Luxury Insights, Could what you “know” about millionaires be wrong?

by qgregg 13. February 2015 09:05
Luxury Insights Could what you “know” about millionaires be wrong? The number of U.S. millionaires is at an all-time high. Research results indicate that there are 12 million U.S. households with a net worth of a million dollars or more. (Remember net worth is calculated by all assets minus all liabilities equals net worth.) In fact, the U.S. has twice as many millionaires as the next top 10 countries combined. Real estate professionals who have taken our luxury home marketing training know that many common perceptions about these millionaires are often clouded by myths. Who are these very successful Americans and what do we know about them? Just for fun, test your millionaire savvy with this quick trivia quiz. Are the following statements True or False? 1. Most millionaires live in a home valued at less than $500,000 and drive a car which is at least two years old. 2. The largest share of millionaires earn between $100,000 and $249,900 annually. 3. There are as many millionaires created by inheritance as there are self-made. 4. Most millionaires own luxury goods from brands like Rolex, Gucci, Prada, and Louis Vuitton. 5. When it comes to shopping, the top two destinations for high net worth shoppers are the internet and discount department stores. 6. Which of these words best describe the average millionaire's spending habits?  Saver  Big Spender Scroll down for the answers! ANSWERS: Let’s see if you are millionaire savvy or have fallen prey to millionaire myths. 1. True. The majority of millionaires do live in homes valued at less than $500,000 and the cars in their garages are at least two years old. 2. True. Millionaires earn less than you might guess. The majority earn between $100,000 and just under $250,000. 3. False. The vast majority of millionaires in the U.S. (and in the world) are self-made and their money comes from business ownership and employment-related income. 4. False. Far from being conspicuous consumers, typical millionaires don’t purchase high-end brands such as Prada, Gucci, Rolex, and Louis Vuitton and may not even recognize these brands. Yes, really! 5. True. The favored destinations for high net worth shoppers are the Internet and discount department stores. In fact, 68% of affluent households with an average of $250,000 in annual income shop at discount stores according to research done in 2014 by Unity Marketing. 6. Saver. The typical millionaire is generally frugal, saving 15% to 20% of his or her annual income each year. If these government statistics and research findings documented by Unity Research and the American Affluence Research Center surprise you, find out more about the wealthy and how to reach those who are interested in luxury homes by contacting me today!

What is the Temperature in Your Market; Time To Sell? Time To Buy? Time To Invest?

by qgregg 3. February 2015 05:57
2015 Time To Sell? Time To Buy? Time To Invest? Depending upon who you listen to, speak with or what you read, now is a great time to buy, sell or invest in real estate. And generally speaking, that's true. But what's best for you specifically—at this time and in our market? Rather than relying on general rules-of-thumb, why not talk to us? As local real estate insiders we can give you the real answers you need. Local economy? Local neighborhoods? Local information? No matter the direction you want to take, we can give you current, down-to-the-day reports on how long it takes to sell a home here, the sales prices that homes like yours are fetching and where homes sell quickly. If you're looking to sell or buy in today's local real estate market, we can help. Call me today for specifics about the communities that you are interested in. It is all good news—if you're a homebuyer, home seller or investor—at any age and at any life stage! And, remember, we're here to answer your real estate questions and provide you with the best, local advice for your real estate needs throughout the year.

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What is the Temperature in Your Market; Time To Sell? Time To Buy? Time To Invest?

by qgregg 3. February 2015 05:41
2015 Time To Sell? Time To Buy? Time To Invest? Depending upon who you listen to, speak with or what you read, now is a great time to buy, sell or invest in real estate. And generally speaking, that's true. But what's best for you specifically—at this time and in our market? Rather than relying on general rules-of-thumb, why not talk to us? As local real estate insiders we can give you the real answers you need. Local economy? Local neighborhoods? Local information? No matter the direction you want to take, we can give you current, down-to-the-day reports on how long it takes to sell a home here, the sales prices that homes like yours are fetching and where homes sell quickly. If you're looking to sell or buy in today's local real estate market, we can help. Call me today for specifics about the communities that you are interested in. It is all good news—if you're a homebuyer, home seller or investor—at any age and at any life stage! And, remember, we're here to answer your real estate questions and provide you with the best, local advice for your real estate needs throughout the year.

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What is the Temperature in Your Market; Time To Sell? Time To Buy? Time To Invest?

by qgregg 3. February 2015 05:41
2015 Time To Sell? Time To Buy? Time To Invest? Depending upon who you listen to, speak with or what you read, now is a great time to buy, sell or invest in real estate. And generally speaking, that's true. But what's best for you specifically—at this time and in our market? Rather than relying on general rules-of-thumb, why not talk to us? As local real estate insiders we can give you the real answers you need. Local economy? Local neighborhoods? Local information? No matter the direction you want to take, we can give you current, down-to-the-day reports on how long it takes to sell a home here, the sales prices that homes like yours are fetching and where homes sell quickly. If you're looking to sell or buy in today's local real estate market, we can help. Call me today for specifics about the communities that you are interested in. It is all good news—if you're a homebuyer, home seller or investor—at any age and at any life stage! And, remember, we're here to answer your real estate questions and provide you with the best, local advice for your real estate needs throughout the year.

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What is the Temperature in Your Market; Time To Sell? Time To Buy? Time To Invest?

by qgregg 3. February 2015 05:41
2015 Time To Sell? Time To Buy? Time To Invest? Depending upon who you listen to, speak with or what you read, now is a great time to buy, sell or invest in real estate. And generally speaking, that's true. But what's best for you specifically—at this time and in our market? Rather than relying on general rules-of-thumb, why not talk to us? As local real estate insiders we can give you the real answers you need. Local economy? Local neighborhoods? Local information? No matter the direction you want to take, we can give you current, down-to-the-day reports on how long it takes to sell a home here, the sales prices that homes like yours are fetching and where homes sell quickly. If you're looking to sell or buy in today's local real estate market, we can help. Call me today for specifics about the communities that you are interested in. It is all good news—if you're a homebuyer, home seller or investor—at any age and at any life stage! And, remember, we're here to answer your real estate questions and provide you with the best, local advice for your real estate needs throughout the year.

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15 Things Home Owner Association Boards Should Do

by qgregg 3. January 2015 11:49
15 Things Home Owner Association (HOA) Boards Should Do 1. Incorporate the HOA. Having the HOA incorporated provides substantial legal protections for the board and general members. If yours is not incorporated, run, don't walk, to the nearest corporate attorney to make it so. 2. Use Parliamentary Procedure. Meetings can become chaotic without some form of meeting protocol. A simplified version of Roberts Rules of Order is commonly used to run efficient meetings. 3. It's Not About Power. Power is not acquired by vote or appointment, but by the ability to communicate, negotiate and empathize. Leave the agenda, hidden or otherwise, at home and serve on the board keeping the HOA's best interests in mind. 4. Operate like a Business. The homeowner association should be run like a successful corporation. Hire competent people to perform the tasks that need to be done. The board is not expected to do the work itself for several reasons: • Directors are rarely trained in property management, accounting and maintenance. • Directors are unpaid volunteers 5. Maintain the Proper Types and Amounts of Insurance including: • Directors and Officers Insurance. Protects the board against lawsuits. • General Liability Insurance. Covers negligence claims. • Fire & Hazard Insurance. Insures property damage. • Workers Compensation Insurance. If you have employees. • Fidelity Insurance. Insures against embezzlement. 6. Maintain a Safe Location for Records. If you're professionally managed, keep the records in your manager's office. If you're self managed, records should be kept with the secretary or president. 7. Understand your Fiduciary Duties. The board has the duty to act in the best interests of the HOA, current and future owners and the duty to seek out expert advice when making decisions that exceed its expertise. 8. Consult with Experts. All boards should have an attorney, CPA, insurance agent and reserve study provider to provide advice. 9. Stay on Top of Maintenance and Repairs. Preventive (proactive) maintenance reduces costs and extends the useful lives of common elements. 10. Keep Meetings Open to Members. Every member is a stakeholder in the HOA and is entitled to attend board and special meetings. 11. Hold an Annual Meeting. It is required by the governing documents and necessary to hold elections and vote on issues requiring member vote. 12. Communicate Regularly. Keep the members informed through newsletters, the HOA website, emails, postings, letters and in person. 13. Collect Delinquent Fees. Every HOA should have a collection policy to follow when a member fails to pay. Some essentials to collect include: • Process for filing liens •Right to foreclosure if allowed by state statute • Right to be reimbursed for legal fees • Late fees and interest on past due amounts 14. Amend Documents with Legal Counsel. Amending governing documents is complicated and there is much to consider. It's advisable toconsult with a knowledgeable attorney to ensure all is done properly. 15. Be Uniform and Consistent with Rule Enforcement. Include written notification to the offender and the right to appeal.

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Real Estate Matters

Chimney Fires

by qgregg 26. December 2014 08:08
CHIMNEY FIRES Dirty fireplaces and solid-fuel burning stoves are a major cause of chimney fires. Defective stoves, improperly constructed fireplaces, and faulty heating equipment can also lead to chimney fires. So can the improper use of any fuel-burning equipment. Chimney fires can burn explosively with flames or dense smoke shooting from the top of the chimney. They can be noisy enough to be heard, creating a sound sometimes described as being like a rumbling freight train or a low-flying airplane. More often than not, however, chimney fires don't get enough air or have enough fuel to become visible. But the temperatures reached within the chimney can still be hot enough (around 2000° F, 1093° C) to cause damage to the chimney and ignite adjacent combustible house components – even without direct exposure to flame. Fireplaces and wood stoves are designed to safely contain the wood-burning fuel, while providing heat for a home. The chimneys they are connected to are also designed to safely expel the by-products of combustion. As these by-products exit the fireplace or wood stove, and flow up into the relatively cooler chimney, condensation occurs. The resulting residue – creosote – sticks to the inner walls of the chimney. Creosote is typically black or brown in appearance. It can be crusty and flaky; tar-like, drippy and sticky; or it can be shiny and hardened. Often, all these forms will occur within one chimney system. Whatever form it takes, creosote is highly combustible. If it builds up and catches fire inside the chimney flue, the result is a chimney fire. Although any amount of creosote can burn, the greatest concern exists when the creosote has built up in sufficient quantities to sustain a long, hot, destructive fire. Generally a ¼ inch or more of creosote creates a high hazard situation; however, any buildup can be a problem. Certain conditions encourage the formation of creosote. Restricted air supply, the use of unseasoned wood, and cooler-than-normal chimney temperatures are all factors that contribute to the buildup of creosote on chimney flue walls. ◾ Air supply – The air supply to a fireplace may be restricted by closed glass doors or by the failure to open the damper wide enough to allow heated smoke to move rapidly up the chimney (the longer the smoke stays in the flue, the more likely creosote will form). A wood stove's air supply can be limited by closing down the stove damper or air inlets too soon or too much. ◾ Burning unseasoned firewood – Burning green wood results in a cooler fire than if dried, seasoned wood is used. This means cooler smoke and greater potential for the byproducts to condense and buildup on the chimney interior. ◾ Cool flue temperatures – Condensation of the unburned by-products of combustion also occurs more rapidly in an exterior chimney (one with one or more sides exposed to the exterior from the base to the roof) than in a chimney that runs through the center of a house and exposes only the upper reaches of the flue to the elements. The colder the climate, the quicker the buildup. Whether a masonry or factory-built metal chimney, if there is damage from a chimney fire, corrective action needs to be taken. One chimney fire may not cause outward damage to a chimney; but a second one can lead to a house fire. Enough heat can even be conduct through the wall of a perfectly sound chimney to ignite nearby combustibles. Since chimney fires can occur without anyone being aware of them, and since damage from such fires can endanger a home and its occupants, all chimneys used for fireplaces and stoves – particularly those used often, should be inspected and cleaned on a regular basis.

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Real Estate Matters

What Not To Do As A New Homeowner?

by qgregg 26. December 2014 07:37
What Not To Do As A New Homeowner? If you're new to homeownership, you'll definitely want to avoid these boneheaded but easy-to-prevent mistakes that could cost you big time. We know so well the thrill of owning your own house - but don't let the excitement cause you to overlook the basics. We've gathered up a half dozen classic boo-boos new homeowners often commit - and give you some insight on why each is critically important to avoid. 1. Not Knowing Where the Main Water Shutoff Valve Is Water from a burst or broken plumbing pipe can spew dozens of gallons into your home's interior in a matter of minutes, soaking everything in sight - including drywall, flooring, and valuables. In fact, water damage is one of the most common of all household insurance claims. Quick-twitch reaction is needed to stave off a major bummer. Before disaster hits, find your water shutoff valve, which will be located where a water main enters your house. Make sure everyone knows where it's located and how to close the valve. A little penetrating oil on the valve stem makes sure it'll work when you need it to. 2. Not Calling 811 Before Digging a Hole Ah, spring! You're so ready to dig into your new yard and plant bushes and build that fence. But don't - not until you've dialed 811, the national dig-safely hotline. The hotline will contact all your local utilities who will then come to your property - often within a day - to mark the location of underground pipes, cables, and wires. This free service keeps you safe and helps avoid costly repairs. In many states, calling 811 is the law, so you'll also avoid fines. 3. Not Checking the Slope of Foundation Soil The ground around your foundation should slope away from your house at least 6 inches over 10 feet. Why? To make sure that water from rain and melting snow doesn't soak the soil around your foundation walls, building up pressure that can cause leaks and crack your foundation, leading to mega-expensive repairs. This kind of water damage doesn't happen overnight - it's accumulative - so the sooner you get after it, the better (and smarter) you'll be. While you're at it, make sure downspouts extend at least 5 feet away from your house. 4. Not Knowing the Depth of Attic Insulation This goes hand-in-hand with not knowing where your attic access is located, so let's start there. Find the ceiling hatch, typically a square area framed with molding in a hallway or closet ceiling. Push the hatch cover straight up. Get a ladder and check out the depth of the insulation. If you can see the tops of joists, you definitely don't have enough. The recommended insulation for most attics is about R-38 or 10 to 14 inches deep, depending on the type of insulation you choose. BTW, is your hatch insulated, too? Use 4-inch-thick foam board glued to the top. 5. Carelessly Drilling into Walls Hanging shelves, closet systems, and artwork means drilling into your walls - but do you know what's back there? Hidden inside your walls are plumbing pipes, ductwork, wires, and cables. You can check for some stuff with a stud sensor - a $25 battery-operated tool that detects changes in density to sniff out studs, cables, and ducts. But stud sensors aren't foolproof. Protect yourself by drilling only 1.25 inches deep max - enough to clear drywall and plaster but not deep enough to reach most wires and pipes. Household wiring runs horizontally from outlet to outlet about 8 inches to 2 feet from the floor, so that's a no-drill zone. Stay clear of vertical locations above and below wall switches - wiring runs along studs to reach switches. 6. Cutting Down a Tree The risk isn't worth it. Even small trees can fall awkwardly, damaging your house, property, or your neighbor's property. In some locales, you have to obtain a permit first. Cutting down a tree is an art that's best left to a professional tree service. Plus trees help preserve property values and provide shade that cuts energy bills. So think twice before going all Paul Bunyan.

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Real Estate Matters

Washington DC, House Holds Hearing on Unmanned Aircraft Systems

by qgregg 15. December 2014 10:58
Washington DC, House Holds Hearing on Unmanned Aircraft Systems On December 20, 2014, the House Committee on Transportation’s Subcommittee on Aviation held a hearing on “U.S. Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Integration, Oversight and Competitiveness”. NAR sent a letter to Subcommittee members expressing support for the FAA’s actions to quickly create practical regulation for the commercial use of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS). Current FAA regulations ban the commercial use of UAS, and REALTORS® want to use this technology to take aerial photographs and videos of properties to enhance their listings. NAR has been working directly with the FAA to educate policymakers about the opportunities that exist for the commercial use of UAVs in real estate. NAR has been engaging in the rulemaking process through meeting the FAA and has submitted other comment letters to the FAA on the proposed UAS rules. NAR has continually urged the FAA to expedite this proposed rulemaking and to quickly develop a regulatory framework for commercial use of UAS technology that addresses public safety and privacy concerns, but permits a commercial UAV industry to flourish and allows REALTORS® to safely use the technology. Members can learn more about the UAS issue by visiting the political advocacy page on drones or reading the field guide to drones.

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Real Estate Matters

"If you overprice your home, it will take longer to sell and sell for less money."

by qgregg 8. December 2014 06:22
There's one piece of advice that every real estate agent on earth will tell you - "If you overprice your home, it will take longer to sell and sell for less money." Yet, sellers ignore them, and overprice their homes anyway, hoping their home will be the one to defy market physics. Why do they do it? Lots of reasons: They feel entitled to make a profit They don't want to bring money to closing They feel their home is superior to other similar homes They want a return on improvements and repairs They want to buy a bigger, more expensive home They want to pay off credit card and student loan debts They want to pay for college, retirement or some other financial goal They think buyers want to negotiate They think real estate agents can get it sold for more if they just work harder Did you notice that not a single one of those reasons has anything to do with the current market value of the home? According to an older study from real estate community Zillow.com, sellers often base their asking prices on their original purchase price. In other words, they want to live in the home for a number of years, and then sell it for more than they paid for it so they can meet personal financial goals, such as buying a bigger home or putting more toward retirement. That's understandable, considering that typically, homes beat inflation by one or two points, but the market doesn't always cooperate. Buyers may not like the improvements you made to your home. Your home may have been in a trendy neighborhood when you purchased it, but now buyers are flocking somewhere else. If you overprice, your home is going to stagnate on the market. The right buyer for your home might not know your home exists if they use price perimeters to search for a home. That means a typical search between $175,000 and $200,000 won't include your home priced at $205,000. Buyers tend to search in increments depending on scale - $10,000 increments for $100,000 homes and $100,000 increments for million-dollar homes. Pricing just over a logical range end point like at $255,000 or $505,000 will exclude that home from some search results, say experts. Setting a high price with wiggle room to reduce the price later is not a successful strategy. You might get some showings, but you won't get offers. Your home could sit without an offer for a month or two before you take action to reduce the price. Once you reduce the price, buyers tend to think there's something wrong with the house, sending potential offers even lower. Instead, price your home just under break points. $249,000 instead of $255,000. Since you're already expecting to negotiate, a lower price point might get you a full-price offer from a buyer who recognizes that your home is a good buy.

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Real Estate Matters

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