Archive Monthly Archives: January 2008

Sylvia’s Notes from Central Texas Growth Summit

Sylvia attended the Central Texas Growth Summit yesterday at the Hilton Hotel in downtown Austin. She typed up some pretty good notes that she emailed out to others, and I’m posting them below.

Here are some highlights with Kirk Watson (former Austin Mayor, current State Senator) as the moderator:

1. Change in Hunting patterns – Since the unemployment rate is 3.5% in Austin, essentially everyone that wants a job has one.

This is affecting the hiring patterns of small business owners and how they recruit talented employees. They are using the Internet more and networking in many ways is becoming more common in Myspace and Facebook. If you are not using this method, you are getting left behind.

Another area of recruiting is creating the talented employee by setting up educational programs that essentially train and create homegrown employees. Programs like this are being creating at ACC. UT is at capacity and cannot keep up with the demand of the job growth in Austin so we will have to get employees outside of Austin also.
Read more …

Posted by Steve
8 years ago

How to set up a KW Agent Real Estate Blog

Today at our Keller Williams office in Austin we had a “Blogging 101” class that I put together to help agents better understand everything involved with having a real estate blog. According to a National Association of Realtors agent survey, less than 2% of Realtors publish a real estate blog.

I was joined in the presentation by fellow KW agents and bloggers Dee Copeland and Sam Chapman. I wanted other blogger agents involved because we all have slightly different takes on the best way to run a blog, tools to use, do’s and don’ts, etc. It’s better that agents who know nothing at all about blogging hear several points of view about what’s involved. I could confuse them enough myself, but with three of us we achieved an even greater level of confusion!

One of the things we sought to impart to the attendees was the different choices available in setting up and starting a blog. One can start instantly, right now, by signing up at or, but I am of the camp that believes a blog should be integrated into an existing website, not kept at a hosted location or separate from an agent’s main site. The website is an example of the two being integrated on a common domain with a common theme.

So, if you’re just starting out, I think you should have your own domain name, your own web hosting account, and run a downloaded version WordPress on your website.

By doing so, all of the content and information you create on your blog directly benefits your website because it is your domain name and website that is indexed by all of the search engines. With a hosted blog site, people may find your blog, but you miss out on the seo benefits, which is why you want to write a blog in the first place.

In trying to explain this during the class, I lost a few people, so I promised I would write up a step by step guide to follow for those wanting to own and maintain their own website/blog, and so here it is.

Step 1 – Register your own domain name.
Get out your credit card and visit On the home page, there is a box to type in domain names and check availability. You want a website name that is a) easy to say, b) easy to spell, c) easy to remember, d) short if possible and with no dashes or numbers. Remember, as a Realtor, you’re telling your email and website address to people on the phone a lot, and you don’t want to be spelling it out and repeating it every time.
Read more …

Posted by Steve
8 years ago

Redfin CEO Says He’s Being Picked On

Below is an article about the Discount Realtor Redfin’s CEO Glenn Kelman, who, having failed to achieve more than niche success in the real estate industry (despite a couple of years of gushing media adoration and favorable stories on shows such as 60 minutes), claims now that he’s being picked on.

Dude, you were thumping your chest and throwing down some big smack talk about us traditional Realtors not long ago, boasting of Redfin’s pending spread into all major cities in the U.S. What happened?

This reminds me of a “big talk” sports athlete popping off about how his team is going to devastate the opponent, then after failing to follow through on the boast, whines about the bad ref, or says the other team didn’t play fair.

Quit being a crybaby and go sell some houses. Oh, wait, your model only works in very hot markets where Realtors are deemed unnecessary. Oh, and there are no hot markets at present, at least not in the markets you’ve decided to conquer. Once the game gets tough, you can’t compete. Buyers and Sellers actually want experienced agents, not telemarketers.

Story and additional comments inline below…

Source: Forbes, (02/11/08)

Glenn Kelman, CEO of Redfin, the online discount real estate sales firm, claims he and his company have been badly treated by traditional real estate practitioners.

He complains that Redfin’s for-sale signs are often knocked down, stolen, or smashed.

So are mine. It happens all the time. I had 4 stolen over a two month period from one listing alone. Welcome to the business. Quit complaining and go buy some more signs, if you can afford them.
Read more …

Posted by Steve
8 years ago

Austin Real Estate Market Update – Dec 2007

Austin real estate market stats for single family homes in Dec 2007 saw a 20% drop in number sales of over Dec 2006. Average sold prices were up 5.9% and Median sold prices were up 7.8% in December. Average sold price per square foot is up 4.4% over a year ago, and Days on Market inched up from 64 days a year ago to 69 days this December.

Overall in Austin, the market has held very steady and price appreciation is strong in many areas. The main caveat is the high inventory and the resulting high number of homes that fail to sell. If you saw my Sold vs. Not Sold chart from a few days ago, you know that in December 2007, more homes in the Austin MLS expired or were withdrawn than sold. So even though our sold numbers look strong and steady (especially when compared to just about anywhere else in the country), a seller at present should know that it’s a hit or miss market that requires serious preperation and proper pricing for your listing, lest it be ignored and whither on the vine like so many others.

Buyers, with all of these homes not selling, should you be able to get a great deal? Not necessarily. The fact that so many homes are being pulled from the market, and that the actual sold prices keeps rising, tells us that many sellers remain steadfast in holding out for a better price or a better market. Theoretically, you should be able to negotiate a better deal, and you may do so, but in reality, we are not seeing a high degree of seller capitulation.

Below are the December stats and year-to-date stats (2007 compared to 2006). Normally along with December stats I include the area breakdowns year-to-date. This year I will post those in a separate blog article, as I am still trying to finish up. The new MLS system has really slowed down the process for me. Also, you may notice that the Median values are missing below from some of the charts. I can’t get a median value from our MLS system on search results larger than 5,000. Hopefully, that will be fixed soon.

Austin Sales Stats December 2007
Previous Month and Year Comparison
All MLS Areas - Houses Only

Nov 2007
Dec 2007
Dec 2006
Yr % Change
# Sold
Avg List Price
Median List Price
Avg Sold Price
Med Sold Price
Avg Size SQFT
Median SQFT
Avg $ per SQFT
Avg Days on Mkt
Median Days on Mkt

Below is the 2006/2007 full year comparison. For the year, across all MLS areas in Austin, sold prices rose 6.6%, which is really very good considering the gloom and doom story that the media puts out and the fact that a lot of buyers stayed in the sidelines because of that.

Read more …

Posted by Steve
8 years ago

Really Cool Interactive Map on

The Austin Statesman has an interactive map up on their website that shows median price changes and sales volume activity for Austin Travis County in 2007 compared to 2006. Jeez, I wish I knew how to create such a nice map for the blog, but I guess they have a bigger budget than me. I’ll be posting my boring charts and graphs as usual.
Meanwhile, check out the Statesman map here (requires flash):

Posted by Steve
8 years ago

Austin Sold vs Not Sold December 2007

Austin Sold/Expired Chart
I predicted a few months ago that November 2007 might see an inverted Sold/Not Sold ratio in the Austin real estate market, that being a situation where more of the listings in the Austin MLS fail to sell than do sell.

I was wrong about November but it did happen in December. For December 2007 there were 1531 single family homes sold in Austin. The same month saw 1732 Expired/Withdrawn listings. Notice the dark and light green bars on the chart above and how the light green bar (failed sales listing) jumped ahead of the solds. This is the Tale of Two Markets situation I wrote about in November.
Read more …

Posted by Steve
8 years ago
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