For years, the arguments surrounding who real estate listing data have been contentious, loud, and beaten to death, but the disagreements persist. Last summer, we dissected various terms of service to reveal that many entities sign over their rights to images of a home, with disagreement between homeowners, photographers, listing agents, brokers, MLSs, and syndication sites regarding who has the ultimate right to use the images. For example, we discovered one MLS that upon uploading images, agents legally hand over the image’s copyright to the MLS, which triggered a broader look at the convoluted issues surrounding real estate photography.
“It’s an interesting problem, and it appears that it won’t go away while the interests of the various parties aren’t aligned,” Intellectual Property and Patent Attorney, Jeffrey Parry tells AG. “As long as the agents remain unconvinced that they are being hurt by the opportunities presented to them by the website scrapers, they won’t care about securing copyrights from the photographers. Any really, why should they? Anything that prevents dissemination of the listing information/photographs, such as the exclusivity created by copyright, certainly won’t help the agents’ cause.”
Parry added, “By not securing copyright coverage of the photographs on behalf of the MLS, agents are tacitly rejecting the notion that an exclusive MLS listing is the best course to their success. The agents appear to believe that in the marketplace of online real estate listings, the website scrapers should be allowed to compete with the MLS websites.”
One MLS has made changes
Also closely following the real estate photography copyright issues is Larry Lohrman, Founder of the Photography for Real Estate (PFRE) community and blog. When asked if he was aware of any progress MLSs had made to rectify the confusing copyright issues, he noted that while the Northwest Multiple Listing Service (NWMLS, which services Seattle and the surrounding area) made some updates to their Terms of Service, he and various other sources were unable to point to any other changes made to any other MLS.
Lohrman said the NWMLS’ process “now makes a little more sense than it did before the change but they are too fixated on protecting protecting the NWMLS and the brokers rather than coming up with something that makes sense for all the parties involved. At least they are no longer claiming that they automatically own the copyright to anything uploaded to the NWMLS (like most other MLSs). Most real estate photographers in Seattle are substituting their own agreement for the NWMLSs.”
- “Getty Images, MLSs, and strict liability for copyright infringement” -MLS Tesseract
- “Let’s End The Confusion About Real Estate Photography Copyright” -PFRE Blog
- “Does the MLS own the copyright to real estate photos and tours?” -The American Genius
- “Real estate photos: widespread copyright concerns” -AGBeat
- “Convoluted copyright issues and real estate porn site profits” -The American Genius
- “Update: confusion about copyright of MLS photos and tours continues” -PFRE Blog
- “Open letter to the NWMLS” -PFRE Blog
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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