in flight calls, black friday mistakes
I’m sure many REALTORS are excited by the proposed relaxing of rules on in-flight calls. The FCC is considering lifting the ban on in-flight mobile phone calls. Of course as you’re be at least 5 miles above the nearest cell tower this is all going to be funneled through some portal that the airlines can then charge a fee to use. But just because the FCC allows it, will the airlines go along? Most say they’re studying it and will see. Lots of people value the disconnect that air travel brings. Visions of being trapped next to an obnoxious loud talker make many people hope airlines will at least consider keeping the ban in place. Only time will tell.
You’ve got your game plan for Black Friday—the alarm is set for 5am, coffee maker is plugged in and the car is gassed up and ready to go. Learn what NOT to buy on Black Friday and avoid wasting your time and money. Of course, according to this article in the Wall Street Journal, all Black Friday deals are an illusion anyway.
Micro-Housing trends, Steve Jobs: residential developer, and the selfie
The Illinois Association of REALTORS® has already made a donation to tornado relief and is coordinating further assistance. Get more information on how to donate here.
A recent ULI conference explored the next evolution in Micro-Housing: Smarter, Shared, and Modular.
A former librarian and amateur archivist recorded 35 years of cable news around the clock on VHS. 140,000 VHS tapes actually. As most news broadcasts weren’t saved before 2000, her collection is valuable to researchers today. Now they just have to digitize all those tapes. By hand. One by one.
Two years after his death, the name Steve Jobs still draws a crowd. At a panel at ULI Fall Meeting in Chicago, panelists and audience participants were asked what innovations Apple Computer’s founder and CEO would have undertaken had he been a residential developer.
Slumped over your computer again? Put some green plants by your desk to rev up your brain. Fast Company discusses the benefits of plants in the office—two studies found that plants and flowers improve your focus on various work tasks. Buy a plant and make yourself more productive, refreshed and connected with nature.
You’ve heard of iPhone neck and gamer’s thumb, but what about email apnea? While spending long hours email, texting or reading stressful email or texts, some folks hold their breath. “Like sleep apnea, a lack of oxygen and breathing during email apnea prompt a “fight or flight” response from the body, causing a stress reaction that can lead to health issues including higher blood pressure.” Just step away from the computer or smartphone and breath. You will feel much better.
Oxford’s Word of the Year: Selfie
Ever wonder if you look like a pig as you stuff a hamburger down your gob? People in Japan actually worry about this, as a small mouth is a desired trait among women. One burger chain has a solution – the liberation wrapper covers your oink fest and gives the illusion of a petite demure face.
And because what’s the end of the year without a ‘best of’ or ‘most influential’ list? Time gives you The 11 Most Influential Animals of 2013.
Big Data goes hyper, inventions and rich guys with lions
Big data is the hot topic of 2013. This week the New York Times reports that out of Big Data comes hyper data. There’s no question that the amount of publicly accessible data—running the gamut from consumer behaviors to economic indicators—is growing exponentially. The question is how to harness and leverage the big and hyper data needed to reach business goals and aspirations. We watch the horizon with an eager eye.
The Gettysburg Address is one of the great American speeches. The Harrisburg Patriot & Union disagreed (in 1863). They called the speech full of silly remarks that should be forgotten. Fortunately, the current paper, The Patriot News of Harrisburg, has retracted that old criticism. “The paper now says it regrets the error of not seeing the speech’s “momentous importance, timeless eloquence and lasting significance.” “
Time looks at the 25 best inventions of 2013. I’m sure some of these are wonderful, but…meh.
You think your rare Tibetan Mastiff is an exciting pet? In the Persian Gulf, large cats – ie. lions, tigers, and cheetahs — are the companion du jour. That and expensive sports cars. Want to liven up your instagram feeed? Buzzfeed looks at Rich Guys with Lions.
‘Stache advice, no fail-whale for Twitter’s IPO, and two time zones in mainland US?
United Airlines is the latest carrier to revise its Personal Electronic Devices (PED) policy to allow gate-to-gate use. Customers still must stow their laptops for takeoff and landing because of their weight and you still can’t make calls.
Are you or a man in your life participating in Movember, the month-long charity event in which men will attempt to grow mustaches while raising money for men’s health causes like testicular and prostate cancers? Time gets the tips on how to grow the best ‘stache you can.
Twitter’s IPO seems to have been a success, finishing its first day well above its offer price. Of course the company still doesn’t make a profit. Time looks back on some key moments in the history of Twitter.
Amazon is launching a new program for Kindle users to get select titles a month before the physical books are available.
Worried about putting all your data on the Obamacare website? You’d think it would be a hacker’s dream hit. While the site has more than its share of problems, identity theft apparently isn’t one of them. CNN says don’t worry.
Google can provide extra search help for you—for a price. Google Helpouts video chats can help you with a research request about computers, fashion and many other topics—from a few minutes to several hours. Alternatively, contact one of Information Central’s Librarians and we can help you with real estate research questions by phone, email, instant message, live chat, Twitter or Skype, at no charge!
Have you recovered from the end of Daylight Savings Time yet? I haven’t. An economist proposes that the US should drop Daylight Savings Time and further, just have two time zones—Eastern and Western. Kind of radical, but it makes some sense.
Mortgage Fraud, Global Ghosts, Rent-a-Chicken, and other things that go ‘bump’ in the night
Mortgage application fraud subsided a bit in the second quarter, but a new area of concern popped up with more lenders worried about origination fraud as homeowners struggled to acquire homes in a tighter, more stringent origination environment.
Goldman Sachs analysts spotlighted some of the world’s fast accelerating housing markets this week, in a bid to try to sniff out potential for problems in the making. Here are five markets around the world that are bubblicious, including our neighbor the the north, Canada.
You know about ghosts and vampires, but how about Skondhokatas, headless victims of train accidents in India? Or Jiang Shi, the hopping ghosts of China? The Atlantic has a fun article on spooks from around the world.
The short winter days are upon us. Chicago is enveloped in a blanket of darkness by 6pm these days. Winter does not have to be all that dark, though. The citizens of Rjukan, Norway took action against the winter darkness in a bizarre, yet clever contraption.
REALTORS® know better than anyone that timeliness is the ticket to successful client relationships. Though Greg Savage’s post on timeliness is a couple years old, it resurfaced this week and is a great reminder about the impact of chronic lateness.
Fall is also the start of cold and flu season. Watch out for these germ-infested places.
The Better Business Bureau warns computer hackers are creating phony Affordable Care Act websites and asking for consumers’ personal information, such as Social Security and bank account numbers. Be careful!
Interested in the local food movement but unwilling to commit to a chicken coop full-time? Try Rent a Chicken for a season. They deliver hens in their egg-laying prime. Of course it can be more expensive than just doing it yourself, but hey, if after a season you decide chickens aren’t your thing, they take the whole menagerie away.
Top Halloween costumes this year include Minions and Miley. Glad I saw neither last night at the parade.
Just when we thought society’s cat obsession had gone too far, someone declared Tuesday, October 29th as “National Cat Day” and created a kitten delivery service. What is this world coming to? That said, be sure mark your calendar for the more distinguished “National Dog Day” on August 26th.
iPad Air, Mood Maps, and Dog Poop DNA testing
Apple unveiled its latest version of a tablet computer this week, the iPad Air. On sale Nov. 1, it’s thinner, lighter, and faster than it’s predecessor. Apple continues the tradition of keeping prices the same – starting at $499. Is it worth the upgrade? I’m using an iPad vers 1, so for me it definitely is worth it.
Do you sometimes feel you don’t fit in your community? Everyone’s rushing and you’re going slow enjoying the scenery? Or are there too many hippies running coffee shops on every corner? Take a look at America’s Mood Map. Answer a few questions and it will tell you which state is closest to your personality. Maybe it’s time to relocate? I’m supposed to go to Washington DC…hope I can afford it!
Nothing can ruin a morning like finding a fresh pile of some anonymous dog’s waste in your yard. Now some home owner associations are fighting back. They are requiring all pets in their community to have a dog DNA test taken so the culprit can be found and the owner fined. First offenses carry a $250 penalty and go up from there.
With the return of cheap energy, you might think America’s love affair with wind power might be on the wane. However, projects across the country are still being built. Wind energy accounts for the largest share of new capacity in the last year – over 13 gigawatts. One project that has been battling to open for years is Cape Wind, a wind farm off Cape Cod in Massachusetts. The New York Times had an article this week on the dueling personalities fighting for and against it.
It’s almost a right of passage for high school juniors and seniors – the college scouting trip. Google (and the bad economy) is helping to make these a thing of the past. Time has an article on why the rise of online interviews and tours is good and bad news for college applicants.
Wasting time, courtesy of Google software engineers. Find out the hidden jokes, the Swedish Chef language interface, how to do a barrel roll and much more, here.
Sexy Big Bird?! When did girl’s halloween costumes get so ridiculous?!
The following Field Guides have recently been updated in the Library at Realtor.org:
Association Mergers & Partnerships
Mergers and partnerships can be advantageous to a Board or Association for a variety of reasons, including: overlapping markets, similar services, geographic considerations, cost-savings, membership benefits and wider recognition in the marketplace. This Field Guide will provide you with information regarding association mergers as well as information specific to REALTOR® Association mergers. Plus, you’re sure to uncover valuable information pertaining to nonprofits in the collection of eBooks offered to you for free from NAR’s eBook collection.
Credit scoring has become a serious issue in the lending community and it can affect your ability to obtain or refinance your next mortgage. Credit scoring systems can gauge a mortgage applicant’s credit rating and assign an interest rate and risk value based upon information provided in the loan application. Credit scoring offers several advantages. It provides quick recommendations while taking human judgment out of the equation. Credit scoring also is extremely efficient and, usually, inexpensive. This updated field guide includes articles and books relating to credit scoring.
Dealing with Stigmatized Properties
Do you dare disclose if there is murder or mayhem at your listing? What if the owner was a controversial person? What are the professional and logistical challenges if there is a well-publicized ghost on your next property? Don’t despair, help is here! This page offers some creative marketing tools and advice for selling properties with an unsavory past.
Development Impact Fees
Impact fees, or development fees, are expenditures that developers are required to make as a precondition to approval of their projects. Impact fees are generally used to finance roads, schools, affordable housing, transit systems, and other projects and services in municipalities throughout the United States. The fees are frequently passed on by developers to purchasers in the price of a new property and, therefore, increase the cost of housing and decrease the profitability of a particular project. This Field Guide includes articles, studies, Supreme Court decisions, and other material on the debate over impact fees.
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.
“Homeowners insurance covers the structure of your home and your personal property, as well as your personal legal responsibility (or liability) for injuries to others or their property while they’re on your property.” It is important to note that a standard homeowner’s insurance policy does not typically include earthquake damage or flood insurance.
With NAR Global, REALTORS® can diversify their clientele. By completing the Certified International Property Specialist Designation, the At Home with Diversity Certification, or the Resort and Second Home Property Specialist Certification, our members gain the global perspective to fully serve clients here and abroad. With this global perspective in mind, this Field Guide to International Referrals provides information on international legalities, education, best practices, etiquette, research, and more. Also check this guide for current news on the international real estate market, as well as a sample international referral form created by NAR’s CIPS group.
Mediation & Conflict Resolution
Traditionally, real estate industry disputes rely on negotiation for solutions. If negotiation fails, litigation is often initiated. Mediation involves the skillful intervention of a third-party professional to help resolve disputes that arise between two or more parties. This page includes a variety of resources, including articles, website links, books and other sources relating to mediation, conflict resolution, arbitration and dispute resolution.
What is the impact of property tax on commercial property? How is the economy affecting office buildings? Get the latest on office building trends and much more in this updated field guide.
Private Transfer Fees
Private transfer fees are the latest money-making tool for developers. Also known as reconveyance fees, recovery fees, capital recovery fees, or resale fees, a private transfer fee is a charge that is required to be paid to a developer, HOA or individual at closing each time a property is sold. The transfer fee is attached to the property as a covenant and usually runs for a set period, often 20 or 99 years. While developers say it is a way to spread improvement costs over a longer period, opponents believe private transfer fees decrease affordability, increase potential liability, and provide no benefit to property purchasers of the community in which the property is located. In 2012, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) issued a rule prohibiting the fees on mortgages handled by Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and the Federal Home Loan Banks. As of 2013, over 35 states have either banned or placed conditions on the practice. This updated field guide provides background information on the fees, their impact, as well as information on where to turn for the most current information.
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.
Redesigning Association Websites
Web design has evolved dramatically since the Internet was founded. Is your association website W3 or ADA compliant? Do you use XML? Are your navigation menus logical and easy to use? Is the writing acceptable for the Web? Would a blog or twitter feed work on your site? Consult the information below for articles and helpful tips to assist in the redesign of your association’s website for the 21st century.
A reverse mortgage can provide cash to homeowners who do not want to move but would like to tap the equity in their home by allowing senior citizens to borrow against the equity, but they can pose risks to homeowners. This page includes articles, books and websites relating to reverse mortgages. Books can be borrowed through the Information Central library by clicking on the book title.
Sale-Leasebacks & Synthetic Leases
Often used as a financing alternative, sale-leasebacks offer financially struggling companies access to cash to pay down debt and improve the bottom line. And in a post-Enron environment, sale-leasebacks provide an alternative to the less favorable option of synthetic leases. Find out how sale-leaseback transactions have helped the balance sheets of hotel, restaurant, retail, and other businesses, in the articles and books in this guide.
Selling New Homes
Interested in selling new homes? Learn about the latest market conditions, how to market new homes, and how to spot new home design trends in this updated field guide.
Successful site selection begins with the basics – traffic flow, market analysis, property size, and zoning restrictions, among other factors. But site selection considerations for a restaurant differ widely from those for warehouse properties. Learn the basics, and then venture into site selection for office, retail, restaurant, hotel, and warehouse properties, in this regularly updated Field Guide.
Surviving and Thriving in a Slow Market
Every market has its ups and downs, and real estate is certainly no exception. In difficult times, it is more important than ever to find your niche, to discover new marketing methods, and to explore how you can separate yourself from the competition. And whether you are a residential or commercial specialist, your clients will be looking to you for advice on coming out on top. This Field Guide offers tips and ideas to help you and your clients survive and thrive in a challenging market.
We’ve just added a new section to the library page at realtor.org – Business Letter Templates. Here you will find the start of our new collection of FREE letter templates that members can use along with some links to books in the library collection and a book for purchase in the REALTOR Store. We have simple MS Word document templates for:
- Asking for Referrals
- Changing Real Estate Firms
- Checking In, Expired Listings
- For-sale-by-owner prospecting
- Neighborhood Farming/prospecting
- New Business Announcement
- Office Move
These can be used as idea generators and as a place to start. As the starred legalese says at the bottom of the page as well as inside the templates:
These documents are provided as samples and do not constitute legal advice. Members should modify these documents to address their specific needs and verify all information provided to ensure its accuracy and compliance with applicable law.
Have an idea for another letter template? Let us know and we’ll give it a shot.
Are your mail merge skills a bit rusty? There are tons of YouTube how-tos on the subject. Here’s a nice one for MS Word 2010.
iPad 5 next week, email woes, and the 1964-65 World’s Fair that wasn’t
Less than 5 days until Apple unveils its new iPad! Can you stand it?! Unlike the whispered rumors of past releases, much is already known about iPad 5. Macrumor rounds up the skinny on what to expect (as well as a handy countdown clock for the true fanboys). As I’m still limping along with my iPad 1, I know what I’ll be asking for at Christmas.
Yahoo Mail user? What do you think of the latest refresh? If you’re like a growing chorus of users, you aren’t happy.
Did you know that Google can use your photo and information in ads on their website? Well, they can, but you can stop them. It’s all tied to Google +. If you don’t have an account, relax. But even if you don’t think you do, you still might if you use any of Google’s services – Gmail, Google Apps, etc.
When is a World’s Fair not a World’s Fair? When it’s not sanctioned by the Bureau of International Exhibitions of course (you knew there had to be some organization lurking in the background right?). Such was the case of the New York World’s Fair in 1964-1965. They broke multiple rules: a two year run instead of one 6-month festival, opening only two years after an official World’s Fair in Seattle (BIE only allows 1 exhibit per country per 10 years), and charging exhibitors rent. It ended up being a showcase for corporate America with lots of visions of the future. While it’s recalled fondly today, at the time it was a bit of a bust. The Atlantic has an interesting article on the fair, complete with some great videos from the time.
Though not highly scientific, Buzzfeed offers a fun personality test associating animals with each of the Myers-Brigg’s personality types. Which type are you? I’m an Octopus