This week news came that Move Inc. (operator of realtor.com and a News Corp. subsidiary) would be ponying up more than $200 million to buy Austin-based lead generation firm Opcity — and that the company would also get a brokerage license.
The Austin American-Statesman reported Wednesday that Opcity, which touts a platform it says turns online inquiries about properties into transactions at rates 3-5 times the industry average, is used by more than 40,000 agents and brokerages, including Keller Williams, ReMax, Century 21 and Berkshire Hathaway.
Inman reported that Move Inc. would acquire a brokerage license along with the transaction (Opcity has one), but a spokesperson said the company didn’t plan on getting into the business of representing home buyers and sellers. I.E: competing with Realtors. (more…)
We got tipped off by a reader that HipPocket, the tech start-up brought to the market by pioneering broker Clay Stapp and his business partner, James Bohan-Pitt, will soon close. In a message to users and clients of the site, Stapp and Bohan-Pitt said that the company, which was launched give agents and brokers a different platform to market and ask for properties in high-demand markets.
“Unfortunately we will be closing HipPocket officially on August 31st 2017,” Stapp and Bohan-Pitt said in the message to users. “Even though the evolution of HipPocket into an intelligent collaboration platform was sound, we have been unable to secure new financing to build HipPocket 2.0 and our brokerage subscriptions have not reached a level that we can maintain the business long term.”
The platform, which was available in the Apple iTunes store, came on the market with a bang in May of 2015. Users that have any questions or concerns about the closure of the company have been asked to contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
“Users will also be able to see how many people recommended a real estate agent. Real estate is apparently one of the most popular topics on the site. Nearly 25,000 real estate agents have set up local pages on the social network, more than any other profession, according to Nextdoor.”
If you haven’t moved 98 percent of your advertising dollars on line and out of print, here is yet another chance — besides CandysDirt.com, of course!
The neighborhood-based social network, Nextdoor, launched a community real estate ad section Tuesday in 10 markets, including Dallas-Fort Worth. The section will also be rolled out in Atlanta, Austin, Houston, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Portland, Sacramento and San Diego.
(Inman Real Estate Connect starts Wednesday morning, wonder if the launch was timed to Connect?)
Editor’s Note: Jon and Candy are in Denver, at NAREE, and they are hearing a LOT about Instant Offer, Open Door, and other institutional iBuyer platforms. Homevestors, for example, told them they won’t sell a house to someone who has not physically seen it. Full deets next week!
By Alex Doubet
CEO and Founder of DOOR
There is a cottage industry in the world of real state agents of generating an uproar over the continued march of innovation. This cottage industry complains about innovation in general, and the effects of the internet on the brokerage space, specifically. The recent announcement of Zillow Instant Offers (ZIO) moved that cottage industry into full-tilt hysteria.
ZIO is nothing more than a slightly different iteration of the business model pioneered by home buying companies such as HomeVestors (of “We Buy Ugly Houses” fame). Opendoor is another recent entry into that same space.
Zillow recently rolled out ZIO as a product to connect homeowners on their web portal with investors. Real estate agents immediately screamed about Zillow “bypassing agents” and “taking our data and profiting on it.”
First things first, listing data does not belong to agents.
I don’t like Uber and Lyft because they operate on an uneven playing field. I don’t like Airbnb for similar reasons, and for the in/out/party upheaval they can cause to neighborhoods. I don’t like drug companies that raise prices just because they can. Therefore, it’s no surprise what I think of new apartment rental apps Rentberry and Biddwell.
Shortly before our holiday pause, we reached out to several agents and asked them to look into their crystal ball and tell us what we think the real estate market is going to look like this year. I have my own ideas. Naturally, we had to grab Alex Doubet, the somewhat controversial young hot shot founder of Door, a tech-enable flat fee real estate brokerage. As you can imagine, Alex predicts big changes ahead for the real estate industry and the entire commission structure. He is not alone: Inman’s Brad Inman predicts that one year from now, Opendoor will be the second-largest broker in the U.S., second only to NRT. That’s huge. Brad says that by unit count — and, most importantly, by revenue — the exchange platform will give a segment of the market the certainty they generally cannot get when unloading their homes the traditional way. In other words, instant liquidity:
This coming year, technologists and venture capitalists will zoom in on home sellers, with the $60 billion commission pie up for grabs. Opendoor, Knock and to a degree transparent bidding features are examples. Using technology, more companies will figure out how to give sellers more certainty around their home sale.
“Study after study ranked Dallas and its surroundings as one of the hottest real estate markets in the country, fueled by a boom in businesses relocating to the area, a generous tax structure, and a thriving construction industry more than happy to keep building new homes,” says Alex.
But with 2016 in our rearview mirror, will all of that momentum carry on into the new year? You bet, he says. Here are the trends that will dominate North Texas’ real estate market in 2017: (more…)
Last week the Urban Land Institute (ULI) had their fall conference in Dallas. Columnist Amanda Popken already wrote about her experience. I generally feel the same way about conference sessions as I did seeing my first Jackson Pollock, “I could’ve done that.”
The main difference being that in both examples, I didn’t.
You see, conventions are full of ideas you didn’t have or if you did, you didn’t act upon. The way to get the most value out of a conference is to learn more about those ideas. Some of them you can discard, while others you can build upon or shamelessly rip-off. Many will be completely common sense but in listening to someone who actually implemented them, there is much to learn.