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Walk score – every house has one



On common ground

I was perusing the latest copy of NAR’S  On Common Ground, a biannual journal discussing smart growth and Realtors.   Ever heard of it?   I hadn’t until a couple of months ago.  Unfortunately,  I can’t find that it’s published on line anywhere.  However,  here is the page where you can request hard copies should you or your firm like to have some on hand.   This edition covers everything from understanding Generation Y buyers to bike friendly cities.  It’s a great magazine with useful information about emerging sustainable trends affecting our industry.

These Boots are Made for Walkin

One of the articles is about the benefits of walk friendly communities.   The term is pretty self explanatory but factors included in how a neighborhood or home is scored are quality sidewalks, safe cross walks, access to retail and restaurants, accessible building fronts, and access to parks.  The article goes on to report that there is mounting evidence that individuals who live in walkable communities are more likely to meet the Surgeon General’s recommendations for physical activity.  I kind of give that finding a big duh…

In June 2009 a study was conducted looking at home values in various US cities in walkable vs. non walkable communities and they found homes in walkable communities garnered an additional 4k – 34k.  In fact for every additional point a home scored for walk friendliness, meant an average increase in value from $500-$3000.  Now do I have your attention?

On a side note, I’ve heard the objection that using the term “walkability” is a fair housing violation.  I asked the instructor at my last ethics training in December and he felt NAR’s position was the term was not a violation.   It simply is a way of evaluating a neighborhood in terms of a need for an automobile to get around.  I’m up for debating the point if someone else has a different understanding.

What’s Your Walk Score?

At the end of the day, I don’t think there is going to be a mass exodus from the gas guzzling burbs but with more than 50% of Realtors and builders reporting growing interest by consumers in walk friendly communities, it is at least a term we should all be familiar with.   Fortunately,  there is a really fun website that provides a walk score for any address should you have clients who would like to purchase a home in a walk friendly community.  There are even some fun widgets for your site or blog if you so feel inclined.

Anna Altic – Village Real Estate Services. I’ve called Nashville home for the last 15 years and have been practicing (practice being the key word here) real estate for just over 6 years. In the fall of 2007, I went to a local German Festival that had a home tour, including a LEED certified property, and I instantly became enamored with the idea of eco friendly living (ok, so I’d had a little beer and the dual flush toilet rocked my world). I have since devoted much of my time and energies in to studying and espousing the benefits of better building technology within our local residential market and my proudest accomplishment thus far has been successfully leading the initiative to get over 25 green features added to our MLS search fields.

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  1. Jim Duncan

    May 26, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    On Common Ground is a great publication by the NAR, one that seemingly very few know about. Each time it comes out I tend to request a few hard copies.

  2. Stephanie Crawford

    May 27, 2010 at 1:51 am

    I recently read On Common Ground too! My IDX provider includes WalkScore on every listing. Oddly enough, I’ve heard that we shouldn’t market homes a “walkable” because it violates the discrimination policies with regard to handicapped people. Can anyone tell me if this is true? It sounds pretty crazy to me…

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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, 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.



aging housing inventory

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.

Click here to continue reading this story…

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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.



zillow move

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,, 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’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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