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I wanted to take a minute to point out how good of a tool Microsoft Access can be for an amazon seller. I myself buy a lot of my inventory on eBay which means most of the record keeping doubles. This is how it works:

1. I bid on tons of auctions at prices that leave me a margin on the other side (selling on amazon)
2. I receive the items, test them, and place them for sale on amazon
3. I receive orders through amazon
4. I package the item with a copy of the packaging slip
5. I buy postage through amazon (which is handled through stamps.com)
6. I toss the packages in my mailbox or drive to the post office if my mailbox won’t suffice
7. I pray that the seller is happy and the sale is over

When it comes to record keeping though. As soon as I buy an item off eBay I go to my access database where I have a form for entry.  I feel out the first “column” under “purchase”.

entryform

After receiving the item, I go back to that entry and fill out the middle column. If the item checks out, I list the item on amazon.

When the item sells, I fill out the last column. You get the idea.

But Access is so much more powerful than just this set of functionality.

I have inventory floating around all of the item. Item’s inbound can be hard to keep track of, and when I receive one – how can I match it up with the inventory I have marked down as purchased? With Queries.

craigslistI myself purchase and sell many things on Craigslist. It is Important to know the basics reasons why you would an would not want to sell or buy on Craigslist. Craigslist can be an amazing tool for thrifty individuals, but if not safe – it can be a place for a disaster.
 
What are the Pro’s of Craigslist as a Buyer:
  • Price is usually much more competitive than online or in store (Think $400 iPad for $325)
  • Prices can be haggled (best part of Craigslist in my opinion)
  • You can get items quicker than ordering online
  • You can physical inspect used items (unlike eBay or Amazon)
What are the Con’s of Craigslist as a Buyer:
  • The first is what I like to call the “Stab Factor” – Craigslist can be very dangerous if you do not properly protect yourself.
  • People tend to make appointments to meet and often don’t show up or are late.
  • There are a lot of scammers out there, be sure to properly inspect and test all items. Also it can be hard to test all of the features of something like an electronic device do not take someone’s word. For example you buy an iPod you might get home and notice that the jack is a little loose inside or the sound is muffled, at that point the seller doesn’t care, he has his money.
  • Once the money changes hands and the transaction is over – there is no customer support or returns.
  • Driving can cost time and money
What are the Pro’s of Craigslist as a Seller:
  • You sell the item and its over. No customer support or refunds. No Amazon Chargebacks or Selling Fees.
  • Cash in hand, right now.
  • You can sell items that are hard to ship, locally.
  • Haggling can actually result in a buying low and selling high business.

What are the Con’s of Craigslist as a Seller:

  • Same as first two above for the buyer: People don’t show and “Stab Factor.”
  • The buyer might decide to low-ball you in person even if previously agreeing to a price, causing you to waste your time.
  • Having to filter out scammer e-mails that have gotten out of hand.
  • The buyer might just not want the item that badly and decide to waste your time.
  • Driving can cost time and money

Go to Next Page.

Online Buyer Protection is Too Strong.

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Let me give you a little background to this article. I am an Amazon and eBay seller, but I mainly sell on Amazon.

Buyer Protection is so strong for online sales it actually can make many businesses (especially small ones) suffer.


Amazon.com

When buying on Amazon.com you are protected by three layers of protection.

1) The fear of a seller receiving negative feedback
2) Amazon’s in-house protection called “A-to-Z claims”
3) Your credit card company issuing a chargeback

With these three layers, it is virtually impossible to have a bad transaction on Amazon. For those who do not already know Amazon has three types ways to Buy items.
1) From Amazon.com themselves
2) From Amazon.com Retailers (Small to Large Businesses that use Amazon as a platform to sell)
3) Individuals that sell

amazon

Lets say you buy an iPad on Amazon.com for $350 used from John Doe. John doe has 100 feedback and only 1 neutral and 1 negative feedback (98% positive). You receive the iPad and something is wrong with it. You have 14 days to automatically get your money back (you will be required to return the item) through Amazon.com’s  “A-to-Z Guarantee”. You contact the seller and tell them you want a refund – they tell you that they will not refund your $350. Too bad for John Doe the seller. You as the buyer win any and all claims against the seller. You have 14 days (or longer) of receipt of the item to get back your money in virtually any situation. This situation is very unlikely though because negative feedback is a mark of death at Amazon.

If you as a seller receive negative feedback your funds can become locked (normally for long periods of time) and your account goes on probation or is completely banned for life. It doesn’t take much to get in trouble either, many sellers on forums claim they have 99+% feedback on 1000’s of sales but one string of a couple negative feedback resulted in a lifetime ban. Amazon is heavily criticized by sellers for always taking the buyers position on a sales, but for amazon there is no incentive for them not to side with the buyer.

If Amazon sides with the buyer and take the money back from the seller, they make the customer happy and the seller angry. The seller being angry has no effect on Amazon. There is always another person ready to sell, so banning a few people and possibly allowing fraud or theft of the seller’s items does not phase Amazon. You as a seller might have a legitimate case against the buyer, but Amazon would have to hear your case and see your evidence to make a logical ruling, which costs man hours that they do not want to spend. It’s cheaper and better for Amazon to side with the buyer, so they are going to in virtually all situations.

The unlikely event happens, Amazon sides with the seller. You as the buyer are out of luck, aren’t you? Nope. Call your credit card company and make a chargeback. If you are with a major credit card company (Especially AMEX) you have a very good chance (I would guess about 98% chance) of getting your money back. Some credit card companies don’t even ask many questions.

Some finance bloggers talk about being a landlord as if it is very easy, but is it?

A lot of people are searching for ways to increase their income and many people find investing in rental real estate and being a landlord as a viable way of increasing wealth over the long term. The idea is simple and easy for most people to understand, so it’s natural that so many people are being a landlord now a days.

Real estate is what I enjoy to research. First I want to look at real estate in my nearby area, particularly a single family home. I live in a better suburb of Cincinnati, OH. The taxes are reasonable (slightly higher than other areas of Cincinnati, but overall fairly cheap).

Putting a Pencil to it First:

Single Family Home – Listed $69,900, Annual Taxes: $2251, Insurance $700
Assume a 20% down payment, lets say you buy the property for $65,000 after all fees and closing.

Owning Rental PropertyMortgage Payment: $349.33
Monthly Taxes: $187.58
Monthly Insurance: $58.33
Maintenance Cost: $50
Disaster Fund
($1000 a year / 12) = $83.33 – Roof, A/C, Furnace, Water Problems, Deductible, Etc.
Lets call these two items: $130

Total Cost: $725.24 a month
How much can you rent it for – This is a debate. Lets say you can get $950 for this home. It is in good condition, but not in the best place within the good suburb. Also I want to state this is the cheapest single family home within the area.

So now lets talk about what you get out of this:

Deduction: You can depreciate the value of the Structure, but not the land. Lets be favorable and say you can deduct $50,000 of the $65,000 over 27.5 years (what is current permitted). That is $1818 a year. We will come back to this.

You financed your home – $52,000 worth of financing in Fact. How much equity are you building with a standard 30-year mortgage at 4.25% with no additional payments:

Year 1 $877
Year 2 $914
Year 3 $955
Year 4 $995
Year 5 $1039

 


 

What about occupancy rate. Are you planning on having this rented 12 out of 12 months? Sure, but that’s not realistic. You make get a tenant that lives there 30 years straight, but more likely than not you should plan at least 5-11% vacancy. Lets call it 1 month a year (8.3% vacancy). Note: Rehab and Repairs can increase this greatly.

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