Is Las Vegas Facing a Housing Bubble Part 2?

When the Great Recession hit, there were a few regions that took a particularly powerful blow-and Sin City was one of them. Las Vegas’ economy was nearly destroyed along with people’s credit, and the housing bubble burst was one for the record books. Flipping houses in one of the biggest vacations destinations in the country was extremely lucrative in the early aughts, but it came with a nasty lesson for those in the thick of it just a few years ago. However, nobody was more greatly affected than average home owners, workers, families and residents who call Las Vegas home year-round, and not just for a long weekend.

As 2013 comes to a close, housing prices are spiking again, but some people are understandably (and wisely) gun-shy. In fact, Las Vegas is being hailed by some as having one of the hottest housing markets in America with the sale price of homes spiking around 35 percent this year. Home values in general are up 29 percent, and there are some parts of the valley where land prices have doubled in value since last Christmas-is this too good to be true, and what does it mean for residents?

It’s a Gamble

Those who live in or around Las Vegas, Nevada are all too aware of the commonalities between the economy and casinos: The house always wins, don’t gamble what you can’t lose and if there’s a chance to stack the odds, do it. Elsewhere in the country, home values have risen about three percent in the past year-that should be a red flag. Thus far, analysts aren’t declaring the city in “Housing Bubble 2.0,” but then again the Great Recession wasn’t widely predicted until it was too late, either.

Once again, investors are flocking to the city, houses are being turned over quickly and those homeowners who aren’t underwater on their mortgage are turning a tidy profit. However, it’s still possible that this is the emergence of yet another bubble-which is exactly what’s happening according to Robert Schiller, a Yale University economist. So what should homeowners do if they’re looking to sell? The answer is simple: Take the highest offer you can get right now.

“If I Could Do It All Over… “

When America was in the thick of the Great Recession, people had all kinds of regrets-especially those in Las Vegas. They wish they would have protected their credit score, saved up a bigger emergency fund, not paid so much for that dream house or had a backup plan in terms of job security. People rarely get second chances, but in Las Vegas this just might be the bonus round.

If this really is a second housing bubble, your best move depends on your situation. Are you looking to buy or sell property? Or are you simply trying to stay afloat financially? If you’re a buyer, tread with extreme caution. But if you’re a seller or trying to straighten out your finances and repair your credit, this is your market. Remember, a few professionals in your corner couldn’t hurt.

Merchant Processing An Overview and Significance

Merchant processing is an important service for businesses, enabling them to process card payments from customers. The scope of merchants encompasses credit cards as well as debit cards.

Whether you have an online business or a regular brick and mortar store, offering your customers the option to pay by card is crucial. In fact, according to one study, 80% of customers may reverse their decision to buy if they find that the merchant does not accept credit or debit card payments. That’s a huge chunk of business to lose!

Hence you need merchant services and choosing the right service provider for the same is crucial.

How Exactly Does Merchant Processing Work

When a customer hits the ‘pay now’ or ‘buy’ button on your website (or when you swipe the credit card in a physical store), an authorization request is sent to your service provider. The provider then forwards the authorization request to the issuing bank or the credit card association for approval, including in the request, relevant data such as credit card number, expiry date, and CVV number. The concerned authority then sends back the approval or rejection (decline) to the merchant processor. According the response received, the service agent conveys the message to your customer whether the transaction has been approved (order confirmation) or declined (directed to try another payment method).

The payment for the transaction is deposited in your merchant account, less the service charges of the credit card processing company.

All of this is automated, secure and occurs within minutes (probably in less the time you have taken to read this).

Points to Consider While Choosing a Merchant Processing Service Provider

The credit card processing industry is complex and several merchants don’t have a clear idea as to how exactly it works. Add to it the plethora of operators in the market, each claiming to be the best, the choice become even more difficult.

Use the following pointers while selecting a merchants processing firm to partner with.

Does the Provider offer all the Services you Need?

Not all merchant processing service providers are equal. And your needs also differ. For instance, if you have an online business, you need a provider with a payment gateway, virtual terminal and risk and fraud management. Also, if they are using proprietary software, it has to be compatible with your shopping cart. In case of offline stores, your requirements are different. So choose a company that meets all your needs.

What are the Service Charges

Though it is not recommended to always opt for the ‘cheapest’ service provider, cost is an important factor while considering merchant processing firms. More than focusing on how much you are being charged, focus on what exactly you are being charged for. Some companies do offer certain value added services at an extra cost. If your service provider is upfront about all charges and can satisfactorily answer all your queries, it may still be worth paying the (slightly) elevated service fees.