Dear Ginny WTH,
I hear that you have moved to Paris for one year. What is the fascination with France?
Far From A Frog
Dear Triple F,
Yes, I moved last week to Paris for one year to soak up the French culture, language and lifestyle. Don’t worry, I’m not going on one of those sabbaticals to take painting lessons from some guy named Pascal while I drink wine, smoke cigarettes and speak ill of the Americans all day. No, I’ll be experiencing France and still doing my Ginny marketing thing.
What’s the fascination with France? Well let’s sum it up with a Top 10 list shall we?
- The language – now come on, who doesn’t swoon when they hear the mellifluous and romantic tones of “le langue Francais.” I’m not talking about voulez-vous coucher avec moi. Everyday speaking is like a symphony with the French who routinely using words like impeccable (ahm-pee-cah-bla) and formidable (for-mee-dah-bla) when describing everyday life.
- Good, cheap wine – two buck chuck eat your heart out; tasty bold red wine from Burgundy or big oaky white wine from Bordeaux for €4 or about $6.
- Cheese – don’t let America tell you how to have your cheese, because the pasteurized, tasteless cheese food we’re forced to eat in America doesn’t hold a candle to the hundreds of varieties of unpasteurized, microbe-filled fromages here.
- The French kiss – not the bastardized American version of the French kiss but the real thing. Depending on your fondness for the person it’s a kiss on each cheek, four kisses if they are a close friend. Not an air kiss, but lips to flesh. Muah, muah, muah, muah.
- Good, cheap food – ok, I like to eat so the food category may take a few spots in the list but go to a large French grocery chain like E. LeClerc, the WalMart of France, and you can find bargains galore, like a 12-pack of Dannon plain yogurt for €1,70 (about $2.35) or a big jar of Bonne Maman jam for €1,02. The list goes on.
- French singers – from well known singers like smoky voiced Edith Piaf, folk singer Frances Cabral and the French Elvis, Johnny Hallyday to lesser well known French pop singers like hard-edged Mickey 3D, and ex-tennis player, Yannick Noah, the French have produced some very talented singers that all seem to bring something unique. Hey even Jean Michel Jarre and Trust have redeeming qualities.
- The bread – okay another food item, but fresh crusty baguettes for less than a buck fifty. Nothing to say.
- Le Metro – this more than 100-year old underground transportation system has 16 lines and traverses more than 133 miles, with 384 stops and carries 4.5 million passengers daily. One can get anywhere in the city within minutes. Pure genius considering the first train launched during the World’s Fair in 1900.
- History – ok it is a given, but from the medieval castles to the more “modern” marvels such as the Eiffel Tower, this country is scattered with the crumbs of history. But pay attention, the French are quick to point out their illustrious history and America’s lack thereof. Hey we were laying tracks in 1900…okay they were above ground, but still.
- Lifestyle/Culture – this could be its own list. The 35-hour work week. The two hour lunch. The complete shut down on Sunday. The cultural conviviality that comes with every mandatory bonjour, merci and s’il vous plait. The employment contract. Universal healthcare. Open markets.
There’s obviously so much more…care to add your own to the list?
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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