Is Crowdfunding the Future of Real Estate Investment?

Since the Great Recession, crowdsourcing and the sharing economy have become increasingly popular, especially among younger people who were especially hard hit by the collapse. Millennials have been using crowdsourcing to fund artistic endeavors, art projects, and now — real estate.

New commercial real estate crowdfunding firms have emerged with a bang, with estimates placing the industry’s income around $3.5 billion in 2016, just years after it began to appear.

The principal tool for crowdfunded real estate is Electronic Real Estate Investment Trusts, which have allowed companies to greatly expand their pool of investors.

Traditionally, real estate has been a very popular investment vehicle, but often cost prohibitive for young people. However, among those who have invested in real estate, 96% credit it with their financial success. But for most people, securing enough financing for the down payment alone, which can be as high as 25% the cost of the property, can be a challenge.

For a long time, non-traded REITs were the best bet for lower income investors to diversify their portfolio with real estate. The high front-end fees, which can range from 10% to 15%, still discouraged many investors from buying in.

Now, eREITs have a significant advantage. Because their online platform allows them to cut out the middleman, crowdfunded real estate firms are able to significantly lower the fees required, or eliminate them all together.

For crowdfunded firms, the ability to appeal to lower income investors might represent the key to success. Real estate investor Jay Maddox told National Real Estate Investor Online that while institutional investors shy away from crowdfunded real estate, the sector is on the brink of massive expansion.

“I also think it is really going to be the best fit for properties that are well below institutional investor’s radar screen.”

That means that, in order for crowdfunded real estate businesses to thrive, they will need to pick their targets carefully. A Florida based business, for instance, might not be able to compete in the major Florida destinations towns like Miami or Orlando, but there are still 1,200 miles of sand beach and 1,800 miles of coastline for them to find a less competitive space to develop.

The proliferation of crowdfunded real estate firms has been beneficial for more people than just the investors, or even those in the real estate industry. The rapid acceleration of online investment platforms has also been a boon for the information and technology industry, which is responsible for the design, operation, and security of such sites.

At the same time, there have been signs of trouble within the industry. Crowdfunding platform iFunding, in particular, has garnered a great deal of negative attention lately, with investors and real estate professions bemoaning the poor organization structure and operations.

Still, the future looks bright for crowdfunded real estate. Tore Steen, CEO and co-founder of CrowdStreet Inc, is especially optimistic.

When speaking to National Real Estate Investor Online, he said, “There could be a day down the road where players that have traditionally raised money for institutional investors could be looking at this retail channel as a supplement, or even as an alternative when it gets big enough.”

What Are Web Fonts and Why Are They Important?

Remember the good old days when print media caught more attention than any other broadcasting media’s including the T.V. and the web. Could be that those days the internet was just emerging and the only media that was familiar to people was the print. The designers in those days had an extensive arena for experimentation. Probably they had the freedom to use a variety of fonts, colors and style as per their desire as there was no particular standard set by anyone when designing for the print.

But, with the evolution of the web, the use of fonts merged into a tricky state. An analysis on how designers deal with this state of the web reveals that more than half the designers prefer using the custom fonts.

So, what are actually these web fonts and where do they come in the bigger picture?

Suppose your client specifically asks for a particular font style and your computer doesn’t support the same except for the basic standard fonts, such as Arial, Times New Roman and Calibri. In such a situation, how would you power the application with the font that the client has requested for?

This is where the custom fonts come into the scenario. You could use the web fonts. But, how do you do that without installing it on your system? You can use this web font, which can be accessed over a server on which the specific file is being hosted. This is where it starts. The font will be brought up and loaded onto the browser and the designer can view it the desired way.

These fonts are flexible and can be optimized to fit into your expectations while being used over the web. You can add up the compression features that help in causing the web apps to be lighter, which ultimately triggers the loading speed.

Here are the four different types of web fonts:

  • Web Open Font Format (WOFF)
  • WOFF2
  • Embedded Open Type (EOT)
  • True Type Font (TFF), which is the most commonly preferred web fonts.

The first and second type work well across web pages as well as the WOFF2 supports in bringing about an improvisation in compression.

Another advantageous aspect of these font types from web is that if you have any other font that has been purchased or downloaded over the web, you could transform or reformat those into this type of font. The only thing you would need is to get it done via a site with proof of license and also, it must possess a package of fonts in any of the above specified formats.

But, before getting this format coded into the CSS of the particular site, you should take into account a few factors such as the speed, availability and the compatibility of the browsers that will be used here.

Operating:

Let us take a look at how the web fonts proceed with their functionality:

The CSS elements that style your websites provide the browser with details on how it should be bringing up the visual components of your site and exhibiting these. These components include everything that is meant to create a visual impact from the designer’s point of view such as the fonts, colors, textures and even the spacing. Generally, these fonts are tagged with a font tag embedded in the CSS, which helps your browsers to identify the various sections in your text starting from the header.

The behavior of the CSS part lies with the designer. You can decide whether you wish to have a ladder of fonts in your CSS book. This is essential in a situation where one of the fonts is not being rendered, but instead can be replaced by another one in the array, which usually happens to be the sans-serif.

When a particular font is not supported by the system in use, the browser has the intelligence to proceed with the next one that follows. This continues until the browser finds the one that the computer supports. If none of the fonts are available, “sans-serif,” which is present at the bottom will be picked and displayed.

Here are a few things that need to be examined when using web fonts:

1. The speed
This is something we all want for our website. How do we ensure that this is done? We do not like loading too many HTTP requests onto the server which happens when multiple fonts are used. So, it would be an excellent idea to choose just the four fonts that we discussed earlier in the font options as this will help in bringing about a few HTTP requests.

2. Challenges with third-party hosting sites
It is always necessary to have a web safe font, specifically if you are being supported by a third-party server. If the server goes down, you are done. So, it’s necessary that you have the web safe font for back up always.

Where Do People Play Mobile Games?

Our smartphones are our constant companions. If you’re in line at the grocery store, chances are the people in front of you are looking at their phones.

What are those people doing? They might be reading the news or an e-book, or texting someone. But they’re just as likely to be playing a game. According to Forrester Research, Americans spend about 6 percent of their smartphone time playing video games. In fact, more people are playing mobile games than ever. 70 percent of U.S. mobile phone owners—or 60 percent of Americans—will play a mobile game in 2017, a number that’s gone up every year this century.

So where are people playing mobile games?

On the Couch
Game to play: Cooking Craze (iOS, Android)

Just because you can take a game with you doesn’t mean that you have to; sometimes the couch is the best place to plan what’s for dinner and Cooking Craze can definitely help gamers find food inspiration. As with every other gaming platform, most mobile gamers—60 percent—play on the couch at least part of the time.

On an Airplane
Game to play: Sky Gamblers: Storm Raiders (iOS, Android)

Air travel always means down time, so it makes sense that 50 percent of phone owners play games during their flight. With this air combat simulator, you can imagine that you’re flying a fighter in World War II, instead of sitting in coach between O’Hare and Atlanta.

In Bed
Game to play: Bedroom Planner (iOS, Android)

We use smartphones as alarm clocks, or we’re gaming on them right before bed. 45 percent of smartphone owners play games before bed. If you ever look around your bedroom and find that it comes up short, play with some new flourishes in this bedroom design game.

On the Train
Game to play: SteamPower1830 (iOS, Android)

The morning commute is the perfect place to game—we speak from experience on this one, as do 34 percent of smartphone owners. If you take a train to work, you might enjoy building train lines.

At Work
Game to play: Mini Metro (iOS, Android)

You really shouldn’t play games at work, even if 24 percent of smartphone owners do it. But on your lunch break, try Mini Metro, which you can play without sound.

At the Dentist
Game to play: Pet Dentist Office (iOS, Android)

This seems difficult to do on laughing gas, but 20 percent of smartphone owners play games at the dentist.

At the Gym
Game to play: NBA 2K17 (iOS, Android)

What better way to pass the time on an exercise bike than with a mobile game? 11 percent of smartphone owners play at the gym. Pretend you’re training for the NBA Finals while you hit the elliptical.