Review: Realtors won’t exist in the year 2020?

Joe D Review: Good article, lets see what happens in 2020!

The year is 2020 and the Johnsons just found out that they will need to move. It seems that Sally can make more money but her employer wants her to reside in an exact geographic location instead of working in a virtual office like most people do.

The Johnsons will need to sell the house, which is easy to do. The Johnsons call the cleaning service and the videographer and order a complete scan.

Once the Johnsons have all of the information together they send the information along with video to the National Homes For Sale Database (NHFS). The data is inspected, certified and deemed to be accurate and guaranteed by the U.S. Department of Information (USDI).

On the other side of town, the Smiths just found out that they will be having a baby. After discussing it, they decide that they are ready to buy a house.

Jim Smith has already put the parameters for the type of house they want into the “Realto-Magic” system, which is part of the NHFS created by an organization called NAR, which no longer exists.

The database now belongs to, a nonprofit consumer protection agency. NAR sold it to pay the rent. When the system finds a match, the Smiths will be notified. If they don’t find a match they may need to change their parameters or wait a while.

They have already sent their secret code and credit-chip information to the lending company, and know how much money they can borrow.

The next day while Jim is watching the house-bot cleaning and sanitizing the kitchen, an alert comes in through the household computer, indicating that there is a home for sale that meets their needs. Jim is excited and relieved because he thought the refrigerator might be sending out alerts again, and he wasn’t in the mood to call the landlord again.

The house is shown on the screen, and Jim looks it over and finds that the price of the home is in their affordability range. After looking at the 3-D tour of the home and the surrounding area, the disclosures and the complete scan, he decides that they should see it.

The pictures are all in high-definition 3-D, and there is no need for special glasses. Jim can move around in the images and he can zoom right in on the crack on the foundation and get a measurement. He can move around the block and across the street. He can clearly see that the next-door neighbor has a golden retriever, likes to grow geraniums, and has a swing set in the back yard and an infant seat in the solar-powered hover car parked on top of the garage.

He presses the “appointment-o-matic” button and puts in his secret ID, and then selects the time he would like to see the house. A small plastic disk comes out of the universal printer thingy in the wall, and the word “confirmed” flashes across the screen.

The following Saturday the Smiths go to look at the home. They get to the front door and stand by the door machine so their retinas can be scanned, and then Jim slides the plastic appointment disk into the reader.

As the door opens a voice says “Welcome, Mr. and Mrs. Smith, the Johnsons are not at home but please come in, remove your shoes, don’t let the cat out, and ignore the crying baby in the closet.”

Near the front entryway is a screen with information about the home, including the results of the last house scan, which looks very good.

As Jim touches the images of the appliances, they tell the Smiths how old the appliances are and when they were last serviced. It is the same information they already saw, but most buyers like to see it in person.

The Smiths walk around the home and decide that it is perfect for them.

Jim presses a button indicating that he has reviewed all of the information. He has one question: “When do the Johnsons want to move?”

The computer responds with a list of dates. Jim says “Sept. 15,” and the computer says “yes.”

When they get home, Jim brings it up on the screen of the household computer and slides the disk that was printed when he was approved for a loan into the slot thingy on the wall. He then uses the plastic disk that he got so that he could see the house into the same slot.

Thirty seconds later the word “Congratulations” flashes on the screen. The Smiths’ offer is accepted. The Johnsons will move out next week and the Smiths will move in a day later.

When the Smiths move in the bank will be alerted by the computer as they unlock the front door, using a special key. At that moment, funds will be transferred into the Johnsons’ account, the locks will be changed, and the printer thingy will generate a new key and the automatic mortgage payments will begin.

The transaction is smooth because all information about the home is in a database and the value of each home is kept up to date. The exact condition of the home, including any defects, are known because of the scan.

The history of the house can be looked up on the “interwebs” and will show insurance claims and any money that was spent making improvements on the property, when they were made and who made them, and whether any warranties are available with the press of a button.

Technological advances made it so buyers and sellers got what they always wanted. They could quickly and safely buy or sell a home on their own, without paying a human third party, because by 2015 an app will have been invented for everything except drinking, smoking and sex, but by 2025 that will change too.

By 2015 there will be apps for everything except drinking, smoking and sex

By Teresa Boardman, Wednesday, February 17, 2010.

Inman News

Teresa Boardman is a broker in St. Paul, Minn., and founder of the St. Paul Real Estate blog.

Moynihan Station gets $83M in stimulus bucks

The perennially delayed plan to transform New York City’s main post office into a transportation hub got a boost Tuesday when Sen. Charles Schumer announced an $83.2 million federal grant to jumpstart the project.

The money, which comes from the stimulus package, will help finance the first stage of the project, which proposes turning the Farley post office into a new train station, to be primarily used by Amtrak, which will be connected to Penn Station. The project, which will be called Moynihan Station, also includes adding a grand hall and retail stores. It is named after the late Sen. Patrick Moynihan, who championed the project.

The federal grant means there is now enough money to start the first phase, which will cost about $220 million and take five to six years to complete. It includes expanding access to the various train tracks, creating two new entrances to the Farley building, and adding elevators, stairs and escalators.

“We’ve got the money now let’s get to work,” said Mr. Schumer, in a statement. “The best way to get New York’s economy moving again is to keep building, and the best project to get things started is Moynihan Station.”

The second phase, which is expected to cost between $1.5 billion and $2 billion, calls for renovating Farley and adding the retail space and creating the grand hall.

By Theresa Agovino

7 train extension haulted

The real estate and construction industries have started a full-court press, including a Web-based petition, to resurrect plans to build a stop at West 41st and Tenth Avenue for the extension of the No. 7 train line.

Over the weekend, the Real Estate Board of New York launched a Web site——so people could sign a petition to encourage elected officials to finance the stop. Currently, the line will only include one new stop, at West 34th Street. This week, both residential and commercial brokers are expected to ask tenants in buildings on the far West side near West 42nd Street to sign petitions.

There were plans to build a shell for a station on West 41st Street and then go back and build out the stop. However, a couple of months ago, plans to build the shell were abandoned.

Steven Spinola, president of REBNY, says a lot of area residents don’t even know the plan to construct the shell have been shelved so the petition is an attempt to raise awareness and spur people to contact elected officials. Mr. Spinola says three construction trade organizations will be encouraging their members to sign the petition and contact elected officials. They are: The Building Congress, the Buildings & Construction Trades Council of Greater New York and the Building Trades Employers’ Association.

“We think it is critical that the station be built,” Mr. Spinola said. He added the stop is vital to the continued development of the far west side, noting several developers such as Larry Silvestein recently built new residential properties nearby.

The project would also provide much needed jobs to the construction industry, which has been especially hard hit by the recession as development came to a halt.

Mr. Spinola said the industry has already reached out to the state’s two U.S. senators to ask for federal help building the station. He added that signatures will be collected over the next couple of months and will be presented to various officials and agencies sometime before May, when a major building contract for the extension will be awarded.

“We’ve been told it would cost a lot more money to go back and build the station later,” Mr. Spinola said.

Correction: An earlier version story mistakenly said the new subway stop would be located on West 41st St. and Ninth Ave.

January 2010 NYC Rental Market Analysis


1) East Village has the highest Vacancy Rate downtown.

2) Average 1bed in Doorman building now below $2,962!


Top 10 Best Places to Live

2010 Quality of Life Index: 194 Countries Ranked and Rated to Reveal the Best Places to Live

By the Staff of International Living

1. France

For the fifth year running, France takes first in our annual Quality of Life Index. No surprise. Its tiresome bureaucracy and high taxes are outweighed by an unsurpassable quality of life, including the world’s best health care.

France always nets high scores in most categories. But you don’t need number-crunchers to tell you its bon vivant lifestyle is special. Step off a plane and you’ll experience it first-hand.

I always wish quality of life indicators could measure a country’s heart and soul. But it’s impossible to enumerate the joy of lingering for hours over dinner and a bottle of red wine in a Parisian brasserie. Or strolling beside the Seine on a spring morning, poking through the book vendors’ wares. Or buying buttery croissants in bohemian Montmartre…hearing Notre Dame’s bells…walking antique streets paved with poetry.

Romantic Paris offers the best of everything, but services don’t fall away in Alsace’s wine villages…in wild and lovely Corsica…in lavender-scented Provence. Or in the Languedoc of the troubadors, bathed in Mediterranean sunlight.

Provincial French properties are often keenly priced and lifestyles are less expensive than Paris. The Southwestern Midi-Pyrenees region is a particularly good hunting ground for village homes for less than $100,000—and classic three-course lunches for $14. Houses cascade with wisteria blossom; outdoor markets are everywhere. Foie gras, pink garlic, Armagnac, and crystallized violets aren’t gourmet fare for locals. Rather, just another day’s shopping.

2. Australia

How the numbers are crunched

To rate and rank the 194 countries considered in this year’s Quality of Life Index, we took into account:

Cost of Living (15% of the final ranking). This is a guide to how much it will cost you to live in a style comparable to—or better than—the standard of living you’re likely enjoying in the U.S. Our primary source in this category is the U.S. State Department’s Index of Overseas Living Costs, used to compute cost-of-living allowances for a Western-style of living in various countries. We also consider each country’s income tax rates.

Culture and Leisure (10%). To calculate this score, we look at literacy rate, newspaper circulation per 1,000 people, primary and secondary school enrollment ratios, number of people per museum, and a subjective rating of the variety of cultural and recreational offerings.

Economy (15%). We consider interest rates, GDP, GDP growth rate, GDP per capita, the inflation rate, and GNP per capita to determine each country’s Economy score.

Environment (10%). To figure a country’s score in this category, we look at population density per square kilometer, population growth rate, greenhouse emissions per capita, and the percentage of total land that is protected.

Freedom (10%). Freedom House’s 2009 survey is the main source for these scores, with an emphasis on a citizen’s political rights and civil liberties.

Health (10%). In this category, we look at calorie consumption as a percentage of daily requirements, the number of people per doctor, the number of hospital beds per 1,000 people, the percentage of the population with access to safe water, the infant mortality rate, life expectancy, and public health expenditure as a percentage of a country’s GDP.

Infrastructure (10%). To calculate a country’s Infrastructure score, we look at the length of railways, paved highways, and navigable waterways in each country, and equated these things to each country’s population and size. We also consider the number of airports, motor vehicles , telephones, Internet service providers, and cell phones per capita.

Safety and Risk (10%). For this category, we use the U.S. Department of State’s hardship Differentials and danger allowances, which are based on extraordinarily difficult, notably unhealthy, or dangerous living conditions.

Climate (10%). When deciding on a score for each country’s climate, we look at its average annual rainfall and average temperature…and consider its risk for natural disasters.

Australian BeachThey don’t call it the “Lucky Country” for nothing. Australia is famous for its large beaches and temperate climate. Across the continent, Aussies and those who’ve chosen to emigrate there have access to an active and healthy lifestyle. But urban dwellers will find plenty of great culture and excellent food in Sydney and Melbourne, and a cost of living below that of some of the world’s other great cities.

Australia’s economy has managed to weather the Global Financial Crisis better than any other Western country. For tourists and travelers, this means you’ll be dealing with a strong Aussie dollar, making your visit there more expensive. But if you plan to stay, you’ll find that few English-speaking countries with quality health care and good infrastructure will benefit as much as Australia from the economic booms in Asia and China.

The Australian economy is powered by agricultural, mineral, and energy exports that feed the voracious appetite of rapidly industrializing populations in Asia. Housing in Australia remains expensive by global standards. But there are plenty of jobs for skilled expats who can ride the Asian boom from the sandy, sunny, and safe beaches of the land Down Under.

3. Switzerland

For Harry Lime, in Graham Greene’s story The Third Man, all the Swiss have to show for five centuries of peaceful neutrality is the cuckoo clock. The rest of Europe, meanwhile, stumped on through rivers of blood to create art, history, and civilization.
This is rubbish. Switzerland is an award-winning country because it turned all its natural disadvantages to its own advantage, ending up as a super-efficient, high-tech society while still managing to play Alpine inn-keeper to the world. Moreover the cuckoo clock comes from the Black Forest in Germany.
natural frontiers or a unifying religion, and divided by five different languages, it sensibly decided that internationalism was its calling, quickly adding English to the French, German (two kinds), Italian, and Romansch (like ancient Latin) its people already speak so that foreigners of every linguistic persuasion could feel at home. Altruism followed from this and Geneva became home to the United Nations and the Red Cross.
Landlocked, mountainous, and without natural resources (except cheese), Switzerland still needed more than tourism to provide a living. So it developed secretive banks, whose potential clientele is numberless and efficient engineering and pharmaceutical industries whose appeal similarly knows no borders.
Such achievements reinforce each other. Tourists gladly clamber into Alpine cable cars because they trust their Swiss steel cables and electric motors. Jump on a Swiss train and you know you will arrive on time. Swallow a Swiss pill and you know it won’t poison you. Likewise, you know the bank will always be discreet and the hotel room spotless. You also know everyone will speak your language. The Swiss succeeded because they made everything work.

4. Germany

Baden Baden, GermanySome Americans (often ex-military) retire to Germany. One forum poster mentioned being thrilled that youth culture hasn’t taken over. Techno-throb Berlin and numerous summer rock festivals refute that, but this is the land of Goethe and Beethoven. Theater, art, and classical music concerts aren’t considered elitist.

Will your medical insurance fund a health spa stay? Probably not, but it happens here with a doctor’s recommendation. Despite the global downturn, Germans have it pretty good. Along with 30 days paid annual holiday, the average employee earns €41,509 ($61,433).

In Germany, everything works and works well. Its houses are built to last, and their legendary autobahns are still mostly without speed limits. If you enjoy sports, even small towns have numerous facilities. Some odd ones too—the Harz Mountains now has a specialist hiking trail for nudists. From spas to parks to North Sea beaches, Germany is arguably the world’s most naturist-friendly country.

Romantics adore its Christmas markets and fairytale towns of half-timbered houses. Some favorites are Quedlinburg and Wernigerode in Saxony, and the Black Forest spa town of Baden-Baden. The latter has a posh reputation, but you could buy a 55-sqaure-meter apartment for $160,000. Or rent for $673 monthly.

5. New Zealand

New ZealandFrom Auckland’s waterfront to the Southern Alps, English-speaking New Zealand boasts some of the most pristine landscapes on earth. Much of the Lord of the Rings movie trilogy was filmed here. For younger migrants with the right skills, it’s a wonderful place to relocate and raise a family. There’s huge emphasis on sports, beach-life, and healthy lifestyles.

New Zealand’s immigration department sums up the attractions perfectly. “In many ways it’s not what we have that’s important to our quality of life—it’s what we don’t have. We don’t have high crime rates, our police don’t carry guns and instances of corruption are virtually unheard of. We don’t have abject poverty or hunger and we don’t have the pollution, congestion, health issues and cramped city living that we see elsewhere.”

Unless you buy your way in as an investor, it’s difficult for retirees to get permanent residency. But you could rent or purchase a home and live there part-time. Seasons are reversed, so it’s possible to enjoy two summers a year. However, property prices are rebounding. Taken nationally, latest figures show the average home costs $274,881.

6. Luxembourg

LuxembourgIf we judged quality of life by a nation’s Michelin-starred restaurants per square mile, the winner would be the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. A founder member of the EU, its national motto is Mir wëlle bleiwe wat mir sin (we want to remain what we are).

Only 51 miles long and 35 miles wide, landlocked Luxembourg is relatively unknown to Americans. Yet with per capita GDP of $88,000, it’s among the world’s richest countries. Most apartments in its postcard-pretty capital—also called Luxembourg—cost at least $7,400 per square meter. But they come with an operetta scene of medieval turrets, bridges, and flower-filled squares.

Ruled by a Grand Duke, a third of Luxembourg’s 420,000 inhabitants were born elsewhere. Add cross-border workers, and foreigners account for 60% of its labor force. Although the official language is Lëtzebuergesch, English, French, and standard German are widely spoken—cosmopolitan Luxembourg is an international finance center and tax haven. However, its bank secrecy laws are now under scrutiny.

7. United States

New York CityFrom Florida’s palm-lined coasts to Alaska’s snow-covered crags…from the dazzle of New York to the big skies of Montana…the U.S. has, arguably, something to offer everyone.

And no question: It is the land of convenience. No place else on Earth is it easier to get what you want, when you want it.

The U.S. is safe. It’s comfortable. It can even be affordable. As readers will on occasion point out: It’s possible to rent a place in central Nebraska for the same price you’ll pay in Merida, Mexico. (Though that does beg the question: There amid the cornfields, can you see the opera, enjoy the café culture, or be at the beach in half an hour?)

It’s hard to beat the day-to-day ease you enjoy in the U.S. You can buy eye drops at a pharmacy at 3 a.m. and have dinner delivered to your door in 30 minutes or less. We are efficient. (And, if you’ve ever tried to shop on a Sunday in France or get a driver’s license in Italy in under 45 days, you appreciate the merits in that.) But—as our editors and readers living overseas are quick to point out—convenience (and the frenetic pace that comes with it) is often overrated.

8. Belgium

Bruges, BelgiumDivided into Flemish-speaking Flanders and French-speaking Wallonia, Belgium also boasts high scores. Since medieval times, its merchant cities have prospered. The capital, Brussels, grabs most attention, but Bruges and Antwerp (famed for diamond trading) also flaunt stepped-gable houses and splendid guildhalls. 

Employing thousands of foreign staff, Brussels is the headquarters of the European Union and NATO. A dreary place of paper-shuffling bureaucrats? Not at all.

Ringed with parks, it’s Europe’s greenest capital. Along with many international schools, it delivers all an expat could desire: theater, English-language cinema, sports centers, great public transport, Trappist-brewed beers, numerous gourmet and ethnic restaurants, and fast trains to London, Paris, and Amsterdam. As they rarely plan to stay, most expats rent. In central Brussels, one-bedroom apartments start at $740 monthly.

Like its delectable chocolates, Brussels has a soft-centered heart. The municipality not only sterilizes stray cats, it appoints someone to feed them. Its main library offers storytelling in sign language for deaf children. And disadvantaged citizens can attend cultural events at hefty discounts.

9. Canada

Toronto, CanadaStretching from the islands of Newfoundland and Nova Scotia in the east to Vancouver Island in the west and north to the Arctic Circle, Canada is a diverse country of incredible natural beauty and resources.

Health care and living standards are among the highest in the world. Canada’s economy is based on vast natural resources, a robust financial industry, and innovative manufacturing including the renewable energy sector. Canada has remained resilient through the global financial crises. The banks are considered “more Swiss than the Swiss banks,” and property markets are “on fire.”

Canada’s major cities (like Toronto and Vancouver) offer fantastic entertainment. Sports, theater, and concerts are widely accessible and affordable and there’s a rich offering of free festivals.

Cost of living is affordable, although the strong currency has made it relatively more expensive in recent times. Canada’s real attraction comes in the form of nature and outdoor activities. In summer, there’s hiking, boating, golf, and fishing. Winter offers outdoor activities like skiing, snow mobiling, and ice fishing. Canadians are warm, welcoming, and fun, and the country still retains many of the charms brought by her early visitors from Europe.

10. Italy

ItalyWhat Italians don’t know about la dolce vita (the sweet life) isn’t worth knowing.

OK, trains are often in ritardo (late), workers frequently strike, corruption isn’t unknown, and red tape comes in slow-moving triplicate. But balance that against Rome, Venice, and Florence…against mountains reflected in sapphire lakes…against golden beaches and hill towns cobbled with secrets.

Then throw in 60% of the world’s art treasures. A national health care system rated second in the world by the WHO. Sunflowers, vineyards, and opera. And the best espresso, pizza, and ice cream you’ll ever taste.

Admittedly, major cities and tourist hotspots are expensive. But the Mezzogiorno, Italy’s deep south, is different. Although unemployment is high and incomes far less than in the north, it’s just as colorful. As historic, too. Phoenicians, Greeks, and Saracens all left traces of their passing.

Southern winters are short and mild, summers are scorching hot, and jugs of wine cost $6.50. On Sicily and in slow-paced regions like Puglia, Basilicata, and Campania, affordable homes abound. Even farmhouses with a couple of acres surface for $60,000. Many village houses cost even less. Decent rentals start at $550 monthly.