10 Ways to Turn Off Potential Buyers

As a result of our obsession with photos and visuals today, buyers make judgments of homes immediately. Many will do their first showing online, so if your photos turn them off, they may never step foot inside.

Sellers need to go to great lengths to get buyers in the door. If you can get them through, it’s the small (and often obvious) things that will keep them interested. Though it’s a home first and foremost, it’s also an investment. Make changes or alterations that could turn off a buyer, and you risk hurting your bottom line.

If you’re planning to put your house on the market, be aware of these 10 ways you might be turning off potential buyers.

1. Turn your garage into a family room.

A family room might be attractive – to a family. But if you’ve sacrificed the garage, the trade-off might be a turn-off, especially to people who don’t have kids or who live in dense urban areas, where parking is at a premium. Even in the suburbs, most people want a covered, secure place to park their cars.

Don’t forget that a garage often doubles as a storage location, housing everything from the lawn mower to excess paper towels and cleansers. If you go glam with your garage, you’re likely to force a buyer to look elsewhere.

2. Convert a bedroom into a something other than a bedroom.

Aside from location and price, one of the first things a buyer searches for is number of bedrooms. Why? Because it’s a fundamental requirement.

You might think that having a wine cellar with built-in refrigerators in your home will make it attractive to potential buyers because it was attractive to you. But that’s not for everyone.

And while it’s true many people work from home today, at least part of the time, that doesn’t mean they want a dedicated home office -especially one with built-in desks or bookcases they can’t easily remove.

If you must convert a bedroom into something else, make sure you can readily change it back into a bedroom when you go to sell. If you have lots of bedrooms, buyers might be more forgiving. But a buyer who needs three might see your custom home office as a turn-off.

3. Lay down carpet over hardwood floors.

People like hardwood floors. They look cleaner, add a design element, don’t show dirt as much, and consumers with allergies prefer them over carpets.

If you have gleaming hardwood floors, show them off. Let the buyer decide if she wants to cover them. It’s easier for her to purchase new carpeting of her choosing than to get past yours.

4. Install over-the-top light fixtures.

A beautiful chandelier can enliven a dining room. But it can also turn off buyers who prefer simpler, less ornate fixtures.

Did you fall in love with a dark light fixture on a trip to Casablanca? That’s great. And you should use it for your enjoyment. But when it comes time to sell, replace it with something more neutral.

Remember, you want to appeal to the masses when your home is for sale. You want to stand out from a crowded field of sellers – but in the right way.

5. Turn your kid’s room into a miniature theme park.

Little kids have big imaginations. They tend to love Disney characters, spaceships, and superheroes, and their parents are often all-too-willing to turn their rooms into fantasy caves.

But the more you transform a child’s bedroom into something resembling a Disneyland ride, the more you’ll turn off most potential buyers. Your buyer might have teenage children, and see the removal of wallpaper, paint or little-kid-inspired light fixtures as too much work.

If you can, neutralize the kids’ rooms before you go on the market.

6. Add an above-ground pool.

Does it get hot in the summer where you live? Wish you had a backyard pool, but can’t afford to have a “real” pool installed? Then you might be tempted to buy and set up an above-ground pool.

For most buyers, though, these pools are an eyesore. Also, an above-ground pool can leave a big dead spot of grass in your backyard – another eyesore.

If you must have it, consider dismantling it before going on the market. Of course, be sure you’re ready to sell, or you may be stuck without a place to cool off next summer.

7. Leave dirty dishes in the sink.

A kitchen full of dirty dishes is not only unattractive, but it sends a strong message to the buyer: You don’t care about your home.

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If your home is for sale, buyers will be coming through, and you want to impress them. Would you keep dirty dishes in the sink for your in-laws or overnight guests? Probably not. Then why wouldn’t you clean up for your potential customers?

Putting your home up for sale, and keeping it on the market, is work. If you aren’t cut out for it, considering holding off until you are ready to clean up for the buyers.

8. Make buyers take off their shoes.

This turn-off cuts both ways. As an agent, I always hated being forced to take my shoes off in someone else’s home - until I sold my own. Not only was it inconvenient, but also I wasn’t happy about my socks picking up a random homeowner’s dirt, pet hair and dust.

Once I became a first-time home seller, and one with sparkling new hardwood floors and carpet, I couldn’t imagine allowing dirt and grime from the outside world to dirty up my floors.

So what’s the compromise? Shoe covers from a medical supply store. Buyers and agents don’t need to take off their shoes, simply cover them. It’s a win-win for everyone.

9. Smoke cigarettes in every room of your house – for years.

Over time, the smell of smoke permeates your home. It gets into the carpet, drapes, wood paneling - just about everywhere. And that’s a big turn-off to most buyers today.

Getting rid of the smoke smell can be a big job. If you’re a smoker, seriously consider how you want to present your home to the market. For a long-term smoke-filled home, it means painting, removing carpets, and doing lots of deep cleaning. If you don’t do it, don’t expect to get top dollar for your home.

10. Keep Fido’s bed and toys front and center.

Family pets bring a lot of joy to the home. But they don’t always bring the same joy to a prospective buyer. Dog’s toys, filled with saliva, dirt and dust, can be a sore both for the eyes and the nose.

If you have a pet, put a plan in place to move the food and water bowls as well as the toys and dog’s bed to a better location, like in the garage.

It’s your home – for now

Part of the joy of owning a home is that you can do whatever you want with it, to it, and in it. You should enjoy it. But if you want to sell it quickly and for top dollar down the road, try to picture how others might react to any renovations, additions or modifications you make.

The more specific you get – such as turning your kid’s room into a miniature castle – the harder it will be to sell your home later, and the less return on investment you’ll get. When considering changes to your home, always consider resale.

Related:

Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinion or position of Zillow.

Source: zillow.com

The Best Places to Live in California in 2022

From the beautiful beaches to the world-renowned redwood forests, California spans 900 miles along the Pacific coast and is the third-largest state in the U.S. The Golden State is home to almost 40 million people, making it the most populous state in the country. Full of iconic attractions, places and cities — think Disneyland, the Golden Gate Bridge and Hollywood, to name a few — people love this state.

With a landmass of 155,779 square miles and so many cities to choose from, where are the best places to live in California? Well, that depends on your budget and interests. Whether you’re a surfer looking to hang 10 or a wannabe actor seeking stardom, there’s a city that’s right for you.

Take a look at our list to see the best places to live in California.

Anaheim, CA

Anaheim, CA

  • Population: 346,824
  • 1-BR median rent: $1,730
  • 2-BR median rent: $1,995
  • Median home price: $770,000
  • Median household income: $71,763
  • Walk score: 63

Disneyland is in Anaheim so Mickey Mouse will be your neighbor! Snag yourself a season pass to Disneyland and you’ll have endless entertainment all year long. It’s the happiest place on earth. Well, that’s what Disney lovers will say, anyway.

Disney aside, Anaheim is a great city for families. It’s a suburban city full of apartments and homes that are affordable, compared to other cities in California. It’s also safe with good school systems.

You can enjoy time outside with a year-round mild climate, too. Take a walk through Yorba Regional Park or take your furry friend to La Palma Dog Park. Anaheim is full of parks, trails and outdoor activities. Everyone will find something to do here.

Irvine, CA

Irvine, CA

  • Population: 307,670
  • 1-BR median rent: $2,865
  • 2-BR median rent: $3,489
  • Median home price: $1,161,000
  • Median household income: $105,126
  • Walk score: 47

Irvine is home to one of the famous UC schools — UC – Irvine. But there are eight other universities in the town, as well. If you’re looking for a city with many opportunities for higher education, this is a great pick.

Irvine is making gaming history as the headquarters for Blizzard Entertainment. Blizzard Entertainment is the largest employer in the city and produced popular games like “Worlds of Warcraft” and “Diablo.”

A few other fun facts about Irvine: SNL star and actor Will Ferrell was born and raised in here. You can check out his elementary, junior and high school. And Irvine was the backdrop for scenes from “Ocean’s 11.”

Apartments in Irvine range in price but the city is in a great location and is constantly ranked one of the safest cities in California. Irvine is full of great parks, trails and sanctuaries so you’ll get a good blend of nature and city life.

Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles, CA

  • Population: 3,898,747
  • 1-BR median rent: $2,725
  • 2-BR median rent: $3,739
  • Median home price: $950,000
  • Median household income: $62,142
  • Walk score: 79

Los Angeles, better known as L.A., is the second-most-populated city in the nation. When you think of L.A., you may think about celebrities and the Hollywood Walk of Fame, complete with more than 2,600 stars. From Universal Studios to Warner Bros., the film and TV industries have several headquarters here. Want to see the set of Central Perk from “Friends?” You can do that here. Care to visit Universal Studios theme park? Go ahead! For any film or TV buff, this is the city for you.

Los Angeles is one of the best places to live in California because it offers a little bit of everything. You’re within close proximity to several beaches. You can hike Griffith Park and see the Hollywood sign, see fossils from the Ice Age at the La Brea Tar Pits, check out more than 100 museums within the city and eat at a variety of restaurants and bars. To summarize, there’s no shortage of things to do in Los Angeles.

The City of Angels is home to more than 10 million people. Regardless of what you’re looking for, you’ll likely find it here in this diverse, urban city.

Oakland, CA

Oakland, CA

  • Population: 440,646
  • 1-BR median rent: $3,113
  • 2-BR median rent: $3,947
  • Median home price: $885,000
  • Median household income: $73, 692
  • Walk score: 83

If you’re a sports fanatic, then you’ve found your city. Oakland, CA, is the only city in the state to have three professional sports teams. You’ve got the Raiders, the Warriors and the A’s. Between football, basketball and baseball, you’ll be able to cheer on the home team year-round in one of the best places to live in California. Not a sports fan? Don’t worry. Oakland has a lot more to offer than sports.

One fun fact is that you’ll find hundreds of gnomes living here, too. Yes, you read that right — gnomes! Throughout the city, painted gnomes grace the utility poles. A mysterious artist paints them throughout the city for you to discover.

Oakland is a diverse city full of culture and history. It has a mild climate year-round and is full of great parks, trails and outdoor areas. Living in Oakland you’ll find the cost of apartments is comparable to other California cities.

Palm Springs, CA

Palm Springs, CA

  • Population: 44,575
  • 1-BR median rent: $1,955
  • 2-BR median rent: $2,095
  • Median home price: $523,000
  • Median household income: $53,441
  • Walk score: 39

Palm Springs is a diamond in the desert. It’s an affordable city with luxurious amenities like swimming pools, golf courses and tennis for all. If cities like L.A. or San Francisco are too big for you, Palm Springs is a perfect pick.

Tourists love it here but it’s also a popular place for retirees. Palm Springs is one of the best places to live in California if you’re looking for a low-key, relaxed atmosphere while still having the perks of California living. You’ll find great apartments in Palm Springs, lots of outdoor activities and a diverse cultural scene. But, it’s in the desert so expect extreme temperatures!

Palo Alto, CA

Palo Alto, CA

  • Population: 68,572
  • 1-BR median rent: $3,317
  • 2-BR median rent: $3,700
  • Median home price: $3,730,000
  • Median household income: $158,271
  • Walk score: 73

Palo Alto, also called “The Birthplace of Silicon Valley,” is one of the best places to live in California. It’s also a world-renowned tech hub. Some of the world’s most infamous tech unicorns, like Apple and Tesla, emerged from Palo Alto. Nearby is Stanford University, a top-ranked college. Palo Alto is a great city for tech-oriented students or individuals who are looking to start a company or join the ranks of one of the booming tech companies located there.

While Palo Alto is full of new tech and innovation, it’s also full of rich history. Spanish settlers explored and settled here. The city is even named after a 1,000-year-old tree located along the San Francisquito Creek.

This city is smaller compared to other cities in California, with around 65,000 residents. It’s a beautiful and safe place to live but you’ll find that rent and home prices are more expensive.

Sacramento, CA

Sacramento, CA

  • Population: 524,943
  • 1-BR median rent: $2,057
  • 2-BR median rent: $2,327
  • Median home price: $465,000
  • Median household income: $62,335
  • Walk score: 60

If you want to live in the heart of the state, Sacramento is the city for you as it’s the state’s capital.

This city is known for some pretty cool things. First, its nickname is the “City of Trees,” because it has more trees per capita than any other city in the world — although Paris is also a top contender. Despite the intense summer heat, the abundance of trees actually helps cool the city down. The community has lush, green trees and there is beauty in nature everywhere around you.

Another cool thing about Sacramento is its devotion to farm-to-fork eating. What’s that you may ask? Sacramento is full of produce and farmer’s markets — exactly 40 of them. That’s right! Forty in one city alone. Local farmers provide produce to local restaurants so the food you’re eating is literally from the farm straight to your fork (or mouth). You’ll eat well here.

This is a large city and you’ll find 1.5 million people living in Sacramento. You’ll also have plenty of things to do and will enjoy walking around this tree-lined city.

San Clemente, CA

San Clemente, CA

  • Population: 64,293
  • 1-BR median rent: $3,150
  • 2-BR median rent: $4,600
  • Median home price: $1,433,000
  • Median household income: $110,434
  • Walk score: 62

If you’re looking for a city with nostalgic, old-town beach feels, San Clemente is for you. Located right on the beach in Orange County, this charming city is like a postcard.

You’ve got the San Clemente Pier plunging into the ocean. You can take a stroll, go fishing or have a bite to eat. The beaches are stunning and appeal to avid surfers and young children alike. The lifeguards ensure that surfers have their own area to catch a wave while boogie boarders and families have their own space to swim in the ocean, too. Take a stroll along the coast on some awesome beach-side trails, too.

There are several boutique stores and restaurants on the famous T-street, as well. San Clemente is one of the best places to live in California if you’re looking for a quaint beach-side town. You can find apartments in the city that meet your budget and lifestyle needs.

San Diego, CA

San Diego, CA

  • Population: 1,386,932
  • 1-BR median rent: $2,582
  • 2-BR median rent: $3,285
  • Median home price: $800,000
  • Median household income: $79,673
  • Walk score: 71

San Diego is a beautiful, ocean-side city known for its great weather and scenic views. The average temperature is 70 degrees, so it’s sunny and pleasant almost every day of the year. You’ll find amazing beaches here and a town full of friendly people.

The U.S. Navy is the biggest employer in the city and has a naval base there. The Pacific Fleet stations in San Diego with 46 navy ships. Take a harbor cruise or visit the maritime museum to learn more about the naval history in San Diego.

If you’re looking for a city that’s easy-going, look no further. It’s a tourist destination, but it’s also home to over 3 million people. You can find a great apartment here and make it your next home.

San Francisco, CA

San Francisco, CA

  • Population: 873,965
  • 1-BR median rent: $3,193
  • 2-BR median rent: $4,257
  • Median home price: $1,480,000
  • Median household income: $112,449
  • Walk score: 93

The Golden Gate Bridge, cable cars and Alcatraz are just some of the iconic things you’ll find when living in San Francisco. You’ll also live in a city that’s full of diversity. San Francisco is known for being a liberal, open-minded city. In fact, it was home to the hippie movement of the ’60s. If you’re looking for a city that’s progressive, this is a good place to consider.

It’s also full of career opportunities. The tech sector is booming so you’ll find great job prospects in that industry. Keep in mind that the cost of living is more expensive here than in other cities in California.

San Francisco is both a large, urban city and a nature retreat. You’ll find everything you need downtown but then you can escape to Muir Woods where you’ll see redwood trees and forest scenes. If you’re looking for the best place to live in California, San Fran might be a good option to consider.

Santa Monica, CA

Santa Monica, CA

  • Population: 93,076
  • 1-BR median rent: $3,190
  • 2-BR median rent: $4,677
  • Median home price: $1,908,000
  • Median household income: $96,570
  • Walk score: 85

The pier in Santa Monica is arguably the most famous one of all. This iconic pier along the coast has an amusement park complete with a Ferris wheel (it’s solar-powered!), roller coasters and funnel cakes to go around. While that’s a tourist location, it’s fun for locals to stroll the pier and beach after a busy day at work.

Santa Monica is one of the best places to live in California because it’s a city that has it all. You’ll find great restaurants and shopping in the downtown area. You’ll enjoy relaxing walks along the beach. And you can rent great apartments in the city center. The demographics skew younger as you’ll find young professionals making this city home. Rent prices are steeper compared to other cities, but it’s a coveted place to live in California.

Find an apartment for rent in California

So, have we convinced you that California is the place for you? Whether you’re looking for a location in a bustling metro area or a beach-side apartment with ocean views, there are several best places to live in California. Pick your city, find your apartment and soon the Golden State will be your new home.

The rent information included in this summary is based on a median calculation of multifamily rental property inventory on Apartment Guide and Rent.com as of December 2021.
Median home prices are from Redfin as of December 2021.
Population and median household income are from the U.S. Census Bureau.
The information in this article is for illustrative purposes only. This data herein does not constitute a pricing guarantee or financial advice related to the rental market.

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18 Great Jobs For Retirees for Flexibility and Extra Cash

But true personal shoppers are more likely to purchase clothing and accessories than groceries. A personal shopper often finds items and then sends photos and descriptions to the person who hired them to get approval.

A security guard who does not carry a weapon serves as a presence to discourage inappropriate behavior. While many large businesses like Target or Wal-Mart hire security personnel from a service, small employers such as charitable or service organizations are likely to hire someone who is reliable and gives the appearance of authority.
You are more likely to work on an hourly wage determined by your experience and amount of work you are required to perform. There are also job firms that provide virtual assistants; you can sign on with them and accept work as it is offered to you.
School bus drivers can earn up to per hour. They have regular hours with the opportunity to earn extra for field trips or outings. Some states require a specific license (a Commercial Drivers License, or CDL, for example) or require you to pass a test to qualify.
Hourly pay for security guards without weapons training is likely to be between and . Night-time security guards are likely to make more than daytime ones.
Plan on some up-front costs, such as a portable bar (if the host doesn’t have one) and basic bar tools. The host is expected to supply the alcohol and mixers. And to protect against possible liability you might want to consider an annual liability policy.

18 Part-time Jobs for Retirees

Many small or civic organizations cannot afford, nor do they truly need, a full-time bookkeeper or accounting service. They are not in it for the money. Often, they are charitable or non-profit organizations. But they need occasional bookkeeping, often with an eye towards tax advantages.
Recent news reports indicate there are many job openings for school bus drivers.
There are no actual nanny or babysitter licenses or certifications in the United States, but many families require that nannies be bonded, which is a guarantee of service. It is a protection against someone failing to show up for work; one such failure forfeits the bond and that area of work is no longer available to that nanny.

1. Substitute Teaching

If you can memorize lots of cocktail recipes, if you have an outgoing personality and a steady hand, and if you’re willing to cut people off if needed, this could be a fit for you. Your best bet might be starting out tending bar for people you know and then building a network of referrals.
Some high-end clothing stores offer personal shopper services as well. These positions might be a little less “personal,” as they might be a one-day relationship. But the concept is the same.
Security guards who carry weapons require special training and weapons licensing, and is an entirely different job pursuit, perhaps not as well-suited to a retirement job.
Many people reach so-called retirement age and are in no way done with being productive. Many continue in freelance jobs and part-time gigs, whether in a brick-and mortar setting, from home, or even outdoors.

2. School Support

A part-time bookkeeper job often requires simple financial recordkeeping or upkeep of other financial records. Part-time bookkeepers are usually former accountants or have experience as a bookkeeper. They may be asked to track invoices, but most companies use financial services for paychecks.
You have a good head for numbers. You are in charge of your own finances, and you perhaps worked in an accounting role at a previous job.

3. Tutoring

While “retirement income’’ or “retirement job” might seem like oxymorons, they are a more reasonable pursuit today than in years past due to advancing life expectancies and improved health among older citizens.
Depending on the particulars of the job, a commercial driver’s license might be required. Different states have different laws regarding licensing for shuttle bus drivers. A different license might be required if the bus holds a certain number of people or is a particular weight. Your state motor vehicle website will tell you what’s required in your state, and any potential employer will know, too.
Freelance bartending doesn’t require bartending school and can earn you good money working at large events or small, private parties. Hourly pay for freelance bartenders can be anywhere from to even before tips.

A senior woman drives a school bus.
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4. School Bus Driver

According to Indeed, the average hourly pay for a freelance writer is a bit over , but you are often paid by assignment or by word, so the pay varies. If you have knowledge in certain topics like science and medicine, the pay can be higher.
As of this writing, Ziprecruiter showed more than 34,000 virtual assistant jobs, suggesting that a virtual assistant could make up to ,000 a year, depending on the work required.
Pay is often dependent on the age of the players and the competitive level of the organization, but officials are likely to make at least per game. At higher levels where certification is required, you can earn 0 per game.

5. Shuttle Bus Driver

There are dozens of different types of shuttle bus driver jobs. Most hotels have shuttles to and from airports. Senior citizen homes, churches and community centers often offer shuttles to shopping areas or grocery stores. Hourly pay for shuttle bus drivers can average above per hour, and that’s not including tips from satisfied riders. Like school bus drivers, shuttle bus drivers have regular hours.
Source: thepennyhoarder.com

6. Conducting Tours

Most of the examples here require your physical presence on-site, but there are remote jobs, too, such as virtual assistant and customer service work that can be done from the comfort of your home.
Child care might be a bit of a political football these days, but rarely has it been more necessary. Single parents or two-parent families that require or want two incomes are likely to need child care, and that could take the form of a nanny or frequent babysitter.
These positions can be part- or full-time, and they pay well. So if you plan to collect Social Security benefits, make sure to check how your wage impacts your benefits.
Many seasonal jobs are defined by the weather, which is defined by the time of year and the climate where you live. Seasonal jobs are popular, never go out of style (except when the season changes), and can actually be a fun job to look forward to.
Most school districts have lenient requirements for substitute teachers, often requiring just a bachelor’s degree with no teaching experience.
Craigslist or neighborhood job sites are great ways to search for these positions, but your best bet is to work with your personal network. Let people know that you would be willing to work as a nanny or frequent babysitter, and, with the proper recommendation, you could have a very gratifying retirement job.

7. Patient Advocate

The job of a patient advocate is to assist someone who is struggling to cope with the healthcare system. A patient advocate deals with paperwork and appointments, and communicates with healthcare providers to get information on diagnosis, treatment and followup procedures.
As such, typical hourly pay is as a call center representative.
Personal shoppers who go after groceries or staples are likely to make typical hourly pay of to . Those who work for a service are likely on a wage or salary determined by the service rather than by the client.
Being a patient advocate does not require any particular educational degree, but it is possible to become certified in this role.

An elderly man babysits two girls. He plays guitar on the couch while the two of them listen to him play.
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8. Child Care Provider

The job is likely to include more than just driving, however. You may be asked to supervise students on the bus, and you may be called upon to discipline rowdy students or those who are making the trip unsafe. A tolerance for children of all ages is probably an important requirement.
If you have an advance degree, you may also qualify to be an adjunct instructor at a community college or four-year university.
Kent McDill is a veteran journalist who has specialized in personal finance topics since 2013. He is a contributor to The Penny Hoarder.
Virtual assistants are independent contractors who offer business services virtually. Those services can include website management, website design, marketing assistance, social media postings, blog writing, email correspondence or any number of clerical duties that can be carried out with a computer and phone. This kind of work is often well-suited to flexible hours.
For between and an hour, you can earn money pet-sitting in a home or, if the pet happens to be a dog, you can walk the animal. Pet-sitting is a good job for retirees who want to work outdoors without a lot of physical requirements other than being able to walk while pulling or being pulled.
While there are occasional situations where someone needs a one-off writing assignment, freelance writer jobs often offer consistent, if sporadic, work. A retiree who can write could have a client for years. Check out this Penny Hoarder article on 18 places hiring freelance writers.

Looking for a fun part-time side gig? Here’s how you can earn money visiting theme parks as a Disney nanny.

9. Virtual Assistant

Any task that can be done virtually via computer is likely to be requested by a virtual assistant. Firms would rather pay a freelancer than an employee to do the work.
Pet sitter/walker is also a good line of work to get into because one job can lead to another. Pet owners tend to concentrate around each other, and they will give recommendations to other pet owners about a reliable person who can watch Fido or Fluffy while they are on vacation.
Ski resorts in the winter and water parks in the summer are two great examples of places that require seasonal employees. It is not necessary to be a ski instructor or a lifeguard, either. These places require assistance in areas outside of their main purpose: security, transportation, customer service. Even the National Park Service hires seasonal temps.
Businesses, organizations and sites that host tours come in many shapes and sizes, from historical sites to museums, from outdoor walking tours to behind-the-scene workplace tours. They can be an everyday part of a business or scheduled by appointment. What they all have in common? A tour leader.

10. Bookkeeper

The Penny Hoarder’s Work-From-Home Jobs Portal makes the remote-job hunt easy. Our journalists scour the web for the best gigs, vet the companies and aggregate the latest listings in one place.
Nannies are likely to make an hour on average. Babysitter earnings vary widely by affluence of the neighborhood. Check out The Penny Hoarder’s tips on how to get paid up to an hour babysitting.
While high-level programs require officials to get licensed or certified, lower-level and youth group programs require just a basic knowledge of the rules. Look around your community for sports leagues in need of umpires or referees.
A babysitter sits in a home with a child or children. A nanny is responsible for getting children to day care or other activities; they are a substitute parent in many cases.

11. Umpire and Referee

If you are going to house-sit the animal, you will likely get paid more for also keeping an eye on the property while the owner is away.
Substitute teachers have never been more valuable than today. Covid has increased the chances that a teacher might be out of the classroom either awaiting test results or recuperating. When that happens, their students need someone to teach — and that could be you.
Although freelance writers no longer provide articles — it’s called content now — freelance writing is a gig that can offer the freedom to accept the assignments you want. There are firms that will connect freelance writers to people or companies in need of blogs, resumes, cover letters, marketing content and more.
This is a good job for retirees who do not mind a bit of boredom.

A man walks a gaggle of dogs at his dog walking job.
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12. Pet Sitter and Dog Walker

If you are interested in online tutoring, there are many good paying gigs out there. Match your skills to the openings.
So let’s get to work, shall we?
To be successful, you need to be ready to deal with a room full of 20 or so children of varying ages. But it could pay off. School districts in Chicago, for example, pay as much as 0 a day for a full day of work.
This is a classic retirement job that gets you out of the house, allows you to have contact with neighbors, and lets you provide security and safety with another set of adult eyes on the children.

13. Freelance Writer

These jobs require knowledge about the subject and the ability to tell a good story — often while walking backwards.
Competitive sports programs need officials for their games. Baseball, basketball, soccer and football all have leagues at various ages that need officiating. Depending on where you live, the work can be constant. If you get certified for multiple sports, you can work all weekend long and often during the week.
Some stores hold hiring events in October to fill these positions, but they often continue searching for employees throughout the final three months of the year.
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14. Call Center Worker

Most schools are always looking for crossing guards, recess supervisors and other positions. A call to your local elementary, middle or high school could lead you to a good retirement job that would fit your schedule. Even better is searching online for jobs at your school district. This will give you a range of what’s out there.
Who even knows what “retired’’ means anymore?
This is a perfect retirement job if you have a sports background and the ability to withstand criticism.

A senior citizen bartender holds up a pint of beer.
Getty Images

15. Freelance Bartender

Another idea for animal lovers is pet transporting. If you’ve got a reliable set of wheels and like to drive, getting pets from here to there from owners, maybe be the side gig for you.
Taking classes in CPR or other emergency response techniques, which offer certifications upon completion, can improve your chances of being hired.
Is it the shopping or the buying that you enjoy? If it’s the shopping, then you might consider becoming someone’s personal shopper.

16. Personal Shopper

As much as this is a remote job, it is definitely a people-person retirement job. You are likely to be talking to someone who is upset or unhappy, and you are the first line of communication for the company you are representing. You need to be capable of being friendly and helpful in the face of unpleasant conversation.
Tour guide is one of those jobs that, when you see someone doing it, you think, “Well, I could do that too!”
To be a personal grocery shopper, you probably need only have been in a grocery store from time to time. To be a high-end personal shopper, a knowledge of the fashion industry and current fashions is going to get you better clients.
Remember when you had a summer job as a teenager or a part-time job during your winter break from college? The same logic can work when you’re thinking about some extra retirement income.
The job title describes the job. You are given a shopping list and the means to make the purchase, and you chase after the items.
The responsibilities of a security guard depend on the needs of the company being guarded. There may be requirements that go beyond just being a presence, but the differences depend on the needs of the company.
As you browse these possible jobs for retirees, keep in mind one warning: If you are collecting Social Security, you can only earn a certain amount each month before your benefits are reduced.

Got what it takes to be a mystery shopper? We’ve rounded up four companies that are hiring retail sleuths. 

17. Security Guard

There are hundreds of tutoring companies in the U.S. who work with kids of all ages to enhance their school education or prepare for college entrance exams. If you sign up with one, they’ll match you with work and you won’t need to market yourself as a tutor.
You might have left the career you had in the 40-hour-a-week workforce. But now you don’t exactly want to be glued to your couch watching puppy videos. You want to be active, you want to work, and you want to make a little money to support your fun retirement plans.
Also included in seasonal work are holiday positions during the months of October-December. On-site customer service, truck unloading, shelving of new goods, and custodial services are among the positions for which big box stores are likely to need employees. For example in 2021, we tallied more than 1 million seasonal jobs at national retailers and delivery services.
The average salary for a part-time bookkeeper is around per hour.
This could be a dream job for someone who knows the topic well and likes to retell stories about history, natural science or architecture (among many other possibilities).

18. Seasonal Worker

The hourly pay for these companies ranges from about to . Requirements often are limited to a bachelor’s degree, although exam-prep work might require a recent ACT or SAT test score, or might require you to retake the exam for verbal or math instruction.
Tour guides make an average base salary of per hour. Plus, they are often offered tips by tour participants.
Certainly, many people already have personal shoppers and don’t know it. When they contact a grocery store and provide an itemized list of goods they want, someone does the “shopping,” and the items are then delivered.
If this appeals to you, don’t overlook a special area of knowledge you’ve developed during all those years in the workplace. Know a lot about the manufacturing industry? Maybe you’re just the person to lead tours at a cheese factory.
Writing skills rarely diminish, but the requirements for writing change over time. A knowledge of search engine optimization (SEO) is going to open more doors. Many jobs that use job search websites like Indeed ask for candidates to take a writing test, but many of those are simple grammar or proofreading tests.

Pro Tip
There are plenty of ways to bring in some extra money to augment pension, social security, or other retirement funds. We’ve rounded up 18 ideas for good jobs for retirees that offer part-time opportunities, flexible hours, or both.

Just to be clear, we are talking about taking calls from customers, not making calls. A call center representative answers incoming calls from customers or potential customers and either answers questions or sends the caller to someone else who can answer.
Advocates might also be asked to work with insurance companies to understand coverage and costs. Many are asked to help a client obtain assistance with financial or legal issues. The range of duties can be as varied as the patient’s needs.

The 15 Best Neighborhoods in Colorado Springs for Renters in 2022

A small town close to big city amenities.

Colorado Springs is one of the best cities to live in Colorado. Housing is relatively affordable and it’s only an hour away from Denver. Residents love that you can get big-city amenities while still enjoying the sense of community most commonly felt in smaller towns.

Colorado Springs is also one of the most health-conscious cities in the nation — and it’s no wonder! When you’re surrounded by such breathtaking natural beauty, you can’t help but get out into nature as often as possible.

If you’re ready to call this lovely city home, we want to help you find your new home. To do that, you need to know which neighborhoods fit your needs, personality and budget.

Here’s a guide to the best neighborhoods in Colorado Springs.

  • Median 1-BR rent: $1,657
  • Median 2-BR rent: $1,992
  • Walk Score: 35/100

One of the reasons Briargate is one of the best neighborhoods in Colorado Springs is because it’s centrally located. This means you get to enjoy living outside the urban area and enjoy everything that nature has to offer.

However, you’re also close enough to many of the attractions that make Colorado Springs so great. Briargate is about 15-20 minutes outside of the Downtown area, 40-45 minutes to Denver and a little over an hour to Red Rock Amphitheater (it’s world-famous, so you should definitely check it out).

You’re also close to (20–60-minute drive) Dome Rock Trail, Gardens of the Gods Park and Monument Valley Park.

Briargate is a Master-planned community that’s family-friendly and community-oriented.

  • Median 1-BR rent: $1,314
  • Median 2-BR rent: $2,100
  • Walk Score: 51/100

A charming neighborhood located west of Downtown is Old Colorado City, or OCC as the locals call it. During the Pike Peak Gold Rush, this was the hub for gold mines and for five whole days it was the territorial seat. Now, it’s a popular tourist attraction because of its proximity to Pikes Peak, its history and its charm.

OCC has an eclectic feel, with a mix of upscale, well cared for homes, as well as homes that are quite the opposite. Homes and apartments are on the smaller side (1,000-1,500 square feet). Population density is low (407 people per square mile), so you’ll feel like you have space to breathe while you enjoy the natural beauty around you.

  • Median 1-BR rent: $957
  • Median 2-BR rent: $971
  • Walk Score: 60/100

East Colorado Springs is a mature community surrounded by beautiful trees and rolling hills. You’ll find several subdivisions throughout the neighborhood. It’s ideal if you’re looking for a neighborhood that has a more traditional, residential feel to it. Most of the residences in the area are larger homes on big lots, providing plenty of space for kids and pets to play.

That said, less than half the population has kids, so the neighborhood is relatively quiet. Another great feature is that it doesn’t take long to commute to Downtown Colorado Springs. Most people have a commute of 20 minutes or less.

Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, CO

Garden of the Gods, Colorado Springs, CO

  • Median 1-BR rent: $1,505
  • Median 2-BR rent: $1,741
  • Walk Score: 34/100

Pleasant Valley has an interesting history as the first true neighborhood in Colorado Springs. Before settlers came, it was the summer home of the Ute Indians. Then, pioneers settled the area in 1858 during the Pikes Peak or Bust Gold Rush, and then again in 1891 during the Cripple Creek boom. Pleasant Valley was the place where prospectors would purchase supplies before heading up the Ute Pass to look for gold.

These days, Pleasant Valley is a relaxed neighborhood surrounded by mature, towering trees. As a resident here, you’ll love being just minutes away from Garden of the Gods Park and Westmoor Park, while having a stunning view of Pikes Peak.

  • Median 1-BR rent: $1,150
  • Median 2-BR rent: $1,481
  • Walk Score: 37/100

One of the reasons why Peregrine is one of the best neighborhoods in Colorado Springs is that it offers an easy commute to Downtown.

Ultimately, though, people move here because of the views. Calling them stunning is putting it mildly. You’ll have easy access to Marshall-Sprague Park, Blodgett Open Space, Woodmen Valley Park and Woodmen Valley Open Space for walking, jogging, biking and other outdoor activities.

No matter where you live in this neighborhood, you’ll get the chance to see some incredible wildlife and a dramatic natural landscape.

  • Median 1-BR rent: N/A
  • Median 2-BR rent: N/A
  • Walk Score: 18/100

Pine Creek is a Master-planned community located near Briargate. It encompasses 900-acres and within it are upscale homes, townhouses and apartments, making it one of the best neighborhoods in Colorado Springs. As a resident in this neighborhood, you’ll have access to a golf course, parks, trails and common green spaces.

The architectural style of the neighborhood is that of historic Colorado Springs, which includes European Cottage, Craftsman, Spanish Eclectic and Prairie homes styles. Safety, security and beautiful landscaping are high priorities for all residents in this neighborhood, not only to ensure high property values but to create a comfortable, safe living environment.

Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO

Air Force Academy, Colorado Springs, CO

  • Median 1-BR rent: N/A
  • Median 2-BR rent: N/A
  • Walk Score: 29/100

Located west of Interstate 25, south of Peregrine, Mountain Shadows sits in the foothills just southwest of the United States Air Force Academy.

Homes and rentals in the area sit on oversized lots surrounded by indigenous vegetation. It’s close to Ute Valley Park, as well as national forests, all of which contain trail systems that are perfect for walking, jogging and hiking.

Within 30 minutes, you’ll be in Downtown Colorado Springs. You can also quickly access various malls, like the Citadel Shopping Mall and the Chapel Hills Mall.

  • Median 1-BR rent: $1,424
  • Median 2-BR rent: $1,677
  • Walk Score: 40/100

Broadmoor is in the Southwestern part of Colorado Springs. It has one of the top-rated school districts (Cheyenne Mountain School District), making it one of the best neighborhoods in Colorado Springs for families.

Two other perks of living in this neighborhood are the fact that it’s home to The Broadmoor Resort (a high-end resort with beautiful grounds) and NORAD (North American Aerospace Defense Command). NORAD is a training site and alternate command center and has featured in the movies “War Games” and “Independence Day.”

Broadmoor is also close to Interstate 25 and takes less than an hour and a half to get to Denver.

  • Median 1-BR rent: N/A
  • Median 2-BR rent: N/A
  • Walk Score: 60/100

The Palmer Park neighborhood is a family and pet-friendly neighborhood, but also noted for being a quiet and peaceful neighborhood. The residents are welcoming and can’t wait to meet new neighbors like you.

People who live here are usually into the great outdoors, whether they’re taking their dog for a walk on one of the many trails, going camping or hiking or having an outdoor BBQ.

Palmer Park itself is quite the destination, for visitors and locals alike. In 2017, Elevation Outdoors Magazine named it the “best urban park.” There are various types of geological formations, including steep cliffs and tall rock spires. There are also plenty of beautiful open fields. From atop the cliffs or spires, you get a great view of Pikes Peak, Colorado Springs and the rugged Colorado Wilderness.

Downtown Colorado Springs, CO

Downtown Colorado Springs, CO

  • Median 1-BR rent: $1,915
  • Median 2-BR rent: $2,495
  • Walk Score: 61/100

Downtown Colorado Springs is a great neighborhood if you’re looking for urban amenities. Yes, you still get access to the natural beauty of the area, but you’re also close to sophisticated, contemporary bars, cafes and restaurants. Choices are abundant, too. You can go to a bakery, eat Mexican cuisine, get a hearty steak or get a delectable vegan dinner.

This neighborhood isn’t just great for young professionals, either. It’s good for families, as well. The school system in Colorado Springs is one of the best, so you can ensure your child is getting the very best education and that they’re ready for college when the time comes.

Speaking of colleges, the University of Colorado and the University of Northern Colorado have campuses in Colorado Springs, making this one of the best neighborhoods in Colorado Springs for college students.

  • Median 1-BR rent: N/A
  • Median 2-BR rent: N/A
  • Walk Score: 35/100

Northgate is a newer community that’s still growing. It has great mountain views, easy access to Interstate 25 and a golf course. If you’re looking for a community that’s on the luxurious side, Northgate has several Master-planned communities that will fit your every need.

One thing that draws renters and homeowners alike to this area is that the homes are spaciously placed, so you don’t have to feel like you’re packed like sardines with your neighbors or that you have to vie for a great view.

And since you’re living in Colorado Springs, you’re surrounded by majestic mountains, beautiful preserves and the best parks and hiking trails in the state.

  • Median 1-BR rent: $1,272
  • Median 2-BR rent: $1,490
  • Walk Score: 42/100

If affordability is your main priority, you’ll definitely want to check out the apartments for rent in Northeast Colorado Springs.

This neighborhood has a good mix of residential properties, as well as commercial properties, including offices, retail shops and restaurants.

The neighborhood offers easy access to amenities, making it one of the more convenient neighborhoods. Affordability and convenience don’t always go hand in hand, but they do in Northeast Colorado Springs.

  • Median 1-BR rent: $1,116
  • Median 2-BR rent: $1,308
  • Walk Score: 45/100

In the southern part of the city, you get a mix of urban amenities, as well as affordable housing options, making this one of the best neighborhoods in Colorado Springs.

Southeast Colorado Springs is close to Peterson Air Force Base and the Colorado Springs Airport, two installations that helped this part of the city thrive.

Homes in this neighborhood are below the national and state average and there’s a wide array of rental options. Nearly any apartment you choose in the area will be close to restaurants and shops, including Big Box stores, as well as smaller boutiques and Mom and Pop-type stores.

Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado Springs, CO

Cheyenne Mountain, Colorado Springs, CO

  • Median 1-BR rent: $1,045
  • Median 2-BR rent: $1,235
  • Walk Score: 59/100

Country living is great for some people. But, if you’re someone who needs to have stores, restaurants and other amenities nearby, then you need to find an apartment in a neighborhood like Stratton Meadows. It’s just south of Downtown Colorado Springs.

Many of the homes and rental properties date back to the 1980s to ’90s and styles run the gambit, unlike some communities where a Master designer chooses the style of every home.

Stratton Meadows is near Cheyenne Mountain State Park (about 10 minutes away), where you can go hiking, camping and mountain biking or hit up the archery range.

  • Median 1-BR rent: $1,006
  • Median 2-BR rent: $1,164
  • Walk Score: 66/100

Knob Hill is northeast of downtown Colorado Springs. One thing that makes this one of the best neighborhoods in Colorado Springs is that it’s a melting pot of sorts. According to NeighborhoodScout.com, the neighborhood isn’t just made up of generations of people from Colorado. Rather, it’s made up of new residents from other areas of the country and world — more so than 97.6 percent of American neighborhoods.

Residents here say their neighbors are “amazing” and “kind-hearted.” The community is pet- and kid-friendly and there are plenty of outdoor activities, including going to the lake, hiking and camping.

The best neighborhoods in Colorado Springs – can you choose just one?

With so many amazing neighborhoods on our list of the best neighborhoods in Colorado Springs, you might have a hard time choosing just one! If that’s the case for you, you should check out our apartment guide. You can use the filter to narrow down your search to find apartments for rent in Colorado Springs that suit your needs. Not only will that make your search easier, but it will show you which neighborhoods suit you the best.

The rent information included in this article is based on a median calculation of multifamily rental property inventory on Apartment Guide and Rent.com as of November 2021 and is for illustrative purposes only. This information does not constitute a pricing guarantee or financial advice related to the rental market.

Source: rent.com

The 12 Best Tech Stocks to Buy for 2022

A multiyear bull market in the technology sector could be on shaky ground in 2022. So while in most years, investors might succeed with a broad-indexed approach to the sector, it might pay to be a stock picker in the space this year.

A smart place to start: our 12 best tech stocks for 2022.

Technology faces an uphill climb this year for several reasons. Most notably, at 27.9 times the coming year’s earnings estimates, tech is the second-priciest sector in the market, behind only consumer discretionary (31.1). And that’s just the sector average – it’s not uncommon to see tech stocks trading at triple-digit forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratios.

Also noteworthy are the actions of the Federal Reserve. With inflation hitting levels not seen since the early 1980s, the U.S. central bank has taken a hawkish tone. Easy monetary policy is likely to tighten up over the coming year; the Fed itself anticipates three rate hikes to its benchmark rate in 2022, which would certainly cut into the sector’s fat margins.

But if you can stand a little heat, technology still looks like one of the best places to generate excess returns.

“Valuations still look expensive relative to the S&P 500,” say RBC Capital Markets strategists in their 2022 outlook. However, “Tech ranks the best among all sectors on our quality metrics, ranking at or near the top for all factors that we evaluated.”

Read on as we unveil our 12 best tech stocks to buy for 2022. Every stock here is a member of the Russell 3000, which covers most of the investable U.S. market. Moreover, each stock here receives a consensus Buy rating, according to analysts surveyed by S&P Global Market Intelligence. This list covers a wide range of approaches, from trillion-dollar tech behemoths to recent initial public offerings (IPOs) looking to disrupt established technologies.

Data is as of Jan. 2. Analyst opinions and consensus ratings from S&P Global Market Intelligence. Stocks are scored on a five-point scale, where 1.0 equals a Strong Buy and 5.0 is a Strong Sell. Scores between 3.5 and 2.5 translate into Hold recommendations. Scores higher than 3.5 equate to Sell ratings, while scores equal to or below 2.5 mean that analysts, on average, rate a stock as being a Buy. The lower the score, the stronger the recommendation. Stocks listed in reverse order of analysts’ consensus recommendation.

1 of 12

International Business Machines

IBM buildingIBM building
  • Market value: $119.9 billion
  • Dividend yield: 4.9%
  • Analysts’ opinions: 4 Strong Buy, 1 Buy, 12 Hold, 0 Sell, 0 Strong Sell
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 2.47 (Buy)

The past decade has not been kind to shareholders of International Business Machines (IBM, $133.66). The stock price has declined from the $180s to the $130s – meanwhile, the broader market has posted a gain of nearly 280%.

IBM’s biggest missteps were missing the early opportunities in the cloud and fumbling its efforts with artificial intelligence (AI). But investors shouldn’t through in the towel. The company has been making smarter moves of late that should boost the fortunes of this legacy tech name.

Among them: IBM recently spun off Kyndryl Holdings (KD), which was its information technology outsourcing division. The business had long lagged because of low margins and intense competition.

Also, CEO Arvind Krishna, installed in April 2020, has focused on becoming the leader in the hybrid cloud business, which he believes is worth more than $1 trillion worldwide.

IBM is positioned nicely here. The company has a deep portfolio of infrastructure software that can manage public and private clouds as well as traditional datacenters. The $34 billion acquisition of Red Hat is key to this this strategy. The business is the largest provider of open-source software for the enterprise, with applications for virtualization, integration, process automation and more.

As the recent AWS outage showed, there are considerable risks relying on one public cloud platform. Businesses simply need high IT stability. Private clouds and data centers may also be better options for certain applications because of security.

IBM reported more than 3,500 hybrid-cloud customers in October, up from 3,200 in July.

“The more favorable business mix resulting from nurturing growth markets and spinning off Kyndryl is expected to drive strong free cash flow generation, even on a substantially lower revenue base,” says Argus Research analyst Jim Kelleher, who rates shares at Buy.

The stock is also dirt-cheap, at a forward price-to-earnings (P/E) ratio of just 11 versus nearly 28 for the technology sector. IBM also is a rarity among 2022’s best tech stocks in that it’s a Dividend Aristocrat – one that has raised its payout for 26 consecutive years and currently yields nearly 5%.

2 of 12

Dropbox

concept art for Dropboxconcept art for Dropbox
  • Market value: $9.4 billion
  • Dividend yield: N/A
  • Analysts’ opinion: 2 Strong Buy, 3 Buy, 4 Hold, 1 Sell, 0 Strong Sell
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 2.40 (Buy)

Dropbox (DBX, $24.54) came public in March 2018 to a lot of investor excitement. The file-hosting company was growing quickly and seemed primed to disrupt the storage industry.

Returns, unfortunately, have been meager (indeed, negative!) since then amid competition from companies large and small, including mega-caps such as Alphabet (GOOGL) and Microsoft (MSFT). But the prospects for Dropbox finally appear to be improving.

Dropbox has been expanding its services, including the likes of digital signature program HelloSign, as well as DocSend, which allows for the secure sharing of business documents. DBX also has been aggressively building out offerings for remote workers, including video, collaboration and feedback.

Dropbox has scale to work with, boasting a massive user base of more than 700 million registered users. That means even a small increase in average revenue per user (ARPU) can really move the needle.

Another thing that could move the needle on DBX shares is a little activist agitation. Investor Elliott Management reportedly snapped up a double-digit stake in DBX last summer, and the investment firm has built a history of solid returns in the tech world.

Wall Street analysts are also getting upbeat on Dropbox stock. For example, Jefferies has a price target of $40, which compares to the current stock price of $24. The analysts believe there are multiple drivers, such as the addition of new features, M&A opportunities and the move to provide industry-specific applications.

3 of 12

JFrog

concept of cloud servicesconcept of cloud services
  • Market value: $2.9 billion
  • Dividend yield: N/A
  • Analysts’ opinion: 3 Strong Buy, 2 Buy, 6 Hold, 0 Sell, 0 Strong Sell
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 2.27 (Buy)

In 2011, Internet pioneer and venture capitalist Marc Andreessen wrote an article in the Wall Street Journal called “Why Software Is Eating The World” that certainly looks prescient now. Software has led to the disruption of numerous industries, and companies from virtually every sector have been forced to adopt software in several ways just to keep the lights on.

However, this has translated into a growing demand for systems to manage all that software. That means dealing with global teams, different platforms, real-time changes and other hurdles.

Enter JFrog (FROG, $29.70). This company has built a platform that manages the development, deployment and monitoring of software, whether it’s in an on-premise or cloud environment.

JFrog’s go-to-market strategy has traditionally been organic, relying on adoption from developers. It has delivered growth this way, but it did make it difficult to land larger enterprise deals.

Lately, however, the company has bolstered its direct sales force, in part helped by the influx of funds from its 2020 IPO. JFrog ramped up spending on sales and marketing to $24.3 million in the latest quarter, up from $14.8 million in the year-ago quarter. However, during this period, the number of customers with annual recurring revenues (ARR) greater than $100,000 spiked by 49% to 466.

“We believe the company is well positioned to sustain 30%-plus revenue growth in coming years as it leverages its unique position within the DevSecOps workflow,” say Stifel analysts, who upgraded the stock to Buy from Hold in December. “Building off its core Artifactory binary management solution, the company has assembled a growing suite of solutions to help customers more effectively and efficiently build, manage, distribute and secure their respective applications.”

And Stifel’s price target of $45 per share would translate into a 52% return across 2022. If achieved, that would easily put JFrog among 2022’s best tech stocks to buy.

4 of 12

Cisco Systems

Cisco Systems buildingCisco Systems building
  • Market value: $268.0 billion
  • Dividend yield: 2.3%
  • Analysts’ opinion: 8 Strong Buy, 6 Buy, 13 Hold, 1 Sell, 0 Strong Sell
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 2.25 (Buy)

Wall Street didn’t like what it saw out of Cisco Systems (CSCO, $63.37) when it reported earnings in November, selling shares by about 8% in one day. Among the concerns were supply-chain issues, which hampered growth.

But CSCO has rebounded nicely since then, and it’s nicely positioned to be among the best tech stocks of 2022.

Supply-chain issues, of course, imply that the issue isn’t demand – it’s supply. This shouldn’t be a surprise. 5G rollouts, cloud computing, security and more all require networking infrastructure, and that’s what Cisco delivers.

What also makes CSCO attractive is the recent transformation of its underlying business. Cisco has focused more on subscription revenues; now, about 30% of sales come from software, such as its security offerings and WebEx platform. The result is higher growth and more predictability.

“Cisco is successfully shifting its mix away from over-reliance on hardware and toward an integrated software, hardware, and services solution,” says Argus Research’s Kelleher, who rates the stock at Buy. “On that basis, Cisco has been able to maintain high pretax margins while continuing to generate strong free cash flows. We believe that category leader Cisco represents … a core long-term holding.”

Meanwhile, a forward P/E of 17 looks reasonable compared to both the sector and its long-term growth prospects. CSCO stock also offers up an above-average yield of 2.3%.

5 of 12

8×8

video conferencevideo conference
  • Market value: $1.9 billion
  • Dividend yield: N/A
  • Analysts’ opinion: 6 Strong Buy, 2 Buy, 6 Hold, 0 Sell, 1 Strong Sell
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 2.20 (Buy)

Zoom (ZM) gets much of the attention when it comes to videoconferencing, but other players are worth considering – and some offer up much cheaper valuations.

For instance, 8×8 (EGHT, $16.76) trades at a mere three times sales versus about 14 for Zoom.

Founded in 1987, 8X8 initially developed hardware systems for videoconferences. But the company has since broadened its product line to software, such as Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), video and messaging. 8X8 has traditionally catered to smaller customers, but it has gone upmarket over the past few years. It currently boasts 871 customers with ARR of more than $100,000, compared to 670 customers at the end of 2020.

Also bullish is 8×8’s December announcement that it had spent $250 million to purchase Fuze, a top provider of cloud-based communications for the enterprise. Fuze is expected to add about $130 million in revenues, bring the paid customer base up to 2.4 million from 2 million, and bring enterprise customers up to 1,200 from 900.

William Blair analysts are among those in the Buy camp given “the strengthening growth profile, improving margins and increased penetration of the global enterprise cloud communications market.”

6 of 12

NortonLifeLock

keyboard lockkeyboard lock
  • Market value: $15.2 billion
  • Dividend yield: 1.9%
  • Analysts’ opinion: 3 Strong Buy, 2 Buy, 2 Hold, 1 Sell, 0 Strong Sell
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 2.13 (Buy)

In 2019, security software developer Symantec sold its enterprise security business to Broadcom (AVGO) for $10.7 billion. The remaining entity, which would focus on consumer cybersecurity, changed its name to NortonLifeLock (NLOK, $25.98).

Unfortunately for shareholders, the move hasn’t resulted in much upside since then. But this could change soon thanks to its August move to buy Europe-based consumer cybersecurity software provider Avast for more than $8 billion.

On a combined basis, NortonLifeLock will have more than 500 million users and generate about $3.5 billion in revenues. The deal should result in about $280 million in annual gross cost synergies. And better still: The company expects the acquisition to be double-digit accretive to earnings per share (EPS) within the first full year after the deal closes.

Global consumer cybersecurity is an underpenetrated market, with NortonLifeLock analysis saying that less than 5% of the world’s 5 billion internet users have paid subscriptions.

NLOK doesn’t have a large analyst following, but its overall rating puts it among the best tech stocks to buy for 2022. Among the bulls is Argus Research, which has the stock at Buy with a $32 price target over the next 12 months.

“The company has expanded its product line from the venerable Norton security firewall business into personal identity protection with the LifeLock acquisition, and is now expanding further in this area with new add-on and standalone products. Avast will add personal privacy-related solutions to the mix,” says Argus Research analyst Joseph Bonner. “At the same time, NLOK has been converting from a transactional perpetual license model to a typically more profitable recurring fee-based model with an initial ‘freemium’ offer. It has also begun to invest in both direct-to-consumer marketing and indirect sales through institutional partners like AAR.”

7 of 12

Pros Holdings

future artificial intelligence robotfuture artificial intelligence robot
  • Market value: $1.5 billion
  • Dividend yield: N/A
  • Analysts’ opinion: 4 Strong Buy, 1 Buy, 4 Hold, 0 Sell, 0 Strong Sell
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 2.00 (Buy)

Founded in 1985, Pros Holdings (PRO, $34.49) is one of the early players in the AI market, though at the time of its founding, the technology was typically referred to just as “analytics.” The company developed pioneering systems that helped airlines with revenue management – systems that required sophisticated algorithms and huge sums of data.

Pros has since continued to build its platform and expanded into other industry verticals, including autos, B2B services, food, chemicals, energy and healthcare.

Acquisitions have been helpful in Pros’ expansion. Its latest deal, announced near the end of November, was for digital offer marketing pioneer EveryMundo, which helps its customers grow their reach and better engage customers.

Pros, which generated $247 million in Q3 2021 revenue, estimates the global market (which it calls underpenetrated) at $30 billion. And that global market could grow given the potential for AI to transform just about any industry.

PRO shares have struggled over the past few years, thanks in part to a COVID-related hit to its travel business. But a potential rebound could make it one of the best tech stocks for 2022.

“We believe Pros is well positioned now for FY22 and beyond as ARR growth returns to the mid- to upper-teens, driven by an improving mix of Travel-related ARR,” says Needham analyst Scott Berg, who rates the stock at Buy.

8 of 12

Alteryx

A picture of a data center. A picture of a data center.
  • Market value: $4.1 billion
  • Dividend yield: N/A
  • Analysts’ opinion: 7 Strong Buy, 3 Buy, 7 Hold, 0 Sell, 0 Strong Sell
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 2.00 (Buy)

When it comes to AI, sophisticated algorithms typically get most of the attention. The irony? These technologies – which include machine learning and deep learning capabilities – are fairly standard. Since many have come from the academic world, they are often freely available as open-source.

Interestingly, a main differentiator for AI is the data. It often takes a lot of work to clean and structure it, and if not done right, the results can fall way off the mark.

This is why companies use offerings from companies such as Alteryx (AYX, $60.50). This software automates many of the manual data processes and helps track models. This can save time and money – and given the challenges of hiring data scientists, companies don’t want these vital personnel wasting their talent on tedious functions, no matter how vital.

Alteryx has posted meager financial results of late, but this could be set to turn around in 2022. One reason for this is the expected early 2022 launch of the Designer Cloud, which should help boost growth. AYX also has taken steps to improve its sales force, including offering better incentives.

“We are positive on the long-term strategic value of Alteryx’s platform, its large and growing [total addressable market], expanding partner leverage and increased focus on G2K opportunities,” says Oppenheimer, which rates the stock at Outperform (equivalent of Buy) and gives it a $105 price target, implying 73% upside from current levels.

Needham agrees, calling AYX “Buy-rated for patient, long-term oriented investors.” But even 2022 should be fruitful, given its analysts’ 12-month price target of $97 (60% upside).

9 of 12

Bentley Systems

person on laptopperson on laptop
  • Market value: $13.7 billion
  • Dividend yield: 0.3%
  • Analysts’ opinion: 4 Strong Buy, 1 Buy, 3 Hold, 0 Sell, 0 Strong Sell
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 1.88 (Buy)

Bentley Systems (BSY, $48.33), a software company that develops sophisticated modeling and simulation software for engineers, was founded in 1984 but only came public in September 2020.

And it did so in a pleasantly different way. The founders actually gave all of the proceeds from the offering to its 4,000-plus employees. Not only was it an amazing gesture, but it showed that Bentley Systems didn’t need the money. It already generates a substantial amount of free cash flow (the cash remaining after a company has paid its expenses, interest on debt, taxes and long-term investments to grow its business), which was expected to hit $260 million in 2021.

Bentley’s technology helps with a myriad of projects, whether for bridges, rail, transit, building, utilities and mining – just to name a few.

The future looks bright. The Biden administration’s massive infrastructure bill will help provide additional demand within the U.S. But BSY should also see upside from increased infrastructure investment in Europe and Asia.

As one typically expects from high-potential tech stocks, Bentley’s shares aren’t cheap, trading at a whopping 16 times sales. But given an average price target of $69 per share – implying more than 40% price growth over the next 12 months or so – analysts clearly believe the company deserves to trade at a premium.

Mizuho analyst Matthew Broome, who has a Buy rating and $74 price target on shares, says the company “is well-positioned to deliver greater penetration within the vast global market for constructed infrastructure. Furthermore, we believe its market dynamics are extremely attractive, which should underpin profitable long-term growth.”

10 of 12

Micron Technology

semiconductorssemiconductors
  • Market value: $105.2 billion
  • Dividend yield: 0.2%
  • Analysts’ opinion: 22 Strong Buy, 6 Buy, 6 Hold, 1 Sell, 0 Strong Sell
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 1.60 (Buy)

Traditionally, memory chip companies go through extreme boom-bust cycles. That has resulted in stomach-churning stock volatility that has dissuaded many would-be investors.

But this has moderated somewhat over the past decade. You can thank powerful megatrends in AI, the Internet of Things, edge computing, 5G and more that has powered enormous demand for memory chips that many have referred to as a “supercycle.”

Great news for Micron Technology (MU, $93.15), a global leader in the development of sophisticated DRAM and NAND memory chips. These and other storage solutions represent some 30% of the semiconductor market.

A key competitive advantage for Micron is its massive infrastructure, which includes manufacturing plants and research-and-development centers across 13 countries. It also sports a portfolio of more than 47,000 patents.

Micron is hardly done innovating, either. The company expects to shell out more than $150 billion over the next decade to bolster its manufacturing and R&D capabilities.

Deutsche Bank is among the outfits that are bullish on Micron, with recent supply-chain checks showing “robust demand especially for server DRAM with enterprise IT spending continuing to recover and hyperscale customers planning to invest aggressively for growth.”

Add to that a reasonable forward price-to-earnings ratio of less than 10, and MU could be one of the best tech stocks to buy in 2022.

11 of 12

Avalara

man with pen and laptopman with pen and laptop
  • Market value: $11.2 billion
  • Dividend yield: N/A
  • Analysts’ opinion: 7 Strong Buy, 7 Buy, 0 Hold, 0 Sell, 0 Strong Sell
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 1.50 (Strong Buy)

Taxes can be boring and tedious, but just about every business has to deal with them. That makes taxes a massive industry – one that constantly changes over time as federal, state and local tax laws change.

Good news for Avalara (AVLR, $129.11), a developer of software to help businesses with tax compliance.

Avalara currently has more than 30,000 customers. Its extensive product line helps with sales and use taxes, value-added tax, excise taxes, goods and service tax, custom duties and indirect taxes, among other things. The Avalara platform processes billions of transactions every year, and files more than 1 million returns annually.

Growth is still running at a brisk pace, with most-recent-quarter revenues jumping 42% to $181 million. The company also is in a good financial position – it generated $11.4 million in operating cash last quarter, and total cash stands at $1.5 billion versus $960 million in long-term debt.

Avalara has bolstered some of its offerings via acquisitions. For instance, in October, AVLR announced it had acquired CrowdReason, which provides cloud software that helps with property taxes. Earlier in the month, Avalara said it bought Track1099, which helps companies manage, file and deliver IRS forms.

The stock has lost roughly a third of its value since early November, bringing shares to much more palatable levels. Mizuho, for instance, has a $220 price target on AVLR, implying 70% upside over the next 12 months alone. They are bullish on Avalara’s strategy of “incorporating international geographies, up/down-market penetration, deeper relationships with marketplaces and ecommerce partners, and strategic M&A to drive long-term revenue growth.”

12 of 12

Microsoft

Microsoft buildingMicrosoft building
  • Market value: $2.5 trillion
  • Dividend yield: 0.7%
  • Analysts’ opinion: 30 Strong Buy, 12 Buy, 2 Hold, 0 Sell, 0 Strong Sell
  • Analysts’ consensus recommendation: 1.36 (Strong Buy)

Microsoft (MSFT, $336.32) almost feels like it’s back to its glory days of the 1980s and 1990s. Certainly, it can seem to do no wrong in analysts’ eyes, who rate it as one of the absolute best tech stocks to buy as we enter 2022.

Even with its massive scale, Microsoft continues to churn out strong revenue growth. In its latest quarter, for instance, MSFT sales grew by 22% year-over-year to $45.3 billion, resulting in a 48% spike in net income to $20.5 billion.

Since CEO Satya Nadella took the CEO spot in 2014, he has smartly focused Microsoft on capturing the cloud. He has built Azure into the second-largest cloud platform (only behind Amazon’s AWS, and has retooled legacy products such as Office, which is now heavily cloud-based.

Better still: The cloud opportunity is still in the earlier innings. Research firm IDC forecasts that cloud spending will climb from $706.6 billion in 2021 to $1.3 trillion by 2025. One of the drivers is the new reality of remote work, which requires substantial investments in new technologies of all sorts. The cloud, however, helps lower costs and allows companies to leverage artificial intelligence.

Microsoft has a few other potential growth drivers. It owns LinkedIn, the largest social network for professionals at about 800 million users generating more than $10 billion in revenues. And it also boasts the Xbox franchise, which could be key in leveraging new trends such as the metaverse.

“At 35 times our 2022 free cash flow estimate, Microsoft shares are in our view still reasonably valued given the revenue/EPS visibility and strong Azure growth,” say UBS analysts Karl Keirstead and Taylor McGinnis, who rate MSFT stock at Buy.

Source: kiplinger.com

Apartment Utilities: What Renters Should Expect to Pay

Apartment utilities are a must-have for any renter and as such, it’s important to understand how much you’ll pay per month for utilities.

Apartment utilities are a must-have for any renter and as such, it’s important to understand how much you’ll pay per month for utilities.

Found the perfect apartment? Check. Signed the lease? With the I’s dotted and the T’s crossed. Set up your utilities? Pending.

When looking for an apartment to rent, you must consider both the cost of the rent itself and apartment utilities, which your rent seldom covers. So, what should you expect to pay each month? Here’s your complete guide to apartment utilities. We’ll walk you through what they are, the average cost and how to budget for them.

What are apartment utilities?

Apartment utilities are those must-have features — think water and electricity — that everyone needs but hardly anyone wants to set up or pay for. Alas, it’s just a fact of apartment living that you need apartment utilities to have a fully-functioning, livable home. The basic apartment utilities include:

  • Electricity
  • Internet
  • Natural gas
  • Sewage
  • Trash and recycling
  • Water

Additional utility fees can include:

  • Cable TV services
  • Streaming services
  • Security systems
  • HOA fees

Because apartment utilities are essential, you’ll want to understand how to set them up and how much to set aside each month to pay for them.

Will my landlord cover any apartment utilities?

Depending on the apartment complex and the terms of your lease, your rent may cover some utilities. Generally, you’ll be responsible for water, electricity, natural gas and the internet. Some property managers may cover the cost of sewage, trash and recycling, though. Before signing your lease, it’s smart to get a thorough understanding of what you’ll be responsible for and what the landlord will cover.

Calculating utility bills

Calculating utility bills

How much do apartment utilities cost?

Unfortunately, this is not a one-size-fits-all situation. The cost of apartment utilities varies based on several factors. Here are some things to consider when calculating the cost of apartment utilities:

Time of year

You use some utilities, like water, year-round. And you use others, like heating or air conditioning, seasonally. You may see your AC bill increase in the hot summer months when you crank up the air to cool down. Likewise, your heating bill will be more expensive when the snow falls as you’re trying to stay warm. The time of year and outside temperature are factors that impact the cost of some utilities.

Usage

Some utilities — like internet or cable TV — have a flat rate per month, meaning you’ll pay the same amount each month for the service. Other services — like water, electricity or natural gas —price their utilities on usage. So, if you use more water one month compared to another, your bill may increase or decrease in price.

Location

The cost of utilities can vary by geographic region. If you live in a desert or drought-prone region, you may pay more for water compared to other states. If you’re considering an interstate move, ask the locals how much they pay for their apartment utilities so you have an understanding of those costs.

Utility provider

Different cities and states have different utility providers with different pricing structures. When moving to a new location, do some research and compare the cost of utilities between each available provider in your region.

Size of apartment

The size of your apartment will impact the cost of your utilities. It’s pretty simple — the bigger your space, the more expensive your apartment utilities will be. When you’re weighing the pros and cons of a one-bedroom vs. a two-bedroom apartment, remember that the two-bedroom will cost more for both rent and utilities.

The average cost of utilities

We’ve mentioned that the average cost of utilities varies based on several factors. However, there are estimates out there for how much each utility will cost per month. In general, renters should set aside roughly $250 a month for utilities. On average, each utility costs the following per month:

  • Electricity: $115
  • Water: $70
  • Internet: $60
  • Natural gas: $64
  • Trash and recycling: $15

Again, you can ask your local utility provider or future neighbors how much they pay per month for utilities to get a more accurate gauge on the cost of apartment utilities.

Couple saving money

Couple saving money

How to save money on apartment utilities

Now that we’ve covered how much apartment utilities can cost, let’s talk about some ways to save money on apartment utilities.

Split the cost with a roommate

If you have a roommate, you can split the cost of utilities down the middle. This is a great way to cut your monthly costs in half.

Turn off the lights

You may have had your mom yell at you to turn off the lights your whole childhood. And now you understand why! Keeping the lights on costs you money, while turning them off can save you money. Likewise, turn off appliances when you aren’t using them to save on electricity.

Use fans instead of AC

In those hot summer months, opt for a fan instead of cranking up the AC. Running the AC non-stop can quickly add up. In the cooler months of the year, make sure you don’t have any drafts where heat is sneaking out doors or windows. Keep your home properly insulated to save money.

Switch to energy-efficient utilities

You might not have a solar panel in your apartment, but you can make small changes to make your home more energy-efficient. Opt for smart light bulbs or thermostats and you can save a penny or two on your monthly utility bill.

How to set up apartment utilities

Setting up apartment utilities are a hassle, so you be prepared before move-in day. Here are some key things to keep in mind when setting up your apartment utilities.

Cancel with your existing utility provider

Before switching to a new provider, you’ll need to cancel with your old provider. In some cases, you can cancel the service immediately, but in other cases, you’ll have to wait to close out your account until the billing cycle ends. Make sure to cancel your provider at the right time so you have utilities until you move out but no longer than you actually need.

Schedule ahead of time with your new utility provider

It can take a few days for new utility providers to get you set up, so, call ahead to line up new utilities at your new apartment. Let the utility provider know when you’re moving in and they can set up your utilities to turn on at the right time. You don’t want to pay double for utilities in the moving period, so plan accordingly.

Budget for set-up fees

Many utility providers have a one-time set-up fee that you must pay in order to start using their service. While this is annoying, it’s just a fact of life. When budgeting, ask about the set-up fee and make sure you have it in your budget so you aren’t caught off guard.

Get your paperwork ready

Because you’re setting up a recurring payment and service, almost all utility providers will need your personal information to set up the new account. Be prepared with things like your name, new address, birthday, Social Security number and even your bank information for a credit check.

Lights, camera, action!

Understanding the ins and outs of apartment utilities will help you feel prepared and confident during your next move. Apartment renters should expect to pay for some, if not all, of the apartment utilities. Budget at least $250 per month for apartment utilities and if you’re smart, you may spend less each month and save a little more for the fun stuff.

Source: rent.com

DC Studio Apartments Offering One or Two Months Free – Apartminty

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studio-apartments-offering-two-months-free

If you are in the market for a new apartment, this is the absolute best time to secure a new place. Apartments and neighborhoods where you never were able to get concessions are now giving away up to two months free. This is of course due to the fact that while many people were able to work from home, they took that opportunity to leave their Washington, D.C. apartments and move out to the suburbs or home with mom and dad or become digital nomads. That left many apartment buildings with vacancies to fill and that’s where your luck begins!

Last month we highlighted apartments with move-in specials. This week, we are highlighting DC Studio Apartments offering two months free. You’ll see there is a wide range of offerings from rent control apartments in Northwest DC to brand new luxury apartments in SE neighborhoods like Capitol Riverfront.

Act quickly, as soon as the summer heats up and there are more signs of movement in the District, you will see prices start to rise and rent specials dry up.


Hilltop-House-kitchen

Hilltop House

1475 Euclid Street NW Washington, DC.

844-259-7670

Studios starting at $1350

Get TWO MONTHS FREE

Hilltop House is in the Adams Morgan neighborhood in NW Washington, D.C. The building has mostly studios, but on occasion, a one or two-bedroom apartment comes available. The building is within walking distance of Safeway and Harris Teeter and many restaurants. All utilities are included in your rent price.


The Shawmut

2200 19th Street NW, Washington DC

844-300-2186

Studios starting at $1350

Get TWO MONTHS FREE on Studios

The Shawmut is a pet-friendly community in the Adams-Morgan | Kalorama Neighborhod. The building is in walking distance of many restaurants, grocery stores, and shops.

Apartments-with-one-month-free-2800-woodley

2800 Woodley

2800 Woodley NW, Washington DC

833-623-4036

Get One and a Half Months Free

Studios starting at $1495

2800 Woodley is a gorgeous building set back in a tree-lined residential neighborhood just four blocks from the Woodley Park Metro. The apartments have shining parquet floors, energy efficient appliances, and all utilities are included with your rent.

apartments-with-two-months-free-brunswick-house

Brunswick House

1414 17th Street NW, Washington DC

844-287-1930

Get Two Months Free on Studios

Studios starting at $1395

Brunswick House is conveniently located near the Dupont Circle Metro. It is also within a few blocks of Whole Foods Market and a number of restaurants. Brunswick House Apartments have hardwood floors and all utilities are included with the rent.

apartments-with one-month-free-DC-Meridian-Park-Apartments

Meridian Park

2445 15th Street NW, Washington DC

833-233-2513

Get Two Months Free on Studios

Studios starting at $1390

Meridian Park Apartments have a fantastic location between Adams Morgan and Columbia Heights. The apartment community is located right next to Meridian Park, walking distance to multiple metro stops and just blocks from two grocery stores.

Avec-on-H-1-Bedroom-AV1adBMx-Kitchen(1)

Avec on H

901 H Street NE, Washington DC

833-715-2382

Get Two Months Free on Studios

Studios starting at $1541

Avec on H is a brand new apartment community on H Street. The building has a two-block long rooftop with a pool, grilling areas, community garden, dog park and outdoor living rooms. The community also has a fitness center and clubroom. Right now they are offering two months free on studio apartments.

That’s our round-up of studio apartments in DC offering up to two months free. Want to see more options? Do a free search at apartminty.com and sign up for the mailing list to get notified as more specials come available!

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Source: blog.apartminty.com