Imagine if you will a world where there is no full or public list of homes for sale. Imagine that you have to drive through every neighborhood your buyer wants to live in to find what homes are for sale. Imagine you have to walk into every neighborhood real estate office to inquire about the for sale properties. Imagine you represent buyers and you have to charge those buyers an extra fee because the listing agent won’t cooperate with you. Imagine you’re a listing agent who has to routinely share billing with one or two more agencies? How does that sound? Like a bad episode of The Twilight Zone?
Close, it’s France.
The country has no MLS and a cultural lack of cooperation when it comes to real estate. The Service Inter Agence, run by the Federation nationale d’immobilier (the NAR of France), has tried to rally the troops but has fallen short. It’s not required for real estate agents to participate in the SIA (although agents do have to be licensed), therefore the information is spotty. Bernard Grech, former president of ORPI, and even the illustrious Alain Pinel claim to have working French MLSs, but in truth, their systems pale in comparison to what we have in America.
Net result of this abstention: bad news for both French real estate agents and buyers and sellers of real estate in France.
For French real estate agents, it causes them to spend much more time searching and researching homes for sale for their buyers. In France a seller can list their home with multiple agencies (talk about a split listing). An exclusive agreement exists, but many owners choose to list their property with more than one neighborhood agency so they can get greater exposure. The good news is floor time looks good with a constant stream of walk-ins, albeit with stiff necks from looking up so much. Listing agents fight to get exclusives and buyer’s agents practically don’t exist.
Buyers face a daunting endeavor. If you don’t have a buyer’s agent, you simply walk neighborhoods and find listed property for sale or you visit brokerages in the neighborhood in which you want to live (and there are multiple per neighborhood).
Most sellers use one of the corner agencies, which by the way don’t have a whiz bang web site with multiple photos and virtual tours. As the French say, pas du tout (not at all). It’s back to the 70s with pictures of for sale homes in the window and maybe a printed home buyers guide in front or just inside the store.
Imagine being a buyer and doing all your own research without the assistance of an IDX web site. Forget finding comparables. And then once you find a home you want to purchase, after making numerous phone calls and scheduling appointments yourself, you have to deal with the listing agent without representation. Eeek.
I might be going out on a limb here, but I think France could take a big old lesson from the real red, white and blue country on this subject.
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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