Concealed carry-free open houses, Singapore is the most expensive city, and winter wonders
Realty firms, like other businesses, are grappling with how to handle Illinois’ new concealed carry law. But in an industry whose very foundation involves strangers sitting in agents’ cars and offices and walking through private homes, devising guidelines is proving difficult.
Happy 103rd birthday to the first lady of real estate, Ebby Halliday!
Freakonomics latest podcast looks at the phenomenon of Japan’s disposable housing culture. In Japan, there is virtually no secondary housing market. The country tears down roughly half of its houses in only 38 years. It’s an interesting look at how another culture views housing.
Looking for a new read? Buzzfeed gives you 20 suggestions based on your childhood favorites. Some of them sound great!
With ticket prices expected to top $250k, a suborbital fight aboard Richard Branson’s Virgin Galactic or one of its competitors won’t be cheap. But just think of all the money you’ll save now that you can have your second home virtually anywhere on earth and be there in 2 hours or so.
White picket fences are such a cliché. How about a mirrored fence that reflects its surroundings? It may not be practical, but it sure is beautiful.
In keeping apprised of the political scene in Ukraine, Forbes contributor Greg Satell provides a compelling perspective.
And the title of the World’s Most Expensive City to live in goes to…Singapore.
It looks like winter might finally be on the retreat in the upper Midwest. Still have a case of the winter blahs? Time rounds up 10 things everyone should do to improve your life. I don’t know if all of these are possible daily, but they all sound like good things to me.
Winter has been rough, but at least it’s given us images like this of a frozen Niagara Falls. And I’ve never been ice fishing, but I would be willing to try it in this luxury ice fishing shack. Though it’s hardly a ‘shack’… And how about your own backyard luge track? And finally my back sure would thank me if I could only afford this for next winter.
This week we listened to a compelling interview about net neutrality that explains why we should all know and understand this issue. The quote that most caught our eye as spoken by Harvard Law School professor Susan Crawford:
For about $25 a month [Seoul and Stockholm] are getting gigabits symmetrical service, which is 100 times faster than the very fastest connection available in the United States and for a 17th of the price.
You’ve probably seen the group selfie taken at the Oscars that broke Twitter (or this is the first you’re hearing of it and you just don’t care). But when was the first group selfie taken? Could it be this photograph from 1920?
NPR reports on the use of “advance directives” to cut health care costs.
In more Oscar news, John Travolta butchered Idina Menzel’s name. Now you can see how he might introduce you. Travoltified, I’m “Dean Stewaeert”.
The following Field Guides have recently been updated in the Library at Realtor.org:
Managing risk is a necessity for real estate practitioners. According to Barron’s Dictionary of Real Estate Terms, agency disclosure “is a written explanation, to be signed by a prospective buyer or seller, explaining to the client the role that the broker plays in the transaction,” (Barron’s Educational Series, 2000). This Field Guide covers various aspects of agency disclosure, including policies, forms, and legislation. Further your knowledge of this complex topic with our selection of articles.
American Home Week
Originally started as an annual national event in 1956 as a way to promote the benefits of home ownership and the value of using of a REALTOR® in real estate transactions, American Home Week has gone through many changes over the years. Although the National Association is no longer involved in American Home Week, it is traditionally celebrated during the second full week in April (so, April 6-12, 2014). However, local REALTOR® associations which choose to recognize this event are free to decide on appropriate dates that fit their own schedules. This page features historical information about American Home Week and related events.
A little competition is a good thing, right? Learn why awareness of antitrust issues is important for real estate professionals, along with information on avoiding antitrust problems. This field guide provides guidance for brokers and associations, articles, and books about this essential legal issue and updates on the Department of Justice case against NAR.
China Real Estate
China has a growing interest in real estate, both in China and in the United States. Wealthy Chinese buyers are investing in bricks and mortar. In this NEW Field Guide, you will find Chinese-language real estate listings, current articles about real estate in China, Chinese buyers in the U.S., books, websites and upcoming property events.
Determining Asking Price
What is the best way to determine the asking price of a house and why is it important? Find out here in this field guide.
IRS Form 990 Reporting Rules for Nonprofits
The Internal Revenue Service has released an updated version of Form 990 for Tax-Exempt Organizations. Get the latest IRS information and find out how this update will affect your organization.
REALTORS® and the Global Marketplace
Many successful real estate professionals have discovered the benefits and values of the world of international real estate. If you are thinking about going global or have already ventured into this arena, this field guide will provide you with tips for locating and working with international clients, etiquette, cross-cultural business guides and international networking opportunities. You will also discover an assortment of international real estate information sources, including a wealth of worldly resources from the REALTOR® organization. Plus, the international eBooks available in the Virtual Library at Realtor®.org are definitely a must-read.
Wind Farms and their Effect on Property Values
Wind power is one of the fastest growing sources of electricity generation. As wind farms spread, local opposition to the massive towers (some over 400 ft tall) is appearing and is beginning to impact state regulation. Residents not only oppose the turbines for aesthetic reasons, they also worry how wind farms will impact property values. This field guide explores the current state of the industry, examines real-estate-related research and its critics, provides wind maps and regulations to give an indication of where future projects might unfold, and gives resources, both critical and supportive, for further study.
Working with International Clients
The topic of international clients garners great interest and attention amongst real estate professionals and news providers these days. The real estate markets in the United States offer lucrative investment opportunities that attract a global audience. How can you capture the attention and interest of these prospective clients? Review the articles, reports, and resources below to learn more about international clients.
NAR members and Association staff can borrow up to six electronic books, digital audios and/or videos at no cost, through the Virtual Library eBooks Collection.
Members can also borrow up to three books for 30 days from the Library Catalog for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Central at 800.874.6500 for assistance.
42 Rules for Effective Connections
by Bonnie Ross-Parker & Cindy Elsberry
Tired of the same ‘ole networking chatter? Do you think anyone is really listening to what you have to say? Wish you were somewhere else? If you have to network to grow your business and find yourself spending money going to events, meeting as many people as possible and returning to the office with a handful of business cards without the results you want, you can benefit from the strategies presented in ’42 Rules for Effective Connections (2nd Edition).’ For anyone who wants to improve communication, get better results in any networking environment and alleviate the stress and anxiety that comes from building a business where you have to go out to meet potential customers ’42 Rules for Effective Connections (2nd Edition)’ is a must-read.
Build Your Brand with Pinterest
by Sarita Harbour
Social media marketing is quickly becoming a crucial aspect of promoting any business: free and easy-to-learn platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest mean than businesses of all sizes can interact effectively with their target markets in our 21st century world. Many entrepreneurs successfully use these social media platforms as a way to market their businesses online, and you can too. As one of the most quickly growing social media platforms, CNN reports that according to Experian Marketing Services 2012 Digital Marketing Trend Report, Pinterest ranks number three on the list of most visited social sites, behind Facebook and Twitter. In the month of February alone, Pinterest attracted new users at an astonishing rate, increasing traffic to the site by fifty percent. The study also found that over ninety percent of adult internet users regularly visit one or more social media sites. Want to learn how to use this powerful tool to your fullest advantage?
by Sharon Astyk
Other books tell us how to live the good life—but you might have to win the lottery to do it. Making Home is about improving life with the real people around us and the resources we already have. While encouraging us to be more resilient in the face of hard times, author Sharon Astyk also points out the beauty, grace, and elegance that result, because getting the most out of everything we use is a way of transforming our lives into something much more fulfilling.
Say Anything to Anyone, Anywhere
by Gayle Cotton
Say Anything to Anyone, Anywhere gives readers five simple key guidelines to create rapport and organize strategies for success across different cultures. This book teaches to be proactive, not reactive, in your cross-cultural communications and shows how to use simple rapport tools to create trust with the cultures you work with or travel to. Learn how to organize productive interactions in person, on the phone, and by email. Discover interpersonal communication skills and virtual strategies that build strong relationships.
9 Powerful Practices of Really Great Bosses
by Stephen E. Kohn & Vincent O’Connell
Why does one management style make employees hate their jobs, while a different style inspires them to outperform and commands their respect? Emotionally intelligent people-management skills turn out to be the primary reason. In modern organizations keen to retain their most talented human capital, there may be no more important competency to develop than the skills that motivate people to outperform the competition.
The Art of Insight: How to Have More Aha! Moments
by Charles F. Kiefer & Malcolm Constable
Inspiration Whenever You Need It We have all experienced it: the jolt of an insight arriving like a thunderclap, unexpectedly and without warning. But what if insights could be accessed more reliably? Drawing on years of research, reflection, and experiences with colleagues, friends, and clients, Charles Kiefer and Malcolm Constable present a thorough, pragmatic approach for dependably generating fresh thoughts and perspectives. Guided by their user-friendly practices and helpful exercises (both in the book and online at www.TAOI-Online-Learning.com), you’ll develop your own personal approach to cultivating a mindset where insights come so readily that new or long-standing problems are solved with confidence and ease.
Speaking Up: Surviving Executive Presentations
by Frederick Gilbert
by David Kay & Roger Hinds
Mentoring is a rewarding experience. You will play an active and invaluable part in the development of another person and further your own career at the same time. This concise book will take you step-by-step through the process and show you: – How to become an effective mentor – What qualities, methods and processes are required – How to prepare yourself and the mentee – How to avoid the common pitfalls. Whichever sector you work in, this extremely practical book will clarify the whole mentoring process from start to finish, and support you every step of the way.
NAR members and Association staff can borrow up to three books for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10.
Members and staff can also borrow up to six electronic books, digital audios and/or videos at no cost, through the Virtual Library eBooks Collection.
Information Dashboard Design: Displaying Data for At-a-Glance Monitoring
By Stephen Few
Analytics Press, 2013
Dashboards have become popular in recent years as uniquely powerful tools for communicating important information at a glance. Although dashboards are potentially powerful, this potential is rarely realized. The greatest display technology in the world won’t solve this if you fail to use effective visual design. And if a dashboard fails to tell you precisely what you need to know in an instant, you’ll never use it, even if it’s filled with cute gauges, meters, and traffic lights. Don’t let your investment in dashboard technology go to waste.
Mastering Business Finance
National Institute of Business Management, 1996
No subject seems to pervade our lives as much as finance. Whether it’s wresting with your family budget or seeing if your company qualifies for a bank loan, finance looms larger than any other technical subject on a daily basis. This report is meant to strip away the fear and confusion you may experience about finance. It explains expense and capital budgets, financial analysis and cash management, and tells you how to go about raising money – all in a language that’s easy to understand.
Maestro: A Surprising Story about Leading by Listening
By Roger Nierenberg
Penguin Group, 2009
As the creator of The Music Paradigm, a unique program that invites executives to sit inside an orchestra rehearsal, renowned conductor Roger Nierenberg has shown thousands of people how to “lead by listening,” improve teamwork, and draw out any organization’s full potential.
7 Steps to Find Your Perfect Career
By Dr. Margot E. Weinstein
MW Leadership Consultants, LLC, 2005
This book will teach you the 7 Step Process to find your talents and learn how to use them to become very prosperous in a career that is right for you. The book is filled with career information, activities and powerful interviews with 9 very successful people to help you become extremely profitable in your perfect career. In each of the 7 steps, Dr. Weinstein will provide you with key strategies that you can put into action today to reach your dream career. This is not just a typical career book. Dr. Weinstein has actually utilized this process to change careers three times, taught it in business and education, and regularly interviews leading CEOs of major real estate, banking and human resource development in organizations worldwide on how they found their chosen career such as: Sam Zell, Equity Group Investments LLC and the tribune, John Baird, Baird & Warner.
Corporate Social Responsibility: Definition, Core Issues and Recent Developments
By Brent D. Beal
Sage Publications, 2014
Corporate Social Responsibility: Definition, Core Issues and Recent Developments offers a well-structured and thorough introduction to corporate social responsibility (CSR). Author Brent D. Beal introduces the basic concept of CSR, briefly discusses the challenges of defining it, and summarizes important conceptual models. CSR is examined in the context of the perfect competition market model, market failure, and social dilemmas. Three different types of CSR—systemic, strategic, and philanthropic—are highlighted.
When Principles Pay: Corporate Social Responsibility and the Bottom Line
By Geoffrey Heal
Columbia University Press, 2008
Stories of predatory lending practices and the reckless destruction of the environment by greedy corporations dominate the news, suggesting that, in business, ethics and profit are incompatible pursuits. Yet some of the worst lenders are now bankrupt, and Toyota has enjoyed phenomenal success by positioning itself as the green car company par excellence. These trends suggest that antisocial corporate behavior has its costs, especially in terms of the stock market, which penalizes companies that have poor environmental track records and rewards more socially conscious brands.
When Principles Pay jumps headfirst into this engaging and vital issue, asking whether profit maximization and the generation of value for shareholders is compatible with policies that support social and environmental goals.
Real Estate Transactions: A Practical Global Guide
Globe Business Publishing, 2012
Real estate regulations vary widely across different jurisdictions. Each country has its own particularities, which are of utmost importance in practice. Concepts such as the obligation to execute the agreement before a public notary, compulsory registration of the deed and the formal provisions to be included therein may determine the validity or voidance of the transfer of property. A lawyer who is unfamiliar with the real estate regulations of the country involved may think that a title is valid if the formalities required in his or her home jurisdiction have been complied with, but in most cases this is insufficient and is the origin of subsequent problems and conflicts. This new work aims to outline the mechanics for real estate transactions in a selection of key jurisdictions, as well as the fiscal treatment of the same. It will therefore provide an essential tool for those acquiring real estate in a wide range of countries.
Field Guides are one-stop resource packages on dozens of subjects of interest to REALTORS®. On each page you’ll find links to articles, books, web sites, statistics, and other material on each subject. The list of the most-used field guides from Information Central for the month of February 2014 was released today:
- Field Guide to Quick Real Estate Statistics
- Field Guide to Preparing & Staging a House for Sale
- Field Guide to Opening a Real Estate Brokerage
- Field Guide to Writing a Business Plan
- Field Guide to Being a New REALTOR®
- Field Guide to Listing & Selling Luxury Properties
- Field Guide to Marketing Tips for REALTORS®
- Field Guide to Farming and Prospecting
- Field Guide to 1031 Exchanges
- Field Guide to Real Estate Office Policy Manuals
Have an idea for a new field guide? Let us know!
Housing Price Infographs, Flood Insurance Repeal? and a Gold Treasure with a Big Tax Bill
The Economist has a nice set of interactive charts on US house prices. You can pick your city and see how it compares to other major metros over the last 20+ years. Compare house price indices, price to average income, price against rents, and just raw percentage change. Really interesting to see how far we rose, how far we then fell and which markets are well on their way back up.
Trying to incentivize your buyers? HousingWire mentions 4 tax game-changers that might be good to mention to fence-straddlers.
Congress overhauled flood insurance laws a few years ago. Now Congress is looking to repeal some of the rules as they are causing premiums to skyrocket for more constituents than expected.
Choosing the right company name is important. Some REALTORS simply use their own name, a simple solution. Others get more descriptive – their area or their specialty. But how many go that extra step to create a logo? The Winter 2014 issue of the MIT Sloan Management Review has an interesting article on the Power of a Good Logo (available to members through ProQuest). Of interest:
Our research found that separate visual symbols used as logos tend to be more effective than brand names at creating a sense of emotional connection with consumers.
Do you have your own logo?
OZY notes the rise of a new kind of coffee shop for the freelance age. The ‘Coffice‘ as it’s called provides free wi-fi and free coffee. You simply pay by the minute to sit. Mostly popping up overseas, the coffice isn’t so much about making money (some barely turn a profit) and more about community. Don’t expect Starbucks to try it soon.
The Power of Positive Thinking…isn’t always so positive. At least that’s what a number of studies are starting to find.
Enjoy sleeping under the stars but hate the mosquitoes? A Russian designer is working on what she’s calling the Cosmos Bed. Shaped like an egg, the fiberglass frame is pretty high-tech with LED lights to mimic the stars, built in sound machine and aromatherapy. Not interested? How about a bed that looks like a book?
How’s your New Year’s resolution to lose weight going? If you’re having trouble, maybe it’s your peppermint white chocolate mocha habit. A blogger puts together a nice infographic of Starbucks calories.
How did we all live without the Internet? No Facebook updates, no funny cat videos, no online ordering, no email… The Internet turns 25 on March 12. In the United States, 87% of adults use the Internet, according to a Pew Research Survey. We love our cell phones, but not as much as the Internet. “Americans, though, are much more attached to the Internet and their digital devices. Pew noted that 39% said they “absolutely need” to have Internet access. Among those who said it would be difficult to give up net access, 61% said being online is essential for their jobs or other aspects of their lives, and 30% said they want the Internet because they simply enjoy being online.”
Maybe they’ll enjoy being online this Sunday as for the first time ever the Oscars are being live-streamed on the web.
Spring is almost here (hooray!) Time to think about Spring Cleaning, especially all of our electronic gadgets. They get dropped, get full of fingerprints on the screen and get coffee spilled on them. Learn how to make everything clean and shiny.
Haunted marketing, tax burdens by metro area, and Sir David Attenborough explains curling
A New Orleans real estate broker has been getting lots of attention since George Takei posted a photo on social media Monday of a real estate sign reading “Not Haunted.” The signs are the work of Shelnutt Real Estate in New Orleans which is trading on the Crescent City’s reputation as America’s most haunted town. Since the post, Finis Shelnutt, the owner, has been on two radio programs and dealt with phones ringing off the hook.
Need some new ideas for finding leads? A Canadian broker, KaraLee Foat, has her office provide pumpkins to clients for a jack-o-lantern carving contest and gingerbread kits for a holiday decorating contest. Clients then snap a photo and post to her website where they are judged by local celebrities. Both have translated into business for the firm. Expand your marketing ideas beyond postcards and magnets and find what will work for you!
NPR had a story recently on DIY homebuilding in the internet age, highlighting a project called ‘foundhouse’ among others. Find the plans online, gather materials, and you can build your own home. More pictures are available here. It looks like they didn’t find a bathroom though…
As the snow begins to melt, thoughts turn to…taxes. HousingWire crunched the numbers to find the best and worst housing markets in terms of overall tax burden in the US. They give the top and bottom five. In a nutshell, the Lowest: Cheyenne, WY; and the highest: Bridgeport, CT.
Where will you find the nation’s highest average apartment rents? Would you believe Williston, North Dakota?
Ever wonder why tabloids always use yellow headlines? Why some magazine covers have so much text while others barely any? The blog 99% Invisible looks at the evolution of the magazine cover over the 20th century.
Do you still play Candy Crush? 100 million people still do, daily. The company behind it is launching an IPO so they’ve had to release some remarkable financial numbers. Last year the cleared over a half BILLION dollars in profit! How much did you contribute? I gave more than I should have, but luckily I’ve been stuck for so long that my interest has waned. The Altantic looks at the company and says its a remarkable enterprise, but a really bad investment. Some commentators say the IPO is more about the founders cashing out while the game is still (relatively) hot.
With the knowledge that our economy is intrinsically tied to the global economy, we decided to read up on Ukraine this week. The Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal offer the basics and background on Ukraine and its important role in the global economy.
The Winter Olympics are wrapping up soon. There have been some great moments, some groans of defeat, and some gasps of surprise. And then there’s curling. I still don’t get it. Luckily the BBC has brought in an expert to explain the ritual: noted nature program narrator Sir David Attenborough.
This month we finished The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Though any book about war is heavy, we enjoyed this one very much. Zusak’s original word compositions create rich and impactful pictures. Written from the perspective of Death (aka “Grim Reaper”), we follow the story of Liesel, the story’s delightful, feisty and strong female protagonist. Through this perspective we gain an on-the-ground glimpse into the perils of war and what it was like to live as a citizen in Germany during WWII. The end of the story will put a deep hole in your heart as a reminder of the horrors of war, and particularly of WWII. Next we will check out the movie, released last November. Excellent follow-up companions to this book include Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay and The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows.
Free Starbucks—the best thing ever! Unfortunately, the only way you can get free Starbucks is be an NBC employee at the NBC section at the International Media Center in Sochi. NBC hired 15 Russian Starbucks baristas to man their secret store, housed them and paid their wages. You can order from a limited menu of drinks, but they do not offer plain black coffee. Talk about employee perks…
1Q2014 sales expectations, unplugging, cold weather strategies and a bacon rose says ‘I love you’
How’re you first quarter of the year sales turning out? According to data from DQNews presented in HousingWire the answer more often than not is ‘weak’.
Overconnected? Maybe it’s time for a tech break, even just for a day. Luckily The National Day of Unplugging is just a few short weeks away. Put down your phone, ipad and kindle from sundown March 7 to sundown March 8 to catch up on your non-digital life.
How fast of a reader are you? Staples has a nice website that will measure your reading speed and let you know how you compare based on education. It will also let you know how long it will take to read various books and how many you might be able to consume between charging your eReader. Apparently I can get through War and Peace in under 22 hours!
Where can you find the most international students in college? It’s not the Ivy League. According to US News, the top three schools with the most overseas students as a percentage of population are the New School in NYC, the Florida Institute of Technology, and the Illinois Institute of Technology.
Cold weather getting you down? Want to just crawl back into bed in the morning. The cure for this ‘morning peevishness‘ might just be a trip to the curb to pick up the morning paper. There’s nothing quite like a blast of cold air (or cold water) to clear the cobwebs and set the day right. Or so they say…
Looking to get your sweetie something sweet for Valentines Day? Depending on when you’re reading this, it might already be too late, but Fodor’s rounds up what it considers the best chocolate in the country. I’m not quite sure how See’s Candies made the grade. It’s fine, but hardly one of the best.
Chocolate too traditional? How about bacon roses.
Last year by far has been our best year for digital book downloads from the NAR eBook Collection – 18,211 FREE ebooks were downloaded!
I took a look into what topics have been the most popular (titles with the most downloads) over the past two years to help determine where best to use budgeted funds. I thought you might be interested in seeing the results. Not surprisingly, sales and marketing, probably one of our deepest collections, gets top honors. This is followed closely by real estate.
Based on the top 1,000 downloaded titles from January 2012 to present:
28% = Sales & marketing titles
20% = Real estate (residential, commercial, property management, appraisal, etc.) titles
16% = Success & motivation titles
11% = Misc. nonfiction best sellers, good health titles
10% = Technology & social media titles
8% = Wealth & riches titles
6% = Time management & organization titles
2% = Language — predominantly Spanish — titles
We currently have just under 3600 titles in the ebooks collection. The most popular titles (just over 1,000) realized double-digit checkouts ranging anywhere from 10 checkouts to 292 checkouts, depending on the title, in the past 25 months. Needless to say, I’ll be using these stats when determining which titles will be acquired throughout the course of this year.
New to our FREE collection? Once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty easy. Download the free software for your computer or use the Overdrive app on your phone or tablet. Use your NRDS # to check out a title. Download and enjoy!
If you have questions, don’t hesitate to call us here at Information Central. We can get you going.