Friday, November 6, 2020

Making A Visually Impaired Person Feel At Home


 One of the many overlooked aspects of marketing in real estate is helping those who are disabled or have physical challenges with finding or modifying a residence in order to accommodate. 

Typically, we do not do guest posts, but Harry Cline at provides a great case to do so with the below article.

Thanks again to Harry Cline for this valuable info:


If you are in the process of making modifications to a house to help a person with a visual impairment feel at home, you have a great deal to consider. Your top priority should be to make the home as organized and functional as possible. People are much more comfortable in spaces that are free of clutter and organized in a logical way. You also should consider the person’s needs and routines. When you make modifications with the person in mind, you’re sure to create a comfortable space that helps him feel right at home.


1. Get Organized by Eliminating Clutter


While you may have an organization system that makes sense to you, your organization system should be logical enough that it makes sense to others. For instance, if you throw everything from chewing gum and masking tape to knife sharpeners and scissors into a junk drawer, you probably will be the only person in the home who can locate a specific item in that drawer in under 30 minutes. Organized chaos may work for you, but it will not work for a person with a visual impairment.


That’s why one of the first things you should do to help a person with a visual impairment feel at home is to get organized by eliminating clutter. Clutter makes it difficult to navigate the home, and it makes it virtually impossible for someone with a visual impairment to find anything. Go room by room and make sure that there is a place for everything. If there isn’t, decide which items you want to keep, which you want to donate, and which you want to discard. Don’t forget to remove clutter from drawers, closets, cabinets, cupboards, and pantries, too.


2. Address Repairs and Clean Up


Safety is a top priority, so you’ll want to tackle any repairs that if left alone could be hazardous. For example, loose handrails, broken windows, hard-to-navigate corners and broken steps could prove risky for a visually-impaired person. Tackle what you can yourself, and outsource any other repairs to professionals.


Now is also a good time for a top-to-bottom clean. Get into the nooks and crannies, dust, clean counters as well as appliances, and make sure the bathroom has been given a thorough once-over. This is also a good time to address any deeper cleaning needs such as carpeting, curtains, upholstery and even air ducts.


3. Make It Easier to Cook


People with a visual impairment prefer to be independent, so it’s a good idea to make a few modifications to your kitchen to make cooking a little easier. There are several kitchen gadgets and tools available to assist cooks with low vision. One helpful gadget is a thermometer that reads temperatures aloud. It’s also a good idea to purchase some extended oven mitts to protect the forearms from accidental burns, a liquid indicator to avoid spills, and measuring cups and spoons with large print. Consider adding a task light to kitchen work areas, especially where people cut food, to make sure there is as much light as possible.


Another helpful tool is the PenFriend 3. When you start organizing your kitchen, you may be surprised when you find just how many food items are of similar size and shape. It becomes difficult for a person with a visual impairment to distinguish these similar items, but the PenFriend 3 solves the problem with its audio labels. Label everything from pasta to canned beans in the pantry.


With a few simple home modifications, you can help a person with a visual impairment feel right at home. Begin by eliminating clutter and getting organized, hiring a housekeeper, and making it easier to cook.

Monday, October 19, 2020

What's Up, Doc? Unfortunately, It's His Time

The national play-by-play announcers come under criticism from fans of the participating teams seemingly all of the time, with one exception. And now, sports fans have lost that exception, albeit due to a partial retirement.

Mike "Doc" Emrick announced that he is stepping down from play-by-play of NHL games after exactly 50 years of having done so. It doesn't seem as if any hockey fans criticized his descriptions at any time. His incredible enthusiasm for the NHL came through as solidly this month in the Stanley Cup Finals as it did 40 years ago.

Emrick, who took the "Doc" nickname after graduating from college with a PhD, was the lead voice for NBC over the past 15 years. Some will recall his years as lead voice for USA Network when they carried the NHL in the 80's and early 90's, working with Bill Clement as his analyst.

He called the Stanley Cup Finals 22 times, along with an incredible 45 calls of Game 7 of a Stanley Cup series. Although Doc will continue with NBC Sports on a part-time basis, this is a blow for hockey fans. From here, he has been, by far, the best of all of the lead national announcers of all of the pro sports.

Speaking of lead national announcers, like him or not, you have to give Joe Buck a ton of credit for dealing with the broadcast schedule Fox (and 2020) brought his way over these couple of weeks. Last week, he called 6 consecutive games of the NLCS between Atlanta and L.A. on Fox and FS1. (That came off of doing NFL games the previous Thursday and Sunday.) Buck was unable to call Game 7 of the NLCS because he was scheduled to go from Dallas to Tampa to call the Packers-Buccaneers doubleheader game on Sunday (10/18).

Due to the  postponement of the Chiefs-Bills game to Monday (10/19), Joe called the late afternoon game, making it a highly unusual call of two NFL games in two days. His "every day" schedule continues this week with the first two games of the World Series on Tuesday and Wednesday. Thursday he calls the NFL game between the Giants and Eagles, and then it's back to Dallas to call the World Series games on Fox until conclusion. This schedule is unprecedented work for a national announcer.

Sportscaster Mike Yam was able to bounce back after being dropped from the Pac-12 Network as part of layoffs made before the Conference decided to play this year. Yam has been added by NFL Network as an anchor, as well as continuing on SiriusXM's college football channel as a host.

This coming weekend marks the return of the Big 10, much to the delight of ESPN/ABC and Fox Sports. Here is the schedule, with Eastern Times, for this coming weekend:

    Friday, October 23rd: Illinois @ Wisconsin, 8 PM, BTN
    Saturday, October 24th: Nebraska @ Ohio State, 12 PM, Fox
    Saturday, October 24th: Rutgers @ Michigan State, 12 PM, BTN
    Saturday, October 24th: Penn State @ Indiana, 3:30 PM, FS1
    Saturday, October 24th: Iowa @ Purdue, 3:30 PM, BTN
    Saturday, October 24th: Michigan @ Minnesota, 7:30 PM, ABC
    Saturday, October 24th: Maryland @ Northwestern, 7:30 PM, BTN

The MAC also returns and will take over with a series of weeknight telecasts. These might attract more viewers than past seasons because they will not be opposed by NBA or NHL telecasts this fall. Here is the MAC schedule for the first two weeks of their season:

    Wednesday, November 4th: Ball State @ Miami, Ohio, 7 PM, CBS Sports Network
    Wednesday, November 4th: Western Michigan @ Akron, 6 PM, ESPN3
    Wednesday, November 4th: Ohio @ Central Michigan, 7 PM, ESPN
    Wednesday, November 4th: Buffalo @ Northern Illinois, 7 PM, ESPN2
    Wednesday, November 4th: Bowling Green @ Toledo, 8 PM, ESPNU
    Tuesday, November 10th: Kent State @ Bowling Green, 7 PM, ESPN

    Tuesday, November 10th: Akron @ Ohio, 7 PM, CBS Sports Network    

    Tuesday, November 10th: Miami, Ohio @ Buffalo, 8 PM, ESPN
    Wednesday, November 11th: Toledo @ Western Michigan, 8 PM, ESPN2

   Wednesday, November 11th: Eastern Michigan @ Ball State,7 PM, CBS Sports Network                 

   Wednesday, November 11th: Central Michigan @ Northern Illinois, 8 PM, ESPNU

Overall it will be interesting to monitor the ratings for the NFL and college football starting next week, since there will be no major competition from other sports during November and December.

Tuesday, October 13, 2020

Comparing Apples to Poison Ivy

 The story (linked below) is designed to restore faith in radio advertising, which is understandable. However, in doing so radio is taking a similar approach to real estate. In this instance, the two are similar. 

Radio offers audience targeting, as some stations appeal more to males, females, and/or age groups in order to attract appropriate advertisers. To do so, past and present listener statistics are important to the decision makers. 

Meanwhile, many real estate offices look at it the same way. Realty offices and associations keep putting out comparison statistics on home sales and market trends, always based on previous months and years. 

How anyone can put any credence into any trends from before March 2020 at this time is beyond my radar at this time. Radio has been hit hard by the pandemic, just as real estate and most other industries. 

People were buying, selling, and renting homes one year ago under drastically different circumstances than we have today. They may have felt different about their jobs and financial security. In addition, their home may have been in a location with respect to their commute, which now may be a thing of the past.

Just as our radio listening habits may have changed over the past year, it has little or nothing to do with the station(s) that people choose to listen to. Same theory for real estate. Comparing against one year ago is no longer a reasonable comparison. At least it won't be until April 2021.

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

May I Have The Envelope Please?

The story linked below is, technically, a real estate "story", but the reality is this is a marketing inspiration. 


Briefly, the Newsweek story is about a real estate investor that purchased a single family house to rehab and eventually sell for a profit. During his interior "tear down", he discovered envelopes of cash amounting to roughly $10,000. He gave the money to the seller and then did not accept the reward offered by the seller and family for doing this good deed.


Of course, this is not to say that Mr. Dow would not have done such a wonderful thing under any circumstances. I personally know more than one person that found large sums of cash while "going through" a home which had not been theirs. Let's just say that money was not returned.The point here is that by doing so, Mr. Dow gained it back with far more than $10,000 worth of publicity. At the same time, he made another family very happy, while benefiting in his own way.


By returning the money, Mr. Dow gained favorable publicity for himself and the company he represents (which has independent offices around the country). He could not have bought that kind of publicity, especially in a publication such as Newsweek, for "only" $10,000. And that does not include any other publications and sources which pick up the story.


From a marketing standpoint, this was a brilliant move. Quite frankly, some homeowners have a poor image of "rehabbers" because of the discounted prices they get prices for after negotiation. This story goes against that reputation, while placing Mr. Dow ahead of the pack in his category. 


Again, Mr. Dow may have returned the money regardless of the reward. In this case, everyone benefits in some way. This story will (most likely) lead to at least one "additional" rehab project for him and his team. Chances are the profit from just one deal will amount to more than $10,000. Whatever that total, he would not have generated that without this article.


That becomes his "reward" for returning the money.  It is also great real estate marketing. It was also his "reward" for the seller!

Thursday, August 13, 2020

Will Healthcare Loans Take Away From Mortgage Loans?

 It was only a matter of time before a money company would figure out how to finance healthcare costs, especially with everything we are all facing at this time in our lives.

In theory, this company (described in the article linked at the conclusion) has an excellent idea in terms of enabling people to be able to pay off exorbitant health care costs over a period of time.

From the standpoint of impact, the guess is that real estate will be the industry to feel the negative impact from this idea. If and when this healthcare financing takes off, it is likely that thousands of people will receive these loans. Chances are the healthcare costs could be well into five figures and perhaps into six figures in come cases. 

Those are loans which will be the equivalent of a mortgage for these thousands of people. Logic tells us that if thousands of people now have healthcare loans which are equal to what a mortgage would be, the likelihood of also carrying a mortgage drops significantly.

Obviously, the need for personal (or family) healthcare financing is not a choice or an option like a mortgage is. Regardless, the odds are that people will concentrate on spreading out healthcare payments takes priority over buying vs. renting or combined living with other family members. 

As a result, this approach could be good for landlords and not good for sellers.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

The New Second Home Is A Temporary One

 It is an interesting finding that "high end" second home sales are considered to be on the rise. Instead of incorporating this into a market trend, it would be better to consider the impact on the future.

My take is that people are not doing this as a real estate investment or to have a "second home" for the long term. The longer these 'buyers' can work from home (or without having to constantly commute to an office location), the lower the chances of returning to that status.

As soon as they learn they don't have to "return" to their current city home (the 'first' home in this scenario), the next step will be to place the 'first' home on the market. The "second home" will become the primary residence. 

If, for some reason, they need to return to commuting, the "second home" goes back on the market or becomes a rental property.

You heard it here first.

Thursday, August 6, 2020

Think Before Marketing Property Amenities

With all due respect to this listing agent, I'm going to use this example to point out the need to make every single property description as unique as possible while maintaining focus on the overall presentation.

This home (linked below) is promoted as a "custom built dream home", which could very well be the case. However, the property also contains a hangar and an airstrip.

It is true that would be something that is a part of a custom built home and property. However, those features are, if I may venture to guess, not likely to be "dream home" amenities for the majority of buyers.

In addition, one of the first facts provided in the description is that the location is "45 minutes from O'Hare Airport".

First of all, being 45 minutes from anything is not something worth highlighting. But that point is overruled by another question. If this property contains a hangar and airstrip, why does it matter where the nearest full sized airport is?

My point is that further in, you see that this home and property do have many desirable amenities. In order to appeal to a larger pool of potential buyers, those need to be pointed out well ahead of the airplane and airport facts.

It is not always what makes a property unique. It is identifying the most likely selling points before publishing the description.

Unless this was changed since it's 8/6/20 posting, here is the description in question:

Monday, August 3, 2020

A Well Written Case Study - Almost

From having performed several high end case studies myself over the years, I have come to appreciate a well written version from others.

This one, coming from a 1031 Exchange company, does a solid job of telling one side of the story along with showing how and why the exchange came to be.

However, as I see it, there were possibilities from both sides of the exchange to be shared which were not. From a marketing standpoint, a Case Study (or marketing piece, which, in reality this is) becomes even more effective when it shows how both sides "won" instead of just one side.

When you open the (below) link, you will see the story about exchanging out of a Los Angeles apartment complex suffering from below market rents. This is not to say the owner of this property was not suffering headaches because of it. It is not an easy situation.

The point here is that there may have been other options to use in terms of finding a buyer (or to present as a 1031 possibility). Although this may have been done, it was not shown within the Case Study, which is important to its overall effectiveness.

A long term investor faced with current year capital gains (or other tax consequences) might see value in being able to extend current leases now to assure having a certain number or percentage of occupied units three years from now. At the same time, losses could be shown for the process of renovating the available units, which (hopefully) leads to being able to request market value or higher rents going forward.

Showing a tax loss "now" while having a cash flow plan within five years makes the apartment building situation, as described, into an investment (or exchange) with more potential than is shown in this Case Study.

Consequently, the Case Study could show how both sides "win" on the exchange, instead of making a potential client want to make sure they are on the "winning" team.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020

Private Placement For Investment Real Estate – Where to Begin

More and more high end real estate investment opportunities are available now, but fewer investors can afford to execute the “big deal” on their own. However, the process of finding the best partnership fit has been streamlined.

The majority of real estate partnerships looking for “broader” participation need to follow SEC regulations. This is whether it is for a public or private company seeking to raise capital for one or more large real estate investments.

It was the Securities Act of 1933 which provides exemptions for a Private Placement (also known as Private Offering) from federal securities registration. Thus, the Private Placement “market” is sometimes referred to as the “exempt market” when it comes to securities laws and the public markets. In order for a company to raise public funds, it needs to file a prospectus with the SEC in every state (and/or province) in which it plans to sell securities. This includes real estate shares.

Issuing a Private Placement is how an entity attempts to raise money for its operation(s). A Private Placement is, most often, more affordable and can be implemented quicker than actual public offerings. When done properly, the process of determining the amount of funding needed, selecting a potential deal, and preparing the offering should all take place within 7 to 21 days.


To get started, the company (or “syndicator”) determines the amount of money it needs to raise from the Private Placement. Next is choosing just one potential deal to design the “equity offering” around. This is where some investors make their first mistake. It is extremely important to choose just one deal.  Keep in mind that many investors are looking to make a “yes” or “no” decision before selecting one deal ahead of others.

If consulting with an attorney regarding getting started for the first time, there are several factors to review. These start with determining the number of investors and the amount of capital needed to be raised. This step is not as “obvious” as new syndicators often assume.

For example, suppose the project requires an initial investment of $50 million. It is easy to think that you would need five investors at $10 million each. However, the pool of investors willing to invest $10 million, combined with the number of them ready to invest that amount “now” severely limit the possibilities for success.

Consequently, the goal might be to seek, for example, 25 investors to each contribute $2 million, or 100 investors at $500,000 each. The lower the individual share amount needed, the more chances to get it.