What We’re Reading: June 20-24

Distracted or Tired at work?, drone legislation, IKEA museum, Instagram and public libraries.

Distracted at work? The open-plan office setup might be part of the problem. Tired at work? Chances are, you’re probably taking a break on Facebook.




Jean-Etienne Minh-Duy Poirrier/flickr/2006

When it comes to what dads want in a home, the answer seems clear: their own space.

This house costs just $20,000, but, it’s probably nicer than yours.

The Napster name is coming back from the grave. Rhapsody is changing its name to Napster after purchasing the remains of Napster in 2011.

Gum is meant to be chewed, but sometimes accidents happen.

After years of struggling to write rules to protect public safety it looks like the Obama administration is on the verge of approving routine commercial use of small drones.

IKEA, the Swedish flatpack goliath has launched a permanent exhibition celebrating its history. What does it say about the evolution of our homes?

Ahhh, the majesty of America’s public libraries. Photographs of nearly 700 libraries across 48 states show that we have more in common than not.

Instagram now has half a billion users. How did the photo-sharing app outpace Twitter and keep us so addicted?

Does Mark Zuckerberg know something about online spying operations that we don’t?

A creative way to produce photographs without using a camera.

What We’re Reading: June 13-17

Orlando, Apple, stress, risk, memory, energy, net neutrality, Twitter, Tiny Houses, trifecta, and technology.

Cities show their solidarity with Orlando and the victims of the shooting at Pulse nightclub by lighting up their buildings.

What does the newest Apple software update mean for your gadgets? Sorry to tell you that some of them may become obsolete! iMessage is about to get fancy, though.

How do you de-stress? If given the choice, we’d pick puppies, but we will settle for moving! Bernard Goldbach 2011 Bernard Goldbach/flickr/2011

CoreLogic released its 2016 Storm Surge Report revealing more than 6.8 million homes are at risk of damage this year alone. Find out which states will take the brunt of it.

For those of us who can’t remember why we entered a room, these tricks might improve our memories.

We are only 11 years away from wind and solar power being cheaper than coal and gas, according to a new report.

Keeping the little guy in the game…a win for Net Neutrality!

Narcissists will now enjoy Twitter even more now that users can retweet their own tweets!

When it comes to the Tiny House Movement, it seems that zoning and housing laws are the biggest hurdle — just ask these college students. So much for our plan to move to this town and build a yurt.

If a good job, affordability, and quality of life are things that matter to you, your options appear to be limited.

If using 13th century building techniques matters to you, your options are limited, but surprisingly exist.






Real Investing Tips That Can Make A Big Difference

It can seem glamorous to get into real estate investment. There are many stories of people purchasing homes for very little and making a hefty profit on them. There are TV programs devoted to home improvement to boost property value. Even so, real estate isn’t as simple as the media would have you believe. You must know what you need to do; that is where this article comes in.

Before you begin your investment program, decide on exactly the type of real estate you want to work with. Maybe you want to flip real estate. You may even prefer to start rehab projects when choosing real estate. Each area of real estate offers something different, so its best to know where your talents lie.

You want to be educated concerning real estate investments before you begin. You must learn the different strategies that are involved in this business. Get a lot of videos about this and check your local library so you can find books to read about real estate to get into a good position.

Always try to find out what the local values are like. Mortgages and rent in your local neighborhood could give you a better feel for the house’s value as opposed to its financial statements. When you can see how things are going from the street, you can be smarter about your choices.

As an investor, you have to think realistically about how you are going to divide up your available time. Tenant issues can eat up your time. If you do not think you have the personal time free to manage tenants directly, consider hiring a property management firm to do it for you.

Stick with what you’re comfortable doing. If you specialize in one area, it will be easier to be successful. Going with what you know will increase your odds for success.

Look over the entire neighborhood before buying a property. Good neighborhoods will get you a better return than rundown ones. Buyers look closely at location, and you should too.

If you buy a rental property, it is vital that you wisely choose your tenants. The person should have first and last month’s rent ahead of time, as well as a deposit. If they can’t get that kind of money together at the start, then odds are good that they are not going to stay current on rent. Pass them up for somebody else instead.

When you purchase a property as an investment, it is a smart idea to look for a good handyman. If not, you may find you cash going to unnecessary repair expenses. A great handyman will always be available for you, even during an emergency.

Once you have a property and it needs improvements, do not dig unless you have called the proper authorities about what lines are buried within. In some places, it is illegal to do any kind of digging and you also don’t want to damage the property.

Do not get involved with real estate investments without sufficient capital. These funds are great for covering expenses incurred as a result of owning the rental. Another good reason to set aside some money is if you can’t immediately rent the property. You still need to think about costs even when the property is sitting empty.

Ensure that you get your investment back, plus a little profit, too. It’ll be a waste of time if you don’t make a profit. Always ask more than you spent so that you recoup the money you spent fixing it up.

One of the biggest mistakes real estate investors make is believing they should buy a bunch of property to build their personal assets. This is a habit among novice investors in real estate, but you’ll learn that having more isn’t exactly better. You have a better chance at investment success when you focus on making the most out of fewer investment properties. This will help you to succeed in the long run.

When calculating profits, always factor in the costs of repairs that the inspection dictated as necessary. These repairs will need to be done beforehand. When you want to pursue renting out any property, you must think about what is required for maintenance. Regardless of the situation, be sure to leave yourself a comfortable financial margin for error.

Begin with purchasing a single property. Though you may be tempted to purchase multiple listings at once, this can be extremely risky for a newcomer. Instead, begin with a single property and allow yourself to learn an investment strategy over time. You will benefit in the end.

Research the economic forecast within a county that you are interested in. High unemployment and a shortage of decent jobs keep property prices down. This does translate to a small return. A robust city will have higher property values.

Stay away from beginner realtors. When it comes to investing in real estate, you really need someone experienced to provide you with the best opportunities. The only way you find exactly what you desire is by using one with experience. At the very least, hire an experienced firm.

Remember that making an investment in real estate will be a big responsibility. Though you should make investments when you are younger, it is important that you are stable, as well. Put down roots within your community, save money and form relationships. There simply is not a better way to make the most of your real estate venture.

If you have an investment property with a vacancy, be sure you have money set aside so you can pay the mortgage monthly until you find a renter. Reserving money for this will assure you that your mortgage will be covered while you wait for someone to rent.

Be confident in your decision. Try ignoring it and learning all you can to make better decisions on what to spend your money on. An exception to this is an experienced investor who is rich.

If you don’t have the time or expertise to manage a property, hire a professional management company to do it for you. Although you will have to pay the property management company a fee, it will save a tremendous amount of time and frustration dealing with little problems that your tenants come up with.

In conclusion, lots of folks have been investing in real estate in order to gain some extra income. In order for an investment to succeed, it is important to understand the basics pertaining to it. Apply the knowledge you learned from this article when starting your real estate adventure.

What We’re Reading: June 6-10

Libraries, finance, icons, piracy, nature, architecture, Silly String, public speaking, Harry Potter, flight, robots, and the internet.

What do libraries offer when books are no longer on the shelves? Will this be the future?

Denmark turns normal financial models on their heads.

Remember when the Beatles met the GOAT?

Piracy really can happen to anyone — even the Zuck.

OMG! Double rainbow! It’s beautiful. Double rainbow OG for reference. Ales Kladnik 2014 Ales Kladnik/flickr/2014

Many ideas have been proposed to repurpose the gaping hole left by the uncompleted Spire, but none have come to fruition. Here is the latest suggestion.

Speaking of repurposing, there is nothing silly about this Silly String use.

Are you one of the many, many individuals with a fear of public speaking? Try one of these tips the next time you need to speak in front of a group.

#KeepTheSecrets — we beg of you.

Think of all the things you can do with the money you’ll save this summer! Maybe you’ll want to put that extra savings toward Janis Joplin’s childhood home.

Pardon the pun, but is this a flight of fancy, or a legitimate future? Not to be outdone, the founder of Tesla has his own flight project in the works.

Perhaps the future of robotics lies in the past — we think it’s clear where the BBC took inspiration for Doctor Who’s cybermen.

What is in the future for the internet? Can it be reinvented?

New and Updated in the Library – June 2016

The following Field Guides have recently been updated in the Library:

Small House Movement

Does size matter? The current economic climate as well as a desire for a greener lifestyle has driven some Americans to examine how much space they really need. The small home movement is hardly a novel concept—just ask New Yorkers who often spend decades in studio apartments. This field guide shows the various aspects of living in a smaller home, as well as links to those considering the ultimate in downsizing.

Green Homes & Green Mortgages

The green movement is here to stay, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the housing market. Find out the latest trends, statistics, reports and resources as well as information on green mortgages in this updated Field Guide.

Association Shared Services

Meaningful partnerships are the foundation for success. Whether the motivation to “share services” or partner with another association is economic, or to offer new, increased and improved services for members, there is information to help you do just that. Below you will find a selection of articles and books pointing out the positive aspects, as well as, the ‘how-to’ to partnering.

Also visit the Shared Services page and RARE database on REALTOR.org for sample agreements, manuals, and other material on shared services.

Franchises vs. Independent Firms

According to the 2015 National Association of REALTORS® Member Profile 59% of all REALTORS® are affiliated with an independent, non-franchised company. In fact most Realtors are likely to be affiliated with an independent, non-franchised company. The decision to join a franchise or an independent firm can be confusing. The pros and cons of each option are examined in this Updated Field Guide.

Marketing Tips for REALTORS®

Marketing is an essential ingredient for the success of any business. The material on this page will give you a wealth of information to help you market your expertise to potential customers. It includes special sections on how to build your personal promotion campaign, increase your presence in a niche market, and strengthen your marketing plan.

Land Investment

While land investment may not provide the instant gratification of a home purchase, this sort of venture can be quite lucrative. Land investors have different needs and concerns than those of typical real estate investors – zoning, planning, environmental issues are just a few of the challenges they must face. This Field Guide will help those who wish to take on this interesting branch of the real estate industry

Hotel/Motel Properties

Hotel and motel investment is a specialized part of the commercial real estate world. But what are the tricks of the trade? Find out what you need to know about management, security, brokerage, and appraisal in the Field Guide to Hotel/Motel Properties.