Matt Templeton of Keller Williams Urban Dallas regularly educates Realtors on how to make the most of the current market. (Courtesy Photo)

By Matthew Templeton
Managing Principal
KW Urban Dallas

It feels like there have been fundamental shifts in the real estate industry within the last few months. Technology is the buzz word, money is being thrown around, and CEOs of just about every top real estate-related company are out. The last few weeks’ news sums up that feeling.

September 2018: Compass closes another funding round for $400 million — money used to build more software and buy more agents.

And then …

February: Rich Barton (billionaire co-founder of Expedia and Zillow) takes the reins from Spencer Rascoff, who was CEO at Zillow for nine years.

February: Keller Williams rolls out the first artificial intelligence and data-driven platform in the real estate industry — others have been clamoring to follow

February: RE/MAX says [sic] “Our amazing technology is coming, and it will be best in class,” and makes a technology acquisition, Booj.

Last Week: Data-driven Opendoor will now show listings from rival brokerages and offer Redfin-like rebates.

Last Week: NTREIS Board holds a vote on whether to sell greater data access to Zillow. April will be a reckoning month for North Texas Realtors and their data.

We’ve moved into a new real estate era that is faster paced and increasingly powered by technology and data — more than ever before. But there’s something else afoot. It’s eerily similar to what happened with the dot-com bust. Real estate technology companies are flush with capital — in fact, 2018 was a banner year for real estate technology investment.

And yet many of the top “technology” or “platform” companies in the industry are not profitable.

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Amazon

(Photos courtesy Flickr)

As word got out that Amazon may pull out of its’ planned halfquarters in New York, every single city that had a shot is discussing the potential that the virtual big box store will eventually turn its sights to one of the jilted — Dallas included.

Let’s review: In November, after nearly a year of being courted by nearly every city in the country, Amazon flipped the script and decided to divide its second headquarters site between two cities – Long Island City, New York, and Crystal City, Virginia.

But nearly immediately, many New Yorkers began voicing their resistance to the idea, saying they worried that Amazon would push up prices and rents in the neighborhood, and force existing residents out. They also criticized the incentives offered to the retail giant.

As resistance grew, The Washington Post reported Friday that Amazon was potentially thinking of walking back its plans for the New York site. (more…)

The Allwood Bella Tiny Home – Available through Amazon.com. Photo: Amazon.com

Just when you think you have your life under control, things change. After attending the Les Dames d’Escoffier International Conference in Seattle last week, this Lifestylist® realized that lifestyles and trends are changing faster than I thought. Being in the city where Amazon morphed from a dream to a company that has changed the way we shop made me realize that there are very few things that you can’t buy on their site. They even have Amazon Go stores that allow you to stop in and pick up a sandwich or a drink through their app and you never have to show a credit card or cash. Now you can buy luxury appliances, a tiny home and almost everything you need to furnish the home you just bought with a click of your mouse.

Amazon debuts one of it’s first Amazon Go shops in downtown Seattle. Photo: Lisa Stewart Photography

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Amazon’s announcement that it would hike its minimum wage to $15 company-wide came on the heels of a Dallas-related announcement (no, not THAT one) last week that will add about 1,500 new jobs in west Dallas (photo courtesy Flickr).

Wednesday, Amazon announced that it would adopt a $15 minimum wage company-wide, and the news couldn’t have been more welcome for Dallas city councilman Omar Narvaez, who had a prime Amazon announcement of his own last week.

“Breaking District 6 News,” he wrote on Facebook. “Thank you to my colleagues for unanimously approving the following economic development deal for D6.”

That deal? A new Amazon distribution warehouse at Chalk Hill Road and I-30, bringing 1,500 full-time jobs to the area. (more…)

The Standard’s COO Logan Nichols (left) and founder Zach De Bernardi hope partnering with Amazon will help grow their firm’s brand.

The Standard Real Estate announced a new partnership with Amazon to create a custom digital store. Under the setup, clients will have new options for purchasing home necessities and furniture.

“We are focusing on making the best of technology and being forward thinking,” founder and chief executive officer Zach De Bernardi said. “Amazon is everywhere so it makes sense for us to try and work with one of the bigger brands. It’s just one more added benefit that we can use to help our clients.”

De Bernardi said he was inspired after seeing similar programs implemented at two New York boutique real estate firms. He believes that partnering with Amazon will help build his company’s brand and help its agents better serve clients.

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“What am I doing wrong in this world,” my husband asked, walking out the door one Monday morning, a lousy day that began wrong right from the start. Blasting us awake, Livin’ on a Prayer streamed loudly on our Amazon Echo Dot that we use as our alarm clock. Though we’re an Amazon-enabled home with two-and-a-half tech-savvy users (the half is 10 years old), we’re having a hard time with the Dot.

“She” joined our family of other Amazon AI products several months ago, but this bot has a learning curve we’re still adjusting to. And this particular Monday morning, Dot shouted at us with a loud, warbly guitar, saying “Whoa, whoa… whoa, whoa,” like Bon Jovi guitarist Richie Sambora’s distinctive opening chords.

Fumbling with the Alexa app on his phone, my husband walked into our tiled-bathroom, and no sooner had he found the setting to turn down Dot’s master volume, he dropped his phone. That dreaded plop sound of a phone falling face down on the floor… The fear you feel as you bend down to turn your phone over… You know what I’m talking about. I listened for the expletives to fly, but all I heard was, “That’s a good way to start your Monday morning.” He showed me his newly-cracked phone and my heart sank for him.

I felt his question needed answering because we’ve all been there. One thing after another. Can’t win for losing. Universe, can I start this day over? Alexa, can you fix this lousy day?

It’s possible, but not easy because it’s a mental workout that most of us have never exercised before. Alexa seems to know everything, so maybe she can help us re-program ourselves to overcome negative thoughts and turn around a lousy day. Here are some ways to do that: (more…)

Photo courtesy of TOMMASO BODDI/AFP/Getty Images

Tate Lecture Series ticket holders get the first shot to buy tickets to hear Jeff, but I wonder if this has any connection to the news that the Wall Street Journal thinks Amazon is headed our way for sure for sure. I mean, Jeff Bezos could be coming here to just check out Whole Foods Market, as well as speak. Or, he could be checking the educational opportunities our city has to offer because we have SMU and the Bush Center right in our midst. Education, you recall, was one of the most important factors in Amazon’s search for a new headquarters: the company needs a lot of young, sharp brains, to supply tech talent to keep Amazon growing. The company plans to add 50,000 employees wherever it lands, over a 10 to 15 year time period. Those employees would be software developers and business minds. Hmmmm. 

Jump for the news on the Bezos/SMU partnership, and how you may purchase tickets — see you there!
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Is Dallas likely to get Amazon’s HQ2?

Right when you think that we’ve talked it absolutely to death, the Wall Street Journal had to go and breathe life into the corpse of the Amazon HQ2 story. But wait! Do all of these fancy pie charts mean what we think they mean? Is Dallas proper about to get the crown after finding ourselves at first runner up too many times?

According to the numbers (I’m not great at math, so I’m going to trust them a bit here), the big draw for Big D is all business — available labor, low taxes, and relatively affordable cost of living (for now, at least). Big points for meeting Amazon half way with college population and cultural fit (Dallas County is blue, y’all). But when it comes to fiscal health, we got low marks.

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