The National Association of Real Estate Brokers (NAREB) was formed in 1947 by chartered African American real estate professionals out of a need to secure the right to equal housing opportunities, regardless of race, creed, or color. For more than 60 years, NAREB has participated in meaningful legal challenges and has supported legislative initiatives that ensure the availability of fair and affordable housing for all Americans. The National Association of Real Estate Brokers, (NAREB), is a Real Estate Professional trade organization. We have local chapters across the country who embrace our ideals and mission of “promoting democracy in housing”.
Today is National Talk in an Elevator Day – LOL
You could say energy efficiency is a reigning obsession here at HouseLogic. Not only can it help homeowners save money by taking back their utility bills, it packs a clear-cut environmental benefit.
The problem is that many of us think saving energy is difficult or too expensive to achieve. The Start.Home, an experimental solar-powered house designed and built by a group of Stanford University students, tackles that dilemma.
ow so? The Start.Home is a 1,000-square-foot prototype that cost less than $240,000 to build. It’s packed with simple but ingenious features that make energy savings a no-brainer, such as:
• Smarter room switches. Instead of traditional light switches, each room is equipped with a pulsating touch screen that’s used to turn on electronics and lights. It’s also designed to measure the room’s electricity use. The rate it pulsates suggests how much power is being consumed. When the switch is turned off, it shuts down all the lights, electronics, and even the outlets — no more vampire power loss.
• Hands-free, leg-operated sinks. Designed to make turning on and off faucets effortless while preventing you from turning on the water and walking away. Just lean into the sink to turn on the tap and move back to stop the flow of water.
• Art that represents the home’s energy consumption and production. A wall-mounted sculpture expands and contracts throughout the day to gently share with homeowners how much electricity their solar panels are generating, and how much energy the home is using. You can see it in action in this video:
The energy-saving goodness doesn’t stop there. The students also came up with a smart green building idea that boosts efficiency. It’s called the “Core.” It’s a prefabricated module that contains and controls the Start.Home’s electrical, mechanical, and plumbing systems. It combines “smart” and green technologies that enhance savings, including:
• Control pods that the students designed to help homeowners manage their comfort settings
• Sensors to self regulate the home’s temperature, humidity levels, and even lighting using data gathered by the home’s external weather station (it hangs over the home’s deck)
• A heat recovery ventilator that gathers escaping heat and recirculates it to lower heating costs
Here’s a tour of the Start.Home’s Core:
The Core can also make green houses more affordable for consumers. Installing technical systems is the most expensive part of building, according to Stanford University. Mass-producing prefabricated modules like the Core (think auto assembly line) can lower construction costs.
But wait, there’s more — this house has a moneymaking benefit. When the solar panels generate more energy than the abode consumes, the homeowner can sell the surplus electricity to a local utility company.
What are your chances of living in a home like this in the future?
The Start.Home was created for the Solar Decathlon, a building competition sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy. The event introduces new sustainable building methods to the public while showcasing the work of the next generation of green building leaders. The Start.Home won first place in “Affordability” and third place in “Market Appeal.”
Today, President Obama is heading to Los Angeles Trade Technical College, where he’s calling for a kind of “economic patriotism” that’s based on investing in the things that we know grow the economy for everyone (like education and job training) — not protecting wasteful loopholes for a few at the top. And he’s calling attention to one kind of corporate merger deal in particular — called an “inversion” — a word you might be seeing in a lot of news headlines lately.
It’s not the most intuitive name for a corporate tax loophole, so we’re going to break it down for you.
Q: So what exactly is an “inversion”?
A corporate “inversion” is what happens when a U.S.-based multinational with operations in other countries restructures itself so that the U.S. “parent” is replaced by a foreign corporation — and usually one that’s in a country with a lower tax rate than the United States. As a result, on the whole, this means that corporate income tax that would otherwise be paid to the United States ends up going overseas.
In other words, right now, our tax code allows any American company to merge with a foreign company (so long as that company’s shareholders own 20% of the combined firm) — and then “relocate” or “invert” to another country for tax purposes. This maneuver — which changes nothing about the actual operations that continue in the U.S. — allows companies to dramatically reduce the taxes they owe in the U.S. by taking advantage of loopholes in our tax system.
Meanwhile, they would continue enjoying the benefits and protections of the American economy — provided by our tax dollars. It’s a big loophole — and right now, it’s completely legal.
Q: That’s got to be costing us a lot of money, right?
Yes, and it could cost us even more. This is a growing trend among American corporations, and they’re getting increasingly creative and brazen in the ways they’re doing it. What’s more, for decades, countries have been holding “tax competitions” to lure American companies, offering special tax breaks to help them avoid paying their fair share at home.
All told, estimates suggest that it could cost nearly $20 billion over the next 10 years.
Q: OK, but I’m not a corporation. So how does this relate to me?
Simply put: You’re paying for it.
That’s because when corporations pay less, other working Americans have to pay more to help fund the services we all rely on: rebuilding our roads and bridges, equipping our schools with the resources they need, and defending our country at home.
Most Americans don’t have fancy accounting tricks at their disposal — and these businesses shouldn’t, either.
Q: So what are we doing about it?
The President’s FY 2015 Budget proposes that we do away with these loopholes, ensuring that American companies pay taxes to the country that made them great. And we could take the billions we’d save and put it toward rebuilding our infrastructure in this country — investing in a long-term plan to make sure our roads, bridges, ports, and railroads can support the demands of a 21st-century economy.
Right now, there are proposals before Congress that would do just that. That’s why the President is speaking today — and it’s why this explainer blog exists in the first place.
Today is NATIONAL COUSINS DAY
National Cousins Day is celebrated each year on July 24. This day is a day to let all of your cousins, those both near and far, how much you appreciate them. Cousins often spend much time together at family reunions, holidays, birthday parties, weddings, anniversaries and many other countless family get together’s. They entertain each other, play and bond while adults are busy with other things. It does happen that cousins grow up together being the best of friends.
Today, call your cousins, send a card, send an email, text them, somehow find a way to let them know that you are thinking about them and that they are special to you! Happy Cousin’s Day!
Selling your home and want to give it a little extra edge in the market? Consider offering a home warranty. It’s a great way to interest buyers in your property — and potentially sell faster.
Home Warranties Give Buyers Peace of Mind. Homebuying is stressful, especially for first-time buyers, who may have little experience with the unexpected maintenance surprises that are part of homeownership. Although the home inspection usually points out major structural damage, problems with the roof, and other issues that can be negotiated during the sale process, inspectors can’t predict with certainty when appliances or home systems will break down.
That’s where a home warranty comes in. It can protect homebuyers from costly repairs — and replacements — involving: Major appliances/ Heating and cooling systems/ Electrical systems/ Home plumbing
Another benefit to your buyers (and you): A warranty can mean that buyers won’t need to set aside as much money for emergency repairs, and may have more funds available for the purchase. Plus, the reassurance of the warranty — along with a competitive home sales price that you work with your REALTOR® to set — could help fast track your sale.
How Much Do Warranties Cost? Warranties are pretty reasonable. You can expect to pay anywhere from $250-$400, depending on coverage. There’s also usually a fee — typically less than $100 — for service calls.
A warranty covers the homeowner for one year.
How Will the Buyer Use the Warranty? If a covered appliance or system breaks, the homeowner calls the warranty company, which calls a service provider in the company’s network. The provider sets up an appointment with the homeowner.
If the appliance can’t be repaired, depending on coverage, the warranty company will pay to replace the unit.