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.
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.
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.
Netflix about to raise prices? McDonalds & the neighborhood, and new scams to watch out for
Is Netflix going to raise its price? It’s been a few years since the last price change so people are beginning to wonder. Some speculate that Netflix will move to a tiered price structure to help stave off complaints. It’s all part of consumer marketing. The Atlantic has an article this week explaining how it might work.
McDonald’s made the news this week when a local New York branch brought in the police to kick out some elderly patrons who were camping out for most of the day. The dispute was settled and things seem to have quieted down, but why did this particular McDonald’s become the neighborhood’s de facto senior center? The New York Times investigated and discovered it had more to do with neighborhood dynamics, restaurant layout, and convenience than the great coffee and food.
The US 1 dollar bill hasn’t had a refresh in over 50 years. Every other bill has seen lots of changes recently. Why not old George? Partly because the low denomination currency isn’t a frequent target of counterfeiting. And also because the vending machine industry doesn’t want it to happen.
Had a call on your mobile recently that rings once and then hangs up? Don’t be so quick to call that number back to see who it is. It could be a scam that will cost you.
Speaking of scams, most credit card users know that it’s important to check monthly statements for suspicious charges. Obviously, large sums that you never charged should be reported and generally can be removed. But how often do you just skip over smaller charges? If you see $9.84 from a somewhat vague company, look closer.
Hate peeling potatoes? Have you tried the water-bath technique? A colleague found a video on Facebook that demos.
For the love of books, internet dreams in 1981, and Boy, is it cold!
Charles M. Blow espouses on books and, as librarians, we couldn’t agree more. Remember the days of learning about the world through the lens of a print encyclopedia? Next time you need an escape from reality or a fresh perspective on life, check out one of our eBooks!
Imagine if you will, sitting down to your morning coffee and turning on your home computer to read the day’s newspaper. Not so remarkable now, but in 1981 it was pretty much science fiction. A colleague recently sent me a news clip from San Francisco about how the local papers were experimenting with electronic offerings. It’s a good way to remember of how far we’ve come. Downloading the San Francisco Examiner took 3 hours back then over a basic modem (with a rotary phone!).
People who have fast eye movements tend to be less patient and are more prone to making quick decisions, according to a recent study.
During the last few bone-chilling weeks, we’ve been hearing the term “polar vortex” but do any of us know what it really means? AccuWeather explains why this year has been so bone-chilling.
It’s winter. What better excuse for a video of dolphins surfing?