Category Archives: Finance

A Man Lives in 2 Tiny Houses on a Private Island in Florida

In 2017, Tim Davidson was given 60 days to move out of his family’s vacation home in Florida.

Davidson had been living in the vacation home in Sarasota, Florida, for about a year when his family decided it was finally time for him to get a place of his own.

Initially, Davidson considered buying a traditional-size home.

While he was house hunting, he realized that a large home meant unused space, unnecessary belongings, more taxes, and more money.

Davidson just wanted the necessities: a bedroom, living area, small kitchen, and access to the outdoors.

A tiny home felt like a perfect solution.

BrownieBytes has a question: If he’s on an island, why didn’t he position the houses so he has a water view? Very odd fellow…

— Read on www.insider.com/man-lives-two-tiny-homes-private-island-florida-2021-3

Homebuyers Are Heading to Florida During Covid, but Nearly as Many Are Moving Out – WSJ

By Candace Taylor

Thanks to hurricanes, heat and red-hot home prices, the state’s population growth hit its lowest rate since 2014 during the pandemic.

David Gewirtz never got used to the heat, even after 15 years in Florida.

Still, Mr. Gewirtz, who grew up in New Jersey, and his wife, Denise Amrich, liked their adopted hometown of Palm Bay, Fla., and probably would have stayed if it weren’t for the “brutal” hurricanes.

“Staring at those tracker maps for weeks before a hurricane hits starts to create a stress level,” said Mr. Gewirtz, a technology columnist in his early 50s. “It’s three weeks of wondering whether you’re going to have a house at the end.”

The couple evacuated their home in the path of 2017’s Hurricane Irma, kept driving until they got to Oregon and decided to stay.

— Read on www.wsj.com/articles/people-moving-to-florida-during-covid-11615463911

The Rise and Fall of the Cruise Industry

Cruise ships are scrapped and dismantled in an industry that's in a declining free fall.

By Robert Leslie , Noah Lewis , and Claire Price

Until COVID-19 hit, the global cruise industry was on course for a record-breaking year. But major coronavirus outbreaks on board ships cost lives, jobs, and damaged the reputation of the fastest-growing sector of the travel industry.

See More [Business Insider]

Small American Cities are Making Attractive Offers to Lure Tech Workers Away from the Metros

Fayetteville, Arkansas

Cities in North-West Arkansas are making offers to workers in New York and Los Angeles that’re simply too good to pass. Incentives including cash bonuses, free mountain bikes and year-long discounted rent prices.

Are you ready to move out of the big metro areas and why?

NYC’s Financial District Faces Office Glut as Tenant Exits Loom

NYC’s Financial District Faces Office Glut as Tenant Exits Loom
Manhattan has been battered with workers staying home

Our Take from Brownie Bytes: This is happening throughout the country. Bad time for commercial real estate. Great time to consider a move to Florida – a no-state income tax location with a great workforce ready to work remotely from anywhere.

Companies looking to trim costs are trying to shed space

JPMorgan Chase & Co. is the latest high-profile tenant to look for an exit from the neighborhood, a historic part of lower Manhattan that is home to the New York Stock Exchange and Federal Reserve.

S&P Global and Fitch Ratings Inc. are also marketing big blocks of offices, driving an 80% surge in the amount of sublease space available. That’s more than double the rate in Midtown, according to data from CoStar Group Inc.

“The sublet spaces currently on offer at deeply discounted rates is a veritable flood of biblical proportions, with more likely to come online soon,” said Ruth Colp-Haber, chief executive officer of brokerage Wharton Property Advisors.

Manhattan’s office market has taken a big hit in the past year, with the pandemic emptying out skyscrapers and pushing cost-conscious companies to reconsider how much space they need after months of remote working.

See More [Bloomberg]

What’s the Deal With All Those Shady ‘We Buy Houses’ Signs?

We Buy Houses - Sellers Beware

You’ve probably spotted the signs around your neighborhood: “We buy houses,” “Cash for homes,” or “Sell us your home as/is!” You may have even groaned at how pervasive they’ve become.

If so, you’re not alone. These signs, which come from real estate investment groups that scoop up houses across the country — often paying 10% or more below the market value — are becoming more and more common in today’s hot real estate market.

The goal? Flip each house into a more expensive property, or turn it into a rental unit.

Real estate investors are offering cash for homes in just about any neighborhood in any part of the U.S. these days, no matter the condition of the property, says Nick Bailey, chief customer officer at RE/MAX. In January 2021, median existing home prices jumped to $303,900 — 14.1% higher than last year, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR). For investors, who strive to purchase homes below the market value and sell for the highest price possible, “are getting more attention … because it’s easier to buy and flip when prices are going up,” Bailey says.

With home prices rising, homeowners might be tempted to sell their homes quickly, especially if they’ve lost their jobs or are under financial strain from COVID-19. And since most homeowners don’t realize how much their homes are worth, or that a few repairs could up its value for a relatively low cost, an information gap is adding fuel to the fire, according to Eric Sussman, an adjunct real estate professor at the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA).

Is selling your home to an investment group always a bad idea? Not necessarily, real estate experts say. But you need to proceed with caution.

See More [ Money Magazine ]

Zillow CEO: Real estate market is beginning ‘great reshuffling’ as people seek more space at home

The U.S. real estate market is beginning to show signs of a “great reshuffling,” as people relocate to homes with more privacy and space to ease working from home, Zillow CEO Rich Barton said on the company’s Q2 2020 earnings call this week. 

“I believe we are at the dawn of a great reshuffling,” Barton said. “I’m sure I don’t need to spell it out for you because we are all living it, spending an average of nine hours more per day at home. Zoom meetings are changing the way families think about space and privacy. Home offices are in high demand. Backyards are more desirable than parks and gyms. Work-from-home policies are eliminating the commute for many. There’s an endless list of considerations.” 

https://www.cnbc.com/2020/08/07/zillow-were-at-the-beginning-of-a-great-reshuffling-to-space.html?__source=iosappshare%7Ccom.apple.UIKit.activity.CopyToPasteboard

Gone Phishing

Obinwanne Okeke was supposed to be a rags-to-riches Nigerian success story. Then the feds followed the money.

There he was, smiling on the cover of Forbes Africa magazine, dollar bills raining like confetti. It was June 2016, and Obinwanne Okeke, then 28, was on top of the world; he had just landed a coveted spot on the magazine’s prestigious 30 under 30 list of African entrepreneurs. In the article, he was one of many whiz kids described as “Africa’s bright young things.”

The 17th child of a polygamous father whose mother was the fourth wife, Okeke’s father died when he was 16, and his mother, a teacher, worked multiple jobs to put him and his siblings through school. Growing up in Ukpor, a village in southeastern Nigeria, was tough, and luxuries like sneakers or a Game Boy were hard to come by, he said in a 2018 BBC interview.

Turns out, Okeke had been involved in a string of sophisticated online scams since at least 2015 — including when he was gracing that glossy Forbes Africa cover. He was arrested at Dulles International Airport, Virginia, on August 6, 2019, for defrauding a company of nearly $11 million. He pleaded guilty to conspiracy to commit wire fraud on June 18, 2020, and now faces up to 20 years in prison at his sentencing in October.

https://restofworld.org/2020/how-a-forbes-cover-star-stole-millions/

The Truth Behind Italy’s $1 Homes in Picturesque Rural Towns

Starting in early 2019, 20 towns across Italy began selling homes for €1, or about $1.10.

Screen Shot 2020-08-01 at 9.23.44 PM

Local governments hope the plan will attract fresh faces and new businesses to towns that have been suffering from rapid depopulation and a growing number of abandoned homes for decades. But the true cost of these homes turn out to be much higher than $1.

Business Insider video feature story describes the depopulation problem in rural Italian towns and what small town governments are trying to do about it.

Interesting concept and marketing program. Hint: taxes, fees, and renovation costs amount to a lot more than a $1.