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Bay Area Housing Price Trends … In A Map

July 30th, 2007 · 2 Comments

After a wonderfully fun — and occasionally frustrating — evening of hacking around, I’m please to present this mashup of Bay Area housing price trends. The graphs are from our friends at Altos Research, and the Google Maps were created using Zeemaps from Zeesource.

For a larger map, click here.

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Tags: Altos Research · Consumer · Google · Industry · Mapping software · Real estate 2.0 · Real estate data · Real estate mapping · Zeemaps · Zeesource

A realtor’s job is never done

September 28th, 2006 · 2 Comments

So here I am in King’s Beach, on the north shore of Lake Tahoe, ostensibly on vacation. I’ll be spending some time today getting an offer ready to submit tomorrow. Fortunately, technology makes this pretty straightforward and painless… Thanks to the good folks at the Java Hut for providing some great coffee, a little table to work on, and funky, inspiring tunes (including, for a while, some classic Fela tunes)… ..and thanks to the neighboring restaurant, Steamers, for inadvertently providing me with Wifi access… …add in the help of my Lenovo X41 Tablet PC, our local real estate forms provider, an e-fax system, and, of course, my e-signature provider… …and it all comes together pretty effortlessly, even getting the 125 pages of disclosures ready for signature… Turns out the seller of the property on which I’m submitting an offer is a meticulous record-keeper. I know this dates me, but was there really a time when tradespeople charged only $10 an hour?

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Tags: Electronic signatures · Real estate · Real estate 2.0 · Technology

Zaccuracy Update

September 23rd, 2006 · No Comments

This just in … thanks to a contribution from Marlow Harris, we now have the skinny on the accuracy of the Seattle real estate data from which Zillow spins its magic, and the results are pretty much the same as here in Menlo Park: the mid 80%’s. If you have access to the MLS in your area and would like to contribute 10 data points, please email me at and I’ll send you an invitation to my iRows spreadsheet.

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Tags: For buyers · For sellers · Fun with Zillow · Menlo Park · Real estate · Real estate 2.0 · Real estate data · Zillow

Insanity hath a name — and here’s how to profit from it

September 23rd, 2006 · 3 Comments

Taking up the challenge posed by Sellsius Real Estate, Greg the Phoenix Bloodhound takes on Ardell the Prolific Seattle Blogger in a race to see who can produce 101 cogent blog posts in a 24 hr period, beginning at 12:01am Tuesday Sep 26 and ending at midnight the same day.

Live coverage provided by Sellsius and The Property Monger.

Don’t just be a bystander — you can make some serious, if fake, money by betting on the outcome. Go to Inkling Markets (login required) and place your bets!

Here’s how this betting market works:

The “price” of each “stock” – one for Greg and one for Ardell – reflects the market’s current consensus of who will win. The market starts at $50 each—ie. each has a 50% chance of winning.

If you believe Greg’s prospects, for instance, are better than the current market price, then buy shares in Greg, which will drive his price – the % probability that he will win – up.

If you believe Greg’s prospects are weaker than the current price, then sell shares in Greg. (This market allows short sales, which means you can sell shares even if you don’t own them.)

The market closes at midnight on Tuesday. If Greg wins, his shares close at $100 and Ardell’s close at $0 and your shares are automatically cashed out. Likewise, if Ardell wins, her shares close at $100 and Greg’s at $0, and again your shares are automatically cashed out.

If neither of them makes it to 101 posts, then the one with the most posts at midnight on Tuesday will be declared the winner.

Email me at if you’d like more information.5.png

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Tags: Blogathan · Blogging · Real estate · Real estate 2.0

Zestimating Zaccuracy of Zdata

September 22nd, 2006 · No Comments

While Gregg Swann was busy stirring the pot again (another post sure to bring wrath and retribution raining down on him) and the good folks at Sellsius were busy Carpal Tunnel-ing themselves (don’t these guys sleep?) and Patrick Kitano was explaining my friend Chris Iverson’s real estate “money back guarantee” (heck, if I weren’t an agent myself and I didn’t work for a competing broker, I might just take him up on it!), I was busy trying to answer a question I posed two days ago: how accurate is the data on which Zillow bases their controversial Zestimate?First, a big, big, big, HUGE up-front disclaimer, in keeping with many recent discussions: An automated valuation mechanism (AVM) a la Zillow is not and never will be a substitute for an appraisal done by a professional. It is an estimate, and an estimate only. Improving the accuracy of the data on which the Zestimate is based will not change that fact. ‘Nuff said.Based on my initial highly unscientific look at 10 randomly chosen properties in Menlo Park and comparing the data about those homes as presented in our local MLS vs. county records vs. Zillow, the county gets an accuracy score of 87%, and Zillow gets 84%.I intend to add a number of additional cities to the mix and see what patterns emerge. In the meantime, here are the results… (if you’re a numbers jock and interested in my scoring methodology, scroll down below the chart.)

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Tags: For buyers · For sellers · Fun with Zillow · Real estate · Real estate 2.0 · Real estate data · Real estate mapping · Zillow

Fun with Zillow — #4 — Exploring Zillow’s new features

September 20th, 2006 · 2 Comments

Hats off to the Zillow team for adding some ridiculously “z-addictive” features to their offering! The real estate blogosphere is abuzz with comments, some relatively positive and some negative.In this post, I’ll describe what I found, and in the next one, I’ll provide some commentary on what impact I think these features will have on the agent community and the general public.

While you can continue to use Zillow as before without registering, you do need to get a Zillow account before you can use some of these new features. Once you’ve done so, you search for a property…

…and click on “See home details” which gives you, uh, the home details…

…and three options.
“Save Favorite to My Zillow” is pretty tame. The other two options, however, have a lot of folks hot and bothered. Let’s see what the fuss is about…

“Owner Tools” gives you three further options:

Confirming ownership sounds a bit dubious at first, and indeed the first time you do it you only have to confirm the owner’s name:

Thankfully, to claim a second or subsequent property as your own, you have to enter your credit card information (which Zillow dutifully promises not to use for spurious purposes), enabling them to match their ownership records with the name associated with your credit card.On to the next feature…editing your home facts. They’ve made this ridulously easy to do. In my case, the basic features of the home were correct, but Zillow was missing information about the type of heating and cooling system, the roof type, and a few other items.

The third feature, “Create an Estimate and Make it Public” was also pretty straighforward. You start by editing basic home facts, if necessary……followed by adding home improvements……and other features… …and finally by specifying which comps make the most sense for your home:

When you’re all done, you get an updated personalized estimate, which is different from the public Zestimate.

Go ahead, give it a spin yourself! Warning — it is addictive.

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Tags: For buyers · For sellers · Fun with Zillow · Real estate · Real estate 2.0 · Real estate data · Technology · Zillow

Zip Realty 2.0 © has company

September 20th, 2006 · No Comments

First there was Zip Realty.

Then Zip Realty 2.0©

But now there’s a new kid on the block…

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Tags: Real estate · Real estate 2.0 · Redfin · Technology · Zip Realty

The plot thickens…

September 19th, 2006 · No Comments

Despite assertions to the contrary, it appears Redfin does not technically own the trademark “Real Estate 2.0,” at least not yet.Phew! Now I can keep those “Real Estate 2.0″ tags in my blog.

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Tags: Real estate · Real estate 2.0 · Redfin · Technology

Market prediction update

September 18th, 2006 · No Comments

A few weeks ago I started a prediction market at Inklingmarkets.com to see what the general public thought would happen to median real estate prices in nearby towns during the month of September. It’s a “good news/bad news” sort of thing right now.

The bad news is…it’s a thin market. Not many people are trading yet, so the predictions could be way off.
The good news is…it’s a thin market. Not many people are trading yet, so there’s still lots of (fake Inkling!) money to be made.
Here’s what the prediction market currently says median prices will be at the end of September in these cities (keep in mind the X $10,000 scale):

And here’s what the current real market medians are, as of 9/18/06, with just under two weeks of activity remaining in this month.

Menlo Park predictions seem to be pretty much in line with market reality right now — the prediction is currently $1,242,000 and the real market is at $1,250,000. Some other cities are pretty far off still, such as San Carlos, for which the prediction is $1,180,000 but the actual market is at only $890,000. A city with what seems a pretty low prediction is Mountain View, with a current prediction of $727,000 and actual current value of $862,000.
Without giving too much away…seems like market traders might want to start buying Mountain View and selling San Carlos!If you’re interested in trading on this market, click here; if you don’t already have an Inklingmarkets account you’ll have to create one.

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Tags: Prediction markets · Real estate · Real estate 2.0 · Real estate data

Redfin’s Fins Emerge

September 18th, 2006 · 2 Comments

Thanks to Greg Swann for pointing this out…seems the temporary ceasefire between Redfin and other real estate players has fizzled out! Redfin has asked — very politely — a fellow real estate blogger to stop using the name “Real Estate 2.0″ because…they’ve patented that name. In the year 2006, can you really trademark the tag, “Real Estate 2.0″, especially if you

1) have bought Google Adwords for all your competitors’ names…
2) display data on sold properties on your web site despite MLS regulations to the contrary…


3)and you display “Days on Market” data, despite MLS regulations to the contrary…

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Tags: Real estate · Real estate 2.0 · Redfin · Technology