Real Estate in Brief: Zillow begins Premier Agent program changes, enhanced reverse mortgages available and more

by Lauren Brocato

Zillow has just begun the changes to its Premier Agent program after announcing them back in April. Zillow will now have its own representatives screening incoming calls regarding leads.

Previously, the process of purchasing leads had its downfalls, including miscommunication among callers and an overwhelming amount of calls coming in to agents. Now, real estate agents will be instantly connected with callers who are actively looking to buy or sell a home, saving time in the process. If the agent being contacted does not pick up, the call will be transferred to the next agent in line.

“We’ve implemented these changed to deliver higher quality leads to agents while also ensuring a great experience for consumers looking to connect with agents,” a Zillow spokesperson said to Housing Wire.

In other real estate news:

  • Startup Irene Home Equity Solutions, also known as Irene Retirement, now offers seniors the opportunity to turn their equity into cash. The company purchases the home for an average percentage of market value of 30 percent to 60 percent, and the seller can live in or rent out their home for the rest of their life without payment. The company also covers many of the major expenses such as property taxes, remaining mortgage balances, insurance, and other maintenance costs. With baby boomers as the largest generation to retire, the New York City-based startup plans to expand nationally.
  • Across the 20-City Composite, home prices are up 6.8 percent since last year, according to the S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller U.S. National Home Price NSA Index. This is the same annual gain as last month. Seattle saw the greatest year-over-year gain at 13 percent in March. Las Vegas and San Francisco followed with a gain of 12.4 percent and 11.3 percent respectively.
  • New data from Collateral Analytics suggest that homeowners who live in neighborhoods with high performing schools might pay more for their homes. Research found that a major motivation for location is the vicinity of a respected school system. Consequently, this can affect home value, hiking up the cost of homes close to high performing schools.
  • With a 63 percent growth in population in the last 50 years, older generations are less likely to move to a new city. Regions through the Midwest and Appalachians have aged significantly as a result of many younger people heading toward the coasts. Young people have also vacated the New England area in search of jobs. This trend left seven states in the area with a median age of over 40 in 2010.

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