State Roundup: Alabama, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin

November 1, 2004

Alabama: Hurricane relief.

REALTORS® were among the many Alabama households who lost their property when Hurricane Ivan ripped through the Gulf Coast in mid-September, causing damage as far north as Montgomery, three hours inland, says J. Danny Cooper, executive vice president of the Alabama Association of REALTORS®. As of late September officials were still tallying up damages, estimated by insurers to reach up to $10 billion for Alabama and all Gulf Coast states, according to news reports. To help Alabama REALTORS®, send contributions to: Alabama REALTOR® Disaster Relief Fund, 522 Washington Ave., Montgomery, AL 36104. Info: 334/262-3808 or disasterrelief@alabamarealtors.com.

To aid Florida, hit by four hurricanes this year, make checks payable to: Florida Association of REALTORS® Disaster Relief Fund, 7025 Augusta National Dr., Orlando, FL 32822. In the memo line, write “For FAR Disaster Relief Fund.” Info: Barbara Mulligan, barbaram@far.org, 407/438-1400, ext. 2418.

New Hampshire: Ad platform or broker?

The New Hampshire Association of REALTORS® has filed a complaint with the New Hampshire Real Estate Commission alleging ISoldMyHouse.com, a site owned by Commerce Bank & Trust subsidiary East West Mortgage, acts as a broker without a license. The site holds itself out as selling real estate, lists real estate for sale and rent, procures sale and rental prospects, assists in negotiations, and accepts advanced fees for listings, ads, and referrals, says NHAR. John Gallagher, site chief, disputes the allegation. “We charge a listing fee of $95,” he says. “That’s no different than a newspaper charging for a classified ad.” NHAR wants the site to repay fees collected from New Hampshire residents, says John Sullivan, NHAR legal counsel.

Wisconsin: Roadmap for lawmakers.

High property taxes and the state’s ability to retain educated workers are among residents’ concerns, according to a two-year, statewide quality-of-life survey by the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association. Sixty-three percent of residents say they’re satisfied with the costs of owning a home, but when they consider property taxes, that satisfaction level drops to 41 percent. Eighty-three percent grade the state educational system at an A or B, but only a little more than half grade job training programs as high. WRA has packaged such findings into an agenda to give lawmakers a “clear roadmap” of what residents want, says WRA, which is distributing the results of the survey to 1,100 public officials.

Robert Freedman

Robert Freedman is the former director of multimedia communications at NAR.

Jane Adler is a Chicago-based freelancer writer.

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