From hiring to firing to IPO
In Zillow’s earliest days, they invested a great deal in their talent, snatching up the best of the best, then in 2008 announced layoffs and this month announced plans to go public in 2011 indicating a major turn of events. Over the next year, Zillow will be sweet talking investors for their candidacy as an IPO which is being hailed in technology circles as commendable, noting Zillow’s innovations. Others criticize the move as Zillow is not in profit mode, but companies not valuated on the profit model, rather the potential profit of their model and for the critics of Zillow’s current profit mode, I would ask people to compare how many dollars Twitter.com has made versus the millions invested.
Is their innovation debatable?
Companies like Trulia and Realtor.com compete for home seeker eyeballs and are running the same race to be the first to invent the shiniest iPhone app to keep the attention of the A.D.D. prone web users, so Zillow’s level of innovation is debatable, however their chutzpah is not. When was the last time you heard of a major company going public? Those days have been gone for some time.
Trulia announced this week upgrades to their advertising platform to offer hyper-local ads and Zillow plans on altering their ad platform as well to improve their chances with investors to take their Mortgage Marketplace ad income from 10% to 50% by next year via lead generation Zillow’s COO Spencer Rascoff told BusinessWeek.
Why Zillow and not the others?
Did companies like Trulia that avoided remaining loyal to their employees and not laying off their talent hurt themselves by not shedding weight in the toughest times? Did Realtor.com wait too long to get into the iPhone app store? Does Zillow plan to take the route of Redfin and become an industry disruptor with the help of a high powered, high price public relations firm? We can speculate a great deal about the way forward, but what is clear is that Zillow intends on taking a stand.
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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A closer look at the HEROES act, and who stands to benefit the most
The White House pushes for $450 per week return to work bonus
Managing bipolar disorder and what I wish my employers understood
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Ladies and gentlemen, the U.S. National Anthem
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