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Realtor terminated over yard sign, five years later reaches mediation

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South Park's edgy depiction of the Prophet Mohammed in a bear costume.

A five year fight

In 2006, Realtor John Caffery who was with RE/MAX at the time, chose to protest the national media’s “weak” handling of the Danish cartoon depicting the Prophet Mohammed which was considered anti-Muslim.

The cartoon was not featured in American publications but the riots over the cartoon were which Caffery felt was cowardly. He chose to feature a Muslim cartoon sign in his front yard as a means to show his community that the international violence was over a cartoon.

Allegedly, Caffery used RE/MAX stationery to send customers letters about his opinion on the Danish cartoon situation and espoused his religious and political beliefs as well as referencing in his yard sign that he is a Realtor.

RE/MAX responds

RE/MAX of Texas caught wind of the situation and sent a letter to RE/MAX of Beaumont where Caffery was licensed, relaying their position on Caffery’s behavior. “This radical behavior is a reflection on all RE/MAX offices in our area and we are extremely concerned.”

Shortly after the letter was received, Caffery’s contract with RE/MAX was terminated.

Caffery filed a libel suit against RE/MAX of Beaumont and RE/MAX of Texas in March 2007 claiming the letter from the company harmed his reputation, was libelous and damaged his good reputation. Caffery’s suit claimed the termination violated his contract with RE/MAX.

Court documents surfaced stating that Caffery and RE/MAX are in mediation this week and if a settlement is not reached, they will go to trial on May 12. At this time, the court docked does not reflect this case on the schedule.

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. MH for Movoto

    May 10, 2011 at 1:40 pm

    Seriously? He thought he wouldn't get in huge trouble for that? Amazing.

  2. Velda

    May 10, 2011 at 4:02 pm

    I have to side with ReMax on this one. He wrongly used his connection with ReMax which inferred that "ReMax" at the least, passivly supported the same opinion and at worst, actively participated in voicing and agreeing with his opinion. He was trying to give a legitimate and louder voice to his personal opinion and he is lucky ReMax didn't fry is butt for doing this.

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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

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

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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