Daily Real Estate News

Add Greenery to Reduce Stress, Studies Show

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 23, 2020 - 1:00am

“Plant therapy” is a coping method for those hunkering down at home.

Home Buyers Increasingly Seeking Friendly Neighbors

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 23, 2020 - 1:00am

“A lot of people can’t stand where they’re living now. They want to feel part of a community,” says one real estate pro.

7 Suburbs With the Most Affordable Big Homes

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 23, 2020 - 1:00am

Find out where home shoppers are finding the largest homes for the least amount of money outside major city centers.

Report: iBuyers Lose Half Their Market Share

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 23, 2020 - 1:00am

Despite housing's recovery during the pandemic, iBuying activity continues to lag. 

NAR Launches the American Property Owners Alliance

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 23, 2020 - 1:00am

The new nonprofit group seeks to be the voice for millions of property owners across the country.

Hallmark Holiday Movies Deliver Comfort and Joy in Dark Times

RisMedia Consumer News - November 22, 2020 - 1:05pm

(TNS)—Ruthie Caitham’s driver’s license and other official documentation insist she resides in Vallejo. Ah, but when fall and winter roll around, Caitham proudly proclaims that she dwells in “Hallmark Land.”

“It’s my happy place,” she says. “And in these crazy, hateful times, I want to live where people care for each other.”

Don’t check your GPS. Hallmark Land isn’t a spot on a map, but a powerful head rush of feel-good vibes, romantic happily-ever-afters and relentless outpourings of holiday cheer that emanate from the sleighload of made-for-TV Christmas movies annually offered by the Hallmark Channel and its cable sibling, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries.

“I can’t help it. They just warm your heart,” says Caitham, who has been known to watch 35 or more of the festive flicks at this time of year. And that doesn’t include reruns and/or the vintage Hallmark movies she owns on DVD.

Clearly, she’s not the only one mainlining this televisual comfort fare. What began as a modest TV experiment has become a full-blown, twinkle-lit, pop-cultural juggernaut enjoyed by millions and mimicked by other outlets like Lifetime, Netflix and UPtv.

Between 2002 and 2008, the Hallmark Channel produced no more than six holiday films per year—and only one in several of those years. In 2010, that number jumped to a dozen, and by 2017, it was up to 20.

This year, across a schedule that kicked off before Halloween, the two Hallmark networks will combine to gift fans with 40 new original yuletide movies—matching last year’s output, which cumulatively drew 70 million unduplicated viewers.

Don’t be surprised if the audience grows even bigger this winter. After all, 2020 has been marked by political and social turbulence and a health crisis that has left so many of us anxious and stressed. Hallmark holiday movies, with their abundance of comfort and joy, surely will be counted on to deliver some much-needed relief.

Hallmark Programming Chief Michelle Vicary

“Our movies are rooted in warmth and positivity, meaningful connections, family gatherings,” says Michelle Vicary, the executive vice president of programming for Crown Media Family Networks, who hopes it’s a “winning formula” that will bring viewers “much-needed levity and holiday cheer at the end of a tough year.”

Those scenes of meaningful connections and family gatherings? They now come when holiday gatherings across America figure to be greatly downsized—or curtailed altogether. And Hallmark’s largely predictable storylines? They arrive amid highly unpredictable times.

The Hallmark formula is simple, on the surface at least: Give the audience what it wants, including familiar plots stuffed with unlikely romances, holiday homecomings, charmingly snow-covered hamlets and life-affirming tales of redemption.

And by the end of two hours, good triumphs over evil, the requisite love connections are made, Scrooge-like tendencies are squelched, Christmas is saved from ruin, and everything is tied up in a big, bright, beautiful bow. Last year, that bow also wrapped up two Hanukkah movies, Hallmark’s first.

Along the way, Hallmark capitalizes by going against the grain—offering a cozy alternative to the dark and edgy dramas that are lathered over much of television and populating its casts with people in their 40s and 50s, a demographic underserved by the broadcast networks.

Rochelle Aytes and Mark Taylor in “A Christmas Tree Grows in Brooklyn” and many of its go-to leading ladies, like Lacey Chabert, Candace Cameron Bure and Holly Robinson Peete, have become part of the seasonal TV family over the years, making visits as regularly as Charlie Brown and Rudolph.

“We are honored to work with some of the best talent in the entertainment industry,” says Vicary. “They each have amazing bodies of work with loyal fan bases who also loved the (previous shows) in which they starred. Many of our stars tell me that when they are recognized in public, they are thanked by viewers for the Hallmark Channel movies they make. That makes me so proud.”

Of course, the holiday films have their Grinchy detractors. Critics call them “corny” and “sappy.” Late-night comedians and “Saturday Night Live” have gleefully mocked them. Even Caitham glumly reveals that her husband “rolls his eyes” when the holiday onslaught begins. (He undoubtedly will be getting a lump of coal in his stocking).

Vacaville resident Lisa Rico used to be among the naysayers. That was until early this year, when a longtime friend, Debbie Segura, was in the final stages of a battle with terminal brain cancer. During the months before her death, Rico would drop by and spend some TV time with Segura, who only wanted to watch Hallmark movies.

“It was a really lovely and calming experience,” Rico recalls. “They made her feel good. And considering that she was in so much pain, that’s really saying something.”

Rico soon came to believe that such films “serve a beautiful purpose.” And since Segura’s passing in April, Rico has often found herself watching more of them—with an 8-by-10 photo of her pal perched right near the TV.

“I’m still watching them with her,” Rico says. “So often this year, I just can’t bring myself to watch the news. The world is so dark and depressing. So I go and find the Hallmark Channel. There are times when you just want to tune out everything else and watch someone fall in love.”

Obviously, many fans—so-called “Hall-markies”—will be yearning for the same thing, as their favorite channels unleash a blizzard of films that includes cheeky titles like “On the 12th Date of Christmas,” “Jingle Bell Bride” and “Never Kiss a Man in a Christmas Sweater.”

In addition, the 2020 slate appears to be more diverse. It features a gay couple trying to adopt (“The Christmas House,” starring Jonathan Bennett and Brad Harder) as well as a woman who discovers via a DNA test that she’s Jewish (“Love, Lights, Hanukkah!” with Mia Kirshner, Ben Savage and Marilu Henner).

“This year, our holiday table is bigger and more welcoming than ever,” says Vicary. “The movies reflect our most diverse representation of talent, stories and families.”

Hallmark is also expanding its holiday empire with, among other things, wines, books, a new Monopoly game, “Countdown to Christmas”-themed tea tins, special apparel and, of course, enough reruns of past classics to keep viewers experiencing a potent case of mistletoe merriment through January.

That’s all fine with Caitham, who encourages others to jump on the Hallmark bandwagon.

“If you need to take a break from reality and go to fantasyland and feel good about the world,” she says, “this is for you.”

2020© The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

The post Hallmark Holiday Movies Deliver Comfort and Joy in Dark Times appeared first on RISMedia.

Get Your Brokerage Up and Running

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 20, 2020 - 1:00am

Tips and tools for new broker-owners who are carving their path as business leaders.

From the virtual 2020 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, Nov. 2-18

Why 5G Matters to Real Estate

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 20, 2020 - 1:00am

The emergence of super-fast wireless speeds will potentially widen buyers’ home searches and accelerate growth in real estate technology.

From the virtual 2020 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, Nov. 2-18

Build Your Business on Data, Not Your Charm

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 20, 2020 - 1:00am

If you don’t lead sellers into listings with integrity, you risk getting into dicey situations. Relying on research and ethics will protect you, your business, and your clients.

From the virtual 2020 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, Nov. 2-18

Mortgage Rates Sink to All-Time Low of 2.72%

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 20, 2020 - 1:00am

As a result of low rates, homebuying activity is at its highest level since 2006, NAR says.

How to Be Code Compliant

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 19, 2020 - 1:00am

Learn about some of the most common Code of Ethics violations that can trip up even the most well-intentioned REALTORS®.

From the virtual 2020 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, Nov. 2-18

Gay, Transgender Agents Share Ideas for Increasing LGBTQ Homeownership

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 19, 2020 - 1:00am

Political advocacy and participation in LGBTQ-focused organizations can help in the effort to extend fair housing protections.

From the virtual 2020 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, Nov. 2-18

A Different World in Real Estate Outside the U.S.

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 19, 2020 - 1:00am

A look into how agents are thriving in global markets that don’t have an MLS.

From the virtual 2020 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, Nov. 2-18

Don’t Settle For ‘Good Enough’

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 19, 2020 - 1:00am

Make the changes you’ve always wanted to make in your life and take care of your mental health with this advice from author Glennon Doyle.

From the virtual 2020 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, Nov. 2-18

Home Sales Are on Fire, Up 27% From a Year Ago

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 19, 2020 - 1:00am

Seventy-two percent of homes sold in October were on the market for less than a month. Read more from NAR’s latest housing report.

NAR Reaches Agreement with DOJ on MLS and Commissions Rules

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 19, 2020 - 1:00am

The settlement will further codify the association’s pro-consumer codes, rules, and intent.

Barton Goldsmith: Tips for Making the Holiday Special During a Difficult Time in Our Lives

RisMedia Consumer News - November 18, 2020 - 4:43pm

(TNS)—Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday, and right now gratitude has never been more important. I love everything about this holiday, and this year it’s going to be so different. We will all have to get creative to feel like we are having a celebration in the middle of a crisis. Our collective well-being is very precarious right now, and we need to be careful and, together, make the effort to achieve the best possible future. Here are some things many of us can be grateful for, even in a pandemic and a divided country.

Your health. If you are healthy right now, then be thankful. Over a million have died worldwide, and many more millions sickened, so whatever you have been doing to stay well, keep it up. As a reward, you get an extra slice of pumpkin pie.

Your life. Thanksgiving was founded on getting through a difficult time. Imagine the hardships those early settlers faced, and be grateful that your life, no matter how difficult at the moment, is a lot easier than theirs was.

Your income. If you still have an income, consider yourself fortunate, because many millions of people still do not, and their prospects are not getting better anytime soon. Hopefully the powers that be will step up and help people out, but if not, I think that we should open up to the idea that we need to help each other out. How you go about it is up to you.

Good people. Look for goodness where you can find it. There’s still a lot out there, and most of it comes from the milk of human kindness. I am grateful for the kind people in my life. These are the people who make life worth living, and I give back in any way I can.

Your energy. The world may be on pause, but you don’t have to be. You just need to create new ways of doing your life, and some of that is going to be pleasant and some not so much. But you can figure it out.

Your home. Find ways to make yourself more comfortable in the home that you have. We got a shower bench—not a big deal, but it was a real lifestyle improvement, and it looks cool. I’m also thinking of trading my “executive” chair for a cushy gamer one.

Good friends. Connecting with others is very important, so get creative. We have many devices, but with family in different parts of the world, Zoom won’t work. We may set up every phone, pad and computer and connect each with a different person to talk with whoever is available at that time on Thanksgiving Day, and for a little while, we will all feel connected that way.

Lastly, I am grateful that I have come to appreciate that this horrible virus has helped me to slow down, and I have been able to value some things that I had been overlooking. A simpler life is far from a bad one, and the gifts that come with it are one thing I can be truly

Dr. Barton Goldsmith, a psychotherapist in Westlake Village, Calif., is the author of “The Happy Couple: How to Make Happiness a Habit One Little Loving Thing at a Time.” Follow his daily insights on Twitter at @BartonGoldsmith, or email him at [email protected].

2020® Barton Goldsmith

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

The post Barton Goldsmith: Tips for Making the Holiday Special During a Difficult Time in Our Lives appeared first on RISMedia.

How to Get Noticed Online

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 18, 2020 - 1:00am

Follow these steps to build relevant content and attract a loyal audience.

From the virtual 2020 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, Nov. 2-18

How AI Is Making Its Mark on the Real Estate Industry

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 18, 2020 - 1:00am

“Artificial intelligence is outpacing other emerging technologies in real estate,” says an NAR tech expert.

From the virtual 2020 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, Nov. 2-18

All Hispanics Are Not the Same!

NAR Daily News Magazine - November 18, 2020 - 1:00am

While they may speak the same language, Latinos are extremely diverse. Learn the spectrum of the community to serve it successfully.

From the virtual 2020 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, Nov. 2-18

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