RealtorNobody starts housing hunting thinking, “You know, I think I want a house that smells like a giant litter box,” but that’s what one Florida couple says they got with their home purchase — all thanks to the Realtor that listed it.

Newlyweds Daniel McKay and Katherine Pulker closed on their home in Valrico, Florida, in April. According to the suit they filed in Hillsborough Circuit Court on July 20 (sidebar: Hillsborough Circuit Court, I love your case lookup, Dallas and everyone else, please review this because yeah, way better), everything seemed fine until they removed the plug-in air fresheners.

Realtor

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holiday

The holiday season can be a great time to find a bargain on a new home, experts say (Photo courtesy Pixabay).

Why would anyone want to buy or sell a house during the holiday season? Who in their right mind would want to pack and move in the middle of all those Christmas parties, family gatherings, and other assorted holiday commitments?

Turns out, plenty of people like to take advantage of a traditionally slower period to go shopping for a new house. (more…)

take command health

To immediately get started finding your plan, click HERE or continue reading.

 

Been putting off the headache of finding health insurance for 2017? Who can blame you when there is a party every night, trees to be decorated and cards to be written and mailed. But the deadline is looming: Dec. 15 is the last day for open enrollment for plans that begin Jan. 1, 2017.

ICK!

So how can you find a health insurance plan without confusion and frustration that makes you grab a Xanax? Dallas-based startup Take Command Health offers Realtors a simple but effective way to find and enroll in a health plan.

“Trying to find the right health plan that fits your needs can be very difficult, time consuming, and frustrating for anyone not covered by a group insurance plan,” said Todd Peoples, Partner at Take Command Health.

Take Command Health is an innovative health insurance platform, similar to TurboTax, but exclusively for health insurance. Using big data and plain language, they help Realtors navigate the insurance market and find the right health plan.

“Realtors will find more plans on our site than Healthcare.gov or the TREC site because we focus on putting all your options forward, not just the ones that pay large commissions,” Peoples said. “Instead of just presenting all of the plans and saying, ‘Good luck finding the best plan for you,’ we actually guide our users through a custom survey process that includes a few questions about their doctors, prescriptions, and conditions they have. The end result is a customized health plan that truly fits their lives.”

And pocketbook!

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The most honest and ethical professions

The most honest and ethical professions

Gallup released its semi-annual poll results where people were asked to rate, “the honesty and ethical standards of people in these different fields.” If you’re looking for real estate agents, save time and start at the bottom. In this poll just 20-percent of respondents rated real estate agents either “high” or “very high” in ethics and honesty.

Agents beat out car salespeople, telemarketers, and members of Congress, but lost out by one point to lawyers, by five points to building contractors, and were buried (pun intended) by a whopping 24 percentage points by funeral directors. The top three were in the medical professions.

Viewed as a ratio, real estate agents are viewed as having triple the honesty and ethics of lobbyists (often former members of Congress) yet less than a quarter of a nurse. It’s also worth noting that little has changed since this poll was first conducted in 1977.

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frisco power lines

After months of preparation, the State Office of Administrative Hearings today began proceedings in Austin regarding a proposed 138,000-volt transmission line across Frisco. This power line has been at the center of a hotly contested debate between Frisco homeowner associations and Realtors on one side and Brazos Electric, CoServ Electric, and the Public Utility Commission (PUC) on the other.

“All the witnesses are done [as of this evening], with briefs due Aug. 28 and reply briefs due Sept. 11,” said Adam Majorie, Government Affairs Director for the Collin County Association of Realtors (CCAR). He spoke to CandysDirt this evening after finishing the day in the hearings. “Once all the briefs are done, the two administrative law judges will go about the task of rendering their decision.”

Of the 715 intervenors testifying (most through written testimony), 683 were part of the Bury the Lines Campaign. The remainder of the intervenors were people from the city of Frisco, Brazos Electric, homeowners not represented by the Bury the Lines campaign, and the PUC staff.

The West Frisco Homeowners Coalition (WFHOC) and CCAR joined forces in September 2014, creating a grassroots campaign, burythelines.org, to oppose the above-ground high-voltage transmission line built by Brazos Electric on behalf of CoServ Electric. They say the line, which will be built through heavily populated neighborhoods along Main Street or Stonebrook Parkway to the Dallas North Tollway, will adversely affect property values and infringe on homeowner property rights. The campaign wants power lines buried, instead.

From the beginning, this has been a highly unusual situation, with Collin County Realtors fighting side-by-side with homeowners.

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Sure, Zillow and Trulia are popular portals for consumers to shop for homes, and there are a lot of fantastic luxury properties marketed as hip pockets, but does that spell the end for MLS systems everywhere?

Sure, Zillow and Trulia are popular portals for consumers to shop for homes, and there are a lot of fantastic luxury properties marketed as hip pockets on select sites, but does that spell the end for MLS systems everywhere?

Inman contributor Creed Smith wrote a column published on the real estate news site suggesting that the system real estate agents use to access listing information, the Multiple Listing Service, was on the way out. It ignited a heated debate among Inman staffers and commenters, earning a reply from Inman managing editor Matt Carter. 

If the real estate industry were invented today, there would be no NAR (National Association of Realtors) or MLS (multiple listing service), and perhaps no franchises — there might not even be real estate brokers.

The MLS was built for three reasons:

  1. To place all information on homes for sale and sold homes into a central location for brokers.
  2. To create a percentage of sale price payment agreement between brokers.
  3.  To elevate NAR and the MLS companies to almost godlike status with monopoly power.

The marketplace now demands a system built on their desires, not those of NAR. How would you build a system for selling and buying homes based on market desires with today’s technology and market dynamics? You would offer an open-source international database (website … portal).

You can read Smith’s full-length piece on his Demon of Marketing website, but we wanted to get the perspective of local brokers and Realtors on the cutting edge of real estate here in North Texas as to whether we should be writing a eulogy for the MLS system.

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Power lines

As expected, on Jan. 15 Brazos Electric Power Cooperative filed a certificate of convenience and necessity (CCN) to build to build a 138,000-volt transmission line across west Frisco. In response, several Frisco homeowners have retained legal counsel to represent their interests to the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas.

Their attorney, Francis B. Majorie of The Majorie Firm Ltd., will be compensated solely from fees arranged for by the Collin County Association of Realtors (CCAR) from the Texas Association of Realtors Issues Mobilization Political Action Committee. Majorie does not represent the CCAR or the West Frisco Homeowners Coalition (WFHOC); he only represents the individuals who have retained him.

“I was approached by several interested homeowners who have retained me and have asked me to be available to answer questions and enable the homeowners to present a united front in that they all have a common interest in asking that the power lines be buried,” Majorie said.

In order to answer questions, there is a town hall meeting Wednesday, Jan. 28 at 6:30 p.m. in the cafeteria of Pioneer Heritage Middle School, 1649 High Shoals Dr., Frisco.

As we reported in November, the WFHOC and CCAR joined forces in September 2014, creating a grassroots campaign, burythelines.org, to oppose the above-ground high-voltage transmission line. Through that website, they have gathered names of potential “intervenors” who could be a part of the legal proceedings surrounding the CCN.

“An intervenor is someone who is directly affected by the imposition of the power line, who chooses to appear and be a party in the proceedings,” Majorie said. “Because they are a party, they have a right to appear at all the hearings, the right to offer evidence, they have to be available to provide discovery to others. It’s the functional equivalent of being a party in a lawsuit.”

A 45-day period where people can voice their concerns to the PUC began when Brazos filed on Jan. 15. The PUC then has up to a year to make its decision regarding transmission line route and if the line will be above ground or below ground. Jump to read more!

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Photo courtesy tenchiro via Creative Commons

Photo courtesy tenchiro via Creative Commons

All eyes are on Collin County as Brazos Electric Power Cooperative plans to apply for permission next week with the Public Utility Commission (PUC) of Texas to build a 138,000-volt transmission line across Frisco.

A rare partnership between Frisco homeowner associations and realtors to fight the proposed above-ground power lines has caught the attention of regulators in the state capitol.

“Realtors don’t get involved in regulatory issues very much—Austin is paying very close attention, and the regulatory community as a whole is definitely interested in this issue,” said Adam Majorie, Government Affairs Director for the Collin County Association of Realtors (CCAR). “It’s rare to have such a pronounced public outcry, and the PUC acknowledged this in our meeting yesterday.”

As we reported in November, the West Frisco Homeowners Coalition (WFHOC) and CCAR joined forces in September 2014, creating a grassroots campaign, burythelines.org, to oppose the above-ground high-voltage transmission line built by Brazos on behalf of CoServ Electric. They say the line, which will run through heavily populated neighborhoods between the Dallas North Tollway and Farm-to-Market Road 423, would adversely affect property values and infringe on homeowner property rights. The campaign wants power lines buried, instead.

Their efforts have already had an impact: The power company’s application to the PUC next week is expected to include underground line options, in addition to the original proposal of an above-ground, 120-foot, double-circuit power line along either Stonebrook Parkway or Main Street in Frisco. The official name given by Brazos is the Stonebrook Transmission Line and Substation project. Jump to read more.

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