Dwellworks Voted a 2013 “Top Workplace” in Cleveland

Dwellworks was recognized as one of the 2013 “Top Workplaces” by The Plain Dealer in Cleveland. This award distinguishes 100 organizations as the best places to work in Northeast Ohio, based on feedback from employee surveys regarding work environment, management, and corporate culture. Dwellworks was voted 20th (up 10 places from 2012) among small businesses in Cleveland.

“We are honored to be named one of the top workplaces in Northeast Ohio for the second straight year,” said Bob Rosing, President and CEO of Dwellworks. “Our company was built on the solid foundation of our five corporate values – integrity, teamwork, performance, innovation and fun.  It’s great to work with a team that not only upholds these values but lives by them each day. Receiving this award reassures us that we are fulfilling our goals and creating a positive work environment for our associates.”

Dwellworks was chosen out of a pool of 253 Northeast Ohio organizations. Read the article here.

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Canada Day Celebrations Around the World

Ottawa's world famous Snowbirds flying over Parliment Hill on Canada Day

Ottawa’s world famous Snowbirds flying over Parliment Hill on Canada Day

Canada Day, a federal statutory holiday, is Canada’s national day that celebrates the anniversary of the July 1, 1867 enactment of the British North America Act of 1867, which united Canada as a single country of four provinces. Canada Day observances take place throughout Canada as well as internationally.

Even though Canada is regarded as having become a kingdom in its own right on that date, the British Parliament, at first, kept limited rights of political control over the new country. These were shed by stages over the years, until the last vestiges were ended in 1982 when the Constitution Act patriated the Canadian constitution.

Most communities across the country will host organized celebrations for Canada Day. These are usually outdoor public events, such as parades, carnivals, festivals, barbecues, air and maritime shows, fireworks, and free musical concerts, as well as citizenship ceremonies for new citizens. This year in Ottawa we will also have a very special Canadian at Major Hill Park – Col. Chris Hadfield. Chris will be showcasing a slide show of all the fabulous photos he took recently while in space as commander of the International Space Station. And if you didn’t know already, Chris is also a master musician, and will be singing along with Canada’s own Barenaked Ladies. What a show it will be!

Canadian expatriates will organize Canada Day activities in their local area on or near the date of the holiday. For instance, since 2006, annual Canada Day celebrations have been held at Trafalgar Square—the location of Canada House—in London, England. These are initiated by the Canadian community in the United Kingdom, endorsed by the Canadian High Commission, and organized by a private promotions company, and feature Canadian performers and a demonstration of street hockey, among other activities.  Annual celebrations also take place in Mexico at the American Legion in Chapala.  Since the 1950s, our friends in Michigan, USA and Windsor, Ontario have celebrated both Dominion or Canada Day and the United States’ Independence Day with the annual International Freedom Festival – a massive fireworks display over the Detroit River (the strait separating the two cities), with hundreds of thousands of spectators attending.  A similar event occurs at the Friendship Festival, a joint celebration between Fort Erie, Ontario, and neighbouring Buffalo, New York, and towns and villages throughout Maine, New Brunswick, and Quebec come together to celebrate both anniversaries together.

So, no matter where you are, there is sure to be a place nearby, and we welcome you to join all of us at Dwellworks Canada in celebrating Canada’s birthday!  Bon Fete!

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Appraisers Feeling the Heat as Chicago Housing Market Improves

Now that the Chicago housing market has picked up steam a bit, more comparable properties are available to consider in an appraisal. But appraisers say it doesn’t make their job of putting a value on property any easier. Per Alvin “Chip” Wagner in a Chicago Tribune article, “It’s an appreciating market, and the closed data that appraisers use is behind what the homes are actually selling for right now. We’re just now on the cusp of good data.”  There are fewer distressed properties changing hands, but at the same time, an under supply of available homes in some areas has prompted bidding wars driving sales above list price, a list price that may not be justified by an appraisal.  Click here to learn more.

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Rental Vacancy Rates in Colorado’s Longmont Area

According to a recent article in the Longmont Times, for the past several years the Denver metro area (particularly Boulder County and the city of Longmont) has experienced a severe shortage in apartment units. Longmont’s vacancy rate for apartments is half that of the metro area, holding at 2.3% during the first quarter of 2013.  Boulder vacancy rates are even lower – with  1.3% citywide and .03% in the university area.  While these numbers create a favorable position for area apartment complexes, individual renters are left with very few options and little time to ponder rental decisions.

Several factors have contributed to the low rental vacancy rate in this market. Longmont’s pleasant small-town feel and its proximity to major surrounding cities has made it a highly attractive place to live. The economic recovery has also had a significant impact.  Young adults now feel more comfortable moving out on their own, new residents are moving in to the area, and there has been a nationwide cultural trend towards renting since the 2008 economic crash.  Since rental demand continues to outpace supply in the area, real estate developers have taken notice of this opportunity. Several apartment buildings are currently being constructed but it is expected to take several years before demand is met.  In the meantime, cost of living remains high, days on market are few, and landlords are in control.

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Outreach Initiatives – Making a Difference

Dwellworks believes in making a difference in the communities and lives of the people we serve.  In addition to organized company outreach activities spearheaded by Philanthropy Committees at each office location, many Dwellworks associates and supplier network members participate in philanthropic initiatives that are personally important to them. Recently, Jean Hunt, a Dwellworks real estate agent and relocation specialist in New York City, was featured in MOBILITY magazine’s “Mobility Snapshot” for her philanthropic achievements. Jean focuses on providing education for dozens of children in India. We are very proud to have Jean on our team! Learn more about her incredible efforts in Mobility Magazine’s June Mobility Spotlight – Jean Hunt

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Great app for world travelers

Heard about a very interesting  iPhone app if you are planning on traveling to another country. It is an app called ‘Smart Traveler’ and is  published by the Department of Defense.  Once launched, you can look up a particular country and find out everything from where the US Embassies and Consulates are to information about current US relations with that nation.  For potential danger zones – there are warnings and alerts.  Probably the most useful section is called – Know Before You Go – where you can find stats on crime, information about medical care, entry/exit information and even information about traffic safety. If you think this might be helpful – download it from the iTunes store here.   Here are a few screenshots:

photo 3 photo 1 photo 2

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Important Change to I-94 Process

U.S. Customs and Border Protection recently announced that effective April 30, 2013, transferees arriving into the U.S. will no longer receive a hard-copy version of their I-94, as all information will now be stored electronically. However, the Social Security Administration and state driver’s license agencies will continue to require a hard copy of the I-94 to prove legal status in the United States when applying for a SSN and driver license.

Transferees will now need to print a hard copy of the I-94 indicating lawful admission to the United States by visiting www.cbp.gov/I94. This additional step will be necessary to ensure that all application procedures go smoothly throughout service delivery.

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The Extra 2%: Winning Baseball with Wall Street Strategies

It’s easy to lump the broad ideas of Jonah Keri’s The Extra 2% in under the vast shadow cast by Michael Lewis’ Moneyball. Published in 2003, Moneyball was at the same time a book for baseball geeks as well as a primer on how to run an efficient business and find the value in hidden assets. The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team from Worst to First, published in 2011, also focuses on the inner workings of a baseball team firmly entrenched in the “have-not” category in baseball’s hierarchy, but the most surprising revelations in the book come from how much effort was put into improving organizational morale and it’s affect on performance.

For those that don’t remember the initial era of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays, summarizing the on-field results is pretty straightforward. The team lost over 90 games every season for a decade, locked up last place in the division and quickly became the laughingstock of the league. What was really surprising was the lengths that original ownership went to disenfranchise themselves from their community and fan base as well. Keri’s anecdotes are plentiful and colorful. When the team invited a local Boy Scout troop to sing the national anthem, they enraged the community by charging the troop admission to the ballpark. The owners were so frugal, they didn’t even provide internet access to employees.

After several years of floundering, the original owners sold to a group of young Wall Street whiz kids with no baseball experience who championed the idea of small, constant, incremental improvement in every facet of their business. This is where the book’s title came from. Although the book may be a little heavy on the intricacies of baseball at times, it was the stories of the management structure that I found most interesting. This new ownership group created a process and delegated responsibilities to employees all the way down the line, fostering a culture of trust and responsibility that hadn’t existed in the organization from its creation. By following the examples of their new leaders, the rest of the staff took pride in their new-found responsibility and completely bought in to the process.

Success on the field soon followed and 10 seasons after their creation (and 3 years after their sale to new ownership), the Rays finally had their first winning season. The Rays have now consistently been one of the most consistently competitive teams in all of baseball while their employees relish the challenge of battling the larger, wealthier franchises. For those looking for a change of pace in their typical assortment of management books, The Extra 2% is quick and worthwhile read.

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Future of the Housing Market Is “A Great Unknown”

Per Robert Shiller, of Case-Shiller fame, housing “is becoming more of a speculative asset”.  Sales in the housing market are well above the levels of a year ago and inventories are at their lowest levels in 13 years, but there are some growing fears that another bubble is forming in the housing industry.  Feeding those fears is a growing number of all-cash home purchases—primarily by speculators.  Per the National Association of Realtors, 27% of existing home sales every month in the U.S. over the past year have been purchased by speculators.
Shiller says there is a lot of “speculative excitement” in specific housing markets like Phoenix, Las Vegas and Los Angeles—the first two among the worst performing markets after the last bubble burst. But he’s not convinced that housing bubble is forming.

Shiller says there is a lot of “speculative excitement” in specific housing markets like Phoenix, Las Vegas and Los Angeles—the first two among the worst performing markets after the last bubble burst. But he’s not convinced that housing bubble is forming.

“People shouldn’t assume the housing market is off to the races,” says Shiller. “[For] the country as a whole it’s rather unlikely that we’ll have another boom like the one we recently had because that’s such a rare and unusual event.” The last boom was countrywide and financed by excessive leverage, he says.

Please read the entire article from The Daily Ticker.

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Dwellworks Acquires County Homesearch in UK and Express Relocation in Mexico

Dwellworks is excited to announce the acquisition of two fantastic destination services companies: County Homesearch International in the UK and Express Relocation Home Search & Destination Services in Mexico. We are thrilled to welcome our new team members and look forward to sharing best practices and learning from each other. Read the full press release here.

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