Where Real Estate Gets Its Dirt

Pro Tip: Order that ribeye steak

Your mileage may vary.

Omni Lobby Bar – After Party – Part Deux!

Tradition is tradition. Last year was a huge success so I’ve been asked to do it again. This time we are moving it to Sunday night.

I’m inviting everyone to meet up at the Omni Hotel’s Marquee Lounge, Sunday night (5/5/23). Anywhere from 9 PM on, just get there before last call (Midnight), and let’s all raise a glass together in a place we have enjoyed each other’s company for so long!

Spread the word!! LFG!!

Best listing photo ever?

Best caption wins some Vendor Alley swag.

This is a teenager

You gotta check this site out. Just start scrolling when you get to the site. Love this blending of storytelling, data analysis. I would love to see this type of data visualization be used when we talk about housing.

The Homes.com Super Bowl Ad I would run

As an exercise I thought it might be fun to write a script for the Super Bowl Ad I would run if Mr. Florance would let me. Enjoy!

Andy Florance teases new Homes.com celebrity spokesperson

A little birdie told me that Costar CEO, Andy Florance dropped the name of the celebrity spokesperson for Homes.com. The news dropped while Andy was being interviewed by Brad Inman at Inman Connect NYC. And who is it? Dan Levy. I think Dan Levy is a great choice, although I think his father, Eugene Levy, would have been awesome too. There will be other celebrities featured too but it sounds like Dan is the man.

The first commercials start dropping February 11th.

[UPDATE: Clarification, Mr. Florance said there were 4 new actors and Dan Levy one of them and the only one he disclosed.]

Try not to giggle

What was missing from NAR messaging regarding the commission lawsuits?

Brian Boero from 1000watt wrote a great post about how “the real estate industry’s responses to the Halloween jury verdict to be almost universally weak.” As usual he makes a lot of great points. You may have heard similar arguments if you listened to Rob and I on our most recent Industry Relations podcast with Sam DeBord.

In Brian’s post he states,

“Good arguments balance evidence with proper framing — framing that is usually constructed to activate the emotions of their intended audience.

Good arguments use language, and words, that ignite feeling and imagery. “Cartel” – a word used over and over by plaintiffs’ attorneys – is a great example.”

I thought I might take a stab at this. I wrote the following as if I was writing for the National Association of REALTORS. Hope you enjoy, and thanks Brian for the inspiration.

Why is the Biden administration so focused on attacking solo female entrepreneurs?

Recently a jury comprising of 6 non-homeowners handed down an award in what is known as the Sitzer | Burnett class action suit. The award was $1.8 billion dollars in a suit suggesting REALTORS were involved in a “cartel”, facilitated by the multiple listing service (MLS), to keep real estate commissions artificially high.  We, the National Association of REALTORS, and 2 other real estate franchisors are appealing this ruling.

It was also recently discovered that the plaintiffs in the case had been is close communication with the DOJ before, during and after the trial ended.

The average REALTOR is a 59 year woman and is classified as an independent contractor.  Selling real estate is commission only sales job with no salary, and no benefits.  Why do these 59 year old women strike so much fear in the heart of the federal government?  Surely there are other pressing issues facing our country.

Buying a home isn’t the same as buying a stock.

In a recent hit piece the WSJ cited that since the advent of the internet prices have been slashed on  “stockbroker commissions”, but not real estate.  What may seem obvious, to everyone but the WSJ, buying a home is not like buying a stock, or a book, or a plane ticket.  3 factors come to mind. 

1. Buying and selling a home is typically the largest transaction anyone does in their life. 

2. Buying and selling a home is not a transaction done often, statistics show it might be once every 10 years after you become an adult. 

3. And last but not least is that buying or selling a home is an emotional experience. 

Due to these 3 core issues consumers have chosen time and time again (in fact in 2022, more consumers choose to use a REALTOR than ever before) to hire a trusted advisor.

The 1.5% vs. 6% Lie

Plaintiffs in the Sitzer | Burnett case and others have highlighted that in other countries consumers pay closer to 1.5% for real estate commissions, where in the United States the number is closer to 6%. The truth is consumers in the US have always had choices.  Discount brokerages offer real estate services for much lower than 6%.  In fact very recently Redfin did a nationwide campaign with big red billboards all over the country touting a 1% listing fee, which is less than the 1.5% fee touted by plaintiffs.

So the 1.5% vs 6% is a lie.  Consumers can always negotiate a commission and there are many brokerages and agents offering discounted services.  Don’t believe us, just Google, “flat fee real estate services” and search the over 29 million results.

Would consumers prefer a world where they would have no idea what the house across the street sold for?

Since the birth of the World Wide Web, and the launch of portals like Zillow, real estate listing data is now readily accessible everywhere, a sharp contrast to the rest of the world.  This is mostly due to the multiple listing service (MLS).  The plaintiffs falsely say that the structure and ownership of the MLS forces higher commission rates. This is simply not the truth.  The MLS is one of this country’s greatest inventions and an essential tool of every REALTOR.  The MLS brings together sellers and buyers. It’s reliable. It helps hundreds of thousand agents make a living and brings families together. It’s the operating system of the American Dream.  

The federal government wants to shut down the MLS, which would create a environment of less transparency and bring us back to companies gatekeeping real estate data which would make it more difficult to make offers on properties for sale and finding properties on the internet.

We at the National Association of REALTORS will fight for our members, the open real estate market, and will not let the federal government destroy the American Dream.

The National Association of REALTORS

Vendor Alley 2023 Gift Guide

Yup, it’s that time of year again! I’ve put together a few on my favorite things that I think anyone would like for the holidays.

Flighty – A new way to track flights. I love this app. It’s so well designed and does a great job of showing detailed flight maps, live tracking and delay forecasting. The notifications are also helpful. But my favorite feature is the Friends tracker (pro version). You can log your friends flight info and it will send you notifications on their flight status. Great when you are traveling with work mates coming in from multiple locations, or family members coming home for the holidays. Plus it syncs with TripIt.

HiRise 3 Deluxe

I’ve linked to many TwelveSouth products before due to their really cool product designs. If you have one of those new iPhones that have a magnetic back you are going to love this. When an iPhone is turned on its side (horizontal) and charging it brings up these cool displays, like an old school alarm clock. At night the color shifts to super chill red. The magnetic charging means no cords to tangle (no more fumbling in the dark for the power cord) and also charges you Apple Watch and your AirPods pros. Nightstand game changer.

Ray Bans | Meta

Okay, hear me out. These are kind of geeky, and might seem pretty creepy to some, but I think they are great. As a creator of all types of content I just love these. These are smart glasses that have a built in camera (both still and video). I bought them because I like go on cruises with my VW Car Club. I can take video without having to grab my phone (which is a bit dangerous) of myself and other cars driving . Check out this Instagram I posted. I can also see them useful at situations like Christmas morning taking video of the kids opening presents and having my hands free. They also work with your phone to take calls, listen to music, send texts. The sound (no ear buds) and microphone work great. Anytime you are taking video a little light in front of the glasses start to flicker to signal that they are on ( I wish this light was red to make it more obvious). They also have built in AI, so you could ask say something like “Hey Meta, write me a poem about my beautiful wife.” Check out this video The Verge did on them to get a better idea.

Double Glasses Case

Okay keeping on the eyeglasses vibe, I wear progressive lenses and like to have sunglasses around too. I used to have two different cases for each. Not any more! I found this case which is really sturdy and allows me to have my reading glasses and sunglasses in one case. It might be a little big for some but this holds my Ray Ban Wayfarers (not the Meta ver.) perfectly. Makes my life so much eaiser. Here’s the version on I bought on Amazon.

YouTube TV and NFL Sunday Ticket

I might be a little late to the party on this whole “cut the cord” movement but I gotta say Google has done a great job. I still get local channels, DVR and all the NFL games on Sunday, so my Seahawks crazy son can watch every game. Too many great features to mention, just go check it out.

The Art of the CMA

Last, but not least, is my book, The Art of the CMA. Can’t think of a perfect gift for your board of directors? Click here and send me a list of their names and I will personalize each copy with a special message and an autograph. Bulk discounts are available!

Hey Sam!

Sponsored By Giant Steps Advisors