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StreetAdvisor to launch Local Voices program

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StreetAdvisor to launch Local Voices

Australian startup, StreetAdvisor will announce tomorrow the launch of their new “Local Voices” platform for real estate brokers, a service “aimed directly at helping US real estate companies leverage their unique knowledge of communities to connect with online consumers.” Co-Founder Jason Spencer tells AGBeat they will first launch with RE/MAX Metro Atlanta and Barbegelata Real Estate in San Francisco where brokers will be able to publish and share local insights through a simple web-based application while consumers can browse neighborhoods on a broker’s site and pose questions about specific areas for agents to answer.

The emphasis on connecting consumers with Realtors’ local knowledge is intriguing and overdue, and with the simplicity of the search function, and the high quality aesthetics, it is easy to see how consumers would flock to the “Local Voices.” Additionally, because the service is licensed specifically to brokerages, the quality of answers should be higher than forums wherein agents from around the globe answer questions arbitrarily to jockey for points.

The neighborhood review and Q&A service for real estate brokerage sites seeks to build traffic as well as “deepen [agents’] connection to online consumers, not leveraging them,” the company says. By using the Local Voices service, real estate brokers, franchises and broker networks can white-label the StreetAdvisor platform to match the look and feel of their website and create a seamless user experience. StreetAdvisor says they have perfected this process through its partnership with RealEstate.com.au, Australia’s largest property portal.

Wealth of local information inside every brokerage

“There is a wealth of local information inside every real estate brokerage. Agents know their neighborhoods intimately. But, to date, real estate companies have not had an easy way to use this knowledge to build an online audience,” said Jason Spencer, co-founder of StreetAdvisor. “Local Voices unlocks all of that intellectual capital and puts it to work in an environment the broker controls.”

“Local Voices couldn’t have been easier to set up,” said Randy Chavers, Director of Internet Marketing for RE/MAX Metro Atlanta. “We’ve always had listings on our website, but we knew we wanted to take the experience one step beyond our competitors. We are now prepared to help our customers answer the question, what is it like to live here?“

Rates range from $99 to $599 per month based on the broker’s site traffic. Brokers at the upper end of the price spectrum will be able to serve their own ads within Local Voices and will have access to the Local Voices API so neighborhood reviews and answers can be integrated throughout their website. Additional brokerage partnerships are pending and will be announced shortly.

In 2012, with the rising noise level of social media and the wide variety of choices consumers have online, companies are now seeking ways to get local rather than to be ubiquitous and the trend is to bring everything back home. StreetAdvisor’s “Local Voices,” and companies like Loku are placing emphasis on what is happening in a consumer’s back yard and the timing with the overwhelmed and shifting web culture couldn’t be better.

Click the image below to see Local Voices in action on StreetAdvisor:

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Austin

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?

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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.”

Click here to continue reading the list of the 12 best places to buy a home…

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Housing News

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.

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aging housing inventory

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.

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Housing News

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.

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zillow move

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

Last fall, the News Corp. acquisition of Move, Inc. was given the green light by the feds, and this month, Zillow finalized their acquisition of Trulia.

…Click here to continue reading this story…

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