BuySide Realty Inc. launches in Seattle and goes head-to-head with Seattle based Redfin Corp. Buyside Realty through Iggy’s House lists home for free while Redfin charges a flat fee for their MLS listing.
Will Buyside eat the perch for dinner? Who knows, but this will be more than interesting considering Redfin put a 23 day hold on all new listings. I suspect this is all in Buyside’s favor as Buyside enters and sheds a new opportunity, hype, publicity and a larger rebate to buyers. Redin offers a 66% rebate where Buyside offers a 75% rebate to home buyers. There is obviously no floor, but Redfin has already decided not to compete on the lower commissions, offering a localized service in comparison to Buyside who will operate online and by phone. Refdin does offer limited personal service at their discounted fee.
It would appear that the two VC giants are making nice at the moment- although both Heads have publicly commented on the other. Chief Executive of Iggy’s House, Joseph Fox takes a less confrontational approach:
“I believe that you have to change an industry from within the industry,” said Fox, who drew comparisons to his days in the online stock trading business. “I don’t believe that online buyer’s agents like us and others will knock out traditional agents. I was a believer in the 90s that online stock brokers will work with traditional stock brokers. And guess what? Ten years later there are still traditional stock brokers and online brokers. They have learned to work together.”
Glenn Kelman at Redfin basically dismisses Buyside:
“A long time ago we had to decide if we were going to match BuySide’s price and we decided not to. We decided to compete on quality of customer service, not on price.”
Fair enough. However, this past week, a blog came out exposing Redfin’s Listing agents’ lack of attentiveness to a listing and an unhappy listing client. The link and post were later pulled for concern that the blog post was in regards to an ongoing transaction. We aren’t sure if it was a direct result, but the day after the post was pulled, Glenn at Redfin issued the 23 day halt to listings via the Corporate blog making this admission:
“And yes, I know that traditional real estate agents don’t get a day off during the busiest time of the year either, and I don’t know how you do it. It’s a tough job. In the case of our agents, it seems to be especially stressful because they’ve been at the office late into the night, every night.”
With new competition looming, I would suspect they’ll be in the office even more.
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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