Internet Data Exchange (IDX) is the transfer of MLS data from the Board of Realtors to websites. There is a long, sordid history of how the IDX feeds came to be and are used today including the 2009 battle between a Realtor, MIBOR and ultimately the National Association of Realtors (NAR) (the back story starts here, is followed up here, ultimately ends here).
If you’re new to the space, there’s a lot of history catch up on, but we’ll simply fast forward to last week wherein agents with IDX feeds going to their sites and being indexed by Google were in the SEO position to outrank many of their competitors, even the big boys Trulia, Zillow and Realtor.com for local listing search results.
That was last week. Welcome to this week, post NAR’s Annual Convention wherein the Directors voted to “expand NAR’s IDX policy to allow MLS participants to provide IDX data to real estate franchise organizations to index and display on their websites.”
According to the NAR, “The amendment comes with conditions, such as the need to promptly correct inaccurate or incomplete information and a prohibition on advertising on pages displaying the IDX information.”
Breaking it down in layman’s terms:
Justin LaJoie, CEO of Diverse Solutions (DS) said, “The expanded policy by NAR is going to start leveling the playing field for those that are using MLS data for SEO reasons. What this will do is allow the larger and national franchise websites to begin to compete in the search engines in their franchisees local markets. Once they are able to do that effectively then they will be able to compete with the likes of Realtor.com on a national level. Previously it was up the local franchisee to create a SEO strategy leveraging the local MLS listings which few of them did well. With this change they are going to get the power of the large franchise helping them in their local market.”
All that said, to me, the punchline to this whole update is who this ruling benefits. LaJoie continued, “This is good for the local franchise but potentially not so good for the local tech savvy agent who now has to compete with the franchise website for potential clients.”
So, the agents that are small potatoes that are fighting on the ground and living closing to closing without the benefit of getting the piece of everyone else’s pie are now competed against even by their big box broker who will most certainly use their ability to compete as a selling point (and some agents will fall for it), but the truth is that again, the individual agent has just been kicked in the teeth. In other words, the IDX arms race is on and agents have to compete for SEO position with any techie who decides to open up a real estate search site and now with their very own brokers.
AG is not affiliated with NAR or MIBOR; DS is an AG advertiser.
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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