At the National Association of Realtors convention currently underway in New Orleans, Move, Inc. CRO and President of Realtor.com, Errol Samuelson met with AgentGenius to show us more about their new Android app (which you heard about first here on AG) and discuss the future of technology.
In the bustling convention hall, only minutes after the Expo opened, Samuelson held a Samsung cell phone running on an Android OS and stood in the standard “typing on a cell phone position,” in a crowded circle of Realtor.com staff and AG staff.
“Take a look at this,” Errol started as he unlocked his cell phone and showed us features of the Android app we hadn’t seen in the pre-launch preview version we had reviewed. On his landing page was a sizable widget that shows listings on a slider that are based on the cell phone’s GPS. We were shown some of the neat easter eggs and even got to show some of the PR staff the easter eggs we’d found on our own (for example, on our EVOs, if you highlight an address while using any application, it offers the Realtor.com app as a mapping option alongside navigation and Google Maps).
Benn and Errol volleyed conversation back and forth, starting with their days in tech in the early 1990s (despite both of them looking way too young to have the extensive backgrounds in tech that they do) and “nerd” words like IRC and TCP/IP came up. The conversation wandered to the way forward and what Move, Inc. had in store.Benn asked about touch screen technologies as they apply to crossover products between smartphones, tablets, netbooks and personal computers. Errol projected optimism toward Move, Inc. technologies in 2011 and 2012, noting that investments must be made on stable platforms that won’t disappear (like Microsoft Silverlight which other companies have used and led to abandoned projects) and that their core focus at present surrounds mobile technologies.
Based on criticism of the past that Realtor.com is slow to move forward with technologies, Benn asked how Realtor.com (who is an advertiser with AG) wanted to position itself as bleeding edge. Errol noted that they want to position themselves with consumer demand and that they plan on going with what the consumer has come to expect from them and use technologies that actually make sense.
As the discussion came to an end and we had all bantered enthusiastically about cell phone market share and platform evolution, Benn said he had a final tough question for Errol who shifted from his right foot to his left in anticipation of the question… “Errol, you said you’re searching for a home, you’re using a Realtor, right?” Errol was caught off guard and chuckled, resituated back to his right foot, leaned in to Benn and said, “of course!” No matter the way forward with technologies, tools or futuristic applications, it’s good to hear that Realtors are still front and center in the real estate transaction.
In case you don’t have an Android phone and would like a tour of the features, it is demonstrated in the video below. As mentioned previously, Android is the only cell phone operating system that is expanding in market share while all others decline or remain stagnant. Move, Inc. has focused energy on the OS as they forge ahead with their focus on mobile technologies to serve Realtors and consumers.
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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