Friday, March 31, 2006

House 3: End Of Week 3 Update

Wow.. I had to go back and check my blog entries, but it really has only been three weeks since Mark started working on the property. Feels like it's been four weeks to me.

I stopped by the property unannounced today. Mark wasn't there, but it was lunchtime, so he may have been off eating. My first thought was not much had been done since the last time I was there, but closer inspection revealed that not to be true.

All the doors have been replaced except for the front door. That's 9 doors total and most had to have the doorframe rebuilt. The bathroom was pretty much finished. The shower enclosure was installed and looked very nice. The new medicine cabinet was in and the vanity plumbing was connected. The linoleum in the bathroom and the fireplace room (for lack of a better name) was removed in preparation for new flooring to be installed. The linoleum in the kitchen and dining area still needs to be removed. A new kitchen countertop was in the house, but not yet installed. The old car and engine were still in the backyard, however, as were the old appliances in the house.

Later in the day, I called and spoke with Mark. He said he's planning on replacing the front door tomorrow (Saturday) and starting on the kitchen countertop and sink. His painter will be in towards the end of next week and while the inside is being painted, Mark will work on the outside.

He said on Monday he's going to send me an invoice for his second of three payments, which means he is two-thirds of the way done. I asked about the car and he said the people he's calling say they want it still, but they haven't picked it up yet. He says he's calling them every day. He's going to try some other people on Monday. He also said he received a quote from a drywall guy to put drywall over the two walls with wood paneling in the fireplace room. The quote came in at $850. He doesn't think he could do it himself for much cheaper. That's more pricey than I expected, so I'm going to skip this step and just leave the wood paneling up. With the old shelving taken down, it doesn't look so bad now.

He did tell me that several people have stopped by while he was working and asked if the house will be for sale. He gave them my phone number. I haven't received any calls, but it would be nice if I did. If I can sell it FSBO, I can save a few grand on commissions. The next time I stop by the place, I'm going to leave a stack of business cards for him to hand out.

Since he is now at the two-thirds point, I'm going to call the carpet installers on Monday and get that ball rolling. I'll also stop by a Lowes sometime and get the new stove ordered.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The Velocity Of Money

My wife and I spent most of Saturday and Sunday at a meeting of richdad.com forum members. We met at Rich Dad headquarters in Scottsdale and got to meet with Rich Dad staff, including Robert Kiyosaki, his wife Kim, Sharon Lecter, and others. (Is it just me or did anyone else think Robert looked like he's lost a lot of weight? His face seemed much thinner and I thought his coat and shirt were just hanging on him.)

Saturday was spent with presentations by successful forum members. Russ' presentation on different ways to play Cashflow 101 was very eye opening and dramatically demonstrated the power of teamwork. Les' talk on financing contained lots of useful info and prompted some questions that he was able to answer for me during the round table discussions on Sunday. Steve's presentation on apartments has gotten the apartment bug into my wife (and myself). Seeing the various apartments around town that he owned was a great way to help move the discussion from the theoretical realm to a more concrete plane. The weekend was well-spent and I only wish I had be able to spend more time with the people there. (I was able to meet with a couple local investors, including Kenric / Biophase / Monarchcrest. If you get a chance, check out his blog.)

Before the event happened, I was thinking about financing, since I knew that was to be the subject of Les' talk. Sometime Wednesday, I had the realization that it may be possible to double or triple the speed at which I am buying and selling properties. Currently, I am paying all cash for a property, fixing it up, then selling it. This is working, but it is slow going. I figure at best, I could do maybe 3 properties a year - and that's only if there are no hangups. But if I were to use a hard money loan for maybe 50% or slightly more of the cost of the property, I could buy two houses at once and still have enough cash to start fixing them up simultaneously. Using hard money will increase my expenses, but I may be able to make up for that by the fact that I'll be able to turn twice as many houses. It would also allow me to buy more expensive houses, which tend to have more equity and hence, a bigger profit for me. Finally, using hard money rather than a conventional loan allows me to still have the advantage of being able to close quickly. This is something I need to look into more and, obviously, the viability of this depends a lot on the properties in question, but it is a technique I will keep in mind once my current project is done.

If I do go this route, I will be increasing the rate at which profits return to me. In other words, increasing the velocity of my money. This is a concept Robert Kiyosaki talks about in his book Who Took My Money.

Yesterday, I realized that Prosper.com makes it very easy for a lender to increase the velocity of their money. Prosper allows lenders to lend money in amounts as small as $50. I've currently lent out $500 via Prosper and have received about $15 in payments - not bad considering the loans have been active for less than one month. As soon as I've reached $50, I can immediately lend that money out again, giving close to no idle time for my funds.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

House 3: Electrician And Update

I stopped by the property this morning to meet the electrician. There was a huge dumpster in the driveway and it was mostly empty. The handyman probably filled it once already with all the trash and furniture that was left in the house. The electrician worked there for about 2.5 hours fixing outlets and wiring issues. While he was working, I took a look around to see what the handyman has accomplished so far. Quite a lot, it turns out:

  • The evap unit has been replaced.
  • The trash has been removed from the front and back yards, with the exception of the car and an old engine in the back.
  • The windows that needed replacing have been replaced.
  • The shelves have been removed from the wall with the wood paneling.
  • The bath tub has been replaced. The old shower enclosure has been taken down and the new one is in the house, but not yet installed.
  • A new bathroom vanity has been installed.
  • The old medicine cabinet has been taken out.
  • All the outlets, switches, and faceplates have been replaced.
  • The two bedroom ceiling fans have been replaced.
  • The folding door at the archway has been removed.
  • Drywall throughout the house has been patched.
  • The two wall heaters have been replaced.
  • All the A/C vents have been replaced.

I'm pretty happy with the progress made so far, even though I think it will take a bit longer than the handyman thinks to complete the job.

While I was there, the handyman showed up (promptly at 9 AM) with a helper and a bunch of doors. He hopes to get the doors installed this week. From what I can see, it looks like he's going to need to replace a lot of the door frames as well. He said he's contacted some people about taking the car away and that should be gone soon.

I'm supposed to pay him another 1/3 of his fee when he's 2/3 of the way through the job. I expect that will be in a week or two. (I'm guessing he will take 6 weeks on this job instead of his quoted 4 weeks.) When I get that call, I'll also call my carpet guy to place the order for new carpet. I'll also order a new stove at that time. Once those are in, I should be ready to list the place.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Final Propser Loan Won

The final loan bid I had outstanding, for $200 @ 20.75%, was accepted today. This means I now have all of my $500 loan amount invested across four loans. My average interest rate is 17.82%, or 17.32% after Prosper's fees.

There must be some sort of strange rounding errors going on because my account shows Principal Loaned = $500, Principal Repaid, Interest & Fees Paid, and Service Fees all equal to $0.00, yet my total Loan Value is shown as $500.04.

Anyway, I'm glad all my funds are now loaned out. The final loan actually was scheduled to end in over a week, but it looks like the borrower closed it once she had enough bids to fund the loan. She could have left the bidding open to see if she could get a lower rate.

All in all, it's been a fairly good experience so far. If you are considering lending through Prosper, I suggest reading through the Borrowing help screens first, so you understand the process from the borrower's point of view. I didn't do this until later and many of my questions would have been answered had I read it sooner.

Another Weed Issue & Electrician Scheduled

I got a call from the City Of Phoenix's Solid Waste Division regarding weeds in the alley behind House 3. Apparently, the city has been mailing notices to the house since the beginning of February (which is before I owned the place) about having too many weeds in the alley behind the house. The alley is where the trash cans are placed and where the trash trucks drive to collect the garbage. If the weeds are not taken care of by Monday, they will start issuing citations.

I just called my handyman and spoke with him. He actually walked out into the alley and said things didn't look too bad, but he would trim them back tomorrow and let me know when he is done, so I can tell the city the problem has been fixed.

I've also scheduled the electrician to be out there Tuesday morning at 7 AM to fix the outlet issues the handyman identified.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

House 3: Rehab Questions From Handyman

I got an email from my handyman last night with a couple questions about how to handle some issues. The questions and my responses are below.

The outlet by the kitchen counter has burned wires and the wire are too short to install a new GFCI outlet. New wires should be pulled. What would you like to do?
Based on the other electrical issues you've found and mentioned below, I'll get an electrician out there to do this. Please mark which outlet this is.

In the addition, there are 4 outlets that the wiring is too short to change the outlets. These could be left as is or we could pull new wire. Advise.
If the outlets look OK, we can keep them. If they are broken or have burn marks on them, mark them and I'll have the electrician fix them. My goal in replacing the outlets was to make them look nice, so if they look OK, there is no need to replace them.

Do you want to keep the shelving in the laundry room?

Did you find the light switch for the laundry room?

The paneling in the fireplace room does not have drywall behind it. Do you want to drywall over the paneling or leave it alone?
Let's drywall over it.

On the wall where the cabinets were removed, there is some romex wire sticking through the wall and it is live. Do you want to put a light there? Terminate the wire?
Terminate the wire.

There is a leak in the ceiling at the ceiling fan in the front room. Do you want me to locate this?
Go ahead and try. Don't spend more than a day trying to find it though. If you can't find it, I've got a roof guy I can call.

There is a light fixture in the addition off of the kitchen that has a missing globe. Do you want this fixture replaced? New globe?
A new globe is fine.

I am not sure how you numbered the bedrooms, but as you look down the hallway bedroom #1 is on the left, bedroom #2 is the next on the left, and #3 is on the right. There is an electrical problem in bedroom #1 & #2. Three of the outlets have the wiring backwards (standard is black = hot & white = common), meaning that the problem is else where. These are wired in a series. Do you want me to trouble shoot this problem?
I numbered them the same as you are. I'll have the electrician look at these.

The tub drain is also plugged. Do you want me to take care of this?
Yes please.

There are three ceiling fans in the house. One in the front room, one in bedroom #1, and one in bedroom #2. The one in bedroom #2 does not work. The one in bedroom #1 is the same style as the front room. You asked for tow to be replaced. Which two?
The one that doesn't work in bedroom 2 and the one in bedroom 1. Leave the one in the front room as is.

The light in bedroom #3 does not have a globe. Do you want to replace this with the same style as we did for the laundry room and kitchen?
Yes please.

The front door locks are not working correctly all of the time, would you like these replaced and keyed the same as the lock that is already installed?
I'm not sure what you are referring too. I've already had a locksmith out there who rekeyed everything. I know the "deadbolt" lock on the door is a bit tight. The latch doesn't catch very much. That one couldn't be on the same key as the other locks because the lock was made by a different manufacturer.

What color do you want the kitchen counter top?
Beige or tan, anything neutral.

What color of vinyl tile do you want?
White or off-white.

What color of paint for the inside?

What color of paint for the outside?
I don't really care. Brown, tan. Again, something neutral that blends in with the neighborhood.

Last weekend, we just had our first rain in 143 days. It rained for almost 24 hours straight and I was wondering if any leaks would be found in the roof.

It sounds like some good progress is being made. When I meet the electrician out there, I'll take a look at things. I do like the fact that this guy uses email. It's easy for me and everything is in writing, so nothing should be forgotten (hopefully).

Three Loans Made Via Prosper.com

I've got three loans funded now through Prosper.com:

  • $100 @ 8.85%
  • $100 @ 15.00%
  • $100 @ 23.75%

The 8.85% loan was made to Gualberto. Don't default, Gualberto - I know where you blog! :-)

I've got another bid out for a $200 loan. That listing won't end for another 10 days, so it could be a while before I find out if I got that one.

All my loans are less than a week old, so there haven't been any payments yet. My average interest is 15.36%, after Prosper takes their 0.5% service fee.

One thing I would like to see is an email notification when I have won a loan. Currently, you need to log in to the site to see the status of your bids. Also, an email notifying me when a payment has been made would be nice. Of course, that might already be implemented - I haven't gotten a payment yet, so I can't tell - but so far, I don't think I've received any system generated emails from Prosper, so I'm guessing I won't get one for payments either.

Another thing I'd like to see would be some clarification of how their bidding process works. Prosper lenders bid an amount and minimum interest rate they will accept for a loan. Multiple lenders are grouped to reach the borrower's requested loan amount. I'm a bit unclear about how Prosper determines who the winning lenders are.

For example, someone wants to borrow $1,000 @ 10%. The current bids are, in order of date received:

$500 @ 10%
$250 @ 9%
$250 @10%

There are enough bids to fund the loan and the resulting loan would be $1,000 @ 10%. However, suppose the bidding is still open for another day and now someone else comes in and bids $100 @ 8%. What happens?

It's probably not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but the engineer / programmer in me is curious to see how this situation is handled. It's a bit more complicated than the standard eBay auction model, since there are two variables involved.

Friday, March 10, 2006

House 3: Rehab Under Way

I hadn't heard from my handyman Mark (not his real name) this week, so I gave him a call. I mailed off my check to him on Tuesday morning and was hoping to hear that he got it and would be getting started soon. Turns out he started yesterday! Sweet!

He said he's got most of the trash inside the house removed and now he's working on the trash outside. He had one question. Apparently, under the pile of all the junk in the room with the fireplace, there was a small, low wall. (A picture can be found in this post. It's the one titled "This is a room just off the converted room.") I didn't notice it before because some windows and wood paneling were leaning up against and stacked on top of it. Mark wanted to know if he was supposed to remove that wall. He guesses the old owners were trying to make a bar because behind this short wall is where the cabinets that I'm having removed are hanging. He also mentioned the wall is very unstable. I told him to remove it.

I feel better now that the rehab has been started. First, it's good to know that progress is being made. Second, I'm glad to see Mark was true to his earlier word that he would be able to start the job towards the middle of this week.

Thursday, March 9, 2006

Prosper.com Once More

I really hate to be negative about Propser.com. I really want it to succeed. I want to be able to report good things about it. It's getting hard.

Let me preface what I am saying by noting Propser.com is still relatively new and should be expected to have some bugs to work out.

On to my complaints.

1. My transfer of funds from my checking account into Prosper was supposed to be completed today. Funds were removed from my checking account on the 7th. Today, the 9th, they are still not showing up in my Prosper account. This may be the fault of ACH and not Prosper, however, so I suppose I have to cut them some slack. Nevertheless, one of the more common complaints on Prosper's discussion boards is the length of time it takes to get funds into Prosper. Additionally, I find it strange that funds going the other way are very quick. For example, to verify an account, Prosper makes two small deposits into your checking account. I've linked two accounts and both times, the deposits have shown up in 1 business day. Why does it take 5 times longer for funds to move the other direction? Even if this is the fault of ACH, Prosper is taking a big publicity hit on this. I did see on the discussion boards that they are looking into speeding this up. As I mentioned before, why do they have to use the ACH network? Why can't they use Cirrus or some other ATM network?

2. Are Lenders allowed to be in Groups? I spent some time going over the rewards program that Prosper has for group members and leaders. Besides being overly complicated, I can't find any benefits to a lender for belonging to a group. I emailed Prosper's Customer Support about this and this is the response I got:

At this time, lenders cannot be members of groups. However, if you wish to associate yourself with a particular group, you can check a checkbox on the bidding page that will add your screen name to the "Lenders who support us" list on the group home page.
This is outright wrong. I belong to the WealthBuilders Group, a group for people borrowing to create wealth in the spirit of Rich Dad, Poor Dad. My role in Prosper is defined as a Lender. There is obviously some sort of disconnect here. When I look at my Profile screen, it says I do not support any groups. When I go to the Group tab of the My Account page, under the title "My Group", it shows the WealthBuilders group. Under that, in a different section, it says "You currently do not have any active group requests and are not a member of a group." Yet if I look at the members of the WealthBuilders group, I am listed as a member.

3. There seems to be no benefit at all to a lender to belong to a group. This may be because lenders are not supposed to be allowed in groups and I was only allowed in through some glitch. I would like to see lenders be allowed in groups. That way, lenders and borrowers with common interests can be matched up easier. I would like to lend money to members of my group, especially if there is some sort of benefit to me besides the interest I get from the loan. I also think allowing lenders in a group would help foster a closer community within that group. (Of course, I want to be able to lend outside my group as well.)

I don't know. I continue to have great hopes for Prosper and I am anxious to start lending through it, but there still seems to be some kinks that are very annoying.

Tuesday, March 7, 2006

House 3: Estimate Clarification

I got a response to my fax to the handyman requesting some clarification of his estimate. He was checking into whether or not he could move the car legally (since I don't have title to the car). This is similar to a situation I ran into on my last rehab, so I was pretty sure there would be no problems removing it. Just to be sure, I called the Phoenix Police Department to check. (My last property was in Glendale and the city code might be different in Phoenix.) Indeed, the car is treated as an abandoned vehicle on private property and therefore, the property owner can do what he wants with it. Technically, the towing company is supposed to contact the police department with the license plate number or the VIN number to see if the car has been reported stolen. However, that is not the responsibility of the property owner. Anyway, I passed this info on to the handyman.

As for the other issues:

- The removal of the shed, folding door, and door frame at the archway are included.

- He counted three windows that needed to be replaced, so I'll trust him on that.

- He will remove the cabinets and, if there is good drywall behind it, the wood paneling as well.

- He forgot to include the new toilet in the estimate wording, but it was included in his price.

And speaking of the price, he didn't lower it :-) He also rejected my request for dates and penalties / bonuses for late or early completion. According to him, he cannot schedule the work of his subcontractors and therefore can't make promises for them. If he were to do so, the state of Arizona would consider them employees of his company. He said he has spoken with all of them and they all agree to do their best to meet the 4 week schedule. A start date will be provided as soon as he receives my first payment, which I placed in the mail this morning.

I'm not sure I buy his argument about not being able to schedule the subcontractors. He doesn't really need to. He just has to tell them when he needs the work completed by. But I'm not going to push it. He claims his motivation to finish the job is his final payment.

The good news is that he is using subcontractors. That means it won't just be him working on the job, which means it should get done faster.

Monday, March 6, 2006

When Is Automated Not Automated? (Updated)

Last Friday, I submitted a transfer of funds from my bank account to my Prosper.com account and was informed it would take up to 5 business days for the transfer to be completed. Huh? The process is automated! In fact, Prosper uses the ACH system for transferring funds and ACH stands for Automated Clearing House. Last time I checked, computers didn't sleep or need time off, so why does this system only work during business days? Does anyone have the answer?

I can use my ATM card to make a purchase at a store on a Sunday, then go home and log on to my bank's website and see the transaction posted immediately. So why can't this happen with transfers using ACH?

Of course, the obvious answer is that ACH is a different network than the one debit cards use. But this simply begs the question of why Prosper choose to use the slower ACH system rather than the faster system debit cards use...

Does anyone have any insight into this?

Update: I contacted Mary Zerrenner of Electronic Payments Network, the only private ACH operator in this country, for answers to these questions. She says the settlements for ACH items happen at the Fed (federal reserve bank). The Fed does not process settlements on Saturdays, Sundays, or holidays. Thanks to Mary for looking into this. However, the underlying question still remains: Why are the computer programs at the Fed not running on weekends and holidays?

House 3: Rehab Estimate Received - And It's A Shocker!

Last night, I got a fax from the handyman with the quote for all the work I wanted done on the property. I was in for a shock - the quote was for $23,700! I was thinking more along the lines of $15,000. True, this quote includes everything (dumpster rental for the trash, all materials, etc.), but still, it seems a bit high. Other items on the quote included the condition that the cost be paid one-third at the start, another third at 2/3 completion (to be determined by the handyman), and the final third at completion. I'm ok with that. But it also states "Any and all change orders are due at the completion of each change order." That made me take a closer look at what he included on the quote compared with what I asked him to do. I did find some discrepancies:

- I asked that the car and shed in the back yard be removed. This may be included in his general "remove trash" item, but since they are large items, I want to be explicit that they are included.

- He did not list the removal of the door frame and folding door at the archway.

- He listed "replace 3 windows." I specified two plus making sure all windows in the converted carport room are the same. My pictures don't show the entire room, and I know there is at least one that needs to be replaced, maybe more. Just wanted that clarified.

- In the room that leads to the laundry room, there are cabinets I want taken down and, if the drywall underneath is good, wood paneling taken down.

- The fireplace needs to be refaced.

- A new toilet needs to be installed in the bathroom.

I think he just forgot to list these on his quote. There is an awful lot of stuff to be done and I did give him a print out of these items. However, I want to make sure this stuff is in writing to avoid any problems later on.

Because the estimate was much higher than I expected, I also pulled out the "Is this the best you can do?" line to see if he can lower his price a bit.

And finally, because I want to make sure this project proceeds quickly, I asked him to modify his estimate to include the following stipulations: "Specify a start date. The job will be completed 30 days from the start date. If the job is finished before that start date, I will pay him an additional $100 per day for each day prior to the completion date that the job is finished. For each day after 6 weeks from the start date that the job is not finished, the price will decrease by $100 per day." That gives him two weeks leeway to accommodate unexpected things that might crop up before he starts getting hit with a penalty. The 30 day length was what he told me he thought it would take.

I faxed this info to him last night, so we'll see what kind of response I get. He originally said he could start the middle of this week and I am hoping that is still the case.

FYI, this guy is a licensed contractor (my previous handyman was not) and he is licensed for both commercial and residential work. There are no complaints on record about him.

Just in case he doesn't want to do this, I am going to start looking for another person who can handle this rehab.

Also, once all this work is done, the only things left to do will be to replace the stove (about $200) and install new carpet (about $750 - $1,000). Luckily, I bought this property cheap enough that, even if I go with this guy and he doesn't lower his quote, I should still be able to make money.

Thursday, March 2, 2006

Prosper.Com Revisited

In a previous entry, I spoke about Prosper.com and the benefits and drawbacks of their service. Before going any further, I'd like to thank Prosper.com's CTO and co-founder, John Witchel, for leaving some comments here to address the concerns I raised.

I decided to go ahead and try lending a small amount through Prosper.com - no more than $1,000. It has taken a while, but I have finally gotten approved to be a lender. I spoke a bit about this in the comments of the previous post, but I'll repeat it here in case you missed it.

When you apply to be a lender on Prosper, they run a credit inquiry on you with Experian to verify your identity using your driver's license number, social security number, address, and phone number. I had difficulty at this point - my application kept getting rejected. Sometimes I was told the verification service was unavailable and sometimes I was told my identity could not be verified. After double-checking I had not typo'ed any of my information, I decided the problem could possibly lie with Experian.

Back at the end of 2004, I had requested my free annual credit report from Experian and discovered several errors, including an incorrect driver's license number. I submitted corrections and supposedly, Experian fixed them. However, the correction letter I received from Experian only listed the credit account problems that were fixed. It did not indicate they had fixed my driver's license number. So it was possible that the report still showed my old driver's license number and that was a reason Prosper's ID verification was failing for me. Since it had been over a year, I was able to request another free copy of my credit report from Experian to verify the data again. I was unable to request the report via the web for some reason, so I had to call Experian directly to request it.

In the meantime, I had continued to try getting verified through Prosper's website. One time I noticed that there was a customer service number displayed on the error screen I was getting. It appears that they only display this number during the hours their customer service is open, so I had never seen it before. I called them up and was told I could fax a copy of my driver's license and social security card to them for an alternate method of verification. I faxed the documents and the next day, I received a call saying they received the fax and it was forwarded to their ID Verification department and I could expect a call from them shortly.

The next day, I got an email from the ID Verification department. They explained they had checked their logs and discovered my application was being rejected because I had applied for a business credit card using my home address as the business address, thus, they assumed I was a business and not a person, and my application was rejected. (One of my real estate LLCs is a home-based business, which is why it shares my home address.) Prosper's staff said they modified their verification criteria and I should now be able to complete the process on-line. I tried again and it worked!

The next step was to enter my checking account information. Once they had that, they made two small deposits to the account. I had to wait two or three days to see the deposits, but once I did, I just went back to Prosper's web site, logged in, and verified the amounts. I am now fully confirmed and can start lending - something I will do so just as soon as I deposit some money into that account. As I mentioned before, I am somewhat paranoid about giving companies permission to withdraw funds from my accounts automatically, so I opened a new checking account solely for use with Prosper.

I would like to comment that, so far, my experience with Prosper.com's customer service department has been fantastic. They understood my problem right away, offered a simple solution, and were proactive in keeping me updated on their progress. I am also glad they modified their verification routines to not fail someone if a business address is the same as a personal residence address. If they did not do this, millions of people who run a home-based business would be shut out of Prosper.

I just had a thought.. At a brick and mortar bank, you generally get a real low interest rate on your money in a checking account. However, I also have an account at Ing Direct, which pays a much higher rate. Now, the Ing account is a savings account, and there are federal restrictions on the amount of electric transfers that can occur in a savings account (a maximum of 6 electronic withdrawals per 30 days), so you can't might not want to link your Prosper account to your Ing account. However, the Ing account is also tied to a checking account at a brick and mortar bank. So if you tie both your Ing account and your Prosper account to the same checking account, you can electronically move your money from Prosper, where unused funds earn no interest, to your checking account, where they earn a tiny bit of interest, to your Ing account, where they earn a larger amount of interest. When you want to lend again, run the transfers in reverse. I'm guessing it would take 4 to 5 business days for money to make it way completely through the three accounts, but that's not too bad.

Oh, I did get my free credit report from Experian and they did indeed have my correct driver's license number. There were a couple other minor errors, but I'll get those fixed shortly.

I'll post more of my experiences with Prosper once I had made some loans and start receiving payments.
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