Building Vs. Buying

If you are in the market for a new home, one of the biggest decisions is whether to buy or build. More often than not, first-time homeowners chose to buy, for many reasons, some of which we will cover shortly. However, for the more experienced homeowner, building a home may be a great option. As with any other major decision in life, there are of course pros and cons to both options that need to be seriously considered before choosing.


Presumably one of the most important factors in the home buying process is the budget. It is vital to set a budget and to also discuss how firm that budget it, as there are many associated costs with buying and building that are not included in the list price. When buying a home, the price listed is more or less negotiable, and the seller should have factored potential negotiation into the list price. Offers can be made below listing price, with the knowledge that closing costs and a pending inspection may raise this. However, an inspection can also shed light on potential fixes or improvements that will need to happen upon moving in, which can quickly add up. When building a house, the list price is typically the lowest, most standard price without much, if any, room to go lower. In actuality, the cost of building typically will be higher than the list price as you add customizations and upgrades. The benefit to this is that an inspection should not show any needed repairs or renovations, as the house is brand-new, saving you money down the line.

Move Date

Most people hunting for a house are working with a deadline. This could be that they want to move their family in before the school year starts in the fall, or have a lease expiration approaching and want out before they are locked into another. Regardless of the reason, time is certainly an important aspect to consider. After making an offer on an existing home, the closing process is typically only a few weeks long, and the buyer can move in anytime thereafter. However, the buyer may be working with a difficult schedule based on when the seller needs or wants to move out. With a new construction home, the wait to move can be significantly longer, as most homes take an average of 7 months or more to build. Other living arrangements may need to be made, but if you are flexible with your current situation, this long wait time can be ideal.  


The style and aesthetic of your home are what makes it your own. When buying a home, you are limited as to the design and layout. It is likely already painted and designed how the seller wanted. Renovations and changes to a home are costly and time-consuming, even if you hire professional help. This is not necessarily a bad thing though, because it gives you the chance to change your home and adds your own personal touches. If you are passionate about DIY projects, most homes offer the opportunity. Should you choose to build a home, a part of the process is selecting various customizations and styles of the home as it is being built. This offers a great opportunity to make your home your own, and there is less chance you will need to make updates or renovations later on. However, adding customizations quickly drives up the price of the home and can even further delay the date that it will be finished.

Technology and Maintenance

The technology that is placed in your home is more important than one may realize. Technology heats and cools a home, it offers security when you are gone, and can generally make your day to day life much easier. When building a home, you can choose to add up-to-date technology in the build and most often little to no maintenance is required. A new home will have a new roof that less likely to leak, new windows that will insulate better, or a new foundation that should not crack. These things will come at a price though. When buying an older home, the roof may need fixing, or new windows may need to be installed. However, older homes tend to provide character and charm that newer homes do not. They also will more likely come with matured trees and landscape in your yard rather than saplings.


While you cannot always directly pick the perfect neighborhood to buy or build in, this is a factor that weighs heavily in the process. Building a home can sometimes come with the option to pick your ideal property in the community. This also means that most of your neighbors will be new to the neighborhood as you. This is a great way to meet new people and become involved in the community. On the contrary, though, many new construction neighborhoods are, well, under construction. Even after your home is built, there is no guarantee that more homes will not be continuing to go up around you. Buying a home usually means that you cannot pick a particular plot of land, as there is likely only the one house for sale. However, an established neighborhood usually comes with neighbors who know the area and are welcoming to new buyers. If you are new to the city, they can offer the best advice on where to eat, or what grocery store is closest.  

Regardless of the home, the buying or building process is not one that should be taken lightly. Both options come with potential negatives, but both can also reap great benefits.

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For-Profit Philanthropy

For most people who have an inclination to become more involved in philanthropy, they immediately think of non-profit organizations that they can volunteer their time or donate money to. However, more recently, an entrepreneurial trend that is emerging is focusing on philanthropic involvement in for-profit companies. Simply put, for-profit companies adopt business strategies to sell tangible items that make money and then donate a portion of their revenue to charitable causes. In juxtaposition are non-profit organizations that rely on collecting donations with intangible benefits and rewards.

In today’s society, marketing and consumerism are on the rise, thanks to social media platforms and emerging technology. It is now easier than ever for consumers to purchase necessities as well as dispensable products online with easy check-outs and fast shipping. For this reason, it makes sense that companies are exploiting the profit-making capabilities of this trend. Why wouldn’t philanthropy follow suit? Millennials tend to be engrossed with materialism, but also show an interest in contributing to the betterment of causes that are important to them. For-profit organizations offer the best of both intents to millennials in that they can purchase a product that they want, while also still contributing a donation within the cost of the good. Consumers are also more inclined to spend money on an item if they are aware that it is also helping a greater cause, by adding emotion to a purchase.        

Another persuasive factor that charitable organizations should consider is the legal benefits of running a for-profit company. Since non-profits are tax exempt, there are various laws and regulations that 501(c)(3) must abide by in order to retain their exemption status. There are also serious penalties involved if they are not followed, which makes conducting business slightly more difficult. For-profit organizations are not exempt from federal income taxes, or any state and local taxes for that matter. For that reason, they are not held to the same standards and regulations that non-profit organizations are. For-profit organizations can essentially run their business structure how they would like within the confines of their fiduciary responsibilities and common law. So long as the organization makes it clear that they will be running a business with the intent to also contribute to a cause, they are then responsible for doing that while also providing benefits and profits to its stakeholders.  

While there is a stigma that for-profit companies are vastly different from non-profit organizations, For-profits can still make a difference and contribute to philanthropic causes. This is becoming a trend that we can expect to see more emergence in the near future.  

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Fundraising Ethics for Philanthropists

Originally published on

Giving back to the community isn’t always as cut and dry in practice as it seems in theory. Even charitable organizations with the most well-placed intentions can quickly lose the public trust if poor oversight and organizational infrastructure lead to an inefficient donation pipeline, and a loss in the confidence of the public and your investors can quickly torpedo the opportunity to do good. But there are some steps you can take to safeguard the intent of your philanthropic efforts.

Coming From a Place of Trust

Fundraisers serve as the lifeblood of most philanthropic organizations. They primarily serve as your sales team, fostering trust in the community and pitching your objectives to potential investors and donors. That’s why it’s important to make sure that you rely on fundraisers you can trust. It’s necessary to make sure that your training process is tight and precise, communicating clearly to everyone in your organization what your objectives are, setting clear guidelines, and ensuring that every action they take complies with the law.

Nurturing Your Donors

It’s important to remember that while you may be creating the infrastructure for your charitable group and determining how your funds are allocated, you can’t do any good without the assistance of your donors. You want to ensure that your staff act grateful for any donation received regardless of its size and respectful of any restrictions placed on gifts. Similarly, you want to make sure that the policies you have in place for your donations and allocations are transparent. The clearer you are about where donations are going and the more readily available that information is, the less you’ll have to worry about potential donors being hesitant about contributing to your organization.

Putting Ethics Front and Center

It can be hard for one hand to know what the other is doing, and that becomes even more magnified the more extensive your organization grows. Without a code of ethics in place, your fundraisers might not know how to address potential ethical dilemmas in the field. But codifying the rules provide them with hard criteria they can use regardless of the situations that arise. The Code of Ethical Standards from the Association of Fundraising Professionals is a great place to start, but you may have to make adjustments suited to the particulars of your charitable group.

Top Real Estate 2019 Trends

Like any industry, real estate is evolving with the help of technology. When shopping for or selling a home, people use social media and visit online real estate websites to establish the area they want to live in as well as their price range. Once done, consumers will then look for a real estate agent. That said, here are the top real estate trends for 2019.

  1. Virtual reality. Many real estate companies are using virtual reality to provide potential clients a 360° view of the property. It will also give floor plans, so people can see if their furniture will fit in a space as well as for placement. This will help buyers visualize living in the home.
  2. Using social media. As mentioned above, people will use social media to locate a home to buy (or sell). They will connect with friends and family for help on their home search, including mortgage and real estate agent recommendations.
  3. Low inventory of homes. There will be a low inventory of affordable homes, except for luxury properties. There will be less than 7% inventory growth this year per This means that there will more competition based on market price. And home prices are going up, which will price-out many buyers.
  4. Increase in home renovations. Since mortgage interest rates have gone up last year (and will continue to rise), many homeowners decided to renovate instead of sell. According to Nerdwallet, from 2015 to 2017, homeowners spent $449.5 billion on home improvement projects. This trend is expected to continue in 2019.
  5. Millennials buyers. Millennials will be a driving force in home buying in 2019. This is happening at the same time baby boomers are selling to downsize. Millennials will account for 45% of the mortgages in the coming year.
  6. E-Commerce warehouses. Now that e-commerce is here to stay, there is a strong need to house all of the goods waiting to be purchased and shipped. This means more warehouses to be built as well as more office space for online retailers (e.g. Amazon).
  7. Omnichannel marketing. There will more brick-and-mortar stores due in part to online retailers realizing they can increase their market share by selling electronically and physically (e.g buy online and pick up in store). Thus, there will be an increase in retail space with the building of shopping centers and market places (a mix of stores and apartment buildings).
  8. Homes in varying shapes. Since there has been a downturn in new construction and many buyers cannot afford a single-family home, homes are now available in various shapes and sizes. For example, modular homes, twins and townhomes are affordable solutions for first-time buyers.

Originally published on on January 24, 2019.