Accommodating residents in underserved areas
Pangea Properties is a private real estate investment trust (REIT) that purchases, rehabs, and rents out multi-family properties, with locations in Chicago and Indianapolis. The company has responded to the need for wi-fi by residents who are not served programs like Chicago’s “Wireless Internet Zones” designed to make the city wireless, yet focus primarily on downtown urban areas or public parks, leaving many without.
Pangea Properties owns and operates properties that are mostly located in low to middle income neighborhoods throughout Chicago and CEO Al Goldstein noted that many members of these communities were unable to take advantage of having free internet within their own neighborhood. “Areas that offer free Wi-Fi on the Southside are few and far between,” adds Goldstein.
As a result, Pangea’s 1500 residents in the area now have free wi-fi in their apartments. “We wanted to empower our residents and provide them with WiFi right at their fingertips. Instant internet access provides a wealth of new opportunities,” adds Goldstein. “We have worked to strike a balance of quality and value for our residents at an affordable price point.”
Free wi-fi in other locations
Most apartments or townhomes with free wi-fi are either within a city’s zone of free wi-fi, thus management boasts free wi-fi, or they are in ultra urban areas in luxury units, particularly in New York City. But the majority of multi-family dwellers do not live in a hip loft, and most do not live downtown, particularly middle or lower income rentals.
Pangea proves that free wi-fi can be an amenity added for residents, much like a gym or a pool, and it is easy to see how this could become commonplace as Google Fiber rolls out in cities across America.
There are challenges, however
Besides the obvious challenge of staff monitoring and maintaining wi-fi for residents and having staff available after hours to fix any technical issues with equipment and the like, there are security challenges as well.
Property managers and residents alike should be aware of the following:
- Make sure all parties know the exact network name, as a spoof network could pop up with a character or two different and siphon off information from users, compromising security in a big way.
- Residents should be told to have their firewalls turned on so as to improve security.
- Everyone should use encrypted versions of sites, done by simply typing in “https” instead of “http” to protect against outside hampering (digital eavesdropping).
Even people using free coffee house wifi should take heed, but when a large group of private residents are sharing internet, precautions must be taken. With those precautions taken, this service could become a mainstream amenity for rentals, hopefully in ways Pangea Properties has accommodated.
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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