Install a pool, find a landfill
Tampa homeowner Brian Dyer hired a contractor to install a pool in the backyard of his five year old home in the Oak Run Subdivision for his four children. Within hours of breaking ground, construction halted when the contractor discovered a sizable underground dump complete with tires, washing machine tubs, a lawn mower and old trash dating back to the 1970s.
With a hole in his yard and a pile of garbage beside it, Dyer approached the county about the eyesore and was told they were unaware of the trash and told him he would be required to handle the problem.
Florida says family is responsible
As an additional slap in the face, earlier this year, the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) told Dyer he would be required to remove the landfill material and fill it in with dirt at his own cost, as neighbors near the subdivision have wells and the garbage being disturbed could put the water source at risk for contamination.
DEP this spring told Dyer he would have to pay thousands out of pocket to remove the junk as well as be required to install underground watering monitors to test his neighbors’ water. Last week, Dyer was informed that only one well showed signs of contamination but levels were so low, it is suspected to be unrelated.
Pre-1970s swimming hole
It has now been revealed that Dyer’s home is built on top of a clay pit dug by Polk County decades ago when it paved roads in the area. The pit ended up being used by area children as a swimming hole and older locals claim to remember the pit being the size of a football field.
When Brenda Fox bought the land, they decided to fill in the pit but didn’t want the cost of hauling dirt, so it was turned into a private landfill decades ago.
Pit and trash allegedly disclosed to developer
In 2003, Fox sold the land to the subdivision developer and claims she disclosed the former pit and covered landfill to the developer. Fox says the landfill was even offered to Florida Tile which had been dumping discarded ceramic tiles for years.
The football field size landfill could potentially run underneath the Dyer home and possibly his neighbors’ homes. Cracks have appeared in the Dyer home and his neighbor’s home since the pool construction began, affirming the possibility of a larger problem that the county maintains is not their problem. The builder denies knowledge of any former landfill.
Hole filled, now what?
Last weekend, the hole in the Dyer yard was filled and they are glad to not have to look at junk and orange plastic fencing, but the family now plans to have the property X-rayed to determine the size of the hole and pursuing whoever is responsible that could help him clean up, according to Tampa Bay Online.
The family maintains a calm demeanor, but claims to intend on resolving the situation and with the city, developer and builder claiming no responsibility, the courts may have to get involved.
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, 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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
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