The Art & Science of Property Valuation – Automated Valuation Models

It is no secret that sellers want to sell high and buyers want to buy low. But they often arrive at the negotiating table with very different ideas on price. A fair and objective property valuation can help buyers and sellers find common ground and streamline the negotiating process.

In the end, the property is worth what a buyer is willing to pay. But to help both buyers and sellers achieve their goals, both should have a fair and objective estimate of property value. Unfortunately, even objective estimates are still estimated, and there is no way to insure 100% accuracy:

* Appraisals performed by a certified appraiser are not 100 percent accurate.

* CMA's (Comparable Market Analysis) and BPOs (Broker Price Opinions) performed by a licensed broker or agent are not 100 percent accurate.

* AVM (Automated Valuation Model) technology is not 100 percent accurate.

All these methods, when properly executed, can provide a good indication of value. Estimating value is a combination of art and science. Regardless of how scientific the approach, the actual sale price is subject to the unique variables of each property transaction: property condition, upgrades, current market conditions, circumstances of the sale and individual tastes.

For property owners, pricing is correctly a key to a successful sale. Under-pricing can result in a fast sale, but carries the risk of leaving money on the table. Sellers who price too high may find their properties lingering on the market, and statistics show that values ​​can erode at a rate of about 1.5 percent per month. Longer sales also increase the likelihood of a "distressed sale" when sellers become frustrated or encounter difficult financial circumstances.

Likewise, buyers should avoid emotional purchases. Overpaying because of "falling in love" with a home is common. Homekeys' ValueKey Technology can help establish an objective, unemotional baseline for buyers and sellers so distressed sales and emotional purchases become the exception, not the rule.

The science of AVMs

To determine a good baseline value for a property, use Homekeys to search thousands of property records for comparable sales or "comps." Homekeys' ValueKey tool uses advanced statistical models and proprietary algorithms and formulas to find the best comparable properties available. In addition to property characteristics, the system evaluates how recent comparable sales are and how close properties are from the property being evaluated. Once a base property value estimate is determined, it's time to check active listings to see what similar properties are selling for. ValueKey searches both owner- and broker-offered active listings to find the most comparable properties available.

The art of AVMs

The art portion of estimating value begins with understanding how comparable sales and active listings compare to the property being evaluated. Since they are nearby, it's a good idea to drive by comparable sales and listed properties to see how they compare. To help you stay organized, you may want to use a buyer checklist when visiting properties.

After researching comparable sales and active listings, it's time for the personal touch. …

Good Science Fair Project Ideas – Where Do They Come From?

The very idea of ​​conducting a science fair is to help the students learn scientific facts in an interesting way, to understand it and also exhibit what they had learned, to an audience. To achieve this, the theme of the project must be within the realm of the students and has to be chosen carefully. In order to have a successful project, one must first find a good science fair project idea.

Good school libraries and well equipped public libraries should be a helpful source for good science fair project ideas. But now plenty are available over the Internet. One can get a good science fair project idea from the ones listed, according to the targeted age group. In the science category, choose a topic that interests most of the students. Then, narrow it down and make it into a project. It would be ideal if it can be of some use to the general public also. In general, use the internet sparingly, unless there is a paid guide. Keep in mind that all of the ideas and information you find for free on the internet are about projects that have been done before by thousands of other students, while in general, paid guides are performed by far fewer students because of the price tag barrier.

A good science fair project idea can be chosen from natural science, physical science, microbiology or any interesting branch of science. Be considerate that the necessary articles required for the project are freely available either naturally or in the nearby areas. Let not the collection of materials be a big chore for the eager students that the project becomes a hard task.

Safety should be high on the list such that the students understand the risks involved and the project is undertaken in such a way that it is monitored and supervised both in the school and if it is carried on at home, by some elder.

It would be ideal if the project be done and over within a few minutes time, such that it can be demonstrated in full to the sentences and the audience, who attend the fair. Time consuming projects can make the tiny minds restless.

Bigger projects that need checking and validation may be reserved for the students of the higher grades. Simple projects should be easily reproducible. Little projects that have a public value may be highly appreciated, and should definitely be considered good science fair project ideas if they have wide application. Few natural cycles that take a few days to complete may be carefully conducted such that the audiences may be asked to revisit the fair, which may be a crowed puller project.

Explanation of simple magical tricks and attempts to demystifying existing myths may be quiet receptive to the young minds. For zoology projects, information is collected by observation. For physics and chemistry projects, experiments are done, data is collected and the conclusions are made. Such should be the good science fair project ideas.

Good …

Coming Up Empty In Education Reform

The recent days for public education reform from the No Child Left Behind Act, the Core Curriculum mandate, and standardize tests have all placed public education on notice that once again our policy decision makers have continued their assault on education. All they have done has directed in a educational system that continues to fail our youth. From the mainstream Republican stance of what they have done in issuing these mandates that literally shoved down the public's throats misguided attempts at education reform. This is nothing more than political expediency. What has been happening with all these mandates is a continuation of glossing over the real undering problems facing education in this country. If education was run like a business there would be far more accountability and structure in our public schools today. But, like everything else our most stupendous governmental officials have done is thrown tax dollars down the toilet. Meanwhile our youth are far worse off today in educational standards compared to the rest of the world.

Someone once said just recently that teachers alone can not change conditions in our schools. The only way to gain back the supremacy we had in educational standards that prevailed in the 1950's and early 1960's will take nothing short of a revolution. When we take a good hard look at the landscape of America today we find that the US is indeed fractured. In one hand we have the wealthiest few who control the all too powerful politicians, Those self serving bureaucrats continue to overlook the obvious distress that the majority of Americas are wallowing in. Then there is the majority of the population, those multitudes wallowing in desperation hiring that somehow someday soon things will get better. Meanwhile our youth, the future generations of Americans continue to suffer the consequences of failed educational mandates and initiatives by a political system that by its own nature fails to forgive what really is needed to reverse the effects of years of meddling in educational policies that worked for decades prior to the late 1960's.

The one key component in education reform where students in all grade levels are able to succeed is always overlooked by our illustrious bureaucrats. When we really take a close look into America today we find their are so many children just like Bob and Jane Smith. Brother and sister both are sixth graders at Roosevelt Elementary. Typical children, but what their teachers did not know until after their parents lost their home when. Smith got laid off and the bank foreclosed. For over a year the Smiths have had to live in a two bedroom apartment in a not so nice area. And, with only one income, a minimum wage job at Walmart many a night Bob and Jane do not get enough to eat let alone the proper vitamins and nutrition they both need during the day. When we really stop to think what is actually occurring all across the country today it is unconscionable …

Professors – Separate Your 'University Self' From Your 'Entrepreneurial Self' – Tips and Suggestions

If you are a professor (and I'm assuming you are since you're reading an article that starts with the word 'professors'), then you might have a question similar to this one:

I am interested in developing a line of teaching tools that come from my experience teaching graduate students and faculty. In developing teaching tools or publications that grow out of a university career, how do you carefully separate your business self from your faculty self? Can you do both at once?

This is such a wonderful question and is one that many faculty members may have pondered in one form or another as they think about various aspects of their career and how they can develop 'deliverables' from their work that could be taken to a larger market or audience. From my own experience – doing this very thing – here are some recommendations:

  1. Establish a company that is separate from your personal 'self.' You need to set up a separate entity for everything you are doing related to your teaching tools (or other ideas or products that will spin off this project). You will need a checking account that is just for your company as well as designing a credit card for this. You can start at as a DBA rather than incorporating, but I would not wait too long on that. This is definitely a tip where 'sooner rather than later' is the watch-phrase.
  2. Begin to think about yourself separately. You have your university self and you have your entrepreneurial-separate-from-the-university self. Designate times when you are working on your entrepreneurial projects – and see it as separate time and as a separate part of your life and work. Avoid working on your entrepreneurial projects while at the university (writing, making phone calls, or whatever) but rather work on it at home. It's not that university folks do not regularly work on their college work at home – we all do, however, going the other direction is what you want to avoid. People are a little testy in the academy when someone shines – let alone when someone shows an entrepreneurial sense and then, heaven-forbid, actually makes money from it.
  3. Avoid talking about your teaching tools, books, manuals, consulting, etc. with others at the university. While you may be very excited about what you're doing, others may be jealous either of what you're doing or just the fact that you're excited about it. There's no need to get others worked up unnecessarily. You want to stay under the radar – not secretive, not sneaky by any means – just under the radar. Announcing what you're doing (which tend not to be most faculty members' styles anyway) is not going to help you in any way.
  4. Find others – nearby or far away – who ARE excited and DO want to know what you're doing and talk with them about your projects. The beauty today is that we can find MasterMind members / colleagues / supporters anywhere in the

Five Tips For Teen Health, Teen Fitness, And College Health

Anyone who is concerned with teen health, teen fitness and college health, need to look no farther than your local gym floor to see why there is such a problem with teen fitness today.

Students don’t know the first thing about college health or teen health, and that is drastically affecting their expanding waistline. Students who are concerned with teen fitness need to alter their workout easier in order to become more fit.

College health is tough to regulate because of the late night parties, all you can eat buffets and drastically different lifestyle. Also, college students are much less likely to be as active as they were in high school, then teen health was much easier to come by (think 3-sport athlete).

Most teens, unfortunately, know nothing about teen health and teen fitness, and it shows in gyms across the country. Teens are showing up to the gym to workout, but we will not address the issues of teen health and teen fitness until we alter their workouts.

Here are quick tips to improve teen fitness, teen health and college fitness:

1- Rest less and workout more. It’s tough for teens to lose weight while they are resting five mintues between sets. You need to get up and workout more. Do a set of jumping jacks between sets, it’ll work! That’ll help out teen health and college health.

2- Lift weights to lose weight. Teen health is terrible because they, especially females, waste their time on the treadmills and elliptical. College health would greatly improve with shorter workouts with lifting more weights, and teen fitness wouldn’t be such an issue if teens lifted.

3- When doing cardio, do it right. Long distance running or walking will not improve teem health. In fact, there have been studies done to prove that adding aerobic training to a workout showed nothing that dieting alone wouldn’t help. Do a short run (less than a minute) followed by a shorter walk. That’ll greatly help teen fitness and college health. It’ll help lose weight!

4- Don’t isolate muscles. Teen health, teen fitness and college health will not improve unless they learn to workout right. Bicep curls will not improve teen health and teen fitness. Neither will triceps kickbacks or sit ups help out college health.

5- For college health, try to stay active. Easier said than done, but college health is just as big of a concern as teen health and teen fitness. Stay active. Go to the gym more. Remember, if you were an athlete last year, and now you do nothing, your college health will deteriorate.

Teen health, teen fitness and college health are a growing concern. But staying fit during your student years can be very simple. Lift weights, rest less, and you will melt the fat away! Remember, college health isn’t all that hard.…

Sinus and Allergy – Three Worst Foods

For all the controversy as to whether some foods, indeed, affect a person’s environmental allergies and sinus issues, there is one thing certain: Most people will respond affirmatively, when asked if their condition was improved after discontinuing the use of some specific foods.

At least, this has been the experience of many, as well as mine, who had suffered from those two ailments and tried this simple experiment for a period of several days. This “empirical approach”-by practical experimentation-remedy, although little known and not scientific, has been, in many cases, a welcome solution in the treatment of those two health issues. The results have been consistent and therefore difficult to gainsay in the real world.

Three foods seem to stand out as real enemies of those suffering from environmental allergies and sinus disorders such as: Sinus pressure, PND (post-nasal-drip), chronic production of green and yellow mucus, sinusitis, etc. Those three foods are: dairy products, sugar and eggs. The list of “bad foods” is much longer, but those three, possibly, hold “the worst” preeminence.

Sugar and dairy products

Nutritional and medical science, as well as government authorities, are sounding the warning alarm about the effects of sugar in human health: Harvard University researchers, the Secretary of Health and Human Services, a bone disease expert from Tufts University are all saying, basically, the same: The average consumption of sugar in the USA is too high and this can be very detrimental to our health. Although their warnings are for the general population its connotation can add additional credibility to the negative effects of sugar for the two groups we are considering in this article: Those dealing with allergy and sinus issues.

As for dairy products, already in the late 1800’s some nutrition experts were expressing that “milk produces phlegm.” That far back also sugar had already been singled out as being “injurious to health,” when taken in large quantities. Moreover, significant amounts of milk and sugar when taken together, it was stated, form the equivalent of alcohol in the stomach.

We must bear in mind, in balance, that not everyone reacts the same way to things put into the body, whether it be food, drug medication, an aspirin or even water. But it is good to know that when many allergy or sinus sufferers stopped using those three foods there was a remarkable improvement of her or his condition.

Eggs

Some healthful living advocates would insist that eggs can be just as detrimental, when dealing with those health issues, as sugar and dairy products are. Again, some are probably more susceptible to this food than others. Yet one can experiment with it to see whether in fact it should be placed in one’s own list of “bad foods.”

Conclusion

Some may be concerned about becoming undernourished if those three foods were to be significantly reduced or eliminated. The good news is, however, that because our American diet is already protein heavy it could turn out to be, in many cases, a …

Career Planning – Winning the Performance Review Game

Q. My performance review was disappointing, although I've had two promotions in the last four years. My boss said I needed to work on showing more leadership skills when I'm working on a team. When I try to pin him down for a discussion, he brushes me aside.

A. As you move up the ladder, you'll be expected to work on your own, with less and less feedback and direction.

A lack of feedback can be a sign that you're trusted and respected. You're expected to read between the lines and interpret unwritten signals.

Start with these three questions:

Q1. What is your company's culture around performance reviews?

In some cultures, you're expected to take a negative review in stride. Responding will be viewed as defensive and insecure behavior. Other cultures value discussion and at least the appearance of openness.

Q2. What signals are you sending?

Your boss needs to know that you're willing to talk tough. You can say something like, "Do not worry about hurting my feelings. Then act on your promise.

You may say, "I'm happy with my review – just trying to learn. Can you give me some specific examples of situations where I could have demonstrated more leadership?

Q3. What's the unwritten message?

Your boss may be absolutely delided with your performance, but the rules (formal or informal) require him to include negative along with positive feedback. So he thread in some comments about leadership, which does not amount to much.

The key is to take your performance review in context. If you're receiving tangible recognition – increased responsibility, invitations to key meetings, attention from major players – you'll appear insecure if you worry about your performance review. But if you're getting warning signals – missed meetings, weaker assignments – you need to understand what's really going on. …

Choosing Your Major and Further: First Steps to Choosing a Career

Choosing what you are going to study at university is an important first step in building the stairs to a successful career. However, it is not the end of the world once you choose a major, and do not want to get a job that is offered to the graduates of that department. There are various opportunities even after you choose your major to give your career a new direction.

First of all, keep in mind that most companies today are very flexible with the major of their potential employees especially in the fields of Humanities and Social Sciences. Of course, no company would like to give a Computer Engineering job to a Medicine graduate. But just because you have studied History, it does not mean you cannot work as a Public Relations Manager. The skills you have obtained from your major may seem useless once you decide to work at a relatively unrelated job, but nothing can be more deceiving. The skills that seem to be related only to your major are indeed to be used in a variety of fields, which you will discover as you work.

Let’s say you have recognized that you want to give your career a new direction in the first years of your undergraduate studies. This is good news. You can choose from a variety of alternatives depending on the options provided by your college. You may be transferred to another department, you may consider doing a Double Major, or you may add a Minor next to your Major degree. Of course, not all of these are offered at all colleges, neither are they available for all departments. However, you will definitely find an alternative that suits you, and shows you the exit out of the maze.

What if none of the alternatives above are available, or you have already finished your undergraduate studies? Then, there are still other options for you. One option is doing your Master’s in a field related to the new path you would like your career to take. You can discuss which Graduate Program would be the best with your professors at college, and also with your employers if you have had the chance to have any. If you do not have any work experience, talking to a potential employer could also benefit you in the same way. Other than looking for an appropriate Master’s Degree, you could also search for Certificate Programs. These programs are more direct and can add a lot to your existing skills. With these programs, you can have both a certificate in the hand and also a new feld of expertise, both of which will be of great use in your job applications.…

Black Excel College Scholarships And Admission Help For Students

Issac Black is the founder of one of the top college help resources called Black Excel. It is a very helpful educational resource and has been featured in Ebony and Black Enterprise. Many scholarships for new and continuing students are listed that cover a variety of minority student awards.

Some that are discussed include the Ron Brown Award, Questbridge Program and the National Society of Black Engineers. They list a variety of ways students that are freshman as well as continuing students can receive grants and other funds. The book, "The Black Excel African American Student's College Guide" goes into depth on information on college funding as well as topics including admission essays, preparatory tests like the SAT exams, performing art schools for African American students and school selection. There are also tips for those who want to attend specific schools despite having grade point averages below the recommended ones.

Black Excel is a non-profit organization and is located in New York City. At their website they have a section on Nursing Scholarships as well as over two hundred scholarships for Black student. There are also discussions on college study skills and medical school tips. An inspiring section of the site includes the schools where distinguished African-American students attended. For instance at Morgan State University has graduated Kweisi Mfume, Parren Mitchell, Zora Hurston and Earl Graves. Morehouse College has graduated Martin Luther King Jr, Dr. Louis Sullivan, Edwin Moses, Julian Bond, Maynard Jackson and Spike Lee.

College admission preparations can be overwhelming and finding out about available awards is an important step of the process. …

Career Goals – Ways to Set Goals For a Career Change

Even though we would all love to find that perfect career right out of school, the odds of that happening are slim to none. Since that is the case you should never beat yourself over wanting to make a change in careers at this point in your life. You will never be truly successful until you are doing something that makes you happy.

Whether you have been looking for a new career for the past year or you have just begun to think about a change, it is important to make sure that you are taking some very simple steps which will help you get closer to your ultimate career goals. You will want to make a workable career plan for yourself that would ever bring yourself to the career that you want.

Changing your career may not be as easy as just waking up one morning and turning in your resignation. There must be a lot of planning in terms of finances, especially if you have a family to take care of or large bills such as a mortgage to pay. Even with the best case scenario where you find a job right away, you could be looking at a delay in your first pay and it may take a while to get everything adjusted.

This means that your first objective should be to save some money in order to make sure your career transition goes smoothly when it does happen. While working on that you need to set more goals such as getting your resume polished up and buying yourself a few new outfits for those interviews you will be going on. Setting a certain number of resumes that you are going to send out on a daily or weekly basis is also important.

While some of these things may seem a little obvious, it is essential that you have smaller goals that ever lead to your obtaining the desired result from your main target which is to find another career path. If you just stuck with that one large goal you could easily find yourself frustrated and scared. Feelings of frustration and fear means that you are not going to be making the most of your time in order to get to the end result you want.

Setting smaller and more attainable goals as you move along is the best way to build confidence within yourself. The more confidence you gain along the way the better prepared you will be to face the interview process. If you just have the one large objective and take a long time to get to it you may feel as though you are failing.

So you have to realize what your new career goal is and then take all of the little steps needed to get there. One step at a time and you will finally get your dream career. And then when you can finally take a look back you will be able to see what all of the work …