I love traveling to new places whenever I can. But I also try to get back to the family cabin up in northern Minnesota once a year, because it’s good for me. Not that it’s great for my waistline, mind you. But after a week spent sitting by a campfire, canoeing, strumming the odd musical instrument, and cooking big communal meals with my family and friends, the stresses of urban life have faded completely. The priorities I try to maintain amidst the many tasks competing for my attention through any given day come slowly into focus, with seemingly no effort on my part.
As you might imagine, returning from the cabin ain’t easy. But I try to maintain that relaxed, yet can-do spirit that reigns over me while I’m there long after returning to the city.
So when my colleague (and fellow Minnesotan) Erica Christoffer brought Dale Mulfinger’s Back to the Cabin: More Inspiration for the Classic American Getaway (Taunton Press, 2013) to my desk, I couldn’t wait to crack it open. The architect and “cabinologist” (and fellow Minnesotan) filled this follow-up to 2003’s The Cabin with more than 240 pages of beautiful photos of cabins of every stripe (from places other than just Minnesota). From ruggedly rustic to light-filled luxury to pronto prefab, Mulfinger provides detailed floor plans and site illustrations that set this book apart from your average “pretty house pictures” book. He manages to talk about the various advantages of building materials and structures, and weighs in on renovations and incorporating accessibility, without drowning the sheer beauty of the subject matter. And since the word “cabin” means different things to different people, I think it’s particularly interesting how Mulfinger gets at the many purposes these individual homes provide for their varied inhabitants. Continue reading »
Every year, British magazine Financial Times (along with Goldman Sachs) puts together a panel of judges to select the number one financial book of the year. The winner gets a £30,000 prize for providing “the most compelling and enjoyable insight into modern business issues.” But the problem with talking about “modern business issues” today is that the financial crisis still looms large over most books that are being published now.
Interestingly, FT writer Andrew Hill noted in a recent blog post that several books “tested the panel’s resolve not to overload the shortlist with books about the financial crisis.” In the end, two of the six books on the shortlist announced last week deal directly with the economic woes of the last few years: Iain Martin’s Making It Happen (about Royal Bank of Scotland) and Neil Irwin’s The Alchemists (on central bankers).
This concerted effort on the part of these judges to avoid such books was intriguing to me. Are we already finished thinking deeply about how the financial crisis affected today’s business? Continue reading »
“REALTORS® shall be honest and truthful in their real estate communications and shall present a true picture in their advertising, marketing, and other representations.”
—Article 12 of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics.
Do you remember Mario Jannatpour? Check out this interview we did with him back in 2011. We also did a profile on him last year about his training system and all the rookies he’s helped get started in the industry. It’s a good read.
Now Jannatpour has a pretty good read on his hands as well. I just took a look through the new edition of his second book, The Honest Real Estate Agent: A Training Guide For a Successful First Year and Beyond as a Real Estate Agent, and I really liked it. In its purest form, the book focuses in on the basic questions. You know, “How do I get started? Should I spend marketing dollars on a website or direct mail?” That sort of thing.
But what sets this book apart from all the other getting-started-in-real-estate handbooks is Jannatpour’s focus on honesty. He makes the point that it’s easy to say you’ll be honest. But when you know a huge amount about a property, how do you decide what is a need-to-know fact and what is just info-clutter?
Jannatpour says that the internal conflict over honesty “happens so fast that most times you are not even aware of it.” But there’s one very simple way to head it off at the pass: Continue reading »
Full disclosure: I used to read the dictionary as a kid. For fun. That said, I recently received the eighth edition of Barron’s Real Estate Handbook, and I’ve been paging through it whenever I get the chance.
It’s basically a real estate dictionary on steroids. Not only does it have some unconventional definitions and explanations of how each term relates to real estate (i.e.: Baby Boomers, etc.), but most of their more complex definitions include concrete examples explaining how a real estate term works in real life. They include helpful hints for running one’s business, such as the typical fees for a management agreement. And the index is filled with practical mathematical tables that can help you figure out depreciation, monthly mortgage payments by annual interest rate percentage, and many other common real estate equations. Finally, the worksheets and forms at the end are very helpful, with certain forms offering a URL where you can find a printable version of the form online.
But as a word nerd, my favorite thing to do with this book was to challenge my real estate vocabulary with some of the more esoteric terms out there. So, I thought I’d put together a quick quiz for those of you who want to do the same. Continue reading »