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Realuoso

RANT: Landlords have a responsibility, and they’re failing

(OPINION / EDITORIAL) When does a landlord’s passive income pass the line? Probably before they sell your personal info, but there’s a lot of frustration before then.

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Apparently there’s something about renting out a property that makes it difficult to not be a greasy pile of manure… And I’d really like to find out what exactly that is and help solve the issue.

Decent landlords are rare as hens’ teeth, and as much as I need somewhere to live… Posts like the ones verified in this collection don’t do much to get me on their side.

Landlord posting about giving back the security deposit reluctantly.

See that? That’s the kind of thing you type out when you’re being a butt. Don’t be a butt. Right now is an especially horrible time for it. YES, even if you managed to own multiple successful
properties for years and not have anything in the way of savings somehow.

A particular example of this buttitude (Buttness? Buttery?) comes from a source closer to this author, and while it’s not exactly tying widows to railroad tracks, it’s still pretty gross. You know how with gratis-tier services like Instagram and Twitter and YouTube, since no one is paying up front, the product is the user suffering through ads that barely get vetted or timed properly?

Well imagine that… But with the place you rent.

In essence my source has been getting emails they haven’t signed up for from companies very “close” to the people they’re renting from.

“I started getting emails from this company… about an optional service they sell where you can pay monthly for your packages to be in the on-site lockers. It was adjacent to property management, so I kind of expected it and didn’t complain.

Then, I start getting emails from [redacted] which is a cool feature you can Google, but I didn’t give permission. But it’s adjacent to what I expected, so no biggie.

Then, I start getting emails from [equally redacted, what do they take me for…] which is another cool feature, but not one I gave permission to contact me.”

So yeah, Sourcey’s not only paying rent, they’re being sold.  And that’s not just messed up morally… This is officially a legal issue.

See, according to the CAN-SPAM Act, it’s not actually illegal to buy and sell email lists. However, it IS illegal to allow bulk emails to be sent without the recipients’ explicit consent. Ergo, if there’s no portion of Sourcey’s lease that says ‘Do you agree to allow our affiliates to market to you’, and also an option to say “Absolutely not”, the management company that owns that building is effing up BIG TIME.

This is a really easy law not to mess around with, but unscrupulous landlords and management companies can’t seem to help themselves? Somehow despite deals with internet providers, deals with appliance companies, and deals with whatever demon governs Those Who Will Not Fix Plumbing, the profits made from tenants still isn’t enough. Clearly these people need help, so I’ll help with a little advice for landlords.

Don’t do this.

Now go get something fixed.

You can't spell "Together" without TGOT: That Goth Over There. Staff Writer, April Bingham, is that goth; and she's all about building bridges— both metaphorically between artistry and entrepreneurship, and literally with tools she probably shouldn't be allowed to learn how to use.

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Real Estate Marketing

How people are thinking creatively to make it through COVID-19

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) People and businesses are extremely innovative and resilient in tough times – here are some examples of stuff you can now do online!

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online during COVID-19

The last couple of weeks have brought us lighting speed changes in news and information and a really abrupt adjustment to life with the pandemic of the coronavirus (COVID-19). While some of the swift cancellations of large events, travel, in person workshops or conferences, and then changes in our day to day (oh now everyone works online remotely?) has driven some of us to the liquor store or to hoard toilet paper, others have found ways to quickly provide new solutions to their clientele or adjust their business to the new reality.

A great example is of an Airbnb host in Detroit who decided that after losing 2 months of income in 72 hours that why not offer their beautiful spaces (with a desk area and coffee!) for those who may need a remote place to work and/or lost their co-working space. They quickly pulled together a way to offer day passes – but they didn’t stop there. They brainstormed other ways to promote their locations and “reached out to all the local hospitals and Facebook groups in case traveling nurses or traveling PT’s need a place to stay. Again, you have to get creative if you’re a small business. You don’t get a bailout!

Artists across the board from DJs to painters to late night talk show hosts have created content to engage those who may have children at home and/or are not ok with social isolation and need some interactivity to help lighten the mood or laugh a little bit. Many restaurants/bars/service industries moved quickly to either utilize online ordering platforms (or quickly figure out how they can take payments online) so that customers can still order food/beverages via drive-thru or stop and go pick up.

Mo Willems Is Hosting Free Online “Lunch Doodles” While Kids Are Home From School

The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon has been doing 10-minute hilarious clips from home with his wife and small children helping to film and be his “design department”

Live Streams and Virtual Concerts via Billboard

Museums and world famous institutions have provided tours or live feeds for children to watch from home. Check out these penguins that got a tour of the Shedd Aquarium in Chicago thanks to the coronavirus.

Tech companies have also stepped up their services to help with educators who are away from their students and parents who have lost school and daycare. Zoom announced free video services to K-12 schools and insisted this was not time to profit on this disaster. Facebook quickly pulled together information and resources for schools who will be out for a while. LinkedIn Learning selected some classes to offer free to help folks learning new skills in working remotely to stay productive and adaptable.

It may not be easy to quickly move in to being okay with this situation. It will affect and hurt many people and we all are aware that we don’t know in all the ways just yet. These are just some examples of quick movement to adjust and help some turn lemons in to lemonade (with or without vodka, your choice).

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Realuoso

LGBTQ Equality Bill heads back to Congress – with real estate industry support

(REAL ESTATE) Many don’t know that the real estate industry has been pushing for LGBTQIA+ protections for ages, and have made moves to protect a vulnerable population whereas the federal government still has not.

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LGBT LGBTQIA+

The Equality Bill – which aims to expand the Civil Rights Bill of 1964 to include discrimination against sexual orientation, sex, and gender identity, was first introduced in 2015. Unfortunately, it never left committee.

However, it returns to Congress this week with some massive corporate support – over 161 companies are supporting the Human Rights Campaign coalition. This start list includes Apple, American Airlines, KPMG, Deloitte, IKEA, and Pepsico – and many more.

The news that it will hit the currently Democratically-held House of Representatives may spell some hope for the fifty percent of the LGBT community that lives in one of the 30 states that do not provide LGBT protections. If passed, the bill would provide protections in employment, education, housing, public accommodations, jury service, and federal funding.

The Equality Act also amends the Equal Opportunity Credit Act to ensure equal and fair access to credit. Going forward, the act is likely to enjoy broad support in the House, but will certainly face scrutiny and resistance in the conservatively-held Senate. However, the over 3.7 trillion dollars in revenue represented in the Business Coalition for Equality are a big voice that covers over half the country. No representative should ignore or treat that lightly.

Although federal protections are most needed, and the federal government has lagged behind – it’s important to remember the real estate industry (NAR members (association executives, brokers, and Realtors alike) and real estate tech companies) have come out in droves to support this legislation, continuing it’s great track record on LGBT equality.

Nearly a decade ago made it against the Code of Ethics (see Article 10) for any Realtor to discriminate against an LGBT person. NAR has long been on the side of LGBT equality, and as a fun piece of trivia: when it came to the historic marriage ruling – the lead plaintiff, Obergefell was a Realtor.

A lack of legal LGBTQIA+ protections is a continued vulnerability in the fight for fair and equal access to housing, and even before this bill was reintroduced, 2019 was promising to be a big year with the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP) and NAR making a renewed push to end housing discrimination for LGBT populations. Things are happening!

What can you do? Write your senator or congressional representative, sign up to help push the law into action and stay in the know.

#EQUALHOUSINGFORALL

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Real Estate Big Data

Much needed good news for housing, despite slowed sales

(REAL ESTATE) The data is in, and some truly positive signs for the housing market are slowly surfacing.

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house home prices housing

If you put your finger on the pulse of the housing market right now, you’d see some much needed health improvements – inventory levels are finally loosening up for the first time in years, and the rate of price increases abated in the fourth quarter.

The median price of an existing home in Q4 rose 4.0 percent to $257,600 compared to the fourth quarter of last year, according to the National Association of Realtors (NAR).

Dr. Lawrence Yun, NAR Chief Economist, said in a statement that despite hurdles last year, “the close of the fourth quarter was promising.”

“Home prices continued to rise in the vast majority of markets,” said Dr. Yun, “but with inventory steadily increasing, home prices are, on average, rising at a slower and healthier pace.”

Existing home sales fell 1.8 percent in the fourth quarter compared to the previous quarter, and 7.4 percent over the year.

Why?

Dr. Yun said the West Coast needs more homes built. “The West region, where home prices have nearly doubled in six years, is undergoing the biggest shift with the slowest price gain and large buyer pullback.”

Comparing Q4 of 2017 and 2018 shows some relief when it comes to tight inventory levels which has edged hopeful homebuyers out of the market, increasing 6.2 percent over the year.

Housing affordability is the key ingredient to a healthy real estate sector going forward, which Dr. Yun says will require more homebuilding of moderately priced homes (a drumbeat the economist has been steadily beating for years).

“Housing starts fell far short of historically normal levels, with only 9.6 million new housing units added in the past decade; compared to 15 to 16 million that would have been needed to meet our growing population and 20 million new job additions,” said Dr. Yun.

“Local zoning law changes, expanding construction worker training programs at trade schools and promoting the use of tax breaks for developers in the designated Opportunity Zones will all play an important role in assuring an adequate future supply of housing,” Dr. Yun opined. 

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