New app for Android
Homes.com has just announced the release of their Mortgage Calculator application for Android smartphones after earning high praises and a high volume of downloads of their iPhone app which we noted in May was a highly untraditional and useful calculator.
Where the Homes.com Mortgage Calculator strays from the standard “loan amount – interest rate – years” formula, the “buy vs. rent” calculator looks deeper into the affordability of what a buyer can truly afford, and asks more important questions like how long the home will be owned and what taxes will be to determine a more accurate living expense figure. Homes.com says, “It is the first of its kind offered for the Android platform.”The Android app also offers a mortgage refinance calculator alongside its mortgage payment calculator and a debt-to-income calculator which even goes so far as to offer feedback on whether they should buy now based on their finances (a move that the industry could have used about seven years ago).
The calculators are integrated into their property search as well, so consumers can search homes and calculate simultaneously without launching separate apps. Homes.com emphasizes the ability for a mobile consumer to connect with a real estate professional via the device and screenshots reveal that consumers can pre-qualify for a loan through the Android app.
“The release of Homes.com’s Android Mortgage Calculator app is in direct response to Android users’ requests for their own version of the extremely popular iPhone app that quickly helps consumers determine whether they should buy or rent in their local market. Creating an app for the Android users reinforces our commitment to serving all consumers through every step of the home search process, starting with the very first step—deciding whether to buy or rent,” said Jason Doyle, Homes.com vice-president and general manager. “This user-friendly app links consumers directly to homes for sale or rent depending on their needs.”
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 Editorials2 weeks ago
Why tech talent is in the process of abandoning Austin
Business News1 day ago
Leadership versus management: What’s the difference?
Business Marketing1 week ago
How many hours of the work week are actually efficient?
Business Marketing1 week ago
Jack of all trades vs. specialized expert – which are you?
Opinion Editorials3 days ago
Art meets business: Entrepreneurship tips for creative people
Tech News1 week ago
4 ways startups prove their investment in upcoming technology trends
Business News1 week ago
Unify your remote team with these important conversations
Business Marketing1 week ago
3 considerations when marketing in an era of uncertainty