Rentenna isn’t playing around
When someone tells you to think of a real estate search site, you immediately think of the hundreds of ways you would go about finding where to live, but how do you uncover where you should not live? Renters are often subjected to fake reviews, spam listings across the web, misleading prices on units, and more in the name of getting them in the door at all costs. Rentenna launched in 2011, giving each apartment a score, and when we first introduced you to the site, it was not yet nationally available, but having spread to the largest metros, imagine the power it could yield by publishing a recurring list of the lowest rated apartments in town, just like restaurant health ratings – put a big F on the door and watch how quickly they fail or dramatically improve (either one being a win).
Rentenna has a really cool twist on the search process and has introduced the “Rentenna Score” which helps hunters to “filter out crappy (overpriced, run-down, far from subway, bed-buggy)” units on the market.
Additionally, users can see where friends they are connected to on Facebook have lived to get their direct opinion and find out what they recommend, making a play for the popularity of social recommendations. The company was built by with the expertise of a New York City rental agent combined with the coding and tech experience of the other three partners who have combined “the human knowledge of someone who knows the ups and downs of renting… and quantified it using algorithms, maths, robots, lasers, monkeys,” as they describe it.
The Complaint Score
In all 19 cities searchable on Rentenna, several scores are available, including Delivery Score (the number of restaurants that will deliver to you, which of course is critical), School Score (from GreatSchools.org, as is the industry standard for various real estate search sites) and in NYC, renters can search by Green Score (which ranks where parks/farmers market areas are).
The most important, however, is the Complaints Score which literally tells renters not to rent, and in NYC, the company publishes a monthly “Five picks for where not to live in NYC” list.
The Complaints Score is incorporated into the overall apartment building score on Rentenna and pulls data from all violations submitted to the New York Housing Department including reports of bed bugs, lead paint, mouse or rat infestations, lack of heat or hot water, broken elevators, busted smoke detectors, trash piling up, etc.
The company says, “With over 50,000 rental apartment buildings indexed in NYC, Rentenna is the new required reading before you sign an apartment lease,” noting that complaints fall into three categories:
- Class A complaints are minor and non-hazardous (broken doorknobs, cracked tile, etc.)
- Class B complaints are hazardous (issues like rodents, bed bugs, trash buildup, broken smoke detectors, etc.)
- Class C complaints are immediately hazardous (lack of heat / hot water / electricity / gas or inadequate fire exits, etc.)
We anticipate that if/when these scores roll out to other cities, Rentenna will see a major boost in popularity because let’s face it – everyone really wants to know the bad news before they sign on the dotted line rather than after.
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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