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December 6, 2011
by Julie Baker
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Federal Housing Administration Loan Limits Increased

In October, Congress decided to lower the top loan amount that the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) could back, but then at the end of last month, they decided to raise it again. This higher loan limit will be valid for the next two years and applies to the country’s priciest real estate markets. In October the limit was lowered to $625,500, and in November it was raised to $729,750.

The FHA backs home loans for home buyers who make a down payment of less than 3.5% of the cost of a home. Without federal backing, given the still-shaky real estate market, private lenders may be reluctant to lend large amounts of money. In New York City, one of the priciest real estate markets in the country, more than 1,500 loans were made in amounts between $625,500 and $729,750 last year. Without federal backing, many of those loans may have fallen through, which would be bad news for the real estate market.

This move shows that Congress recognizes that the housing market still needs help, at least in the short term.

Present Value LLC is a worldwide international appraisal and advisory company that provides a range of professional services such as Certified Machinery and Equipment Appraisals, Inventory Appraisals, Asset Verification Services, Business Valuations, and Real Estate Appraisals. Contact us today!

By: Present Value

Additional reading:

FHA Changes the Rules

FHA Is True to its Word


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December 6, 2011
by Julie Baker
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Equipment Donations

EquipNet has partnered with Cambridge-based Seeding Labs to facilitate the donation of used lab equipment, simplifying the process for small local labs and global manufacturers to help scientists around the world. Check out the new Equipment Donations page for case studies, free eBooks, a video, and more.
Astronauts on Apollo 13 used duct tape to repair important equipment that would allow the spacecraft to safely return to Earth. Some scientists are resorting to similar, primitive methods to improvise unavailable lab equipment for important research in developing countries.  A scientist in Argentina was studying the evolution of drug-resistance in tuberculosis—a disease that was killing thousands in his country. Dr. Hector Ricardo Morbidoni had no resources to outfit his laboratory, so he rigged up a used refrigerator as a functional incubator—creating the first ever “fridgecubator.” While these type of adaptations are admirable, the scarcity of lab equipment in emergent nations is limiting global research capabilities and delaying significant scientific discovery.

With the help of EquipNet and Seeding Labs, small local labs and global biotech and pharmaceutical firms are now able to easily and safely donate their surplus equipment. Check out the Equipment Donations page and be a part of global scientific discovery.


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December 5, 2011
by Jonathan Dickerson
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EquipNet’s International Auction Tips

Most professionals today are looking for ways to save time and money. This is especially true when it comes to the manufacturers of the world, who spend millions of dollars a year purchasing the equipment used to produce the world’s pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and consumer goods. So if you’re wondering, “What’s a great way for me to save company money, quickly and efficiently this year?”One answer is to start participating in the many used industrial equipment auction events held almost weekly around the world.

Over the past few months you could have bid in EquipNet’s pharmaceutical equipment auctions in Brazil, Spain, and England; our laboratory equipment auctions in Sweden, Wales, and Puerto Rico; and our packaging equipment auctions in Mexico, South Africa, and the USA, just to name a few. From your computer, you have access to a world’s worth of auctions, all representing great opportunities to get the equipment you need, from top brands, for a greatly discounted price.

In talking with our clients, we’ve found that many companies are interested in taking advantage of the buying opportunities at international auctions – but are reluctant to do so, because they worry it may prove too complicated.  While there certainly are differences from buying local, it can be surprisingly easy to participate in international auctions, so long as you follow a few best practices.

With this series of articles, we hope to demystify the international auction and provide you with all the tips necessary to successfully source from any auction event, from anywhere in the world. Our first tip focuses on one of the most important steps of participating in any auction event, finding and evaluating the equipment to ensure it is equipment you would be comfortable purchasing and putting to use in your facility.

Finding and Evaluating Equipment:

One of the most common concerns we hear from buyers is that the equipment in overseas auctions is, well, far away.  How can they be sure they find the right equipment?  When they find it, how can they know that the equipment is what it is represented to be, and that it will be a good, reliable fit for their operation?  Here are some simple tips you can follow when finding and evaluating equipment in international auctions:

Tip #1 –  Pick a good Partner

It’s tempting to just search on the internet.  However, anyone can put up a website; you never know what you’re going to find on the other side.  You’re better off with a reputable partner who (a) has a vested interest in your satisfaction and (b) has the access to connect you with high quality inventory from name brand companies.  It’s also good if (c) your partner has an expert staff that knows the equipment you are looking for and can guide your efforts.

When it comes to an auction vendor there are four crucial criteria you can use to separate the good from the bad, and the bad from the ugly:

A. Transparency. Work with an auction vendor who has a clear set of rules and guidelines for participating in their events. They should clearly list all potential costs, taxes, or fees for each event. You will also want to research the vendor’s reputation. A reputable company should have a spot-free reputation, and even if they have had some problems in the past, they should be transparent and provide evidence that the issue was resolved.

B. Detailed Lot Information. This tip almost goes without saying, the more information the vendor is able to provide regarding what they are selling, the better.  You will want to look for hi-resolution pictures, maintenance documentation, and a detailed description of the equipment including serial numbers and model information. It is also a great sign if you can inspect the equipment firsthand.

C. Knowledgeable Sales Staff. When something goes wrong, or you have a question you need answered, there is simply no substitute for a real person on the phone, ready and willing to assist you. Keep in mind you will be a long distance away from the actual auction event, so it will be reassuring to know that help is just a phone call away should the need arise.

D. In-House Logistics Department. It is always a good sign when a vendor offers you the option of shipping your recently purchased equipment through their in-house logistics department. Be wary however, even if a vendor has a logistics offering, you will need to make sure that they too are completely transparent when it comes to detailing the complete costs of shipment.

Tip #2 - Set realistic expectations and lets the pros help you search

You cannot expect to find what you are looking for immediately.  Instead, you should figure out what are the key pieces you are looking for.  What are the must-haves and the should-haves?  What is your budget?  What is your approximate timeframe for purchase?  Do you have any deadlines? All of these questions need to be answered before you reach out to your chosen vendor. Once they are, you will want to communicate these to your partner and have them search both inventory available for sale and upcoming auctions to find exactly what you’re looking for.

Tip #3 – Ask the Right Questions

Before agreeing to participate in an auction event, whether in your home town or in a country thousands of miles away, you must fully understand the engagement you are entering prior to making any commitments. To make sure you are fully informed about the auction event, ask the following questions, and do not settle for obscure or hazy responses: Continue Reading →


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December 2, 2011
by Jonathan Dickerson
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How to Maintain Your Surplus Lab Equipment

The next time you find yourself resurfacing from underneath your piles of work, take a moment to look around your lab and make a mental list of all the equipment you see sitting idly on a lab bench taking up space collecting dust or squirreled away in storage. If your lab is like most in the world, then you will soon find your mental list stretching on past 5 items, to 10 items, and so on. Fortunately, all of that surplus lab equipment, that once had a purpose, now has a new role, to provide cash to your organization through resale on the used equipment market.  Turning your surplus lab equipment into cash is a relatively simple process, however ensuring that the equipment your lab has neglected for months or even years at a time, is in ideal condition for resale, is a slightly more complicated matter.

This post will share with you an overview of why it is beneficial to maintain the condition and functionality of your surplus lab equipment, how to properly do so, and lastly, how to select a quality vendor to help you make it all happen.

Reasons to maintain your surplus lab equipment:

There are essentially two main reasons to keep your surplus lab equipment well maintained and in a fully functional condition (1) in the event that your main equipment goes down, it is always great to have a suitable, and fully functional, back-up machine ready and waiting. (2) If recovering some of your initial investment is paramount, you will want to keep your surplus equipment updated and well-maintained in order to sell it for the highest possible amount.

When it comes to maintaining your surplus lab equipment, it is critical to keep your equipment as close to factory condition as possible in order to stave off depreciation and prevent the need to purchase new should something in your lab break unexpectedly.  My guess is that right about now you’re nodding your head in hesitant agreement, finding it difficult to argue the benefits of selling surplus equipment or maintaining a reliable back-up machine, but are simultaneously wondering “That all sounds good, but what exactly do I have to do to maintain my surplus equipment?”

 How to maintain your surplus lab equipment:

 As every lab tech. in the US knows, state and federal governments enforce strict regulations to ensure that lab equipment is within compliance of all safety rules and regulations. As a result, it is likely that you are familiar with what it takes to keep all of your lab equipment in compliance with the governing bodies’ rules. If that is the case, then you are aware of how to maintain your surplus lab equipment too! Simply put, the best way to ensure that your surplus stays in as great condition as your non-surplus equipment, is to treat both categories of equipment the same. Just because your surplus is stored in a warehouse, or closet down the hall, does not mean it does not need to be cleaned and maintained in order to remain functional and salable. The following is a shortlist of activities you need to have performed throughout the year on both your surplus and non-surplus lab equipment: Continue Reading →


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December 1, 2011
by Julie Baker
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Fighting the Low-Ball Appraisal

Disagreements over real estate values are nothing new. A real estate appraiser who is familiar with an area, performs due diligence, and takes updates and upgrades into consideration will likely have a much higher valuation of a property than an appraiser who breezes in and cashes a paycheck. Unfortunately, both types of appraiser exist.

In a recent survey of members, the Massachusetts Association of Realtors found that more than half of agents said sales had been hampered by appraisals that came in low. Polls by the National Association of Realtors also have documented widespread frustration over faulty valuations, and the association ranks them among the major causes of contract cancellations.

So what can you do to lessen the chances that a bad appraisal will torpedo your transaction? Most importantly, be proactive. Federal rules allow you to provide the appraiser your own comps – recently sold properties of similar size and condition in your immediate area. Your realty agent can help you pull them together before the appraiser arrives.

Also, accompany the appraiser during his or her inspection of the house. Ask questions crucial to competency: Where are you based? How long have you been in the business? What certifications and professional designations do you hold? Do you know local agents or brokers who can supply you with pending sales information and guide you on neighborhood price trends? If the appraiser doesn’t have good answers, you are much

ent writing'>assignment writingmore likely to end up with a poor appraisal. Alert the lender to your concerns as early as possible.

After the appraisal is completed, always ask for a copy to review; it’s your right under federal law. If the value comes in low, check everything in the report, from selection of comps to the accuracy of property measurements. If you find serious mistakes and the appraiser refuses to make corrections, appeal directly to the lender. Most have procedures to follow regarding “reconsiderations of value.” Ask for a second valuation by a locally competent appraiser, even if that costs you more money.

Present Value LLC is a worldwide international appraisal and advisory company that provides a range of professional services such as Certified Machinery and Equipment Appraisals, Inventory Appraisals, Asset Verification Services, Business Valuations, and Real Estate Appraisals. Contact us today!

By: Present Value

Additional Reading:

How Appraisals Impact Home Sales

High-Value Home Appraisals: 10 Tips

Problems That Will Keep You from Getting a Mortgage

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