Greg Hague is a Phoenix-based real estate broker and owner of Real Estate Mavericks. He is also an attorney. He is mad as hell at Zillow and “not going to take it anymore.” So Greg has started an on-line petition, that we are including here, in case you want to sign it. There are already A LOT of signatures, at this printing more than 12,000.

We told you about Zillow’s new “Instant Offers” program, an integrated experience which allows sellers to bypass Realtors completely and buy homes online. Certain homes. Instant Offers allows homeowners to receive all-cash offers on line from a group of 15 large investors along with a side-by-side comparative market analysis (CMA) from a local Zillow agent Zillow advertiser.

Many Realtors, like Greg, see the program as an attempt to push them aside, breaking many promises the company has made to steer clear of the transaction. (more…)

By now you have called in to refill your Xanex Rx after learning that Zillow is not only democratizing the home buying process, it’s turning it into an Amazon-like experience. We knew this was coming.

The online real estate disruptor announced this week a pilot program for buying and selling homes online called “Zillow Instant Offers.”

The way it’s working now: if the seller chooses to use the “Instant Offer” program, they will also receive a comparative market analysis from a local real estate agent, free of charge. That can help them decide if they want to proceed with the sale, and it might even lead to a lead for the providing agent.

One might ask, why not use a “Zestimate”? I mean, Zestimates drive us all crazy, though I think, I hope, by now homeowners know it’s really a starting point, nowhere near the actual value. Last year Zillow announced they had significantly improved the accuracy of the Zestimate tool, and after all, they said, home is worth only what someone is willing to actually pay for it. I believe there are nuances in that phrase: interest in real estate spurs more looking, which in turn spurs more buying. But keep repeating the fake message enough and it becomes the truth!

Jon tells us Zillow is getting sued in Illinois over those Zestimates.

So it’s interesting that at this critical juncture, Zillow is looking to boots on the ground agents with knowledge of the market to back up their AVM. Maybe this is the mousetrap… (more…)

Real Estate aggregation and data website Zillow.com is in hot water in Illinois.  Zillow has been successfully sued in the past for using photos without permission. They’ve been hauled to court over low Zestimate “appraisals” by sellers who’re listing well above the estimates. Even at the other end of the spectrum, they’ve been accused of inflating prices which resulted in some market froth.

The latest suit, seeking class-action status, was filed on behalf of builders who’re trying to sell homes that Zillow persistently undervalues.  This causes prospective buyers to low-ball the homes using Zillow as “proof” their offer is more realistic than the seller’s price.

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Where home prices are surging the most, and see how dwindling inventory affects that:

Metropolitan Area
Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI)
YoY Home Value Change
Percent Inventory Change for All Homes
Bottom-Tier Percent Inventory Change
Middle-Tier Percent Inventory Change
Top-Tier Percent Inventory Change
Condo Percent Inventory Change
Denver, CO $336,600 15.2% 0.1% -2.3% 15.3% -4.8% 6.8%
Portland, OR $325,400 15.1% -31.6% -39.8% -39.0% -21.6% -43.5%
Dallas-Fort Worth, TX $183,700 12.6% -21.0% -32.1% -35.1% -11.9% -33.6%
San Jose, CA $962,400 12.3% 1.3% -3.8% 3.2% 5.8% 7.1%
Seattle, WA $386,300 11.6% -21.1% -28.5% -20.9% -15.6% -23.9%
Miami-Fort Lauderdale, FL $232,800 10.5% 18.0% 10.3% 16.6% 21.9% 28.7%
San Francisco, CA $806,800 10.0% -2.1% -14.9% 0.1% 6.1% 11.9%
Tampa, FL $165,600 9.7% -16.2% -27.9% -19.3% -8.1% -12.8%
Austin, TX $250,400 8.9% 2.6% n/a n/a n/a 20.6%
Phoenix, AZ $220,600 8.8% -8.0% -20.2% -6.6% -4.1% -15.6%
Source: Zillow
dallas housing prices

Could rising housing prices in Dallas-Fort Worth indicate another bubble?

There’s no doubt that Dallas-Fort Worth is one of the hottest real estate markets in the U.S.

dallas housing prices

Aaron Terrazas, senior economist at Zillow. Photo: Zillow

Zillow recently named it No. 3 in the country, noting a 4 percent unemployment rate and solid income growth. Additionally, the Zillow Home Value Forecast predicts the Dallas-Fort Worth median home value will go up by 5.6 percent in 2016.

But some housing analysts and mortgage insurance companies fret over the 6 percent increase in North Texas home prices over the past six years. They wonder, could this be another bubble?

Probably not, according to Zillow senior economist Aaron Terrazas.

“Dallas looks pretty good compared to so many other parts of the country,” Terrazas told the Dallas Morning News‘ Steve Brown. “We don’t have anything artificial right now inflating the housing market—the lending standards remain fairly tight.”

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You may know by now that Zillow has closed on its acquisition of Trulia, without so much as a blink from the US Department of Justice. You may also know that uniform listing feeds — aka House Porn —  to Zillow from all 810 MLS in this country ends April 7, when the age-old agreement Zillow has in place with ListHub expires. ListHub is the company that syndicates real estate listings and feeds for more than 50,000 brokerages, and over 500 MLSs, in the US. These listings are then channeled to third-party publisher websites, like Zillow, Trulia and others.

But this is where it all gets kind of fuzzy and gives the average consumer a headache. ListHub is a subsidiary of Move.com, which was owned by Realtor.com, which is basically every dues paying Realtor in the U.S. So ListHub, kind of owned by Realtors,  gives (soon, gave) the listings to the portals like Zillow, who then turns and sells ads on these sites to agents. I mean, advertising is Zulia’s chief form of revenue. Kinda crazy.

According to my sources in the industry, it was Zillow who ended the ListHub contract as the two companies could not come to terms. At Inman last month in New York City, industry experts said it’s no big deal for the megaportal: Zillow will now go directly to the MLS and their listings will be even fresher. No more of this $512,838 zestimate for Champ D’Or stuff.

Well by golly it happened in Texas lickety split. The 24,000 Realtor strong North Texas Real Estate Systems has agreed to a direct agreement with Zillow to keep the North Texas listings flowing their way. (more…)

NRT's new portals, acquisitions, may position the brokerage to out flank competition.

NRT’s new portals, acquisitions, may position the brokerage to out flank competition.

It’s a much different model than Zillow/Trulia, but NRT/Realogy will be on pace to not only capture more leads than Zillow, but it has boots-on-the-ground Realtors who can complete sales. This one-two punch is part of NRT’s strategy to “out flank” Zillow, positioning the brokerage as an online and in-person real estate powerhouse, according to Inman News:

“The nation’s largest real estate brokerage, NRT LLC, is preparing to launch two new search portals that are aimed at reducing the company’s reliance on leads from Zillow, Trulia and realtor.com, attracting homebuyers by offering access to a complete set of MLS listings in markets where NRT operates, plus bells and whistles like automated valuations.

NRT, the brokerage wing of real estate titan Realogy, has over 42,000 agents and operates more than 700 offices in the U.S. under the Coldwell Banker Real Estate, ERA Real Estate, and Sotheby’s International Realty brands. It also owns and operates Citi Habitats, The Corcoran Group and, when the acquisition closes sometime this quarter, ZipRealty.”

 

(more…)

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It’s been a day trying to interpret and predict the future of the real estate industry. Good grief! Jeff Farris of BubbleLife Media reminded me that seven years ago, we didn’t have a verb called “google.” I was just getting an iphone. I started a “blob” called DallasDirt!

We think maybe in another five to seven years, we may have a verb called “Zillow” or “Zulia” as in : did you Zillow (or Zulia) that house?

What this means to the real estate industry: Zillow, now married to Trulia with a pretty sizable dowry, will have much more money, efficiency and power than the splintered MLS’s across the country. As Rob Hahn pointed out: they did a $3.5 billion deal that united two real estate giants in 6 WEEKS! Speed kills the competition. (more…)