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Byron Lazine and Nicole White are two agents in Connecticut who give us their thoughts on the week’s news every Friday in “The Real Word,” a weekly video column on Inman. This week
This week, Lazine and White discuss Homes.com’s alleged use of agent names to snag leads, trouble in the commercial real estate industry and the debate around mortgages and affordability.
Topic No. 1: Is Homes.com using your name to steal your leads?
In a recent article, Kristina Smallhorn, well-known Louisiana eXp agent, YouTuber and podcaster, talked about how she learned that her prominent online profile was being used to promote Homes.com, a CoStar company with whom she’s not affiliated. While searching for her name on YouTube, she found that Homes.com was putting up an ad that appeared to direct to her platform, but in fact, redirected to Homes.com.
Inman reached out to CoStar and their PR firm provided a statement. In addition, they said that they were currently “revamping” their marketing for Homes.com with a focus on “agent-friendliness.”
Statement from CoStar:
CoStar Group employs Dynamic Search Ads (DSA) through Google. For these ads, agent names were not specifically targeted, but ads were generated by the Google DSA platform using agent names based on the content of the Homes.com website. As of March 28th, we have blocked all agent profiles on Homes.com from being used in DSAs.
Topic No. 2: The trouble coming for commercial real estate
According to CNN Business, economists are increasingly concerned about the commercial real estate industry. After decades of growth, the market segment has “hit a wall.” Pandemic-era exits from in-person offices have still not rebounded, and may be causing a drag on the overall economy.
White said that she feels this has been a battle throughout the last few years. Recently, The Wall Street Journal reported that brand new commercial space is doing well, so Lazine speculates that it’s the older offices that are having trouble. In addition, rates have continued to go up even though supply and demand would dictate that they should be falling.
Lazine likes small-town downtown commercial real estate rather than larger markets, especially because of its proximity to hip dining venues and historic areas. New commercial spaces in these types of environments might represent a good opportunity in the sector.
Topic No. 3: The mortgage and affordability debate heats up
Lazine and White reacted to a video featuring a housing affordability debate between Patrick Bet-David and Barry Habib. Even though Habib showed projections that indicate a loss in value and greater affordability, Bet-David pointed out that the numbers Habib was sharing were primarily applied to the luxury market and would have little application to median home values, which are expected to either hold steady or rise modestly.
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