What We’re Reading: May 25-29

Facebook Messenger is Following You, Priciest home in America, How many Apple watches does your pet own?, IKEA is building a smart home system

dictionaryFacebook Messenger is the single most popular app in the entire iTunes store. Millions of people now use it on their phones instead of SMS, which means that millions of people have been letting Facebook tap their exact locations whenever they chat. Who needs the NSA?

Nile Niami is preparing to build a $500 million dollar house in Los Angeles, beating out a $147 million dollar sale price for a house.  The spec house will have four pools, 74,000 square feet of living space in the main house, a casino, and a 30-car garage.  I’m speechless. . .

For most people, the ultra-expensive gold Apple Watch, retailing for $10,000 (£8,000) and upwards, is an unobtainable dream. But if you’re the son of China’s richest man, it’s no big deal to buy two. For your dog. Surely this dog only needs one Apple watch, correct?

Typing will never be the same… Lenovo just unveiled a smartphone that doubles as a laser projector.

The next version of Apple’s mobile operating system is almost here. Get ready for split-screen views, transit routes and lowkey shade delivered via iMessage

Merriam-Webster announced on Tuesday 1,700 new additions to their dictionary — and you’ll never guess the words that were added.

Sophisticated criminals used an online service run by the IRS to access personal tax information from more than 100,000 taxpayers, part of an elaborate scheme to steal identities and claim fraudulent tax refunds.

Walking or riding a bike to work is often seen as a way to save money or get some exercise. However, it might also have another benefit: it could make you happier with your commute.

The Swedish flatpack furniture empire is developing an entire smart home system, and it looks futuristic and awesome and, you guessed it, cheap.

And, something we missed last week…  The Internet of Things can now control your sprinkler to save water. Your smartphone can control this sprinkler by Rachio.  You can check for rain, set up an intermittent watering pattern and changes the watering pattern by season, cutting water usage by 30%.

What We’re Reading: May 18-22

May is National Home Remodeling Month, High School for Sale, House of 200 Million Clicks

Box KitchenMay is National Home Remodeling Month, but too often, home owners equate a kitchen renovation—still among the most popular projects—with a big expense, lengthy timetable, and lots of messiness.

It’s a great property, with a fully-stocked library, luxury kitchens and 10 bathrooms.  No bedrooms though.  It is actually senior prank, putting the Taylor High School up for sale on Craigslist.  Maybe they should have used www.commercialsearch.com instead.

Child care facilities, on-site dry cleaning, nap rooms—what is next for office amenities?  How about an 8-hole putting green at the office?  You can work on your golf skills during lunch, get some fresh air and exercise and take a break from your desk.

Goofy gadget concepts, along with their pun-driven brands and bizarre commercials, have moved from “As Seen on TV” to crowdfunding sites.

If you adore box-like, red houses with open kitchens and around 1,200 square feet of space, guess what! You’re an average Swede, apparently.

The observatory atop the 1,776-foot World Trade Center finally opens next week. But the view from the tallest building in the US (for now) is not the only stunning vista that will greet visitors.

What We’re Reading: May 11-15

Real estate is finally using Big Data, How long is your attention span?, Is something holding you back from success?

goldfishReal estate is finally using Big Data, according to the Wall Street Journal.  Targeting empty-nesters, locating possible home sellers and tracking the ultrawealthy are a few innovative uses of Big Data in real estate.  Is it Big Data or Big Brother?

Does a goldfish have a longer attention span than you?  Probably, says Microsoft research.  Human attention spans last for 8 seconds and goldfish beat us at 9 seconds.  I’m sure my attention span is at least 60 seconds.

What’s the number one thing that holds most people back from success? It’s not intelligence or hard work. It’s your attitude!

Can Rupert Murdoch take an online fixer-upper and turn it into a digital real estate profit spinner? We’re about to find out.

Japanese research can predict if you will have a stroke.  If you can stand on one leg for 20 seconds, your brain is in good shape. If you can stand for less than 20 seconds, you may have cerebral small vessel disease, tiny hemorrhages, or both.

Take a USB stick and an alligator clip; use the two in tandem and turn (almost) anything into a keyboard or mouse button, even a jello mold!

Catchy songs are infectious, so you shouldn’t feel bad if you’ve spent the last six months muttering about being all about that bass. Researchers have found recently that if you chew gum it may help eliminate that earworm.

The Secret Service might be focused on how to design a better fence at the White House, but President Obama’s foundation team is focused on the design of a different building: His presidential library.

Hey, Corporate America. It appears that many Millennials — that tsunami of future workers — don’t really want to work for you. At least not the newest college graduates.

What We’re Reading: May 4-8

How to be happy, Housing trends around the world, Can junk mail earn you some money?

2572372999_ee2fc73b07_mWe’re usually wrong about what will make us happy—or unhappy, for that matter. Thirteen happiness experts, including psychologists, researchers, monks, and the inimitable Malcolm Gladwell, try to shed light on this surprisingly difficult question.

I’ve heard of shipping container homes and tiny homes, but I have never heard of cohouses or adaptive reuse housing.  Fascinating ideas from the rest of the world!

Things aren’t always what they seem at first glance, and these logos prove it.

We all hate junk mail, but there is a way to earn money from it, according to Wise Bread.  Sign up and get accepted by the Small Business Knowledge Center, send certain types of junk mail in a prepaid envelope, and earn points for a Visa Gift card.

Whole Foods Market Inc. said Wednesday it plans to open a new chain of lower-priced, organic grocery stores aimed at younger shoppers, company officials disclosed Wednesday.


Top Field Guides for April 2015

Field Guides are one-stop resource packages on dozens of subjects of interest to REALTORS®. On each page you’ll find links to articles, books, web sites, statistics, and other material on each subject. The list of the most-used field guides from Information Central for the month of April 2015 was released today:

  1. Field Guide to Quick Real Estate Statistics
  2. Field Guide to Opening a Real Estate Brokerage
  3. Field Guide to Preparing & Staging a House for Sale
  4. Field Guide to Being a New REALTOR®
  5. Field Guide to 1031 Exchanges
  6. Field Guide to Writing a Business Plan
  7. Field Guide to Compensation Plans for Real Estate Agents
  8. Field Guide to Listing & Selling Luxury Properties
  9. Field Guide to Digital Cameras & Photography
  10. Field Guide to Farming & Prospecting

Have an idea for a new field guide? Let us know!