Yesterday, I attended the 2nd Annual ReBarCamp San Francisco Its just over a year since I attended the first one in San Francisco, just before Imman Connect where AgentGenius won the Award for the most innovative Blog. That event has been well chronicled, and has had an incredible reprise yesterday when the most familiar figures of the RE.net met once again to share and learn about social media . But its been a long year, and it seems like an awful long journey for me and the real estate industry.
The San Francisco BarCamp was the brain child of Todd Carpenter, Andy Kaufman, and Brad Coy whose major concern last year was if there would be enough people to maybe make it happen a second time. Since then the phenomenon has spread through the real estate industry like wildfire.
I’m not sure why ReBarCamps have grown as rapidly as they have. It may be that real estate professionals are just so hungry for knowledge that they embrace every opportunity to learn and congregate. It might be that they’re just all different. The volunteers that host each REBarcamp each have different venues and thoughts about the process, so each one that I’ve attended has had a distinct flavor. This year’s version of the San Francisco event was larger, more diverse, and really well produced. The social element was there, as the CEOs of real estate technology companies mixed and mingled with real estate agents and brokers of all degrees of experience. I got to met Ken Brand (who rocks) and even had the honor of being confused with Jay Thompson, the Phoenix Real Estate Guy.
This year, Ginger Wilcox added “Housing for the Homeless“,a charitable component to the event. Taking advantage of the ReBarCamp frenzy, Ginger (and the rest of the ReBarCamp organizers and volunteers) stepped up to mobilize the power of our community to help those in our communities whose needs align oddly with our profession. The final count is not in, but Ginger’s idea is, even in the first blush, an amazing success, raising thousands of dollars to help those whose plight is the antithesis of our industry’s promise to the American public.
Hopefully this component of the ReBarCamp phenomenon will continue to be part of the next ReBarCamps in Columbus, Washington DC, Miami, Lynchburg, etc. Brad, Todd, Andy and Ginger have proven that we can make a difference to our professiona, and now that we can make a difference to our communitites. Let’s run with this as well.
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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