In a bid to be all the things, Zillow announced just minutes ago that it has launched new tools that will not only allow property owners and managers to collect rent and vet prospective tenants more easily, but will also provide renters with the ability to submit multiple applications for apartments at once and pay rent online.

The tools will also screen prospective tenants by performing background checks, the company said in a press release.

Renters can apply for multiple rentals by paying $29 to Zillow, and will only have to fill out one application. (more…)

Photo courtesy Charleston's TheDigitel via Creative Commons

Photo courtesy Charleston’s TheDigitel via Creative Commons

DFW rents were 6.2 higher last year, averaging $919 per month, but demand still soared, with North Texas leading the nation in apartment rentals, and vacancies at a 13-year low, according to new real estate research from Zillow and MPF Research.

The increased rent translated to an extra $600 million paid to landlords last year, Zillow reported. For North Texans, that meant a median increase of $35 a month, higher than the nationwide rate of $26.

Rising rents are nothing new, said Zillow Chief Economist Stan Humphries.

“Over the past 14 years, rents have grown at twice the pace of income due to weak income growth, burgeoning rental demand, and insufficient growth in the supply of rental housing,” he said. “This has created real opportunities for rental housing owners and investors, but has also been a bitter pill to swallow for tenants, particularly those on an entry-level salary and those would-be buyers struggling to save for a down payment on a home of their own.”

For 2015, expect more of the same.

(more…)

2015 trends

Wallpapers, blue pops of color, and subtle midcentury modern accents are all on Zillow Digs’ trend forecast for 2015. Photo courtesy Zillow Digs/S + H Construction

Style makers, movers, and shakers, 2015 is going to be a beautiful year, one that is “modern, yet approachable.”

At least, it is according to Zillow Digs, which has announced the top five 2015 trends in their annual Home Trend Forecast, as well as which four fads from 2014 are on their way to the style graveyard.

The top 2015 trends will include cowhide accents in unexpected places, gold fixtures in brighter tones than the past, and wallpaper in all sorts of new styles, textures, and colors.

Style losers include chevron patterns, matchy-match furniture, and the super-saturated colors that have dominated interior palettes for the past few years.

“Home design will embark on a dramatic shift in 2015, moving far away from the bright jewel tones and overused chevron and ikat patterns that took 2014 by storm,” said Kerrie Kelly, Zillow Digs design expert. “Unexpected textures and an eclectic, modern vibe are about to find their way in 2015. Expect to see a more sophisticated look in 2015 that incorporates gold hardware, natural textures, and a subtle midcentury modern undertone.”

The forecast combines data from a survey of leading interior designers and an analysis of the most popular photos on Zillow Digs. Let’s take a look at  these burgeoning 2015 trends, and those on the way out. Click through to see the lists!

(more…)

With the advent of photo-heavy online listings visible from anywhere, video tours, and slideshows, many Realtors have already ordered a tombstone for the Open House. But should we start eulogizing a long-held practice that can give sellers much-needed feedback and turn looky-loos into serious buyers?

That’s the argument Brendon Desimone poses in his blog post, saying that serious buyers are developed over time, and just browsing listings online won’t sell them on one particular home.

“Open houses give buyers a no-pressure environment in which to deepen their education about the local market, so they can make a more informed decision,” Desimone says. “A buyer may use an open house as a first showing of the property. But when buyers become serious about a home, an open house provides them another opportunity to spend time in the home, to get to know it better, without the confines of a 15-minute private appointment.”

I agree with some of what Desimone says, but there are so many websites out there that break down important market information, giving buyers an economic outlook on a property long before they’re ready to commit. Trulia does a great job of this with its graphic interface and easily accessible message boards that facilitate discussion about neighborhoods. Let’s use our Friday Four Hundred, 5802 Monticello, for example. To the right you can see agents and potential buyers talking about the neighborhood at length — a wonderful resource for buyer education.

Trulia 5802 Monticello screenshot

 

Of course, what you don’t get from all of this buyer education is a feel for neighborhood traffic. Is this home near a noisy intersection? How close are you to shopping? Are there other families and pedestrians nearby? That’s where an open house really provides an added benefit. Buyers can linger, walk around the neighborhood, get a feel for their surroundings.

Of course, one open house is a lot easier to manage than a gazillion individual showings, says Desimone. Agreed, but it also opens the home to people who aren’t interested in buying at all, including neighbors and thieves, as Rogers Healy recently mentioned on Fox Business News’ The Willis Report. But they do give agents and sellers an opportunity to get some feedback on a listing, Desimone says.

“A good listing agent will want to see as many buyers come through as possible to gauge their reactions to the home,” he offers. “Are people walking in and out quickly? Or are they hanging around? What questions are they asking? What are their biggest hang-ups or concerns? This is the kind of valuable information you can’t get online.”

Agreed. You won’t get a lot of feedback from buyers who shop mostly online, and a seller’s agent won’t likely be at showings, so besides critiques from stagers and other agents, this is likely the only direct feedback sellers can get.

What do you think? Is the Open House a relic, or is it relevant?

With the advent of photo-heavy online listings visible from anywhere, video tours, and slideshows, many Realtors have already ordered a tombstone for the Open House. But should we start eulogizing a long-held practice that can give sellers much-needed feedback and turn looky-loos into serious buyers?

That’s the argument Brendon Desimone poses in his blog post, saying that serious buyers are developed over time, and just browsing listings online won’t sell them on one particular home.

“Open houses give buyers a no-pressure environment in which to deepen their education about the local market, so they can make a more informed decision,” Desimone says. “A buyer may use an open house as a first showing of the property. But when buyers become serious about a home, an open house provides them another opportunity to spend time in the home, to get to know it better, without the confines of a 15-minute private appointment.”

I agree with some of what Desimone says, but there are so many websites out there that break down important market information, giving buyers an economic outlook on a property long before they’re ready to commit. Trulia does a great job of this with its graphic interface and easily accessible message boards that facilitate discussion about neighborhoods. Let’s use our Friday Four Hundred, 5802 Monticello, for example. To the right you can see agents and potential buyers talking about the neighborhood at length — a wonderful resource for buyer education.

Trulia 5802 Monticello screenshot

 

Of course, what you don’t get from all of this buyer education is a feel for neighborhood traffic. Is this home near a noisy intersection? How close are you to shopping? Are there other families and pedestrians nearby? That’s where an open house really provides an added benefit. Buyers can linger, walk around the neighborhood, get a feel for their surroundings.

Of course, one open house is a lot easier to manage than a gazillion individual showings, says Desimone. Agreed, but it also opens the home to people who aren’t interested in buying at all, including neighbors and thieves, as Rogers Healy recently mentioned on Fox Business News’ The Willis Report. But they do give agents and sellers an opportunity to get some feedback on a listing, Desimone says.

“A good listing agent will want to see as many buyers come through as possible to gauge their reactions to the home,” he offers. “Are people walking in and out quickly? Or are they hanging around? What questions are they asking? What are their biggest hang-ups or concerns? This is the kind of valuable information you can’t get online.”

Agreed. You won’t get a lot of feedback from buyers who shop mostly online, and a seller’s agent won’t likely be at showings, so besides critiques from stagers and other agents, this is likely the only direct feedback sellers can get.

What do you think? Is the Open House a relic, or is it relevant?

The north side of the White House looking at the Rose GardenOur friends at Zillow cannot get the prices of Texas homes right, but they sure can analyze data. Because when it comes to data, they have a whole lot!

For Presidents Day, Zillow analyzed home values nation-wide located on streets named after presidents. The point was to see if home values increased at all on certain presidents’ streets, and then which ones (if any) had higher values. I am not familiar with any streets in Dallas or specific subdivisions named after presidents outside of a few down in Oak Cliff/Kessler – -are you? If so, please send over asap.

Here is what Zillow found:

• The most popular presidential street nationwide — by far — is named after George Washington. Among homes nationwide located on presidential streets, 12.2 percent are on a street or road named after our first president, the nation’s founder, the guy who could never tell a lie:

• While General Washington is the most popular president to name a street after, the most expensive homes have addresses on a street named after President Calvin Coolidge — who led the nation through the Roaring ’20s and oversaw perhaps the largest economic expansion in the country’s history. The median value of the more than 17,000 U.S. homes located on a Coolidge street is $176,330, the only presidential street with national median home values higher than the December 2013 national median of $169,100.

• Zillow also examined popularity and home prices on presidential streets for the country’s 35 largest metro areas. In 14 of these metros, the most homes were located on a street named after George Washington, including in Cleveland. We wonder if poor Grover is rolling over in his grave about that. The most expensive presidential street at the metro level — with a median home value of more than $2.4 million — is named after Martin Van Buren in San Jose.

I wish they would have analyzed whether homes on those streets were more red brick or white. Interesting to note that both former President Bush and current president Obama have red brick homes.obama-chicago-home-Rachel-Freundt

 Photo above courtesy of Rachel Freundt. Copyright 2012.Bush House daria DriveDaria Drive, Dallas. Of course.

1106 N Clinton StreetNorth Clinton Avenue: I found a darling house on 1106 North Clinton Avenue,  updated Kessler Park Tudor, three bedrooms, two baths, 2900 plus square feet full of character, charm & (broker babble) architectural details. Arched entry to a formal living room with fireplace and double doors, and nice porch. Kitchen remodeled with premium stainless kitchen appliances, island & breakfast area. Upstairs is the master suite, a second bedroom, another living area, a large walk-in closet and luxurious bath. If everyone shares that bath, former President Clinton would be mighty happy. So it’s three bedroom but the second living area on the first floor could be a fourth bedroom with a little effort. There are separate guest quarters with kitchen, bath, perfect for Chelsea and hubby, and an outdoor entertaining pergola. This pup has been reduced to $550,000 from $565,000.

Obviously, anything with the Clinton name attached has to be reduced.

1918 Washington Drive DallasWashington Street in Dallas — not a whole lot of inventory, sad to say. And the very sad place here needs some major love. Our “most popular presidential street” is in Munger Place and has one listing, 1910 N. Washington: $325,000 for a 3168 square foot commercial prop. ‘Course you could always tear down, get a loan and built a new home here. Just tell the bank that you chose Washington Street because 12.2 percent of homes on presidential streets nationwide are on Washington Street.

8400 Jefferson Way LantanaJefferson: not too much to choose from close in, but out in Republic Property Group’s Lantana, wowzers: here’s a $415,000 number on a wooded golf course lot at 8400 Jefferson Way. Huge third acre yard, room for pool, outdoor kitchen,  granite & stainless appliances in kitchen, extensive hardwood floors, staircase, stone fireplace in family room, master suite, upstairs game room with balcony and media room — Thomas Jefferson never had it so good!

857 Van Buren StreetVan Buren — here we have some NICE inventory, even inside the Loop! This is from an Austin developer I have been dying to tell you about, PSW Homes, who are building unbelieveable, energy efficient and friggin’ AFFORDABLE homes down in Bishop Arts at 1600 King Highway. Yes, this is new construction nestled into historic surroundings and you get solar and spray foam to boot. Open living spaces are paired with traditional front porches and private back yards. These single-family homes have three to four bedrooms, at about 1700 to 2700 square feet. Projected move-in: summer 2014. $362,000.

2201 Coolidge ArlingtonAs for the more expensive homes being on streets named after Calvin Coolidge, might be true elsewhere but not in DFW.  All I could find locally was this neat little ranch in North Arlington: beautiful trees, convenient to I-30 (is that a plus?), three bedrooms including master, fourth bedroom could be a gameroom or media room, three and a half baths, granite and stainless in the kitchen, two living areas, more than 3,000 square feet. Will set you back only $200,000, reduced from $225,000. There goes THAT theory.

2104 Johnson GreenvilleThe presidential last name that pulls a lot of weight in Texas is, of course, LBJ — President Lyndon Baines Johnson. He has a whole dang town named after him near Fredericksburg and Llano, off 281, where his ranch was located. But I had to go up to Greenville to find a cute abode at 2104 Johnson Street, a new listing, and I think it would make a darling get-away home. The home was a four-plex restored to it’s original whatever, includes an outdoor garden area with extensive decks, landscaping, privacy fencing, gazebo and koi ponds. There are formals, a garden room with skylights, multiple kitchens, extensive stairways and upgrades. The master suite includes a sitting area, Lady Bird would have liked that. The home has four bedrooms, four and a half baths, three living areas, more than 4300 square feet of living space. $229,000. Under energy efficiency it says “ceiling fans” — well hell, LBJ would have loved those. I am curious about the multiple kitchens.

Maybe one for each mistress?

Champ d'Or front“A Zestimate® home valuation is Zillow’s estimated market value. It is not an appraisal. Use it as a starting point to determine a home’s value.”

Well, OK then. Glad to know it. Because when it comes to 1851 Turbeville Road, the good folks at Zillow have a very unique price for the property: $512,839. This for a 48,000 square foot home with 38 acres. Their estimated mortgage payment is $135,198 per month… so they have the “zestimate” at about five times the monthly payment. Wow.

Texas biggest and best masterpiece,the Champ dOr,has everything even the pickiest buyer has been looking for!Approximately 40,000 sq ft of luxury living,on almost 40 acres,all while only being minutes away from the big city.Some of the features include 6 stately bedrooms,6 luxurious bathrooms,8 half bathrooms,exercise room,bowling alley,racquetball court,indoor AND outdoor pools,outdoor veranda,steam sauna room,grandballroom and media room. Brokered And Advertised By: Rogers Healy and Associates Listing Agent.

A very picky buyer might look at this Zestimate versus the asking price of the home and end up with a major scrambled brain. Where does Zillow get these numbers? 

Zestimates
Value Range 30-day change $/sqft Last updated
Zestimate What’s this? $512,839 $410K – $590K $14 02/02/2014
Rent Zestimate What’s this? $3,134/mo $1.6K – $6.3K/mo -$170 $0.09 01/27/2014
Owner tools Post your own estimate
Agent comment You must sign-in and claim this listing in order to post a comment
Market guide
Zillow predicts 75065 home values will increase 2.5% next year, compared to a 3.3% rise for Hickory Creek as a whole. Among 75065… more

But see there, Zillow expects home values in Hickory Creek to increase next year. We’ll reach $35 million in no time!

Champ d'Or front“A Zestimate® home valuation is Zillow’s estimated market value. It is not an appraisal. Use it as a starting point to determine a home’s value.”

Well, OK then. Glad to know it. Because when it comes to 1851 Turbeville Road, the good folks at Zillow have a very unique price for the property: $512,839. This for a 48,000 square foot home with 38 acres. Their estimated mortgage payment is $135,198 per month… so they have the “zestimate” at about five times the monthly payment. Wow.

Texas biggest and best masterpiece,the Champ dOr,has everything even the pickiest buyer has been looking for!Approximately 40,000 sq ft of luxury living,on almost 40 acres,all while only being minutes away from the big city.Some of the features include 6 stately bedrooms,6 luxurious bathrooms,8 half bathrooms,exercise room,bowling alley,racquetball court,indoor AND outdoor pools,outdoor veranda,steam sauna room,grandballroom and media room. Brokered And Advertised By: Rogers Healy and Associates Listing Agent.

A very picky buyer might look at this Zestimate versus the asking price of the home and end up with a major scrambled brain. Where does Zillow get these numbers? 

Zestimates
Value Range 30-day change $/sqft Last updated
Zestimate What’s this? $512,839 $410K – $590K $14 02/02/2014
Rent Zestimate What’s this? $3,134/mo $1.6K – $6.3K/mo -$170 $0.09 01/27/2014
Owner tools Post your own estimate
Agent comment You must sign-in and claim this listing in order to post a comment
Market guide
Zillow predicts 75065 home values will increase 2.5% next year, compared to a 3.3% rise for Hickory Creek as a whole. Among 75065… more

But see there, Zillow expects home values in Hickory Creek to increase next year. We’ll reach $35 million in no time!