Out of character
I’m not a self-indulgent person, and although I have a perceived public persona, I really do enjoy putting others out front, and in the case of AG, I get to do that on a daily basis. I suppose in this regard, I am truly selfish. I take great pride in what we do here at AG, but rarely take to this stage to boast AG’s many accomplishments, but I would be remiss if I didn’t do that today.
Today is special, perhaps one of many special days, but most especially special as we mark new milestones. In less than four years, we’ve served over 2,000,000 readers, published over 3,800 articles, we are nearing 68,000 comments and not one animal was injured in the process. Sure, there have been a few bent egos, possibly a few misunderstandings, but at the end of the day, I have to say as any proud father would that AG’s milestones are important and should be recognized. But our work isn’t done, and in fact, these milestones only mark a turning point at AG toward the future.
We have a big responsibility that we take seriously
We’ve broken hundreds of stories, are often the first to a big story, and those we write about rarely know whether we love them or hate them- in this sense, we’re doing our job. It means we both acknowledge the good and the bad, even when the good is less popular or less read. One AG columnist noted that it seemed in order to get a piece on the National Association of Realtors read, you had to insert “[negative adjective] NAR” in the title. There’s a lot of truth to that statement, but it’s never been AG’s way of doing things, and it has served us well.
Early this morning over coffee, I glanced at AG’s traffic stats to see that 1,000 unique visitors had already hit AG this morning, with nearly three times that number in article views, and you think wow, but then you pare those numbers with our 98.9% real estate professional demographic, you really get a sense of the awesome responsibility we have at AG, in not only what we say, but what we do- this fact has never once been lost on us.
The vision for AG and a turning point
I mentioned a turning point earlier on, and although I cannot get into specifics right now, you’re seeing some of the changes live before your eyes every day, and you have been over the past year, but more evidently in the past and coming weeks.
My vision for AG has been to create a news environment that I would have appreciated when I was practicing. I’ve never really fit into the old stodgy reads, and magazines are pretty but behind the times. I needed a publication that is on time but was aggressive enough to be bleeding edge, an assertive balance, PRO Member, and today’s real estate news headlines at a glance. A digital environment that narrows down today, inspires me, targets my focus, and entertains- a place I could relate.
AG has the ingredients, and together, we’ve repeatedly influenced major industry change, we are bleeding edge, with a trailing edge wing, accompanied by today’s top real estate news stories, and remain member first.
What your support means to us
We really are proud to call you friends even when we do not agree, and we thank you so much for your support over these years, and ask you once again to continue that support through comments, supporting our site partners, reading, and spreading the word about AG. It means the world to us- we really do read and see it all. Together you, and AG make one hell of an industry voice, and it’s truly inspiring from where we stand. We hope you’ll continue to share AG through links to AG from your sites, utilize our content to educate your readers, share our content, comment to articles, and support however else you can to help us continue to serve you.
And to our site partners that keep AG free, and allow us to be who we are and unrelenting, thanks to you too- without you, we couldn’t do what we do.
Thanks for all you that do,
Benn and the AGTeam
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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