The Real Estate Roundabout

Real estate job woes, North Dakotans in Arizona, and more ...

Editor’s note: The Real Estate Roundabout is a compilation of news, notes and observations from a very broad real estate landscape. Got an item for the Roundabout? Send an email to press@inman.com.

Not feeling the love?

Don’t look now, but a couple of job-hunting portals aren’t exactly bullish on real estate careers.

Monster.com has listed the profession among those that "began to die" in 2011. "Real estate, formerly the second-favorite job of actors and parents returning to work, is no longer such a sure thing," the website said, citing a decline in income that has resulted in agents having to work harder in order to earn less.

Other professions cited as "dying" in the Monster list were U.S. Postal Service carrier, video store clerk, highway toll collector, stockbroker, and, um, newspaper reporter.

Less damning — slightly less, anyway — was Careercast.com’s inclusion of "real estate agent" on its recent list of "12 most overrated jobs." The portal’s intent was to suggest careers that are "traditionally believed to be great occupations, but that actually look a lot better on paper than they might be in reality."

Careercast.com said the cost and time required to acquire a real estate license "may give pause." It explained that it put real estate agent on the "overrated" list — along with surgeons, attorneys, stockbrokers, architects and photojournalists, among others — because of the decrease in business activity since the housing market began to decline.

Three ideas for generating buzz

–Realty Executives Associates in Knoxville, Tenn., spent $12,000 in 2010 to buy an "events trailer," and since then has lent it to numerous community organizations for fundraisers and special events.

The trailer comes with seating for 30 people, tables, a public-address system, a sound-mixing board, grill, karaoke system and other features, according to the Knoxville News-Sentinel. The charities provide a vehicle to tow the trailer, but the real estate brokerage sets up and runs the unit, the newspaper reported.

–Coming up with a down payment often is a deterrent for homebuyers. So the Bozzuto Group, a Washington, D.C.-area company whose real estate services include homebuilding, has begun a "bridal registry" that allows engaged couples to set up an account for cash wedding gifts that can be put toward a purchase of one of the company’s new homes. Bozzuto will match the funds, up to $15,000.

–A real estate agent in Glendora, Calif., was organizing a toy drive over the holidays in late 2011, and in addition to acquiring the desired playthings for needy kids, he also heard from people who said they’d love to donate, but they couldn’t afford to because they were unemployed.

So Zak Bushey, an agent with Southland Properties in Glendora, created a Facebook page, the Glendora Jobs Connection, which allows local businesses and job-seekers to connect, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune.

Bushey told the San Gabriel Valley Tribune there had been an almost-immediate ripple effect, such as a response from a nurse who was moving to the area and seeking a home.

A place in the sun

Yes! Buyers for some of those burst-bubble Arizona homes! They’re coming from … North Dakota?

Indeed, according to USA Today, which says the boom in oil riches in North Dakota has sparked interest among residents there for properties in a more accommodating climate.

The newspaper interviewed Rocky Parra, an agent with HomeSmart Realty in Gilbert, Ariz., who said he had sold eight homes to North Dakotans in recent months. Some people up north, he said, had "struck it rich" in the oil bonanza, and were buying both secondary homes and permanent residences.

Blago house price reduced

The Chicago home of convicted former Gov. Rod Blagojevich of Illinois, profiled in an Inman News story on Oct. 7, has notched a price cut. The home, originally listed for $1.07 million, is now being offered for $998,000, according to Realtor.com.

The house, where federal agents woke up Blagojevich early one morning in December 2008, to arrest him on corruption charges, has been on the market for months and is listed through Blagojevich’s real estate agent wife, Patti. His attorneys told the Associated Press they think the price cut will enable the house to find a buyer.

Blagojevich, who was sentenced in 2011 to serve 14 years on corruption charges, got a month’s delay (to March 15) in starting his sentence in December when he petitioned the court for time to help his family move.

Nobody’s home at the mansion

And speaking of governorships, the current officeholder in Ohio has chosen to reside in his own house, but taxpayers are still footing the bill to maintain the governor’s mansion in Bexley (including footing the bill for the cable connection) — at a cost of more than $438,000 in 2011, according to the Columbus Dispatch.

The newspaper said Gov. Ted Strickland spent one night at the home last year, though his wife and daughters had stayed there several times. It’s also used for meetings and receptions.

Marino on real estate team

Football legend Dan Marino has invested in a real estate marketing venture, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Marino is involved with MMD Realty, a South Florida company that has launched sales at the W Fort Lauderdale Hotel & Residences, the newspaper reported. Marino said he wouldn’t actually be selling condos — he plans, instead, to help attract attention to the venture.

A short-sale miracle?

Tampa, Fla.-area real estate agent Liane Jamison feared that she was on the verge of losing her fifth set of buyers for a given house because she had been trying for short-sale approval for 379 days and had been met with only silence. So, on Dec. 29, 2011, she got busy and asked Freddie Mac for a "Christmas miracle."

The agent, at Smith & Associates Real Estate, dug up email addresses for six top officials at Freddie Mac and asked them to prod US Bank to approve the deal. That was at 1:24 p.m.

At 3:21 p.m., she got an electronic reply from a Freddie Mac official informing her that the buyers’ offer had been approved and the mortgage servicer had been notified, according to the Tampa Bay Times.

Mary Umberger is a freelance writer in Chicago.

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