Gay Realty Network

Real Estate News With a Gay Slant

Featured Gay Friendly Realtor: Virginia Ruffulo, Medford, Oregon

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Periodically we’ll feature one of our real estate professionals here to let our readers know about some great Realtors, Mortgage Brokers, and Other Real Estate Professionals.

Gay Friendly Southern Oregon Realtors and Real Estate Professionals

Virginia Ruffalo, Realtor - Medford, OregonVirginia been selling Medford real estate for over 12 years, and she is a lifetime member of the million dollar club. She lives on 20 beautiful acres, raises kids,horses, and veggies. She has traveled all over the world, and she comes from a negotiating background in the film and travel industry. She firmly believes in a WIN/WIN transaction.

Her approach is casual, friendly, and determined, and her goal is to find you your dream property at the best price or sell your property for the best price.

See Virginia’s Expanded Listing on Gay Realty Network Here

Manhattan Seeing Residential Real Estate Boom

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Manhattan Residential Real EstateEarly last year, Michael Weiss began attending tenant board meetings at the Brooklyner, Avalon Fort Greene and a handful of other luxury residential towers in downtown Brooklyn. In October, Mr. Weiss, director of the MetroTech Business Improvement District, threw the group’s first neighborhood block party on Bridge Street, with live music, rides and food. He is now organizing a community stoop sale on Lawrence Street that’s scheduled for May.

“We’ve got to keep our focus on new residents,” Mr. Weiss said. “They’re essential to our area’s growth.”

True, but that wasn’t the intention when the Department of City Planning approved a comprehensive redevelopment plan for downtown Brooklyn in 2004. What it envisioned was a commercial district full of glittering office towers. But downtown has become the borough’s fastest-growing residential neighborhood, and local officials are adjusting.

At Gay Realty Watch, we look for news to share with you about the gay real estate market – both lgbt real estate news and news specific to gay and lesbian real estate meccas.

Full Story from Crain’s New York

Click here for gay realtors, mortgage lenders, and other real estate professionals in New York.

If you have a gay real estate story that you’d like to share with us, contact us at info@gayrealtynetwork.com

High-End Home Sales Surged in Silicon Valley in January

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Million-dollar home sales in Silicon Valley rose sharply last month compared to January 2010 as the upper end of the market continued to gain traction in the new year, according Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, the South Bay’s leading provider of luxury real estate services.

A total of 98 homes sold for more than $1 million in Santa Clara County in January, up more than 80 percent from the same period a year ago when just 54 luxury homes changed hands. Last month’s sales were down from December’s level of 158, although sales typically fall from December to January.

The median sale price of million-dollar properties dipped to $1,297,500 in January, off 3.9 percent from December’s median and 4 percent from January 2010. Two other key market indicators also improved in January. It took 68 days on average to sell a million-dollar home in the county last month, down from 73 days a year ago. And sellers received 97 percent of their asking price, up from 90 percent last year.

At Gay Realty Watch, we look for news to share with you about the gay real estate market – both lgbt real estate news and news specific to gay and lesbian real estate meccas.

Full Story from PR USA

Click here for gay realtors, mortgage lenders, and other real estate professionals in the San Francisco Bay Area.

If you have a gay real estate story that you’d like to share with us, contact us at info@gayrealtynetwork.com

What All New Homeowners Should Know

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So you’ve decided to buy a house, but you’re not sure if your finances are quite up to speed. Even if you hope to buy six months from now, there are numerous improvements and adjustments to be made in the interim, prior to taking on a mortgage.

First-time home buying is well documented as an arduous process, and much of that can be attributed to the sheer number of new and unexpected issues. Therefore, the more you know, the better you’re likely to fare. Here, briefly, are some aspects buyers should consider when shoring up finances to buy a house.

Knowing is half the battle. To start, learn as much as possible about the process that will soon temporarily take over your existence. When Corinne Weiner and her fiance recently bought a home in upstate New York, she says it was one of the most stressful experiences of her life, “but that was mostly because we had a completely incompetent ‘team’ between the brokers and the bank. So advice number one: get references on those people.” She also recommends a book by CNBC’s own Suze Orman, The Money Book for the Young, Fabulous, and Broke which breaks down the house-buying process in simple terms, and has exercises to make sure buyers can handle the responsibility.

At Gay Realty Watch, we look for news to share with you about the gay real estate market – both lgbt real estate news and news specific to gay and lesbian real estate meccas.

Full Story from USA Today

Click here for gay realtors, mortgage lenders, and other real estate professionals.

If you have a gay real estate story that you’d like to share with us, contact us at info@gayrealtynetwork.com

Featured Gay Friendly Realtor: Colleen Murphy, Honolulu

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Colleen Murphy, Realtor - HonoluluPeriodically we’ll feature one of our real estate professionals here to let our readers know about some great Realtors, Mortgage Brokers, and Other Real Estate Professionals.

Gay Friendly Location Realtors and Real Estate Professionals

Over 90% of Colleen’s business comes from referrals from past clients! She is happy to work with buyers and sellers of residential real estate, in all price ranges and in all areas of the Oahu, Hawaii real estate market. She also loves to work with everyone, from first-time buyers to seasoned investors, as well as anyone in-between.

Much of her clientele is military or relocation, and she also work quite a bit with members of Oahu’s gay and lesbian community.

She promises:

  • To help you define and achieve your Hawaii real estate goals.
  • She won’t waste your time trying to sell you something you don’t want.
  • To listen to you, keep you informed and to provide you with the time, information and resources you need to make the best decision.
  • She will protect your interests during the entire transaction, and will negotiate expertly for you.
  • To be there for you during the transaction and beyond. Being your Realtor means not abandoning you after your sale closes.

See the Agent Expanded Listing on Gay Realty Network Here

North Carolina Sees Big Changes in How Real Estate is Bought and Sold

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Periodically, we’ll run guest columns from our member realtors on their areas, and issues that affect gay and lesbian buyers.  Here’s the next in the series – a great column from Wendy Tanson about Chapel Hill & Durham, North Carolina’s gay neighborhoods.  (click here to see Gay Realty Network’s North Carolina real estate page):

North Carolina Real Estate Contract Changes

Big changes have come to the way real estate is bought and sold in North Carolina! On January 1, 2011, the document used to purchase residential property in NC, the Offer to Purchase and Contract, changed dramatically. The myriad dates and deadlines in the old contract — for loan application and approval, inspection repair submission and negotiation, and more — has been replaced by a single “due diligence” period. During this time, a buyer must do their due diligence on the property and decide whether to move forward. This due diligence includes inspections and agreement on repairs, loan application and approval, appraisal, title search, surveys, and any questions or research necessary regarding insurability, HOA issues and zoning issues.

For the opportunity to conduct their due diligence, a buyer pays a due diligence fee to the seller. The amount of this fee, and the length of the due diligence period, will both be negotiated during the offer process. How much a buyer is willing to pay, and a seller is willing to accept, may depend on the home’s length of time on market, the property’s price point, and the number of unknowns regarding both the buyer’s qualification to purchase and the status of the seller’s property.

For these reasons, it will behoove buyers to have all of their loan application ducks in a row before making an offer, and it will behoove sellers to have documents at the ready, such as all HOA related documents, surveys, title policies, and more. In addition, in the new environment, sellers who have a home inspection before listing will have a leg up on the process and on the competition: a buyer may not feel the need to conduct their own home inspection, or at a minimum, will have greater confidence in the property.

During the due diligence period, a buyer may terminate the contract for any or no reason. Buyers can simply change their mind. If this happens, the seller keeps the due diligence fee. However, once the due diligence date passes, a buyer and seller will likely have negotiated for earnest money to be provided, earnest money that will remain with the seller if the buyer terminates after the due diligence date has passed.

Thus before the due diligence date, the risk is on sellers. They can continue to show their house, and can take back up offers, but need to wait to see if the buyer under contract moves forward. After the due diligence date passes, the risk shifts to buyers. If they terminate for any reason after this date, the seller keeps both the due diligence fee and the earnest money.

Another change with the new offer to purchase is the stipulation that the earnest money is the seller’s only remedy for breach of contract. For this reason, earnest money amounts are likely to begin to tick up from current levels. Earnest money in many areas has declined to 1% or even less of the offer price; it is likely that this percentage will rise, certainly when the due diligence and earnest monies are considered together, as recognition of potential compensation to the seller in the event of a termination.

Why the changes to the current way of contracting to purchase property? The NC Real Estate Commission is moving to a due diligence system to reduce the number of failed transactions and disputes. In states where a due diligence system is utilized, the number of failed transactions has declined. Hopefully, this will be our experience in North Carolina as well.

There are other changes to the offer to purchase and contract, but the above are the most critical ones of which buyers & sellers should be aware. There are also important changes to the Owners Association Disclosure which go into effect in 2011. Previously, this form was optional if the neighborhood is served by an HOA. Now, the form is mandatory. In addition, under the new form, a buyer can request of the seller a number of documents related to the homeowner’s association, including covenants, insurance information, architectural guidelines, and more.

The above changes are significant and are merely summarized here; please contact me if you’d like to chat about the new North Carolina real estate forms and how they will affect negotiations of home sales in the new year.

Wendy Tanson is an award-winning broker with RE/MAX Winning Edge in Chapel Hill. A long-time Chapel Hill resident, Wendy loves helping clients throughout Orange, Durham and North Chatham counties find just the right house. A gay-friendly realtor, Wendy is a Certified Residential Specialist, a GREEN broker, an Accredited Buyers Representative, and a Seniors Real Estate Specialist. She serves as an Ambassador for the Chapel Hill/Carrboro Chamber of Commerce and is also active in Chapel Hill’s synagogue, the Chapel Hill Kehillah.

In 2009, Wendy was named among the top ten individual RE/MAX agents in North Carolina, and among the top 25 Triangle agents (across all companies). She was recognized as Ambassador of the Year for the Chamber of Commerce in 2008, and Rookie of the Year by Prudential Real Estate during her first year in the business, back in 2003. Wendy would be honored to help you navigate the ins and outs of the area’s many real estate choices. For more information about Wendy, as well as a great source of area information, please visit www.wendytanson.com.

Calgary Commercial Real Estate Market Improving

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nvestment in Canadian commercial real estate bounced back last year with the strongest performance in three years, at 11.1 per cent, as measured by the REALpac/IPD Canada Annual Property Index.

The annual total return -a marked turnaround from 2009’s negative return of 0.3 per cent, and 3.7 per cent in 2008 -is underpinned by a four per cent capital growth and a 6.5 per cent income return, said the report.

It measured $97 billion of directlyheld commercial real estate at the end of 2010. Montreal led the six largest commercial property markets, with a total return of 14.2 per cent. Calgary came in at 8.7 per cent and Edmonton trailed with 6.5 per cent. Returns in Vancouver were 13.7 per cent, Toronto 10.9 per cent and Ottawa just behind at 10.6 per cent.

At Gay Realty Watch, we look for news to share with you about the gay real estate market – both lgbt real estate news and news specific to gay and lesbian real estate meccas.

Full Story from The Calgary Herald

Click here for gay realtors, mortgage lenders, and other real estate professionals in Alberta.

If you have a gay real estate story that you’d like to share with us, contact us at info@gayrealtynetwork.com

MN: Foreclosures Improving in State

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Jan Schley, a real-estate agent with 1 Stop Realty, of Kasson, has been selling foreclosed houses in Dodge County and surrounding areas for 20 years.

“There’s never been as many as in the last two years,” she said. And while the first quarter of 2010 has had fewer cases, “they tell us that there’s a large number of them coming,” she said.

A new report shows that seven of the eight counties in southeastern Minnesota had double digit increases in foreclosures in 2010. Statewide, there were 25,673 foreclosures in 2010, an 11 percent increase.

At Gay Realty Watch, we look for news to share with you about the gay real estate market – both lgbt real estate news and news specific to gay and lesbian real estate meccas.

Full Story from The Post Bulletin

Click here for gay realtors, mortgage lenders, and other real estate professionals in Minnesota.

If you have a gay real estate story that you’d like to share with us, contact us at info@gayrealtynetwork.com

Check Out America’s Most Expensive Homes

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Candy Spelling, widow of television giant Aaron, has listed the Manor, Los Angeles’ largest, and arguably most opulent, house up for sale at US$150-million, out-pricing every other listed home in the country. Just down the street the owner of a sprawling classical style marble mansion is asking for US$125-million, making it the second most-expensive home in America. Yet another home for sale is in the triple-digit millions, a massive but secluded US$100-million Lake Tahoe ranch.

You’d never know the country was in a recession based on the cost of these homes. In fact, pricing for this small group of properties is even stronger than last year’s list, which was riddled with markdowns. This year’s top 10 ranges in asking price from US$650-million to US$150-million, with an average price of US$88.5-million. That’s nearly US$10-million higher than last year’s average. A handful of incredibly expensive homes have been on the market for several years at prices that have not budged through the housing crisis.

But the cost of these estates doesn’t serve as much of an economic bellwether — fluctuations of price in this stratosphere have almost no relationship to supply and demand in the broader market. At this price point, the sale of even one home can be a game changer.

At Gay Realty Watch, we look for news to share with you about the gay real estate market – both lgbt real estate news and news specific to gay and lesbian real estate meccas.

Full Story from The Montreal Gazette

Click here for gay realtors, mortgage lenders, and other real estate professionals.

If you have a gay real estate story that you’d like to share with us, contact us at info@gayrealtynetwork.com

Are Investors Returning to Las Vegas Real Estate Market?

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Gay Las Vegas Real EstateHome sales in the Las Vegas area fell as they normally do in January from December but rose nearly 10% above a year ago to the highest level for that month in four years.

The portion of homes sold to investors and others paying cash was at record levels, creating especially robust sales in the sub-$100,000 market. That helped push the median sale price down to a nearly 15-year low of $118,000, a real estate information service reported.

A total of 3,669 new and resale houses and condos closed escrow in the Las Vegas-Paradise metro area (Clark County) last month – the highest for a January since 2007. Last month’s sales tally was down 20.8% from December but up 9.9% from a year earlier, according to MDA DataQuick. The San Diego firm tracks real estate trends nationally via public property records.

On average, the region’s sales have fallen 24.2% between December and January since 1994, when DataQuick’s complete Las Vegas region statistics begin.

At Gay Realty Watch, we look for news to share with you about the gay real estate market – both lgbt real estate news and news specific to gay and lesbian real estate meccas.

Full Story from The Street

Click here for gay realtors, mortgage lenders, and other real estate professionals in Las Vegas.

If you have a gay real estate story that you’d like to share with us, contact us at info@gayrealtynetwork.com