Just because it's TuesdayJust because it's TuesdayDavid S. JonesJones, D.


I​t has been my experience that Tuesday is a great day of the week.

Need to ask someone for a favor? Ask on Tuesday. As president of the local Lions Club, church board, and professional communications group, I have asked many people to chair committees or help with events. When I ask on Tuesday, the reply is overwhelmingly “yes."

Have an email to send? Do it on Tuesday. The Real Estate Center's twice-weekly e-newsletter RECON goes to 15,000 subscribers on Tuesdays and Fridays. It just so happens that visitors to our website peak on Tuesdays (see graphic), and I think RECON has a lot to do with that.


Tuesday is the most popular day of the week to work out, according to ClassPass, with the most popular gym time being 5:30 to 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday is the best day to buy cheap airline tickets online, according to digital expert Kim Komando. She touts Tuesday “because airlines often announce deals on Monday evenings. By Tuesday at noon, other airlines are scrambling to match those deals."

Monster.com says Tuesday is the best day to find a job. Not only is it the best day to look, it is the day most people are hired. It's the day most companies post jobs. Nearly 58 percent of jobs are posted Monday through Wednesday, with most of the action on Tuesday (18.5 percent of applications).

Writing in The Sydney Morning Herald, Caitlin Fitzsimmons explains why Tuesday is the most productive day of the week. For one thing, she says 90 percent of sick days in Australia are taken on Monday or Friday. She notes, “It's logical to infer a good proportion of . . . sick days are actually people chucking a sickie." Wednesday is “hump day," and Thursday is when we clear the decks for the weekend. A 2013 survey by Accountemps shows 39 percent of HR managers rank Tuesday tops in productivity.

If you want to hold a meeting, do it on Tuesday, according to Quartz Media. A study by YouCanBookMe in England found that 2:30 pm on Tuesday is the time most people are free.

For those of you who do cold calling and hate it, TheBalance.com offers hints to turn cold calls into sales. “Tuesdays have proven to be the best day for sales professionals to send emails, mail, and cold call." People are into their weekly routine, cranking out work, and aren't looking forward to the weekend yet.

Apparently, Tuesday is just about the best day for anything, except buying or selling a house. 

 The 33.19-carat Elizabeth Taylor Diamond sold in 2011 for $8.8 million. In 1968, it was known as the Krupp Diamond when Richard Burton bought it for $305,000. When asked why he gave it to Elizabeth Taylor, he said, “just because it's Tuesday." 

Finding the purrrr-fect home for you (and Fido, too!)Finding the purrrr-fect home for you (and Fido, too!)Bryan PopePope
​​​​​​​​​Collie lying in yard.

SunTrust Mortgage recently asked millennial homeowners​ what influenced their decision to buy a home. I imagine we can all relate to the top response: a desire for more living space (66 percent). The second-most-popular response—to build equity (36 percent) —showed their more financially pragmatic side.

Then there was the third-most-cited reason, which I found surprising but also delightful: better space/yard for a dog (33 percent).

Meanwhile, 42 percent of millennials who have never purchased a home said their dog—or the desire to have a dog—is a key factor in their wish to buy a home in the future.

Since many RECON subscribers are residential real estate agents, I thought I'd ask them to weigh in on this. Of the 95 who responded to our informal poll in Tuesday's edition, only 16.8 percent said millennial buyers’ chief concern was space/yard for a dog. Equity (25.3 percent), recent marriages (20 percent), and recent births (20 percent) were the top reasons.

Obviously pets are family to many people. Like any other member of the family, they can influence not only when a person decides to buy a home but what features the home absolutely must have.

Bryan-College Station Realtor Keta Jones said the lack of a fence (or even the presence of one simply in need of repair) has been a dealbreaker for some dog owners. She said others passed on homes that didn’t have a room with a view—for the pet.

“I’ve had clients not buy a house because there​ is not a low window for the dog to look out,” Jones said. “For some people, especially those with small dogs, low windows are very important.”

For some pet owners, the location of the window is just as important.

“One client ruled out a house because it didn’t have a window in the utility room,” Jones said, “The utility room was where their cat liked to stay, and the cat ‘preferred’ a window there.”

Jones said she once suggested that a client’s dog could look out a sliding glass door that opened onto the backyard, but the buyer said Fifi “wouldn’t like that.”

Among other reasons she said buyers have cited for not buying a specific home: no sidewalks to walk their dogs and no nearby, dog-friendly parks.

“If I know a client has a dog, I point out features that their pet would like when I show a house," Jones said.

For folks in the business of selling homes, that's a good rule of thumb, er, paw.
No fuel like an old fuelNo fuel like an old fuelLuis TorresTorres

​​​Texas turns on the crude oil spigot

Texas got a major economic boost on Dec. 18, 2015. That's the day Congress ended the 40-year-old U.S. export ban on crude oil. Overnight, the market for light sweet Texas crude went from domestic to worldwide.

The decision was a much-needed stimulus for the Texas fracking industry, especially in the Eagle Ford and Permian Basin. European countries were also pleased the ban was lifted because it reduced their dependence on Russian and African oil. Political and economic instability makes light crude supplies from countries such as Libya and Nigeria problematic. Even China is looking at U.S. crude oil to reduce its dependence on Middle Eastern oil.

U.S. crude oil exports soared from 392,000 barrels per day in December 2015 to one million in April. That's an increase of approximately 155 percent in less than two years (Figure 1) and is 11 percent of the nation's total output.

Canada was exempt from the ban. The U.S. had been exporting crude oil to our northern neighbor in limited amounts since the early 1990s and sporadically to other countries. In 2016, the top export destinations for U.S. crude oil were Canada (57.9 percent), the Netherlands (7.3 percent), Curacao (5.7 percent), China (4.3 percent), Italy (4.1 percent), and the United Kingdom (3.1 percent).

Figure showing U.S. exports of crude oil

Rising crude oil exports allow the U.S. to gain international market share at a time when the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) is reducing output in an attempt to shrink the global oil supply. If strong U.S. export growth continues, West Texas Intermediate (WTI) may replace Brent Crude as the global benchmark for sweet light high-grade crude oil.

​Texas crude oil exports gushed from approximately $319.3 million in December 2015 to $1,061.4 million in May (Figure 2). This was 65 percent of U.S. crude exports. In 2016, Texas oil traveled to Canada (28.3 percent), the Netherlands (15.4 percent), Curacao (10.7 percent), Italy (7.3 percent), and China and the United Kingdom (5.1 percent each). Year to date (May), however, China is the top export market for Texas crude oil.

Figure showing Texas exports of crude oil

Texas beefing up for ChineseTexas beefing up for ChineseWesley MillerMiller

Texas beef and China blog illustration

In June, China accepted its first shipment of American beef in 14 years amid advancing trade discussions. An isolated case of mad cow disease in 2003 prompted American beef bans across the globe, shrinking industry exports by 93 percent (see figure). Beef exports did not fully recover until 2010 and have bounced around $360 million since 2013.

U.S. beef producers have long lobbied for renewed access to the massive Chinese market. Rising incomes and dietary shifts pushed China's beef imports to $2.6 billion in 2016, making it the second largest beef importer (behind the U.S.). However, American beef faces stiff competition from Australia, where exports totaled $600 million to China in a 2016 China-Australia free trade deal.​​​

Total beef exports chart

In 2002 to 2003, China imported just $23 million of American beef, accounting for less than half of a percent of U.S. beef exports. China's role was even smaller in Texas, accounting for less than one-fifth of a percent of beef exports at $1 million. Unsurprisingly, China's American beef prohibition was unnoticeable, but bans in Japan and South Korea slashed Texas exports by $249 million in 2004.

Japan and South Korea slowly regained confidence in the American product, surpassing pre-crisis import levels from Texas in 2014 at $296 million combined. While other nations followed suit, the Chinese ban held fast despite growing domestic demand. American beef still found its way into the country through Hong Kong, but quantities were limited.

In 2016, Texas exported half its beef to Asia; renewed access to China opens another vast market in the region. Increased cargo quantities benefit Texas producers by stimulating economies of scale, thereby driving down average transportation costs—a vital component in transcontinental trade.​

Are you anti-social (media)? Probably not if you're in real estateAre you anti-social (media)? Probably not if you're in real estateBryan PopePope
2017-07-19T05:00:00ZCenter News
​​​Earlier this year, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) surveyed its members about their social media practices. The results are included in NAR's Real Estate in a Digital Age 2017 Report.

What did they learn?​
  • Seventy-four percent of female Realtors are active on social media compared with 66 percent of male Realtors.
  • Sales agents use it the most (72 percent), followed closely by broker associates (70 percent) and brokers (67 percent). Appraisers are a distant fourth at 41 percent.
  • Fifty-seven percent of Realtors are either “comfortable” or “extremely comfortable” using social media. Only 7 percent don’t use it at all.
  • NAR measured usage of eight social media platforms. Facebook is most used by Realtors (80 percent), followed by LinkedIn (71 percent), Google+ (32 percent), YouTube (30 percent), Twitter (28 percent), Pinterest (21 percent), real estate blogs (16 percent), and Instagram (14 percent).​​

Alright, so quite a few of you are using social media in your work, and Facebook and LinkedIn are your favorite platforms.

I have good news for you. The Real Estate Center is also on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube, and we post information pertinent to your job daily, often multiple times a day.​​​

For example, already this week we've shared information about Longview home sales, insurance payouts to Panhandle wildfire victims, Texas foreign-bought land, and Dallas' national standing as a good place to buy office space.

Of course, we also like a dash of levity with our social media. ​​​By following us​, you can amaze and amuse your colleagues by knowing that it's National Pecan Pie Day (something every Texan ought to know), National Iced Tea Day, or National Day of the Cowboy. Last summer, we ran a social media campaign where we invited people to vote on their favorite small-town Texas name. It proved enormously popular. (Oh, and Happy, Texas, won.)

For more fun, participate in our latest giveaway. We've invited our social media followers and RECON subscribers to share their funniest DIY home-improvement disaster stories. Participants will be entered in a drawing for a $25 Home Depot gift card. Click here to tell us your story. Who knows? You could end up reading your story here in a week or two.

Slicing the real estate pie 100,000 waysSlicing the real estate pie 100,000 waysDavid JonesJones, D.
2017-07-13T05:00:00ZCenter News


Real estate pie picture

Real estate is hot. But you know that. It's been in all the newspapers. With so much talk about who is selling what to whom and where, it should come as no surprise more Texans are signing up to become real estate agents.

In May alone, the Texas Real Estate Commission (TREC) issued 16,216 sales agent licenses, slightly more than the same month last year. That brought total Texas active sales agents to 101,382. 

If you think that's a lot of folks trying to get a share of the real estate pie, you're right. But that's only part of the picture. Texas also has 43,343 active real estate brokers. With an estimated state population of 27.9 million served by 144,725 real estate licensees, that means there is one real estate agent for every 193 Texans of all ages—renters and homeowners alike.

But, wait. If there are 16,000 new licensees being signed up each month, why aren't they as thick as fire ants? That's because 10 percent of the real estate agents make 90 percent of the money. Many new agents don't make it past their first license renewal, which comes after two years.

The old adage that the three most important ingredients to the real estate pie are location, location, and location, also applies to where a licensee sets up shop.

WalletHub did a report on “2017's best places to be a real estate agent." Honolulu was ranked No. 1 based on “real estate market health" (home turnover rate, days on market, etc.) and “job opportunity and competition" (sales per agent, median home price, agent wages, etc.). Austin was the highest ranked Texas city at No. 10 (falling from No. 4 last year).

If you want to know how much real estate agents in each Texas city make, check out salary.com.

Has it really been 40 years already?Has it really been 40 years already?Bryan PopePope
2017-07-06T05:00:00ZCenter News
​​​​First edition of Tierra Grande magazine

Last week, REC Senior Editor David Jones stopped by with the news that Tierra Grande, our flagship magazine, turned 40 this year.

Longtime readers have grown so accustomed to the quarterly publication's reliable research and beautiful design that starting a magazine back in '77 probably seemed like a no-brainer. It wasn't.

Jones said then-director Dr. Alvin B. Wooten was "a bit skeptical." He said Wooten and others on the staff had experience with academic or refereed journals, but they were uncomfortable writing for the public.

"Shortly after the first issue was published," Jones recalled, "Dr. Wooten told me, 'Well, that’s one magazine in the books. Do you think we can find enough material for a second?'”

The rest, as they say, is history, although Wooten's concerns didn't go away entirely.

"He frequently cautioned the staff to avoid the 'big error,'" Jones said. "He worried that publishing a big mistake would have a long-lasting negative effect on the young Center. We established a formal review and approval process using green cover letters. That process continues today, except the cover sheets are blue.

"It took a couple of years before the staff really understood the concept of popular magazine writing. Although they did not say so to me, I think the staff secretly hoped the magazine would just go away if they ignored it."

It didn't. In fact, on July 13, 1977, Wooten sent a memo to the staff saying, “Each staff member should now consider the magazine a reality and begin planning accordingly.”

The magazine was an instant hit with readers. The inaugural issue included articles about economic growth, homebuyer demographic, and real estate education. There was even a profile of that most quintessential of Texas towns—Luckenbach.​

Some of these topics will undoubtedly ring familiar to today's readers, but there's a key difference.

"Articles in early issues were based on data that was months and sometimes years old," Jones said. "Today, data is current, and authors write more about what is going to happen rather than what has happened."

Of course, evolving technology has made a difference in the life of the magazine as well.

"The digital age makes it possible for us to publish electronic versions of articles days, weeks, or even months before they appear in the print version. That keeps content relevant," Jones said.

One other thing changed as well: the size of the magazine's audience.

In the beginning, Tierra Grande was mailed only to the 35,000 Texas real estate brokers. Today, it goes to all active and inactive licensees. As of this month, that number is about 166,000.
Tierra Grande readers speak outTierra Grande readers speak outBryan PopePope
2017-06-29T05:00:00ZCenter News
​​​It's been five years since we asked Tierra Grande readers what they think of our magazine, and a lot has changed since then. We've said goodbye to a few long​-time writers and hello to some new ones. We've also moved to "digital-first" publishing, which allows our website visitors to read most TG articles days or even weeks before the magazine hits mailboxes.

In light of all these changes, now seemed like a good time to once again find out what TG readers think. So we did. Earlier this year we rolled out our survey. We heard back from 182 readers. That's 75 fewer responses than we received in 2012, but, as Senior Editor David Jones noted, the feedback was surprisingly comparable.

When asked how they would rate the overall value of TG, just over 80 percent said "very good" or "excellent." More than 95 percent of respondents "agreed" or "strongly agreed" that TG articles contribute to their knowledge and understanding of real estate.

"The magazine is full of interesting, comprehensive articles," said one person. "I have used several in conjunction with my local paper to educate the average consumer on legal steps/issues that come up during real estate transactions. Many of the articles have enlightened my agent/broker members as to new rules, regulations, or upcoming legislative issues."

Seventy-eight percent share magazine articles.

"Great job, great publication, valuable resource. I look forward to reading it when it comes in and sharing some of the content with clients and fellow Realtors," one reader wrote.

Sixty-one percent were unaware that they can read TG articles online well before the magazine is published. And while we're very proud of our move to digital-first publishing, the vast majority of readers (70.6 percent) prefer the printed edition to an interactive digital magazine. Even so, 79 percent said they would read a digital TG if that was the only option.

Of course, there's always room for improvement.

"More content, more content, more content," said another respondent. "I view the magazine as a core resource. I would prefer it be produced bi-monthly."

Bi-monthly? That's a pretty tall order, but we'll certainly take it under advisement.

Oh, one more thing: Ten respondents were randomly selected to receive $25 Amazon gift cards. Congratulations to Minor Taylor, John Luna, Michael Bray, Eileen Keller, John Crews, Holly Christian, Parke Patterson, Shad Bogany, Richard Meyer, and LadyBarbara Cato. Your cards have been sent.​

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