Map Reveals What the Cost Obsession Is in Your State

~ I always find these funny and interesting. ~

Map Reveals What the Cost Obsession Is in Your State

Everyone worries about how much things cost. But what you worry about depends on where you live.

Cost obsessions mapFixr

Fortunately for the voyeur in us all, Google reported the top cost-related search terms for each state in America, and Fixr created a handy state map based on the data.

The results are surprising (or maybe not so surprising):

  • In California, “facelift” is the most-searched cost-related term.
  • In Nevada, it’s “prostitute” (prostitution is legal in parts of the state outside Las Vegas).
  • In Colorado, it’s “weed” (marijuana is legal in that state).

Other search terms are more perplexing. Here are five of them and possible explanations:

1. North Dakota: “a minor”

a minor in north dakotafixr

People searching for the cost of “a minor” are likely not involved in child trafficking. Instead, they are probably searching for the penalty fee for being a minor in possession of alcohol.

North Dakota has one of the highest rates of binge and underage drinking in the country, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.

2. Alaska: “gallon of milk”

milk in alaskafixr

The price of a gallon of milk is a good measure of the overall cost of living in a state, which can be higher in Alaska because of its remote location. Alaskans pay exorbitant prices for food in general (e.g., $16 for breadsticks).

The high cost of living in Alaska has inspired people to document the shocking prices, as in this video of a shopping trip in Bethel, Alaska, that garnered almost 215,000 views on YouTube.

One of the featured items is the product in question: A gallon of milk, which appears to cost a whopping $7.99. To put this in perspective, the average cost of a gallon of milk in Los Angeles, one of the most expensive American cities, is $2.42.

3. New York: “pound of weed”

pound of weed in new yorkfixr

This search term reflects the plight of New Yorkers who live in one of the 25 states that have legalized medical marijuana yet still restrict its sale.

In order to obtain medical marijuana in New York, you must have a serious condition such as cancer, HIV infection or AIDS, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or Parkinson’s disease. Patients who qualify are “only allowed to use tinctures and oils, which can be vaporized, inhaled, or consumed orally in capsules,” Vice reported. “Smoking or growing marijuana is still strictly forbidden.”

Since medical marijuana in New York only comes in a non-smokable form, it makes sense that people are buying weed illegally and searching for the cost. The cost of an ounce of weed in New York, $341, is slightly more than the national average of $324, probably because of the status of legalization in the state.

4. Arizona: “vasectomy”


The reason Arizona residents are so curious about the cost of this reversible sterilization surgery for men might have to do mostly with the age of the population there.

The average age of a vasectomy patient is 41, although ages range from 22 to 72. Arizona has one of the oldest populations in the country.

Men who get vasectomies are not representative of the general male population and instead typically are “non-Hispanic and white, well-educated, married, relatively affluent, and privately insured,” according to the Guttmacher Institute.

Arizona lines up with that description: Arizona is 84 percent white, compared to the United States as a whole, which is 77.7 percent white.

Where To Invest In Housing In 2017

~ click on the link below for the complete article you can click through from Forbes ~<img height=”1″ width=”1″ style=”display:none” src=”″ />

Where To Invest In Housing In 2017

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Whether looking for a place to live or a property to rent out for yield, every home buyer wants to make a smart investment. To find out where you can do just that in 2017 Forbes teamed up with Local Market Monitor, a North Carolina-based company that tracks more than 300 housing markets. Below you’ll find 20 markets where population, jobs and home prices are growing. Florida and Texas dominate, but solid markets can be found across the United States. For every city on the list, Local Market Monitor expects home prices to grow by at least 17% by 2020.

First-Time Buyers Aren’t Afraid of Renovation

~ I remember when I purchased my first home. It was a HUD home and needed everything updated and we did everything slow as we didn’t have the money, but we liked being able to work on something we knew was ours ~

First-Time Buyers Aren’t Afraid of Renovation

First-time home buyers are showing a strong desire for taking on remodeling projects. First-time buyer renovators in 2016 spent $33,800, on average, on their projects. That marks a 22 percent increase over 2015, according to the sixth annual Houzz & Home survey of more than 100,000 respondents in the U.S.

Average Investment in Living Spaces

Here is what remodelers spent in renovating their homes in 2016:

  • Kitchens: $19,100
  • Master bathrooms: $11,700
  • Living/family rooms: $5,400
  • Master bedroom: $3,400
  • Laundry room: $2,800
  • Dining rooms: $2,600
  • Guest bedrooms: $1,900

Source: “Houzz & Home Survey,” Houzz (May 4, 2017)

“Younger and cash-constrained first-time buyers are responding to the low inventory of affordable homes by purchasing properties that require more than just cosmetic upgrades,” says Nino Sitchinava, Houzz principal economist. “Not surprisingly, we are seeing their spending on home renovations increasing significantly in 2016 and expect this trend to continue through 2017.”

Both first-time and repeat buyers are taking on larger scope projects, such as remodeling up to four rooms at the same time, the Houzz survey shows. Kitchen and bathrooms continue to be the most popular rooms in the house to renovate.

And while “recent home buyers drive a significant share of home renovations today, repeat buyers are investing twice as much in their home as first-time home buyers,” Sitchinava notes.

Baby boomers and earlier generations, who are age 55-plus, continue to spend three time more than millennial homeowners aged 25 to 34.

Overall, homeowners spent $60,400 in 2016 on home renovation projects, up from a $59,800 average in 2015.

Source: “Houzz & Home Survey,” Houzz (May 4, 2017)

Here’s What Actually Happens When You Get Your Home Renovated On ‘Love It Or List It’


We do a fair amount of fangirling over celebrities, HGTV hosts included. With their salacious divorces, adorable children, and over-the-top proposals broadcast to the world, we feel a certain kinship with them — even if it’s not reciprocated. But for all we know about the hosts, the shows themselves remain fairly mysterious. There’s a lot of speculation over what actually happens behind the scenes, speculation that we’re too weary to accept. So, we knocked on the door — well, Gmail’s proverbial door — of a homeowner who’s been there.

Marci Lew and her husband Matt had their tiny, Durham, NC, home renovated on Love It Or List It in 2015. Two years later, the couple’s in a new home. They listed, but won’t reveal whether it’s one of the houses they saw on the show. We caught up with Marci on the phone to chat about everything that happened when the cameras weren’t rolling.

The show found them.

This being Love It Or List It‘s first foray outside of Canada, show producers were seeking willing candidates in what Carolina locals call The Traingle, a three-city stretch of central North Carolina. Marci and Matt had just given up on renovating their home after receiving an expensive estimate for the work. “Shortly after, I saw an email on our neighborhood list-serv that a home renovation show was looking for households to feature,” Marci said. She and Matt weren’t told which show was searching before they sent in their application. “We finally found out it was Love It Or List It — which is actually a show we both knew of and enjoyed — when the casting department emailed back,” Marci revealed.

You’ll have more respect for the show’s video editors after submitting an application.

Along with answering a slew of practical questions about their home (when it was built, the square footage, and any need-to-know impediments, like the fact that Marci and Matt’s house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places), the couple was tasked with creating a five-minute video that led viewers through their home and introduced all the problems with it. “Trying to do the house tour and talk in under five minutes was pretty impossible and funny,” Marci laughed, since the show manages to squeeze an entire reno into a 30-minute segment. She and Matt had friends over for dinner in exchange for filming their video. “It was definitely not professionally produced!”

Homeowners are barely involved in the renovations.

Matt’s biggest concern was the kitchen. As is the case with most older homes, it was tight on space and low on function. “We mentioned a few things that we liked and didn’t like, but in the end, they’ve got great designers who make the final choices,” Marci said. They ended up with the island they asked for and some unexpected bells and whistles like under-cabinet lighting, but having little say meant they also wound up with things they would have done differently. “The white quartz counters were stunning, but Matt and I probably would have chosen a darker, more practical color,” Marci admitted. And she would have liked a different fridge and freezer set up: “The drawer freezers they installed didn’t have the space we needed.”

There are pros to having your home redesigned on television.

If you’ve heard someone complain about a home renovation, it’s probably been about one of two things: time or money. Contractors tend to exceed the budget for both. But when you’re filming everything for a TV show, there’s not as much wiggle room. “They cared more about the timing than we did!” Marci said. Her home was done in seven weeks, about two weeks longer than the show’s usual timeline since contractors had to adhere to certain restrictions caused by the home’s listing on the National Register of Historic Places.

The reveals are a complete surprise.

Any regular viewers know Love It Or List typically ends with homeowners “loving” their renovated home. There are rumors that producers film both endings and choose one later — Marci chose not to comment on that — but regardless of what they decide, homeowners see their renovated houses for the first time while filming the reveal. “Hilary let us check on the house twice, once just to see the outside and another time to see the start of built-in cabinetry upstairs,” Marci said. Other than that, she and Matt had no clue what they’d find. “We had to figure out what to do right then,” she added.

Hilary and David aren’t acting for the cameras.

She’s a designer, he’s a realtor — they’re bound to argue when pit against each other, but Marci insists it was all in good fun. “They actually do love to rib each other!” she laughed. “It was fun to witness that up close.”

House of hemp: Growers call for a processing plant in WA to supply building industry

~ Love the innovative materials, which if we could get approved might lower the cost of building, which would allow for the production of smaller more eco- friendly homes to be built ~

House of hemp: Growers call for a processing plant in WA to supply building industry

Posted 5 Mar 2017, 7:54pmSun 5 Mar 2017, 7:54pm

Construction of the first hemp house in WA has just been completed, sparking calls to build a local processing plant so local farmers can supply the building industry.

The hemp plant’s woody stem is shredded, mixed with a lime render and tampered into place inside a timber frame.

Builder Gary Rogers said hemp is a high thermal insulator.

“The hemp is basically encased around your timber frame home so in a nutshell it’s your cladding, it’s your insulation, and it’s all your gyprock and basically all your painting, all done in one, in a monolithic wall,” Mr Rogers said.

The hemp walls are also termite resistant, fireproof, breathable, prevent mould, store carbon and reduce the need for heating and cooling.

And with the plant reaching maturity for hemp fibre requirements in just 14 weeks, it has been touted as an environmentally friendly answer to the building industry.

Mr Rogers used some locally grown and milled hemp to build the Margaret River home but he could not source enough product for a house.

At the moment, processed hemp needs to be imported from the east coast and Europe.

“We can import building materials to try and get it going and that’s what we’re doing at the moment, working with a couple of builders to import it so we can actually build interest in the industry,” Colin Steddy, director of the The Hemp Corporation, said.

Hemp growers face uphill battle

But local hemp growers said they could grow hemp plants but just needed a processing plant in WA because their product was going to waste.

Gail Stubber, a South West hemp grower, said regulations prevented her from selling the seed as a food product.

“I can grow this crop but I can’t do anything with it,” Ms Stubber said.

“The only thing I can do with the seed is either replant it next year if it doesn’t go high THC or I can have it pressed down into an oil, which is not really the way I want to go.”

There were strict regulations ensuring the amount of THC in the plant was low, but Ms Stubber said that was not the biggest hurdle.

“I’d like the seed to be used for food because that immediately makes my crop more valuable,” she said.

“I would like them to give us some sort of ruling on if the THC is slightly high, whether we can use the bi-products that are not involved in the high THC, so the herd, the inside part which is the housing thing.

“And I’d like the government to give us a hand, be it with a grant or something, to actually get a processing mill here in the South West.

“It’s closed a lot mills, a lot of paper and pulp mills, but maybe we can turn one of those mills, whether it be at Kirup or Nannup or something into a hemp mill and produce herd for housing.”

Colin Steddy said he planned to privately fund a processing plant in the South West which he said would open the door to huge farming and textile industry opportunities.

Mr Rogers said he already had several more clients lined up to build their homes from hemp

Rents hit all-time highs amid job growth and low vacancy rates

Sellers’ Biggest Hurdle? Finding Another Home


Sellers’ Biggest Hurdle? Finding Another Home

The greatest challenge for home sellers this year appears to be finding another home to buy. That’s according to a new survey by Redfin, which found that for almost 66 percent of sellers, the biggest concern they have is finding a new property.

“It’s a seller’s market, but the catch is, most sellers need to buy as well,” said Eileen Lorway, a Redfin real estate agent in the Boston area. “This is a conversation I have with many clients at our first meeting.”

A frequent part of the conversation, Lorway said, were stipulations designed to keep sellers from ending up homeless, or at least unreasonably displaced, once they close the sale.

“We discuss options like ‘seller to find suitable housing’ contingencies for the sale contract, ‘purchase contingent on sale of current home’ options for the buy offer, rental options, stay-with-family options and bridge loans,” she said. “Sellers who are buying need to think outside the box a little bit. It’s not easy, but we often do end up closing on sale and purchase on the same day.”

Redfin’s poll of 800 agents found that more than half reported homes selling faster this year than last. Half also reported that competition for homes that do go on the market now is more fierce. About 57 percent of agents poled said they have been involved in at least one instance of a home receiving 10 or more offers this year; a mere 2 percent said they have yet to be involved in a bidding war at all.

Not insignificantly, nearly a third of agents said that sellers are becoming more demanding. And almost half said though it’s very much a seller’s market, more sellers are making unrealistic demands and asking unrealistic prices for their properties.

Lorway said she encourages sellers who are also buyers to think about selling first.

“They should consider temporary rental options, or moving in with relatives after they sell,” she said.

Half of agents reported that the typical down payment for successful buyers in their market was less than 20 percent. This, Redfin reported, means there are other ways to make an offer competitive‒‒working with a reputable local lender who can guarantee to the seller’s agent that the loan will be approved quickly, for instance, or building a rapport with the seller.

“I recently had an FHA-backed offer with 3.5 percent down beat out four other offers, each of which had conventional 20-percent down loans,” said Tim Zielonka, a Redfin agent in Chicago. “The sellers were at the showing. I introduced them to the buyers and pointed out that both were huge enthusiasts of both vintage bicycles and classic cars, which put them at ease with one another and enabled them to form a natural connection. Had they not discovered this shared interest, my clients may not have gotten the property.”