Designing high-end homes is a multi-layered process rooted in a deep understanding of the homeowner’s lifestyle and personality. While infusing creative distinction and achieving harmonious fusion are the fundamental principles of designing a personalised space, architectural elements such as dynamic scaling, tailored circulation and curated spaces that showcase the occupant’s unique style and personality are essential in transforming a liminal space into a unique yet authentic reflection.
In an interview with HT Lifestyle, Vineeta Singhania Sharma, Founder Partner and Principal Architect at Confluence, highlighted that the fundamental design principle in creating spaces that not only cater to the user’s needs but also reflect their individuality and celeb-like charisma is defining the balance between the unique lifestyle and personality of the client. She elaborated –
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Defining the Style: The first step is to define the purpose of the home. Is it a maximalist paradise, a minimalist retreat, or does it embrace the latest trends, or perhaps something more timeless and established? While some clients opt for an inward-looking design that creates a sanctuary within, like Kendall Jenner’s 6,625-square-foot Spanish-style Malibu mansion, others prefer merging indoors and outdoors seamlessly, blurring the lines between nature and luxury—similar to Dakota Jonhson’s serene getaway estate in LA, designed by architect Carl Maston. It is essential to understand the occupant’s taste by pinpointing the critical elements that shape near-ordinary spaces into exceptional homes.
Scale and Dynamic Design: High-end homes are not just about opulence; they are dynamic and engaging. We must design with scale in mind. Whether a cosy reading nook or a grand dining hall, each room should tell a distinct, engaging story that amplifies the space’s dynamism and contributes to the narrative.
Circulation for Lifestyle: The layout and circulation within the home should be tailored to the homeowner’s lifestyle. High-end homes demand distinction. However, such homes require privacy but often require accessibility for staff and guests as well. This balance is essential to ensure the space is functional and comfortable.
Creative Distinction: High-end homes are designed to stand out. To achieve the delicate balance between privacy and accessibility, featured spaces with iconic pieces as placeholders are encouraged. This could be a unique sculpture, a one-of-a-kind chandelier, or even a custom-designed piece of furniture, creating multiple focal points within a space that define the ubiquitousness of a high-end celebrity.
Harmonious Fusion: What makes these homes exceptional is combining an unusual mix of interior elements—furniture, lighting, art and rugs—into an eclectic blend of exclusivity while maintaining harmony. Each piece contributes to a unified, intriguing atmosphere. The challenge lies in selecting pieces that may seem unrelated at first glance but, when brought together, create a cohesive and intriguing atmosphere that resonates with the user’s dynamic personality.
The Art of Layering: High-end homes are a canvas for artistry. Every space is carefully layered with art, statement pieces, textures, and other objects that reflect the client’s personality. Whether it’s a collection of vintage photographs, a gallery of contemporary art, or a display of cherished memorabilia, these layers add depth and character to the living spaces. Each corner must be strategically curated with carefully selected art, statement pieces, textures, and objects that mirror the overall statement and purpose of the home, imparting depth and character to the omnipresent lifestyle of a celebrity.
According to Kuntal Vyas Aggarwal, Founder and Design Head at Resaiki Interiors and Architecture Design Studio, luxury decor is all about the finer details. He shared, “It begins with meticulous craftsmanship using premium materials like fine woods, metals, and textiles, often employing artisanal techniques such as hand-carving and hand embroidery. Elaborate ornamentation, including decorative mouldings and intricate carvings, adds a sense of grandeur and sophistication. Luxury is further heightened by the inclusion of rare materials like marble, onyx, precious metals, and gemstones, seamlessly integrated into various elements of the space. Customisation is essential, allowing for unique and exclusive designs through custom-made furniture, bespoke cabinetry and personalised finishes.”
The interior decor expert added, “Luxury extends to textiles and fabrics, with high-quality materials like silk, velvet, cashmere, and fine wool, adding visual richness and tactile comfort. Fine art pieces, antiques, and collectables are thoughtfully curated to enhance the decor’s cultural and historical significance. Lighting is carefully considered, with crystal chandeliers and hand-blown glass fixtures creating a beautiful ambience. Achieving symmetry and balance in the design contributes to a harmonious and visually pleasing environment. Modern technology seamlessly integrates into luxury decor, offering convenience through hidden audiovisual systems and automated climate control while maintaining a clean aesthetic. Significantly, luxury decor is balanced with comfort, with plush furnishings, ergonomic designs, and thoughtful layouts, ensuring that these spaces are inviting and relaxing.”
She recommended –
Limitless luxe decor: Space is a defining element of luxury decor. It encompasses several aspects that influence the perception of luxury. Luxury often entails generous space, with open floor plans and high ceilings exuding grandeur. Uncluttered designs and minimalism convey sophistication, while functionality and organisation are vital, achieved through custom storage solutions.
Abundant natural light, premium materials, and architectural details like columns enhance the perception of luxury. The seamless spatial flow between rooms and custom designs tailored to homeowners’ preferences add exclusivity. Integrating outdoor spaces and maximising views contribute to luxury and cutting-edge technology for convenience and entertainment. In summary, luxury decor involves lavish materials and thoughtful, spacious, and well-designed interiors that radiate sophistication and opulence.
2. Integrated home automation: Automation is a defining aspect of luxury decor, infusing convenience, efficiency, and a futuristic feel into living spaces. It embodies modernity and sophistication, meeting the expectations of a luxurious lifestyle. Automation’s contributions to luxury decor include –
⦁ Smart Lighting: Customizable lighting scenes, adjustable intensity, and voice control create a luxurious ambience while saving energy.
⦁ Climate Control: Automated HVAC systems allow personalised temperature control for each room, optimising comfort and energy efficiency.
⦁ Home Security: Advanced security systems with intelligent doorbells and sensors enhance safety and convenience.
⦁ Integrated Audiovisual Systems: Home theatres with automated screens and sound systems provide cinematic experiences.
⦁ Motorized Window Treatments: Remote control of blinds and shades enhances natural light control and privacy.
⦁ Smart Home Control: Centralized automation hubs and voice-controlled assistants offer hands-free management.
⦁ Customizable Scenes: Automation systems enable mood-setting scenes for various occasions.
⦁ Energy Efficiency: Automation features like smart thermostats and lighting controls reduce energy consumption.
⦁ Home Integration: Seamlessly integrated systems enhance user-friendliness.
⦁ Customization: Tailored automation adds exclusivity to decor.
Automation defines luxury decor by blending convenience, comfort, and control into living spaces, elevating their functionality and enjoyment.
3. Geographic directions and energies: They play a significant role in defining luxury decor, mainly through feng shui principles and cultural influences. Feng shui considers the orientation of a space, elemental balance, energy flow, natural light, colour choices, materials, and outdoor areas to create a harmonious environment. Luxury decor often aligns with these principles, using favourable orientations, balanced elements, unobstructed energy flow, abundant natural light, and colour associations to evoke opulence.
The choice of materials and textures, personalised spaces, and environmental sustainability further enhance the sense of luxury and well-being. In summary, geography and energy, guided by feng shui and cultural insights, define luxury decor by fostering balance, positive energy flow, and tranquillity, promoting a visually pleasing and harmonious living environment.
4. Meaningful and unique artwork: High-quality artwork is pivotal in defining luxury decor and infusing sophistication, cultural richness, and aesthetic value into a space. Luxury decor prioritises aesthetics, and art serves as a captivating focal point. Artwork with cultural or historical significance adds depth, while exclusivity is achieved through original pieces or limited editions by renowned artists. Art becomes a means of personal expression, allowing homeowners to showcase individuality. It also showcases artistic mastery and can be an investment.
Art influences a room’s atmosphere, scale, and balance, serving as conversation starters and intellectual engagement. Expert curatorial integration ensures seamless and sophisticated incorporation, making art an integral aspect of luxury living environments.
There’s plenty to learn and love about Pennsylvania.
Often recognized as the epicenter of America’s roots, Pennsylvania presents a fascinating blend of history, culture and natural beauty. This state, commonly known as the Keystone State, holds a significant place in the makeup of American history and continues to be a dynamic player in various aspects of modern life.
From lively cities, like Pittsburgh and Philadelphia, to its serene countryside, Pennsylvania encapsulates a unique fusion of old and new. This article delves into what makes Pennsylvania a notable and distinct state to call home, exploring its rich history, strong local economy, abundant natural resources and much more.
Whether you’re considering moving to Pennsylvania, planning a visit or simply curious about what this state has to offer, this exploration will provide a comprehensive understanding of the Keystone State’s multifaceted character.
Pennsylvania, a cornerstone in American history, is renowned for its pivotal role in the founding of the United States. Key historical events, like the drafting and signing of the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution, took place on some of the historic, cobblestone streets of Philadelphia.
The state also played a crucial role in the Civil War, with the Battle of Gettysburg being a crucial turning point in the conflict, forever solidifying the town’s status as one of America’s most iconic battlefields.
The state’s economy is multifaceted, with strengths in manufacturing, healthcare, education and technology. It’s a blend of traditional industries, like steel production in Pittsburgh, and more corporate pursuits, including finance and information technology in Philadelphia.
Pennsylvania is also a leader in energy production, especially with its vast coal reserves and the Marcellus Shale gas field.
Pennsylvania’s natural resources, particularly its extensive forests and major waterways, are significant. These resources not only contribute to the state’s economy but also offer a ton of opportunities for outdoor recreation and relaxation under the Pennsylvania skies.
The Pocono Mountains and numerous state parks provide residents and tourists with outdoor activities like hiking, skiing and fishing.
Pennsylvania’s cities are hubs for arts and entertainment, with plenty of theaters, museums and galleries. Philadelphia’s Museum of Art and Pittsburgh’s Andy Warhol Museum are notable cultural landmarks.
The state also has a strong presence in the music industry, with tons of venues hosting everything from classical concerts to contemporary music festivals.
Five great spots to see a show in Pennsylvania
Pennsylvania is famous for its distinctive food items like Philly cheesesteaks, soft pretzels and Hershey’s chocolate made in the town of Hershey.
Five of the best restaurants in Pennsylvania
The state also has a rich brewing tradition, with a thriving craft beer scene and historic breweries.
Five great breweries in Pennsylvania
Sports are deeply ingrained in Pennsylvania’s culture. The state boasts some of the most passionate fans in the country, particularly for its football teams, the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles, as well as their beloved baseball teams, the Philadelphia Phillies and Pittsburgh Pirates.
Pennsylvania is known for its Ivy League schools, like the University of Pennsylvania, but also other prestigious universities like Carnegie Mellon University and Penn State. These higher education institutions are centers for research and innovation. Beyond that, many of the talented individuals that these esteemed schools attract end up sticking around after their four years are up. This is one of the major contributing factors to the state’s respectable entrepreneurial spirit.
Pennsylvania is home to one of the largest Amish populations in the United States, particularly in Lancaster County. This community offers a glimpse into a unique, technology-free lifestyle, a significant draw for tourists and anyone looking for quality furniture at a fair price.
Pennsylvania’s a pretty sweet spot
Pennsylvania stands out as a state with a profound historical legacy and an encouraging present. It’s a place where history is not just remembered but is palpably felt in its streets, monuments and museums.
Pennsylvania’s natural wilderness offers a retreat for nature lovers, while its cities pulsate with the type of exciting artistic energy that is indicative of cities on the rise. Pennsylvania is more than just a state; it’s a microcosm of American history, culture and innovation, making it a remarkable place to live, work and explore.
More home sellers on the East Coast are getting in on the commission lawsuit action.
Plaintiffs in Florida and Pennsylvania filed lawsuits on Monday, accusing real estate industry players of allegedly colluding to artificially inflate real estate agent commissions. Both lawsuits are seeking class-action status.
Similar to the other commission lawsuits, the latest two take aim at the National Association of Realtors’ Participation Rule, which requires the listing broker to make a blanket offer of compensation to the buyer’s broker to list the property on the MLS.
The Florida commission lawsuit was filed by Parker Holding Group, a Panama City-based firm that sold homes in March and August 2021, in Circuit Court of the 11th Judicial Circuit in and for Miami-Dade County.
Defendants in the lawsuit include the Florida Association of Realtors, the nation’s largest state Realtor group with 238,000 members, and 16 large local brokerages, with agent counts ranging from 655 to nearly 4,000. Brokerages named in the suit include The Keyes Company, LPT Realty, Charles Rutenberg Realty, Charles Rutenberg Realty-Orlando, United Realty Group, The K Company Realty, Florida Homes Realty & Mortgage, Dalton Wade, Avanti Way Realty, MVP Realty Associates, Florida Realty of Miami, Lifestyle International Realty, Watson Realty, Premiere Plus Realty, Future Home Realty and Michael Saunders & Company.
Like the other commission lawsuits, the Parker suit alleges that the defendants colluded “to impose, implement, and enforce anticompetitive restraints that cause home sellers in Florida to pay inflated commissions in connection with the sale of their homes.”
Because this is a state lawsuit, the complaint claims the alleged behavior is in violation of the Florida Antitrust Act of 1980 and the Florida Deceptive and Unfair Trade Practices Act, and not the Federal Sherman Antitrust Act.
The complaint names local Realtor associations, MLSs and the brokerages’ employees and agents as co-conspirators, accusing them of using their control over the state’s Realtor association-affiliated MLSs to impose rules from NAR that allegedly promote anticompetitive practices.
“In a raw demonstration of market power, the Florida Realtor MLSs overturn the natural order of a rational price system where home sellers and home buyers each separately bargain and pay for the services provided to each of them,” the complaint alleges.
The proposed class for the suit includes all Florida citizens who have sold a property through one of the state’s Realtor association-affiliated MLSs and paid a buyer broker commission between Dec. 4, 2019 and the present.
The plaintiffs are demanding a jury trial, treble damages, coverage of the cost of the suit and a permanent injunction “to permanently enjoin and restrain Defendants from establishing the same or similar rules, policies, or practices as those challenged in this action in the future.”
In an email, Florida Realtors’ general counsel Juana Watkins wrote that the group denies these allegations.
“Florida Realtors will defend against this action,” Watkins wrote. “Florida Realtors® stands by the value of the professional expertise that its members provide to their clients. Going forward, Florida Realtors® does not comment on pending litigation.”
Juan Baixeras, the broker/owner of family-run Florida Realty of Miami, said he is hopeful that the state Realtor association will help him out and offer guidance.
“These allegations are absurd. It’s just law firms trying to cash in on the previous success of the other lawsuit,” he wrote in an email. “We have never fixed prices. Our commission has always been negotiable. We are a 100% commission office, we get paid a flat fee of $355 no matter what commission comes in. So, price fixing commissions would not help us at all, we would still make $355.”
Another commission lawsuit in Pennsylvania was filed by Homesellers Spring Way Center, John and Nancy Moratis and Nancy Wehrheim in U.S. District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania. Defendants in the suit include West Penn MLS, a local broker-owned MLS that is not affiliated with NAR, and eight local brokerages, including Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices The Preferred Realty, NRT Philadelphia LLC, Piatt Sotheby’s International Realty, NextHome PPM Realty, NextHome Dynamic, Realty One Group Gold Standard, Realty One Group Platinum and Realty One Group Horizon.
Despite not being affiliated with a Realtor association, West Penn MLS has adopted a rule similar to NAR’s Participation Rule.
The complaint alleges that the rule is anticompetitive because “it compels the seller to compensate the broker representing the purchaser even though that broker should be working for the purchaser, not the seller; it mandates a ‘blanket offer,’ meaning that the same compensation must be offered to every buyer’s broker, regardless of skill, experience, or the services provided; and it has the effect of encouraging ‘steering’ by buyer-brokers, because it incentivizes them to direct their clients to properties with higher commission offers.”
The Center suit complaint cites the Sitzer/Burnett case, stating that the defendants’ alleged practices “are not unique; rather, they are part and parcel of nation-wide collusion within the real estate industry to maintain inflated commissions.”
The lawsuit also names co-conspirators, including “local and state Realtor associations,” as well as “other brokerages within that geographic area.”
The proposed class for the lawsuit includes all home sellers who used a listing agent or broker affiliated with or employed by one of the brokerage defendants in the sale of a home listed on the West Penn MLS, and who paid a commission to the buyer’s broker.
This suit also demands a jury trial, treble damages, coverage of the cost of the suit and a permanent injunction “enjoining Defendants from (1) requiring that sellers pay the buyer broker and (2) continuing to restrict competition among residential real estate brokers in the manner set forth above,” according to court records.
The two new commission lawsuits are just the latest in an ever-growing pile of copycat cases that have been filed since late October when a Missouri jury found the real estate industry liable for colluding to artificially inflate agent commissions in the Sitzer/Burnett trial. A motion for injunctive relief has yet to be filed in that lawsuit and a final ruling from the judge is not expected until spring 2024.
Editor’s note: HousingWire reached out to all of the defendants in the latest lawsuits for comment and will update this story as comments are returned.
Working out in an apartment is tricky. While some complexes have shared fitness centers, you may not always want to leave the house to do your fitness routine. And on the other hand, trying to have some form of a gym inside your apartment is difficult and limiting when you’re renting. However, there are still plenty of home gym decor ideas that will make your workout space both beautiful and functional — even in an apartment.
Here are some ideas you can incorporate into your home gym decor.
1. Dual-function loft
Photo source: Fitness Design Group
When you’ve got only one large space to work with rather than separate rooms, you may not want to dedicate it only to either a sitting room or a gym. Here, Fitness Design Group made sure there could be both by making a distinct separation between the function of each area.
2. Spin office
Photo source: Love to Know
There’s no need to choose between having a home gym or an office — put them in the same space! You can even create a small separation between the two like Love to Know shares — placing a mat underneath your office area and a separate one for your workout area divides the room based on function.
3. Work(out) from home
Due to the recent pandemic, many people are working (and working out) from home. Working from home brings its own set of challenges, but avoiding the gym doesn’t need to become a hassle. A little side gym, connected to a home office, creates a seamless transition from work to workout at any point in the day, making your home office a functional place before, during and after work.
4. Bright and airy home gym
Photo source: On Design Interiors
No matter the location or size of your home gym, there’s no reason for it to feel dark and dingy. These bright floors and light walls, brought to life by On Design Interiors, make this small space feel large and spacious. Not to mention how simple and chic the design is — it’s not over-the-top and creates a calming environment for exercising after a long, stressful day.
5. Mirrored weight room
This simple, yet effective, basement setup shows just what you can do in a small space. This weight room isn’t very big, but a full wall of mirrors gives the illusion that it’s double the size. Even if you’re in a studio apartment, simply adding a large mirror on the wall near where you practice yoga or do a small-space workout routine will help it feel bigger.
6. Home office with modern wall designs
Gyms don’t need to look boring, especially if it’s part of the place where you live. And it doesn’t take a lot to make your home gym look modern and appealing! Simple wall tiles or decals can quickly upgrade your gym without compromising its functionality. Even in a rental like an apartment, you can use peel-and-stick tiles and wall decor that can easily be removed without damaging the walls.
7. Jungle gym
Photo source: Devon Grace Interiors
Adults aren’t the only ones that need to get their exercise in! Kids living in an apartment may feel a little limited at times without a full private yard to play in, so Devon Grace Interiors added a place for the kids to get their energy out.
The light-colored wood of the jungle gym doesn’t draw too much attention and keeps things muted, while still being a fun place for kids to play.
8. Sleek modern luxury home gym
Making your home gym feel luxurious and modern is a simple matter of color and lighting. Adding a couple of backlit mirrors and incorporating metallics are what the Infinity Design Studio recommends.
9. Traditional CrossFit
Photo source: DNLUD
This home gym by DNLUD is about as close as you can get to a typical CrossFit gym. For some, feeling like they’re at a gym rather than at home helps them get their minds into their workout. The mirrors are black gym mat flooring really gives it an out-of-home feeling.
10. Modern rustic home gym
Photo source: Gambrick
Gambrick didn’t want to detract too much from the natural landscape and kept this in mind when they designed this gym for a modern rustic cabin-stile home in the mountains of Colorado. The deep oranges give just enough color while maintaining the integrity of the outdoors—no matter where you live, your apartment doesn’t have to feel separated from its surroundings.
11. DIY basement upgrade
There are easy ways that anyone can upgrade their basement into a functioning gym. A little peel-and-stick wallpaper, mirrors and foam puzzle flooring turned a dark basement into a bright little workout space that can easily be removed if needed.
12. Spare bedroom fitness renovation
An extra bedroom is already a luxury that not everyone has and instead of turning it into a seldom-used guest room, put it to better use. Light flooring and white walls with natural wood hanging hooks to keep equipment off the floor keep this room looking chic and clean—great for when you’re in a small apartment with not much room to spare.
13. Disguised cycle home gym
You may only need one piece of equipment to get a full-body workout in. A stationary bike is perfect for requiring only a small corner—and that corner might be right in your kitchen! One Instagrammer disguised her bike in her kitchen area by placing a pretty painting and plants around it to blend it into the area.
14. Space-saving yoga grid
When you don’t have room for a full yoga studio, a wall might be all you have. Higashi Fushimi recommends that it’s time to make your storage grid look good—like it’s an intentional part of your apartment’s design, with blended metal rods that both look good and function like any other storage.
15. Vertical storage in your home gym
Choosing equipment and storage racks that work vertically rather than horizontally can keep your gym equipment from taking up too much space in your apartment. Lela of Organized-ish utilizes pegboards for small equipment storage and choose a multi-function vertical workout setup that only takes up a few feet of space in the corner.
16. Aesthetically-pleasing home gym equipment
No need for your gym equipment existing as an eyesore. In fact, it is a beautiful addition to the main area of your apartment. See how Sunny Circle Studio chose wooden multi-use wall bars to provide function and design for a high-end vibe.
17. Upgraded garage
If you’re lucky enough to have access to a garage, you can turn it into a chic and stylish workout room. Celebrity trainer Erin Oprea has even done it herself — add some peel-and-stick wallpaper and affordable vinyl flooring that mimics wood, and you’ve pretty much given yourself a whole new space!
18. Dual-function, hidden equipment home gym
A coffee table that converts into a bench press, a lamp that doubles as a dumbbell and even a foam roller vase that looks and works both like exercise equipment and living room items. Swedish storage company 24Storage invented pieces of workout equipment that aren’t stored in the traditional manner — they’re functioning pieces of your living room! See what fits best in your living room.
19. Balcony home gym
Get some fresh air by exercising on your balcony. Put your bike, treadmill or other machines outside so it doesn’t take up your indoor space. See how Merrick’s Art did with their balcony.
20. Home yoga studio
Turn any open floor space into a yoga area. Keep storage baskets, like Manduka suggests, for your mat and other equipment nearby so when it’s not in use, you can keep your items out of the way.
21. Funky and fun home gym
Don’t just hide your home gym — turn it into the main attraction! Decorilla emphasizes that having fun patterns and colors can both give you energy and help you relax — which is what your workout space should do.
22. Black on black home gym
Having an all-black gym may not feel as light and airy as one with brighter colors, but it can change your mood when you workout. It may help you get more serious, which is beneficial when you’re doing a heavyweight routine or really want to push your limits — which is why Vogue highlights it in a luxury spread.
23. Walking desk as a home gym
Make your work time (and space) the same as your workout! MyMove shows that a treadmill or stationary bike that allows you to use your computer at the same time will save you both time and space as a home workout alternative.
24. Bright home gym yoga space
Use bright colors and neutrals for a calming yoga session. Stick with natural tones and materials, as LDA Architecture & Interiors recommends, and you’ll be feeling calm and serene every time you practice.
25. Neon home gym
Give your workout space an edge with neon lighting. You can either do it all around the room and frame certain pieces, such as mirrors, with neon lights. Or you can add a motivational quote in the form of a neon sign to keep yourself going!
Functional and tasteful
Your home gym doesn’t have to look run-down or ugly. And you don’t need to get rid of it altogether, either! Using these home gym decor ideas, you can create a space that’s both beautiful and functional.
Morgen Henderson is a writer who grew up in Utah. She lived in the Dominican Republic for a year and a half, where she was involved in humanitarian service. Some of Morgen’s work has appeared in State of Digital, The Next Scoop and TechPatio. In her free time, she loves to travel, bake, master DIY projects and improve her Spanish skills.
Portions of this article were drafted using an in-house natural language generation platform. The article was reviewed, fact-checked and edited by our editorial staff.
Conforming loans are mortgages that meet the criteria set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA). They’re eligible to be purchased by government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.
These loans have set limits and guidelines for borrower credit profiles, down payments and property types.
The FHFA adjusts the conforming loan limits every November to account for changes in the housing market.
If you’re shopping for a mortgage, you may have heard the term “conforming loan” thrown around. But what does it mean, how does it work and why should you consider getting one? Here’s everything you need to know about conforming loans and how they can benefit you.
What is a conforming loan?
A conforming loan refers to a type of conventional mortgage that aligns with the criteria set by the FHFA. Meeting these established standards makes these loans eligible to be purchased by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. By buying mortgages, Fannie and Freddie reduce risk for lenders. This practice also frees up more money for lenders to use to fund additional mortgages. Because of this, most mortgage lenders offer conforming loans.
Within conforming loans, there’s the option for a fixed or an adjustable rate. Term lengths can also vary, with 15- and 30-year terms being the most popular.
How do conforming loans work?
After you take out a conforming loan from a lender, here’s what happens next:
After your loan closes, your lender submits your loan to either Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae for purchase. They examine your loan paperwork, request clarification on any necessary details and eventually buy the loan.
Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae package these loans together to create mortgage-backed securities (MBSs), which are then sold to investors. Investors rely on MBSs as a consistent source of income (provided by the mortgage holders’ monthly payments). MBSs are somewhat like mutual or exchange-traded funds: Each may contain a large number of loans, sometimes as many as 1,000.
This consistent stream of MBS results in the establishment of a secondary mortgage market, fostering a continuous demand for fresh mortgages.
Conforming loan limits and rules
A mortgage must abide by certain standards to be considered conforming and eligible for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to purchase. These requirements include:
Loan limit – 2023’s limits are $726,200 for a single-family home in most markets, but up to $1,089,300 in higher-cost areas. (In 2024, the limit jumps to $766,550 in most areas and $1,149,825 in high-cost regions.)
Borrower credit score – At least 620
Borrower debt ratios – Ideally, a debt-to-income (DTI) ratio of 36 percent or less, though it can go up to 50 percent with specific compensating factors
Down payment/home equity – At least 3 percent down for a purchase or 5 percent equity for a refinance. However, if you put down less than 20 percent or have less than that in equity, you’ll need to pay private mortgage insurance (PMI) and will have a higher interest rate.
Loan-to-value (LTV) ratio – As high as 97 percent, depending on the mortgage and the borrower
Learn more: Conforming loan limits in 2023
How the FHFA regulates conforming loans
The FHFA compares the increase or decrease in the average house price from October to October every year, as indicated by the Housing Price Index. It uses this percentage change as the basis to adjust loan limits. This method ensures that the loan limits reflect the current housing market and allows buyers continued access to conforming mortgages.
Pros and cons of conforming loans
Low down payment: For conforming loans, the minimum down payment is 3 percent. This is much lower than a non-conforming jumbo loan, which is usually 10 to 20 percent.
More readily available: Conforming loans are some of the most popular mortgage products available. That means you’ll have many different lenders to choose from. Plus, since the process is standardized, you may be able to close on your home quicker and easier with a conforming loan.
You can avoid mortgage insurance: If you put at least 20 percent down on a conventional conforming loan, you won’t need to pay for private mortgage insurance. Even if you don’t put 20 percent down, you can have PMI removed once you have 20 percent equity. The average cost of PMI is 0.46 percent to 1.5 percent of the loan amount per month, according to an analysis by the Urban Institute, so this cost can be significant.
Borrowing limits: The home you want to buy could exceed conforming loan limits, especially if you’re in a higher-priced market.
Higher credit score needed: You need a credit score of 620 or higher for a conventional conforming loan, whereas some government loans can be had for a score as low as 500.
Limits on debts: Your DTI ratio must meet conforming loan standards set by the FHFA. The maximum DTI ratio is typically 36 percent. Sometimes, that can stretch to 43 percent or even 50 percent if you have other “compensating factors,” such as a higher credit score.
Conforming vs. non-conforming loans
A conforming loan conforms to the FHFA’s standards pertaining to the borrower’s credit, down payment and loan size. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will only purchase conforming conventional loans. A non-conforming loan doesn’t conform to these standards, so Fannie and Freddie won’t buy it from the lender.
The fact that a loan is non-conforming doesn’t mean it’s bad, however. It simply means that it doesn’t meet the criteria for purchase by the government-sponsored enterprises. You may need a non-conforming jumbo loan, for example, to purchase a home that exceeds the conforming loan limit for that area.
Additionally, some mortgage lenders offer nonconforming loan options tailored to borrowers with credit challenges or sketchy histories — like a bankruptcy in their recent past. The lender has more leeway in approving applicants, since it doesn’t have to meet the federal standards.
Of course, it has more leeway in setting fees, terms and other conditions, too. Nonconforming loans often charge higher interest rates than conforming loans, or impose more fees.
Conforming vs. conventional loans
Both conforming loans and conventional loans refer to private (non-government) and commercial mortgage loans. And their meanings overlap.
But “conventional loan” is a broader category. A conforming loan is one that meets specific criteria set by the FHFA, including conforming loan limits. A conventional loan is any loan that isn’t guaranteed or insured by the government (FHA, VA and USDA loans). Conventional loans can be either conforming or non-conforming.
In short: All conforming loans are conventional loans, but not all conventional loans are conforming loans.
How to get the best conforming loan for you
There are several steps you can take to help you get the best conforming loan for your circumstances:
1. Check your credit report
As far in advance as possible, check your credit report and history at AnnualCreditReport.com. Check your reports carefully for out-of-date items and factual errors. Dispute any errors you spot, because even minor issues can result in a lower credit score.
2. Get your documents in order
Get your paperwork together so you’re prepared for the mortgage application process. Lenders can now get a lot of information directly from banks and the IRS, but it’s still a good idea to have documents like payroll stubs, bank statements, retirement accounts, W-2 forms and tax returns handy.
3. Compare loan rates
Take the time to compare mortgage offers from at least three different lenders. Consider your needs and preferences when creating a short list of lenders to work with. You might want to start with your bank (if it offers mortgages), or consider a credit union or online lender, for example. Beyond the general terms of the loan, look closely at each lender’s fees and points.
Different lenders have different financing products available. Also, the same sort of loan’s terms may vary, depending on your creditworthiness.
You can find conforming loan rates through Bankrate, which provides mortgage rates for both 30-year and 15-year loans daily. When comparing mortgage rates, consider the following:
If you think interest rates will rise in the coming month or so, you might choose to lock your rate to ensure the lowest rate possible.
Interest rates may differ depending on your credentials as a borrower. Beware of rates that seem too low to be true given your financial position. If you do encounter a low rate, it could be that its percentage will be offset by bigger upfront costs. Be sure to evaluate the complete cost of the loan (interest rate and fees) carefully, as indicated by its annual percentage rate (APR).
Remember that you can get either a fixed- or adjustable-rate mortgage. A fixed-rate mortgage generally ranges from 10 to 30 years, and the interest rate remains the same for the life of the loan. With an adjustable-rate mortgage, your interest rate stays fixed for an introductory period, usually for 3 to 10 years, and is typically lower than fixed-rate loans. After that period, the rate will fluctuate based on market factors.
4. Get preapproved
Once you find a lender you’re interested in working with, you can get preapproved for a loan. Preapproval can help expedite the financing process and uncover any issues related to your credit before they show up when you formally apply for a mortgage. Getting preapproved also helps demonstrate to a home seller that you’re a serious buyer.
5. Avoid excessive spending
Lenders will keep a close eye on your credit and spending right up until your mortgage closing date. Think of the time between when you apply for a loan and when you close as a “quiet” period, when you spend as little as possible. While your mortgage application is processing, don’t apply for any new credit, such as a credit card or personal loan, and avoid unneeded large purchases. This will help ensure the closing process goes smoothly and you receive the financing you’re expecting.
Conforming loans FAQ
Conforming loan limits are set annually by the FHFA to account for housing market changes. By adjusting their baseline loan limit, the FHFA allows average homebuyers to secure a conforming conventional mortgage despite rising housing costs.
For 2023, the FHFA raised the baseline conforming loan limit to $726,200. In higher-cost regions, the limit is even higher — up to $1,089,300. This adjustment is part of the FHFA’s initiatives to support accessibility to mortgages for average buyers. For 2024, those limits jump to $766,550 in most areas and to $1,149,825 in pricey regions.
Unfortunately, one of the immovable standards for conforming loans is the loan limit — you can only borrow so much and no more. One workaround is a piggyback loan, in which you get a smaller mortgage atop a larger one: Together, they add up to enough to finance the home.
A conforming loan can have a lower down payment as long as the borrower pays private mortgage insurance (PMI). By paying for PMI, you can get a conforming loan with as little as 3 percent down if you have a Conventional 97, Fannie Mae HomeReady or a Freddie Mac HomeOne or Home Possible mortgage.
To qualify you for a conforming loan, lenders evaluate your debt ratios. There are two debt ratio measures, sometimes expressed as 28/36: the front-end and back-end. The front-end ratio measures how much of your gross monthly income is allocated to your mortgage, including the monthly payment (principal and interest), property taxes, insurance and HOA fees (if applicable). Typically, lenders look for a front-end ratio of 28 percent or less. The back-end ratio, also called the debt-to-income (DTI) ratio, includes the front-end ratio plus other monthly debt obligations, such as an auto loan, student debt, personal loan and credit card payments. (To derive your DTI, use this handy calculator). For conforming loan consideration, the maximum back-end ratio is 36 percent. It’s possible to get a conforming loan with higher debt ratios, but lower is generally better for both borrower and lender.
Inside: Are you finding yourself struggling to cover unexpected expenses? This guide will teach you how to create a financial plan and budget that will help you avoid costly surprises.
Life is full of surprises, and not all of them are pleasant. Sometimes, these surprises come in the form of unexpected expenses, hitting when one least expects them.
This can leave you devasted financially. Over the years, we have been slapped with unplanned costs and left scrambling.
However, you can successfully navigate through the rollercoaster ride of money management.
The key is knowing “What are unexpected expenses?’ Along with the knowledge equips you to avoid or mitigate them.
This post may contain affiliate links, which helps us to continue providing relevant content and we receive a small commission at no cost to you. As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read the full disclosure here.
What are Unexpected Expenses?
In the realm of personal finance, unexpected expenses are costs you haven’t foreseen or budgeted for. They strike out of nowhere, leaving you scrambling to balance your finances.
These expenses differ from other cost categories such as fixed expenses (weekly, monthly, and recurring costs like rent) and variable expenses (those that do not happen regularly but vary in cost like groceries).
The crux lies in not being able to anticipate these unplanned expenses, making them disruptive to financial plans.
What is an example of unplanned spending?
Unplanned spending often occurs when there’s an unforeseen event that demands immediate financial attention.
Picture this scenario: You take your car for a routine inspection; however, the car fails the inspection due to a defective part that needs immediate repair. Initially, you hadn’t allocated funds for this, but now you have to deal with this unforeseen cost – a classic case of unplanned spending.
Common Examples of Unexpected Expenses
Unforeseen financial events can leave many unprepared and struggling, adding unnecessary stress. This section will delve into examples of typical unexpected expenses that individuals often encounter, providing key insights into how to efficiently incorporate these into your financial plan.
By understanding and preparing for these unexpected expenses, one can effectively mitigate the surprise factor they pose, promoting a healthier and more secure financial state.
We have overcome many times and you can too!
1. Medical Emergencies and Healthcare Costs
Medical emergencies are prominent examples of unexpected expenses. Even with health insurance, costs can amass, thanks to high deductibles, co-payments, and therapies not covered by insurance.
One factor is paying for the medical costs, but the other weighing factor is loss of income when dealing with medical emergencies or critical diseases like cancer.
Overcome this by:
Contributing the max each year to your Health Savings Account (HSA). This way you have a bucket of money just for medical expenses.
Look into short-term disability insurance that can cover part of your lost wages while you can’t work.
2. Automatic Home or Vehicle Repair Needs
Home and vehicle repairs often sneak up as unexpected expenses. Time, accidents, natural disasters — all can cause wear and tear that demands immediate repair. The consequences of ignoring these repairs can be hefty.
Similarly, significant home repairs such as fixing a faulty HVAC system or leaky roof can set you back by thousands of dollars.
Overcome this by:
Be proactive with routine maintenance. Take care of your house and car before problems escalate.
Save the same amount each month for home and vehicle repairs separately.
Personally, we save $100 monthly for car repairs as one is a beater car. This amount will be increased to $350 to start saving for a new car. Conversely for home repairs, we keep a minimum of $1000. This amount will fluctuate depending on when we last did a major repair. Since we just replaced our HVAC, our funds are lower.
3. Natural disasters
Natural disasters, such as hurricanes, earthquakes, wildfires, and floods, lead to unexpected spending. The impact of these events can cause significant damage to homes, cars, and other property, leading to repair and replacement costs.
Furthermore, these situations might also necessitate expenses for emergency supplies, temporary shelter, and other necessities. For instance, Hurricane Katrina inflicted a staggering $196.3 billion in damage, illustrating the overwhelming cost of such unpredictable events.1
Overcome this by:
Make sure you have proper insurance whether it is renter insurance or flood/wildlife insurance. Also, make sure you have the proper amount of insurance. As highlighted by the Marshall Fire where most people were underinsured. 2
Storing cash on hand at home in case of an emergency. A cushion of money will always be helpful.
4. Increase in Bills
Monthly bills are a constant in our lives, but what’s not constant is their amount. Landlords may raise the rent when leases are up for renewal, utility companies could increase their rates, and insurance premiums may also inflate periodically.
All these scenarios lead to higher monthly expenses. For example, the U.S. energy costs per household rose by 13% in 2022 reaching the highest percentage increase since it was measured. 3
Being unprepared for these increases can cause significant financial strain.
Overcome this by:
Get one month ahead on your bills. Then, you will start building a cushion. Also, known as aging your money – thanks to YNAB.
Be proactive and realize that with inflation high. All of your bills will likely increase in cost.
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5. Overlooked Taxes
Overlooked taxes pose another source of unexpected expenditure.
A higher than expected tax bill can indeed surprise and unbalance your budget. This happened to my friend when she started her own fitness coaching business.
Uncertainties in estimating the exact tax amount, mathematical errors in filing, or an overlooked quarterly tax payment often culminate in an escalated tax bill. An audit from the IRS, though it may find no additional taxes owed, can lead to expensive fees from a CPA or tax attorney.
Use a tax calculator to know what your estimated tax payment due.
Understand the common reasons you may owe higher taxes this year.
6. Pet Emergencies
Pet emergencies can bite a large chunk out of your budget without warning. For instance, if your cat suddenly starts having seizures or your dog gets hit by a car, the medical costs associated can spiral rapidly.
Emergency vet care can range between a few hundred dollars to several thousand dollars. For instance, a poisoning can range from $200-$3000. 4
Overcome this by:
Prevention methods like pet insurance can help you manage these costs effectively.
Decide in advance the maximum you are willing to spend on emergency vet care.
7. Delayed payments
Delayed payments may not be an external expense, but the repercussions can be just as financially challenging. This affects your income stream, potentially leading to difficulty in managing your financial obligations.
For example, if an employer goes bankrupt, salaries might be delayed or even indefinitely withheld. According to research, late payments can cost businesses $3 trillion globally, affecting both personal financial planning and business operations.5
This is a highly stressful situation.
Prepare yourself financially by:
Aging your money. By getting one month ahead of your bills, you can scrap through a delayed payment. YNAB coined this term.
Start saving for a large rainy day fund.
Simply select one of the high-yield savings products offered by their network of federally insured banks and credit unions to begin your savings journey.
You can open a free Raisin account in just a few minutes!
8. Gifts and Special Occasions
Commemorating special occasions can lead to unexpected expenses. Life events such as birthdays, weddings, baby showers, and retirements, traditionally require gift-giving.
While typical gift giving on Christmas or birthdays should be part of your planned variable expenses. Saying yes to being a bridesmaid can definitely set you back a few thousand dollars. These are costs that we often fail to factor into our budgets.
Overcome this by:
Setting aside money monthly to cover gifts and special occasions.
If saying yes to a special event will hamper your finances, then you may have to politely decline the invitation.
9. Unexpected Travel Costs
Unexpected travel costs can significantly impact your budget, particularly when they arise from unplanned events such as attending a funeral or a wedding. The costs of last minute travel can vary widely depending on the destination, distance, and mode of transportation.
To manage these expenses, consider driving or taking public transportation for shorter trips, exploring less expensive lodging options, and creating a meal plan that limits dining out.
Overcome this by:
Setting aside a regular amount in a travel fund can help prepare for these unexpected costs that tend to crop up every year.
Decide if taking the unplanned trip is something you can feasibly manage with your current financial situation.
10. What You Forget to Budget for
Some subtle but regular expenses often sneak past our budget plans. This is why we have a full list of budgeting categories so hopefully, you don’t miss anything!
Consider online subscriptions and memberships: Many services offer free trials, but the charges kick in if not canceled. Other overlooked budget items may include pet care, parking fees, and toll fills—small amounts that may seem insignificant but can considerably dent your budget over time.
Overcome this by:
Review your checking account and credit card bills to see all of your expenses for the past year. Write down those unexpected expenses that came through.
Now, make a plan for how to spend your money in advance with your findings.
This helps you prepare for unexpected expenses
Here are simple tips to make sure you employ the habits of a financially stable person.
Tip #1 – Building an Emergency Fund
Building an emergency fund is a fundamental strategy to brace for unexpected expenses. This fund acts as a financial buffer, providing the economic security to cover unexpected costs without tapping into monthly budgets or savings aimed at other goals.
As a starting point, aim to save $1000 and then work your way up to save a month’s paycheck. Start small and build over time – every penny set aside helps to mitigate future financial stress.
Tip #2 – Properly Utilizing Sinking Funds
Sinking Funds are a sagacious tactic to prepare for larger, infrequent expenses. They allow you to systematically and gradually save up for anticipated financial obligations such as vacations, holiday gifts, car maintenance, etc.
By assigning a specific amount to save each month, by the time the need arises, you’ll have a pool of money ready. With platforms like YNAB, creating sinking funds becomes easier, letting you monitor your progress month by month.
This is how we have less frequent unplanned costs than we did in our 20s.
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Tip #3 – Saving for the Larger Rainy Day
Beyond smaller emergency funds and sinking funds, saving for the ‘larger rainy day’ is a crucial tactic to avoid financial duress caused by unexpected expenses. This refers to padding your savings to cover larger, more substantial financial shocks that might require more than just a few months’ worth of expenses.
It may take time to build such a fund, but even a small contribution each month can result in substantial savings over time.
Tip #4 – Pick up a Side Hustle
One way to strengthen your financial resilience against unplanned expenses is to start a side hustle. This could mean picking up extra shifts at work, selling handcrafted items online, or using skills like photography or writing for freelance work.
With the rise of the internet, making money online is really easy and simple to get started. We have a few side hustles to shield against unforeseen costs.
Tip #5 – Budget Properly and Stick to It
Budgeting is an essential line of defense against unexpected expenses. By tracking your income and comparing it against both predictable and variable expenses, you can calculate how much money can be saved each month.
Regular budget check-ins help ensure you’re staying on track, steadying your financial footing.
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Tip #6 – Regular Review of Financial Plans
Regularly reviewing and updating your financial plans can serve as a preventative measure against unexpected expenses. Consider changes in income, expenses, and lifestyles, and adjust your savings and spending plans accordingly.
Tip #7 – Utilizing Digital Banking Features for Money Management
Digital banking tools have revolutionized financial management and can be part of a robust strategy to avoid unexpected expenses.
Features such as instant account balance checking, transaction alerts, set-and-forget savings transfers, budgeting tools, and proactive spending categorization help you grasp where your money is and how it’s being spent.
Tools to Ward Off Unexpected Expenses and Not Go into Debt
Unexpected expenses are inevitable, yet going into debt to cover these costs can lead to financial strain due to accumulated interest and fees.
Here are crucial steps in preventing unexpected expenses from turning into debt.
Dealing smartly with Credit Cards options
Credit cards can serve as a lifeline during a financial crunch but should be employed judiciously.
To smartly deal with unexpected expenses, consider options like 0% or low-interest credit card offers – these are particularly useful if you can pay off the balance during the introductory period. But tread with caution: high-interest rates can cause difficulties if you can’t pay off the balance in time.
Profit from Asking for a Paycheck Advance
In times when emergency expenses arise, asking for a paycheck advance can help. Some employers offer this as part of their policy to assist employees dealing with abrupt financial needs. A salary advance allows you to ‘borrow’ from your future earnings and repay the amount through future pay deductions.
Budgeting apps like Chime not only help in tracking expenses, but they also enable early access to your paycheck, up to two days before payday. This feature ensures you avoid running short of money at the end of the week or month, allotting you ample room to plan, track, and adjust your spending and savings.
Chime offers mobile and online financial services with an award-winning app that allows you to manage your money on-the-go!
Set up direct deposit and get your paycheck up to 2 days earlier!
Exploring Personal Loans for Emergency Situations
Personal loans are a convenient option during urgent monetary needs. They are unsecured loans and therefore don’t require collateral.
However, they’re typically accompanied by relatively high-interest rates. Consider using online prequalification tools for personal loans to determine if you’re eligible and view potential interest rates.
Explore different lenders, but be wary of the terms and conditions to make sure you don’t invite more financial trouble.
Which of the following is true regarding unexpected expenses?
Unexpected expenses are costs that are not anticipated or planned for, such as sudden car repairs or medical emergencies.
To efficiently manage unexpected expenses, it’s recommended to make them a part of the monthly budget. A suggested approach is to analyze past “unexpected expenses”, then estimate their costs and timing, which can provide an estimate of how much should be saved each month.
While basing future expenses on past ones only furnishes savings guidelines, this method can prevent an unexpected expense from turning into a severe financial emergency.
Planning for unexpected expenses by setting aside money from each paycheck can protect individuals from unforeseen financial difficulties.
Understanding what types of unexpected expenses might occur can help in the development of strategies to handle them successfully, reducing the impact of any unpleasant financial surprises.
Yes, all of the statements above are true.
What is not true about unexpected expenses?
Unexpected expenses are entirely out of our control.
Unexpected expenses can be completely avoided.
These unanticipated costs only occur irregularly or infrequently.
You can’t prepare for unexpected expenses.
All of these statements are not true. While the occurrence of these expenses might be unexpected, they’re not entirely unpredictable. Many times, they are the result of poor financial planning or management as they are often unforeseen costs that were not anticipated or included in a budget.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
It’s advisable to aim for at least 3 to 6 months of living costs for an emergency fund. This acts as a buffer to cover unexpected expenses and offers financial security during unexpected life events like job loss or serious illness.
However, the “right” amount to save varies depending on your personal situation, lifestyle, and financial obligations. Always remember: saving something is better than saving nothing; start small and increase gradually as your income allows.
Financial experts generally advise having an emergency fund equivalent to three to six months of monthly expenses. This guidepost factors in expenses such as food, housing, utilities, transport, healthcare, and other necessities.
However, if you are in a volatile occupation or the sole breadwinner of the family, aiming for a larger fund may be prudent. Whichever your situation, remember it’s not about reaching the benchmark overnight; the key is consistency in saving.
Managing urgent financial liabilities without incurring debt hinges on proactive financial planning.
Building an emergency fund: Start small and deposit to accumulate enough to cover at least three to six months of essential expenses.
Proper budgeting: Maintain a budget, ensuring you live within your means and regularly contribute to savings.
Insurance coverage: Adequate insurance coverage can help circumvent the financial impact of medical emergencies or catastrophic events.
Extra income: Consider a side hustle for additional income to bolster your budget and increase your savings.
Plan Ahead to Avoid Unforeseen Expenses
While unexpected expenses are an inevitable part of life, their financial stress isn’t.
Through effective planning and budgeting, you can cushion their blow, ensuring they don’t throw you into financial turmoil. Around here at Money Bliss, we strive for our readers to have less stress with money.
No matter how well you plan, unexpected costs can still arise from time to time. They can happen quite regularly, which is why it’s crucial to include them in budget planning.
By setting aside a portion of each paycheck in a savings account, you can be better prepared for such costs when they arise.
Remember, every dollar saved is a step towards greater financial stability, helping you to navigate life’s uncertainties with confidence and peace of mind.
Now, make sure you are financially sound.
NOAA.gov. “Costliest U.S. Tropical Cyclones.” https://www.ncei.noaa.gov/access/billions/dcmi.pdf. Accessed December 1, 2023.
Colorado Public Radio. “Most people who lost homes in the Marshall Fire were underinsured, Colorado insurance regulators say.” https://www.cpr.org/2022/05/02/most-people-who-lost-homes-in-the-marshall-fire-were-underinsured-colorado-insurance-regulators-say/. Accessed December 1, 2023.
U.S. Energy Information Association. “U.S. residential electricity bills increased 5% in 2022, after adjusting for inflation.” https://www.eia.gov/todayinenergy/detail.php?id=56660. Accessed December 1, 2023.
BetterPet. “Average emergency vet costs: what to expect.” https://betterpet.com/emergency-vet-costs/. Accessed December 1, 2023.
Mastercard. “Your real-time guide to real-time payments.” https://www.mastercard.com/news/perspectives/2023/real-time-payments-what-is-rtp-and-why-do-we-need-instant-payments/. Accessed December 1, 2023.
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Your comments are not just welcomed; they’re an integral part of our community. Let’s continue the conversation and explore how these ideas align with your journey towards Money Bliss.
Here’s why you should call the Hoosier state home.
Indiana is celebrated for, among many other things, its agricultural prowess, its hardworking people and its top-tier higher education institutions. From the spanning farmlands to the rich culture, Indiana stands out in its own distinct way. But what is Indiana known for, exactly? It’s certainly not just cornfields and basketball: Let’s take a deeper dive into the intricacies and unique characteristics that make the Hoosier state such a great place to call home.
Historically known as a manufacturing hub, Indiana continues to play a pivotal role in the nation’s large-scale material production. The state hosts automotive giants, with companies like General Motors and Subaru operating major facilities. This industry not only provides jobs in production but also fuels ancillary industries, creating a ripple effect across the job market of the entire state.
The healthcare infrastructure in Indiana is robust, offering a ton of opportunities for professionals in a number of fields. Renowned medical institutions like Indiana University Health and the Mayo Clinic Care Network provide a spectrum of healthcare services and contribute significantly to the employment scene. From skilled medical practitioners to support staff, healthcare plays a vital role in the overall health of the statewide job market.
With renowned educational institutions like Purdue University and Indiana University, the state has a wealth of employment opportunities in academia and research. These institutions not only attract educators but also drive research and development initiatives, fostering innovation and intellectual growth.
Indiana’s business-friendly environment has nurtured a hard-working spirit. Startups and small businesses find ample support through various initiatives and incubation programs. This fosters a strong entrepreneurial ecosystem, contributing to widespread job creation and economic growth throughout the state.
Indiana is endowed with natural wonders that captivate outdoor enthusiasts. Indiana Dunes National Park, situated along the southern shore of Lake Michigan, boasts stunning sand dunes, pristine beaches and diverse ecosystems. The Hoosier National Forest, covering over 200,000 acres, is a haven for hiking, camping and wildlife observation to boot.
One of the most iconic attractions in Indiana is the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. Known as the Racing Capital of the World, it hosts the world-famous Indianapolis 500, the world’s largest single-day sporting event. Racing aficionados from around the globe flock to witness the thrilling spectacle of speed and skill.
Indiana’s food scene reflects a rich amalgamation of flavors. The state is known for its Hoosier tenderloin sandwich — a delectable deep-fried pork or beef cutlet. For those with a sweet tooth, the Hoosier sugar cream pie is a local favorite, showcasing a delightful blend of sugar, cream and vanilla.
Five of the best restaurants in Indiana
With a thriving agricultural landscape, Indiana’s farm-to-table movement is strong thanks to the surrounding necessary resources. Farmers’ markets dot the state, offering fresh produce, artisanal cheeses and handmade crafts. These markets provide a glimpse into the heart of Indiana’s agricultural efficiency.
The Amish community has a strong presence in Indiana and contributes significantly to the state’s cultural diversity. Visitors can explore Amish country, characterized by simple living, traditional craftsmanship and horse-drawn buggies. Shipshewana, with its Amish-focused attractions and markets, is a window into this unique way of life.
Indiana has thriving artistic communities, like Bloomington and Nashville, where galleries, studios and theaters flourish. The Indiana University Art Museum in Bloomington showcases a diverse collection spanning centuries and traversing cultures. Brown County, often referred to as the “Art Colony of the Midwest,” attracts artists and amateur critics alike.
Indiana has left an indelible mark on the world of music. The legendary King of Pop, Michael Jackson, hailed from Gary, while the “Piano Man” Billy Joel was born in the state capital, Indianapolis. The Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra, known for its dynamic performances, adds a symphonic note to the state’s cultural landscape.
Throughout the year, Indiana hosts its fair share of festivals and fairs celebrating everything from food to arts. The Indiana State Fair, one of the oldest state fairs in the U.S., is a melting pot of experiences, with concerts and carnival fun for all.
It’s all about Indiana
With its unique blend of natural wonders, culinary delights, cultural richness and quality entertainment, Indiana invites exploration beyond the ordinary. This state, often overshadowed by its larger neighbors, stands as a testament to the richness and diversity that can be found in the heartland of America.
Ready to find your ideal Indiana apartment? You’ve come to the right place.
AI’s impact on the job market and society is a topic of much debate. However, its potential to assist businesses in making informed decisions is undeniable. Artificial intelligence (AI) has permeated various aspects of our lives, sparking discussions about its possibilities and challenges. Will we witness the realization of AI’s capabilities in the upcoming year? SAS, a frontrunner in AI and analytics, has enlisted the insights of executives and experts from across the organization to forecast trends and pivotal developments in AI for 2024. Here are some of the forecasts they have put forward.
Generative AI will augment (not replace) a comprehensive AI strategy
SAS, with a recent commitment of $1 billion to AI-powered industry solutions, emphasizes the growing significance of generative AI in organizational strategies. In 2024, organizations will shift towards integrating this technology to complement industry-specific AI strategies.
In banking, simulated data for stress testing and scenario analysis will help predict risks and prevent losses. In health care, that means the generation of individualized treatment plans. In manufacturing, generative AI can simulate production to identify improvements in quality, reliability, maintenance, energy efficiency and yield.
Bryan Harris, Chief Technology Officer, SAS
AI will create jobs
Although introducing new AI technologies in 2024 and beyond may lead to temporary disruptions in the job market, it will also ignite the creation of numerous new jobs and roles, thereby contributing to economic expansion.
In 2023, there was a lot of worry about the jobs that AI might eliminate. The conversation in 2024 will focus instead on the jobs AI will create. An obvious example is prompt engineering, which links a model’s potential with its real-world application. AI helps workers at all skill levels and roles to be more effective and efficient.
Udo Sglavo, Vice President of Advanced Analytics SAS
AI will enhance responsible marketing
While AI holds the potential for optimizing marketing and advertising initiatives, it is essential to recognize that biased data and models can yield skewed outcomes.
As marketers, we must consciously practice responsible marketing. Facets of this are awareness of the fallibility of AI and alertness to possible bias creeping in. In SAS Marketing, we are implementing model cards that are like an ingredient list, but for AI. Whether you create or apply AI, you are responsible for its impact. That’s why all marketers, regardless of technical know-how, can review the model cards, validate that their algorithms are effective and fair, and adjust as needed.
Jennifer Chase, Chief Marketing Officer, SAS
Financial firms will embrace AI amid a Dark Age of Fraud
Even as consumers show increased vigilance against fraud, fraudsters use generative AI and deepfake technology to refine their multitrillion-dollar trade. Phishing messages are becoming more sophisticated, and imitation websites appear remarkably authentic. With simple online tools, a criminal can replicate a voice after just a few seconds of audio.
We are entering the Dark Age of Fraud, where banks and credit unions will scramble to make up for lost time in AI adoption – incentivized, no doubt, by regulatory shifts forcing financial firms to assume greater liability for soaring APP [authorized push payment] scams and other frauds.
Stu Bradley, Senior Vice President of Risk, Fraud and Compliance Solutions, SAS
Shadow AI will challenge CIOs
CIOs previously faced challenges with ‘shadow IT’ and will now encounter ‘shadow AI’ – solutions utilized by or developed within an organization without official approval or monitoring by IT.
Well-intentioned employees will continue to use generative AI tools to increase productivity. And CIOs will wrestle daily with how much to embrace these generative AI tools and what guardrails should be put in place to safeguard their organizations from associated risks.
Jay Upchurch, Chief Information Officer, SAS
Multimodal AI and AI simulation will reach new frontiers
The next step in generative AI is the combination of text, images, and audio into one model. This is called multimodal AI, which allows for the simultaneous processing of diverse inputs.
An example of this will be the generation of 3D objects, environments and spatial data. This will have applications in augmented reality [AR], virtual reality [VR], and the simulation of complex physical systems such as digital twins.
Marinela Profi, AI/Generative AI Strategy Advisor, SAS
Digital-twin adoption will accelerate
Organizations can refine operations, enhance product quality, boost safety measures, improve reliability, and decrease emissions through digital twins.
Technologies like AI and IoT [Internet of Things] analytics drive important sectors of the economy, including manufacturing, energy and government. Workers on the factory floor and in the executive suite use these technologies to transform huge volumes of data into better, faster decisions. In 2024, the adoption of AI and IoT analytics will accelerate through broader use of digital-twin technologies, which analyze real-time sensor and operational data and create duplicates of complex systems like factories, smart cities and energy grids.
Jason Mann, Vice President of IoT, SAS
Insurers will confront climate risk, aided by AI
After years of waiting, climate change has evolved from a potential threat to a real and urgent danger. The global insurance industry faced more than $130 billion in losses from natural disasters in 2022, putting immense pressure on insurers worldwide. In the United States, insurers face scrutiny for increasing premiums and pulling out of heavily affected states like California and Florida, leaving millions of customers in a difficult position.
To survive this crisis, insurers will increasingly adopt AI to tap the potential of their immense data stores to shore up liquidity and be competitive. Beyond the gains they realize in dynamic premium pricing and risk assessment, AI will help them automate and enhance claims processing, fraud detection, customer service and more.
Troy Haines, Senior Vice President of Risk Research and Quantitative Solutions, SAS
AI importance will grow in government
AI will soon have an impact on government workforces. Governments struggle to attract and keep AI experts because of their high salaries, but they will actively seek out this talent to support regulatory efforts.
And like enterprises, governments will also increasingly turn to AI and analytics to boost productivity, automate menial tasks and mitigate that talent shortage.
Reggie Townsend, Vice President of the SAS Data Ethics Practice
Generative AI will bolster patient care
In 2024, organizations will continue to advance health and enhance patient and member experiences by developing AI-powered tools for personalized medicine. These tools will include patient-specific avatars for clinical trials and the generation of individualized treatment plans.
Additionally, we will see the emergence of generative AI-based systems for clinical decision support, delivering real-time guidance to payers, providers and pharmaceutical organizations.
Steve Kearney, Global Medical Director, SAS
Deliberate AI deployment will make or break insurers
In 2024, a top 100 global insurer will face closure due to prematurely implementing generative AI. Insurers are rapidly introducing autonomous systems without customizing them to their business models. They aim to use AI for expedited claims processing to counteract recent poor business performance. However, following layoffs in 2023, the remaining workforce will need more support to oversee AI’s ethical and widespread implementation.
The myth of AI as a cure-all will trigger tens of thousands of faulty business decisions that will lead to a corporate collapse, which may irreparably damage consumer and regulator trust.
Franklin Manchester, Global Insurance Strategic Advisor, SAS
Public health will get an AI boost from academia
The COVID-19 pandemic has made it evident that safeguarding our population will necessitate exceptional technology and collaboration. Public health embraces technological advancements like never before.
Whether overdoses or flu surveillance, using data to anticipate public health interventions is essential. Forecasting and modeling are rapidly becoming the cornerstone of public health work, but the government needs help. Enter academia. We will see an increase in academic researchers carrying out AI-driven modeling and forecasting on behalf of the government.
Dr. Meghan Schaeffer, National Public Health Advisor and Epidemiologist, SAS
At SAS Innovate, April 16-19, 2024, in Las Vegas, you have the opportunity to discuss with SAS executives, gain insights into their forecasts, and delve into the newest developments in AI and analytics. Secure your spot to receive updates on the conference and take advantage of early-bird pricing.
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Mihaela Lica Butler is senior partner at Pamil Visions PR. She is a widely cited authority on public relations issues, with an experience of over 25 years in online PR, marketing, and SEO.She covers startups, online marketing, social media, SEO, and other topics of interest for Realty Biz News.
We get asked frequently by founders what the available funding options are.
One such option is Dreamit. We had the chance to ask Andrew Ackerman, the managing Director of their UrbanTech program, a few questions about their upcoming accelerator class.
What are some of the things that startups can gain by going through the program?
Dreamit is specifically designed for the pre-series A startup with traction. The benefits startups get from the program can really be broken out into 3 categories: customers, capital & coaching.
Most VCs and accelerators talk about the customer introductions they can make for startups in their portfolio. Dreamit takes it to the next level with our two-week, multi-city “Customer Sprint” process. These are curated, one on one, sit down at a conference table meetings with C-suite decision makers at over 70 top players in Construction, Development, Property Management, et. al. that can shave 3-6+ months off the typical 9-12 month enterprise sales cycle.
Demo days may (arguably) still work for some pre-seed accelerator programs but if you are raising a $5M-$10M Series A round (or even a $2M-$4M Seed extension), raising it in $50K increments from angels is just not going to cut it. So instead of Demo Day “startup theater”, Dreamit takes the startups in our program on a two-week, bi-coastal “Investor Sprint” where they meet the institutional VCs who can lead these rounds, in their offices, for 20-minute, one-on-one meetings.
In terms of coaching, each of Dreamit’s 3 verticals are run by Managing Directors with successful exits under their belts and who have deep experience in their respective industries. But don’t take our word for it; ask our alumni… many of who have gone through traditional pre-seed accelerator programs in the past and can talk to the Dreamit difference.
What are some of the big successes that you guys have had with startups in the program?
Dreamit has worked with over 300 startups since our founding in 2008. In the past 6 months, we’ve had 4 high profile, successful exits including LevelUp (acquired by Seamless), Adaptly (acquired by Accenture), Trendkit (acquired by Cision), Houseparty (fka, Meerkat, acquired by Epic Games). We were also early investors in SeatGeek.
What trends in real estate are you most excited about?
The single biggest trend is completely unrelated to tech: it is the increased willingness on the part of the traditional real estate community to embrace rather than resist innovation. The increased recognition of the necessity of piloting with startups to gain an edge in the increasingly competitive real estate environment has, quite literally, changed everything.
On the tech side, improvements in speech recognition and natural language processing are changing everything from finding an apartment, to booking showings, submitting maintenance requests, controlling your smart apartment and much, much more. Equally impactful but much less flashy is the increasingly interoperable data layer underpinning the industry. There has never been more real estate data available and it is finally in a form that, with more than a little bit of effort, can be combined with other data sources in ways that unlock insights and business models that could not have existed a mere 2 years ago.
What kinds of startups are you searching for your upcoming program?
Good ones. Allow me to elaborate: Really, good ones.
Kidding aside, we look for what I call “corporate ready” startups with solid, demonstrable traction selling unique solutions to large and extremely painful problems. Is that too much to ask?
What are your customer partners looking for in proptech startups? How have their needs changed over the past couple of years?
One of the reasons our 70+ partners make the bi-annual Customer Sprints a regular part of their innovation calendar is that they know that the startups we bring them already have “product-market fit” and are run by founders who understand what it takes to successfully sell to and work with large corporate clients. Nothing reassures a multinational construction firm like Skanska that a startup is ready to work with them like a traction slide with logos of other big GCs like Turner, Suffolk, and other national contractors.
In truth, their needs in that respect have not changed that much, but they are more willing to prioritize working with startups to solve their problems than ever before.
Thanks, Andrew. Applications for Dreamit’s Fall 2019 program are open now. For those founders interested…
To the native Wintu people it was Bohem Puyuik, the “Big Rise,” and no wonder. Mt. Shasta towered above everything else, her loins delivering the natural springs and snowmelt that birthed a great river.
The Sacramento River provided such an abundance of food that the Wintu and many neighboring tribes — the Pit River, Yana, Nomlaki and others — had little to fight over. They thrived in pre-colonial times, on waters that ran silver with salmon, forests thick with game and oaks heavy with acorns.
But centuries of disease, virtual enslavement and murder wrought by European and American invaders scrambled the harmony that once reigned along the Upper Sacramento River.
Today, three tribes here are locked in a bloodless war. At issue is a proposal by one Indigenous group to expand and relocate its casino and whether the flashy new gambling hall, hotel and entertainment center would honor — or desecrate — the past.
The casino envisioned by the Redding Rancheria and its 422 members would rise nine stories on 232 acresalong Interstate 5. The rancheria — home to descendants from three historic tribes — began planning the development nearly two decades ago, envisioning a regional magnet for tourists and gamblers.
But the proposal has been buffeted by influential opponents, including the city of Redding, neighborhood groups and the billionaire next door — who happens to be the largest private landowner in America. The naysayers list a cavalcade of complaints against the new Win-River casino complex, saying it would despoil prime farmland, exacerbate traffic, increase police and fire protection costs and threaten native fish in the Sacramento River.
Those complaints have helped stall, but not kill, the project, whose fate rests almost solely in the hands of the Bureau of Indian Affairs in Washington, D.C. And now the BIA’s obscure bureaucrats have been confronted with an explosive new charge from two neighboring tribes: that construction of the casino would desecrate what the tribes say should be hallowed ground — the site of an 1846 rampage by the U.S. Cavalry that historians say probably killed hundreds of Native people.
The Sacramento River massacre has not received the attention of other atrocities of America’s westward expansion, such as the one in 1890 at Wounded Knee, S.D., where U.S. troops killed as many as 300 Lakota people. Estimates of the carnage, recorded over the decades from witness accounts and oral tradition, range from 150 to 1,000 men, women and children slaughtered along the banks of the Sacramento River.
If the higher estimates of the death toll are correct, it would rank as one of the largest single mass killings of Indigenous people in American history.
“In my heart, I find it hard to believe that there are Wintu people that are willing to build a casino on … the blood-soaked dirt of the massacre site,” Gary Rickard, chair of the Wintu Tribe of Northern California, told a state Assembly committee in August. “There are dozens of other places along the I-5 corridor and the Sacramento River.”
Redding Rancheria Chair Jack Potter Jr., himself part Wintu, called the claim that his tribe would build its casino on the massacre grounds “a slander that will not be easily forgotten.” He told state lawmakers that the real massacre site is miles away. Rancheria leaders said their opponents have manufactured the controversy for a less honorable reason: to block what would be a sparkling new competitor.
“Gaming in Indian country can be a tide that raises all of our canoes,” insisted Potter, who appeared at times to fight back tears as he spoke at the Sacramento hearing. “We should not battle against one another, in that spirit.”
A showcase for compelling storytelling from the Los Angeles Times.
Friendships that go back decades and tribal ties of a century or more have been imperiled by the casino furor. Native people normally aligned against a hostile or indifferent U.S. government — “We’re all the children of genocide,” as one elder put it — have watched sadly as their conflicts turn inward.
It’s a dynamic that has played out before. Robbed of their ancestral lands, tribes now sometimes fight when one tries to claim new territory, often as a base for a lucrative modern endeavor: gambling.
The friction is exacerbated by the peculiar history of the Redding Rancheria — and by opponents’ eleventh-hour invocation of the Sacramento River massacre, 19 years after the rancheria began to assemble parcels for the project.
The Redding Rancheria refers to a nearly 31-acre stretch of land near the south end of Redding that the federal government bought in 1922 for “homeless Indians” who came to the area as seasonal workers for ranches and orchards. The rancheria sits in a relatively obscure location compared with the interstate-adjacent site of the proposed casino, more than three miles by car to the northeast.
In 1939, the Wintu, Pit River, Yana and other Indigenous peoples formed a rancheria government. It was recognized by the United States. But in 1958, an act of Congress “terminated” recognition of multiple California groups, including the Redding Rancheria, in an attempt to force Indians to disperse into the general population. It took a landmark 1983 court settlement to formally restore recognition of 17 rancherias, including the one in Redding.
The result is that there are Redding Rancheria members with Wintu blood, like Potter, 52, who firmly support the casino, while other Wintu descendants who are not descended from the original rancheria families, like Rickard, 78, adamantly oppose it. Rickard grew up with Jack Potter Sr. and has known his son since he was a boy.
Cordiality prevails, at least outwardly, when Rickard and Potter meet today. But the bad blood between their groups has become fierce, exacerbated by the yawning wealth disparity between the rancheria and the Northern Wintu.
Rancheria members have thrived largely because of the success of their existing Win-River Resort & Casino, which operates 550 slot machines, a dozen table games, an 84-room hotel and an RV park.
The complex is the biggest income producer for the rancheria, which also owns a Hilton Garden Inn and a marijuana dispensary in Shasta County. Sources familiar with the tribe said each enrolled member receives a monthly “per capita” payment of at least $4,000 and perhaps as high as $6,000.
The rancheria’s chief executive, Pitt River descendant Tracy Edwards, 54, declined to discuss the amount of the payments.
That income, along with health clinics and other benefits, makes the Redding Rancheria members the envy of Indigenous groups with comparatively paltry assets. Rickard’s Northern Wintu claims roughly 560 certified members, but like many groups across America, the tribe has been laboring for years and still has not received formal recognition from the U.S. government. That means the tribe can’t put land into trust, a prerequisite to casino development and also a shield against federal, state and local taxes.
“We don’t have the resources in order to obtain the things we need,” said Shawna Garcia, the Northern Wintu’s cultural resources administrator. “We don’t have the revenue to assist our members with things like college, housing and other assistance.”
Historians and ethnographers say the Wintu were the predominant tribe around the site proposed for the casino complex, an expanse of meadow and scrubland that locals dub the Strawberry Fields because of its agricultural history. And Rickard questioned why the “pure-blood Wintu people” he represents have been left to struggle, while the rancheria — representing an amalgamation of tribal groups — stands poised to create an even bigger cash cow with its new casino.
Rancheria leaders like Edwards, a UC Davis-trained lawyer, have emphasized how the tribal group has supported Native and non-Native people, both as one of the largest employers in Shasta County and through its charitable foundation.
In just one year, 2018, the rancheria said it gave more than $1.2 million to community organizations, helping serve the homeless and victims of the Carr fire. During the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, the rancheria donated $5,000 each to 60 businesses struggling to stay afloat.
At a cost of $150 million, the rancheria’s new casino would feature 1,200 slot machines — more than double the number at its current casino — and with 250 rooms, the new casino hotel would be more than triple the size of the existing hotel. The tribal group has pledged to close its current Win-River casino when the new one opens.
The rancheria’s outsized community presence has created substantial goodwill around Redding, but a portion of residents have stepped forward — via petitions and ballot measures — to express disdain for large developments they feel could harm the rural character of their community.
Among the more powerful opponents is Archie Aldis “Red” Emmerson, president of logging giant Sierra Pacific Industries, whose sprawling estate looms along the Sacramento River, just south of the casino site.
In 2020, an Emmerson-allied company purchased property from the city of Redding that included a portion of a road that would be the north entry to the casino site and created an easement that would have barred access to the rancheria land for all but agricultural purposes. The easement effectively would have thwarted the casino by blocking vehicle access to the development.
But in 2022, a Shasta County Superior Court judge voided the deal, saying that in selling the land (for just $3,000 to the billionaire) the city had violated its “own processes, procedures and the relevant law.” The ruling nullified the easement, preserving the rancheria’s unrestricted access to the property.
The Redding City Council and neighboring homeowners have maintained their opposition to the project for years, while a new conservative majority on the Shasta County Board of Supervisors recently reversed the county’s earlier objections. The supervisors supported the casino, despite admonitions from the sheriff, fire chief and county counsel that the agreement with the rancheria did not provide sufficient compensation to cover the increased costs of serving the big development.
The rancheria agreed to make one-time payments totaling $3.6 million to support Shasta County, the Sheriff’s Department and fire and emergency services. That initial infusion would be supplemented by recurring payments: $1,000 for each police service call and $10,000 for each fire/emergency service call.
No issue has unsettled intra-tribal relations, though, like the debate flowing out of the terrible events along the Sacramento River 177 years ago.
Oral histories of the Wintu and neighboring tribes recall how Native families and elders had gathered along the river known as the Big Water each year in early April for the spring salmon run. Traditionally, the season signaled rebirth.
But Capt. John C. Fremont had other ideas.
Fremont diverted his men from their ordered assignment: completing land surveys in the Rocky Mountains. The Americans instead went adventuring to California, where, in the spring of 1846, they responded to sketchy claims from settlers that they were endangered.
About 70 buckskin-clad white men set upon the Native people, the locals far outgunned by the invaders, each toting a Hawken rifle, two pistols and a butcher knife, according to UCLA historian Benjamin Madley‘s detailed account of the massacre.
The horsemen completed their grisly work with such evident pride that legendary frontiersman Kit Carson later bragged that the coordinated assault had been “a perfect butchery.”
The massacre marked the beginning of “a transitional period between the Hispanic tradition of assimilating and exploiting Indigenous peoples and the Anglo-American pattern of killing or removing them,” according to Madley’s “An American Genocide: The United States and the California Indian Catastrophe.”
Fremont (later a U.S. senator from California and a Republican presidential candidate) would say that his party attacked the natives because of reports of an “imminent attack” upon settlers. But the “battle” was one-sided, with the federal troops suffering no known casualties. Afterward, according to Madley’s account, Fremont’s men feasted on the Native people’s larder of fresh salmon.
In the nearly two centuries since, the tragedy would be more forgotten than remembered. There is no historical marker around Redding noting the event.
The Wintu people believed to have been the principal victims have preserved memories of the mass killing in their oral history. But no ceremony marks the atrocity. And at the Wintu cultural resource center in Shasta Lake City, a wall-size timeline of the group’s history makes no mention of the 1846 bloodshed.
There’s also the now-pressing question — pushed to the fore by the casino feud — about precisely where the massacre occurred. The Northern Wintu and another outspoken opponent, the Paskenta Band of Nomlaki Indians, insist that the Strawberry Fields property was a key location in the atrocity.
The Paskenta commissioned a study by a retired anthropologist from Cal State Sacramento that drew on research from the late 1800s by a linguist from the Smithsonian Institution who, in turn, got much of his information from a Wintu elder who survived the massacre. The report, by Dorothea Theodoratus and a colleague, said that the “center” of the massacre was “opposite the mouth of Clear Creek” in the Sacramento River, a point roughly two miles south of the proposed casino location.
But other accounts from participants and witnesses said Fremont’s soldiers chased down victims after the initial assault, leaving the exact range of the bloodshed unknown. The Theodoratus report says that six villages, including two on the proposed casino property, were so thoroughly intermingled that all “would have had some direct involvement with that massacre.”
Andrew Alejandre, chair of the Paskenta Band, told the Assembly Governmental Organization Committee in August that his tribe is seeking to have the state and federal governments designate the Strawberry Fields a sacred site, off-limits to development. Alejandre, 35, said his tribe vehemently opposes building a casino “on top of men, women, children and elders. The spirit of these ancestors … Let them rest!”
In rebuttal, Potter and rancheria CEO Edwards note that during the many years that they and others have pursued developments in the region, the rival tribes never mentioned the massacre. Divisive fights over a proposed auto mall and a sports complex (both scrapped) came and went without any discussion about desecration of a mass grave site.
“I would never disrespect the remains of my ancestors,” Potter said.
Fifty miles south of Redding in rural Corning, the 288-member Paskenta Band opened the Rolling Hills Casino and Resort two decades ago. The luxe gaming hall is just one part of an economic surge by the tribe, which has also opened an equestrian complex, an 18–hole golf course, a 1,400-acre gun and hunting center and a 3,000-person amphitheater, where Snoop Dogg performed in May.
Potter charged that the fight over the historic massacre is really a ploy by the flourishing Paskenta to squelch the Redding Rancheria’s hopes for a shimmering destination casino “because of the mistaken belief that it … will cut into the profits of their gaming facilities.”
Paskenta’s Alejandre, a designer who once ran a clothing company, denied that is the case.
While representatives for the Paskenta and Northern Wintu tribes bashed the casino proposal at the August hearing, representatives of at least eightother California tribes argued in support of the Redding Rancheria. One said the Redding group had proved itself a good steward of cultural resources.
Another speaker at the hearing was Miranda Edwards, the 28-year-old daughter of the rancheria CEO. The Stanford-educated Edwards and her mother spoke about the importance of moving the tribal group forward for the “Seventh Generation,” future descendants whose livelihoods must be planned for today.
“We work hard every day to provide for this rural community and make it the best that we can for everyone that lives there,” Miranda Edwards told legislators. “It’s disheartening to hear from those that choose not to see that. But it will not stop our work.”
Potter, the rancheria’s chairman, had a sardonic take on the dispute.
“We always talk about crabs in a pot,” Potter said. “We are like all these crabs, stuck in a pot. When one tries to get out of the pot, all the others reach up and pull him back in.”
Will arguments about the Sacramento River massacre sway the final outcome of the Redding Rancheria’s casino quest? A BIA spokesman said only that “these issues are under review.” Nearly two centuries after representatives of the U.S. military decimated a civilization here, the federal government still retains ultimate authority over the fate of Native people.
Watch L.A. Times Today at 7 p.m. on Spectrum News 1 on Channel 1 or live stream on the Spectrum News App. Palos Verdes Peninsula and Orange County viewers can watch on Cox Systems on channel 99.