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Holy freakin’ tar balls, BP!!

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It’s Time to Raise the Bat Signal

I’ve been watching for nearly 50 days with mounting frustration BP’s obvious lack of prudence, Haliburton’s gross equipment failure, Tony Haywards’s obnoxious comment  “I’d like my life back” and finally the dead oil coated birds washing up on shore.  It occurred to me the villians, schmucks, and horrors of this situation have all the makings of a high dollar Hollywood disaster film.   What we need is a trio of super heros (Pitt, Clooney, and Cruise please) to fly in repleat with oil resistant spandex and some bad attitudes to kick some A%#.   The irony is we’d probably walk out of the movie disappointed because we’d be thinking “uh right, like that could happen.”

Beyond the environmental and economic impacts, what makes this so frustrating is it has happened before and we (the American people) seem to not be learning from their mistakes.  The XTOC oil spill in 1979 caused over 120 million gallons of oil leak to in to the Gulf for 10 months and the leak was never capped and did not quit leaking for some time after the relief well had been drilled.   Roughly 1/3 of the Gulf has been affected by the 36 million gallons of oil to have leaked thus far from Deep Water Horizon and  4 states are seeing oil reach their shores with at least a two more months of oil leak likely.   Of course, we have all heard of the Exxon Valdez of which the economic and environmental impacts are still being felt.  I can keep going there have been lots.

The Question Is..

Since this is a Real Estate journal, it begs to question how will this event affect our industry?  Already, we are hearing stories of vacation cancellations all along the coast.   How much is BP willing to pay up?  That tool Tony Hayward  keeps  throwing out words like reasonable and neccessary, which to me means as little as they can get a way with.   Insurance isn’t going to step in and the odds of there being some major devaluation in property, loss of jobs, and tourism revenue in states already hard hit by natural disasters and the real estate bubble is pretty high according to this study out of Central Florida.   I guess my question is how could it not affect us?

What can we do besides rant and throw darts at BP’s Logo?

First of all get informed about the size an scope of the spill.  Don’t automatically assume you can’t visit some of your favorite beach locations this summer, many are being stigmatized and have no oil and they need our patronage.   Third,  volunteer in Lousiana and Florida because they need our help and it’s a worthy cause.  Finally, if you have a better idea for containment than sending the bat signal than please submit it here at gulfclean.org,  a wonderful crowd sourced social media era website dedicated to finding clever solutions from the wonderful pool of innovators in our country.

Please indulge my soap box

I personally think anyone whose ever chanted “drill, drill, drill” or becried big government having too much oversight, needs to don their hazmat suits and head to the coast.  All you folks out there who complain that the investment in clean technology and alternative energy is to expensive, impractical, and adding to our federal deficit, where do you stand now?  Do you honestly think American tax payers will not be asked to absorb the brunt of the cost and impact of this spill?  Do you think Tony freaking Hayward is going to give up any of his salary and bonuses?   We will get through this, that I am confident but my question is, when are we (as in the American people) going to learn from their mistakes and demand better?

Anna Altic – Village Real Estate Services. I’ve called Nashville home for the last 15 years and have been practicing (practice being the key word here) real estate for just over 6 years. In the fall of 2007, I went to a local German Festival that had a home tour, including a LEED certified property, and I instantly became enamored with the idea of eco friendly living (ok, so I’d had a little beer and the dual flush toilet rocked my world). I have since devoted much of my time and energies in to studying and espousing the benefits of better building technology within our local residential market and my proudest accomplishment thus far has been successfully leading the initiative to get over 25 green features added to our MLS search fields.

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Joe Loomer

    June 9, 2010 at 7:14 am

    Drill, Drill, Drill! ….in Alaska.

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    p.s. buddy of mine in Pensacola already bemoaning the horrible summer to come with closed beaches already the norm.

  2. Joe

    June 9, 2010 at 8:25 am

    “I personally think anyone whose ever chanted “drill, drill, drill” or becried big government having too much oversight, needs to don their hazmat suits and head to the coast.”

    Unfortunately, this BP incident will give the idiots in our government more oversight into the way business does business. Anna, what will happen is the government (actually Obama) will pander to the opportunity to gather more votes, not solve any sort of problem here. They will succeed in making it more expensive for United States companies to do drilling, of which we are in dirge need of, and will drive our own oil prices up as we depend on the countries who take our place in oil drilling.

  3. Nick Sweeney, DotLoop Social Media

    June 9, 2010 at 9:14 am

    The oil spill and real estate are closely linked; and not just because beachfront properties are now being affected. Every exurb and suburb that has been created since the 1950s is linked to this spill. The more we built out and created cookie-cutter neighborhoods that required more and more roads and cars, the more oil we needed to drill for. Every time a local community dismantled a streetcar or took away bus routes, we needed to drill a bit deeper to keep pace with our “lifestyles”.

    Luckily, more and more people are seeing the benefits of creating mixed-use, walkable neighborhoods.designed for humans and not cars. Only time will tell if we can find newer energy resources. Unfortunately, nothing is ever really done until it’s an emergency.

    Ironically enough, this oil spill may just be the emergency we need to finally ween us off the oil.

  4. Benn Rosales

    June 9, 2010 at 10:28 am

    I’m not against drilling, drilling matters and is necessary. What is not necessary are oil companies skirting laws and taking the environment for granted in the name of profit. If there is or was a safer mechanism to prevent this type of catastrophe then shame on them, if it wasn’t then obviously we should be pushing for advancements. Oil company profits are off the charts, and you would think they would spend whatever it took to protect their profit center.

    The president has not called for an immediate inventory of all American companies drilling off of our shores for outdated or lacking safe guards, why is that? Why has the U.S. failed to immediately suspend any company utilizing this same failed equipment? Why does drilling continue business as usual? If the president really wants to kick someones ass, he should start with his own because common sense says it should have been his first move.

    Maybe the UN (since this is a world issue not just a US issue) should be running this show, after all, if the president cannot trust BP to police itself, how can we trust the administration to police the government.

  5. Anna Altic

    June 9, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Ben you make a fair point for sure. I don’t think Obama is doing enough either. I think Nick’s point is a good one as well. If we want to reduce our need for oil, we can start to design communities and cities that have infrastructure for mass transit and pedestrian traffic and invest in vehicles that are more efficient. This may seem a little jaded but I personally think the way we spend our $$ has more sway in creating real change then who we vote for at the ballot box. That’s really my point anyway, that WE can prevent this catastrophe from happening again simply by putting our personal $$ where are mouths are and the companies will adapt to what we are demanding.

  6. Nick Sweeney, DotLoop Social Media

    June 9, 2010 at 11:37 am

    Great point, Anna, although I would caution against such faith in the markets. As more and more of the public commons becomes privatized, we keep getting the wool pulled over our eyes in thinking we have choices (and power) as “consumers” rather than as “citizens”.

    True choice and freedom, however, is not to pick from what’s on the menu like a good little consumer, but to get a hand in creating what’s on the menu ourselves. Choosing to carpool is great, but demanding more options besides just a car is better.

    We cannot spend our way out of this catastrophe (or economic recession/depression); in fact, the answer most likely will not be “what can I buy to be more green”, but rather, “what can I reuse or NOT buy to be more green?”

    Nice discussion here, though.

  7. Nadina Cole-Potter

    June 9, 2010 at 10:20 pm

    Is there a “Fan” feature on this blog site? Consider yourself Fanned, Anna!

  8. Coy Davidson

    June 9, 2010 at 10:40 pm

    kind of a random comment, but why haven’t those A-list movie stars flown in to the gulf coast to criticize the president for a slow response like they did George Bush after hurricane katrina….just sayin…not really a criticism of the president…he didn’t cause the oil spill, B.P. did, but W. didn’t make Katrina hit NOLA either….just pointing out the hypocrisy

  9. Stephanie Villani

    June 9, 2010 at 11:46 pm

    As a resident of south Lousiana and a realtor, of course I don’t think enough is being done. People here are scared. They are losing a way of life, a means of making a living and afraid of what this will do to the lives of their children. Our wildlife are in danger and dying, and it will be years before the Gulf is cleaned up, if it ever is. Tourism drives the economy along the gulf especially in the summer, and everyone who depends on it to pay the bills is hurting. As for real estate, showings are down and although prices are coming down even further, there is little activity. Many of our residents work for the oil companies and are unsure of what will happen with their jobs if drilling in the gulf is halted. Just when we all thought we were getting back to the new normal after Katrina, we are now in the midst of another crisis. We are tired and scared and ache to hear some good news for our beloved state.

  10. Anna Altic

    June 10, 2010 at 3:58 pm

    Stephanie,

    Thank you for sharing your personal experiences. It’s easy to talk academically about the situation and it’s another to be living, breathing, and feeling the affects of it right now. My hope is that in the coming days and weeks we will start to see some meaningful progress.

    best

  11. Miami Condo Shop

    June 11, 2010 at 9:47 am

    This BP thing has been blown out of proportion. I wonder if Mr. Obama already figured whos *ss to kick. He had visited Louisiana twice and even postponed his trips to Indonesia and Australia to ensure that the situation is under control. Well, the damage has been done, America will surely come out of this mess but it must learn its lesson. Offshore drilling may have been scrapped for the meantime but the government must definitely take more definitive actions so that such embarrassing disaster won’t happen again. In fairness to BP, it has been discovered that most of the tar balls that have been washed into shore were not actually from BP’s ruptured oil well. They were lumps of fuel oil,meaning they came from ships that criss-cross the Gulf. They either have undetected leaks or they were purposely dumping waste oil in the area of the major spill, hoping not to get caught. Such practice is actually cheaper than having tanks pump out the waste based on government regulations once the ships reach shore. Anyway, BP must still be held fully accountable and some heads must roll. As for the real estate industry, beachfront properties will surely be affected. Who would want to buy such a property when there is crude oil all over the place? You wouldn’t want to take a swim either as you would look like one of those poor pelicans covered with brown, sticky oil.

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Austin

Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home

When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?

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Looking at the bigger picture

(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).

That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).

They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.

“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?

With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.

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aging housing inventory

The average home age is higher than ever

(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.

With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.

Prices of new homes on the rise

Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?

The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.

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Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes

(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.

Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.

So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.

1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues

It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.

Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.

2. Two major media brands emerge

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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