This week’s AG Flash Poll asks a series of questions about local boards and associations. We asked about attitudes toward associations and about local board weaknesses and strengths and respondents were quite passionate about the topic.
Some were so passionate and honest that they asked not to be quoted. All respondents were Realtors, many of whom are brokers, but interestingly, no association staff members or executives (past or present) took the time to opine. Why is that strange? Several staff associates tweeted, facebooked and emailed about the poll, none of whom committed to answering (perhaps they didn’t know we would honor anonymous submissions?).
Regardless, the mix of respondents included several people who are active in their local boards/associations through task forces and committees and several are elected leaders in their organization. This group is not a transient, flaky agent bunch, these are people devoted to the industry.
Respondents were diverse in location ranging from Ann Arbor and Austin to Virginia and San Diego.
Sentiments toward the associations:
Of those polled, most felt neutral to positively about their association in general and only a minority felt negatively toward their association. It is important to note that the group doesn’t outright hate their association because their honesty in criticism may lead one to think otherwise.
Although respondents have a general appreciation for their association, when asked about the technologies offered by their association, several noted that they’ve sought out their own technologies, add to what the associations offer or noted their association has “none to offer,” but the general sentiment trended negatively.
Associations’ strengths and weaknesses:
When asked about their association’s greatest strength, many responded that the MLS was the main strength of their association, while others, like Bill Wilson in Oklahoma said that his association is progressive and member-oriented.
When asked about their association’s greatest weakness, an overwhelming number indicated low membership participation to be holding the board down, but more indicated the association’s weakness to be the technologies offered by the association. Regarding association weaknesses, Don Fabrizio-Garcia in Connecticut stated that his “show[s] no value for the money” and Ottowa Realtor Matt Richling said that his association is “all around lacking.”
When polled about how their associations can improve, California Realtor, Reuben Estrada pointed to technology like almost all respondents. He noted his association should “adopt the ‘right’ tech not just any tech. We have a good association overall. My biggest quibble is not really pushing tech vendors enough adopt to the latest web standards.”
Vendors, Realtors and Boards
Based on our work with associations ranging from communications and marketing to focus groups, we have found Estrada’s sentiment to be consistent from market to market. We have witnessed over the years associations get called on their technologies and are faced with a communications issue based on what their vendors are selling them. Sometimes technology moves faster than vendors can and other times, vendors that associations have hired to deliver timely technologies fall short. Either way, membership looks to the association as the culprit as the survey results clearly show.
A shift in technology is placing associations, vendors and members in an interesting position as consumers/members are becoming very well educated on technology, modern issues of their choice and the like at an accelerated rate given the rise of blogging and social networking.
The bottom line is that despite the pressure on associations to be cutting edge with technologies for members, associations are generally not seen in a negative light. Many members are highly critical but not hopeless regarding technology. Like California Realtor, Steve Ingels said, “we have outstanding staff and leadership. We will become cutting edge association within the next few years.”
AG Flash Poll results charted:
[pdf href=”https://agentgenius.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/AG-Flash-Poll-Results-about-Associations.pdf”]Click here to view the full PDF report.[/pdf]
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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