Open House Weekend
In an effort to celebrate the spring home shopping season, Realtor.com, the National Association of Realtors and regional MLSs are kicking off the Nationwide Open House on April 28-29, offering tools for agents to improve open house conversions, and encouraging consumers to search the site for all available open houses in their area.
Because the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says that 45 percent of all buyers use open houses during their searches, and only 58 percent of agents hold open houses for their listings, a consolidated effort is helpful for a housing market that continues to struggle.
According to a NAR survey of buyers and sellers, 7.0 percent of home buyers found their agent through an open house, and NAR also reports that 65 percent of buyers go with the first agent they interview. So although the numbers for open houses being the source of a consumer finding a buyer’s agent, they often hire the first agent they interview. For listing agents, open houses are often part of an overall marketing strategy offered to listing clients to get more foot traffic in the door.
“Open Houses are back”
Orange County Realtor, Linsey Planeta said, “Just a few short years ago, it was about signage and feet on the street to promote the Open House. Those things are still valuable, but online promotion has vastly changed the Open House strategy.”
Planeta noted that “During my last two Open Houses, when I asked visitors how they found my Open House, at least 80% replied they had found it, ‘…through the Internet’. Not only has the traffic increased, but the client is targeting homes that fit their needs, their price range, and their geography. That’s a much higher quality visitor than the one that may have just stumbled upon it following signs. I think Open Houses are back as a viable way to attract buyer prospects, and more importantly for our sellers, attract buyers for their home.”
“It is a win/win for everyone.”
New Jersey Realtor, Bob Kelly at RE/MAX Main Street Realty said, “Open house weekends are essentially the same as going to a buffet. There are all kinds of homes to suit all types of tastes offered at the same time. Open houses are an opportunity for buyers to view a home without being committed to the process.”
Kelly added, “They also have the opportunity to meet many agents and have conversations which essentially are interviews. They can see which agents give them a comfort level and with whom they would consider working. Agents on the other hand also have the opportunity to gain exposure for their listing as well as themselves. Neighbors may come in and take notice of what their competition is as well as how it is presented by the realtor. It is a win/win for everyone.”
Open House Weekend stats:
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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