YWCA

YWCA Immediate Past Board President Catherine Z. Manning, left, and Ebby Halliday Acers. Photo: Ebby Halliday Realtors

Dallas community leaders, including Mayor Mike Rawlings, gathered yesterday morning to celebrate the opening of the new YW Women’s Center at Ebby’s Place, named after the grande dame of Dallas real estate, Ebby Halliday.

Empowering women to improve their lives is the bottom line, which is why the YWCA chose Ebby as its namesake, says Jennifer M. Ware, CEO of YWCA of Metropolitan Dallas.

“Ebby so beautifully represents what we do here and has such a great reputation and philosophy in her company of giving back,” Ware said. “Throughout her career, she has lifted other women up and educated people in her company about the importance of giving back to the community.”

YWCA

Outside the new YW Women’s Center at Ebby’s Place. This photo and all below: Candy Evans

YW Women’s Center at Ebby’s Place will provide programming, services, and resources that serve working poor women looking to make life better for themselves and their families. The center will offer programs that help women become strong mothers, advocates for their own breast health, successful in the workplace, and financially secure.

Ware, Rawlings, and Dallas City Council members Adam Medrano and ​​​Jennifer Staubach Gates cut the ribbon for Ebby’s Place around 10 a.m. yesterday at the renovated 20,000-square-foot building, located at 2603 Inwood Rd., between Maple and Denton Drive.

The center is adjacent to the Inwood/Love Field DART Rail Station and one block from a DART bus stop, offering access to all women throughout the community, including more than 286,000 women and girls battling poverty in Dallas County.

“The stats are heartbreaking,” Ware said. “Here in Dallas County, one in three single-female-led households live below the federal poverty line. The mission of Ebby’s Place is to begin changing those stats by helping women to gain financial independence.”

(more…)

Zillow logoForget Crimea, the biggest battle brewing in the U.S. right now is between Realtor.com, owned by the National Association of Realtors, its digital company Move.com, which operates Realtor.com’s websites and social media, and Zillow, the huge and ever-growing third party real estate portal that agents both love and hate.

What’s happened? A key higher-up left Move for Zillow last week without saying goodbye, then his successor at Move joined him, then Move filed a lawsuit against Zillow.

Last week, a guy named Errol Samuelson, left a ten-year stint as Chief Strategy Officer and President of Realtor.com, to hop over to Zillow as Chief Industry Development Officer. The Move folks say he had inside knowledge on everything at Move, as one would expect.

But the left Move.com CEO Steve Berkowitz steaming hot, mostly because Samuelson left without notice. Rob Hahn, a Houston-based real estate consultant and blogger who once worked for Zillow, actually got Berkowitz on the phone and asked, what gives? Why no notice?

Berkowitz said he was blindsided,

Berkowitz told me that he was at an investor meeting all day on Wednesday (that would be the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference), and that the entire senior staff knew that he would be at that meeting and presenting. While he was at the meeting, he got a call from HR and from Errol, but because he was sitting in session, he didn’t answer immediately. Later that day, during a break, he checked his voicemail and that’s how he found out that his President was resigning, effective immediately.

Berkowitz said that he called Errol immediately and had a short conversation, with the only question he asked being, “Can I have some time?” As events transpired, we all know the answer must have been, “No.” Inman News published its story mere hours afterwards, and Errol started at Zillow on the same day. Berkowitz said that he would have been happy to have had even one day to react.

That was last week. Yesterday, as I was pulling the story to advance it, came word that Move.com and Realtor.com are fighting back. They are suing Errol Samuelson for alleged breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty and misappropriation of trade secrets. Basically, they think he is feeding info to the Realtor’s enemy, Zillow.

Oh and get this: apparently the guy who replaced Samuelson at Move, Curt Beardsley, ALSO defected for Zillow.

Zillow is headquartered in Seattle, so we know it’s not the legalized marijuana attracting these guys. Zillow is an online real estate database that was founded in 2005 and created by Rich Barton and Lloyd Frink, former Microsoft executives and founders of Microsoft spin-off Expedia. Spencer Rascoff is the current CEO of Zillow, Inc., and he was in Austin last week at South by Southwest. I.E: he’s cool. Zillow creates revenue by selling ads, often to Realtors, who complain that it takes their data from the MLS (which Realtors support through heavy duty dues) and then sells back their own data. That’s one reason why some agents bristle at the mention of the “Z word”.

They also don’t like how Zillow is so off with data, because the information, i.e. home prices, is so darn tootin’ off base. Like giving Champ d’or a Zestimate of $500,000. We all know it sold at auction a few years ago for what 9 or 10 million? Zillow cannot obtain accurate pricing info unless the MLS’s across the country provide it.

And a few are choosing not to. Come spring, the Austin Association of Realtors will no longer feed Austin listings to Zillow. How will they get their info? From public records. Will it be accurate? Probably not.

But the public LOVES Zillow. It has data on 100 million homes, and 34.6 million visit the site monthly, they say.  Traffic there is out of control — Zillow and Trulia lead the pack in real estate traffic, with Realtor.com now in fourth place as far as traffic. Agents tell me that consumers love to read Zillow and Trulia first, to kind of kick start the house hunting campaign.

Consumers tell me they love Zillow because, while the home pricing may be off, the pricing trends and other info are not. Plus Zillow has just gone hog wild to be a consumer-loving site. They have acquired companies like I buy shoes — Postlets, Diverse Solutions, RentJuice (one founder of this company is the son-in-law of local businessman Gary Kusin), Buyfolio, a mortgage company called Mortech, a listings service called Hotpads, and last year, StreetEasy. Zillow’s blog also feeds to many on-line news orgs, such as AOL Real Estate and Yahoo, who found it cheaper to farm out real estate news rather than hire real estat journalists.

There is no doubt that Zillow is trying to give consumers everything they have ever needed to shop for real estate on line, where most consumers now shop for real estate. In our hot market, if you don’t shop on line, you are too late. I have no doubt the founders intended to make Zillow the Expedia of the real estate world. Still, I go to Realtor.com for all my real estate info searches because I know the writers there are stellar, and the information is solid. How hard can that be?

Of course, what we really need is a national MLS. How ridiculous is it that there is not one MLS even in the state of Texas?

So what’s the big deal? Some say that the MLS’s are afraid that Zillow may render them obsolete. Some say that Move “fence straddles” too much to please the mothership NAR, who would like to retain control of listings. Some say it may be time for the NAR and Move.com to severe their relationship. Some say the NAR needs to give Move.com MORE freedom.

How does all this business affect consumers? Ultimately, if it affects how you get the information about homes to buy, or selling your own home, it will affect your home buying process. I still believe that real estate is the most localized story ever, so whoever defects from Move to Zillow doesn’t really matter today in Dallas, Texas, but it could matter in a few years. I think Move.com would be very smart to start regionalizing real estate news right now.

Also: curious how agents feel about footing the bill for this lawsuit.

Move and NAR vs Samuelson and Zillow by Joanna England

Press release on NAR/Move vs. Zillow/Samuelson

Ebby's 103rd!

Might as well make it a national holiday, right? Ebby’s 103rd birthday, which was Sunday, is definitely one worth celebrating, says national real estate news source Inman News:

Ebby Halliday, known as “the first lady of real estate,” turned 103 on Sunday. Halliday began her selling career at the age of 8 when she sold Cloverine salve to neighboring farmers and later opened a hat shop, Ebby’s Hats, in Dallas, before founding Ebby Halliday, Realtors in 1945.

Now, the real estate firm is the largest in the Dallas-Fort Worth area by both transaction sides and sales volume, according to Real Trends. Nationally, the firm is the 12th largest by sales volume and 15th largest by transaction sides, representing homes worth a combined $4.8 billion in 2012 in 15,915 transaction sides. *

Halliday asked that, in lieu of gifts, people support an addiction treatment center, Ebby’s Place at the YWCA. *

“It is our duty and privilege as Realtors to get involved, participate in the activities of our cities, and to help build our communities,” she said.

We are so proud of this amazing woman and trail-blazing Realtor! Happy birthday, Ebby, and congratulations on building a legacy in Ebby’s Place that will inspire many generations of women to come!

* Editor’s Note: The Inman News story incorrectly stated 2013 numbers and the purpose of the new Ebby’s Place on Inwood Road. Ebby Halliday Companies sales for 2013 were more than $6.4 billion with more than 19,500 transactions. Ebby’s Place at the YWCA is a new women’s center designed to help lift working women out of poverty.

Ebby's 103rd!

Might as well make it a national holiday, right? Ebby’s 103rd birthday, which was Sunday, is definitely one worth celebrating, says national real estate news source Inman News:

Ebby Halliday, known as “the first lady of real estate,” turned 103 on Sunday. Halliday began her selling career at the age of 8 when she sold Cloverine salve to neighboring farmers and later opened a hat shop, Ebby’s Hats, in Dallas, before founding Ebby Halliday, Realtors in 1945.

Now, the real estate firm is the largest in the Dallas-Fort Worth area by both transaction sides and sales volume, according to Real Trends. Nationally, the firm is the 12th largest by sales volume and 15th largest by transaction sides, representing homes worth a combined $4.8 billion in 2012 in 15,915 transaction sides. *

Halliday asked that, in lieu of gifts, people support an addiction treatment center, Ebby’s Place at the YWCA. *

“It is our duty and privilege as Realtors to get involved, participate in the activities of our cities, and to help build our communities,” she said.

We are so proud of this amazing woman and trail-blazing Realtor! Happy birthday, Ebby, and congratulations on building a legacy in Ebby’s Place that will inspire many generations of women to come!

* Editor’s Note: The Inman News story incorrectly stated 2013 numbers and the purpose of the new Ebby’s Place on Inwood Road. Ebby Halliday Companies sales for 2013 were more than $6.4 billion with more than 19,500 transactions. Ebby’s Place at the YWCA is a new women’s center designed to help lift working women out of poverty.

Drew Philp Detroit by Garrett McLean

Author Drew Philp in his Poletown home he purchased for $500

Photo: BuzzFeed/Garrett Maclean

Candy and I have been discussing this very interesting long-form story from BuzzFeed about a man who bought a home in Detroit’s Poletown neighborhood for $500 when he was 23 years old. Since then, protesters, investors, and CEOs have bought up property throughout Detroit’s devastated neighborhoods, demolishing buildings and shrinking the city’s footprint.

Drew Philp‘s story is a gripping one if you are interested in reclaiming urban neighborhoods, overcoming a history of civic corruption, and reinvesting in cities wrought by economic peril. I know several people in the southern reaches of North Oak Cliff who have purchased homes knowing that it could be years before their neighborhood transitions into a marketable one and a profitable investment. Did that deter them? Heck no.

Still, Philp’s perspective on broadening gentrification is an interesting one. His account, which takes us through the first couple of years of living in a once-abandoned home that was so full of trash it took him a month to clear the first floor, to now. Here’s a telling excerpt:

Dan Gilbert, the owner of Quicken Loans, has moved more than 7,600 employees downtown. He also just sent a notice to one of my ex-girlfriends, explaining he has purchased the apartment building she’s lived in for the last 16 years and his future plans don’t include her. The city is talking of disinvesting in entire neighborhoods such as mine — literally letting the neighborhood go to seed and removing city services, shrinking the city in what some have termed as “white-sizing”; upstarts backed with foundation money are talking about transforming an entire neighborhood into an 2,475-acre urban farm. The state just approved a $350 million subsidized giveaway for a hockey stadium with a suburban fan base that’s going to tear down another portion of the city and push more people out. Of course, the divide between the gentrifying Detroit downtown and the bankrupt Detroit that is the rest of the city mirrors what is happening in a lot of this country.

These changes are making me feel a bit threatened and defensive. Instead of a lone weird white kid buying a house in Detroit, now I’m part of a movement. I shop at the Whole Foods, knowing every step into that store is a step away from a brand-new city that could be. And if someone tries to break into my house again I will not hesitate to defend myself and someday my family. Some days I feel caught in a tide I cannot row against, but these are the realities. Maybe I’m feeling a bit like the good people of Detroit must have felt to be counted amongst the citizens of “Murder City.”

But there’s another Detroit, too, of which I am but a small part. It’s been happening quietly and for some time, between transplants and natives, black and white and Latino, city and country — tiny acts of kindness repeated thousands of times over, little gardens and lots of space, long meetings and mowing grass that isn’t yours. It’s baling hay.

It’s the Detroit that’s saving itself. The Detroit that’s building something brand-new out of the cinders of consumerism and racism and escape.

Read the whole thing and then tell us: Does the modern Detroit really reflect how our nation is changing? And how do we turn the tide, as Philp suggests we do?

 

Drew Philp Detroit by Garrett McLean

Author Drew Philp in his Poletown home he purchased for $500

Photo: BuzzFeed/Garrett Maclean

Candy and I have been discussing this very interesting long-form story from BuzzFeed about a man who bought a home in Detroit’s Poletown neighborhood for $500 when he was 23 years old. Since then, protesters, investors, and CEOs have bought up property throughout Detroit’s devastated neighborhoods, demolishing buildings and shrinking the city’s footprint.

Drew Philp‘s story is a gripping one if you are interested in reclaiming urban neighborhoods, overcoming a history of civic corruption, and reinvesting in cities wrought by economic peril. I know several people in the southern reaches of North Oak Cliff who have purchased homes knowing that it could be years before their neighborhood transitions into a marketable one and a profitable investment. Did that deter them? Heck no.

Still, Philp’s perspective on broadening gentrification is an interesting one. His account, which takes us through the first couple of years of living in a once-abandoned home that was so full of trash it took him a month to clear the first floor, to now. Here’s a telling excerpt:

Dan Gilbert, the owner of Quicken Loans, has moved more than 7,600 employees downtown. He also just sent a notice to one of my ex-girlfriends, explaining he has purchased the apartment building she’s lived in for the last 16 years and his future plans don’t include her. The city is talking of disinvesting in entire neighborhoods such as mine — literally letting the neighborhood go to seed and removing city services, shrinking the city in what some have termed as “white-sizing”; upstarts backed with foundation money are talking about transforming an entire neighborhood into an 2,475-acre urban farm. The state just approved a $350 million subsidized giveaway for a hockey stadium with a suburban fan base that’s going to tear down another portion of the city and push more people out. Of course, the divide between the gentrifying Detroit downtown and the bankrupt Detroit that is the rest of the city mirrors what is happening in a lot of this country.

These changes are making me feel a bit threatened and defensive. Instead of a lone weird white kid buying a house in Detroit, now I’m part of a movement. I shop at the Whole Foods, knowing every step into that store is a step away from a brand-new city that could be. And if someone tries to break into my house again I will not hesitate to defend myself and someday my family. Some days I feel caught in a tide I cannot row against, but these are the realities. Maybe I’m feeling a bit like the good people of Detroit must have felt to be counted amongst the citizens of “Murder City.”

But there’s another Detroit, too, of which I am but a small part. It’s been happening quietly and for some time, between transplants and natives, black and white and Latino, city and country — tiny acts of kindness repeated thousands of times over, little gardens and lots of space, long meetings and mowing grass that isn’t yours. It’s baling hay.

It’s the Detroit that’s saving itself. The Detroit that’s building something brand-new out of the cinders of consumerism and racism and escape.

Read the whole thing and then tell us: Does the modern Detroit really reflect how our nation is changing? And how do we turn the tide, as Philp suggests we do?

 

Prudential q2 Optimism infograf

Still not getting the wave of real estate optimism that has been heading to pretty much every shore in the U.S.? Well, Prudential’s Q2 outlook says that if your boat hasn’t been lifted from the rising tide of home prices, then it should as Millennials embark on the American dream of first-time homeownership. There is, however, a knowledge gap that exists between perception and reality for Millennials. That’s where the expertise of a Realtor is key.

It’s a great infographic worth scrolling through, but if you want a quick-and-dirty breakdown, here are the highlights:

– 80 percent of Americans ages 25-34 have a favorable perception of the real estate market

– 76 percent of Millennials view homeownership as part of the “American dream”

– While 65 percent of respondents say they “closely watch interest rates,” 43 percent said rates were falling, or were stead, when in fact interest rates are on the rise

You can, of course, read the whole thing on Prudential’s website.