It’s that time of year again.
Every year it’s the same thing. The end of the year approaches, and brokers ask their agents to start thinking about next year, and they begin to encourage their agents to develop a business plan for next year. Were you happy with your work this year? Were you pleased with your closings? What will you do differently next year? These are the types of questions that you hear at the office meetings.
If you’ve been in real estate for any length of time, the preparation of the business plan and the encouragement to set goals is part of a cycle and the same questions arise about this time every year. The best agent I know believes that the only way to see loads of closings in January is to put loads of deals in your pipeline in September, October, and early November.
He believes that this will pump you up and get you motivated because you begin the year strong. Makes sense, right? If you start winding down around Thanksgiving, you may not have another closing until February. And, if you consider real estate your full time gig, it may be hard to make ends meet without those regular closings.
3 Ways to Instantly Increase Your Income
If you are a residential specialist in your local area and you are looking to boost your income and your closings in 2014, there are many things that you could do to revise or adapt your current business model. Here are some things that you may want to add to your real estate bag of tricks:
- Short Sales. If you are one of those people that hates the paperwork and the general dysfunction associated with working on a short sale, you may want to think again. According to RealtyTrac data, there are still 19 million borrowers that are underwater on their mortgages (25.3% of all homeowners with mortgages) that may need your help today. Consider marketing for short sale listings and co-listing with a short sale specialist.
- Property Management. In the past six years, millions of homeowners have become renters. Consider the steady income associated with property management as a great way to pay the bills in good and bad economic times.
- New Neighborhoods and Farm Areas. What’s the average sales price for your closings? Are there local neighborhoods that have a higher median sales price? Market in new areas where the median sales price is higher and you can increase (possibly making more money, while closing fewer transactions).
Of course, when considering ways to change your business plan, you have to give to get. If you expect to increase your income and your market share in 2014, you may need to spend time and money in order to get in front of the clients that you want. Don’t just sit around the office and wait for the phone to ring. With landlines becoming increasingly obsolete, there’s no excuse for sitting around anymore.
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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