How Climate Change Affects Real Estate Investments

The climate has long been one of the most intimidating factors that buyers have to consider before investing in real estate in a particular area. When investing in a commercial building in California, you want to make sure that it can withstand a 6.0 magnitude earthquake. If you are looking to buy a bungalow in North Carolina, be sure to consider hurricane season June through November. Buying a small rental property in the heart of Nebraska may seem like a great idea, but Tornado Alley may not be the best investment location. These are all things that serious real estate investors will weigh before sinking their funds into a property. However, with climate change becoming more evident in recent years, investors should now consider how the change in the weather may affect their already existing investments.

Physical risks of climate change are those that would come as a result of traumatic weather conditions. Rising sea levels due to persistent rain can cause flooding in coastal areas. Real estate property on or near the coast is more susceptible to flooding and water damage. Another result of severe climate change is rising temperatures in dry environments. Over time, drought from dry weather can cause an unsettlement in the foundation of a building. A more severe result of rising temperatures in dry environments is wildfires that spread quickly and expansively, causing immaculate damage to any structure in the path. Scientists at the NASA Earth Observatory theorize that the rising temperatures of climate change will also increase the ferocity of thunderstorms. Severe thunderstorms come with manifestations like high winds, flash flooding, lightning strikes, and in some cases, even tornados – all of which will greatly threaten the condition of a real estate investment. Ultimately, the increased risk of physical damage to real estate will lead to increased insurance costs to protect the structure against these natural disasters. The greater the risk and the odds of occurrence, the more costly the insurance policies will be to protect the home as it is more likely of an event. In the unfortunate event that a building is physically damaged as a result of Mother Nature’s conquest, the costs to repair the damage can be monumental, even with insurance.     

Aside from a physical increase in temperature around the globe, climate change also comes with transition risks. These are risks that can affect structure over time, not necessarily the result of one bad storm or single event. Transitional risks most affect the cost of your real estate investment. Overall, climate change can eventually cause a dwindle in property values for a number of reasons. Home policies that combat the effects of climate change are not only inflating as the issues become more prevalent, but organizations are imposing regulations to slow the progression of the change. These regulations are costly to investors and required. Expenses like HOA fees, local codes, and state-wide taxes could expect to be augmented.

If the rising cost of maintaining a rental property becomes greater than the profits, the property would then not be worth the investment. Climate change is an inevitable factor that REIT’s should consider in their future real estate endeavors.   

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4 Small Details that Boost the Value of a Home

It may be a seller’s market, but that does not prohibit some houses from sitting on the market for months because they are missing what potential buyers crave in a new home. Luckily, there are many inexpensive, relatively quick fixes that can help boost the value of your home before you sell.

  1. ‘Smart’ technology

In an age where almost anything can be automated or accessed from a smartphone, household appliances should be no different. With technology constantly changing and updating, large, expensive technological updates may not always be a smart investment. However, there are less expensive, easy to install devices that can provide a facade of a high-tech home. An electronic thermostat or a doorbell with a built-in camera can typically be purchased online, installed by the most novice DIY-er, and can be customized through a smartphone.

  1. Greener grass

The outside of your home serves as a buyer’s first impression and your best chance to entice them to look inside. This is why clean landscaping and a neatly kept lawn is so vital for your home’s curb appeal. A lawn that is freshly mowed and flower beds that are neat and tidy give the illusion of a low maintenance yard – every homeowner’s dream. Furthermore, your neighbor’s lawn can impact the perceived value of the neighborhood as a whole. If they are close enough to your property, quickly trimming your neighbor’s grass for them before a showing can go a long way, and also count as a nice deed between neighbors as well.

  1. A facelift for your fixtures

Fixtures that are used daily are often the first to show signs of aging in your home. Even though they are small, fixtures like light switch panels, bathroom sink faucets, kitchen cabinet handles, and closet door handles can quickly give away the real age of your home. These details are typically inexpensive and easy to fix and don’t require heavy installation. As a bonus, changing handles and faucets can add a unique touch of your own style to an otherwise plain room.

  1. A fresh coat

Whether it is the crown molding in the dining room, the front door, or your master bedroom, paint is one of the easiest ways to bring new life into a room. Currently, light, neutral colors like grays and whites are very popular. Not only do they typically appeal to most any potential buyer’s style, but they also can open up a room. Light colors reflect more natural light, and in turn, can make a room appear larger than it really is. Utilizing natural light is also a great way to save electricity, which buyers will appreciate.

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Familiar Faces in Philanthropy

When a member of Forbe’s 400 pledges to give most of his wealth away, a ripple effect occurs, prompting other members of the nation’s richest to follow suit. That is what happened when Facebook creator, Mark Zuckerberg, announced that he and his wife Priscilla Chan would be donating 99% of their total wealth to various charitable organizations in their lifetime.

Most people look at the top 400 and think of what intelligent business people they must be to achieve such successes, and they would be right. However, people don’t always consider how charitable most of the 1% are. Zuckerberg is an epitome of a philanthropist, but there are some other notable members of Forbe’s elite list that deserve mention as well.

The CEO and Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett, holds the title of the number 1 top philanthropist, according to Forbes. To date, Buffett has donated over $34 billion, about 28% of his total net worth, so far and does not plan to stop anytime soon. He donates every year to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, among many other charitable organizations.

As chairman of the world’s largest private charitable foundation, it is no surprise that Bill Gates ranks as the second most philanthropic person, right behind longtime best friend, Warren Buffett, according to Forbe’s. Bill and his wife Melinda, along with Buffett, started The Giving Pledge in 2010, committing billionaires who sign it to give away more than half of their worth. Gates has lived up to this commitment and is still very involved in the foundation.

Oprah Winfrey’s claim to fame may have been sparked through her daytime talk show, but the television star quickly became one of the most popular ‘self-made’ billionaires. With this fortune, Winfrey has not only donated over $400 million to various charitable causes, but she has also created the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa. Winfrey primarily focuses her philanthropic contributions to organizations that aid women and children.

Former Mayor of New York and co-founder of Bloomberg LP, Michael Bloomberg is very involved in various philanthropic organizations. Some of his most passionate causes that he has donated to are that of public health and safety efforts, and education support, to name a few. Bloomberg has also donated a record-breaking $1.8 billion to his first alma mater, Johns Hopkins University, to provide the opportunity for students to complete their studies there without the fear of affordability. To date, Bloomberg has donated over $6 billion and his organization Bloomberg Philanthropies has donated close to $700 million.

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Student-Run Philanthropy

Philanthropic events are lead by people of all ages and groups, from successful billionaire entrepreneurs, to non-profit organizations, to young girls selling $4 boxes of cookies. Many educational benefits pair with participating in philanthropic activities and events, especially for students. In many ways, student-run philanthropies are becoming very popular at all ages, from elementary and high school to higher educational institutes.

At a young age, students can join organizations like the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts of America, and learn fundamental life skills. In addition to practicing these skills and lessons, the scouts heavily partake in fundraising through various outlets to raise money for their organizations, as well as to help support local foundations. The delicious cookies in exchange for a donation make it all the more worthwhile as well.

In some high schools, students have the opportunity to participate in grant programs for local organizations, as well as fundraisers for scholastic clubs and athletics. These activities can directly impact students at a young age and provide them the experience to learn about working in teams, building creativity, and the effects of fundraising and charity on a community. They also serve as a great way to build relationships between the schools and the local communities in which they reside.

One perennially trending topic that is helping to raise money and awareness for important causes is student-run dance marathons. In universities across the United States, students are quite literally dancing their way to supporting great causes, such as cancer research in most cases. Students will collect donations for these dance marathons leading up to the event, in exchange for a pledge to stay awake and dancing for the entire event. In most cases, these dance marathons last 24 hours and include entertainment, music, food, and an ecstatic atmosphere. In addition to being a fun event that students look forward to each year, they tend to raise an incredible amount of awareness and money for their respective causes. In fact, Penn State University’s THON (short for dance marathon) currently holds the record as the world’s largest student-run charity, raising over $150 million towards pediatric cancer research since 1973.

Today’s youth is tomorrow’s future, and instilling an understanding and appreciation for philanthropic work in students has many benefits for not only the students and the next generation of workers, but for the greater good as well.  

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