This past week has been a week of discovery.
I hate to admit it, but I haven’t done a lot of real estate this week. I’ve been busy doing a lot of thinking and planning instead. The previous week was a slow one for me, so I didn’t have future business to take care of today. Don’t get me wrong, I still worked on getting some things lined up so that next week is busier for me, but this week had a lot more to do with thoughts about where I was heading and how I was heading there.
Last week, I discussed how I am building an empire and chronicled some of the tiny steps I’ve made towards that goal. My blog is getting visitors (and not just from AgentGenius), I’m popping up in Google, I’ve made great local connections through Twitter, and my phone is ringing. It seems as if I’m on the right path.
It’s still slow though. I’m not getting millions of visitors and comments and my phone doesn’t always ring. That’s ok with me…for now. I want the slow growth, so I have time to learn and figure it all out. I was thrust (by my own doing) into real estate in a not-so-great moment. What I learn today will suit me tomorrow when the markets are boiling hot and I’m the answer to the question.
So what steps will lead me to my next stage of growth?
First thing I’m doing is abandoning the things that have not worked in the year I have been an agent. I’ve tried to like some of these things and will incorporate what I have learned from them, but they are just not worth the trouble and expense. I won’t name these things as I don’t want to discourage anyone from them, as I do see value in them – just not value for me. With some of the dead weight jettisoned, I have freed up some much needed time and capital. And with those, I have moved into new arenas.
I have written a lot of posts about local issues, places, and homes and now it is time to broaden the scope of my writing. It is now time to begin writing more about real estate and less about the little things. Of course these little things do matter and they are a great source of traffic, so I will not be leaving them by the roadside to die. Instead, I will incorporate new ideas and real estate specific posts in with them.
When I first began writing I avoided a lot of the real estate posts; either I felt I wasn’t knowledgeable enough, someone had already written it and written it better, or I was so afraid to take a bad step and wind up guiding a potential client down the wrong path. I knew things, but I lacked some of the confidence I now have. With that confidence comes responsibility. Responsibility to the public which comes across my blog and has a thirst for real estate.
photo courtesy of yoondo
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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