Listing syndication- a heated debate
Listing and data syndication is one of the biggest elephants in the real estate room right now and there is a great deal of heat around the very complex issues involved ranging from rights to regulations involving social media, blogs, RSS and the like.
Recently, the Council of Multiple Listing Services (CMLS) wrote to the National Association of Realtors (NAR), “From the 30,000 foot level, our members recognize that there are already serious problems in relation to the syndication, licensing, proper use and protection of our broker’s data. Portals have multiple sources for content and therefore difficult decisions on which source is the most accurate. Adding RSS feeds to the mix may further dilute the value of on-line content by adding multiple additional sources that may not be current.”
Gearing up for NAR Midyear legislative conference and expo, Vendor Alley founder, Greg Robertson opined about the IDX rules to be reviewed at the conference, urging NAR committee members to “Let Franchisors and Brokers compete with other real estate portals by allowing advertising around these indexed IDX listings (I’m not going to give them a pass on this one).”
We interviewed Robertson about the CMLS panel at Midyear that captured our attention, we invite you to read his extended thoughts below:
What was the CMLS panel about?
“I’ve been a member of the Board of Directors of Council of MLS (CMLS) for several years. CMLS is an organization of MLS providers that are about sharing best practices in the MLS industry. In the past CMLS has put together an annual MLS industry conference. Recently at the request of our membership the BOD has been asked to take a more active role in the issues and policies facing the MLS industry. This Listing Syndication Workshop was one of the first things we put together beyond our normal annual conference. Instead of taking sides on this issue we wanted to bring together all the players in this industry for an open discussion about the pros and cons of listing syndication.”
What was the general mood of the panel?
“The mood was good. The conference was free to any CMLS member, but we only had a room that could hold a little over 100. We were sold out in less than 24 hours. Merri Jo Cowen, our current CMLS board president, was quick to set the tone that the workshop would not be confrontational. As one of the moderators I was asked to keep my questions respectful but relevant to the topics.”
What was your biggest surprise or takeaway?
“I thought it was curious/interesting that the Zillow rep, Greg Schwartz, when asked about a revenue share with MLS providers said something to the effect, ‘You can’t squeeze blood from a stone.'”
What was the audience’s response?
“The audience response was great. They had lots of great questions. CMLS will definitely hold more of these issues specific workshops in the future.”
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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