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Hey Suzanne! A frat house can’t just move in next door to someone, can it?

My friend Debbie asked:  Hey Suzanne, we watched the movie “Bad Neighbors” the other night starring Seth Rogen and Zac Efron (it was actually pretty funny) but the whole plot of the movie bothered me- it was about a couple who has a frat house move in next door to them and their attempts to stop them. But a frat house can’t just move in next door to someone, can it? I would think there’s a whole zoning issue and requirements, approval from the township, etc? Even though the movie was funny I just kept thinking how unbelievable it was. I said, I must consult an expert! lol

The answer is this: If the home is in a single family zone they could not get away with it. In fact, a lot of towns are now passing “X persons per sq ft.” or “X persons per legal bedroom” ordinances to combat just this kind of thing.

They are called anti-stacking laws. Stacking refers to a practice that was going on a few years ago wherein residents would literally sleep in 8 hour shifts. They would stuff as many mattresses as they could into every room in the house and then literally sleep one person to a twin sized mattress per 8 hour shift. I can’t tell you how many people died in house fires during that time, it was awful. Thus, anti-stacking laws.

Single Family means just that, everyone living in the house has to be members of the same family. But still some would move every distant relative into the same house, and it made it difficult for young adults who had a room mate situation, so now we have anti-stacking.

Debbie said:  I figured! Thanks for the awesome explanation. I’m just surprised they would make a movie with such an obvious plot hole, then. Unless I missed something in the beginning of the film that explained why a frat house was allowed on a street with single family homes. But I don’t think so. 

Well, Deb, there’s a reason it’s called fiction!  LOL

Technology on Overload – Bring Back The Personal Touch!

I got a call from a lady a while ago.  She saw my blog posts and felt I was someone she could talk to.  It seems she had called another agent regarding a rental and got his/her voicemail.  Shortly after she got a text message that simply said, “Text me.”  She didn’t realize who it was and so she texted back, “Who is this?”  And the reply was, “You called me.”  She felt quite disturbed by this and called me to see if I would answer my phone and could help her.  She asked me if this was the way realtors do business now, if this is ‘normal

I was not able to help this young woman because she was from a neighboring state, but I told her it is not how I do business!  I may text clients, but not as an initial contact.  I told her that if it made her uncomfortable, I felt fairly sure any realtor in her State could help her, she didn’t have to work with the listing agent.  And, of course, that is exactly what she did.

I bring this up because sometimes, in our quest to do more in less time, we forget that we are dealing with human beings and not machines.  Facebook may be a terrific way to stay in touch with our sphere but it is not a substitute for good old fashioned human contact.  Realtors, be careful not to become too dependent on technology.  We are all still made of flesh and blood, and, as someone reminded me recently, people may not remember what you do but they will remember how you make them feel.  Make them feel important!



About Suzanne

Suzanne MacDowell is an award winning real estate agent with nearly 12 years of experience helping buyers, sellers, landlords, tenants and small business owners to achieve their real estate goals. Suzanne has been awarded the National Association of Realtors’ Short Sales & Foreclosure Resource (SFR).

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