The Wild Wild East
It is well known that practicing real estate in New York City is a world of its own, not governed by an official MLS and running by its own rules. The young and rapidly growing real estate brokerage CondoDomain.com in preparation for opening an office in NYC brought current President Hoyt Morgan from California to the Big Apple and after an extended period in temporary housing, he decided to move to a more permanent location downtown.
Morgan isn’t an agent or licensed, so he used a CondoDomain Realtor as his agent who Morgan acknowledges did a tremendous amount of hard work getting the deal closed which advertised a one month OP and after moving in, the management company denied payment. Morgan notes that this is yet another reason the city needs an MLS.
Morgan said, “Rose’s onsite manager denied paying, so I followed up with a manager at a main office. He acknowledged that my agent “went above and beyond” for me and did facilitate the transaction as required to receive a commission. I was, however, very politely and professionally informed by this manager that no NYC brokerage pays when there is any affiliation between the brokerage and the client, a stated “fact” I had not come across before and one that seems, quite frankly, like a pretty poor way to do business.”
In many areas, Realtors cannot represent themselves on an apartment lease, so the standard practice is to use their broker as a buffer third party to the deal, but in this situation, the manager denying payment seems to imply the same nepotism rule should apply despite Morgan not being licensed, rather playing an executive role at a brokerage.
We’ve known Morgan for some time, even prior to their advertising on AG, and we know him to be a level headed, very fair person, so we took note of his detailed post outlining the story of his still unpaid agent. When he pressed the issue, he was “gruffly informed [by Rose] that they reserve the right NOT to pay for any reason, even though an OP is published as in this case, and they were not going to pay. They also suggested that if I want to be a part of NYC real estate I should leave this alone. (hmm, should I take this as a threat?)”
Threats and no accountability
The bottom line for Morgan is summed up in one of his final statements. “This is crazy, right? When Rose publishes their commission rates for cooperating brokers, should we ever believe them? Is there anyone that can hold them accountable to their published rates?”
The Real Estate Board of New York (REBNY) didn’t look kindly on the situation but claimed they couldn’t really take action. This is why CondoDomain is calling for a legitimate MLS as one possible solution to the unethical practice of blatantly refusing to pay agents simply because a property management company “reserve[s] the right NOT to pay for any reason.”
What can be done? Weigh in.
What do you think? Is New York just the Wild Wild East and it is to be expected, or could real steps be made toward implementing an actual MLS? What makes NYC so different from the rest of the world that it cannot progress to the modernity of the rest of the real estate world that functions with Codes of Ethics, MLSs and grievance committees that have the power to do more than face the other direction? Is there hope for NYC?
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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