Foursquare has been a polarizing little app for the real estate community. People seem to love it or hate it. When it launched, Foursquare was used by the plugged-in RE.net as a game, a fun way to interact with each other and with the public. More recently, businesses, including the real estate industry, have begun to investigate ways to take Foursquare to another level, namely promotion of their business. In real estate, this would mainly be promoting your own office if you have a bricks and mortar location, and/or promoting individual listings. If the debate on the usefulness (or moron rating) of Foursquare wasn’t hot enough already, adding listings to it has had the effect of taking the discussion out of the frying pan and into the fire.
Here is the debate in a nutshell: Agents add their listings to Foursquare as a promotional tool. They can offer rewards to those who check-in (a good open house promotional tool), can add tips to try and drive extra traffic if people check-in nearby, or add info about the property (including a single property URL if they have one) with the idea that their friends and followers may look into the property if they see the agent checking in via Foursquare or other social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook. Seems like an ingenius and free angle to easily add a layer of marketing of the listings, right?
“Not so fast!”, claim the nay-sayers… “that is dangerous, how would the new buyers feel if people were driving by and actually trying to check-in to their new home?”
“Hmmm, well, for one, the venue could be “taken down” after the home sold and it already is on the internet in likely dozens of locations already such as Realtor.com, Trulia.com and Zillow.” rebuts the Foursquare-enthusiast. “It’s not that people try to get inside a house without a Realtor or appointment just because they see it for sale on an app.”
“I don’t want to be spammed by all these listings from the Fourquare users, Facebook people and Twitter friends I follow” chimes in another member of the discussion.
“Well, if the average agent lists, say one to four listings a month, is it spam to see them checking in to a new listing one to four times a month?”
Where do I stand on the issue? I think for areas that have a vibrant Foursquare using population, it can be a great way to generate some additional interest for the listing and give the listing agent additional coverage in their farm area. If handled correctly, it doesn’t have to be spam and it can be taken down as a venue when sold, thereby not bothering the new buyers. I don’t buy into the idea that it is any more or less dangerous for the sellers than having their home listed on the internet, there are going to be drive-bys just like there already are drive-bys for any actively marketed home and if I were the seller, the more marketing the better.
This post was sparked by a discussion which started on our weekly Miami Real Estate Tweet Chat. (you can read the transcript on the link) People do feel strongly one way or the other, what do you think?
Listings on Fourquare? Clever, Dangerous or just plain Spam?
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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