Blog Action Day 2009
Blog Action Day is held on October 15 every year and bloggers from around the world write and discuss a single topic which changes each year. 2007 was Blog Action Day’s inaugural year, focusing on the environment and blossomed in 2008 as the topic turned to fighting poverty.
Last year at Agent Genius, we began the tradition of profiling real estate bloggers that focus on making the world a better place, highlighting Craig Barrett, Gina Kay Landis, Drew Meyers, Ginger Wilcox, Rocky Turner and Tom Vanderwell.
This year, Blog Action Day focuses on climate change and because real estate is a key industry that can impact change most quickly, this year we profile six eco Realtors to watch from across the nation, all so devoted to the environment (and by proxy climate change), they have studied green living, educate others about net zero energy construction and aim to make this world a cleaner place, one home at a time.
Six Eco Realtors to Watch
Please meet six Realtors from across America that have green real estate practices. They come from varied backgrounds and have unique perspectives but all share a devotion to environmentalism and consistently promote green building and help educate their consumers on their blogs.
Emily Cross from Blaine, WA-
From Emily’s blog:
“I’ve blogged about this before and so forgive me if you’re bored but real estate is NOT a “green” industry in any way, shape or form. It drives me crazy how many sheets of bright white paper we use, business cards, contracts, flyers, vinyl signs etc. etc. etc. The National Association of Realtors, to which I proudly belong, is one of the most powerful PAC’s in the Nation and I would love to see them embrace the “greener” side of life. But, I am just me… just little Emily in Blaine Washington…and, as my former business partner used to say, I can only make a difference in my own little “puddle.” So, that’s what I’m going to do…”
Stephanie Edwards-Musa from Houston, TX-
From Stephanie’s blog:
“The flurry of Green Home Building activity over the past couple of years has been really interesting to follow. When I first started writing about it and getting designations/certifications – Most people still had no idea what it meant. People weren’t tired of the word GREEN yet. But this flurry of activity has brought sparkles to some builders eyes around Houston. Dollar signs in the eyes like in Cartoons – Thoughts of fame and fortune for building the next latest and greatest home on the market. Well folks, it doesn’t really work that way. The truth is, the majority of home buyers that I have worked with over the past 2 years have been Green. Many of them being incredibly Green longing for Renewable Energy, Geothermal, Low VOC paint products and LEED Certifications. BUT, the truth of the matter is no matter how many homes are built green around Houston my home buyers do not flock after them to purchase and brag about. Why is that?”
Betty Saenz from Austin, TX-
From Betty’s blog:
“Did you know that there are EEMs or Energy Efficient Mortgages? These are also known as GREEN Mortgages. An EEM or GREEN MOrtgage is a home loan that gives you extra money because the property you are buying is very energy efficient, thereby saving you money on utilities and allowing you to purchase more house.”
Tim Cahill from Arlington, MA-
From Tim’s blog:
“Massachusetts law provides that solar-energy systems and wind-energy systems used as a primary or auxiliary power system for the purpose of heating or otherwise supplying the energy needs of taxable property are exempt from local property tax for a 20-year period. Hydropower facilities are also exempt from local property tax for a 20-year period if a system owner enters into an agreement with the city or town to make a payment (in lieu of taxes) of at least 5% of its gross income in the preceding calendar year.”
From Christina’s blog:
“Read these little known green facts to increase eco-friendliness! Going green starts at home. The word “eco” traces back to the Greek word “oikos”, meaning ‘house’. It is a fact that 70% of home buyers said they were more inclined to buy a green home in a down economy than a non-green home. 62% of all state governments have adopted green building policies (with 18 states coming on board in the last 3 years alone).”
Peggy Roberts from Scottsdale, AZ-
From Peggy’s blog:
“The panelists agreed that in order for the Valley to improve its green home inventory and help put the brakes on climate change, homeowners will need to focus on green renovations vs. “building our way out of it.” I think this will most certainly be a growing trend as energy costs rise and homebuyers begin demanding “healthier” homes with better indoor air quality, efficiency and comfort. Over the past couple of months alone, Glen and I plus three different friends have added photovoltaic solar systems to our homes, generating clean renewable energy from our rooftops. So today, while it’s really tough to find a super green-credentialed home in metro Phoenix, hopefully it won’t be this way for long.”
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.
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