Weekly Real Estate News Quiz: Think You're Up On The Biggest Headlines?

From Opendoor's home loan service to buyers' agent commissions, the real estate industry threw some curveballs. Take Inman's real estate news quiz to demonstrate how strong your talking points and cocktail banter are this week.
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It boasts three bedrooms, two bathrooms and even a sauna, but goes for the low, low price of just $105,000. Where can you buy this house?

Months after a $7,000, do-it-yourself tiny home sold out within hours, Amazon is now hawking a 774-square-foot home on its website with a $105,000 price tag.

The latest offering is a three-bedroom, two-bathroom home. Titled "The Cliff" and manufactured by Estonian wooden structure distributor Q-haus, the property, which boasts an open kitchen, dining room and sauna, dwarfs the guest houses and backyard pool cabanas that previously sold on Amazon.

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These two brokerages merged in Houston this week, making it one of the 50 biggest brokerages in the country.

Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene and Heritage Texas Properties confirmed to Inman Tuesday that the two companies are merging, making the newly formed brokerage one of the top 50 biggest in the country as measured by Real Trends' 2018 metrics.

"What we like about them is we've got real common core values, cultures, market coverages," Mark Woodroof, managing partner of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Gary Greene, told Inman. "The people generally are really complimentary. When we combine our strengths, it fills in some gaps for both of us.”

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Last month, Northwest MLS announced that, beginning Oct. 1, it will let agents and brokers publicly publish the commission a seller is offering to buyer's agents. On Thursday, however, what brokerage beat the multiple listing service to the punch by publicly displaying buyers’ agent commissions on its website?

Redfin believes that real estate consumers don't really understand the way commissions work, and so as of Thursday the online brokerage and portal is doing something about it: Now, all Redfin-listed homes will publicly display the commission that sellers are offering to buyers' agents.

The new commission information will be included on Redfin's website, and according to a company statement Thursday, it should "help consumers better understand the costs and incentives in the real estate transaction." A screenshot of the new feature, provided to Inman before it went live, showed the commission data appearing in the "property details" section of a listing alongside a brief explanation of what exactly a commission is.

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It was announced this week that top executives from the National Association of Realtors and Lone Wolf jumped ship for positions at this company.

Real estate consulting firm T3 Sixty, the company behind the influential Swanepoel Mega 1000 rankings, announced Thursday that it has hired a pair of new vice presidents who previously worked as executives at the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and tech company Lone Wolf, respectively.

Mark Lesswing, formerly of NAR, and Jonathan Peterson, who previously worked at Lone Wolf, will both work in T3 Sixty's "growing technology division," according to a company statement. Jack Miller, T3 Sixty's chief technology officer, added in the statement that hiring Lesswing and Peterson solidifies his company as "the most knowledgeable and experienced technology consulting team in [the] residential real estate brokerage industry today.”

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According to the Federal Housing Finance Agency in a monthly data report on Tuesday, home prices have risen this many consecutive quarters.

Home prices have risen 32 consecutive quarters, according to data released Tuesday by the Federal Housing Finance Agency. Prices rose just one percent from the first quarter to the second quarter of 2019 and 0.2 percent from May to June.

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Announced on Thursday, this metric fell in July, reversing two consecutive months of growth.

The National Association of Realtors (NAR) Pending Homes Sales Index – a forward-looking indicator based on contract signings – dropped 2.5 percent from June to July, reversing a two-month trend of gains. Year-over-year contract signings were down 0.3 percent.

“Super-low mortgage rates have not yet consistently pulled buyers back into the market,” NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun said in a statement. “Economic uncertainty is no doubt holding back some potential demand, but what is desperately needed is more supply of moderately priced homes.”

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It’s known as the “Zillow of China” and this week it announced it had successfully put contracts in place that now connects more than 100,000 agents and their listings to millions of the site’s Chinese-speaking homebuyers. What’s the name of the company?

Juwai.com, a massive real estate portal that is a kind of Zillow-for-China, has struck up a series of partnerships to market properties from high-profile North American companies.

The partnerships will give Juwai's Chinese users access to listings from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Surterre Properties and Engel & Völkers Americas, according to a statement. The partnerships represent both renewals of existing relationships as well as new deals, and in total Juwai now has contracts in place that connect it to more than 100,000 agents and their listings.

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On Monday, Keller Williams Realty unveiled this new innovation for its agents.

Keller Williams announced Monday it is releasing KW Marketplace, its proprietary "app store," into the general KW Labs community, which will allow agents to start using the platform in its testing phase.

The platform, integrated into the Keller Cloud, creates an open architecture feel, bringing the company's tech platform closer to what Realogy offers agents, with the option of a full, free, end-to-end experience being sought by other competitors such as RE/MAX and Compass.

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IBuying behemoth Opendoor on Thursday launched its own mortgage lending service, Opendoor Home Loans, marking the company's latest move to upend the real estate industry. In what two states did the new service debut?

iBuying behemoth Opendoor announced Thursday that it has launched its own mortgage lending service, marking the company's latest move to completely upend the real estate industry.

Opendoor Home Loans is now live in Texas markets Dallas-Fort Worth, Austin, Houston and San Antonio, as well as in Phoenix and Tucson in Arizona. The new service is the result of 10 months of work during which Opendoor "built a mortgage business from the ground," according to a company blog post. And it's meant to be simpler and more cost effective than other lending options.

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Using shortened links in your biography bar, blaming the algorithm for low engagement and abusing hashtags and likes to grow your follower count are all examples of common mistakes agents make on this social media platform.

Instagram is the perfect social media platform for real estate — there’s plenty of opportunity to make followers ogle at property photos, fall in love with listings through innovative IG stories and get a sneak peek into your day-to-day business through IGTV. So, why are only 39 percent of agents regularly using the platform?

According to Co-Founder of Curaytor, a real estate-focused digital marketing firm, Chris Smith, Instagram mystifies most agents who are used to the rules and etiquette of other platforms, such as Facebook and Twitter. Smith says they fail to realize that Instagram thrives on visuals and storytelling, not one-off statuses or links.

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If you answered eight or more questions correctly, great job. If not, keep up by reading Inman every day.