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.
In a recent class, the instructor posed the question “How has technology impacted your business?” Serendipitously, I discovered the snippet below in the 1990 issue of “Real Estate Today,” which provides client metrics on NAR Library use:
In comparing this to today’s numbers, the difference is staggering:
From 60,000 inquires in 1990 to over 750,000 inquiries in 2013. In 1990 we received 60,000 phone calls versus 164,254 calls, emails, and web chats in 2012. In 1990, 30,000 items were checked out from the library, versus 783,233 items checked out from the library in 2012. To be fair, in 1997 the NAR Library merged with the Association’s Member Services and Customer Service team to form “Information Central.” The 2012 numbers reflect Infomation Central’s services. However, the 2012 numbers reflect services that libraries provide: quick and extensive reference, and print and digital library resource use.
This difference is no doubt due, in part or in whole, to 21st century technologies. Perhaps the most exciting technology tool for the library in recent years (at least for us librarians) is eBooks. REALTORS® can check out and download eBooks from the comfort of the home or office, instantly. Not only do eBooks provide the instant gratification of downloading and reading instantaneously, and allow greater access to the Library’s collection, but they are much easier to control on the backend—no more library cards and scanning book barcodes, and no more late fees since books automatically return to the library at the end of the checkout period (members can even renew books through the eBooks website). Peruse our eBook collection here and download the free eBooks reading software here.
Another reason for the great disparity in numbers is likely due to the increased bandwidth, storage, and hosting capabilities of the 21st century Internet. Today, many of our library materials are digital and open-access. Our field guide collection alone receives thousands of visitors every year, and many take advantage of our ProQuest article database subscription to read The Economist, The Journal of Real Estate Research, The Appraisal Journal, and much more.
I close this post with a question for you: How has 21st century technology impacted your business?
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.
Rules for Radicals: a practical primer for realistic radicals
By Saul D. Alinsky
First published in 1971, Rules for Radicals is Saul Alinsky’s impassioned counsel to young radicals on how to effect constructive social change and know “the difference between being a realistic radical and being a rhetorical one.” Written in the midst of radical political developments whose direction Alinsky was one of the first to question, this volume exhibits his style at its best. Like Thomas Paine before him, Alinsky was able to combine, both in his person and his writing, the intensity of political engagement with an absolute insistence on rational political discourse and adherence to the American democratic tradition.
Privacy and Big Data
By Terence Craig & Mary E. Ludloff
O’Reilly Media, Inc., 2011
Much of what constitutes Big Data is information about us. Through our online activities, we leave an easy-to-follow trail of digital footprints that reveal who we are, what we buy, where we go, and much more. This eye-opening book explores the raging privacy debate over the use of personal data, with one undeniable conclusion: once data’s been collected, we have absolutely no control over who uses it or how it is used. Personal data is the hottest commodity on the market today-truly more valuable than gold. We are the asset that every company, industry, non-profit, and government wants. Privacy and Big Data introduces you to the players in the personal data game, and explains the stark differences in how the U.S, Europe, and the rest of the world approach the privacy issue.
How to Say It for Women
By Phyllis Mindell, Ed. D.
Prentice Hall Press, 2001
In the workplace, language is power. And too often, women sabotage their own success by using the wrong words or gestures – and creating an impression of uncertainty. In How to Say It for Women, Dr. Phyllis Mindell teaches you how to convey your ideas with authority – without sacrificing your integrity. Whit action plans, specific tips, sound advice, and success stories, How to Say It for Women give you the tools.
American Nightmare: How Government Undermines the Dream of Homeownership
By Randal O’Toole
Cato Institute, 2012
The American Dream turned into a nightmare when the housing bubble burst, and people have been trying to figure out who to blame – Greedy bankers? Corrupt politicians? Ignorant homeowners? In American Nightmare: How Government Undermines the Dream of Homeownership, Randal O’Toole explores the forces at play in the housing market and shows how we can rebuild the American dream of homeownership by eliminating federal, state, and local policies that distort the free market for housing.
Predictive Analytics: The Power to Predict Who Will Click, Buy, Lie, or Die
By Eric Siegel
John Wiley & Sons, Inc., 2013
Predictive Analytics unleashes the power of data. With this technology, the computer literally learns from data how to predict the future behavior of individuals. Perfect prediction is not possible, but putting odds on the future — lifting a bit of the fog off our hazy view of tomorrow — means pay dirt. In this rich, entertaining primer, former Columbia University professor and Predictive Analytics World founder Eric Siegel reveals the power and perils of prediction. A truly omnipresent science, predictive analytics affects everyone, every day. Although largely unseen, it drives millions of decisions, determining whom to call, mail, investigate, incarcerate, set up on a date, or medicate. Predictive analytics transcends human perception. This book’s final chapter answers the riddle: What often happens to you that cannot be witnessed, and that you can’t even be sure has happened afterward — but that can be predicted in advance? Whether you are a consumer of it — or consumed by it — get a handle on the power of Predictive Analytics.
Strategy Safari: A Guided Tour Through the Wilds of Strategic Management
By Henry Mintzberg, Bruce Ahlstrand and Joseph Lampel
Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1998
Strategy Safari makes sense of a field that often seems to make no sense. Mintzberg, Ahlstrand, and Lampel pair their sweeping vision of strategy making with an authoritative catalog in which they identify ten schools of strategy that have emerged over the past four decades. Why struggle through the vast, confusing terrain of strategy formation? With clarity and depth, Strategy Safari maps the strategic landscape and facilitates intelligent, informed strategy formation.
Making Public Policy: A Hopeful View of American Government
By Henry Mintzberg, Bruce Ahlstrand and Joseph Lampel
Simon & Schuster, Inc., 1998
This is a book about the policy-making process in the United States. The way this process functions must provide a key to why Americans feel both admiration and distrust for their government. Government goes about the process of making policy in certain ways. That process can be a source of pride or disgust. And out of the policy-making process come substantive government actions (or inactions). These result, too, can encourage or disturb people.
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.
We received a research request in the NAR Library on whether real estate listing videos prove worthwhile and of equal (or greater) value to photos. The answer to this question is somewhat subjective—what is true for one agent in his or her market may be the opposite for another agent in a different market. Real estate is local. However, after scouring the web we found some compelling evidence to support the technology and time investment for video creation.
As you may already know, the NAR partnered with Google this year on a research project titled The Digital House Hunt which surveyed home shoppers between July of 2011 and June of 2012. A few highlights of this report include:
- 16% of those who used a mobile phone during the home search process watched an online video about a home (p. 8).
- Of the home shoppers who used video in the home search process, 51% went to YouTube, 41% went to brokerage websites, and 37% went to Google video (p. 12).
- Finding an agent and agent related searches on YouTube grew 46% year-over-year in 2011 (p. 21).
And according to the NAR’s 2013 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers:
- About 4 in 10 buyers rated virtual video tours very useful among website features (p. 45).
- 27% of home buyers and sellers looked at online video sites during the home search process (p. 47).
Additionally, the Pew Internet and American Life project publishes immensely insightful and reliable reports that frequently cover technology topics. Some recent reports and their highlights include:
Online Video 2013, (Pew Internet and American Life Project, Oct. 2013):
The share of online adults who watch or download videos has also grown from 69% of internet users in 2009 to 78% today, and mobile phones have become a key part of the video viewing and creating experience.
Photo and Video Sharing Grow Online, (Pew Internet and American Life Project, Oct. 2013).
Last, check out the NAR Library’s Field Guide to Digital Video as a Sales Tool and a few other articles from around the web:
Dare to be Different with Video, (REALTOR® Magazine, Aug. 2013):
Video is becoming more and more important to businesses. Forrester Research found that Web pages with videos are 53 times more likely to appear in the first page of Google search results than text-only pages. That kind of power is moving many real estate professionals to find new and interesting ways to present video as part of their marketing plan.
Growth of Video, Photo Sharing Raises Online Bonding, (REALTOR® Magazine, Oct. 2013).
Taking Video Marketing to a Shorter Level, (Chicago Agent Magazine, Oct. 17, 2013)
Turn Mobile Photos into Listing Videos (Inman, 2013).
Homebuyers Seeking Out Video on YouTube, (Chicago Agent Magazine, Feb. 20, 2013).
Let’s Get Reel, (REALTOR® Magazine, Aug. 2012).
Good Audio is Key in Real Estate Videos, (Inman, 2012)
‘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.
What’s a proven method for getting a good turnout at your next open house? One REALTOR® had some success with a car, some soft drinks, and a huge media blitz, according to an article in the March 1953 issue of the National Real Estate Journal.
In the fall of 1952 a young Dallas homebuilder promoted his new model home with an offer of a new car and free soft drinks. All one had to do to get the new Cadillac was purchase one of Howdy Howard’s Holiday Homes.
The 31-year-old Howard was proud of his Holiday Home and pulled all the stops to let Dallas-area home buyers know about it. The house featured year-round air conditioning, an all-electric kitchen and laundry, two and a half baths, and a large patio with a sink and refrigerator built into the barbecue pit. The exterior walls were made of 100-year-old bricks and the steps were faced with imported Mexican tiles.
Howard advertised on local television and radio stations and in the newspapers and other media outlets — even an aerial banner ad — inviting everyone to see the home during a 12-day open house beginning October 26, 1952.
The Dr. Pepper beverage company provided complimentary drinks during the event. Handing out soft drinks on the patio was Dr. Pepper employee Barbara Gentry. Earlier in the year she had gained fame as “Alice from Dallas,” the city’s official hostess at a national Jaycee convention, and as Miss Dallas Texans for the new football team.
On its opening Sunday an estimated 30,000 people visited the house. By the time the 12-day open house was over, nearly 100,000 prospective buyers and curious lookers had toured Howdy Howard’s Holiday Home.
Built in the fashionable Northhaven Hills area, Howard said about half of the homes would be built to his specifications and the rest according to clients’ wishes. Prices ranged from $40,000 to $110,000. All came with groceries stocked in the kitchen and of course a Cadillac in the driveway.
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.
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 October 2013 was released today:
- Field Guide to Quick Real Estate Statistics
- Field Guide to Being a New REALTOR®
- Field Guide to Opening a Real Estate Brokerage
- Field Guide to Preparing & Staging a House for Sale
- Field Guide to Real Estate Office Policy Manuals
- Field Guide to Writing a Business Plan
- Field Guide to Farming and Prospecting
- Field Guide to Listing & Selling Luxury Properties
- Field Guide to Marketing Tips for REALTORS®
- Field Guide to 1031 Exchanges
Have an idea for a new field guide? Let us know!