Tracy Tidwell Real Estate Commercial

Monday, January 23, 2017

Please Say You Don’t Use These Passwords!

The obvious password you use for your devices may be making you vulnerable to a data breach. Keeper Security, a password management software firm, analyzed more than 10 million login details leaked online through data breaches that occurred in 2016.

In fact, easily guessed numbers comprised eight of the top 10 most commonly used passwords. Also, passwords like “18atcskd2w” and “3rjs1la7qe” landed on the list. Those may seem unusual but these are commonly used by bots when setting up dummy email accounts for spam and phishing attacks.The most popular password that continues to be used: “123456,” which the firm’s analysis showed was used 17 percent of the time by hacked accounts. The next most common password was the similar “123456789.”
The firm did note one piece of progress on the password front: The word “password” finally dropped from fifth position on the list to now eighth.
Seven of the top 15 passwords on the lists are made up of six or fewer characters, which can make them more vulnerable to hackers, the company notes.
"Email providers could do everyone a favor by flagging this kind of repetition and reporting the guilty parties," Keeper's researchers note.
Here were the most commonly used passwords in 2016, according to Keeper Security. If you find one of your passwords on the list, be sure to go change your password now!
1. 123456
2. 123456789
3. qwerty
4. 12345678
5. 111111
6. 1234567890
7. 1234567
8. password
9. 123123
10. 987654321
12. mynoob
13. 123321
14. 666666
15. 18atcskd2w
16. 7777777
17. 1q2w3e4r
19. 555555
20. 3rjs1la7qe

Monday, January 16, 2017

5 Home Design Fads That Are Out in 2017

Shiplap and white-on-white kitchens may finally be falling out of favor. The two trends have dominated home design in recent years, but® says they'll be fading fast in 2017. Here are some of the home design trends® predicts will fall to the wayside in the new year.
  1. Gray. Once the hottest color, gray is now looking gloomy. "It's been overdone," says Tanya Campbell of Denver-based Viridis Design Studio. "Diversity in the palette will strike a contrast. We may even see a transition from gray color palettes to warmer mochas and taupes."
  2. The glam look. This style's signature is bold whites, bright silvers, and deep blacks, which have been popular in kitchen and bathroom designs. "We're going to leave the glam era behind. That slick, stark, severe minimalism will be replaced with warmer elements," says interior designer Bea Pila. "At the end of the day, we're seeking a deeper comfort level in our personal spaces. That perfect showroom feel we were once into doesn't make this possible."
  3. Shiplap. Shiplap surged to popularity as Joanna Gaines, host of HGTV's "Fixer Upper," turned to it as her go-to remodeling piece. But® notes: “If you’ve ever wondered what 2016's version of tacky wood paneling would be, look no further than this trend that seems to have overtaken TV design shows." It's difficult to remove, and designers now say it often makes little sense to use, particularly in a Colonial or Tudor home style.
  4. White-on-white kitchens. White everything in the kitchen — from countertops to cabinetry and even the floor — is fading fast. "It's just too much," says Sara Chiarilli, a designer at Sarasota, Fla.-based Artful Conceptions. "This trend started to go in 2016, but you will find it completely gone in 2017." That said, Chiarilli predicts that whites will stick around, but they will take on more depth and tones in kitchens in the new year.
  5. Copper. Expect to see less of this heavy metal in 2017. Copper fixtures are another trend on the chopping block in the new year,® notes.
Source: “10 Interior Design Trends That Are So Completely Over for 2017,”® (Dec. 29, 2016)

Monday, January 9, 2017

3 New Year’s Resolutions for Buyers in 2017

New Year’s resolution: Buy a home.
You've heard that plenty from your contacts. So, now how do they get there with their savings?
There are plenty of preparations would-be home buyers can make to put home ownership more within their reach in 2017. Here are three New Year’s resolutions to adopt to get on the path:
I will automate my down payment savings.
Buyers who are trying to save up the often-recommended 20 percent down payment will need to get savvy at saving, stat. First off, you often don’t really need 20 percent down (read: 3% Loans a Game Changer?), but you do need to save. Here’s a way to commit: Automate your bank accounts so that you regularly set aside a small amount of your paycheck into a separate savings account dedicated as your “house fund.” “Amassing enough for a down payment takes discipline and perseverance, but setting up automatic savings can make it easier,” says Marcia Goodman, a real estate pro with RE/MAX Gateway in Gainesville, Va. “If you never see the cash, you won’t spend it.”
I will clean up my credit.
Pay your bills on time. Keep up on credit card, car, and college loans. Mortgage lenders want to see that you aren’t sloppy with credit. You don’t need to avoid credit altogether, however. “I had a client who made $250,000 a year and was denied a mortgage because his credit card payments were always late,” says Alexandra Axsen, a managing broker with Lake Okanagan Realty Ltd. In Kelowna, B.C. It’s also important to establish a credit history. Dean Sioukas, founder of Magilla Loans in Sacramento, Calif., told® that he suggests not using more than 30 percent of your available credit.
I will budget wisely.
Downsize your budget now so you’ll be able to save more for your down payment and pay down any debts. Also, factor in added expenses that come with buying a new home, like furniture and accessories. If you know that a mortgage is going to take a bigger amount of your paycheck, create a budget that factors that in so you can get used to living on less disposable income, says Kevin Lawton of Coldwell Banker Schiavone & Associates in Yardville, N.J.
Source: “5 Habits to Start Now If You Hope to Buy in 2017,”® (Dec. 29, 2016)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

5 Furniture Must-Haves for First-Time Buyer


While empty rooms are filled with potential, it might take your first-time buyer some time and mental energy to see what you see.
A Place to Lay Your Head 
Potential buyers, especially those buying for the first time, can be intimidated by the amount of space a house has and don’t know where to begin when it comes to furnishing it and making it their own. However, it’s easy to customize an empty home to fit your personality. Help them focus on the five basic pieces of furniture they will need to feel settled and at home.
The bed is the largest item in the room, so it’s certainly a design focal point, not to mention a place where we spend a third of our lives. Homeowners should take time to select a great headboard and bedframe that they’ll enjoy for many years. Later, they can match the other pieces in the bedroom to the headboard style.
  1. Pull Up a Seat
A house becomes a home based on the memories created there, many of which happen during meals. Nothing is more symbolic of together-time than the dining table, so a table and chair set is an important item to focus on for new homeowners. A good, high-quality set will allow for all-important family meals and provides a space to gather with family and friends for many years. Advise your homeowners to consider the following:
  • Choose a set with more chairs than you need. This allows you to have guests and host gatherings.
  • Choose chairs with an easily wiped surface, such as wood or leather seats. This will help ensure they look great for a long time, especially for families with young children.
  1. It’s OK to Be a Couch Potato
Being a couch potato can be a good thing: It requires choosing your couch wisely. A couch can be a costly investment, and new homeowners will want to select one that will be comfortable for a good number of years. Here are some things for your buyers to keep in mind:
  • Measure to see what size couch will fit.
  • If you need extra sleeping room, look for a sleeper sofa.
  • Like to put your feet up? Pick built-in recliners or an ottoman.
  • Make sure to ask if it can be cleaned and check if there is a warranty.
  • Going neutral means your couch will work in your decor for a long time. However, lighter colors may be difficult to keep clean with young children.
  1. Snug as a Bug
The old saying about being as snug as a bug in a rug is a true one. Rugs bring in warmth and tie together a conversation area. Homebuyers should keep the following in mind when choosing rugs for their new home:  
  • Measure to see what size rug you need.
  • Regular vacuuming is the key to making a rug last and look great.
  • If you have a high-traffic area, pets or small children, you might want to try an indoor-outdoor rug because they are easily cleaned.
  1. A Place for Everything
Clutter doesn’t make for a peaceful or inviting home. New homeowners should consider storage pieces as a key first purchase when filling their new home. A dresser is a great investment, because over the years it can serve many purposes. Buying a new piece, refurbishing an old one or hunting for an antique can be just the ticket for the foyer, den, dining room or bedroom.
There are so many pieces of furniture to add to a new home. Instead of getting overwhelmed by a long list, homeowners can focus on these five basics to get a great start on making their new house a home.
Source: Lea Schneider is a professional organizer who provides great tips to realtors and homeowners on the best pieces of furniture to purchase first for a new home.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Is the Starter Home Coming Back?


Starter homes were largely viewed as a dying fad, but millennials are showing renewed interest. They believe the starter home may help turn them into a homeowner more quickly.
Millennials say the top reason they’re staying on the fence in moving forward on a home purchase is because they’re struggling to save to buy their dream home. Of those holding out for their dream home, half of respondents cited the desire to go through the home-buying process only one and 37 percent said they don’t want the hassles of renovating an older home.Six in 10 millennials recently surveyed by Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices expressed an interest in purchasing a starter home, seeking a place that may require some TLC and that they could fix up over time. Such homes tend to be more affordable and may offer them the ability to build credit and become a homeowner sooner, the company’s latest Homeowner Sentiment Survey reveals.
But others are giving a second look to homes that may require a little more work.
“Starter homes can provide first-time buyers with independence and an attainable investment,” says Gino Blefari, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “The process of buying one – while never easy – may not be as difficult as it’s perceived it to be.”
Overall, current and prospective homeowners -- particularly millennials -- are growing more optimistic about the direction of the housing market, but they are expressing some concerns too, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ latest Homeowner Sentiment Survey shows.
Sixty-six percent of current homeowners and 63 percent of prospective home buyers say they view the real estate market favorably. Millennials, ages 18 to 34, were the most optimistic generation with a 74 percent favorable view of the real estate market, the survey showed.
Still, while sentiment is high, consumers expressed some concerns, most notably about the direction of mortgage rates and how upticks may impact their ability to buy a home. Seventy-six percent of current homeowners and 79 percent of prospective homeowners cite increasing interest rates as a chief challenge affecting today’s housing market. Furthermore, 44 percent of homeowners and 70 percent of prospective buyers say they would feel anxious if mortgage rates were to rise. A majority of respondents said higher mortgage rates would make it difficult for them to buy a home.
“People feel good about real estate because housing is doing well in many markets across America,” says Gino Blefari, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. “Although the idea of a rate hike can grab headlines and initially create some unease, it’s important to remember rate increases are often the mark of an improving, healthy U.S. economy. That is the case today.”

Monday, December 19, 2016

Easy Ways to Enhance the Home’s Entryway

The entrance to the home is where buyers often form some of their first impressions of the interior of the home.
However, too often, “the entryway gets neglected because it isn’t necessary in the same way that a living room sofa is,” Larina Kase, an interior designer and home stager in the Philadelphia area, told®. “But it’s actually one of the simplest and least expensive areas to decorate to get the biggest impact.”
That said, many entryways suffer from overcrowded coat racks and oversized furniture that is making the area feel less appealing and less spacious, designers say.
Add a mirror: “Every entryway needs a spectacular mirror, especially in small spaces,” says Jack Menashe of Menashe Design in New York. “It makes them optically larger and adds depth. Plus, who doesn’t want to check themselves out before they leave the house?”Here are a few simple things you can try to spice up the home’s entryway:
Light it up: Add a small lamp on a table for a welcoming glow.
Fresh flowers: Try an orchid, potted plant, or vase of cut blooms to add a touch of nature and color.
A bench: If there’s space in the entryway, have a place to sit down and that ideally has some storage underneath it too. Add a colorful pillow to brighten up the space too.

Monday, December 12, 2016

Real Estate Companies Named ‘World’s Most Ethical'

Three real estate companies were among this year’s list of 131 honorees for “world’s most ethical.” A handful of companies across many industries had to show they excelled in three areas surrounding ethics: promoting ethical business standards and practices internally, enabling managers and employers to make good choices, and shaping future industry standards by introducing tomorrow’s best practices today.
In total, 131 honorees across 21 countries were named to this year’s list. More than 45 industries were reflected as well.The following three real estate companies landed on Ethisphere’s 2016 honoree list of World’s Most Ethical Companies: Realogy Holdings Corp., CBRE Group Inc., and Jones Lang LaSalle Inc.
For Realogy, it’s the fifth year it has landed on Ethisphere’s list. Realogy officials say they keep ethics at the forefront by writing articles across platforms for its agents on ethics topics, participating in ethics panel discussions, and hosting local college students at its headquarters for discussions on business ethics.
"You need only look at the news headlines for an indication of the seriousness of issues facing companies that do not act in an ethical manner," Elisabeth Gehringer, Realogy's chief ethics and compliance officer, said in a statement. "It is important to go beyond simply having a company code of ethics. At Realogy, we strive to engage employees in our ethics program so that they have a clear understanding of how to conduct business with ethics and integrity each day."
Source: “World’s Most Ethical Companies Honorees,” (2016) and “Realogy Furthers Its Commitment to Ethics and Integrity,” Realogy Corp. (Nov. 30, 2016)