Real estate agents and real estate brokerages are obsessed with their websites. We spend hours on thinking about them, discussing them, and attend seminars about how to make them better. We artfully craft the “About Us” section, check the graphics, and work on clever SEO tricks.
But even though I’ve been prey to this thought process, I’ve come to the conclusion that Consumers just aren’t that into our websites. They just don’t care. All the consumer wants from a static website is to get property information. They don’t care about the story of “Us” (the agent or company). Sure they want to know about the person they’re dealing with, but on the web, looking at properties, I’m certainly not convinced that they really care that much about who you are, or what your family looks like, or where your office is.
If you’re a listing agent, your job is to expose the property to the largest audience possible, and I know that all of us talk to sellers about how many places their property will be listed on the Internet. And as print media is falling by the wayside, the amount of Internet exposure grows and grows. In fact, it occurred to me recently that in most major metro markets, you almost don’t need to have much of a web site except to attract buyers – and that’s a different story, and one that has social media in its storyline.
So with the property listing information on all of the sites it appears on, what effect is putting your listing on your Facebook page going to have? If I dodged the information you put on the dozen or more web sites you syndicate to, I have to still dodge the IDX feeds from all of the other members of your multiple listing service. And if I’m working that hard to avoid getting property info, the listing on your Facebook page won’t convince me to look or to buy. So what’s the business purpose of being on Facebook or any other social media site? Its to be a trusted influence or advisor to potential customers and clients. And you don’t do that by talking about your listings. You do it by listening to the members of your community and helping provide them with what they need. Be a good member of the community. provide information that people ask for, not the information that makes you look better or sound smarter or more successful.
The short version of the story is that the most important part of your job is to get hired – because until you have been hired by a buyer or a seller or a landlord or a tenant, you are not working. So instead of worrying about your property information, how about worrying about what would make a buyer or seller want to hire you instead of hiring someone else – because there are a few other real estate people out there looking for a job, and they all have web sites too.
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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