Lumber Takes a Fall

Last spring, the coronavirus pandemic ground several large lumber mills in the U.S. to a halt—and homebuilders suffered the consequences.

Take Jesse Fowler, for example. Fowler, the president of Tellus Design + Build, a full-service general contractor based in Southern California, said in an interview with REALTOR® Magazine in November that lumber prices for his company had “gone through the roof.” “It’s tough on our business because we have to play the middleman and negotiate lumber prices for our clients,” Fowler said. In one instance, he said, a framer charged one of his clients who was building a new home $90,000 over what was originally estimated to compensate for rising lumber costs.

Click here to read the full story.

A House of Giving

Grant House died at the age of 25, but his legacy lives on through a foundation in Lafayette, Ind., for children and young adults with special needs that would not exist without his mother, Tamara.

Losing Grant, who was born with mental and physical disabilities from a brain tumor in utero, motivated House to turn her son’s vision of helping children with special needs into a reality.

When Grant died in December 2015, his friends and family donated nearly $40,000 in his memory. The House family—Tamara, her husband Jay, and Grant’s four siblings gave the money to Wabash Center, a local nonprofit that provides supportive services for individuals with special needs.

Click here to read the full story.

Spring Clean Your Real Estate Business

Unless you’ve been living under a rock—or a pile of clothes from the eighties—you’ve noticed decluttering gospel is everywhere. You can thank (or blame) home organizing superstar and best-selling author Marie Kondo, whose Netflix reality show, “Tidying Up with Marie Kondo,” preaches that people can improve their lives by getting rid of all the things they own that don’t “spark joy.”

Naturally, some folks find the decluttering craze annoying, but real estate practitioners know the value of reducing clutter, especially when selling a house. “A lot of home buyers simply can’t see through a cluttered home,” says Nancy Newquist-Nolan, SRES, with Coldwell Banker in Santa Barbara, Calif., who specializes in helping people downsize. “They just can’t visualize themselves living in a seller’s house if it’s a total mess.”

Click here to read the full story.

Presale Renovations Take Off

A couple in Cambridge, Mass., were looking to sell a two-bedroom condo. The property had been rented out to three college students and needed work if the sellers were going to get top dollar for it, says Carol Kelly, a Compass real estate agent based in Cambridge.

“[The couple] didn’t want to reach into their own pocket to pay for the renovations,” Kelly says. “They didn’t want the stress of investing their own money into the property.”

So Kelly recommended Compass Concierge, a service the brokerage rolled out in 2018 to pay for presale renovations. Sellers pay back the money using the proceeds of their sale. Compass put $17,000 worth of improvements into the Cambridge condo, installing new flooring, painting the kitchen cabinets, and power-washing the house. It paid off: The condo, which was listed at $589,000, sold for $640,000, enabling the sellers to repay Compass and eke out bigger gains from their investment.

Click here to read the full story.