Downpayment saving, new Kindle next week? and enormous new TVs
How long will it take to save for your home? The Atlantic analyzed data to calculate times for major metro areas. They based their numbers on saving a standard 20 percent down on an average home with a worker making an average wage putting aside 10 percent of earnings each month. Now they use pretty conservative estimates, but if you’re looking to buy in Honolulu it would take over 28 years to save that downpayment. San Francisco is another place where the kids will be in college when you finally buy, coming in at over 20 years.
To get the best prices, don’t buy gas right before a holiday or Wednesday mornings after 10am. Gas stations usually raise their prices before heavily traveled holidays, such as Labor Day and after gas station owners have checked out their competitors’ prices.
Will the Kindle be given away for free some time in the near future? Farhad Manjoo of Slate predicts that it will. Manjoo even thinks that one day signing up for Amazon’s Prime service – $79 a year for fast shipping, streaming content, etc – will net you a free Kindle at some point down the road. And watch out: Amazon shows that Kindle Fires are ‘sold out‘ currently, meaning an update is just days away.
Time reports that Icelanders are more than twice as happy as Americans in general. What can American business learn from our northern neighbors to better our workplaces? Create a community, have a hobby, put family first, and provide healthier food. Oh, and eat fermented shark occasionally…
Love your new flat screen TV? You didn’t think electronic makers were going to let you stop there, did you? Start saving your pennies cause a whole slough of companies announced so-called ’4K’ sets this week. Boasting a resolution of nearly 4000 pixels on the horizontal (vs today’s 1080 pixels on the vertical), most sets start at 84 inches wide. But why stop there? Panasonic recently demo’d an 8k set. Of course there’s no content yet and you’ll have to sit wwaaayyy back but hey, there you go….
Newly updated field guides in August include:
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.
Being a New REALTOR®
New to the real estate business? This Field Guide can help you get on the road to success with tips, ideas, and helpful advice. Learn what other rookies have done to jump-start their careers, find first clients, overcome objections, and discover negotiation strategies.
Effectively reaching your customers and prospecting clients is essential for a successful real estate career. This guide provides tips to ensure your direct mail campaign competes against the mailers of top-producing agents and delivers an effective, targeted message.
Facebook for REALTORS®
With over 955 million members worldwide, Facebook is the social network today. It’s also an ever-changing, evolving time-suck. Rule number one for Facebook—or any other social network for that matter—is to assume all the privacy shields you have created will fail and your whole profile will be visible to everyone. And with the new Timeline view, posts you thought were safely buried in the past can be front and center. But beyond the basics, how are REALTORS® using Facebook in their business? This updated field guide goes over the basics, reviews current security settings, and explores how REALTORS® are using the social network to build their brand.
Escrow Accounts/Earnest Money
Escrow accounts are funds that a lender collects to pay the monthly mortgage insurance premiums, homeowners insurance policy premiums and yearly property taxes. Earnest money, on the other hand, is a good faith sum of money given to bind a contract, for example an agreement to purchase real property or a commitment fee to assure an advance of funds by a lender. This Field Guide will provide you with details on escrow accounts (from the basics to escrow administration) and earnest money as well as information on escrow fraud. You’ll also uncover a variety of case summaries on escrow mishandling, in addition to the numerous digital resources available from the Library’s eBooks collection and related Field Guides.
Military Base Closings
With another round of military base closings possibly slated for 2013, we examine the pros and cons of these closings and the effect on real estate and the communities surrounding them.
In today’s hectic and high-powered world of real estate, you may feel that there are not enough hours in the day to get the job done. That’s where the personal assistant can be of use. But how do you hire a real estate assistant? What job duties can they perform? The following articles, books, and audio-visual materials may help to clarify some of these issues for you.
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!
Reducing Spam E-Mail
Unwanted, unsolicited e-mail is a frustrating problem for almost everyone who uses the Internet. Spam e-mail clutters inboxes, slows down Web servers, and costs time and money to manage. Find out more about what spam is, how to reduce the amount of spam you receive and how to keep from sending it yourself with the articles, Web sites, and other resources on this page.
A real estate closing is a complicated process that can be managed smoothly for all involved. Find out the best ways to organize a trouble-free closing, tips for REALTORS® and homebuyers, and much more in the books, videos and articles.
Solar & Renewable Energy Features & Tax Credits
As energy prices continue to rise, solar and other renewable sources are becoming more affordable options for not only large utility-grade users, but also consumers. States help make the switch even more affordable with tax credits and other benefits currently on tap through at least 2016. This new field guide explores the basics of solar energy, how to get in the game, as well as current credits available both from federal and local authorities.
Wind Farms and their Effect on Property Values
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.
Zoning Laws & Ordinances
Zoning laws are found in virtually every municipality in the United States, affecting land use, lot size, building heights, density, setbacks, and other aspects of property use. This field guide features links to articles, books, and websites that will provide you with information on the concept of zoning, zoning’s impacts on property values, and related topics.
Below are some of the best of the library’s resources on short sales and foreclosures.
Titles in our eBooks collection:
- Fire Sale, (2010)
- Foreclosure Law 101, (2011)
- Foreclosures How To Boot Camp: The Fast and Easy Way to Learn the Basics with 104 World Class Experts Proven Tactics, Techniques, Facts, Hints, Tips and Advice, (2011)
- The all-new real estate foreclosure, short-selling, underwater, property auction, positive cash flow book [electronic resource] : your ultimate guide to making money in a crashing market, (2009)
- The Everything Guide to Buying Foreclosures, (2009)
- The 250 Questions Everyone Should Ask about Buying Foreclosures (2009)
Recent articles from the ProQuest database (REALTORS® can access this database for free; login to Realtor.org here for more information):
- Freddie Mac sees short sales climb in 2011; issues new servicer timelines, (Mortgage Banking, Jun 2012)
- Real Estate Reality: CHALLENGES AHEAD, (Mortgage Banking, Jun 2012)
- An enlightening mistake: Short-selling litigation, (The Economist, May 2012)
- Distressed Sales and Home-Price Trends, (Mortgage Banking, May 2012)
Additionally, the library has put together these guides:
Here at NAR Information Central we frequently get asked to verify statements such as “If you have been listed for 14 days and have no showings, that means your home is overpriced.” Or someone has seen that NAR said “If you have been listed for a month with 10 showings but no offers, you are overpriced.” Here at NAR we tend to favor more concrete statements backed by statistics rather than these ‘gut instinct’ blanket generalizations. While sometimes we find an in-house source for these tips, more likely they are appearing in blog posts by practitioners or come from outside sources.
That being said, here are a few articles–from NAR and elsewhere on the web–that might fit the bill for supporting overpriced listing research. You won’t find any one size fits all answers like those above, but you will find information on how to price your home or listing and whether you might have missed the mark:
“Ten Signs Your Home Might be Overpriced” from Realtor.com
Pricing Your Home from Creekview Realty
What to Do When a Home Lingers on the Market, from REALTOR® Magazine on Apr. 12, 2012
Staged-to-Sell, But Is it Priced-to-Sell? From NAR’s Styled, Staged, and Sold Blog, Sept. 12, 2011
Be More Persuasive on Pricing from REALTOR® Magazine
Swallow the Frog in Getting the Price Reduction from the YPN Lounge Blog
Tips for Pricing Your Home (handouts for buyers from REALTOR® Magazine)
Top office rents, bragging and self-image, and a new use for eminent domain laws
Manhattan has long been the price leader among US office markets in terms of rent. However, demand in Palo Alto has pushed rents at the top of that market passed Midtown for the first time and rents in nearby Mountain View are catching up too.
Social media gives us a custom-built platform for bragging. New car? Wonderful vacation? Darling children? Let everyone know! An article in the Wall Street Journal says bragging has gotten out of control. In today’s competitive environment of reality tv games coupled with the poor economy and fears of appearing to be the weak link, people naturally crow about their achievements. Add downplaying or hiding the bad, and it’s no wonder a study released earlier this year shows that social media sites like Facebook can actually make us feel sadder. The author’s advice? Hit ‘like’ and move on.
A novel solution proposed for underwater mortgages— local government condemnation through eminent domain. San Bernadino County in California is considering this radical move. Would this help or go too far to fix the problem of underwater mortgages? The mortgage industry and the Federal Housing Authority oppose this plan.
Remember the 1990s and the glory days of AOL? Miss that cheery announcement every time you dialed in to your account that let you know you had mail? Fear not! You can recapture the moment with a new extension for Gmail that will chirp out “You’ve got mail!” every time you get a new message. Of course you have to be using Google’s own Chrome browser. But as an added bonus(?) you can also download an app that will make that screechy-screechy sound like you’re dialing in on a 14.4k modem. That’s too much 90s for me.
We’ve recently updated some of our Field Guides:
Drywall imported from China can emit sulfurous gases, corrode and blacken copper piping, computers and wiring, and possibly sicken family members. Read about the effects of Chinese drywall on health and the real estate market and discover websites that provide helpful information on this developing topic.
Disasters can happen any time. Do you have disaster insurance? Find out what a standard policy should cover, NAR information, pricing and reform issues, aspects of choosing a disaster insurance policy and much more in this updated field guide.
Energy audits are a great way to save money, save energy and save the planet. Find out the basics of conducting your own energy audit and how to hire a professional in this field guide.
Greening Your Neighborhood
Going green is a great thing to do! It’s as easy as using a travel mug, recycling newspapers and turning off the water when you brush your teeth. Learn about other easy ways to help the planet with tips from the White House, Planet Green, HouseLogic and many green websites.
Real Estate Organizations
Need to find a real estate organization? Look here for associations and federal agencies that deal with fair housing, appraisals, housing finance and other real estate issues. Find out how these organizations are playing their part in the real estate world.
REALTOR Magazine interviewed our own Kate Stockert for a video feature they did on Realtor University. Since she’s a student and an Info Central staff person, they asked her about using the RU online platform, and so she talks about how easy it is to use the school’s e-learning center. The rest of the video explains the program and outlines some of its features.
Watch the video below the fold.