Note from the editor: please welcome Anna Altic to the Agent Genius family. Anna will be writing about the emerging trends and methodologies of green real estate, a topic we are extremely fond of and have had many requests to cover more in depth. Anna has NAR’s Green designation and currently chairs the Greater Nashville Association of Realtors environmental committee after successfully petitioning her local MLS to add over 25 searchable green features to input fields. She is highly involved in green civics locally and brings a great passion to the subject that she will be sharing here at AG. Please welcome Anna in the comments!
The final countdown
Alright all you Facebook happy agents who keep posting reminders about the impending demise of the 8k tax credit in your status update. T minus 35 days and counting until this can no longer be the reason, “NOW is the perfect time to purchase a home.”
If this has worked for you then I say carry on, you fearless FB poster with your message of urgency in the name of government bail out. Now all we have to do is give you something to talk about. Alas, Uncle Sam is still on the dole and your new best friend should be the Homestar Energy Efficiency Retrofit Program.
The general concept is that homeowners can receive rebates ranging from a $1000 – $3000 for performing energy efficient retrofits on their homes. This more than doubles the maximum currently being offered for energy efficient retro fits and the government estimates this will offer up to $600 a year in energy savings to homeowners who participate in the program.
Getting creative for your clients
In addition, there is nothing I have seen so far that would preclude a homeowner from stacking this program with incentives being offered by their state or from their local utilities such as our TVA’s Energy Right Program. What about energy efficient mortgages or 203k loans? I say you stack that on too! Get creative, the skies the limit on how a program like this can benefit your clientele, the environment, and the contractors who need the work.
I’ll be watching the progress of this Bill as it moves through Congress so more to come. In the meantime, sharpen your Ezine, warm up your keyboards and practice some pithy ways to market this in 140 characters or less.
image courtesy of zoutedrop on flickr
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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