Speaking of Real Estate
The rise of live video streaming technology on social media has given real estate professionals a powerful new way to promote listings, create brand awareness and attract business. Video platforms such as Facebook Live make it possible to show a property to potential buyers who might not be able to visit it in person, and they can help you connect with prospective clients you might not otherwise have a chance to meet. Learn more about using these tools to expand your reach in this video.
One of the most important issues facing residential real estate in the coming years has to do with the appraisal profession. Although appraisers are generally satisfied with their work and expect to stay in the profession in the years ahead, the median age of appraisers is close to 55. As a result, a big wave of retirements is expected in about 10 years.
By itself, that’s not a big issue. But because relatively few appraisers are being trained today, the profession could be left with thinning ranks after the retirement wave hits.
What’s behind the lack of training? In recent research from NAR, appraisers say they don’t provide training as much as they used to because they get no compensation for it. What’s more, clients rarely accept trainees’ work, so it’s left to the trainer to do both the teaching and the work product.
The training issue might be an even bigger problem for VA loans, a recent hearing in the House made clear. Lawmakers met earlier this week to try to understand why veterans have to wait so long to get an appraisal done, especially in rural areas. It turns out, VA loans are the job assignments appraisers are most likely to turn down. As a result, it’s not unusual in some areas for there to be very few VA-approved appraisers. The result is a bottleneck that hurts veterans when time is important to sellers.
The possibility of an appraiser shortage is a top story in the latest Voice for Real Estate video from NAR.
The video also looks at the mixed state of the home sales market nationally. On the one hand, closed sale are down, suggesting a market that is struggling to reach capacity. But on the other hand, contract signings are up, suggesting sales could see an increase despite the market challenges. The one constant is that households want to buy, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun says.
For that reason, as long as the industry has homes to sell, the demand will be there, especially since households are increasingly confident about the economy.
The video also looks at NAR’s efforts to ensure federal flood insurance is reauthorized before it expires this fall, and what NAR is doing to ensue any tax reform that’s passed by Congress does not harm real estate. That means not just protecting the mortgage interest deduction but also protecting property tax deductions and 1031 link-kind exchanges, among other things.
You may recall a previous post about Sue Dietz, an Iowa real estate agent whose identity was being used by scammers to send fraudulent emails to other real estate professionals all over the country. The emails, which were sent from an email address using Dietz’s name, offered a bogus client referral. Anyone who responded to the email was sent a Dropbox link, which, once opened, gave hackers access to the user’s passwords and other information.
This type of scam is spreading. Sam DeBord, managing broker at Coldwell Banker Danforth in Seattle, discovered last week that hackers are using his identity to launch a similar email scam. DeBord tells us that he’s received hundreds of phone calls, texts, and emails from practitioners who received a bogus email in his name. In the video above, he gives details about how he is getting a warning out to his colleagues about the scam and tips on what you should do if you receive this bogus email.
Millions of households are mortgage-ready but don’t try to buy because they can’t come up with a downpayment. And yet, hundreds of downpayment assistance programs around the country are available and go largely untapped.
To be sure, many households won’t qualify for downpayment assistance. They simply earn too much money. But more people than you might realize would qualify if they would only apply. Because in many markets, the allowable income level is pretty high, and we’re not just talking about high-cost markets like San Francisco, where the median home price is about $1 million.
There are more than a thousand downpayment assistance programs around the country. Each one is unique, with its own eligibility requirements, home-price limits, and resale restrictions. But these programs also share many features. The disconnect between the millions of households who could buy if they only had downpayment money and the availability of so many programs to help them creates an opportunity for you as a real estate professional. No one is in a better position to connect households with assistance programs than you are.
It’s because of this opportunity to expand your market that REALTOR® Magazine hosted a live webcast on April 20. The goal was to let you know how you can find out instantly what programs are available for households in your area.
Program experts were Rob Chrane, CEO of Down Payment Resource in Atlanta, and Brenda Small, GRI, associate broker with Keller Williams Capital Properties in Washington, D.C.
They walked real estate professionals through the programs available, what they have in common with one another, and how you and your customers can tap into resources in your market instantly. They debunked myths about the programs, too. And they answered questions in real time.
A hip-looking website and a realistic-looking payment invoice. Real estate professionals in Florida were recently hit with a scam in which they were instructed to pay a fee to maintain their membership listing with the Florida Board of REALTORS®, but there is no such organization.
What’s concerning about this latest scam to hit the real estate industry is how much the perpetrators paid attention to details. The website is slick and the invoice is serious. Whoever is behind this attempt to milk fees out of unsuspecting real estate professionals appears to be banking on the idea that the right design can mislead people. Which means it’s not just realistic-looking emails you have to be on guard against; you have to be on guard against realistic-looking invoices and websites.
The scam is a top story in the latest Voice for Real Estate news video from NAR. Other segments look at what’s happening in Washington. Among other things, the Trump administration has pushed the pause button on a rule that NAR had concerns with, paving the way for REALTORS® to have input into the rule should it be rewritten.
The rule concerns the expansion of bodies of water subject to Clean Water Act restrictions. That’s a topic that seems remote from the everyday practice of buying and selling real estate but it has the potential to slow and even derail development of real estate because property that previously was not subject to environmental review would be subject to it. So, NAR favors reviewing that rule and seeing how it might be changed.
Another Washington story is about flood insurance. The federal flood insurance program is the only realistic game in town for home owners and buyers in many areas and it expires in a few months, so NAR has been pushing hard to get it extended soon, because the last time the program expired, it wreaked havoc on home sales in thousands of communities across the country. The good news is that Congress seems serious about not letting that happen again and the update explains what has to happen over the next few months to keep the insurance flowing.
The video also looks at a report that just came out from NAR that finds Gen Xers—those born between the mid-1960s and the early 1980s—are getting back into the market after enduring a rough ride during the economic crisis a few years ago. Of all the generations, this one was hardest hit, with a fifth of them going underwater on their mortgage and almost 15 percent having to sell under distressed circumstances. But they’re back in the market now, and that’s a good thing. Access the video.