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.
Every so often the library is asked to confirm or locate a report attributed to NAR that says graffiti lowers property values by 15 to 20 percent. Unfortunately this report does not exist, at least to the best of our knowledge as well as that of our Research group. While NAR did sponsor an anti-vandalism campaign in the 1970s, there was no research attached to it. However, there are a few studies available that discuss graffiti and vandalism in the wider context of the economic impact of urban property crime:
Households experience disutility from crime near their homes and as a result would be expected to reduce their bid prices for housing in areas where crime is more prevalent. This theoretical prediction is largely borne out in the existing literature on crime and property values, although the degree to which higher crime affects property values is a matter of debate. Much of the difference in estimates likely depends on estimation techniques, the measurement of crime as well as property values, and the size of the sample studied.
Crime & residential choice: a neighborhood level analysis of the impact of crime on housing prices. Journal of Quantitative Criminology, Dec 2006.
Our results indicate that the average impacts of crime rates on house prices are misleading. We find that crime is capitalized at different rates for poor, middle class and wealthy neighborhoods and that violent crime imparts the greatest cost.
On Google Scholar you can find a few more articles, though several of them are UK-based research. Of course all bets are off if that graffiti turns out to be a Banksy original. Those can go for well into the six figures.
The latest fetish, drone marketing, and why thieves are hot for laundry detergent
For much of the country, this has been quite the winter. Is it really that bad or are we just fetishizing the weather? The Wall Street Journal had an article this week about our latest obsession that says social media and mass media are playing larger roles in our view on what’s going on outside. The Weather Channel’s winter storm names, polar vortices, and #coldselfies are all examples. Maybe we just don’t want to deal with all the rest of what’s bad out there.
One bright side to all this cold weather, it helps you burn fat. Of course all that is counter-balanced by an increase in macaroni and cheese consumption, but whatever…
A new idea in marketing high end homes – drone videos. Interestingly, according to the article use of drones for commercial purposes is still technically illegal. So before you jump on board, be aware of the risks.
The Sochi Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony is tonight. What’s in store?
Over on FlowingData, Nathan Yau pulled public data from the tracking site RunKeeper.com to map out the common running routes of twenty major cities. The results are neat to look at, but it’s also interesting to see the park systems, waterways, and urban grids of these cities come to come life.
Looking to make home ownership more affordable option? Artist Terri Chiao devised a creative solution: mini-homes within the home. Looks like a great option for those living in small spaces.
How many of Amazon’s Top 100 books have you read?
Everyone knows thieves target jewelry, smartphones, laptops, and – duh – money, but laundry detergent? Tide is in hot demand. It’s everywhere, relatively expensive, everyone needs it, and hard to trace. Perfect. Take a look at some other unusual items thieves love to steal.
Looking for some cat interaction, but don’t want the bother of full-time cat ownership? San Francisco serves up exactly what you’re looking for: cat cafes.
One of the premiere events for Americans a century ago was the long-awaited opening of the Panama Canal. Initially started by France in 1881, the United States took control of the project in May 1904, shortly after Panama declared its independence from Columbia. The Canal was completed ten years later, and was officially opened to boat traffic in the summer of 1914.
Many in the United States were eager to see the Panama Canal project brought to fruition, including REALTORS®. NAR’s members were given an insider’s update in the March issue of the National Real Estate Journal, written by one J. F. Jordan, an employee of the American telegraph service in Panama.
“There is perfect team work,” Jordan reported, “and a great deal of rivalry, both of which have a tendency to hurry the work along. If you listen to the steam shovel men they will make you believe they dug the canal, and the dredgemen, machinists, boilermakers, carpenters and concrete men will make you think theirs is the most important part of the work, and their arguments are so plausible that you hardly know to whom belongs the credit. Each man seems to think the whole responsibility of the canal rests of his shoulders. This enthusiasm is not confined to Americans alone, but to the 85 nationalities represented on the zone.”
Jordan also wrote that “Uncle Sam’s Big Ditch” held interesting prospects for enterprising real estate brokers and investors. “The canal zone has been a very good place for the sale of real estate; the men have made good wages and a large percentage have been saving for the proverbial rainy day. They see the work is nearing completion and most of them look ahead to owning home in the city or ranches…. There are still good opportunities for a live wire down in Panama, but my advice to any dealer contemplating going there is to get some A1 references as to the reliability of himself and the property he is selling, for, as I said before, quite a few have been ‘stung’ and are inclined to be skeptical.”
The Canal’s promises for economic growth in the United States were what REALTORS® looked forward to most, however, especially in cities on the West Coast. At the National Association’s convention in Pittsburgh, Seattle broker Alfred Dwyer spoke up for his city’s potential: “Last year our shipping amounted to 8,000,000 tons — nearly one-half that of Chicago. Twenty years ago it wasn’t a million. All before the canal opens. Now that the canal is ready, what will be the increase? What about that million mark of population, now?”
At the same meeting, Edward James Cattell, City Statitician of Philadelphia and author of a guide to the new nation of Panama, assured REALTORS® that the United States would fare well in “the forthcoming battle for world-supremacy along commercial lines.”
“A mighty change, I think, will follow the opening of the Panama Canal,” predicted Cattrell.
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 January 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 Being a New REALTOR®
- Field Guide to Writing a Business Plan
- Field Guide to Marketing Tips for REALTORS®
- Field Guide to Listing & Selling Luxury Properties
- Field Guide to Personal Assistants
- Field Guide to Farming and Prospecting
- Field Guide to Real Estate Office Policy Manuals
Have an idea for a new field guide? Let us know!