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What We’re Reading: March 31 – April 6

Flipping returns, eMagazines, and timeshares for $1

Waypoint Real Estate Group is buying five to seven houses a day, 1200 since 2008, and is fixing them up and reselling them to investors at a big discount.  The company plans to buy 10,000 to 15,000 more homes by the end of 2013.

With home prices down more than a third from their peak and the market swamped with foreclosures, large investors are salivating at the opportunity to buy perhaps thousands of homes at deep discounts and fill them with tenants. Nobody has ever tried this on such a large scale, and critics worry these new investors could face big challenges managing large portfolios of dispersed rental houses. Typically, landlords tend to be individuals or small firms that own just a handful of homes. But the new investors believe the rental income can deliver returns well above those offered by Treasury securities or stock dividends. At the same time, economists say, they could help areas hardest hit by the housing crash reach a bottom of the market.

Warren Buffett famously said that he would buy up “a couple hundred thousand” single family homes if it were practical to do so. Looks like Waypoint has beat him to the punch.

Travel & Leisure comes out with another top list: America’s 20 greenest cities. Portland (surprise!) is #1, followed by Savannah, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Denver, & Chicago.

Perhaps you think land ownership in your city or town is a challenge, but trying living on the border of North and South Carolina. The two states are currently reassessing the state line, likely leaving some 30 property owners paying property taxes in two states, dividing utilities payments, and obtaining a new driver’s license.

One in five American adults read an electronic book in the last year, as gift-giving sped the shift away from the printed page, a Pew Research Center survey showed on Wednesday. And why limit it to ebooks? Just as Hulu was launched by several major broadcasters, some of the country’s biggest magazine groups have banded together to create Next Issue, an e-magazine reader and app.

Foodies in Detroit are helping revitalize the city by opening restaurants, food stores and gardens on cheap or abandoned property. Outside developers are beginning to show interest in the Motor City. And Whole Foods Market has plans to open a store next year in the Midtown neighbourhood, which is the centrepiece for Detroit’s revival. The food and real estate pioneers are optimistic, hoping that Detroit will be able to rise to a million residents from the current 715,00 to support sustained growth of this new trend.

Got a sweet tooth? Many of us were surprised at the initial results from a five year study conducted at the University of California at Davis’ recent study that shows a link between sugar consumption and cholesterol, shown on 60 Minutes last week.

Looking for a timeshare to purchase? No one else is either. Unable to sell his timeshare, John Chase and his wife gave away their Orlando timeshare for $1.00. Like many owners, the couple is dealing with rising timeshare maintenance fees on top of other bills. Alternatives to this drastic move include renting out timeshares to vacationers and seeing if the owners would buy back the time share. Owners also counsel patience and leaving the timeshare on the market.

Here’s a good reason to do some low-cost redecorating: The choices you make can result in enhanced mood, less stress, and better sleep. To turn your space into a healing haven, follow these easy 10 decorating tips for a stress-free home.

From all of us at Information Central, we wish you a Happy Easter and a Happy Passover!

Dave

Senior Information Specialist

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