What’s the Story?
My Social Media career began when Jim Duncan and Liz Luby spoke in front of an NAR sub-committee about blogging. In their presentation, Jim had pointed out a number of sites where NAR was being lambasted by bloggers who felt that the organization was unresponsive, monolithic, and antiquated.
A light went on for me. As someone who had been active in their local association, their state association , and finally the national association, I knew that one of the challenges faced by all of our leadership was finding out how to find out what the members wanted and needed. And Jim had just demonstrated that all we needed to do to connect with this small group was to start listening.
Since the story here is not about the journey I started on, suffice it to say I got very involved in a new world that has become an integral part of my life. But this paragraph begs the question… What is the story here?
NAR is the Story
Since that time, NAR, at the direction of our leadership, and with the assistance of an incredible and responsive staff, has begun to participate in the Re.Net or Blogosphere, or Blogiverse, or whatever you want to call the circle of social media venues populated by our members.
Some of those steps have been more tentative, and some more asured, but they have all led the organization towards more communication with and from its members. And all of these steps have been dissected, reviewed, and criticized (often without an understanding of all of the ramifications of the organizations thought process and structure). But none of that stopped the association from this forward thinking evolution.
Now the Blogger’s Lounge is a place to be at Mid-Year and Annual Meetings. NAR has a social media marketing director. Social Media programs are held at NAR meetings, and our members are being assisted by the association in finding their way through this new form of consumer contact. Many of those people who were critical of the organization have been invited to speak at NAR events, serve on NAR committees, and provide feedback appropriate to their expertise.
And There’s More
So you might think that these are not matters of great note, and that the association doesn’t really value the input of their members. But not after last Monday.
On Monday June 15, 2009, a volunteer group held ReBarCamp Chicago, an event just like other BarCamps around the country, except this one was held in a venue donated by NAR. NAR did not sponsor the event, nor were they involved in the “unstructure” of this “unconference”. But they did demonstrate how much they valued the group of people that showed up.
During the day, a tour of the facility was offered so that people could see “where the magic happens”. And all day, people were invited to come into a room where their feedback on a possible redesign of Realtor.org was solicited.
At the end of the day, after the ReBarCamp, the CEO of NAR, Dale Stinton came down to talk to the people who remained. Now Dale didn’t need to do that – he’s a really busy man with a plate that is always full. But he came down to engage the people there. Not to pontificate or lecture, but to have a dialogue. And he was a gracious host, as the rest of the staff had been all day, even though this group was a minuscule representation of the total membership of the organization. All it took was for them to want to be heard.
So next time you think that NAR is some faceless monolith, come on back and check out my photo of Dale talking to his new social media acquaintances, at the end of a really busy work day, listening and engaging them on their terms, in an open and collegial manner – and be proud you’re part of an organization like that.
Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home
When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?
Looking at the bigger picture
(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).
That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).
They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.
“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”
Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?
With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.
The average home age is higher than ever
(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.
With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.
Prices of new homes on the rise
Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.
Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?
The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.
Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes
(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.
Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.
So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.
1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues
It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.
Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.
2. Two major media brands emerge
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