Anyone who underestimates Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman is crazy. Quirky, yes. Direct, yes. Master fundraiser, yes. True entrepreneur, yes. Irritates the hell out of the industry, yes.

Small talk

If he could change one thing during his tenure at Move, former CEO Steve Berkowitz lamented: “I wish we had made the changes at to be competitive sooner.”

Ha-ha-ha. Did you really think NAR would be easy to work with? Enjoy your freedom, Steve!

Jaw-dropping talk

Congrats, Glenn. Anyone who underestimates this guy is crazy. Quirky, yes. Direct, yes. Master fundraiser, yes. True entrepreneur, yes. Irritates the hell out of the industry, YES!

Bullish talk

  • U.S. GDP continues to increase in the 3 to 4 percent range next year.
  • Savings rate rises.
  • Consumer debt load declines.
  • Home prices rise.
  • Wages grow.
  • Inflation remains in check.
  • Unemployment drops.

Bearish talk

  • Interest rates tick up.
  • Collapse of oil prices kills luxury real estate market.
  • China real estate market goes bust.
  • Global recession takes hold.
  • Stock equities continue to decline, depressing consumer confidence.
  • Global volatility creates economic uncertainty.
  • Tech bubble blows up.

End of ownership talk

The “shared economy” trend — Airbnb with homes and Uber with personal transportation — is full of hyperbole. Hey, what the heck, the mega-billion-dollar company valuations seem to match the hysteria, right? Part of the hype is how we think about ownership. The popular venture capitalist blog “Software is Eating the World” asks whether the trend represents “The End of Ownership.”

“What happens when the importance of access to things trumps the value of owning those same things? The end of ownership. From computer hardware, to houses, trucks, cars and more, the notion of ownership is changing as software enables the matching of people and organizations that have things and those that need them.”

End of homeownership, ye ask? Nah. But mobility combined with the shared economy does create better economics for owning a house. Homeowners suddenly become landlords in an easy, simple way and realize the full economic value of their houses. Expect big changes ahead for the housing market due to the shared economy.

New York talk

This meat-and-potatoes Midwestern guy thinks lots of real estate branding is dreadful. Every once in a while, however, something comes along that impresses me. Take New York-based Douglas Elliman’s “Ask Elliman” branding campaign. It is very clever, and the word is that the money saved from dumping its franchise affiliation (Prudential) was reinvested in marketing and seems to be working, giving the company a boost in market share. (FYI: 72 percent of statistics are made up. In N.Y., 87 percent of real estate statistics are made up.)

Underlying the campaign’s success is the confusion people feel about real estate and the Douglas Elliman promise of providing answers.

Man talk and household help

“Good evening, m’lady,” he says when I open the door. Matthieu is pretty-boy handsome, probably in his mid-20s with floppy dark hair that’s swept off his forehead in the style of a Disney prince. He’s wearing a slim-cut navy suit that’s almost shiny. As he steps into the hall, he hands me a fat bouquet of tulips wrapped in a swatch of burlap. In his other hand, he’s carrying a cardboard basket full of tiny green grapes. He’s here to serve. And now I have to figure out what the hell to do with him for two hours,” from the Guardian story, Domestic Gods, Women Manservants.”

The bad boys of the Silicon Valley have been getting ripped lately for misbehaving. Valley women are also stretching the limits of debauchery.

Talk of the town

Race and all of its complications are on people’s minds these days. Real estate — where we live, how neighborhoods change, who can buy property — is often at the center of this complicated American rift.

To understand how this works, try this imaginative digital game, using polygons. The game attempts to show how harmless choices can make a harmful world.

Smart talk

The Z Team is working hard to outfox the Rupert Gang, figuring he will soon pull real estate listings from ListHub, the big home listing syndicator. Zillow just signed another agreement with one of the biggest MLSs in the nation that helps secure the timely flow of listings to the site by bypassing ListHub, which is owned by rival

My prediction? Murdoch will play Scrooge this Christmas and pull listings from Zillow by New Year’s Eve. Or at least by Valentine’s Day.

Potty talk

I think most house bathroom design sucks. Choices are slick modern or vintage country (ugh!).luxury_toilet New York restaurant bathrooms are more inventive — you can find new configurations; innovative designs; humor at the stall; pictures; cool stuff for the urinal; and gender-bending, shared M&W sinks.

Seriously, I think this residential bathroom design funk stacks right up there with problems like ISIS and collapsing oil prices. Even porta-potties are more interesting.


“With all of the new lead-generating technology, do you think it’s more possible for brokers to succeed on their own vs. paying the big fees and commissions to name-brand agencies?” Peter Rozell asked.

You answer. I’m signing off.

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