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Realtor.com is helping shoulder the burden of Hurricane Harvey

(CORPORATE NEWS) The devastation left in the wake of Hurricane Harvey is undeniable, but for many Texans, they haven’t just lost their homes, they’ve lost their primary source of income as well.

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Hurricane felt around the country

In light of Hurricane Harvey, many businesses and individuals have donated time, money, services, and supplies, but the devastation is beyond what anyone expected. Now imagine you’re a REALTOR® and not only is your own home submerged, but all the homes you have listed are underwear too.

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Your primary source of income disappears and the timeline for resuming business is uncertain. What if you don’t have another source of income or skill to fall back on? Do you give up on real estate? Do you move to a different area?

REALTORS® have been doubly-hit

If your home was lost in a hurricane, you’re likely not going to be thinking about work right away, but eventually, you’ll begin to wonder how you’ll pay for things while waiting on insurance and other assistance.

The thing is, for REALTORS® , even when the water recedes and the rubble begins to clear, their main source of income is gone.

It’s going to take months, and likely years, to rebuild what was lost in Hurricane Harvey; in the mean time, REALTORS® have no homes or businesses to sell, no properties to manage, they’re at a total loss for income. What is the next step?

What’s the next step?

While this is largely a very personal decision as to whether you remain in the area, or leave to pursue work in an area unaffected by the storm (but even then you face competition from other REALTORS® fleeing the effected area, as well as, the competition of REALTORS® in the new area you decide upon), or attempt to find work in another field, the decision is a difficult one to say the least.

This is of course not meant to minimize the far-reaching effects of all the other victims because we know they’ve lost everything as well; it just seems as though REALTORS®, as well as many other Texan business owners, get doubly hit – losing their homes and businesses.

Realtor.com®offers assistance

These “what ifs” and “what do I do” are some of the questions Realtor.com® is tackling. They are getting in on the Harvey relief efforts by donating 100% of the cost from the sale of every realtor.com® Results Summit ticket sale to the REALTORS® Relief Fund.

The Results Summit is an annual two-day summit, offering REALTORS® hands-on learning, keynote speakers, and game-changing innovations through technology and strategies.

This year, 100% of the sales from the summit will be donated to Hurricane Harvey relief efforts.

About the RRF

NAR first launched the REALTORS® Relief Foundation (RRF) as the REALTORS® Relief Fund in 2001, wishing hours of the horrendously devastating September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. The RRF raised more than $8.4 million to provide assistance to surviving family members so they could stay in their homes. Since then, more than $25 million has been raises for victims of disasters, including, wildfires, tornadoes, floods, and hurricanes. Hopefully this money will be used to aid the victims of Hurricane Harvey.

If you’d like to contribute to the RRF, you can donate online through this link, or you can mail a check to: REALTORS Relief Foundation, 430 N. Michigan Avenue, Chicago, IL, 60611 and please put in the memo line of your check that it is a “RRF Contribution.”

For some people, they may not have the option to leave the area due to finances, family, or other reasons, but some may have a long road to getting back anywhere close to “normal.” What do you think, would you leave the area to pursue Real estate work elsewhere, or would you stay?

#RealtorsReliefFoundation

Senior Staff Writer at The Real Daily, Jennifer Walpole holds a Master of English from the University of Oklahoma. She has long been a dedicated business and technology writer, and she holds real estate close to her heart, as she comes from a family of brokers.

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Real Estate Corporate

How big box stores are stalling Whole Foods expansions using leasing contracts

(CORPORATE NEWS) As Amazon begins its Whole Foods expansions, other big box competitors are trying to put the wabash on them using their leasing contracts.

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Over the summer it was made known that Amazon was buying Whole Foods then a few months later we learned that the new owners were revamping store pricing and poaching competitor’s customers.

Despite only having 450 locations, Whole Foods is slowly turning the supermarket market in their favor. However, some of the older, bigger players aren’t having it and have figured out that they can use their own real estate contracts to level the field with Whole Foods.

Apparently it is common practice for bigger retailers in commercial real estate to sign leases with conditions that prevent their landlord from renting to other businesses that would create competition.

For instance if a Starbucks is renting in one location they might include a term that says no other coffee shop can be adjacent so if an Dunkin’ Donuts wanted in next door they couldn’t.

For Whole Foods that means because they are now selling Amazon electronics like Echos or AmazonFire TV, their usually docile neighbor Best Buy could go track down the fine print of their leasing contract and forbid Whole Foods from selling those products.

It’s like they always say — All is fair in love in retail. Well, you know what I mean.

If we’re being honest an Amazon + Whole Foods team is pretty enticing. It makes a whole lot of sense that other retailers that can only offer half of that package would resort to any means necessary to impede their progress.

Even Target is getting in on the defense reportedly not allowing Amazon Lockers to be installed. I get it, you want people there to shop at your store, not to pick up merch they bought elsewhere.

Granted with Target’s new collaborations with companies like Brit + Co, May Designs and Magnolia Market, I doubt they have too much to worry about.

At any rate, this sort of fine-print legalese defense seems like a pretty large indicator that other retailers are feeling the heat from this merger.

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Real Estate Corporate

Discount stores are banking on the bad days of underclasses

(CORPORATE NEWS) Despite brick and mortars closing, discount stores seem to be doing well. But that success seems to be at the expense of the downtrodden.

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Few sights are as ubiquitous in rural America as the simple yellow and black logo of Dollar General, and this is not going to change any time soon.

In a signal of the times, Dollar General’s marketing executive Jim Thorpe said that Dollar General’s best customer was the low income, government assistance recipient.

By the fact that Dollar General’s expansion strategy is to create more stores in small towns and cities, that’s a signal to many that the business world is not expecting incomes to rise in the heartland of the United States.

“Essentially what the dollar stores are betting on in a large way is that we are going to have a permanent underclass in America,” Garrick Brown, director for retail research at the commercial real estate company Cushman & Wakefield was quoted saying.

“It’s based on the concept that the jobs went away, and the jobs are never coming back, and that things aren’t going to get better in any of these places.”

Rival discount stores Dollar Tree Inc. and Family Dollar (also owned by Dollar Tree) are also operating out of the same principles to give Dollar General a run for their money.

While they do not enjoy as much market share as Dollar General, these discount stores are also trying to compete for the stretched dollar of the $35,000 salary household. These same households may find it difficult to travel out of their town to do their grocery shopping due to the cost of gas.

Dollar General, in its confidence of a permanent lower class in America, is also alleviating the problem of food deserts.

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), food deserts are areas that lack access to affordable fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low-fat milk, and other foods that make up the full range of a healthy diet.

Dollar General, while not having a full and robust grocery section with many fresh fruits, are offering more than what one can get in a gas station for certain and are alleviating the lack of affordable, moderately healthy options.

With U.S. income inequality still on the rise, Dollar General’s market share is not going anywhere, and the discount store chain might just become the next small-town staple in rural America.

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Real Estate Corporate

To reinvent leasing, Airbnb is creating branded apartments

(CORPORATE NEWS) Airbnb originally set out to disrupt the leasing world but has decided now to just reinvent it.

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Airbnb doesn’t like being thought of as your friendly neighborhood disruptor and has found a new alternative to the more traditional rented house/apartment/room (or castle, a tiny house, treehouse, converted barn loft, etc…): branded apartment complexes.

San Francisco based home-sharing partner group Airbnb has formed a partnership with Newgard Development Group (known as “Niido Powered by Airbnb”) to create the space-sharing concept, which will be comprised of 324 units, starting with Kissimmee, FL (just south of Orlando) and is slated to be available for move-in sometime in 2018.

The units will have amenities of a hotel such as keyless entry and an app that will allow tenants to check-in remotely. On-demand cleaning and luggage services will also be available, making the process much more streamlined for both guests and tenants.

Upon signing an annual lease, residents may rent out their apartments through Airbnb for up to 180 days, and thus must of course, remain as full-time residents for at least half of the year.

This should help to cut down on issues where landlords were replacing tenants’ leases and rental agreements with a full-time Airbnb gig.

The setup of the branded apartment complex encourages home sharing, and offers a communal environment in which all neighbors are either hosts, or guests.

Okay, so while it kind of sounds like a hotel rather than an apartment, (a timeshare, even) Airbnb does still want to keep that “hominess” aspect that defines the brand, intact. It’s been reported that they will be providing some design assistance, though will remain hands-off in ownership interest in the building.

It’s too soon to say how lucrative a spot in one of these elusive buildings will be or how much a spot will cost, but it can’t be helped to wonder at what point does this sort of expansion stop Airbnb from being… Airbnb?

With this many parties involved, it does sort of lose its charm as being a unique travel experience people have come to expect with Airbnb. I mean, it’s not a yurt in Alaska, after all.

Expansion for the branded apartment complexes will be prioritized in Miami and the Southeast, but is expected to branch out into other cities such as Nashville, TN, Charleston, SC, and “cities in Texas.”

CEO Harvey Hernandez stated that the plan was to build over 2,000 units over the next couple years. Lookout world, The Grand Budapest Airbnbs will be hitting a city near you.

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