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DEVELOPING: Realtor murdered, Police suspect another Realtor of shooting

In the murder of Realtor Ashley Okland, police are asking the public for help in identifying what they believe to be the shooter, noting it is likely another Realtor.

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Realtor slain in model home

Last Friday, tragedy struck the real estate community when 27 year old Des Moines Realtor Ashley Okland was fatally shot twice while at a model home open house.

Immediately, the Des Moines police stated they believed it was an isolated incident despite having no suspects. Over the weekend, a neighbor came forward noting they heard a “commotion.”

Suspecting another Realtor

Today, the DesMoinesRegister reports that West Des Moines’ Lt. Jim Barrett said this morning that “police do not need the public’s help in locating a man seen talking with slain real estate agent Ashley Okland in the months leading up to her death.”

Earlier this week, officials asked the community for help in identifying a “scruffy” young man in a black vehicle resembling an Escalade who had been seen at the model with Okland before.

The Register said, “Barrett said the man is believed to be another Realtor. The police sent out a description of the man and his vehicle to area real estate agents Monday. He said today that those individuals are the people most likely to know the man.”

Laying Okland to rest

Results of the Monday autopsy have not yet been released. Channel 5 reports, “A memorial fund has been established by Ashley Okland’s family. You can send donations to 30048 530th Avenue, Kelley, IA 50134, which is where she was from. Money sent will be distributed to Okland’s favorite charities.”

There is a visitation planned for the Fjeldberg Lutheran Church in Huxley Tuesday from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m. A Celebration of Life will be held at 10:30 a.m. on Thursday at Lutheran Church of Hope in West Des Moines. Okland will be buried in Huxley.

Editor’s note: Realtors, while we do not yet know what happened or if “safety” was of any issue, we still urge you to trust your instincts and to stay safe. Please pray for the Okley family and the shaken Des Moines real estate community.

Updates

April 14, 5:30cst: Des Moines Register reports 1,600 attended Okland’s funeral today. Still no suspects or leads leaving a frustrated real estate community and a mourning family. Rest in peace, Ashley, we believe justice will be served in your honor.

April 15, 2:18cst: Des Moines Register just reported that a search warrant has been issued in the case, but police spokespeople will not provide any details of the warrant.

April 16, 6:44cst: Des Moines Register reports the reward has been increased again to $66,785, they still seek a “scruffy” man, the search warrant has not yielded any reports from police who have received 340 tips and leads.

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46 Comments

46 Comments

  1. James Malanowski

    April 13, 2011 at 1:36 pm

    I know this market has been murder, but who knew … 😉

    • Tyler

      April 13, 2011 at 3:11 pm

      @ James — Not funny. This Realtor was a personal friend of mine.

      Nice attempt. Might consider others next time.

      • James Malanowski

        April 14, 2011 at 12:57 am

        Sorry for your loss, but really? If you comment on the nice weather you're enjoying it's bound to offend someone stuck in a snow storm.

        Making light of a bad situation. Nothing personal intended.

    • Aaron Catt

      April 13, 2011 at 9:43 pm

      Tasteless…

    • Matthew Rathbun

      April 14, 2011 at 6:56 am

      James,

      Seriously!?!? What kind of person would make a remark like this? Yeah, this certainly reminds me how "honorable" the profession is.

      Trying to say that the weather maybe offensive, is anything near the death of a person really makes me question your moral compass…

      • James Malanowski

        April 14, 2011 at 10:39 am

        I may be insensitive at times, but my moral compass is fine thank you very much.

        • Ahnika Patrick

          April 14, 2011 at 12:20 pm

          James,
          Please regain your sensitivity and remove your posts. You do not know how disturbing they could be to family and friends.

    • Kent

      April 15, 2011 at 11:58 pm

      This response is to James Malanowski. You are one sick person. "Making light of a bad situation, nothing personal intended" – since when have you grown up – have you heard of the saying, "If you can't say something nice, don't say anything at all?" Either you've forgotten that or purposely decide to not have any feelings towards anyone dealing with a loss of a loved one. If you knew it was going to offend someone, then it's best to not have said anything at all. You have one mouth and two ears. Obviously, you enjoy using your mouth more than your ears. Again, you are one sick person.

    • sharon

      April 17, 2011 at 4:01 pm

      NOT FUNNY DUDE

    • lorraine

      April 27, 2011 at 8:50 pm

      stupid… how dare you! not the time for jokes A-hole!

  2. Tyler

    April 13, 2011 at 3:14 pm

    This has been a terrible tragedy. I was personal friends with Ashley and those who knew her would explain that she had no enemies. She smiled at everyone, was very generous with her time with charities and it's hard to believe she had any enemies.

    In short though, we all hope the person who did this is caught. Nobody should lose their life so senselessly.

    Small world seeing Iowa real estate news on Agent Genius after being a long time reader (over 3 years now?…).

  3. Matthew Rathbun

    April 14, 2011 at 6:58 am

    This is very sad to hear and my prayers go out for this young lady's friends and family.

  4. sharon

    April 17, 2011 at 4:08 pm

    What does this all say about our profession? First we KILL another REALTOR over what? and then we make RUDE TASTELESS comments about the tragic death of a beautiful young lady.

    Sad Sad Sad is all I can say, no wonder Realtors have bad reputations.

    • lorraine

      April 27, 2011 at 8:55 pm

      amen! not so much another realtor…we don't know the circumstances. but…the tasteless comments are so unnecessary. how can we get THOSE people out of the business!!

  5. James Malanowski

    April 17, 2011 at 5:44 pm

    @Susan: "First we KILL another REALTOR over what?" Are you admitting that you had part in this crime? I know that *I* had nothing to do with it.

    @Everyone else that says I'm a horrible person:

    I find it amusing that there are more comments on this article attacking my "moral compass" and wishing harm to my and my family's well-being than actually showing support to the victim.

    REALTORS aren't Saints, we are human, so saying that "it's no wonder that REALTORS have bad reps" because of a comment that I made is foolish and ridiculous. I think that those of you that have come out and accused me of being an evil and heartless person that brings down our profession ought to take a look in the mirror and compare the tone of your comments to my original attempt to bring a quick smile to a bad situation.

    In fact, think back on your life and count the number of times you have said something or even THOUGHT something that may have been offensive to someone else and then tell me if you should be throwing stones in a glass house.

    I considered taking down my original comment out of respect for the owners of this site because I could see where this was going but I decided against it because I figured that left alone long enough, it would be apparent which of you are really the evil and heartless members of our group.

    My comment was not a personal attack against anyone nor was it intended to belittle the atrocity. REALTOR or not, it is tragic that this person was murdered and why anyone is amazed that another REALTOR is accused of the crime is beyond me. The facts of the case aren't known and that the parties involved both happen to sell homes for a living doesn't make the situation any better or worse.

    The REALTOR pin on your lapel does not make you holier than thou … I suggest you all stop acting like you are. If we were all wearing Pope hats, this would be a different discussion.

    Yeah, I said it. Get over yourselves, people.

    PS: Lani or Benn, if you feel that any of my comments here are inappropriate, feel free to take them down as this is your site. I won't be offended nor will I wish poverty on you or your family. 🙂

    • lorraine

      April 27, 2011 at 8:57 pm

      take a dive dude… you have NO class. get over yourself and take that job at K-Mart if it is still available!

  6. Benn Rosales

    April 18, 2011 at 1:01 am

    It's human to say awkward things in awkward times, I've done it a trillion times if I've done it once.

    It honors no one's memory to berate anyone in moments like these. We're all human, and James you've always been a stand up guy.

    I pray for patience for everyone, healing, and a renewed spirit of community as I believe it better serves Ashley's legacy.

    James, if you request removal of your comment, we're happy to do so, however, you must officially request it via talk at agentgenius.com.

    God bless and grace us all with his peace in this most holiest of weeks.

  7. Erica

    May 20, 2011 at 1:31 am

    So nasty James- would your comment be the same if this story was about your mom/sister/wife? yea don't think so. Then Your comment with 5 paragraphs defending yourself makes us question, "tell us how you really feel?" and pulling things outta no where that no one even brought up. Enough attention on u and your sad self. Rest in peace Ashley, I feel as though I can relate as I am of similar age and often get nervous about holding open houses. My step mom was murdered and as a family member first hand- it is a night marish time getting through it(all the more reason why "making light of the situation") is never appropriate in situations like these. My condolences to her friends and family.

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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

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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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, 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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