John Oliver and Janet From The Good Place Warn About Mobile Homes on Last Week Tonight

“Mobile homes were perfected by humans, but invented by snails,” explained John Oliver on Last Week Tonight. And because 20 million Americans live in mobile homes he focused Sunday night’s episode on them.

Mobile homes cost significantly less than conventional homes, making them one of the last few affordable housing options around. “It can be hard to tell the difference between mobile homes and manufactured homes,” Oliver said. “Just like it’s hard to tell the difference between Jessica Chastain and Bryce Dallas Howard. The difference is, like a mobile home, Bryce Dallas Howard is assembled off-site, then placed on wheels and moved to her permanent location.”

Also like Howard and Chastain, mobile homes are popular—so popular that they have become a target for private equity firms, who have started purchasing mobile home sites. As Oliver put it: “The homes of some the poorest people in America are being snapped up by some of the richest people in America.” Mobile home parks have earned a lot of money for the Carlyle Group and Warren Buffett, who owns Clayton mobile homes, which made $ 911 million pre-tax dollars last year. Those unlikely bedfellows have led to conflict in the form of rising rents and fees that have left already impoverished Americans with even fewer options.

For mobile homes owners, the “cars you live in” are reportedly an investment that always go down in value. They are an even worse investment if you don’t own the land that the mobile home is parked on, because “mobile homes are mobile about as much king crabs are actually kings,” said Oliver.

That lack of mobility of tenants is attractive to investors, because they quite literally have a captive audience. As Frank Rolfe, a mobile home investor, put it, buying a mobile home park is like owning “a Waffle House where everyone is chained to the booths,” which Oliver suggested was a good idea for Jordan Peele’s next horror movie.

To warn people about the risks of investing in a mobile home, Oliver and The Good Place’s D’Arcy Carden made an honest ad for potential home buyers.


Entertainment – TIME

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This start-up wants to help teachers buy their own homes

America's teachers are under financial pressure with student loan debt and low salaries, but one start-up is attempting to help our educators generate wealth through homeownership. Alex Lofton, co-founder and head of growth at Landed, a company offering down payment support and financial coaching to educators in the market for a home, joins "Squawk Box" along with an investor in the project Alexis Ohanian to discuss how the business model works.
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Real estate mogul weighs in on a proposed tax on multi-million dollar second homes in New York

Howard Lorber, President and CEO of the Vector Group and Chairman of Douglas Elliman Realty, joins "Squawk Box" to discuss the future of New York real estate.
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NY senator makes the case for why he wants to tax multi-million dollar second homes

A plan to tax the rich on multi-million dollar second homes is gaining traction in New York City in order to raise funds for the MTA transit system. State Senator Brad Hoylman (D), who introduced the bill, joins "Squawk Box" to discuss the legislature's interest in the law.
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Fire-resistant homes could be answer to California’s growing wildfire problem

CNBC's Diana Olick reports on how the increased risk of wildfires and disaster is a risk to homebuilders. Olick looks at the new ideas in home construction that help houses become wildfire resistant.
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These European countries offer the best vacation homes

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If you’re the kind of person that loves to travel and explore the world but aren’t too fond of staying in a hotel, vacations homes could be right up your street. These are houses that are rented out by their owners for tourists and explorers alike to enjoy during their vacation. So, you get all of the home comforts you could possibly want, while also being away from your own house and the same ol’ views of your town. Europe is home to some of the most beautiful vacation homes, but have you ever wondered which one is the best?

United Kingdom

The United Kingdom may be small, but it’s one of the most varied destinations in Europe. Within just a short drive of each other, you can make your way to the beach, the countryside, the valleys, and the cities. This means that you can push the boundaries of your vacation home. You can opt for a quaint apartment in the city, or a humongous converted barn surrounded by fields and hills.

Portugal

Because so many people make their way to mainland Spain for their vacations, Portugal often gets overlooked. This means that there are beautiful and empty vacation homes that are just waiting for you to settle down in. Many of these homes offer endless views over the mountains and the ocean, and Portuguese houses are also praised for their architecture so you can get an art lesson at the same time!

France

With endless sunshine and some of the best food in the world, why wouldn’t you want to see what France has to offer in terms of vacation homes? Many of the best vacation rentals in this country are located outside of the city and in rural towns and villages. This way, you get to check out the medieval buildings, sip on a glass of wine or two, and have a dip in your own private pool.

Croatia

Croatia is one of the most beautiful countries in the world and offers visitors the chance to see this beauty in all of its glory. The coastline and the beaches are scattered around the whole country, which means you can often stumble upon something magical when you least expect it. The best part? The vacation homes in Croatia are normally traditional, quaint, and absolutely stunning.

Switzerland

If you’re a fan of skiing or just frolicking around in the white stuff, you definitely have to make your way into the mountains of Switzerland. While you can explore the gorgeous towns, cities, and villages, the best vacation homes in Switzerland can be found at high altitude. Yes, we’re talking incredible ski chalets and log cabins that are perfect for a winter away. Make sure you take a blanket and some firewood though because you’ll need it.

If you’re looking to venture across the world and see what Europe has to offer, there’s no need to worry about booking a hotel. After all, these countries all have incredible vacation homes for you to enjoy!

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The post These European countries offer the best vacation homes appeared first on Worldation.

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How Solar Panels Improve Your Home’s Value

Perhaps one of the most common questions asked by homeowners who are considering solar panels is, do solar panels improve your home’s value? The short answer is: Yes, they do! According to research from the National Renewable Energy Laboratory, solar panels can add an average of $ 18,324 to the value of a medium-sized home. In addition, they found that homes with solar panels sell about 20 percent faster, on average.

Of course, determining if solar panels are right for your home’s value depends on several other factors. Below are some common considerations to take into account on the value solar panels will add to your home:

Financial Value of Installing Solar Panels

To get a better idea of just how much solar panels improve home value, EnergySage and Sandia National Laboratories conducted a study of home solar value in 15 U.S. cities. In the majority of cities, solar panel systems garnered increased home values of at least 80 percent of their price and installation costs. In comparison, EnergySage found that homeowners only saw a 68 percent return on investment after a major kitchen renovation. And as the price of solar installation continues to fall, more and more homeowners will find that they not only recoup their original investment, but actually earn more upon resale.

And just another way that solar is a safe bet: Homeowners need not worry about paying off their solar panel systems before selling their home. The bottom line home value increase, should you decide to sell, means you should be able to recoup your investment even if your system hasn’t paid for itself yet.

Why do solar panels improve home value? Just look at the cost of your energy bill. Your potential home buyers will be able to save so much on their energy bills that the increased home premium will be a no-brainer.

Will Solar Panels Add Value To Your Home?

The amount of value that solar panels will add to your home depends on several factors. An experienced, local solar contractor can help you determine if your home is right for solar, based on your roof’s orientation, shingle material, and shape. Other determining factors about solar panels’ value include:

Your Home’s Location
Installations in active solar markets typically yield higher returns than those in less developed markets. An active solar market is an area of the country that receives ample sunlight, has high solar installation rates and has local government incentives like property tax exemptions or energy rebates. The most active solar markets are California, Arizona, North Carolina, New Jersey, Nevada, Massachusetts, New York, Hawaii, Colorado, and Texas.

If you don’t live in one of the most active solar markets, don’t worry. With solar technology improving daily, more and more homes all over the country are having solar panels installed. There are also solar panels that operate efficiently during snow and cloudy weather. For this reason, solar panels are attractive home additions to potential buyers all over the country.

The Size of Your Solar Installation
Property value increases are directly proportional to the capacity (and quality) of solar panels installed. In order for them to improve your home’s value, the capacity of solar panels on the property should be proportional to the size of your home. For example, a 4,000 square foot home should have more solar panels than a 1,000 square foot home. Use our solar panel resources to see how large your solar panel system should be.

Will You Own or Lease Your Solar Panels?
Choosing to own the solar panels you install on your home, versus leasing them, is the best option to increase the value of your home. If you do choose to lease your solar panels, they may still add resale value. Show potential buyers the amount of money they can save by using solar, and you can possibly negotiate to add the leased solar panels to the cost of your home.

Curb Appeal, Warranties, and Other Concerns About Solar Panel Value

Many homeowners are interested in solar power, but have held out because of concerns about curb appeal. However, new innovations in solar panels are rapidly making them more visually appealing. Today’s solar panels are smaller, sleeker and offer increased flexibility of configuration. And depending on your roof’s pitch, today’s panels can appear barely-there. Another option, depending on the area of the country in which you live, are roofs with solar shingles. These solar shingles can blend into the architecture of a home and that of surrounding homes. If you have any concerns about solar panels and curb appeal, let your solar contractor know. They will likely be able to find an option that meshes well with your preferred aesthetic.

Homeowners also fear that they will be on their own if something goes wrong with their solar panel system. However, as with any major home renovation, you can allay those fears by ensuring your solar panels have proper manufacturer and installer warranties included. These warranties should give you peace of mind. And unlike other parts of your home, a solar panel system has no moving parts that will wear out over time, and they typically require little maintenance or repair.

In short, solar panel installation is an investment that will provide a significant increase in your home’s value. If you’re interested in reaping the financial and environmental benefits of a solar-powered home, our tools can help you get started.

The post How Solar Panels Improve Your Home’s Value appeared first on Modernize.

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Zillow makes a big bet on flipping homes. New CEO could ‘make this gamble work’: RBC’s Mahaney

"[Rich Barton has] a huge track record" and his return to be the CEO "took the stock up," RBC's Mark Mahaney says. But the internet analyst is still skeptical.
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Americans are starting to feel better about buying homes — sort of

The share of Americans who say it is a good time to buy a home increased 4 percentage points to 15 percent in January compared with December, according to a monthly survey from Fannie Mae.
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Handguns are more popular in US homes, with deadly consequences for children, study says

Fewer Americans are likely to own a gun now than 40 years ago, but those who do are more likely to own handguns over rifles or shotguns. As the proportion of those with handguns has increased, so has the number of children under the age of 5 who are dying from firearm injuries, according to a new study.


CNN.com – RSS Channel – Health

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Feds Order More Weekend Inspections Of Nursing Homes To Catch Understaffing

The federal government announced plans Friday to crack down on nursing homes with abnormally low weekend staffing by requiring more surprise inspections be done on Saturdays and Sundays.

The federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services said it will identify nursing homes for which payroll records indicate low weekend staffing or that they operate without a registered nurse. Medicare will instruct state inspectors to focus on those potential violations during visits.

“Since nurse staffing is directly related to the quality of care that residents experience, CMS is very concerned about the risk to resident health and safety that these situations may present,” the agency said in a notification to state inspection offices.

The directive comes after a Kaiser Health News analysis found there are 11 percent fewer nurses providing direct care on weekends on average, and 8 percent fewer aides.

Residents and their families frequently complain the residents have trouble getting basic help — such as assistance going to the bathroom — on weekends. One nursing home resident in upstate New York compared his facility to a weekend “ghost town” because of the paucity of workers.

Richard Mollot, executive director of the Long Term Care Community Coalition, an advocacy group in Manhattan, welcomed the new edict but said it was only necessary because state inspectors have not been properly enforcing the rules already on the books.

“The basic problem is the states don’t take this seriously,” Mollot said. “How many studies do we have to have, year after year, decade after decade, saying it all comes down to staffing, and there are very few citations for inadequate staffing and virtually all of them are identified as not causing any resident harm?”

CMS said it will identify potential violators by analyzing payroll records that nursing homes are now required to submit. Those records, which became public this year, showed lower staffing than what facilities had previously told inspectors during their visits, according to the KHN analysis.

“CMS takes very seriously our responsibility to protect the safety and quality of care for our beneficiaries,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in a statement.

The nursing home industry criticized the heightened scrutiny.

“Unfortunately, today’s action by CMS will enforce policies that makes it even more difficult to meet regulatory requirements and hire staff,” said Dr. David Gifford, senior vice president of quality and regulatory affairs at the American Health Care Association, an industry trade group, in a written statement. “Rather than taking proactive steps to address the national workforce shortage long-term care facilities are facing, CMS seems to be focusing on a punitive approach that will penalize providers and make it harder to hire staff to meet the shared goal of increasing staffing.”

Currently, a tenth of inspections must occur during “off hours,” which can be either a weekend, or during a weekday before 8 a.m. or after 6 p.m. But for facilities that Medicare identifies as having lower weekend staffing, half of those off-hour inspections—or 5 percent of the total — must be performed on Saturdays or Sundays.

Medicare requires nursing homes to have a registered nurse on site for at least eight hours every day, but according to the payroll records, a quarter of nursing homes reported no registered nurses available at least one day during a three-month period. Since July, Medicare’s Nursing Home Compare website for consumers has highlighted homes that lack sufficient registered nurses and lowered their star ratings. Nursing Home Compare has downgraded ratings for 1,402 of 15,600 facilities for gaps in registered nurse staffing, records show.

The new directive instructs inspectors to more thoroughly evaluate staffing at facilities Medicare flags. The edict does not mean a flurry of sudden inspections. Instead, Medicare wants heightened focus on those nursing homes when inspectors come for their standard reviews, which take place roughly once a year for most facilities.

But what may appear to be staffing scarcities in payroll records may instead be clerical problems in which nurse hours are not properly recorded, say some nursing home officials.

Katie Smith Sloan, president of LeadingAge, an association of nonprofit providers of aging services, said in a statement that some homes are still struggling to adapt to the new data collection rules.

“We’ve been voicing our concerns to CMS and will continue to do so,” she said.


KHN’s coverage of these topics is supported by
John A. Hartford Foundation
and
The SCAN Foundation

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Volunteers look for remains in burned homes, cars

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California’s Woolsey Fire destroys homes of singer Robin Thicke, reality star Camille Grammer

The Woolsey Fire currently ravaging southern California has claimed the homes of several stars, including singer Robin Thicke and reality star Camille Grammer.

“Blurred Lines” singer Thicke expressed concern for his home on Friday, when he shared a photo of a massive plume of smoke above his house.

/entertainment – New York Daily News

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Help These Adorable Hurricane Florence Puppies Find Their New Homes

Could one of these pups be your new furever friend? Meet Janet, Jack and Chrissy, three adorable and playful puppies rescued from Hurricane Florence. All three of the four-legged friends are 13-week-old hound mixes rescued from the Carolinas by the North Shore Animal League America.

hurricane florence puppies
A dog stands in floodwaters from the Waccamaw River caused by Hurricane Florence Sean Rayford/Getty Images

These canines weathered the storm and have been given a second chance at love, so watch the video above and consider opening your heart — and home — to one of these little bundles of joy. (However, don’t fall too hard for Chrissy as she’s already found her dog mom thanks to Us Weekly editor Kelly Marages!)

hurricane florence puppies
Dog rescued after Hurricane Florence Joe Raedle/Getty Images

To find out how you can get involved, adopt a new best friend, or to support hurricane relief efforts, visit animalleague.org for more information.

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