Category Archives: wealth

Entrepreneurs

“It’s amazing how people can so readily crush someone’s dreams. Trust only those who believed in you when things were tough. They are the gems who will brighten your life.” – John Carlton

Why So Many Entrepreneurs Become Disillusioned

By Jonathan Fields

You finally started your own business or private practice. And, now, you’re in hell.

It’s three years in, and things aren’t going as planned.

Growth is slow, you’re spending so much time doing the grunt work and servicing customers, you have no time to focus on the big picture. Growth has stalled. Even if you’re growing, the grind is killing you. Your health and waistline, bahahahahaha. Gave that up long ago. Relationships, oy vey. Joy, done.

You secretly yearn for regular hours and a reliable paycheck, even if it means dealing with an idiot for a boss and purposeless existence.

So, you sit around, looking for a sign from God. And you’re not sure if you want her to tell you to continue, or to walk away. It’s not that you don’t believe there’s still great potential, it’s just that you have no idea how to right the ship and you feel like a prisoner.

I’ve had this conversation with so many entrepreneurs and shared the cautionary tale with so many aspiring entrepreneurs.

Being your own boss doesn’t automatically put you on the “yay train.”

So many entrepreneurs unwittingly build their own stress-addled, cash-poor cages, rather than engines of freedom, expression, and connection. Not because they’re stupid or incapable, but because they learned how to serve others, but not themselves.

The Cult of the Customer

The world of entrepreneurship is maniacally customer oriented these days. Identify and develop the customer, we’re told. It’s important, you don’t have a business without a customer. But, guess what…

Without a business that serves as a simultaneous engine not just of revenue and service, but of personal expression, connection, freedom and purpose, you don’t have a life!

Doesn’t matter how much money you make, or how many people you’re serving, every day you go to work will suck. Which means every day will suck, because you will always be working. Never having understood what you really wanted, or how to build something that not only gives the customer what he wants but also gives you what you need.

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While this phenomenon is rampant and growing in the world of startups and bootstrapped entrepreneurs, it’s also rampant in the world of private-practice professionals, creative pros, and even employees.

Newsflash…

Entrepreneurship is not about building a great business, it’s about building a great life.

But, you will never get what you want from the way you contribute to the world until you learn how to align your actions with your essence. And you cannot do that until you know who you are.

If your work lights you up, lets you express yourself, tap fiercely into your potential, play with people you love and earn enough to live well in the world, rock on. If not…

Do NOT pass go.

Do NOT suffer onward.

Do NOT keep welding the bars of your cage thicker and thicker.

Hit pause.

Ask yourself:

1. What do I care about?

2. What do I hold sacred, both in business and life?

3. What lights me up, what would I work hard to do for free?

4. What empties me out, emotionally, psychologically, and physically?

5. Who do I want to serve?

6. Do I care more about serving or building?

7. What do I value on a non-negotiable level?

8.What am I great at?

9. What am I terrible at?

10. How do I want to spend each day?

11. How do I want to live my life?

This is just the beginning of the inquiry, but if you start with these 11 prompts, you’ll have done vastly more than the average entrepreneur or aspiring entrepreneur or, frankly, even the average human to start understanding who you are and what you need.

And, you’ll start to cultivate the level of self-knowledge needed to build something that not only makes money and serves a need but also serves you and the life you seek to create.

Entrepreneurial failure to thrive isn’t just about a lack of money, knowledge or skill, it runs far deeper. With rare exception, it’s deeply rooted in self-ignorance.

Know yourself. Express yourself. Master yourself.

Then, build around that.

About the Author: Jonathan Fields is a dad, husband, author, speaker, A-list blogger and serial wellness-industry entrepreneur. Fields writes about entrepreneurship and creativity at www.JonathanFields.com and interviews emerging world-shakers at www.GoodLifeProject.com. His latest book, Uncertainty: Turning Fear and Doubt Into Fuel For Brilliance, was named the #1 personal development book of 2011 by 800-CEO-Read.

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Genius

William Beaty
William Beaty, 35yrs Elect Eng, Tesla fanatic since 1973, built devices from Tesla patents

334.3k ViewsMost Viewed Writer in Nikola Tesla with 30+ answers

Wealthy

WEALTHY

The 5% Rule

By Bedros Keuilian

Get a sheet of paper. Draw a line down the center. Write “95%” at the top of the left side and write “5%” at the top of the right side. In the right-hand column list all the things that make you money and move your business forward. Selling is one of them. Marketing is another. Delegating to your staff is another. Inspiring your team to be on the same vision, to be on the same page as you. In the left-hand column, list all the things that someone else should be doing, like bookkeeping, writing payroll checks, taking out the garbage, cleaning the office, paying the office rent, changing out the light bulbs and cleaning the carpets, etc.

Following this 5% rule is what separates very successful people from ordinary or struggling people. For example, if you and I both have eight hours a day to work and we have the same knowledge base, but you’re doing 100% of these activities every day and I’m only focusing on my 5%, I’m going to be miles ahead of you. I’m focusing only on the actions that grow my business, make me more money, get more clients, and make a big impact while you’re too busy focusing on the trivial matters that should be done by someone else.

BLOGHER

Blogher

Each new habit will get easier each time that you take action. The more often you repeat a habit, the firmer it will be, and you will be less apt to stray from it.” – Don M. Green

The One Word Responsible for My — and Your — Success

By Craig Ballantyne and Bedros Keuilian
Whatever it is that you want to do, change, or achieve, someone else before you has done it, often starting from circumstances worse than yours.

Success starts with preparation and planning to avoid the wrong people, environments, and habits. Then you need to connect with the right people, environments, and habits.

Success is simple once you accept how difficult it is.

If you don’t believe me, listen to my friend Bedros Keuilian. Bedros came to America at the age of 4 with his family from Armenia (legally, too), but couldn’t speak a ‘lick of English’. His family was broke. He had to dumpster-dive for food. He didn’t go to college.

Yet Bedros has raised himself up into the epitome of the American Dream, becoming a millionaire many times over, helping tens of thousands of people every day, and today he owns the fastest growing fitness franchise in the world.

He attributes his success to one word. I’ll let him explain…

The One Word Responsible for My — and Your — Success

By Bedros Keuilian

Humans are funny. We do things in a ritualistic fashion. Think about your morning routine, your weekend routine, or your evening routine.

It’s likely you do the same stuff in the same order, right?

Those are habits.

And our habits are there to keep us safe and to make life predictable.

But often times our habits form by taking the path of least resistance.

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But today, we fall into habits that are easy BUT bad for us.

So if we don’t pay close attention to the habits and rituals we choose, we end up sick, fat, tired, depressed, and unfulfilled.

How to Set Good Habits…

Several years ago I started getting really bad anxiety attacks and essential tremors. After trying to deal with them myself I went and saw a doctor. The Xanax that was prescribed to me made me numb and drowsy. I lost all creativity and desire to work.

I got off the pills and tried to figure out what was causing me to have these panic attacks and essential tremors (where my nervous system would simply shut down on me forcing me to go into uncontrollable shakes).

I looked at my habits. I realized I had cut my exercise time in half in order to accommodate my business and work more. That was a big mistake.

I had allowed clients and customers to cross personal boundaries by making myself available to EVERYONE morning, noon, nights and weekends via text, email, or phone.

I had taken on businesses and business partners whose values and work ethic did not align with mine.

Turns out I had slowly given into bad habits, one by one that were causing me to fall apart, get fat, and slide into depression and anxiety.

My attempt at giving my clients, customers and business partners better service and more of me had caused me to abandon the healthy habits and rituals that made me the super power that I was.

I found myself less capable, less effective, and unable to cope.

After seeing how one small habit led to another small (and equally bad) habit I made the decision to one by one reverse each bad habit for the sake of my sanity, health, family and business.

Just one habit at a time.

That’s all it takes.

Replace one bad habit with one good habit.

I want to challenge you to better your habits and replace the bad ones with good ones, too.

Maybe it’s cutting out sugars and sweets.

Maybe it’s going to bed at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning without hitting snooze.

Maybe it’s adding exercise to your morning routine.

Maybe it’s getting back into the habit of being grateful.

Maybe it’s reading a book every month.

Whatever good habits you’ve drifted away from, get back to them one good habit at a time.

And when you’re ready for another good habit, then introduce it back into your life.

One by one invite the good habits back into your life and discard the bad ones that are causing you stress, fear, doubt, overwhelm, keeping you tired, out of shape or sick.

Just one habit at a time.

***

Craig here again…

Bedros is right.

We must develop new, stronger habits that will allow us to reach our goals. Start by…

1) Setting deadlines for your new positive habits.

2) Making small changes every day.

3) Preparing for those days when we feel like doing the opposite of what we should be doing.

You can do it. You can break free from your comfort zone. If you believe in yourself as much as I believe in you, you will succeed beyond your wildest dreams. It may not be easy, but you can and will do it. I’ll be right here with you every step of the way.

About the Author: Bedros Keuilian is the embodiment of the American Dream. Arriving in the United States from the communist Soviet Union back in 1980, his family went from being broke to eventually adding value to their new community. Today, Bedros helps over 45,000 fitness experts grow their businesses. Bedros knows the American Dream is NOT dead, because he is living it right now.

Your Diet and Your Body

Obviously, your body type is closely related to how you look.  But did you know that which types of foods you eat and your ability to excel at athletic activities are related to your body type?  Don’t worry, there is no “right” body type and each one has its positive aspects.  Also, we want to note that whichever body type you have does not mean how you look now will forever be the way you look.  Sure, drastically changing your body type is a challenge, but provided you’re willing to work hard enough, you are actually in control of your own destiny.

Before we get to that, let’s first go over the three primary terms used to describe body types and what characterizes each of them.

ecto

1. Ectomorphs

Ectomorphs are generally identified as having thinner limbs and thin bone structures. They tend to have fast metabolisms and the immensely frustrating ability to eat plenty of carbohydrates without showing it. If you’re trying to visualize what an example ectomorph looks like, think of most long distance runners – long, thin, and lithe.  Ectomorphs tend to constantly burn calories.  For them, putting on muscle mass is a constant struggle.  They have to force feed themselves and oftentimes eat far more than they have any interest in doing (while this may sound like a blessing to some, for many ectomorphs, it is a point of constant frustration).

meso

2. Mesomorphs

Think of M to stand for in this case Medium as Mesomorphs have a medium bone structure and fall in between Ectomorphs and Endomorphs. Generally, this body type is characterized as an athletic build with a naturally higher percentage of muscle mass than ectomorphs.  This body type is ideal for explosive sports.  In sticking with the Olympian analogies, you can think of Mesomorphs as your thickly muscled sprinters – not built to go long distances but rather built to generate a lot of power in a short amount of time.  Also, people with this body type tend to have higher testosterone and growth hormone levels, which as a result allows them to maintain low levels of fat.

mendo

3. Endomorphs

At the other end of the spectrum, endomorphs have larger bone structures as well as naturally higher levels of body mass and fat mass.  Exemplary endomorphs are the shot-putters on the Olympic field. In stark contrast to ectomorphs, endomorphs tend to have a harder time burning excess calories and therefore, are likely to carry both more fat and muscle.

Once you’ve identified which body type category you belong to, how should you eat? The following chart shows in simple guidelines to follow:

 

% of Calories from Dietary Sources
  Ectomorph Mesomorph Endomorph
Carbohydrates High (~55%) Medium (~40%) Low (~25%)
Proteins Medium (~25%) Medium (~30%) Medium (~35%)
Fats Low (~20%) Medium (~30%) High (~40%)

Important to note is that when you eat is almost as important as what you eat.  If you’re exercising frequently, then your overall ability to eat high carbohydrate foods regardless of your body type will go up – especially if you eat carbohydrates within a short time period before or after exercise.

To be clear, this is not how to eat for one specific goal but rather a general methodology to work toward moderate muscle gain or weight loss – what will change is simply the amount of calories consumed. For someone who is trying to put on muscle (be it an ectomorph or endomorph) these general dietary splits remain true, however, the amount of calories consumed needs to be increased.

Lastly, it can’t be stressed enough that these are guidelines, not hard and fast rules. Put these guidelines into practice as a starting point and start watching how your body responds. Use your results to iterate to achieve the desired goals.  No two people are alike so no two responses to a diet will be exactly the same.  Test, learn and adjust your way in order to achieve your goals.

While eating for your body type will help with staying healthy, you will probably still have gaps in your nutrient intake. Find out how WellPath can help fill your nutritional gaps and help you reach your health goals.

Steps To Become Wealthy

“While we are postponing, life speeds by.” – Seneca

How to Become Independently Wealthy

By Mark Ford

We recently received an e-mail from Jorge Izquierdo, Jr., a subscriber who complained that “all the material being covered [in The Palm Beach Letter] is for long-term investing. What about short term? I’ve been trying to free my family and myself from the chains of slavery for far too long now. Show me the truth.”

Behind Jorge’s question lies the assumption that it is possible to acquire wealth through some “short-term” investment strategy.

As I’ve explained before, it’s simply not possible to quickly turn, say, $25,000 into $1 million by investing in stocks. But I have good news for Jorge. He can unshackle himself from “financial slavery,” as he calls it, in a relatively short period of time.

Jorge – or just about anyone for that matter – can achieve freedom from financial slavery in just a few years. It does not have to be a lifelong process.

If you are in this situation, here is what you must do:

First, you must ask yourself if you are willing to give up the hope of getting rich quickly by investing. Are you willing to accept the fact that you won’t go from broke to being a millionaire by investing in the next Microsoft? If you can’t honestly and completely answer “yes” to that question, you might as well go read another analyst… one who will tell you what you want to hear.

But if you are ready, the next thing you need to do is think about what you mean by “financial slavery.”


What does that term mean? Most commonly it means two things:

  • You earn less than you spend.
  • You owe more than you own.

If you earn less than you spend, you are in a constant state of stress. You must put off or partially pay your bills. You must appease creditors. And all the while, your debt is mounting.

If you owe more than you own, you can’t buy a house or lease a car or get a loan from anyone other than your parents. (And what if they are dead or tired of helping you… or don’t have the money?)

Because you are in so much trouble, you can’t even think about taking nice vacations or retiring someday. Instead, you have to worry about losing your job. So you keep working and reading investment newsletters. But as each month passes, your financial situation gets worse.

It’s a miserable existence. But it doesn’t have to last. You can break the chains you feel attached to by simply recognizing and reversing the two “facts” mentioned above.

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From the co-founder of EarlytoRise.com…

Mark Ford wants to make his readers a little bit richer every day. More than 100,000 readers joined this mission so far. More than 1,000 even wrote in to rave…

Problem No. 1: You earn less than you spend.

Solution: Spend less and earn more.

You can’t break the chains of slavery without hitting them hard with a big mallet. You won’t be able to gain the independence you want in a few years or less by cutting $10 here and $50 there.

My recommendation is to cut your expenses by 30% to 50%.
I know that sounds crazy. And it may be impossible in your case. But don’t dismiss the idea until you hear me out.

The primary factor in how much you spend every month is the neighborhood you live in. Your neighborhood creates the financial culture that presents the spending choices you make. If you live in a community of million-dollar homes, you will be looking at new BMWs and Audis when it comes to buying or leasing a car. When you go out to dinner, chances are, you’ll be spending more than a hundred dollars per couple.

Unless you live in a working-class neighborhood now, you can radically reduce your spending by moving into one.

I have friends and family members in this situation. They live in $350,000 homes in beautiful neighborhoods and drive luxury cars. But the reality is they are broke and getting poorer every month. They refuse to even consider the idea of downsizing because they are simply too ashamed to do so. What they don’t realize is every month they try to “hold on,” it is making them poorer.

Moving to a less expensive neighborhood would be the quickest, biggest, and surest way to bring their spending down by 30% to 50%.

The other thing you must do to improve your situation is to earn more money. You should take immediate steps to increase your income by 20% to 50%. Again, I know that seems radical, but if you want a “short-term” solution out of financial slavery, this is just as important as radically cutting expenses.

Problem No. 2: You owe more than you own.

Solution: Start owing less and owning more.

If you have accumulated a lot of debt, it means that you don’t see debt as financially dangerous. You must accept the fact that most debt you have is bad for you. There are only a few exceptions: mortgage debt when interest rates are low, and business debt when the business is sound and you are not personally liable.

The first step toward debt management is to get rid of every credit card you have, as well as any credit you have with your bankers. Use cash or debit cards for your shopping. Yes, that means there will be lots of things you can’t buy every month. That’s a good thing, not a bad thing.

If you have a lot of existing credit card debt, you need to consolidate it. Then work with a professional to pay it off at reasonable interest rates.
If you are lucky enough to have equity in your home, trading it for a cheaper one (see above) will accomplish two important goals: it will reduce your monthly expenses, and it will give you a chunk of cash that you can use to pay off debt or put aside as savings.

You must also increase what you own. And by that, I do NOT mean cars or boats or furniture or toys. I mean tangible assets that are likely to appreciate. Gold coins, income-producing real estate, and safe stocks belong in this category.

Every extra after-tax dollar you make by taking on extra work or starting a side business should be devoted to increasing your ownership of such assets. None of it should be spent.

Being financially independent is not about having a big house or driving new cars or taking fancy vacations. There are tens of thousands of Americans in that situation today who are financial slaves, just like you. They are in chains because they spend more than they make and owe more than they own. Their stress is just as great as yours, even though they may make more money or have more toys.

Being financially independent means having more income than you need and owing far less than you own.

It means knowing that you won’t be harassed by bill collectors or embarrassed at the supermarket. It means you have money put aside to take care of any emergencies that come up, and it means a savings account that gets substantially bigger every year.

Becoming a multimillionaire takes years. But breaking the chains of financial slavery can be done relatively quickly.

The hardest part is recognizing the chains that are binding you – earning less than you spend and owing more than you own – and deciding to do something serious about them.

Jorge, you have the plan in front of you now. It’s up to you whether you follow it.

Let us know what are you going to do today to get on the right path to become independently wealthy in the comments section below.

Ed Note: Mark Morgan Ford was the creator of Early To Rise. In 2011, Mark retired from ETR and now writes the Palm Beach Letter. His advice, in our opinion, continues to get better and better with every essay, particularly in the controversial ones we have shared today. We encourage you to read everything you can that has been written by Mark.

People With High IQ

From Your Quora Digest

What do intelligent people do with their phones?

Nela Canovic

Nela Canovic, Productivity hacker, writer, entrepreneur in Silicon Valley

81.4k ViewsMost Viewed Writer in Smart People
  • They switch their phone setting to Airplane mode when they want uninterrupted time to (a) sleep, (b) do deep work, (c) spend time with their family and partner.
  • They use it to set not only a morning but also a bedtime alarm, to get themselves used to a daily ritual that easily becomes a positive habit, which can significantly impact their day (to be more productive) and night (to sleep more effectively).
  • They keep track of their daily physical activities with either a built in app (such as the iPhone Health app) or a downloadable free app (such as Runtastic) that monitors their steps, total time spent being physically active, calories burned, distance covered.
  • They use an app to train themselves to meditate on their own for 10 minutes, to calm their mind, clean their brain from cluttered thoughts, improve focus and concentration (for example, the Headspace app).
  • They don’t take selfies (because let’s face it, no one really cares except you).

Do You Surround Yourself with The Right People

 


Surround Yourself With People Who Challenge Your Thinking

By Kevin Daum @KevinJDaum

It’s nice to have people around who support you and are of like mind. Agreeable people boost your confidence and allow a certain level of relaxation. Most of us develop a stable of people with whom we like to work. We know their styles, and they know ours. It’s comfortable and expedient. It is easy to find a rhythm, and it works. Unfortunately, that level of comfort can stall the very learning and innovation that can expand your company and your career.

It’s nice to have people agree, but you need healthy conflict and differing perspectives to dig out the truth from a group-think and ideation. If everyone in the group has a similar point of view, your work will suffer from confirmation bias, rarely breaking boundaries and creating often unnecessary failure.

Take a look at your own network. Are your contacts the same ones you’ve had for years? Are they all in the same industry? Do they share your point of view on most subjects? It’s time to shake things up and get uncomfortable. As a leader, it can be challenging to create an environment in which people will freely dissent and argue, but as my good friend and colleague Amilya Antonetti says: “From confrontation comes brilliance.”

Here are five tips for engaging people who will expand your perspective and increase your success.

  1. Identify where you are stale. Actively seeking conflict is not an easy thing for most people. Many spend their lives trying to avoid arguments and heightened discourse. There’s no need to go out and find people you hate, but you need to do some self-assessment to determine where you have become stale in your thinking and approach. You may need to start by encouraging your current network to help you identify your blind spots. Additionally, make a list of the five people who have made you most uncomfortable in your life and list the reasons why. Then use the list to create a picture of the ideal opponent for your way of thinking.
  1. Go where the battles are. As people get more confident in their abilities, they often create habits that limit the way they source ideas and information. Fox News and MSNBC bank on this philosophy. Seek out social networks and groups that are outside your normal way of thinking.Use LinkedIn groups to find diverse perspectives. Pursue the writers of posts that make you react strongly. Find the people who make you uncomfortable and invite them into your conversation.
  1. Engage in friendly debate. Passionate, energetic debate does not require anger and hard feelings to be effective. But it does require strength and assertion. Once you have worthy opponents, set some ground rules so everyone understands responsibilities and boundaries. Establish structure to your discourse so people can feel safe. If people are worried about negative repercussions, they will hold back or, worse, disengage completely, and then you’ll be back to the same stale environment. Remember, the objective of this game of debate is not to win but to get to the truth that will allow you to move faster, farther, and better. When that happens, everyone wins.
  1. Check in regularly. Fierce debating can get emotionally brutal, particularly when strong personalities are involved. It doesn’t take insults and name calling to make people feel small and upset. Make sure you check in with your adversarial colleagues to make sure they are not carrying the emotion of the battles beyond the battlefield. Break the tension with smiles and humor to reinforce that this is friendly discourse and that all are working toward communal success. A good way to reinforce the objectivity is to actually switch sides in the debate. It’s hard to take it personally when you can argue on behalf of your opponent.
  1. Share rewards and gratitude. The purpose of all this hot and stressful discourse is to achieve success for everyone. Make sure that all that are involved in the debate are amply rewarded when the goals are reached. Let your sparring partners know how much you appreciate them for being fierce and vulnerable. The more appreciated you make them feel, the more they’ll be willing to get into the ring next time.

3 lessons learned from Xenios Thrasyvoulou, Founder & CEO of PeoplePerHour at #FounderWarStories Breakfast in NYC By Ariele Krantzow

This past Friday morning, May 6th, Xenios Thrasyvoulou sat down with a newly caffeinated crowd of startup founders in a co-working space in New York City’s SoHo and talked about his experiences beginning the platform we all know today as PeoplePerHour.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-R36_PXeao

1) The Biggest Obstacle Xenios Faced Starting PeoplePerHour:

I asked Xenios what the biggest obstacle he overcame? He talked rattled off a couple issues like being days away from not be able to pay the rent and a lack of technical abilities on the team. He finally led us to his conclusion that the biggest challenge he faced in the early stages was finding top talent to leave a stable job and join an early stage startup, before it was cool to join a startup.

2) Common Misconceptions in the Startup Community:

It’s sexy to start a startup today, there are incubators, accelerators, an abundance of VC money, and mentors everywhere. Startups can get lost in following convention and getting too much “advice”. The phrase heard most often is “never give up”, but knowing when to throw in the towel is a painstaking experience and is often done too late. His answer is pretty simple. If your business has the Micro fundamentals (happy, paying customers who come back for more) and the Macro fundamentals (understanding the current and future industry trends) right you should keep going. If it doesn’t it’s time to move on.

Xenios recently wrote a post on his own blog “To Quit or Not to Quit” where he talks about his theory more in depth.

3) Startups Obsession with Venture Capital:

Startups talk about Venture Capital funding all of the time, often it seems that it’s the only conversation that founders are having. VC is good, and necessary but founders often fall into the trap of believing that getting funded is the goal. Xenios pointed out to our audience that startups should never forget that getting funding is just the beginning, you always need to be innovating and working on making their businesses PROFITABLE, after all, they’re starting a business.

Watch Xenios talk about Startups and VC

 

Sign up to find out about future #FounderWarStories events!

Sunday-Open Houses

7 Things Buyers Should Never Overlook At Open Houses
By Kelly O’Reilly |
questions to ask when viewing a house cats in window
Headed to an open house? Make sure you hone in on these key details.

You don’t have to be a pro to know what to look for at an open house.
When you’re on the hunt for a new house, weekends spent touring open houses can quickly veer from fun to daunting by house number three. Keeping track of which home had that great kitchen (but terrible master bath) versus the home with a terrible backyard but a great floor plan can be tough. And while no house is likely to be perfect, when it comes to your budget, some updates are harder to swallow than others. Unfortunate paint colors, though hard to see past, shouldn’t sway your decision because they’re easily changed. But other issues should give you pause because they’ll require costly repairs, or they indicate larger, underlying problems that simply can’t be fixed.

Read on for a list of things you should pay close attention to during an open house. Here’s what to consider and what questions to ask when viewing a house.

1. How old is the roof?

“You really need to look beyond the new kitchen and bathroom and consider the bones of the home,” says Adam Waggoner of Generator Real Estate in Denver, CO. One of the biggest “bones” of a house? The roof. The typical life span of a roof is up to about 20 years, but the average cost to replace one runs into the five-figure range, averaging about $12,000 but going up as high as $25,000 or more. That’s why Omaha, NE, real estate agent Robert Jensen suggests paying close attention to the age and condition of the roof before making an offer.

2. Are there issues with the home’s foundation?

This is what everything is resting on — literally. While superficial blemishes might not matter enough to affect a sale, if there are wide cracks in the foundation, says Waggoner, it’s most likely not worth the time and anguish that can come with fixing it.

3. What is the state of the sewer system?

When it comes to sewer and septic systems, many people are in the dark on a few elements: first off, their level of responsibility. If something goes wrong, it’s the homeowner, not the city, who must cover damages (frequently through homeowners’ insurance). The condition of the sewer lines is also something that is not part of a regular home inspection, so a few hundred dollars for a dedicated sewer inspection could prove to be a worthy investment.

4. Have insurance claims been made on the house?

Jensen also recommends asking if insurance claims have been filed on the house, and for what — the answers may offer insight into any past issues that might not be immediately obvious at an open house. If the house is located near a pond, lake, or stream, he says, it’s important to ask whether flood insurance is required, because that can affect buyer financing or create difficulties than can delay closing.

5. Is there noticeable water damage?

“While it may not be easy for a buyer to spot a wet basement, there are some signs you can look for at an open house,” says Caroline Staudt, a real estate agent with Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate in Boston, MA. “If all of the utility systems and basement storage is propped up a few inches or more off the ground, that may be an indication that the basement has had water issues.” This is one instance, Staudt says, where you should pay close attention to furnishings. If a basement has a nice, fresh carpet and furniture, and there’s no musty smell, that’s a likely sign the space has stayed dry.

6. How old is the wiring?

If you’re considering an older home, don’t ignore the possibility of outdated electrical systems and wiring. Older systems may still be functional but can pose a safety risk, can be difficult to insulate, and are sometimes hard to insure. One example Staudt gives is the knob-and-tube system dating back to the 1930s and ’40s, which can be spotted by its white/off-white knobs connecting to wires, often in an unfinished basement — and can be a big expense to replace. Another telltale sign of a potentially pricey upgrade? Old fuses with circular knobs in the fuse box (newer boxes have many small toggle switches). Staudt points out that an electrician should verify any seller-provided details about wiring or electrical systems.

7. How old are the windows?

Older, original windows often look great but can be painted shut or not airtight, which can make utility costs skyrocket in certain climates. Staudt advises buyers to consider the cost of replacement windows when they’re making an offer on a new home. Replacing old ones can be expensive, but having functional, efficient windows can increase savings in the long run — and be attractive to buyers the next time the home hits the real estate market.

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