This morning, Realtor.com is launching a mobile app for Android users after enjoying rapid success with their iPhone app which has been downloaded 2.1 million times, making it “the most downloaded real estate search application,” according to Realtor.com.
The reason the race to get to the Android market is hot is because Android use and purchase is increasing at a breakneck speed with Android being the number one most sold smartphone in the U.S. today, according to The Nielsen Company. Of special note is ComScore’s data released today of mobile phone use just in 2010 alone proving an astonishing pace of Android growth while others decline:
We got our hands on the app before launch. Our findings:
AgentGenius was given access to the Android app, as the entire leadership team here is proudly using HTC Evos. There are a lot of cool things this app can do, and when launched, it knows via GPS your exact location (great for being in the field). Our favorite feature is being able to “draw” with your finger an area you want to search in and even refine, so I wanted to search a nearby neighborhood but not be shown the tiny starter condos, so I outlined it and told it to only show me three bedroom homes over $200k and voila!
When signed in, users can take notes on the listings they like and save favorites and can even take notes without typing by simply speaking their notes (which we think is a really neat feature), making home searching in the car simple. Without even signing in, it remembers the last properties users have viewed in detailed form and keeps a running list which is helpful because not all users will opt in to registration. The only major flaw we can find (and keep in mind that we’re running a pre-launch version) is that no matter how many pictures a listing has, the app only shows the first four which we anticipate will be repaired, but if not, it will certainly be damaging to the listing.
The app is super fast, doesn’t seem to be resource heavy (a common complaint of apps for EVOs which can notoriously have their batteries drained by certain apps), and the user interface is super clean and intuitive and Realtor.com claims to have the most listings of any search site and maintains they have the most accurate data, both of which are being demanded by consumers, therefore it’s ultimately a benefit to Realtors.
“Today’s buyers and listing agents know the importance of connecting with each other, and that communicating promptly at every stage of the search process is a critical aspect of successful property search,” said the President of Realtor.com (who advertises on AG), Errol Samuelson. “By ensuring Move’s mobile real estate search apps quickly surface fresh and reliable listing information accompanied by multiple contact mechanisms, we believe buyers and agents will experience a more successful partnership in today’s competitive real estate market.”
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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