On April 8, 27 year old Realtor Ashley Okland went to work at a model home and was fatally shot. For weeks, Des Moines police had no suspects, hundreds of leads, and simply continued a search for a “scruffy man” reported leaving the scene and have only alluded to their belief that the murderer was another Realtor.
Today, despite four search warrants issued over a week ago, there have been no arrests and no suspects named. The reward for information has risen over the weeks to $75,000, a record high for local Crime Stoppers.
The Realtor community has been saddened and shaken and Okland’s murder is still the topic of conversation on local minds.
Today, local news station KCCI is reporting a bizzare twist connected to the case. The woman who found Okland and called police reporting the murder has gone missing. Recently, the 53 year old woman called her mother saying she was going to a hotel to commit suicide, police were called, the suicide was prevented and the case was closed.
Her mother has since filed a missing persons report claiming she is nowhere to be found. Local police say they do not believe it to be directly connected to Okland’s murder.
With no arrests or suspects in Okland’s murder, the community remains restless and frustrated.
- The woman who reported the Okland murder has been found and is safe.
UPDATE: KETV has interviewed Okland’s family which is now available.
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
Opinion Editorials9 hours ago
Struggle with procrastination? Check your energy, not time management
Opinion Editorials6 days ago
Decision-making when between procrastination and desperation
Business Entrepreneur6 days ago
What to consider when relocating your business near the holidays
Business Entrepreneur5 days ago
Lenders need to see these 3 things to get your LLC off the ground
Opinion Editorials1 week ago
How to ask your manager for better work equipment
Business Marketing9 hours ago
The advertising overload strategy needs to stop, here’s why
Opinion Editorials4 days ago
Millennial jokes they let slide, but ‘Ok Boomer’ can get you fired
Opinion Editorials1 week ago
Managing bipolar disorder and what I wish my employers understood