Last night I wrote a flippant review of Zolve.com and honestly, I had to take it down. Everything inside of me wanted to yell at the screen when I saw the price and I saw what you could (and even worse, what you could not) do with Zolve.com. I read the back story on Brian, how he is a successful real estate Broker just back from Iraq. I also read how the site was built while he was in Iraq, and he’s home in time to launch it- thank God for that.
I’ve opted to write something positive because this is someone in real estate (just one of us so-called “stupid Realtors”) who had the balls to actually DO something for the profession- and with some tweaking, he is in a position to steal the show. The question is, will he do it? Time will tell. I ask everyone who would dare complain about the site to take a deep breath and dive into their own blogs and comments where they challenged other industry leaders to lead- Brian should be celebrated, not beaten up- although I find no way to really disagree with many complaints of the site.
I promised Brian 30 days to knock out the wrinkles in Zolve.com’s threading and hope you will too. So without further ado here are my Top 5 Constructive Suggestions to Zolve.com
- Reduce the price to $99 first year, $ 249 the second year (if you really must charge at all) and remove the money back guarantee completely.
- Remove the beautiful lady on the front page, making her an option to the visitor.
- Remove subjective ratings completely- a referral is a referral, the rating isn’t necessary.
Now, those were just the Top 3 ‘duh’ suggestions, here’s the money shot:
- Leave blogging as an option- but build community wikis – sell area codes if you want, or hey- do it Zillow style for free. You have 100s of writers on Zillow communities answering questions to draw Zillow business simply because Realtors really have no where else to participate (besides Trulia). Give Realtors credit for participation if you wish- let their participation be their ranking so long as they’re participating in only their pre-chosen zip codes.
- Discussion Forums for Real Estate & Lending. Why leave this to outsiders?
*BONUS* Charge Realtors for advertising space & leave the profiles and direct referrals to the Lenders; these are the big corporate budgets you seek.
I give Brian Wilson the credit he deserves for taking a shot at the influx of venture capital companies invading real estate. As I said, he had the cajones to stand up and be counted. We as a profession should get behind ideas and make them Great Ideas.
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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