There is a heated discussion going on right now in the RE.net regarding professionalism within and consumers’ opinions of the Real Estate Profession and how to bring the two into alignment. While how to “fix” the problem has become a polarizing issue, the fact that there IS an issue does not seem to be in dispute. On the less sinister side of things are the agents who are simply not yet prepared to advise consumers on real estate issues. Has this resulted from a low barrier of entry, too little or too much government control, too little broker oversight? One can only hypothesize, but my guess is that it is a combination of all . On the far more evil side of things are the cheating, lying, lazy and all around bad apples (any level of education, entry, etc. will not help this crowd)…. So the question is, how do we “fix” the first, weed out the second and save our reputation and consumers all at the same time?
My suggestion? Reviews.
Consumers use reviews for everything these days, from buying a book or car to selecting lawyers and doctors. They read the review, weigh the pros and cons and make their decision armed with a better understanding of what they are actually going to receive as a result of those insights from fellow consumers and their past experiences.
At least one review system has been tried in the past in real estate (Quality Service Certification) but if consumers aren’t aware of the service there is little value to using it or being reviewed on it. A system would need to be implemented which has the power of Yelp, Amazon or Service Magic. Consumers need to be able to easily find and review the comments and ratings about specific professionals. This provides a very strong incentive to real estate professionals to do a great job from start to finish with current clients as we know if you don’t, future prospects could read about it. Testimonials are great, but you only get them from past clients for whom you did a good job, consumer based reviews levels the playing field and highlights both the good and the bad.
A well implemented and marketed rating system for real estate professionals could help solve many of our current woes. While it might not change the barrier of entry, it will help highlight those in need of additional oversight by their brokers or the ones who simply do a crummy job. The bad apples would no longer be able to hide and find new victims quite as easily and will either need to change their ways or find a new profession.
It seems simple and elementary and that is the beauty of it. Do a good job, be rewarded for it. Do a poor job and reap what you sow.
So, what do you think? Can a consumer rating system help raise our industry from within and the perception from without?
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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