We were recently asked whether artificial lawns impact residential home values, and, based on our research, there have been no studies published in trade or academic journals that offer a definitive ‘yes’ or ‘no’.
From a review of articles and reports on this topic, some homeowners and buyers may have stigmas against artificial lawns, but there is actually quite a bit of positive literature out there—though no reliable studies specifically discuss return-on-investment or impact on property values.
Some of the results of our literature search on this topic are found below, along with a list of pros and cons of using artificial lawns, summarized from all the sources we reviewed.
- Many articles discuss the “green” or “eco” perspective of artificial lawns, due to water conservation concerns and regulations in many cities
- Eliminates need for lawn chemicals and pesticides
- Low maintenance
- Color stays green year-round
- Major improvements in artificial turf look over the last several years
- Heat (Lawn temperatures can be much higher than the air temperature)
- Some concern that artificial turf can contain lead or other harmful chemicals, though the CPSC and EPA have both conducted studies on artificial turf and found no cause for concern
- Stigma that artificial lawns are “tacky”
- Some homeowner associations have bans on artificial lawns
- Increased risk of injury is commonly discussed in cases where artificial turf is used in sports stadiums
Reports & Papers
- A Scoping-Level Field Monitoring Study of Synthetic Turf Fields and Playgrounds, (US Environmental Protection Agency, Nov. 2009).
- CPSC Staff Analysis and Assessment of Synthetic Turf “Grass Blades”, (US Consumer Products Safety Commission, 2008).
- See the Synthetic Turf: Health and Environmental Impacts page on Penn State’s Center for Sport Surface Research website for many scientific and state-focused studies on health and environmental concerns relating to artificial turf.
- Can You Tell When Grass Is Fake? (Smart Money, March 19, 2010).
- On Greener Turf, (Dwell, March 30, 2009).
- Just How Green Is Faux Grass? (Wall Street Journal, May 29, 2008).
- Suburbanites Are Installing Faux Grass That Fools Pets, (Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2001).
Neighborhood inspections, tax apps, and zero tv
The home inspection is an important part of the home buying process. But what about a neighborhood inspection? Before you decide on a new home, it might pay to to a little investigating, either online or in person to see what your neighborhood has in store for you. Bankrate.com gives some good neighborhood inspection ideas.
National Public Radio (NPR) presents interesting food for thought: if the world’s entire population lived in one city, to the density of Paris, San Francisco, New York, London, Singapore, or Houston, how much land would it take? The graphics for this story are mind-blowing.
Hey last minute procrastinators: Tax apps and sites to help you beat the deadline!
Have you cut the cord on cable and ditched your TV set? Welcome to “Zero TV,” as characterized by the Nielsen Company. More people are watching their favorite television shows on alternate sources, such as Hulu, Netflix and Amazon Prime. You may have to wait to see all the episodes, but you won’t have to pony up a large cable/satellite bill. Broadcasters must be able to adapt to different viewing formats and experiences or they will lose viewers permanently.
With winter hopefully behind us, it’s time for some good eating! Check out some of these great regional food festivals this Spring!
The end of winter also signals the start of several allergy seasons. If you suffer don’t make these allergy mistakes.
NAR members and Association staff can borrow up to six electronic books, digital audios and/or videos at no cost, through the Virtual Library eBooks Collection.
Members can also borrow up to three books for 30 days from the Library Catalog for a nominal fee of $10. Call Information Central at 800.874.6500 for assistance.
7 Money Rules for Life®
by Mary Hunt
Americans young and old are flunking their finances. A shocking 77 percent live paycheck to paycheck with no savings. And 43 percent of Americans have less than $10,000 saved for retirement, while 49 percent could cover less than one month’s expenses if they lost their income. In the face of this bleak financial picture, bestselling author and finance expert Mary Hunt offers 7 Money Rules for Life®. This no-nonsense and encouraging book gives readers the keys to get their money under control and get prepared financially for the rest of their lives.
by Bill Thomas and Jeff Tobe
Anticipate provides business readers with a practical how-to approach for taking their customer-supplier relationship to one that is more sustainable and more mutually profitable. Much of the discussion on customer experience has centered on the hospitality or retail industries and has showcased the discrete techniques organizations use to deliver better service and create more satisfied customers. Anticipate extends and integrates those techniques to deliver an end-to-end customer experience that can be applied in any industry, by any type of organization. Get proven guidance on how to design and implement a customer-focused journey that moves beyond the transaction and satisfied customers, to a relationship and culture that creates and leverages loyalty — and the profitability that comes with it.
by Ben Harvell
Whether at work or at home, syncing multiple Apple devices can help you achieve an organized, streamlined, harmonized life. With this unique resource, you discover how to get the most out of AirPlay and iCloud, Apple’s streaming and cloud services. Featuring a four-color design and packed with helpful codes, tips, and tricks, this accessible book shows you how to write a document on an iMac at home and then continue editing it on an iPad while on the go without worrying about synching the devices to each other. Perhaps you’re interested in watching a movie on an iPhone during the commute home and then stream that movie to an HDTV via an Apple TV once you’re back on the couch. Those are just a sneak preview of the tutorials in this book that will show you how to take full advantage of the cross-family integration of Apple’s products.
The Introverted Leader
by Jennifer Kahnweiler
In our outgoing, Type-A business culture, introverts can feel excluded, overlooked or misunderstood, their reticence mistaken for arrogance or even lack of intelligence. And their inconsistent people skills often cause their careers to plateau. But Jennifer Kahnweiler shows that not only can introversion be managed, it can even be a source of strength. Ask Bill Gates or Warren Buffett, leaders she cites as shy introspectives who have developed ways to thrive in a challenging environment.
Start Your Dream Business
by Sarah Wade and Carole Ann Rice
Do you harbour dreams of being your own boss and doing something that you are truly passionate about? Do you have a great idea on the back-burner, but fear giving up the security of a regular salary? Start Your Dream Business reveals the journeys and secrets of people who took that first scary step towards their dream and set up their own businesses. Through these inspirational stories, the authors show and analyse how these individuals, from all over the world, achieved entrepreneurial success. Filled with instructive case-studies, practical advice and coaching tips, this book guides the reader through the many stages of starting a business, avoiding the common mistakes, and overcoming the obstacles that stand in the way. For all those who feel unfulfilled at work, who feel that their creativity is not utilised, not appreciated, Start Your Business proves that with the right mindset and the right skills, anyone can make that change they’ve been dreaming of, to go from day job to top dog!
Hotel Success Handbook
by Lucy Whittington and Caroline Cooper
Make It All About Them
by Nadine Keller
NAR members and Association staff can borrow up to three books for 30 days from the Library for a nominal fee of $10.
Members and staff can also borrow up to six electronic books, digital audios and/or videos at no cost, through the Virtual Library eBooks Collection.
By Robert C. Pozen
Harper Collins Publishers, 2012
In Extreme Productivity, Pozen reveals the secrets to workplace productivity and high performance. His book is for anyone feeling overwhelmed by an existing workload—facing myriad competing demands and multiple time-sensitive projects. Offering antidotes to a calendar full of boring meetings and a backlog of e-mails, Extreme Productivity explains how to determine your highest priorities and match them with how you actually spend your time.
By Michael Goldberg
Building Blocks Consulting, 2011
Boxing, like networking, is a contact sport. The more and better contacts you make, the more wildly successful you will be! But times are tough. If you’re a sales rep, business owner, or job searcher you know firsthand that times are tough. Networking is the best way to make those contacts, develop those relationships, and achieve success. Bottom line! So if networking is so important, why don t more people network? Most people simply don’t know how so they fear what might happen at a networking function, cocktail party, mixer, or business meeting. These proven approaches have helped thousands of sales reps, sales managers, business owners, and job searchers change the way they develop relationships. And they will do the same for you!
The Energy Bus
By John Gordon
John Wiley & Sons, 2007
The Energy Bus, an international best seller by Jon Gordon, takes readers on an enlightening and inspiring ride that reveals 10 secrets for approaching life and work with the kind of positive, forward thinking that leads to true accomplishment – at work and at home. Jon infuses this engaging story with keen insights as he provides a powerful roadmap to overcome adversity and bring out the best in yourself and your team. When you get on The Energy Bus you’ll enjoy the ride of your life!
Peaks and Valleys
By Spencer Johnson, M.D.
Atria Books, 2009
A young man lives unhappily in a valley. One day he meets an old man who lives on a mountain peak. At first the young man doesn’t realize that he is talking to one of the most peaceful and successful people in the world. But in the course of further encounters and conversations, the young man comes to understand that he can apply the old man’s remarkable principles and practical tools to his own life to change it for the better.
Pedestrian & Transit-Oriented Design
By Reid Ewing and Keith Bartholomew
Urban Land Institute, 2013
Explaining how to design spaces for pedestrians while also accommodating transit needs, this book is an excellent reference for students, public sector planners and officials, and private sector designers and developers seeking to make places more pedestrian- and transit-friendly. Written by a noted expert on pedestrian design and planning, this handbook contains examples of zoning codes from different localities.
Common Sense Selling
By Van C. Deeb
Morris Publishing, 2009
Common Sense Selling tells an unforgettable story of vision, discipline, inspiration and motivation. Van will inspire, instruct and motivate you to become the best you can be in your sales career or as a business owner based on a resource we all have and rarely use: Common Sense!
The Dance of Balance
By Annie Pane
White Dove Publishing, 2005
The Dance of Balance is all out you and your personal choices. No matter what’s going right or wrong in your life, the stories and parables in this book show Feng Shui can help. Nationally recognized Feng Shui expert Annie Pane guides you room by room and situation by situation, teaching you how simply rearranging your space at home and at work can help you with promotions and raises, love and intimacy, and a myriad of family relationships. The dance of balance is about how to get what you want in your life, not about giving anything up or using oriental knick-knacks.
The following Field Guides have recently been updated in the Library:
Best Places to Live
What makes a location the best place to live, work or retire? We’ve gathered the top lists into one spot to help you determine just that! Find out which cities are ranked as the safest to live in, which cities have the best job opportunities, which cities are more family friendly and much more in this field guide.
Commuting & the Home Buying Decision
Commuting – the bane of our workweek! For many Americans, commute times or public transportation options figure strongly in their home-buying decisions. This field guide offers statistics, articles, and even alternatives to mind-numbing rush hours.
Complying with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA)
The purpose of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), enacted in 1992, is to assure equal access and services to disabled individuals. The ADA makes it unlawful to discriminate against people with disabilities. Title III of the Act prohibits entities that own, lease, lease to or operate a place of public accommodation from discriminating against the disabled. How does this impact the real estate sales office? This page includes articles, books, videos and websites relating to the Americans with Disabilities Act.
Green Homes & Green Mortgages
The green movement is here to stay, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the housing market. Find out the latest trends, statistics, reports and resources as well as information on green mortgages in this updated Field Guide.
Love the history and romance of old homes? Become an expert in working with historic properties, learn about the pros and cons of these special houses, discover their unique appraisal and restoration issues and much more.
Doing Business in Brazil
In 2010, Brazil’s economy was bustling, the middle-class was growing, and the 2016 Rio Olympics looming. Today’s outlook – hampered by lackluster GDP growth, investor concerns, and the 2014 presidential elections (EIU ViewsWire, Mar. 4, 2013) – is quite a bit less exuberant. Find out why in this updated guide to doing business in Brazil.
Mold and Health Issues
In 2001, a family in Texas won $32.1 million (later reduced to an amount kept confidential) in a case involving extensive mold damage to their home. Even Erin Brockovich, Michael Jordan, Bianca Jagger and Ed McMahon have experienced mold contamination in their houses. The governor of North Carolina had to move out of the mold-infested Governor’s Mansion in August 2005. Mold is a health risk for children, adults, and even pets. Learn how to avoid mold, how to eliminate mold once it is discovered, and the health effects of mold, in these articles, book, websites, and videos.
Property Tax Appeals
You just received your property taxes and they’ve gone up again. What can you do? Although each individual assessing body has a different method of filing property tax appeals, this field guide offers some general guidelines and resources to give you an edge in the process.
Using Digital Video as a Sales Tool
With YouTube practically a household word and digicams and video-editing software becoming ever more sophisticated and affordable, digital video is suddenly where the action is. Property sellers and real estate professionals alike are finding out how easy and effective it is to create and post homemade virtual tours, neighborhood guides, and other videos to help sell real estate. This field guide explores why and how to market real estate using videos on the Web.
Effects of Low-Income Housing on Property Values
Are the sales prices of single-family homes made higher or lower when low-income housing is nearby? Most studies indicate that affordable housing has no long term negative impact on surrounding home values. In fact, some research indicates the opposite! However, local communities continue to believe the myth, raising a cry of “Not in my Backyard!” The following articles and studies examine the effects of low-income, public, and subsidized housing on the values of surrounding properties, the challenge of NIMBY, and some possible resources people can use to educate community groups and local governments. Most of the studies are in PDF format so be sure you have the free Adobe Reader program on your computer.
A member called us this week asking how many cold-calls would she need to make a week to be successful. Not such an easy question as a lot of factors come into play – what is successful? How good of a cold-caller is she? What’s her market doing? Lots of variables come into play here. However we did find some information to help her get a start.
The Direct Marketing Association publishes an annual study Response Rate Report that shows that a phone call has about a 13% conversion rate into a sale (if I’m reading it right a true ‘cold call’ stands at just over 8 percent). Of course a lot of this has do to with your pitch, script, targeting, etc. And an article in REALTOR® Magazine says that “experts say you get one lead for every 25 calls you make,” which is closer to a 4 percent conversion rate.
The book Up and Running in 30 Days by Carla Cross takes a broader approach using ‘contacts’ rather than telephone calls. She says that on the sales side 400 contacts per month will return 8 qualifying appointments that will result in 8 showings that will average over time as 1 sale. On the listing side 400 contacts a month will result in 4 seller-qualifying appointments that will lead to 1 listing.
Regardless of how you connect, be sure you abide by the various rules and regulations when prospecting.
Ebert RIP, overcoming inertia, recycling electronics
Film critic, author, screenwriter, journalist, and New Yorker Cartoon Caption Contest winner Roger Ebert passed on this week at 70. Even in his last years he was prolific, reviewing more than 30o movies. Rest in Peace.
The cell phone is 40 years old this week. The original model was 10 inches long and weighed 2.5 pounds, a behemoth by today’s standards. For comparison, most modern smartphones weigh between four and six ounces. Of course, conspiracy theorists think cell phones might be much older, or this woman went back in time!
What do you get when you team up the London School of Economics and University of Manchester? “The Great British Class Survey,” which focuses on three forms of capital: 1) Economic; 2) Social; 3) Cultural. Check out their “class calculator.” Which of the seven classes best characterizes you?
Is a little voice inside your head insisting that your obstacles to exercising are stronger than you are? Psych it out with a few ingenious strategies that overcome just about every excuse.
Out of dryer sheets? Need a quick paper towel replacement? Here are 13 household items that can do double duty around the home in a pinch.
There should be an app for that: personal breathalyzer.
What do you do with your old cell phones, iPads, iPods, TVs or computers? Put them in the garage or on the curb, hoping someone will take them? WiseBread offers responsible solutions for disposing your old electronics. The choices ranges from donation, selling the items, trading it in or recycling it. Get the pros and cons of each choice here.
I can’t get into the idea of buying fake designer goods. Is image that important? Anyway, if you wonder if your flea market find is genuine, here’s a guide to figuring it out – hint: it’s all in the details…
If you use our free eBook collection at realtor.org (and if you don’t you really should!), you might have noticed a much simpler layout and checkout process starting this week. Members of the REALTOR® family can borrow up to six books at a time *for free* from this growing collection of 3200+ digital books, audiobooks, and videos on real estate, sales and marketing, association management, and other professional and personal development related topics.
Next Gen features include filtered searching, one-click book sampling, and easy one-step checkout. New collections of interest include the New York Times Best Seller Sampler, an expanded health and wellness video collection, and a growing number of eBooks in Spanish and other languages.
Our provider, Overdrive, has put together a quick video on the new site. Please note that at this time you won’t see some of the additional features mentioned in the video. Also with our focus on serving our REALTOR® family’s business and development needs you aren’t going to find all the book titles highlighted in the video. But be sure to check out your public library’s ebook site – many use the same platform as us!
We’ll be updating our own tutorial videos once we have a chance to play with all the features. In the meantime, if you have questions about using digital library books call NAR’s Information Central at 800-874-6500 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
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 March 2013 was released today:
- Field Guide to Quick Real Estate Statistics
- Field Guide to 1031 Exchanges
- Field Guide to Real Estate Office Policy Manuals
- Field Guide to Preparing & Staging a House for Sale
- Field Guide to Marketing Tips for REALTORS®
- Field Guide to the Best Places to Live
- Field Guide to Opening a Real Estate Brokerage
- Field Guide to Listing & Selling Luxury Properties
- Field Guide to Open Houses
- Field Guide to Buying vs. Renting
Have an idea for a new field guide? Let us know!
REALTORS are the happiest at work, top twitter feeds, and Microsoft’s next OS
Who has the job that makes them the most happy? The answer is real estate agent. Factors such as control over work, rising commissions, and contentment with their boss help to bring them to the top of the list. Would you agree?
Twitter list getting stale? Need some ‘best in class’ ideas for your own feed? Time puts together the top 140 twitter feeds for the year.
Upgraded to Windows 8 yet? Neither have I. But that’s not stopping Microsoft from working on the next update to its Windows operating system, codenamed Windows Blue. Microsoft appears to be embracing the Apple model, launching annual updates to its OS, rather than major 3-year cycle upgrades. PC Magazine speculates that the update could be available as early as this summer and runs down some expected improvements.
Bike to work to Willis Tower in Chicago? You are in luck. The former Sears Tower is the first office building in Chicago to offer a bike valet. The $250 annual fee, the valet will store your bike in a security monitored area, tune up and wash your bike four times a year. The basic monthly storage fee is $25.00. It’s a great way to protect your expensive bike at work.
A new iPad makes a lovely (if expensive) gift. If you bought yours at a third-party retailer, you might want to open the package in the store to make sure it really contains your pricey toy. Several buyers have reported finding fake, non-functioning tablets (or even just clay) once the box is open. And with most stores prohibiting returns of opened electronics, the purchaser is often out of luck.
First it was Chinese drywall, now it’s Chinese concrete. Construction has been halted at what was to be China’s tallest skyscraper after the concrete was found to contain corrosion-causing sea salt in the mix. Inspectors found sea sand in at least 15 buildings under construction in Shenzhen, just across the border from Hong Kong.
Tardar sauce (aka “Grumpy cat”), arguably the most viral cat on the Internet, debuted in Time Magazine this month. What’s your favorite caption for her?
March Madness is in full swing. Who has the lamest mascot?
Need some new ideas for decorating Easter eggs this weekend? Blue Matter has compiled colorful, unique and fun Easter egg ideas for you and the kids.