…but this isn’t about pointing fingers.
When I became an agent, I thought I was insignificant as far as the larger world of Realtors® went. Seriously, who was I compared to the juggernaut that is the National Association of Realtors®? Heck, who was I even in the San Antonio Board of Realtors® realm? Or even just my broker’s office? An absolute nobody. The new guy. An agent who still had wet ink of his license and a head full of finance, appraisal, and contract information that is hardly useful today, because they’ve changed the rules fifty times since I passed my exam. The world of real estate changes quick and it all seems a lot quicker when you’re just trying to figure out the basics.
I paid attention though and took what I could from agents I hoped to be like someday. One of the things I took away was involvement. I’ve never had a problem opening up my mouth and giving my opinions, right or wrong, but in the world of real estate I felt intimidated at times. Not because anyone pushed me around or called me stupid, but because I wanted to be the best at what I do and there were plenty of people who knew way more than I did.
With the recent articles and comments revolving around Todd Carpenter and Greg Cooper, I kept a lot of my personal opinions to myself. That’s not to say I didn’t have plenty of them, but in this case, I was more interested in watching things unfold and seeing what I would take away from them.
Realtor® vs. NAR vs. Realtor® vs NAR
It’s no secret that there is often dissent in the ranks of the NAR membership. There always will be. Get over it and move on. There will always be an us vs. them mentality, even if NAR became exactly what every individual agent dreamt it was. As long as there is money flowing out of the pocket of the Realtor® to pay for NAR, there will always be some vestige of us vs. them. I think it’s the natural course of paying any dues to an association. Maybe in other industries it works better, but I bet they have the same problems all the time.
The best way to combat these frictions? Open your mind and your mouth. Greg took issue with something he felt strongly about and he did both. “Right” or “wrong” in the manner he did it, Greg took the time to state his case and for that I admire him. I also admire Todd for the same reason, whether “right” or “wrong”, Todd has always been willing to speak up. (Please note, “right” and “wrong” are used in a very loose sense here – not as “absolute obvious correct answer” or “outright how-could-you-be-so-stupid false answer.”) I don’t wish to argue who was right or who was wrong, who went about it the correct way or who went about it all wrong. I wish to see it for what it was…an opportunity.
Advice I was given.
A long time ago, a wise sage gave me some advice. It was slipped into the comment section of one of my posts here at AgentGenius and I looked it up while I was writing this. I was going to link to the article, but I thought I’d just reprint the quote right here:
My advice; listen, listen, listen, think dimensionally, present patiently, eat your Wheaties, keep the faith, have fun.
Most of you can probably guess who said this just by the way it was written, but in case you’re stuck, it was Ken Brand. Read it again. I’m not sure what you take away from the quote, but I received a clear, strong message that day.
It’s not going to be easy; so listen carefully, digest, and speak your mind. You may run into a wall more than once – don’t get discouraged. P.S. Bruce Jenner had cool hair in the 70s.
Maybe Ken didn’t mean to make me dream of Bruce Jenner’s hair while discussing my recently fulfilled goal of gaining committee membership at my local board, but the rest of it I’m sure was his intention. I’ve joined those committees and am now working my way into the “system.” I’m not there to subvert it, I’m there to make it. I’m there to change, evolve, and improve it. I’m there to be a part of it and learn a thing or two. Do I think I’ll solve the world’s problems over the course of the year? No way. It’s not going to happen. I won’t even solve all of them before I leave the world of real estate. Perhaps though, I will be able to lay the foundation for the road that has yet to be built. To help pave the way for a guy like me many years for now. To set up the shot, but not necessarily score the goal. To me, that’s what this is all about. We know things don’t change overnight (or over years at times), but change is inevitable – sometimes it’s not for the best, but even that “wrong” change will adapt and evolve over time. I’m sure many people at NAR laughed at the thought of communication over the computer – look at them now.
I have only myself to blame for sitting by and not speaking up. I wish I had started sooner. Speaking up involves work, and sometimes, that work seems out of reach or too daunting a task to take on. But do it we must. If not, we have only ourselves to blame. I said I didn’t want to point fingers and I certainly don’t want to point them back at myself for failing to take the risk of trying. Sitting idly by and letting things happen to my Association is certainly not the answer. Get in, get involved.
There is nothing wrong with putting yourself out there and being shot down. There is everything wrong with not trying. You have only yourself to blame if things remain stagnant.
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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