Realtor.com is beta-testing AgentMatch in Las Vegas and Boulder, and just announced that they have selected 16 realtors to form a advisory board “to work in tandem with us on this important project”.
From the article:
AgentMatch ranks agents by city, ZIP code and neighborhood based in part on their transaction histories, with data sourced from the local multiple listings services. Other information, including certifications and recommendations, is also factored in.
The agents’ reaction to AgentMatch has largely been negative, with many expressing apprehension toward the accuracy of rankings that rely on statistics, and the inherent ambiguity in determining what makes one agent rank higher than another.
Redfin, Google, and others have rolled out their versions, and if it weren’t for the vehement objections by realtors, there would be several agent-rating websites in business by now.
There needs to be a solid, dependable agent resource center – the data is available, and third-parties are going to publish it, if we don’t.
It makes sense that realtor.com would be the natural portal. They have the direct connection to every MLS, and should be able to verify its accuracy. Agents should trust realtor.com more than the rest, and if realtor.com would have been dedicated to lead the industry, then we probably wouldn’t be talking about this. It would have already happened two years ago, before Redfin tried their agent-ranking version for a week.
I’m not on their advisory panel, but I’ll offer my thoughts anyway:
1. Delete the ‘ranking’ of agents, and just make it an agent-resource center loaded with facts – and education. Give instructions on what the data means, and on how to properly interpret it.
2. Include an agent-profile box where realtors can manually input their own introduction and make a pitch why they deserve your business. Provide a link directly off the website to the agent. If an agent wants to dispute their sales counts publically, do it here.
3. Make the data readily consumable – easy to read with helpful tips along the way. For starters:
Total sales closed in the last 12 months:
Number of agents in group who reported sales under this agent:
(comparing 12-month totals vs 36-month shows professional growth)
4. Allow clients and other agents to give feedback, just like Ebay. The realtor would be allowed to give rebuttals, and we’d have to deal with fake feedback. To make everybody happy, we’d probably have to allow agents to delete negative comments up to a point.
Realtors have enjoyed relative anonymity, and our commitment to educate the consumer is dreadful. A powerful agent-resource center that was properly positioned would help focus the attention on facts, and give the industry some much needed direction. It is in everyone’s best interest to work together to create a package that works.
Transparency would be greatly enhanced. Agents who focus on truthfully marketing themselves would benefit – the stats would back them up. The agents who depend on a fluffy image would still get by, because consumers attracted to that, probably wouldn’t be scouring the internet for data.
Some of the biggest objections will come from those whose shady dealings will now be exposed – it would help keep agents honest!
Most of all, it would give clients a resource from which to learn about the agents who are assisting them with one of the biggest decisions in their life. It’s the least we could do to help.
Mike Imgarten, a 29-year-old civil engineer, encountered a frenzy of demand and a dearth of inventory during a two-month house hunt this spring in Sacramento, Calif. Fearing he’d end up paying too much, he took a break from the search in June. Sales in Sacramento now are off by more than 25 percent from a year ago.
While inventory remains tight by historical standards, the supply of homes on the market has almost doubled, says Erin Stumpf, Imgarten’s real estate agent. “Six months ago, if I listed a property under $400,000, I would expect multiple offers within a few days,” she says. “Now, I might get one offer within the first couple weeks.”
In California, Arizona, and Nevada, where bidding wars have caused the country’s largest gains in home prices, markets are showing signs of cooling. The surge in prices, combined with higher mortgage rates, is reducing affordability while encouraging more sellers to list properties.
“We are shifting from a frenzy to where buyers are taking a step back and being more analytical and unwilling to just make rash decisions,” says Ellen Haberle, an economist for Redfin, a real estate brokerage based in Seattle.
A reduction in homeowners who have negative equity—owing more on their mortgages than their houses are worth—is pushing more homes onto the market. Negative equity had been limiting sales in regions hard hit by the housing crash. Thanks to rising prices, more than 2.5 million homes returned to positive equity in the three months through June, according to research firm CoreLogic.
Sellers lowered asking prices on about 25 percent of listings in September, the biggest share in two years, according to Redfin, which tracks 22 cities across the country. In October the figure was 23.8 percent.
The inventory of unsold U.S. homes climbed in September from a year earlier for the first time since 2011, while contracts to buy previously owned dwellings plunged the most in three years, data from the National Association of Realtors show.
The pullback comes at a time of year when sales typically slow. Still, the drop-off in heated markets such as Phoenix is far greater than expected, says Michael Orr, director of the Center for Real Estate Theory and Practice at Arizona State University.
A jump in borrowing costs since May has discouraged some buyers, and the government shutdown may have weakened confidence, he says. The average rate for a 30-year fixed loan was 4.35 percent, Freddie Mac said on Nov. 14. That compares with 3.35% in May.
“We have buyers, but they’re on strike,” Orr says. “This caught everybody by surprise, including me.”
Some markets have been super-charged by investors flipping houses and institutional purchasers such as Blackstone Group acquiring large numbers of single-family homes to rent. Many of these buyers are pulling back in the cities with the fastest price growth, says Sam Khater, senior economist for CoreLogic.
Demand slowed after institutional investors began withdrawing from the southern Nevada market a few months ago, says Dave Tina, president of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors. “We did a catch-up from being as low as we were,” he says. “Now we’re going to see normal raises in prices, not the craziness of 32 percent.”
There will be more national stories of despair in the coming months, but I think we just got overheated between May and September (see graph above).
If prices would have topped out around $215,000, then 2013 would have looked a lot like 2012 with 14% appreciation – which is less remarkable during a ‘bottoming’ era. It’s when prices are going up 2% or more per month that it feels crazy.
President John F. Kennedy came to San Diego on June 6, 1963 to address the Marines at the MCRD. Governor Pat Brown also convinced him to give the commencement speech at San Diego State College, and receive an honorary doctorate degree in law at the ceremony. It was the first time a California State College had awarded an honorary doctorate degree.
The tour was covered by local media outlets. Here is the KFMB version – note the sign at the filling station that was advertising gasoline for 29.9 cents per gallon, and that was back when they pumped it for you!
The number of Americans who owe more on their mortgages than their homes are worth fell at the fastest pace on record in the third quarter as prices rose, a sign supply shortages may ease as more owners are able to sell.
The percentage of homes with mortgages that had negative equity dropped to 21 percent from 23.8 percent in the second quarter, according to a report today from Seattle-based Zillow Inc. The share of owners with at least 20 percent equity climbed to 60.8 percent from 58.1 percent, making it easier for them to list properties and buy a new place.
“Home sales will pick up very nicely when people gain the equity they need to sell their house and have a down payment for the next one,” said Neal Soss, chief economist at Credit Suisse Group AG in New York. “There’s a magnifying effect on sales — people are able to list their home and sell it, and odds are they’re going to go on and buy another one.”
A shortage of inventory has forced homebuyers to compete, driving up prices and leaving some shoppers out of the market, said Thomas Lawler, a former Fannie Mae economist who now is a housing consultant. The number of homes for sale reached a low of 1.8 million in early 2013, the fewest in more than a decade, according to data from the National Association of Realtors.
“The pent-up demand from people who now have enough equity to sell their homes will help next year,” said Lawler, president of Lawler Economic & Housing Consulting LLC in Leesburg, Virginia. “We’ll see the effect during the spring selling season. Not a lot of people put their homes on the market during the holidays.”
Are you accustomed to using the internet for all your shopping needs? Those who prefer to research and buy products and services on-line will find it natural to do the same for agents.
Here are four ways to use the internet when selecting a realtor:
1. Google their name. Any realtor worth considering should have a decent web presence, and hopefully some evidence of their past performance. Check the dates of their latest blog posts or featured listings.
2. Check their license number. Every piece of advertising has the realtor’s license number on it, including websites and business cards.
There are some new agents who are really good, and there are older agents that should be put out to pasture, so it’s not a perfect guide. But at least you can easily tell how long an agent has been in the business with a simple glance at their license number.
The real estate licenses are issued with sequential numbers. I just use my company’s broker number as a guide. If they have a lower number than Klinge Realty, they’ve been around for more than ten years, and if they are a new or newer agent, then I need to check how many sales they have closed on the MLS. Here are the months that these licenses were issued:
01388871 (Klinge Realty)
3. Check their profile on Zillow. The industry’s leader now includes both reviews of agents, and how many sales they have closed in the last twelve months.
An agent who has something to offer should have double-digit reviews and sales (good agents should sell at least one home per month on average). Any agent who has more than 75-100 sales has a big team of agents who are all reporting under the leader’s name, which is somewhat deceiving.
4. Look for videos. Every agent worth considering should be using video in some fashion – at least a video of themselves on Zillow or their website, and/or real video tours of their listings with commentary.
The Home Value Index has not only been a pretty good measure of pricing trends, but it has also been a good predictor of the Case-Shiller indices.
The next Case-Shiller Index is due out a week from today, and is likely to show more deceleration. The HVI is predicting a less-than 1% increase month-over-month for the 10-City, and 20-City composites.
But the local pricing has been spectacular this year, and we are back to peak pricing – or higher – in some areas:
Build a Miracle was formally established as a non-profit corporation in 2001, but the true origin dates back to October 14,1986, the day the founders, Julianne and Chris North, met while painting the dormitory at an orphanage and school in Tecate, Mexico. Chris was a recent graduate of Loyola Marymount University and Julianne was a sophomore. Shortly afterward they met Adolfo Noguez, director of an educational and athletic program working with hundreds of impoverished children in Northern Mexico.
Chris and Julianne were married in 1988. Along with Adolfo, they continued to work
together on various charitable projects in Tecate and Tijuana. The transformation into Build A Miracle – a home building organization – began in the late 1990s, when they built one home each year for single mothers struggling to keep jobs and to keep their kids in school. At the same time these women volunteered at the local Esperanza Community Center and Chapel run by Sister Gene McNally.
The excitement about helping build permanent homes for families living in squalor became contagious for Chris and Julianne’s friends, family, neighbors, schoolmates and fellow parishioners. Donations started coming in and it was time to make it official.
In 2001, Build a Miracle was born.
JtR: It was the first time I had met these folks or participated, but I experienced everyone involved as genuine, caring people who insist on 100% of contributions going towards the home construction, college scholarships, and vocational training in this community.
The people who receive the houses own their land, but don’t have enough money to afford a decent structure. In return for receiving a 400sf house, they agree to keep their kids in school, and complete 500 hours of community service.
"Jim and Donna Klinge are by far the most professional, personable and responsive realtors I have ever worked with. They provide VIP concierge level service in every area of the process of selling your home. My home was marketed so successfully that we received an offer the day after our first and only open house. Thanks to Jim's pricing and negotiating, our house is now the highest sold in our community... more "
by Ann Romanello
"Jim educated us, helped us find the perfect house, and then negotiated us a great deal. I would hate to be sitting across the negotiating table from ... more "
"Jim is thorough and will be brutally honest about the homes he shows you. He provides great service and follows through until the very end and even ... more "
"I highly recommend Jim as a buyer’s agent. Working with Jim, we closed this week on a San Diego condo. Jim prepared a list of comparable sales to ... more "