Inman News has compiled a list of the 100 most influential people in real estate, reflecting the industry’s best and brightest, as well as outside figures whose actions influence the home buying and selling business. The following nine people were chosen for the media category.
Founder, publisher, Curbed.com
Lockhart Steele fuels the engine behind the New York City real estate blog Curbed.com. The daily online diary looks at how people define and redefine neighborhoods, community and place, and serves as the inside track for all things real estate in this unique market.
For a full profile of Steele, click here.
Nationally syndicated real estate columnist
Author, columnist, attorney, educator. Robert Bruss’ nationally syndicated real estate columns are a must-read for anyone thinking of buying, selling or investing in real estate. He answers reader questions on topics ranging from the capital gains tax rule to how to choose a real estate agent. For 23 years, Bruss has written the weekly syndicated “Real Estate Mailbag” question and answer column, as well as a column on real estate trends, a weekly book review article and a weekly law column looking at recent court decisions affecting real estate. Bruss also publishes two monthly newsletters, the Robert Bruss Real Estate Law Newsletter and the Robert Bruss National Real Estate Newsletter.
CEO, Realty Times
In 1998, Jody Lane and his partners gained full ownership of Realty Times, which at the time was called Real Times. Realty Times quickly grew to become one of the most visited real estate news sites online, maintaining the philosophy that Web sites best serve the public when they are easy to navigate, fast to upload and filled with engaging content.
Real Estate Editor, Los Angeles Times
Lauren Beale is the editor of the real estate section for the Los Angeles Times, a must-read for anyone living in the metro area looking to buy or sell a home.
Real Estate Editor, CBS MarketWatch
Steve Kerch has a knack for peeling back the onion on today’s real estate market and explaining what it all means to readers. As real estate editor for CBS MarketWatch, Kerch’s articles are read by investors, industry professionals and consumers worldwide.
Syndicated Columnist, Washington Post Writers Group
Ken Harney’s “The Nation’s Housing” column reaches consumers across the country each week. He tackles issues ranging from real estate settlement system reform, complexities of the credit system, new home loan concepts that improve buyer affordability, federal tax policies affecting buyers and sellers, and appraisal problems.
Real estate editor, The New York Times
The Sunday New York Times is a staple for many households. As editor of the Times’ Real Estate section, Trish Hall manages editorial content read by millions.
John E. Featherston
President and CEO, RISMedia
Prior to founding the Relocation Information Service, or RIS, in 1980, John Featherston worked for several management firms specializing in the residential real estate and corporate relocation industries. Under his direction, RIS has developed into a highly regarded national news and information service. RIS publishes National Relocation & Real Estate, a monthly real estate and relocation business development magazine.
Nationally syndicated real estate columnist
Sichelman is known for his ability to make even the most difficult topics understandable. He began providing in-depth coverage of consumer-oriented information about housing and housing finance at the Washington Daily News, where he was real estate editor. He began syndicating his column in 1981.
U.S. Justice Department officials
Never before has the U.S. Justice Department’s antitrust division taken so much action to promote open competition in the real estate industry as it has done in the past year. The Justice Department has ramped up action relating to alleged antitrust behavior within the real estate industry, warning legislators in several states not to pass rules or legislation they say could restrict competition and harm some business models. The Kentucky Real Estate Commission in July tossed out former restrictions on real estate rebates to settle a lawsuit brought by the Justice Department, and the agency continues to investigate the National Association of Realtors’ rule for online listings display.
The new CEO, National Association of Realtors
Though we don’t have a name to put in the post as the new CEO of one of the nation’s largest trade groups, whoever shall take on this task will surely be in an influential position. NAR has some 1.2 million members and one of the most powerful lobbying teams on Capitol Hill.
Iowa lobbyist who spearheaded Iowa’s unique title insurance approach
As title insurance continues to occupy the headlines in the wake of a national kickback scandal, Iowa’s unique title insurance approach is a national standout. The state issues a controversial government-operated title insurance program for real estate transactions through a state-operated agency. Iowa’s unique arrangement came about in 1985 after Carney, an Iowa lawyer and lobbyist, spearheaded the abolition of private title insurance in the state. Proponents say the Iowa Finance Authority’s Title Guaranty Division saves consumers money.
Critics say the Iowa title program takes longer and can encumber the home buying process. Regardless, Carney’s passionate advocacy of the alternative approach makes him a mover and shaker.
Chairman, president, The Trump Organization
No name is more synonymous with real estate than Donald Trump, or “The Donald” as he’s come to be known. In New York City, the Trump signature dons the most prestigious addresses, including the renowned Trump Tower on Fifth Ave., Trump Palace, Trump Plaza, Trump Parc, Trump World Tower and Trump Park Avenue. The Donald has gotten his feet wet in other markets, announcing plans for a 50-story hotel condominium project in Las Vegas, and a 90-story skyscraper in Chicago. And he’s made a successful run at reality TV with his series, “The Apprentice.”
Peter Tafeen, Stuart Wolff
Former executives, Homestore
More than three years after leaving their executive posts at Homestore, Peter Tafeen and Stuart Wolff continue to influence the real estate industry through the legacy they left behind. Wolff, former CEO of Homestore, and Tafeen, former executive vice president of business development, manage to keep Homestore’s name in the news through ongoing litigation with the company and ongoing federal investigations. The Securities and Exchange Commission and U.S. Justice Department in April announced criminal and civil cases against Wolff and Tafeen, alleging the two participated in a scheme to artificially inflate Homestore’s online advertising revenues in order to beat Wall Street analysts’ expectations. The pair allegedly misled investors and analysts about the company’s true financial condition and blamed the company’s financial decline on Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.
Broker and owner, Texas Discount Realty
Aaron Farmer is a courageous small discount broker in Texas who filed a lawsuit against the Texas Real Estate Commission in 2002 over a rule that mandated a minimum level of service and forced him to alter his business model. Farmer’s suit stalled the rule and ultimately brought the issue to the attention of the U.S. Justice Department and the Federal Trade Commission, who’ve charged that such a rule would restrict competition and raise real estate service fees for consumers.
Attorneys at the Institute for Justice
The legal team at the Institute for Justice in the last few years has fought two key court battles in the real estate arena. The non-profit public interest law firm represented ForSaleByOwner.com in a First Amendment lawsuit against the California Department of Real Estate over the state agency’s requirement that the Web service obtain a real estate license. ForSaleByOwner in late 2004 scored a victory in the case, with the court ruling that the Web site service was the same as a newspaper advertising homes for sale and therefore did not need to obtain a license. The Institute also represented a group of homeowners in the highly visible eminent domain case, Kelo vs. City of New London, which was decided in June.
John Paul Stevens, Anthony Kennedy, David H. Souter, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen G. Breyer
Supreme Court Justices
The four Supreme Court Justices rocked the nation when they handed down a decision on the eminent domain case, Kelo vs. City of New London, in June 2005. The court held that local governments can seize individuals’ homes and businesses against their will to make way for private economic development. In addition to this action, which has put Supreme Court Justices in an influential position for the real estate industry, the Court may ultimately be the one to resolve the dispute over real estate data ownership and control.
Consultant to Prudential Fox & Roach
Chip Roach, the forward-thinking former chairman of Prudential Fox & Roach, is now a consultant to the firm with activities in brokerage, liaison to the nation’s large firms for the National Association of Realtors this year, MLS and association board memberships, corporate relocation, the company’s charitable activities and some networking for acquisitions and associate recognition.
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