Now I know what you are going to tell me. I know the our business is done face-to-face…and that is true. But, I’m amazed how much of my job is done sitting in front of this computer screen. And over the last few years, the computer has become even more critical.
In addition to the blogs and social media engagement, I spend a good deal of my time in front of the shining screen executing paperwork. I also communicate with buyers and sellers, talk to agents, communicate with lenders or escrow officers – all from this chair.
I also stay educated about the local and national market conditions and trends from my chair. I track my agents’ activities and my accounting from this chair. I do much of my marketing from this very same chair. My strategizing, my planning, often take place here, too.
Is That A Bad Thing?
Maybe. Maybe not. That fact is, agents, affiliates, and consumers expect ,and often want, that type of contact. My clients would often rather see an email than a phone call; they’re busy too. And while there is no substitute for face time, there is no denying the dominating role that this little machine has taken in my business.
Time for a Break
Someone recently gave me some sage advice as he listened to the rantings of someone who had spent far too much time in recent weeks in front of ‘The Screen’.
He advised, “Step away. Time for a break”. And I did. I shut it down.
Now, you’ll forgive me a few Posterous slips, right?! I had to share the joy of my favorite vacation spot. A few Tweets slipped out. I did peak at Ubertwitter occasionally. I also had transactions underway that required a few emails and a little cyber paper pushing.
I admit, I didn’t go cold turkey. But, I did break away. I looked up.
Have you ever noticed that you can drive down the same street every day nearly without thought, and then one day, you shift your gaze from your direct line of sight and you look up. It’s as if the world changes for you in a brief instant. That small shift in perspective – and all that is ordinary about that street you see every day, suddenly changes. You notice the mountains, or the leaves changing, or a blue sky and it all is just…different.
I think that is the benefit of a Technology Sabbatical, and time off in general. It allows for a broader perspective and fresh eyes to what we see everyday. As we head into the holidays, consider trying one. You might just find it refreshing.
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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