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Real Estate News Articles

Updated: Monday, November 29, 2021

Ask the HOA Expert: Can Governing Documents Be Amended?

Question: Can HOA governing documents be amended to allow compensation to directors for their services as board members? It stands to reason that they could be held more accountable if they received compensation for performance.

Answer: Most governing document stipulate that board members serve without compensation. There is a very good reason for this. Boards are comprised of elected members who ra>

Also, the board has an unavoidable conflict of interest. Since contracts and other expenditures are approved by the board, so would board compensation. The board is elected to safeguard the interests of all members. Its best done when the directors serve as unpaid and unconflicted volunteers.

Question: Our board is in the process of drafting an Architectural Design Policy. We are thinking about recording the policy with the county.

Answer: Architectural design standards can be complex and subject to change as taste and technology change. It is appropriate for the governing documents to state that an Architectural Design Policy exists, that construction and renovation must conform to it. The specific policy should not be recorded but be easily available upon request or posted on the HOAs website. As with any policy, the board should have it reviewed for comment by the members and by a knowledgeable attorney prior to implementation. A sample Architectural Design Policy is available at in the Policy Samples section.

Question: A unit owner has requested permission to rebuild her deck and expand the size. What issues should the board consider?

Answer: Having unit owners repair and replace their decks is often a problem because those decks are typically attached to the structure which is an HOA responsibility to maintain. So, the unit owner should also be held responsible for any damage caused by the deck to the structure, like dryrot. This agreement should be in writing, dated, signed, notarized and recorded against the unit title to advise future owners of this responsibility. You should use an attorney to put the agreement in proper recordable form.

Will the new deck match the look, design and material of the original installation? Conformity in common wall housing reinforces market value. The new deck should look like the old unless the board has adopted a new standard.

The board has no authority to allow a unit owner to expand into common area or to enjoy exclusive use of a common area. This must be approved by a vote of the members which may be 100.

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When Refinancing, Are You Just Starting All Over?

When refinancing a mortgage, its usually because rates have dropped but there are other reasons as well. You might want to change the term of your loan, say switching from a 30 year loan to a 15. Or, maybe theres a balloon payment coming up soon that you want to avoid. Maybe there are some marital matters to take care of and theres a need to get someone completely off the current note. Whatever the reason, some may ask if refinancing is simply starting all over with a brand new loan. The answer is no, but there needs to be some other issues addressed.

For example, someone who took out a 30-year fixed rate loan a few years ago and decides to refinance to a lower rate, but still keep the original 30 year term might not enjoy the full benefits of refinancing. For example, someone who is five years into a 30 year term and refinances directly into a brand new 30 year term is effectively taking on a 35 year term. So with this example someone is in fact starting all over. But it doesnt have to be this way. There are other choices that avoid starting all over. This entails choosing the right term during a refinance.

Say someone is five years into a 30 year mortgage. Instead of taking out a brand new 30 year loan, there is an option for a 25 year term. In this example, while there will be a brand new mortgage, the initial 30 year term is left alone and replaced. The very same can be said with a 20, 15 or 10 year term. These are all some scenarios you need to talk discuss with your loan officer.

Okay, but what about someone who is 12 years into a 30 year loan? There are also lenders who will put you into an 18 year loan term instead of a 10, 15, 20 or 25 year. Whatever the remaining term of the loan, a lender can craft a new loan term to match your scenario. Youll get the lower rate without having to start all over again.

One important thing to note, and again is something to discuss with your loan officer, the reason the 30 year term is by far the most popular when taking out a new mortgage is it provides the lowest monthly payment among traditional home loans. On the flip side, due to the longer term and lower payments, more interest is paid on the 30 year term compared to others. In addition, shortening the loan term will work in the opposite way. The monthly payment will go up, not down. Even if the new rate is lower than the existing one.

Finally, youll need to consider all the closing costs associated with getting a new mortgage. Remember, there really isnt a no closing cost mortgage, its simply an adjustment in the rate. You might be able to come to the closing table with less cash to close, but over time the higher payments will negate the advantage of the no closing cost feature.

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October Real Estate Roundup

Freddie Macs results of its Primary Mortgage Market Survey shows that "The yield on the 10-year Treasury note has been trending up due to the decline in new COVID cases, increasing consumer optimism, as well as broadening inflation and persistent shortages. Mortgage rates are also rising, but purchase demand remains firm, showing that latent purchase demand exists among consumers."

30-year fixed-rate mortgage FRM averaged 3.14 percent with an average 0.7 points for the week ending October 28, 2021, up from last month when it averaged 3.01 percent. A year ago, at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 2.81 percent.

15-year FRM this week averaged 2.37 percent with an average 0.6 points, up from last month when it averaged 2.28 percent. A year ago, at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.32 percent.

5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage ARM averaged 2.56 percent this week with an average 0.3 points, up from last month when it averaged 2.48 percent. A year ago, at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.88 percent.

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11 Tips For Halloween Safety

Its just a few days until Halloween, and youre probably rushing to find the last Pokemon, Size Small in the state and find "the good" candy instead of the jawbreakers and Tootsie Rolls that seem to be the only thing left at Target. But while you fill your mind with costumes and sweets, dont forget to brush up on your Halloween safety. Here are 11 tips youll want to follow.

1. Let them glow

Glow sticks, necklaces, bracelets, and the like can help make it easier to see your kids on a dark street. You can find a number of different varieties at the Dollar Store. Glow in the Dark duct tape is another cool idea that could help with visibility.

"For an easy solution, have a roll or two of Glow-in-the-Dark Duct Tape on hand for the big night," said Red Tricycle. "You can tape up everyones buckets, shoes and costumes for a unique look thats easy to see from afar, and it even works on those wagons youll be using to tote the tiny trick-or-treaters from house to house."

The dark streets and sidewalks can make it hard to see your kids, let alone tell them apart from all the others. Head to the Dollar Store, where you can buy glow necklaces, bracelets, crowns, and various other varieties of light-up items that will help you keep track of them.

2. Discourage running

When kids get hurt on Halloween, its often because they tripped or fell. No big surprise there, what with all the running in the dark. The best way weve found to curtail it: Threaten to take away their candy. Seriously, it works.

3. Make safe costume choices

Back to the runningaccidents also happen because the childs costume is ill-fitting. Step on too-long pants and they could take a tumble down the porch stairs or off the curb into the street. The pants length can be adjusted without having to take them to a tailor because who has time for that?. Tuck them into socks or boots, use some masking or duct tape on the inside, or use Stitch Witchery, a fusable tape that allows you to create a hem by bonding it to the fabric with an iron.

Make sure all costumes marked "flame retardant," which is extra important on Halloween since they may be coming into contact with open flames in pumpkins. Well-fitting arms that are not too long are important for the same reason.

When it comes to masks, use your best judgement. If your childs vision is impaired, that could contribute to an injury or other unsafe situation. Masks can also compromise breathing, and may not be suitable for children with asthma.

A new wrinkle this year is anything clown->

4. Stop the props

The bonus to keeping props at home: You dont have to carry them three minutes after you leave the house.

Many of todays costumes come with accessories - a foam sword here, a princess wand there, and, this year, more Poke balls than you can imagine. Chances are, your kid will carry this prop for about three minutesjust enough for it to become a burden. Then its yours to deal with. If you already anticipate having to help carry your childrens heavy candy bags and pumpkins and you will, encouraging them to keep the props at home is a good idea.

5. Pick a good candy-carrying bag

Theres research that says ongoing use of a heavy backpack could injure a childs back. Will a few hours or less carrying a heavy pumpkin or bag filled with pounds of candy do the same? Probably not, but it could make for an unpleasant experience - for all of you. And, it could make the child unsteady and more prone to fall down. Look for a bag with a padded handle that wont dig into their hands or something that has a cross-body strap to better distribute the weight.

6. Dont forget about dinner

Halloween falls on a Monday this year, and that could make rushing home to get dinner together a challenge. This is the perfect time to get out that slow cooker. And make one of these Halloween slow-cooker recipes. Dont want to cook at all? Put in a pizza delivery order early in the day so youre in the system and dont get caught up in a long-wait situation with everyone who called at the last minute.

Full bellies will help your kids to keep their energy up - and their whining down.

7. Make sure you can find them

If you dont already have a locator app on your phone, nows the time to add one. If youre in a crowded area with lots of kids around, you want to make sure you can always find them.

"For a little peace of mind and a few bucks, there are some apps you can download prior to Halloween, so you can keep tabs on everyone in your trick-or-treating crew," said Red Tricycle. "Picniic, a family management dashboard, allows you to track your kids locations and helps the entire family stay in constant communication by checking in once arriving at a destination. With FamilySignal, this app not only tracks the location of your kids, but it also includes a panic button that will alert you as soon as your child has pushed it. If you know exactly where youre headed on Halloween, the Life360 appallows you to create favorite spots and anytime your child arrives at that location youll get an automatic notification."

8. Watch the weather

It never fails. Your kids pick out their favorite Halloween gear and then the night before Halloween, a cold front comes through, forcing them to wear a coat over their costumes. If its going to be frigid while theyre out trick-or-treating, some long underwear underneath their costume and a hat might be enough to keep them toasty.

Youll also want to pay attention to weather conditions that could impact their footwear choices. If its been raining, snowing, or the ground is slick, non-slip shoes will be a necessity.

9. Check their candy

Nobody wants to think about poison or other hazards in their kids Halloween candy, and documented events of poisoning or other tampering with candy are few. But, a few tipsto help you know what to look for can help you feel secure. The main takeaways: if its open, it goes in the trash. Unless you know the people giving out homemade treats and know specifically whats in them, it goes in the trash. Anything else that looks or smells suspicious goes in the trash.

10. Sort through and give away your candy

If youre anything like us, your Halloween haul is going to be impressive. And you probably wont want to keep all that candy in the house. There is a growing number of Halloween candy buyback programsthat will pay you per pound of candy turned in, with some donated to families and others sent to the troops overseas.

11. Watch for allergens

While youre sorting through that candy and, inevitably, putting aside your favorites, beware of allergens. If your child is allergic to peanuts or something else that can be dangerous, youre obviously aware of this. But do you know about teal pumpkins? Looking out for them could help your child get more enjoyment out of the holiday.

"Back in 2012, a Tennessee mom named Becky Basalone had an idea: What if Halloween could be made a little less tricky for kids with food allergies?," said the Chicago Sun-Times.

"Her idea became what is now the Teal Pumpkin Project, a nationwide effort to encourage families - whether their own kids have food restrictions or not - to offer up some non-food treats on Oct. 31. Participation is simple: You just put a teal-colored pumpkin or sign outside your door and offer trick-or-treaters glow sticks, spider rings, Halloween stickers or other non-food goodies, along with or instead of the traditional candies."

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Top 10 Haunted Homes – Would You Buy a Haunted Home?

Looking for a nicenbsp;haunted home to buy? Something that is a bit different than the two-story Colonial with the white picket fence? The Mid-century modern with floor-to-ceiling windows or the English Tudor like your parents had?nbsp; How about Buffalo Bills home fromnbsp;The Silence of the Lambs, recently on the market with a price that was cut to the bone at just 298,500, and is now an Airbnb where an entire family can try to stay all night for 595?nbsp; Or the most haunted house in I>

For anyone looking for a lot of space, how about an entire Colorado ghost town for 1 million?nbsp; Or a New York gilded-age mansion for 495,000 that was once one of the most beautiful homes in the United States, but now looks like something from a Freddy Krueger nightmare? Also currently on the market, British-musician Robbie Williams mansion on 72 acres that he purchased in 2009 for just over 11 million, but now believes is haunted.

Could it be evil spirits in the basement, a maniac in the attic, or something even worse? Could that dream home become a nightmare? No one ever said buying a home was easy. What difference could a few ghosts make?

The Spectacular Spooky Home of Robbie Williams

Thousand-year-old houses with good bones are much admired by manor hunters in the 21st century, who are so taken with the prestige of owning such an impressive pile, they fail to consider if any spirits are still sticking around.nbsp; Such was likely the case withnbsp;British-musician Robbie Williams and hisnbsp;American actress-wife,nbsp;Ayda, who purchased the stunning Compton Bassett House innbsp;Wiltshire, Englandnbsp;on 72 acres in 2009 for just over 11 million, where their children could run free over the land and where they could enjoy entertaining and daily living away from prying eyes.nbsp; Even though the couple bought it fromnbsp;the renowned architect-and-designer Sir Norman Foster, who had already applied his magic, they had it back on the market in 2010.nbsp; Why so soon?nbsp; Because it felt spooky.nbsp; This overwhelmingly gorgeous mansion with every conceivable amenity felt spooky.nbsp; However, having been around since King Canute was ravishing England and northern Europe, its walls, no matter how lavish today, must be oozing some pretty wild history.nbsp; Early on, Robbie zeroed in on high spookiness in his daughters bedroom and promptly moved her to another location.nbsp; However, one persons discomfort with the supernatural and hyperactive spirits is another persons opportunity to capitalize on the situation.nbsp; The Williams mansion is currently for sale, priced at 9.2 million, listed with Knight Frank U.K.

Yikes The Silence of the Lambs Home Is For Rent

The film that guaranteed a lifetime of nightmares about being skinned and trimmed to make a womans suit for Buffalo Bill in the Oscar-winning movienbsp;The Silence of the Lambsnbsp;had many tongue-swallowing scenes inside this Princess Anne home where Buffalo Bill lived in the movie.nbsp; Situated on almost two acres in Perryopolis, Pennsylvania and measuring 2,400 square feet with four bedrooms and one bath, it has beautiful craftsmanship throughout the home. An in-ground pool and a vintage caboose used as a pool house are just a few of the happy reasons why the home was worth the 298,500 asking price when it went on the market at Halloween in 2020 and sold just a few months later for 290,000. It is now an Airbnb where an entire family can try to stay all night for 595.nbsp;

The Devils Visit To I>

It might be the most haunted house in I>

L.A.s Black Dahlia Murder House

Tales of terror and tragedy ra>

The house was on the market in 2018 at 4.7 million and has been the backdrop for multiple Hollywood movies, TV shows such asnbsp;Ghost Huntersnbsp;andnbsp;Paranormal Americanbsp;and even an American Express commercial.nbsp; It was purchased by a man whose business is selling cannabis-infused pet products.

The Gardette-LePretre Haunted Mansion

The Gardette-LePretre Mansion, or more locally referred to as the Sultans House, has been photographed and heralded in articles from the time it was built in the 1830s. Having hosted the cream of New Orleans society from the beginning of its rich history, the home comes with a scary storynbsp; One morning as neighbors were walking by the Sultan House, they saw blood trickling from under the front door. The police were notified and had to break into the house only to find that all inhabitants had been murdered with swords or axes and the Sultan was found brutalized and buried alive in the backyard. It was always felt that the murders were executed by his brother, the real Sultan, as retribution for the theft of his fortune and many of his wives. How much is local lore and how much is true, we will never know for sure. This is, after all, New Orleans.

Only a block from Bourbon Street, the French Quarter->

Colorado Ghost Town

Tourists once flocked to Uptop, Colorado to ride on the railway, which the railroad company advertised as the "Railroad Above the Clouds."nbsp; Later, lumber companies moved in and in 1930 the Chapel-by-the-Wayside was built for that community.nbsp; The railroad brought many tourists through La Veta Pass to Uptop which was a depot at the top of the pass and what was then the highest railroad and depot in the world.nbsp; With the building of the depot, merchants moved to the location to cater to rail passengers and for entertainment, they built a large dance-hall saloon. It was a favorite stop for miners, railroad men and lumberjacks. The bar, known for its unique curved bar, served prohibition liquor made in a still behind the building that fueled many a raucous poker game.nbsp;

Unfortunately for Uptop, the railroad left in the early 1900s, and in the 1960s the new highway system bypassed the town leaving just a ghost town. Recently restored by two sisters from Boston, the entire town went on the market in 2014 for 2 million including the train depot, dance hall, saloon and chapel.nbsp; Still on the market, now priced at 1 million.

The Arizona Boulder People

During the construction of their new home next to a mysterious pile of ancient rocks in Arizona, a young couple from Washington discovered that they werent the first people to live in the boulders. Pottery shards and rock carvings were dated by experts back as far as one thousand years. Then they found something even more astonishing: a Stonehenge-type phenomenon that occurs on both the spring and fall equinoxes. A six-inch-wide beam of light that starts in the glass between two boulders and slowly works its way across the floor and up the wall to a 36 spiral petroglyph. When the sun hits its mark, the stone projections light up like diamonds.nbsp; What does it mean? Some people think it is a signal to the space creatures. A light that will guide their spaceships to the Arizona desert. Or, maybe it doesnt mean anything. Just a freak of nature. Whatever it might be, it started over a thousand years ago when the boulder people first began living there, about the same time that hard-shelled life forms first showed up on earth.

A dream home for archaeologists, historians, artists or mystery lovers, the Boulder House on nine acres with 4,380 square feet, three bedrooms, two baths and a great room with a massive fireplace was recently for sale at 4.2 million.nbsp; It was reportedly sold, not long after the listing, for almost 5 million.

Haunted New Orleans Magnolia Mansion

While most going businesses want to keep their ghosts in the closet so as not to frighten off clientele, the Magnolia Mansion has cleverly built its business around multiple ghosts and wish its ghosts would invite their friends Here the ghosts are friendly with a sense of humor, where ghostly children tease you by moving things around during the night to watch your reaction the next morning. There are reports of a ghostly maid who will tuck you in at night, a child who walks the halls and a bearded man who spends his time downstairsnbsp; A perfect place to hold your "Spooktacular Gatherings" and "Ghostly Galas"

The Greek Revival mansion of over 13,300 square feet and 13 bedrooms could be changed back into a single-family estate. It was sold at around 3 million and is an active Bamp;B, event location, and friendly hauntings near Halloween.

Thousand Islands Haunted Mansion - Needs Work

When it was built in 1895 for the president of Remington Arms and Typewriter Company, Carleton Manor was one of the grandest structures in all of New York. The solid-stone outer structure sits on an island of 6.9 acres and is surrounded by almost a thousand feet of waterfront. Today, it is an abandoned shell not fit for humans or ghosts. For a mere 495,000, the buyer willing to make this piece of history into a grand restoration project can turn this house from a nightmare into a dream home.nbsp; Then the spirits could come down from the ceiling and the chimneys for more cushy digs and have fun throwing the good china around after midnight.

Amityville Horror House

No longer on the market, the actual Amityville Horror home was for sale in 2016 reduced from 1.15 million down to 850,000. The New York home where Ronald DeFeo got up in the middle of the night in 1974 and brutally murdered his parents and four siblings with a rifle while they slept. The home was occupied just a year later by the Lutz family until they were forced to leave because of rampant paranormal activity.nbsp; The storied horror house on the Ocean Avenue waterfront is today an extensively remodeled home. The 5,000-square-foot home most recently sold in 2017 for just 605,000, and brave people are actually living there today.

For morenbsp;celebrity home newsnbsp;andnbsp;celebrity home video tours, visitnbsp;

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10 Tips for Creating a Calmer, More Peaceful Home

Your home should be your sanctuary, but sometimes its hard to brush off the stress of the day and sink into the serenity. Thats especially true if your home is more chaos than calm. Use these tips to create a space thats soothing, so, no matter what the day holds, you always have an inviting place to come home to.

Add some greenery

Studies have shown that plants can make your home feel calmer and ease anxiety. Plants like jasmine and English ivy can improve sleep, lavender and rosemary can lower stress, and several other plants have been shown to improve air quality so you breathe easier.

Hide the electronics

Nobody wants to stare at a tangle of cords, said Houzz. Thankfully, we have more options than ever for keeping our tech devices hidden away. When possible, choose smaller, wi>

Get a dog

Or a cat, a bird, or a turtle, for that matter. Yes, having a pet can mean more noise and more mess. But, there are all kinds of studies that show that having a pet lowers stress. Researchers found that pet-owning patients with high blood pressure could keep their blood pressure lower during times of mental stress than patients without pets, said Another study showsnbsp;that pet owners may also have increased odds of surviving for at least a year after having a heart attack.

Clear the clutter

Going all Marie Kondo on your home can have surprising effects on your mental state. Clutternbsp;can playnbsp;a significant role in how we feel about our homes, our workplaces, and ourselves, said psychologist Sherrie Bourg Carter innbsp;Psychology Today. Messy homes andnbsp;work spacesnbsp;leave us feelingnbsp;anxious,nbsp;helpless, and overwhelmed.

Tone down the harsh colors

Theres something to be said for going bold, but soft colors can bring on a calming feeling. If you want a deeper color, consider shades of blues and greenstwo colors that are known to be more serene than, say bright yellow, orange, or red.

Clean up your entryway

Its the first place guests see, and while you probably dont pass by or through your front entry all that often if you park in the garage, it may not feel as welcoming as youd like when you do.

Soften the lighting

Harsh overhead lighting can make you feel like youre being interrogated, and can also be hard on your eyes. If you need to keep it because the space will be too dark otherwise, a dimmer can at least give you some control over just how bright it is, and allow you to create a mood with lower lighting as needed.

Limit the patterns

Opt for solids and subtle patterns, said Houzz.nbsp;Busy patterns have their place, but if youre aiming for calm, then solid fabrics are your friends. Dont be afraid to include subtle patterns, though: herringbone, tone-on-tone stripes, and tiny dots can add textural interest without competing for attention.

Buy some fresh flowers

According to a study by Rutgers, The presence of flowers trigger happy emotions, heightens feelings of life satisfaction and affects social behavior in a positive way far beyond what was originally believed.

Make your master bedroom a zen zone

Getting good rest is key, and there are several ways you can create a soothing space. Keeping the colors serene is key, and so is a good mattress. Loading the bed up with soft textures can also help. The sensation of touch is often overlooked, but a powerful way to unwind, said

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Technology Empowers Buyers To Expect More

Real estate is being digitally transformed. Buyer behavior, driven by the current online shopping boom and its technology, is changing the real estate marketfinally

Its no secret, real estate is one of the largest assets, if not the largest asset globallyfinance being right there behind it, said Moderator and ULI Icon Sponsor John Cecilian, CEO and Co-Founder of Cecilian Partners, as he introduced the Urban Land Institute ULI Fall 2021 Meeting Session Proptech Catchup: How Data, Technology, and People Are Changing the Face of Production Homes and Community Development, simultaneously held virtually and in Chicago during early October.

This notion of Fintech [financial technology]...and this concept of Proptech [property technology] coming together is why it has so much allure, so much excitement, and so much growth.

Technology provides home buyers with access to more knowledge and information than are available to them during the traditional buyer beware sales process.

The bottom line isand Covid has only accelerated thisour industry, the real estate industry, is not trusted, said Alan Klassen, Chief Experience Officer of Brookfield Properties, speaking to ULI-member real estate executives and professionals. Customers are demanding to be trusted first, before theyll trust us. Thats a paradigm shift.Our research is saying that you need to be able to be transparent...Authenticitythis is the top driver behind driving the customer.

It was cloak and dagger. Hide it, build it, and they will comethose days are gone...being transparent online, providing that kind of trust, being vulnerable is what customers are looking for.I cant wait for the [heated] market to go back downthis market, right now, is hiding what the [home-buying] consumer is actually demanding.

Laura Cole, Senior Vice President, LWR Communities, stated that, even though we are all shopping online now, in the community development sector, the consumer shift to widespread online shopping has been ignored.

We put so much emphasis on the human experience, said Cole explaining the mindset buyers encounter when they visit a traditional sales center. As a sales manager, I am going to give you the information I know you need to know and craft the message around what I think you need to know and not a whole lot more. Transparency was completely missing in the process.

Cole heads the residential arm of Florida-based Lakewood Ranch, overseeing a 16,000-lot residential portfolio under active development by 20 builders with 2,000 annual sales.

Cole stated that the shift in buying involves customers adopting technology to make better real estate decisions.

As a community developer, I see it as an opportunity to ask how will this person live in our community, said Cole. Our data sees into people and what they like. We look into this from a business perspective.

In the past, Cole explained that developers left as soon as the people moved in. Now, Lakewood is involved long term. At 27 years in, Cole feels they are not finished yet. She says the community is more like an economic development model, continually changing and evolving with new revenue streams emerging.

Panelists Cole and Klassen, with moderator Cecilian, peeled back the traditional sales process for selling production homes and life>

Referring to a recent McKinsey study, Cecilian demonstrated the dramatic shift in consumer online behavior during the pandemic with a significant statistic: 75 of online shoppers in 2020 literally engaged new brands for the first time. They did not step foot in a grocery store...they did not step foot to buy a new car. They bought, they experienced...75 of those surveyed said they want to have those brands be part of their life in 2021 and beyond.

New home buyers can expect to engage with increasing numbers of real estate companies with forward-thinkers who embrace the new transparency and control that consumers should experience as they buybut are not soldnew homes.

We dont want the skeptics of new home construction, production home building, and community development, said Cecilian. We dont want there to be any more laggards. Our worry, our fear, based on the very real market trend of how consumers engage with brands today across industry has to make us rethink about how we engage, how we talk to, how we create a sense of place for all those aspiring home buyers or future residents.

Home buyers are usually given attention as customers once the sales process reaches the contractual stage. Now, when prospective home buyers visit a real estate website they become customers and enter the customer experience. As buyers, you have the attention of the builder or developer much earlier in the process. What are you going to do with it?

The whole sales experience is being disrupted, said Klassen. Its becoming a buying experience.The customer is coming through with so much more information and so much more knowledge. Its really, really imperativecustomers that are knowledgeable do not want to be sold. They want to be helped, to be supported, to be understood. They want advocacy right from the very beginning. Our industry is archaic.Thats the big shift

When you go to a sales center or shop online for a new home, ask yourself, Am I in the right place?

How is my trust affected if there is an abrupt difference in communication between meeting the company online and actually visiting its model homes?

Am I being sold instead of having my questions answered specifically and transparently?

How do I balance construction quality with the buying experience I prefer?

Will I be distracted from the quality of my new home by the online buying experience and what is promised post-move-in?nbsp;

Will I ignore a new home opportunity if I am forced to buy through a traditional sales process?

Buyer beware remains the buying directive no matter how much fun you are having or how special you feel during the buying experience

Extra Resource to Broaden Your Real Estate Perspective:

Emerging Trends in Real Estate 2022" is a trends and forecast publication, now in its 43rd edition, produced jointly by PwC and the Urban Land Institute ULI to provide an outlook on real estate investment and development trends, real estate finance and capital markets, property sectors, metropolitan areas, and other real estate issues throughout the United States and Canada.

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Now That It’s Fall, Did You Miss the Home Selling Boat?

Worried you missed your window when it comes to selling your home this year? Its true that spring and summer are the hottest literally seasons of the year, with more buyers out there looking to purchase a home and get settled before school starts. Also, there is some recent data out there that says that October and December are two of the slowest months of the year for home sales.nbsp;

But that doesnt mean you cant offload your home now, or that you wont get a good price if you do. If you have to list now and you want to get your home in the best position to sell quickly and for a good number, heed these tips.nbsp;

Make sure your home is market ready

Buyers at this time of year tend to be serious. They may not be any more excited about buying right now than you are about selling, but theyre in the market because of a >

A home thats not in great shape is typically going to take longer to sell at any time of yearunless its a super bargain. When there are limited buyers out there and youve got competition from other area homes, your place has to show well.nbsp;

That doesnt necessarily mean you need expensive or extensive renovations. But a >

nbsp;Scour and tidy up

Your real estate agent may have some other suggestions to make your home more sellable.

Celebrate the season

A few pumpkins, a fall wreath, a couple of candles with an autumnal scent or a simmering pot of cinnamon stickstheyre little touches that can help your home feel more inviting and more fall-like for showings, without going overboard. Your Halloween dcor may be stellar, but real estate agents steer sellers away from over-decorating so buyers arent distracted or turned off.nbsp;

Put in a little extra effort for great photos

"According to one study done by a real estate photography company, top-notch photos cannbsp;make your house sell 32 fasternbsp;than a house with low quality or average pictures, said Homelight. Thats not just for million-dollar mansions, either. The study, conducted by VHT Studios, took houses of all values into account.

It might be a little more challenging to get those photos in fall, however; Natural light is preferable for listing photos. Fall and winter photos run the risk of looking drab, but well-timed summer photos are bright, clean, warmreally everything you need to stand out to serious buyers. So take advantage of the seasons best days and include those photos in the listing when you go to sell in the fall, said

If good natural light is hard to come by at this time of year in your area, using a professional photographer is even more important. They will have tricks to help overcome the challenges.

Let There Be Light

Emphasizing the natural light in photos is one thing. You also want you home to look as light and bright as possible for showings and tours. Retract blinds, and widen curtains, so theres minimal window coverage, said HGTV.nbsp;

The windows will look bigger, and itll encourage daylight to flow into your space. Experiment with your lightbulbs to find the most flattering hues for your space. A bathroom looks great with daylight bulbs 5,000-6,500K and living spaces, such as bedrooms and living rooms, look best with soft white bulbs 2,700K. In general, your homes design and color palette will play a part in what looks most appealing. Go for cozy and bright. If youre upgrading bulbs in hard-wired fixtures, consider going all LED. Let the buyers know youre leaving the bulbs for them.

Be mindful of your curb appeal

Falling leaves are inevitable in autumn. You may not be able to rake or remove every single one of them in time for a surprise or last-minute showing, but making sure you take a walk around your house every day to address any areas that need clean-up can help you from having to make a big effort when an agent calls with an interested client.

You know what they say: You only get one chance to make a first impression. Rake dead leaves and debris in your lawn, said The Balance. Dont let overgrown vegetation block the windows or path to the entrance. Cutting bushes and tree limbs will let the sun inside and showcase the exterior of your home. Cutaway summer vines and cut down dead flowers. Make the most of the autumn weather in the fall real estate market.nbsp;

Adding a few fall flowers is another good idea that will up your curb appeal. The most popular autumn flowers are chrysanthemums or mums, and they bloom for a long time. Marigolds are another idea for fall. Both mums and marigolds are available in yellow, which is my number one home selling color. Plant them in pots. Place pots on the steps and along the sidewalk.

Key in on your target market

Your agent should be able to help you pinpoint who the most likely buyers are. Armed with that info, you can tailor your home to specific target markets.nbsp;

If you have a hunch your house may appeal to empty-nesters, heres how to play up that attraction: Emphasize multipurpose spacefor instance, stage one bedroom as a home office-cum-hobby roombecause empty-nesters crave flexibility for the future, said Bob Vila. Provide a map to points of interest within walking distance. To the extent possible, aging baby boomers wish to integrate exercise into their daily habits.nbsp;Showcase quality. Without teenagers around, empty-nesters can enjoy more delicate finishes and fine details, so give them something to brag about. They want to upgrade as they downsize.

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Tips to Check the Feng Shui of Your Home

In a way, it is quite easy to know if your house has good feng shui. Answering just one simple question Do you feel happy in your home? will already give a good indication of its energy, as well as how well you and your home are matched.

However, before going into this more advanced level of designing a good feng shui house for your personal energy, lets first look at some basic tips to know if your house has good feng shui. Here are some tips to help you understand the feng shui of your house.

A strong and healthy front door

In feng shui, houses are absorbing most of the needed energy nourishment via the front door, so the stronger your front door, the more good feng shui energy it can absorb. And the more good feng shui energy your door can absorb, the better energy there is to support you Having a strong feng shui front door is a bit like having a clear, strong voice and speaking up for yourself/letting yourself and your needs be known. Houses need to have a clear voice, too.

What makes a strong feng shui front door? A door that is proportionate to the size of the house, that opens easily and freely, enjoys beautiful paint in the right color and has good hardware. Other features include a door that is well-lit, has a good pathway leading to it, and opens up into an inviting main entry. In other words, a door that invites both respect and admiration, a door that looks good and feels good.

A main entry with inviting, self-contained energy

The main entry is very important in feng shui as this is the space that has to have the ability to draw in and further invite/direct the energy into your home. It has to have a quality of energy that is welcoming as well as self-contained, so that the energy can settle in. There should be no doors or windows directly facing the front door. When you have any door facing the front door be it a bathroom door or a back door the energy easily escapes without being able to nourish the house. The same scenario can be created by a big window facing the front door as this will promote a leakage of incoming energy.

A happy, active and nourishing kitchen

The kitchen is considered the heart of the home in many cultures for obvious reasons. In feng shui, the kitchen is also connected to the health and wealth energy, so it is very important to take good care of your kitchen.From best feng shui colors for your specific kitchen to creating and maintaining fresh and nourishing energy, any and all details matter in creating a good feng shui kitchen. There can be no good feng shui home if the energy in the kitchen is unhappy, stagnant or cold.

The bedroom as the most loved room in the house

You must have heard me many times saying that the bedroom is the most important room in the house. That is, in a good feng shui house, of course Instead of focusing most of our attention on grand living rooms and expensive dining to impress others, it would do the house and us so much good to create a good feng shui home by keeping our attention on the bedroom. Understand all the guidelines and basics that make a good feng shui bedroom, and then continue to bring lots of love energy into your bedroom.


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HOA's Board Code of Conduct

As a member of a volunteer homeowner association board, its important to codify the goals and behaviors an effective director should strive for. It not only serves as a constant reminder for those that are serving but can also help screen out director candidates with hidden agendas. Consider adopting something like this:

Act in the HOAs Interests. Directors will strive for the common good of the homeowner association, forgoing personal interests.

Lawful Actions. All board actions will comply with the governing documents and the law.

High Standards of Conduct. Conduct should be above reproach and avoid the appearance of impropriety.

Mutual Respect. Directors will address other directors and homeowners with respect, even when in disagreement.

Meeting Attendance. Directors will attend all board meetings unless there is a valid excuse.

Be Prepared. Directors will come prepared to meetings by reviewing the agenda and >

Confidentiality. Directors will maintain confidentiality of highly sensitive information and respect the privacy of all owners.

Positive Attitude. Directors will encourage employees, managers and contractors to promote better performance and teamwork.

Support and Loyalty. Directors will respect the authority of the Board by not undermining majority decisions.

Respect the Rules. Directors will obey the rules to set a positive example for others.

Pay Assessments. Directors will remain current in all fees owed to the HOA.

Promote Harmony. Directors will promote community harmony in act, word and deed.

A Board Code of Conduct controls caustic communications, curtails conflicts and calms cantankerous communities. Adopt one today

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Understanding Your Appraisal

What you think your home is worth may not be what your lender thinks your home is worth. Rather, what the appraiser tells your lender what its worth. The final word comes straight from the appraisal, not the lender. The lender simply reports to you what the appraiser determined. Heres how to interpret how the appraiser arrived at the value that it did. You can get the final appraised value but its also important to know how the final value turned out the way it did.

First, there are different types of appraisals. Theres a desk appraisal, a drive-by and a full appraisal. The determination which appraisal your lender uses is a result of whats required on the electronic findings various automated underwriting systems say. A desk appraisal is one where the appraiser goes online and looks at public records showing recent sales of similar properties in the area. A desk appraisal is typically the result of someone with a larger amount of equity, say at least 20-30 down and a stronger financial profile.

A drive-by appraisal is just thatthe appraiser first performs some online research and then literally drives by the property to make a visual inspection from the street of both the property as well as the neighborhood. Sometimes there are pictures taken and sometimes there are not. Again, whats needed in the appraisal is determined by the automated underwriting findings. A full-blown appraisal includes online research, a visual inspection and literal inspection of the property, typically with photos of both the exterior and interior of the home. A full appraisal is usually the result of both the type of loan being taken out as well as the amount of the initial down payment or equity position going into the loan.

Appraisals will compare the subject property with other similar type properties in the area. The sales prices of these comparable homes are reviewed and then compared with the subject. Most loan programs ask for at least three such sales in the area within a six to twelve month period along with an active listing. One of the pieces of data the appraiser looks for is the Days on Market number. This is literally how many days it took for a recent sale to commence from the initial listing to final sale. A 60 day DOM indicates a decent real estate market while a 30 day DOM would indicate a very hot, sometimes overheated real estate market. Longer DOMs would suggest a >

Finally, the appraiser will then make certain adjustments to the comparable sales. One comp might have an outdated kitchen compared to the subject property. Another property might have a pool in a neighborhood where pools are more prevalent whereas the subject does not. Lot size and the number of bedrooms are also adjustments. The age of the structure is also reviewed. All of this information is spelled out clearly in your appraisal. You just have to look for and understand it. All of these data bits are used to arrive at the number your lender uses when underwriting your loan file.

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Simple Ways To Make Your Rental Property More Homely

When you are renting a property, often you dont have much control when it comes to how you decorate it. Usually you will have to get written consent from your landlord to make any alterations and there is no guarantee they will be accepted So, we are here to introduce a few simple ways that you can make your rental property more homely without having to make any alterations. From adding plenty of greenery to ambient lighting, these are all affordable choices that will help you to feel at home.nbsp;

Choose Ambient Lighting

The first thing you can do to make your rental property more homely is to choose ambient lighting. You can simply go around your rented house or flat and swap out the bright white light bulbs for softer, warmer toned lighting. Also, you could change up the light shades if they are removable to really transform how the light is dispersed around the room.nbsp;

Make sure to speak to your landlord to see if theyd like to keep the lightbulbs and light shades you remove, or just keep everything in a box somewhere so that you dont get charged for anything later down the linenbsp;

Add Plenty of Greenery

The next tip is to add plenty of greenery throughout the rental property. There are so many benefits to having houseplants in your home, as they can help to reduce levels of stress, clear the air, improve productivity and improve your mood. Plus, they bring such a lovely lease of life to any room If you dont already have houseplants, youd be surprised at how much of a difference they really make.nbsp;

Snake plants, spider plants, peace lilies and jade plants are all great choices if you are a beginner. The general rule for these plants is to water them every 2 weeks in the summer, every 3 weeks in the winter and give them indirect sunlight if you can. However, they are all pretty resilient

Hang Wall Art Prints

Often in rental properties, the walls can be quite empty and you usually wouldnt be allowed to put anything in the walls to hang art. So, we have the perfect solution You can hang wall art prints throughout your home and as they are light, you dont need to have nails in the wall. You can use removable hanging strips so there is absolutely no damage after when you follow the instructions properly to remove them.nbsp;

You could have typography prints to bring your favourite quotes into your home, botanical wall art to go with your new houseplants or you could create a gallery wall with lots of different prints This is a quick, easy and affordable way to make your rental house or flat feel more like home.nbsp;

Soft Furnishings

Last but not least, we have soft furnishings. As you might not have much control over many decorative aspects in your rental home, using soft furnishings is a wonderful alternative. It allows you to add personality to the space with unique colours and textures. Also, this option is suited to any budget.nbsp;

If your flat comes furnished, then soft furnishings can add a whole new look to ordinary looking furniture. They also help to make any space so much more >

Final Thoughts

Even if you are only planning on staying in your rental property temporarily, it is so important that you make it feel like home. We all deserve to come back to our home and feel completely >
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The Best Celebrity Recipes for an Easy and Impressive Thanksgiving Dinner

So you dont have a degree from Le Cordon Bleu. Or a Michelin star. Or a 47,000 stove yes, they actually make a 47,000 stove. You can still cook Thanksgiving like a James Beard chef.

No, really, you can.

All you need is a little time, a lot of patience, and a menu that includes the best Thanksgiving dishes from the best celebrity chefs. These dishes also happen to be on the easy side of gourmet chef-ery. You can thank us later we only accept bribes that are pumpkin flavored.

Main Dish

Herb-Roasted Turkey Breast

Why bother with a whole turkey when youre just going to end up with two-thirds of it left over? Instead, order a whole turkey breast from your grocer. Its much more easy to manage the cooking, and it wont end up packed to go for your guests and overflowing you dogs bowl at the end of the night.

Chef Ina Gartens herb-roasted turkey breast layers on the fresh rosemary, sage, and thyme for a tasty - and fragrant - main dish.

Side Dishes

Emeril Lagasses Spicy Sausage Dressing

When chef Emeril Lagasse spends years trying to "trying to replicate" his mothers dressing recipe and finally gives up and asks for it, you know it must be good. "It might be the best thing Ive ever eaten," he said. His version of stuffing uses Portuguese linguica or hot Italian sausage and milk-soaked bread. Sign us up.

Chef Michael Symons Brown Butter Mashed Potatoes

Mix potatoes with browned butter and crme frache and you have chef Michael Symons four-ingredient potatoesnbsp;that take the normal spud fare to a whole level of Thanksgiving yumminess.

Rachel Rays Brussel Sprouts with Bacon

As long as youre going to eat a meal packed with as many calories as youve had in the two weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, you might as well throw in some bacon. This Rachel Ray recipe also adds in a fall veggie: brussel sprouts. If you just crinkled your face up at the thought of eating brussel sprouts at all, let alone on Thanksgiving, trust us. Bacon makes ANTHING better. And it does amazing things to brussel sprouts.

Chef Robert Irvines Sweet Potato Bread Pudding

Save the marshmallows for roasting by the fire. This from chef Robert Irvine impresses in a whole new way. And, frankly, when the recommended toppings include caramel or bourbon sauce, were in.

Paula Deens Pumpkin Gooey Butter Cake

She had us at pumpkin. And gooey. This decadent southern desert uses boxed cake, so you know its easy, and it has Deens trademark butter party, so you know its good.

So which recipes are you going to try your hand at this Thanksgiving?

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Architect, Designer or Contractor: Who to Hire for a Renovation?

If youre going to do a home renovation or remodeling project, you may want to work with professionals for several reasons. Working with a professional in the remodeling industry can help you avoid costly mistakes, can help you get organized, and can bring your vision to life.

There are three main types of professionals you might consider working with on a renovation.

These are an architect, a designer and a contractor.

Knowing what differentiates them from one another can help you make the right decision for your project.

The Role of a Designer

A designer can help you by coming up with ideas, creating plans and steering you in a direction based on your wants and needs. Of those, for many people, drawing the plans can be the most important role of a designer. A basic design plan might include a floor plan and built-in features, such as cabinets in your kitchen. A full-service designer might take the worker beyond that and help with fixtures and finishes. Designers arent typically project managers, however.

Designers can be costly. They can charge hundreds of dollars an hour, and they usually have a minimum project fee of anywhere from 3,000 to 5,000. Some estimates say that you should plan to budget from 8 to 12 of your total project cost for a designer.

If you have an idea of what you like and what you want, you might not need to hire a designer.

The Role of an Architect

An architect will come to your home and go over what you want from your renovation and budget. They will create a plan that will bring that to life. You may work with an architect only for the plan. Some people hire architects for full project management. In that case, the architect will choose contractors and will track their progress.

An architects services can cost anywhere from 50 to 200 an hour, or if theyre managing the project, it may be 5-20 of the total project cost.

If youre doing a renovation that involves taking out walls and changing your layout, you may need an architect.

The Role of a Contractor

A contractor is someone who serves as a project manager when you bring them on for a renovation. They will work with you on your expectations and then make sure those are met. Contractors can give you a complete budget breakdown for the project, and they can also design your project if you want them to.

Something valuable about hiring a contractor is that theyll then find your subcontractors such as electricians and plumbers. This makes your life easier because finding trustworthy subcontractors and then managing them can be a challenge.

Youll need a licensed contractor so they can pull the necessary permits for your project. Contractors usually charge on a cost-plus basis. That means they take the total amount they anticipate the project will cost and they add a markup.

Who Do You Need?

A contractor with experience is likely to be able to deal with a simple renovation as well as an architect, and you can save money. If your budget is tight, you might want to collaborate with your contractor on your design. If you want a bit of help and guidance, you might hire a designer who will offer a consultation.

Finally, if youre doing something like moving major walls for creating an open-concept layout, you might want to consult with an architect because of safety.

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What If You’re Priced Out of Buying a Home?

First-time homebuyers are facing a serious problem when it comes to buying a house. While the acceleration may be cooling somewhat, there are still record-breaking rises in home prices. Recent data shows for the first time in the U.S., median home prices surpassed 400,000.

Several factors are likely to continue this trend. There are a lot of motivated buyers, limited housing supply and low mortgage rates. Inflation is pushing prices up for essentially everything, including homes. Low mortgage rates allow buyers to buy more than they would be able to ordinarily, so they can get involved in heated bidding wars.

Sellers are also staying put because they dont want to jump into a highly competitive buying market, limiting the supply of available homes even more.

Homebuilders cant get the materials they need, and even if they can, theres a labor shortage.

Where does this leave first-time buyers or any buyer?

What Does It Mean to Be Priced Out?

If youre priced out in the real estate market, it means that you cant afford even an entry-level home. There are often a number of factors that can lead first-time buyers to be priced out, many of which are converging with one another right now.

If youre trying to buy a house right now, you probably notice the down payment you worked hard to save isnt going as far as you planned. If you saved 20 of the expected price you prepared to pay for a house, that might no longer be sufficient.

So, what can you do?

You might think automatically you should keep renting, but rent prices are going up because of inflation as well, while wages arent keeping up, so this isnt the ideal option.

There are a few things you can do, and none of them might feel ideal, but your options are limited when youre priced out.

Save More

If you live in a market thats not affordable for you right now, you may need to keep renting and adding to your savings. This does also allow you to wait out the market somewhat. You may need to be patient because it could be a couple of years before youre able to re-enter the marketing successfully.

As youre thinking about what you can afford, its better to base it on your monthly expenses rather than the sales price.

If you are setting more money aside and youre going to try and wait out the market a bit, dont just put it in a standard savings account. You may need to put at least some of your savings into riskier but more high-earning options like stocks.

Change Your Expectations

Another option you have available when youre otherwise priced out of the market is to change your expectations. With limited inventory and all the other factors going on in the market right now, you may have to give up a few things on your wish list, or maybe more than a few.

You could end up buying a fixer-upper thats more in line with your budget.

For first-time buyers, being humble is key to getting a home in the current environment.

Broaden Your Home Search Geographically

Just like you might need to give up on some of your wish list as far as home features, you might also want to broaden the area where youre looking geographically. There can be considerable differences in the price of homes from one neighborhood to the next or one suburb to the other.

Many people arent just moving out of urban areas to be able to afford a hometheyre changing cities altogether. For example, residents of expensive locations like New York and San Francisco are moving to more affordable cities like Austin and Atlanta.

Hire a Great Real Estate Agent

Finally, if you dont already have a great real estate agent on your side, it would be nearly impossible to navigate the current market as a first-time buyer without getting one. Even if you can find a home youre able to afford, you may be facing stiff competition.

Real estate professionals know about properties before they go on the market, so youll have an edge there. Theyll also be able to help you understand your local market so you can adjust your expectations as needed.

A real estate pro can negotiate on your behalf and cut some of the stress out of the experience for you.

Its not an easy time to buy a home, but that doesnt mean its impossible. You might wait it out, or you could shift your approach and strategy a bit.

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TikTok for Real Estate Professionals: What to Know

If youre a real estate professional, youre probably already using social media to grow your business, but have you branched out to TikTok yet? If not, it might be time to explore the highly popular platform.

TikToks Post-Pandemic Rise

At the pandemics start, everyone had to rethink how they did business and lived their daily lives. Thats when TikTok took off because so much moved online. While TikTok carried some through the isolation of stay-at-home orders, others started to explore its potential as a business tool.

For real estate agents, TikTok can be a great branding opportunity.

For example, Cash Jordan is an agent based in New York City. He now has more than 600,000 followers on TikTok and over 14.2 million likes. Jordan says hes shown everything from million-dollar townhomes to 2,500 two-bedroom units, and he wishes hed gotten on the platform sooner.

The idea of TikTok is short-form videos.

Agents who are finding success from TikTok shun the idea that its a platform for teens. While young people are the primary users, when you use it, you have more eyes viewing your content, and you also raise your chances of going viral.

So, how can you use TikTok in your own business?


One easy way to get started creating videos on the wildly popular platform is to make behind-the-scenes videos. Just show people what its like to work in your real estate business. You can show what your mornings look like or what you might do to prepare for an open house. You dont have to put a lot of pressure on yourself. Instead, be natural and give viewers a glimpse of the world of real estate.

Property Highlights

Another >

You can also then use what you create for TikTok on your Instagram account.

If you have a luxury listing, that always tends to work well in the TikTok world. Even just one feature thats ultra-luxurious can be a standout in the short video format.

Tips and Tricks

If youre a real estate professional, you might have great insight and quick tips you can share with perhaps first-time buyers or other specific audiences, so why not do that on TikTok? Maybe you can also speak to new investors or anyone who might benefit from the advice you can provide.

DIY Projects

Everyone loves videos of simple DIY projects, and as a real estate professional, your videos can focus on things people can do around the house to make it more marketable, for example. Maybe you do a series of videos focused on improving curb appeal quickly or getting a house ready for showings.

You can also create videos showing some of the best home design trends on a budget or that you can do in a single weekend.

Other TikTok Tips

A few other things to know if youre a real estate agent:

Try to create evergreen content rather than trendy videos. That doesnt mean you cant mix some trendy things in there too, but evergreen content are those videos that will be valuable and beneficial to your audience for years.

While you dont necessarily want your video content to be driven by trends, it is a good idea to use your for you page so you can see what other creators are doing, particularly if you want inspiration.

On TikTok, your hashtags are very important.

Dont be intimidated to try something new. Whats interesting about TikTok is that theres often no rhyme or reason to whats a hit, and many creators see their videos unexpectedly go viral.

Think about the questions you frequently get from clients. You can answer those in your videos, and if you can find song lyrics that match well with the question, you can use those to lip-sync your answer. Its fun and informational.

The app has around 14 million active users a month in the U.S. alone, and approximately 50 of the users are between the ages of 18 and 34. Another 20 of users are between the ages of 35 and 44, which are prime homebuying ages. Thirty-seven percent of users say they have a household income of more than 100,000, so its perfect for seeking out your target demographic if youre a real estate pro.

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The Broken Promise: $100k Gone!

The other night I did anbsp;LIVESTREAM on Facebooknbsp;or Meta, whatever its called now that was a surprising story to even those who have known me for over 20 years and thought they knew every moment of the journey.

Heresnbsp;a story about losing 100,000 at a pivotal moment in my life, and with a coach who was really a con-artist, who really did me wrong.

What broken promises have significantly affected your career?

Share in the comments, or send me a private message.

When The Promise is broken to you, what can you do about it?

HINT: The Answer is You decide and commit to NEVER Break The Promise to others

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Ask the HOA Expert: Changing The Governing Documents

Question: Our homeowner association has 30 single family detached homes. Our governing documents were basically written for townhomes. One of the bothersome issues is that the governing documents state that the HOA is responsible for replacing roofs, painting, gutters and other things that are commonly done with condominiums. Many owners object to building up a reserve fund to pay for repairs that may be as much as 20 years or more down the road.

The covenants also state that the board cannot special assess for anything other than common area improvements. So that leaves us with pretty much the options of building up the reserve fund or changing the governing documents. Can you provide us some sample wording for a single family home HOA that would allow homeowners to pay for major repairs themselves but would allow the board architectural control of those repairs?

Answer: While its unusual for a single family HOAs to do exterior maintenance, repairs and replacements, its not unheard of. I doubt that the developer made a mistake on this since its a huge issue. And its doubtful that you can muster the votes to change this which may take 100 of the owners to approve it including their mortgagees. You need to consult with a knowledgeable attorney to determine the requirements. If it is possible, the attorney can assist the board with the proper wording of the amendment.

So barring you pulling off a major governing documents amendment, yes, you need a reserve plan that includes a funding plan to collect money systematically from each owner every year. The 20-years-down-the-road thinking is flawed. While a reserve event like a roof may take place 20 years down the road, the reserve plan will only charge each owner a share of the future cost directly proportional to the benefit received. For example, if a particular owner owns for five years and sells, he would only pay 5/20ths of the future roof cost. He only pays for the benefit received and not a penny more. This is the fairest way to fund future costs.

Question: Our board is being badgered by a delinquent owner because his account was turned over to collection. In hard economic times, should the board back off of collections?

Answer: As long as the board is enforcing collections uniformly, consistently and fairly, it is the boards responsibility to enforce the Collection Policy regardless of circumstance or economic climate. There is no government bail-out for HOAs.

Question: Is there an average that HOA management companies charge for managing a homeowner association? How do they base their size, number of units, expectations, etc.? Do they usually charge a flat fee or percentage? How do they charge for a flat fee, by the job?

Answer: Percentages are not used to determine HOA management fees. Commonly, the management fee is expressed as the cost "per door". But behind the per door concept is an analysis of how much time it takes the management company to execute the routine duties described in the Management Agreement. This can vary a lot from HOA to HOA. And within the fee structure, there is usually several levels and costs of service included in the routine duties like management, accounting and administrative mailing, making copies, etc..

Maintenance and repairs are charged over and above the basic duties on an hourly or bid basis. So, for a management company to make a profit, an annual estimate of all the levels of service multiplied by their hourly charges multiplied by the number of hours for each plus a profit margin equals the annual cost of management. Keep in mind, however, that most Management Agreements provide for extra charges for non-routine tasks like assisting in insurance claims, arranging contractor bids, overseeing larger renovation projects and performing special tasks requested by the board.

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Updated: Monday, November 29, 2021

The Broken Promise: $100k Gone...
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Ask the HOA Expert: Changing T...
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