Value-killing remodeling, new iPhone, testing Bing vs. Google
As more and more housing markets improve, homeowners are beginning to consider pulling up stakes to head to a new home. But before you place your home on the MLS, consider those recent renovations. How are they going to impact your final price? Koi pond, garden gnomes, new pool, man cave, or whatever. All could potentially turn off prospective buyers or give them an area to haggle over price. Beware of these and other value-killing remodeling ideas if you hope for top dollar.
Using an iPad right before bedtime can wreck your sleep, according to the Lighting Research Centre, at the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. The screen’s blue light suppresses melatonin, which helps us fall asleep. The study found that if viewers wore orange goggles that cut out the blue light, melatonin was at normal levels. Don’t want to look like a dork though? The study also suggests using a dimmer display or just avoiding using the iPad right before bed.
Apple launched it’s latest iPhone iteration this week. The iPhone 5 features a larger screen, new processor, and a host of other features, though some are claiming it’s a boring upgrade. New iPhone sales, however, could increase the GDP by 0.5% , adding $3.2 billion to the economy. J.P. Morgan’s analysts expect Apple to sell around 8 million iPhone 5s in the fourth quarter. They expect the sales price to be about $600. With about $200 in discounted import component costs, the government can factor in $400 per phone into its measure of gross domestic product for the fourth quarter.
Most of us are guilty of blindly searching the Internet—we open what is convenient, fast, and comfortable. Much of the time the result is using Google to search. However, Microsoft’s Bing is contending for a piece of the search engine market with their head-to-head comparison game. Google still beat out Bing for our searches, but the results were mostly a draw. How about for you? Bing gives you ‘helpful’ search suggestions but do you think those might be skewed a bit? Anyway, try your own and see what happens.
Email deluge can overwhelm the best of us. An extension for Google’s Gmail allows users to ‘pause‘ their inbox. All messages will wait to be delivered once the pause button is turned off. You can even set up a auto-response letting people know that you’re taking a break and if it’s urgent please contact you some other way. Really though, why not just close your email? It’s the same thing really….
Google added new functionality to its ubiquitous search engine. Now you can find how far your favorite star is from Kevin Bacon with one quick search. Based on the popular ‘Degrees of Kevin Bacon’ type ‘bacon number’ (without the quotes) and a star’s name. Hence a search of bacon number lana turner reveals the actress has a bacon number of 2. Rin Tin Tin? 3 The furthest out I can find is much more current: Justin Bieber is a 4. The result also gives you a the path of how they are connected.
Instead of old Beanie Babies and 8-track tapes, a woman in West Virginia bought a painting with a pretty frame. The pretty painting turned out to be a Renoir. After holding on to the painting for two years, she had it evaluated at the Potomack Co. auction has, where it was verified by experts to be a genuine Renoir painting. The anonymous (and lucky) owner is expected to get at least $75,000 at auction. At that next garage sale down your block, look carefully and you might strike it rich!
Short sales on the rise, urbanization as the answer, and Samoa skips a day
The robo-signing scandal that slowed the foreclosure process to a crawl appears to have increased lender interest in short sales.
More than 50 percent of the world’s population now live in cities – and there is no end of urbanization in sight. As opposed to the conventional wisdom, Harvard economist Edward Glaeser believes urbanization to be a solution to many unanswered problems, such as pollution, depression and a lack of creativity.
Brazilians are becoming more and more important in the South Florida economy. The Brazilians’ money has helped resuscitate the real estate market in Miami. Foreigners account for more than half of all property sales in Miami, and condominium towers that once sat empty are quickly selling out.
Felix Salmon writes on his Reuters blog about the comparison between Sears and Apple stores. One is a glorious success, the other a slow dying dinosaur. The difference? Beyond having products that people crave, you can look at how the two companies invest in their retail spaces. It’s a stark contrast.
You haven’t even thrown the box away from your new iPad 2 yet, but the 3rd generation might be on its way sooner than expected. Inc. unwraps the details.
Perhaps not on-the-job, but after hours… an iPhone app helps Manhattan sip on spirits whilst charging the phone. We’re ready for such technology to grace the pubs of Chicago.
If you were planning to celebrate your Dec. 30th birthday in Samoa, forget it. The island nation is moving to the other side of the international date line this week and will go directly from thursday to saturday.
Simplified mortgage disclosure a priority at CFPB, trade associations need to keep up with the times, and Disney doesn’t always get its way with copyright
In its first major move, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau released two prototypes of shorter and easier-to-understand disclosure forms that lenders must give home buyers when they apply for a mortgage. The LA Times reports that the new federal agency is making simplified mortgage disclosures a priority as it prepares to start operations in July.
RIS Media recently discussed a few apps for the iPad focused on REALTORS® and real estate. They say the iPad delivers on connection and collaboration and gives an ‘enhanced experience’ for both REALTORS® and clients.
Trade associations have been around for several centuries – even further back if you include guilds. They’ve served as an idea exchange, a way for members to share knowledge, discuss trends, lobby congress, and keep up on their fields. But with the internet and social networking, is the age of associations at an end? NPR takes a look at the future of the trade association – and manages to make some frightful puns in the process.
Although social media is still relatively new, more and more studies are emerging on sites like Facebook. And the results sometimes speak more about our own changing society than to anything else. Pete Cashmore of Mashable summarizes 10 fascinating facts about Facebook and what they tell us about ourselves. What I found interesting: 25% of households don’t use the any of Facebook’s privacy controls.
In the world of copyright and trademark, Disney has typically come out on top, rumored to play a hand in the development of more than one federal copyright act. The buck stops with the Navy Seals, who according to the Wall Street Journal, did not take kindly to Disney’s attempt at trademarking the name “Seal Team 6.”
Remodel horrors, a blind mountain biker, angry bird overload, and iPad for real estate.
Every REALTOR® who sells houses has his or her horror story – a house that needed more than just a bit of TLC to get it sold. But does yours match up to those collected by CNN Money in its recent article They did what to that house?! Remodel horror stories. These aren’t simple remodels gone wrong, but rather epic disasters. Click on any of the links in the article to go to the photo gallery of horrors.
BlackBerry has a more stoic image than iPhone or Android, but it still has an app store. And with that business-centered image comes some great business applications. Mashable looks at some of the Best Free BlackBerry Apps for Business.
Daniel Kish has been sightless since he was a year old. Yet he can mountain bike. And navigate the wilderness alone. And recognize a building as far away as 1,000 feet. How? The same way bats can see in the dark.
It’s addictive and now ubiquitous. Angry Birds is coming to Facebook. At what point do we reach saturation? I’m waiting for the pig backlash. For those not yet familiar with it, WiredUK has a very interesting story on the genesis of the game in its April issue.
Joel Burslem gives his take on the new iPad 2 from Apple and the business of real estate. Wondering how real estate agents are using the iPad? Read the comments that follow the post.
Had enough Charlie Sheen stories in your life? There is an answer.
With the price of gas on the rise, Consumer Reports has advice on saving money at the pump. Driving slower at a steady pace, combining errands, cleaning out your trunk to lower your car’s weight and using an app like Gas Buddy to find cheaper gas are some of the tips that can keep money in your pocket.
REALTORS® need to be ready for everything, but pirate attack?! They don’t just happen off Somalia, with some areas of the Bahamas also risky. FoxNews gives some advice.
You’ve heard of Groupon, LivingSocial, and the whole gaggle online coupon vendors. But are you really going to drive 30 miles to get a ½ off massage or go to a fitness class? New York Times introduces the idea of hyperlocal coupon vendors—an opportunity to connect your business with your community.
The happiest person in America is a tall Asian Jew living in Hawaii.
Our thoughts and prayers to all those impacted by the Japanese quake and tsunami.
Bye-bye affordable mortgages for most, Oprah doesn’t wash her chicken, and hello iPad 2
Google’s recent e-mail snafu serves as a good reminder to regularly back-up and sync your data. You may even want to consider the traditional model of LOCKSS—Lots Of Copies to Keep Stuff Safe. Even “The Cloud” is not impervious to the perils of computer hackers and system malfunction. Think e-mail, photos, documents, address books, calendars, data on your phone and other devices, and data from online billing services and banks.
The New York Times looks at what might happen to the venerable 30-year mortgage if Fannie and Freddie are shut down. The short answer: larger down-payments, shorter loans, and more costs to borrowers.
MSNBC and Prevention provide tips for a healthier, cleaner, more eco-friendly home. Hide your electronic clutter, don’t use harmful chemicals on your lawn, make sure your refrigerator handle is clean and much more.
Oprah recommends more than just keeping your refrigerator handle clean when she asks Could Your Kitchen Pass a Health Inspection?
Bad news for eBooks and Libraries: HarperCollins, one of the largest publishing houses, announced recently that new titles licensed from library ebook vendors will be able to circulate only 26 times before the license expires. Of course, other major publishers still ban libraries from lending ebook copies of their titles entirely (Macmillan and Simon & Schuster). NAR’s eBook Collection won’t be overly impacted, as HarperCollins hasn’t been a major source of titles for us.
Money Magazine asks: Should you give your kid a down payment? My parents helped me get over that initial hurdle (thanks Mom & Dad!), but you need to look at your financial situation and see what the best method might be: a gift, a loan, co-signing or something else.
The spread between the cost of buying a foreclosed vs. a non-foreclosed home continues to grow.
The Washington Post‘s tech blog reports on the first rumors of what to look for on Apple’s iPad 2.0, due in mid-2011.
“Millionaire” is so passe… What’s rich in 2011?
In this economy, we’re seeing lots of stories about the return to multi-generational living, but what happens when there is no family to go home to? The Chicago Tribune recently noted the rise in homeowners renting out rooms to boarders.
Twelve quick things you can do right now to give yourself a health boost. I would like #12 about now…
And what we’re watching: Health vs Wealth in 200 Countries, 200 Years, 4 Minutes from BBC via YouTube.