New real estate website in beta aims to improve decision making for real estate investors. RentScoper.com, founded by young entrepreneur Jeremy Elser features unique heat mapping that measures the effect of a location on a property’s value. Elser says, “The heat mapper has the ability to determine what any given property ought to rent for and can thus tell you if a property is under/over priced. This can save unfamiliar tenants from overpaying. This particular feature exists but is not currently on the website.”
The making of RentScoper.com
The story behind RentScoper.com is quite compelling. In 2005, at age 19, Elser and his brother bought their first investment property, gutted it, flipped it for a profit and quickly moved on to their second property. By the third property, Elser was devoting what he considered to be too much time to tracking and forecasting, so he wrote an algorithm to simulate future earnings based on past data and it worked so well that he made the investment software publicly available at JBooksProfessional.com.
Algorithm developed while studying the heart
Meanwhile, in Elser’s life as a bioengineer, he was working on a project to measure cells in the heart and the algorithm developed in his work on the heart led him to apply the same algorithm that powers the RentScoper.com heat map. Elser used the algorithm with his own investments after learning the most difficult part was understanding the location of a property (i.e. why is this property more expensive up the street, yet a better investment?).
After fine tuning it for his personal use, Elser is releasing it to the public with patents pending on the heat mapper, Simulator and various JBooks features. Currently, RentScoper.com is in beta in Philadelphia using Craigslist, Postlets and other public data to fuel search. Elser told AGBeat that long term, the site plans on going national, using MLS data and including residential sales.
Soon, agents will be able to buy territories and work RentScoper.com leads; “The agents contact information and a click-to-email button will appear in each property infowindow in their territory,” Elser said.
The young site has some interesting features with the investor in mind, from map markers changing color once viewed to minimal information in the popup rather than the paragraphs worth of description (we all know that most people would rather click on interesting properties than be bogged down).
RentScoper.com is in beta and we see that it has a lot of work in getting data, launching the monetization side, room for improvement in the user interface, but the heat mapping algorithm that quantifies the effect of a location on a property’s value separates the site from its competitors.
RentScoper.com has great potential and could push some of the bigger sites to think more outside of the box. Realtors can use the site not only for their own analysis, but to reinforce with investors their value proposition as the ultimate expert beyond the algorithm.
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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