Apartment Hunting

The article “Apartment hunting in a tight market“, published in the Chicago Tribune, is a realistic snapshot of the severely competitive rental market in Chicago and is also representative of the rental market across the country.  Multiple daily showings, units snapped up within 24-48 hours of listing, and the disappearance of rental concessions are conditions we are seeing in all major metro areas. While developers are scrambling to build more units in metro areas, the trend is expected to continue throughout the year.

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Common Red Flag Issues for Relocation Appraisals

Relocation appraisals are integral in developing a “guaranteed buyout” for a transferring employee and are generally reviewed by an in-house appraiser at the ordering company prior to being released to the transferee. The review of the appraisals offers a unique opportunity to gain additional perspective on the analysis of common concerns.  Some common themes emerge with these appraisals, especially since two or three appraisals are reviewed, many times along with a broker’s price opinion. Read More »

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Here We Go Again

The story below, published in the Westchester Journal News, is yet another reminder to renters that they need to be very careful to avoid scammers that are getting bolder and more clever. Working with a reputable broker is an easy safeguard against fraud.


Victims mount in rent scam. Con artists post phony ads, abscond with money from would-be renters. Realtors decry web ads that doctor for-sale sites Read More »

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Rising Rents, Lack of Rentals throughout US

A recent article in The New York Times addresses the rising prices of rentals in the United States and the lack of rentals available. Up 2.4 percent in January from a year earlier, rents have continued to rise. With more people renting and lack of new rental buildings being erected, the vacancy rate is down to 5.2 percent, its lowest level in more than a decade. Places where technology companies are hiring, such as San Francisco, Austin and Boston have seen the biggest rental increases. Other cities seeing rising rents include New York, the District of Columbia, Chicago, and Seattle. Read More »

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U.S. Rental / Destination Services Updates (March 2012)

To help our service partners better manage rental market expectations, Dwellworks provides the following update on the status of the rental market in the United States.


  • Nationwide, the rental market continues to be a landlord’s market
  • Tenant demand outpaces supply in most regions
  • Impacted by the housing market collapse, homeowners electing to become renters have steadily decreased

Vacancy Rates

  • Extremely low. Less than 5.2% in most markets and as low as 1-2% in some markets. Vacancy rates have fallen for 7 straight quarters

  Read More »

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“After All These Years” by retired relocation appraiser Tom Fryer SCRP, SRA of Midland, MI

After All These Years

After 33 years of relocation appraising, I have learned important lessons and a set of personal rules has evolved.  Certain ERC Guidelines have been laid down and must be adhered to; however, I have also established and pursued my own personal demands for overseeing each segment of the relocation appraisal process.  For me, failure to review or to ignore these guidelines and personal standards for each assignment can lead to an unfavorable outcome.  Now retired and still being of sound mind, let me share with you these important lessons and set of personal rules. Read More »

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Some US Cities Wage War on Rental Properties…Possible Future Trend?

In a recent post by The Fiscal Times, Steve Yoder sheds light on what could be an alarming movement for those of us in the business of locating rental homes—US cities and municipalities are beginning to limit or perhaps institute bans on rental properties within their limits.  While there is no data to suggest a widespread adoption of such policies, the post makes mention of laws passed across the nation in both Madison, Mississippi and in West St. Paul, Minneapolis.

Although a trend does not yet exist, it is suggested that this type of legislation is favored by lawmakers in areas already depressed by foreclosure.  These cities argue that neighborhoods mainly occupied by renters will further deplete home values due to lack of home upkeep and community involvement.  Those opposing the laws, including homeowners unable to sell and individuals at risk of losing a home, offer the rebuttal that preventing renters from leasing will likely perpetuate the problem by increasing the number of unoccupied homes.

Should restrictions on an already diminishing supply of rentals become common nationwide, Destination Service providers may be facing extreme challenges in locating viable housing options for transferees.


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AG Warns Against Craigslist Scams

Caveat Emptor

Another spate of unsuspecting victims of Craiglist scams has prompted the New York state Attorney General to issue a warning to consumers to safeguard themselves against these corrupt practices. The Real Deal has the story.

In addition to blatant fraud, it is an all too common practice to use Craigslist, and other websites, for bait and switch ads offering a “too good to be true” property, that always seems to have been rented yesterday, in order to lure new customers. When selecting a New York real estate broker confirm they are a member of the Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) and ensure they give full written agency disclosure explaining whom they represent in the transaction, tenant or landlord, and all fees associated with their services. Representing oneself in this market is not for the unititiated.

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Foreclosure Aid being offered to Investors

The recent decision to extend mortgage assistance to investors is certainly causing controversy.  Supporters of the decision see the need to avoid foreclosed, vacant properties regardless of their ownership since those empty homes drive down property values in the neighborhood.  The recent Bloomberg article sites a 2009 report by the Center for Responsible Lending, which said “foreclosures will affect 91.5 million nearby homes through 2012″.  Detractors of this plan place much of the blame for the housing bubble on these investors and do not want to see taxpayer dollars going to aid these speculators that made bad investments.

The expansion of this program to investors is due in part to the fact that the Home Affordable Modification Program (HAMP) has seen less than 1 million borrowers modify loans through the program.  The initial goal of HAMP was to help 3 to 4 million homeowners.  For either side of the argument, the hope is that the HAMP program will meet its objective of keeping homes out of foreclosure and that it will help strengthen the overall economy.


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Speeding Up the Short Sale Process

In a recent post from dsnews.com, Ester Cho writes about a bill that has been introduced in the Senate to speed up the short sale process.  By speeding up the short sale process, the Prompt Notification of Short Sale Act looks to avoid losing homes to foreclosure as a result of the long lender response times as legitimate buyers ultimately walk away due to the lack of communication from the lender.  The act would require a written response from the lender no later than 75 days after receipt of the written request by the buyer.

The requirement of a timely response from the lender will give potential buyers more confidence to look into short sale properties, which in turn should help to increase the potential buyer pool for these underwater homeowners.  As a short sale is less of an impact to house values than foreclosure, this bill would help the real estate market as it slowly looks to right itself.


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