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Category Archive: ‘Realtor’

Realtor-Portal Fundraising

The fundraising has begun for the building of the realtor portal:

https://fundrazr.com/StopZillow-PreLaunchTeam

Greg should disclose the secret weapon mentioned – because if the new website isn’t substantially better than Zillow, then we are wasting our time and money.  His list of features is not impressive, and no one is going to leave Zillow – consumers or agents – unless he has a spectacular idea up his sleeve.

Having our own portal is a good idea and within reach if every agent chips in a few bucks.  Are there enough who care?  Most will assume it is a duplication of the MLS and not really needed.

But the reason we need it is because having our own portal would help create the ultimate club for agents.  Let’s build the portal outside of the N.A.R. and other top-heavy administrative bodies that suck down profits yet provide little if any benefits to agents themselves.

You would think groups like N.A.R., C.A.R., Zillow, big brokerages, etc., provide some structure for the industry, but they don’t. Yes, there are rules, but nobody enforces them.  Brokers who are supposed to be supervising their agents will look the other way if it means making more commissions.

We don’t even need rules – an agent’s reputation among their fellow agents is enough to keep them in line.  The rule most broken is the sharing of listings with fellow agents, but that’s been abused for so long that most agents don’t remember signing that form when they joined the MLS.  We will have to live with single agency (aka dual agency for now), but it is already upon us anyway.

More of the upstart companies are choosing to advertise on radio and TV, and distorting the truth is widespread. If we eliminate all the unnecessary money-grubbing entities, be honest with ourselves and the public about the (no) rules, take the gloves off and fight it out with our fellow agents for the business while cooperating on our own powerful portal, then the best agents would survive – which is ultimately what the consumers deserve.

Posted by on Sep 16, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Realtor, Realtor Training, The Future | 7 comments

More on Realtor Portal

The realtor industry has given a huge head start to Zillow and the others, so it would take a herculean effort to build a new/better portal to squash them.

Here is what Greg has said about the features to expect on his realtor portal:

* A “secret sauce” differentiator that attracts homebuyers away from Zillow and other websites.

* Only listing agents will appear next to their listings.

*No online valuations – you can’t value a home without seeing it.

* No FSBOs – only listed homes by licensed agents.

* No days-on-market disclosure – it hurts value perception.

* No price reduction disclosure – it hurts value perception.

* Managed by an elected committee of agents/brokers.

* Optimized to maximize lead flow for listing agents.

* Designed as the perfect website to sell homes faster.

To build a better portal than Zillow would require more transparency, not less.  He wants to hide the days-on-market and price histories?  Buyers would be slow to give up that information, and instead, click back over to Zillow.

I doubt his secret sauce will make up for the lack of transparency, and if the new portal doesn’t have active and sold comps readily available, he might as well pack it up right now.

They are supposed to send out an email today regarding the pre-launch:

Tomorrow we begin the pre-launch phase of our crowdfunding campaign. This will provide the seed money we need to build an industry unification website designed to sell our listings instead of using our listings to take advantage of us. It will be the first ever nationally marketed home search portal owned and managed by America’s real estate agents, a refreshing alternative to websites like Zillow that don’t care about our industry or our clients (beyond how they can profit from us).

This crowdfunding prelaunch is only being shared with a select few. It is being provided to you because you have volunteered to help as part of our leadership team. The main launch to the public will not take place until September 19th.

Only five more days to the main launch!

Posted by on Sep 14, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Realtor, Realtors Talking Shop | 3 comments

New Portal Built by Realtors?

The guy who started the StopZillow campaign wants to build a new real estate portal which would be controlled by realtors – he discusses the details here:

https://youtu.be/rv2SiGrw870?t=2m47s

An excerpt from the leadership team’s email announcing that the pre-launch of the crowdfunding campaign starts today:

We will use contributions from this crowdfunding campaign to build the best home search portal ever in real estate. This will be a website designed to sell our listings rather than using our listings to take advantage of us. Crowdfunding will also be used to create the national TV, print and Internet advertising we will need to market this website. 

Once the website is completed (projected January 2018) you as a campaign leader will have the first opportunity to demo it. You will also be given an insiders preview of the national TV commercials and blitz marketing campaign we develop to attract buyers to the website. After you have approved the website and marketing, it will then be made available to crowdfunding contributors, followed by other agents throughout the country

Then we will launch a $50,000,000 Regulation A+ securities offering to enable every licensed agent and broker the opportunity to become an owner. This $50,000,000 shouldn’t be difficult to raise… it’s an average of less than $50 per Realtor. I plan to buy at least $100,000 in stock myself. That money will be used for a national blitz marketing campaign to make every buyer aware of our website.

Once we have our buyers back, we will be able to retain our sellers and ensure our future. Recapturing control of our buyers and regaining control of our industry is the #1 goal of this project. Sellers need buyers. If we have the buyers, sellers will need us.

It seems far-fetched that he could get enough realtors on-board and get them to cough up money to build a new portal. But realtors need to do something to save our jobs, and having our own portal would solve everything.

https://stopzillow.com/plan-save-real-estate/

Posted by on Sep 14, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Realtor, Revolution, Zillow | 3 comments

CA Realtor Survey

On Your Last Transaction……

The percentage of properties selling below asking price remained flat from last year at 36%. The percentage of properties selling above asking price increased from 34% last year to 35%. The percentage of properties selling at asking price increased to 29%.

This is incredible:  For the 35% of properties selling above asking price, the average premium paid over the asking price increased to 9.3% from 6.8% last month and 7.8% last year:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The share of properties that received multiple offers was 64%, down from 74% last month and 66% last year.  Also, the proportion of properties with three or more offers decreased to 40%. The average number of offers per property remain at 2.8 offers from a year ago:

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Throughout California, the majority of homes sold are being purchased by people who intend to live in them:

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Owners like being owners – and the rich get richer:

Posted by on Sep 1, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Market Conditions, Realtor, Realtors Talking Shop, Survey | 3 comments

Redfin IPO

The Redfin IPO has been announced, and people are wondering what effect it could have on the home-selling business.  Notorious Rob started with the impact on brokerages:

http://www.notorious-rob.com/2017/07/the-impact-of-redfin-post-ipo-part-1-brokerages/

I agree with Rob that the real-estate-portal battle could be a two-horse race between Redfin and Zillow – the others just don’t seem to be interested in spending enough advertising money to get ahead.

Rob called his post ‘Part 1’, so he’ll have more on the topic as we go.  I’m not sure where he’s going with it, but I’ll add my two cents:

  1. Redfin will help retire the old guard. The median age of all realtors is 53 years old, according to the NAR, which means 600,000+ realtors nationwide are in their mid-50s and older.  They will struggle to keep up.
  2. They will help drive down commissions.  Redfin is, and always has been, a discount brokerage.  In an environment where you never hear agents talking publicly about their commission rate, Redfin is now advertising theirs on TV (and it’s higher than it used to be).  The non-Redfin agents who have little else to offer the consumer will be forced to match.
  3. They have helped to create and expand the team concept. For better or for worse, the agent-teams are here to stay; with the most-experienced agents back in the control room, and the new agents in the field.  The jury is out on whether this approach is what’s best for the consumer, but it is the future of home sales.
  4. They can process an order.  If consumers are satisfied that they don’t need expert help, and only want help closing a sale, then Redfin can handle the paperwork. So can every other agent.
  5. They have the killer instinct.  Their version of ‘Instant Offers’ has the potential to be a good seller-lead generator, if sellers don’t mind the bait-and-switch.  I expect they will also offer a Coming-Soon Club too, which could really rock the boat.

What Redfin is not:

  1. They haven’t changed the service.  The day-to-day business of selling homes hasn’t changed. Listing agents market their homes to a wide audience, and buyer-agents help their buyers find the best fit – Redfin or otherwise.
  2. They aren’t neighborhood experts. They send out their least-experienced agents to show houses, which is treacherous for the buyers who are in unfamiliar territory.
  3. They aren’t angels. Redfin agents do the same ‘sold before processing’ tricks that other agents do. One day, a district attorney is going to have a field day with this topic, and agents will be shocked to find out the real definition of fiduciary duty.
  4. They’ve never made a profit. They offer mortgage, title, and escrow services now, and it’s the way most brokerages can add to the bottom line – if they can get good help.
  5.  Their model/brand is untested in a tough market.  Once the market turns, we’ll see how they do.

You could probably accuse all agents, to some degree, of the ten items above.  I’m not down on the individual Redfin agents – the experience I’ve had with them has been mixed, just like with non-Redfin agents.  We are probably more alike than different – I’m an employee, with medical benefits, of a non-traditional brokerage with a consumer-facing website used to create business.  Maybe I should IPO? 🙂

In fact, the actual Redfin agents are pretty far down my list of concerns.  If we ever have a realtor revolution, this is who we should be fighting:

  1. NAR, CAR, and local associations – they refuse to provide us quality assistance, won’t enforce the rules, and won’t battle those below:
  2. Glenn Kelman, Spencer Rascoff, Warren Buffett, Rupert Murdoch, venture capitalists, and everybody else who is making a killing off us without ever selling a house themselves.  In many cases, we are paying them to disrupt us. We could get along fine without them.
  3. MLS companies who already have our listings, but don’t even try to compete with independent real estate portals.  Insane!!
  4. Major franchises who don’t provide industry leadership or real help.
  5. Bad agents.

These are the people who are the real threat to the 1.2 million realtors in America.  Unfortunately, like politicians and other rich people in power, they will be allowed to pick us apart from their mansions on the hill.

Posted by on Jul 12, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Realtor | 15 comments

Zillow/Sandicor Breakdown

For those of you who use Zillow as their go-to real estate portal, you may have noticed that we had a wild and wacky weekend – and the party is still going!

It was on May 1st that Zillow started uploading our listings directly from our MLS, Sandicor.  The new system prevents agents from inputting new listings, or marking our existing listings as pending.

On Friday there was a breakdown in the uploading process, but it wasn’t across the board.  Here are the real estate companies and the effects:

Coldwell and Berkshire – they both had their corporate direct feeds set up before May 1st, and it looks like they are running fine.

Sotheby’s – some new listings have been uploaded since Friday, and some haven’t. No rhyme or reason as to who was affected.

It looks like all other companies are NOT having their listings uploaded to Zillow, nor are they being marked pending automatically like they were previously – and you can’t do it manually either.

I did open house in La Jolla both Saturday and Sunday, and I had visitors on both days asking why my listing wasn’t on Zillow.

It’s a mess, and let’s add these extras too:

  1. The problem previously reported here about how listings get deleted on Zillow once they are marked pending in the MLS has not been resolved.
  2. More and more people are inputting their listings on CRMLS (the SoCal alternative MLS), which leads to duplicate listings which screw up the MLS stats but at least the listings are accurate on Zillow.

The mix-up is isolated to the San Diego market, and could be part of the uneasy union between Zillow and Sandicor, who was a reluctant partner in the past.

But both entities stated publicly that this auto-upload package was good for all, and a big step towards accuracy on Zillow.  We’ll see how long it takes them to fix it – today is Day 6.

For those who think this might be an opportunity for a competitor to take advantage, read this:

http://www.notorious-rob.com/2017/07/random-thoughts-on-redfin-going-public/

Save

Posted by on Jul 5, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Realtor, Train Wrecks, Zillow | 2 comments

The Future of Realtors

Notorious Rob has a series of posts about the new CEO for the National Association of Realtors, and the future of the realtor industry.  The interesting part is that the current president of the N.A.R. responded, which only brought up more questions.

Rob’s blog with his three posts is linked here.

This is his most-recent post that addresses the president’s response, and Rob’s call to action (I left a comment):

http://www.notorious-rob.com/2017/06/a-response-to-bill-brown-2017-nar-president/

The first two posts get into how Bob Goldberg became C.E.O.  But the post linked above could be a catalyst for change.  Hopefully the N.A.R. folks are listening, and are serious about doing something to help agents!

Posted by on Jun 29, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Realtor, Realtor Training, Realtors Talking Shop, The Future | 1 comment

Lockbox Security

With the big cyber-attack today, let’s touch on a local security issue that is hard to believe.  It didn’t happen to me, but to a listing agent I know.

It involves the new mobile app for our MLS, which is touted as a more convenient way for agents to access the lockbox when showing the home at their scheduled time.

The mobile app allows a realtor to obtain an entry-code for any lockbox on the system – whether the agent owns the lockbox or not, which is a big change.

The breach of security happened when a buyer’s-agent obtained an entry-code to a lockbox on an active listing – but she wasn’t at the house, and didn’t have an appointment.

She gave the code to her buyers, who let themselves in when the sellers weren’t home – and the house was owner-occupied!

Then she did the same thing a second time, giving the potential buyers the code to enter the home on their own – when she is not physically on site and has not made an appointment.

The sellers came home while the buyers were in the house – it wasn’t pretty!

Posted by on Jun 27, 2017 in Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Realtor, Realtor Training, Realtors Talking Shop | 13 comments

Hire Jim to Sell Your House!

When a buyer’s agent calls the listing office to inquire about making an offer, the usual response is, “Send it in, and we’ll get back to you.” More questions don’t reveal much else, and the buyer’s agent is left wondering if there is any hope of selling a house.

There is big money being thrown around these days, and how your listing agent operates determines your fate.  Sellers should hire a agent who demonstrates what they do to sell your house for top dollar, not just process your paperwork.

Here’s an example of how I work:

Posted by on Jun 24, 2017 in About the author, Jim's Take on the Market, Listing Agent Practices, Realtor, Thinking of Selling?, Why You Should List With Jim | 7 comments