(NewsUSA) - Insider tips -- who doesn't love a good (legal) one?
And when it comes to buying or selling a house, it turns out some of the very best -- ones that can translate into big bucks -- are those maybe only someone with Brian Williams' imagination would think of.
Want to know why, for example, Starbucks may be the greatest predictor of home-value appreciation? Read on.
* March is the most profitable month. For sellers, that is. According to Spencer Rascoff, CEO of Zillow.com, who mined his site's database of millions of homes in co-authoring the newly released "Zillow Talk: The New Rules of Real Estate," properties listed then sold faster and fetched 2 percent higher than average.
Buyers, on the other hand, catch a break in December when even New York owners are apparently so demoralized by the cold that they're willing to part with their homes for 2.8 percent less during the second week of the month.
"You shouldn't list your house for sale before March Madness or after the Masters (in April)," says Rascoff.
* Your real estate agent's gender matters. Women, because they're "more willing to negotiate," tend to close deals faster, research suggests. But sellers take note: If you can hold out, men -- stubborn devils that they are -- are often better at getting the original asking price.
* A new roof is a sure-fire way to boost a home's resale value. Forget kitchen remodeling. "You could spend a fortune, and it still might not suit prospective buyers' tastes," explains Patsy O'Neill, a sales associate with Sotheby's in Montclair, New Jersey.
Replacing an unsightly roof with a spiffy new one -- better for that all-important "curb appeal" -- was one of the very few projects singled out in Remodeling magazine's new annual Cost vs. Value Report for 2015, rising a chart-topping 5.9 percent over even last year's double-digit increase.
In fact, says O'Neill -- and, sellers, pay close attention to the psychology here -- if your current roof really is an eyesore, buyers will be "predisposed" to find a zillion other things they hate about your place. Ergo, those craving the look of luxury at affordable prices should check out the Value Collection Lifetime Designer Shingles from GAF (www.gaf.com), North America's largest roofing manufacture.
* The Starbucks Effect. Don't laugh. When Rascoff was checking his data, he discovered that, lo and behold, homes within a quarter mile of a Starbucks had appreciated 31 percent more -; 96 percent vs. 65 percent -; over the last 17 years than others nationwide.
"Is it that Starbucks is really great at picking locations, or is that Starbucks is sort of an omen of gentrification?" he writes. "It's a little of each."
(NewsUSA) - For over 30 years, The Weather Channel has inspired viewers to explore, investigate and appreciate how it's amazing out there by providing the latest weather information for the modern era. The network continues to explore this connection with its newest original primetime series, "BrainStormers," where weather will be both the teacher and the enemy.
The series follows three backyard inventors, Rob "Poppy" Parker, Ryan Parker (a father, son duo) and Bill LeVasseur (Ryan's best friend), who channel their inner MacGyver by building and testing inventions that either fight inclement weather or harness its power for everyday use -- while on a budget.
From their Colorado-based workshop, the three men test their ingenuity and tackle weather issues by repurposing what some may consider junk. Sometimes the builds required our BrainStormers to start from scratch, and other times they were called upon to help other backyard inventors improve their projects. Every build comes with its own unique set of challenges, from creating a homemade mosquito trap or solar water heater to fixing a nearby town's wind generator.
Here are some of the creative inventions you can expect to see on "BrainStormers":
* A beer can heater. A Denver friend needs a low-cost fix to make her drafty bedroom warmer. So, the team decides a solar heater could work, but would require expensive aluminum tubes to transfer the sun's radiation to heat. What to do? Use beer cans, of course. By using rows of black-painted beer cans in a sealed wooden box, the team finds a solar heater can be built for pennies on the dollar.
* A snow maker. If you think living in Denver means enough snow for even the most die-hard snowboarder, think again. This is the issue for Seth Hill, a pro-snowboarder who wanted to make practice runs near his house when he's not on tour. He enlists the BrainStormers team to build an inexpensive snowmaking machine by using a junkyard power washer.
* A "swamp bucket cooler." An Arizona housewife can't take the high temperatures in her kitchen, and the family is tired of ordering takeout. They enlist the BrainStormers for a portable and low-cost way to cool the kitchen. The BrainStormers determine that an evaporative cooling system would work best for Arizona's high heat and low humidity, but how do you make it so it is small and inexpensive? Well, you'll just have to watch to find out.
For more information, visit www.weather.com/tv.