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Bill Koenig

Bill Koenig | REALTOR®
Direct: (859) 372-6072
Office: (859) 372-6000
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4895 Houston Road, Suite 100
Florence, KY 41042 

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Real Estate News

Industry Challengers: Here Come the Incumbents

Real estate is an industry that I love. My family, our agents, and the customers we serve motivate me every day. Like many of my peers, I have watched many disruptors come and go. They come into our industry with bags full of investment capital, only to learn that real estate is a tough business that operates on very slim margins. For the most part, these industry challengers never turn a profit, run out of money, and fade away.

We have plenty of industry challengers today, including venture-funded companies and some public companies that are competitors. It is hard to compete when you are going up against industry challengers who measure success in growth, not profitability. For decades, investment bankers and venture capitalists have been calling to get our opinion about the latest upstart. Try as we may to explain, they still have a hard time understanding our industry.

Recently, however, we’ve begun to understand the value that these upstarts can bring. Matt Harris, a sharp managing director at Bain Capital Ventures, gave a presentation at a real estate tech conference earlier this year about this topic. Bain has watched many industry challengers burn out—not just in real estate, but in other industries, as well.

Based on Bain’s research, industry challengers can make us better. I could not agree more. Sometimes Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers partners with industry challengers, while other times we stay clear. Regardless of our position, though, we take in as much as we can so we can best understand how to react to the challenge.

Harris hearkened back to an old philosopher in the late 1700s who used the dialectical method—thesis, antithesis, and synthesis—to describe the triad of evolution. If you are soft on your philosophy references, join the crowd. The industry challenge—the thesis—enters the market. The market reacts—the antithesis—and then the synthesis happens as the market absorbs the challenger and incorporates their idea into their business practice.

After nearly a quarter of a century and hundreds of attempts by brilliant innovators backed by billions of investment dollars and countless people hours, two things remain pretty much the same. First, the vast majority of the real estate incumbents that exist today still enable the vast majority of all home sales. Second, the size of the residential real estate market has remained pretty much the same: None of these investments have made our pie any bigger, but have simply redistributed the pie’s slices among new players entering the business. They are mostly gone, and we are here, working hard to help our agents and consumers transact.

Now It’s Our Turn
Today, too many of our real estate agents spend hundreds—even thousands—of dollars a month with online advertising companies for very little return. Agents believe they must feature their listings on third-party sites even though they don’t always see business come out of it. Our agents will tell you they feel like they have no choice because there was no other option available.

That’s why the incumbents, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers and many other leading firms and MLS partners got together and started the Broker Public Portal (BPP). We believed that both consumers and professionals deserve better. There must be a better way, and we must collaborate in delivering it. Why should agents be working with companies who were doing things that were working against them, like not following Fair Display Guidelines?

Broker Public Portal with Homesnap emerged last year. It was the industry’s turn to speak and provide an agent-centric, industry-first, pro-consumer way to secure listing exposure and leads for agents as an alternative to what advertising companies offered. As we succeed, they will disappear, and we will continue to operate.

Built for the Synthesis Phase
Broker Public Portal with Homesnap is a collaborative effort owned and operated by real estate brokerages and MLSs—industry incumbents—to deliver, with Homesnap’s technology, a better home search experience. Our customers get the same comprehensive, real-time MLS data used by our agents—the people who list and sell homes, not ads.

The market is responding. Today, 145 MLSs representing 865,000 agents are offering an alternative way for their members to promote their listings and their personal brands online. Agents love the idea that brokers and MLSs have gotten together to provide a vast marketing network to offer nationwide listing exposure and lead generation.

Harris at Bain Capital explained that companies who support efforts (like BPP with Homesnap) are the firms that will dominate “the new phase real estate is entering: the Synthesis Phase.”

Harris said we are moving away from the Challenger Phase, where companies “wake up in the morning and say, ‘How can we displace, disrupt and destroy the existing industry structures, leveraging technology to do things differently?’ That is squarely ending.”

In the Synthesis Phase, it’s all about collaborating with incumbents—brokers and MLSs working together, asking how we can leverage new technology to defend themselves against industry challengers and evolve as an industry.  Harris said that this is great for the real estate ecosystem, but maybe not so much for the Challengers. Who is in their corner: Wall Street, or the hard-working professionals?

Follow the Money
Where is the market going? As far as early stage investments are concerned, there has been dramatic shrinking. Just 20 percent of funding is going to Challengers; the largest group being funded is those supporting the incumbents.

In fact, Harris said, “Money is going to next-gen technology. It’s actually back to next-generation listing marketplaces that serve REALTORS®—that serve the industry by providing and facilitating more traditional types of transactions, but doing it in new school ways.”

Doesn’t that sound a lot like BPP with Homesnap to you? Who is coming over the hill now? It sure looks a lot like us, working smarter, with more collaboration. Our firm, along with our peers, support the effort to reimagine how our industry can deliver a national search portal on our terms, with our listings and our buyers agents to serve them. It’s good to be an incumbent!

Craig McClelland is COO of Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate Metro Brokers and on the Board of Managers for the Broker Public Portal.

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The post Industry Challengers: Here Come the Incumbents appeared first on RISMedia.

Existing-Home Sales Fizzle

After early gains in the season, April existing-home sales fizzled, with every region sputtering, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) reports. Activity in April declined 2.5 percent to 5.46 million, down 1.4 percent from the prior year. Inventory increased 9.8 percent to 1.8 million, but, by comparison, was 6.3 percent lower than the prior year.

“The root cause of the underperforming sales activity in much of the country so far this year continues to be the utter lack of available listings on the market to meet the strong demand for buying a home,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR. “REALTORS® say the healthy economy and job market are keeping buyers in the market for now, even as they face rising mortgage rates; however, inventory shortages are even worse than in recent years, and home prices keep climbing above what many home shoppers are able to afford.”

Currently, inventory is at a four-month supply. In April, existing homes averaged 26 days on market, three days less than the prior year. All told, 57 percent of homes sold were on the market for less than one month.

“What is available for sale is going under contract at a rapid pace,” Yun says. “Since NAR began tracking this data in May 2011, the median days a listing was on the market was at an all-time low in April, and the share of homes sold in less than a month was at an all-time high.”

In April, the metropolitan areas with the fewest days on market and most® views, according to®’s Market Hotness Index, were Midland, Texas; Boston-Cambridge-Newton, Mass.; San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif.; Columbus, Ohio; and Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif.

The median existing-home price for all house types (single-family, condo, co-op and townhome) was $257,900, a 5.3 percent increase from the prior year. The median price of an existing single-family home was $259,900, while the median price for an existing condo was $242,500.

“With mortgage rates and home prices continuing to climb, an increase in housing supply is absolutely crucial to keeping affordability conditions from further deterioration,” says Yun. “The current pace of price appreciation far above incomes is not sustainable in the long run.”

Existing-home sales in the single-family space came in at 4.84 million in April, a 3 percent decrease from 4.99 million in March, and a 1.6 percent decrease from 4.92 million the prior year. Existing-condo and -co-op sales came in at 620,000, a 1.6 percent increase from March, and no different than the prior year.

Twenty-one percent of existing-home sales in April were all-cash, with 15 percent by institutional investors; 3.5 percent were distressed.

Across the country, existing-home sales fell or remained stagnant, declining 4.4 percent in the Northeast to 650,000, with a median price of $275,200; declining 3.3 percent in the West to 1.19 million, with a median price of $382,100; declining 2.9 percent in the South to 2.33 million, with a median price of $227,600; and unchanged in the Midwest, at 1.29 million, with a median price of $202,100.

Additionally, first-time homebuyers comprised 33 percent of existing-home sales in April, up from 30 percent in March.

“Especially with mortgage rates going up in recent weeks, prospective buyers should visit with more than one lender to ensure they are getting the lowest rate possible,” says NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall. “Receiving a rate quote from multiple lenders could lead to considerable savings over the life of the loan. Ask a REALTOR® for a few recommendations of lenders to contact to get a quote.”

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Gen Z—The Next Wave of Consumer Game Changers?

Generation Z, loosely defined as the generation born anywhere from 1995 or 1998 to 2016, is predicted to hit the post-college marketplace in much the same way as millennials—managing considerable debt. Yet, simultaneously, they’re gaining traction as the next consumer powerhouse, representing billions of dollars for retailers and more.

Regarded as the most diverse and inclusive generation yet, Gen Z represents those around 19 years of age and younger. Perhaps most significant to real estate professionals, Gen Zers are expected to account for about 40 percent of all consumers by 2020. According to the New York Times, they represent “billions in spending power.” Here’s a look into this post-millennial next generation.

They’re more conscientious. According to the Times, members of Gen Z are generally conscientious, hard-working and mindful, if not anxious about the future. For real estate professionals, this generation could be seeking more than just a home—they could be looking for a positive and secure living experience where they’re actively engaged with their neighborhoods and communities.

Technology is more than just influential. Members of Gen Z are the first generation born in the age of smartphones. According to a profile featured in Business Insider, technology doesn’t just play a key role in their lives; it shapes their entire worldview. This could mean future homebuyers from this generation are looking for smart homes, complete with appliances and systems that enhance their daily routines with just a voice command or a tap.

Early starters are the norm. According to an analysis, Gen Z may be considered more self-starting and entrepreneurial than previous generations. This could mean members are looking to enter the workplace sooner, or start their own businesses out of high school. For the housing market, it could also mean a new generation looking toward homeownership earlier than Gen Yers (millennials).

For a generation conscious of safety and security, a home warranty may be a perfect complement to a new home purchase. American Home Shield® offers a range of plans and packages to help protect the homes and budgets of customers at every step of the homeownership journey.

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The post Gen Z—The Next Wave of Consumer Game Changers? appeared first on RISMedia.

Bill Koenig | (859) 372-6072 | Contact Me
4895 Houston Rd Ste 100 - Florence, KY 41042
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