Starting July 1st, the Evergreen State is about to join our neighbors to the South in Oregon and become a Broker only State. With that comes a few changes that should (hopefully) mean a higher level of Real Estate Service for our Clients and Customers here in the Pacific Northwest. Licensing Law in the Washington has always been very firm up here but in less than 6 weeks, there may be a run on those agents and existing Brokers who’ve otherwise not been exactly above board!
What are some of the New Changes?
In a sort of Round Robin fashion, every licensee will be fingerprinted and have a background check done once every 6 years. This will certainly set a better standard for individuals who elect to enter the profession as well as those who currently hold a real estate license.
Also, since every licensee will become a Broker, classifications will change to reflect varying levels. Existing licensees will become Associate Brokers. Existing Associate Brokers will become Managing Brokers and Existing Managing Brokers and Designated Brokers will remain the same but with heightened levels of responsibilities. So far, so good!?
Now, for some of the fun stuff!
In an attempted to increase public clarity, Real Estate Teams will have to register their team name with the Department of Licensing and have a Managing Broker head up the team. Essentially, each team will need to have their own Broker…and that Broker then reports to the Designated Broker. Clearly, Brokerages that support the Team Building Concept will want to be extra mindful to stay in compliance on this.
Another change that particularly affects the Big Teams is the Brokerages Name must be “Clear and Conspicuous” in any advertising statement. Simply put, the public must be able to see who you work for!
Lastly and perhaps the most fun (tongue in cheek) change coming down from the DOL is their desire to have ALL PAPERWORK “Expeditiously” handed to the Broker. This is vague and ambiguous at best but what the DOL is saying is they want to see all paperwork…whether you have mutual acceptance or not…given to your Broker within 2 business days or shorter if the terms of the client/customer contract necessitates! For your Short Sale Agents…that one should be fun.
All in all…this is Good!
Raising the bar, if you will, has always been my desire as a Broker and Real Estate Instructor. I’m all for the changes and the heightened degree of supervision now being placed on our industry. I hope your State or Association has the same level of scrutiny for their licensees…Accountability ultimately makes us all better!
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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