Month: October 2017

The Sims Video Game Review

All right, I’m a middle-aged mother, so I’m not supposed to enjoy playing video games. It was with great reluctance that I sat down in front of my daughter’s playstation, but I did promise to try out a game for her. Of course, she picked the Sims.

Now being a real estate agent, I couldn’t help but be caught up in the game where you get to design and decorate your own house. What a fascinating way to spend someone else’s budget money! Although I have to admit, I didn’t keep my eye on the price tag – was I supposed to? These 4 bachelors that were building a house, did they really care what I spent? Ahhh to be young again. No bachelor I ever met cared much about how much money went in one hand and out the other!

To get on with the game, I enjoyed building this picture perfect house. It was a little time consuming; actually quite a bit more than I had hoped it would be. But, all in all I built my little American dream home. I was disappointed to find out that the furniture I picked out didn’t actually fit into my house; I think there should be some sort of disclosure on the screen before you spend the little man’s money. I guess it doesn’t pay to be conservative in the Sim’s world.

After my house was built, I had to find out what happens next. There had to be a point to this game, I couldn’t possibly admit to anyone that I was enjoying it. The little men were able to move in now, first thing though; they felt the need to do a triple flip off of the high dive on the pool I installed. Ahhh, to be young again!

It’s amazing to me what kind of things these little men will do. They must not work, but instead they spend their time in the house doing things like “tickle” or “towel snaps” or maybe even “shaking their booty.” It was quite amusing, even for an old prude like me. It was a little odd to say the least though.

In total I spent a few good hours designing my home and playing with the little men’s booties. I enjoyed the game, and now am tempted to buy myself a copy only to be enjoyed in secrecy. I think I’ll stick to the designing; the little men can be enjoyed by the younger set.

I would have to recommend this game, and make it a requirement for all middle aged, women real estate agents. It is a fun and very addictive game. There are some downsides, but they are all right to deal with if you have some time to spare. I find it very time consuming to pick through the wide assortment of various things to buy, from wallpaper to coffee makers. Building the actual walls of the house can be somewhat confusing too if you’re not a master of the analog stick. I personally also find it somewhat difficult to stay in my budget, but that’s probably another story within itself!

For now though, I shall say “au revoir” to my little men and wish them well. I hope they enjoy the pool!

The Affect of $107 Per Barrel Oil Prices on Real Estate Investment

Barrels

Reuters has reported that oil reached a record high of $107 per barrel on Monday. The main drivers behind this surge were a rush by financial funds into commodities and political tensions. While all U.S. industries will be affected by this latest turn of events, the commercial real estate market will be noticeably altered in the equations used to value a property for real estate investment.

The main ingredients produced from a barrel of oil affect both the business community and the consumer. Some of the company types affected in the business community are those that involve airlines, trucking, automobiles and all the cottage industries that support their activities. Although the impact on these businesses is significant, from a real estate investment perspective the primary interest is the affect that crude oil prices will have on consumers. It is consumers that account for 70% of our Gross Domestic Product (GDP), and it is consumers who live, work and shop at the core types of commercial real estate: Residential, office and retail.

 

The record price per barrel will affect consumers two ways. First, more money will be spent to heat and/or air condition homes. Second, consumers will spend less time in their cars. The first means they will have less money to spend. The second means they will change how they spend their money. In other words, the American consumer has less money to spend and is changing their buying habits.

 

Those changes will have the most dramatic impact on retail properties. The consumer will still shop, but will have an alternative: The Internet. The most recent data from the Census Bureau of the Department of Commerce shows that the growth rate of e-commerce far outpaces that of traditional brick and mortar retail stores.

 

The financial impact on commercial real estate from the record prices at the pump is not coming tomorrow — changes are already taking place. The International Council of Shopping Centers’ U.S. chain store sales index was up just 1.6% in October, the weakest result since 1995. What’s more, according to Thomson Financial, two-thirds of the nation’s largest retailers missed sales estimates for the month. In the end, comprehensive due diligence will make or break a commercial real estate investment. Future markets will not bail out poorly located income properties purchased with inadequate due diligence.

 

Daniel Fineren, “Oil hits record $107, U.S. dollar in focus”, Reuters

“Quarterly Retail E-Commerce Sales”, U.S. Census Bureau

“October chain store sales increase 1.6 percent”, ICSC: International Council of Shopping Centers

Where to Find Survivalist Real Estate

Recent survey shows that New Zealand is the top most favorite place by real estate investors. Many people are attracted with the country’s natural geographical features and relatively peaceful ambiance. Such attributes give the New Zealand the feeling of security and safety, which what really attract real estate buyers all around the globe.

In the United States, there are also certain areas that offer sanctuary in times of crisis. For one, Fort Garland Retreat and San Juan Retreat in Colorado offer customized survival homes.

The houses built here are specifically designed to save energy and mostly to give protection against manmade and natural calamities. Asking price: $224,900 and up

The Caddo Lake Retreat and Hueco Village Retreat in Texas are another favorable survivalist real estate. The Caddo Lake is considered as the cleanest lake in the south. That is because there is no industrial waste dump in the lake.

The whole area is secluded, making it a viable place for security when a calamity occurs. Although the houses are built on this mountainous region, they are well equipped with all modern facilities. Asking price: $318,000 and up

Idaho also offers survivalist places like FernWood Home and Areas near Bear Lake. These places are known for their resistance to all kinds of manmade or natural disasters. Each plot is of 1,000 sq. ft. Boasting with excellent road system and utility buildings run by solar power, this place is among the top favorites of survivalist real estate investors. Asking price: $357,000 and up

Montana has six locations for survivalist real estate, which make this state as the most viable area for urban survival. These are Viola Moss, Libby Creak Retreat, Jim Kozlik, Remote Montana Land, Paradise Valley Montana Retreat, and Northwest Montana Retreat. Asking price: $99,000 – $478,000

Another state with most survivalist real estate locations is Washington. It has five nature-themed retreat properties: Ready-to-go Northwest Washington Retreat, 40 Acre Log Home Retreat, 20 Acres-Springdale, Sustainable Eco-Villa, and Liberty Lake Retreat.

In Sustainable Eco-Villa, the houses are built with custom concrete passive solar materials. This is purposely done in order to save energy and to cut the dependence on electricity. Asking price: $49,950 – $835,000