Homes and REALTORS serving the entire state of Texas
For anyone not familiar with the vast expanse that is the state of Texas, just driving from east to west on I-10 can take you 13 and a half hours, according to Microsoft Streets and Trips. The state offers 268,820 square miles of land and is home to some of the largest metropolitan areas in the nation, all in one state. It’s big. Really big.
The Houston Association of Realtors (HAR), led by Bob Hale, has set out to create a consumer facing website, featuring listings across the entire state, and they’re asking all Texas Realtors to display their listings on the new site, Homes and Realtors, another play on the HAR acronym.
According to their beta site, currently staged on blogs.har.com/ and being referred to as “HAR.com” (which is presently used as the homepage of the Houston Association of Realtors and the consumer-facing Houston MLS search portal), it is an “industry-friendly website that works to connect consumers with REALTORS®.”
They are rounding up brokers’ listings from across the state to be featured on the site, and 11 regional pages will feature listings hosted and promoted by HAR.com. The company says there will be no cost to display listings and leads are sent only to the listing agent and listing broker, and there will be no competing ads on the listings, both of which address the common complaint against third party sites who sell leads to and advertise for multiple agents, not necessarily the listing agent.
The site offers no FSBO listings, no re-syndication, it posts re-direct links, provides metrics, refreshes daily, and claims timely support and timely listing removal, again directly addressing common complaints against third party listing sites.
So how will they pull this all together?
If you’re imagining Bob Hale on a roadtrip across Texas with a clipboard marking off every broker, that’s not how it works. Although he and his team have and will spend a tremendous amount of time appealing directly to brokers, the key to this statewide portal is through ListHub, owned by Move, Inc. They say they are the first ListHub Publisher joining the network as a Real Estate Network (REN) Publisher, and will offer data accuracy by following the strict REN rules, available on the ListHub site. This means that brokers may opt to syndicate by check-marking a box in the backend of their ListHub account.
One source tells us that “the site is to be powered by Move, the ink is dry.” In the future, HAR.com will feature a “powered by Move” badge.
Story update: Luke Glass, VP & GM of ListHub clarifies, “The website is fully operated by Houston. There is no “powered by Move” banner on the site. We only deliver the listing data for those brokers who have opt-in.”
Glass added, “I think the confusion is because we are powering syndication/reporting for Houston brokers. A new product being rolled out for Houston brokers specifically is a new dashboard and reporting system to control and track their syndication (Zillow, Trulia, Homes.com, etc…). This new dashboard and reporting within Houston will be HAR branded with a “powered by ListHub” moniker. Totally separate deal from HAR becoming a destination for data.”
Currently, the beta site boasts HAR.com traffic, as it attracts millions of visitors each month, but the math is a little fuzzy, given that it is currently the Association’s site and a local portal. The traffic will surely grow as the listings grow to other cities, but it should be noted that the traffic claims don’t address the product of the future, rather of the past, both of which appear to have the same destination URL.
The timing is complex, because there is a movement gaining steam wherein independent brokers are pulling their listings out of all syndication, particularly in Austin – data that the HAR.com team needs. Time will tell how they will appeal to the brokers who have sworn off syndication and are rallying for others to follow suit.
Praise for HAR.com
Mark Willis, CEO of Keller Williams Realty said, “As the largest real estate franchise in Texas, we’re thrilled that our associates have this new opportunity to reach prospective homebuyers on HAR.com. We’re even more excited that Bob Hale and HAR are doing it right – ensuring that all leads go directly to the listing agent.”
Krisstina Wise, CEO of GoodLife Companies (which stopped syndicating to Trulia in 2012 for their sending leads on their listings elsewhere) noted, “I plan to add all our goodLife Realty listings to HAR.com as another place to expose our listings for our sellers, but that doesn’t require a third-party syndicator who doesn’t serve the agent, or the consumer for that matter. I especially love this because all of my listing calls will come back to me, the listing agent, so that I/we can offer the consumer the information they want on our sellers’ homes. This is what I call a win-win.”
Story and title have been updated to reflect an accurate relationship between Homes and REALTORS and ListHub/Move, Inc.
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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