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How Louisiana and NAR rocked the vote to win a major real estate transfer tax battle



Rock the vote

This May, when the National Association of Realtors (NAR) Board of Directors voted to raise membership dues by 50% to fund the Realtor Party Political Survival Initiative (RPPSI) and while some members loudly threatened to leave the Association, membership levels remained the same, neither increased or decreased by the change in the amount of dues.

The Realtor Party brought on the well known Wisconsin Realtors Association President, Bill Malkasian as the VP of Strategic Political Planning, a role where he oversees the advocacy program that funnels money and talent to the local and state boards as they battle various political issues that aren’t exactly national but impact agents at a more local level.

A recent victory that has come as a result of the Realtor Party took place just this month in the state of Louisiana – on November 19th, voters in the Bayou State went to the polls and by a wide margin (81 percent) supported Constitutional Amendment Number 1 to prohibit real estate transfer taxes, the result of a year-long collaborative effort between the Louisiana REALTORS and NAR.

According to NAR, “A vote of the legislature earlier this year put the transfer tax measure on the ballot. Final legislative passage occurred in June 2011 on a 101-0 vote in the Louisiana House of Representatives and a 34-0 vote in the Louisiana State Senate.”

How NAR and Louisiana partnered:

In NAR’s own words, the list below is how the Realtor Party partnered with Louisiana to protect the residents from the real estate transfer tax:

    • Substantial funding and technical support from NAR and its issue advocacy team who provided consulting, polling, targeting and communications outreach assistance.
    • Extensive engagement and support by the Louisiana state association and 13 local boards. More than 10,000 yard signs, 250 large signs, 10,000 bumper stickers, 5,000 lapel stickers, 5,000 push cards and 5,000 postcards were distributed. Frequent communications kept members informed and engaged.
    • REALTORS® also coordinated communications outreach with local opinion formers and media as well as phone calls and rallies to inform and motivate voters.
    • A concerted attempt to obtain third-party support. By the end of the campaign, some 15 organizations around the state, many of them chambers of commerce, had formally expressed support for Constitutional Amendment No. 1.
    • Neutralization of potential opposition throughout the year and marginalization of actual opposition the final two weeks of the campaign.
    • About a dozen newspapers across the state endorsed Constitutional Amendment No. 1, including papers in six of the seven major metropolitan markets. A handful of television stations also editorialized in favor of the amendment in the days leading up to the election.
    • Social media engagement via a Facebook page that ended up with more than 1,000 “Likes.” Facebook became a portal for news clips and other campaign information, and many REALTORS® posted on the page’s Wall and shared the page.

We will continue to share with you victories and losses along the way of the Realtor Party Political Survival Initiative as they partner with local and state boards to funnel resources into local political battles that might otherwise have gone under-served.

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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?



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, 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.



aging housing inventory

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.



zillow move

zillow move

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,, 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’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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