This spring, we introduced you to real estate brokerage, CondoDomain.com noting the company was “traditional meets sexy” and praised their “1×1 theory” wherein their agents focus on a specific part of the city and know every detail of every building, especially condos and noted their centralized support and a focus on tech tools for their agents was a praiseworthy model.
Although their 20 percent “cash back” incentive used as a retention tool for clientele was not in the top reasons we originally said the company has it “right” while others have it “wrong,” but removal of the incentive does change their core offering and identity. Additionally, it is curious that in their statement regarding removal of incentives, the company noted they had “shelled out more than $1.2M” which is barely higher than the $1 million mark announced in April of 2011. It appears the incentives have either slowed down or their volume of buyers has slowed down, but to hit such a major milestone in April then barely move above that mark in eight months is noteworthy.
This fall, for reasons still undisclosed, there was a shakeup at the executive level with the President, Hoyt Morgan, leaving the company and Founder Anthony Longo taking over the reins again. Originally, the site acted as a mortgage broker for developers then transitioned into selling leads (which is why they still have a web presence in many cities where their brokerage does not exist) and matured into a full brokerage with national aspirations. Now, the company has announced in a statement that they will no longer offer rebates. Could this be yet another pivot, another iteration for the company?
The company will continue to operate in opposition to the legacy brokerages in the industry and tells AGBeat they have exciting things to announce soon, so while rebates are disappearing and a shakeup has gone down, they say they are focused, but it is clear that the company may be taking another pivot.
Statement from CondoDomain:
“As of January 1, 2012, CondoDomain will be eliminating its “cash back” incentive as it had previously offered its buyer clientele.
Since becoming a broker just over 2 years ago, we had made a splash with the very much “industry” frowned upon “rebate” or “refund” business model giving back 20% of our commission to our buyer clients. As a business decision to attract new clients and keep our current clients coming back, giving away such a nice “closing gift” (everyone loves cash, right?) seemed to be the simplest and best business decision at the time. Well, now looking back on it and have shelled out more than $1.2M (yes, $1,200,000), we have determined to put that 20% into our end product and invest into becoming a better company, with better technology, better agents – because that is what our current clients have told us what is most important in the homebuying experience.
To that end – please don’t lob us into the “traditional brokerage” bucket. We never were a tradtiaionl [sic] brokerage and we never will be. Look for CondoDomain to do some very cool things on the web this year and some really great things on the street.”
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
Opinion Editorials7 days ago
3 things to do if you *really* want to be an ally to women in tech
Business Marketing2 days ago
Video is necessary for your marketing strategy
Opinion Editorials2 weeks ago
Questions you wished recruiters would answer
Tech News2 days ago
Chatbots: Are they still useful, or ready to be retired?
Business Entrepreneur1 week ago
15 tips to spot a toxic work environment when interviewing
Opinion Editorials7 days ago
4 simple tips to ease friction with your boss while working remotely
Business Entrepreneur2 weeks ago
Zen, please: Demand for mental health services surges during pandemic
Opinion Editorials6 days ago
Why robots freak us out, and what it means for the future of AI