BHHS_2_0_01We keep telling you that North Texas is damn hot, and the brokers want in. Even Warren Buffet. His new real estate foray, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, part of the HSF Affiliates LLC family of real estate brokerage franchise networks, is now a presence in Dallas. The company announced yesterday that Prudential Texas Properties has joined their network, operating as Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Texas.

PenFed Realty Texas Broker Rick Wylie said the transition ushers in a new era of growth at the brokerage, which has served the DFW area since 1989 and was a perennial top 50 company with Prudential Real Estate.

“We are so proud of our new name and what it stands for,” Wylie said. “Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices’ namesake is Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Inc., a corporation respected around the world. PenFed is one of America’s strongest and safest credit unions serving millions of Americans. Factor in our skilled and passionate agents, and you’ve got world-class real estate representation.”

There’s so much power in that Omaha, Nebraska, guy’s name. Buffett’s brand-new real estate franchise brand also has the strongest brand equity of all real estate brands, at least according to a consumer survey by Harris Poll.

The poll was conducted in January, and surveyed more than 41,000 Americans older than the age of 15. (Editor’s note: that’s a pretty young age to own a home!) The 2014 Harris Poll EquiTrend ranks brands by how strongly consumers connect with them. The survey gauged consumers’ emotional connection to brands, their awareness and familiarity of them, and the influence they may have on them.

Rick Wylie, President of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Texas

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At the recent Frisco town hall meeting, a Collin County Association of Realtors member said above-ground power lines like those proposed by Brazos/CoServ would negatively impact home values by 5 to 20 percent along the selected route. Map: CCAR

At the recent Frisco town hall meeting, a Collin County Association of Realtors member said above-ground power lines like those proposed by Brazos/CoServ would negatively impact home values by 5 to 20 percent along the selected route. Map: CCAR

The gloves are off in northern suburb Frisco as homeowners fight against a power line proposed by Brazos Electric Power Cooperative Inc. and CoServ Electric.

But in an unprecedented twist, Frisco Realtors are fighting side-by-side with homeowners for their home values and property rights.

At the heart of the issue is a suggested above-ground, 138,000-volt, double-circuit power line along either Stonebrook Parkway or Main Street in Frisco, built by Brazos on behalf of CoServ. The power line will start at an existing transmission line west of the Dallas North Tollway, and run between 2.7 and 4.1 miles, depending on the approved route, to a new substation to be built on King Road, west of Farm-to-Market Road 423. The new power line would serve growth in Frisco, Little Elm and The Colony, one of the fastest growing areas in the nation.

This prospect has the West Frisco Homeowners Coalition (WFHOC) and Collin County Association of Realtors (CCAR) working together oppose the 12-story power line, proposing instead that Brazos/CoServ build the line underground. They say the above-ground high-voltage transmission line, which will run through densely populated neighborhoods, will adversely affect the rights of homeowners.

“This is not simply about lowering property values—we see this as a huge home ownership, private property rights infringement,” said Adam Majorie, Government Affairs Director for the CCAR. “We think [the above-ground lines] will have a detrimental impact on homeowners themselves, because it affects on the whole neighborhood, and it impacts the homeowners’ nest eggs.”

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Nina Pham

Nurse Nina Pham and her King Charles Cavalier spaniel Bentley.

For those in Dallas and North Texas who are following this news closely, Nina Pham, the Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital Dallas nurse who contracted Ebola after caring for Thomas Eric Duncan, has issued a quote through the hospital. Pham, who has an apartment in the M Streets, started running a fever on Friday. Over the weekend, doctors confirmed that Pham had contracted the deadly disease that killed Duncan.

Jump to read the full quote, as well as a statement from the hospital.

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Marquita cleanup

Good morning! Did you ever dream we would be talking about Ebola here in Dallas? Most of us spent our Sunday digesting the sad news that a health care worker who had tended to Thomas Duncan, the city’s first Ebola patient and victim, at Presbyterian Hospital of Dallas, had contracted the disease from her job of caring for him in ICU at Presbyterian Hospital. Late Sunday night the Center for Disease Control confirmed the diagnosis. Speculation was made that the health care worker, a young nurse, had somehow breached the protocol of the protective gear. According to my sources, no breach took place. The hospital, infectious disease experts, and the CDC will be poring over the current containment protocols and hazmat suits worn by all Ebola health care workers in the next few days to determine many things, one of which could be a change in CDC policy for wearing of protective gear, and possibly getting out of it.  Presbyterian Dallas is already stepping up to a new level of infectious disease care, all prompted by rare chance that an Ebola patient from Liberia ended up in the Presby emergency room.

If anything, this is another sign that Dallas has become so much more of an international city, with a growing group of multi-cultural immigrants — which brings the good like real estate sales, and, unfortunately, the bad. (more…)

NTREIS Matrix

We asked our Facebook followers what they thought of NTREIS’ Matrix system, the update for the Tempos MLS system. While some agents seemed to love the new system, which now works with Mac OS and iOS devices, there are several problems that agents reported.

“Wow. Strange happenings. On my listing on desktop version of ntreis it says “Community Park”.
Go to ntreis mobile it says “Lanunity Park”.. How does that happen? No word from from tech dept after 2 weeks! Glad it sold right away…”

— Patrick

Read on for more user feedback:

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Arthur & Robbie Leasing ReleaseI could not be happier to see that Arthur Greenstein and his Uptown Locators has been acquired by Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s International Real Estate to add a new division to the leading boutique broker’s already haute luxury services: luxury leasing.

And they could not have found a better agent, or person, in Arthur.

First of all, Arthur and I go way back — he has consistently been a trusted source for vital market information and tips on some of the best leasing properties in town . Like this. He’s one of the first I call for data or stats. And he can rattle off statistics like Lawrence Yun.

“Right now, 42 percent of U.S. households lease their homes,” says Arthur. (more…)

Zillow-logoBloomberg reports:

Zillow Inc. is seeking to acquire rival Trulia Inc., people with knowledge of the matter said, in a move to combine the two most-visited U.S. real estate websites. Shares of both companies jumped.

Zillow could value Trulia at as much as $2 billion in a purchase, and an agreement may be announced as soon as next week, said one of the people, who asked not to be identified because the information is private. Talks between the companies are ongoing and may not lead to a deal.

Zillow rose more than 16 percent to $146.78 a share, giving it a market value of about $5.8 billion as of 2:06 p.m. in New York. Trulia surged 23 percent to $49.91 a share, giving it a market value of $1.8 billion.

The companies help buyers and renters find information on homes, generating revenue by charging realtors to give their listings prominence and by selling advertising. Together Zillow and Trulia had more than 85 million unique visitors in June, accounting for about 89 percent of all traffic to real estate sites, according to data from ComScore.

Katie Curnutte, a spokeswoman for Zillow, declined to comment. Matt Flegal, a spokesman for Trulia, said the company doesn’t comment on speculation.

What this means: Wall Street would LOVE nothing better than to have a huge consolidated PUBLIC real estate site for consumers. Can you imagine the ad potential? (Realtors buy online leads from Zillow and also pay to advertise against their own listings.)  I also read somewhere recently, will try to find the source, that Wall Street thinks Zillow, Trulia and the other portals are sucking only a fragment of the $28 billion ad potential they could be. (Where will it come from? Print!) Such a merger would create not just an on-line giant but a mega-media behemoth! Zillow and Trulia sell House Porn as entertainment, and it works! I was at Inman last week in San Francisco and am currently trying to write up all the take-aways, one of which includes Brad Inman’s interview with Zillow Chief Revenue Officer Greg Schwartz.

Zillow already has millions of viewers, like 54 million something uniques per month. A Trulia-Zillow merge could create a monster that could hog 89% or more of online listings

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