By Wendy Cole, Senior Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
This weekend REALTOR® magazine Editor in Chief Stacey Moncrieff and I entered Biosphere 2, the 7.2 million cubic ft., sealed glass structure where eight Biospherians famously spent two years growing their own food, recycling their own water and waste, and, according to media accounts, getting on each other’s nerves. The experiment, which started in 1991, was intended to increase understanding of the feasibility of space colonization, by recreating Earth’s natural environments under a series of giant lattice-windowed domes.
While the United States isn’t quite ready to develop a subdivision on Mars, our 90-minute tour of the enclosed rainforest, desert, ocean, and residences revealed how prescient the Biospherians and their funders were. Biosphere 2 (Earth itself was considered the original Biosphere) was a shining example of the potential for sustainable, eco-friendly living back in the day when “green” was nothing more than a color. The facility seemed far more expansive than what I remember from TV and is well worth a visit if you’re in the Tucson area. Continue reading »
As a child, Alison Levine suffered from a life-threatening heart condition that prevented her from even climbing the stairs and therefore couldn’t imagine that she would one day be at nearly the peak of Everest leading the first American women’s expedition to the world’s tallest mountain. On August 24 at the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® 2009 Leadership Summit, Levine recounted the lessons she learned trekking the seven summits that took her to the top in business as an associate with Goldman Sachs. Continue reading »
By Robert Freedman, Senior Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
Since the credit crunch hit a couple of years ago, investors have been shying away from tax-exempt bonds. That’s one aspect of the financial crisis that never received that much attention in the media, but the impact of that was severe on state and local housing finance agencies (HFAs), which make low-cost mortgage money available to working households that have trouble qualifying for conventional financing.
Like FHA, VA, and the Rural Housing Service (the old Farmer’s Home Administration), these state and local HFAs help make homeownership possible in a responsible way. That is, the loans are structured in ways that take into account the household’s ability to pay. And they almost always require some kind of financial counseling.
If the HFAs were sorely missed these last two years, then it’s indeed good news that investors are starting to invest in tax-exempt bonds again, because these bonds are how HFAs generate their low-cost money for making loans to eligible home buyers. Continue reading »
By Erica Christoffer, Contributing Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
A recent study released by CEOs for Cities shows homes located in walking-friendly neighborhoods–with nearby amenities such as parks, schools, libraries, restaurants, and coffee shops–sell at higher prices than homes in less walkable neighborhoods.
By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
As many of you have probably heard, Whole Foods CEO John Mackey recently caught some flak for writing an op-ed piece in the Wall Street Journal opposing any new health care entitlements on the grounds that they would have to be financed with major deficit spending.
Mackey’s article sparked a wave of outrage among political progressives, many of them Whole Foods customers. His arguments even instigated an organized boycott of the grocer that currently numbers in the tens of thousands. This is just one instance that demonstrates how high emotions run in this debate, and some claim the intense passions we’re seeing expressed on both sides of the political spectrum are about more than just health care.
Is that true? In a sense, yes. Emotions aside, the health care debate boils down to distinct philosophies concerning the proper role of government and the private sector, as well as conceptions of rights. Continue reading »