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Real Estate Ca.

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07 Feb 2017 
By Omar Younis


LOS ANGELES Cannabis may join the herb and spice rack in California kitchens as the most populous U.S. state prepares for the possible legalization of recreational marijuana in November.

Chef Chris Sayegh is leading the way by taking haute cuisine to a higher place with his cannabis-infused menus in private homes for as much as $500 a head, or in "pop-up" banquets around Los Angeles for $20 to $200 a person. For now, diners must show their medical marijuana cards.

Sayegh, 23, who cut his teeth in the kitchens of top restaurants in New York and California, said incorporating cannabis into his recipes creates an entirely new consciousness for diners that goes beyond the effects of a fine wine.

"To me, this is a cerebral experience," he said during a demonstration at his Hollywood apartment last week. "You're eating with a different perception with each bite, with each course. You're literally changing your brain chemistry and you are viewing this food differently than you did five minutes ago, 10 minutes ago."

Edible marijuana products are nothing new, and the market for them has evolved into a multimillion-dollar industry. Cannabis dining, on the other hand, is a relatively new concept, and Sayegh wants to bring it to the masses.

Marijuana has been legally permitted in California for medical purposes since 1996, and voters are widely expected to pass a measure on the upcoming November election ballot to legalize pot as a recreational drug for adults statewide.

Sayegh said he began experimenting with cannabis cuisine after growing tired of pot-baked brownies and other snacks.

"It really wasn't until I started to break it down into a science that I realized that cooking with cannabis ... was much, much different than baking with it," he said.

In the kitchen, Sayegh uses oil containing an extract of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), the psychoactive component of cannabis, and a "vaporizer" to infuse ingredients with THC.

"You'll never taste the cannabis in my cooking unless I specifically want you to taste it because it's not a pleasant taste. ... It throws off the whole flavor of the dish," he said, adding that he "micro-doses" his dishes to the desired potency of individual clients.

At his apartment last Friday, he prepared an elaborate three-course meal for a friend. Carrot confit gnocchi with cannabis-infused pea emulsion was followed by New York strip steak with parsnip puree and a "medicated" red wine reduction. The finale: a sticky toffee pudding with toasted coconut and pot-infused chocolate.

(Reporting by Omar Younis; Editing by Steve Gorman and Richard Chang)
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07 Feb 2017 
The real estate market is soaring. Sales of existing homes in the United States reached their highest level since 2006 last year, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The booming market is driving buyers to Zillow, the largest real estate website. On average, more than 142 million users a month find information on more than 110 million homes nationwide.

CEO Spencer Rascoff is the author of "Zillow Talk: Rewriting the Rules of Real Estate," in which he offers tips on buying, selling and renting homes, and insight on current trends in the housing market.

According to Rascoff, the housing market has been appreciating about three percent year over year, but this varies by region.

"So certain parts of the country are roaring and other parts of the country are lower. It's all based on what's happening in the local climate," Rascoff told "CBS This Morning" Monday. Among the top cities are Denver, Seattle, New York, Los Angeles, Salt Lake City, and Richmond - areas teeming with jobs in the technology industry and strong local economies.

In general, home values have increased about 70 percent year over year in the last 17 years, but those near a Starbucks were up about 100 percent in the same period. Rascoff advised future buyers to look for homes near Whole Foods or Trader Joe's locations, where values were up highest topping 140 percent - twice that of the normal American home.

Another interesting trend Zillow found is the correlation between politics and home ownership. Homeowners tend to be more politically conservative - 40 percent compared to 25 percent of renters.

"Now it makes sense right because home ownership tends to occur a little later in life and once people are a little more affluent, and that those are demographic attributes which tend to correspond with political conservatism," Rascoff explained.

Still, Rascoff clarified that this does not mean millennials are not interested in buying homes. In fact, Zillow found millennials still hold "very traditional views" about home leadership, but are merely pushing it off to later in life in their thirties.

For those who are interested in buying, Rascoff emphasized researching real estate agents is just as important as researching the homes, advising people to hire agents only after reading ratings and reviews, using resources such as Zillow.

Rascoff also said the decision to purchase a home should also rely on a specific "crossover point" when you no longer want to rent, which is determined by how long you intend to live there. On average nationwide, you should purchase a home if you will be there for two or more years. But this, too, varies regionally. In New York, the crossover point is about five years, and in San Diego, Los Angeles and San Francisco, between three to five years.

"But in Detroit, it's less than a year. So in Detroit it almost never makes sense to rent. You ought to buy because home values are so much cheaper," Rascoff said.

For those who want to sell their homes, Rascoff compared the process to a party.

"You don't want to get there too early before no one's there and you don't want to show up too late once everyone's gone," Rascoff said. "The data says that the best time to list your home is late March."

But this also depends on other factors, including location, weather and timing. Those in warmer parts of the country like the Southeast should purchase earlier in the month, whereas those in colder areas like the Northeast should wait until April, Rascoff said.

Timing is also an important factor.

"Once the listings have come online and buyers are in the market, then you want to list. The internet has changed this because Sites like Zillow and Trulia show how long somethings been on the market," Rascoff said.
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