January and February Great Times to Buy

I am sharing this article from Nerd Wallet — it confirms my own research on real estate, homes and the real estate market in Northern Nevada: Prices here are expected to jump in March/April. Interest rates are expected to jump to 5%modern-kitchen-decor-vintage-style-1-flowers. Nationally, the median home sold in January sold for $7,003 below listing price.

Here’s the data to back it up. This article was written by Marian McPhereson of NerdWallet.

Take advantage of savings now

According to two years of realtor.com data that includes the 50 most populous metro areas, home prices in January and February are, on average, 8.45 percent lower than prices in July and August — two of the most popular homebuying months.

This trend is expected to hold true in 2017, but realtor.com chief economist Jonathan Smoke says the savings won’t be as large as seen in years before.

The fall 2016 housing market, which the National Association of Realtors dubbed the “autumn revival,” was especially strong, which means sellers didn’t feel the pressure to lower their sales prices in order to get their home off the market.

Despite this, Smoke still suggests homebuyers grab whatever savings they can get because spring home prices will likely increase more than normal.

Cold weather keeps competition at bay

According to NerdWallet, home sales in January are 47 percent lower than in June, which means less competition for buyers looking for the perfect home.

But there’s one caveat — buyers will still have to battle with low housing inventory, although the offset in competition helps.

“You basically face almost half of the competition with almost the same amount of inventory in the market,” Smoke says.

For the savvy buyer and agent, this can lead to savings through tactful negotiations with sellers. NerdWallet says the median home sold in January sold for $7,003 less than the listing price. Score!

Higher rates ahead2525 Rio Alayne Ct Sparks NV-print-001-14-01-2500x1668-300dpi

Out of the three reasons to buy a home now, homebuyers are most likely concerned about higher mortgage rates, which are predicted to rise to nearly 5 percent.

“As we look toward spring and later in 2017, that’s another reason to buy in January and February,” said Smoke. “Because rates are expected to be about 50 basis points, or half a percent, more as the year goes on.”


Holly O’Driscoll is a full-time Realtor with Chase International Real Estate in Reno, Nevada. For information on homes for sale in Reno, Sparks, Carson City and the surrounding communities, call me! 775-762-7576.

Lunch Bunch Food Fight

Kids like simple. If I can do this, schools can do it, and for a good price

Kids like simple. If I can do this, schools can do it, and for a good price

Finally — and long overdue — school lunches are morphing into meals I might actually let my children eat.  Too bad it didn’t happen while they were actually in public schools.  The absolute junk served during those years meant my kids brought their lunches.

What kids eat matters — today and in the long term. That’s why I don’t get the fight about improving school lunches. Oh, I get that conglomerates care more about profits than health. That’s obvious. I get that lunch administrators have tight budgets. I also get that many, many “nutrition” spokespeople and lobbyists care more about money than about the serious weight issues and accompanying health problems facing our nation.

I also get that many families rely on school food plans to feed their children. Which is why I don’t think the new food standards go far enough.

We had food battles in our household.  One picky eater in particular. It was a power struggle. That’s what’s happening with all the anti-nutrition lobbying going on now.

I finally bought a book called “How to Get your Kid to Eat — But Not Too Much”  — a practical approach that could and would benefit those involved in this current food fight.

The basic premise: Flexibility — with limited, controlled choices. At dinner the questions become:

  • Do you want peas or carrots?
  • Do you want them here or there on your plate?

For lunch it would be:

  • Apple slices — with or without peanut butter?
  • Turkey, ham or PB&J sandwiches (on whole wheat bread)
  • Yogurt, cheese stick
  • Milk box (freeze overnight), V8 or water

If children in New Mexico want salsa on their green beans — go for it. If kids in New Hampshire want peas and carrots mixed together — do it.  That’s regional differences. The default option shouldn’t be refried beans cooked with lard or greasy french fries.

I’m not a food fanatic.  My kids ate  cookies, cake, candy — as treats — not as a main meal. They ate, and still eat, fast food sometimes.  At one point, they came back and said they’d bought Spaghetti O’s  — then thanked me for refusing to buy that crap for them when they were little.

So hang in there parents, nutritionists, dedicated food workers! Kids will adapt … the obesity rate is already slowing. Food is fuel — it should taste good and be good for you.


Flying Solo — What an Accomplishment

MJ SoloedConquering the world, one step at a time. The guy in this photo stubbed his toe many times growing up. He tested rules, tested himself, he tested me! Eventually he learned to fly on his own, in his own way — long before this picture was taken.

He had lots of help, though he didn’t always see the wisdom or regard the rules as “help.”   What teenager does?  Each milestone, each tumble, each time he picked himself up …  and he keeps on doing it today.

I’m now in the supporting role … no longer the leader, the project manager, the boss. I couldn’t be prouder … We couldn’t be prouder.  He did it. He did it on his own.  But there’s a little piece of me there too!


Creating new jobs, better jobs, in Reno.

NCET – I’ve already benefited from becoming a member of NCET (the Nevada Center for Entrepreneurship and Technology)

Wednesday night NCET hosted a “get to know a local business” at LUX dynamics – a fascinating company that has pretty much reinvented florescent lighting.  The owner John McCarty, an engineer and gifted metal sculptor, said he and his former partner started looking at lights and asking “why” … as in “why is it made this way, why did they use this type of screw, this type of everything” …   What he discovered is that the lights, like most things, evolved over time – and often decisions to use a certain product were made for the wrong reasons – such as it was on hand or  it was cheaper. Decisions were not to make the product more efficient, more durable or better overall.  So McCarty and the LUXdynamics crew went back to the drawing board.  What happened: They built a better light.  There are lots of technical reasons as to just what LUX is doing that makes the light better – you can go to their website here: http://luxdynamics.com/

What I loved were the stories – the City of Philadelphia called and asked if the fixtures could withstand bullets – and how many bullets the lights could withstand before having to be replaced … Hmmm… new questions to think about. Lux owner McCarty said he’d find out, so he called one of his sales reps who has lots of gun expertise and asked him to test it out. It turns, out the Lux dynamics light fixture Philadelphia wanted to buy can withstand 57 bullets of various types. Turns out that’s an important consideration for certain areas that the “City of Brotherly Love” needs to keep lit.

Here’s a link to a You Tube video of people trying to break a fixture with objects … and here’s the bullet-proof video:

LUXdynamics light are engineered from the get-go for specific uses – impacting the amount and direction of shadows and hot spots – that’s important for sports arenas, warehouses, industrial workspaces. These lights and fixtures aren’t cheap, but they are better.  In the process, this company, located in good old Reno, NV, has created jobs – eight full-time people, plus some subbed out work for handicapped people working in a shelter. The company also has sales reps around the country … more jobs elsewhere … that is what it’s all about: Job creation and bringing more money into the Reno economy.  Way to go! 

Have you seen these lights? Are they worth it?

Know of a unique business that I could blog about? Let me know!!!!

If you really want something, ….

I found this quote … which goes back to motivation:


“If you really want something, you can figure out how to make it happen”  — Cher

This is true for both positive and negative people …

A person in my life struggles with mild physical and psychological issues, yet this person usually figures out a way to be taken care of. If straightforward, conventional means don’t produce results, the next effort is manipulation.  This ranges from leaving out parts of a story to outright fabrication. I have learned to not take statements at face value — they rarely tell the whole story. Out of respect for a shared history, I stay in contact with this person, but I now limit contact and keep conversations light. That was a tough, but necessary choice. People have the right to live as they choose — and you (or I) cannot rescue them. 

Yet I still believe when honest effort, and honorable intentions, blend then good things happen. Motivation intertwines with innovation. Just move the self-imposed roadblocks — and amazing changes will happen. Good to remember … for business and life!

What a Difference a Year Makes

Last year the three apple trees in our yard produced more than a ton of apples. Literally more than 2,000 pounds — and those were the ones the birds didn’t get.

We had apple everything — pie, sauce, butter, cobbler, cake.
Apple pix

We called the Food Bank to see if they will take home-grown, organic produce. They connected us with a nearby church that has an outreach mission to feed the homeless. Every week, sometimes twice a week, for more than a month we picked, packed and toted crates of apples to the church.

They called us “The Apple People” …

We still had more.  We took some to work. We dropped bags fu
ll on every neighbor’s front steps … sometimes at night so we’d be anonymous.

This year: Nothing.  We found a few on the ground.

We planted those trees almost 20 years ago.  We’ve had apples before — a bushel or so every few years when a late frost didn’t kill the buds.

I wonder what next year will bring? 

Has this happened to you?  Is there a way to even out the crops?

Having it all … depends on what “all” means

Interesting all the commentary — supportive and outraged — swirling now that Anne-Marie Slaughter chose family over power. Slaughter left her high-level State Department job to return to her (mere) job as a tenured Ivy-League college professor so she could spend more time with her two boys.

The money, prestige and power elements are different, but the choice to opt out of the corporate race is one we made for our kids.   It was a conscious choice — one that worked for us.

The background:  My mom, a single parent of six, died less than a year after I graduated from college. My mother-in-law died before our first child was born.  My father-in-law had given years to the corporate world, which, despite his success, eventually decided to dump him.

My husband and I met and married in Washington, D.C. We came back to Reno (his home town) for family reasons. Friends who stayed in DC felt — and still feel — the pressure to make it all work. Many do a spectacular job at both. Some stayed and fought the system so they could stay home with the kids — and paid a professional price.

I do think it is possible to blend corporate and family life … but you have to want it, you have to be lucky, you have to work your tail off, and usually, you need lots and lots of  help.

And it will ONLY work if everything goes right, and you make enough money.   Have a needy/challenging/problem child? An ogre for a boss? A job that must come first?   A need for health insurance?  Any complications and the equation falls apart.

If more people had a choice of two terrific jobs, with one that allows for family, they might make Slaughter’s choice.   I did — in a much less lucrative/less influential way.

Yet, I suspect the people who say having four kids and working full-time is great and everyone is happy, have lots of other help — nannies, grandparents, stay at home spouses.

A baby, or even a couple of babies, may not demand all your time. Running a multi-child family with multiple sports, music lessons, varying school schedules, plus schlepping them to dental appointments, play dates, birthday parties, etc is a full-time job for someone — or several someones.

I admire those who can juggle demanding jobs and family life well and make it work for everyone.

I had a huge ego adjustment to being a full-time parent and a part-time business owner. It literally took years to adjust.  It flew by … and I do know why Slaughter doesn’t want to miss it.