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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uptownWhen Leah Nolan told us she and her husband were listing their Uptown condo, she was a little wistful.

And that’s understandable. Her cozy one-bedroom, one-bath home, 3311 Blackburn St. #215, is a perfect spot for someone looking to enjoy some of the best Dallas has to offer, with an affordable price point that gives them entry into what can be a pretty spendy housing market.

“We walk or Uber to the grocery store, for haircuts, and to bars and restaurants,” she said. “It’s just minutes from the highways, we have great neighbors, a pool, and it’s steps away from the Katy Trail and West Village, for the same price that we were paying for rent.” (more…)

Whiffletree Plano home

Custom touches are plentiful in this 1997 contemporary Plano Whiffletree home with four bedrooms, four baths, and 3,700 square feet for $569,000.

Plano’s popular Whiffletree neighborhood has the perfect blend of well-built 1980s and 1990s homes, mature landscaping, and some of the best schools in highly-rated Plano ISD. For our continuing series on great homes located within great school zones, here is a contemporary two-story, nearly 3,700-square-foot, four-bedroom home for $569,000.

This home, located at 3617 Snidow Drive, is zoned for Plano ISD’s Mathews Elementary (rated 10 of 10), Schimelpfenig Middle School (rated 9 of 10), Clark High School (4 of 10), and Plano Senior High (9 of 10). It’s listed (and owned) by Cyndi Schrob of Redfin Corporation.

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dallas mid century modern homesIf you’ve got a hankering for a taste of Midcentury style, our Thursday Three Hundred promises total satisfaction.

Located in the Lake and Garden District’s University Manor neighborhood at 7139 Edgerton Dr., this quintessential 1950’s gem is a 3-2 with 1,502 square feet, built in 1954. It’s a time capsule of atomic era flat planes and glass walls; open, bright rooms; and manicured outdoor living spaces that makes it hard to decide which is better, indoors or out.

It was listed yesterday by Erin Birdsong with Redfin for $364,900. (There’s a broker open house today from 4-6 p.m., and a public open house Saturday, April 9, from noon to 2 p.m.)

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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.”

 

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Brutal Chicago Winter

OK, visualize a brutal Chicago winter. Snow, slush, and gray everywhere, no parking so you have to hike to and from the El everywhere. Boots and coats and a monochromatic landscape that has been known to drive some people up the wall.

Now, imagine you’re selling your home. Would you want tons of people tromping through your house with goodness-knows-what frozen to their soles? Imagine the salt stains on your rugs! And you’ll need to showcase all of the architectural details, so your thermal drapes on your windows will have to be flung open. And can you imagine being displaced several times a week for showings?

In a word: Yuck!

But imagine you’re a buyer and you’re viewing a home during a cold and snowy day, and you walk into a listing behind an agent who immediately turns on the gas fireplace in this cozy beauty:

Hearth Rug

In another word: SOLD!

According to research from online brokerage Redfin, winter is the best season to sell a home. Sounds counterintuitive, doesn’t it?

 Redfin analyzed homes listed from March 22, 2011, through March 21, 2013, and found that those listed in winter have a 9 percentage point greater likelihood of selling, sell a week faster, and sell for 1.2 percentage points more relative to list price than homes listed in any other season.

What the what? Now, “winter” according to Redfin, is Dec. 21 through March 21. By March, we’re usually back up in the 70s here in North Texas, and our market tends to get really active at that time, which is usually when Peeps hit the shelves, according to Re/MAX About Dallas Realtor Ken Lampton.

But according to Redfin, it’s not the season that really matters, it’s how motivated the buyer is. So while more people list in Spring and Summer, buyers tend to be more motivated in the winter.

“There are plenty of people who need to buy a home in the winter, whether it’s because of a job relocation or major family change, like a new baby. These buyers want to get into a home quickly, and are sometimes willing to pay top dollar,” said Paul Stone, a Redfin real estate agent in Denver.

Of course, part of it has to do with the perception of the economy, too:

An anticipated rise in mortgage rates is another reason why it may be advantageous to list your home this winter. According to Redfin economist Ellen Haberle, “The Federal Reserve has signaled that it plans to start reining in its stimulus program ‘in the coming months,’ which will push mortgage rates up. For many buyers, this expected policy change is motivation to strap on their boots and find the right home before rates increase, regardless of the cold weather.”

What do you think?

Redfin Fastest Selling chartI think that we have been preaching this here on CD ever since about January. Steve Brown reports that “more than 20 percent of the Dallas-area properties which were listed for sale in April had a contract in one week or less.”

We are hot, in fact, one of the hottest residential real estate markets in the country. And we have proof!

Almost a third of Dallas-area homes that sold in April went under contract within two weeks of coming on the market, this according to Redfin, a unique, discount, Seattle-based Internet real estate brokerage –– more on Redfin later.

And:  21 percent had a buyer in one week.

And: 170 Dallas-area houses had a buyer within 24 hours.

Not that is makes much difference, but Redfin has only been tracking data since 2011. The company was founded in 2004.

Dallas agent Yvette Grove is asking people to MOVE! “Dear Friends,” she writes on Facebook, “I know you keep hearing that inventory is low in this real estate market and you think we may be exaggerating the problem… WE ARE NOT! There are buyers desperately looking for homes, please contact me if you have even toyed with the idea of selling.”

Yvette needs to find two contemporary homes STAT!

Redfin fasted reportOne broker who has been in the business for 17 years as a broker, 24 as an agent, says he has never seen a market like this. Anything priced less than $450,000 is flying off the shelves. We are not talking Lakewood, Park Cities or Preston Hollow anymore. We are talking Frisco and Prosper. The broker told me of a $275,000 home that had 15 showings, got five offers, two over asking price and one of those was for $9000 over list! This all happened in the course of 24 hours.

Redfin estimates that 170 Dallas-area houses actually had a buyer within 24 hours, like my example. The number of homes going under contract in two weeks and one week are setting new records at Redfin, who also looked at the markets where homes are selling the fastest: Dallas ranked 17 out of 22. Three Texas cities made the list –Dallas, Austin and Houston.  San Jose, California is now the fastest moving U.S. housing market. My son recently bought a home in nearby Redwood City — do I have stories for you!

Now, back to Redfin. Redfin was founded by a guy named David Eraker in Seattle, Washington, in his apartment. The name, which always bugged me, is an inversion of the word “finder.” Get it? Redfin was one of the first companies to figure out that real estate could be done online, be more transparent for the consumer, and maybe even save them some money. The site combines real estate search with actual agents. The agents are slated to be more concerned over service and earn bonuses over commissions, or at least they used to. The consumer searches Redfins database, which comes from the MLS’s, and does their homework: broker databases, past sales records and third-party appraisals. When the client is ready to buy, the Redfin agents handle property access, legal paperwork, negotiations, whatever. For this the consumer can get up to a 50% rebate off the real estate commission, except in Oregon where real-estate laws prohibit it. In 2012, Redfin was named one of The DIGITAL 100: World’s Most Valuable Private Tech Companies by Business Insider.

So if you don’t think that Redfin stirred up the real estate world when it launched, well, let me tell you it was shock and awe! In 2006, CNN reported that Redfin had received threats from competitors seeking to “break their kneecaps.” Then in May 2007, just a few days after being featured on 60 Minutes, Redfin was fined for $50,000 by The Northwest Multiple Listing Service and was forced to shut down its “Sweet Digs” blog, which used to contain agent reviews of the homes on the market. I give you the background for several reasons.

One, though I don’t doubt the report, I wonder how Redfin’s data would compare to NTREIS, that’s our North Texas MLS here in North Texas? Redfin may be on fire in the west and northwest, but not sure if they have a huge presence here in Dallas — I know they have a presence, just not sure how deep? Is this Redfin data or MLS data?

And two, if you have ever thought about selling your house, just friggin’ sell it. There are people looking for homes, and I am getting concerned we may be seeing some Yurts around Preston Hollow. It’s too bad we cannot relocate homes from sluggish markets, or build them any faster. Thank God for Marc Kleinman, who can build a home in six months!

Hot, I’m telling you, on fire!