Do you remember the Tado° iPhone controllable thermostat we published on Freshome a while back? The idea was taken further with tado° Cooling Intelligent AC control, a project that turns any air conditioning unit into a smart device. The tado° smartphone app detects when the last person has left the house, and automatically turns off the air conditioning. Additionally, when any person is on the way home, tado° begins to pre-cool the house. tado’s indoor positioning system, based on Bluetooth Low Energy/iBeacon® technology, allows one to move throughout the house without turning on and off the ACs. Instead you can rely on tado’s room-to-room feature to know what room to cool and when. With tado’s ‘Early Bird’ offer on Kickstarter, the device is available for $69 (the future retail price will be $149). Here is the official presentation video:
How to Build the Perfect Bed
Judy Jones | Huffington Post | May 16, 2014 | link
(Photo courtesy Jody Jones)
Sleep, that elusive and temperamental beast. I’ve spent my adulthood seeking it like Godzilla hunts Mothra, or the way that perimenopausal women look for sleep.
Thanks to better living through chemistry, I’ve come to a mighty-fine agreement with sleep: Leave me alone for 14 hours a day, and you can have all of me the other 10. Ish.
Having your own issues? Try calming lavender sachets or spray, melatonin, warm milk, calming music or Ambien (at your own risk). Surely something will stick (fingers crossed!). And once you’ve conquered getting sleep, it’s time to turn your attention to the quality of your sleep, which very often begins with building the perfect bed.
Start with foundation: A stellar mattress begets a perfect bed. The tough part? It’s completely subjective.
I have some friends who swear by their “green” latex mattresses. I’ve loved my crazy-expensive, wrapped-coil Stearns & Foster, having first sampled it at my Mammy’s house and refusing to get out of it for a day or three.
There are benefits and drawbacks to all choices: Pillow tops feel cushy, but you can’t flip them as recommended (so wear will be uneven). While garnering the highest owner satisfaction, memory foam mattresses are noted as being “not romance-friendly for some.” No thanks. And waterbeds seem groovy, man… but just don’t.
6 Seller Secrets for This Summer’s Real Estate Market
Michael Corbett | Huffington Post | May 5, 2014 | link
Each year, it seems the housing market takes on a different tone — and whether it’s going to be a sellers’ market with inflated prices and bidding wars, or a buyers’ market with tons of choices and low prices — there’s no denying that the 2014 housing season is upon us. So what does it have in store? Well, if you’re thinking of listing your home, that’s an important question.
Here are six market insights that will give you a head start!
Right Now = A Great Time To Sell
The winter home selling season was crippled by the polar vortex, especially in the east and northeast, so there’s pent-up demand from buyers who’ve been waiting for better weather to brave the house hunt. Mortgage rates are still at historic lows, so buyers ARE poised to buy and ready to hit the streets.
Know Your Numbers: 60 percent
Sixty percent of all homes in 2014 will be bought and sold from May to August. Putting your home on the market at the beginning of the selling season will help your chances of snagging a winning offer before buyers turn their attention back to school starting in September.
Price It Right
Many metros in the country have seen double-digit price increases in the past year. But this last quarter, prices started to slow nationally — and pricing is a critical component to getting your house sold. With this fluctuating market, you need to look at comps of similar homes in your area, and recency matters: make sure you’re looking back no more than 60 days. The sale price of homes that sold recently paints a much better picture of what to expect than the price of homes that sold six months ago (or of homes that have yet to sell).
Bidding Wars Aren’t Back (Phew!)
Bidding wars were common in the summer of 2013, but we’re hearing less about them right now. So don’t bank on fielding two or three offers at once. There is, however, a good chance that you’ll still get the one that will be a win/win for both you and the buyer.
Foreclosure Crisis in Final Stages?
Jann Swanson | Mortgage News Daily | May 14 2014 | link
The increase in bank repossessions or completed foreclosures in April even as other foreclosure statistics declined may indicate that the housing crisis is in its final stages RealtyTrac said today. While foreclosure filings overall, including default notices, scheduled auctions, and completed foreclosures, were down 1 percent in April, to a total of 115,830, there were 30,056 completed foreclosures, a 4 percent increase from March.
“The rise in bank repossessions in many states is a sign that those markets are working through the final remnants of foreclosures left over from the recent housing crisis,” said Daren Blomquist, vice president at RealtyTrac. “Many of these bank-owned homes are bottom-of-the-barrel properties in terms of location or condition, but they will provide some much-wanted inventory of homes for sale in some markets in the coming months. Investors and other buyers willing to do more extensive rehab will likely be best-suited for these incoming REOs.”
7 Marble Bathrooms That Redefine Luxury
Dering Hall | Huffington Post | May 14, 2014 | link
Luxury should not be overlooked in bathroom design. These 15 luxurious marble bathroom designs are fitted with well-crafted fixtures, stunning free-standing bath tubs, custom showers and finished off with unique marble detailing. The marble surfaces elevate each design and create a fresh, sleek finish with a true luxurious undertone.
Smaller investors must adapt to compete
Experts explain what to do when the bigger guys come to town
Smaller investor shops have to learn how to adapt when big investors move into their territory.
Industry experts weighed in on the subject at IMN’s Single Family Aggregation: The REO-to-Rental Forum in Boca Raton, Fla. Wednesday. Panelists at one session explained that big investors coming into a market is a positive sign of good deals.
Alex Sifakis, president of JWB Real Estate Capital, said smaller investors have two options when the big companies come into town.
“You are can either join them, which can be a good idea, or you can be where they are not,” Sifakis said.
In order to survive, investors need to be where others are not. “Buy the B- to C-level properties since they are the properties they don’t want,” Sifakis continued.
Victor Naar, CEO of CastleRock REO, added that smaller investors have to find what works for them. “For C-level properties, you really have to know wha
3 Surprising Revelations at the REALTOR® Party Convention
I’m a bit floored. There are all kinds of obscure laws — or would-be laws — pertaining to real estate that can throw practitioners for a loop. But three points of discussion came up during Wednesday’s sessions at the REALTOR® Party Convention & Trade Expo in Washington, D.C., that made my draw drop.
1. Your Website Discriminates Against People With Disabilities
You could make every physical accommodation for people with disabilities: ramps and elevators in your office, barrier-free entrances to homes you have listed, etc. And yet, despite all of that, you could still run into a legal problem — because your website isn’t optimized for use by people with hearing or visual impairments.
More and more businesses are getting mired in lawsuits because their online videos don’t have closed captioning for the deaf, or their websites don’t use software that can turn text into audio for the blind. Though there are no specific regulations on this, said Glen D. Kimball and Martin J. McAndrew, partners at law firm O’Connor Kimball LLP, they expect that the law will reflect the need for these online components in the near future.
“Laws governing accommodation for the disabled are always expanding,” McAndrew said. “Now we’re going beyond talking about opening physical doors for people with disabilities — it’s about providing access to information. The courts are still grappling with this physical versus non-physical issue.”
He cited two recent lawsuits brought against major players in the online space. The National Association for the Deaf sued Netflix in 2010, saying that the video-streaming website is a “place of public accommodation” and because it didn’t caption its video content, it wasn’t in compliance with the Americans With Disabilities Act. Netflix eventually agreed to caption 100 percent of its content by this year.
Could crowdfunding help finance rental investments?
Industry expects 5 more securitizations this year alone
Jacob Gaffney | Housing Wire | May 13, 2014 | link
The REO-to-rental emerging asset class is often charged with the disproportionate presence of investment speculators.
In the halls of the Boca Raton Resort & Club, home to the IMN REO-to-rental forum underway now, there is plenty of money talking about large amounts of property volume.
However, dumb money it is not. And there are some pretty innovative financing ideas being thrown about.
And it seems fitting — sitting down to a lunch of Greek salads, outside by the pool and overlooking million-dollar yachts bobbing in the marina — that we talk about how to make money work for this nascent asset class. (By the way, I assumed the typical yacht costs a million dollars, and so did everyone eating lunch with me.)
For the most part, the space remains dominated by big players. Everyone is talking to everyone so I won’t name names right now. Some firms prefer to hold properties on portfolio and are looking to Boca to help source asset managers and service-related vendors.
Others finance via securitization, with all eyes on the third deal pricing tight earlier this week. Another five securitization deals are expected this year alone.
What younger first-time homebuyers want
And what are the challenges to getting it
Is the next generation a bunch of rootless renters, or will they too follow the patterns of previous generations?
Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research Group sought to better understand what housing choices younger renters prefer – and what financial constraints they see – in order to shed light on the challenge of fulfilling housing aspirations in a financially sustainable way.
10 Turn-Offs for Potential Buyers
Brendon DeSimone | Zillow Blog | May 5, 2014 | link
As real estate markets continue to recover around the country, buyers are out in full force. Many of today’s buyers make judgments about homes within moments of seeing a listing online. They are also more cautious than before the housing crisis. They want to make sure they’re buying the best house and for the best amount of money. For sellers, that means giving buyers what they want. Though it’s a home first and foremost, it’s also an investment. If you’re planning to put your house on the market, here are ten ways you might be turning off potential buyers.
1. A garage turned into something else.
If you’ve sacrificed the garage for something other than the garage, the trade-off might actually be a turn-off, especially to people where parking is at a premium. Even in the suburbs, most people want a covered, secure place to park their cars. Don’t forget that a garage often doubles as a storage location. The garage houses everything from lawn mower to the excess paper towels and cleansers. If you convert your garage into something else, you’re likely to force a buyer to look elsewhere.
2. A bedroom turned into something else.
Aside from location, one of the first things a buyer searches for is number of bedrooms. Why? Because it’s an important requirement. You might think having a wine cellar, with built-in refrigerators, in your home will make it attractive to potential buyers because it was attractive to you. And while it’s true many people work from home today at least part of the time, that doesn’t mean they want a dedicated home office—especially one with built-in desks or bookcases that would need to be removed. If you must convert a bedroom into something else, make sure you can easily convert it back into a bedroom when you go to sell.
3. Carpet over hardwood floors.
Many people today like hardwood floors. They are cleaner looking, add a design element, don’t show dirt as much, and they’re definitely preferred over carpets for people with allergies. If you have nice hardwood floors, show them off. Let the buyer decide if he or she wants to cover them. It’s easier for a buyer to purchase new carpeting of their choosing than it is for them to get past yours.