The News: Feb. 3

Real estate returns to the big game

It's been 21 years since a real estate company advertised during the Super Bowl. That drought ends Sunday, when a Century 21 Real Estate ad will run during the big Giants-Patriots matchup. Forbes reports:

“In 2011 we [Century 21] celebrated our 40th anniversary. Prior to last year’s Super Bowl is when we decided we really wanted our full year celebration to culminate in something big and we view this as something big,” says Bev Thorne, chief marketing officer of Century 21.

Like any Super Bowl ad, it's not coming cheap. It's expensive to advertise during the most-watched television program of the year.

Though the company, owned by privately-held Realogy Corp., declines to disclose how much it spent on this marketing campaign, a 30-second spot during this year’s game is estimated to cost about $3.5 million — just for placement.

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Facebook gets a lot of likes

As the Facebook IPO approaches, you may be wondering whether users are growing tired of the popular social network. There are only so many passive-aggressive status updates, pictures of babies, and Farmville invitations one can stand, right?

Wrong. At least according to a recent survey. Reuters reports:

A survey released on Friday shows that people who have used the social networking site over a long period - since its founding in 2004, say - show no sign that they have tired of posting pictures, updating weekend plans or just relaying random thoughts.

The Pew Research Center report, based on a U.S. phone survey, logs and data from November 2010, sheds light on Facebook's possible long-term popularity as the company founded by Mark Zuckerberg heads for a $5 billion initial public offering.

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No application required

According to this CNN report, 1 in 3 first-time home buyers in 2011 received either a gift or a loan from their parents. Married couples can give their children up to $26,000 per year before gift taxes kick in.

Besides giving cash outright, you might also opt to lend money to your child -- and you can offer terms far more generous than any bank's. To make sure the money is considered a loan and not a gift for tax purposes, you'll need to charge interest based on the IRS's "applicable federal rate" minimum for various loan maturities. But those rates are well below the going market levels: As of January, the minimum interest ranged anywhere from as low as 0.19% for loan terms of three years or less to 2.63% for loan maturities of over nine years.

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Look Ma, we made it! got some publicity from this week! We're extremely appreciative.

Have you told any fellow real estate agents about us?

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