For Fun


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Happy Easter, Happy House Hunting, and Speedy Spring Sales to all of our clients, friends, and family from all of us here at The Don Edam Group!!!

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Green is the new black during this, the final weekend of the 2008 Parade of Homes Spring PreviewSM presented by Builders Association of the Twin Cities’ members.

This year’s Guidebook includes plenty of great Green articles to help us make sense of this growing movement and the homes in this year’s 14-home earth-friendly mini tour are built to showcase Green building practices, products and design, and many of them will host education seminars and other interesting events to give home buyers a better understanding of their Green options.  

Some of the seminars that are taking place this weekend include: “Landscaping for a Green Community”, “Light up Your Home AND Your Energy Bill” and “Geothermal Heating and Cooling: A Systems Approach.” And I’m thinking about checking out an event with eco-friendly design expert, Jackie Kanthak, who will be will answering questions, giving green design ideas, and offering advice on the the hard to find eco-friendly products for the kitchen and bathroom.

Green or not, the homes on parade cover a broad spectrum of prices to fit the needs of every buyer, ranging from the lowest priced home by S.W. Wold Townhomes, Inc. in Cambridge, priced at $119,900, to the most expensive home by Stonewood LLC, located on Loring Drive in Minnetrista and priced at $2,950,000.

So come on out this weekend to take advantage of the longer days and beautiful spring weather that’s rolled our way, and peruse the preview parade!

For more information go to http://www.paradeofhomes.org.

Happy house hunting!!! 🙂

:: Kelly ::

Greetings everyone!

I wanted to take a moment and introduce myself. My name is Kelly Carlson, Marketing Manager for the Don Edam Group, and I’m going to be contributing to this blog (and to the real estate industry in general) in the days to come, from a completely new and different perspective than your typical real estate professional.

Hoping to utilize a trifecta of my favorite hobbies (trend hunting, exploring new places, and trying new things), as well as tapping back into the service journalism and editorial voice that my U of M education once afforded me, my intentions are to keep you posted on all the latest news, statistics, tips, and trends in real estate and to scope out and share with you all of the food and dining, shopping and style, arts and entertainment, health, education, and local events that make our Twin Cities neighborhoods unique and fabulous places to live!

Although I am relatively new as a licensed real estate agent, I’m excited to know that the combination my background, work and educational experience, and personal interests can lend something new to the industry. While my expertise (& nearly a decade of experience!) lies primarily in promotions, marketing, and trend research, I also have 2 years experience as a credit analyst for a local mortgage services company and 4 years experience in title insurance research, giving me a range of knowledge and skill that can only add to our clients’ success.

I get a kick out of being a social anthropologist and spotting changes in consumer behavior, scoping out new trendsetting products and services, and just about any super-smart thinking on where our societies are headed at large. I look forward to developing new and innovative ways of marketing your homes and neighborhoods so that others can see why you called it “home” for so long, and I hope you enjoy the information I can share with you about the people, places, and events that form our great Twin Cities communities.

In the meantime, happy house hunting and speedy sales to all! )

Kelly

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Every parent of young children has an unwanted-toy graveyard somewhere in the home. Today’s prized playthings inevitably become tomorrow’s cast-offs, ready to be given away, discarded or boxed up in the garage. According to the folks at Springwise however, the alternative, offered by Texas start-up Babyplays, is to receive four to six toys by mail each month. Parents can keep the toys as long as they like, and send them back to receive a fresh batch. Monthly subscription rates range from $36.99 to $64.99.

Babyplays offers a range of age-appropriate toys, and depending on their membership level, parents can rent up to 10 toys a month. Besides reducing clutter, members can save money by renting instead of owning. You could call it the Netflix rental model applied to toys. We’ve seen start-ups tweak the rent-not-buy concept in innovative ways: a German company, Lütte-Leihen, sends parents a fresh batch of baby clothes that can be exchanged for new ones each month and the same model has been applied to women’s accessories, with companies like Bag, Borrow or Steal offering members access to designer handbags and jewellery.

A factor all of these firms must reckon with is the need to acquire an adequate inventory of items to accommodate customer whims—a potentially expensive proposition. That said, the rental model still has plenty of new potential applications. What’s key is that many consumers are becoming less interested in full ownership, opting instead for the convenience and flexibility of renting or fractional ownership.

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Looking for a commanding view of the collapsing housing market? According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, some 138 mountaintop acres next to the landmark Hollywood sign in Los Angeles are going on sale Wednesday for $22 million.

Abutting the largest urban park in the country –- and just west of the giant sign’s H, the property atop Cahuenga Peak has been privately owned for years. Eccentric billionaire Howard Hughes bought it before World War II in hopes of building a mountain hideaway for his then-girlfriend Ginger Rogers. She demurred. It passed undeveloped into Mr. Hughes’s estate and was sold in 2002 to Chicago-based Fox River Co. for $1.68 million.

Two years ago, city officials, residents and conservationists launched a fundraising drive to buy the property atop the 1,820-foot-high peak, which affords sweeping views of Los Angeles and the San Fernando Valley and the San Gabriel mountains. Their stated goal was to make the peak part of Griffith Park, the municipal land that practically envelopes it. Safe to say, they didn’t raise anywhere near the current $22 million asking price.

Griffith Park has suffered two damaging wildfires in the past year. Any potential developer is certain to face obstacles getting building permits.

Still, rare hill properties in Los Angeles can attract determined buyers, while the overall housing market remains depressed. In Los Angeles County, notices of default outnumbered home sales in the fourth quarter of 2007, and the median price of homes continues to fall, according to DataQuick Information Systems, a La Jolla, Calif., real-estate research firm. From the lofty heights of Cahuenga Peak, the view isn’t necessarily rosy. Full Story

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According to a recent article by RISMedia, additional results from a new retirement study conducted by Gray Hair Management, one of leading career coaching, networking and job search resources for professionals with base salaries of $75,000 to $300,000+, reveal that 70% of America’s corporate executives plan to pursue hobbies, travel or golf during their retirement years, and half are planning a post-retirement relocation.

Gray Hair Management’s 2007 Executive Retirement Survey was conducted in December 2007 and included almost 1000 senior level executives age 40 or older. And according to the article, results related to retirement age, financial readiness and top retirement concerns were reported earlier this month, revealing that 75.2% of America’s corporate executives plan to retire after age 60 and only half believe they are on course, financially, to retire at their planned retirement age. Additionally, health care and finances top their list of retirement concerns.

Leisure Pursuits

Contrary to reports that most baby boomers plan to work or start businesses during retirement, Gray Hair Management found that the majority of corporate executives (70.4%) plan to pursue hobbies, travel or play golf in their retirement days. Specifically, 30.9% said they plan to pursue hobbies, 25.9% plan to travel and 13.6% plan to play golf. However, 9.1% plan to start a business, 5.7% plan to go back to school, 5.4% plan to do volunteer work and 3.8% plan to work part-time (primarily as teachers or consultants).

“As baby boomer executives postpone retirement until their late sixties, seventies and beyond, it appears that most plan to enjoy leisure pursuits, rather than work, in their post-retirement days,” said Scott Kane founder and managing director of Gray Hair Management. “For those who plan to work after retirement, they will pursue volunteer opportunities, entrepreneurial ventures or part-time work as teachers or consultants.”

Retirement Relocation

The Gray Hair Management retirement survey also found that 50.7% of corporate executives plan to relocate when they retire. Almost 40% (38.5%) cited climate is the biggest reason for their planned post-retirement move, while 23.5%% want a smaller home, 17.5% said they need to downsize financially and 13% want to move closer to family.

Of those who plan to relocate after retirement, 74.4% plan to move out of state, with 8.5% planning to move to Florida, 7.6% to Arizona, 2.7% to Texas and 54.1% to other states. Additionally, 12.4% plan to move within their existing city/area, while 5.6% plan to move out of the country.

For more information, visit www.grayhairmanagement.com. Full Story

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With rents in many cities skyrocketing, men and women marrying later and a divorce rate for first-time marriages that hovers at about 45%, it’s no wonder more American couples are deciding to shack up.

There were an estimated 6.02 million unmarried-partner households in the U.S. in 2006, according to the Census Bureau’s latest research. This number includes 779,867 same-sex households. When the census began measuring unmarried partners in 1996, there were only 2.86 million opposite-sex couples.

Though you likely know at least one cohabiting pair, unlike their married and single peers, unmarried couples are not an easy group to quantify. They cannot check the single or married box truthfully, and there is little but a shared address to signify their official commitment.

But couples who live together have needs, too. In the Forbes.com roundup of the best cities for couples, they’ve identified what this growing demographic requires to maintain a stable relationship while on the path to marriage or something less traditional. They selected the country’s 40 largest metropolitan areas and collected data on marriage and divorce rates for the 20- to 34-year-olds who live there, the affordability of a starter home, the area’s income disparity and the availability of family counseling. 

Dallas, the city made famous on television for its scheming lovers and dysfunctional relationships, topped the list. Four other Texas cities are in the top 10: Houston, Austin and San Antonio. Cities at the bottom of our list, with low marriage rates, high income disparity or poor housing affordability, included Cleveland, Providence, R.I., and Miami.

Top 5 cities for couples

  1. Dallas
  2. Houston
  3. Minneapolis
  4. Denver
  5. Austin, TX

You can see Forbes’ full slide show of best cities for couples hereFull Story

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