Safety concerns in the wake of shooting

The Des Moines Area Association of Realtors in Iowa is recommending to its members that each brokerage re-examine its safety policies in the aftermath of an agent who was shot and killed while holding an open house on Friday.

Ashley Okland, 27, was shot twice in a model home and later died at an area hospital. Police said on Monday they have no suspects.

Numerous central Iowa brokerages canceled open houses on Sunday, and the area Spring Tour of Homes promotional event was canceled for the weekend, according to the Des Moines Register.

Is that a contract in your pocket?

Florida real estate agents who often find themselves alone in vacant, foreclosed homes are taking gun-training courses in order to be allowed to carry concealed weapons legally, according to a recent radio report by American Public Media.

Editor’s note: The following is a roundup of real estate news from around the globe. Got an item for us to consider? Other feedback? Contact the writer or send an email to Inman News.

Safety concerns in the wake of shooting

The Des Moines Area Association of Realtors in Iowa is recommending to its members that each brokerage re-examine its safety policies in the aftermath of an agent who was shot and killed while holding an open house on Friday.

Ashley Okland, 27, was shot twice in a model home and later died at an area hospital. Police said on Monday they have no suspects.

Numerous central Iowa brokerages canceled open houses on Sunday, and the area Spring Tour of Homes promotional event was canceled for the weekend, according to the Des Moines Register.

Is that a contract in your pocket?

Florida real estate agents who often find themselves alone in vacant, foreclosed homes are taking gun-training courses in order to be allowed to carry concealed weapons legally, according to a recent radio report by American Public Media.

The program talked to an agent in Palmetto who said she specializes in foreclosures and often finds herself in empty houses that may attract vagrants or be havens for criminal activity.

"You don’t know what’s waiting for you inside a home that’s been sitting vacant for two or three years," she said.

Losing a bet is a drag

A California real estate brokerage sales manager bet his 75 agents they couldn’t sell 100 properties in the month of March. If they managed to pull it off, he said, he’d don a dress.

They did it. He kept his promise.

Tom Pelton, who works for Prudential California Realty, celebrated the agents’ record 102 March sales last week by walking around the office in a sundress, earrings, makeup and carrying a purse, according to the Orange County Register.

The office had been averaging 54 sales for the past few months, the paper reported.

The medium, the message, the painter

A promotion by a mobile advertising company last week took off on the Internet last week, getting news coverage everywhere from the Hamptons to Dubai. The offer: Adzookie will paint your house — and pay your mortgage for as long as the house stays painted. The catch: The painted house becomes a gigantic billboard for Adzookie.

The company told media outlets it received thousands of responses from would-be takers within days of its announcement Tuesday.

Making a list, checking it twice

Craigslist.org and New York City Public Advocate Bill de Blasio have teamed up to create a link on the classified-ads site to "NYC’s Worst Landlords Watchlist."

The list calls out 50 landlords (with properties pinpointed by Google Maps) who have poor inspection and repair records, according to the New York Times.

That wasn’t in the lease

A Harris County, Texas, real estate brokerage is being sued by a former tenant for negligence, among other things, because the tenant contracted typhus after moving into a home rented by the agent.

According to UltimateMontrose.com, an affiliate of the Houston Chronicle, the suit says that in 2009 the tenant was admitted to a hospital with typhus after an ongoing opossum infestation of the house brought fleas into the home. She charges that the defendants’ failure to properly manage the house exposed her to an unreasonable risk.

Tiger blood not included

A real estate board in Oakville, located in the Canadian Province of Ontario, found itself with a bit of a problem after its fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity in November offered as a silent auction premium tickets to a taping of "Two and a Half Men," the popular television comedy.

Three guests at the fundraiser offered $13,500 each, according to the Hamilton Spectator newspaper in Ontario.

Then, of course, came Sheen’s recent very public meltdown and his firing in March from the show, which then went on production hiatus, with its future in doubt.

The Oakville, Milton, and District Real Estate Board lacked a way to make good on the fundraiser promise. But last week, Sheen’s representatives contacted the real estate board and offered the winning bidders an alternative: Tickets to Sheen’s touring show (called My Violent Torpedo of Truth/Defeat is Not an Option) plus a private meeting with the show’s star, reported InsideHalton.com.

Alcohol sold separately

Sleep where Snooki slept. The house in Seaside Heights, N.J., that was the scene of the action in the "Jersey Shore" reality series and where ultra-tanner Nicole "Snooki" Polizzi became a household name is available for $2,500 a night.

"You can sleep in the same bed Snooki slept in and eat on the same dining room table the cast used during their weekly Sunday dinners," Seaside Realty broker Mike Loundy told AOL News.

A little help from his friends

When Jamie Dimon moved from Chicago to New York for the chief executive job at JPMorgan Chase several years ago, he hit a real estate wall: His eight-bedroom mansion on Chicago’s Gold Coast took three years to sell. Although it was originally listed for $13.5 million, last year a buyer paid him $6.5 million.

He got a little relocation help from his company, however: Chase paid more than $421,000 toward his moving expenses, which included $306,000 toward real estate agent commissions and fees, according to Bloomberg.

Wonderful world of wickets

Team India indisputably is an object of national pride, having recently won the Cricket World Cup tournament for the first time in 28 years. Since the win, the players have been showered with gifts — and then some.

A real estate developer in New Delhi has announced that its company would give every team member a villa at one of its developments, a gesture worth $2 million overall, according to the Political and Business Daily newspaper of India. Additionally, some local governments have offered the cricketers land plots for homebuilding.

Green acres is no place to be

A long-running legal dispute in England apparently hasn’t worked out in favor of a homeowner who lived in a house disguised as a hay barn in order to evade local planning laws.

He got a permit to build a barn in an area restricted to agricultural use, then built the windowless, three-bedroom structure in Hertfordshire in 2001 (parking farm equipment in front of it), and moved his family in. Later, he applied for a "certificate of lawfulness" to make it a legal abode after a statute of limitations related to land-planning violations had expired.

A legal fight ensued, and recently a court ruled against him: he might have to tear down the barn/house.

The judge commented that the home/barn owner’s efforts to deceive were so extensive that it deserved its own category in planning law, according to the Daily Telegraph of London.

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