BBB Tip: Amazon “brushing” scam indicates a problem for victims

Have you gotten boxes from Amazon of free boxloads of merchandise right on your doorstep?  EXCEPT it isn’t from Amazon!!!  The Better Business Bureau (BBB) is warning consumers that there is a scary downside to this recent scam. You are not the one who hit the jackpot. A scam company is the real winner.

This scam is called brushing, and it has been popping up all over the country. Suddenly, boxes of unordered (by you, the recipient) merchandise from Amazon begin arriving. There is no return address except that of Amazon, and the receiver (you) has no idea who ordered the items. The items are varied. For example, in one case a humidifier, a hand warmer, a flashlight, a Bluetooth speaker and a computer vacuum cleaner arrived unordered.

Why would such merchandise be sent to you if you didn’t request it? The companies, usually foreign, third-party sellers that are sending the items are simply using your address that they discovered online. Their intention is to make it appear as though you wrote a glowing online review of their merchandise, and that you are a verified buyer of that merchandise. They then post a fake, positive review to improve their products’ ratings, which means more sales for them. The payoff is highly profitable from their perspective.

The reason this is very bad for you is that someone was able to have the items sent to you as if you purchased them.  This indicates that they probably have some of your personal information such as your name, address, and possibly, your phone number. Once the information is out there on the internet, it could be used for numerous crooked enterprises.

The fake online review angle is only one way they benefit. By using the brushing scam, they also are increasing their sales numbers. After all, they aren’t really purchasing the items, since the payment goes right back to them. Increased sales numbers, even though padded with fake purchases, look good for the company and help lead to more sales.

Then there is the “porch pirate” angle. There are instances where thieves use other people’s mailing addresses and accounts, then watch for the delivery of the package so they can steal it from the door before the resident gets it.

PLEASE (and this is very important) notify Amazon. Brushing and fake reviews are against Amazon’s policies, so contact Amazon Customer Service if this happens to you. They will investigate and take action on the bad actor. Go directly to Amazon’s website to get their contact information. The company also takes security seriously and encourages customers to report fraudulent purchases or other security issues. If the preference is to contact them by phone; be cautious of searching for support phone numbers.

Change your account passwords. This may be a sign that personal information has been compromised and to improve account security, keep a close eye on credit reports and credit card bills.

By the way, the Federal Trade Commission says you have a legal right to keep unordered merchandise.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that, safely… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Summer Is Here And It May Be Time For A New Grill

I don’t know about you, but my grill makes me pretty happy… Are you in the market for a new grill, there are plenty of different types you can buy and if you don’t already have a strong opinion (like me) it can be a little confusing.  Whether it’s a pellet grill, a classic charcoal model or a gas grill you have to decide what is the best for you.

What kind of grill is right for you? The answer depends on what cooking style and level of convenience you expect from your grill. There are advantages and disadvantages to each type, so knowing their key characteristics will help you with your decision.

Gas

Gas grills are one of the most common fuel types. Built in a cart style, gas grills use either an attachable liquid propane tank or natural gas via a conversion kit connecting the grill to your home’s natural gas supply line. 

There is also a debate over natural gas or liquid propane. Natural gas burns cleaner in terms of greenhouse gases, it’s cheaper to use and you won’t have to bother with refilling propane tanks. However, you won’t be able to move your grill around since it’s connected to a gas line. Liquid propane is the more popular fuel choice, and it’s portable. It’s also pricier and needs refilling. The good news is many gas grills can accommodate both, so you don’t have to choose right away.

With a gas grill, you’ll have more control over the heat and how it is distributed across your cooking surface. Gas grills are great for adjusting between high heat for searing and lower heat for steady cooking. However, if you’re looking to cook meats like whole chickens or racks of ribs for hours at a time, you’ll have better results with a charcoal grill, pellet grill or smoker. 

Charcoal

Charcoal grills offer the traditional smokiness most people think of when they imagine grilled flavor. They come in lots of shapes and sizes, including the original Weber Kettle that introduced the charcoal grill design so widely recognized today. However, charcoal grills have their quirks, so you’ll need to be prepared to put in some work if you go this route. 

Charcoal grills burn using charcoal briquettes or lumps of charcoal. That’s where the smoky flavor comes from. You’ll need to spend a little more time lighting the briquettes and preheating this grill. You’ll also need to clean out and dispose of the charcoal ash when you’re done grilling. 

Charcoal grills might not be as precise or customizable as a gas grill when it comes to cooking, however they have a distinct flavor and are the most affordable option. You can find small, portable charcoal grills for as little as $50. 

Pellet grills

Pellet grills burn wood pellets and have an onboard computer to heat up to your desired temperature and add smoky, wood-fired flavor to your food. Pellet grills yield tasty meat, especially when slow cooked, but the pellets can be more expensive and harder to find than propane or charcoal. 

Pellet grills use a hopper on the side to hold the food-grade wood pellets. Once you’ve ignited the grill with a switch and set the temperature, those pellets are moved into a burn pot by a rotating auger connected to the hopper. Pellet grills come in barrel or cart styles and prices range from around $350 to $1,300.

Size

Once you’ve decided what fuel type is right for you, think about the size grill you need. Most small to medium charcoal grills and two-burner gas grills will do just fine if you’re cooking for four people or less on an occasional basis. Grills are often measured in square inches. Grills in the 400-500 square inch range are large enough for most people. 

Aesthetics

In my opinion, your grill shouldn’t just cook, it should look good doing it, and there are some seriously stylish models out there. You might not have a preference when it comes to how your grill looks, and that’s fine. But if you’re looking for a stylish cooker to crown your backyard, manufacturers give you plenty of options.

Traditional black and stainless grills are readily available; however Weber and KitchenAid both offer colorful enamel models, too. Aside from color, consider whether you’d like your grill to have cabinet doors. These doors hide propane tanks and keep them from sitting on the ground beside your grill. 

Happy Grilling!!

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that, safely… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Great Lawn Care Tips

It’s the old lawn debate –you hate mowing the lawn, however, you love having a green lawn, and you don’t want to switch over to desert landscaping where everything looks beige, and you’re not willing to have fake grass. Believe me, I understand! As with most things, though, there’s a difference between doing it and doing it well. If you find yourself wondering why your neighbors have an amazing lawn while yours looks all the worse for wear, it could be more than just a matter of perspective; it’s possible that the grass really is greener on the other side.

This can be fixed! Part of the problem might be how you’re caring for your lawn. If you haven’t put much thought into the specifics of yard care, here are a few tips on lawn care.  This will help you achieve a beautiful green lawn.

Prep Your Mower –Too many people approach the beginning of the mowing season the same way that they do the entire rest of the season: they put some gas in the mower (or the battery in it) and go. You should not follow this path – you can damage both your lawn and your mower. Start each season with an oil change and fresh gas, and check your mower blades for cracks, dullness or other signs that they need to be sharpened or replaced. Look at your grass as you mow; if it’s becoming ragged, this is a sign that your blades are getting dull again. Even a little bit of mower maintenance will make the cut easier on your lawn and keep your mower running in tip-top condition.

Learn Your Lawn – A lot of people think that grass is grass, but there are actually a lot of differences between grass species. Take a little time to find out what sort of grass you have growing in your lawn. If necessary, you can take a sample to your local nursery. Once you know what kind of grass you have, you can learn the seasons when it actively grows, what sort of water and fertilizer it needs, and even details about how it should be cut. If you need to reseed part of your lawn, knowing the existing grass type will also ensure that you get the right type of seed so that everything matches.

Cut to the Right Height – If your lawn is going to flourish, the grass needs to have enough blade area to absorb sunlight to meet its growing needs. Cutting it too short can damage it, causing the grass to wilt or brown, in some cases even killing off patches. As a general rule you’ll often hear that you should leave around 3 inches of grass when you cut, but this can vary depending on the type of grass you have. If in doubt, you can set the blade height between the 3-inch to 3 ½-inch mark to be safe, but you’ll have much more control over your lawn if you learn the grass type and find the optimal cutting height based on that.

Mind Those Clippings – It’s usually best to leave your clippings on the ground, as they provide much-needed nutrients to the lawn as they decompose. If you don’t like the look of them, consider a mulching blade and guard for your mower to ensure that they get cut into smaller pieces, or make multiple passes over the same area. The main exceptions to this are the first and last cuts of the year; in those instances, your lawn will do better if you bag the clippings instead.

Adapt Throughout the Year – One important thing to keep in mind is that grass is a living thing and grows differently depending on the time of the year and the local weather conditions. During the heat of the summer, make your lawn more drought resistant by adjusting your cut height up a little; this gives the grass more blade area to collect dew on. In early spring and into the fall, cut less often to avoid shocking the grass. Even the direction of your cuts is important, especially if it’s been raining a lot; to prevent damaging the grass or compacting the soil too much, change direction every two or three cuts, switching to a cutting pattern around 90 degrees off from what you’ve been doing.

Keep It Under Control – A well-manicured lawn can be a big job. Fortunately, there are professionals out there who can take that burden off your shoulders.  Contact me for a list of professional lawn people that will take great care of your lawn and can help with trees and bushes as well.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that, safely… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Real Estate 2020 – Safety First

As we all know buying or selling a home can be stressful under all circumstances and the current state of the world is far from ordinary. Sales have fallen off slightly, however there are still a lot of people buying and selling right now (if you want a better sense of the current market visit www.JeffHowardGroup.com/marketupdate). Since, as they say, “the show must go on”, Real Estate agents in the Las Vegas Valley have come up with a few ways for buyers and sellers to accomplish their goals safely.

If you’re ready to sell or buy, here are a few new “rules” to keep in mind when entering the real estate market in the era of social distancing.

Increasing Online Presence – One of the big changes to the real estate process is an increased dependence on online resources instead of in-person shopping. This includes lots of pictures and videos of properties being posted online, however many sellers are taking things even further than this. Recorded virtual tours, online conferences to allow buyers to ask questions about the property, and even livestream walkthroughs with a seller or agent showing the property are all increasingly popular options to supplement or even replace in-person showings.

Open houses have been cancelled due to social distancing and Realtors want to make sure everyone feels safe. In Nevada they have been banned for now. Online “virtual open house” conferences are popping up as one option to adapt to this, letting multiple potential buyers come together on Zoom or a similar video conference service at the same time to get a better feel for the property that’s being sold.

While this may not be enough extra information to decide if that is the home you want to buy, it is often enough to eliminate it. Photos tell part of the story, but a virtual walkthrough tells much more. Because of this, we have reduced the number of homes buyers needs to personally visit to find the right home for you and your family.

More One-on-One Time – Since online access and virtual tours show so much of what buyers want to see, there are a few that are signing on the dotted line without getting a chance to see a property in person first. Most agents are meeting with potential buyers by appointment only when a potential buyer still wants to visit the property in question, and everyone is encouraged to restrict the size of the meeting as much as reasonable. These appointments should be made with the understanding that if any participant feels the least bit under the weather on the day of the meet-up, then it will need to be rescheduled for another time.

Respecting Social Distancing – When buyers and agents do meet up, the process is usually a little different than it used to be. Social distancing rules are usually respected; meaning that everyone involved should stay at least six feet apart from anyone they don’t live with to prevent potential infection. Your agent is going to take his/her car separately and you’ll drive your family in yours. Discussions about the property and general Q&As are more likely to occur outdoors in the open air, and any greetings or introductions skip out on traditional handshakes. Masks, gloves, shoe covers and hand sanitizer are used, and many sellers go through and open all of the doors and windows to both maximize airflow and to allow interested buyers access to the entire house without having to touch doorknobs or other surfaces in order to see inside.

Closing Remotely – Remote closings are becoming much more common, taking advantage of video conferencing to bring everyone together without actually having to be in the same room. There may be some instances where people must meet in person to have some items Notarized, but digital signing is substituted when allowed because it removes that point of contact. When people do come together to sign, everyone will utilize social distancing and pens won’t be shared. 

We expect some of these practices to “survive” long after this incredibly disruptive virus is under control. If you have any questions about how to buy or sell in “the new normal” please contact me and my team & I will “hold your hand” through it… figuratively of course… not literally.

Real estate is still being bought and sold. Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that, safely… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

Great decorating ideas for renters and homeowners alike….

Most of the time there are strict guidelines renters have to follow in order to get their security deposit back, so rental homes might not look like what the renter wants to express.

Well that might have been so at one time, however I have some great decorating tips that are “low impact” which means changes are easy to do and undo when renters leave without causing harm to the home.  And by the way for owners of homes that like to change things around often, you may want to pay attention as well.

The first thing you should know about is removable hooks (they stick to the wall with removable adhesive) – I’m sure you have seen them advertised on TV.  Then there are removable wallpapers, tile decals and easy to install light fixtures.

You can create your own artwork on a canvas and display it on your wall with removable hooks and not harm the walls or paint job.  Your own artwork makes the home your space and shows your personality.  You can also show off a collection of posters from your favorite concerts or favorite parts of the world you have traveled to.

For the more adventurous there is removable wallpaper – I know it sounds complicated however it is not and very doable for renters and homeowners alike.  Hygge & West is one of the sellers of removable wallpaper.  It’s a great way to bring pattern and color into a room and break up the white walls.

Do you have boring tile in your kitchen or bathroom? Well now you can perk that up with waterproof decals in all sorts of patterns and colors – go to StickPretty.com.  You can create an interesting backsplash or add something to a bland bathroom.  StickPretty also sells removable window film which adds privacy and a wow factor to your otherwise plain windows.

Also get fun and colorful area rugs – they can go with you to your next rental or when you purchase your first home.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail buildings or land? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff

The Speeding Theatre presents “House of Tomorrow”

“House of Tomorrow” at the Super Summer Theatre Studio weaves together humorous, yet poignant, stories about seniors taking strength from their yesterdays, pursuing the passions of their tomorrows, opening the doors and windows of their lives (AKA their houses) to remodeling and keeping their dreams big and their hopes high! “House of Tomorrow” by Susan Shear will be presented by The Speeding Theatre!

super summer theatre

You’ll meet seniors navigating the uncharted waters of online dating, trying in vain to order a refill from a mail order pharmacy, responding to adult children concerned about driving safety, experiencing the stresses of forced downsizing— and see how  one senior’s view of a weekend together differs hilariously from her daughter’s take on it—as  well as other fun stories about seniors undaunted by the challenges life keeps throwing at them!

speeding theatre

Performance Dates: December 5th – 15th, 2019

Performances will take place at the Studio Theatre:
4340 S Valley View Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89103 (do not go to the Ranch)

To purchase tickets, go to:  www.purplepass.com/houseoftomorrow

 

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day…..Jeff

The iBuyer Breakdown

Are you being driven mad by phone calls from people wanting to buy your house?

Have you been seeing the ads everywhere and wondering what’s up with these so called “iBuyers”?

Well, I’ve got you covered. Check out the following video explaining what’s going on.

 

Don’t say yes too quickly and ALWAYS have someone in your corner to protect you!

If you have questions or are curious about how much your house is worth, don’t hesitate to call me.

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day…..Jeff

Friday the 13th! The PERFECT Time for Scary Movies!

I would have to say my favorite scary movie experience was watching Friday the 13th in the dark theater as a kid – it scared the H-E-DOUBLE-HOCKEY-STICKS out of me… which I  liked. I remember being disappointed by Friday the 13th 2 and actually walking out of the theatre for part 3 because it was just so lame.

Picture it – the movie opens up with some kids visiting Jason’s grave. They dig him up and they want to make sure he’s dead. So they take a long metal pole and jab it through his heart and leave – then lightning strikes… and you can figure out why I walked out of the movie. Come on! Give me a premise that’s sort of believable. (Sorry for Spoilers but trust me… I saved you.)

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My dad said he felt Psycho was scarier because during the time it was written, there was nothing else like it – and that terrified people. So, in the spirit of Friday the 13th I’m posing this question across a few different social media platforms:

What’s YOUR favorite scary movie and why?

Royalty Free by Vecteezy

 

Keep an eye out for a future blog post with the results!

 

 

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day…..Jeff

Attention Property Investors – Think about this. Smaller Apartments Are Doing Big Things For Developers

In the ever changing landscape of major cities across the country multifamily family developers are finding less is more.  What I mean by that; smaller units – like studio apartments are being grabbed up faster than larger ones. As rents are on the rise and urbanization has intensified, many developers have responded with smaller apartments and it is paying off.

Earlier in this decade the larger units were more popular, however now the focus has flipped. The vacancy rates for the smallest 25% of one-bedroom units have dipped below those for medium and larger units, according to CoStar. The average unit completed last year measured 941 SF, according to RENTCafé. That is 5% less than the average of 10 years prior.  “Smaller units have been gathering an outsized share of demand, especially in urban submarkets in major metros, which is simply due to the fact that rents are far above where they were at pre-recession highs, and these major metros have become really expensive,” CoStar consultant Robin Trantham said. “Renters choosing to live in the city have had to sacrifice square footage in order to do so.”

Building smaller units is a clear extension of the myriad of reasons that renters want to live in them. Urbanization has pushed rents up, and developers and residents alike have found smaller units satisfy each of their respective needs.  The cost of land in most cities has gone up tremendously and the Las Vegas area is no exception.

Over the last several years Las Vegas became a multi industry city – tech people have moved in as well as call center for large multinational companies as well as warehouses for companies like Amazon and Sephora.  Most of these people do not make huge amounts of money however need a place to call home.

 

 

Panoramic Interests is based in the expensive San Francisco Bay Area and specializes in small studios, one-bedrooms and two-bedrooms. Its average two-bedroom is about 440 SF, or “smaller than a lot of studios”.  Every rental market that has high rental costs can always benefit from the construction of smaller units because of the lower rents. For that reason, the performance of smaller floor plans in what CoStar defines as core markets — Boston, New York, Chicago, LA, S.F., Washington, D.C., and Seattle — is where the trend is most pronounced.

And I believe we can add Las Vegas to the list.  The cost of land has gone up so much in the last few years that newly built homes have become very costly.  If Las Vegas wants to accommodate all the people moving here that work for the new industries coming here – which includes lots of millennials, real estate investors in Las Vegas should be jumping on this trend.  Also this is not just a millennial thing – baby boomers, empty nesters and divorcees are looking for value in the marketplace.  Many of them are looking to down-size.

This is another way that the residential market is reinventing itself – to cater to the needs of these groups of people and there is a great need in Las Vegas on the supply side as well.  Increasing construction costs have put larger multifamily units on hold. The more appealing unit economics of micro-units, co-living or just smaller floor plans are becoming clearer to investors and developers around the country and Las Vegas investors and developers would be wise to get into this market.

So, all you property investors and developers contact me if you are interested in getting into this money making trend. Don’t want to own apartments because you don’t want to be a landlord? I get calls from investors looking to buy apartment buildings… build one and then sell it for a nice profit!

Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? Are you ready to buy or sell a home? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day…..Jeff

10 Tips to Make Small Rooms Feel Larger

Some of the rooms in your home are spacious and others are may be smaller and more challenging to try to get a roomier feeling.  Here are some key tips to make the smaller rooms count:

  • Create a floor plan of the room so you can figure out which items of furniture will look best together in a small space.
  • Remember less is more – do not overstuff the room with things.
  • You can use a brighter color in a small space so it doesn’t look too dark.
  • Use white as an accent color to make the room look bigger – white ceiling, white molding and white cabinets.
  • The use of mirrors in small spaces instantly males a space look larger.
  • Make sure the furniture for smaller spaces is the proper size and scale for a smaller room – big and bulky pieces won’t work.
  • Use glass table tops – this will give a sense of weightlessness to the room.
  • Use different shapes – round tables work well in small areas.
  • A neutral lighter shade palette to make the room soothing and appealing.
  • Decide the function of this room – it’s a small space so plan wisely. If it’s an extra bedroom furnish it as so – don’t think of it as extra bedroom/computer room/den. It just will be crowded.

Are you ready to buy or sell a home? Do you have a need for commercial / industrial / retail space? We can help you with that… just call us at 702 SELL NOW or click on this link to my website http://www.702SellNow.com

Choose to have an amazing day….Jeff