How Do Real-Estate Agents Show Homes During Covid? With Face Masks, Gloves and Some Ingenuity

Heather T. Roy & Learka Bosnak

Ms. Bosnak: Heather and I have been working together for 15 years and we are very comfortable doing showings together. Then Covid shut everything down. We did a showing and I came back completely frustrated, because we were wearing masks. I felt muzzled. I was constantly running around saying, “I’m smiling under here!” This business is all about rapport, comfort level.

Ms. Roy: We’re like, “We need new skills. We need people to know what we’re thinking, and we also need to know what they’re thinking.” It was almost like we needed a body language expert. I am single and I had met with a couple of matchmakers in L.A. One had her clients meet with a body language expert—Mark Edgar Stephens.

Ms. Bosnak: Heather’s still single, but we love this guy.

Ms. Roy: So we called Mark and told him what we were

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Northeast Ohio counties face foreclosure risk, but others top the list

Remember the international coverage of Cleveland as a hotbed for eviction and foreclosure cases during the housing collapse and Great Recession? Maybe that won’t be the case in this recession.

A report on vulnerability to foreclosures prepared by Attom Data Solutions, a housing data provider based in Irvine, Calif., shows Northeast Ohio counties are trending lower than other parts of the nation so far this time around. The Midwest is faring better than the Northeast U.S., according to Attom. The data services provider said housing costs rising faster in pricier markets put them at more risk for foreclosures than flyover country.

The index takes into account unemployment linked to COVID-19, home equity, percentage of income to buy a home, prices, current foreclosure cases, housing debt and other factors. The lower a county’s ranking on the list, the greater risk the area has for foreclosures. Surprisingly, just three Northeast Ohio counties

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Three Middleburg Heights nuisance homes finally face demolition

MIDDLEBURG HEIGHTS, Ohio — Homes on three nuisance properties in Middleburg Heights are getting closer to demolition after nearly a one-year process to get rid of them.

City Council last December voted to pursue razing homes at 7640 and 7705 Eastland Road, as well as one at 19685 Sheldon Road.

The Finance Committee at its Monday (Oct. 5) meeting recommended approval of a $56,350 appropriation to cover demolition costs. City Council is anticipated to pass legislation authorizing the expense during the Oct. 13 council meeting.

It has taken a long time to get to this point, with hearings held throughout the year with the property owners. One owner failed to appear before the city’s Nuisance Abatement Board, which consists of the law director, service director, finance director and the mayor’s executive assistant.

“It didn’t seem they had the cash flow to be able to maintain the property or even get

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Development hell: Collapse of plan for Beech Brook site in Pepper Pike in face of opposition may not bode well for sale

CLEVELAND, Ohio — One of the most contentious political debates in Northeast Ohio this year is not about the presidential election, control of the Senate or even the Ohio Statehouse corruption scandal.

It’s about zoning in Pepper Pike.

Hundreds of yard signs bearing the phrase “No to Mixed-Use” are scattered throughout the small, well-to-do far-eastern suburb. They line the sidewalk-less residential streets as part of an effort that opposition organizer Manny Naft said aims to keep the city’s “bucolic” nature.

The signs refer to a measure on the Nov. 3 ballot to change the zoning for a 68-acre tract of land owned by behavioral health services nonprofit Beech Brook, along with two smaller adjoining lots. The issue has divided the community.

The division resulted in online bickering, contentious town hall meetings, threats of defamation lawsuits and even unused condoms left at Axiom Development Principal Bryan Stone’s home.

Stone, who lives

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Broward attorneys face charges in scheme to steal foreclosure surplus checks

Two Broward attorneys are behind bars for their involvement in a nearly $750,000 fraud scheme to rip off unsuspecting victims of foreclosure surplus checks, according to the Broward Sheriff’s Office.

The attorneys, Rashisa Overby and Ria Sankar-Balram, worked with Illya and Patricia Tinker, a married couple nicknamed “tomb raiders” for another multimillion-dollar scheme in which they stole properties across South Florida, some of which belonged to the dead.

The Broward Sheriff’s Office arrested Overby and Sankar-Balram Monday.

The attorneys filed fraudulent pleadings in Broward County Court, claiming they represented elderly property owners or heirs of deceased property owners who were owed surplus money from the foreclosure sale of a property, authorities said.

After judges granted the pleadings, those funds never made it to the rightful owners. Instead, the money went into the attorneys’ escrow accounts, and some of it was wired to the Tinkers’ bank accounts, authorities said.

The

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Owners of Westin Cleveland Downtown, already mired in FBI probe, face mortgage foreclosure lawsuit

CLEVELAND, Ohio – The owners of the Westin Cleveland Downtown – currently mired in an FBI investigation into whether they helped launder money through the purchase of real estate in the U.S. – are now facing a foreclosure lawsuit for the hotel.



a group of people standing in front of a building: The Westin Cleveland Downtown, seen here in a file photo.


© Plain Dealer file photo/cleveland.com/TNS
The Westin Cleveland Downtown, seen here in a file photo.

Optima 777 owes $35 million in the unpaid principal of a mortgage for the 484-room St. Clair Avenue hotel, as well as nearly $500,000 in interest and a $1.4 million late fee, according to a lawsuit filed Friday in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court. The company obtained the loans from Cleveland International Fund of Cleveland Heights, a firm that connects foreign investors seeking residency in the U.S. with real estate development opportunities.

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Cleveland International Fund CEO Stephen Strnisha said in an interview Monday that Optima 777, which owns 95 percent of

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Colorado nursing homes face new pandemic challenge: staying open

A decrease in the number of residents living inside, combined with increased costs, has led many facilities to financial trouble.

DENVER — The number of new cases of COVID-19 in long term care facilities has decreased since the beginning of the pandemic. Now nursing homes are facing another challenge: staying open.

Many facilities have had to invest more money into securing personal protective equipment to keep employees and residents safe. They’ve also had to pay employees overtime and bonuses for working through the pandemic. On top of that, the number of residents living inside these facilities has dropped sharply.

Doug Farmer is the president of the Colorado Health Care Association, representing senior care centers across the state. He estimates the number of residents living inside nursing homes has decreased between 15% and 40% in some places.

“When they start to see a decrease in the number of people that they

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How Bruce Kenan sued for a tax bargain on his Skaneateles Lake homes; “a slap in everybody else’s face”

In 2018, Skaneateles town officials raised the property tax assessment on Destiny USA partner Bruce Kenan’s two lakefront mansions to $7 million.

Unhappy with that, Kenan went to court and argued that was too high, that they really should be valued at $2.7 million. They settled somewhere in the middle: $4.7 million.

Then, less than a year later, Kenan put the properties up for sale.

Kenan’s asking price? $8.4 million.

That’s three times the amount he argued in court they were worth.

The Kenans are like other wealthy landowners in New York who use their money and lawyers to negotiate more favorable tax bills, town Assessor Michael Maxwell said.

Maxwell said he sees it again and again in Skaneateles and in Lake George, a ritzy Adirondack town where he is also a part-time assessor.

“The whole thing to me is just a slap in everybody else’s face,” Maxwell said.

Kenan’s

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California residents again face fire anguish as homes burn

California Wildfires

Noah Berger / AP

Flames from the Glass Fire consume the Glass Mountain Inn, late Sunday, Sept. 27, 2020, in St. Helena, Calif.

Updated Monday, Sept. 28, 2020 | 4:13 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO — Northern California’s wine country was on fire again Monday as strong winds fanned flames in the already scorched region, destroying homes and prompting overnight evacuation orders for more than 50,000 people.

Residents of the Oakmont Gardens senior living facility in Santa Rosa boarded brightly lit city buses in the darkness overnight, some wearing bathrobes and using walkers. They wore masks to protect against the coronavirus as orange flames marked the dark sky.

The fire threat forced Adventist Health St. Helena hospital to suspend care and transfer all patients elsewhere.

The fires that began Sunday in the famed Napa-Sonoma wine country about 45 miles

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About 1M Homeowners Could Face Foreclosure

Approximately one million homeowners are at risk of losing their homes through foreclosure despite the safety net established by Congress at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to industry data.

The Wall Street Journal reported that while homeowners with federally guaranteed mortgages were granted a reprieve from making home loan payments for up to a year without penalty in March, they were required to contact their lenders to request the relief. Instead of being proactive, many borrowers have instead fallen behind on payments, amassing late fees and missed payments.

“Some borrowers are falling through the cracks that we’re not picking up,” Lisa Rice, CEO of the National Fair Housing Alliance, a Washington, D.C.-based nonprofit that aims to end housing discrimination, told the WSJ. “It’s just a really sad series of events.” 

One million borrowers are 30 days past due or more on

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