Defining Homes • Ask the EXPERTS

With the economy still in a wicked mess, reports are that the latest trend in homebuying is not buying. Renters are on the rise. But are they? Real estate source Inman reported in January that it is cheaper to buy in the majority of the country’s larger cities. Keith Jurow reported last year on World Property Channel that a Harris Interactive survey found renting a better option. So which is it? We asked locals in the industry how the trends are swaying the Dallas housing market and the frustrations behind them.

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Michael Litzinger

Michael Litzinger
William Davis Realty Uptown

The trend has affected my business significantly. The firm I recently moved to seems to be more in tune with today’s market. Their streamlined, online process requires less paperwork which makes it better for the client, a much quicker turn around for me and better for the environment.

Leasing does move property these days, and I am just glad the industry moves in some fashion whether it’s leasing or selling.

I do think the trend has affected us locally somewhat, but not nearly as severely as in most other areas. I still feel good about the Dallas market.  I know Realtors in other areas that can’t say the same.

Buyers are decreasing to some degree. Even with low interest rates, I’ve had a lot of buyers come to me and then disappear.

 

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Derrick Dawson

Derrick Dawson
Texas Pride Realty

As an active and producing Realtor also working in property management, I’d say the rental trend has picked up significantly, but that doesn’t mean it’s been ideal for property renters/owners or for the multi-family industry. The rental market has been stable but faces some challenges based on broken leases due to financial hardship or unemployment. Many are playing it safe by downsizing or combining rental homes based on economic conditions, being fearful of keeping their jobs and saving for the future.
Today is a buyer’s market and an ideal time to get out of the rent race. The downfall to the buyer’s market that I have seen personally is buyers and investors taking advantage of desperate people in today’s markets, possibly causing detriment to individuals or families in their time of need but also bringing down values in those areas making it harder for others to sell.

 

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Dan Flynn

 

Dan Flynn
Dave Perry-Miller InTown

The trend of leasing over buying has changed the way I preview properties in my area. Leasing is so hot now, I’ve looked at rentals and try to know the different apartment communities close by. Now I am much faster to respond to leasing needs.

I process far more leases to build my future list of clients. I try to educate and prepare them for the buying process down the road. Using a Realtor to find the perfect place to lease makes a lot of sense for those wanting to buy in the future but also for those who don’t really want to do the legwork.

I recently represented a seller who could not sell his property for the amount he was hoping for. Finding qualified buyers in his market and price range wasn’t easy. Another Realtor’s client was interested in leasing the property so

I had to have that conversation with my seller. The seller decided to go with the lease. While sales are still going strong, leasing has increased. While this really is the time to buy, I think all the media attention scares buyers. Potential buyers need to know that the market is stable here and we are one of the cities leading the nation in sales right now.  Go buy a house now or pay more for it later both in price and interest rates.

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Keith M. Thomas

Keith M. Thomas
1111 Apartment Locators

Although the economy has definitely affected us here, it is worse in other areas of the country. Dallas continues to grow and so I feel the trend’s impact on Dallas has been positive.

My company is a fully licensed real estate brokerage company and we handle all residential and commercial real estate transactions yet, our primary business is apartment locating. We want to maintain focus on renters, but we’ve created strategic partnerships with other real estate companies and have a referral program with them. We work closely with our clients to help with all of their real estate needs.

For homes that have reasonable mortgages there is good news. In Dallas, the rental market has significantly gone up, especially from 2010 to present to a  94-97 percent occupancy rate.

Buyers become renters for two reasons: First, they are able to get a nicer home for a lower monthly payment. And second, it doesn’t make sense to buy unless you’re planning to stay. However, buyers are increasing, oddly enough. MetroTex Association of Realtors reported that last August 2010 there were 1,223 properties sold and this August 2011 there were 1,485.

It’s a landlords’ market. Rents are at a premium and good ones go fast. When I show my clients rentals, they want to think about it, I encourage them to act quickly, because the unit is gone within a day or two. Why should homeowners take a loss on waiting for a qualified buyer, when they can rent quickly and hold out for the market to improve?

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition October 7, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Facebook Adds Civil Unions & Domestic Partnerships To Relationship Status

Facebook users in America, Canada, Australia, Britain and several other countries now have two more options when announcing their relationship status: civil unions and domestic partnerships.

The changes were made in consultation with Facebook’s Network of Support, a group that includes LGBT [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender] organizations such as the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation, the Gay, Lesbian, and Straight Education Network, and the Human Rights Campaign. “As LGBT people face a patchwork of relationship recognition laws, this gives people more tools to adequately describe their relationship,” said Michael Cole-Schwartz, spokesperson for the Human Rights Campaign. “Facebook has been a company that has tried to be inclusive of the LGBT community and this just one sign of it.”

Joe. My. God.

—  David Taffet

U.K. to Allow Civil Partnerships in Church

WEDDING CEREMONY MARRIAGE RINGS X390 (THINK) | ADVOCATE.COMThe U.K. is expected to lift the ban on civil partnership ceremonies being held in places of worship, a move that prompts the question of whether to call the unions “marriages.”
Advocate.com: Daily News

—  David Taffet

Ireland’s Gays Will Celebrate New Year’s With (The Registration Of) Civil Partnerships

On Jan. 1 Ireland's Civil Partnership Act takes effect and "dozens" of gay couples are "making plans" to file paperwork, but the first civil partnerships won't take place until at least April, after a mandatory three-month waiting period after couples register. (Well, unless a couple files an appeal for an "urgent" union.) Civil partnerships, approved with President Mary McAleese's signature in July, will carry nearly identical rights and privileges as marriage, and foreigners from countries were civil unions and same-sex marriage is on par with Ireland's new law will be legally recognized there. To move beyond civil partnerships, lawmakers would have to amend Ireland's constitution to permit marriage.


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Ireland gets Civil Partnerships

Great news from Ireland’s Gay and Lesbian Equality Network:

The Minister for Justice and Law Reform Dermot Ahern TD today signed the Commencement Orders for the Civil Partnership and Certain Rights of Cohabitants Act 2010.

Speaking at the signing of the Commencement Orders, Kieran Rose, chair of GLEN said that “with this signing, the Minister is opening up a great and wide vista of futures, opportunities, celebrations and more secure futures for lesbian and gay couples”. [snip]

The Minister also signed orders which will automatically recognise a wide range of foreign same-sex civil marriages and same-sex civil partnerships as Irish civil partnerships. Same-sex couples who are already married or are civil partners through these recognised foreign relationships will be deemed civil partners in Ireland from early January.

The new law goes into effect January 1, 2011 but most civil partnership ceremonies won’t occur until April because couples planning marriages or civil partnerships must give three months notice to the Civil Registrar before having a ceremony.  Exceptions may be granted by a judge in hardship cases.

Civil partnerships were first enacted in 2004 in England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland, with the first ceremonies taking place in December, 2005.  By the beginning of 2010 over 40,000 couples had registered for civil partnerships in the UK.  

Even as Ireland is enacting its civil partnership law, OutRage!’s Equal Love campaign is challenging the UK’s civil partnership law.

By excluding same-sex couples from civil marriage, and different-sex couples from civil partnership, the UK government is discriminating on the grounds of sexual orientation, contrary to the human rights act,” said Prof Robert Wintemute, professor of human rights law at Kings College London and legal adviser to the couples. [snip]

In a similar case in June this year the European court of human rights ruled that the European convention on human rights was not violated in Austria, which would not allow two men, Horst Schalk and Johan Kopf, to marry. In that case the court found that the convention did not impose an obligation on European governments to allow same-sex marriage. However Wintemute said that because civil partnerships in the UK give couples the same rights as married couples – unlike in Austria – there is no justification for the UK to withhold access to both arrangements for all.

Fingers crossed for the success of Equal Love’s challenge!  In the mean time, the new civil partnership law in Ireland will allow LGBT couples living or traveling there the same vital legal protections they need to protect their families.

Details on Ireland’s new law and links to the Registrar’s Office can be found at Gay and Lesbian Equality Network‘s website.

UPDATE FROM PAM: We received a note about this video:

The signing of the Civil Partnership Commencement Orders by Dermot Ahern TD, Minister for Justice and Law Reform on Thursday 23rd December 2010 in the Clonliffe Room, Jury’s Hotel, Croke Park Stadium, Jones Road, Dublin.

The signing of a Commencement Order is a rarely seen final part of the process to implement an Act which has been passed by the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament), then signed into law by Uachtar?in na hEireann (President of Ireland) and finally implemented on the signing of the Commencement Order by the responsible Government Minister.

The title of the Act is ‘Civil Partnership and Certain Rights and Obligations of Cohabitants Act 2010′ and was first presented to D?il ?ireann (lower house of the Irish Parliament) at the First Stage on 24th June 2009 (entitled ‘Civil Partnership Bill 2009′). Completed the the Fifth Stage without a vote on the 1st July 2010. Presented to Seanad ?ireann (upper house of the Irish Parliament) on the 7th July 2010. It finally passed both houses of the Oireachtas (Irish Parliament) on the 8th July 2010 after a vote of 48 to 4. It was signed into law by Mary McAlese, Uachtar?in na hEireann (President of Ireland), on the 19th July 2010. The signing of the Commencement Order was on 23rd December 2010, the commence date is 3rd January 2011. For a full history of the Act please see the Oireachtas.ie website.

Pam’s House Blend – Front Page

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FWPD, Chief Halstead to host Diversity Forum

FWPD Chief Jeff Halstead, center, with LGBT community leaders the Rev. Carol West and David Mack Henderson

The Public Relations Office of the Fort Worth Police Department is hosting a Diversity Forum on Tuesday, Aug. 31, from 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., at the Hazel Harvey Peace Center for Neighborhoods, 818 Missouri Ave., in Fort Worth. It will feature FWPD Chief Jeff Halstead.

Topics up for discussion include recruiting for employment, strengthening communication and partnerships and patrol bureau realignments. There will be a question-and-answer period at the end.

According to an e-mail I got about the forum, the purpose of the meeting is “to make a difference.” The e-mail said:

“The concept of diversity encompasses acceptance and respect, which is the police department’s motto: ‘Service with Respect, Dedicated to Protect.’”

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