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Minnesota rental ban ordinance could force deployed troop into foreclosure



Minnesota military man

Minnesotan Ethan Dean is now on his fifth tour of duty, having recently been deployed to Afghanistan. This year, he was awarded the Global War On Terror medal and the Superior Civil Service Award medal. Dean is also a homeowner in Minnesota who is now in battle on the field in Afghanistan as well as back home. Dean says he is in danger of facing foreclosure and that he is unable to successfully sell his home for a fair price because of a local law that many fear is spreading to nearby areas and ultimately across the nation.

In the college town of Winona, Minnesota, there is a “30 percent rule” enacted in 2005 that restricts rental properties to only 30 percent of houses per block in an effort to “preserve the single family character of city neighborhood” and minimize the noise and vandalism associated with college rentals and to keep what they believe to be a proper ratio of owners and renters. It is said that homes without a rental permit are less appealing to home buyers and investors and typically sell for less, and if 30 percent of a neighborhood is already permitted, an owner will not be granted a permit.

How the rental ban has hurt the decorated officer

Dean says the ordinance has made it to where he cannot rent his house while he is abroad and he also cannot sell his home, leaving property rights advocates rallying against the ordinance that they claim denies property owners the constitutional right to do as they wish with their home, specifically noting that the homes are zoned for residential use which no renter or owner is violating by implementing a rental agreement.

The Freedom Foundation of Minnesota says the Winona Housing Association told them that investment and management of certified rental property is the city’s largest private industry, involving more than 900 individuals and families. Dean has rented his home out to college students, violating the ordinance. He has been given a waiver for a permit based on his service abroad, but the waiver expires next spring and it is unclear whether or not they will renew the waiver, leaving Dean uncertain and forced to endure a dual battle.

Many new home subdivisions limit the number of investors in a specific neighborhood to keep the same type of balance, but banning rentals appears to many to be a bad decision in a climate where many homeowners are seeking to avoid foreclosure by simply renting their homes. For military members, supporters say that no rental ban should ever apply and that waivers should be permanent.

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  1. Samantha R. Glenn

    October 31, 2011 at 3:16 am

    It's very ironic to know that a man is serving hard in a battle for the country and on the other side in his hometown another war to keep his house is going on which turned to be frustrating on his end because he might not be able to be there because of the duty call. I hope the government will also reflect on this and do an extra fairly effort to aide the citizens especially the men in the battlefield.

  2. Lane Bailey

    October 31, 2011 at 9:15 am

    In a subdivision with HOA rules, IF it is disclosed prior to purchase, I don't see a problem with limitations on rentals. However, I don't think that it can be enacted after someone has purchased the property.

    And from this story, it seems like the permit to rent stays with the property. That doesn't seem right, either. I would think that the better way to do it, for the sake of stability, would be to have the rental permit expire with the sale of the property, allowing another longer term owner to rent the property out, while bringing in an owner-occupant to the property.

    But the bottom line is that adding a rule like this retroactively just seems wrong on its face.

  3. Michelle Gibson

    October 31, 2011 at 6:34 pm

    This "30% rule" makes no sense, I rather have a tenant living in my neighborhood than another vacant run down foreclosure.

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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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