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Real Estate Startups to Watch




A product of Rent Marketer, Rentbits launches new search that actively crawls the web for property rentals and displays them in brilliant fashion for rental hunters. I’ll be reviewing Rentbits and Rent Marketer and currently have their product listed.

Experience tells us that with the housing market struggling in many areas around the country, that less buyers means more renters, and less homes selling may leave leasing until better times to be a best option. Supplementing your selling efforts with property leasing has been a time tested strategy and Rentbits and Rent Marketer seem to be a fantastic tool in reducing cost and time to market.

HomeThinking Neighborhoods

Here’s an interesting concept, comparing two neighborhoods but with a twist – Home Thinking says it best:

Imagine if we just designed a new fruit, we can spout out all of the data on it: 53% sour, 20% sweet, pH level of 2.2, citric acid levels, size in centimeters, it’s color, etc. You’d know a lot about the fruit but you wouldn’t know what it would taste like, would you? Now, imagine if we said our new fruit is like a lemon but bigger and sweeter, you’d know a lot more. Heck, your mouth might even water.

As another opportunity for agents to be found, and demonstrate your knowledge of neighborhoods in general, here’s a cool twist.

CondoGala – Discover More Condos

CondoGala launches search featuring condos on a global scale. Remember that condo developments are neighborhoods in and of themselves and have a personality all their own. Here’s a place to join the conversation, and discuss these unique living spaces.

Over the next 3-6 months you can expect many advancements that build out the community, but for now listing brokers and developers can advertise their condominium project for free. Expect simple search, simple features, and simple layout to in order to appeal to a wide audience seeking specific information on condos around the globe.

Agent Shield

Are you specializing in new home construction and looking for a way to list community information but want your name and number on the destination website? Well, here you go, and it’s absolutely free. Basically, when a consumer clicks through on your email or website regarding new homes the sales staff information is automatically replaced with your information making you the hero!


Startup to Watch

Dwellgo, Austin’s Open Investor Community where property comes to buyers. Dwellgo is a unique community where property buyers tell Dwellgo what they’re looking for and the property comes to them, and in turn, the seller’s do the same- for free. Very clever indeed- we’ll be watching.

Benn Rosales is the Founder and CEO of The American Genius (AG), national news network for tech and entrepreneurs, proudly celebrating 10 years in publishing, recently ranked as the #5 startup in Austin. Before founding AG, he founded one of the first digital media strategy firms in the nation and also acquired several other firms. His resume prior includes roles at Apple and Kroger Foods, specializing in marketing, communications, and technology integration. He is a recipient of the Statesman Texas Social Media Award and is an Inman Innovator Award winner. He has consulted for numerous startups (both early- and late-stage), has built partnerships and bridges between tech recruiters and the best tech talent in the industry, and is well known for organizing the digital community through popular monthly networking events. Benn does not venture into the spotlight often, rather believes his biggest accomplishments are the talent he recruits, develops, and gives all credit to those he's empowered.

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  1. Matt Stigliano

    October 14, 2008 at 7:42 pm

    Benn – Thanks for continuously finding cool stuff for me to play with. AgentShield is a really cool idea in a town like San Antonio where so much is about new home communities and new builders. Finally a way to showcase (and this ties in with an awesome plan I have about one very specific community) and not feel like you’re just sending someone else traffic.

  2. Jim Duncan

    October 14, 2008 at 8:29 pm

    Homethinking’s data is so wrong as to be irresponsible. Somehow I’m selling homes in Charlottesville and Texas. Nifty; I didn’t even know Texas and Virginia offered reciprocal licenses.

    But … I have a 5-star rating! Whoo-hoo! 🙂

  3. Bob

    October 14, 2008 at 10:46 pm

    Rentbits is basically just a scraper site run by a few ex-googlers. I would like to know if their bot honors robots.txt.

  4. James Higginbotham

    October 15, 2008 at 6:40 am

    Being a fan of Dwellgo, as well as the architect and developer for the launch of the first version, I am excited to see Dwellgo featured on your website! The team is fantastic and have a heart for helping people find the perfect family and investment property! I hope you will check it out!

  5. Dan Daugherty - rentBits

    October 15, 2008 at 7:13 am

    Hi Bob,

    Thank you for your question.

    A vast amount of our 500,000 rental listings are fed to us via a feed. The remaining our crawled using our bot technology. Yes, we 100% respect those sites that do not want their site crawled. For those that have a feed or want us to crawl their rental listings, they can submit their site here for free:


    Dan Daugherty

  6. Niki Scevak - Homethinking

    October 15, 2008 at 7:43 am

    @Jim – sorry you feel that way. You are completely free to claim your profile and change anything on it. I have also cleaned up the TX listings and again sorry for that. Please feel free to email me at feedback at homethinking dot com and I am happy to answer any other questions.

  7. Dave Dugdale

    October 15, 2008 at 9:32 am


    Good write up, some of those sites I have never heard of before.

    Hi Bob (I met you at SES), I can tell you Dan’s site are very respectful of robots files.


  8. Dan Daugherty

    October 15, 2008 at 1:17 pm

    rentBits and Rent Marketer mentioned in AgentGenius –

  9. Bob

    October 15, 2008 at 1:35 pm

    @Dan, thanks for the quick answer. One of my clients saw your bot the other day, which is why i asked.

    @Doug, glad to hear that. Will you be at PubCon?

  10. Dave Dugdale

    October 15, 2008 at 3:23 pm

    @Bob I will be at PubCon. That is coming soon isn’t it?

  11. TR

    October 17, 2008 at 1:47 pm

    I think a big one you are missing is Property Previews. I have been using it since the launch and love it. I am saving tons of money and time with free video creation and internet distribution.

  12. Babak

    October 28, 2008 at 9:12 am

    Thanks for the mention Benn. We, indeed, have some exciting things in the works for Stay tuned… =)

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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, 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.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

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.



aging housing inventory

aging housing inventory

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.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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Housing News

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.



zillow move

zillow move

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,, 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’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

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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