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Integrity in Real Estate
Updated: 2 hours 35 min ago

Boomtown Announces New Back-Office Capabilities

Mon, 08/08/2022 - 02:00

BoomTown, a cloud-based sales and marketing automation platform for real estate professionals, has announced the launch of back-office capabilities. This launch comes through the platform’s integration with Brokermint, a cloud-based, back-office and transaction-management software. Boomtown acquired Brokermint in March, 2021. Fragmented customer-relationship management and back-office solutions cause duplication of effort and business inefficiencies. This integration…

The post Boomtown Announces New Back-Office Capabilities appeared first on RISMedia.

In This Together: The Importance of Local Relationships in a Downturn

Sun, 08/07/2022 - 02:01

It certainly looks like the real estate market has peaked, and at least nationally, housing has entered a correction of some kind. What exactly this will look like as we move forward is not fully understood, with mortgage rates pushing some buyers out and a recession potentially creating broad economic pain for both buyers and…

The post In This Together: The Importance of Local Relationships in a Downturn appeared first on RISMedia.

Global Spotlight: Canadian Markets Focus on Lifestyle, Community and Value

Sat, 08/06/2022 - 02:00

Above: 446 Ketch Harbour Road Halibut Bay, Nova Scotia Listed For: $3,175,000 Listed By: Ernie Buote This month, we travel to Canada, where two Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE) members share insights into their respective markets. DOMUS Realty Halifax, Nova Scotia Dawn Dauphinee, Founder/Broker https://domusrealty.ca Tell us about your firm. Domus has…

The post Global Spotlight: Canadian Markets Focus on Lifestyle, Community and Value appeared first on RISMedia.

U.S. Unemployment Hits Pre-Pandemic Levels as Job Growth Surges in July

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 12:02

And just like that, U.S. unemployment has recovered from its pandemic-induced doldrums. However, the labor market is still tight despite seeing significant job growth in July, according to the latest report from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS). Based on Friday’s BLS data, employers added 528,000 jobs in July—up from 372,000 in June. This…

The post U.S. Unemployment Hits Pre-Pandemic Levels as Job Growth Surges in July appeared first on RISMedia.

RE/MAX Hits Q2 Targets, But Softens 2022 Guidance

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 12:01

Real estate mega franchisor RE/MAX posted solid revenue growth for Q2 2022, hitting its targets as the company brought in $92.2 million, but also saw fractional year-over-year loss in its United States agent count—even as it continues to make significant gains internationally. With 1.7% organic growth, net income coming in at $5.8 million and total…

The post RE/MAX Hits Q2 Targets, But Softens 2022 Guidance appeared first on RISMedia.

ERA® Real Estate Grows in Iowa With Affiliation of Graf Real Estate ERA Powered

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 12:00

ERA® Real Estate announced this week that Graf Home Selling Team & Associates, based in Hiawatha, Iowa, has affiliated with the ERA® brand. According to a release, the firm serves the greater Cedar Rapids, Iowa area, including the cities of Marion and Robins. Now known as Graf Real Estate ERA Powered, the full-service company’s affiliated…

The post ERA® Real Estate Grows in Iowa With Affiliation of Graf Real Estate ERA Powered appeared first on RISMedia.

Opendoor Looks to Weather Market Shift With Price Cuts and Zillow Partnership

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 11:45

It was an interesting week for Opendoor.  On the heels of being fined by federal regulators, the company has had to juggle a mixed bag of announcements throughout the first week of August, culminating in a shocking partnership and an earnings report underscoring the shifting housing market’s impact on the iBuying giant.  “While we are…

The post Opendoor Looks to Weather Market Shift With Price Cuts and Zillow Partnership appeared first on RISMedia.

Headliners Week of 7/31 – 8/6

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 07:46
News Catch Up on This Week's Biggest Stories

https://www.rismedia.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/08/Headliners_080622_OPT.mp4

RISMedia Senior Editor Jesse Williams delivers this week's Headliners, a video recap of the week's top stories in real estate. Share on FacebookShare on Twitter Read This Week's Top Stories Is DOJ’s NAR Probe a Hidden Haymaker for Real Estate? By Jordan Grice  August 5, 2022

Most boxers say it’s the punch you don’t see coming that knocks you out. As several high-profile lawsuits continue to...

Read more Proposed Bill Targets Housing Upgrades, Tax Loopholes By Jesse Williams  August 1, 2022

Last week, two Democratic senators (Chuck Schumer of New York and Joe Manchin of West Virginia) announced an agreement on...

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Previous Headliners Headliners Week of 7/24 – 7/30 By RISMedia Staff  July 29, 2022

RISMedia Senior Editor Jordan Grice delivers this week's Headliners, a video recap of the week's top stories in real estate.

Read more Headliners Week of 6/26 – 7/2 By RISMedia Staff  June 30, 2022

RISMedia Content Editor Paige Brown delivers this week's Headliners, a video recap of the week's top stories in real estate.

Read more Headliners Week of 6/19 – 6/25 By RISMedia Staff  June 24, 2022

RISMedia Content Director Caysey Welton delivers this week's Headliners, a video recap of the week's top stories in real estate.

Read more Headliners Week of 6/12 – 6/18 By RISMedia Staff  June 17, 2022

RISMedia’s Managing Editor Paige Tepping delivers this week's Headliners, a video recap of the week's top stories in real estate.

Read more Headliners Week of 5/29 – 6/4 By RISMedia Staff  June 3, 2022

RISMedia Associate Editor Jesse Williams delivers this week's Headliners, a video recap of the week's top stories in real estate.

Read more Headliners Week of 5/23 – 5/28 By RISMedia Staff  May 27, 2022

RISMedia Associate Editor Jordan Grice delivers this week's Headliners, a video recap of the week's top stories in real estate.

Read more Headliners Week of 5/15 -5/21 By RISMedia Staff  May 20, 2022

RISMedia Content Editor Paige Brown delivers this week's Headliners, a video recap of the week's top stories in real estate.

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RISMedia’s Newsmakers: Highlighting the Champions of a Better Way

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 02:05

There are many people in this world who make impassioned and sustained efforts to create a better world for all. In real estate, being a “Crusader” means taking their passion for change and using it to move the industry forward in the right direction.

For the sixth year in a row, RISMedia is searching for Real Estate Newsmakers from across the U.S. who are making headlines for their commitment and contributions to the residential and/or commercial real estate sectors, as well as going the extra mile to positively impact their peers, colleagues, clients and the communities they serve.

NOMINATE A NEWSMAKER

RISMedia’s 2023 Real Estate Newsmakers fall into one of the six amazing categories: Achievers, Crusaders, Futurists, Influencers, Luminaries and Trailblazers. Each year, RISMedia celebrates “the champions of a better way” in the industry through the Real Estate Newsmakers recognition program in our “Crusaders” category.

In this category, we highlight those with a passion for a cause greater than themselves, from equal rights to REALTOR® safety, advancing the industry to disaster recovery, children’s, women’s and LGBTQ+ causes, and so much more.

Take a look back at some of our 2022 Real Estate Newsmakers – Crusaders:

Tom George
President & Marketing Partner | Constellation Real Estate Group 
In 2021, George developed and launched a webinar series and resource library to help educate and guide real estate business owners through the process of improving their bottom line. He also announced a new initiative that opens the door for Constellation to participate in the M&A space like never before.

Julia Lashley Israel 
Head of Inclusion and Belonging | Keller Williams Realty International
As chair of the Social Equity Task Force for associated and kwx’s internal employee DEI committee, Lashley Israel helps real estate professionals to recognize and address diversity, equity and inclusion challenges and opportunities. In 2021, she conducted two DEI workshops, addressing unconscious bias and its impact on housing, ultimately improving communities through increased homeownership.

Liz Gehringer
COO | Coldwell Bankers Real Estate LLC
Taking 2021 by storm, Gehringer led the company’s initiatives that supported diverse broker/owners in their first two years of business. Her hard work on these initiatives resulted in 18 affiliated companies joining in less than a year. In addition, her leadership of brand franchise sales gained the company a 98% renewal rate in the first eight months of 2021.

Emmanuel Fonte
Vice President of Ultimate Clients Relationships & Digital Strategies | John L. Scott
Fonte has worked to create an experience for real estate professionals that highlights relationship building and personal communication with clients. In 2021, he implemented strategies such as SEM, SEO and advertising to propel competitive advantage, which also increase the King County real estate firm market share from #4 to #1.

Do you or someone you know have what it takes to be a 2023 Real Estate Newsmaker? If the answer is yes, click here to nominate a real estate professional today! To see the full list of 2022 Real Estate Newsmakers, click here.

The post RISMedia’s Newsmakers: Highlighting the Champions of a Better Way appeared first on RISMedia.

Driving on the Road to Success

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 02:04

Leah Ambler, a third-generation RE/MAX broker/owner, has found great success throughout her real estate career. Since purchasing RE/MAX Professionals North from her parents 10 years ago, Ambler has done the work and put in the time as far as continuing education and training are concerned, ensuring that her 300-plus agents are ready for anything.

“We have the number one marketshare in West Toronto,” says Ambler. “We really put our focus on our agents, giving support and helping them build their businesses and brands, working alongside them to get them where they want to go in their careers.”

As the industry navigates its way through 2022, facing inventory challenges and increased seller demand, Ambler knows that her agents are up for the challenge. With a keen understanding of marketing principles and strategy, and hopeful predictions for a busier and more balanced market this fall, she believes more success is on the horizon.

“2022 is going to be a good year for our real estate agents,” says Ambler. “There are a lot of agents who are part-time and won’t pick up listings, but sellers need professional agents who can get their homes sold. We’re going to dominate because we have the best REALTORS®.”

Another key piece of the puzzle is the firm’s elevated online presence, provided by Real Estate Webmasters’ Renaissance website platform.

Ambler decided to work with Real Estate Webmasters after she witnessed the success of many agents who were happy with the services and platforms the company offered. She knew there was an opportunity for her Muskoka office in terms of online leads and wanted to know what Real Estate Webmasters could do for her business.

“We were looking for a company that could have the capacity to blog for us, dominate the market for us, help develop a more organic site and improve SEO, and Real Estate Webmasters was able to take on those roles. It’s almost impossible to do all of these things yourself, so it was an all-in-one solution for us,” says Ambler, who recently won a brand-new Tesla, courtesy of Real Estate Webmasters.

In December 2021, Real Estate Webmasters announced the contest, celebrating their new Fast Track leads program designed to help REALTORS® get their Renaissance website live and generate new business. By booking an appointment with an account executive and demoing the award-winning Renaissance website and Fast Track leads program, names were entered into the drawing, resulting in 1,300-plus entries in the first quarter of 2022.

“It worked out so well,” explains Ambler. “My lease is up next year, and I’ve always wanted a Tesla. This opportunity threw me into one, and I’m very happy about it.”

Working with numerous website providers over the years, Ambler goes on to explain that she’s never found the right partner. But thanks to Real Estate Webmasters, her firm now has an impressive, clean and easy-to-navigate website. Better yet, Founder and CEO Morgan Carey and his team are very responsive.

“Real Estate Webmasters is very quick when it comes to navigating through any issues, which is important when you’re busy selling a lot of real estate and you need to run smoothly,” says Ambler.

“If you’re looking for a company that’s able to build out what you’re looking for, and deliver, Real Estate Webmasters is definitely the answer,” she concludes.

For more information, visit www.realestatewebmasters.com.

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Guiding Clients to the Closing Table in a Heated Seller’s Market

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 02:03

Selling 110 homes as a solo agent in the course of a year is no easy feat, but it’s reality for Stacey Taylor—a REALTOR® with Quest Realty in Troy, Michigan. She first earned her real estate license over 20 years ago but began selling real estate as a career in 2015.

Attributing much of her success to a long-standing partnership with Rocket Mortgage®, Taylor is committed to offering her clients a seamless mortgage experience from beginning to end. And thanks to Rocket Pro Insight, she’s equipped with 24/7 visibility into where her clients are in the loan process at any given time, setting the stage for a stress-free trip to the closing table, no matter the market.

“More than anything, Rocket Pro Insight helps me ensure that nothing falls through the cracks,” says Taylor, which is mission critical in today’s heated seller’s market, with multiple offers and homes selling for well over asking price.

“Being able to go in and track where clients are in the process is crucial to helping me stay organized, but it also allows me to help them get where they need to be,” she adds.

“With Rocket Pro Insight, I can help the mortgage banker obtain missing documentation, while also providing a gentle nudge to encourage the client to take the pre-approval a step further with a Verified Approval. I can even log in late at night or during the weekend to generate a revised pre-approval or Verified Approval Letter, adjusting the dollar amount to match what the client has been approved for,” explains Taylor.

It’s this level of transparency into the loan process that has helped Taylor enhance her business throughout the years.

“It’s a true gamechanger, and a totally unique aspect that Rocket Mortgage brings to the table,” says Taylor, who wholeheartedly believes that the level of transparency built into the platform has allowed her to do the amount of business she’s done.

Another benefit is the fact that working with Rocket Pro Insight positions Taylor and the entire mortgage processing team as a united front, an important piece of the puzzle when working with clients.

“With Rocket Pro Insight, we’re all working toward the same goal,” says Taylor. “I truly feel like I’m part of a team when it comes to working with my mortgage banker.”

Benefitting real estate professionals and clients alike, according to Taylor, the team at Rocket Mortgage is constantly raising the bar.

For those not yet working with Rocket Mortgage and utilizing Rocket Pro Insight? As far as Taylor is concerned, they’re missing out.

“Not only will it make the process easier on both yourself and the client, but you’re also going to learn something along the way,” says Taylor, who can’t say enough about her experience working with the team, specifically the open and honest communication that’s been in place from the get-go.

“The team at Rocket Mortgage has been fantastic,” concludes Taylor. “They’re by your side every step of the way, and while they’re a very large company, they provide small company service.”

The above article is sponsored content. For more information, visit www.RocketPro.com/RealEstate.

The post Guiding Clients to the Closing Table in a Heated Seller’s Market appeared first on RISMedia.

How Do Real Estate Agents Get Paid?

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 02:02

Most homesellers use the services of a real estate agent to find a buyer. Typically, this service will be paid for by a commission based on the selling price.

However, the exact amount a real estate agent makes from a sale depends on many factors. We will look at how much real estate agents make and how they are paid.

How do real estate agents get paid?

When a home is sold, a percentage of that price is paid to the real estate agents involved via their brokerage. Sometimes a flat-fee service is available instead, but this isn’t very common.

While you might only deal with a real estate agent, they do not work independently. Instead, a broker supervises agents to ensure they comply with real estate laws. Agents don’t work alone and cannot directly receive commissions when selling a home.

On the other hand, real estate brokers can work by themselves but often hire agents as employees.

Every real estate firm has to have a designated broker who is paid commissions and shares them with agents involved in the sale.

How do commissions work?

When you decide to sell your home, you will sign a listing agreement with a listing broker. This will state the commission and other terms of the contract.

5% or 6% commissions are typical in most areas of the country, though these are negotiable. All of this cost will fall on the seller in most circumstances.

However, since the buyer is paying money to the seller, the agent’s commission could be considered factored into the purchase price, pushing up the cost.

In turn, the real estate agent will agree with their broker on how the commission is split. This could mean a 50/50 split between agent and broker, but often the agent will get more than half.

If the agent is more experienced, they could get 60% or 70% of the commission received by their broker.

Typically, the commission will be divided among four people; the listing agent, the listing broker, the buyer’s agent, and the buyer’s agent’s broker.

Example commission schedule

Let’s look at an example of how the commission might be divided.

If a home is listed for $300,000 and a commission rate of 5% is agreed, the total commission paid by the seller will be $15,000.

If the home actually sells for that amount, it will be divided equally between the listing and the buyer’s agent’s brokers. The $7,500 will then be split with the agents involved in the transaction.

Let’s say the listing agent has a 70/30 split with their broker, and the buyer’s agent has a 60/40 split. This is how the commission would be divided:

  • The listing agent gets $5,250
  • The listing broker keeps $2,250
  • The buyer’s agent gets $4,500
  • The buyer’s agent’s broker keeps $3,000

In some situations, fewer people will be involved in the sale and keep more of the commission. If a broker lists the home and finds a buyer, they could get to keep all of the commission.

However, with the ever-present taxes due, it isn’t all profit for agents. Other costs to operating their business include insurance, advertising, multiple listing service fees, and more, which reduce their earnings.

How much does a real estate agent make?

While you might imagine that real estate agents earn huge sums, since their fees are split, it might not be as much as you think. In 2021, details from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics show the median salary was $48,770 annually for agents, and for brokers, it was $86,490.

The top earners in the profession have the potential to earn a lot more, however. The top 10% of agents earned over $100,000 in 2021, with top brokers making more than $176,000.

Real Estate market conditions can also have a significant impact on an agent’s earnings.

Commission can still be due when the home doesn’t sell

In rare situations, the seller might still be required to pay the commission if the home doesn’t sell. There will be terms in the listing agreement that cover these situations, but they could include:

  • An owner refusing to sell when they have an offer
  • Defects found in a title search on the title that aren’t fixed
  • A case of fraud
  • Demanding terms, not in the agreement
  • Unable to transfer the home to the buyer in a reasonable time frame

Final thoughts

The majority of real estate agents are paid through a commission split with their broker and other people involved in the transaction. The exact amount they receive could vary significantly between different agents.

Lots of folks think all real estate agents make significant amounts of money. It’s a fallacy. Only the upper echelon agents have a substantial income.

Bill Gassett is a nationally recognized real estate leader who has been helping people buy and sell MetroWest Massachusetts real estate for the past 35 years. Bill is the owner and founder of Maximum Real Estate Exposure. For the past decade, he has been one of the top RE/MAX REALTORS® in New England.

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NAR Relief Foundation Announces $500,000 Grant for Victims of Kentucky Flooding

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 02:01

The REALTORS® Relief Foundation (RRF) has announced that $500,000 in disaster relief aid was made available to the Kentucky REALTORS® after recent flooding devastated communities in the state’s eastern region. Funds will be made available to the public to assist with disaster victims’ housing payments as relief and recovery efforts continue in the weeks and months to come.

“Our hearts and prayers are with everyone in Kentucky affected by these historic, catastrophic flooding events,” said RRF President Michael Ford. “As the extent of the damage and destruction continues to be revealed, all of us are reminded of the impact that our community of REALTORS® can have when we come together to support those in need. The REALTORS® Relief Foundation is grateful to have the ability to help these victims as they begin to navigate recovery efforts and regain some sense of normalcy in their lives.”

Since 2001, RRF has disbursed over $36 million in aid, which has funded over 100 disaster recoveries and helped 19,000 families in 42 states and territories. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) collaborates with state and local REALTOR® associations to cover all administrative costs, so 100% of all funds collected are distributed to disaster relief causes.

When a major disaster occurs, RRF mobilizes its outreach efforts and turns to NAR members and other constituents for support.

For more information, visit www.nar.realtor/rrf.

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eXp World Holdings Announces Earnings for Q2 2022

Fri, 08/05/2022 - 02:00

eXp World Holdings has announced financial results for the second quarter of 2022 (which ended on June 30).

Compared to Q1 2022, key details include:

  • Company revenue increased 42% to $1.4 billion.
  • Company gross profit increased 34% to $107.3 million.
  • eXp’s net income was $9.4 million, compared to a net income of $37.0 million in Q2 2021.
  • Agents and brokers on the eXp Realty platform increased 42% to 82,856 as of June 30, 2022.
  • Real estate transactions closed increased 30% to 150,032.
  • Real estate transaction volume increased 44% to $57.9 billion.
  • eXp Realty expanded into New Zealand during the second quarter of 2022.
  • eXp Realty ended the second quarter of 2022 with a global Net Promoter Score of 68, a measure of agent satisfaction as part of the Company’s intense focus on improving the agent experience.
  • Year over year tax expense increased $22.3 million due to one-time VA allowance release in 2021 and reduction in excess stock-based compensation tax benefit.
  • Earnings per diluted share of $0.06, compared to earnings per diluted share of $0.24 in the year-ago quarter.
  • An adjusted EBITDA (a non-GAAP financial measure) of $26.9 million.
  • As of June 30, 2022, cash and cash equivalents totaled $134.9 million, compared to $107.4 million as of June 30, 2021.
  • eXp repurchased approximately $50 million of common stock during the second quarter of 2022.
  • eXp paid a cash dividend for the second quarter of 2022 of $0.04 per share of common stock on May 31, 2022.
  • On July 29, 2022, eXp’s board of directors declared a cash dividend of $0.045 per share of common stock for the third quarter of 2022, a 13% increase, expected to be paid on Aug. 29, 2022 to shareholders of record on Aug. 12, 2022.

eXp also noted new additions to its leadership team during this quarter. Shoeb Ansari joined as chief information officer and Leo Pareja as president of affiliated services. Patrick O’Neill has also been appointed eXp Realty’s chief operating officer beginning August 4, 2022.

A “virtual fire-side chat” detailing the results was held on August 3, 2022. Panelists included: eXp Founder, Chairman and CEO Glenn Sanford, CFO and chief collaboration officer Jeff Whiteside, Ansari, and Pareja.

The takeaway: 

“During the second quarter, eXp continued to increase its market share and revenue to record levels, reinforcing that our model was built for all market conditions and that our agent value proposition resonates around the world,” said Sanford. “We are focused on strengthening our platform to provide even better support to our agents through technology, operations, training, coaching and community. In the third quarter, we acquired Zoocasa, providing an exponential boost to Canadian agents that we expect to expand to a broader group of agents and real estate customers. We also further strengthened our management team with world-class hires focused on affiliated services and innovation of our proprietary technologies. We are leveraging our core strengths of agent satisfaction and innovation as we continue to redefine the real estate industry.”

“eXp delivered another record quarter with 42% revenue growth and solid profitability while returning a record $56 million to our shareholders through share repurchases and dividends,” said Whiteside. “Looking ahead, we expect our agile model to result in ongoing market share gains as we navigate more challenging market conditions. We expect our focus on affiliated services and technology will further strengthen our agent and customer value proposition. Simultaneously, we will focus on increasing operating efficiencies for our business and our agents’ businesses. We remain confident in our ability to deliver profitable, sustainable growth over the long term.”

For more information, visit https://expworldholdings.com.

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Learn the Truth About the Economy, and What You Can Do to Adapt

Thu, 08/04/2022 - 12:04

With a daily array of headlines dishing out alarming and often confusing updates on the state of the U.S. economy, it’s difficult for brokers and agents to read between the lines and get to the heart of the matter. Yet getting a grasp on the reality of today’s market conditions is essential for keeping business moving forward and for guiding real estate consumers through these disconcerting times.

RISMedia is tackling this topic head-on during a special presentation by leading economic and real estate market authority, Dr. Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of REALTORS®. At RISMedia’s CEO & Leadership Exchange, taking place September 6 – 8 at the Mayflower Hotel in Washington, D.C., Yun will keynote the following session:

REGISTER FOR VIP ACCESS

Tuesday, September 6, 2022
How Inventory, Affordability and Inflation are Impacting the Market

NAR Chief Economist Dr. Lawrence Yun breaks down the biggest economic issues affecting the real estate market as we close out 2022 and prepare for 2023. From rising rates to affordability woes, Dr. Yun separates fact from fiction so brokers and executives can accurately plan for what’s next.

Brokers and real estate executives will be able to utilize Yun’s economic analysis to evaluate the strength of their business model for current times—and for the future. Top brokers will cover this subject in-depth during a special panel presentation later that day:

Tuesday, September 6, 2022
In it for the Long Haul? Evaluating the Staying Power of Your Business Model

For today’s franchise and independent real estate brokers, competition comes in more shapes and sizes than ever before, from VC-backed firms to completely virtual models. In this session, brokerage leaders discuss how they’re adapting their current business strategies to maintain a strong position in the face of evolving real estate models.

Moderators:
Shaival Shah, CEO & Co-Founder, Ribbon
John Featherston, CEO, RISMedia

Panelists:
Rick Haase, President, United Real Estate
Terrie O’Connor, Founder & President, Terrie O’Connor REALTORS®
Chad Ruggles, SVP, Vylla Home
Tim Foley, Executive Vice President, Anywhere Real Estate Inc.

These are just two of the more than 25 presentations and panel discussions taking place during the two-and-a-half day CEO & Leadership Exchange, in which more than 120 brokerage and brand executives and industry leaders will participate as speakers and panelists. Attendees will also have several opportunities to connect with more than 400 of their peers during exclusive networking events taking place throughout the event.

See the full agenda and access a limited number of remaining VIP tickets here.

The post Learn the Truth About the Economy, and What You Can Do to Adapt appeared first on RISMedia.

Your Local Recession: What a Downturn Looks Like in Disparate Markets

Thu, 08/04/2022 - 12:03

Amid all the blaring national headlines of falling home sales and price declines, with all the anecdotes of listings that would have sold in hours last year sitting for months, against a background of increasingly likely recessionary conditions, the most important question for real estate professionals is, what matters most in your market?

The answer might be none of these things.

However badly pundits want to draw broad conclusions from national data, the truth is, every housing market is its own beast. Every state, every metro and every neighborhood is going to experience a pullback differently. For anyone who actually wants to make practical business decisions in reaction to these broad market movements, knowing the granular, individual factors that could change how your region experiences a downturn is, in fact, the only useful way to prepare for one.

Dr. Lisa Sturtevant is the chief economist for Bright MLS, having previously studied the housing market as a researcher at Virginia Tech University. She says that sometimes, looking at national price trends or sales becomes “meaningless” in the context of trying to understand real estate.

“The question is, where are you talking about?” she says.

Many observers, and even a few economists, have wondered if the current market could see a collapse on par in size and scope to the 2006 – 2008 housing bubble. Sturtevant, along with a majority of housing experts, says the current downturn is almost entirely unlike that crisis.

But what many forget, she says, is that not every market took an equal drubbing a decade ago, even as some homes lost half their value almost overnight. According to a 2018 Corelogic analysis, a few states only fell fractionally from their over-inflated peak back then. As several states saw average price declines of 40% or more, North Dakota, for instance, only saw home prices fall 2%, while a handful of other (mostly rural) states saw declines under 10%.

“There are places that we know in the past have been better during economic downturns, places that have what I call ‘recession-resistant economies,’” she says. “ will be better positioned if there is an economic downturn to support continued demand in the housing market.”

Dr. Shelton Weeks is a professor at the Lucas Institute of Real Estate at Florida Gulf Coast University. He affirms that just like the last major downturn, price drops, foreclosures and changes in consumer activity are all intrinsically tied to local conditions.

“When I think about any sort of swing in the market, the first thing I think of in terms of resiliency, and the markets that are going to be more resilient, are the ones that are experiencing steady population growth,” he says. “Nothing beats being in a growing market. It covers up a lot of flaws.”

Even this broad truth has to be delineated, however. Population growth that is based on one factor does not indicate the same resilience as growth based on another trend. It is up to each individual agent or broker to understand the granular details and history of their region.

In Seattle, Washington, York Baur is the CEO of MoxiWorks, a real estate-focused software company that serves 260 brokerages around the country. Baur urges real estate professionals to start researching these things now, if they haven’t already done so.

“Truly being an expert on behalf of your customer, both seller and buyer—I think that’s the goal of any good agent. And that means educating yourself proactively, not reactively to the issues,” he said.

Shaky or firm foundations

It would be nice if there was a universal scale, or a single metric, that could be used to evaluate how a given market will react in a downturn. If every market’s vulnerability to a recession was directly correlated with its COVID-boosted price appreciation, for example, knowing which area was about to get clobbered would be that easy.

Housing markets, however, are just too complex and interconnected for that kind of simplistic approach. Sturtevant, who recently conducted her own analysis of Atlantic Coast markets, attempting to discern the “riskiest” areas, says that she begins with five big factors: job markets, mortgage “sensitivity,” price appreciation, out-of-town buyers and inventory.

All of these factors taken together, Sturtevant asserts, allows for at least a rough idea of how a given housing market will behave in a downturn.

“Looking at the mix of jobs in the economy, how sensitive buyers are to mortgage rates, whether markets really saw a runup in prices fueled by out-of-town high-income buyers, and then what is inventory doing in terms of the supply side that could force prices in a downward direction,” she explains.

Within all of those, there is plenty more variation, however. Weeks points out that the job sector is sometimes more important than its superficial strength, at least when it comes to housing.

“When you think about folks that are in the tech sector, those types of skill sets will allow them to pivot much more easily than say, someone like myself, an academic. For folks like us, it’s hard to move,” he says. “That’s certainly a factor when you think about which communities might be able to adjust, or might see people move very quickly.”

Sturtevant agrees, while adding that predicting the specific behavior of different industries is a tricky proposition.

“Tech workers in Austin may be more willing to pick up and sell and do something else,” she says. “It may be that their job is gone because of an economic downturn, or it might just be it is time for the next phase, because did this ‘Austin COVID’ thing, and now need to go back to Silicon Valley.”

A tech-heavy economy like Austin could see faster falling prices for this reason compared to metros like Pittsburgh or Washington, D.C., where jobs are tied to research universities and the federal government, respectively, she says. Baur thinks tourism or travel-based job markets are vulnerable, noting that does not just mean areas that attract vacationers—markets with a lot of airline-supported jobs, for instance.

But delving even deeper, Baur adds that some industries that have traditionally been hit hard by recessions won’t necessarily sink in the current climate. He singles out manufacturing as a sector that has changed tremendously in the last few years in a way that will likely weather a recession—or at least help bolster certain regions against negative impacts.

“What we learned in the pandemic is the fragility of the global supply chain, and that’s causing a lot of stuff to get onshored—it hasn’t happened a lot yet, but there’s all sorts of reaction and planning on that basis,” he claims. “It’s very hard to predict because where these plans would be placed has a whole process on a company-specific basis, but there’s whole geographies that will actually benefit even in an economic slowdown.”

Another, even broader metric to look at is socioeconomic status. Weeks notes that generally, regions with lower-income residents will also be more affected, sensitive to increased mortgage rates, with buyers likely to get priced out of that market. Sturtevant adds the caveat that higher-income buyers (and homeowners) often have a larger exposure to the broader economic environment and could change their behavior—declining to upgrade a home, for instance. In this case, even higher-income regions could see decreased activity as families batten down the hatches against faltering.

“Higher-income households feel a different impact of rising rates,” she says. “I think the impact on higher-income folks has to do more broadly with investment returns, and then low income-folks, with the day-to-day.”

First-time buyers who were (or are) “stretching a little bit” in order to get into the market might be the hardest hit, according to Weeks—maybe forced to sell their home due to an overall economic downturn, but suddenly completely priced out of the area by interest rates and potentially with little equity if they bought near the top of the market. Markets with significant shares of these buyers are perhaps the ones to be most concerned about, he says.

“Buyers who were buying as much as they could…with this, I hate to call it false confidence, but the idea that prices are going to continue to go up,” he describes. “Those folks that were sort of the last ones in, if the market slows down…that’s where my concern would lie.”

What goes up…

Many observers have tried to use that simple approach of assuming that every region’s potential pullback is going to be based on how much, and how fast, prices and home values went up. Sturtevant says that while this approach is not incorrect, it is also far from the full picture.

“Some of the outlying markets that really surged in the pandemic, is allowing those existing residents that were frankly priced out by an influx of out-of-town buyers—it allows them maybe a chance to regroup and maybe get back in the market,” she says.

Demand from existing residents, along with the right kind and amount of inventory, could essentially set a floor for the pullback—not preventing the pain, but getting a tourniquet on it.

That extreme demand imbalance, with plenty of regions still having hordes of buyers eager to pick up a house even with much higher mortgage rates, is likely to be a significant cushion even in places where prices have ballooned, according to Weeks.

Case in point—Weeks’ own backyard in Florida, which has seen some of the most spectacular and consistent price growth over the last year or two.

“We had, last month, almost a 30% jump in the number of properties listed by REALTORS® ,” he says. “But we’re so far below what you would consider a healthy level of inventory…that we’ve got a ways to go before we get to a level of inventory for just normal market function.”

Properties are now sitting for around a week instead of getting multiple offers and disappearing in the first day, he says, which is still “ludicrous” and also a testament to the resilient and reliable demand for homes there.

Inventory is a very tricky metric to interpret in a pullback. Broadly, scarce inventory could prop up prices, but a downturn could also depress new construction and leave a market starved and stagnant, according to Sturtevant.

“Now what builders are finding is they can’t build speculatively—or they can, but it’s getting harder and harder to price that home,” she explains. “I think—I’ve heard anecdotally—that there’s pullback from builders because they’re waiting for things to settle out a bit, and they can get better on pricing.”

Regions that have the potential to free up enough existing homes have a better chance of weathering the pullback, because that wait-and-see approach from builders is not going away, according to Sturtevant, with no real broad overbuilding like what happened in 2008.

“I don’t see a turnaround on the new construction anytime soon to help alleviate the inventory problem,” she says.

Weeks says that loose monetary policy has most benefited specific kinds of housing stock—high-end and luxury homes, first of all. Regions with these types of homes and buyers are also generally going to be able to “ride out the storm.” He adds that demand for condo and multi-family spaces “is going to stand up better” generally, in a downturn, as rising interest rates squeeze the higher-priced single-family market.

Agents, if they want to stay ahead of the trends, need to start checking in with their local planning department, Baur suggests, and should be “brushing up” on the latest trends—ADUs, for instance, which are receiving more attention and support particularly in some markets.

“Some people are thinking of this multi-family transition as being a very long-term thing, and it is, but there are very short-term moves that can start to happen once the zoning changes,” he says.

No matter the degree or the factors, though, a downturn is inherently scary. Despite the broad consensus among experts and widespread evidence that there is no mortgage crisis, no high-risk lending that could fuel a crash as ugly as 2008, many still remember that a good deal of experts denied the existence of a bubble back then—right up until it burst. The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) distributed “anti-bubble reports” in late 2005 that explicitly claimed that “the facts simply do not support the possibility of a housing bust.”

Because of the many reforms and regulations implemented since 2008, and because price appreciation has stemmed from a very obvious supply-demand imbalance rather than more nebulous factors, it is hard to imagine a pullback looking like that crash, even if it is more painful than most observers expect.

Sturtevant says that the “resetting” that is happening right now is actually going to be a positive development for the market.

“It is a good thing. I think it is good for homebuyers to have more options, to have more time to make their choices,” she explains.

From a purely real estate perspective, Baur claims that previous downturns have shown that there is an “inherent flight to quality” as far as where consumers are taking their business, and speculative or budget brokerage models could also suffer more going forward, depending on what a downturn looks like. Some agents and brokers may not be able to stay solvent in the new environment and potentially drop out, or at least rethink how they do business.

But even that is a good thing for the industry, Baur claims.

“It’s unfortunate, but I think it will favor the quality end of the market, and I think that’s ultimately good for the industry and certainly the consumer, because it tends to favor those who are experienced and provide a high level of service,” he says.

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Mortgage Rates Drop Below 5%

Thu, 08/04/2022 - 12:02

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (FRM) averaged 4.99%, dropping below 5% for the first time since April, according to the Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®), released by Freddie Mac Thursday.

Key findings:

  • 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.99% with an average 0.8 point as of August 4, 2022, down from last week when it averaged 5.30%. A year ago at this time, the 30-year FRM averaged 2.77%.
  • 15-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.26% with an average 0.6 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.58%. A year ago at this time, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.10%.
  • 5-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 4.25% with an average 0.3 point, down from last week when it averaged 4.29%. A year ago at this time, the 5-year ARM averaged 2.40%.

What the experts are saying:

“Mortgage rates remained volatile due to the tug of war between inflationary pressures and a clear slowdown in economic growth,” said Sam Khater, Freddie Mac’s chief economist. “The high uncertainty surrounding inflation and other factors will likely cause rates to remain variable, especially as the Federal Reserve attempts to navigate the current economic environment.”

Bright MLS Chief Economist Dr. Lisa Sturtevant, commented, “Mortgage rates continue their bumpy ride amidst growing economic uncertainty. Lower rates have not pulled people back into the housing market in any significant numbers. Despite the dip in mortgage rates, data on new purchase contract activity indicate that many buyers are remaining on the sidelines. Mortgage applications have inched up slightly. But other data, including data on showings and public views of properties, indicate that buyer activity remains restrained, despite the lower movement on rates.

The overall housing market is resetting to a new equilibrium. While mortgage rates will always be a consideration for buyers, other factors drive the decision to buy a home. High inflation continues to take a bite out of families’ budgets, making it harder to save for a down payment. Credit card balances are on the rise, impacting debt-to-income ratios. And general economic uncertainty and pandemic fatigue have caused many people to pause their home search.

“Mortgage rates will likely continue to fluctuate in the near-term. The Fed will raise short-term rates again in the coming months to attempt to bring inflation under control. The impact on mortgage rates will depend on how successful the Fed is in bringing down inflation without triggering a slowdown in the labor market,” Sturtevant said.

“The Freddie Mac fixed rate for a 30-year loan continued on a downward trend this week, sliding below the 5.0% threshold, to 4.99%. A raft of surprisingly positive economic indicators counterbalanced the drumbeat of recessionary chatter: factory orders outpaced market expectations, as did the ISM service sector data,” said George Ratiu, senior economist and manager of economic research at realtor.com®. “However, the number of job openings softened, even as the labor market remained tight. Capital markets are seeking a stronger directional signal about economic activity amid the push-and-pull of consumer spending and business investments. While underlying economic conditions show resilience, the recession narrative is playing an important role in market psychology and investor expectations, as we see the sharp upward push in rates moderate more visibly.

“For housing, the combination of high prices and higher interest rates is driving a reset in fundamentals. With borrowing costs setting an affordability ceiling for many buyers, home sales are dropping. In addition, as many homeowners rushed into summer ready to list their property and capture the equity brought about by record-high prices, inventory has improved. This brought a welcome sign in this year’s real estate markets—price cuts. However, realtor.com®’s most recent weekly data show that some homeowners may feel that they missed the market’s peak and are holding back on listing. As the number of new listings softens, it raises the concern that the nascent improvement in inventory may prove elusive as we approach the latter stages of summer,” Ratiu concluded.

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Home Showings Drop Again in June, But Remain Above Pre-Pandemic Levels

Thu, 08/04/2022 - 12:01

The days of prospective buyers showing up in droves for home viewings, a phenomenon seen across the country during the pandemic, may be over.

Home showings declined again year-over-year in June, according to recent data from ShowingTime’s Showing Index®, a monthly data tracker, which will be welcome news to house hunters concerned about fierce competition. But, even though showings were down 18.7% from last year, activity was still significantly higher than pre-pandemic levels.

This dip in showings, the latest indicator that the housing market is in the process of cooling down, was not uniform across all regions. The West experienced a 44.1% drop, while the Northeast, where three cities in Connecticut ranked among the Top 10 performers nationally, fared comparatively well with only a 10.9% reduction in viewings. The Midwest and the South sustained more middling decreases of 16.7% and 25.9%, respectively.

Burlington, Vermont, a small, lakeside city 40 miles from the Canadian border, led every market in showings per listing for the second consecutive month. The New England city is also one of the only markets where showings per listing increased significantly year-over-year.

Top 25 markets by performance:

Burlington, Vermont
Ratio of showings to listings (StL): 13.58
Year-over-year change (YoY): 9%
Month-over-month change (MoM): -14%

Rochester, New York 
StL: 10.18
YoY: -16%
MoM: -11%

Cleveland, Ohio
StL: 10.16
YoY: -18%
MoM: -15%

Richmond, Virginia
StL: 9.96
YoY: -15%
MoM: -16%

Hartford, Connecticut
StL: 9.85
YoY: 1%
MoM: -13%

New Haven, Connecticut 
StL: 9.82
YoY: -4%
MoM: -13%

Bridgeport, Connecticut 
StL: 9.73
YoY: -9%
MoM: -19%

Akron, Ohio
StL: 9.71
YoY: -17%
MoM: -18%

Manchester, New Hampshire 
StL: 9.41
YoY: -25%
MoM: -9%

Bloomington-Normal, Illinois 
StL: 9.27
YoY: -2%
MoM: -25%

Grand Rapids, Michigan
StL: 9.26
YoY: -24%
MoM: -18%

Dallas, Texas
StL: 9.24
YoY: -30%
MoM: -16%

Kansas City, Missouri
StL: 9.22
YoY: -18%
MoM: -11%

Virginia Beach, Virginia 
StL: 9.18
YoY: -16%
MoM: -14%

Buffalo, New York 
StL: 9.17
YoY: -22%
MoM: -13%

Harrisburg, Pennsylvania 
StL: 9.02
YoY: -1%
MoM: -12%

Tulsa, Oklahoma
StL: 9.01
YoY: -9%
MoM: -12%

Trenton, New Jersey 
StL: 9.00
YoY: -13%
MoM: -19%

Baltimore, Maryland
StL: 8.92
YoY: -21%
MoM: -16%

Washington, D.C.
StL: 8.89
YoY: -20%
MoM: -12%

Columbia, South Carolina 
StL: 8.85
YoY: -23%
MoM: -14%

Toledo, Ohio
StL: 8.85
YoY: 1%
MoM: -13%

Oshkosh, Wisconsin 
StL: 8.83
YoY: 2%
MoM: -9%

Appleton, Wisconsin 
StL: 8.82
YoY: -4%
MoM: -13%

Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
StL: 8.82
YoY: -13%
MoM: -11%

The takeaway:

“Most markets are experiencing a slowdown in buyer activity, especially compared to the historically high traffic seen last year,” said ShowingTime Vice President and General Manager Michael Lane, in a release. “While summer is a slower time of year for real estate compared to spring, the dip we’re seeing compared to last June suggests this slowing is more about a rebalancing of an overheated market than just marking the end of the home shopping season.”

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Almost Half of Homeowners Are Now Equity-Rich

Thu, 08/04/2022 - 12:00

Elevated mortgage rates and climbing inflation have not dampened the steady rise of homeowner equity, buoyed by soaring home values due, in part, to a historic housing supply shortage.

Forty-eight percent of mortgaged residential properties in the United States were considered equity-rich, meaning the owner has at least 50% equity, in the second quarter of 2022, according to newly released data from ATTOM, a curator of real estate data.

The proportion of equity-rich homes has continued on an upward trajectory, rising from 44.9% in the first quarter of 2022 and from 34.4% in the second quarter of 2021. Additionally, at least half of all mortgage-payers in 18 states were equity-rich in the second quarter, compared to only three states a year earlier, according to the report.

Further, just 2.9% of mortgaged homes were deemed seriously underwater, meaning the owner owed at least 25% more than the estimated market value of the property. Meanwhile, down payments for new buyers have grown from about 5 to 7% over the past several years, resulting in new owners starting off with more equity.

Key findings:

  • Forty-nine states saw equity-rich levels increase from the first quarter of 2022, while seriously underwater rates dipped in 46 states.
  • Seven of the 10 states where the equity-rich share of mortgaged homes increased most from the first to the second quarter of 2022 were in the southern region of the U.S. The biggest increase was in Wyoming, where the portion of equity-rich homes grew by 7.8% from the first quarter of 2022, closely followed by Maine and Florida.
  • States where the equity-rich share of mortgaged homes decreased, or went up the least, from the first quarter to the second quarter were New Jersey, which was down less than one percent, Utah, Idaho, North Dakota and West Virginia.
  • Mississippi led the states with the biggest decreases in the percentage of mortgaged homes considered seriously underwater from the first quarter to the second quarter with its share down 8.9%. Wyoming was down 3%, followed by Missouri, which was down 1.4%.
  • Only three states saw their percentage of seriously underwater homes increase, albeit marginally, in the second quarter: Montana, up 0.9%; New Jersey, up 0.1%; and New York, also up 0.1%.
  • The highest levels of equity-rich properties around the U.S. remained in the West during the second quarter, with eight of the top 10 states located in that region. The top states were Vermont, Idaho, Arizona, Utah and Washington.
  • Nine of the 10 states with the highest shares of mortgages that were seriously underwater in the second quarter were in the South and Midwest.
  • Of the roughly 200,000 homeowners facing possible foreclosure in the second quarter, about 91 percent had at least some equity built up in their homes.

The takeaway:

“After 124 consecutive months of home price increases, it’s no surprise that the percentage of equity-rich homes is the highest we’ve ever seen, and that the percentage of seriously underwater loans is the lowest,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence at ATTOM, in a release. “While home price appreciation appears to be slowing down due to higher interest rates on mortgage loans, it seems likely that homeowners will continue to build on the record amount of equity they have for the rest of 2022.”

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Forging a Digital Frontier for Agents and Brokers

Thu, 08/04/2022 - 02:04

Over the last two years, the COVID-19 pandemic has continued to accelerate the digitization of the real estate transaction. Whether it is closing on a new home or beginning the search process, homebuyers—especially the emerging millennial generation—expect to be able to digitally transact with trust, transparency, speed, ease and convenience.

Real estate firms know that investing in technology is critical, but it is also a challenge. Keeping up with technology is one of the biggest problems facing real estate agents and brokerages. They are challenged by an overwhelming number of choices and technology options with fragmented solutions and antiquated technology. Many agents and brokers use 10 or more individual solutions, requiring them to manage their relationships in a highly disjointed and frustrating way.

Looking through the lens of a homebuyer or real estate agent, the real estate transaction is cumbersome, slow and manual. A few of these pain points include:

  • Speed of the transaction: The time from contract to close has remained the same for many years.
  • Communication and sharing of information: There is a need for better integration between platforms to improve communication and sharing of documents between the brokerage, lender and closing company, which each have their own process and technology.
  • Home search: The typical home search experience is limited to a few basic categories like a home’s square footage or number of bedrooms, leaving out a treasure trove of valuable information buyers are interested in like property condition, flooring, countertops, and lighting.
  • Closing: The closing process can be very stressful for homebuyers, often because they do not understand the process, what they are paying for, or what is expected of them.

There is an opportunity to improve the experience for both homebuyers and agents by making the transaction more seamless and transparent across the board. From the moment a homebuyer begins their search online to the moment they have the keys in hand, there are touchpoints along the customer journey that technology can help optimize. What is most important however, is to view the entire real estate transaction from a holistic perspective from search to close. Rather than considering the steps of search, financing, title, and closing separately, we must consider them all as a unified experience for the homebuyer.

homegenius is focused on improving the buying and selling experience and enabling real estate agents to be the smartest person in the room while maximizing their productivity. Our solutions are powered by big data and proprietary analytics and technology, including artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning that will take homebuyer and agents from search to close with intelligence, transparency, speed and simplicity.

We are creating a better, more personalized home search process through geniusprice technology, using computer vision artificial intelligence and machine learning. We are developing smarter workflow technology for agents, solving a key problem for many real estate agents—the time it takes to keep up with technology and managing the various workflow systems and portals they need to access. And we are delivering a faster and more modern title and closing process backed by blockchain technology through titlegenius by Radian.

Visit homegenius.com to learn more about the homegenius ecosystem and the new digital frontier we are forging.

Eric Ray
Senior EVP, Chief Digital Officer and Co-Head of homegenius
Eric Ray has more than 30 years of experience in the technology sector. As senior executive vice president, chief technology officer and co-head of homegenius, Eric leads the vision, strategy and execution of hg’s products, technology, data, analytics and operations.

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