As the colder weather descends – Thanksgiving is always the turning point in my neck of the woods (New England that is) when sweaters are necessary and thoughts of curling up with a good book, cup of tomato soup and a blanket occur randomly. Sometimes a fire in the fireplace is involved.
Anyway, I LOVE books, all kinds of books and wanted to share some of the best reads this year in the Business Genre, ones that I read and actually learned from. Maybe it is all the Turkey juice (L-Tryptophan) still flowing through my veins, but here it goes. Here are five to start you off. More to come in later posts.
Play to Win by Larry Wilson – This book is about the most important adventure you will ever have – your life. You can choose to live fenced in all your life with herd mentality or you can break through and go your own way. This book examines how to think clearly and deeply and avoid decisions that will not allow you to succeed. He defines the Play to Lose attitude which I see a lot in my classes. Because I recognize it now, I address it head on in class and it really helps. I read this book every couple of years.
Intelligent Selling by Ken Burke – This book was recommended by a web designer I use. He examines what makes websites that sell commodities like real estate really work. This includes other products that actually are sold at a brick and mortar site. Because it is NOT real estate specific you can compare your website to his ideas and see how you stack up. This one is full of sticky notes and highlighter marks. He focuses building customer relationships, personalizing the customer experience and understanding personalization techniques. Great Read!
The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell – called a “facile piece of pop sociology”, I found this book to be business altering. His concept that little events can have amazing effects really made me reexamine how I do business and make sure I was taking advantage of tipping points in my life. In my TOP TEN books of all time. There is even a definition of a tipping point in Wikipedia. Here it is: “Tipping points are the levels at which the momentum for change become unstoppable.” Gladwell speaks about the three agents of change in his book:
- The law of the few – the success of any social epidemic is dependent on a group of people called connectors with a rare set of social skills
- The stickiness factor – a message that is memorable and makes impact
- The power of context – human nature is sensitive to and strongly affected by its environment. You will have to read the book for this one . . . fascinating.
The Great Connection – Arne Warren. Told as a story, it is a narrative of personality styles. Because you read about the interaction of the main character with others you get a keen insight on how different people and personalities get along and how you can benefit from knowing this. Whether you have a difficult associate or employee or you want to read your clients better, this is an easy and fun read.
Good to Great by Jim Collins. This book uses tough benchmarks and examines companies that were “good” and made the leap to “great” and sustained it for 15 years. The book can relate to any size company and makes you think. Here is a chart of some of the good and some of the great. One surprise here is his rating of Bank of America, but this was before the banking debacle.
So please, I need more books to read, for business growth. What would you recommend? I have gift cards waiting to be used. Please help.
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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