Startup to launch in 2012
Seattle startup, uOpen is currently a landing page with some breadcrumb hints about what the technology company does, simply saying “an amazing new mobile application developed to make open houses and showings more productive for real estate sales and leasing agents.” In their first media interview, Richard Braun, uOpen founder and CEO told AGBeat that the app is set to launch in March of 2012.
uOpen is packed with features, some of which Braun was unable to talk about (yet). The app is compatible with Android and Apple devices and while the goal is to make real estate open houses more productive, it appears to do so much more – it takes pictures, creates an open house that can be sent to the MLS, captures open house attendee information and even has a customer relationship management (CRM) component which streamlines the followup and notification process for real estate professionals.
One innovative feature the company shared with us is the social component wherein a real estate agent can submit their showing as a status update across their social networks, helping to raise their visibility, add credibility to their social stream, and give agents more to talk about online than lunch or traffic.
Braun hinted that the app will help improve “how agents work together” which he could not expand upon, but we suspect could mean a lead exchange or a social network for real estate professionals.
How uOpen came to be
After more than ten years in the online marketing and lead generation field, Braun and his team were inspired to fill in the existing holes in the relationship between consumers and agents, looking to “make that a more productive marriage.” Coming from a real estate family, Braun saw his father, a Midwest real estate developer, in need of better “in-person lead generation,” which led to the development of uOpen.
The team believes in the product so strongly they have self-seeded development and are seeking funding which, given their offering, should not be too difficult. The product is currently designed for real estate but could easily be adopted in the multi-family industry, auto sales, high end retail, and conventions. As uOpen gets closer to their launch, we will bring you more information, but with the few details they are willing to share with you, the app could make a serious impact in the real estate technology world.
The app will soon be in beta and if you would like to be first on the private beta list, email email@example.com with your contact information.
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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