June 25, 2017

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Comment on Educate Sellers How Home Staging Pays Off by OK Cash Home Buyers

Styled, Staged & Sold - Tue, 06/13/2017 - 02:36

So helpful, this is worth sharing.. Thank you for posting

Comment on Educate Sellers How Home Staging Pays Off by Sooner House Buyers

Styled, Staged & Sold - Mon, 06/12/2017 - 04:41

This is a great little article to help sellers start preparing their home for sale

Comment on Make That Home Greener: Energy-Efficient Mortgages by Roland Macias

Styled, Staged & Sold - Thu, 06/08/2017 - 23:35

I’ve been closing EEM loans for years. They are great and allow homebuyers and homeowners ( who are refinancing) , to upgrade their homes and live in energy efficient , healthy and more comfortable homes. The housing stock in California is old, and adding an EEM to your mortgage will help you improve your homes comfort and increase its energy efficiency. I also help my client take advantage of rebates offered by Energy Upgrade California. The more you know about EEM’s , the more you will love them.

Comment on The Wood Paneling Trend Is Back With a Twist by Blake Rounkles

Styled, Staged & Sold - Thu, 06/08/2017 - 09:40

Great ideas! I was wondering what I could do with some of the properties we buy that have paneling in them. I can’t wait to try these on the next house we buy. Thanks for putting this post together.

Comment on Educate Sellers How Home Staging Pays Off by Owner Finance OKC

Styled, Staged & Sold - Thu, 06/08/2017 - 04:48

Excellent, this is something few people believe or understand.

A History of the World Via Real Estate

Weekly Book Scan - Wed, 06/07/2017 - 08:26

The more I learn about real estate, the more evident it becomes that the industry touches everything. That’s definitely the feeling I got while reading Placemakers: Emperors, Kings, Entrepreneurs: A Brief History of Real Estate Development (Figure 1 Publishing Inc., 2017), by Herb Auerbach with Ira Nadel. It’s sort of a cross between a coffee table book and a truncated textbook about the history of real estate development from ancient times to today. Before I jump into the review, let me share a couple of the many interesting tidbits I learned from the book:

  • Many concepts within real estate development (including the definition of a real estate developer) are discussed throughout the Bible. Similarly, laws about transfer of property and real estate records shaped one of the world’s oldest set of laws (known as the Code of Hammurabi, created around 1780 BCE).
  • The first known lighthouse (built by the Ptolemaic Kingdom in Alexandria between 280 and 247 BCE) was not only the tallest building in the world for centuries, but it was also the first known instance where a developer fought over naming rights.
  • Rome could be considered the birthplace of the hi-rise, with buildings called insulae rising between six and twelve stories high in the center of the ancient city. Ancient Romans also invented concrete, utilized an advanced form of central heating, and used foreign building materials as a way to show off their control over distant lands.
  • During the Song Dynasty (960-1279 CE), it was China’s women who were in charge of land sales, supervising home building, and accounting for rent and property tax. Also, widows were allowed to inherit their husbands’ properties without restrictions.
  • Though the word had been used in the 1700s to define co-ownership of islands in disputed territories, the term “condominium” wasn’t used in regard to apartment ownership until the mid-1800s in Paris. The concept didn’t become codified in the United States until 1962.

While much of the book concentrates on our history, later chapters look at how certain cities and towns came to be, and how their development influenced modern places and movements. One I found fascinating was the examination of how Napoleon III’s redesign of Paris (possibly just to make it easier to control the masses with his military) helped spur the fashion and cafe culture the city is so well known for today. Also, learning how England’s Bedford Park community became a template for suburbs across Canada and the United States may be particularly interesting for Book Scan readers.

In the final chapter, readers get a glance at development in outer space. I had no idea that speculators have been buying and selling land on the moon for decades! But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the book is the exploration of what it means to be a real estate developer. In both the first chapter and the afterward, the authors explore what motivates these ambitious, creative people who have “made places” throughout history. If you’ve ever wanted to make the leap to real estate development, you’ll enjoy this ride.

Quiz: 2016 Commercial Members Commercial Headlines - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 09:00

The information from this quiz was taken from the 2016 Commercial Member Profile.

December Business Creation Index Commercial Headlines - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 09:00

Download (JPG: 441KB)

The information in this infographic comes from the December 2016 Business Creation Index, which monitors local economic conditions from the perspective of NAR’s commercial members. 

... Read More

Commercial Innovation Grants Commercial Headlines - Tue, 06/06/2017 - 09:00

Be REVOLUTIONARY; the 2017 message from President Bill Brown, daring all of us to be the driving force of change in the industry. The Commercial Innovation Grant program provides local and state REALTOR® associations with the chance to be a game changer by awarding funding for innovative and revolutionary programming to improve the value and benefits for commercial members.

To apply, download and complete the Commercial Innovation Grant... Read More

Finding Your Real Estate Niche

YPN Lounge - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 17:57

Anita Clark

By Anita Clark

It can be difficult for both new agents and seasoned professionals to maintain a year-round stream of prospects from our online marketing efforts. This is especially true if we do not focus on a specific niche or market segment.

It is easy to get sidetracked by the latest shiny real estate thing. It can also be hard to get started because of time constraints or the myriad of online options we have available to us such as:

  • Blogging
  • Using social media
  • Dabbling with both blogging/SM
  • Local citations
  • Paying someone to do it for us
  • Reviews
  • Working with virtual assistants
  • Doing something else
  • Not sure where to start

So how do we maintain our online marketplace presence while continuing to help buyers and sellers into and out of homes? We need to specialize in niche marketing and become the expert on a particular process, area, or thing before moving forward and conquering another niche. That way we can better use our time and resources on a few online tasks instead of spreading ourselves too thin and being ineffective on all fronts.

Remember, it is important not to discriminate, so while you may target a specific societal block, helping all real estate consumers should be our goal. If in doubt, check out the Fair Housing Act for more details. With that said, here are a few key things we can do to establish and master our niche marketing.

Establish a Niche Baseline

We need to first determine if we are going to target a specific demographic, age group, type or style of dwelling (i.e townhomes, homes with acreage, etc.), location (i.e. subdivision, county, city, etc.), or something entirely different that is relevant in our market. The list is virtually endless but here are several examples to get you started.

Demographic Examples

  • Active seniors (55+)
  • Divorcees
  • Empty nesters
  • International clients
  • Military relocations
  • Move down/up buyers
  • Multi-generational
  • Newlyweds
  • Single parents
  • Widows/widowers

Age Examples

  • Baby boomers
  • Generation X
  • Millennials (Gen Y)
  • Silent generation
  • Single under 40 (or 50, 60, etc.)

@PublicCo, ©2017.

Property Type/Style Examples

  • Colonial
  • Commercial
  • Condos/townhomes
  • Equine properties
  • Farms
  • Fixer-uppers
  • Foreclosures
  • Gated communities
  • Historical
  • Homes with pools (or acreage, basements, 3+ car garages, etc.)
  • Lake houses
  • Lofts
  • Luxury properties
  • Manufactured homes
  • New construction
  • Oceanfront
  • Ranch style
  • Victorian

Location Examples

  • Close to a local feature (i.e. beach, downtown, lake, park, river, etc.)
  • Golf course living
  • Neighborhood
  • School district (including universities)
  • Specific area (i.e. city, county, suburb, etc.)
  • Subdivision
  • Zip code

Other Examples

  • Disability access
  • Eco-friendly
  • Media room
  • Smart homes
  • Special features (i.e. gardens, workshops, etc.)
  • Walkability

Add to or choose something from the lists above. There are plenty of opportunities. Other considerations include how much business we want (some may be content with five to 10 transactions a year while others want to be top of their market) and the distance we are willing to travel for this niche. The key is to find something we can become the local real estate expert on.

Become The Expert

Once you have chosen a niche, it is time to learn everything you can about it. For instance, if you choose a particular subdivision you will want to know details about the builder (even if it is a mature community), land rights and information, and community utility types/options.

You will also want to know whether there is a homeowners association, key market indicators/statistics, growth around the subdivision, nearby entertainment/restaurants, schools, and a host of other facts that tell buyers and existing homeowners you know as much or more than anyone else in the local area about their subdivision.

If you have an interest or passion in the niche (equine for example) your enthusiasm will shine through. When others see you sincerely care about a topic they will take notice. Once they start joining, sharing, and engaging, you can bet your phone ringing for real estate assistance will be next.

How To Keep It Going

We all know buyers will continue to buy and sellers will keep listing their homes on the local market. What we want is a percentage (what is yours?) of those consumers to call us. But…how do we keep a steady flow of real estate calls coming in to stay busy year-round?

If you are committed to using online resources to generate new prospects, leads, and clients, your cornerstone should be based on blogging. It’s easy to write 10-plus articles about something we care about. It should be that simple when we want a specific piece of the local market share too. Once your in-depth articles are created, you need to periodically share them.

The easiest way to do that is to utilize social media. The sites you use is entirely up to you but the key is to have an active following. Ensure you engage with your followers too! Joining or creating a Google Plus and/or Facebook community is a fantastic way to generate local buzz. Establishing a LinkedIn group can also create new interest, so can Pinterest, Instagram, and plenty of other sites. Even paying for ads such as a Facebook article boost can do wonders to help establish your niche authority.

The point is, we have to share our content, add relevant information/content from others, and be “present” in whatever setting we have established or are a member of. Being top-of-mind when buyers are ready to start looking or sellers are prepping to list their home is exactly what we want. Closing deals with those same consumers is not nearly as difficult as we think when we develop and grow a real estate niche.

What’s your real estate niche?

Anita Clark is a residential real estate agent with Coldwell Banker SSK, REALTORS®, in Houston County, Ga. She is from Coventry, England, is a retired military spouse, and has been assisting buyers, investors, and sellers in middle Georgia since 2007. Connect with Anita on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, YouTube, or on her Warner Robins Real Estate Blog.

December 2016 Business Creation Index Commercial Headlines - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 13:00

Download (PDF 1.31MB)

The new Business Creation Index (BCI) was created to monitor local economic conditions from the perspective of NAR’s commercial members. The quarterly report offers insight from commercial real estate professionals into whether businesses are opening or closing by industry, population density, and subregion. On a monthly basis, it tracks three key questions related to local market conditions: 

  1. An increase of businesses opening in local... Read More

What to Know About Selling a Home With a Reverse Mortgage

Speaking of Real Estate - Mon, 06/05/2017 - 09:00

By Greg Geilman

Photo credit:

It’s difficult to understand how a reverse mortgage works and how selling a home with one differs from the standard procedure. The truth is that it’s very similar; the major difference is the way the lender manages the loan amount if it exceeds the home price. If you’re working with a client who has a reverse mortgage, here are four questions to help you better understand the process.

What Is a Reverse Mortgage?

It’s much like a regular mortgage, but the way in which the money is paid out is a little different. With a reverse mortgage, your client is leveraging the home equity they’ve built up, and the loan is paid out in a lump sum, line of credit, or set monthly payment.

Your client can use this money to pay medical expenses, finance home improvements, or even subsidize their monthly income. The amount your client can get from a reverse mortgage depends largely on their age and the equity they have in their home. As the bank pays out the reverse mortgage to your client, the interest on that principal grows.

How Is a Reverse Mortgage Paid Back?

Unlike a traditional mortgage, a reverse mortgage may not have a set maturity date, or the date the loan must be repaid in full. The standards are set in the loan and may define maturity as the date that:

  • The borrower dies.
  • The borrower sells the property.
  • The borrower moves out of the home.
  • The borrower fails to provide reasonable upkeep or pay property taxes.

Once your client sells their home, the lender has first right to the proceeds to recoup any outstanding balance on the reverse mortgage (unless there is also a lien on the home for unpaid property taxes). If the outstanding loan amount is less than the sale price, your client or their next-of-kin will receive the difference.

Are There Limits on Selling a Home With a Reverse Mortgage?

The maturity date of a reverse mortgage is most often when the borrower sells their home. So the sale of the home is the most common part of the reverse mortgage process. With a traditional mortgage, you expect your client’s home value to exceed the remaining balance of their mortgage at resale. But because the borrower of a reverse mortgage is typically being paid in installments, the mortgage principal increases rather than decreases. That makes it quite possible that the loan amount could eventually exceed the resale value of the borrower’s home. Therefore, when working with a seller who has a reverse mortgage, you should focus on factors that can impact their home value the most, such as renovations, property condition and maintenance, and the status of property taxes.

What If the Home Has Lost Value?

For a client whose property value has fallen below the amount they borrowed on a reverse mortgage, you may need to conduct a short sale. Fortunately, reverse mortgages are known as “nonrecourse loans,” which means the lender cannot go after your client or their heirs for the difference between the outstanding loan amount and the final sale price of the home. But short sales require the lender’s buy-in before you can list the home at a lower value. So the lender may require an appraisal to confirm the value before agreeing to the listing.

Greg Geilman, e-PRO, is managing partner of the Freedman Geilman Group at RE/MAX Estate Properties in Manhattan Beach, Calif.


Comment on 5 Ways to Upgrade a Landscape for Less Than $1,000 by Blake Rounkles

Styled, Staged & Sold - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 12:32

Great ideas! I look forward to applying them to some of the houses we buy in Salt Lake City.

Comment on Designing for an Open-Floor Plan by Blake Rounkles

Styled, Staged & Sold - Thu, 06/01/2017 - 12:30

Great ideas for helping me stage some of my homes when we buy houses in Salt Lake City.

YPN Awarded Funds to Extend Reach

YPN Lounge - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 09:35

Newly-formed or relaunched state and local YPN groups are about to get a little help from their NAR friends.

The National Association of REALTORS® Board of Directors gave final approval on a proposal put forth by the YPN Advisory Board to establish a $6,000 annual fund that would support events and programs to help networks become established.

“We’ve had the same budget for a long time, so we’re excited to be doing new things,” said Krista Clark, 2017 chair of the YPN Advisory Board, during the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo on May 16. The grant money will provide YPNs with a means to connect with members and build involvement through kick-off, education, networking, RPAC, or other events.

Elizabeth Mendenhall, 2017 NAR president-elect, addressed the YPN Advisory Board during the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings & Trade Expo, encouraging leadership and involvement.

Four new network grants at $1,000 each, and four revitalized network grants at $500 each, will be available each year. Networks will be required to apply for a portion of the grand money through their sponsoring REALTOR® Association, which would be responsible for handling the funds if approved. A new YPN is defined as having submitted paperwork for recognition within 12 months of applying for the grant, and the funds must be used for the event referenced in the application. YPN are ineligible if they’ve hosted an event in the 12 months preceding the event referenced in the application, and if they’ve ever been the recipient of a Network of the Year Award. The YPN Advisory Board will review applications and award grants on a quarterly basis.

The NAR Board of Directors approved a new annual travel stipend of $3,000 per YPN Advisory Board member, which will be used to reimburse travel costs accrued by individual Advisory Board members who trek across the country to support local and state YPN groups. The reimbursement will be capped at $1,000 per event unless otherwise approved by the advisory board in advance, and only one member will be reimbursed for attendance any single YPN event.

During their travel to YPN events, Advisory Board members are required to discuss the NAR YPN Pledge, Network of the Year Awards, upcoming NAR meetings and events, and other talking points as determined by the groups involved.

“We’re proud to have this platform to extend our reach,” said YPN Advisory Board member Tommy Choi. “This will also be tool we can tweak every year to see how we can support the networks out there.”

In addition, the Board of Directors also approved a one-time $30,000 budget for a national YPN website revamp. The YPN Advisory Board is just beginning the planning phase of the project, but Clark said the goal of the new site is to provide YPN members with content, videos, information, and resources that will help them grow and sustain their business.

For more information on any of the budget items listed above, contact Rob Reuter at







Comment on How to Select the Right Sheen to Your Paint by Military Rosary

Styled, Staged & Sold - Wed, 05/31/2017 - 09:08

Confirming that the right paint sheen can have more effect than you know! I once chose a high-gloss paint for a finished attic, which had some less-than-perfect drywall in some places. The glossy paint magnified the problems and just looked *awful*, I wound up re-painting with a matte eggshell that was much better at hiding the problem area.

4 Tips to Specialize Your Work With Seniors

YPN Lounge - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 22:54

Brandon Doyle

By Brandon Doyle

Census data shows that seniors, or adults age 65 and older, amount to a whopping 46.2 million U.S. citizens—and that was back in 2014. In the next two decades, research predicts that number will more than double. In other words, if you aren’t expanding your real estate expertise to include specialized work with seniors, you’re missing out on a massive market. Here are a few specific tips to keep in mind as you guide members of an aging population toward the goal of homeownership.

 1. There are a new set of factors to keep in mind.

Seniors have a different set of circumstances to consider when it comes to buying or selling a home than first-time homebuyers or a growing family might. As a senior shops or sells, he or she might be weighing matters such as a fixed retirement income, accessibility issues within a new home, or buying a home within a retirement community. Assessing a senior client’s short- and long-term goals as you spearhead a purchase or sale will not only endear you to your client, but can also help you tailor your time and efforts with efficiency.

2. Remember: location, location, location.

@qimono, ©2017.

Everyone knows this real estate mantra, but seniors prioritize location more than any other group, and for a host of reasons. Some seniors want to move closer to growing grandchildren; others are retired and want to take advantage of recreational opportunities; some no longer drive, so proximity to basic services is essential. No matter the reason, discuss location goals with senior clients interested in buying a new or second home. Likely, location will be at the top of their must-have list.

3. Don’t make assumptions.

Buying or selling a home later in life comes with its own unique set of factors and considerations, but it’s important not to paint your older clients with a broad brush. For instance, it’s a common misconception that elderly homebuyers are solely interested in downsizing. In fact, baby boomers frequently seek homes of a similar or larger size than the one they’re selling, oftentimes to accommodate children, grandchildren, or make room for luxuries to enjoy in retirement. The quickest way to offend your senior client is to make assumptions about their goals.

4. Adjust your communication methods.

It’s common to conduct business via e-mail and text message these days, and while plenty of seniors have become tech savvy later in life, you may have to adjust your means of communication as you pair with elderly clientele. Many prefer face-to-face meetings or phone calls, and documents that you might’ve scanned and sent via e-mail may be better presented in person. Likewise, touring a home may extend beyond a web-surfing session. While you may have to adjust your methods, seniors who rely on in-person and by-phone communication are generally quick to respond, rather than having to play e-mail tag.

A big part of growing your business and innovating is learning to cater to new markets and clientele. With that in mind, keep these simple, big-picture tips at the forefront as you build your specialty in serving seniors in their real estate endeavors.

Brandon Doyle, ABR, e-PRO, is a second-generation real estate pro with RE/MAX Results in the Twin Cities. He is also coauthor of the book M3Mindset, Methods & Metrics: Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent available now on Amazon. Learn more about Brandon at



Comment on Make That Home Greener: Energy-Efficient Mortgages by Ross Quade

Styled, Staged & Sold - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 21:56

Green homes are the new rage, especially low VOC compounds. Our 5 year old daughter got sick from the rug we purchased online because of the off-gasing. I wouldn’t buy another home with new carpet without knowing the details behind it.

Sponsor Webinar: Reaching Today’s Renters

Speaking of Real Estate - Tue, 05/30/2017 - 16:00

Rental management softeware company AppFolio is hosting a webinar on using the latest communication channels to reach rental households to expand your marketing reach. REALTOR® Magazine is promoting the webinar because it believes there could be information in it that’s valuable to rental property specialists, but the magazine isn’t participating in the webinar and is not endorsing its contents. Below is the company’s description of its free webinar:

Amplify Your Brand in 9 Surprisingly Simple Steps

Marketing in property management evolves as quickly as renters do. They want the latest and greatest in technology, and it’s up to you to connect with them on the channels they prefer! Join Barbara & Rebecca for 9 easy ways to amplify your brand with the best in marketing today.

Benefits of the webinar:

  • Learn how to integrate current trends into your marketing strategy
  • Adopt time-tested methods for increasing engagement across all channels
  • Make brand advocates out of your team members in the community
  • Personalize your communications, and let your uniqueness shine

When: Thursday, June 15, at 2 p.m., Eastern time
Where: Your computer or phone
Presenters: Barbara Savona and Rebecca Ross of Sprout Marketing