Next Tool in Real Estate Search: Cell Phone Coverage

Next Tool in Real Estate Search: Cell Phone Coverage

So what do most people do to learn whether a home they’re interested in buying or renting is in a spot their phone will work? Testing in person, which is far from a reliable measure, and looking at the coverage map provided by the carrier is, let’s be honest, a joke. It’s more than an inconvenience, moving into a home with no cell phone coverage can be a safety issue, makes getting any work done from home impossible, and makes personal communication complicated. Enter Open Signal, an Android app currently running on over two million devices, which is constantly detecting signal strength automatically, and mapping the trends of which carriers are reliable geographically, down to an individual street address. Anyone can visit the site and check out a map, filtering the map by carrier, as well as 2G, 3G, and 4G coverage. OpenSignal writes, “If we want to know if a certain network provides coverage in our area we rely on coverage maps provided by that same network. To see how backwards this situation is just consider the analog in any other industry – Would you trust a restaurant review written by the head chef himself? Mobile coverage is too important to remain a black box.” The company has announced they have released the first version of their API (application programming interface), and note they are actively seeking “developers who are interested in harnessing the data we collect in their own applications.” When we learned of OpenSignal’s API, we wondered who would be the first to use their API to add a layer to their existing real estate search,...

Time To Flip The LED Switch

For Longterm Savings & Efficiency If you’re looking for long-lasting, energy-efficient lighting, 60-watt replacement LEDs are on the way to big box retailers.  These lights screw in just like typical incandescents, but they use less than a quarter of the energy and have no mercury, unlike CFLs. For example, if you shop at HomeDepot.com, the Philips Ambient LED 12-watt bulb (top right) is backordered online for $39.97, while if you shop at Lowes.com, the Sylvania Ultra LED 12-watt bulb (top left) is set to sell for $39.98 online by the end of this month. With this kind of competition, LED prices are dropping steadily.  According to Martin LaMonica of CNET, “some lighting company executives forecast within two years, LED bulbs in the 800 lumen category will cost less than $10.“  Now that would be incredible. The dimmable Philips Ambient LED has an output of 800 lumens, uses 12.5 watts, lasts 25,000 hours, and contains no mercury.  The light has a color temperature of 2700 Kelvin (warm colors have a low temperature of 2700-3500 K, while cool colors have a higher temperature of 3600-5500 K).  The color rendering index, a measure of the accuracy of color rendering, is 80. The dimmable Sylvania Ultra LED has an output of 810 lumens, uses 12 watts, lasts 25,000 hours, and contains no mercury.  Like the Philips light, this one has a color temperature of 2700 K, though the color rendering index is higher at 90. In other words, for about $40 bucks a piece, one could retrofit 60-watt lamp lights as they die out and get the same kind of performances as an...

For all you pack rats, you know who you are!

Tell me about it. That sums up Boston parents’ reaction to new research by UCLA-affiliated social scientists concluding that American families are overwhelmed by clutter, too busy to go in their own backyards, rarely eat dinner together even though they claim family meals as a goal, and can’t park their cars in the garage because they’re crammed with non-vehicular stuff. The team of anthropologists and archeologists spent four years studying 32 middle-class Los Angeles families in their natural habitat — their toy-littered homes — and came to conclusions so grim that the lead researcher used the word “disheartening” to describe the situation we have gotten ourselves into. At first glance, the just-published, 171-page “Life at Home in the Twenty-First Century” looks like a coffee table book. But it contains very real-life photos of pantries, offices, and backyards, and details a generally Zen-free existence. Architectural Digest or Real Simple this is not. Among the findings detailed within: The rise of Costco and similar stores has prompted so much stockpiling — you never know when you’ll need 600 Dixie cups or a 50-pound bag of sugar — that three out of four garages are too full to hold cars. Managing the volume of possessions is such a crushing problem in many homes that it elevates levels of stress hormones for mothers. Even families who invested in outdoor décor and improvements were too busy to go outside and enjoy their new decks. Most families rely heavily on convenience foods even though all those frozen stir-frys and pot stickers saved them only about 11 minutes per meal. A refrigerator door cluttered with magnets,...

Buying A Home Is 45% Cheaper

You can save hundreds of dollars a month by buying a home instead of renting – especially if you can get today’s low mortgage rates, itemize your tax deductions and plan to live there for 7 years. The most important housing decision that most consumers face is whether to rent or to buy. So to help them with this decision, we took a look at the key market factors affecting the cost of homeownership.  First off, asking home prices have started to rebound and have risen by 2.3% year over year in August (3.8% excluding foreclosures); however, rents have risen more (4.7%). This means that prices are lower relative to rents than they were a year ago. But more importantly, mortgage rates have fallen: the best rates this summer have been around 3.5%, while last summer rates were closer to 4.5%. Based on asking prices and rents during the summer of 2012, buying is now 45% cheaper than renting in the 100 largest U.S. metros, on average – that’s a savings of $771 a month. If you plan to stay in a home for 7 years, which is the average time that Americans traditionally live in a home before moving again, it is more affordable to buy than to rent in ALL of the 100 largest metros in the U.S.  If you would like to read more of this article please visit: http://trends.truliablog.com/2012/09/rent-vs-buy-summer-2012/...

Dates to Remember

  NOV 1st – First of half taxes dues (delinquent after December 10th) NOV 19th – Ideal date to fund before Thanksgiving NOV 22nd & 23rd – Recorder closed (Thanksgiving and day after) DEC 25th – Recorder closed JAN 1st – Recorder closed  ...