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5 Tips to Find New and Exciting Things to Do in Your Community

Moving into a community is an adventure. Think of all the neighbors you can add to your social circle and areas to explore just for fun. Execute these simple tips to make friends and be part of the community.

Join social media groups

Social media can help you find everything there is to know about your new community. From local events to citywide activities, everything can be found by simply logging into your account. Conduct a search for local social media groups and join. Connect to others within the area while also being informed of the various options of entertainment your community has to offer. RSVP for an event and start connecting to other attendees with similar interests. Local company Facebook pages are a great way to find out what’s going on in the area.

Read mail flyers

Some of the best things to do in the community can be found right in your mailbox. Local events still rely on traditional flyers and ads in local newspapers to garner interest. Take a look through your mail as it may be the key to filling your upcoming weekend with fun and excitement.

Chat with your Neighbors

Neighbors can be amazing resources for things happening in the community. The longer they’ve lived in the area, the more familiar they will be with annual events within the community and much more. Neighbors may also know of some hidden gems that you may not have ever discovered otherwise. Turn neighborly chats into friendships.

Frequent Businesses in the Area

Skip the drive-thru next time you’re ordering something from a local business. Try to go patronize establishments within the area; many have bulletins pinned with various advertisements of local events and activities. This is an excellent way to meet new people within your community. Focus on frequenting these businesses to help you learn about your new community.


New areas can be intimidating. Put these tips into place and by the end of the week, you’ll have plenty of new and exciting things to do on the weekend.

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How to Choose an Artificial Tree for Christmas

If you don’t want the mess of a real evergreen in your home this holiday season, or if allergies prevent you from having a live tree in your house, an artificial tree may be the perfect solution for your holiday decorating.

Buying Tips for Artificial Trees

Christmas trees are a nearly universal element in most homeowners’ holiday decorating. Some people don’t like the fuss and mess of a live tree, while others have allergies that preclude them from having a real evergreen in their house. If you’re considering purchasing an artificial tree for your home this holiday season, use these ideas as a guide:

Choosing Artificial Tree Accents

  • Pre-Lit Artificial Trees: Pre-lit artificial trees are a great way to minimize setup and cleanup (and avoid the holiday trauma of a giant ball of tangled lights). However, pre-lit artificial trees are generally more expensive, and you can’t change the size or color of the lights from year to year. Swapping burned-out lights for fresh ones may also be a challenge. If you choose a pre-lit artificial tree, look for one that is labeled “continuous on” or “with burn-out protection.” This means that if a single bulb on the strand burns out, the rest of the lights stay on.
  • Flocked or Accented Artificial Trees: When an artificial tree is flocked, its branches look like they have been dusted with snow or glitter. You can choose how flocked you want your artificial tree to be; some are dusted more heavily than others. Additional artificial tree accents also may include natural-looking elements, such as pinecones and berries. Keep in mind that these items cannot be removed, so a flocked or accented artificial tree may not match your decorating style if it changes from year to year.

Selecting Tree Height and Width

Most artificial trees for the holidays come in one of three widths, generally labeled as full, slim or pencil. Artificial trees also come in a range of heights, beginning at tabletop size and increasing, usually in half-foot increments, up to about 12 feet. To ensure the best artificial tree for your home, measure the spot where you plan to display the tree and leave enough room to maneuver around it to decorate.

Choosing Artificial Tree Material

  • Types of Branches: Artificial trees come with two types of branches—hinged or hook-in. Hinged artificial trees, which consist of just a few parts, have permanently affixed branches and are generally easier to set up. Hook-in branches are individually hooked into a specific spot on a central tree pole. These artificial trees take much more time to put together and cannot be pre-lit, but they also tend to be less expensive.
  • Types of Material: Artificial trees are made using one of two types of plastic: PVC or PE. The main difference in materials is in how the trees look. PVC needles are attached to the artificial tree branches using wires. PE artificial trees are fabricated, so both the needles and the branches better resemble those of a real tree. Branch tips may also be sculpted, which means they better replicate the look of a real evergreen.
  • Tinsel, Feather and Other Artificial Trees: While many artificial trees for Christmas are designed to resemble real evergreens, some of them are designed to fill a different decorating need. Tinsel and feather trees are two common examples; these are typically white, silver or gold. While many are often used as tabletop trees, tinsel trees are available in full-size as well.

Note: The density, or tip count, indicates how full your artificial tree looks. When purchasing, evaluate your artificial tree’s branches for sturdiness; if you have lots of ornaments, you want branches sturdy enough to hold them.

Additional Considerations When Choosing Artificial Trees

  • Price: Just as artificial trees can be found in all sizes, they can also be found in all price ranges. Ultimately, the quality of the tree and additional accents will affect the pricing. While off-the-shelf varieties are generally affordable, custom artificial trees are also available.
  • What’s Included: The general life expectancy of an artificial tree is about 10 years, and some may come with a warranty. Stands are usually included; plastic versions may be less stable than those made of metal. Some artificial trees also include additional accessories such as a storage bag. Your artificial tree should also be fire-retardant and fade-resistant.
  • Decorating with Both Artificial and Real Trees: Both artificial and live evergreens can be deftly worked into a variety of holiday styles and schemes within your home. A small artificial tree is a great tabletop choice to display a themed set of decorations or to complete a room’s color scheme, in addition to a full-size live evergreen. A miniature real evergreen can be used in a room where there isn’t lots of space, such as the kitchen or guest room, for added fragrance.

Adapted from Better Homes & Gardens. Used with permission. © Meredith Corporation. All rights reserved.


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Fun and Festive Christmas Color Schemes

Get in the spirit of the holidays with color schemes that offer a new take on the old red-and-green Christmas theme.

Green, blue and silver color scheme

This light and airy holiday color scheme incorporates light green, bright blue and silver to create a sophisticated Christmas living room. Hang light green-and-blue oversize stockings from your mantel beneath potted lemon cypress trees wrapped in teal paper and green ribbon. Decorate your Christmas tree with an assortment of blue, silver and green glass ornaments, and color-coordinate a sea of blue-and-white wrapped packages to complete the color scheme.

White-and-brown color scheme

Play up a minimal living room for the holidays with brown, gold and silver accents. A frosted Christmas tree displays oversize silver and gold ornaments; white and brown wrapped packages are placed neatly beneath the tree. A glass-top coffee table holds tall apothecary jars filled with white candies and Christmas cookies.

Green, white and brown color scheme

An earthy holiday color scheme of green and brown gives a natural look to this Christmas living room. Green-and-white stockings hang from a wooden mantel, and light-brown throw pillows sit on off-white armchairs. The colors stay consistent through the tree decorations, with bright-green glass ornaments and creamy felt poinsettia flowers. Woodsy ribbon and an owl ornament wrap a light-green box under the Christmas tree, and other patterned wrapping papers play up the mellow, earthy tones.

Editor’s Tip: You don’t have to decorate your whole house in a different color scheme every year—just focus on small areas, and simply carry the scheme through wrapped presents or tree decorations.

Blue-and-white color scheme

Mimic the icy colors of winter with this blue-and-white Christmas color scheme. Birch logs, frosted pinecones and branches in white ceramic vases provide the indoor winter wonderland. Accent with blue velvet ribbon and clear blue goblets for cool pops of color.



Silver-and-gold color scheme

Let your indoor Christmas decor shine with this pretty silver-and-gold color scheme. Decorate your mantel with a silver-and-gold ornament ball wreath, cream stockings and greenery. Add in ornament-filled cloches and apothecary jars for a decorative dimension. Adorn a frosty Christmas tree with silver, gold and blue ornaments, and display gorgeous wrapped packages in the same hues to create a festive scheme that sparkles.

Turquoise-and-orange color scheme

Try a zesty Christmas color scheme using bright, contrasting colors—such as turquoise and orange—to give your holiday decor a bold look. Here, wide orange ribbon wraps large boxes covered in patterned turquoise paper, and an urn brimming with oranges dresses up the bottom of the Christmas tree. A light-blue coffee table holds a teal vase of orange flowers and a footed dish filled with oranges; a blue-and-orange decorative pillow pulls the color scheme together on an off-white couch.

Editor’s Tip: Stabilize the Christmas tree trunk with sand and gravel before adding the oranges to the top of the urn.

Red-and-tan color scheme

Red-and-tan color scheme

Swap tan for white in this Christmas color scheme to give your home a vintage holiday feel. Light brown upholstery webbing is transformed into a large bow to accent this Christmas wreath, and tiny packages fill the bed of a red toy pickup truck. A handmade burlap pillow with Christmas words and phrases finishes the natural color scheme.

Red, pink and blue color scheme

Play up the color of holiday poinsettias with this unusual Christmas color scheme. Fuchsia-color poinsettia bracts (look for Polly’s Pink variety) complement a ceramic dish filled with pink and silver ornaments in different shapes and sizes, an ideal decoration for your Christmas mantel or a holiday table centerpiece. The flowers and ornaments offset a blue-and-white striped couch with wintry accent pillows for a unique holiday look.


Red, cream and white color scheme

Give traditional Christmas colors a break by removing the green and adding cream and white for a warm and cozy color scheme. Cream and red throw pillows—with a cream rosette wreath above the chair—add a warm element to the decor, and a 3-foot tabletop tree adorned with red and white ornaments stands in a cream pot on a white table to round out the color scheme.

Multicolor festive Christmas scheme

Celebrate the season with all the colors of the rainbow—the bright hues are perfect for adding holiday cheer to a table. Create mini trees and wreaths out of ball ornaments by removing the ornament caps and hot-gluing the balls onto foam shapes.

Red, white and blue color scheme

Red, white and blue color scheme

You’ve heard of Christmas in July, but now bring the spirit of July to your Christmas decor in December. Red, white and blue is a classic color scheme that suits the holiday. Create stockings from red and blue felt; embellish with snowflake appliqués. Attach stockings to antique wooden skis or other cold-weather icons for a winter scene.

Teal, white and cranberry color scheme

Twist a classic color combination with cranberry and teal. For an easy tablescape, cover your table with a teal tablecloth and create place cards from family photos. Copy the photos onto light red paper. Make a cardboard frame for each photo and attach the photo to the back of the frame. Place each framed image in a holiday-inspired photo clip or place-card holder.


Pink and green color scheme

Typically thought of as a springtime combination, pink and green will add cheer to your home during dreary winter months. For this bright centerpiece, place a metallic bottle-brush tree in a heavy planter, weight as necessary with rocks or gravel, then cover the base with fake moss. Accent the room with patterned pink and green pillows to emphasize the color scheme.

Red, white and green color scheme

If you prefer a more traditional approach to holiday decorating, try a red-and-white color scheme with added pops of green. This festive place setting combines the three colors with white chargers, a red place mat, and sprigs of evergreen tucked into folded napkins. A burlap runner, pots of moss and apples offer inexpensive finishes.







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5 Ways to Get Involved in your Community by Participating and Volunteering

When you’ve just moved into a new community, getting involved with your neighbors and neighborhood can be a great beginning to a happy life. Our communities can be pillars of support when we need them or friendly faces we’re happy to see each day. Through volunteering, joining clubs and groups, taking part in community sports activities and hosting events, you can bond with those who live around you and create a wonderful home for yourself – and others.

Here are 5 ways to get more involved in your community:


  • Join a community garden


Join a community garden in your neighborhood, and if you don’t have one, start one. Growing organic produce on a shared plot is a great way to connect with people near you. It also helps everyone involved develop a deeper understanding of the importance of keeping the air, water and ground clean and safe in a community.

While you till, water, plant and harvest, try to get to know the members of your community. Tell stories of where you came from and ask others about their backgrounds. If you have kids, get them involved with a beginner’s food scrap garden and encourage neighbors to bring their children participate too.


  • Start conversations


Learn more about the people who live near you by starting conversations within your community. This is easily done through book clubs or groups that come together to make jewelry, create art, cook and learn new languages. Ask your immediate neighbors if they know about any clubs or meetups you can join. If there aren’t any, start one yourself.

If you have a community center or other public space available, use it to form friendships while you learn something new. Sometimes taking turns meeting in members’ homes, either weekly or monthly, is a good way to break the ice with small talk or enjoy truly enriching conversation. Think about planning a series of special gatherings or ongoing drop-in events.


  • Become a community volunteer


Volunteer in a local clinic, hospital, nature center, library or community center. Volunteerism is a superb way to meet people and contribute skills and talents to those who might need them. Not only will you probably experience a sense of accomplishment after sharing the gifts you have to offer, your neighbors will likely notice your contributions and consider you a valuable member of the community.

How can you help those who share your small part of the world? Perhaps tutoring, offering legal aid, mentoring, teaching a language, organizing a food bank or visiting the elderly in your community resonates with you. Children can often be persuaded to join the community volunteer force by teaching older adults all the ways of the Internet.


  • Get active in after-school programs


Families can get to know neighbors by becoming active in after-school programs. Even if you don’t have kids, meet new people in your neighborhood by volunteering your time to these activities.

Children often enjoy becoming members in Girl or Boy Scout-type groups, YMCA memberships, parks and recreation classes or mommy and me groups. Often, parents of kids in these programs go on to become friends for life. If you don’t have little ones, it’s still possible to coach, teach a craft, be a dance instructor and get involved in your community in other ways.


  • Attend or host charity events


Many big cities and small towns have carnivals, holiday gift boutiques, formal dinners and similar charitable events to bring the community closer together. Attend these events and enjoy being a part of shared experiences. You’ll likely meet people who have many of the same interests as you do, which is a good way to form friendships.

The good thing about getting involved in your new community is that if there aren’t gardens, clubs, organized activities, volunteer opportunities or other programs in place for you to meet people, you can always be to facilitator of these types of gatherings. Your new neighbors will probably be glad you took the initiative to provide ways to connect.

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Welcome to the Neighborhood: Five Great Gifts for Neighbors

Welcome to the Neighborhood: Five Great Gifts for Neighbors

Moving to a new neighborhood is never easy. Why not show a warm welcome by giving a welcome basket to your new neighbors? As an established ambassador of your block, now’s your opportunity to bring over a few little gifts for neighbors to make them more comfortable in their new home.

Fruits, vegetables and flowers

If you’re a gardener, consider sharing the bounty. Fresh fruits and vegetables are always a big hit. They may even inspire some fun, future garden rivalry. Feeling inspired? Pack your treasures into a box with a few seed packets that easily grow outdoors, a tool for weeding and a nice pair of gardening gloves.

Snacks and a drink

Who doesn’t love treats? Although it used to be the tradition to bring by a bottle of wine for new neighbors, be cognizant of the fact that some may prefer not to drink alcoholic beverages. Instead, bring over a bottle of sparkling water and fruit juice to make a spritzer. To accompany the refreshers, pack a small fruit basket and chocolates.

If you really want to impress your new neighbors, bring them baked goods straight out of the oven. Make sure to provide a full list of ingredients in case your neighbors have allergies. You may want to make options that are free of nut, dairy and eggs.


A gift card to a great local restaurant

Your new neighbors may not feel up to preparing a meal. After all, their kitchen may still be filled with boxes! Offering a gift card to your favorite local restaurant is a nice gesture that will also prevent your neighbors’ stomachs from rumbling. Fortunately, gift cards can be purchased in a wide range of amounts to avoid worrying about overspending. A typical amount for new neighbors is anywhere between $20 to $50. Try to choose a restaurant with a lovely view and a wide variety of menu items to suit all dietary needs.

Host a small gathering

Plan a meet and greet as a gift for neighbors. It’ll give you an excuse to have a party and will help your new friends acclimate to the neighborhood. You don’t need to plan anything fancy. A small backyard BBQ is always fun. You can move the party indoors during the cooler months. Have plenty of snacks on hand, including an assortment of finger foods. This is also an opportunity to ask everyone in the neighborhood to contribute. Rather than prepare all of the food yourself, plan a potluck and have people bring their favorite dishes.

A touch of green

Even neighbors who don’t have green thumbs will appreciate a nice plant. Stick with a plant that doesn’t require a lot of care. Spider plants, devil’s ivy, philodendrons and calla lilies are safe bets. Instead of a houseplant, put together a small herb garden as a gift for neighbors. Mint, basil and thyme come in starter sizes. Get creative with the containers you choose. Whether you give your neighbors a houseplant or a selection of herbs, just make sure to provide instructions on how to care for their new plant.

After giving your neighbors a small gift, ask if there are any ways you can help them get settled in and just generally make yourself useful.

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Four Ways to Display a Collection

A home should be a unique expression of the interests of its inhabitants. Plates, rare books, antiques are just some of the items one can collect and display. These pieces readily get conversations started and offer the opportunity to showcase them in stylish ways. Read on to discover how unexpected spaces in the home can be the perfect gallery for personal treasures.


Welsh sideboard

Practical and stylish, a sideboard offers discreet storage options on an uninterrupted surface. These timeless pieces were once relegated to the dining room, but now can be placed anywhere. Beyond serving food, they also offer a convenient area to display your treasures, particularly plates and vintage silverware. The trick is to select one focal point and keep backgrounds neutral. Collections will shine without overwhelming. If your display is particularly colorful, consider placing against a white or beige wall.

Pigeonholes of a desk

A desk can be the perfect place to display a collection. Pigeonholes were once used to store office supplies and papers. They now can provide space for a mini gallery. Start by clearing off stationary and polishing for the cleanest surface. Arrange your collection in a way that pleases you the most and get ready for the compliments.


From masks to statues of all sizes, sculpture is one medium that thrives on proximity. These multi-dimensional works should be viewed from as many angles as possible. Bookshelves provide the perfect space for display, as most are elevated or at eye level. This placement also prevents accidents by keeping too many hands away from creating a hazard. To enhance these bold objects, consider adding the right lighting. A spotlight or single light may wash out intricate details. Diffused light, such as sunshine, works best. If that is not possible, try recessed lighting.



Versatile built-ins are meant to be filled with personal treasure. Books, Depression-era glass or action figures can all find a home on them. These small landscapes offer the right amount of space and light to bring dimension and character to a flat wall. For the more creative types, deepen the impact of your display by playing with layers.  Arrange books as a foundation and move smaller décor items to the forefront for a multi-dimensional look that will start many conversations. Love displaying your personal treasures as much as you love collecting them. This article was inspired by the April 1958 issue of Better Homes & Gardens magazine, proving beloved collections are timeless and always in style.
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The Secret 5.9M Homeowners May Be Missing Out On

A recent sharp drop in mortgage rates hasn’t unlocked savings just for those looking to purchase a home—homeowners may also benefit. About 5.9 million borrowers could see their rates drop by at least 75 basis points by refinancing their mortgages, according to Black Knight, a mortgage software and analytics firm. That is up by 2 million in the past month alone.

That’s the largest population of eligible borrower candidates in nearly three years for savings. The savings could add up to about $271 per month per borrower.

The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage dropped below 4% recently, averaging 3.94% in the latest week.

If rates drop another quarter point, Black Knight estimates that 7 million borrowers could then potentially benefit from refinancing their home mortgage.

The drop in mortgage rates is also boosting affordability for home shoppers. The monthly payment on an average-priced home (assuming a 20% down payment) has fallen 6% over the past six months

“When we factor income into the equation, we see that it takes 22% of the median income to purchase the average-priced home,” notes Ben Graboske, president of Black Knight’s data and analytics division. “That’s the lowest payment-to-income ratio in more than a year as well, and far below the long-term average of 25.1%.”

Also, as of May, the monthly payment required to purchase the average-priced house with 20% down is $1,173, the lowest such payment in more than a year.

Economists say rates are dropping due to trade war disputes with China and Mexico. That is prompting lower yields as investors to flock to the bond market, which is typically viewed as a safety net. Mortgage rates loosely follow yields on the 10-year U.S. Treasury note.

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6 Key Characteristics That Lead to Investor Success

There’s no single, uniform image of what a real estate investor looks like.

Though some people might imagine a wealthy, besuited urbanite operating out of a high-rise office in downtown Manhattan or LA, that’s an outdated notion. It may have been true once, for the most part, but we’re now in a new era for the industry, and real estate investors now come from all financial backgrounds, investment experiences, and locations.

Similarly, there’s no single, uniform image of what a successful real estate investor looks like. Or an investor of any type, for that matter. Investing success can be achieved in a variety of ways, by completely different people. No two investors’ success stories will be exactly the same.

However, in our experience as a nation-wide investment platform, observing investments and the people behind them, we have identified a few key characteristics that a significant number of successful investors cultivate and embody. In particular, we’ve learned that when it comes to investing — especially long-term investing — building discipline and strong fundamentals is crucial.

This is especially true for private market real estate, now that it’s accessible through online platforms like Fundrise, which has made the investment type more available and affordable for many people — more like other investment types they may be more familiar with. The experience of investing in private real estate online is now similar to what investors are accustomed to with traditional public offerings, both in wide accessibility and affordability. That means that many of the same principles that lead to investor success in traditional investment types can now contribute to success in private real estate, too.

Importantly, the first step toward developing many of these key attributes is just being aware of them. In that spirit, here are 6 key characteristics that can lead to investor success — both in real estate and beyond:

1. Having a Clear Sense of Financial Goals.

Having a firm grasp of why you want to invest can inform every other decision you make as an investor.

Without defining what success means for you, you may not be able to identify potential obstacles or properly assess the timeframe you have available. You’ll be at risk of making investment decisions that don’t actually serve your best interests. When investors do know the specific goals behind their investments, they’re usually better equipped to make more deliberate decisions, and those lead toward more meaningful outcomes — meaningful in a way that really matters to them, personally.

Knowing your goals can also protect you from acting impulsively or responding to news that actually shouldn’t affect your big picture outlook — potentially a disastrous mistake in real estate, an investment that often thrives in the long term. And, on the subject of time…

2. Patience.

Patience is one of the most frequently championed traits in successful investors — one of the simplest, too. But it’s relatively rare to find it practiced to its full potential in the investment world. Patience can be crucial for success in many investment types, but in real estate, time is an especially valuable trait.

The power of patience in this industry is related to the nature of the investment itself: as a physical, hard asset, commercial real estate’s value is subject to a range of factors that simply can’t be rushed. Before they can deliver an optimal return, many properties require investors to add value through renovation, ground-up construction, and/or the time to generate income from tenants.

Yes, it can be slow going, watching a real estate investment really grow and blossom. But, when handled prudently, the returns can be worth the wait.

Finally, as with any investment, patience to stay the course through fluctuations in the market can ultimately pay big returns. No investor wants to sell low or prematurely, but temptation can be constant and nagging, thanks to fear of the market being uncooperative or making a sudden turn. If an investment is well-founded for the long-term, however, those moments of turbulence will often be completely forgotten in later months and years.

Unlike other assets, commercial real estate hedges inflation and usually has the capability to generate consistent income. That means that even if a property isn’t appreciating, it can still produce revenue. Most investor success stories are rooted in knowing when to sit still — not in when to capitulate with a last-second decision.

For evidence of the power of patience in investing, look no farther than the Oracle of Omaha himself, Warren Buffett. What does one Berkshire-Hathaway investor say about Buffett’s team? “Everybody’s always patient.”

3. Keeping your eyes on a big-picture view of history.

When considering the validity of an investment, it’s easy to suffer from short-term memory. Successful investors, however, often have a longer-scale sense of the market.

An understanding of a market’s history can help an investor contextualize and weigh the significance of varied developments. Without a big-picture view, an investor’s at risk of misinterpreting or miscalibrating their reactions to market changes, which they may not fully understand. No market is predictable, but history does have plenty to teach, in terms of patterns, likelihoods, and signals.

For example, many potential investors have been spooked away from real estate thanks to narratives that now surround the 2007-2008 financial crisis: people understand or experienced firsthand the damage suffered by the housing market as a result of abuses like subprime loans and increased housing speculation. Real estate’s losses and contextual risks were widely publicized. On its own, that’s enough to scare reasonable, responsible investors away.

A USA Today article helps paint a more nuanced picture, however. With more time and distance from last decade’s Great Recession, the article shows that real estate’s performance during the 07-08 period was actually highly unusual when compared to other bear markets over the past 60+ years. The crisis actually represents an exception, not a rule.

In truth, as USA Today goes on to point out, real estate has consistently shownincreases in the Case-Shiller index during 18 out of the other 19 bear markets during that multi-decade sample period — and in the one exception where it declined, its dip amounted to only 0.4% overall.

This larger collection of data doesn’t make the 07-08 market any less traumatic for those who suffered its losses — but it does help illustrate how a fuller point of view can inform wise future investment choices. If your sole point of reference is the 07-08 crisis, you might form a strong but incomplete assumption about real estate investing, whereas a larger, more inclusive dataset starts to paint a more precise, potentially helpful picture.

4. Understanding how to balance risk and reward.

Every investment has its own risk profile, and an assessment of its projected risk against its potential return. Many of the most successful investors don’t just choose a single level of risk that they’re comfortable with. Instead, they find a balance of risk levels and return expectations across a variety of investments, and they benefit from the big picture, overall performance.

In real estate, that means distributing a portfolio across a range of properties that cover a spectrum of low, medium, and high risk/return projections. Each investor can weigh their particular risks and expected returns based on their own sense of risk tolerance and goals. When optimized, the result of that balance is a more stable overall investment (thanks to the security of the lower risk investments) with the possibility for higher returns (thanks to the increased potential of the higher risk investments).

Different kinds of investment properties are more likely to correspond to a particular risk-return profile. Real estate is often categorized as one of the following, from lowest to highest risk: core, core-plus, value-add, and opportunistic.

A property in each of these categories involves a certain amount of development required to produce a return and generate income — such as performing renovations or securing paying tenants — with the higher-risk/higher-return, opportunistic properties usually being the most development-intensive.

When Fundrise considers which properties to add to our portfolios, we carefully consider the development each will require to serve our investors’ goals and how it’ll contribute to a portfolio’s overall balance.

5. Appreciating the power of diversifying into both stocks and alternative assets, like real estate.

Real estate can play many different roles in a portfolio: it might be the foundation that supports an investor’s ventures into other investment types, or it can be the crown jewel at the peak of a portfolio, strategically added to raise the portfolio’s potential for returns, or to minimize its overall risk.

In either case, many portfolios really shine when real estate is included in their diversification strategies. A real estate investment can play a crucial, diversifying role even for sophisticated portfolios that already have exposure to more traditional investment types.

Unsurprisingly, some of the most successful real estate investors are successful investors in general. Although the composition of their individual portfolios vary, they often include exposure to several markets and asset classes. Why include real estate? It represents a time-tested way for these investors to achieve exposure to an alternative asset, the behavior of which often has a low correlation with the holdings in the rest of their portfolios.

The full value of diversification can have many layers (such as helping to balance risk and reward, as discussed in item 5 of this article), but the basic risk mitigation that diversification is most famous for is usually a compelling reason on its own.

Many successful investors understand that real estate isn’t an investment option to be pursued instead of stocks and bonds, but rather best used to complement those more traditional investment types.

6. Being content with a passive investing style.

It’s not unusual to find new investors who feel that an investment is growing only when they’re personally tweaking and interacting with it. Alternatively, a person might come to their investment portfolio looking for excitement — the opportunity to shuffle money between accounts, make decisions everyday, take risks, witness gambles payoff.

There are, of course, highly active investment strategies in both real estate and other asset types that can be substantially rewarding, but these usually require deeper resources, especially in terms of the investor’s time and their financial acumen. Active investors frequently take on much more responsibility for their real estate, both legally and fiscally.

For more accessible investment models, a person with expectations for action might find themselves less successful, when a truly passive investing style can often be the more rewarding strategy. This is often the case for real estate. Investors with the desire to tinker or chase action may not fare particularly well in investment models designed to be passive, as that kind of propensity can lead to knee-jerk decisions and under-baked investments. Instead, many real estate investments involve dedicating money to a property with full knowledge of what the money will do over the course of many years — the fewer the suprises, the better.

Or, in other words, successful investors often value consistency over pyrotechnics. Notably, embracing a passive style isn’t quite the same as having the capacity for patience, as discussed in item 2 above, though they’re interlinked. Patience indicates the willingness to let an investment develop over a long term, but it might not mean a person is fully content being detached from that investment. Often times, you’ll want to be both.

For many proven real estate investors, passivity isn’t just something they’re capable of, but something they’re glad to practice. And after all, it’s easier to accomplish your goals when the path toward success is enjoyable in itself.

Beyond Theory — to Practice

One of the most powerful aspects of these fundamental ideas is that just understanding them puts an investor well on track toward practicing them. Sometimes that recognition and embodiment of the fundamentals of investing is the biggest difference between a successful investor and everyone else.

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Manly Man Buys Girlie House After Reading This Legendary Listing Description

Think this house is some sort of joke? Think again, chief.

This house should only be purchased by the manliest of men. My friend, if a house could grow a five o’clock shadow, this bad boy would need to shave by noon… so lesser men need not apply. Here’s why.

Crafted from nature’s finest raw materials by 5th degree ninja warriors, it was built for the man who snatches victory from the jaws of defeat on a daily basis.

They didn’t bother with girlie features like a front door with beveled glass. Real men don’t even know what beveled means. All we know is square. Square jaw, square meal, and looking another man square in the eyes when squaring off in the parking lot.

Yeah it’s pink, but so what. This was never intended as the dream home of every six-year-old princess across the fruited plain. No, this hellcat from planet kickass just happened to be born in a Hello Kitty body.

Is it in turnkey condition? Hell no it’s not in turnkey condition. It’s got a leaky roof, saggy floor joists, and the AC unit only works when kicked in the just the right spot with a size 13 boot… what size boot are you workin’ with, big fella?

So yeah, this beastly box of badassery has been to hell and back and has the repair estimates to prove it. So if you’re too much of a pretty boy for this fire-breathing, dragon-slaying hero of a home just because it has a few purple hearts, then move along.

But I know you won’t. I know your type. You’re a doer. A fixer. The classic man’s man. And you’re smart enough to realize most swimsuit models would crawl through a mile of crushed glass just to watch a handyman in action through a pair of Fisher Price binoculars. And guess what, stud… that man could be you!

I don’t wanna hear you whining about this home’s lack of a security system. The only security system you’ll need is a stick to keep all the women at bay once they catch wind of your legendary address.

It comes equipped with all the things we testosterone-fueled adrenaline junkies need — like a woodworking shop. And guess what’s included in the sale, boss…

… yep, the finest assortment of hand tools you ever saw, along with a first aid kit in case you slice a finger doing the work of a real man. You know what the first aid kit contains? A pint of Jim Beam, a stitch-your-own-wound kit, and a chunk of leather to bite down on when you’re sewing yourself back up.

It’s priced to move at $179,000, or you can shell out twice as much for the home down the street (and get your man card revoked in the process).

My client will entertain all reasonable offers. And by reasonable I mean if you offer $100,000, that’s liable to earn you a trip to the ER, compliments of a thunder punch to the throat followed up by a two-fingered eye-jab. Would it hurt? Let’s just say you’d better get used to Popeye jokes, champ.

Make a full price offer and my client will even throw in the front doormat. You know what it says? “Man Cave Sweet Man Cave”. Hell, I’d buy it and make the repairs my damn self if my other career didn’t keep me away so much. You know what my other career is? Teaching Navy Seals to base jump. At night… blindfolded. Yeah.

So trust me, this helluva deal with sex appeal will outlast you and the offspring that carry your name. Rumor has it that Chuck Norris was bred here, Elvis was wed here, and John Wayne dropped dead here. Yeah. So what legacy are you gonna leave in this home, tough guy?

Now, go look in the mirror and tell me what’s staring back. If it’s a rugged, non candy-assed Dwayne Johnson stunt double, then call me. I might be out hang-gliding the Rockies or swimming laps in Lake Superior, but leave a message with my assistant and I’ll get back to you.

When we meet, we’ll get down to business over a glass of Johnnie Walker Black, right after we’ve small-talked the finer points of a proper roof truss installation.