Sneeze the Day

Meghan Wright sure knows how to live life to the fullest: Instead of succumbing to the stress of deadly food allergies that put peril just a peanut away, the 22-year-old parlayed her allergic afflictions into a winning entry in "RENT: The Broadway Tour" and’s co-sponsored Facebook photo contest. The contest asked entrants to become a fan of the Facebook fan page and upload photos of residents living the RENT-inspired, Viva la Vie Boheme, carpe-diem bohemian lifestyle in their apartment for a chance to win tickets to the final performance of “RENT: The Broadway Tour” in Sacramento, Calif. “My roommate Mary and I both have deadly food allergies,” Wright says. “Eating or even smelling the wrong foods can result in serious allergic reactions for us. Because of that, we really value the ‘no day but today’ message.” Wright’s submission, and the three runner-ups, can be viewed on the contest blog site, the anchor Web site of For Rent Media Solutions, a division of Dominion Enterprises. 

Shocking Developments

Marin County, Calif., might be one of the priciest real estate markets in the country, but that doesn’t mean the tony Tiburon set is bereft of nefarious elements. A woman accused of zapping her Novato landlord with a Taser gun was ordered by Judge James Ritchie to stand trial on a felony assault charge recently. The district attorney alleges 20-year-old Nicole Leigh Gustely fired the Taser at her landlord during a property inspection. The landlord, Fred Cusin, reportedly collapsed after one of the Taser’s electrical probes hit him in the face. Gustely has pled not guilty to the charges.

Elusive Arbitrage

During 2009, Chicago-based apartment REIT Equity Residential sold 54 consolidated properties, consisting of 11,055 apartment units, for an aggregate sale price of $905.2 million at a weighted average cap rate of 7.6 percent, generating an unlevered IRR of 9.9 percent. That's not a bad pop given the economy. Equity Residential CFO Mark Parrell wasn’t as fortunate with his personal real estate deals. According to, Parrell sold a  three-bedroom, three-and-a-half-bath home in the River Forest neighborhood for $575,000 on Jan. 28, taking a $10,000 hit on the $585,000 Parrell originally paid for the 2,390-square-foot house in July 2001. Still, Parrell is doing comparatively well against the market: According to, there have been 132 home sales in River Forest during the past 12 months, with a median sales price of $487,250.

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