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Inside Real Estate (Nov 26th, 2019)

1. Off-market home listings — also called “pocket listings” — could cease to exist as the National Association of Realtors enforces new guidelines that require agents to publicly list properties on the multiple listing service within one business day of sharing any marketing information. That would include fliers, websites or even email correspondence about an on-the-market property. Those who violate this policy could be fined up to $5,000. All 630 NAR MLS groups must adopt the plan by May 1. The NAR says this will offer home shoppers the confidence that they’re seeing a full inventory. Others say it will also make Realtor commissions more transparent. - CNN

2. Commercial property sales in Chicago may be down because investors are concerned about future tax liabilities, Crain’s reports. Commercial transactions plummeted by 33 percent to $7.7 billion in the first nine months of 2019. The nation overall saw a 6 percent decline. Local landlords point to inflated commercial property assessments — by Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi — that some buyers might deem a sign of forthcoming tax hikes. If this trend continues, Crain’s says it could negatively impact property values. - CRAIN'S

3. ICYMI: Developer Mohamed Hadid — father to supermodels Gigi and Bella Hadid — reportedly can’t afford to pay for the demolition of his partially built Bel-Air mega mansion. The expansive property — which has been under construction for roughly five years — is the subject of ongoing litigation. Originally planned as a 14,000-square-foot estate, it ballooned to a 30,000-square-foot residence without first obtaining the proper permits. Neighbors sued Hadid, alleging that the house was destabilizing the hillside above their homes, posing a dangerous risk to them and their properties. Now Hadid’s attorney, Bruce Rudma, said that razing the structure has become cost prohibitive. Hadid in 2017 told an outlet: “Bel-Air will fall before this house will.” - VARIETY

4. San Mateo-based startup Reali plans to make the homebuying and selling process more efficient by automating parts of the transaction, and by employing salaried escrow officers, real estate agents and mortgage brokers who don’t work on commission, founder Amit Haller says. Instead of commissions, Reali will implement flat rates: on the sale of a $1 million house, instead of the traditional 2.5 percent commission, there would be a $10,000 rate. Haller said having all of these people working under the same umbrella could help streamline transactions. He said he also believes in automating the process wherever possible, which includes using a tech-savvy platform that brings in customers from the sales department, so Realtors don’t have to chase homebuyers and sellers. - THE MERCURY NEWS

5. Work will resume on a Oconomowoc, Wisconsin, condominium project 13 years after it was approved in 2006. The 13-building, 26-unit development called "Vespera II" broke ground in 2006 but halted in 2008, following the housing-market slump and an issue with the general contractor. Then, in 2014, part of the structure was sold to a bank. Now, work is expected to start up again in early 2020 and be completed within three years, bringing its total build-time to approximately 16 years. Once it launches, residential units are expected to cost between $500,000 and $600,000. - MILWAUKEE JOURNAL SENTINEL

6. A former Pennington, New Jersey, train station converted into a home is on the market for $450,000. The unique 3,300-square-foot dwelling — which is on the National Register of Historic Places — was built in 1882 and saw heavy traffic throughout the 1910s before it was decommissioned in the late ‘60s. At that time, the three-story sandstone building was transformed into a residential structure. Among its curious historic tidbits is that Theodore Roosevelt stopped there during his campaign trail in the early 1920s. - REALTOR

7. Los Angeles County Assessor Jeff Prang is warning people of real estate scammers who send fraudulent mailers during the holidays. Homeowners should "be aware of deed scams and unsolicited mailings” that imitate government-issued documents. Grifters allegedly ask for money to pay for documents that are typically free. These scams are particularly active during these months, Prang said. - KNBC

8. Market snapshot: Rents in Las Vegas are increasing twice as fast as the nation's rates, according to a Zillow report. Vegas saw a 5.2 percent rent rise since October of last year. However, Vegas' median rents are still well below the national median at $1,365. The only other major market seeing soaring rates in Phoenix, which showed year-over-year inflation of 6.4 percent. - KSNV

9. Nearly 90 percent of more than 1,000 Hollywood assistants surveyed said more than one-third of their income went to pay rent, and the majority are struggling to afford rent in the Los Angeles area. That includes production, agency and writers’ assistants who claim to work long hours and endure abusive conditions — at least one said an employer swung a stapler at him — with little pay, which has forced some to find second jobs just to keep a home. Organizers and labor lawyers plan to address the issue according to California laws. - LA TIMES

10. One of Long Island's most prominent real estate developers, Donald Rechler, died last week at the age of 85. The Reckson Associates and Rechler Equity Partners founder was said to have "changed the landscape of very mundane buildings" into architecturally intriguing buildings that enhanced the local commercial landscape. In the '80s he helped to create more than 5.5 million square feet of developed office space. - NEWSDAY

Written and curated by Darla Guillen Gilthorpe. Darla writes for the Houston Chronicle, where she was part of its 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist staff. She was previously an editor at Vox Media site Eater and has had bylines in Elle Decor, SFGate and various other outlets. Follow her on Twitter here.

This newsletter was edited by Bobby Cherry, a Pittsburgh-based freelance journalist and senior editor at Inside, who also curates Inside Pittsburgh. Reach him at

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