Luxury properties are sometimes marketed off of MLS to preserve the privacy of clients. After the new MLS statement 8.0 goes into effect, agents will still be able to do that, just not publicly.

Though there will be a period of adjustment, Chris Kelly, CEO of Ebby Halliday Companies, thinks ending off-MLS listings is for the better. That was his reaction to the National Association of Realtors’ new MLS Statement 8.0, the Clear Cooperation policy. The policy prohibits the use of off-market (or hip-pocket) listings except when marketing within a brokerage.

Chris Kelly, CEO of Ebby Halliday Companies

The practice of off-market listings, “is a terrible thing for consumers, and an even worse thing for the industry,” Kelly said. But this has been a decision that’s been in the wings for months, with the only two options being what Kelly likened to “mutually assured destruction.” Either all agents pull their listings and put an end to the MLS as we know it, or rules to eliminate all off-MLS listings are set firm. 

“Why would you knowingly withhold a property like that?” Kelly asked. “You’re only going to frustrate consumers. Plus, it’s just not a good business practice.”

But not all Texas brokerages agree. In contrast, Erik Bahr, Regional President of Compass Real Estate Texas, believes this rule is only going to hurt agents who are just trying to serve their client’s best interest.

“Texas homeowners choose to pre-market their properties for a variety of reasons: to gauge interest while making home improvements, to drive demand for the first open house, or to protect their privacy while they test the market,” he said. “Hindering an individual’s ability to pre-market their home is not only against the best interest of the consumer, but also negatively impacts agents, brokerages, and the industry as a whole.”

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Redfin, the Seattle-based brokerage that launched as a disruptor, has brought it’s Redfin Direct service to Texas. Announced publicly last week, Redfin Direct soft-launched two weeks ago and already has active participants.

Redfin Direct gives real estate buyers in Dallas, Houston, Austin, and San Antonio the ability to make direct, online offers on Redfin-listed homes without the help of a buyer’s agent. 

In other words, paying zero commission.

The company has 231 active listings in North Texas. According to NTREIS data, Redfin has a 0.7 percent market share for units and an 0.8 percent market share for sales volume in North Texas.

“We have seen 10 offers thus far,” said Tony King, Redfin’s Texas broker. “Clearly, there is already a demand for this type of service in North Texas.”

Who are the buyers, what are the price points? King says he hasn’t seen any high-end luxury Redfin Direct sales as of yet, but Redfin Direct buyers are coming from across the board: investors, more-informed home buyers, even some first-time homebuyers who have done their research online.

“In places like the Park Cities (and Preston Hollow) we represent an incredible value,” said King.

But local brokers say Redfin Direct is no big deal: Consumers have always been able to buy homes without an agent in tow.

“Consumers have always had the ability to purchase direct from a seller and listing agent, that part isn’t new,” says Chris Kelly, President and CEO of the Ebby Halliday Companies.  “However, guiding a buyer and protecting their specific interests is the entire point of buyer agency. Helping to identify the property is just step one of about 100 that the buyer’s agent does, and is likely one of the smallest parts of their value proposition. Representing and protecting the interests of buyers should be expanded not diminished.”

Redfin also believes this could jump-start Redfin listings. If sellers can make their homes more competitive on price (minus the 3 percent agent commission), they might be more likely to list with Redfin.

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Ebby Halliday Companies President and CEO Chris Kelly and Mayfair International Realty’s International Director Annette Reeve and Managing Director Nick Churton.

Why is this partnership so important for Dallas?

It’s no secret Dallas is becoming one of the most competitive markets for real estate agents and brokers, what with Compass taking the town by storm and Douglas Elliman headed our way. Redfin is gaining ground, and I have seen quite a few Door signs of late.

Then there are the iBuyers, focusing more on the moderately-priced suburbs, and the growing gangbusters 100 percent commission brokerages like JP and Associates and eXp. Keller Williams was born just south of us in Austin, but the company, now branded as a tech firm, has a very strong presence in Big D.

Our Agent Migration columnist, Josh Baethage, treads hard to keep up with all the changes.

Like so many television channels, there are so many choices for consumers who want to buy and sell a home. Thus brokers are pedaling on ludicrous speed to keep agents engaged, armed and competitive to market properties everywhere.

And it’s led to a really important move for Ebby Halliday Realtors. (more…)

Partnership offers big savings for buyers, sellers, and agents

Now that Ebby Halliday Companies is owned by Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, it was just a matter of time before it would connect with a cousin company and give agents, buyers, and sellers a deep discount at Nebraska Furniture Mart in The Colony.

Anyone who buys or sells a home through Ebby Halliday is now eligible for major discounts at the massive NFM along the southern border of State Highway 121, officials announced recently. Those savings include: (more…)

Janis Forse Wells (right) will now be working with her daughter Betsy Carlton Cameron.

After spending the past 18 years at Briggs Freeman Sotheby’s, Janis Forse Wells has teamed up with the Ebby Halliday Little White House.  She joins her daughter Betsy Carlton Cameron, who manages the office. However, Wells says that alone would not have been enough to make her switch.

“I love my daughter and I respect her. Everybody assumes that’s why I came here but it’s really not,” she said. “I took a look at the changes that are occurring n the Dallas/Fort Worth market and made a decision based on my analysis.”

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Staff Reports

Ron Burgert, chief financial officer of the Ebby Halliday Companies, is a rarity in these days of frequent job hopping. Burgert has been at the same job, in the same position, for 42 years. Burgert, who recently announced his decision to retire from the company he has played a significant role in building, will continue to visible – among other things, he will continue to teach his popular tax class through the Ebby Education Center.

Says Chris Kelly, president and CEO of the Ebby Halliday Companies, “Ron’s contributions to the Ebby Halliday Companies are many, and while we have been the benefactor of his strong fiscal guidance for many years, he has also positioned us for a very bright future due to his strong relationships with our agents and employees. I thank him for his distinguished service and wish him the very best in his well-earned retirement.”

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Chris Kelly, Ebby Halliday’s new CEO, says March was a very good month for North Texas real estate. We are not back to the frenetic over-heating mode we saw a couple years ago, but sales are definitely brisk and yes, Ebby is seeing (as are we) a bidding war here and there. Clears any worries I we I may have had that the market was slowing. And signs of spring are really, really looking good.

Here, let him tell you himself!

From Staff Reports

Ebby Halliday Realtors has appointed Betsy Cameron sales manager of its Ebby’s Little White House office. Chris Kelly, president and chief executive officer, recently made the announcement.

“A fourth-generation Dallasite with 15 years of real estate experience, Betsy brings proven leadership skills and industry expertise to our iconic Little White House Office at the corner of Northwest Highway and Preston Road,” Kelly says. “A natural teacher and mentor who has led other well-known local sales offices, we are very pleased that she has chosen to grow her real estate career with the Ebby Halliday Companies.”

Cameron is passionate about the residential real estate business and the professional relationships that she is privileged to enjoy.

“I am very relationship-driven,” Cameron says. “Relationships are at the heart of real estate, and I am excited about supporting and serving our Little White House agents. The most important thing for me is to understand how each operates so I can better serve them.”

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