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Spider infestation forces family to abandon their $450k home, legal battle ensues

After a massive spider infestation in a beautiful St. Louis home, a family has abandoned their home, and despite a judge’s orders, are not seeing compensation.

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spider infestation

We have all had a spider or two in our home, and maybe a client panic that they’ve seen one during a walkthrough, but one St. Louis family’s story will make yours pale in comparison. A gorgeous home valued at roughly $450,000 has been abandoned and is now in foreclosure because of spiders.

Brown recluse spiders, to be specific. They are are not known for attacking people, but when they do bite, the venom can kill the tissue cells at the bite site, causing necrosis, and while not fatalities have been confirmed, it remains known as the most poisonous spider in the U.S. Most bites lead to intense pain, itching, and sometimes fever, chills, vomiting, and even shock.

You see one in your house and you call the exterminator. You see hundreds and you run like hell. The St. Louis family recently won a lawsuit against the previous owners for failing to disclose the infestation of thousands of brown recluse spiders.

Although the family saw no signs of spiders at the final walkthrough, not even webs, after they moved in, they began finding them everywhere – falling from the ceiling, bleeding from the walls, scattering themselves in their clothes, food, and other belongings.

The spider infestation gets more bizarre

If that isn’t enough to want to run away screaming, State Farm insurance defended the previous owners when the new owners sued them. This led to a jury trial wherein the new owners won a $472,110 award.

They weren’t able to collect.

State Farm refused to pay the claim and the previous owners declared bankruptcy. Why? Spider infestations do not fall under the umbrella of damage to a home. In fact, the policy excluded insect infestations. The new home owners’ lawyers argued that spiders are not “insects,” but they stood firm.

The home has gone into foreclosure and is now in the hands of Fannie Mae who is in the process of tenting and fumigating the home, a process normally reserved for termites, not spiders. “There’ll be nothing alive in there after this,” the exterminator told he St. Louis Post-Dispatch, adding that tenting houses is a new method for dealing with brown recluse spiders that was not in use three years ago when the family abandoned the house.

Burn it to the ground

It seems curious that State Farm still refuses a judge’s orders to pay out, given that the house still exists. At least the family didn’t use a self-made blowtorch like a Seattle man did this summer, nearly burning his house down in an effort to kill a lone spider.

It doesn’t appear likely that this family will be compensated for their nightmare, and this house might be a tough sell, but at least they escaped alive. Realtors should take note of this saga – buyers may have heightened spidey senses right now with a particular sensitivity about infestations, given this story.

Note: the freaky image above is of a wolf spider, not a brown recluse, but it scared us more than anything on the web, so it has done it’s job.

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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

Help clients calculate moving costs in seconds

(EDITORIAL) Thinking about skipping town? There are a dozen factors to make the decision, but this new tool can help predict whether moving is right for you!

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moving day

“Go where the money is.”

It’s good advice—after all, if you have a doctorate in gathering fruit, your childhood Alaskan home probably isn’t the best place to stay and utilize everything you learned interning in the watermelon industry.

But sometimes moving to earn/save money doesn’t work out.

I wouldn’t begrudge someone moving from NYC to Marfa, TX for following their dreams of a simpler life full of UFO-themed merchandise and X-Files references. If they left expecting to find the same level of public transportation in rural Texas, and didn’t factor in purchasing a car, paying for gas, insurance, and title fees, well. That’s a side-eye’in.

Obviously, no one can ever be 100% sure what’ll happen on big moves in life that don’t involve its conclusion, but realtors CAN help others to help themselves be a little more informed and much more confident.

Where information about the pros and cons of packing up and switching zipcodes for work is concerned; moving company, Move Buddha, has an app for that.

It’s a cute quiz that asks a few gently pointed questions about prospects’ networks, salary expectations, child involvement, spouse involvement, ect: all adding up to the big question made up of several little questions that you can’t ask yourself whilst maintaining your professionalism. That question is: Do you know what you’re doing?

P.S. According to the stats offered in their blog post about the app, if one half of a couple is moving to be with a partner for THEIR new job…there’s a 66% chance that the couple doesn’t know what they are doing.

P.P.S. It let me know that I wouldn’t be saving nearly as much money as I thought moving back to Fort Worth proper to keep up the game of ‘Let’s steal each others clothes and home goods’ I have going with my mother, so that’s definitely something to think/chew through a few pens about.

All in all, this tool, while definitely a promotional accessory for its parent company above all else, is pretty useful. It’s nothing anyone would expect to lay out every little possible outcome, but it does give users a valuable jumping off point to plan where they’re going.

If you’re considering partnering with more moving companies for promotion, formally or otherwise, this brings up a lot of salient points to address with new address seekers, especially the more painful ones that can bring your relationship a little closer and a little more likely to be profitable on both sides.

Verdict: Quiz away!

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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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