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Integrity in Real Estate
Updated: 56 min 30 sec ago

WATCH: How the New Age of Home Inspections Can Raise the Agent Value Prop

28 min 33 sec ago

Amidst the real estate market’s roller coaster ride of the past two-plus years, one of the pillars of a successful real estate transaction—the home inspection—fell by the wayside as buyers maneuvered around stiff competition to secure a home. In this conversation with one of the home inspection industry’s leading authorities—Dan Steward, president & CEO of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors—we dive into how the market changed the way home inspections are delivered, and elevated their importance, both for consumers and real estate professionals alike. 

Interview highlights:

0:08 Are homebuyers still skipping home inspections, and the repercussions on homeowner confidence

1:12 How new home-inspection tools are answering the call to deliver information in a digital world, and empowering consumers when it comes to their home

5:09 How the home inspection can increase the agent value proposition 

6:32 Making life easier for real estate agents

7:29 Filling the white space between signing the deal and closing

8:41 The technology lag: finding the balance between protecting your brand and getting out of your comfort zone

11:00 The evolving impact of consumer expectations and the critical role a home inspection should play

15:30 What’s next for Pillar To Post Home Inspectors

Links and Resources

Revolutionizing Home Inspection

It’s a Hot Market. Does My Client Need a Home Inspection?

Home Inspection Waived? It’s Not Too Late to Learn About the Home

RISMedia’s 2022 Real Estate Newsmakers

About Dan Steward
Dan Steward joined Pillar To Post Home Inspectors in 2004 and since then has led the company to record levels of growth to become the largest home inspection brand in North America. Delivering a great customer experience and franchisee success lie at the heart of Steward’s passions and the Pillar To Post Home Inspectors business model. The company has consistently been rated the No. 1 Home Inspection franchise by Entrepreneur Media. Prior to joining Pillar To Post Home Inspectors, Steward was regional vice president, Iron Mountain, executive vice president and chief operating officer Shred-it Group, and held a number of leadership roles with Laidlaw. 

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Subsidized Home Repairs Can Benefit All, Study Says

28 min 46 sec ago

One of the most important parts of a healthy housing market is having healthy homes. Maintenance costs—which average somewhere between 0.5% and 1% of the home’s value per year—are vital investments homeowners need to make not just for themselves, but for the next owner, their neighbors and the community.

But these projects are often neglected, according to researchers at Harvard’s Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS), who found that one out of every five homeowners completely neglect all maintenance and home improvement investments, and more than a third (36%) spend less than $500 annually maintaining or updating their homes. Over time, this kind of neglect leads to an overall decay of housing stock.

One solution to this issue is to use public money and programs to subsidize repairs, especially for lower-income homeowners, who are even more likely to forgo important maintenance tasks. These kinds of investments create tremendous value for the whole community, according to Taylor Mayes and Carlos Martin, two researchers at JCHS, who recently took a look at what cities are offering as far as grants, loans and direct service to homeowners.

“Municipal home repair programs meet a critical need for addressing housing inadequacy,” Mayes and Martin wrote. “Yet, the scope and availability of the programs vary widely. Although larger cities tend to have higher budgets and serve more households, none of the programs have sufficient funds to meet the needs of all homeowners residing in their jurisdictions.”

Taking a look at the 100 largest U.S. cities by population, Mayes and Martin found that over half offer some kind of subsidized repair service to homeowners. Most are federally funded, relatively small and vary widely in scope, they discovered, with some programs spending more than $50,000 for a single and some capping at less than $5,000. Almost two-thirds (63%) cover electrical, mechanical systems and HVAC, and over half (57%) cover plumbing issues as well.

Only 19% of the programs cover aesthetic maintenance such as outdoor painting and landscaping, Mayes and Martin found. Most follow HUD guidelines for income eligibility, and some consider age of the occupant, focusing on assisting older homeowners.

For many neighborhoods and housing markets, these types of regular maintenance tasks or updates can make a huge difference in home prices and sales. Nancy Williams, who heads up a Community Land Trust in Maine, recently told RISMedia that all it takes is a single home to change the long-term outlook of a neighborhood.

“When a neighborhood begins to decline, it takes one house that isn’t kept up,” she says. “Then the next-door neighbors have problems selling their houses…it’s that declining spiral we see in a lot of neighborhoods. But the opposite also happens.”

Bonita Harrison, a broker in the Woodlawn area of Chicago, says neglected housing is an immediate and urgent problem that underlies many other issues in her community. As a Black developer and someone who grew up in Woodlawn, she says city officials need to recognize how much housing blight and decay is contributing to problems in the neighborhood—driving away jobs and encouraging juvenile delinquency.

“If you lived on the block around dilapidated properties, if there was vacant land—how quickly do you want that to be different?” she asks. “ need to be able to see the impact on what does to people.”

One of the problems that JCHS researchers found with the municipal programs was just how few homeowners they reach. While noting that data was collected during the pandemic, meaning the numbers are smaller than they might otherwise have been as safety and labor concerns shrank the reach of services, Mayes and Martin said two-thirds of municipal programs serve less than 100 households a year, with annual budgets ranging from under $500,000 to well over $1 million.

Another study that JCHS worked on in 2019 estimated that more than one-third of occupied homes needed to be repaired at a total cost of $126.9 billion (an average of just under $3,000 per home).

With a huge deficit of entry-level, affordable housing stock, ensuring that current homes remain in good enough shape for the next owner is important not just for the sake of current homeowners—who also benefit from maintaining their homes—but for everyone else as well.

“The benefits to public health, household safety and financial security, and community cohesion vastly outweigh the costs of these relatively modest investments in home maintenance and repair,” Mayes and Martin write.

Jesse Williams is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news to jwilliams@rismedia.com.

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New Model Aims to Provide Housing for Hard-Hit Middle Class

29 min 59 sec ago

It is the most important word in real estate today, and no, it’s not “location.”

Increasingly, real estate insiders and government policymakers are recognizing that if no one can afford housing, we are all in a lot of trouble. “Affordability” has become a crisis sparked by restrictive zoning, underbuilding, stagnating wages and spiraling home prices, with more and more government officials and housing advocates clamoring for solutions that will allow low- and middle-income families to get into homeownership.

The University of California at Berkeley’s Terner Center for Housing Innovation last week released a new analysis highlighting the benefits and pitfalls of a somewhat radical new model to create middle-income housing in California, using entities called joint power authorities (JPAs), which allow cities to leverage cheap capital and tax exemptions in creating a specific kind of affordable housing.

While the process is complex, the idea is that developers or investors sell their properties or land to a city, which then holds that property affordable to middle-class families—those making 50% to 120% of area median income (AMI). At the conclusion of a designated period, the city can put the property back on the market, keep it affordable or transfer it to a developer.

The idea, according to the Berkeley researchers, is to help lift renters who are on the cusp of homeownership out of an increasingly ugly cycle of cost-burdens and rent increases without burdening taxpayers, as the subsidy is created without depending on scarce grants or other public funding (though the city does lose the property from its tax rolls, at least temporarily).

“The emergent California JPA model offers an alternative path for using property tax exemptions by taking advantage of existing statutory authorities that have not historically been used for housing,” the researchers wrote.

A handful of other states offer tax incentives directly to developers, according to the report, which can also help create affordable housing without depending on federal funding, though local governments are not as directly involved as in the JPA model. If JPA projects are eventually sold on the unrestricted market, the city’s entire tax base benefits from the equity.

Though these types of programs are somewhat in the infant stages, the researchers posit that the approach could fill a neglected niche between very low-income restricted affordable housing and prohibitively expensive market rate rentals.

“Applying expansive affordability requirements (e.g., requiring a greater share of affordable units or deeper levels of affordability) can disincentivize developers from pursuing the tax exemption altogether, meaning no new affordable units get built,” they argued. “Weaker affordability requirements could result in valuable tax dollars being spent on projects that aren’t providing enough public benefit.”

Hitting that sweet spot could allow more families to plan and save to potentially purchase a home, as rent increases for these apartments can only go up with AMI. Researchers also say that the program potentially allows “smaller and potentially more diverse real estate companies” to get involved with projects, as the city can provide technical and legal assistance in the process.

Looking at two case studies, the report found that a JPA project in the city of Hayward offered up to a 13.1% discount on rentals, achieving 90% occupancy in a 309-unit apartment building. Another project in Sacramento is expected to finish construction in 2025, offering a projected 17% discount, with 358 units total.

Despite this momentum, the researchers note some concerns and questions around the JPA model, including competition between cities, enforcing affordability requirements, ownership and administration of projects (the JPA is both responsible for oversight and the only entity with ownership interest in a project, creating potential conflicts), high fees and lack of true affordability for lower-income families.

But they add that many of these issues have near-term solutions, and the potential to add housing for a middle-income demographic that has been especially hard-hit by unaffordable housing in recent years means that the model is worth pursuing—in California and potentially beyond.

“The JPA model holds tremendous promise and is likely to continue to scale across both as an acquisition and preservation tool, and potentially as a tool for spurring new construction,” they conclude.

Jesse Williams is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news to jwilliams@rismedia.com.

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National Home Price Gains Continue to Exceed 20% in May

31 min 8 sec ago

Though U.S. home price growth relaxed slightly in May from April, it remained in double digits year over year for the 16th consecutive month, according to the latest CoreLogic Home Price Index (HPI) and HPI Forecast for May 2022, released last week.

As in past months, all states and Washington, D.C. posted annual appreciation, with 13 states posting gains of more than 20%, according to the index. While rising interest rates cooled overheated demand this spring and are expected to contribute to slowing price growth over the next year, motivated buyers may have less competition and more opportunities moving forward, CoreLogic stated.

Key findings:

  • U.S. home prices (including distressed sales) increased 20.2% in May 2022, compared to May 2021. On a month-over-month basis, home prices increased by 1.8% compared to April 2022.
  • In May, annual appreciation of detached properties (20.9%) was 2.9 percentage points higher than that of attached properties (18%).
  • Annual U.S. home price gains are forecast to slow to 5% by May 2023 as rising mortgage rates and affordability challenges are expected to cool buyer demand.
  • Tampa, Florida logged the highest year-over-year home price increase of the country’s 20 largest metro areas in May, at 33.4%, while Phoenix posted the second-largest hike, at 28.7%. These two metros also registered the largest gains in March and April.
  • Florida and Tennessee posted the highest home price gains, a respective 33.2% and 27.4%. Arizona ranked third with a 27.3% year-over-year increase. Washington, D.C. ranked last for appreciation at 4.3%, but CoreLogic forecasts that the rate of price growth there will rise slightly by May 2023.

The takeaway:
“Slowing home price growth reflects the dampening consequence of higher mortgage rates on housing demand, which was the intention,” said Selma Hepp, deputy chief economist at CoreLogic. “With monthly mortgage expenses up about 50% from only a few months ago, fewer buyers are now competing for continually limited inventory. And while annual home price growth still exceeds 20%, we expect to see a rapid deceleration in the rate of growth over the coming year. Nevertheless, the normalization of overheated buying conditions should bring about more of a balance between buyers and sellers and a healthier overall housing market.”

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From Clueless to Confident: Building Your Real Estate Business One Skill at a Time

10 hours 27 min ago

Whether it’s social media marketing, technology or another aspect of your business that you’re struggling with, it’s important to remember that anyone can learn. Even if you’re 19 and just starting out in real estate, or 76 years young and still doing what you love, it’s never too early (or late!) to develop new skills, new habits and realize new success.

Focus on one thing  

Social media platforms, technology and other tools can leave you feeling overwhelmed, particularly if you’re trying to learn all of them at once. If you’re anything like the rest of us, you probably develop the sweats and feel like you’re being pulled in several different directions. When you start feeling this way, it’s time to pick one thing and focus on learning that thing until you are comfortable and confident.

If, for example, you’re currently struggling with social media, pick one platform, like Facebook, and don’t look at any others until you’ve learned how to use it. Once you’re totally comfortable with it and have enough confidence to say, “I could teach a class on this,” then move on to something else. Next, you may want to focus on getting better at creating virtual home tours or email marketing.

Little by little  

One of my favorite sayings is, “Inch by inch, life’s a cinch. Yard by yard, life’s hard.” When we try to learn too much at once, it can be hard, frustrating and even counterproductive as we don’t retain what we learn.

When I decided to run a marathon (and believe me, I am not a runner), I looked at the whole 26.2 miles and thought, “There’s no way. It’s too far!” But I was committed to doing it, so I began to train. I started small, because if I had tried to run the whole thing right off the bat, I probably would have died in someone’s front yard. While I only ran 0.3 miles on my very first run, I considered quitting, but I ran just a little bit further every day. I finally worked myself up to a mile in two weeks, and it took about five months to work myself up to the full 26.2 miles.

I’ll share with you what I tell my Power Agents®: focus on improving your skills just 10% a month using resources, webinars on-demand, blogs and training articles. That 10% a month means you’ll improve 120% every year.

Darryl Davis has trained and coached more than 100,000 agents globally. He is a best-selling author of “How to Become a Power Agent® in Real Estate,” which tops Amazon’s charts for most-sold book to real estate agents. Davis hosts a weekly webinar to help agents succeed in changing times. Visit www.DarrylSpeaks.com/Online-Training.

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The Key to Growing Your Real Estate Business: Connecting With Past Clients

10 hours 28 min ago

While there is no indication that housing prices will level off, it is likely that real estate sales will slow down in the summer months. Use this downtime to your advantage by reviewing your database and reconnecting with former clients.

Satisfied customers are an incredible source of future sales and referrals, especially in today’s hyper-competitive market. Referred business comes with a built-in level of trust that can shorten the gap in building a business relationship. Leverage these techniques to turn past clients into new opportunities.

  1. Brush up on your communication skills. You’ve probably heard the saying, “You can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.” All relationships are best approached with positivity, and when kindness is at the forefront of your communication, it is easier to open closed doors.

If your first two quarters were heavy on conversations fueled by negotiation, you may need to adjust your style. Choose to connect with past clients with words that focus on “we” versus “I,” reminding them of the positive experience they had working with you.

  1. Review your notes. Before you reach out, look at your client’s record to see if there is a natural reason to contact them. For example, an upcoming birthday or life milestone is a great reason to send a card. Perhaps you noted that they are an avid sports fan and can choose to connect on their favorite team’s victory.

If your database is slim on notes, reach out to share timely updates on market changes or just say “hello.” Make this your starting point to log each client interaction in a reliable customer relationship management system so that you always know what to say when reaching out.

  1. Update clients on market changes. Reconnect with former clients by providing timely updates about today’s market. By sharing information relevant to real estate or homeownership, you become their trusted expert and are top of mind when they are buying or selling.

If you already send a monthly mailing to prospects, add your former clients to this mailing list. Remember to add a handwritten note with the first mailing to acknowledge that you lost touch and that you are looking forward to bringing them back into your community.

  1. Host a client appreciation party. With a little preparation, you can plan a memorable experience that’s sure to get your clients talking.

Planning your next client party can be a breeze. Be sure you are working at least a month in advance of the event date, and have a strong plan to follow up with your guests.

People love to be thought of, and when you make the move to reconnect, it can bring joy to their day. Considering that the National Association of REALTORS® has identified that 75% of buyers would use their agent again or recommend their agent to others, reconnecting with past clients is a smart marketing tactic.

Working with a coach is an effective way to refine your business plan, refresh your communication skills and have the confidence you need to stay accountable and reach your goals. Buffini & Company’s One2One Coaching includes private coaching calls, a monthly marketing kit and a user-friendly CRM to keep your client notes organized.

To learn more, visit www.buffiniandcompany.com/o2o.

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Yardi Matrix Releases New National Rent-Growth Forecast

10 hours 30 min ago

Rents in most American cities continue to rise slightly each month, but are not duplicating the rapid escalation rates exhibited in 2021, according to a new report from Yardi® Matrix. But given ongoing gains, Yardi® has revised its end-of-year projections upwards for most markets, the company said.

Here are the findings:

  • Average month-over-month asking rents increased by 1.1% in May compared to the 1% month-over-month increase in April.
  • Year-over-year asking rents decelerated, from 16% in April to 14% in May.
  • Asking rents fell in only six markets: the gateway markets of Queens and Brooklyn, New York; small Southern markets Macon, Georgia, and Jackson, Mississippi; and tropical Honolulu, Hawaii and the Southwest Florida Coast.
  • Conversely, 84 markets experienced greater than 1% month-over-month increase, and seven markets saw month-over-month growth that topped 2%: Charleston, Knoxville, the Bay Area-South Bay, Miami, the Urban Twin Cities, Wilmington, North Carolina, and Portland, Maine.
  • Most markets received an increase to their end-of-year projections. The biggest increases were concentrated in markets that continue to outperform expectations, with Scranton-Wilkes-Barre, Wilmington, South Bend and Spokane all seeing a more than 5% increase for year-end 2022.

The takeaway:

“While we are seeing the usual seasonal increase leading into the summer months, 2022 does not look like a repeat of 2021 even though rent growth remains elevated,” state Matrix analysts.

To view the full report, click here.

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Shares of New York Rebrands as CENTURY 21 Shared Purpose

10 hours 31 min ago

Bobby Gellert, broker/owner of Shares of New York (Marketing LLC), has announced his brokerage’s affiliation with CENTURY 21®. The brokerage will now do business as CENTURY 21 Shared Purpose. The New York City-based brokerage is a market leader in the acquisition, management, renovation and sale of co-ops and condos, a release stated.

“Our mission is to follow our passions and to make a difference by helping others. We are happiest when we are contributing to the growth and expansion of others and by impacting the world in positive ways,” said Gellert. “Shared Purpose reflects our core values and company culture of being committed, always doing the right thing, staying connected, focusing on mindset, operating a sustainable business and finding fulfillment. We believe that acting with consistent purpose will generate a life of meaning and a sense of self-worth and personal wellbeing. We want to share this with all of you.”

Gellert also noted that the CENTURY 21 brand’s long history of giving back to local communities and its 43-year partnership with disability charity Easterseals was another reason he chose to align his brokerage with the brand.

“Through our affiliated 501(c)(3) public foundation, Sharing With You, our agents donate a minimum of 1% of the gross commission from each of their closed transactions to put toward their selected passion or cause, and we encourage other third parties, including clients, to contribute to the foundation as well,” said Gellert. “Knowing that giving back is baked into the culture at Century 21 Real Estate helped to make our affiliation decision seamless.”

Gellert and his team said they look forward to joining the CENTURY 21 brand in its mission to transform the industry from transactional to experiential while still providing value to the overall real estate experience.

“To have another industry leader like Bobby join the CENTURY 21 family affirms that our consumer-centric approach to this business resonates with entrepreneurs looking to take their businesses to new heights,” said Michael Miedler, president and chief executive officer of Century 21 Real Estate. “We look forward to helping everyone at CENTURY 21 Shared Purpose realize their real estate ambitions.”

For more information, visit www.century21.com.

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9 Low-Cost Ways to Improve Your Listings

Mon, 07/04/2022 - 02:00

In the competitive world of real estate, a strategy that is vital to your success is making your client’s property stand out among the other properties on the market. In order to do this, homeowners may have to make renovations to the interior or exterior of their property. However, they are often working with limited budgets, which means that they need to focus on the most cost-effective renovations that will produce the greatest return on their investment.

There are a number of simple improvements that can be made to a home that will help attract buyers and possibly earn your client a couple of extra dollars. Read on for nine low-cost ways to improve your listings.

Clean, clean, clean

A little elbow grease is one of the best ways to make a home more appealing to buyers. The goal should be to make everything look new, which means that the house should be cleaned from bottom to top, including all of the hard to reach places, such as under the refrigerator and the stove. Some ideas for cleaning a home include:

  • Cleaning all of the windows, fixtures and appliances.
  • Cleaning the carpets and drapes.
  • Cleaning the inside and outside of the stove, refrigerator and kitchen cabinets.
  • Removing stains from carpets and area rugs.
  • Eliminating any odors by using air fresheners, candles or potpourri.

Add fresh touches

Adding a touch of style or color to a home is a great way to attract a buyer’s attention. But, be careful not to go overboard. Though personal touches are charming, they can often be distracting to buyers, so it’s best to replace them with more neutral decorations. Some ideas for fresh touches you can add to a home include:

  • Placing fresh floral arrangements around the home.
  • Placing potted plants in empty corners or on your front steps.
  • Placing bowls of fresh fruit in the kitchen or living room.
  • Setting new handsoap out on the kitchen and bathroom sinks.
  • Displaying fresh towels in the kitchen and bathroom.

Let the light in

Adjusting the lighting in a home is one of the best ways to increase its appeal to buyers. By using a combination of both natural sunlight and synthetic light, you can brighten up any dim area and create a comfortable and homey atmosphere. Some ideas for adjusting the lighting in a home include:

  • Turning on all indoor and outdoor lights for a showing.
  • Opening the shades or drapes to let the sunshine light the rooms.
  • Adding additional lamps to create ambient lighting.
  • Replacing old lightbulbs in rooms that tend to be dark.
  • Replacing light fixtures if they are noticeably damaged.

Reduce clutter

Buyers want to be able to visualize themselves living in the house they are being shown. This can be difficult if the house is filled with too much clutter or furniture. Getting rid of unnecessary items and decreasing clutter is a great way to increase buyer appeal. Some of the best ways to maximize space in a home include:

  • Remove objects such as tools, toys, books or magazines from all countertops, tables or desks.
  • Organize all closets, cabinets, pantries and bookshelves.
  • Put all out-of-season clothing into storage to make closets roomier.
  • Put at least one-third of your furniture in storage, especially large pieces, such as entertainment centers and televisions.
  • Store and neatly arrange items in a place where they will be least noticeable, such as the garage or basement.

Stage furniture

Strategically placing furniture can help buyers envision themselves and their belongings in a home. Staging furniture can also demonstrate the amount of space a home has to offer. To a homeowner, it will appear bare, but to a buyer, it will appear new and organized. Some ideas for furniture staging include:

  • Turning a spare room into an office space.
  • Setting the dining room table.
  • Creating a reading nook in the living room or master bedroom.
  • Arranging the living room in a conversational way.
  • Adding cozy-looking blankets to the backs of armchairs or couches.

Showcase the kitchen

The kitchen is perhaps the most central room of a home. If your client is thinking of spending a part of their budget on interior renovations, the kitchen is a great place to start. This doesn’t mean installing all new cabinetry and appliances though. A couple of small updates can make all the difference, such as:

  • Replacing the hardware on the cabinet doors.
  • Painting the walls a neutral color.
  • Replacing light fixtures.
  • Installing under-cabinet lighting.
  • Installing cabinet organizers to maximize space.

Buff up the bathroom

The bathroom, like the kitchen, is also one of the most important rooms of a home. Bathroom updates can vary from full-blown makeover to minor updates. However, if your client’s budget will not allow any elaborate renovations, there is still plenty that can be done to buff up a bathroom. Some low-cost ideas include:

  • Replacing smaller, less expensive items such as the toilet seat or towel bars.
  • Adding a fresh coat of paint.
  • Scrubbing dirty shower tiles or floor tiles.
  • Peeling away old caulk and laying down new in its place.
  • Reglazing the tub and sinks.

Spruce up the entryway

The entrance is another important area for effective home staging. Not only does the entryway affect curb appeal, it marks the threshold between the buyer’s old home and their potential new home. Though the adjustments don’t need to be extensive, the entrance should invite buyers to explore the rest of the house. Some ideas for staging an entry area include:

  • Placing a new welcome mat in front of the door.
  • Arranging potted plants on the front steps or on either side of the entry.
  • Painting the front door a vibrant color that complements the home’s exterior.
  • Repairing or replacing the porch lights, screen door and doorbell.
  • Polishing or replacing the front door’s hardware.

Improve curb appeal

What buyers see when they first drive by your client’s home is incredibly important. The conditions of a home’s exterior, including the yard, driveway, sidewalk and surrounding shrubbery should prepare buyers for what to expect when they enter the home. Some ways to improve curb appeal include:

  • Trimming the lawn and any surrounding shrubbery.
  • Repairing or replacing shutters, gutters, shingles or window screens.
  • Cleaning the windows.
  • Adding a fresh coat of paint to the siding, trim and shutters, lamp or mailbox posts.
  • Pressure washing the roof, vinyl siding, walkways and driveway.

McKissock Learning is the nation’s premier online real estate school, providing continuing education courses and professional development to hundreds of thousands of real estate agents across the country. As part of the Colibri Real Estate family of premier education brands, McKissock Learning, along with its sister schools Real Estate Express, Superior School of Real Estate, Allied Schools, The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, Gold Coast Schools, The Rockwell Institute and Hondros Education Group, helps real estate professionals achieve sustainable success throughout each stage of their real estate career. Learn more at mckissock.com/real-estate.

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Creative Marketing Ideas to Move Your Listings Faster

Sat, 07/02/2022 - 02:00

WHAT: In today’s fierce real estate market, marketing can make or break a deal. Having an effective and creative marketing strategy is an absolute must for agents. At the end of the day, no matter how many leads you have, converting those homebuyers into homeowners is the ultimate goal.

In this webinar, panelists will discuss strategic and innovative marketing ideas to help agents not only promote their listings, but ensure they close the deal.

WHEN: Wed., July 6, 2022, at 2:00 P.M. ET

Register Now!

Sponsored by

 

Speakers

Moderator: Anthony Lamacchia is the broker/owner and CEO of the Lamacchia Companies: Lamacchia Realty, Lamacchia Property Management, Lamacchia Development, and REAL Training and Systems Inc. Lamacchia is considered an industry expert, having done hundreds of appearances on the local news, and interviews with local and national newspapers.

Amanda Pflieger, director of Demand Generation at Curbio, is a data-driven marketer who is laser-focused on developing creative marketing campaigns and strategies for companies of all sizes. Before transitioning to tech, Pflieger began her career in the commercial and corporate real estate sector providing project, construction and relocation management representation services to a portfolio of high-profile clients.

Riezl Baker co-founded Luxury Lake Oconee Real Estate Group in 2020 with a mission to provide the highest level of professional service to real estate clients. During their first year, Baker and her team set a record for producing the highest sales volume by a small group of three active licensed agents (over $100 million in 2020.) Baker is a consistent top producer and has been recognized and honored for her business accomplishments and community involvement.

Chad Gray is a top-producing luxury broker associate at Compass in South Florida, as well as a co-founder of the award-winning Luxury Living Fort Lauderdale Group. He has been recognized as one of the most successful agents, year over year, since 2010. With a passion for selling beautiful homes, with an emphasis on providing exceptional service, Gray offers top-notch service, professionalism and results.

Each month, RISMedia’s webinars draw more than 1,000 agents and brokers from across the country, eager for exclusive insight from the industry’s most profitable professionals. For a recap of our recent webinar, “Pros and Cons of iBuying Offerings for Your Brokerage, visit RISMedia’s Housecall. To access all RISMedia webinars, subscribe on YouTube.

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The July Issue of Real Estate Magazine Is Now Live

Fri, 07/01/2022 - 12:04

RISMedia’s July issue of Real Estate magazine is now available, and not to be missed are some in-depth exclusives, including an inside look at the Anywhere Real Estate rebrand, and a deep dive on the inventory crisis. Check out this month’s features below.

 On the Cover

The Changing Face of Homeownership

How Anywhere Is Reimagining the Buying and Selling Experience

When the pandemic descended upon us, life as we knew it changed in so many ways, from the minute to the monumental. And from all accounts, the arc is still bending. During these transformational times, everyone has had to make a choice. Remain as-is in the hopes that things go back to “normal”—or change. Transform. Enter Anywhere Real Estate. Announcing a bold rebrand this past May, Realogy made what it viewed as a critical course correction to accurately reflect what real estate has become…and is becoming. In this month’s cover story, take a closer look at how the dramatic name change is intended to speak to real estate professionals and the consumers they serve; to meet everyone—and anyone—where they are in the real estate journey…anywhere that happens to be.

Highlights

Great Spaces: Embracing the Coastal Grandmother Aesthetic 
Here, explore four properties with unique centurial elements.

Unpacking the Persisting Inventory Crisis Plaguing the Housing Market 
While progress is being made to increase the number of homes for sale, is it enough?

Peak Season Is Here—Use Your Member Perks to Make the Most of It 
With the summer selling season in full swing, take advantage of the products that save you time, money and stress.

Visit our Table of Contents here and here to see all this month’s top features!

The post The July Issue of Real Estate Magazine Is Now Live appeared first on RISMedia.

First Guaranty Mortgage Corp. Tacks on Massive Layoffs With Bankruptcy Filing

Fri, 07/01/2022 - 12:03

The shifting mortgage market has sent ripples throughout the lending industry that have manifested in waves of layoffs as companies look to adapt to the changing times. While this has become a common trend in the past six months, some companies have struggled more than others.

That’s been the case for First Guaranty Mortgage Corp. (FGMC), which announced yesterday that it had filed chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the District of Delaware on June 30 along with its affiliate Maverick II Holdings, LLC.

“While we have made considerable efforts to address our ongoing financial challenges related to the state of the mortgage market, we ultimately must do what is best for our borrowers and consumers,” said FGMC CEO Aaron Samples in a press release.

The company claims in the petitions that it has experienced “significant operating losses and cash flow challenges” due mainly to the volatile mortgage lending market.

“In 2021, intense competition for mortgage originations, in part due to the collapse of the refinancing market, resulted in a sharp decline in the Debtors’ performance,” read an excerpt from the filing. “The Debtors’ margins on the sale of loans also declined dramatically.”

Like many mortgage companies that have seen their profits tumble amid the current market shift, FGMC’s filing painted a picture of its financial woes as mortgage rates have climbed in 2022.

For the four months ending April 30, 2022, the Texas-based company tallied $23.3 million of after-tax net loss, which is partially attributed to lower origination volumes. Despite the company raking in $1.7 billion in mortgages during that time, FGMC indicated that its sales profit gains “continued to be very weak.”

The bankruptcy filing comes less than a week after the Texas-based mortgage lender laid off nearly 80% of its workforce on June 17. According to a WARN notice sent to the Texas Workforce Commission, FGMC terminated 428 of its 565 employees.

Initial reports regarding the firings indicated that the layoffs were caused by “significant operating losses and cash flow challenges due to unforeseen historical adverse market conditions for the mortgage lending industry, including unanticipated market volatility.”

While the layoffs indicate the persisting strain mortgage companies have had to endure under rising mortgage rates and shrinking refinance originations, the approach in which FGMC fired its workers harkens back to a now-infamous wave of layoffs conducted by Better.com CEO Vishal Garg. 

National Mortgage Professional (NMP) reported that Samples fired workers during a 10-minute virtual meeting on Microsoft Teams. Based on former employee accounts featured in NMP, Samples cited “several general economic hurdles” plaguing FGMC, like market compression and geopolitical issues, as reasons for terminating everyone on the call immediately.

RISMedia also spoke with a former FGMC employee impacted by the layoffs, who confirmed what the reports indicated. The former employee requested that they be anonymous in this story and drew comparisons between FGMC’s firings and the Better.com Zoom-call firings.

“For Better Mortgage, they didn’t show much empathy,” they say. “It was pretty similar to last Friday. There was a brief call over Microsoft Teams, and he said, ‘if you are in the call, your job has been cut.'”

Admittedly, the former employee said the announcement came as a surprise despite a general understanding that the mortgage lending environment has been in flux for the past year and a half.

“Our business was shrinking for sure, but there was some niche in the industry,” they say, highlighting FGMC’s work with non-qualified mortgages as an example of products that the company could have leaned on during the market shift.

On June 15, FGMC announced a new stand-alone second lien program that the company touted as an “exciting new addition” to its suite of non-QM products under its affiliate Maverick Solutions.

“The market is still there, so they were optimistic and were coming up with new products,” the former employee continues. “Our impression was they’ll be alright.”

Several other former employees took to social media to lament the loss in the days following the layoffs.

“One constant in my nearly 30 years in the mortgage industry is that when I find a job that feels like home, I am going to give well over 100% and will not leave until they kick me out,” wrote Stacy Lighton, a former VP of Credit Policy at FGMC, on LinkedIn. “My most recent position as vice president of Credit Policy was with First Guaranty Mortgage Corporation, a company that felt like family until last Friday when most of the staff was abruptly released.”

Other impacted employees painted pictures of the unexpectedness of the incident.

“FGMC cut about 80% of its workforce on Friday and has stopped accepting new mortgage applications,” read a LinkedIn post by former FGMC Account Executive Tina Ogden Smith.

“The company laid off around 500 employees without severance payment,” the post continues. “Sure sign of doors closing in near future.”

According to the former employee, a severance package was not offered immediately after the layoffs occurred. However, they tell RISMedia that FGMC has since offered severance, including a week’s work-worth of pay for every year they worked at FGMC.

Employees weren’t the only ones blindsided by FGMC’s behavior, as lender partners indicated that they were also left without updates on whether the company would purchase and fund loans that had already been approved for purchase.

“I’m positive I am not alone when wondering ‘will you be honoring your commitment to purchase these loans, and when can we expect them to be purchased?’” wrote Dani Hernandez, vice president of mortgage at UpEquity in Austin, Texas.

In her letter to FGMC, which was posted on LinkedIn, Hernandez indicated that the last communication UpEquity received from FGMC was two weeks ago, and the company was told that FGMC would “honor these locks and pricing.”

“Now FGMC has gone radio silent,” Hernandez wrote. “Please let your lender partners know if we should be looking for other investors to sell these loans to or if and when you will be funding these loans you’ve committed to purchasing.

“Leadership at FGMC, we understand this is a difficult time, but you owe it to your lender partners to let us know what is happening, so others do not suffer,” the letter concluded.

While FGMC’s bankruptcy filing isn’t expected to affect closed mortgages, the company indicated that it has “taken action to accommodate the maximum number of borrowers who have started but not yet completed the loan process.”

“FGMC is finalizing debtor-in-possession financing that will enable it to close and fund approved consumer loans under existing terms and conditions,” FGMC stated.

The company also indicated that it identified one or more potential partners to provide optionality to support the pipeline of in-process loans.

The debtor-in-possession financing still needs to be approved by the Court. The same applies to an “employee incentive and retention program” that FGMC is trying to develop.

“As part of this process, the Company retained a portion of its workforce to manage the day-to-day business,” Samples said. “We are requesting that the court approve a variety of motions that will promote a smooth transition for all pertinent parties while also preserving value for the benefit of the Company’s stakeholders.”

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Pandemic-Fueled, ‘Astonishing’ Cost-Burden Turnaround

Fri, 07/01/2022 - 12:02

Using a newly released Census Bureau analysis, researchers at the Harvard Joint Center for Housing Studies (JCHS) have finally been able to do something that has eluded most observers: contrast pre-pandemic and pandemic-era housing with hard numbers.

For a variety of both practical and political reasons, census data from 2020—which includes plenty of vital information for housing—has been nearly impossible to compare with previous years. That changed recently, as Census Bureau officials came up with a statistical workaround, as well as adding data from third-party sources for the first time, according to JCHS, allowing researchers to draw some real conclusions—specifically about how much affordability suffered due to the pandemic.

The numbers, they say, are “astonishing.” Assuming that the new methodology is accurate, JCHS researchers Alexander Hermann and Whitney Airgood-Obrycki said that in a single year, the pandemic fully erased one-fifth of the last decade’s gains in affordability, with cost-burdened households jumping 1.5% in 2020 alone.

“Rising cost burdens were remarkably widespread,” they wrote. “The share of Black households with cost burdens rose an astounding 2.4%, but burden rates also increased 1.6% for white, 0.8% for Asian and 0.6% for Hispanic households. Likewise, the burden rate increased across all income groups.”

Cost-burdened households are defined as those that spend more than 30% of their incomes on direct housing costs. This metric is widely used in government and policymaking, though it has significant limitations.

For renters, the impact of the pandemic was particularly brutal—a 2.6% increase in cost-burdened households. That erases more than half of the gains made for renters since 2011, when the burden rate peaked at just under 51% before falling 4.4% over the next eight years.

In terms of income, the hardest-hit group were those making $30,000 to $45,000, a demographic that saw its share of cost-burdened families rise 4.2%.

For context, the researchers note that cost-burdened households rose only 1.8% in the two years of the great recession, from 2008 to 2010.

Those who own homes were not spared either, though the effect on them was less significant. An overall 1% increase in cost-burdens set homeowners back about one-tenth of the way to the last high-point of that metric, when 30% were cost-burdened in 2010.

Airgood-Obrycki and Hermann are careful to note that their data is inclusive of just the calendar year of 2020, before the economy started to recover job losses and other pandemic-related expenses—extra child care during school closures, for instance—started to fade. Since then, a lot has changed, including massive price appreciation for homes and historic inflation, meaning that an up-to-date picture of affordability and housing cost burdens will require further analysis.

“Whether the economic recovery since 2020 has been enough to offset rapidly rising home prices and rents remains to be seen,” they wrote, “but the pre-pandemic affordability crisis assuredly continues.”

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Florida, South Top Inflated Rental Markets

Fri, 07/01/2022 - 12:01

Some of the same researchers who collaborated to evaluate markets where homes are over or undervalued released a new report this week, this one focused on rentals, finding a continued trend of rental costs vastly exceeding expected increases.

The collaboration between Florida Atlantic University (FAU), the University of Alabama (UA) and Florida Gulf Coast University (FGCU) found cities in the South—and Florida in particular—have rental markets currently inflated massively above expectations. A total of 10 cities have rental averages 15% higher than where they should be, and two markets—both in Florida—saw year-over-year rent increases topping 30% in May.

“Until we can build units faster, the nation’s rental crisis will continue,” said Bennie Waller, an incoming faculty member at UA, in a statement.

With a historic spike in rental costs over the past few months, the researchers saw some reasons to be optimistic that most markets will not continue to balloon out of control, while cautioning that structural factors could persist in keeping rents unaffordable for the medium term.

“As long as the demand for renting remains high, rental rates almost certainly will stay elevated as well,” said Ken H. Johnson, economist at FAU, in a statement.

The average rental across the country is 9.85% overvalued, according to the researchers.

Researchers compared the “difference between statistically modeled prices and actual rental prices” using Zillow data to determine whether the market was over or undervalued, also calculating month-to-month increases. Largely, rent spikes have hit the South and West the hardest, they found, and even areas with traditionally lower rents are increasing at a far swifter pace than predicted.

Sierra Vista, Arizona, for instance, has an average rental cost of $1,291—well below the national average of $1,979. But that rent is 18.6% higher than it should be, the researchers found, up 17.8% year-over-year.

Factors

Unsurprisingly, a lack of inventory and high demand are a primary cause of these over-inflated rents, according to the researchers. Shelton Weeks, a researcher at FGCU, faulted local governments and grass-roots resistance from residents for stymying the creation of more rental housing.

“In addition to the lengthy approval process faced by apartment development projects, a primary culprit here is the resistance within many communities to new projects with higher levels of density,” he said in a statement. “In order for markets to function properly and add supply where needed, it is critical for municipalities to streamline the approval process for these projects and for density to be increased to a point where the new units can be offered at reasonable rental rates.”

Johnson also posited that mortgage rate increases will indirectly drive up the cost of rentals as the pool of homebuyers shrink.

“The Fed’s interest rate increase will price more people out of the housing market and keep them as renters,” he said.

At the same time, “the vast majority” of the 107 metros examined by the researchers are on pace for smaller year-to-year increases than in 2021, though exactly when, how and where renters will get relief is uncertain. One path to increasing the rental stock is through seasonal or short-term rental properties, many of which are “likely” to become traditional rentals as investors try to cash in and sell at the peak of the current housing market.

Johnson adds that some renters—particularly in the warmer climates of the South and West—may be forced to return to in-person jobs in other areas, freeing up some supply.

“These two elements could come together to produce a better balance between supply and demand of rental units and give burdened renters a break,” Johnson said. “But until then, renters may have to cut back on discretionary spending to make ends meet.”

Here are the top 10 inflated rental markets:

  1. Miami, Florida – 22.70%
  2. Fort Myers, Florida – 20.41%
  3. Sierra Vista, Arizona – 18.56%
  4. Sarasota, Florida – 17.86%
  5. Tampa, Florida – 17.52%
  6. Knoxville, Tennessee – 16.92%
  7. Port St. Lucie, Florida – 15.89%
  8. Killeen, Texas – 15.76%
  9. Lakeland, Florida – 15.36%
  10. Bakersfield, California – 15.33%

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For-Sale Home Supply Grows Faster Than Ever as New Seller Activity Rebounds

Fri, 07/01/2022 - 12:00

Housing inventory recovery made major strides in June, with the number of homes available to buyers climbing at its fastest yearly pace of all time (+18.7%), according to the latest realtor.com® Monthly Housing Trends Report released this past week. Among key factors driving June’s jump in active listings were new sellers, who entered the market at a higher rate than in 2017 – 2019 prior to the pandemic, according to the report.

“Our June data shows the inventory recovery accelerated, posting the second straight month of active listings growth in nearly three years. We expect these improvements to continue, as predicted in our newly-updated 2022 forecast,” said Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com®. “While we anticipate that more inventory will eventually cool the feverish pace of competition, the typical buyer has yet to see meaningful relief from quickly selling homes and record-high asking prices. However, a deeper dive into June’s inventory gains by square footage reveals potential opportunities for move-up buyers, as newly-listed homes skewed larger. In other words, this first wave of supply improvements may be particularly opportune for summer sellers looking to upgrade from their starter homes, which could mean more equity to put toward purchasing a bigger property.”

Hale added, the increase in larger, more expensive homes as a share of new listings is one reason that overall asking prices continue to soar despite moderating demand. In June, homes with at least 1,750 square feet accounted for more new listings (54.3%, up from 52.7% in 2021) than relatively smaller homes (45.7%, down from 47.3% in 2021).

Inventory climbs as buyer demand cools and seller activity rebounds
The inventory recovery from 2021 declines continued to accelerate in June due to the combination of rebounding new listings growth and moderating demand, reflected in recent home sales trends. While still-hot housing competition is motivating more new sellers to list, some buyers are being priced out of the market by rising mortgage rates and record-high asking prices that have driven up typical mortgage payments by 58% from a year ago.

  • In June, the U.S. inventory of active listings grew 18.7% year-over-year, a faster pace than last month (+8.0%). However, there are still fewer than half (-53.2%) as many for-sale homes compared to June 2019.
  • One factor behind June’s accelerated inventory improvement was pending listings declines (-16.3% year-over-year), which means fewer for-sale homes under contract with a buyer. Additionally, new seller activity rebounded to 1.0% greater than its 2017 – 2019 pace, with new listings up 4.5% year-over-year.
  • Compared to June 2021, active inventory increased in 40 of the 50 largest U.S. metros, led by Austin, Texas (+144.5%), Phoenix (+113.2%) and Raleigh, North Carolina (+111.7%) .
  • June’s biggest new listings gains were posted in southern markets (+11.0%): Raleigh (+37.6%), Nashville, Tennessee (+37.2%) and Charlotte, North Carolina (+30.1%), as well as Las Vegas, Nevada (+34.8%).

Home shoppers are still snatching up homes quickly, but there are early signs of relief
Despite cooling demand, June time on market trends relative to last year show that buyers continued to snatch up homes at a near-record fast pace. However, month-to-month data tells the beginnings of a different story, with overall time on market growing from May to June for the first time since 2019. Additionally, while homes moved more quickly than in June 2021 across all size tiers, declines were greater among larger for-sale homes. These trends suggest that one potential reason why the overall pace of time on market remains competitive, despite softening demand, could be a shift in the mix of home shoppers, such as an increase in move-up buyers.

  • The typical U.S. home spent 32 days on market in June, nearly a full month (-27 days) faster than usual June 2017 – 2019 timing. Time on market held close to May’s record-low, but posted a slightly smaller yearly decline month-to-month (-4 days vs. -6 days).
  • Among June’s active inventory, some listings with more square footage, such as those with 3,000 – 6,000 square feet sold faster year-over-year (-8.5 days) than relatively smaller homes like those with 750 – 1,750 square feet (-5 days).
  • In June, 34 of the 50 largest markets posted annual declines in time on market, led by southern (-4 days) and northeastern (-2 days) metros: Miami (-22 days), Hartford, Connecticut (-8 days) and Jacksonville, Florida, Orlando, Florida, and Atlanta, Georgia (-7 days).
  • Meanwhile, time on market was flat year-over-year in six markets and grew in ten metros, led by Austin (+6 days), Denver and Detroit (+4 days each).

Typical asking prices soar to latest record, reflecting still high seller expectations 
Nationally, typical asking prices again soared double-digits over 2021 levels in June, reaching their latest new high, suggesting that many sellers still have great expectations of the market. At the same time, a number of June trends indicate that sellers are beginning to compete for fewer buyers who have more options. Both active and pending listing prices posted smaller yearly gains than last month, while the share of total inventory with price reductions increased.

  • In June, the U.S. median listing price hit its latest record-high of $450,000, up 16.9% year-over-year. However, active listing prices posted a slightly smaller gain than last month (+17.6%), as did pending listing prices (to 13.9% from 16.2%).
  • Relative to June’s national rate, listing prices grew at a faster annual pace in 15 large markets, led by: Miami (+40.1%), Orlando, Florida (+30.6%) and Nashville (+30.6%).
  • Four markets posted year-over-year declines: Pittsburgh (-8.6%), Rochester, New York (-5.9%), Cincinnati (-5.7%) and Buffalo, New York (-2.0%). However, in all of these metros aside from Pittsburgh, the price per square foot grew on an annual basis, indicating that a change in the mix of homes has pushed the median listing price lower.
  • The share of total homes with a price reduction grew year-over-year nationwide (+7.6 percentage points) in June, as well as in all 50 but one of the largest metros, most significantly in: Austin (+24.7), Phoenix (+22.2) and Las Vegas (+20.1). Roughly one-in-seven homes in June had a price reduction, up from roughly one-in-13 in June 2021, but still below the one out of every four-to-five that was typical in 2017-2019.

Spotlight On: Condos offer relative affordability in most U.S. counties
Despite recent supply improvements, affordability remains a significant obstacle to homeownership for many Americans. Home shoppers are feeling the strain on their budgets due to higher-than-anticipated inflation, mortgage rates, home and rental prices, down payments and more. In this context, realtor.com® recently compared 2021 home sales trends among single-family homes versus condos to identify potential opportunities for buyers to find relatively affordable housing, with key findings including:

  • Nationwide, the typical condo sold for an average of 6.7% less than the typical single-family home in 2021. Location explains this understated trend. Common to crowded big cities where real estate typically comes at a premium, the vast majority (84.1%) of condos were sold in just 6% of counties.
  • Drilling down to the county-level in New York, Massachusetts, Illinois and Washington, states with high levels of 2021 condo sales, reveals that condo prices were an average 13.5% lower than single-family homes. In the cities of New York, Boston, Chicago and Seattle, condo buyers paid an average of 33.2% less.
  • While these opportunities are driving demand for condos, recent data shows home shoppers may still find relatively affordable condo listings. In June, condos made up 20.2% of active inventory and were listed at 17.5% lower (on average across the 50 largest metros) than single-family homes.

“As big city buyers looked for ways to stay on budget in 2021, our analysis shows opting for a condo offered a solution in some counties. And there may still be opportunities going forward, even as condos’ relatively lower price point is driving up their popularity and prices. If demand leads builders to ramp up condo construction, and the resulting increase in supply may help keep condo prices more manageable than those of single-family homes,” said Hannah Jones, Economic Research Analyst for realtor.com®.

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Meet the Newsmakers: Honoring the Educators

Fri, 07/01/2022 - 02:05

In today’s unpredictable times, information, training and guidance are more critical to real estate success than ever before. Many of this year’s Real Estate Newsmakers are being honored for their efforts to help educate agents to better serve consumers. We spotlight several of them here.

Influencers
Brian Buffini
Founder and Chairman
Buffini & Company
Celebrating his company’s 25th anniversary in 2021, Buffini remains committed to impacting and improving the lives of people. “In real estate, it’s the skills that pay the bills, and we are proud to offer our members industry-leading coaching and training that helps them refine their skills and exceed their income goals in any market.”

Crusaders
Julia Lashay Israel
Head of Inclusion and Belonging
Keller Williams Realty International
Israel advises, trains and coaches real estate professionals to recognize and address diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) opportunities and challenges, and developed two new DEI workshops in 2021. “Choosing to embrace diversity not only allows real estate professionals to grow their businesses, but also improves communities through increased homeownership.”

Influencers
Dawn Pfaff
President and Founder
My State MLS
In 2021, Pfaff partnered with The CE Shop to provide online courses for real estate professionals and launched a podcast called AskDawn. “I am proud to be sharing my 20-plus years of real estate knowledge. With AskDawn, I am able to share with other agents and the public any real estate industry updates and what I’m seeing in the market.”

Trailblazers
Michael Davis
CEO
Brooks & Davis Real Estate Firm LLC
Davis has a passion to coach, educate, train and entertain real estate professionals around the world through his weekly digital shows. In 2021, Davis expanded his media footprint with two new shows: The REALTOR®/Life Podcast and Monday Night Live, a live call-in show where he answers questions from real estate professionals.

Influencers
Darryl Davis
CEO
Darryl Davis Seminars
Davis has a passion for helping real estate professionals not only build their businesses, but for helping them build lives and careers worth smiling about. “I am deeply honored every day by the opportunity to help real estate professionals serve their communities at extraordinary levels and build businesses that support their families and goals.”

Visit rismedia.com/2022-newsmakers to learn more about this year’s Newsmakers. Nominations for RISMedia’s 2023 Real Estate Newsmakers launches July 15.

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Is It Time for a Marketing Plan Makeover?

Fri, 07/01/2022 - 02:04

In last month’s column, we talked about how generational characteristics can inform your marketing messaging. Now we want to know: When was the last time you tried a new marketing tactic? If it’s been a while since you took a critical look at your marketing plan and added something new to the mix, it might be time for a marketing plan makeover.

Like every good makeover, you’ll want to keep what you know works for you and layer in a few fresh elements, such as:

Video – one of the most effective ways to market yourself and your listings. Can you find a way to add video tours, Instagram Stories and Reels or YouTube to your marketing mix?

Experiential marketing – a buzz-worthy concept in real estate marketing circles. The idea is to create in-person, activity-based events that your sphere will enjoy and hopefully talk about on their social media profiles. Does that spark any ideas for you?

Traditional tactics – cold-calling and billboard advertising may be worth exploring, especially if you’ve never tried them before. What tried-and-true tactics could you implement into your marketing?

Social media – an especially effective tool when used to engage your sphere and keep relationships warm. Could you benefit from a more strategic, consistent approach to social media?

With so many options, how do you decide which new marketing tactics are worth your time and resources?

The good news is that there is no “right” marketing mix. An effective marketing plan should include old and new techniques—both online and offline. Here’s a simple process for deciding which new tactics to add to your marketing plan.

Gather information

If you haven’t formulated a working marketing plan in a while (or ever!), cement your foundation by taking the National Association of REALTORS®’ Marketing Strategy and Lead Generation course. The recently updated curriculum covers everything from personal branding tactics and the lead generation cycle to how to measure the success of your efforts. It includes exercises, templates and tools to help build a new and improved marketing plan for your ever-evolving business. It’s sure to spark some ideas for new lead generation tactics and marketing approaches. View upcoming courses at training4re.com.

Get inspired

Take a cue from the most successful agents you know and get inspired by researching innovative marketing ideas for real estate. Some of the best ideas come from conversations with your peers. Seek out opportunities to network and engage with other agents both in-person and virtually.

Go all in

It’s easy to fall into a routine and use the same marketing tactics year in and year out. But it’s important to fully commit to your new marketing strategy, and don’t give up on it too quickly. After a year, analyze your efforts and adjust your plan again.

Jennifer Rzeszewski is the vice president of Member Development and the executive director of the Center for REALTOR® Development (CRD), NAR’s home for exceptional education. Learn more about CRD at crd.realtor.

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Home Showing Activity Continues to Slow Nationwide as Fewer Buyers Compete for Listings

Fri, 07/01/2022 - 02:03

In keeping with the inventory supply challenges, rising interest rates and other headwinds facing the housing industry, another new report out shows that real estate home showings are also down compared to last year at this time.

May home showing traffic slowed again year-over-year throughout the U.S., with just 35 markets recording double-digit showings per listing, according to the latest ShowingTime Showing Index®, released Thursday. The data also shows “a sea change” in which markets are most popular, according to the report.

Here’s a look at the key findings from ShowingTime’s report: 

  • The region which experienced the smallest drop was in the Northeast U.S., with a relatively modest decline of 13.3%.
  • The Midwest was down 15.1% year over year, the South 22.2%, and the West 45.3%.
  • Denver and Seattle both fell out of the top 25 busiest markets, with each averaging around 10 showings per listing, breaking a streak that began in early 2021.
  • Burlington, Vermont, the number-one-ranked metro area in traffic, showed 15.80 showings per listing in May, 2022. This is a 14% change year over year but a -22% change month over month.
  • Trailing behind Burlington for the rest of the top five were:
    • Bloomington-Normal, Illinois: 12.39 showings per listing, 11% change year over year, -25% change month over month.
    • Bridgeport, Connecticut: 12.03 showings per listing, -3% change year over year, -17% change month over month.
    • Cleveland, Ohio: 12.01 showings per listing, -18% change year over year, -17% change month over month.
    • Richmond, Virginia: 11.78 showings per listing, -10% change year over year, -25% change month over month.
  • Overall, the U.S. recorded an 18.2% downturn in activity in May.
    • In the US as a whole, there was an average of seven showings per listing in May 2022. This represented a -13% change year over year and a -16% change month over month.

The takeaway

“Showing activity continues to be at levels lower than we’re used to seeing at this time of year, pointing to a market in transition,” said ShowingTime Vice President and General Manager Michael Lane. “Following the surge in mortgage rates, it’s reasonable to expect that showing activity will continue to ease, especially when compared to last year’s historic numbers.”

The ShowingTime Showing Index is compiled using data from more than six million property showings scheduled across the country each month on listings using ShowingTime products and services. It tracks the average number of appointments received on active listings during the month.

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Baby Boomer Homeowners’ Mortality Expected to Have Minimal Impact on Housing Supply and Prices

Fri, 07/01/2022 - 02:02

More than 4 million existing-homes for sale annually over the next decade will come from the aging and mortality of older homeowners, but sustained homebuyer demand from population growth and younger-generation households should lead to minimal excess housing supply and have no measurable reduction in home prices.

That is according to new research released today by the Mortgage Bankers Association’s (MBA) Research Institute for Housing America (RIHA) that analyzes data on housing, demographics, and mortality to examine the impact the aging and eventual death of baby boomers may have on future demand and the supply of homes listed for sale by older Americans (ages 50 and older).

Key findings:

  • In 2019, there were 32 million Boomer homeowners (i.e., 41% of all homeowners).
  • More than 4 million existing-homes for sale annually over the next decade will come from the aging and mortality of older homeowners (ages 50 and older).
  • The report finds that aging and mortality is slow moving and largely predictable.
  • Based on changing demographics, over the next decade there is projected to be a modest amount of excess supply of homes for sale—around quarter-million units annually.
  • Sustained homebuyer demand from population growth and younger-generation households should lead to minimal excess housing supply and have no measurable impact on home prices.
  • Most of the impact will be through a reduction in the growth of new housing and some softness in the rental market.

The takeaway:

“America is growing older, with baby boomer homeowners totaling 32 million as of 2019 and increasingly becoming a larger source of existing homes for sale—4.4 million units annually—as they transition to other housing options or pass away,” said Gary V. Engelhardt, author of the report and Professor of Economics in the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs at Syracuse University. “Aging and mortality are glacial and largely predictable. Based purely on changing demographics and population growth, there is enough homebuyer demand to meet most of the existing inventory that will come onto the market over the next decade and beyond from older homeowners.”

“RIHA’s study skillfully uses multiple data sources to get a detailed picture of America’s aging population and its effect on the housing market,” said Edward Seiler, executive director, Research Institute for Housing America, and MBA’s Associate vice president, Housing Economics. “The impact from baby boomers exiting their homes is not insignificant but will happen over a few decades without significantly disrupting the housing market.”

To read the full report, click here.

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Florida Brokerage Affiliates With CENTURY 21 Brand

Fri, 07/01/2022 - 02:01

Melissa Cantway, broker-owner of Realty Professionals Inc., has affiliated her brokerage with the CENTURY 21 brand, the company has announced. The Palm Beach, Florida firm and its 38 sales professionals will now operate as CENTURY 21 Realty Professionals. Cantway intends to leverage the CENTURY 21 brand’s marketing and learning, tech tools and growth platform to her brokerage’s advantage, she said.

“Of all the competition in the market, I chose the CENTURY 21 brand because it is best suited to help me create more agent value and expand my business over the next five years,” said Cantway. “My team is excited by the opportunity to join a legacy brand recognized by real estate consumers as the most respected brand in the business and  for going above and beyond for its clients by delivering the best real estate experience possible.”

By affiliating with CENTURY 21, the company says CENTURY 21 Realty Professionals can now access the brand’s marketing, coaching and agent learning, and productivity platform. These resources will help the firm’s team of sales professionals secure more leads and close more deals.

“Everything that we do as a global franchisor is to help our customers grow their businesses,” said Michael Miedler, president and chief executive officer of Century 21 Real Estate. “We welcome Melissa to the CENTURY 21 family, and we look forward to helping her team win today and in the future.”

For more information, visit www.century21.com.

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