|This article was published on: 03/01/2006|
COVER FEATURE: The List Issue 2006
Style & Design
The 10 habits billionaires have
Set your goals high for your real estate career by mirroring habits of the truly elite few. According to Forbes magazine’s annual list of “The World’s Richest People,” which ranks billionaires, 46 out of the world’s 691 billionaires made their fortunes in the real estate industry. Here’s what you can learn from their habits, lifestyles, and business styles:
For more on getting rich in real estate, browse the book selection at REALTOR.org/store.
Sources: Martin Fridson, Leverage World, an investment research publication, and author of How to Be a Billionaire (John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2000); Forbes magazine’s “The World’s Richest People,” March 2005
7 ways to update your look
A successful real estate professional needs to look fresh and modern without being too trendy. Ask yourself these 10 questions to see if your look is helping you succeed or holding you back.
1. Is your hair up-to-date? If you look at a photo of yourself from 10 or 20 years ago and the only difference is a few wrinkles on your face, it may be time to freshen up your ’do.
2. Do your clothes fit right? Take a long, hard look at yourself in the mirror. Do your clothes fit the body you’re living in now?
3. Are you well-groomed from head to toe? Your clothes should be clean, pressed, and lint-free. Both men and women should have their nails manicured and shoes polished.
4. Are you modern, without being high-fashion? Invest in good quality basics, such as nice wool pants and a cashmere sweater or a solid shirt and tie. Exude quality without being flashy.
5. Are your accessories polished? Your briefcase should be in good repair and not nicked up or look as if it’s been dragged through mud. That also goes for your writing tablet portfolio. You should also have a good pen. It doesn’t have to be a Montblanc, but it should be nice enough to convey that you’re well prepared and ready to do business.
6. Does your car say the right things about you? Your car reflects on you as a professional. It should give you credibility without being ostentatious. Be sure to have it cleaned weekly.
7. Do you mirror the people you want to work with? If you want to work with corporate executives, dress like a corporate executive. If you want to target moneyed socialites in charity circles, dress like you belong there and participate by writing a check.
Source: Maureen Costello, Image Launch, Lake Forest, Ill.
21 hot building and design trends
Housing styles remain fairly consistent, with certain styles more popular in certain regions. What changes are proportions of houses and their components — the materials used, the layout of rooms, and the rooms themselves. Many condo owners, for example, now seek amenities like well-equipped gyms and green space for people and pets. Other favorites:
1. Copycat materials. New materials mimic old-time favorites but in lighter-weight, more energy-efficient versions. Dryvit Systems Inc. manufactures materials that replicate brick, granite, and limestone for outdoors and indoors.
2. U-shaped designs. When land is at a premium, a U-shaped house allows for a private outdoor space at the center.
3. Hidden garages. Fewer home owners want to see a garage out front, even if they own a fleet.
4. More color. Splashes of bolder, deeper colors are in for shutters, doors, window frames, and even roof tiles. Historic colors are also popular. Color gives a more lived-in look, says Peggy Van Allen, color marketing manager for Dutch Boy Paints.
5. Third-floor living space. Since building up is less costly than adding on, houses are being designed to expand into attic space if zoning permits.
6. Porches. Back in vogue and deeper, porches function more as a living space than a passageway. Some home owners want a private “sunset” screened porch off a master bedroom.
7. Windowless media rooms. In condo buildings where space is at a premium and windows are expensive, builders put media rooms, used mostly at night, in wide corridors.
8. Green materials. Interest in energy-efficient, sustainable materials is on the rise. Backup generators are popular for those in hurricane zones.
9. Snoring rooms. A bedroom that can double as a sleeping space for a family member who snores keeps that person from being banished to a sofa and a spouse from having a sleepless night, says Chicago designer Susan Fredman.
10. Professional-style workout spaces. No longer will a single piece of equipment do. Home owners want larger rooms with all the bells and whistles for working out alone or with a trainer.
11. Dual master suites. Two master bedrooms with bathrooms allow families to accommodate older relatives or returning college graduates.
12. Dual libraries. With fewer living rooms built, more couples seek his and her libraries, or one for adults and one for kids.
13. Cheese cellars. Have a wine cellar? Time to add a cellar to age that bleu.
14. Elevators. For home owners who don’t want to move to a one-level house or can’t add a first-floor bedroom, an elevator allows for aging in place.
15. Multiples, multiples. Two refrigerators have long been common; many are now opting for two dishwashers and even two laundry rooms, or two sets of washers and dryers.
16. Media rooms. Even in the mid-price range, some new homes feature an entertainment center outfitted with a projection screen, leather stadium-style seating, a surround-sound system, recessed dimmable lighting, and a black ceiling, says builder Dennis Stilley of DGR Construction Inc. in Atlanta.
17. Prewired whole-home systems. A centralized panel that controls a home’s systems, including the TV sound, security, thermostat, and lighting is becoming more mainstream as prices come down. Best of all: When you’re away, you can carry a wireless tablet to check on systems or control them from your cell phone or e-mail, says Mike Whaling, business development manager for InfiniSys Inc. in Daytona Beach, Fla.
18. Textures. Whether in materials or paints, smooth is out and texture’s in. Dryvit Systems produces a paint that comes in 80 colors, can duplicate textured surfaces, and is easy to clean. New York designer Liora Manné uses different yarns in rugs and blends colors. Rebecca Cole, another New York designer, recommends mixing textures such as slate, wood, and stone in the same room for a layered look, akin to layering apparel.
19. Pet showers. No longer located outdoors or in a laundry room, a shower for Rover may occupy a separate niche in an owner’s shower.
20. All fixed up. More home owners want to nix remodeling and buy a “finished” house, whether old and remodeled or spanking new.
21. Ay car-amba! Three-car garages have become common, and one leading company, GarageTek Inc. in Syosset, N.Y., says its average makeover now equals $6,500. Makeovers often include paneled walls, tiled floors (sometimes with radiant heat), cabinets, shelves, lighting, a potting or hobby station, and sometimes a place for a TV. “A three-car garage measuring 600 square feet is bigger than most rooms,” says Barbara Butensky, director of marketing.
Sources: Peggy Van Allen, Dutch Boy Paints, Cleveland; Jeff Brooks, Real Estate Convergence, San Francisco; Barbara Butensky, GarageTek Inc., Syosset, N.Y.; Erik Carlson, Dubin Residential Communities Inc., Chicago; Barbara Catlow, Dryvit Systems Inc., West Warwick, R.I.; Wendy S. Cohen, Orren Pickell Designers & Builders, Lincolnshire, Ill.; Rebecca Cole, Cole Creates, New York; Marianne Curran, Realty World First, Raleigh, N.C.; Anna Marie Fannelli, Floor & Décor, Tenafly, N.J.; Susan Fredman, Susan Fredman & Associates, Chicago; Lily Kanter, Serena and Lily, Sausalito, Calif.; Liora Manné, Lamontage, N.Y.; James Martin, The Color People, Denver; Ed Mattingly, Mattingly Custom Finishes, Chicago; Gail Missner, Baird & Warner, Chicago; David Robbins, Architecture Collaborative, Elliott City, Md.; Emily Stevenson, New York; Dennis Stilley, DGR Construction Inc., Atlanta; Sarah Susanka, author, Inside the Not So Big House (The Taunton Press, 2005), Raleigh, N.C.; Sam Switzenbaum, Switzenbaum & Associates, Philadelphia; Mike Whaling, InfiniSys Inc., Daytona Beach, Fla.
For many Americans, rooms devoted to reverential pursuits are becoming as coveted as the rec room of the 1970s. Increased floor space, smaller families, post-9/11 nesting instincts, and the mainstreaming of religion and yoga are driving the trend toward dedicating rooms to reflection and spirituality.
Biker Lance Armstrong’s home in Spain came equipped with an altar room. Pop singer Britney Spears, who was raised as a Baptist and then introduced to the Kabbalah’s teachings by Madonna, has told fans she’s toying with ideas for a prayer and meditation room in her Malibu, Calif., mansion. Regular folks, too, are carving out sacred space in spare bedrooms and closets.
Unlike the ubiquitous rec room of the ’70s, these spiritual havens have no common name. But whether they’re called reading nooks, prayer and meditation rooms, or yoga retreats, expect to see more of these soulful spaces, particularly among young singles, childless couples, and empty-nesters. —By Lori Hall Steele
11 ways to add flair to showings
A house must be clean and clutter-free to generate interest. Even more may be necessary to set the listing apart, particularly in a softening market. Here are some decorating and updating tips you can share with sellers that’ll bring “wows” from today’s buyers.
Source: Mark Nash, Coldwell Banker Residential, Central Street Office, Evanston, Ill., author of 1001 Tips for Buying & Selling a Home (South-Western Educational Publishing, 2004)
5 feng shui deal breakers for buyers
Feng shui is an ancient Chinese design philosophy that tries to optimize the flow of energy through any space — a single room, a house, even an office building. Proponents say properties with good feng shui meet your physical, emotional, and spiritual needs and bring you good luck. Buyers who believe in the principles of feng shui will avoid homes with the following characteristics:
1. A home with the bathroom located in the central tai chi area, the area of home where all of the energies are in perfect balance
2. A home with a spiral staircase in the center
3. A home with a staircase directly in front of the front door
4. Property located at a T- or Y-junction road with heavy road traffic
5. An excessively oddly shaped home
Source: Buy Your Home Smarter With Feng Shui by Holly Ziegler (Dragon Chi Publications, 2004)
5 feng shui concepts sellers should know
To put the best face on a listing and appeal to buyers who follow feng shui principles, keep these tips in mind:
1. Pay special attention to the front door, which is considered the “mouth of chi” (chi is the “life force” of all things) and one of the most powerful aspects of the entire property. Abundance, blessings, opportunities, and good fortune enter through the front door. It’s also the first impression buyers have of how well the sellers have taken care of the rest of the property. Make sure the area around the front door is swept clean, free of cobwebs and clutter. Make sure all lighting is straight and properly hung. Better yet, light the path leading up to the front door to create an inviting atmosphere.
2. Chi energy can be flushed away wherever there are drains in the home. To keep the good forces of a home in, always keep the toilet seats down and close the doors to bathrooms.
3. The master bed should be in a place of honor, power, and protection, which is farthest from and facing toward the entryway of the room. It’s even better if you can place the bed diagonally in the farthest corner. Paint the room in colors that promote serenity, relaxation, and romance, such as soft tones of green, blue, and lavender.
4. The dining room symbolizes the energy and power of family togetherness. Make sure the table is clear and uncluttered during showings. Use an attractive tablecloth to enhance the look of the table while also softening sharp corners.
5. The windows are considered to be the eyes of the home. Getting the windows professionally cleaned will make the home sparkle and ensure that the view will be optimally displayed.
Source: Sell Your Home Faster With Feng Shui by Holly Ziegler (Dragon Chi Publications, 2001)
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