Do You Know How Technology Is Changing New Construction?

Do you know how technology is changing new construction? Technology is becoming more stream-lined nowadays, stripping away the peripherals and many add-on devices we’ve been accustomed to over the years.  Instead, there’s more collaboration and with that comes engagement.  Tech is finding its way into our minute-to-minute lives: Smart devices, automobiles that now brake for themselves, and from what I gather, Nike has just announced “self-tying” sneakers to be released in 2015 (reminiscent of Marty McFly’s shoes in Back To The Future IIhttp://newsfeed.time.com/2014/02/16/back-to-the-future-marty-mcfly-power-laces-coming-2015).

Do You Know How Technology Is Changing New Construction?

Marty McFly’s “self-tying” sneakers

Houses are no exception.  The integration of technology systems into the home has shown its face in recent years.  What has begun to facilitate security and safety is now very much catering to a home owner’s entertainment and leisure desires.  What began as a toy for the wealthy is becoming a reality for everyone.  Today, more consumers are aware of the possibility that tech systems can be incorporated into their homes.  This is one of the factors driving the industry.  The demands are higher: People want to experience streaming media at a moment’s notice, wherever they are, but especially in their residence!  And it is more than only media.  The user wants to control their lighting, appliances, other devices, surveillance systems and the like.

Recently, I visited family in Maryland and surprisingly had my first experience with Apple TV.  The reason I say surprisingly is because I own numerous Apple products, but I had yet to see one of those boxes in action.  Rumors are now flooding cyberspace that Amazon is making a “smart home push” by early spring.  If these whispers are true, Amazon TV will be the response (and threat) to Apple TV.  Amazon is a beast when it comes to value.  They understand how to undercut all the competition and have a consistent, successful track record of delivering on their promises.  You can read more about their upcoming TV box here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/michaelwolf/2014/02/21/could-amazon-be-preparing-smart-home-push-with-tv-box.

Do You Know How Technology Is Changing New Construction?

Smart Home Technology

This smart home technology is simplifying people’s lives.  Real estate buyers, who have the means, look to simplify their lives.  The smart home push, albeit a big one, is another step in the home comfort and efficiency process.  The evolution of TV boxes, such as Apple, Roku, Amazon, and perhaps soon Google too, will completely revolutionize the American home entertainment industry.  Do you know how technology is changing new construction? New home construction will certainly mimic and compliment this evolution.  What changes in real estate construction do you foresee being adapted?  Do you agree this technology is simplifying consumers’ lives?  Share your thoughts with us.

Adorable Retriever And Real Estate – What Do They Have In Common?

An adorable retriever and real estate – What do they have in common?  No, I’m not referring to a competitor’s former mascot (but that would be a good guess).  A cute little puppy is enjoyed by all, especially by the children in our families.  There’s something about those little floppy ears, their uncoordinated swagger and their pure innocence.

Real estate does for the family what the puppy does for the family – Provides many wonderful memories, which can last a lifetime.  I still remember and miss my only dog, Daisy, a toy fox terrier who was named after Daisy Fuentes, believe it or not.  Inevitably, every time I recall my dog, I think of her as a puppy, because she was always a puppy to me (even in her older age).  Memories of my dog almost always draw me back to life on my parents’ ranch.  All these years later – roughly two decades, Daisy still reminds me of home and brings a smile to my face.

This Sunday night, during the Super Bowl, we’ll all be reminded of how puppies can soften our heart and enhance our family: Budweiser will be featuring a new commercial titled “Puppy Love.” It will bring a smile to your face (see below).  Yes, there still is a place for canines on the home-front!

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Budweiser’s ‘Puppy Love’ Super Bowl Commercial Is Irresistibly Heartwarming

Richard Feloni (Business Insider) – January 29, 2014, 10:00 AM

Adorable Retriever And Real Estate - What Do They Have In Common?

Photo courtesy of YouTube/Budweiser

Budweiser is once again poised to win over the hearts of Super Bowl viewers with “Puppy Love,” the sequel to last year’s incredibly popular “Brotherhood.”

The actor Don Jeanes returns to his role as the head of Warm Springs Ranch in Missouri, where the beer company raises its iconic Clydesdale horses. Actress (and former swimsuit model) Melissa Keller is introduced as the owner of a puppy adoption center next door.

A wily little Labrador Retriever manages to keep escaping to the horse farm to see his best bud, a Clydesdale.

Eventually, a man arrives to buy the 10-month-old pup. He’s wearing sunglasses and is on his smartphone when the beautiful manager of the puppy center tries to hand over the dog. See what happens when this city slicker tries taking our hero away from his special friend, and the song “Let Her Go” by Passenger starts getting you misty-eyed:

#BestBuds

The agency Anomaly produced the 60-second ad, as well as last year’s “Brotherhood.”

Budweiser and Anomaly have another emotional 60-second commercial running during the game, also featuring Clydesdales. “A Hero’s Welcome” is about the parade the company gave 1st Lt. Chuck Nadd when he returned home from a tour in Afghanistan in early January.

(Story taken from http://www.businessinsider.com/budweiser-2014-super-bowl-ad-puppy-love-2014-1.)

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Realty Mobile Alerts

Realty Mobile Alert: Local Real Estate Firm Continues Mobile Offerings, Connecting Home Buyers & Sellers

CLARKS SUMMIT, PA (September 20, 2013) – More consumers are beginning to rely on their mobile devices for real estate news, data, agents, but most especially for listings. According to the latest statistics from the National Association of REALTORS®, home buyers make use of the Internet in their home search ninety percent of the time, a slight increase over last year’s numbers [National Association of REALTORS® 2013 Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends]. There’s also recent evidence of similar numbers with respect to mobile Internet search usage: Ninety percent of smartphone users employ the Internet daily from their mobile devices [“Ignoring Mobile Search… Think Again!” via Marketing Exchange, September 2013 infographic].

Mobile offerings for real estate consumers, especially the younger generation, are critical. Real estate, like many other industries, has done a better job over the last few years of meeting the home buyer and seller where they are! They are on the road; they are shopping; they are working; they are raising a family (or taking care of one); they are socializing in organizations, restaurants and bars; they are never home or they are always home; they are renting; they are dreaming; they are saving and they are spending. Wherever they are, chances are, they are connecting to family and friends through their smart device. It is here that they are connecting to businesses there as well.

“Real estate needs to meet the consumer on their terms and on their playing field,” stresses Greg Solfanelli, Director of Marketing & Consumer Experience at Realty Network Group. “Our company has recently released a product, Realty Mobile Alerts, designed with the home buyer in mind, where those who sign up for the service will receive the latest and greatest listings to hit the market daily. In addition to the obvious advantage for buyers in the community, this service will also profit our sellers – giving their listings more exposure in the marketplace.” “There’s been such advancement in real estate technology over recent years,” emphasizes Realty Network Group’s President/Broker, Ann Cappellini. “Since its beginning, our company has embraced this high tech approach of connecting buyers and sellers. Realty Mobile Alerts is the next step in our evolution. We remain committed to leading real estate innovation in Northeastern Pennsylvania.”

Realty Mobile Alerts - The Abingtons

Initially this service will benefit those looking for new listings in the Abingtons, but in the not-so-distant future, Realty Network Group will be expanding their product to include other communities. In order to be the first to know when a new home hits the market in the Abington Heights School District, sign up today for Realty Mobile Alerts. Anyone with a smartphone can register for this service [*message and data rates may apply]. There’s no obligation and you can cancel at any time. Sign up today by visiting http://networkabstract.net/RNG/realty-mobile-alerts.

Lead You The Way Home

Maria MuchalLead you the way home: Maria Muchal is one of Realty Network Group’s recent additions.  Maria is a life-long resident of Jessup and a graduate of Valley View High School (2006).  Her diverse skill set led her to pursue marketing, public relations and design at Parsons The New School for Design located in New York City.  There she received her BBA in Design & Management (2010).  She’s a freelance designer for both graphic and interior, whenever she has free time.

Besides her passion for fashion, Maria spends much of her day immersed in real estate.  As a pre-service residential appraiser, she mentors under Barbara J. O’Hara at O’Hara Appraisal Group.  She’s in the process of working toward becoming a full-time appraiser and full-time REALTOR®.  Her interest in design also fuels her interest in homes: “I love everything about them; their styles, interior components, architecture, but most of all, I love what many buyers love about them – walking into a home and envisioning adding my own personal touch.”

When asked why she chose our firm, she stated: “I’ve always had an interest in the local real estate market and in Realty Network Group’s marketing and advertising. I sense this is the right place to start a career.  It’s a company with a very friendly Broker and associates who are willing to help each other and work as a team.  Through these relationships, the company conveys confidence to its clients.  I want to be part of that!”

If you need someone who’ll work hard for you, helping you to realize the possibilities of a home, contact Maria Muchal today at mmuchal@realtynetwork.net or 570.335.4469 (cell).

“I’ll lead you the way home.”

Learning Where To Live

Learning where to live: I fondly remember my childhood “back to school” trips to the store in August.  I was always the nervous kid.  I resisted, like many of us, change in all its ugly forms, especially a change in academic subjects, school buildings or worst yet – a change in school districts.  There was always the adventure of school shopping though.  We were able to purchase pencils and those erasers in the shapes of your favorite sports or cartoon characters (I vaguely remember my Thundercat erasers) among other things.  I would often attempt to justify, to my parents, items I couldn’t live without for the upcoming school year.

It’s an exciting time for students, but it can also be somewhat intimidating or frightening.  I know, I was in those shoes!  I bounced around to a few different schools and I’m sure, like many of you, had to make friends all over again.  It was nerve-racking.  Going back to school can be anxiously anticipated by parents as well as their children.  A recent survey by REALTOR.com highlighted the how important school districts are in the home search process.  Pertaining to home purchases, 91% of those surveyed said school boundaries matter.  For more information on this survey and learning where to live, click here.

Back To School

How do school districts play into your home buying habits?

A majority of buyers will go over budget to find the right school district for their family; therefore it shouldn’t come to us as a shock when many use this as a barometer on learning where to live.  Though perhaps it’s a little late to find a new school district (home) this fiscal year, this is an important area which shouldn’t be overlooked if you have a family or your family is growing.  There are many tools available for comparing school districts in Pennsylvania such as the PA School District Statistical Snapshot Database. There’s also a comparision tool for SAT scores broken down by school district.  It doesn’t end there though, our network of REALTORS® have many other resources to share in order for you to find the right district and the right home.

Learning where to live can be challenging and should not be left to chance.  Call or email us today to find the right fit.  Now for some cake!

Back To School Cake

Yum! (photo credited to Mari Hernandez-Tuten)

Finding The Perfect Match

Finding the perfect match in real estate can be just what you’ve been missing!  Yes, the search can be frustrating at times even with the best circumstances in play (i.e. your trust REALTOR® working hard for you, qualified buyers who are actively searching, reasonable/motivated sellers in the market, mortgage monies available, etc.).  Other factors like inventory and amenities exist, which depending on availability, can motivate home purchasers to act quickly.  With that being said, I believe a home’s personality can clash with the buyer’s tastes.  A home has a personality?

What I mean by this that each property has a profile and based how in ranks in key areas (such as location, age, square footage, roof’s condition) or subsequent, but no less important, categories (like décor, amenities, acreage, bedrooms); we understand there’s a match component for a particular buyer.  Though I’m unaware of any home compatibility scores out there for consumers, there are questions (when properly reviewed with your agent) can shed light on a particular home’s compatibility.  What do you desire in a home?  What top features are on your wish list?  What do homes in your market offer in the neighborhoods or school districts you desire?  These are honest questions most home buyers begin asking themselves in the “dreaming” stage of owning a home.

I’m hopeful that research for this technology is underway.  Finding the perfect match can be formulated from mapping essential MLS data over consumer survey information on an individual basis.  Home buyers would input their wants, preferences, budget, desires and the like and be able to find listings (aka matches).  Yesterday was the release of Twine (https://itunes.apple.com/us/app/twine/id586164302?ls=1&mt=8), a social networking – dating match app.  This service, apparently claiming to be unlike any other app, matches people (who are geographically nearby) based upon their shared interests and not their looks.  Although a property’s curb appeal is important, I believe the key to home compatibility for any buyer can be discovered in how it matches up with MLS and survey data.  In other words, do the home and the consumer have shared interests?

home compatibility

Do the home and the consumer have shared interests?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Residential real estate sales are both emotional as well as logical purchases.  In today’s market, they are sought on a high touch, high tech playing field (or should be).  Finding the perfect match, like dating, can be aided with finding the perfect REALTOR® and utilizing an app which can analyze and break it all down for the purchaser.

REALTORS® Need To Lead The Way

REALTORS® need to lead the way: A trial has begun in California this week which sheds light on how something toxic, which has been around for more than a century in this country, is still showing its ugly face (or chipping walls) — lead-based paint.  Five major corporations: Atlantic Richfield Company, ConAgra Grocery Products Company, E.I. du Pont de Nemours, NL Industries, Inc. and the Sherwin-Williams Company are facing a civil trial where ten cities and counties are seeking $1 billion in costs to reverse some of the harmful effects of this “public nuisance.”

lead-based paint

Peeling paint can be hazardous if it contains lead

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lead-based paint has been this nuisance, since before 1978.  Thirty-five years ago, the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission banned paint containing more than 0.06% lead.  Since then sellers and landlords are required to fully-disclosure the potential of the existence of this paint, whether or not they have knowledge of it being used, and that it may exist if the home was constructed prior to 1978.  REALTORS® and their firms must assist and provide full-disclosure of this to their customers and clients as well.

This is important stuff!  The first line of the lead warning statement, provided to our clients, declares: “Housing built before 1978 may contain lead-based paint.”  It seems like a harmless statement, but according to the Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (in 1991), lead was “the number one environmental threat to the health of children in the United States.”  Last year, the CDC had gone on record as saying that “even at the lowest levels, lead causes permanent neurological damage to children, decreasing IQ and causing other serious health consequences.”

Regardless of how this court case turns out, our children need to be protected from this harmful substance.  It can affect them in addition to adults when it deteriorates and goes airborne.  Our team of professionals at Realty Network Group and those associates in the Greater Scranton Board of REALTORS® have a duty of doing everything in their power to protect families and their children throughout the homeownership process.

For more information about lead-based paint, its harmful effects and what you can do to protect your loved ones, please download the Protect Your Family From Lead In The Home pamphlet.

Don’t be “MisLEAD,” lead-based paint is not a joke.

How Selling Is Everything In Real Estate

Selling is everything…

In case you missed it, last week the Valley View Girls’ softball team won the Pennsylvania AAA State Title, defeating Fort LeBoeuf (located in Waterford, PA in Erie County).  They cruised right along on the way to their state championship, displaying their Cougar colors and making NEPA proud!

Image taken from The Times-Tribune's High School Sports Blog

Valley View Softball 2013: Valley View’s Gina Chieffallo continues to perform at a very high level for the Cougars.

You can check out WNEP 16 TV’s coverage of their state title here: http://wnep.com/2013/06/15/valley-view-defeats-ft-leboeuf.  We also have a congratulatory message coming out in a few days on local television (ESPN, Fox News and HGTV).  Please check back for more information.

Although this was a wonderful feat, winning isn’t everything.  I’m certainly not trying to diminish what they accomplished.  I know it can be cliché and I know you probably heard your parents or perhaps coaches say this hundreds of times in your life.  Well, I’ll say it again – Winning isn’t everything.

Realty Network Group sells homes

In real estate, selling (NOT winning) is everything!

In real estate, selling (not winning) is everything!  And yes, there is a difference.  Unfortunately in sports, the runner-up is rarely remembered.  In fact, last week I couldn’t even remember who won the 2012 World Series (and I call myself a baseball fan?!).  I had to look it up.  Though I’m not a baseball historian like my father, apparently I need to start popping the ginkgo biloba!  But even if you didn’t have a memory lapse, like myself, would you have known that the Detroit Tigers lost to the San Francisco Giants last year on baseball’s biggest stage?  Do you remember who Obama defeated for his election to the Presidency in his first term?  Can you recall who lost to the Baltimore Ravens this past year in Super Bowl XLVII?  I think most of you honestly understand the amnesia that shadows a runner-up.

The runner-up is remembered in real estate.  Their services are used and very much needed year in and year out.  Our company for instance, is having a wonderful year – our per agent production is right at the top, but we’re not the top selling company in the area.  And we don’t have to be.  Our network of REALTORS®, twenty-five in number, continues to over perform.  Our clients recognize our associates’ strengths/experience and use it to their advantage.  It’s not about winning.  The name of this game is selling!  Winning isn’t everything in real estate.  Unless you connect buyers and sellers and deliver on that connection to achieve results, it doesn’t matter if you win, lose or draw.  We look forward to getting more properties SOLD in 2013 and we truly appreciate our clients’ confidence in helping them achieve their goals of homeownership.

Do You Even Need Real Estate Apps?

What’s your favorite real estate app?  You don’t have one or?… Oh wait, you don’t currently have one on your phone.  Do I need one?… You ask.  Well, that’s an excellent question!  Do you even need real estate apps?

Let’s keep in mind what the real estate consumption process entails for the average consumer.  In Northeastern PA, like many other areas throughout our great nation, there exists a process whereby the person goes through certain stages in hopes of reaching his/her goal, namely buying or selling a home.  Before purchasing it, most will begin to fantasize about their future home.  At times they may be daydreaming, but everyone needs to have a little fun sometimes!  Next he/she really begins to dissect location, school districts and neighborhoods; think about the type/style of home he/she would prefer; interior specifications and the like.  Many will begin their online search right away.  Some will contact their REALTOR® (you know… the very knowledgeable one whom you love, whose picture still graces your refrigerator!) to get an inside perspective on the local market and the areas and specifications they desire.  Once consumers understand the market better, they can make wiser decisions about the fair market value of homes on their radar, and this is certainly an area where a real estate agent can be invaluable.

Whether the person has begun the pursuit right away or is utilizing his/her REALTOR® at this stage, chances are there’s an abundance of searching going on.  There’s over 3,000 apps available related to real estate, most of which assist with this process.  The top apps include REALTOR.com, Trulia, Zillow, HomeFinder, just to name a few.  One of my personal favorites, offering an element of fun, is Homesnap.  You should experiment with it.  Three that you should definitely have on your smart device are Google Maps (Android version), Quick Scan (an efficient way to read QR codes) and CalcsFreePictNote is also an app that can be quite useful when house hunting.

Homesnap House

Homesnap image of a house in Dunmore, PA

So let’s rewind a bit.  The question you asked: Do I need one?  You don’t absolutely need real estate apps on your phone, but if you’re seriously hunting for your next home and desire to have all the tools at your fingertips, in addition to your trusty REALTOR®, then my suggestion would be yes, you need one (probably more than one!).  Recent studies by Flurry, an apps analytics firm, and Experian Marketing Services, a smartphone research company, show all indications that mobile usage is increasing ‘slowly and steadily’ toward TV usage.  Flurry measures smartphone and tablet usage only for apps.  Their numbers indicate that the average app user spends 127 minutes/day using their mobile device’s apps.  According to their most recent study, Experian’s user, through talking on the phone, texting, using social media and gaming, spends just under one hour per day on his/her smartphone.

The numbers are astounding if you ask me.  Before the advent of the iPhone in 2007, these numbers (six years later) would have seemed a little absurd.  Average mobile device users are interacting with others or entertaining themselves for one to two hours each day.  When augmented reality, or as I like to say “augmented realty,” becomes more popular and useful, we’ll see neighborhoods come alive through the portal of our phones or tablet devices.  You’ll have even more information at your fingertips (literally) and will be able to make sound, investment decisions after also consulting and relying on your real estate professional.  Real estate apps can be important. Google, like Layar and Acrossair, is making strides in these areas in relation to our industry.  It’s the next big thing!

Stay tuned and download those real estate apps!

Memorial Day Quite Frankly Makes Us… Remember!

Every year, I have one of those moments on Memorial Day where I take a break from my holiday plans with the family (it sometimes can be hectic, although a blessing, from time-to-time for any father with children to regain composure).  I always have that pensive moment, where I reflect on how very lucky I am: My family, my community and of course, our military.  I have similar reflections as this throughout the year, but Memorial Day is a little different.

It could be special for any number of reasons.  Many of you have your own reasons why this federal holiday is atypical.  Besides the fact that both my grandfathers served in the U.S. Army, I also recall participating in a special way, throughout my young adult years, in Clarks Summit’s parade as a volunteer firefighter.  Though I’ve always been thankful for the sacrifices of our armed forces serving throughout our country and abroad, in a unique way, I now root on my stepsons’ father who is serving overseas in Kuwait and Afghanistan.

MemorialDay-RNG

Freedom isn’t free.  United States history can attest to that.  Occasionally, it’s even attacked from within – 911 and the Boston Marathon Bombing immediately come to mind.  On the battlefield, it’s often stated that soldiers are not permitted to mourn the loss of their fallen comrades for fear that it could jeopardize the mission or put their unit in harm’s way, but Memorial Day does given them a temporary release of sorts… to mourn, to pay their respects, to pause and to remember.

Off the battlefield here on homeland soil, we are surrounded by the fruits of these sacrifices.  We have homes, holiday barbeques with family and friends, (assuming we’re registered American citizens of age eighteen) voting rights, not to mention many others freedoms.  So whether you’re catching a local baseball game or spending time with someone you love this holiday, please take the time to stop (i.e. take a walk or visit the cemetery), remember and say thank you.

Memorial Day 2013.  We honor their sacrifice!