Author: Carrie B. Reyes

Severing ties with listing aggregators

Have private party websites like Trulia, Zillow and Redfin dominated your practice of locating buyers for your listings? No (67%, 42 Votes) Yes (33%, 21 Votes) Total Voters: 63 A San Diego brokerage office has publicly denounced third-party real estate aggregators like Zillow and Trulia and removed access to its listings from those websites. These actions follow a few other large brokerages throughout the U.S. severing ties with third-party websites, though the San Diego real estate community is divided on the issue. One problem the San Diego brokerage office cited is third-party websites use intellectual property, such as real estate photos, without permission and without compensating the sources. They compared websites like Zillow and Trulia to Napster, the troubled file-sharing service known for the numerous lawsuits it received for copyright infringement. The brokerage office also claimed the aggregated listings available to the public occasionally contain erroneous information. Errors include the wrong real estate agent being featured on a listing, incorrect square foot data and some properties not being featured in a way that makes their information readily accessible to the searcher. Other questionable data on these aggregator websites included failing to remove active listings, posting wrong prices and providing inaccurate details about listed homes. Proponents of third-party listing aggregators say firms refusing to work with listing aggregators will miss out on all the sales opportunities popular listing websites provide....

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Higher gains for specialty REITs investors

Do you invest in REITs? I do not invest in any type of REIT. (50%, 2 Votes) I invest in specialty REITs. (25%, 1 Votes) I invest in traditional and specialty REITs. (25%, 1 Votes) I invest in traditional REITs. (0%, 0 Votes) Total Voters: 4 Real estate investment trusts (REITs) have performed better than most investments during the recession. Furthermore, specialty REITs have performed even stronger than their traditional REIT counterparts in these tough economic times. At the end of last year, REITs showed a year-to-date return of 3.2%, and specialty REITs showed a return of 7.94%, according...

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Freddie Mac bets against homeowners

Do you believe that Freddie Mac’s investment in inverse floaters is ethical? No (80%, 74 Votes) Yes (20%, 19 Votes) Total Voters: 93 Freddie Mac (Freddie) waged billions of dollars that homeowners with expensive mortgages would not refinance their home loans at lower interest rates. These bets were in the form of inverse floater deals, which Freddie made while at the same instant restricting the ability of homeowners to refinance by hitting them with additional risk-based fees and rules. Inverse floaters are securities backed by interest payments and have the potential of paying a higher return than the rate of interest – provided the underlying mortgages are not refinanced. These are contrasted against securities backed by principal, which pay a low return but are a safer investment and less volatile. Freddie Mac continues to profit from inverse floaters only if their mortgage borrowers do not refinance their higher-than-market interest rate mortgages, since refinancing creates a new loan, stopping interest payments on the original loan and an immediate loss for Freddie on that bet. In late 2010 and early 2011, Freddie purchased 29 securities of inverse floater deals, an exponential increase from the seven inverse floaters purchased in 2009 and mere five in 2008.  Five billion dollars of its $650 billion portfolio was invested in inverse floaters, according to a statement by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Freddie’s overseer....

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HUD acts to house lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people

Is HUD doing enough to be inclusive of all buyers/renters? Yes (76%, 28 Votes) No (24%, 9 Votes) Total Voters: 37 The U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) recently announced regulations providing all eligible persons, regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity, be considered for HUD’s core housing programs. The HUD Secretary reported that 40% of homeless youth identify as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT), and half of those have claimed their homelessness occurred as a result of being denied access to housing due to their sexual orientation. Further, one in five transgender people have been...

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Single households on the rise

Are you seeing more single households purchasing, renting and or/investing in your real estate market? Yes (67%, 44 Votes) No (33%, 22 Votes) Total Voters: 66 To view an interactive map provided by the New York Times highlighting the percentage of single households in your area, either “zoom to a state” or type in your city or zip code. The number of single person households in the nation has doubled in the past 50 years, with 28% of households consisting of one person, according to U.S. census data. 18 million women and 14 million men reside alone in the...

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Zestimates are great conversation starters with sellers and buyers. Zillow has done more for our bottom line than NAR ever has or will. Don’t fight the current of the river, learn to run with it. Disruption is inevitable in any industry that is fragmented or inefficient. Granted, it does feel like armchair experts and platforms are plentiful in real estate these days, but when the tide rolls out we will see the value proposition of the truest professionals in this industry shine once again.

Justin Bonney, on Zillow’s impact on the real estate industry

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