Hating the Tree
This week I was delivering a lecture on Agency Law. For those who have read my posts before, you know that to say I’m not a fan of Dual Agency, is to put it mildly. My warnings against this type of practice are founded in the overwhelming evidence that it’s an open door to litigious pursuits, as well as personal convictions that it is rarely in the client’s best interest. At the end of this lecture several agents thanked me for the risk reduction ideas and the evaluations were great – however, there was one (there always is) agent who was very offended. She has been practicing real estate for nearly as long as I’ve been alive and was very clear that many steps are taken to insure that could represent both sides. She advised me that it was agents, such as I, that were ruining this business and were making it too complicated.
At the end of the conversation, I could feel my frustration with the industry start to swell. I began to write a ranting post about the simple-mindedness of some agents and how I can’t wait till they… Well, you can imagine what I was going to write.
Then I remembered this quote from Malcolm X from 1965: “You can’t hate the roots of a tree, and not hate the tree.” Oh how often I’ve hated the tree’s root. However, the real estate industry has given much to me and my family. Our clients often become friends and repeat clients. We love most of the people we work with both as clients and other practitioners.
The Vocal Minority, Is Still a Minority
It seems to me that many of us who blog about Real Estate take aim at the agents who think differently than us. We often talk about agents in the collective, as if we weren’t part of the industry. However, my experience has been that most agents try hard and work for their client’s best interest. It’s those who do not put their client’s interests first or refuse to change with the industry that happen to stand out. They are the agents who refuse to learn technology, current trends or embrace change. They will always be there but, their voice and influence is diminishing.
Other agents may rant against the more progressive agents, as they play solitaire on floor duty, spend their day gossiping with other agents and wondering why they no longer have the market influence they once had. So why then, do we spend so much time worrying about this group? Because, they can make us look bad, they can be a barrier to us serving our clients well and they can be annoying.
Continue To Be Industry Changers
In the 90’s there was a great commercial from Apple about “Think Different”. I know that many of us have had Brokers or other agents, maybe leaders; who looked down upon us for our thoughts about the industry. I’m not thinking just of the technology or Social Media. Maybe it’s your own thought of how to market, agency issues or brokerage model. Maybe it’s your stance on single agency, presenting your own offers to the sellers of that new al la cart ting you’ve just started. Whatever it is, stick with it until YOU’RE satisfied that it’s not effective. The greatest changes in society and world have come from those who didn’t think as the rest.
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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