is one of the few IPO success stories this year. They went public mid-July and finally hit profitability
for the first time in Q2. How this will improve Zestimates remains to be seen. In real estate circles, Zestimates are known to be fairly accurate or totally off the wall. On a small link
on their site, you can find their median error %. Some areas are respectably within 4-5%, but other areas are off up to 38%!
Zillow can be a great tool to get a ballpark guesstimate of a property's value, but take it with a grain of salt. It works best in tract homes or cookie-cutter communities. It's dubious in areas that have a lot of property diversity & older homes, like is most urban cities.
A fancy algorithm just can not take into account intangible factors that affect value like view, curb appeal, layout, schools, and so forth. I'm just sayin'!
Tune into WIBW this Saturday 10:10am CST September 10 to hear hosts Marshall Barber, Chris Simone & Michelle Stevens interview me about improving your home for sale, beautification tips & curb appeal. Listen live here
Scott Monty, the head of social media for the Ford Motor Company, asked me to write a guest post about Real Estate & Social Media! So flattered someone as esteemed as Scott cares what I think.
Excerpt:Social media is where people immediately go to for recommendations for anything and everything, from eateries to vacation spots to even real estate. As a service-oriented business predicated on spheres of influences, social media is more relevant than ever for this industry. Real estate is all about referrals and who you know...which, if you think about it, is what social media is all about.
Read the rest here.
Note: Scott runs The Social Media Marketing Blog
where he share his perspectives on social media - the convergence of marketing, advertising and PR on the Web - for marketers, agencies, the enterprise and the individual. Check it out!
This may ruffle some feathers in realtor circles, but hey, that's never stopped me before! How many times have you heard an agent proclaim to much fanfare that they are an Area Specialist? When I hear that, I can't help but roll my eyes. Read why in my latest column for Agent Genius
Local expertise is good, right?
There is something to be said about local knowledge, but honestly folks, isn’t the term “Area Specialist” just a marketing angle for some agents? These self-anointed neighborhood experts brand themselves out the wazoo to their farm. To drum up business, they talk up how they know this zip code like the back of their hand, how they know every nook & cranny within a five block radius, how they are the go-to agent for all the locals, blah blah blah. They live, breath & reproduce in that neighborhood! OK, I get it. For some agents, that is their hook, which is fine and dandy. Everyone’s got their schtick.
But, how many times have you seen a self-dubbed “Area Specialist” get riled up for you taking a listing in “their” farm? They get possessive about anyone stepping onto “their” turf. (Excuse me, I don’t see your name on street sign!) And yet despite their PR about the importance of working with an Area Specialist, they’ll snap up a listing across town without batting an eyelash. It just comes off to me as a sales gimmick, a mere marketing ploy. Because if they practiced what they preached, then they wouldn’t take that listing outside their area. You can’t have it both ways, folks!
The inherent problem
Ergo, that’s the inherent problem with labeling yourself an “Area Specialist.” You convince a buyer to work with you because you know the area the best. But what if their search ends up in a neighborhood clear across town? Your cred is shot. Based on your logic, they should no longer work with you. Are you really going to give up the last six months of work you put in? Doubt it. On the listing side, I don’t know a single Area Specialist who’d turn down a million dollar property because it is outside their geographic bubble (all of a sudden they aren’t an “Area Specialist,” they’re a “Luxury Specialist”).
My point is that agents who flagrantly label themselves as Area Specialists run the danger of painting themselves into a corner. They end up looking like hypocrites the second they do business outside their area. Am I wrong?
If you can stomach anymore, my other articles for Agent Genius can be found here. Enjoy!
*Hell hath no fury like a woman screwed....by real estate! Just ask pop sensation Rihanna who has launched a multi-million dollar lawsuit alleging construction defects on her recent Beverly Hills purchase. The Grammy winner claims she was kept in the dark about the homes problems during the purchase. Named in the suit include the seller, architects, property inspectors & Shelley Brown of Prudential Realty CA who represented RiRi. (Oddly enough, powerhouse listing agent Joyce Rey is not in the lawsuit's line of fire). Lesson learned: DISCLOSE , OR BE SUED! [via Wrap]*That fury is not reserved just for women! MGM co-CEO & co-Chairman Roger Birnbuam sues luxury house flipper Sandy Gallin for construction defects (deja vu, see above) on the mega million dollar Beverly Hills home he sold to Roger. Lesson learned: Just cuz a house costs $16.5M don't mean it's without its problems! [via Real Estalker]
*Steven Seigal bulldozes a house and inadvertently kills a puppy! He must feel awful, as he is a big animal lover....but he probably feels worse because he's being sued by the homeowner for $100k and an apology for murdering Snoopy. [via AOL]
I recently videoblogged for LogoTV about the importance of sellers getting a pre-inspection. This caught the eye of Adam Lowe, founder of Clear House, who reached out to me. During his own home buying experience, he asked, "Why should the condition of the house be a mystery to both the seller and the buyer until both parties have signed a contract?" What a great question! This lead him to create a site that "ensures that all parties can trust the information and avoid the stress, expense and time wasted with a traditional buyer’s inspection." In real estate meccas like San Francisco, pre-inspections are practically a prerequisite for any listing. Buyers have the luxury of knowing the general condition of the property before making an offer. Wouldn't knowing if a house had $50,000 worth of foundation work make a difference in a buyer's price? This shouldn't be a luxury; it should be a basic requirement. In many parts of the country, buyers do not even get the seller's disclosures until after they get into contract, much less any inspections! Tsk, tsk!Hopefully Clear House is part of a larger trend in the real estate industry, where both buyers & sellers are apprised of a property's condition from the get-go. Pre-inspections can save everyone a lot of heartache & painful negotiations mid-escrow. They allow the seller to repair (or at the least disclose) defects and they put the buyers on notice of what to expect in their purchase. Check out how it works below! Thanks for the heads up Adam! Good luck!