From my inbox recently a familiar news update: “California-based 58Phases, an online affiliate marketing company, said it is moving its headquarters to Austin to take advantage of the lower cost of business here.” Article can be read on Statesman.com. “We’re doing interviews from California by Skype and hoping to hire as quickly as possible,” said Dylan Ramsey , 58Phases co-founder and CEO.”
California just keeps making it harder to do business there, for all types of businesses, which continues to drive new and existing businesses to Texas and Austin. There is a new Carl’s Junior burger joint down the street from me. I remember these growing up in San Diego but I had never seen one in Texas. When I read the writeup about Carl Juniors’ expansion into Texas, it had similar quotes about Texas’ business friendly environment.
“We’re going to do a lot of restaurant development in Texas over the next 10 years,” Puzder (CEO) said. “We’re considering maybe moving some of the headquarters — or all of the headquarters — here if we have a good business reason to do so, because the tax structure is certainly right, and the business-friendly environment is right.” …
“It’s much easier to build restaurants in Texas,” Puzder said. “There’s a lengthy list of regulations that you have to comply with in California that make doing business virtually impossible. If you’re going to grow, you want to grow someplace like Texas“.
And it seems there are news stories like this with quotes like this almost weekly in Austin. And this, during a bad economy. Wait until things turn around nationally.
That said, is the City of Austin itself becoming more like California than it is Texas? Is the City of Austin starting to overburden business owners with petty regulation and red tape? Absolutely. So, Cedar Park, Leander, Round Rock, Kyle and other surrounding cities in the greater Austin Metro area may come to see Austin as as good a source of new business as Texas now sees California.
What are some examples of Austin’s over-regulation and attempted over-regulation?
Today I attended a property tour for my listing in Great Hills. There were 11 homes on the tour, including our listing. The other agents on the tour were the listing agents for the other 10 houses. This gives us a chance to see each other’s listings and to offer feedback on pricing, staging, etc.
This particular tour was a van tour. There are two types of Realtor tours – caravan or van.
On a caravan tour, agents travel in a caravan either alone or carpooling. This limits interaction and always results in the caravan getting stretched out with the faster ones getting way ahead and the slower ones getting way behind. So, the last few listings end up having the agents straggle in at staggered times and then that listing agent has to lock up and in turn becomes the final straggler on the next home. This is a bummer, but that’s how it goes. It’s also a huge waste of gas to have 11 agents travelling in 7 cars.
On the van tour, we all ride together, talking on the drive in between homes, and there is more interaction and discussion about the houses and the market. This is better in every way except one. When riding in the van I lose track of where I am because I’m not driving or paying attention to where we’re going. This affects my ability to offer an accurate pricing opinion on the feedback sheet. It’s not easy to say how much I think a house is worth if I’m disoriented and fuzzy about the neighborhood I’m in.
Imagine being blindfolded, driven to a property and let out in the front driveway. You walk inside, look around and then have to write down a price opinion. That’s what it’s like. Yes, I know I’m in Millwood, but which side of 183? Which schools does this one attend? Wait, are we down the street from that park? Can you hear the railroad tracks from here?
This disorientation doesn’t happen when I drive myself into a neighborhood and up to a house with buyers. When I’m driving, I have a clear sense of where I am. I’m taking notice of the street and the other homes as I approach the subject property. Now I see why buyers sometimes get turned around and confused about where certain homes were that we saw, because they are riding instead of driving.
So, are property tours even worth the time and effort and is the opinion I wrote down on the 10 feedback sheets today worth anything to the listing agent and the seller? Are the 10 feedback sheets I received for my listing helpful? Yes, here’s why.