He is a Berkeley kid raised by a single mom, who happened to be a Realtor. Robert Reffkin saw her change brokerages three times, always looking for a better deal, each change a struggle. So as soon as he got into the business world, he decided to do what he could about it: disrupt!

According to Everipedia, “Robert Reffkin was known as DJ Zahav, the Golden Hebrew. Columbia University undergrad and M.B.A. he’s one of New York’s leading philanthropists and hottest startup players, angling to change the real estate market forever.” 

First the rental disruptor. He co-founded Urban Compass in 2012 (along with Ori Allon, who has sold a tech company or two) as a residential rental firm designed to blow up the murky NYC rental market with it’s cloistered listings and high fees:

Renters typically pay a 15% fee to brokers for commission. With Urban Compass, the typical broker’s fee is cut in half.

To execute the local vision, Urban Compass employs “neighborhood specialists.” Armed with red backpacks, iPhones and hyperlocal knowledge, specialists have real estate licenses and are paid a salary based on customer satisfaction, rather than a commission.

Wonder how long that lasted? Not very. But that’s the disruption business. Back then, even in rentals, Robert knew the key was service.
 
The duo quickly shifted the Compass brand from rentals to residential sales. The focus was still about service, but this time, Robert wanted to service the agents. He and Allon wanted to Zuckerberg-esque how buyers find places to live, and change how how people connect with each other and cities. 

“I realized rentals were pretty specific to New York City,” he told me last week. “New Yorkers rent, the rest of the world buys homes.”

Like in Dallas. (more…)

Realtor.com just released their annual housing forecast for 2018, which predicts national inventory growth will trend into positive territory for the first time since 2015. The forecast ranks top housing markets for 2018 based on sales and price gains, and named Dallas-Fort Worth-Arlington No. 2 in the nation.

“We are forecasting next year to set the stage for a significant inflection point in the housing shortage,” said Javier Vivas, director of economic research for realtor.com. “Inventory increases will be felt in higher priced segments after home buying season, which limits their impact on total sales for the year. As we head into 2019 and beyond, we expect to see these inventory increases take hold and provide relief for first-time home buyers and drive sales growth.”

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Dallas is still the top location for home building, according to data from Metrostudy.

New data from Metrostudy shows that Dallas is still the top new home market in the country, with builders starting 31,911 homes in the 12 months ending in the third quarter of 2017. Additionally, quarterly new home starts increased 7.6 percent year-over-year, with new homes priced between $200,000 and $350,0000 seeing the greatest buyer demand. Shockingly, new home starts in the luxury range — starting at $750,000 — overran third quarter 2016 numbers by more than 60 percent. 

Price increases are getting pushback from buyers, according to Metrostudy’s research. The median new home price seems to be stagnating around $321,000. That’s good news for homebuyers still hoping to snag a new build without breaking the bank.  This, however, highlights the affordable housing crisis in Dallas-Fort Worth, Metrostudy notes. “In order to satisfy the greatest buyer demand, builders and developers must work together with municipalities to deliver attainably priced new homes or D/FW could be on the declining end of the cycle sooner rather than later,” the report stated.

Jump for the full report:

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The problem with living on the Katy Trail is that, as Jon Anderson pointed out, so many other people want to live there, too. That’s why there are so many high-rise buildings in planning phases that will line this popular city amenity. Of course, with all of those new buildings, and all of the demand, prices are going to get higher, too. So if you want to get into this area for a reasonable price, Brandon Travelstead of Dallas City Center Realtors has a great unit inside the Lofts at the Katy Trail — the only one with an attached garage — and it’s priced under a half million.

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Word on the street last week was that Berkshire Hathaway had gone shopping in Dallas once again, this time snapping up the boutique Nathan Grace Real Estate. But no, it wasn’t Berkshire H. 

It was CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company, with Jim Fite as president, who answers their phone as “the official real estate company of the Dallas Cowboys”.

Rather than an acquisition, this sounds like more of a strategic partnership between the two firms. It appears this will be a luxury division within Judge Fite, the new company calling itself “Fine Homes & Estates CENTURY 21 Nathan Grace.” Everyone wants a piece of that luxury pie, so this is a smart way for Judge Fite to get into those luxe markets. And it’s a smart way for Nathan Grace to pick up the technology and tools that come with a billion dollar company. What brokers want, you see, is high-producing agents and they are forever in competition with each other to attract them. Hard working agents are the ones who get homes sold!

Kevin Caskey is president of Nathan Grace. Century 21 is a division of Realogy called NRT, with all the company-owned shops sitting under NRT.
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Even as the price of new-builds in Dallas remains largely stagnant, a report last month suggests that housing affordability will remain a primary concern for the foreseeable future. According to Metrostudy, the area’s low housing inventory streak continues unabated, and the median home price inches ever upward, reaching $320,600 last quarter. Resale prices of homes show no signs of slowing and new home starts in the $200,000 or under price range have become relics of the past.

“New homebuyers are stretched to the limit of what they can afford,” said Paige Shipp, Director of Metrostudy’s Dallas-Ft Worth market. Tell us about it.

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Brokers & agents are invited to a CandysDirt Staff Party event at 5350 South Dentwood July 19, from 3 to 5 pm. Brokers & agents are welcome to bring prospective buyers back to the property from 5 to 7 pm that same day. RSVP’s are being taken at 214-543-9990.

In 1951, when Dallas was still learning to embrace the midcentury modern design movement, oilman Grady Vaughn, Jr. commissioned architect Robert Goodwin of Goodwin & Cavitt to design his waterfront dream home in what we now call the honeypot of Preston Hollow. The home is 9,500 square feet with six bedrooms, seven and a half baths, several living areas on one of the most heavily treed lots in this majestic part of town. The acreage is unbelievable: 1.36 acres that include a serene swimming pool and a large private pond.

5350 South Dentwood was designed to serpentine throughout the lush property, meandering alongside the pond on the Straight Branch tributary, weaving through and around original trees. Buildings developed for their sites have an inherent connection, and you feel it intensely walking around the Vaughn House setting.

The home briefly came to market in the spring when it first became available.  Now, it is back, offered for $5,500,000 from the original list price of $6,900,000, with some very serious sellers behind it.

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Clean, unfussy, transitional design is hard to come by. It seems that so many new builds miss the mark, with awkward facades and a mish-mash of architectural style. But for those who love clean lines, natural materials, and tons of symmetry, this listing from Dave Perry-Miller Real Estate’s Phillip Murrell is just the ticket. We’re thrilled to feature it as our High Caliber Home of the Week sponsored by Lisa Peters of Caliber Home Loans. Need financing for your own #HighCaliberHome? Your first and last call should be to Lisa Peters at Caliber.

Intrigued by this Caruth Hills transitional? Read on!

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