Available, 1700 sf rental on Mars, free!

This month’s post is sourced from a fascinating article we noticed on TravelandLeisure.com … enjoy!

NASA Is Recruiting 4 People to Live in a Simulated Mars Habitat for a Year — Here’s How You Can Apply

Future Martians, this could be your calling! NASA is looking for four people to live in a simulated Mars habitat for a year — and applications are now open.

Officially known as the Crew Health and Performance Exploration Analog mission, the selected crew members will live inside Mars Dune Alpha, a 1,700-square-foot setting — made by an Icon 3D printer — located at Houston’s Johnson Space Center. During the year-long experiment, those chosen will participate in simulated space walks, scientific research, and communication exchange, as well as test out virtual reality and robotic controls.

But it won’t all be a walk in the park (or rather, the red planet), since extreme challenges will be replicated, like seeing what it’s like to deal with resource limitations, equipment failure, communication delays, and other stressors, NASA explained on its site. Additionally, all provisions will be premade space food, and, as of now, no windows will be built, according to the Associated Press.

Mars Dune Alpha Conceptual Render: Visualization on Mars


“The analog is critical for testing solutions to meet the complex needs of living on the Martian surface,” Grace Douglas, NASA’s lead scientist for Advanced Food Technology research said in a statement. “Simulations on Earth will help us understand and counter the physical and mental challenges astronauts will face before they go.”

This will be the first of three missions as NASA looks to a future with more trips to Mars. The results will help both validate the systems in place and create solutions for potential problems.

The criteria to apply is, of course, pretty stringent, as it will follow NASA’s normal astronaut recruiting standards. Applicants must be healthy and motivated U.S. citizens or permanent residents, and 30 to 55 years old. They must also be non-smokers who are proficient in English in order to provide communication between the crew and mission control. Also required is a master’s degree in a STEM field (engineering, mathematics, or biological, physical or computer science) from an accredited school, plus a minimum of two years of STEM work experience or at least 1,000 hours of aircraft piloting. Those who have finished two years of work toward a STEM doctoral program may also be considered, as well as those with a bachelor’s degree in STEM or military officer training, who also have at least four years of work experience.

But the upside is the unique experience of helping put humans closer to inhabiting other planets. And former Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield says there could be other benefits, too. “Just think how much you’re going to be able to catch up on Netflix,” Hadfield told the AP. “If they have a musical instrument there, you could go into there knowing nothing and come out a concert musician.”

Booming Economy Drives Resales In Latest News On Home Front

Hey all! Hope you’re staying cool this summer. It’s looking to be a hot one, so remember to stay hydrated and make sure your furry friends have a cool place that they can rest.

This month we’re looking at the economic report from last month. As the country starts to recover from the Covid Pandemic, the numbers on a country-wide scale are looking up. Unemployment has gone down, as have Initial Unemployment Claims, and the amount of jobs have gone up. In addition, those with a college degree have a low unemployment rate as well.

San Diego’s rates are looking good as well, with many of the same trends on a grander scale. In addition, California has a lot going for it- with more venture capital, business starts, and college applications.

If you’d like to see more information on that and more, check out the following PDF!

That’s all from me for this month. If you have any questions about what you’ve just read, please don’t hesitate to give me a call.

How the Social Security Earnings Test May Affect Your Retirement

If you plan on working through your retirement, you should be aware that you may not get the full retirement benefits until later down the line. Claiming Social Security while you’re still working may cause your benefits to be withheld until you enter full retirement. This happens because of the Social Security Earnings Test – a system that limits your benefits if your paid employment earnings exceed certain thresholds.

The good news is that once you reach full retirement age, the amounts that were withheld due to the earnings test will be returned to you in future payments. If you want to know more, check out this link! And, of course, if you have any further questions, don’t hesitate to reach out to me.

What Money Personality Are You? The seven types explained.

There are many different kinds of people in the world. Those who work while on vacation, those who take a vacation while at work, those who consider work to be a vacation… No matter what angle you approach it from, people have different ways of going about their lives. It’s the same when it comes to money- how we handle it, how we react to having it… there are benefits and detriments to each kind.

Below is an outline of each kind of money personality. What type do you believe yourself to be? The answer may surprise you!

The Compulsive Saver tends to save money endlessly, viewing finances as a source of security. This makes them rather financially responsible and good at bargain shopping, but gives them a fear of irrational spending.

The Compulsive Spender tends to often make unnecessary purchases, spending money while in emotional distress or for immediate gratification. Whether that money is spent on themselves or other people depends on the occasion.

The Compulsive Moneymaker believes life is better when you earn more. Their top priority is gaining more wealth and making more money, but this makes them crave recognition for their financial success.

The ‘Indifferent to Money’ type tends to be financially well-off, rarely thinking about money as a result. They tend to believe money should not influence important decisions in life; however, unexpected events can throw a serious wrench into their lives.

The Saver-Splurger tends to share a combination of traits between Savers and Spenders; at times they can be smart with money, but sudden interests or desire to buy gifts may cause them to abandon these habits and spend money out of nowhere.

The Gambler tends to take big risks with their finances, whether by literally gambling or by making questionable financial decisions. This makes them happy with financial wins, but deeply depressed over losses.

Finally, the Worrier is constantly worried about losing money. They lack confidence in their ability to achieve financial freedom, and that tends to put them into a perpetual preparation mode.

This is a very rough summary of each kind of money personality. If you want more information, visit this website. Educating yourself on how to handle money is a good idea no matter what type of personality you have is also a good idea, as it can prepare you for emergencies or strokes of fortune.

As always, take care of yourselves, and remember to get vaccinated!

Waterfalls or Snowballs???

Between mortgages, student loans, and credit cards, paying off debt can often feel impossible. Thanks to these tips, it doesn’t have to be! The information below offers popular methods for paying off debt, plus some ways to avoid getting into debt at all.

If you want to check and compare both methods for your own personal situation check out this calculator here. I personally recommend opening the link in an Incognito window, if your browser allows for that sort of thing- you should be able to do this by right-clicking the link and selecting the “Open link in Incognito window” option.

As always, take care of yourselves and the people around you, and if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

The Complete Homeowner’s Tax Guide

One of the dreaded days that we cannot avoid is upon us. April 15th is Tax Deadline Day, and those of you that own a home may know that there are some great tax benefits to owning. However, there are also some that you may not be aware of! Here is an article that outlines those benefits, plus some that you may not know about.

Do you own income property? Those tax benefits are not exactly the same. Call me to discuss those, or better still talk to your tax advisor.

Any other questions on Real Estate? Exploring buying or selling? Call me please. 

Have a great March and hopefully the tax gods smile upon you this year.

Top Housing Markets for 2021


Realtor.com’s top 10 housing markets for 2021 have substantial momentum from 2020 which they will carry into 2021. Low mortgage rates throughout most of the year help these markets see price and sales growth on top of 2020’s high levels. Economic momentum from the thriving tech industry, coupled with healthier levels of supply, will position these markets for growth in 2021.

This past year, we’ve all become more reliant on technology to work, learn, and maintain personal connections. The technology hubs that make this possible are thriving, as are their housing markets. Additionally, the relative stability of government jobs in the past year has driven home prices and sales in several state capitals to the top. Home buyers- particularly younger first-time buyers- looking into one of these markets should expect rising prices and heavy competition. Meanwhile, sellers will remain in a position of power, but will find themselves on the other side of the bargaining table when buying their next home.

If you want more details or want to read the entire article from realtor.com, click here!

2021 Real Estate Predictions


Well, they say “Hindsight is 2020”, and I say thank goodness it is behind us. We anticipate a better year ahead – can it get any worse?

To start the year, here is a national overview with implications for your local market. You can listen to this podcast in the car or while you work out, and it can be found here. If you do this, you can ignore the last part of the podcast, which is aimed at realtors improving themselves. This podcast includes an interview with the lead economist for the National Association of Realtors, Dr Lawrence Yun and some insight by the leading Real Estate trainer in the world, Brian Buffini.

I also have an economic report which has some interesting stats, and that can be found here.

This is a national overview, but a rising tide lifts all boats, so it will have similar implications in San Diego. For some insight into YOUR local market, please reach out to me.

We can talk about the following:

  • The current state of the real estate sector.
  • Three dynamics that will affect the market going forward.
  • And more, if you have any questions for me!

Enjoy, and let me know if you want to discuss the future with me.

Happy Holidays!

Art by Marc Atrash; Card by Nikita Atrash

Looking Back on 2020’s Blog Posts…

Feeding San Diego Fundraising Page

JANUARY: 2020 Market Update When the new year came in, we took a look at what the future of the market might be like this year. While the turbulent unpredictability of the year caused some hiccups in those predictions, they still offered some insight on what the year may look like going forwards.

FEBRUARY: In 94 Percent of Major Markets, Home Prices Up Valentines’ Day showed that in the state of the market at the time, home prices continued to be on an upscale- with low mortgage rates and household incomes rising, affordability for first-time buyers was also expanding.

MARCH: RATES ARE SUPER LOW- Should I refinance? At this point in the year, rates were super low- so we took a look at if you should refinance your home, offering tips and advice, and other things you should consider when making that decision. (But as always, talk to a realtor before you make any decisions!)

APRIL: Top 10 Things To Do While “Social Distancing” Covid-19 was in full swing, leading families to stay at home to protect themselves and others. As such, April’s post was dedicated to giving advice on how to keep sane and stave off cabin fever in a time when staying indoors was the best choice you could make.

MAY: “It’s tough to make predictions, especially about the future” – Yogi Berra With the world changing around us, we looked at what might happen in the future of real estate, making predictions and gathering information based on patterns both current and in the past, the research that others have done, and if you should consider buying at that time.

JUNE: “Here comes the sun, and I say, ‘it’s all right.’” -George Harrison Keeping ahead of the trend is important when everything is changing around you, so in June we once again looked at the future of the market, this time taking into account how Covid was affecting the economy and the changes people were making to their lifestyles.

JULY: “Take care of yourselves, and each other.” -Jerry Springer July had us look at information that was released in June to try and keep track of the economy and what was happening in the weird world we were living in, and so we looked at what the future might look like in the month of July and beyond.

AUGUST: Prices Up! With Covid settling slightly, the market became active again this month, and as such prices were up and people were looking into getting a new place for themselves. We looked into this trend in August, to get a feel for what things would look like in the coming months.

SEPTEMBER: “It’s not that easy, being green.” -Kermit For September, we moved away from the economy, and looked at our living spaces- sharing ways to liven up your surroundings by bringing plants into your life and living area, and looking into ways to make the area around you greener and brighter.

OCTOBER: How Many Millennials Consider Buying A Garage Important? The answer, as it turns out, may surprise you! This was primarily a video blog, so you’ll have to check my website if you want to learn more.

NOVEMBER: Should College Students Go Home For The Holidays? In November, with Thanksgiving fast approaching, we looked at if it was safe to bring your loved ones home for the holidays, and what precautions you should take if you decided to do so.

DECEMBER: Happy Holidays! Enjoy your time with your family, and stay safe and healthy!

Should College Students Go Home for the Holidays?

“There’s no place like home for the holidays.” -Perry Como

With the holidays rapidly approaching, now is the time to consider if you should bring your family home, or go and visit your family, for Thanksgiving, Christmas, Hanukkah, or other holidays you may be celebrating in the future. Before you decide, however, there are some things that you should consider.

Have you or your loved ones been safely quarantined during this time? Does anyone in your family have a chronic health condition that may make it dangerous to visit or be visited? Have you been in a Covid Hot Spot recently, or – if you or a loved one is a student – is that school in the middle of an outbreak? All these things – and more – should be considered before you come to a decision. If you do decide that it’s worth the risk, be absolutely sure to practice good hygiene, social distancing, and wear a mask when you’re able to. Quarantine for two weeks prior to your departure, or if that’s not possible, quarantine yourself for as long as possible and then be absolutely certain to wear a mask when interacting with others.

Here are some tips to reduce the risk of Covid while you travel:
– Stay masked when around others.
– Wash your hands frequently or use hand sanitizer (at least 60 percent alcohol).
– Try to maintain social distance of 6 feet from anyone who is not from your household.
– Avoid crowded areas.
– Avoid high touch surfaces.
– Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
– Use disinfecting wipes on gas pump handles and buttons before you touch them.
– Do not travel if you are not feeling well, have a fever or have been exposed to someone who has tested positive for COVID-19.

If you feel you need more information before you make a decision, do your own research, and talk to your family before you set anything in stone. The most important thing is staying safe, and keeping the people you care about safe in turn.

As always, take care of yourselves, and take care of each other in these times of turmoil.

Information sourced from this article, and was accurate at the time of its posting. Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 pandemic, scientific understanding, along with guidelines and recommendations, may have changed since the original publication date.