Category Archives: Top Buying Tips

Tips for Buying a Home

Buying a home is often the largest investment most people make in their lives.  First time home buyers are particularly concerned about handling the process correctly.  With a few simple tips, home buyers feel confident about making a solid decision.

Steps To Buying A House

There are several important steps to take before looking at houses for sale.  Shopping without a plan or budget is a waste of time and effort.

Get Your Credit in Shape

It is free for buyers to view their credit reports annually.  Verify whether there are credit problems and payoff outstanding bills.  Buyers with clean credit reports qualify for mortgage loans with lower interest rates and better terms.

Save Money

A buyer putting more money down on a home has lower monthly mortgage payments.  Buyers with at least 20 percent for a down payment typically qualify for better mortgage terms.  While there are low money down mortgage loans, this makes monthly payments higher and harder to cover.

Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage Loan

Apply for a mortgage before going home shopping and get pre-approved for a loan.  Buyers with pre-approval are more highly considered if several offers are made on a home.  Also, pre-approval gives buyers a definite housing budget prior to looking around.  Buyers should avoid paying more than one-third of their monthly salary toward a mortgage.  Be aware of predatory lenders who might try to take advantage of inexperienced buyers or people with poor credit.

Review Mortgage Terms

Verify the interest being paid on a loan and whether points are charged.  Points are pre-paid interest that may save a buyer in the long run.  If buyers intend to stay at the house for an extended period of time, their major concern is locking in a lower interest rate.  For short-term buyers, paying points might be a poor choice.  Shop around to get the best deal on a mortgage.

Find Out About Assistance Programs

Some government agencies offer assistance to buyers who meet a certain criteria, such as first time home buyers or veterans.  Research potential assistance programs and apply for them before shopping for houses.  Assistance may include help with a down payment, partial payment of closing costs or lower interest rates on a mortgage loan.

Home Buying Checklist

An alluring home can lure eager buyers into a deal before they have all the facts.  While a house might be appealing, there are several major criteria to consider before making a final decision.

Research The Neighborhood

Real estate agents are prohibited from discussing the quality of a neighborhood.  Buyers are responsible to research the neighborhood on their own.  Review online resources to find out the crime rate, demographics and whether the school districts are good.  Homes in better neighborhoods are easier to live in and sell.

Have a Personal Checklist

Depending on their budget, buyers may not get everything they want on a checklist.  However, having a checklist helps buyers stay focused on what they really want.  Include the number of bedrooms, bathrooms and appliances on the list.  Optional items might be a fireplace, backyard garden, separate laundry room or other personalized comforts.  A checklist also helps real estate agents find the best prospects for potential buyers.

Review Local Housing Values

Before making an offer on that fantastic home, review sales trends in the neighborhood.  Find out what comparable houses sold for and bid accordingly.  This is a long-term purchase and buyers should not pay  more than the home is worth.  Knowing the local comparable home sales gives buyers more negotiating power.

Conduct An Organized Search

Buyers might see dozens of homes before making a final decision.  Be organized during the search.  Have a notebook with a page for each home.  Take digital photos to remember what homes look like days or weeks after viewing them.  Do a careful comparison before deciding which home is the right one.

Home Buying Process

Closing on a home is exciting and full of unexpected details.  Be ready for whatever happens along the way by enlisting the assistance of professionals.

Work With A Real Estate Agent

Most real estate agents represent the seller.  Try to work with an exclusive buyer agent to get the best deal.  Either way, all real estate agents have access to the latest home listings so buyers find better prospects.

Hire An Attorney

Once buyers make an offer and the seller accepts it, binders and contracts are signed.  Buyers should hire an attorney to carefully review terms and protect their interests.  There are documents with many pages and lots of fine print.  An attorney is familiar with the home buying process and knows when to negotiate terms.  Attorneys also help buyers figure out closing costs and how to handle possible housing defects.

Hire a Home Inspector

While a home might look great to the naked eye, a professional home inspector might find hidden defects.  Before buying a house, it should be inspected for termites and structural problems.  Severe issues might break the deal while minor ones could be paid for by the seller.  If buyers purchase a home with defects, they become their problem and expense.  The cost of paying for a home inspector and attorney is worth every penny to ensure buyers are getting into a viable deal.

Shop for Homeowners Insurance

Home buyers need to get a homeowners insurance policy.  Find out about insurance before deciding on a house.  Houses in certain areas with flooding or natural disasters might be most costly to insure.  Part of the monthly expense of owning a home is cover the cost of homeowners insurance.  Look for a policy and shop around to get the highest level of coverage for the lowest price.

Purchasing a home is a major investment and the place where buyers will live for a long time.  Being well-prepared helps buyers make an educated, rational decision for a happier future.

A Comprehensive HDTV Buying Guide

Everything you need to know when buying an HDTV, from what to look for to current technology and more.

You’ve made the decision to purchase your first HDTV but where do you begin?  All the information and advancements in technology can be confusing and downright frustrating.  This detailed HDTV buying guide will help you navigate through the television buying process with the information you need to make an informed and educated purchase.

Determine Your Budget

Before you do anything, you need to determine how much money you are willing to spend for your new HDTV.  You also need to decide what the top limit of your budget is and stick to it.  Why?  Because prices range so dramatically depending on the size and features that a strict budget will help you determine the type of HDTV you can afford.  After you have set a budget, go on-line and see what types of HDTV’s fit into that budget.  It is important to do this before you go shopping so you don’t get pressured to purchase upgrades you don’t need or can’t afford.

Understand the Technology

HDTV’s have advanced greatly in the last several years.  It would be an understatement to say that it is difficult to keep up with all the advancements.  However, you need a good understanding of the current technology if you are to make an informed decision.  For example, several years ago LED back-lit sets were just emerging onto the market and were very expensive.  Today, these models are common and reasonably priced.

Also, television features have expanded.  Now, many television sets have network software built-in for access to Internet sites such as Netflix, YouTube and Twitter.  Support for music and videos have also grown but vary from one brand to the next.  This is an area that should be researched on-line before entering the store.

Types of Televisions

Here is what you need to know about the types of HDTVs available.  Today, there are four types on the market:  direct view, front projection, rear projection and flat panel.  Direct view televisions use technology from many years ago but still have a good picture and various TV sizes.  However, the industry is moving away from this type of television.  Front projection or video projectors are a nice alternative to a standard TV set and give you that “movie theatre experience”.  They project an image onto the wall or screen and can be pricey but are starting to come down in price.  Rear projection TVs are often called, “big screen TVs” and have a wide range of sizes and are less expensive than newer TVs because they take up more space and are extremely heavy.  Lastly, are the flat panel TVs.  They are either LCDs or plasma and are known for how slim they are and the convenience of hanging them on a wall.

LCD Vs. Plasma

Now you will need to decide whether to go with a LCD or Plasma television.  What is the difference?  LCD picture will vary in the amount of electric charge that is sent through liquid crystals.  The plasma picture is formed by charging small gas plasma cells with an electrical voltage.  Most consumers have chosen plasma screens in the past but that is changing.  LCD TVs have improved dramatically and some say that the improvements to the picture range make LCDs more attractive than Plasmas.  Another thing to consider is that LCDs use less power than plasmas and tend to last longer.

Research On-line Reviews

Next, you will want to do some on-line research.  When you are ready to narrow your search down, get on the computer and read as many reviews on the brands you are considering.  It is helpful to have the model numbers handy as well.  Reviews are one of the best ways for you to get a good idea of how well an HDTV performs.  After all, the reviews are given by consumers just like you.

Get “Hands On” In The Stores

When you have narrowed down your search to a few brands of HDTVs, it is time to go shopping.  Once in the store, get “hands on” with the models and look for picture quality and performance.  An ideal situation would be to view a Blu-ray DiscTM movie on a player that is connected to the TV you are considering.  This will give you a good idea of the quality and set up connection.  Regardless, your best option is to always ask lots of questions and have them ready to go before you arrive by preparing a list of questions and concerns for each model you are considering.  Remember, research is key.

By doing your homework and using this HDTV buying guide before you purchase your HDTV, you will put yourself in a position to get the right television for your specific needs and save yourself a lot of headaches in the process.

Top Boat Buying Tips for 2011

The economy has put a bit of a damper on new boat sales during the last few years, but that doesn’t mean boat manufacturers have stopped coming out with new models.  Many who offer boat buying tips are saying this is a great time to buy.

Spring boat shows are attracting record numbers of visitors, and at one recent show in Atlantic City, sales were brisk as well, with more customers interested in smaller, gas efficient watercraft like fishing boats and bow riders than large luxury cruisers.

The National Marine Manufacturers Association, the recreational boating industry’s leading trade group, reports that, despite the down economy, 933,000 powerboats were sold last year. They also say an estimated 66 million Americans increased the time they spent on their boats by four percent in 2010.

Many in the boating industry chalk up increased time on the boat to families staying closer to home.  Boats are considered to be a good investment in “quality family time.”

If you are considering buying a boat this year, here are a few boat buying tips that may help you sort through your options:

  1. Before you buy a new boat, hit the boat show.  There are hundreds of boat shows around North America from spring all the way through the summer months.  Check out a list of shows at Visiting a boat show will offer you the largest selection in one spot and help you narrow your choices as you search.
  2. Determine how you will use your boat.  If you plan to use the boat primarily for fishing, you’ll want a different type of boat than if you plan to take kids water skiing or wake boarding or if you’re looking for a comfortable way to entertain friends.  Knowing how you will use the boat is one of the top boat buying tips that experts offer.
  3. As with any big purchase, it’s always best to buy a boat with cash. Even though many dealerships offer financing and find financing to be a profitable side business, cash still talks.  Dealerships like the no hassle aspect of cash and may be willing to offer a deep discount for a sale that moves quickly and flawlessly with no threat of default.
  4. An important boat buying tip: when dealing with an individual who is selling a used boat, cash definitely is an advantage.  Showing up to look at a used boat with cash in hand may make the deal go quickly and provide you with a better buy than if you are negotiating without cash.
  5. Be wary of buying a boat sight unseen.  Although eBay and other online sites sell thousands of boats every year, it’s best to focus in your own geographic area or plan to travel to test drive the boat before purchase.  Unless you are buying a boat that you know does not run, you will want to test drive it before purchasing.
  6. Before you buy a used boat, be sure to run an NADA value search on the boat.  Just as with used cars, prices for used boats are available with a quick search online at
  7. If you plan to trailer the boat, make sure you have a sturdy boat hitch on a vehicle that is rated to tow the boat you buy.  If you do not plan to trailer your boat or are purchasing a boat without a trailer, be sure to factor in the cost of having the boat delivered to your dock or marina.
  8. Remember that you will need to purchase boat insurance.  Many states require that you have boat insurance, and if you are financing your purchase, most finance companies will require insurance.  Insurance companies that specialize in boat insurance, like American Adventure Insurance (, usually can provide you with the best deal.
  9. Don’t forget to purchase the required number and sizes of life vests and personal flotation devices for your boat.  You will be required to have a flotation device for everyone on board.  Children under a certain age must wear one at all times.  Be sure to check the specific laws in your state or province.
  10. Additional equipment like a fire extinguisher, a whistle, a flashlight, an anchor, and plenty of tie line are also required to meet Coast Guard requirements.  Check the laws in your area to ensure you comply with all regulations.

Camcorder Buying Guide

Technophobes fear not, this is not going to be as bad as you think! Buying a camcorder doesn’t have to be a chore, nor will it require an electronics degree to decipher the specs. Here is what you need to know in plain English to make a sensible camcorder purchase.

The good news is all the traditional camcorder features and functions still apply, stuff about zoom, aperture, shutter speeds and so on are still relevant.  If you are not interested in manually setting these (every camcorder will come with guidelines) you can still put the settings on auto. So when you’re looking for the right camcorder these are not major considerations, they are standard.

If you’re interested in exploring additional features some of the bells and whistles available are: image stabilization to minimize shakiness; time codes which are an internal marking device to help you edit the film strip later and video editing software. Monitors and remote controls are available and if you’re like me, it does not get better than touchscreen for ease of use. Although you have the option of an external microphone, most cameras in-built audio systems are adequate.

Just about every camcorder will have a degree of zoom and here’s where it gets a bit tricky, but it’s important. You will be offered optical zoom and digital zoom and there is a big difference between the two. Optical zoom is image magnification by the cameras lens, that’s the simplest way to put it. Digital zoom increases the picture magnification but can make the images really grainy. So basically, ignore the digital zoom sales pitch and look for as much optical zoom as you need.

The next big consideration is storage. The popular storage options are DVD, mini DV, memory card and the cameras hard disk space. The basic thing to remember is that the more memory your storage device can handle the more video you can store on higher quality settings. For example, a single gigabyte (GB) of storage will capture about 15 minutes of high quality video. Your camera settings will determine the quality level you record at, and this in turn will impact on the storage space you use while filming.

At first glance a camcorder using a DVD seems like the simplest option for transfer from camcorder to computer or DVD player.  If all you want to do with the footage is view it as filmed, this will suit just fine. But with today’s software there’s so much more you can do. Consider whether you will want to add titles, split scenes or work with your camcorder footage in other creative ways. Some camcorders come with software that will allow you to do these things and sometimes you will be required to buy it separately.

If you think you might like to dabble in some simple editing, look at other storage options like mini DV, on which you can record an hours worth of high quality footage, uncompromised by possible compression issues. Most computers and DVD players today have USB ports for the camera cable connection and transferring footage is not an issue.

You can spend hundreds or thousands buying a camcorder. For everyday practical use there is not a lot of difference between the high end cameras and the more affordable ones. Stick to the hard and fast rules, consider how much optical zoom the camera has, whether it has in-built quality sound, the storage options available, and ease of operation and data transfer. All new digital camcorders are light, ergonomically friendly and pretty simple to use. Have fun!

Computer Buying Tips

Planning to Buy a PC: Keep These Tips in Mind

Are you ready to purchase a PC? If your answer is yes, there are some points to keep in mind to ensure that you get the best deal possible. Two main things to know before venturing out to purchase a PC (Personal Computer or Laptop) are:

  • All PCs are not equal: despite all the hype there are some inexpensive PCs that are good buys for money, but they cannot deliver all that a more expensive unit can.
  • More expensive does not necessarily mean better

Even before you buy your PC you need to determine the following factors:

  • Purpose: This forms an important part of the buying decision as the reason for buying the PC will determine what components and add-ons to get. This is especially helpful in determining the hard drive size and memory you will end up with.
  • Space for keeping/setting up: Where you will be keeping and using your PC has to be taken into consideration. The size of the desk and where you will be working should help determine the size of the unit and monitor. Although some persons pay scant attention to the case, it is important because some workstation/work areas are small and a desktop maybe a better choice than a tower unit.
  • How much you can spend: Don’t expect to get a $1000 PC with all the bells and whistles for $500.  Be realistic about how much you can afford to spend and what to expect for that kind of money.

Now that you have the basics out of the way, these are important computer buying tips when deciding on a PC:

  1. Memory: The size of RAM (Random Access Memory) is an important consideration when buying a computer. This not only helps make the PC run faster but is needed for the overall performance of the system. These days going for RAM that is less than one GB (gigabyte) is not recommended. If you know that you will be running lots of programs or games then the more RAM the better.
  2. Processor: Depending on what you plan to do with the PC the more processing speed the better. Since PC prices overall have trended downward try not to buy one that is less than two gigahertz. The CPU is important since it is what controls the running of the programs.
  3. Video card: This will determine the quality of videos and picture seen on the PC. Those who plan on working with or using lots of graphics and pictures, watching movies or playing video games will need good quality video cards.
  4. Sound card: The quality of sound is dependent on the type of sound card installed in the PC. This is however not a major consideration for the average PC buyer.
  5. Operating system (OS): There are now so many around it can be hard to decide. It is best to choose based on what you will be using the PC for. For example, if it is for work you should consider going with what is basically ‘the industry standard’ meaning Windows. If you are offered a system with a new OS that is less than a year old, it may be best to request the previous OS and wait for at least one year before upgrading to the new operating system.
  6. Monitor: Thankfully small monitors are hardly ever sold these days, but it’s good to know that the viewable screen is generally one inch less than the size of the monitor. That means that a 19 inch monitor will have an 18 inch viewable screen. The size of the viewable screen is even more important for persons with vision problems or older adults.
  7. Customer support: This is important; you want to be able to get support if you run into trouble while using your PC. Some companies offer poor technical (tech) and customer support. Get some recommendations from friends or even check online to learn how easy or hard it is to get customer support for some brands.
  8. Warranty: Ask for your warranty, and if it is a really expensive PC you should consider paying extra for an extended warranty. Lower-end units sometimes have less than a one-year warranty.

Don’t give in to the urge to buy the newest software out there. While the hype surrounding new software generally makes them sound like ‘a must have’, most new software tend to still have bugs that cause problems. Like with operating systems, wait for at least one year before upgrading.

Finally, think about what you want from your computer in the future as your needs will change. Determining likely future needs when purchasing will prevent the bother of having to upgrade within a year or two of purchasing the system.

LCD TV Buying Guide

The alphabet soup of big screen TVs.

Remember that old console TV that sat in Grandma’s living room? Or perhaps your parents had one. Back then choice meant black + white or color. Having a color TV made you the king of the block. You had bragging rights if there was a color TV in your living room. Now-a-days those console TV’s are used as fish tanks and color TV’s are the only choice. You are not hot stuff if you do not have the latest greatest flat screen TV the size of the Berlin Wall. Well the Berlin wall has been torn down and so has the myth that size is everything.

The giant “Big Screen” box’s that filled living rooms in the 90’s are now going the way of black + white TV’s.  What is ‘big’ now is the ultimate in picture quality and clarity. There are so many options to choose from now-a-days, how do you make heads and tails of it all? What makes the best TV? What is the right TV for me?

Shopping for a TV today is like looking at a bowl of alphabet soup. You have DLP, LCD and CRT and HD TV. How do you decrypt it all? Well to clear it all up in simple to understand language:

CRT = Cathoid Ray Tube. This type of “Big Screen” TV is basically old technology and uses electronic ‘guns’ to cast an image onto a large glass envelope.

HD = High definition. This term relates to the pixel (or Dots) per inch of the display screen. This is not a type of TV but rather a general term that refers to most TV’s today. Now-a-days HD is further broken down into DPI such as 740 or 1080 DPI (Dots per Inch).

LCD = Liquid Crystal display. This refers to a matrix of thin film transistors that supply voltage to liquid crystal Cells (despite common thought, these do not actually contain a liquid) that are sandwiched between two sheets of glass.

DLP = Digital Light Processing. This technology utilizes thousands of individual pixel cells or microscopic fluorescent light bulbs and a Digital micro mirror device consisting of more than 1.3 million micro mirrors to project the image.

DLP + LCD offer two different technologies that achieve similar results. They are now available in similar sizes and price ranges and are becoming direct competition with each other.

Currently LCD’s offer a better value and quality in mid-size and smaller sized models. (52” or less). While LCD and DLP offer equal quality in projection screens over 52”.

Now that we have cleared up the alphabet soup a bit, we are going to focus on LCD TVs, what the best features are and also we will list some of the best models in their size class.

Your LCD TV Buying Guide:

While the old school of thought was that bigger was always better. The truth is your TV should be comparable to the size of the room you are going to be using it in. Your mom was right, “sitting too close to the TV is not good for you”, however it does not mean you will “go blind”, but rather it pertains to what is comfortable for your viewing conditions.

A good guide for viewing comfort is as follows:

20”- 27” = 2 ½’ to 5’ away

32” – 37” = 6’ to 8’ away

42” – 46” = 10’-14’ away

50’ + = looks best from 16 feet or more away

So once you have determined what size is best for you, you should consider the following points:

How do you want to set up your LCD TV?

Do you want to wall mount it?

Would you rather set it up on a table stand?

Or do you want to mount it from the ceiling?

Another great option is to have a wall mount that articulates, allowing you to pivot the TV for several different viewing angels.

While we have determined that picture quality and the size of your new LCD TV are important, another function you will want to pay close attention to is the “response time”. This is similar to shutter speed on a camera. It is the speed at which and LCD’s panels crystals process the image. The quicker the response time the better the image will appear. Your eye can detect the rate the image changes and in your mind this translates into clarity. This is why you may see “ghosting” on a slower model.

Some manufacturers have muddied the waters on this subject by either not specifying this number or falsely specifying it. So be safe and make sure you are buying the best possible “response time” by sticking with a major manufacturer. Ones who have a reputation for being reliable.

A good example of reliable response time is the Sharp Aqous LCD line. This line is very highly rated with a response time of 6 milliseconds. Sony’s XBR and Bravia models have 8 milliseconds response time. Some Korean and Chinese manufacturers have response times up to 25 milliseconds. While you may think that the 19 millisecond difference is so minute that it is redundant, think about a NASCAR race, often the winner and second place are separated by less than 10 milliseconds.  This response time is most obvious with action flicks and sporting events, particularly Stock car racing.

Another option you will want to consider is whether 1080p is important. The answer to this will depend on some factors.

What size TV are you buying?

Will you be using a blue ray DVD player?

Will you be using an Xbox 360 or a Play Station 3?

Unless you are using one of these devices or extreme graphic computer usage then the only thing 1080p really does for you is empty your wallet. The image on an LCD TV with these devices is still excellent. In a recent lab test ‘blind folded’ experts could not differentiate between the image of a blue ray video on a LCD TV and that of one on a 1080p screen. Our suggestion is to buy a nice 1366×768 TV produced by a leading manufacturer, such as Samsung and save $1000 to put toward a home entertainment system.

Below we have listed some of the leading LCD TV’s you will want to consider. While we have not listed specifications of these TV’s this list will arm you a basic selection for choosing the best LCD TV for your particular need.

Westinghouse 5k19H210S 19”

Sharp Aqous LC -19D44U 19”

Samsung LN1UA450 19”

LG 26LG30 26”

Panasonic TV-26LX85U 26” Vierra

Samsung LN26A330 26”

LG32LG30 32”

Sony Brava Kdl-36XBR6 32”

Samsung LN32A450 32”

Samsung LN37A450 37”

Samsung LN40A750 40”

Sony KDL -40XBR4 40”

Toshiba 46XV54OU 46”

Samsung LN46A450 46”

Samsung LN52a550 52”

Sharp LC-52D64U 52”

The above list is based on major consumer satisfaction for both quality and value. This list is not intended to be exclusive but rather to supply you with a basis for selecting a quality LCD TV. The best thing you can do is use this information to help you make an educated purchase. Be sure to talk to your local electronics specialist. Happy Shopping!

Want to Buy a Treadmill? Learn How to Select the One That’s Right for You

What is a treadmill?

A treadmill is an indoor exercise machine that is used to simulate running or walking in place. It does this by way of a moving belt over a base. They can be adjusted to various speeds depending on the needs of the user.

Why buy a treadmill?

The main reason why anyone buys a treadmill is to keep fit. Few pieces of exercise equipment offer the benefits of a treadmill. Walking is a natural function of humans and research has shown that persons with treadmills tend to stick to this type of exercise a lot longer than with other types of exercise equipment.

What to Look For When Buying a Treadmill

There are three main questions to answer when you decide to buy a treadmill. These are:

  1. Who will be using the treadmill:  Who will be using the equipment the most is an important factor when deciding to buy a treadmill. A treadmill that will be used by a family of three or four will often need to be different than one being used for a single person. The weight of those who will use it should also be taken into consideration before selecting the piece of equipment.
  2. How will the treadmill be used: A treadmill is generally used at least five days per week for 30 minute sessions. As such, if there is a chance the treadmill will be used more or less often, this should be considered before making a purchase. A professional weightlifter would definitely need a different type of treadmill than a 50-year old grandmother or a long distance runner.
  3. Where will the treadmill be kept and used: It goes without saying that if you live in a small apartment, you cannot buy the biggest, fanciest treadmill on the market. As such, your choice of treadmill depends also on the available space. For persons with space issues, consider buying a treadmill that can be folded up when not in use. However, remember that if it is difficult or time-consuming to store and set-up the equipment each time, you will eventually find excuses not to use it. The weight of the treadmill is also important in any buying decision. If you live upstairs or will be using the exercise machine upstairs, make sure that the floor was made for that sort of weight. On the other hand, if you have lots of space and can afford it, you may decide to buy a commercial treadmill, especially if you plan on using it often.
  4. Price: For many people looking to buy a treadmill, the price will be the ultimate deciding factor. Treadmill prices vary greatly depending on size, quality and features. They generally range from around $300 for a budget treadmill (not generally recommended) to over $5000 for a top-of-the-line treadmill.
  5. Manual or motorized: When looking for treadmills to purchase, the decision may come down to getting a manual one or a motorized one. Ideally, the motorized treadmill will be a better buy for your money. Adjusting the incline and speed of a motorized treadmill is a feature not found on manual treadmills.

Buying a Second-hand Treadmill

Getting a secondhand treadmill is another option that can be explored on the road to fitness but you need to be aware of the associated disadvantages and advantages. The main disadvantage of a second-hand treadmill is the shortened lifespan. As such, find out how old the equipment is before purchasing.

For many persons who are seeking a treadmill, a second-hand one may be their best option. However, if you decide to purchase a used treadmill, check around first to see if you can get a new one at a discounted rate.

Making the decision to purchase a treadmill to improve or maintain your fitness is a good one, but knowing how to select a treadmill is an important first step.

Buying Plasma TV Guide

Television is not what it used to be.  Technology has given us screens that make us feel like we’re part of the movie.  Owning a plasma television set can change the way you watch TV.  The picture is clean, lifelike and full of brilliant colors.  Getting a plasma TV for your home or business can be a big decision, as there are many different brands to choose from.  Let this article on buying plasma TVs guide you towards making a smart purchase.

Understanding the Positives to Plasma

Plasma screens are much more desirable than tube models because of their sleek body and awesome picture.  The screen is flat and the depth is minimal.  When a screen is perfectly flat, there is no edge-distortion, giving you a crisp picture.  Being thin and flat means you can get a TV stand for your screen or you can purchase a mounting kit to attach it to a wall.  It’s definitely a space saver.

Plasma screens will accept standard signals, like s-video.  You need to consider what inputs are going to be necessary with your plasma monitor.  You’ll want a model that can receive HDTV signals in an all-digital format.  If you’re interested in doubling up and making your TV your computer monitor, you should get a plasma monitor that includes the VGA or similar inputs to make that happen.

Sizing the Screen

If there is any decision you come across in the process of buying a plasma screen that gives you a headache, size will be it.  Choosing the appropriate size of screen can be hard, but here are some things to consider that may make it easier on you.

If you’re replacing an old tube TV with a new plasma screen, buying the same size won’t give you the results you want.  You need to consider the aspect ratio.  You’ll want to get a screen that is bigger than the one you have now.  A 27 inch tube TV that suited your viewing needs cannot be appropriately replaced with a 27 inch plasma monitor.  It will be too small.  Go bigger!

If you don’t care about the aspect ratio and just want to go as large as possible, know that stores make TVs seem small.  A large plasma screen set up in huge electronics store will make it look just right, when in fact it would probably look too large in your home.  They always look smaller in the store.  Know ahead of time what size will max out your living room wall.  If you get your TV home and realize it’s too big, not only will you have to take it back and exchange it for a smaller screen, you may have to pay a restocking fee.  Solve this issue by measuring out the largest amount of space your TV can take up.

Choosing a Brand

There really isn’t one brand that reigns supreme when it comes to plasma screens.  The best advice for picking a brand name product that’s right for you is to do some research.  If you like a model by Panasonic that has the same price and desirable features as a Sony, which one do you choose?  Go to your most powerful resource: the Internet.  Look for consumer reports sites that are not sponsored by any specific brand of electronics.  There you can read up on people’s comments who already own the plasma screen you’re interested in purchasing.  Unbiased reports from consumers are the best way to know which model/brand is right for you.  Their honest opinions should be your guide in buying a plasma TV.

Buying Your New Plasma Screen

When it comes time to buy your new plasma TV, you’ll probably want to shop around to find the best deal.  You may be considering buying your TV at a local store or through an online vendor.  Realize the positives and negatives of each.

Buying at a local store lets you view the model before you bring it home.  You can speak with an actual person about what you’re buying.  However, know that retail stores may be told to push certain brands, so be wary.  The prices may be higher than what you’ve seen online.  Online vendors can pass the savings down to you because they aren’t paying high rent for their store.  Their advertising is cheaper and there are fewer employees to pay.  Is a cheaper TV better?  Not necessarily.  When you get big discounts from online vendors, you may not be getting a warranty.  Most models will come with a factory warranty, but you can usually buy an extended warranty through a retail store.  This doesn’t mean all online stores won’t offer guarantees, it’s just less likely.  Also, stores exclusively on the net can be here today and gone tomorrow.  Buying from an actual store that has been around for a while can assure the buyer someone will be there if your product needs service.

When purchasing online, you are always taking a risk.  This is the age of Internet fraud.  Hackers wait in the shadows to steal your bank numbers and drag your credit score through the mud.  When you purchase online, ALWAYS be sure that you’re making a purchase from a reputable vendor.  Make sure your transaction is taking place on a site that is secure.

Hopefully you’ve learned a little bit about what you want regarding a plasma screen for your home or business.  Be wise, research product performance and look for deals that don’t leave you hanging should you accidently buy a lemon.  Enjoy the crisp, clear picture that a plasma screen will provide.

A used car buying guide

A used car buying guide is a must have for consumers in the market to buy a used vehicle.  There are many benefits to buying a used car just as there are to buying other used products that depreciate in value.  There is a common axiom that a new car loses significant value once a new owner drives it off a lot.  Used cars that are in great condition for their mileage, and that have been well maintained offer a great value opportunity for car shoppers.

Buying used cars is not always easy, however, which is why a used car buying guide is especially useful.  Because the car has been owned previously, car buyers must do research and carefully assess the car’s condition before making a purchase.  Many resources are available online to find reliable car dealers and quality used cars.  Additionally, car shoppers should look to family, friends, and other consumer reports to help narrow their search.

With the amount of information available to consumers today, there is no reason that a car buyer would buy from a non-reputable car dealer.  With the expansion of the internet and word of mouth, companies simply cannot get by over the long-term by being deceptive and dishonest.  Thus, the old stereotype of the ruthless “used car salesman” has somewhat disappeared.  Buyers do need to do research, however, to find value-added and relationship-oriented used car dealers.

There are several key features a buyer needs to consider when examining the condition of a used car, including general condition, mileage, and vehicle history.  After finding the right vehicle, the prospective buyer needs to first evaluate the general condition of the vehicle.  Some dealers spend time to make the outside of a car look beautiful to give the customer a good first impression.  Buyers need to be certain to look past the exterior and evaluate the interior look and functionality.  This includes a test drive in several areas and at several driving speeds.

Mileage is an important component in buying a used car and is therefore an important piece of a used car buying guide.  Car values are typically assessed based on the mileage, features and condition.  Buyers need to consider the vehicle’s mileage level before making an offer to avoid paying too much for a car that is road weary.

A vehicle history report is the used car buyer’s best friend.  All cars have an identification number and a buyer should always request to thoroughly review the vehicle’s history report before purchase.  The report includes information on previous owners, accidents that caused significant damage, and other important aspects of the car.  Knowing how many owners have driven a car can be useful as too many owners might suggest a lack of consistency in maintenance.  Accidents of significance might call into question the long-term functional viability of the car.

After careful due diligence and review of the factors addressed, a car buyer needs to consider the appropriate price for a car.  Regardless of what a dealer might say, car prices are always negotiable.  Dealers and salespeople always have a bottom line for patient buyers.  Buyers need to determine what they are willing to pay for a car and be prepared to stick to the dollar amount.  The goal should be to come to a fair price that makes the buyer satisfied with the car’s value.

Used car buyers also need to be aware of whether a car is being offered with a warranty that provides protection for a stated period of time or mileage.  This means that if certain features of the car breakdown, the dealer bears the responsibility.  Some used cars are instead sold “as is”.

A used car buying guide is useful to any prospective used car buyer.  While new cars look polished in the lot, a quality used car can be a great value for a savvy car buyer.  The key is to pay careful attention to the car’s condition, understand the value of the car, and maintain discipline when negotiating price.

Buying Digital Camera

If the time has come for you to buy a new digital camera, this article will serve as a guide for the savvy shopper.  Digital cameras are getting better and better, so if you haven’t purchased a new camera in a few years, you’re in for a treat.  There are some fantastic models on the market today that give quality results at reasonable prices.  Consider the information below before you make your purchase.

Set Your Budget

It’s easy to spend hundreds of dollars on a new digital camera.  Even new “point and shoot” models can be costly.  Figure out a price that you’d be comfortable paying before you consider any other aspect of buying a digital camera.  Don’t get distressed; if you need a simple camera without all of the trimmings, watch for sales.  You can find reputable brand name cameras for under $100.00.  Just understand that these are “bare bones” when it comes to quality and features.

Get What You Want

Whether you’re a first time buyer or in need of an upgrade, make a list of what you want to accomplish with your camera.  Also, note what features, if any, you’d like to have.  These could be things such as:

A powerful zoom lens (Great for taking pictures from far away, works great for nature photos or concert photos if you are not near the front)

Multiple shutter speed options (allows you to take a photo that can look drastically different depending on the shutter speed you are using… this feature is good if you for having power over how you want your photos to look, best for professionals or people who do photography as a hobby.)

Ability to shoot in black and white

High mega pixels (mostly only useful if you plan on making images larger while keeping the same photo quality)

Convenient to keep on your person

LCD screen (you can get models that have a pull out screen or one that is flush to the camera)

High end model for serious photography

Those are just a few of the many options you can research when buying a digital camera.  It’s good to know what you’re in the market for before you set foot in a store.  This way, you won’t be swayed by a salesperson’s preference in cameras.  Knowing what you want before you buy will help you get what you want quickly and with confidence.


So now that you have an idea of how much you’d like to spend and what features you’d like to have with your digital camera, you may want to think about any accessories you’ll need to purchase.  Most cameras will come with a small memory card to hold your pictures until you upload them to your computer.  These included cards usually do not hold a lot of pictures.  If you plan to take a decent amount of photos or will be using your camera to record any videos, it is highly advised that you consider upgrading your memory.  This is not really expensive.  In the past few years, the cost of memory cards has dropped considerably and you can get a lot of space for a little cash.  However, if you always plan to keep less than 50 pictures on your card at all times, perhaps upgrading would be a waste of money.

How do you plan to carry your new camera around?  Camera bags aren’t usually included in your purchase, so you may want to consider buying one.  These are pretty inexpensive and are a great item to go with your digital camera.  Not only does it keep your camera safe, it’s convenient to travel with and it can hold extra batteries as well.  When buying a camera bag to go with your digital camera, make sure it fits.  If possible, place the camera in the bag before you buy it.  Most electronics stores are more than happy to assist you in finding a bag that properly fits.

Don’t be the Uninformed Buyer

There is no shame in going to the store and looking at the digital camera you want to buy with no intention to purchase it that day.  Online pictures can be deceiving, and if you plan to spend a decent amount of cash, you should take a good look at it.  One of the best things to do is to get on the Internet and find unbiased review sites.  Read reviews from consumers who have purchased the same camera that you’re interested in.  You’ll get valuable information by people who have owned the camera for different periods of time.  If anything would sway you towards or away from buying a digital camera, consumer reviews should be that thing.  Would you eat at a restaurant if the whole town gave it bad reviews?  Probably not, so why buy a camera that doesn’t satisfy customer needs?

So, you know what you want.  You know how much you want to spend.  You’ve seen the camera in person and the customer reviews are favorable.  It’s time to make a purchase.  Enjoy your new digital camera and all the memories you’ll create with it.