State Roundup: Ohio, New Hampshire, and Wisconsin

January 1, 2006

New Hampshire: A new look at ‘view’ taxes

With tax assessors in many states adding a premium for homes with prime views, homeowners are fighting back. In New Hampshire the process has gone haywire, homeowners say, with the maximum value of views streaking to $200,000 from $20,000 10 years ago. “It’s taken on a new predominance of value,” says George Lamprey, CRS®, GRI, president of the New Hampshire Association of REALTORS®. Homeowners are increasingly challenging assessments in court, and lawmakers have started looking for ways to ensure assessors support the values they place on views, though no bills on the issue have been introduced. NHAR isn’t taking a stand on whether lawmakers should step in, but “we’re keeping an eye on this,” says Lamprey.

Ohio: Commercial listings centralized

The Columbus Board of REALTORS® recently launched a single source of commercial property information for central Ohio: the Central Ohio Commercial Information Exchange. The database consolidates information that previously might be found in one or more of five separate sources. In mid-November the database contained about 3,100 properties for sale or lease. Brokers become members of the exchange for $55 a month, and are required to take a three-hour course on using the database.

More online: Central Ohio Commercial Information Exchange

Wisconsin: Designated agency passes

State lawmakers approved legislation revising dual agency rules to allow brokers to engage in designated agency. With disclosure, two practitioners from the same company could represent a buyer and seller respectively in the same transaction. “This legislation says that different business models are allowed as long as you disclose what they are,” says Mike Theo, vice president of the Wisconsin REALTORS® Association. The bill (783) also adds flexibility by saying that brokerage services can be provided to consumers without an agency agreement up to the time of negotiations and makes other clarifications to existing laws. The law takes effect in mid-2006.

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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