Dispatches, bulletins and outright oddities from across a very wide real estate landscape:
The Iowa farm that was featured in the 1989 move "Field of Dreams" — and was the focus of a 2010 Inman News story (see: "Ex-major leaguer recruited to sell ‘Field of Dreams’ ") about the former Major League pitcher-turned-real estate broker Ken Sanders — has found a buyer, according to The New York Times.
The Lansing family, whose farm served as the set for the famous Kevin Costner movie, will sell the 193-acre property near Dyserville – which turned into a tourist attraction for baseball fans — for an undisclosed amount to an investment group led by a couple from the Chicago area, according to the report. The property had been listed for $5.4 million.
The group plans to retain the movie’s original diamond, but will reportedly add a dozen fields and an indoor center for youth baseball and softball tournaments, the Times said.
Sanders, who was a longtime Coldwell Banker broker in Wisconsin after leaving baseball, acted as a marketing consultant to the Lansings in the sale, he said.
And the winner is …
Pulte Homes and Zillow.com have partnered in a contest to give away a $350,000 new home. Through Nov. 30, consumers can enter by visiting Zillow’s Facebook page, and make an additional entry by visiting a Pulte community.
Real estate "mockumentary" is misunderstood
A British real estate firm’s video that portrays agents as "obnoxious, sleazy, unprincipled louts" is gaining Internet traction. In it, real agents talk about how they’re only in it for the money, refer to their rental clients as "morons" and describe their fellow agents as "wailing banshees."
It’s all a spoof, folks — really it is, explain principals of Douglas and Gordon, a London brokerage that commissioned a professional videographer to create a "mockumentary" about the real estate business. It’s a page right out of "The Office" — with various reports on the growing video sensation contending that the film was intended only for industry insiders, though others call it a sly marketing vehicle to entertain potential clients as a parody and to show the kind of people its agents are not. Trouble is, the spoof has gone viral, and a lot of people think it’s the real thing, according to London’s Daily Mail newspaper.
These are not your father’s real estate videos
An Australian real estate firm contends that sex sells real estate, and has produced a series of videos for their listings that feature barely dressed or plainly undressed women.
A video offering from NEO Properties in Queensland features a rather buff male who strolls around a luxury home clad in only a crucifix around his neck, backed by the dulcet harmonies of a couple of sopranos, while an unclad woman snoozes on a sofa.
A fully clothed man — actually, brokerage managing partner Ian Adams — turns up at the end of the two-minute video, smiles into the camera, and says, simply, "92 Savoy Drive: So private you can walk around naked." Numerous bloggers have hosted arguments about whether this is any way to sell a home.
An antique armoire and a house to go with it
A popular website known for antiques, estate jewelry, fine art and other high-end curios has announced that it will add a luxury property search feature. The site, 1stDibs.com, has partnered with the Corcoran Group and Coldwell Banker Previews International to offer the listings content, according to the Wall Street Journal.
The homeless prime minister
Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard is house-hunting. Soon she will no longer be allowed to live in the official residence, known as The Lodge, because of its leaking roof, dangerous electrical wiring and asbestos, according to Agence France-Presse, which reports that the nearly century-old home is about to undergo extensive repairs.
"If The Lodge were a patient, it would be in hospital," a government official said.
But the search for a temporary residence is turning into a headache because of the government’s extensive security demands — such as bulletproof glass windows and the need for live-in accommodations for security staff.
San Antonio sheds estimated 23,000 real estate jobs
Nearly 23,000 direct and indirect real estate industry jobs have been lost in the San Antonio, Texas, area since the housing boom subsided, according to economist Jon Hockenyos of TXP, an economic analysis and public-policy consulting firm in Austin.
He recently told a gathering organized by the San Antonio Hispanic Chamber of Commerce and the Responsible Growth Alliance, an association of real estate industry groups, that nonetheless, real estate development was still responsible for 52,300 jobs in San Antonio, about 15 percent of the area’s total employment, according to the San Antonio Express-News.
Berkus’ half-mill price-chop
Interior designer, TV host and Oprah Winfrey darling Nate Berkus has cut the price of his Chicago condo by $500,000, to $2.15 million, according to Cribchatter.com, a widely followed Chicago real estate blog, and Curbed.com.
Berkus, who gained media traction as a frequent guest on "Oprah" and now has a syndicated daily talk and interior design show, originally listed his Gold Coast neighborhood three-bedroom unit, with nearly 4,000 square feet of space, for about $2.4 million in January.
Annual property taxes on the condo, which has been featured in Elle Décor, are more than $29,000, according to Cribchatter.
Long road back
National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun told real estate agents in Southern Illinois that he expects a long, slow economic recovery, according to the Belleville News-Democrat in Illinois.
Yun told a conference in O’Fallon, Ill., near St. Louis, Mo., that 30 to 35 percent of all sales now are all-cash deals; he expects some increased job creation, though unemployment should be at 8.5 percent by this time next year, according to the newspaper.
Real estate agents at the shooting range
A handgun instructor told the Reporter News in Abilene, Texas, that about one-quarter of his students are local real estate agents, many of whom tell him they’re seeking concealed-handgun licenses because they’ve heard stories about attacks on agents in other parts of the country.
Another instructor told the newspaper he had trained an agent recently who said she wanted to know how to use the weapon because she was "afraid to show houses."
Tenants, kick up your heels
An online rental site that asks an offbeat list of questions for potential tenants has said its most predictive query is: "Do you watch ‘Dancing with the Stars’?" Apartmentlist.com does not, however, say what the question is predictive of.
Welcome to Florida
The National Association of Realtors recently reported that foreign buyers spent $12.7 billion on Florida residential real estate last year. Within that buyer pool, 39 percent were Canadians, 8 percent were Brazilians, and 7 percent each were Britons and Venezuelans, according to the South Florida Business Journal.
Give me land — lots of land
John Malone has displaced Ted Turner as America’s biggest land baron, having purchased more than 1 million acres of timber land in Maine and New Hampshire this year, according to Land Report magazine. The chairman of Liberty Media now owns 2.2 million acres around the country, the magazine said. He told the publication that now is the time to buy because of low borrowing costs and low prices.
Retirement homes are on hold
Ohio continuing-care retirement facilities are being walloped by the slowdown in the housing market, according to a report from the Miami (Ohio) University Scripps Gerontology Center.
The research group said that more than one-quarter of such facilities in the state reported that prospective residents said they wouldn’t be able to move in until they were able to sell their houses in order to finance their care.
With home values in decline, most facilities said they had changed their marketing practices to include assisting potential residents with moving costs and working more closely with real estate agents.