Articles http://realtormag.realtor.org/articles en Repeat Business: Why Your Clients Really Stick By You http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/relationship-management/article/2014/07/repeat-business-why-your-clients-really- <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> The reason your clients decide to use your services multiple times can run much deeper than just because they thought you did a good job, studies suggest. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Thursday, July 24, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/melissa-dittmann-tracey">Melissa Dittmann Tracey</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>The key to customer retention: Keep your clients satisfied with your services and they&rsquo;ll keep using you again and again. But satisfaction isn&rsquo;t always at the core of why customers return. Some customers may return for other reasons, and in some cases, those reasons can even backfire for your business.</p> <p>Clients sometimes &ldquo;lock in&rdquo; to service relationships over the long term not because they&rsquo;re necessarily satisfied with the service provided but rather out of a feeling of obligation or even a perceived nuisance of having to find someone else, according to research by Mary P. Harrison, assistant professor of marketing at Birmingham Southern College, and Sharon E. Beatty, professor of marketing at University of Alabama. In <a href="http://www.baylor.edu/business/kellercenter/news.php?action=story&amp;story=135803" target="_blank">the study</a>, Harrison and Beatty conducted in-depth interviews with customers who felt locked in &mdash; both in positive and negative ways &mdash; to service relationships (real estate was among the industries analyzed).</p> <p>Becoming aware of why clients may be sticking by you through transactions can help you foster more positive, loyal relationships with your repeat clients. The insight may even make you more competitive, too, by knowing why other clients may be latching onto your competitors and how you may be able to offer your services to those who are being loyal due to the perceived barriers of switching agents, the study suggests.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s also important to become aware of those clients who may be locking in to you for the wrong reasons, Harrison says. After all, you may be assuming your repeat clients are among your most loyal and raving fans. But repeat clients who are with you because they feel obligated or because they think finding another real estate professional will be too difficult can be detrimental to your reputation around town.</p> <p>&ldquo;We were aware of these obligation factors at the surface, but we often don&rsquo;t realize how strong those factors are and what role they can play in keeping your client base,&rdquo; Harrison says. That begs the question: Do you sometimes need to give your clients permission to leave?</p> <h4> How Strong Is Your Repeat Business?</h4> <p>Repeat business can be a big chunk of a salesperson&rsquo;s customer base. It&rsquo;s the reason why most salespeople implement customer retention, <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2011/03/relationship-management-7-ways-keep-touch-past-clients" target="_blank">keep-in-touch marketing systems</a> via marketing newsletters, postcards, and regular personal contact.</p> <p>Research has long pointed to the benefits of using marketing aimed at boosting customer retention. Repeat clients tend to spend more money over time, offer more customer referrals and word-of-mouth recommendations, make fewer demands on service professionals, and can even lower your business costs since they&rsquo;re cheaper than acquiring new customers, writes author Frederick F. Reichheld in <em>The</em> <em>Loyalty Effect</em> (Harvard Business School Press, 1996).</p> <p>But how many customers actually come back? The average real estate professional earned 21 percent of his or her business from repeat clients and customers, according to the 2013 National Association of REALTORS&reg; Member Profile. For REALTORS&reg; who have been in the business 16 years or more, their repeat clients often make up a bigger portion of their business: about 40 percent of their client base, according to the survey.</p> <h4> Why Clients Lock In</h4> <p>Locked-in clients are what most business professionals seek. They are clients who feel bonded to you and are unwilling to go anywhere else for their present and future real estate needs.</p> <p>In Harrison and Beatty&rsquo;s research, they found that clients often feel locked in to service providers due to four main reasons:</p> <ul> <li> Relational benefits and satisfaction (in other words, they&rsquo;re happy with the job you did thus far);</li> <li> Perceived switching costs (they believe it would be too big a nuisance to find anyone else);</li> <li> Obligatory factors (possibly a family and friend referred you to them and now they feel obligated to use you);</li> <li> Personality factors (they may be resistant to change or even may want to avoid the discomfort in hurting your feelings by using someone else).</li> </ul> <p>Interestingly, Harrison and Beatty&rsquo;s research notes that customers often feel locked in not just by one of these factors but by a combination. Salespeople may want to take note of what may be the strongest pull for their repeat clients.</p> <p>In the study, 93 percent of the 44 customers interviewed mentioned being satisfied with core services or the relationship benefits for why they stuck with a service provider. But 82 percent of the time, customers also mentioned obligatory factors for sticking with the provider; similarly, 82 percent also mentioned switching barriers for why they also chose to use the provider again.</p> <h4> When Clients Stick by You for the Wrong Reasons</h4> <p>&ldquo;You don&rsquo;t want a relationship that is strictly obligatory,&rdquo; Harrison says. &ldquo;You want them to stay because of satisfaction and the positive benefits they perceive with staying with you.&rdquo;</p> <p>Dissatisfied clients who stay can lead to both negative emotions in working together as well as negative word-of-mouth about your business. &ldquo;Clients may feel like hostages and advise others to go elsewhere,&rdquo; the researchers note in the study.</p> <p>But how do you know your clients&rsquo; motives for returning?</p> <p>One way to know: Ask them. You can do this by surveying them after closing to gauge their satisfaction. The surveys may cue you in to how they feel post-closing and why they decided to use you in the first place. It may give you more perspective on your relationship. Several companies can help you do this, such as the <a href="http://secure.qualitycertified.org" target="_blank">REALTOR&reg; Excellence Program</a> or <a href="http://www.realsatisfied.com" target="_blank">RealSatisfied</a>, among others. For example, Quality Service Certification&rsquo;s REALTOR&reg; Excellence Program sends post-closing surveys to buyers and sellers to ask them to rate their satisfaction with your services in several areas, such as negotiating skills, communication, and thoroughness. It also asks how likely they are to use your services again and whether they&rsquo;d refer you to their friends. The survey also asks what their primary reason was for selecting you, such as a friend&rsquo;s recommendation, because they already knew you personally, your reputation, or other factors.</p> <p>Besides surveying your clients, you can also look for subtle cues that may show you that your clients may not be as into you as you once thought.</p> <p>&ldquo;Oftentimes in relationships, it becomes obvious when a person is dissatisfied in some way,&rdquo; Harrison says. &ldquo;They start by letting us know subtly by getting really silent or not returning our calls anymore. If you realize a client is dissatisfied with a service and for some reason feel like they can&rsquo;t leave and you don&rsquo;t think you can repair the relationship, you may need to allow them to explore other opportunities as their needs change. You have to consider whether this relationship is beneficial to both of you.&rdquo;</p> <h4> <strong>Locking in Clients for the Better</strong></h4> <p>Clients who are returning because they are satisfied with your services are key to building positive locked-in relationships. But never take their repeat business for granted. They could be tempted to go elsewhere, particularly if their real estate needs change. Through subtle gestures, you can instill greater loyalty among your satisfied clients. Harrison and Beatty suggest the following four methods:</p> <p><strong>Remind them about your history. </strong>Draw a client&rsquo;s attention to the length of time that you&rsquo;ve been working together, such as recalling successes in your last transaction together. Your history can be a powerful, yet subtle motivator to keep them coming back.</p> <p><strong>Value reciprocity.</strong> The feelings of &ldquo;I owe you&rdquo; and &ldquo;you did something great for me&rdquo; can be powerful influencers. &ldquo;You want to stay with someone who helped you in the past,&rdquo; Harrison says. &ldquo;There is a strong reciprocity effect, if you&rsquo;re willing to do something and go out of the way for someone else. Often, people will respond and feel obligated to stay with you and refer you to their friends.&rdquo; This can be something seemingly small, too, such as recommending a contractor or painter or offering up a small token of appreciation like a gift during the holidays. &ldquo;After receiving a benefit, people feel a deep-rooted psychological pressure to reciprocate,&rdquo; according to a <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2013/01/relationship-business" target="_blank">2009 Keller Center study</a> on gratitude by Robert W. Palmatier. &ldquo;The failure to repay obligations can lead to guilt.&rdquo;</p> <p><strong>Thank them.</strong> Don&rsquo;t forget to thank your clients for their business and long-time commitment to you. &ldquo;People respond to gratefulness,&rdquo; Harrison says. Some real estate professionals say thanks verbally or with a handwritten card; others host parties to thank their past customers, like holiday gatherings or customer appreciation cookouts. For example, Diane Cardano with Cardano, REALTORS&reg;, in Abington, Pa., hosts a themed <a href="https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M2kZ_OAlpgg" target="_blank">holiday party</a> each year at her home for 350 of her &ldquo;raving fan clients&rdquo; &mdash; her past clients who have introduced her to other people in need of real estate services during the year. It serves as a way to thank her past clients and keep in touch.</p> <p><strong>Show them you&rsquo;re already in tune with their needs.</strong> Remember their preferences, stories, and important life events. Make notes in your contact management system, and weave them into your interactions. &ldquo;If an agent understands her clients&#39; personalities and can incorporate this insight into segmentation activities, then she can take steps to encourage her clients to stay,&rdquo; according to Harrison and Beatty&rsquo;s research. &ldquo;For example, an agent could offer support to make changes easier, or avoid introducing new technologies to her clients who are resistant to change.&rdquo;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>The reason your clients decide to use your services multiple times can run much deeper than just because they thought you did a good job, studies suggest.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2011/03/relationship-management-7-ways-keep-touch-past-clients">Relationship Management: 7 Ways to Keep In Touch With Past Clients</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2011/05/relationship-management-how-likable-are-you-really">Relationship Management: How Likable Are You, Really?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2013/02/relationship-management-how-words-you-say-may-be-costing">Relationship Management: How the Words You Say May be Costing You Business</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/relationship-management/article/2013/12/are-you-wired-succeed">Are You Wired to Succeed? </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Relationship Management Thu, 24 Jul 2014 22:40:49 +0000 echristoffer 16689 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 9 Basement Revamp Mistakes to Avoid http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2014/07/9-basement-revamp-mistakes-avoid <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Help your buyers and sellers dodge renovation obstacles to make the most of their basement space by converting it to a home office, hip lounge, gym, theater, or wine tasting room. The sky’s the limit. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 23, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/barbara-ballinger">Barbara Ballinger</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Basements once were the second-class level of a home &mdash; a place where some families hung out, but not as a first choice. And home owners rarely spent a lot of money to fix them up.</p> <p>But necessity may be the mother of invention as more home owners have seen the basement as underutilized square footage that can be improved, and for less than adding to an upper level. Given a new, fancier moniker, too, of &ldquo;the lower level,&rdquo; these spaces can improve resale.</p> <p>In many areas of the country, basements aren&rsquo;t a given. But in regions where houses are rarely built without them, such as the Northeast and Midwest, not having a basement may actually hurt a sale, says Christopher J. Masiello, president and CEO of Better Homes &amp; Gardens Masiello in Keene, N.H. &ldquo;It can mean $10,000 or $20,000 less in value for comparable properties,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>Since the housing market stalled, the basement has garnered more attention. Those in need of more living space looked to this otherwise unused level versus spending double or triple the cost to add space on, depending on their site&rsquo;s topography, labor costs, and the choice of finishes, says architect Duo Dickinson, author of <em><a href="http://www.amazon.com/Staying-Put-Remodel-Your-House/dp/1600853641" target="_blank">Staying Put:Remodel Your House to Get the Home You Want</a> </em>(The Taunton Press, 2011).</p> <p>Basement renovations also can offer excellent return on investment. According to the <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/cost-vs-value/article/2014/01/2013-14-cost-vs-value-remodeling-pays-big-time" target="_blank">2014 Cost vs. Value Report</a>, midrange basement redos, which average almost $63,000, bring a 77.6 percent payback, among the top 10 returns on projects.</p> <p>Yet, nothing&rsquo;s a slam-dunk. Ensure your clients are making a good investment when they&rsquo;re finishing a basement by helping them steer clear of these nine obstacles:</p> <p><strong>1. Low ceiling height.</strong> Older home basements were often built with low 7-foot ceilings, which could make some people feel uncomfortable. And excavating to gain more height can prove expensive and sometimes structurally challenging, says Chicago-based architect <a href="http://allanjgrantarchitects.com/" target="_blank">Allan J. Grant</a>. Help your clients understand which basement facelifts are within their budget by bringing in an expert you trust to give an accurate cost estimate.</p> <p><strong>2. Water damage.</strong> Another huge challenge in basements is water, which should be eliminated as a possibility before your clients make any further progress such as planning expensive improvements and shopping for furnishings. Even if a basement doesn&rsquo;t have standing water, check to see if it&rsquo;s present in the yard near the home&rsquo;s foundation walls. Negative slope grades toward the house may bode ill as well, says Randon Gregory, director of franchise acquisition and development for <a href="http://www.ramjack.com/" target="_blank">Ram Jack</a>, a foundation repair company.</p> <p>A waterproofing expert or contractor may suggest many remedies, such as wider gutters pitched away from the house, wider downspouts, soil raised up near the house, exterior or interior French drain tiles, a sump pump with battery back-up and generator if the power goes, and a dehumidifier to eliminate excess moisture. When furnishing the room, home owners should consider engineered wood or porcelain or carpet tiles, since they stand up better to wetness and are easier to replace than real wood or wall-to-wall carpet. Certain paints and finishes with low or no VOCs also help remove excess moisture.</p> <p><strong>3. The dark cave.</strong> Romantic settings are nice, but not if they&rsquo;re because a room lacks ample windows and lighting. Most basement transformations call for additional natural &nbsp;or artificial light. If it&rsquo;s not illuminated well, a basement won&rsquo;t be used, says Decorating Den designer <a href="http://local.decoratingden.com/valerieruddy/" target="_blank">Valerie Ruddy</a> of Verona, N.J.</p> <p>Some window wells can be enlarged or larger windows can be installed. The <a href="http://www.americanlightingassoc.com/Find-Showrooms-Products.aspx" target="_blank">American Lighting Association&rsquo;s</a> consulting director Joseph A. Rey-Barreau suggests artificial light from multiple sources for the greatest effect. Newer LEDs, LED tape, and CFLs make lighting more energy-efficient and cost-effective over the long term, even if the initial purchase price is higher than incandescent lights.</p> <p>Home owners can take a plan of their proposed changes to a lighting showroom or a certified consultant for recommendations before the room is completed to be sure there will be suitable lighting, with sufficient lumens (a measure of brightness) and the right number of strategically located outlets, Rey-Barreau says. He advises using ceiling tiles to access wires rather than permanently close it up with drywall.</p> <p><strong>4. Awkward floor plan.</strong> Because of utilities and floor drains, the basement level often presents obstacles to work around that can lead to oddly shaped rooms or layouts. Tell home owners not to chop up the lower level excessively, or they&rsquo;ll start to feel claustrophobic, says Grant.</p> <p><strong>5. Noisy hub.</strong> Since a home&rsquo;s mechanical systems are usually placed on the lower level, it&rsquo;s good to choose sound-absorbing materials for floors, ceilings, walls, and doors to deaden noises.</p> <p><strong>6. Too specific or over-improved.</strong> While nobody knows the style preferences or interests of a future buyer, transforming a basement into a home office, family room hangout with a big-screen TV, or a visitor suite generally hold wider appeal than a more limited use such as a photographic darkroom, for instance. Also, buyers of a more modest home are unlikely to spend more to gain a fancy media room or well-equipped gym that never was in their budget, says Ruddy.</p> <p><strong>7. Design continuity.</strong> Furnishings should reflect some continuity in quality and style with the rest of the home, says Scott Lauri, broker-owner at <a href="http://www.homesofnj.com/" target="_blank">ERA Levinson, REALTORS&reg;,</a> in Monroe Township, N.J. But the basement can also be a place to be more adventuresome, as Decorating Den designer <a href="http://www.decdens.com/llawson/" target="_blank">Lynne Lawson</a> in Columbia, Md., showed when she transformed a catch-all space into an entertaining hub. &ldquo;The house was pretty traditional, but we made the lower level cooler and funkier so it resembles a hip lounge,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p><strong>8. Unappealing descent.</strong> If possible, home owners should improve the stairwell descent into the basement. Removing a sidewall, offering more head room, and sometimes introducing a turn or curve will improve the journey down, Lauri says.</p> <p><strong>9. Taking the rental plunge.</strong> While earning rental income may be appealing, home owners should verify that their municipality permits it; some don&rsquo;t allow multifamily dwellings in certain zoning areas. If your clients do decide to convert their basement into a rental unit, a typical must-have is large windows or wells for entry and egress. Kathryn and Steven Van Asselt&rsquo;s 700-square-foot basement in their Portland, Ore., home has become a popular home away from home for travelers. They attribute the success of their rental space to their home&rsquo;s location, colorful modern Ikea furnishings, good coffee maker, comfortable mattress, stereo system, laundry equipment, and separate stairwell and entryway.</p> <p><strong>The bottom line: </strong>Even if buyers and sellers don&rsquo;t want to fully finish a basement, doing so partly, perhaps for seasonal storage or upgraded laundry facilities, still adds greater value and makes upstairs life more pleasurable.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Help your buyers and sellers dodge renovation obstacles to make the most of their basement space by converting it to a home office, hip lounge, gym, theater, or wine tasting room. The sky&rsquo;s the limit.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_HD_basement.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=65889">jul14_HD_basement.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_HD_basement_0.jpg?1406147883" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_HD_basement.jpg?1406147897" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2010/09/bring-out-best-basements">Bring Out the Best in Basements</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2013/05/home-gym-new-gathering-hub">The Home Gym: A New Gathering Hub</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/03/keep-water-bay">Keep Water at Bay</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/home-and-design/architecture-coach/slideshow/2009/11/10-affordable-home-redos">10 Affordable Home Redos</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Architecture Coach Wed, 23 Jul 2014 17:21:48 +0000 echristoffer 16682 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Earn Respect by Making Meetings Worthwhile http://realtormag.realtor.org/for-brokers/solutions/article/2014/07/earn-respect-making-meetings-worthwhile <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> By creating an agenda and owning your purpose, you’ll set your team up for success. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 23, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/jason-forrest">Jason Forrest</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>I often hear about the battle brokers have in getting agents to show up to (let alone be actively engaged in) group or one-on-one meetings. So how do you create an environment where team members understand that your goal is to increase their success, not to waste their time? Ultimately, you want them to approach these meetings with excitement and a belief that if they show up <em>and</em> participate, they will benefit.</p> <p>The key to generating this type of environment is to be very purposeful. Every time you schedule a meeting, remember that you&rsquo;re asking your agents to take time away from calling prospects, getting new business, and showing homes. Top agents in particular are self-sufficient, and if you aimlessly schedule meetings and ask them to be in the room while you twiddle your thumbs, they&rsquo;ll resent you and end up spending the time watching the clock. To make it worth their while, have an agenda that lays out what you want to accomplish and how you plan to accomplish it. Tell them where you&rsquo;re going and what you&rsquo;re going to cover.</p> <p>In addition to demonstrating respect for their time by setting and following an agenda, prepare yourself to push your agents just outside of their comfort zone, perhaps by challenging a limiting mind-set or belief. They may think a particular home is just not salable, for example, or that they are not capable of becoming a million-dollar producer. These are the kinds of beliefs that will limit their career, but they are opportunities for you to provide coaching. When you are able to coach them in a way that makes them reach the next level, they&rsquo;ll start looking forward to meeting with you. Your purpose should be to move agents forward in their careers by pushing them just outside their comfort zone. Help them make a decision subconsciously that says, &ldquo;Yes, I&rsquo;m going to make a change,&rdquo; and include the when, where, why, and how of accomplishing that change.</p> <p>By creating an agenda and owning your purpose, you&rsquo;re setting agents up for success. But agents still need to be accountable for their actions. Follow through and follow up. After you and your agent have come to an agreement of what is expected of them, you must hold them accountable for following through. Periodically remind them why they&rsquo;re undertaking these actions, as well as how the proposed changes tie back to their goal of improving their lives.</p> <p>If you&rsquo;re setting agendas, pushing agents forward in their careers, and holding them accountable to the solutions, the best ones will love you in addition to respecting you. The worst ones may not like you, but they&rsquo;ll still respect you.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>By creating an agenda and owning your purpose, you&rsquo;ll set your team up for success.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_B_meetings_0.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=39025">jul14_B_meetings_0.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_B_meetings.jpg?1406064568" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_B_meetings.jpg?1406064603" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2013/12/23/give-your-sales-meetings-value">Give Your Sales Meetings Value</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/tool-kit/team-development/article/8-sure-fire-tips-for-better-meetings">8 Sure-Fire Tips for Better Meetings</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/for-brokers/feature/article/2011/01/one-fantastic-year-sales-meetings">One Fantastic Year of Sales Meetings</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Solutions Tue, 22 Jul 2014 20:49:48 +0000 mwhite 16673 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Understanding and Combatting the Rate Lock-in Threat http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2014/07/understanding-and-combatting-rate-lock-in-threat <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Today’s low interest rates may be spooking potential move-up buyers. Learn how reluctant sellers are affecting housing inventory and how you can help home owners see beyond the percentage points. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 23, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/meg-white">Meg White</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>For years, a large number of home owners were prevented from moving up because of negative equity. These underwater owners were locked in to their current location thanks to rock-bottom home values.</p> <p>Now that the economy is improving, those home owners may be moving into the market more freely. But some feel hemmed in for a wholly different reason: They don&rsquo;t want to give up the rock-bottom interest rate they procured in recent years. This time, however, they&rsquo;re being locked in by the low interest rates &mdash; as low as 3.3 percent in late 2012 &mdash; that they secured by buying or refinancing over the past few years. Economists worry this group will be reluctant to move now that interest rates are heading back up, exacerbating an already tight housing inventory.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Three Ways to Soothe the Lock-in Blues </strong></p> <p><strong>Add historical context</strong>: Remember when interest rates were 18 percent? Well, even if you don&rsquo;t, reminding clients of the early <span>1970s</span> and <span>&rsquo;80s</span> is necessary for putting today&rsquo;s rates in the proper perspective place. Buyers still have it pretty good, and the practical effect between 3.5 percent and 6 percent may not be as extreme as it sounds.</p> <p><strong>Add urgency</strong>: Sure, interest rates are higher than they were in 2012. But most experts predict they&rsquo;ll be even higher a year from now. The <span>homebuying</span> process should never be rushed, but if your clients foresee their need to move increasing over the long term, it may make sense to buy while interest rates are lower, relative to possibly higher future rates.</p> <p><strong>Add focus</strong>: Remind potential clients that buying a new home really isn&rsquo;t about rates and figures; it&rsquo;s about quality of life. It&rsquo;s about their kids constantly fighting about having to share the same room or their need for a studio space to pursue their artistic endeavors. It&rsquo;s often harder to predict interest rates over the next few years than it is to predict a family&rsquo;s evolving housing needs.</p> </blockquote> <h4> The Trick of Predicting</h4> <p>Researchers at the Institute of Housing Studies at DePaul University in Chicago say that interest rate lock-in may be more of an impediment to housing turnover than equity lock-in (those who can&rsquo;t sell because they&rsquo;re underwater). Their study, published in February, used the Chicago metro area as a test case to predict what rising home prices and interest rates will mean for housing turnover. The study assumed a 1 percent rate increase each year over a three-year period. They found that the number of households freed from equity lock-in by increasing home prices will not offset the number of home owners who are increasingly being locked in by low interest rates. At the end of the three-year period, the turnover rate in strong markets had decreased by 75 percent. The effect in weaker markets was slightly less extreme, but similar.</p> <p>Though Pat Hendershott, senior research fellow for the study, says the interest rate parameters they set were somewhat arbitrary, rates might actually follow a similar path in the three-year period between 2013 and 2016. National Association of REALTORS&reg; Chief Economist Lawrence Yun predicts that interest rates will increase from current levels (around 4.2 percent) to nearly 5 percent by early next year. He says they will probably rise until they reach 6 percent, then stabilize there. Historically, 6 percent interest isn&rsquo;t deadly to the economy, but Yun says that a home owner paying about half that may take rates into account when deciding whether or not to move.</p> <p>&ldquo;Some home owners will delay moving into a new residence because of the desire to hold on to the current lower rate mortgage,&rdquo; Yun says.</p> <p>John Moony, managing vice president of Guaranteed Rate, a national mortgage company based in the Chicago area, says that even a 1 percent increase in mortgage rates can make a big difference in a home owner&rsquo;s decision-making process. He says a 1 percent increase in interest rates generally equates to a 10 percent reduction in purchasing power. In practical terms, that means a family looking to keep their mortgage payment below, say, $1,500 a month will need to lower the maximum price they can pay for a house from $300,000 to $270,000 if interest rates go up one percentage point.</p> <h4> What Lock-in Might Look Like</h4> <p>It&rsquo;s hard to know exactly how this will unfold on the national arena, but one CoreLogic executive <a href="/daily-news/2014/07/14/why-low-rates-arent-always-good-for-housing">recently estimated that up to 3.6 million home owners will be reluctant to sell</a> this year because of rate lock-in.</p> <p>Hendershott says looking back to other lock-in events can provide insight to what home owners might do in the face of interest rate lock-in. He says that historically there has been &ldquo;a substantial amount of renovation of houses&rdquo; as home owners seek to put off moving.</p> <p>But locked-in home owners have a variety of options other than delaying a move, according to Yun. He says some home owners might consider renting out their homes, rather than selling. Others might look into seller financing and assumable mortgages, which can keep the lower interest rates alive while still freeing up the home owner to move to a new residence.</p> <p>Donna Stadum, ABR, GRI, salesperson with AZ Horizon Realty in Casa Grande, Ariz., thinks rising rates will encourage home owners to get off the fence, at least in the short term.</p> <p>&ldquo;Interest rates are still really competitive,&rdquo; Stadum says. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re going to want to move quickly so that they can keep the lower interest rate.&rdquo;<span style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span><span style="display: none;">&nbsp;</span></p> <h4> It&rsquo;s About More Than Numbers</h4> <p>The lock-in problem is real, but interest rates aren&rsquo;t the only calculus people use when determining if it&rsquo;s the right time to buy.</p> <p>&ldquo;Generally speaking, they&rsquo;re going to make this decision based on what&rsquo;s right for them, what&rsquo;s right for their family,&rdquo; Moony says. &ldquo;Most customers will make that decision emotionally, but they&rsquo;ll use the financials to back up that decision.&rdquo;</p> <p>Ken Fears, manager of regional economics for NAR&rsquo;s research department, says that it&rsquo;s easy for consumers to get caught up in a fluctuating interest rate, but that it&rsquo;s important for them to make informed decisions based on their particular situation instead.</p> <p>&ldquo;I would discourage people from looking at a rate and looking more at the payment,&rdquo; Fears says. He notes that, if home owners have paid down a large amount of their original loan, the mortgage insurance payment can be released.&nbsp;When they decide to buy a new home, Fears says they may be able to avoid mortgage insurance on the new home by applying the equity and price appreciation they&rsquo;ve gained to the new down payment (minus transaction fees).&nbsp;&rdquo;So even with higher rates and a larger loan, the lower balance and lack of mortgage insurance may offset the higher interest rate.&nbsp;They may have the same monthly payment, but be able to buy more home.&rdquo;</p> <p>Two of the main drivers of move-up buyers are school quality and home size. Fears says that while home owners may choose to spend money on a private school or adding on to their current home instead of moving, such expenditures don&rsquo;t have the tax benefits or equity-building power that a home purchase does.</p> <p>&ldquo;They have to decide if the higher cost [of the loan] is enough that it would offset the benefits of a larger home or a better school district,&rdquo; he says.</p> <h4> Relying on Trusted Advisors</h4> <p>Applying broad trends to the individual situations of buyers and sellers is a nuanced task for mortgage brokers.</p> <p>&ldquo;It seems like I&rsquo;ve never written the same loan twice,&rdquo; Moony says. &ldquo;Every customer is different [and] every property is slightly different.&rdquo;</p> <p>Real estate professionals are not only there to help home owners decide if it&rsquo;s the right time to move up, but also to connect potential clients with accurate, up-to-date mortgage information. Stadum keeps an eye on the mortgage market in her area, but she also relies on her contacts in the financial world for analysis.</p> <p>&ldquo;I don&rsquo;t follow it on a daily basis because I&rsquo;m not a lender. I&rsquo;m a real estate agent,&rdquo; Stadum says. &ldquo;I&rsquo;m a firm believer that a real estate professional&nbsp;should be the source to the resource.&rdquo;</p> <p>She depends on a couple of lenders for interest rate updates, as well as information about pending changes to loan programs that are popular in her area, such as the <a href="http://eligibility.sc.egov.usda.gov" target="_blank">U.S. Department of Agriculture Rural Lending program</a>.</p> <p>&ldquo;Anytime that was coming up for a new vote, that was a big topic,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;What&rsquo;s happening with the USDA? Are we keeping it? What new loan programs are coming up, and what are the credit requirements? I ask those types of questions.&rdquo;</p> <p>Moony agrees that strong ties between real estate professionals and lenders are key to helping home owners determine the best time to make a move.</p> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s really important that customers and real estate agents are getting sound advice,&rdquo; Moony says. He also recommends that real estate pros stay in touch with trusted mortgage advisors and connect their clients with financial professionals early on: &ldquo;They should have a couple of lenders that they work closely with [and] they should get that buyer to a lender before they even look at houses.&rdquo;</p> <p>Despite the uncertainty to come about the lock-in situation, Stadum says there&rsquo;s one thing that&rsquo;s almost a given about today&rsquo;s interest rates: &ldquo;Interest rates are still really low&hellip; But they&rsquo;re not going to be at these record lows forever.&rdquo;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Today&rsquo;s low interest rates may be spooking potential move-up buyers. Learn how reluctant sellers are affecting housing inventory and how you can help home owners see beyond the percentage points.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_NC_rates.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=24469">jul14_NC_rates.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_NC_rates_0.jpg?1406063495" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_NC_rates.jpg?1406063507" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/06/17/low-mortgage-rates-could-slow-selling-activity">Low Mortgage Rates Could Slow Selling Activity</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2013/12/26/could-interest-rates-get-buyers-fence">Could Interest Rates Get Buyers Off the Fence?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/economy/article/2013/07/blunting-effects-rising-interest-rates">Blunting the 
Effects of Rising 
Interest Rates</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/for-brokers/solutions/article/2013/07/rising-interest-rates-keep-calm-and-prep">Rising Interest Rates: Keep Calm and Prep On</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Tue, 22 Jul 2014 20:26:07 +0000 mwhite 16672 at http://realtormag.realtor.org How Old Are They Now? http://realtormag.realtor.org/article/2014/07/how-old-are-they-now <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> The median age of a home built in the United States is 40. See a breakdown in this infographic. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 16, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/meg-white">Meg White</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p><a href="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_jul/0714RM_infographic.jpg" target="_blank"><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_jul/0714RM_infographic.jpg" style="width: 980px; height: 638px;" /></a></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Yes, disable "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Fri, 18 Jul 2014 19:57:14 +0000 esiuta 16659 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Head Off Website Accessibility Issues http://realtormag.realtor.org/law-and-ethics/feature/article/2014/07/head-website-accessibility-issues <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Is your website accessible to people with visual and hearing impairments? Get ahead of the law and implement changes now. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 16, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/robert-freedman">Robert Freedman</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Online accessibility is increasingly in the news, as major companies enter agreements with the U.S. Department of Justice to make their websites accessible to people with visual or hearing impairments under the Americans With Disabilities Act. In this video, REALTOR&reg; Magazine talks with an attorney about making real estate websites accessible to people with disabilities.<iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/xQpmefcrHZk?rel=0" width="640"></iframe></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Is your website accessible to people with visual and hearing impairments? Get ahead of the law and implement changes now.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_T_accessible.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=29706">jul14_T_accessible.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_T_accessible_0.jpg?1406064261" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_T_accessible.jpg?1406064273" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/law-and-ethics/law/article/2011/03/your-office-accessible">Is Your Office Accessible?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/law-and-ethics/feature/article/2014/03/march-toward-fairness">The March Toward Fairness </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Wed, 16 Jul 2014 14:23:43 +0000 mwhite 16645 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 4 Tricks to Blowing Up Your Online Presence http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/07/4-tricks-blowing-up-your-online-presence <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> With the vast majority of house hunters researching homes for sale online, here’s how to make sure they get to your website. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 16, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/jona-jone">Jona Jone</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>If you&rsquo;re trying to recognize the value of putting in the time and effort to optimize your website for Google search results, consider this: A <a href="http://www.realtor.org/sites/default/files/Study-Digital-House-Hunt-2013-01_1.pdf" target="_blank">joint study by Google and the National Association of REALTORS&reg;</a> in January 2013 found that 90 percent of home buyers search for homes online, with real estate&ndash;related searches on Google up 253 percent in the four years prior to the study.</p> <p>You can bet there are even more people combing the Internet for homes since this study was done. Overall, <a href="/daily-news/2014/07/01/pending-home-sales-surge-61">pending home sales surged 6.1 percent</a> in May of this year, the largest month-over-month gain since April 2010, according to NAR. At the same time, <a href="/daily-news/2014/06/25/new-home-sales-surge-nearly-19">new-home sales shot up 18.6 percent</a> to its highest rate since May 2008.</p> <p>What all this means is that, with sales activity rebounding at a healthy pace as the market continues its recovery, there are a lot of people surfing the Web for your services. With home shoppers performing an average of 11 searches before taking action on a real estate site, the NAR/Google study found, it&rsquo;s important that you get yourself front-and-center on the Internet. Here are five things you should be doing to get your website at the top of Google search results and win the digital marketing game.</p> <h4> Use Local Terms in Your Marketing</h4> <p>House hunters are searching for local terms when they&rsquo;re perusing the Web for a property for sale. Sixty-nine percent of shoppers who took action on a real estate site began their search with a local term, such as &ldquo;Houston homes for sale,&rdquo; according to the NAR/Google study. Furthermore, 52 percent of actions taken on a real estate site came directly from a local search on a search engine.</p> <p>This should tell you that you need to make as many local references as possible on your website and in your marketing. This will improve the search engine optimization (SEO) of your website, and your brand will appear higher in the results when people search for those terms.</p> <h4> Provide Relevant Content</h4> <p>Once someone lands on your website from a search engine, you want to give them a reason to come back. This is where quality content comes in. Link to your favorite magazine articles and news websites. Make your website visitors want to come back because they know they will find fresh and relevant content there.</p> <p>&ldquo;Deep linking&rdquo; is also a solid SEO technique and a way to add more content. For example, if you&rsquo;re blogging about houses for sale in Houston, you can link to other blogs talking about related topics, such as shopping malls or events in the area.</p> <p>In addition, consider using internal links and site maps for more activity on your website.</p> <h4> Make Your Blog Say More</h4> <p>Stop posting blog entries on your website that say &ldquo;Buy a condo now. Limited promo.&rdquo; Your blog <a href="http://www.searchoptmedia.com/how-blogging-can-help-your-business" target="_blank">shouldn&rsquo;t be an advertisement</a>. (You already have a section for your listings, right?) It should be a source of relevant and interesting information. Publish articles and blog posts with a unique angle, clever headlines, and good photos with witty captions.</p> <p>If you want to write a post about condos &mdash; maybe that&rsquo;s your specialty &mdash; then write about interesting data, research, tips, or related features that speak to the experience of living in a condo. Don&rsquo;t just write about the features of your listings over and over again.</p> <h4> Be Mobile</h4> <p>Eighty-nine percent of new home shoppers use a mobile search engine when house hunting on the Internet, and 68 percent use mobile apps, according to the NAR/Google study. That&rsquo;s why it&rsquo;s necessary to <a href="http://leasing.dmcihomes.com/smart-technologies-real-estate/" target="_blank">have a mobile presence for your business</a>. Does that mean you should have your own app or a mobile-optimized website? Here&rsquo;s a guide on how to choose one or the other.</p> <p>Because consumers are increasingly turning to their mobile devices, it also makes sense for you to operate with more mobility. <a href="/product-guide/2013/08/2013-appstravaganza-business-apps">Try these apps designed for the real estate business</a> as a starter. They&rsquo;ll help you manage documents and keep in contact with your customers no matter where you are. These items will help you to conduct business in the digital age and better market yourself to more mobile and tech-savvy clients.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>With the vast majority of house hunters researching homes for sale online, here&rsquo;s how to make sure they get to your website.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/july14_SM_big_online.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=58529">july14_SM_big_online.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/july14_SM_big_online_0.jpg?1405452724" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/july14_LP_SM_big_online.jpg?1405452738" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Tue, 15 Jul 2014 17:42:32 +0000 gwood 16637 at http://realtormag.realtor.org 6 New Inventions to Boost Your Business http://realtormag.realtor.org/technology/feature/article/2014/07/6-new-inventions-boost-your-business <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> At the Realogy FWD Innovation Summit in June, tech companies unveiled their latest offerings: state-of-the-art listing presentations, simplified online house hunts, and more. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Monday, July 14, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/stefanie-hahn">Stefanie Hahn</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>What is Realogy FWD? This was the second year for the invitation-only Innovation Summit held in June, where technology firms showcase their latest developments to the real estate industry. The concept for the summit was created by Alex Perriello, president and CEO of Realogy, which is a franchisor of six real estate brands. It makes perfect sense when you think about it: Perriello has a lot of companies to answer to, and they need to know the latest and greatest real estate technologies &mdash; and want to know them first.</p> <p>(Full disclosure: I work for Coldwell Banker Hearthside, REALTORS&reg;, part of a franchise under the Realogy umbrella.)</p> <p>This year, more than 100 startups entered to compete for $25,000 and exposure to lots of real estate brokers. The event itself features 15 companies, with 5 minutes to pitch and 5 minutes for questions from the panel of judges. The judges try to determine how these companies will work in our industry by asking tough questions about how brokers and agents can use these tools.</p> <p><iframe allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="360" src="//www.youtube.com/embed/WeotVTjkSmo" width="480"></iframe></p> <p>This was my first time in attendance at the event, but my company is already working with one of the finalists from last year: <a href="http://lumentussocial.com/" target="_blank">Lumentus Social</a>. So I knew a little of what to expect. Like the total nerd I am, I sat in the front row and took notes. At times, it truly felt like we were on &quot;Shark Tank,&quot; hearing pitches of the latest and greatest in real estate technology with a panel of judges asking hard questions to see how these tools would really fit into our business.</p> <p>Here are a few of my personal favorites from the event:</p> <h4> <a href="http://slidebureau.com/" target="_blank">Slide Bureau</a></h4> <p>Slide Bureau provides presentation templates that you can customize on your iPad or tablet. I am always on the lookout for new ways to do a listing presentation. These templates were simply gorgeous, super interactive, and, well, fancy with a capital &quot;F&quot;. An agent using Slide Bureau in my market would definitely stand out from the crowd and wow any seller. The only potential issue: Will it work with your MLS? Will you be able to pull a CMA (comparative market analysis) into the presentation and utilize your live MLS data? Slide Bureau is willing to work with you (and your MLS) to get this data, but some homework on your part will be required.</p> <h4> <a href="http://www.lasso.net/go/index.jsp" target="_blank">Lasso</a></h4> <p>I love the concept of Lasso. Let your consumers search on whatever site they like, from Zillow to your own website, and tag (or lasso) the properties that they like. You can also add properties to your client&#39;s corral for them to view (again, from any site). The site has a Pinterest look and feel and is pretty simple to get the hang of in just a few minutes. Sign up as a REALTOR&reg;, download the app, and share with your clients. Your clients can also share their corrals with each other, so all of their saved listings are in one place. More importantly, YOU stay at the center of the transaction, no matter which site your buyers are using to search.</p> <h4> <a href="http://www.coeverywhere.com/" target="_blank">COeverywhere</a></h4> <p>COeverywhere is a tool that lets you draw an area on a map and see what people are posting socially to public feeds: everything from media, tweets, events, deals, and updates from local businesses. You&#39;ll see photos, text posts, check-ins, and offers from businesses. It&#39;s a bit voyeuristic, but could be super helpful when checking out a new neighborhood for your clients or even looking into a new farming area. Keep in mind this is a public feed that is not checked for R-rated content.</p> <h4> <a href="http://www.househappy.org/" target="_blank">House Happy</a></h4> <p>House Happy is a real estate search engine with a photo-first attitude. Even better, the only agent that shows up next to the listing is the listing agent! Crazy, right?! House Happy considers itself a next-generation real estate search portal that is highly visual, intuitive, and free. Want to post a listing you have right now? Go for it: Use the &quot;post&quot; button (top right) and give House Happy a whirl!</p> <h4> <a href="http://deductr.com/" target="_blank">Deductr</a></h4> <p>I hate taxes as much as the next gal, but they are unavoidable. Enter the Deductr guys, and I&rsquo;m feeling a little better about keeping track of all this stuff. They offer expense, time, and mileage tracking for your business. Concerned about security? According to their site, they use &quot;bank-level 256-bit security to ensure the safety of your data, and the info is read-only. You cannot move funds around or make payments.&quot; So as long as you are committed to the process &mdash; meaning you are going to connect up your credit cards and bank accounts and actually log those expenses while you are on the go &mdash; this one is a win.</p> <h4> <a href="http://realestate.matterport.com/" target="_blank">Matterport</a></h4> <p>Matterport was the big winner of the day, scoring the $25,000 prize. You really must go to their site and see this insane 3D technology. They call it &quot;an immersive experience,&quot; and it truly is immersive. The entire room gasped when they showed off what the camera could do with your real estate listings.</p> <p>Matterport sells cameras that take 3D images, and they offer cloud storage as well. The cameras are $4,500, and the storage plans vary based on size and users.</p> <p>All 15 of these companies were super impressive, and I&#39;ve only captured a small portion of the awesome sauce. If you want more information on the event, or to see all 15 of the 2014 companies, <a href="http://realogyfwd.com/participants" target="_blank">click here</a>. NAR has a similar incubation-like program for fresh real estate startups called <a href="http://www.narreach.com/" target="_blank">NAR Reach</a>, of which Deductr is included. To see all of the companies included in NAR&#39;s program, <a href="http://www.narreach.com/portfolio" target="_blank">click here</a>.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>At the Realogy FWD Innovation Summit in June, tech companies unveiled their latest offerings: state-of-the-art listing presentations, simplified online house hunts, and more.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_T_inventions.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=22905">jul14_T_inventions.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_T_inventions_0.jpg?1405370583" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_T_inventions.jpg?1405370597" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Mon, 14 Jul 2014 18:28:33 +0000 gwood 16628 at http://realtormag.realtor.org A Product Like No Other http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/nar-president/article/2014/07/product-no-other <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Much more than title is conveyed in the transfer of a property. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 16, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/steve-brown">Steve Brown</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Isn&rsquo;t the real estate industry just like any other business? Don&rsquo;t we have a product to sell? Isn&rsquo;t the industry based on profit and loss and market share just like any other business?</p> <p>It would be naive to think our industry could thrive without a smart business model and thoughtful business decisions. It is our responsibility to our clients and to ourselves to be smart businesspeople.</p> <p>That being said, I can hear Peggy Lee singing in my ear as I write: &ldquo;Is that all there is, my dear?&rdquo;</p> <p>No, Peggy. The answer to your question is a resounding no! Our services may be shaped by business models, but our product is special. Our product has both iconic meaning and fundamental human purpose. It is this distinction that keeps REALTORS&reg; pushing forward.</p> <p>&ldquo;Under all is the land.&rdquo; Real estate, whether it is residential, commercial, farm, or raw land, carries intrinsic values and meanings that we as real estate professionals oversee in our work.</p> <p>Property ownership shapes wealth. It builds and strengthens the middle class, which is critical to any country&rsquo;s growth and stability. Whether for shelter, for security, for business, for pride of accomplishment&mdash;whatever the reason&mdash;real estate is a product that has a profound impact not only on the owner but also on all that surrounds that property&mdash;neighbors, communities, societies, and the environment itself. So much more than title is conveyed in the transfer of a property.</p> <p>In this issue of REALTOR&reg; Magazine, the emphasis is on the home. As I have traveled to Asia, Europe, and South America, much of my thinking about the American dream has been broadened. The desire for and value attributed to home ownership prevails in almost every culture, not just ours.</p> <p>What is different is not the overt value placed on home ownership but the hierarchy of meanings by which people express that value. In more developed countries, we dream of a place to make beautiful, of lifestyles, of places to live out life&rsquo;s experiences. One prominent real estate professional in another part of the world told me home ownership in her country represents security above all else&mdash;both as a financial investment and a place to be physically safe in an ever-changing -political environment. In other parts of the world, the most important meaning is as simple shelter, and for yet others, home ownership represents accomplishment&mdash;the paramount symbol of success. Clearly, culture plays a major role in framing the dream of home ownership, but, for most, the desire to own a home is embedded firmly in the heart.</p> <p>This is why we as professionals, as REALTORS&reg;, must be the best we can be in our work. Yes, we are in business. But we are not only in charge of the transactional aspects of a transfer of title. We are, in a more profound way, enablers of all the intrinsic social values that go with the sale. And that makes our product quite unlike any other.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Much more than title is conveyed in the transfer of a property.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/nar-president/article/2014/01/our-value-proposition-you">Our Value Proposition to You</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/nar-president/article/2010/10/value-home-priceless">Value of Home: Priceless</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2014/04/from-right-or-left-home-ownership-core-value">From Right or Left, Home Ownership Is a Core Value</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> NAR President Fri, 11 Jul 2014 16:22:18 +0000 mwhite 16616 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Broker AVMs: Windfall or Hot Air? http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2014/07/broker-avms-windfall-or-hot-air <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> An NAR policy change requires MLSs to deliver data feeds to brokerages for AVMs. But some fear unintended consequences from this access. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 16, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/meg-white">Meg White</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>BPOs, CMAs, USPAP: Real estate valuation is an alphabet soup of acronyms, easy to ignore until you need solid numbers to support a transaction. However, a change to how one major valuation product is created and sold could forever shift the way brokerages and multiple listing services operate.</p> <p>AVMs, or automatic valuation models, have been around for decades. Zillow brought the AVM to the public, forcing real estate professionals across the country to contend with the company&rsquo;s often-inaccurate Zestimates.</p> <p>But there&rsquo;s another behind-the-scenes world where AVMs using MLS data can be sources of significant revenue streams. These AVMs don&rsquo;t appear on public websites; instead, they work in the back room, helping banks evaluate real estate portfolios or determine refinancing calculations. Even Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac have relied on AVMs to analyze the market.</p> <p>The banks are willing to pay for access to valuations based on MLS data. But who owns the data? And who should profit from it? In January, The Realty Alliance, a group of larger brokerages from across the country, sent <a href="http://www.therealtyalliance.com/getpublicfile.asp?ref=36" target="_blank">a letter</a> to the National Association of REALTORS&reg;&rsquo; MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board insisting that brokers get a slice of the AVM pie. They said existing policy permits participants to use MLS data to create AVMs but noted some MLSs refused to distribute data so it could be used in this way.</p> <p>Jon Coile, CRB, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway Affiliate Champion Realty Inc., based in Severna Park, Md., has helped lead the push for greater MLS cooperation. As a member of The Realty Alliance&rsquo;s board, he told NAR&rsquo;s Multiple Listings Issues &amp; Policies Committee in May it was well past time that brokers get the tools necessary to compete with Zillow and other third-party websites.</p> <p>&ldquo;They&rsquo;re eating our lunch,&rdquo; Coile said. &ldquo;We&rsquo;re all in this together, and we need to circle the wagons.&rdquo;</p> <p>NAR&rsquo;s Board of Directors subsequently approved a proposal to require MLSs to provide listing data in a way that makes the development of fully automated valuation models possible.</p> <p>Some industry watchers say NAR moved too quickly. Minneapolis-based real estate consultant and attorney Brian Larson says The Realty Alliance&rsquo;s request was &ldquo;reasonable&rdquo; but fears unintended consequences of the wider policy change.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re making a policy change that shifts the way MLSs do business,&rdquo; Larson says. The Realty Alliance is above board, he says, and it&rsquo;s working with reputable technology company Collateral Analytics, based in Honolulu. &ldquo;My concern is not about them; it&rsquo;s about the people who come after them. Will every such provider behave appropriately?&rdquo;</p> <h4> Who&rsquo;s Playing the AVM Game?</h4> <p>Collateral Analytics is hardly the first to forge such data-sharing relationships. CoreLogic has a program allowing MLSs to license their data to the company in exchange for royalties and branded valuation tools. There are more than a dozen other companies operating in this space.</p> <p>The REALTORS Property Resource&reg; has also gotten into the AVM business. In addition to the data it provides to members, RPR also sells valuation models to financial institutions.</p> <p>Of course, RPR&rsquo;s main goal is to support members. It uses data licensed from around 600 MLSs to fuel the REALTOR Valuation Model&reg;, which is free for members, associations, and MLSs to use.</p> <p>&ldquo;The idea is to create a sort of virtuous circle, where fully authorized data can be used to support members&rsquo; transactions,&rdquo; says RPR President Marty Frame. RPR also has just begun providing a consumer-facing AVM for brokers to use as a widget on their sites. RPR&rsquo;s product won&rsquo;t be in competition with brokers who choose to develop an AVM solution, because RPR isn&rsquo;t licensed to use MLS data for such purposes.</p> <p>For some MLS members, the fact that other companies are using MLS data to create valuation tools is enough reason to allow brokers to participate.</p> <p>&ldquo;RPR makes money off of MLS data. Some MLSs make money off of MLS data. Are we really going to say that brokers are the only ones who cannot make money off of MLS data?&rdquo; Henry Brandis, senior vice president of corporate services at Edina Realty in Minneapolis, asked at the MLS committee meeting in May.</p> <p>Larson says that argument doesn&rsquo;t necessarily apply, because brokers have the option to prevent their listings from appearing on sites where their MLS has a licensing agreement. He says this new policy doesn&rsquo;t allow them to opt out of the AVM use of their listings.</p> <p>Greg Moore Jr., co-owner of Informed Solutions Realty in Milan, Mich., a brokerage that specializes in BPOs, says he doesn&rsquo;t mind if participating brokers use his data to value and sell properties in the area. But he draws the line at companies that sell MLS data to banks.</p> <p>&ldquo;There are instances in which data needs to be shared so we can sell homes, but it needs to be done responsibly,&rdquo; Moore says. &ldquo;If you&rsquo;re taking my data and selling it to someone, you&rsquo;re not performing a real estate function.&rdquo;</p> <p>Clareity Consulting CEO and cofounder Gregg Larson, who supports the policy change, says AVMs are functionally the same thing as BPOs.</p> <p>&ldquo;One of the main purposes of the MLS is to be able to use the data to do valuations,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;This makes total sense; this is technology moving forward.&rdquo;</p> <p>Gregg Larson has been encouraging brokers to create their own AVMs since 2002, regardless of size or affiliation. &ldquo;You don&rsquo;t need to be a big broker; one guy can have access to the database. All you have to do is be a participant,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;You could call CoreLogic and say &lsquo;I want to be your guy in Amarillo, Texas.&rsquo;&rdquo;</p> <p>Gregg Larson says brokers can use consumer-facing AVMs to attract clients. He says brokers can use their own local knowledge to tweak AVMs and create a powerful machine, helping agents estimate home values almost instantly and attracting more consumers to their website. &ldquo;It can be used as a real-time tool and a differentiator,&rdquo; he says.</p> <h4> The Black Market for Data</h4> <p>For every reputable company like RPR and CoreLogic, there are plenty of others selling MLS information inappropriately. Sometimes they steal access to the data through scams. Or they&rsquo;ll be granted limited access to MLS data, but they&rsquo;ll resell it or use it in ways that violate MLS agreements.</p> <p>&ldquo;We run into these guys all the time,&rdquo; says Gregg Larson. His contacts at Bank of America tell him they reject around one solicitation a week from illegitimate resellers of MLS data. &ldquo;They don&rsquo;t have booths at trade shows, but they&rsquo;re out there.&rdquo;</p> <p>Frame says this fact highlights one of the benefits of using RPR, as it&rsquo;s committed to only using up-to-date MLS data in a way that has been expressly authorized. Frame adds that MLSs are generally vigilant about protecting data, but that their resources are often thin: &ldquo;They do good work, but sometimes they could use more tools.&rdquo;</p> <h4> Resource Management</h4> <p>Brian Larson worries the new policy might strain resources further. He says MLSs rely on members policing each other&rsquo;s VOW and IDX feeds, but AVMs are different. When an AVM is used in the back room of a brokerage&mdash;to monitor a bank&rsquo;s portfolio, for example&mdash;it isn&rsquo;t operating in a public place where others can scrutinize it. &ldquo;Many MLSs rely on that sort of tattle-tale enforcement,&rdquo; Brian Larson says. The backroom AVMs present &ldquo;a more opaque barrier. How does an MLS staff even get into an AVM?&rdquo; He says brokerages may have to submit to technology audits to make sure they are in compliance with MLS agreements. &ldquo;Because of the cost of technology audits, most MLSs don&rsquo;t do them. Now maybe that will change.&rdquo;</p> <p>Back in May, Coile noted an element of d&eacute;j&agrave; vu in the opposition to the policy change. &ldquo;Two years before Zillow came out with its AVM, realtor.com&reg; was ready to go with something similar,&rdquo; he said. &ldquo;But we shot them down. We were afraid of that.&rdquo;</p> <p>The change won&rsquo;t be in effect until the next edition of the <a href="http://www.realtor.org/handbook-on-multiple-listing-policy" target="_blank">Handbook on Multiple Listing Policy</a> is published next January. But the debate over listing data will rage on, as a testament to the power of data&mdash;and who gets access to it.</p> <p><br /> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_jul/jul14_avm.jpg" /></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>An NAR policy change requires MLSs to deliver data feeds to brokerages for AVMs. But some fear unintended consequences from this access.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_NC_AVM.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=38228">jul14_NC_AVM.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_NC_AVM_0.jpg?1405432244" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_NC_AVM.jpg?1405432279" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2014/05/mlss-must-share-data-for-use-in-avms">MLSs Must Share Data for Use in AVMs</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2014/01/do-you-know-where-your-listings-are">Do You Know Where Your Listings Are?</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2012/09/17/zillow-sues-trulia-over-home-valuations">Zillow Sues Trulia Over Home Valuations </a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/technology/feature/article/2013/09/what-s-big-deal-about-big-data">What’s the Big Deal About Big Data?</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Fri, 11 Jul 2014 16:04:15 +0000 mwhite 16614 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Ethics Violators in the Spotlight http://realtormag.realtor.org/law-and-ethics/ethics/article/2014/07/ethics-violators-in-spotlight <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> California’s five-year pilot program could lead to expanded enforcement of the REALTORS® Code nationally. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 16, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/bruce-aydt">Bruce Aydt</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>The California Association of REALTORS&reg; is set to dramatically expand the publication of information about its members found in violation of the National Association of REALTORS&reg;&rsquo; Code of Ethics. The NAR Board of Directors approved in May a five-year pilot program that includes publishing names and photos of the members and a summary of the violations on a website accessible only to association members. The statewide database is expected to be up and running in August.</p> <p>While NAR policy allows for publication of the names of REALTORS&reg; found in violation of the Code under limited circumstances, the California Association&rsquo;s pilot program would apply to all COE cases imposing reprimands and fines.</p> <p>Disciplinary action for violation of the Code includes both an educational and a punitive component. &ldquo;Fundamental to fair and consistent Code enforcement is reasonable and judicious use of discipline, as both an educational device and as punishment. . . . Where violations are determined, the hearing process and resulting discipline educates members about their professional obligations and serves as a meaningful deterrent to future violations.&rdquo; (Appendix VII to Part Four, Sanctioning Guidelines, <a href="http://www.realtor.org/code-of-ethics-and-arbitration-manual" target="_blank">Code of Ethics and Arbitration Manual</a>.)</p><p><object align="right"><script type="text/javascript" charset="utf-8" src="http://static.polldaddy.com/p/8186700.js"></script><noscript><a href="http://polldaddy.com/poll/8186700/">Should ethics violations be published online?</a></noscript></object></p> <p>Under the current policy, ethics cases are considered confidential&nbsp;and are not published to the general membership except in cases of suspension or expulsion from membership.</p> <h4> Broader Publication Criteria</h4> <p>An optional procedure that local or state associations can adopt allows for publication of the names of persons found in violation of the Code twice within the previous three years. Under these circumstances, the name of the violator, along with additional limited information, may be published only in the association&rsquo;s official publication.</p> <p>The pilot program approved for the California Association of REALTORS&reg; expands both the types of cases that can be published and the nature of information that is to be published. The pilot program is the result of extensive research by an Ethics and Professionalism Task Force of the California Association.</p> <p>All disciplinary actions to be published will be submitted to the California Association via special software called Ethics Check, designed for local associations to report cases to the state association, which will then create the summaries and review the information to be published.</p> <p>The pilot program requires reporting of all disciplinary actions, with few exceptions, regardless of how many violations have occurred in the past three years.</p> <p>Among the actions that will be published are letters of reprimand, fines, suspensions, and expulsions. Warning letters and discipline requiring only education will not be published (unless the education is not completed in the time given).</p> <p>In addition to the name and photo of the member found in violation, publication will include a brief summary of the case (names other than that of the respondent will be removed), a short statement of the Articles of the Code violated along with any Standards of Practice considered, the effective date of the imposed discipline, and any rationale stated by the hearing panel in mitigation or aggravation of the discipline.</p> <h4> Brokerage Not Revealed</h4> <p>The name of the respondent&rsquo;s brokerage will not be published. However, the name of the responsible broker will be published if the broker is also found in violation. A key requirement is that the decision and content of publication must be approved by legal counsel for the local and/or state association.</p> <p>The Professional Standards Committee and staff of NAR will communicate regularly with the California Association of REALTORS&reg; about the status and progress of the program. Depending on the effectiveness of the pilot program, California&rsquo;s bold initiative could be expanded to allow other state and local associations to voluntarily adopt a similar publication program.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>California&rsquo;s five-year pilot program could lead to expanded enforcement of the REALTORS&reg; Code nationally.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LE_ethics.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=41609">jul14_LE_ethics.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LE_ethics_0.jpg?1405431874" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_LE_ethics.jpg?1405431955" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/law-and-ethics/about-code">About the Code</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/05/27/association-wide-shaming-for-ethics-violators">Association-Wide Shaming for Ethics Violators</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/nar-president/article/2014/03/higher-bar-professionalism">A Higher Bar to Professionalism</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Ethics Fri, 11 Jul 2014 15:55:28 +0000 mwhite 16613 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Notes From Readers: Mad World http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/letters/article/2014/07/notes-from-readers-mad-world <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Readers speak out about our &quot;Mad Men&quot;–themed cover and efforts to raise the bar for the real estate industry. Also, our guest editor weighs in. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 16, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/wendy-cole">Wendy Cole</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><h4> It&rsquo;s a &ldquo;Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World&rdquo;</h4> <p>I must tell you I was quite surprised to see the cover of the May/June issue of REALTOR&reg; Magazine. To think in 2014 we are still seeing stereotypical depiction of women in business. I couldn&rsquo;t believe the front cover of your magazine depicting the &ldquo;Mad Men&rdquo; television series, which is a throwback to the social mores during the 1960s when women in the work force were relegated to support roles. &mdash;<em>Elke S. Laughlin, NAI, Houston</em></p> <p><strong>Editor&rsquo;s Note</strong>: Many readers took the time to express strong feelings about the &ldquo;Mad Men&rdquo;&ndash;themed cover. We are glad to receive feedback and are also sorry that some of you felt offended by the image. To those concerned about the questionable mores of some of the show&rsquo;s characters, we see it as a program that caricatures people in a time of great social change. We were playing with the notion that the show is about pushing the envelope&mdash;and that&rsquo;s what young people do. To those readers who see our photo as a throwback to a difficult period for women in the workplace, we could not agree more. For all the progress that has been made in the women&rsquo;s equality movement, the cover, to many, serves as a cultural touch point, reminding us that the struggle for equitable treatment in the workplace continues today.</p> <p><strong>Correction</strong>: 30 Under 30 Honoree Rebecca Thomson&rsquo;s 2013 sales volume and transaction sides were misstated in her profile (&ldquo;<a href="/30-under-30/honoree/2014/05/classics-twist">Classics, With a Twist</a>,&rdquo; May/June 2014). Her volume was $6.5 million on 21 sides.</p> <h4> Thoughts on Raising the Bar</h4> <p>In his column (Voices, &ldquo;<a href="/news-and-commentary/nar-president/article/2014/03/higher-bar-professionalism">A Higher Bar to Professionalism</a>,&rdquo; March/April 2014), NAR President Steve Brown asserts that REALTORS&reg; raise the bar by aspiring to a higher degree of excellence everywhere. This applies only to those who want to improve professionalism in our industry and certainly won&rsquo;t help those who need it most. To truly raise the bar of professionalism in our industry, we must have a higher barrier to entry. It&rsquo;s just too easy to obtain and maintain a real estate license and become a REALTOR&reg;. <em>&mdash;Patrick Howard, Edina Realty, Edina, Minn.</em></p> <p><strong>Steve Brown responds</strong>: I agree that it is too easy to secure a real estate license in most states. Frankly, we probably can&rsquo;t initiate a federal real estate license law. Given the reality, it is our responsibility to help REALTORS&reg; stand apart from those who only carry a license. The National Association of REALTORS&reg; was created to highlight the differences between REALTORS&reg; and other licensees to show how we are better than the rest. We can upgrade what it means to be a REALTOR&reg;. That&rsquo;s why I&rsquo;ve initiated a presidential advisory group: Defining REALTOR&reg; for the Future. I look forward to sharing the results with you and all of our members in the near future.</p> <h4> His Old House</h4> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_jul/Cameron.jpg" style="float: left;" />Guest editor Cameron Platt, CRS, broker-owner of Platt Inc. Real Estate, has been renovating his 88-year-old house for the past 3 1/2 years. During his visit to our offices in June, as we chatted about this month&rsquo;s cover feature, he described his own labor of love: &ldquo;In late 2010, I convinced my wife Nicole that the 1926 Cotswold cottage, a stripped-down foreclosure in the Oakland hills, was the house for us. The home&rsquo;s potential&mdash;and spectacular location&mdash;could not be beat. Still, renovating an older house is not for those lacking patience, resources, or a sense of humor. Old fuses ensure we don&rsquo;t use the toaster and the microwave at the same time. Squeaky floors make hide-and-seek with my 2 &frac12; year-old daughter almost impossible. We are living through a four-month full kitchen remodel. But lately when I walk through the shell of the kitchen, step onto the soon-to-be-restored sun porch, and gaze out over the Oakland and Piedmont hills, I can&rsquo;t help but smile. There is no place I would rather be, and nowhere else I would want to call home.&rdquo;</p> <hr /> <h4> We want your feedback&nbsp;</h4> <p><em>Send letters to <a href="mailto:narpubs@REALTORS.org">narpubs@REALTORS.org</a> or join a conversation at one of our blogs:&nbsp; <a href="http://speakingofrealestate.blogs.realtor.org">Speaking of Real Estate</a>; <a href="http://styledstagedsold.blogs.realtor.org">Styled, Staged &amp; Sold</a>; <a href="http://theweeklybookscan.blogs.realtor.org.">Weekly Book Scan</a>; and <a href="http://ypnlounge.blogs.realtor.org">YPN Lounge</a>.</em></p> <p><em><strong>Note</strong>: Letters and blog posts are edited for space and clarity. Publication of a letter doesn&rsquo;t constitute an endorsement of the writer&rsquo;s views by the National Association of REALTORS&reg; or REALTOR&reg; Magazine. Submission of a letter constitutes permission to publish it in any form or medium.</em></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Readers speak out about our &quot;Mad Men&quot;&ndash;themed cover and efforts to raise the bar for the real estate industry. Also, our guest editor weighs in.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_NC_letters.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=28954">jul14_NC_letters.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_NC_letters_0.jpg?1405431647" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_NC_letters.jpg?1405431674" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Letters Fri, 11 Jul 2014 16:16:40 +0000 mwhite 16615 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Online Editorial Calendar http://realtormag.realtor.org/online-editorial-calendar <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><iframe src="https://www.google.com/calendar/embed?showTitle=0&amp;showPrint=0&amp;showCalendars=0&amp;height=600&amp;wkst=1&amp;bgcolor=%23FFFFFF&amp;src=dalunpmnj973157b773hn3crr8%40group.calendar.google.com&amp;color=%232F6309&amp;src=3j6j39n0t03ciimo2bputed9mo%40group.calendar.google.com&amp;color=%23875509&amp;src=4kfp24b0afos1sudsbs7n2hd5k%40group.calendar.google.com&amp;color=%232952A3&amp;src=realtormag.com%40gmail.com&amp;color=%23B1440E&amp;ctz=America%2FChicago" style=" border-width:0 " width="980" height="600" frameborder="0" scrolling="no"></iframe> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Fri, 11 Jul 2014 20:37:49 +0000 mwhite 16621 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Taking the Long View on Recovery http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/economy/article/2014/07/taking-long-view-recovery <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Home sales are sputtering because of a lack of inventory. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 16, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/lawrence-yun">Lawrence Yun</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>No industry is more cyclical than the housing sector. Changes in job growth and mortgage rates can have a big impact on whether home sales rise or fall. Today, after two years of solid growth, home sales appear to be hitting a soft spot. But that doesn&rsquo;t necessarily mean the recovery is over.</p> <p>Compared with previous cycles, hitting a soft spot only two years into a recovery is unusual. That&rsquo;s because the country&rsquo;s steady population growth typically boosts demand for home sales after a&nbsp; downturn. We saw this in the three housing recoveries since 1970. These recoveries were multiyear phenomena of seven, five, and 14 years (the boom).</p> <p>This time, the expansion seems to be sputtering after only two years. Why? It doesn&rsquo;t appear to be a lack of demand. We&rsquo;ve seen a build-up of potential buyers from the creation of 2.4 million jobs over the past 12 months, as well as continuing low interest rates (4.2 percent as of early summer), and the pent-up demand from young adults living at home longer or doubling up with friends.</p> <p>The difference between this and previous recoveries is on the supply side. There simply isn&rsquo;t enough inventory to keep the market growing. Just to keep pace with the growing U.S. population, we would need to see about 1.5 million housing starts a year, but since the downturn, we&rsquo;ve seen the construction of new homes at levels well below half that.</p> <p>Fortunately, we&rsquo;re starting to see more homes being listed for sale. March and April inventory levels were higher this year compared with last year, and homebuilders are increasing their activity.</p> <p>To be sure, the affordability side continues to face pressure. Home prices have been rising throughout the recovery, and credit standards remain tight. But there&rsquo;s good news on both fronts. As more homes come on the market, the pressure on prices should moderate, and we expect future price gains to be in line with income growth. And we see signs lenders could dial down credit standards to more normal levels, in part because of the strong performance of mortgages originated in the last few years.</p> <p>Therefore, all in all, a multiyear housing market recovery is still in the works if we discount the modest slowdown for this year.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Home sales are sputtering because of a lack of inventory.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_NC_economy.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=26879">jul14_NC_economy.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_NC_economy_0.jpg?1405432027" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_NC_economy.jpg?1405432041" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/economy/article/2014/05/need-for-federal-backstop">The Need for a Federal Backstop</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/market-pulse/article/2014/07/julyaugust-2014-market-pulse">July/August 2014 Market Pulse</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Economy Fri, 11 Jul 2014 15:47:24 +0000 mwhite 16612 at http://realtormag.realtor.org The Road to This Moment http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/editor/article/2014/07/road-moment <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> NAR&#039;s Senior Vice President of Communications Pamela Geurds Kabati begins a new chapter. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 16, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/pamela-geurds-kabati">Pamela Geurds Kabati</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>When my son was little and an activity he enjoyed was winding down, he&rsquo;d look at me and ask, &ldquo;Mommy, do we have to go? I want to savor this.&rdquo; I&rsquo;m pretty sure Ethan, now 13, is an old soul, wiser in some ways at birth than I&rsquo;ll ever be. Learning to savor the people and the experiences we love and to respect the finite nature of time are important lessons in life.</p> <p>It&rsquo;s with these thoughts in mind that I&rsquo;ve decided to retire from NAR, starting this summer, so I can focus on my family and savor some important moments with them. I have five years left with my only child before he heads off to college. I am also blessed to be able to share my home and my life with my 87-year-old Aunt Ethel, who helped raise me and who moved in with us last year.</p> <p>As a working mom, I&rsquo;m proud that I&rsquo;ve managed to be there for the special moments of my son&rsquo;s childhood. But as the time I have with him at home winds down, I find I&rsquo;m greedy. I want more time, more serendipitous conversations with him where I can help mold my teenager into the man I hope he will become. I want more time with my aunt, too, to help make her life with us full and fun.</p> <p>Still, it&rsquo;s bittersweet. I&rsquo;ve loved being a part of the REALTOR&reg; family for the last 25 years. I grew up at NAR: married, bought my first home (with the help of a REALTOR&reg;, of course!), had my son, buried my mother, and beat breast cancer as an NAR employee, always with the kindness, warmth, and support of the REALTOR&reg; family wrapped around me. I&rsquo;ve been privileged to work with outstanding staff and members over the years to help evolve NAR&rsquo;s communications, and I will miss them and our good work very much. Together, we&rsquo;ve created some of NAR&rsquo;s most successful and forward-looking programs: the <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/good-neighbor-awards">Good Neighbor Awards</a>, the <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/ypn/">Young Professionals Network</a>, <a href="http://Houselogic.com" target="_blank">Houselogic.com</a>, and <a href="http://retradio.com" target="_blank">Real Estate Today radio</a>, among them. And then there&rsquo;s this award-winning magazine; I got my start in print publishing, and I&rsquo;m proud of how the magazine staff has evolved into a team of multimedia journalists.</p> <p>The job of senior vice president of communications now belongs to Stephanie Singer, formerly vice president of consumer and media communications. Stephanie is a smart strategic thinker who, together with her strong and experienced team, will take our communications to new heights.</p> <p>Thanks, again, to all of you&mdash;members, AEs, and colleagues&mdash;for the wonderful memories and friendships I&rsquo;ll take with me as I start a new chapter in my life. You can be sure I&rsquo;ll savor them for a long time to come.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>NAR&#39;s Senior Vice President of Communications Pamela Geurds Kabati begins a new chapter.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Editor Fri, 11 Jul 2014 16:26:47 +0000 mwhite 16617 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Are Mega-Investors Changing Rental Housing? http://realtormag.realtor.org/commercial/conversations/article/2014/07/are-mega-investors-changing-rental-housing <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> New management options emerge as major investment players settle into the single-family marketplace. Alan Mallach, a senior fellow at the Center for Community Progress, shares his thoughts. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 16, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/mariwyn-evans">Mariwyn Evans</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>When large investors such as Blackstone and Colony American Homes began buying up single-family homes in 2011, most observers considered the acquisition a short-term play. Now, although acquisition has slowed, the successful securitization of SFH rental income by Invitation Homes (a Blackstone subsidiary), the transformation into REITs of large single-family owners such as American Homes 4 Rent, and the creation of the National Rental Home Council, a group that includes most of these new mega-investors, all indicate large investors are in it for a longer haul. How will their business models change the dynamics of the rental marketplace?&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>How large a presence do these mega single-family owners represent in rental markets?</strong></p> <p>At the end of 2013, mega-investors controlled about 200,000 single-family properties. That&rsquo;s not much in a national market of 13 million single-family home rentals. It&rsquo;s certainly not a game changer. Still, within certain niche markets in cities such as Atlanta, Phoenix, and Tampa, mega-investors are more of a factor. Most of these buyers have concentrated on a dozen or so cities with good potential for price appreciation. The one exception is American Homes 4 Rent, which owns properties in many more markets. Even within these markets, mega--investors won&rsquo;t buy just anything. They are buying mostly homes priced between 100 and 140 percent of median price in locations where the sales price-to-rent ratio is favorable enough to yield a 5 to 10 percent annual cash flow with a five- to eight-year hold period.</p> <p><strong>Which segments of the multifamily market are most vulnerable to competition from these new single-family properties?</strong></p> <p>The demand for rentals is increasing, especially in moderate and middle-income groups that a few years ago might have bought homes. Single-family rentals have always attracted families with children who want a larger space with a yard. Homes owned by mega-investors may also attract renters willing to pay a premium if they can deliver the more professional management these large owners propose to offer. And relocation companies may be attracted to the extensive portfolios held by mega-investors.</p> <p><strong>Will the mega-investors benefit from technology and economies of scale?</strong></p> <p>The jury is still out on that. Single-family management requires a lot of hands-on involvement. One management option is to partner with local third-party management companies that already handle large pools of single-family rentals for small investors. Other potential partners might be large local investors. Perhaps the most successful model will end up looking more like a franchise with local managers who have some financial interest.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>New management options emerge as major investment players settle into the single-family marketplace. Alan Mallach, a senior fellow at the Center for Community Progress, shares his thoughts.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_C_QA.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=24367">jul14_C_QA.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_C_QA_0.jpg?1405431432" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_C_QA.jpg?1405431449" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Conversations Thu, 10 Jul 2014 16:36:54 +0000 mwhite 16596 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Property Management 2.0 http://realtormag.realtor.org/commercial/feature/article/2014/07/property-management-20 <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Bulk portfolios of single-family homes have redefined the rental business. How are large landlords coping? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 16, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/paula-hess">Paula Hess </a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Real estate industry watchers tend to view the housing market as an either-or proposition, either a buyer&rsquo;s market or a seller&rsquo;s market, but the Great Recession has created a third reality. &ldquo;There has been a tremendous increase in people renting,&rdquo; says Chris Herbert, research director for the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University. &ldquo;Part of the surge in rental demand,&rdquo; he notes, &ldquo;is caused by finances damaged by the Great Recession and those unable to obtain financing.&rdquo;</p> <p>This renting revival is also fueled by investors who have bought foreclosed properties in bulk, often in all-cash deals&mdash;30 percent of listed homes in some markets&mdash;and converted them to rentals. The trend is driving a property management revival as well, spawning both opportunities and obstacles for property managers who have never before had to contend with single-family homes and their specific maintenance issues en masse. In some cases, it&rsquo;s proving to be more cost-effective to have policies encouraging tenants to take care of repairs rather than send over plumbers and electricians for every small job. Managers are facing new technology issues, too, since software programs have never been commercially available to track SFH rentals at this level.&nbsp;</p> <p>Today, the country&rsquo;s largest landlord is equity firm Blackstone Group, whose holdings include Invitation Homes, which controls about 44,000 homes.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s a lot of roofs.</p> <h4> Managing the Big Picture</h4> <p>&ldquo;How effective will property managers be?&rdquo; Herbert wonders. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s hard to manage properties on this scale. It&rsquo;s unprecedented.&rdquo;</p> <p>Managing geographically dispersed properties is &ldquo;work intensive,&rdquo; agrees Danny Kattan, managing director of PIA Group in Miami. Kattan and two other principals launched the company in 2009 with the financial backing of a wealthy family investor. In addition to owning a construction company and a reconditioning company that renovates acquisitions, the firm manages its portfolio of 500 units in South Florida and 100 units for third parties.&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <p>PIA Group&rsquo;s criteria for purchasing, regardless of neighborhood, are cap rates between 7.5 percent and 10 percent, which have trended down from 2009&rsquo;s rates of 12 percent to 13 percent, Kattan explains. PIA Group renovates all acquisitions and provides &ldquo;basically a brand-new home&rdquo; to all tenants. The portfolio includes Section 8 properties, many in working-class neighborhoods, which poses specific challenges to the bottom line. &ldquo;An AC unit is stolen every week,&rdquo; says Kattan. The average rent for PIA Group properties is $1,300 to $1,500, and PIA Group&rsquo;s business counts on referrals. &ldquo;At Thanksgiving, we give turkeys to tenants&mdash;those paying and those not. People say, &lsquo;We want to rent with the turkey guys.&rsquo;&thinsp;&rdquo;&nbsp;</p> <p>Given the cost of sending a repair person to single-family homes, PIA expects tenants to do basic maintenance such as changing air conditioner filters and fixing clogged toilets if the tenant is responsible for the clog. In the case of a toy getting stuck in the pipes, PIA will charge the tenant if a plumber is called.</p> <p>PIA&rsquo;s overhead includes insurance, taxes, and the cost of capital, plus the $500,000 sunk into developing its own software and processes. The software needed to manage SFHs didn&rsquo;t exist, Kattan explains. The existing apartment-specific software could not address the multilayered home acquisition processes: purchasing, closing, renovating, working with vendors and contractors, and turning on and off utilities. &ldquo;We realized that if we did not build it, we would have to wait for the industry to build it.&rdquo;</p> <p>Although the Florida company is still adding to its portfolio of holdings, Kattan notes that the single-family space is uncomfortable for local banks, which typically provide loans to corporate and individual investors for up to 10 properties. PIA Group is ready to leverage its equity and is seeking a $20 million to $30 million loan from an equity firm in order to purchase 400 more homes in the region. &ldquo;The government left a hole for lenders to step in,&rdquo; says Kattan. Investors like PIA Group can turn to several lenders, including B2R Finance LP, a Blackstone subsidiary that offers floating-rate loans starting at $10 million for SFH investors. &ldquo;The big companies are setting up platforms to acquire and manage these assets. Their bet, and our bet, is that single-family homes will become an asset class much like multiple-family homes.&rdquo;</p> <h4> Reinventing Renting</h4> <p>One company that is intent on institutionalizing renting is Oakland, Calif.-based Waypoint Homes. &ldquo;Our mission is reinventing renting,&rdquo; says Doug Brien, co-CEO and cofounder. The company, through Starwood Waypoint Residential Trust, owns 11,000 SFHs in locales as far-flung as northern and southern California, Phoenix, Houston, Denver, Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Orlando, Tampa, and south Florida. The company recently went public and manages private funds for GI Partners and a number of other institutional and smaller investors.</p> <p>Waypoint Homes has about 600 employees and handles all property management; teams of local property managers handle about 250 properties each. All of Waypoint&rsquo;s local leasing specialists are licensed real estate agents. &ldquo;We do all of the property management ourselves,&rdquo; says Brien. In each region, Waypoint has a walk-in service center, sometimes in a Safeway-anchored shopping center, where tenants can pay rents and consumers can easily make inquiries. The company offers a loyalty program that rewards tenants with points if they pay rent on time and maintain the home with regular tune-ups. The points accrue toward upgrades and even cruises.</p> <p>Waypoint is still acquiring properties, but Brien notes that home prices have increased and cap rates have declined from 10 percent to the 7 percent range since 2009. Although the tenant turnovers are half as frequent as with apartments, the cost to renovate SFHs is twice that of apartments, which is generally the case for the property management industry as a whole. The company, which launched in 2009, was one of the first large players in this space. Waypoint initially offered lease-to-own options but discontinued them three years ago, because, Brien says, &ldquo;Investors wanted to control assets and decide when to sell.&rdquo;</p> <p>Like PIA Group, Waypoint also discovered the shortcomings of existing property management software. The company has spent four years developing Waypoint Compass, a portal for residents to pay rent, contractors to bid on jobs, and would-be tenants to view listings.</p> <p>The company has positioned itself for a long-term presence in the housing market. &ldquo;Renting has never been institutionalized,&rdquo; contends Brien, &ldquo;but it&rsquo;s evolved and [more] people are renters by choice.&rdquo;</p> <p>Unlike investors with bulk portfolios, owners with several properties may locate property managers via third parties, such as All Property Management, which provides qualified leads of property owners to licensed property managers. According to Reggie Brown, CEO of All Property Management, &ldquo;During the housing crisis, there were more &lsquo;reluctant landlords&rsquo; driven by the need to rent out their homes to avoid involuntary displacement. Currently, home owners and investors are shifting from do-it-yourself management to using professionals who can provide better results.&rdquo;</p> <p>Washington, D.C.&ndash;based Nomadic Real Estate serves this noninstitutional niche and manages 400 properties, half of which are SFHs. According to Joe Rieling, cofounder of the leasing and property management company, Nomadic also struggled with inadequate operating software before the company custom-designed its operating software in phases, at a cost of roughly $75,000.</p> <p>&ldquo;The issue is that existing property management software programs are designed for either small property managers (1 to 10 units) or huge multifamily management companies (2,000-plus units). Existing software for companies managing between 100 and 1,000 properties is very limiting and not user-friendly or customizable, and it has no accounting integration,&rdquo; Rieling says. &ldquo;I see people writing on notepads. You need software; otherwise, it&rsquo;s pure chaos.&rdquo;</p> <p>The demand for rentals in the region is high, with a three- to four-week absorption rate from marketing to rental. The demand comes from families moving back to Washington, D.C., from overseas, including State Department and military personnel; those relocating from the suburbs; and many who are unable to put 20 percent down. &ldquo;Since we started the business in 2007, single-family homes have been very easy to rent,&rdquo; Rieling says. Nomadic charges two fees: a leasing fee equal to one month&rsquo;s rent to find a tenant and then 8 percent of the monthly rent managed, with monthly rents typically running about $3,200 for a home in the city but reaching up to $5,000 in some neighborhoods. He says 70 percent of the homes Nomadic rents are joint-tenancy arrangements with three or four young professionals on one lease.</p> <p>Nomadic employs 10 people, and wages and insurance premiums comprise 75 percent of the business&rsquo; costs; Nomadic&rsquo;s leasing agents earn a commission on top of their base salary.</p> <p>Rieling says human error has the potential to nibble at the bottom line. For example, if a leasing agent promises a washer/dryer as part of a rental package, that misstep can cost a month of earnings on that property. &ldquo;Leasing agents do not have the authority to make final decisions, so this type of mistake often does not surface until the tenant has taken possession,&rdquo; Rieling explains, at which time he can either contend with a furious tenant or make this concession. &ldquo;We analyze on a case-by-case basis and often honor what they were told.&rdquo;</p> <h4> Poised for Growth in Vegas</h4> <p>In Las Vegas, price increases have weeded out investors seeking to add SFHs to their holdings, and as the inventory of SFHs began shrinking in 2012, cap rates also began dropping from 10 percent to 6 percent, says Glenn Plantone, broker-owner of Vegas International Properties. Also an investor, Plantone began purchasing foreclosed properties in bulk packages of 10 to 40 SFHs and condos starting in 2011 and continues to assemble properties both individually and in bulk from HOA foreclosures.&nbsp;He has personally flipped more than 200 of these properties in the last several years, selling many to investors and owner-occupied buyers.&nbsp;Most of VIP&rsquo;s investors are out of state, many from California, and about 25 percent are international.</p> <p>Plantone&rsquo;s portfolio mushroomed from zero to 240 properties in two years, necessitating the hiring of property -manager Kara Morrison to manage 250 properties, including 100 SFHs.</p> <p>&nbsp;&ldquo;[SFHs] are a lot easier to manage than condos,&rdquo; says Morrison, referring to the absence of maintenance issues that affect adjoining walls or properties. The type of tenants varies, too. &ldquo;Renters of single-family homes are generally older with families and possibly owned a home at one time; they may be waiting to buy again,&rdquo; she says.&rdquo; Like other property managers who scale up their business, Plantone grappled with software. After &ldquo;flirting with developing our own,&rdquo; Plantone says, he opted instead for the Web-based AppFolio software.</p> <p>VIP charges $100 or 8 percent of rent to manage a property. The company recently requested that tenants make minor repairs in exchange for rent concessions. Plantone also has lease-to-rent options on 10 to 15 properties, and the tenants pay the home warranty costs.</p> <p>Regardless of the market, Plantone says of VIP and its staff of eight, &ldquo;We are poised for growth.&rdquo;</p> <p>Real estate industry watchers may be cautious about the ability of property managers to manage large portfolios of SFHs, about whether price increases will preclude a further influx of investors into the SFH space, or even whether the cap rates are sustainable. Regardless, the single-family landscape has been altered by investors. PIA Group&rsquo;s Kattan says, &ldquo;In the next two to three years, we will have an SFH institutionalized space that&rsquo;s in America&rsquo;s best interest.&rdquo; The availability of rental homes, he says, will allow renters the flexibility to relocate to pursue employment and provide alternatives to those not ready for home ownership.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Bulk portfolios of single-family homes have redefined the rental business. How are large landlords coping?</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_C_property_mgmt.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=22026">jul14_C_property_mgmt.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_C_property_mgmt_0.jpg?1405431276" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_C_property_mgmt.jpg?1405431301" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2011/11/29/could-property-managers-help-market-recover">Could Property Managers Help the Market Recover?</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/briefs/article/2012/09/4-tips-for-launching-successful-property-management-busin">4 Tips for Launching a Successful Property Management Business</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/commercial/feature/article/2009/04/business-basics-property-management-primer">Business Basics: Property Management Primer</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/05/16/avoid-these-5-property-management-mistakes">Avoid These 5 Property Management Mistakes</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Thu, 10 Jul 2014 16:31:34 +0000 mwhite 16595 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Building for the Future http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/building-for-future <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Innovative construction materials are both eco-friendly and resilient. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 16, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/meg-white">Meg White</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>It&rsquo;s easier to adopt new techniques when you&rsquo;re building from scratch, so the new-home market tends to have more than its fair share of inventive products to offer.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>More in <a href="/home-and-design/briefs/article/2014/07/its-all-about-house">All About the House</a></strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/houses-past">Houses With a Past</a></li> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/inside-new-construction">Inside New Construction</a></li> <li> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/07/market-smart-home-smartly">Market a Smart Home Smartly</a></li> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/dressed-sell">Dressed to Sell</a></li> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/detailing-your-listings-history">Video: Detailing Your Listing&#39;s History</a></li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/article/2014/07/how-old-are-they-now">Infographic: How Old Are They Now?</a></li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>Before these new products come to market, they often come to Michelle Desiderio. As the vice president of innovation services for Home Innovation Research Labs&mdash;a wholly owned, independent subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders&mdash;she works with manufacturers to test building products and appliances. At the manufacturer&rsquo;s request, the lab&rsquo;s technicians will do everything from open and shut a door 10,000 times to drop cast-iron pans onto sinks to build a model house to test the impact of high winds on a new framing technique. &ldquo;Our goal is to remove barriers to innovation in the housing industry,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>So what kinds of advances are buyers looking for? &ldquo;Builders often are under the assumption that consumers are focused on green products exclusively, but study after study shows that&rsquo;s not the case,&rdquo; says Desiderio. &ldquo;Durability usually ranks very high.&rdquo;</p> <p>Brent Ehrlich, products editor at publishing company BuildingGreen, which examines environmentally friendly construction, says that manufacturers are taking notice of the desire for resilience. He&rsquo;s also seeing more use of natural materials such as stone and cork, which he says represents the &ldquo;what&rsquo;s-old-is-new phenomenon&rdquo; taking hold. One example of this trend is the use of mineral wool for insulation. Ehrlich says this material is replacing spray foam insulation systems that &ldquo;contain some fairly nasty chemicals.&rdquo; Also, the natural alternative is both flame-retardant and difficult for insects to penetrate.</p> <p>Another product Ehrlich is excited about is fungal mycelium. A company called Ecovative combines what are basically mushroom roots with agricultural byproducts in controlled lab conditions. The product that emerges is currently being used as an eco-friendly packing material, but the company is working to market it as a strong, lightweight, flame-resistant insulation for homes and commercial buildings. &nbsp;</p> <p>But Ehrlich warns that in the effort to make homes more energy-efficient, home owners need to be careful not to seal the structure&rsquo;s envelope too tightly. He&rsquo;s says he&rsquo;s seen cases where home owners try to retrofit their insulation for energy efficiency and end up having to tear it all out and start over because they hadn&rsquo;t considered healthy air exchanges and letting a building breathe.</p> <p>Innovators in new construction are also looking for ways to protect home owners from catastrophic events. &ldquo;Many places in the country have experienced one natural disaster after another,&rdquo; Desiderio says. &ldquo;So we have this relatively new goal of how to make homes more resilient in a disaster.&rdquo;</p> <p>Ehrlich says that, despite the great work of Home Innovation Research Labs, no amount of testing can fully replicate the pressures of real-world use for some of these brand-new products: &ldquo;We really don&rsquo;t know how they&rsquo;ll last. Longevity is still going to be a question.&rdquo;</p> <p>Because defects in new homes can directly affect the entire system of a house, builders tend to be wary about new products. &ldquo;As a society, we change phones frequently, but product manufacturers have a much more difficult time getting their clients to switch in the world of home construction,&rdquo; Desiderio says.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Innovative construction materials are both eco-friendly and resilient.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/july14_HD_future.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=44382">july14_HD_future.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/july14_HD_future_0.jpg?1405435999" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/july14_LP_HD_future.jpg?1405436021" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/product-guide/marketing/article/2014/04/2014-green-real-estate-working-buyers">2014 Green Real Estate: Working With Buyers</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/05/01/most-popular-features-green-remodels">Most Popular Features of Green Remodels</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2013/01/8-places-experts-go-for-design-inspiration">8 Places the Experts Go for Design Inspiration</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/buyers-guide/gadgets-and-gear/2012/05/smart-home-tech-getting-smarter-greener">Smart Home Tech: Getting Smarter, Greener</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Wed, 09 Jul 2014 17:14:24 +0000 mwhite 16580 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Dressed to Sell http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/dressed-sell <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Here&#039;s what good staging is not: ripping every last bit of personality out of a home before showing it to buyers. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 16, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/melissa-dittmann-tracey">Melissa Dittmann Tracey</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>The devotion to sparse decor and neutral color palettes&mdash;once iron-clad truisms of &ldquo;proper&rdquo; staging&mdash;is giving way to a livelier vision encompassing more trendy, inviting interiors and exteriors that are intended to make a listing more marketable.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>More in <a href="/home-and-design/briefs/article/2014/07/its-all-about-house">All About the House</a></strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/houses-past">Houses With a Past</a></li> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/inside-new-construction">Inside New Construction</a></li> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/building-for-future">Building for the Future</a></li> <li> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/07/market-smart-home-smartly">Market a Smart Home Smartly</a></li> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/detailing-your-listings-history">Video: Detailing Your Listing&#39;s History</a></li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/article/2014/07/how-old-are-they-now">Infographic: How Old Are They Now?</a></li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>As stagers reject stripped-down, beige-heavy stylings that are as boring as they are forgettable, they&rsquo;re replacing them with designs that complement a home&rsquo;s architecture and price point and present a lifestyle that buyers will want to buy into.</p> <p>That means bolder color pops&mdash;yes, even this year&rsquo;s Pantone color of the year, the purplish-pink radiant orchid; trendy mismatched furnishings; and striking fabric designs. Some stagers are even commissioning specific artwork to suit a home, mixing in repurposed furnishings and nature-inspired accents as a nod toward the green movement.</p> <blockquote> <p>Find a slideshow with expanded content from this article on our <a href="/home-and-design/staging-tips">Home Staging Guide</a>.</p> </blockquote> <p>&ldquo;It&rsquo;s important to keep up-to-date on the new colors, materials, lighting, furniture, and accessories so that we can create spaces that buyers can imagine moving into,&rdquo; says Sandra Holmes, president of Home Staging Concepts in Weston, Fla., and president-elect of the International Association of Home Staging Professionals. Still, when prepping a home for sale, you have to distinguish between decorating and staging, notes real estate pro Barb Schwarz, founder of StagedHomes.com. Schwarz, founder of the IAHSP, says decorating is about adhering to a home owner&rsquo;s tastes; staging is focused on appealing to the widest buyer pool. Here are eight trends stagers are embracing to give homes a modern edge.</p> <h4> 1. Outdoor retreats</h4> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_jul/0714_staging_tips_1.jpg" style="width: 290px; height: 218px; float: right;" />Stagers are devoting more attention to the great outdoors. Why? Because buyers are paying more attention to exteriors, says staging pioneer Barb Schwarz. Nearly 63 percent of residential architects say interest in outdoor living areas is increasing. Among the most desired features are seating and dining areas, fire pits, grills, and decorative water elements, according to a 2013 American Institute of Architects survey. Schwarz recommends carving out three unique outdoor spaces when staging a deck and yard. For example, create a dining area with a table, chairs, and colorful place settings; set up a cozy seating area with padded wicker chairs around a fire pit; and use stepping stones to lead to a peaceful retreat, such as a small bistro table or a bench overlooking plantings and a gurgling fountain.&nbsp;</p> <h4> 2. Lifestyle appeal</h4> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_jul/0714_staging_tips_2.jpg" style="width: 290px; height: 218px; float: right;" />Stagers are creating lifestyle vignettes. Donna M. Dazzo with Designed to Appeal went bold in staging a game room in a high-end loft in New York (right). She created a scene with games on a table, bright accents and furnishings, and vibrant artwork (which she commissions from art dealers) to add life to an otherwise sterile room. Knowing or researching an area could reveal distinctive interests that could be incorporated. Audra Slinkey of Home Staging Resource, a national staging and redesign training company, suggests a wine room or wine rack for a region brimming with wine lovers. In a commuter town, Slinkey says, carve out an inviting home office for telecommuters. &ldquo;We have to look at trends and surveys and really research the buyer demographic for the home,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;Each little pocket has its own cultural appeal.&rdquo;</p> <table border="1" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1" height="91" width="620"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="width: 200px;"> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_jul/0714_staging_tips_3.jpg" style="width: 200px; height: 150px;" /></td> <td style="width: 4px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 200px;"> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_jul/0714_staging_tips_4.jpg" style="width: 200px; height: 150px;" /></td> <td style="width: 4px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 200px;"> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_jul/0714_staging_tips_5.jpg" style="width: 200px; height: 150px;" /></td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 200px;"> <h4> 3. All that shimmers</h4> </td> <td style="width: 4px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 200px;"> <h4> 4. Painted cabinets</h4> </td> <td style="width: 4px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 200px;"> <h4> 5. Pops of color</h4> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 200px;"> How about adding some bling in the form of metallic finishes? This season, look for gray&rsquo;s flashier cousin, silver.</td> <td style="width: 4px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 200px;"> Brighten a kitchen or bath in a budget- friendly way: Paint the cabinets. Swap knobs for trendier chrome pull bars.</td> <td style="width: 4px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 200px;"> Purples and blues are hot this season in home accents ranging from vases and lamps to pillows, bedding, and rugs.</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <table border="1" cellpadding="1" cellspacing="1" height="91" width="620"> <tbody> <tr> <td style="width: 200px;"> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_jul/0714_staging_tips_6.jpg" style="width: 200px; height: 150px;" /></td> <td style="width: 4px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 200px;"> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_jul/0714_staging_tips_7.jpg" style="width: 200px; height: 150px;" /></td> <td style="width: 4px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 200px;"> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_jul/0714_staging_tips_8.jpg" style="width: 200px; height: 150px;" /></td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 200px;"> <h4> 6. Mood lighting</h4> </td> <td style="width: 4px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 200px;"> <h4> 7. Going green</h4> </td> <td style="width: 4px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 200px;"> <h4> 8. Mismatches</h4> </td> </tr> <tr> <td style="width: 200px;"> &ldquo;A rustic or glass ceramic lamp can add texture and warmth to a space,&rdquo; Slinkey says. Modern chandeliers add glamour.</td> <td style="width: 4px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 200px;"> Eco-friendly staging is taking off. Repurpose an old storage trunk as a coffee table or display a vase with twigs from the yard.&nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 4px;"> &nbsp;</td> <td style="width: 200px;"> Nonmatching chairs around the dining room table can break up the monotony and bring visual interest to a space.</td> </tr> </tbody> </table> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Here&#39;s what good staging is not: ripping every last bit of personality out of a home before showing it to buyers.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_HD_staging_B_A.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=51270">jul14_HD_staging_B_A.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_HD_staging_B_A_0.jpg?1405455932" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_HD_staging_B_A.jpg?1405455934" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/04/07/3-tips-for-staging-vacation-rental-property">3 Tips for Staging a Vacation Rental Property</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/5-easy-tips-for-outdoor-summer-staging">5 Easy Tips for Outdoor Summer Staging </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2012/06/01/6-ways-spruce-up-home-staging">6 Ways to Spruce Up a Home With Staging </a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Wed, 09 Jul 2014 18:04:51 +0000 mwhite 16582 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Houses With a Past http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/houses-past <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> For history lovers, nothing beats the charm of a home built in a bygone era. Just make sure old-house buyers know what they’re getting into. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 16, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/meg-white">Meg White</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Growing up in mostly brand-new homes in Texas and New Jersey in the late 1960s and 1970s, Kirsten Oravec was raised to believe that newer construction was always the safest and most reliable home purchase one could make. No plumbing or electrical ticking time bomb to fret about. No worrying whether the roof would buckle from layers of replacement shingles dating back to the FDR administration. When Oravec bought her first home in 2003, Plano, Texas, offered few options outside of new construction. Her second purchase, in southern New Jersey, was also freshly built. What nagged at her, though, was her strong aesthetic preference for an older house. She had always admired her aunt&rsquo;s century-old farmhouse in Pennsylvania. &ldquo;It was pretty run down,&rdquo; she recalls. &ldquo;But there was just such charm, and you don&rsquo;t get that in a brand-new home.&rdquo;</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>More in <a href="/home-and-design/briefs/article/2014/07/its-all-about-house">All About the House</a></strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/inside-new-construction">Inside New Construction</a></li> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/building-for-future">Building for the Future</a></li> <li> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/07/market-smart-home-smartly">Market a Smart Home Smartly</a></li> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/dressed-sell">Dressed to Sell</a></li> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/detailing-your-listings-history">Video: Detailing Your Listing&#39;s History</a></li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/article/2014/07/how-old-are-they-now">Infographic: How Old Are They Now?</a></li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>Four years ago, Oravec did what she had long considered unthinkable: She bought a home built in 1930&mdash;and has never looked back. Sitting in her small 84-year-old cottage on the shores of Lake Gilman in southern New Jersey with wind chimes and birds echoing behind her, Oravec has found her bliss both as a home owner and a real estate practitioner. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s just a beautiful setting. My desk, when I work from home, overlooks the lake and I love it,&rdquo; says Oravec, who obtained her license a year ago and now works as an associate with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox &amp; Roach, REALTORS&reg;, in Mullica, N.J. Everything from the sweet little footbridge on her property to the boat races and pie-eating contests of Lake Gilman Day has her smitten with the &ldquo;On Golden Pond&rdquo; setting. &ldquo;It sounds kind of sentimental, but it really is all that,&rdquo; she says. The home was originally used as a cabin-like summer house, but she had the second floor converted to create two bedrooms.</p> <h4> The Over-70 Set</h4> <p>America&rsquo;s housing stock is relatively young: 40 is the median age of U.S. homes. Still, many buyers are drawn to properties with a considerably longer past&mdash;that is, homes built 75, 100, or occasionally even 200 years ago. The relatively rarefied ranks of older homes&mdash;15 percent of the current U.S. housing stock was built before 1940&mdash;makes these properties special. And even though what constitutes a &ldquo;historic&rdquo; home depends greatly on where you live, anyone who works in a neighborhood of older homes must bear crucial issues, and misconceptions, in mind.</p> <p>Developing a comfort level with older homes is often necessary simply because they are mainstays of the local inventory. The new-home niche is limited by land availability, Robin Zeigler, a historic zoning administrator for Nashville, Tenn., points out. &ldquo;There&rsquo;s only so much land,&rdquo; says Zeigler, who was formerly a board member of the National Alliance of Preservation Commissions. &ldquo;More and more, we&rsquo;re working with existing buildings.&rdquo;</p> <p>For some home buyers, an older home represents someone else&rsquo;s choices; you may have to provide the necessary imagination to help them see it as their own. Others, like Oravec, are apprehensive about the work and money they presume they&rsquo;ll have to put into an older home.</p> <p>Rick Fifer, a salesperson with Florida Executive Realty in Tampa, Fla., and a specialist in early 20th century bungalows, does his best to educate buyers on the costs of rehabbing and insuring older homes. He says many people overestimate the costs associated with an older home&mdash;or underestimate those of a newer home. It all comes down to how well the home has been maintained. In many cases, &ldquo;an older home is no more a &lsquo;money pit&rsquo; than a new house,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;If you&rsquo;ve done nothing to maintain it, your &lsquo;new&rsquo; house that you&rsquo;ve lived in for 10&ndash;15 years can still cost a small fortune to fix.&rdquo;</p> <p>And reproducing the charm that comes standard on older homes&mdash;in the form of old hardwood floors, stained glass, and thick baseboards&mdash;is much more expensive than buying the original. &ldquo;Many people are looking to have something that has character,&rdquo; Fifer says. &ldquo;If you try to get that in a new house, it&rsquo;s going to cost you.&rdquo;</p> <h4> The Effects of Aging</h4> <p>Still, there&rsquo;s something to that &ldquo;money pit&rdquo; stereotype. So buyers, particularly first-timers, may need guidance to avoid getting themselves in over their heads. When she was searching for her house in 2010, before she started working in real estate, Oravec sought out a home inspector who specialized in older homes. She recognized that someone focused on new construction would be looking for other things. Her inspector, she&rsquo;s happy to say, &ldquo;was on a mission.&rdquo; In one home she&rsquo;d set her sights on, he marched down to the basement and used a special tool to poke at one of the wooden beams. &ldquo;It almost disintegrated when he poked it,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>Now that she has found her own perfect home and gotten a few transactions under her belt, Oravec is on a mission, too. She warns house hunters that the older homes in her community sometimes have unique landscapes that can cause modern problems. Some plots aren&rsquo;t large enough to update an old-fashioned cesspool to the modern septic system required locally. She also tells buyers who are looking at joining the lake community to find out whether or not a home&rsquo;s electrical work is up-to-date, as some of the older homes are still using the knob-and-tube wiring system popular from the late 1800s through the 1930s.</p> <p>Bill Kibbel, a building inspector who specializes in historic residential and commercial property and a member of the Historic Building Inspectors Association, echoes Oravec&rsquo;s warnings about the old-fashioned wiring, noting that even when the system has been updated, problems can still lurk within. &ldquo;In a lot of cases, they&rsquo;ll list the house as having &lsquo;updated electrical,&rsquo; but it&rsquo;s just a new circuit breaker with ancient wiring,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>In his area of southeastern Pennsylvania and central New Jersey, Kibbel says the No. 1 problem he sees is with chimneys. He tends to see deterioration of the original masonry, especially in unlined flues, because &ldquo;these chimneys are being used for venting modern heating equipment.&rdquo;</p> <p>He tends to work with homes that are anywhere from 100 to 300 years old, but sometimes it&rsquo;s the newer parts of the home that pose the most problems. He notes that &ldquo;with multiple additions, roof systems are very tricky.&rdquo; Often it takes more time to fix an unprofessional roof job than it would have taken to have it done by a pro in the first place, according to Kibbel.</p> <p>There are also region-specific issues. In Florida, Fifer has seen a great deal of resistance to older -timber-framed homes because of a fear of termites, but he sees those concerns as overblown. &ldquo;Termites, like anything else, are a manageable issue [in an older home],&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>One of the most important things you can do when you&rsquo;re listing an older home is to identify and recommend inspectors who understand it. Those who don&rsquo;t have a lot of experience with older homes, Kibbel says, &ldquo;think everything is a problem.&rdquo; In fact, &ldquo;some cracks are acceptable, and they&rsquo;re pretty common for old buildings,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;If it was newer construction, it would be a red flag.&rdquo;</p> <p>One way to be sure you&rsquo;re dealing with a home inspector who is experienced with older homes is to find a member of the Historic Building Inspectors Association. However, the association is active in fewer than 20 states, so if there&rsquo;s no one in your area with the HBIA credential, Kibbel suggests using the American Society of Home Inspectors&rsquo; online search to find inspectors who claim to have experience with older homes. Then, follow up with a few questions.</p> <p>&ldquo;Ask to see a sample report of an older home. You can tell a lot by what comes out in the report,&rdquo; Kibbel says. One potential red flag is when an inspector recommends further evaluation from outside contractors on multiple issues. &ldquo;If they&rsquo;re referring everything off, that means they&rsquo;re not comfortable with their own ability.&rdquo;</p> <h4> A Connection to the Past</h4> <p>When it comes to marketing an older home, many of the usual rules apply. Fifer says it&rsquo;s all about finding out what&rsquo;s special about the property and the neighborhood and then emphasizing that when you tell the listing story. Original details, such as vintage lighting and original doorplates, can take on extra importance. &ldquo;When we can find something like that in an older home, it&rsquo;s worth emphasizing,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>It may be valuable to bring in an expert to help you investigate and tell the story of your listing. Zeigler says local organizations or public libraries can assist with research; they may even retain old real estate advertisements from the distant past and other whimsical information to share with house hunters. &ldquo;Houses are interesting because of their stories and connection to people&rsquo;s lives,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>Beyond the house, the neighborhood may provide marketing zing. Historical districts and special zoning areas dot the landscape from coast to coast. Sometimes they&rsquo;re just a way of acknowledging the unique character of a neighborhood in a formal way; other times they serve as a mechanism for actively preserving specific architectural styles.</p> <p>As a home owner fixing up a house in the Hampton Terrace neighborhood of Tampa Bay in the 1990s, Fifer served on the board of a local neighborhood association. After attending a statewide neighborhood conference, he wanted to create a historic district to encourage investment in his part of town. &ldquo;I came back determined,&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;I saw it as a way of maintaining and revitalizing communities.&rdquo;</p> <p>Fifer met a lot of resistance. Some owners erroneously believed &ldquo;they would be retroactively forced to bring their house into compliance&rdquo; with the district&rsquo;s architectural guidelines, he says. He was able to counter the concerns, and the district was established. And while he no longer lives in the historic district, Fifer says&nbsp; property values in his Seminole Heights neighborhood are buoyed by the fact that it&rsquo;s adjacent to the district.</p> <p>Zeigler says misconceptions like those Fifer encountered are common. People are often under the impression that historic zoning laws govern interior decor, prohibit certain paint colors, or stop people from adding garages to their homes. While every local district is different, Zeigler says, few locales are interested in controlling such details.</p> <p>&ldquo;We&rsquo;re not trying to keep these districts as museums. People live here. The buildings need to change over time,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;What we&rsquo;re doing preserves that historical character, which in many cases is the reason people want to live there.&rdquo;</p> <p>That said, Fifer admits there are extra hoops to jump through when an owner wants to renovate. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a two-edged sword,&rdquo; he says. The existence of historic districts can make some potential buyers &ldquo;more comfortable and secure in their investment,&rdquo; he says, but you have to make sure they&rsquo;re up for the challenge.</p> <p>Through NAPC, Zeigler provides continuing education training in Tennessee, Kentucky, and West Virginia for real estate professionals interested in community preservation issues. She emphasizes that knowing the rules governing listings in your area is vital. &ldquo;Sometimes there are historical districts that don&rsquo;t mean much, and sometimes they are part of local zoning, which can mean a lot,&rdquo; she says.</p> <h4> Being the Old-House Expert</h4> <p>In other words, knowing the neighborhood takes on new importance when historic designations are involved.</p> <p>Just as real estate is local, so is preservation. Though the National Register of Historic Places is by far the most recognizable group in this arena, it does not govern property alterations. Zeigler suggests real estate pros contact their state&rsquo;s preservation office and ask for a list of local and county historical districts. It may also be advisable to request overlays, which are maps that can show how the historical districts might affect local areas. A person can&rsquo;t simply examine a building&rsquo;s historic gingerbread trim to determine whether it is subject to local zoning requirements. &ldquo;There are certainly homes that are old that aren&rsquo;t historic, and there are buildings that aren&rsquo;t necessarily that old but can be historic.&rdquo;</p> <p>But knowing a home&rsquo;s or a neighborhood&rsquo;s history is just the start of becoming an old-house expert. Since he&rsquo;s torn through the walls of three older bungalows in the Tampa neighborhoods he serves, Fifer is a helpful resource for buyers wondering what might be underneath the surface. He says clients deeply appreciate that he knows how these older homes were constructed.</p> <p>He&rsquo;s also able to explain what makes these neighborhoods&mdash;some of which are emerging from decades of neglect&mdash;unique. Newcomers might look at visible wear and tear and assume deeper problems. He can tell them with confidence that just because a house doesn&rsquo;t look pretty doesn&rsquo;t make it unsafe. His deep knowledge of the neighborhoods is also helpful in determining comparables. For example, though the historic neighborhood of Old Seminole Heights is divided by an interstate, Fifer says, both sides of the neighborhood are deeply interconnected. The interstate &ldquo;doesn&rsquo;t act like a barrier as it might in other places. We have the folks that walk back and forth underneath and businesses on both sides that draw people in,&rdquo; he says.</p> <p>Living in an older home can certainly help your credibility, as can marketing specifically to older-home lovers.</p> <p>Oravec is building her business on becoming the go-to person for real estate matters on Lake Gilman. She&rsquo;s an executive board member for the organization that oversees the private tract surrounding the lake and helps owners understand the process for getting board approval for renovations. And she has invited experts to talk to owners about the challenges of keeping up the lake&rsquo;s older homes.</p> <p>Fifer&rsquo;s website, rickfifer-realtor.com, is heavily geared toward people looking for older homes, he says. He provides links to predefined searches of listings built before 1940 in a variety of price ranges. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve sorted through it all, so buyers can find an older home without having to comb through everything.&rdquo;</p> <p>Fifer also uses social media to bring in new clients. His Facebook business page is dotted with colorful photos and descriptions of his latest listings. He also has used the platform to curate a list of resources for both his own neighborhood and all lovers of Florida&rsquo;s historic homes. &ldquo;I&rsquo;ve featured local businesses, local events, or places that have vintage [housewares],&rdquo; he says. &ldquo;If people are in the market [for an older home], chances are they&rsquo;re going to call me.&rdquo;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>For history lovers, nothing beats the charm of a home built in a bygone era. Just make sure old-house buyers know what they&rsquo;re getting into.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/july14_SM_old_house.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=85027">july14_SM_old_house.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/july14_SM_old_house_0.jpg?1405436504" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/july14_LP_SM_old_house.jpg?1405436522" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-and-design/home/article/2010/01/home-inspectors-file">The Home Inspector&#039;s File</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2013/11/historic-renovation-dos-and-don-ts">Historic Renovation Dos and Don’ts</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-and-design/architecture-coach/article/2009/08/bungalows-regional-styles">Bungalows: Regional Styles</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:43:39 +0000 mwhite 16578 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Inside New Construction http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/inside-new-construction <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> When errors are made, owners have more options than they may realize. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 16, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/meg-white">Meg White</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>The clean sheen of a brand-new house is calming, but it can give buyers a false sense of security. Buyer&rsquo;s remorse takes on a whole new quality when a just-completed foundation cracks or when water is pouring in through a brand-new roof.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>More in <a href="/home-and-design/briefs/article/2014/07/its-all-about-house">All About the House</a></strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/houses-past">Houses With a Past</a></li> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/building-for-future">Building for the Future</a></li> <li> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/07/market-smart-home-smartly">Market a Smart Home Smartly</a></li> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/dressed-sell">Dressed to Sell</a></li> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/detailing-your-listings-history">Video: Detailing Your Listing&#39;s History</a></li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/article/2014/07/how-old-are-they-now">Infographic: How Old Are They Now?</a></li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>Denver attorney Mari Perczak, a construction defect specialist with the Burg Simpson law firm, sees all kinds of defects in new construction. And with building activity picking up, mistakes are likely to increase as new tradespeople learn the ropes, she says.</p> <p>One piece of advice that can help: Tell new-home buyers to identify who&rsquo;s responsible for the construction. &ldquo;Consider asking for the insurance information for the general contractor,&rdquo; she says. That can be helpful in the event of defects.</p> <p>In Perczak&rsquo;s view, the biggest risk new-home owners face is running out of time to address problems. The statute of limitations on claims for defects in new-home structures is set at the state level. She says 10 years is the most common time period, though it is six years in Colorado where she&rsquo;s based. There are also time limits for filing a suit after a home owner discovers a structural defect. (In Colorado, it&rsquo;s two years.) Perczak says problems can take time to show themselves. &ldquo;In our experience, it can take years, and problems can continue to be hidden,&rdquo; she says. For example, defects related to moisture or concrete settling into unstable ground are difficult to detect in areas struck by drought. &ldquo;You&rsquo;ll see issues after a period of heavy moisture,&rdquo; Perczak says. Construction materials can mask trouble. &ldquo;Some types of cladding are really good at hiding those types of problems,&rdquo; she says. And the most costly problems may not even be related to construction. Drainage and grading issues tend to be quite expensive to fix, she says.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>Red Flags? Maybe</strong></p> <p>In an older house, these may be fairly common, benign issues. In a new house, they could signify problems.</p> <ol> <li> <em>Sticky doors</em>: Are the doors and windows operating smoothly? Sticky jambs can be an early indicator of more serious structural problems.</li> <li> <em>Diagonal cracks</em>: Are there diagonal cracks in the drywall? Construction defect expert Mari Perczak says, &ldquo;anything more than a hairline crack is something that should be checked out.&rdquo; She notes that a straight vertical crack is more likely to be insignificant than a diagonal one.</li> <li> <em>Puddles near the foundation</em>: When it rains, do puddles form against the home&rsquo;s foundation? This could be a sign of problematic landscape grading that could lead to flooding in the basement.</li> </ol> </blockquote> <p>Perczak says home owners often don&rsquo;t understand their rights. Some believe they&rsquo;re out of luck because the one-year warranty on their home has already expired. But she notes this &ldquo;express warranty&rdquo; from the builder doesn&rsquo;t affect the right to sue under statutes defined by the states.</p> <p>Advise clients who think there&rsquo;s a problem to call an outside expert with no financial stake in the home. Sometimes owners err by calling the builder, who may refer them to the engineer in charge of the construction.&nbsp; &ldquo;It comes down to this: Don&rsquo;t get legal advice from your builder,&thinsp;&rdquo; Perczak says. &ldquo;When in doubt, bring in a good home inspector who can tell you whether or not you should seek the help of a well-qualified contractor or an architectural engineer.&rdquo;</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>When errors are made, owners have more options than they may realize.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/july14_SM_new.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=70465">july14_SM_new.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/july14_SM_new_0.jpg?1405439090" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/july14_LP_SM_new.jpg?1405439114" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/daily-news/2014/05/07/survey-buyers-prefer-new-arent-willing-pay">Survey: Buyers Prefer New, But Aren&#039;t Willing to Pay</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/feature/article/2014/03/after-storm">After the Storm</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2013/01/8-places-experts-go-for-design-inspiration">8 Places the Experts Go for Design Inspiration</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:50:26 +0000 mwhite 16579 at http://realtormag.realtor.org It's All About the House http://realtormag.realtor.org/home-and-design/briefs/article/2014/07/its-all-about-house <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Check out our love letter to American dwellings in this year&#039;s house and home issue. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 16, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <!--paging_filter--><p>Oh, the magic of the house. When you work in an industry where workdays are filled with strategizing about listings and prospecting for buyers and a very good day actually ends at the closing table, the enchantment of the house itself is sometimes overlooked. Houses aren&rsquo;t commodities but sanctuaries, with their own character, charm, and flaws. An older house has likely given life to the dreams of multiple generations, while a newly built home is a template for untold possibilities. No matter when the foundation was laid, its acquisition by a new owner always marks the beginning of a new personal story. For real estate professionals, there is always much to learn about what makes a home sturdy and sound and alluring.</p> <p>Come inside and find out about what&rsquo;s new and what&rsquo;s enduring about the houses that make a home:</p> <ul> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/houses-past">Houses With a Past</a>: For history lovers, nothing beats the charm of a home built in a bygone era. Just make sure old-house buyers know what they&rsquo;re getting into.</li> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/inside-new-construction">Inside New Construction</a>: When errors are made, owners have more options than they may realize. Plus: red flags to watch for.</li> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/building-for-future">Building for the Future</a>: Innovative construction materials are both eco-friendly and resilient.</li> <li> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/07/market-smart-home-smartly">Market a Smart Home Smartly</a>: Don&#39;t focus on all the bells and whistles. Market the features of a smart home that appeal to a wide audience.</li> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/dressed-sell">Dressed to Sell</a>: Here&#39;s what good staging is not: ripping every last bit of personality out of a home before showing it to buyers.</li> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/detailing-your-listings-history">Video extra&mdash;Detailing Your Listing&#39;s History</a>: Learn how to research an older home and turn that knowledge into listing gold.</li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/article/2014/07/how-old-are-they-now">Infographic</a>: How Old Are They Now?</li> </ul> <hr /> <p><strong>Sponsor message</strong></p> <p><a href="http://ahs.com/realestate" target="_blank">American Home Shield</a> is the nation&rsquo;s leading home warranty company. A home warranty is a service contract that covers the repair or replacement of many major home system components and appliances that typically break down over time. American Home Shield&rsquo;s mission is to improve the quality of customers&rsquo; lives by providing flexible home repair and maintenance solutions that help them worry less and live more. They do this by providing great customer service. With more than 40 years in the home protection plan industry, customers can have the confidence that AHS is there for them.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Check out our love letter to American dwellings in this year&#39;s house and home issue.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/july14_SM_houses.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=37270">july14_SM_houses.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/july14_SM_houses_0.jpg?1405439016" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/july14_LP_SM_houses.jpg?1405439031" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Briefs Wed, 09 Jul 2014 16:37:06 +0000 mwhite 16577 at http://realtormag.realtor.org July/August 2014 Market Pulse http://realtormag.realtor.org/news-and-commentary/market-pulse/article/2014/07/julyaugust-2014-market-pulse <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Inventory constraints, rising prices, and still-tight financing have been keeping home sales down. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 16, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <!--paging_filter--><p>Mortgage rates remain low but are poised to rise, which would dampen affordability and therefore demand. Even so, both closed sales and contract signings show signs of a turnaround after months of steady declines.</p> <p><br /> <img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_jul/jul14_MP_chart1.jpg" style="width: 400px; height: 335px;" /></p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_jul/jul14_MP_chart2.jpg" style="width: 400px; height: 391px;" /></p> <p><img alt="" src="/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/rmo_files/images/2014_jul/jul14_MP_chart3.jpg" style="width: 400px; height: 503px;" /></p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Inventory constraints, rising prices, and still-tight financing have been keeping home sales down.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_MP_outline.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=24336">jul14_MP_outline.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_MP_outline_0.jpg?1405453944" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_MP_outline.jpg?1405453963" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/market-pulse/article/2014/05/mayjune-2014-market-pulse">May/June 2014 Market Pulse</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/market-pulse/article/2014/03/marchapril-2014-market-pulse">March/April 2014 Market Pulse</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Market Pulse Wed, 09 Jul 2014 18:42:38 +0000 mwhite 16586 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Market a Smart Home Smartly http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/07/market-smart-home-smartly <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Don&#039;t focus on all the bells and whistles. Market the features of a smart home that appeal to a wide audience. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 16, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/graham-wood">Graham Wood</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Soon it will be possible to send a text to your refrigerator asking if you&rsquo;re running low on milk. The fridge will text you back based on what the appliance&rsquo;s built-in camera reveals. Already, you can pull up the weather forecast on your stovetop and light your fireplace with a simple voice command.</p> <blockquote> <p><strong>More in <a href="/home-and-design/briefs/article/2014/07/its-all-about-house">All About the House</a></strong></p> <ul> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/houses-past">Houses With a Past</a></li> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/inside-new-construction">Inside New Construction</a></li> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/building-for-future">Building for the Future</a></li> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/dressed-sell">Dressed to Sell</a></li> <li> <a href="/home-and-design/feature/article/2014/07/detailing-your-listings-history">Video: Detailing Your Listing&#39;s History</a></li> <li> <a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/article/2014/07/how-old-are-they-now">Infographic: How Old Are They Now?</a></li> </ul> </blockquote> <p>These are just a few of the technological advances that can be found now (or likely will soon show up) in smart homes, which enable Internet-connected home appliances and systems to be more complementary with 21st-century lifestyles. But here&rsquo;s the challenge for real estate pros: How do you know which of this gadgetry is most appealing to buyers? Do you highlight the texting refrigerator over the tweeting washing machine (which lets you know when a load is done)? Does the stovetop-turned-meteorologist offer a strong marketing hook or seem too gimmicky?</p> <p>You just can&rsquo;t know which smart-home features will entice a buyer most. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s a personal choice for what you need it to do and what you&rsquo;re willing to spend,&rdquo; says Mike Prince, an agent with Equity Results Real Estate in American Fork, Utah.</p> <p>That&rsquo;s why, some real estate pros say, it&rsquo;s best to strip your marketing down to the basics of what a smart home has to offer. Don&rsquo;t try to talk up all of its features, but rather zero in on the functions that are most likely to appeal to the widest audience.</p> <p>The most popular advancements aren&rsquo;t even the newest inventions. They involve security, heating and cooling, and lighting&mdash;areas that virtually all buyers will pay attention to.</p> <h4> Remote Access to Security Cameras</h4> <p>Tanya Starcevich, an agent with Keller Williams in Los Angeles, has many clients who travel a lot. For that reason, she says, they want to be able to monitor their homes from long distances&mdash;even internationally.</p> <p>Starcevich sold a $3 million home in Malibu, Calif., with a number of smart features. Owners would be able to search the Internet on big-screen TVs as well as close and lock doors with the touch of a button. &ldquo;But the biggest point that I stressed was the controlled security access from anywhere in the world,&rdquo; she says. The home&rsquo;s security cameras could be viewed via a mobile device. &ldquo;The house was essentially accessible any day, any time. It&rsquo;s a huge selling point.&rdquo;</p> <h4> Smart Temperature Control</h4> <p>Smart green features are in high in demand. Matt Walker, an agent with Haring Realty in Mansfield, Ohio, says what&rsquo;s always at the top of his smart-home buyers&rsquo; lists is a smart thermostat. He&rsquo;s found the most popular to be the Nest Thermostat, which programs itself based on the user&rsquo;s temperature preferences, adjusting itself once a home owner has left to avoid unnecessary heating or cooling of an empty house. The Nest can also be controlled from a smartphone and shows your home&rsquo;s energy usage through the app or website.</p> <p>Mike Karras, senior sales associate at William Raveis Real Estate in Yarmouth Port, Mass., sold a smart home to a family who spent a lot of time on their houseboat. &ldquo;They loved the remote access to their home from their boat if they wanted to turn the fireplace on or turn the heat up&mdash;or turn it off if they decided to stay on the boat that night.&rdquo;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> <h4> Lights On, Lights Off</h4> <p>Most practitioners say automated lighting is a major selling point for smart-home buyers. Being able to turn lights on and off from a smartphone is a particular draw for clients who travel away from home for long periods. For example, Starcevich&rsquo;s clients, who travel internationally, can turn their lights on from anywhere in the world to make the home appear occupied while they are gone.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Don&#39;t focus on all the bells and whistles. Market the features of a smart home that appeal to a wide audience.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_SM_smarthome.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=26588">jul14_SM_smarthome.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_SM_smarthome_0.jpg?1405432358" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/jul14_LP_SM_smarthome.jpg?1405432377" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/product-guide/marketing/article/2014/04/2014-green-real-estate-working-sellers">2014 Green Real Estate: Working With Sellers</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/daily-news/2012/06/13/green-marketing-should-go-beyond-energy-efficiency">Green Marketing Should Go Beyond Energy Efficiency</a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2011/04/creating-greener-mls">Creating a Greener MLS</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Wed, 09 Jul 2014 17:24:10 +0000 mwhite 16581 at http://realtormag.realtor.org Pushing Through the Hurdles http://realtormag.realtor.org/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2014/07/pushing-through-hurdles <div class="field field-type-text field-field-deck"> <div class="field-label">Deck:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Why devote the extra time to working with first-time buyers? For some, the niche generates good feelings akin to first love. </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-archive-item"> <div class="field-label">Archive:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-features-checkbox"> <div class="field-label">Add to Features Package for the Month:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> off </div> </div> </div> <fieldset class="fieldgroup group-mag-pub-date"><div class="field field-type-date field-field-pub-date"> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <span class="date-display-single">Wednesday, July 16, 2014</span> </div> </div> </div> </fieldset> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-op-author"> <div class="field-label">Author(s):&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/author/lynn-olson">Lynn Olson</a> </div> </div> </div> <!--paging_filter--><p>Andi Grant&rsquo;s passion for her sales niche is pretty well summed up in her website&rsquo;s URL, <a href="http://FirstTimeHomeBuyerRealEstate.com" target="_blank">FirstTimeHomeBuyer RealEstate.com</a>, which is bursting with tips to help buyers in South Los Angeles and Long Beach, Calif., turn their dreams of home ownership into a reality.</p> <p>Grant, a sales agent with Prudential 24 Hour Real Estate Co., in Downey, Calif., got into the real estate business in 2006 when, as luck would have it, real estate prices began to plummet. But she leaned in during the downturn and, for the past three years, Grant has focused her marketing efforts on the particularly challenging first-time buyer segment, which now comprises 70 percent of her business.</p><blockquote> <p><strong>Tips for Working with First-Time Home Buyers</strong></p> <p>&ldquo;You need to have a lot of patience to work with first-time home buyers,&rdquo; says <span>Andi</span> Grant, a sales agent with Prudential 24 Hour Real Estate Co., in Downey, Calif. &ldquo;They found you online but they also found three other [agents], and so sometimes they&rsquo;re kind of bouncing around trying to get what they think is the best deal.&rdquo;</p> <p>Find buyers where they are: online. Get your website on the first page of search engines by blogging and by anticipating and answering questions important to first-time buyers.</p> <p>Build a network of resourceful lenders who understand and are current with the programs available to first-time buyers. Lenders are constantly changing their parameters, and every buyer has unique needs, so keep lines of communication open and expectations reasonable.</p> <p>First-time buyers are often surprised by costs associated with home owning beyond the initial purchase price and down payment. Insurance, repairs, and general upkeep expenses should be considered alongside mortgage costs when buyers are considering a property. These costs might tip a first-time buyer from a single-family home to a condominium purchase.</p> <p>Educate, educate, educate. Don&rsquo;t assume you and the buyers are on the same page.</p> </blockquote> <p>So what&rsquo;s the appeal of a niche that typically requires extra hand-holding, particularly when it comes to obtaining a loan? &ldquo;I love helping them to achieve the American dream,&rdquo; she says.</p> <p>At first, Grant didn&rsquo;t pursue first-time home buyers. They came to her&mdash;at open houses. &ldquo;I had to equip myself with information specifically geared to answering their many questions on the spot,&rdquo; she says. Creating a branding campaign aimed at them was the next step.</p> <p>Her success derives from anticipating how first-timers may have been led astray at the start of their search. Even though her buyers, typically in their early 30s, have unprecedented access to information, she has to correct much of what they have learned online, such as &ldquo;Top Ten Things First-Time Home Buyers Should Never/Always Do&rdquo; lists from dubious news sources and advice from family and friends whose purchasing experiences don&rsquo;t reflect current conditions.</p> <p>&ldquo;Buyers are telling me I need to make an offer $20K lower than the price so we can work our way up,&rdquo; even in multiple-offer scenarios, says Grant. &ldquo;I tell them, &lsquo;The last thing we want is for them to use your offer as scratch paper to calculate the pros and cons of other offers.&rsquo;&thinsp;&rdquo;</p> <p>First-time buyers defy stereotyping. Many are far more circumspect about the decision to own than buyers of a decade ago, particularly if they&rsquo;ve seen loved ones face a foreclosure or short sale, she says. &ldquo;It&rsquo;s all about being comfortable,&rdquo; Grant says. &ldquo;They&rsquo;re not going to buy just for the sake of buying.&rdquo;</p> <p>Swati Saxena, BPOR, SFR, sales associate with Baird &amp; Warner in Oak Park, Ill., says her prior career as an engineer prepared her surprisingly well for working with first-timers. She has created a 32-page handbook, including a flowchart that explains the progression, time frames, and potential logjams.</p> <p>Making sure first-timers are prepared for the responsibility is Saxena&rsquo;s priority. When they aren&rsquo;t, &rdquo;I keep in touch to see if their decision factors have changed or if they need more help.&rdquo; Nothing beats the feeling, however, when the pieces come together. &ldquo;Everyone remembers their first love, and everyone remembers their first home purchase,&rdquo; she says. &ldquo;How can I resist being part of this?&rdquo;</p> <p>As rewarding as those closings can be, experienced agents caution against making first-timers your exclusive focus. In five to seven years, they&rsquo;ll be back in the market, says David Kent, ABR, CRS, broker-owner of The Real Buyers Agent HBC in Charleston, S.C., and you want that business coming back to you.</p> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-show-author-info"> <div class="field-label">Show Author Info?:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> Show Author Info? </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-text field-field-teaser"> <div class="field-label">Teaser:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <!--paging_filter--><p>Why devote the extra time to working with first-time buyers? For some, the niche generates good feelings akin to first love.</p> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-main-image"> <div class="field-label">Main Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <div class="filefield-file"><img class="filefield-icon field-icon-image-jpeg" alt="image/jpeg icon" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/all/modules/filefield/icons/image-x-generic.png" /><a href="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/july14_SM_first.jpg" type="image/jpeg; length=56981">july14_SM_first.jpg</a></div> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-top3-lp-image"> <div class="field-label">Top 3 Article on Landing Page:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_top3_lp_image" width="149" height="70" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/july14_SM_first_0.jpg?1405436072" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-filefield field-field-lp-mainstage-image"> <div class="field-label">Landing Page Mainstage Image:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <img class="imagefield imagefield-field_lp_mainstage_image" width="830" height="230" alt="" src="http://realtormag.realtor.org/sites/realtormag.realtor.org/files/july14-LP_SM_first.jpg?1405436100" /> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-nodereference field-field-related-content"> <div class="field-label">Related Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/news-and-commentary/economy/article/2014/03/plight-first-time-buyers">The Plight of First-Time Buyers</a> </div> <div class="field-item even"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/feature/article/2012/12/relationship-management-3-ways-first-time-home-buyer-can">Relationship Management: 3 Ways a First-Time Home Buyer Can Drive You Nuts! </a> </div> <div class="field-item odd"> <a href="/sales-and-marketing/handouts-for-customers/for-buyers/5-common-first-time-home-buyer-mistakes">5 Common First Time Home Buyer Mistakes</a> </div> </div> </div> <div class="field field-type-number-integer field-field-mainstage-image-display2"> <div class="field-label">Mainstage Image Display on Content:&nbsp;</div> <div class="field-items"> <div class="field-item odd"> No, don't disable the "Main" image on this article </div> </div> </div> Feature Wed, 09 Jul 2014 18:36:23 +0000 mwhite 16585 at http://realtormag.realtor.org