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!
iPhone 5 leaks, preservation & automation
Apple seems to be having more problems this go-round keeping its next generation iPhone prototype under wraps. The latest leak shows the elongated back cover.
The Wrigley Building (next door to NAR’s Chicago headquarters) has been granted landmark status by the City of Chicago. NAR’s building doesn’t have landmark status yet, but it is an LEED Gold Certified Building and was even featured in the opening of The Bob Newhart Show in the 1970s.
It’s not fiction: The automated future is here. Touch screens have moved beyond the ATM to lots of other areas formerly occupied by actual people. Here are a few of the more interesting and surprising ways that screens are replacing old-fashioned human customer service.
And speaking of automation, when the lines at Starbucks are too long or you need your fix at 3 am, there’s a solution: Seattle’s Best’s parent company, Starbucks and vending machine company Coinstar (the same company that operates the Redbox DVD vending machines) are partnering to present Seattle’s Best’s Rubis Kiosks, which will grind and brew coffee drinks to order around the clock.
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.
The turkey may cost more, but Black Friday sales start at midnight (or earlier)
According to the Pew Research Center, older Americans are 47 times wealthier than young. Read the report for stunning figures, graphs, and statistics. With student loan debts reaching all-time highs coupled with a grim job market, one has to wonder how this all will impact real estate. Hopefully Obama’s recent executive orders will ease the burden on this population.
The cost for a classic Thanksgiving dinner including turkey, stuffing, cranberries, pumpkin pie and all the basic trimmings increased about 13 percent this year, according to the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Holiday creep: Walmart is joining the growing list of retailers starting Black Friday on Thanksgiving night. Wipe that pumpkin pie off your face, re-button your pants, and join the the hordes. And just in time: What’s on sale in November? TVs and DVDs, halloween costumes, outdoor furniture, and seasonal items like apples, potatoes and turkey.
Every year, Remodeling magazine looks at the hottest home upgrades and renovations and calculates just how much owners get back with they sell. Here are the 6 projects with the lowest return to owners.
Is the iPhone safer from hackers than Android? Pretty much.
A round of deep thanks to all the members of our armed forces, both past and present, on this Veterans Day!
Housing declines dragging down broader economy, visas for int’l buyers, and why you might suck at twitter
The New York Times had an article that diagnoses our national economic gloom to be a result of falling housing prices. The story cites a 2007 CBO review that calculates that:
people reduce spending by $20 to $70 a year for every $1,000 decline in the value of their home. This “wealth effect” is significantly larger for changes in home equity than in the value of other investments, such as stocks, apparently because people regard changes in housing prices as more likely to endure.
In these belt-tightening times, money from a permit to drill for natural gas on your property would sure be welcomed by most. But before you sign, realize that it could cause you to default on your mortgage. Banks are beginning to scrutinize these leases, wondering if at the end they are going to be stuck with a toxic waste site that they can’t sell.
More on a story from last week’s WWR blog entry: two Senators are preparing to introduce a bill that would give residence visas to foreigners who spend at least $500,000 to buy houses in the U.S. Overseas buyers spent $82 billion buying up U.S. homes in the 12 months ended in March, up 24 percent from a year earlier.
Gmail is getting a new look.
First Class mail goes up by a penny on January 22 to $0.45.
Social Media expert Chris Smith offered a Twitter webinar this week with enlightening and useful take-aways on how to improve one’s Twitter presence. Jeff Turner shares a nice write-up of the event and gives reasons why you might suck at twitter.
New iPhone 4S on sale, some customers notice yellow tint to screen.
2015 House Trends, Retirement visas, iPhone carrier pricing and Household cleaning tips
If you had asked someone in the 1960s what the home of 2015 would look like, chances are they imagined something akin to The Jetsons’ home complete with Rosie the Robot and other space-age appliances that dressed and fed the family. But, rather than space-age technology, the biggest thing that is expected to change in future single-family homes is the size.
Florida’s property professionals believe that passing a retirement visa programme for overseas real estate buyers could generate 300,000 new jobs as well as bring new money into the Sunshine state’s housing market.
A builder in Montana is constructing a home made entirely of American products – nails, wood, bathtub, the works. It’s been challenging, but not as expensive as you might imagine.
Confused about iPhone plans from the various carriers? Who’s cheapest? It’s not as easy as that, of course. CNN Money tries to untangle the options in iPhone carrier pricing.
Cleaning the home is certainly a chore. Yahoo has guidance on how to keep it under control. The take away: incorporate daily cleaning tasks into your routine to make those big every-so-often major sweeps less major. Yahoo has another article this week on simple solutions to modern problems. How do you get stains out of tupperware? remove white rings from tables? clean a smelly coffeemaker?