The California Association of Realtors along with MLSListings, Inc. announced yesterday their joint pilot launch of the Realtor Ratings Program in an effort to create an industry standard across northern California.
“Despite the variety of real estate agent review sites, there is no single consistent standard for comparison among agents, nor in many cases, reliability of the reviews themselves,” explained Jim Harrison, president and CEO of MLSListings. “Through this program, we’re looking to create a system that combines third-party verification with real transaction participants, involving the agents and brokers in the process, and provide information that consumers can trust as a legitimate and thorough evaluation.”
“Not only is the REALTOR® Ratings program a way to make sure that REALTORS® are being rated accurately based on actual transactions, but it also helps raise the bar of professionalism in the real estate industry and provides accountability for the REALTOR®,” said C.A.R. Treasurer Don Faught.
Faught, in a video, describes the need for such a program, acknowledges that ratings are happening whether Realtors like it or not, and this is their (CAR’s) way of taking control of how their Realtors are being portrayed.
Northern California brokers from Intero Real Estate Services, Bailey Properties, Alain Pinel Realtors, Sereno Group, Realty World, and Legacy Real Estate have volunteered as local pilot participants, making the program available to their agents in several diverse markets from Monterey to the Peninsula, and across to Fremont and the East Bay. Clients of the participating agents will receive a survey of close to a dozen questions evaluating their complete transaction experience, and Quality Service Certification (QSC) will manage the data collection, analysis and display.
Realtors can offer a link to their ratings page via an email signature or web page banner, as well as neighborhood flyer and other promotional opportunities. Additionally, consumers will be able to view REALTOR® Rated agents via the QSC website directory. The pilot program is slated to run for the next several months, as participants evaluate its feasibility and ways to improve upon the process.
We wince at language like control, or ideals like placing Realtors in the driver’s seat. In essence, it implies that Realtors are not in control of whether they provide outstanding service and are not in control of their destiny in the eyes of consumers. Control ensures suspicion in the minds of consumers.
We believe it’s the right program with the wrong direction and communications plan. Ultimately, ratings should place consumers in control and consumers in the drivers seat to making more informed decisions. This above all else creates trust between the brand and the consumer, and with trust comes loyalty.
Is anyone thinking about the consumer anymore?
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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