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AG Flash Poll – the rise of independent brokerages in 2011

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The groundswell of independent brokers is making noise across America and we’d like to know your thoughts on the topic. Is it just noise or is there really a movement happening before our eyes? Indie brokers are being asked to speak at conferences about their methods and agents across America are calling for “raising the bar” by opening up shop at their own indie brokerage yet at the same time, rebate brokers are several boutique brokers are closing their doors.

It’s an uncertain time and the rise or fall of indie brokerages is up for debate. Please take a moment to take the AG Flash Poll below and we’ll post results soon and discuss your thoughts on the topic.

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17 Comments

17 Comments

  1. Cindy Marchant

    January 3, 2011 at 3:15 pm

    Good thought provoking topic…as I wrote in my comment on the poll…we are ALL looking at our expenses and rethinking how we run our business. It has to be considered, and from that some will move into an independent broker role.

  2. Marty Hunt

    January 4, 2011 at 8:08 am

    After a couple of “training years” at ERA I wanted to maximize my profits. I went to ReMax for many years (seven years) and then spent eleven years at Realty Executives. Both of those affiliations were like running my own brokerage except I paid them hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Since the great equalizer has reduced the benefits to ME of having a brand or franchise, it was a natural progression to stp paying for expensive office space, institutional advertising, training (I was often the trainer anyway…) and to add to the profits of another business person. Charity begins at home, right? So I’ll keep the hundreds of thousands in my pocket.

    I built my business by referral and most of my clients couldn’t care less what it says on the name badge. If I get the job done and provide the tools, services, marketing and skills they want that’s the bottom line. The Realtor Association and MLS in our market provide SO many tools and it doesn’t take a franchise to syndicate to thousands of web sites or advertise to get more leads than I can handle. I believe the independent broker can move faster, be more creative, avoid red tape and adapt to opportunities faster than the franchises. The consumer doesn’t care about the agent or the affiliation as much as they care about the inventory. For the consumer it’s about houses, service and skills and not about the name of your company.

    I have many friends at franchises and that might be the best for them. I know MANY other top agents with big name franchises that are now independent and opened small shops or one man/woman shops. For agents, it about costs and benefits. For me I was able to increase profits as well as improve processes by being independent.

  3. Matt Thomson

    January 6, 2011 at 1:36 am

    Someday agents will learn the difference between cost versus value. Independent brokerages cost less because they provide less value…generally.
    The only sustainable model that I see is a full service, big brand, agent-centric model. The only one I’m currently aware of is Keller Williams.
    Having the tools, systems, and purchase power of a big brand is vital to providing value. Being agent-centric is vital to retaining agents.

  4. stephanie crawford

    February 2, 2011 at 3:30 am

    just a random post here to let you know that i got through 78 AG posts in my RSS feed tonight. This was my final one. Man I was backed up!

    • Lani Rosales

      February 2, 2011 at 12:30 pm

      Wow, Stephanie!!! Welcome back to the present, yay! 🙂 😉 Also, thanks for reading, we love having you around!

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Austin

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?

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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.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

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.

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aging housing inventory

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.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

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.

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zillow move

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

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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