After a brief battle with brain cancer diagnosed just over two months ago, Joe is no longer with us. Joe was an outspoken lawyer and industry advocate, a vigilant champion of free speech and privacy and is well known for his role as founder of Sellsius.com and TheClozing.com. He got on a bus and toured the country a while back to meet as many real estate bloggers as possible, he has awarded women in real estate with recognition every year and always fought for the underdog.
We all owe a great deal to Joe for his role in the real estate blogging world, and Benn and I personally have enjoyed many years of friendship with Joe as did many. Details of the funeral will be posted here when we know anything and we will pass along any of your kind words to his wife.
Joe, thank you for all you’ve done for everyone around you, you will be so very sorely missed.
talk @ agentgenius .com
My personal note:
After writing this and sitting quietly for some time, I wanted to share with you why this is such a devastating loss and why we’re so frustrated, and the tears are so abundant in our home tonight. I feel like the last line of defense is gone, like the last line of sanity is erased, and honestly, Joe is who we always called if we had a dilemma- when we were attacked, when we were considering a lawsuit, when we needed a balanced voice, or when we were tempted to put a note into his “Deep Throat” mailbox that he asked us to so many times over the years.
A few years back, Joe and I met in person for the first time at a small private party in San Francisco. We found it amusing that we were the two people hovering consistently at the tiny bar without leaving, and we joked that we wanted to get the last drink served at the party (Joe won). That night, I asked him how he does it, how we stays so vigilant. His answer as his eyes lit up, he flashed that patent smile and shrugged his sport-coat-draped shoulders was, “who else is gonna do it?” Amazing. We love Joe because he is open to everyone and is always on the side of justice over popularity.
Joe felt like an old friend the minute we shook hands and almost everyone I know feels the same way. The Defender is gone and I honestly don’t know who to call now in hundreds of situations. Joe has helped us so much along the way and this truly is a loss to us all, even those of you who don’t know who he is- he cared for us all and watched out for us, and I believe he’s still doing the same, just from a different vantage point.
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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