Editor’s note: Licensing battles, marriage proposals and "reverse staging" are among the real estate news items and tidbits in this latest Real Estate Roundabout. Read more items here.
Closings and beginnings …
Whatever happened to a romantic evening under the stars as the logical place to pop the question? Chase Bank mortgage officer Greg Valentino was working on the title paperwork with a couple of homebuyers in Columbus, Ohio, when he asked them if he should list the owners as "single man" and "single woman," according to the Columbus Dispatch.
At that moment, 43-year-old David Brant pulled out a ring and proposed to 31-year-old Cathy Rosenberg, according to the story. She said yes, and they plan to marry Sept. 29.
The loan officer said the experience was a first for him, but there’s at least one other real estate precedent: Clifton, N.J., Coldwell Banker agent Grace Iosco told the Clifton Journal she was in the midst of a closing in July when one of her clients interrupted the proceedings to … well … you know …
"My client thought that would be a wonderful ‘closing gift’ for his girlfriend," Iosco told the paper.
Paying people to move to Detroit
A program run by the Jewish Federation of Metropolitan Detroit is raising funds to provide rent subsidies for people who will live in the city of Detroit, according to the Detroit News.
CommunityNext, an arm of the federation, aims to attract and retain young talent in the area. The rent subsidies will be in the form of $250 a month, up to $3,000 a year, and recipients must host one community event a month, part of a push to add to the quality of life in the city, according to the report.
Community pride, on camera
A Minnesota brokerage is offering cash prizes of up to $1,000 for amateur filmmakers and video enthusiasts who can capture the "heart and feel" of the Twin Cities or its neighborhoods on camera. It’s the second year for Re/Max Results’ "Results.net Film Festival." (See: Last year’s winners, and details on entering the contest.)
Not singin’ in the rain
The pop singer Rihanna is suing Prudential California Realty and several other companies because she claims that structural defects in the Beverly Hills, Calif., home she purchased in 2009 make it uninhabitable.
The Associated Press reported that the $6.9 million home, which she purchased through the brokerage, suffered severe water damage earlier this year after rain leaked in from a balcony.
Her suit, seeking unspecified damages, maintains that she wouldn’t have bought the home if she had known of the defects and that the brokerage should have done more to check for structural defects.
Farm? What farm?
A plan to create a nonprofit center to celebrate Kentucky’s agricultural history is in for an unforeseen revision: Heirs of the philanthropist who intended to donate part of his farm in Herrodsburg for the Kentucky Agricultural Heritage Center have decided, instead, to auction it, having rezoned the site so that it can become a residential subdivision.
The checks aren’t in the mail
The homeowner in an "average" loan in foreclosure hasn’t made a payment in 599 days, according to Lender Processing Services data from the end of June. The company pronounced the overall U.S. delinquency rate at 8.34 percent.
Young man on a mission
Teenage luxury real estate blogger Cole Perkins, profiled in an Inman News story in December, has moved to new digs. After blogging about high-end properties for about a year at LavishProperty.com, he has created a new site: http://www.affluentabodes.blogspot.com, where he vows to continue chronicling the real estate lifestyles of the rich and famous.
Another name for fraud
Semantics alert: The next real estate phrase du jour could be "reverse staging." The National Association of Realtors’ Speaking of Real Estate blog says that’s the evolving phenomenon of owners of short-sale properties trashing their houses in order to knock down their values — and then colluding with a straw buyer to make a lowball offer to the bank, buy the home, fix it up, and flip it for its original market value.
A model movie set
Business may be slow in homebuilding, but Toll Brothers has found a way to keep the activity level high at one of its model homes: It’s being used by Atlantic Pictures as a location for a movie.
"The Brass Teapot," described as a dark comedy, has been shooting at the Toll Brothers at Four Corners community in Hopewell Junction, N.Y, and other properties belonging to the homebuilder, according to the company.
Baltimore real estate agent seeks to overturn license revocation
A Baltimore real estate agent who is a convicted sex offender is fighting the state’s decision to revoke his professional license.
The agent has been unnamed in Baltimore Sun coverage because the man was convicted in 2007 of sexually abusing young relatives, and the paper said identifying him in print might also identify the young victims; it’s the Sun’s policy not to name victims of sexual abuse.
The agent’s case recently was argued before the state Court of Appeals; his lawyer maintains that his crimes were unrelated to his occupation and that the licensing board was wrong to consider the man a potential menace to others.
He pleaded guilty to the abuse charges and served one year in prison. The state revoked his real estate license in 2008, saying that the convictions "undermine his trustworthiness in dealing with the public" and are a blot on his character and reputation, according to the Sun. The licensing decision has been upheld by two courts.
The Sun reported that the appellate court decision could have broader implications for licensing boards in various fields — sparking further refinement of the definition of who might be able to hold a professional license.