purchases over Rs 50 lakh, buyers need to deduct withholding tax on behalf of the seller
  • This is 1% of the agreement value
  • This amount needs to be deposited with the income tax department
  • Buyer needs to furnish information online in Form 26QB
  • He/she also needs to download TDS certificate (Form 16B) and issue it to the seller
  • Failure to comply results in interest and penalty on the buyer

How to Make Money Buying Locally and Selling Globally

Decide what to sell

Deciding where to sell and what to sell is a bit of a chicken-or-the-egg conundrum. Different venues are better for certain items.

So do you decide where you want to sell and then pick an item that works well on that platform? Or do you decide what you want to sell and then find a website well-suited to that item?

Find help for common financial problems in our Solutions Center!

For this article, well start by discussing what to sell first. Essentially, you have two choices: collector arbitrage and retail arbitrage. Dont let the word arbitrage throw you off. It simply means buying something in one place and then turning around and selling it right away somewhere else, hopefully for a profit.

  • Collector arbitrage: This category refers to buying and selling items from private sources. Those sources could be garage sales, thrift stores, flea markets and local auctions. While you could certainly sell collectibles for profit, collector arbitrage doesnt refer exclusively to them. You could buy and sell clothes, movies, music, household goods or anything else you find thats in demand.
  • Retail arbitrage: This is the same idea as collector arbitrage, except youll be buying from retail stores rather than third parties. If you live for clearance sales and going out of business liquidation events, this type of arbitrage is for you.

While you could buy and sell items of every kind, your life may be easier and your profits greater if you focus on a specific category. By specializing, you can gain expertise on what items are in demand and what prices they fetch. Then you can quickly zero in on products that will be money-makers and bypass those that will probably sell for a loss.

4 online marketplaces to sell your stuff

Once you have a good idea of what you want to sell, you need to pick the right venue. Here are four websites you may want to consider.

  1. eBay: Ebay offers a huge market with lots of potential customers, but that can also translate into more competition. Items can be sold as auctions or in fixed-price listings.
  2. Amazon: While originally known for books, virtually anything can be sold on Amazon nowadays. Third-party listings may not get the same visibility as they would on other sites though. On the plus side, Fulfillment by Amazon lets you ship most items to the company and have them pack and ship products for you when individual orders come through.
  3. Half.com: Owned by eBay, Half.com can be an easy way to sell books, music and movies. Theres no need to take photos or write long descriptions. However, the traffic on this site may not be as good as what youd get at eBay or Amazon.
  4. Etsy: It used to be that only handmade items could be sold on Etsy, but they have since expanded to allow the sale of vintage items that are at least 20 years old. If you decide to buy and sell antiques or older collectibles, Etsy might be a good venue for your sales.

Finding items that sell best online

As youre scouting out local finds, you want to be careful not to overpay. To make it worth your time, ideally you only want to pay 10-20 percent of what an item is selling for on eBay or whatever online venue youve chosen.

Hopefully youve done enough research that you know, off the top of your head, the going prices in your niche. But if you run across something new or get stumped, dont hesitate to pull out your smart phone and do some on-the-spot research.

Also, test drive new items by only buying a couple to start. The pressure cookers at your discount store may be a steal, but you dont want to clear the shelf until you know theres a market for them online.

Finally, dont overlook an items dimensions and weight. Excessive shipping charges can scare away potential customers. In addition, delicate items that are prone to break may be more trouble than theyre worth.

Special considerations for electronics

Lastly, dont skip over electronics. With technology changing rapidly, you may assume last generations devices are worthless. That may be true sometimes, but there is a market for old, and even broken, electronics.

While you can sell more recent, working items on eBay for a decent price, send older tech to Gazelle and Nextworth for a little cash.

You can also check out this article on nine ways to profit from broken electronics.

What do you think about buying locally and selling globally? Or do you do it already? Tell us all about it in the comments below or on our Facebook page.

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Safety Checklist for Buying and Selling Used Devices

Safety Checklist for Buying and Selling Used Devices
— March 23, 2015

Selling used smartphones, tablets and other devices can be a great way for users to pocket extra cash and buyers to get still capable technology at good prices. There are many outlets for comparing real-time buyback and trade-in offers for all popular devices, for example, Flipsy. But buying and selling used devices can also be a dangerous practice if proper security precautions are not taken.

Potential security breaches include:

  • Buyers can inherit spyware that tracks their every move and grants access to sensitive data such as financial accounts and personal photos.
  • Sellers can unwittingly sell devices to buyers who access their sensitive data, potentially identity thieves.
  • Armed with such information, criminals can drain bank accounts, make private photos public and even use location services to stalk victims.

Indeed, the consequences of poor security can be dire; however, there are some steps to take that will minimized the risk and protect users against identity theft and other security issues. Flipsy offers the following checklists for selling and buying mobile devices securely.

For sellers:

  • Run an anti-virus app that has anti-spyware features; or, run an anti-spyware app separately.
  • Run an anti-theft tool, which overwrites data instead of simply erasing it.
  • Disconnect all online services, connected accounts and apps.
  • Encrypt Android devices (Browse to security settings and select Encrypt device).
  • Reset the device to factory settings (be sure to make a backup first, if needed).
  • Remove the SIM card and microSD card, if applicable.

For buyers:

  • Perform a factory reset as soon as the device is received.
  • Install anti-virus, anti-spyware and/or anti-theft apps and run applicable scans.
  • Make sure all connected apps and services are using the proper accounts.

Miscellaneous two wins away from Premier League

Miscellaneous would be crowned champions if they win their next two-league game, which is almost inevitable, based on their current hot form.

Two wins will give them an unassailable lead of 46 points. The Serowe outfit has 40 points, 10 clear of second placed Mahalapye Hotspurs that can only end with 45points if they win their remaining fixtures. Hotspurs face a tough battle for position two, which is a play-off spot.

Third-placed, Green Lovers have 26 points and fancy their chances. However, inconsistency might be their undoing as evidenced by a 2-1 reverse at TAFIC last weekend

Kazungula Young Fighters can still snatch the play-off spot as they have the same points as Green Lovers, but are behind on goal difference.

Kazungula have also picked form at the right moment and has registered some important victories in the second stanza of the season. Fifth-placed TAFIC have also looked more lively in the second round.

The club, which signed a few players in the second round among them veteran midfielder Phutego Modipe, has registered four straight wins and now sits at position five just a point behind Kazungula and Lovers. If their form is anything to go by, coupled with inconsistency of other clubs above them, TAFIC have a strong chance to make the play-offs. Tsabothe that are sixth started the season on a high, but have fizzled and with 19 points, their mission would be to maintain their status in the league.

Tsabothe, however, have a game in hand after their tie with Palapye All Stars was abandoned over the weekend.

Another side that has improved its fortunes is TASC. After starting the season on a low, the club has now managed a few impressive results, which included a 1-0 surprise win over on form Kazungula.

TASC are also on 19 points, but behind Tsabothe on goal difference. Maun Tigers and Amakhosi continue to struggle. The two sides have now managed 18 points in the league and occupy position nine and 10 respectively.

Tigers have however improved as they spent most of the season in the relegation zone. They are followed by Tonota FC that have been fighting relegation in the last three seasons. The Tonota side has picked 17 points from 17 league matches.

Palapye All Stars downfall has been as spectacular as the teams rise in the early season. After months in the mid-table and at one point occupying the upper half of the table, the Serowe side is now second from bottom with 16 points.

Great North Tigers are bottom with a similar number of points as All Stars, but trail on goal difference.

Tax attorney: Extra money for late state refunds unlikely

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. –

A Colorado Springs tax attorney says he thinks its unlikely that Colorado will pay penalties for delivering late tax refunds.

KRDO NewsChannel 13 previously reported on a state statute that requires the Colorado Department of Revenue to deliver refund checks within a specific time of filing, otherwise it must pay a late penalty plus interest.

But several people have been told they wont get the penalty, even though the refund was delivered outside the window set by the state statute.

I was excited. I waited this long, a little extra money could help, said Jessica Hines, a Colorado Springs resident. Hines filed in January and received her refund this week. But when she finally got through to the Department of Revenue, she was told she wouldnt see a late penalty from the state.

They said, No, thats actually not the case. You will not be getting any extra money, Hines said.

Tax attorney, J. David Hopkins, told KRDO NewsChannel 13 he wasnt surprised. He said hes never seen the statute come up in his years of practice and there has never been a court case about it.

With so many people receiving late refunds this year, Hopkins said the DOR will likely claim exception from the statute since it is checking for fraud.

The lower-level employees of the department, they dont know whats going on. They dont even have any authority to say whats going on, Hopkins said. Its all going to have to come from a policy decision from the head of the department or the attorney general.

The Department of Revenue told KRDO Thursday that it did not have any information on its plan for the income tax refund interest statute.  A spokesperson for the Colorado Attorney Generals Office said it could not confirm whether it is involved in deciding how the DOR will proceed.

Hopkins said unless the DOR decides it will issue late fees to everyone, it will be hard for individuals to claim it.

Youre going to have to sue them for it, there isnt any other way, Hopkins said. And you cant sue the government without going through the administrative process first. You have to get the denial of claim for your refund, then sue them for it which is a long process.

Hopkins said he didnt think the lengthy legal process would be worth it for most taxpayers.

Hines still hopes the DOR will pay the late penalty on principle.

Maybe they could give everyone a little late fee penalty because no one knew what was going on, she said.

To read our previous story, click here. To read the state statute, click here.

Free Katy seminars address buying, selling homes

Veronica Mullenix Real Estate Group is putting together four Katy Homebuyer and Seller free seminars to educate and inform future and current Katy residents about the home-buying and selling process.

The first seminar is Saturday, March 21, from 10:30 am-12:30 pm at Salt and Pepper Restaurant and Catering, 811 Ave. D, Suite 110 Katy.

Real estate industry professionals assembled to speak include Art Marquez, owner of AM Inspections; Vickie McClain, owner of McClain Insurance; Helen Maldonado of First Republic Title; JoAnn Cooper with AMCAP Mortgage; Joe Orsak with Improve My Credit USA, and Mullenix, broker of Veronica Mullenix Real Estate Group.

Audience questions will be encouraged, said Mullenix.

RSVP to Seminars@VeronicaMullenix.com, or call/text 281-844-6285. Walk-ins are welcome, but space is limited. An RSVP will reserve a seat. Future seminars are May 2, Aug. 15 and Nov. 21. Visit www.KatyHomeBuyerAndSellerSeminars.com.

Chamber looksat HR issues

People with questions or concerns about human resources issues are invited to the Katy Area Chamber of Commerce HR Roundtable meeting at Brazos Valley Schools Credit Union, 25525 Katy Mills Parkway, on Thursday, March 26 at 8:30 am

The group is open to all chamber members who deal with hiring, recruiting, interviewing, discipline, termination and employee benefits, including the Affordable Care Act, OSHA, workers compensation or automated systems.

Attendees at the March 26 will receive a legal update regarding current hot employment issues and discuss topics that participants would to address Contact: www.katychamber.com or 281-391-5289.

Mobile proof of auto insurance may soon come to Mississippi drivers

Motorists could soon be displaying their liability coverage cards on their smartphones.

Drivers in Mississippi may soon be allowed to use their smartphones and other types of electronic device to be able to show their proof of auto insurance, should a new legislative bill be passed.

Motorists will be able to display the liability insurance cards on the screens of their mobile devices.

If the bill should pass, it will mean that even if motorists have not brought their traditional proof of auto insurance cards with them, it will still be possible to show a digital version of the card on the screen of a mobile device. Both the House and the Senate of Mississippi have passed Senate Bill 2380, but a slight amendment to the bill was made by the House. The Senate will need to give its approval to the new language before it will be possible to move that bill onward to the governor’s desk.

Mississippi will not be the first among the states to make it legal to display digital proof of auto insurance coverage.

The goal is to try to take some of the pressure off the court systems in the state. Many motorists find themselves scrambling to find their liability insurance card if they are pulled over by a police officer. If they cannot do so within a timely manner, they can find themselves facing a ticket for operating a vehicle without proof of adequate coverage. Once they have found their card, they must then attend a court date to prove that the coverage was in place on the date that they received the ticket.

If those drivers can simply show that they have a car insurance policy by presenting proof of it on their cell phone screens, then it will stop many of them from having to receive a ticket and go to court in the first place. This will dramatically reduce the cost and time associated with those court dates and will take a great deal of pressure off the legal system in the state.

The digital proof of auto insurance bill was authored by Mississippi Senator Robert Jackson (D-Marks). It says that the insurer that issues a motor vehicle liability policy will now provide the insured individual a proof of coverage card that can now come in either paper or electronic form. Should the bill pass, it will go into effect in July 1.