Juan Monteverde Shows How to Work With An Attorney

Juan Monteverde Shows How to Work With An Attorney

Working with an attorney to help resolve a legal dispute can be unfamiliar territory for some people. That doesn’t mean, however, that it has to be a difficult process. In fact, a good attorney can actively help to demystify the interactions between themselves and a client over the course of a working relationship. In order to help our readers better understand how this works, we turned to the career of Juan Monteverde, a leading securities attorney. Through a look at his insights and an overview of his professional history, you should have a better idea of what to expect from your interactions with an attorney.

Professional background

Let’s first take a look at the professional history of Juan Monteverde in order to gain perspective on how he has helped his own clients resolve a myriad of legal issues. As a securities attorney, he focuses his work on issues dealing with stocks and other financial tools relating to public ownership of a company. In this regard, he often works with shareholders during the process of a corporate merger to ensure their rights are properly taken into account. By doing so, he has been able to not only protect the rights of the shareholders he represents, but also to help improve the overall quality of the merger taking place.

The attorney is also known for his work in disseminating ideas related to legal practice. These undertakings date as far back as his time in law school where he was a staff editor of the law review. He also served as the President of Plead the 5th, his school’s official newspaper. His written work in his field has continued into the present, where he produces scholarly content for distribution in legal publications. In addition to writting articles, he also often speaks at public events to help inform others on issues related to mergers and executive compensation. In this capacity, he has spoken at ABA, ACI, PLI, and other legal conferences.

Importance of communication

One of the most important things to expect from an attorney is an open and clear line of communication. Just like any other type of relationship, communication is the basis for making the partnership a fruitful one and even the best of intentions can be for naught if there is a breakdown in this area. Though communication does not necessarily need to be immediate for it to satisfy the needs of a good working relationship, there should at least be enough of it to keep you abreast of developments in your legal matter. If you find that you are unclear about how things are progressing, and you’re unable to get a response from your attorney, then you may have a breakdown in communication that needs to be addressed.

In general, it is reasonable to expect regular updates from your attorney or someone in their office. You are also well within the bounds of a normal working relationship to expect to be clear on the overall strategy for your matter and where in the process you are at a given time. A timeline of events can be helpful in this regard and can be something you can request from your attorney to ensure you’re both on the same page. If you have questions related to that timeline or other aspects of your case, phone calls or other forms of communication should be responded to in a timely manner. Similarly, you should also be responsive to your attorney and provide feedback when asked.

Attorney competence

At present, there are well over one million attorneys licensed to practice law in the United States. While this means that you should have many options available if you should have a legal dispute that needs to be resolved, it also means that there is a wide range of skill levels amongst practicing attorneys. It is important to understand this and realize that just because an attorney is licensed to practice law, it doesn’t mean that they are exceptionally skilled in that regard.

In order to ensure that you select an attorney who is able to meet the demands of your case, it can be wise to look to third-party evaluations of their abilities. This will help you feel confident that your attorney is competent in the field in which they practice. To take an example from the career of Juan Monteverde, the attorney is ranked by numerous outside organizations, such as Martindale-Hubbell, as a top practitioner in his field. In fact, Super Lawyers has listed him as a New York Metro Rising Star in multiple different years, an award given to only the top 2.5% of attorneys in a given specialty.

Understanding fees

Another important issue to understand fully is the fees that will be associated with a particular legal action. There’s no overarching rule that can be used to determine how much it will cost to engage an attorney in services. Instead, this is an item that should be discussed between a client and their attorney directly. This issue is of sufficient importance that it should be discussed at the outset of a working relationship so as to prevent any misunderstandings down the road.

Examples of possible fee structures vary drastically depending on the attorney’s experience level, type of legal action, and other factors. Some attorneys will operate on a pro bono basis, meaning there is no charge for their services. This is sometimes done in the case of low-income clients. Other legal actions might be paid for with a percentage of a client’s awarded damages, in the case of some civil suits. Other attorneys may charge a flat hourly fee. Knowing an attorney’s fee structure from the outset is an important part of the full and honest communication that all clients should expect.

While many people may not have a full understanding of what to expect from a potential attorney, they need not be left in the dark for long. A good attorney-client relationship generally follows certain guidelines that can often be similar to other fruitful partnerships one may encounter in life. Communication and trust are key components in these matters. Looking to the above overview of insights and work by Juan Monteverde can provide a good first step in understanding what to look for if you find yourself in need of an attorney’s services.

The Whiskey Wash Reviews Kevin Plank’s Sagamore Spirit

The Whiskey Wash Reviews Kevin Plank’s Sagamore Spirit

When Kevin Plank was playing football for the Maryland Terrapins, he was continuously frustrated by the fact that his cotton T-shirts didn’t keep his body comfortable and dry. Being an individual who wasn’t easily daunted by a challenge and who liked to pursue passion projects, he searched for a fabric that could wick the sweat from athletes’ bodies when they were on the field.

Eventually, his search led him to a moisture-wicking microfiber fabric that had previously been used for underwear, from which he designed a new T-shirt that kept athletes dry, cool and light by wicking moisture.

The Establishment and Development of Under Armour

Based on the success of his early prototypes, Plank went on to found his company Under Armour in 1996 to produce sports apparel made from microfiber. At the time, he had $40,000 in credit card debt and $20,000 in personal savings, and he began selling his T-shirts from his grandmother’s basement. Nevertheless, thanks to his entrepreneurial drive and sharp business skills, he managed to keep growing the company by expanding its product lines and making smart marketing investments. Now, almost 25 years after its establishment, Under Armour has grown into a multinational enterprise that’s known for some of corporate America’s fastest growth rates, making a total of $5.2 billion in revenue in 2018 alone. 

However, as the company dealt with concerns about questionable accounting practices and slowing sales, Plank announced his retirement as CEO in October 2019.

Sagamore Spirit Produces Award-Winning Ryes

Never one to sit still, Plank also founded several other businesses while heading up Under Armour. One of these ventures was the Maryland-based Sagamore Spirit company, which began construction on a 22,000-square-foot whiskey distillery in 2015. The distillery also features a welcome center, a processing center, a gift store, two tasting rooms, and a full-service restaurant and bar named Rye Street Tavern.

Maryland has long been a center of U.S. rye whiskey production. According to Forbes, before Prohibition, there were 13 distilleries in Baltimore and 31 located throughout the rest of the state. Maryland-style rye is known to be smoother, sweeter and less spicy than its Pennsylvania counterpart, made from 65 percent rye and 35 percent corn. 

As another passion project of Plank’s, Sagamore Spirit’s mission is to produce rye-whiskey that stands out from the crowd due to its unique Maryland style. Sagamore Spirit sets itself apart due to the use of spring water sourced from Plank’s Sagamore Farm, a renowned horse farm that’s located on a bed of limestone rock. The water is filtered naturally through a limestone aquifer, which ensures its refreshing pureness and zest. The rye whiskey is aged in North Point, in a facility with a capacity of 20,000 barrels. 

And it seems that Plank’s rye whiskey is a success, as The Whiskey Wash reports. While experts agree that the distillery has room for growth, its ryes have already won several industry awards. For example, the cognac finish expression won a noteworthy double-gold citation at the 2020 Denver International Spirits Competition. This cognac finish is one of seven ryes the distillery is currently producing. 

Sagamore Spirit Cognac Finish Rye Whiskey

First produced as a distillery exclusive, the Sagamore Spirit cognac finish rye is a delicious 101 proof that’s been aged for four years in charred barrels made of American white oak before being finished for eight months in barrels that formerly contained French cognac. It’s a pleasing dark amber color, with a nose that contains hints of maple bar donuts, vanilla and new leather jackets. As rye aficionados would expect, it hits the palate with spicy notes of cinnamon and fresh-cut ginger before melting down into date bars and brown sugar. 

Now available in wide release, the cognac finish rye makes for good sipping, although it might be sweeter, moodier and darker than some comparable ryes. For those bourbon drinkers who are less experienced with ryes, the Sagamore Spirit cognac finish rye might be a pleasant cross-over. 

While the finish has a long duration, its fading could be more elegant and pleasing — as the sweetness and spice dwindle, drinkers are left with an enduring black tea taste on the palate. 

Fine-Tuning the Ryes

Overall, the Sagamore Spirit company is well on its way to producing some delectable ryes. Nevertheless, some may need a little more fine-tuning before they become true classics.

Jonathan Cornelissen and How Data Affects Everyday Life

Jonathan Cornelissen and How Data Affects Everyday Life

There has been plenty of talk recently about the ways in which data is affecting the economy. This is with good reason, as the ways in which organizations conduct business has been drastically changed by the recent increase in data availability. However, lost in this focus is the impact that data is having on many other facets of modern daily life. To dive into this topic, we looked to work conducted by Jonathan Cornelissen, a founder of a leading data education startup. Through a look at his work, along with an overview of modern data usage, you will be able to gain a better idea of how the field affects many of your daily actions.

Professional background

For a sense of his credentials, let’s first take a brief look at the professional history of Jonathan Cornelissen. The tech entrepreneur first thought up the idea for his data startup while pursuing his Ph.D. At that time, he already had a sense of how data was poised to change the world and he was taking steps to tailor his education in that direction. To do so, he began learning the R programming language, popular for its usability in data science applications. When he found the language challenging to learn through his formal studies, he looked for additional resources to aid in his education using his analytical skills to the best of his abilities. To his surprise, there was a notable lack of independent platforms offering engaging educational content geared towards the field of data science.

To address this shortfall, he founded his startup along with a small group of his peers. The idea behind it was that it could not only help people at formal educational institutions, but also those who were already in the workplace. The endeavor turned out to be a success, first while working alongside formal academic partners and later after taking the platform more widely to market. It has since become one of the most popular data resources online and has helped educate over four million learners in the field of data science.

Data at home

As the startup founder foresaw when he created his company years ago, data has become an increasingly more important part of daily existence, a fact that is perhaps seen most easily through the way it affects life at home. One of the key issues affecting modern home life is the access a particular household has to goods and services. For instance, an individual living in a more rural area might have to drive quite far to access their nearest supermarket, whereas a suburban resident might have a plethora of options within close proximity. This type of consideration can have a compounding effect on the quality of daily life, sometimes even making an impact on how much access one has to healthy food choices.

While it might not seem immediately obvious to those outside the field, this aspect of modern life is heavily tied into the field of data science. The reason for this lies partly in the manner in which companies make decisions about where to operate retail locations. One factor that weighs heavily in this regard is the demographic makeup of a given area. Data analysis of these demographics allows companies to predict where their products might be best received and where they stand to make the most profit. Business choices made as a result of this type of data analysis can trickle down to the community scale in the form of decisions about where to place supermarkets, affecting individuals in the manner detailed above.

Education and data

Demographic data can also have a large impact on the quality of education available to residents of different areas. This data, often pulled from census information, can help governments ascertain population levels, income disparities, age ranges for residents, and more. Governments will often use this information to make choices about funding, teacher to student ratios, school upgrades, and other criteria that directly affect the educational process. As a result of these decisions, educational effectiveness may vary from school to school.

The tech entrepreneur has long discussed the importance of using data to improve the educational process. Having played a role in the formal educational system before transitioning to his efforts in his educational startup, he has a unique view on the ways in which the state of education can be improved on the whole. By harnessing the power of data and the ingenuity of the entrepreneurial spirit, he has been able to bridge gaps in a system that does not always adequately meet the needs of students in his field. His work, though often focused on data science, is widely applicable to educational efforts on a larger scale.

Healthcare

Another area in which data plays a key role is in the field of healthcare. This can be seen in many different aspects of the field, but one area that is especially relevant to daily life is the way in which data affects health insurance. This manifests through the ways in which insurance companies determine premiums and other aspects of their offerings. Though this process can vary between companies, all insurance companies use data as a primary means of serving clients and staying economically viable.

Data is also used by hospitals to better serve the patients who pass through their doors. This data can be as simple as exit surveys which allow them to analyze quality of care, or it can delve into more complex areas of disease analysis to innovate new ways to treat illnesses. No matter the specific method, it is again evident that data plays a huge role in this area of life which is vitally important to the wellbeing of individuals in the modern world.

While it is true that data has helped to revolutionize the workplace in recent history and has changed much about how companies are run, it is also important to note the ways in which the field of data science is changing our everyday lives. From the above overview, we can see that this is apparent in many different foundational parts of life, such as healthcare, education, nutrition, and more. Coupled with information on the work of Jonathan Cornelissen, this analysis should provide a helpful jumping-off point for those interested in the effect data has on life in present-day society.

Interview with John A. Dracup, PhD, author of Clean Water for Developing Countries

Interview with John A. Dracup, PhD, author of Clean Water for Developing Countries

When we first came upon this book we were drawn in by the smiling face of a little girl playing in fresh, clean water. We often forget that water is a resource that is needed for survival, but many countries continue to struggle with clean water. It’s not someone else’s job to fix this, anyone can help, and author Dracup tells us exactly how in his latest book, Clean Water for Developing Countries.

Q. If you could give your book to one celebrity/scientist/politician, who would it be and why?

Celebrity:   Matt Damon, who is the Co-founder of Water.org.   This organization funds clean water projects all over the world. 

Q. What was your inspiration to write Clean Water for Developing Countries?

1. I spent my career as a professor at UCLA and at the University of California, Berkeley, doing research and teaching water resource engineering, environmental engineering and hydrology.    This experience led me to appreciate the need for clean water throughout the world.  I joined Rotary International,  a humanitarian organization because of its commitment to providing water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) to those in need around the world.  I have worked on Rotary International clean water projects in Kenya, Peru, Honduras and Guatemala, all of which are featured in my book.

2. I have been very fortunate and blessed throughout my life and working on clean water projects in developing countries and writing this book are a means of giving back to those who have not been as fortunate.     

Q. Give us some key points that everyone must know when reading your book.

1.  Anyone coming into a village or a community must work with the local populations to solve the problem of providing clean water.  If it does not already exist, a local water committee must be formed, with representatives from all those concerned.   

2.  The problem of providing clean water to developing countries can be solved.  We have the knowledge and the technology to turn the most polluted water into clean water.  It only takes determination and funding for those who know how to do this. 

3.  By following the procedures laid out in this book, individuals with a wide range of backgrounds can work on and solve this problem in communities throughout all developing countries.

Q. Can you tell us three fun facts you discovered while writing your book?

John A. Dracup PhD

1. A helicopter trip over much of Guatemala, looking for potential sites where clean water may be needed in a community,  is a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. 

2.  A three hour boat ride to Remba Island, Lake Victoria, Kenya, can be a harrowing experience as the waves can be six feet in height. 

3.  Custom officers in Nairobi collect a 10% tariff on all gifts coming into the country.  However, I found out that a single tee shirt with Barak Obama’s picture on it would suffice as the tax. 

Q. You’re obviously passionate about clean water, what other issues do you wish to help solve?

Two issues come to mind:

  1.  Education in developing countries is an important issue.  Clean water allows children to go to school more often as they are free from diseases.  But the schools must be funded and supported by the local and federal governments.
  2. Two million people throughout the world live on less than $2.00 per day.  Economic equity is essential for peace and the elimination of conflicts in the world. 

Q. Have you visited the developing countries in need of water, if so, what was that experience like?

I have worked on clean water projects in Kenya, Peru, Honduras and Guatemala.  In Kenya, on Remba Island,  which is in Lake Victoria,  after three years of installation the clean water systems became operative.  Women from all over the Island came to get clean water.  They left with the water-filled jerrycans on top of their heads and smiles on their faces. 

All of these projects were a marvelous experience and it was a pleasure to work on them.

Q. What is the core message you want to deliver to the world through your book?

Drinking polluted water causes over a million deaths worldwide each year due to water- borne diseases, such as typhoid and cholera.   These deaths are easily avoided.  We have the knowledge and the technology to clean the most polluted water.   We just need the determination and the funding to do so.    

The Two Most Popular Online Degree Subjects

The Two Most Popular Online Degree Subjects

So you’ve done your research on the pro’s and con’s of getting an online degree, the benefits of being able to manage time much easier, and the requirement of self motivation and a good work ethic. But now what? There’s not an “intro to online degrees” course! In this article, I’ll give you the 2 most popular online degree subjects, and a little bit of information about each one. 

Business Administration

Business administration is quite possibly the most popular degree subject ever. Period. And there are a lot of reasons for it. But in any case, it’s definitely one of the most popular in terms of online schooling. This is partially to do the sheer amount of degrees available. There are options for everyone, with every ambition. It’s also a very ideal course layout for online schooling. There isn’t a lot of technical math, or hands-on assignments, there’s just a little bit of everything. This allows for a good course to take in the midst of a busy lifestyle, since in many cases, it won’t require too much outside research or help.

Criminal Justice

Criminal justice is also a very popular degree in general, which is a big part of why it’s on this list. But it’s also another good online option. Of course you could get a masters degree in physics or mathematics online, but that’s a very large time investment, even on your own time. Criminal justice is something that a lot of people already think about, and is a great segway into a career. Whether you want to go into law enforcement as a police officer, or join the FBI or CIA, become a corrections officer, or go into law. Criminal justice is a great option for anyone looking for a job in any of these areas. 

Finding Balance: One Entrepreneur’s Journey To Success

Finding Balance: One Entrepreneur’s Journey To Success

Entrepreneurs work long hours, have packed schedules, and are under continuous stress. This could lead to poor health. For many employees, it does just that. But studies are starting to show that, for a variety of reasons, entrepreneurs live longer, healthier lives than employees do. These studies are revealing that entrepreneurs are less likely to have hypertension, obesity and diabetes than other workers. However, they are also showing that entrepreneurs suffer from stress-related illnesses at higher than average rates when they don’t incorporate “self-care” into their daily routines. 

Many entrepreneurs start their own businesses to gain freedom and flexibility in their work life. They want to be their own boss, make their own schedules, and have a better work-life balance. Cheril Clarke, an entrepreneur that founded Phenomenal Writing, LLC 5 years ago, says, “Entrepreneurship allows me to design the life I want.” For her, and other entrepreneurs, this includes setting aside time for health. Cheril works out every day, whether that be going to the gym or swinging on a hoop, practicing aerial acrobatics. She made a commitment to herself to do this because good health is part of a good work-life balance to her. 

Perhaps the trait most responsible for these better health outcomes is an entrepreneur’s self-discipline. It takes discipline and tenaciousness to build and grow a business. This attitude seems to carry over to exercise and diet. They also have more flexibility than the average worker, and therefore have more time for exercise and healthy meal planning. Regardless of the reasons, entrepreneurs make fewer visits to the hospital and enjoy higher overall well–being and life satisfaction. They are more likely to exercise and eat fruits and vegetables. A study by Louisiana State University even found that as the number of small businesses grew within an area, the health of the surrounding community improved. Obesity, diabetes, and mortality rates all declined steadily, ranking at less than half the national average.

However, the good news only extends into the mental health arena when we are cognizant of our work-life balance. According to a study by Michael Freeman, a psychiatrist, psychologist and former CEO, entrepreneurs are 50% more likely to report having a mental health condition, with some specific conditions being more prevalent among founders. Seventy-two percent of entrepreneurs surveyed self-reported concerns when not enacting a consistent program of exercise, sleep, and balance. 

In general, entrepreneurs seem most at risk for depression, anxiety, and addiction, both substance and behavioral when they don’t take care of themselves. Increased stress, uncertainty, social isolation, and shame from “impression management” (the idea that for optics they must come across as “having it all together”) all compound to result in irritability, burn-out, low self-worth, sleep disturbances, and even migraines.

Many of these symptoms can be combated with self-care, along with diet and exercise. Self-care is the practice of taking an active role in protecting one’s own well-being and happiness, particularly during periods of stress. Meditation, travel, getting enough sleep, massage, and spending time with loved ones can all be self-care. The act of doing things that are relaxing and fulfilling help de-stress an individual and assist in maintaining connections with non-work activities.

Clarke has made it her mission to practice self-care often, not because she is concerned about issues, but because she knows it makes her a better communicator. Whether that means going to the salon to get her hair and nails done on a consistent basis or getting a massage at the end of a busy week, Ms. Clarke makes a concerted effort to take care of herself. She knows that when she does this, her work is far better than when she doesn’t. Another great trick of Cheril’s: spending time in nature and meditating in order to relax. “Life mastery to me, in one word, means balance.” She finds balance through tending to her physical and mental health as well as dedicating long days to her businesses. You can hear more about Cheril’s balanced approach to work, life, and health on the Life Mastery by Monica Bey podcast and learn more about her businesses at PhenomenalWriting.com and PhenomenalSpeeches.com.

Practical Tips for Avoiding the 3 Most Common Types of Distracted Driving

Practical Tips for Avoiding the 3 Most Common Types of Distracted Driving




While drunk driving, speeding, and road rage often nab the headlines, the data reveals that distracted driving is really the most dangerous threat to the safety of our roads.

Data gathered by the NHTSA shows that distracted driving was responsible for at least 3,155 deaths in 2017 (and hundreds of thousands of additional injuries). And, at least for now, the numbers are trending in the wrong direction.

Though drivers can be distracted by any number of causes, behaviors, or stimuli, there are ultimately three common types that stand out more than the rest.

Let’s take a look at how you can identify and avoid them when you’re behind the wheel:

1. Visual Distractions

As the name indicates, these are distractions that take your eyes off the road and require you to perform visual “double-duty” when driving. Mobile devices and electronics are among the most common visual diversions.

“While drivers can face many different distractions in the car, cell phones are the most common – and deadliest – distraction,” Michael P. Fleming & Associates, P.C. explains. “Texting while driving, for instance, can drastically increase your risk of being involved in an accident and needing medical care. People who text while driving are 23 times more likely to be involved in a motor vehicle collision, according to a study by the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute.”

According to the NHTSA, sending or reading a text takes a driver’s eyes off the road for an average of five seconds at a time. When traveling 55 miles per hour, that’s like driving the entire length of a football field with your eyes closed.

Other visual distractions include fidgeting with the radio dial and looking at GPS directions. It doesn’t have to involve electronics, though. You can just as easily become distracted by a passing billboard or blue lights on the side of the road.

The best way to avoid smartphone-related distractions is to turn your phone on “Do Not Disturb” mode while driving. And if you must use your phone, be sure to use a hands-free solution.

2. Manual Distractions

Manual distractions aren’t discussed as much as visual culprits, but they’re just as dangerous. They consist of anything that requires a driver to take one or both hands off the wheel in order to perform an action or task. Examples include:

  • Eating fast food
  • Attempting to locate an item in your purse
  • Reaching into a briefcase in the backseat
  • Trying to break up a fight between quarreling kids
  • Handing snacks to a toddler in the backseat

Manual distractions are dangerous because they compromise both your focus and your physical ability to drive. While you might be capable of driving with one hand under most circumstances, all it takes is a sudden lane change or an unexpected red light to put you in a compromising situation.

The best way to defeat manual distractions is to prevent the temptation. This means keeping your purse/briefcase in the trunk; never getting fast food to go; and setting clear expectations with passengers (particularly little ones).

3. Cognitive Distractions

This third category gets ignored a lot of times, but it’s one of the major causes of distraction-related car accidents.

A cognitive distraction is anything that takes your mind off of your primary obligation: driving. It may include a podcast or audio book, conversation with someone in the passenger’s seat, or a preoccupation with a work project or relationship issue.

While most people are able to drive while thinking about other things, it can become an issue in scenarios where you need to make split-second decisions. Cognitive distractions slow reaction time and can pose a threat under these circumstances.

Cognitive distractions are arguably the most difficult kind to prevent. If you find that you’re easily distracted by podcasts and audiobooks, try the radio instead. If in-cabin conversations hold your mind hostage, try driving alone. The more proactive you are about these culprits, the safer you’ll be.

Say Goodbye to Distracted Driving

Distracted driving might be rampant, but you don’t have to be a willing participant. Now that you’re aware of the major causes of distracted driving, you can implement proactive strategies and techniques to ensure you no longer succumb to these dangerous and deadly diversions. Do your part to make our roads safer!




How to Find a Good House in a Competitive Area

How to Find a Good House in a Competitive Area




Buying a new house can be exciting, but it can also be stressful if you’re competing with other buyers. In competitive markets, the prices are high, the buyers are ravenous, and good homes seem to fly off the market without so much as an opportunity to make an offer.

There are some obvious ways around this. For example, you could start looking in neighborhoods that are less competitive, sacrificing your personal taste or distance from work to secure a less-contested home for a lower price. But if you’re interested in getting a great house for a decent deal in the hottest part of the city, you’ll need to step up your strategy.

Work With an Aggressive Buying Agent

For starters, make sure you’re working with an agent. A buying agent will work on your behalf to sniff out the best deals, and help you initiate and negotiate an offer that secures you a good home faster. If they understand the local market, they’ll be able to jump on good houses faster, and they’ll work quickly to get in touch with you and schedule tours. They may also be able to provide you with location-specific advice; for example, you may learn that in this neighborhood, home sellers tend to lean toward offers with no contingencies.

Become an Agent in Your Own Right

It’s a time-intensive step, to be sure, but if you truly want a competitive advantage over the other buyers in the area, one of the best assets you can have is a real estate license. Depending on where you live, you can likely get your real estate license entirely online in a matter of weeks. Once you’re fully qualified, you’ll have early access to deals before they ever get to market—and you’ll have a deeper knowledge of how real estate transactions work, so you can make more intelligent, competitive offers. Plus, as an added bonus, you’ll be able to do full-time or part-time work as a practicing real estate agent in the future, which can be an excellent source of personal revenue.

Be Ready to Jump

If you’re the type of person who likes to take their time with big decisions and think through every variable, there’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but it’s going to work against you in a competitive housing market. If houses are being bought almost instantly when they become available for sale, you’re never going to make an impact with this strategy. Instead, you need to be ready to review new houses and put together an offer fast. Talk with your partner, if applicable, and make sure you understand your wants and needs thoroughly; when you see a house that meets most of your wants and needs, get an offer together quickly. You might not have much time.

Skip the Contingencies

Contingencies are a good way to protect yourself when buying a home, and to get a bit more value out of your transaction. If your home inspection reveals small things wrong with the home, like a cracked wall, or a minor plumbing issue, in a cool market, you might demand that the homeowner fix these things before you move in. But contingencies will make your offer stand out in a competitive market—and not in a good way. If a home seller has multiple offers on the table, and some of them are contingency-free, they’re going to take immediate priority. If there’s something that needs to be fixed, consider fixing it yourself when you move in instead of putting the additional pressure on the home seller.

Make a Serious Offer

The give-and-take negotiation process of a typical home sale is disrupted slightly in a competitive market. Listen to your agent and pay attention to trending sale prices in the area, and be ready to make a serious offer. If homes are frequently selling above list price, your offers need to be similarly above list price. If a seller makes a higher-than-expected counteroffer, consider it seriously.

If you’re making high offers and are still struggling to get attention, consider making an all-cash offer. This may or may not be feasible, depending on the price of the home and your current financial resources, but it can make a big difference if it’s an available option to you.

Knowing When to Quit

Sometimes, the high prices and stressful transactions of a popular area simply aren’t worth it. Make sure you understand your home buying priorities inside and out, and be prepared to call it quits if it isn’t worth the extra stress. There are lots of neighborhoods out there, and chances are, you can find something similar to what you want in a cheaper, more reasonable alternative area.




The Probable Reasons Why Your House Isn’t Selling

The Probable Reasons Why Your House Isn’t Selling




We’re currently in the middle of one of the most sustained periods of economic growth this country has experienced over the last century. Stocks are up, interest rates are low, unemployment is close to zero, wages are increasing, and houses are selling like hot cakes.

So if your house is listed for sale, but nobody is making any reasonable offers, you have to wonder what the problem is.

The 6 Most Common Reasons Why Houses Don’t Sell

If your house has been on the market for a few weeks or months without any serious traction, there’s almost certainly a justifiable reason. Here are some common culprits:

1. It’s Overpriced

There’s nothing wrong with pricing your home at a premium. However, if it’s too far above the real price, you’ll turn people away. Buyers simply won’t make an offer, even if they like the house. The obvious solution is to lower the price.

“When lowering the price, the key is to only do it once,” Green Residential advises. “Avoid creeping down and down over many months – taking off $500 here or $2,000 there. Bite the bullet and make a significant enough price change to pique the interest of buyers. This might look like lowering the price from $548,000 to $529,000 (even if it’s worth at least $535,000). Significant drops like this mean your property now fits the criteria of people who previously weren’t looking at your listing.”

2. It’s an Oddball

Quite frankly, your house might be a little weird.

There’s nothing wrong with having a quirky house with a unique style. (Obviously you liked it enough to build or buy the house.) However, it does limit your pool of potential buyers.

If your house has strange architecture or style, you can still find a buyer. You’ll simply have to be patient, or you’ll need to lower your asking price.

3. No Curb Appeal

Beautiful curb appeal can make a powerful first impression – even before buyers see the property for the first time. Likewise, unattractive curb appeal can intimidate prospective buyers and convince them to move on before scheduling a showing.

While you’re somewhat restricted by your home, the property, and the neighborhood, there are always little improvements you can make to beautify what’s already there. Professional landscaping, for example, goes a long way.

4. Too Many Problems

Does your house have a long to-do list of repairs and issues that need to be fixed? The average buyer wants something turnkey. Your lack of traction could be due to its condition. If your property has a long history of needing plumbing and heating service repairs, then that can majorly play a huge factor as to why you can’t seem to sell it easily.

“Not everyone wants to take on a project, so if your home is in poor condition and in obvious need of some repairs or a good cleaning, it’s not going to be attractive to buyers, even if the bones are good,” Moving.com explains. “The same goes for if your home is decorated boldly, in a style that says “niche” more than widespread appeal.”

5. Your Listing is Terrible

Very few buyers drive around looking for for-sale signs these days. Most showings are scheduled after a buyer or agent sees a property online. This is why your online listing is so critically important.

If you aren’t getting showings, consider switching up your listing to include more effective descriptions, better photography, and all pertinent details. This is basically an ad for your house – go all out!

6. No Promotional Strategy

Even if you have a great listing, it’s possible that nobody is seeing it. In order to schedule showings that eventually yield offers, you need a promotional strategy that pushes your listing out to as many people as possible. This includes online and via word of mouth.

On a related note, a poor or non-existent promotional strategy is likely a sign of a poor agent. If you don’t like the service you’re getting, you have every right to fire your agent and hire another one.

Set Yourself Up for Success

When selling a house, there are dozens of uncontrollable external factors in play. But there are also plenty of factors that you can control. The key is to understand your situation so that you can make educated choices that positively influence your ability to sell your home at maximum value.




Looking Ahead: 2020’s Home Tech Trends

Looking Ahead: 2020’s Home Tech Trends




CES 2020 is around the corner, which means all the tech specialists are launching their predictions, while companies are teasing their wares, and home tech brands are no different. Reports suggest that these 5 trends will dominate the smart home sector in 2020, reshaping how we all live and bringing upgrades to already popular devices.

Cameras Everywhere

Connected cameras have gained substantial market share over recent years, primarily as part of wireless home security systems, but that’s hardly the only place we’ll see cameras next year. No, in addition to more conventional surveillance, Digital Trends reports that we’re likely to see video-equipped robotic vacuums next year. The idea is that they may act as an extension of the home security system, but at a more practical level, camera-equipped vacuums will be better able to deal with obstacles in the home environment, such as wires, pets, and furniture.

Energy Enhancements

Today’s consumers are deeply concerned about reducing energy consumption and moving toward more sustainable practices, and smart home technology plays an important role in this shift. Advances are also making it easier to combine discrete appliances and devices in new ways. For example, homeowners can opt for an energy efficient gas fireplace and then pair them with smart thermostats and voice assistant technology, controlling when the heat runs. As long as the home is wired properly, it’s fairly easy to connect any appliance to the larger home network.

Outdoor Upgrades

As with energy waste, modern homeowners also want to cut back on water waste – and in some parts of the country, like California where droughts are common, reducing water waste is actually a legal mandate. Next year, expect to see a shift from the old standard automatic sprinklers that run on a baseline schedule to more sensitive smart sprinklers. These sprinklers will use weather analysis and moisture sensing to recalibrate the watering schedule so that the sprinklers don’t run just after that big storm.

Health Comes Home

Most of the major health tech innovations in recent years have centered on wearables or professional applications, but in 2020, connected health will come home. In particular, Humana plans to demonstrate some of its Studio H projects, its in-house technology and design arm, alongside connected devices that will help seniors live independently in their own homes. Looking even further ahead, Studio H hopes machine learning technology will transform health for all Humana’s members, linking the individual, home, and clinician.

A Smart Sous Chef

Kitchen appliances have been slowly moving online, but most of what we’ve seen so far are things like networked ovens users can preheat from their phones or refrigerators with touch screens in the doors. In the next few years, expect the emergence of fully connected kitchens, allowing home chefs to plan out meals, remotely operate smaller appliances, and generally prepare multi-course meals with minimal labor.

We’re not quite living like the Jetsons, but today’s smart homes are starting to reflect our visions of the future and the underlying technology is only getting better. As sensors continue to improve and basic networked devices start coming standard on new construction, we’ll start to understand just how much these devices can do.