Appraisal management companies →

July 21, 2012

Appraisal management companies have a list of rules they’re supposed to follow, and it’s up to state and federal regulators to make sure they do. Unfortunately, oversight has been, shall we say, lacking.

That much is clear.

The Value of Time by Jack Groetzinger →

July 21, 2012

How to value your time (and that of your employees):

Determining that number is really hard; I am still quite poor at estimating my hourly value. But if you don’t have an estimate–no matter how rough–you don’t even have a framework within which to make decisions. You’re living your life by your gut rather than thinking analytically about how you spend your time.

This entire article is a must-read.

Brain Training – TYNAN →

July 21, 2012

Great article.

Most people in this world are slaves to their brains. Comfort is suggested by some cluster of neurons somewhere up there, and without really even thinking about it, the rest of the brain latches on to the idea an begins moving towards that comfort. Pushing yourself away from comfort requires constant vigilance and negotiating with that little part of the brain that tries to sabotage us. A big part of that vigilance is using the pattern matching part of your brain to recognize when a course of action may create subtle bad habits, and stopping it before that happens.

The top 10 threats facing real estate →

July 17, 2012

MarketWatch:

Below are the top 10 issues affecting the real-estate market in the next 10 to 30 years.

Don’t bother clicking through. The list is worthless and predictable. Here’s a better one:

  1. Lack of effective regulation.
  2. Lack of transparency in big lending institutions.
  3. The MLS monopoly.
  4. Rapidly diminishing effectiveness of appraisals.
  5. Information asymmetry between sellers and buyers.
  6. Perverse incentives on the part of real estate agents.
  7. Consumer ignorance (lack of education)
  8. REALTORS(tm)(c)(r)

Merchant Fees and Credit Cards

July 16, 2012

I’m already seeing some confusion about the settlement agreement regarding credit card fees. Let’s see if I can clear things up.

Up until now, the credit card companies would lay out their rules, fees, and payment structure, and the merchant could either take it or leave it. Typically, one of the rules was that you (the merchant) could not charge a premium to card-carrying customers. Put another way, you couldn’t offer a discount to pay in cash. Merchants would sometimes break that rule, and would sometimes pay the cost in the form of a canceled account with Visa or Mastercard. You want to be able to accept credit cards as a form of payment from your customers? Play by our rules.

But now, as a result of this legal settlement, credit card companies have agreed to no longer restrict merchants (with the threat of dropping their account) in this way. It will be interesting to see which merchants start directly passing the costs on to card-carrying customers, as oppposed to distributing the costs among all customers (which is what they do now). Personally, I doubt I would continue to frequent a merchant who insisted on penalizing me for using plastic. Cash is just too inconvenient.

Also let me point out that the government has nothing to do with this, and never has. There were no, and are no, federal laws restricting credit card companies from setting their own rules, nor laws preventing merchants from, or requiring them to, use or accept credit cards. This it not a federal government regulation issue, and never has been (though some states have their own laws). This was strictly a settlement agreement (not a new law).

Will be interesting to see how the alternative payment companies (like Square) benefit from this, if at all.

 

Energy Usage Mystery →

July 16, 2012

High Temperatures Could Boost Energy Usage.

Headline of the day.

A future full-time job – Marco.org →

July 15, 2012

Realistically, nobody has job security. It’s a myth.

Great post by Marco. Go read it.

It’s easier to love a brand →

July 15, 2012

It’s easier to love a brand when the brand loves you back.

It’s also easier to take care of your apartment if your landlord “loves you back”.

Value

July 5, 2012

Homeowners think nothing of losing 6% right off the top when they go to sell their home.

But suggest to a buyer that an independent appraisal ($300 to $500) be done before they make an offer, and they’d probably drop dead.

Curious.

7 Must-Have Tech Amenities for Gen Y Residents – Technology – Multifamily Executive Magazine →

July 5, 2012

2. Paperless Leasing Centers

Yes.