What We’re Reading: Feb. 22 – Feb. 28

Housing Price Infographs, Flood Insurance Repeal? and a Gold Treasure with a Big Tax Bill

The Economist has a nice set of interactive charts on US house prices. You can pick your city and see how it compares to other major metros over the last 20+ years. Compare house price indices, price to average income, price against rents, and just raw percentage change. Really interesting to see how far we rose, how far we then fell and which markets are well on their way back up.

Trying to incentivize your buyers? HousingWire mentions 4 tax game-changers that might be good to mention to fence-straddlers.

Congress overhauled flood insurance laws a few years ago. Now Congress is looking to repeal some of the rules as they are causing premiums to skyrocket for more constituents than expected.

Choosing the right company name is important. Some REALTORS simply use their own name, a simple solution. Others get more descriptive – their area or their specialty. But how many go that extra step to create a logo? The Winter 2014 issue of the MIT Sloan Management Review has an interesting article on the Power of a Good Logo (available to members through ProQuest). Of interest:

Our research found that separate visual symbols used as logos tend to be more effective than brand names at creating a sense of emotional connection with consumers.

Do you have your own logo?

OZY notes the rise of a new kind of coffee shop for the freelance age. The ‘Coffice‘ as it’s called provides free wi-fi and free coffee. You simply pay by the minute to sit. Mostly popping up overseas, the coffice isn’t so much about making money (some barely turn a profit) and more about community. Don’t expect Starbucks to try it soon.

The Power of Positive Thinking…isn’t always so positive. At least that’s what a number of studies are starting to find.

A California couple out walking their dog discovers a $20 million treasure of buried gold coins. …but the IRS will get almost half. Still $10 million is a pretty nice find.

Enjoy sleeping under the stars but hate the mosquitoes? A Russian designer is working on what she’s calling the Cosmos Bed. Shaped like an egg, the fiberglass frame is pretty high-tech with LED lights to mimic the stars, built in sound machine and aromatherapy. Not interested? How about a bed that looks like a book?

How’s your New Year’s resolution to lose weight going? If you’re having trouble, maybe it’s your peppermint white chocolate mocha habit. A blogger puts together a nice infographic of Starbucks calories.

How did we all live without the Internet? No Facebook updates, no funny cat videos, no online ordering, no email… The Internet turns 25 on March 12. In the United States, 87% of adults use the Internet, according to a Pew Research Survey. We love our cell phones, but not as much as the Internet.  “Americans, though, are much more attached to the Internet and their digital devices. Pew noted that 39% said they “absolutely need” to have Internet access. Among those who said it would be difficult to give up net access, 61% said being online is essential for their jobs or other aspects of their lives, and 30% said they want the Internet because they simply enjoy being online.”

Maybe they’ll enjoy being online this Sunday as for the first time ever the Oscars are being live-streamed on the web.

Spring is almost here (hooray!) Time to think about Spring Cleaning, especially all of our electronic gadgets. They get dropped, get full of fingerprints on the screen and get coffee spilled on them. Learn how to make everything clean and shiny.


Senior Information Specialist

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