Celebrity pocket sales, what happens to stolen Picassos, and Newsweek goes digital only
With the forthcoming presidential election, many are wondering what’s on the horizon for real estate. The Sun Sentinel highlights the issues at hand and the surprising lack of discourse on this topic.
Celebrities keep many secrets, including information about selling their homes, says The Los Angeles Times. You won’t find their homes listed on www.realtor.com or a local MLS. These pocket listings are discreetly shopped around to brokers, avoiding gawkers, snoopers and fans. Also, homes can be bought and sold through a trust or a limited liability company, keeping private information private.
Art thieves stole several promenant works of masters in the Netherlands this week, including paintings by Monet, Gauguin, and Picasso. What happens next? Museums try to track them down through back channels and are generally willing to pay a bit to get them back. They obviously can’t be sold at auction right away, but the black market will handle them, though at a substantial discount from their face value.
Windows 8 rolls out next week with new touch screen functionality. Computer makers are already trying to figure out just how to incorporate it into their non-tablet machines without just creating smeared screens and gorilla arm syndrome.
It’s not even Halloween yet but the Holiday price wars are heating up. Amazon racked up some impressive gains last year, stealing sales from the brick and mortar world. This year, traditional retailers are starting to fight back.
Many Kindle and Nook users received an email this week in regards to a class-action suit on price fixing by publishers. Settlement from the suit isn’t going to make anyone (but the lawyers of course) rich, but you might find a bit more credit in your account eventually.
Do you panic when you can’t find your cell phone? You might have nomophobia—the fear of losing your cell phone. On average, people check their cell phone 34 times a day. Cell phone addiction may arise from a surge of dopamine as a reward when you read a new text message. Compulsive cell phone behavior ranges from checking your cell phone during inappropriate times to waking up in the middle of the night to check your messages.
Newsweek, founded in 1933, will become an online-only publication next year. Editor-in-chief Tina Brown cited a recent study that said 39% of Americans now get their news from an online source in saying the time had come. The new Newsweek Global site will work on a paid subscription model.
Halloween party on the horizon? Need an ‘appetizer’? How about some finger food?
Recently a member asked us for research on the value of For Sale yard signs. Looking back on our buyer seller surveys, the value of yard signs has only increased over the last 20 years. In 1995, only 37 percent of respondents used yard signs in their home search. That figure rose steadily in the first decade of the 21st century to over 63 percent by 2008. And according to the 2011 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, that value has continued to hold up, with yard signs still the third most commonly used information source in the home search process and 55% of buyers still relying on yard signs to help them find the house they ultimately purchase.
However, a yard sign does more than simply tell people a house is for sale. If you have multiple listings in a neighborhood it signals to residents that you are the local expert with the market knowledge to help when the time comes to sell their house. QR code? Custom website address? A well-maintained sign with a bit of customization signals that you are more than a simple cookie-cutter agent in a giant corporate firm. Someone who will actually care about the listing. A for sale sign should reflect your brand and your style. While not as critical as an internet listing or general REALTOR® market knowledge, for sale yard signs still are a key component of the marketing mix in the home sale process.
While still valuable, yard signs are being targeted by more and more by communities trying to restrict signs or put stronger conditions on their use. Communities fear a plethora of signs can signal a neighborhood in decline. Higher-end communities sometimes seek to limit the ‘visual clutter‘. Be sure you are up to speed on your communities signage regulations.
White House value, goodbye yard signs, and summer travel
A couple of firms have estimated the value of the White House as if it were for sale. A local DC firm has put the asking price of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave at $110 million, though it estimates it would probably close for around $80 million. That figure doesn’t take into account the historic one-of-a-kind nature of the deal. Zillow is more generous, estimating the value at over $220 million, though like much of the country the price has declined over the last year.
Inman’s recent review of The Seven Pearls of Financial Wisdom (on financial guidance for women), piqued our interest. We have a substantial personal finance collection of our own in our library—in both electronic and print.
Are yard signs going the way of the buggy whip in Aspen, Colorado? The Aspen Board of REALTORS® is seeking a voluntary ban on yard signs, in order to eliminate visual pollution. Some approve of the measure, others are in opposition. “The issue of real estate signs in Aspen is not a simple ‘for or against’ question. It’s multi-faceted,” said Will Herndon, President, Coldwell Banker Mason Morse. He defended a firm’s right “to serve our clients’ interests in marketing their properties to the best of our ability within governing codes and regulations of Aspen, Pitkin County and ABOR.”
Fannie Mae, the largest source of U.S. housing funds, said it would not need to request more taxpayer aid this quarter after posting a $2.7 billion profit in the first three months of the year.
Austria’s ‘upside down house’ becomes tourist attraction.
Summer travel season is just around the corner. If your holiday plans include overseas excursions, you might consider getting a credit card that doesn’t charge a foreign transaction fee. These bank fees can add up quickly if you’re not careful. Luckily several companies offer cards without these pesky charges.
And credit cards are not the only ones with fees on the rise. Watch out for the airlines, as they nickel and dime their way back to profitability.
Peek behind the scenes at Paramount Pictures as the studio celebrates 100 years with a look at pictures from Life Magazine’s coverage of a massive ‘housecleaning’ that took place in 1970 at the iconic studio.