“Can You Hear Me Now? No? Good!!”

by Ross Kaplan on December 18, 2014


“CoCo” (aka Coworking Space*) Arrives at Edina Realty – City Lakes

If you’re talking on your cellphone and can’t hear the other party, that’s bad.

However, if you’re talking to clients or other agents in one of the private, new office suites near the front of Edina Realty – City Lakes, and nearby Realtors can’t hear you . . . that’s decidedly good.

In fact, that’s the whole point.

Sound-Proof (or Close)

To make sure that the two new rooms really are private – and that colleagues don’t overhear sensitive client or deal-related info — they’re being built with plenty of sound-deadening insulation in the walls (see below).

City Lakes agents who don’t need private working space can use the resource room near the back of the office, same as always.

*Edina Realty’s name for the new space is “personal harbor.”




“See the USA in Your Chevrolet Honda Minivan”

“No Relief for Air Travelers.”

Headline; The New York Times (12/15/2014)

If gas prices stay low and airfares remain sky-high (sorry), I predict that this summer will be the biggest year for family holday_inncar trips since . . . the ’60′s(?!?).

Back then, families on the road sought out middle-brow fare like Holiday Inn (“no surprises”) and Howard Johnson’s.

Today, I suppose the equivalent would be Embassy Suites, Marriott Courtyard, and LaQuinta.

P.S.:  One key difference between then and now:  portable, individualized electronic entertainment.


Free Lunch(?) From Wells Fargo

by Ross Kaplan on December 18, 2014

Lawsuit:  ’Bank Overcharged for Flood Zone Determinations’

If you bought a home or refinanced with a Wells Fargo mortgage between August 30, 2011 and December 31, 2013, you may be wells fargoentitled to a share of a class action suit against Wells Fargo.

A very small share — like, $9.50 per claimant.

The suit — formally known as “Jackson v. Wells Fargo”* — alleges that Wells Fargo effectively overcharged borrowers for federally-required flood zone determinations.

The deadline for filing a claim form is January 31, 2015.

If the suit is approved, I think the attorneys should get $9.50, too.

P.S.:  I have no idea whether or not the allegation is true, but the (relatively) small pot of money makes me wonder whether Wells Fargo simply decided to settle rather than go through the hassle of extensive litigation.

This time . . . (google, “Wells Fargo” and “class action” and see what comes up).

*As you learn in law school, it really is “v.,” not “vs.”



Negotiating One Deal — or Two??

Good agents instinctively know that “he who negotiates least, negotiates best.”

Which is why they avoid drafting early move-in and holdover agreements — and discourage their clients from entering into them.

Side Deals

The vast majority of the time, the issue never arises because the Buyer takes possession from the Seller immediately after closing.

However, occasionally a Seller can’t be out by closing, or, a Buyer wants to move in early.

No problem, right?

The catch is, at least to play it safe, it’s important for the parties — now landlord and tenant — to address a host of significant issues.

Such as:

–How much rent;

–How much security deposit (and terms for getting it back);

–Liability and damage risk as well as insurance responsibility;

–Who pays for utilities?

–Rental term, and consequences for exceeding it.

Forms, Forms, Forms; Negotiating Fatigue

Of course, to be binding, all these agreed-upon terms have to be in writing.

Fortunately (unfortunately?), there are special forms for just such situations (what a surprise).

But, that doesn’t reduce the back-and-forth to flesh out key terms.

Coming immediately on the heels of negotiating the Purchase Agreement and Addenda, it’s not unusual for negotiating fatigue to set in.

Buyer & Seller + Landlord & Tenant

Once upon a time, when I was a CPA auditing Prudential Insurance’s commercial real estate portfolio, Prudential and developer Trammel Crow entered into a series of joint ventures.

The saying (at least at Prudential) was that, at the beginning of the relationship, “Prudential had the money and Trammel Crow had the experience.”

By the end of the relationship, “Prudential had the experience, and Trammel Crow had the money.”

The residential real estate equivalent?

Before closing, the Buyer has the money and the Seller has the house.

With a holdover agreement, after closing, the Seller has the money and the house.

See also, “Negotiating Least“; and “And Repeat, ‘Never Negotiate Furniture,’ ‘Never Negotiate Furniture’ . . .


.57%(!) For 10 Years

December 16, 2014

No, that’s not the yield on the U.S. 10-year bond (rapidly dropping towards 2%). It’s the yield — as of this morning — on Germany’s 10-year bond, regarded as an even safer bet than U.S. debt. Aside from a little confusion (I thought Deutsche marks were replaced by euro’s?), it raises this question:  if at […]

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Unfair Incumbent Advantage? Sort of

December 16, 2014

I’m Pretty Sure the Old Survey Isn’t Stored on a Flash Drive I’m handling an Edina home sale now where the owner needs to get an updated survey. My client asked if I had any names (I do), but then it occurred to them to see who did the now 72(!) year-old survey, from 1942. […]

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Better Than Rent! 1155 Ford Rd. #509 in St. Louis Park

December 14, 2014

Virtual Staging Magic (See Below) Where:  1155 Ford Road #509 (“Westmarke”). What:  2 Bedroom, 2 Bath Condo with an open floor plan, west-facing Deck, and deluxe Owner’s Suite with walk-in closet.  Total square feet:  1,200. When:  listed Dec. 4 (days on market:  10). How much:  $169,900 Who:  listed by Ross Kaplan, Edina Realty – City Lakes […]

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How to Milk a Birthday, or, “King for a . . . How Long?!?”

December 13, 2014

Birthday MONTH (& Other Oxymorons) If you’re an about-to-be 12-year-old boy (OK, my younger son), how do you squeeze the most out of your birthday? After all, by definition a day is only 24 hours — and you’re not even awake for one-third of it. Slippery Slope The answer:  morph “day” into “weekend.” As in, […]

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