Open houses: worth the risk?
In Chicago, I was recently alerted to a new lawsuit involving a theft at an open house. During an open house on April 22 in Highland Park, a wealthy Chicago suburb, the resident allegedly had $162,000 worth of jewelry stolen. According to an article in the Chicago Sun Times, Lena Katamnin is suing Midwest Realty Ventures, a Prudential Rubloff affiliate, for unspecified damages.
According to reports, Katamanin’s lawsuit alleges that Midwest Realty Ventures had “sole control” over her property during the open house, and, because of its “careless and negligent acts,” are thus liable for the theft.
Now, open houses are often up for debate anyways, as to whether or not they should still be done. The main thing going for open houses, even in this technological world, is that top producers maintain that they are still a great source for leads. They’re not necessarily great for selling the house, but as far as an agent’s business goes, they are still a top lead generator and referral source.
This lawsuit is an eye-opener
I have to say, I haven’t personally heard anything like this happening, ever. Chicago Agent magazine recently published an issue about open houses, and I have to admit, a few things crossed my mind: are the valuables hidden by the owners, or by the agent? Are they hidden within the home? Is the agent supposed to watch everyone who enters the open house, not only to gauge interest but also to make sure nothing shady is going on (and also to look out for the agent’s own safety, another big issue with open houses)?
Diana Ivas, a RE/MAX agent in Hinsdale, commented, “We have the seller sign a disclaimer that the agent is not responsible for such an occurrence that could happen at an open house.”
An anonymous commenter also had this to say, “In this day and age, I question the wisdom of open houses in occupied homes. Should we throw open those doors and permit anyone and everyone to wander through? The odds of obtaining a qualified buyer for that particular property are low. The likelihood of open house visitors being unqualified, or curious neighbors, or decor-idea shoppers or larceny minded rogues far outweighs any benefit. I understand that it is a prospecting tool, and a way to meet prospective homebuyers or even sellers. But at what risk to the homeowner?”
If you’re an agent, what do you do? Besides maybe not holding open houses and avoiding this potential mess entirely? Do you have the homeowner sign a disclaimer? Do you have the homeowner lock away valuables or stow them away to their liking? Should open houses become obsolete, seeing as there are other ways to get referrals and sell homes without putting peoples’ possessions and safety in jeopardy?
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
Business News2 weeks ago
Brutally honest list of reasons you didn’t get the job interview or job offer
Business Entrepreneur3 days ago
How to effectively share negative thoughts with your business partner
Business Entrepreneur2 weeks ago
6 simple self-care tips to keep any busy entrepreneur sane
Social Media2 weeks ago
This LinkedIn graphic shows you where your profile is lacking
Business News2 weeks ago
5 factors driving the reshoring movement in America
Business Entrepreneur2 weeks ago
Delivery startup goPuff is fast becoming the next tech giant
Business News1 week ago
The future of work from home will be a hybrid, says Google CEO
Business Entrepreneur1 week ago
The success of your business could be tied to your succession plan