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Updated: 2 hours 39 min ago

NAR’s ‘That’s Who We R’ Campaign Launches Feb. 3

Tue, 01/28/2020 - 12:55

NAR PULSE—The evolution of the “That’s Who We R” national ad campaign, which helps consumers understand the value of REALTORS®, launches Feb. 3. This year’s ads rally consumers to “Look for the R” for reliable guidance on their path to property ownership. Watch this preview prior to the campaign’s launch.

Skip the Waiting Room
With Members Telehealth your agents can see a doctor on-demand via smartphone app, web chat, email or phone. It’s a convenient and cost-effective way to get treatment from board-certified physicians, and it’s available to all NAR members through the REALTOR Benefits® Program.

2020 Vision: Using RPR in the New Year
The New Year is a time to look ahead, plan for success and prepare accordingly. This “2020” vision can be more easily accomplished by reviewing these popular 2019 RPR articles that your agents may have missed.

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New-Home Sales Slide 0.4 Percent

Mon, 01/27/2020 - 12:37

For the third month straight, new-home sales slipped, according to the Commerce Department’s December report.

The Breakdown

New-Home Sales (Annual Rate): 694,000

  • -0.4 percent month-over-month (Dec. 2019/Nov. 2019)
  • +23 percent year-over-year (Dec. 2019/Dec. 2018)

For-Sale Inventory: 327,000
Months’ Supply: 5.7
Average Price: $384,500
Median Price: $331,400

What the Industry’s Saying

“New-home sales were effectively flat in December, after downward revisions for prior months. However, the sales pace for newly built single-family homes ended 2019 with a gain of 10 percent, increasing to a total of 681,000. This marks 2019 as the best year for new-home sales since the Great Recession.” – Robert Dietz, Chief Economist, National Association of Home Builders

“These numbers could serve as a bit of a wake-up call for builders that have grown increasingly confident in the demand for the homes they’ve been putting up with growing vigor since the summer. After revisions, this series has now fallen month-over-month in each of the past three months. Still, with overall inventory as scarce as it is currently, it’s clear that more construction is desperately needed.” – Matthew Speakman, Economist, Zillow

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New Retirement Rules Could Help Boost Your Savings: 5 Things to Know

Mon, 01/27/2020 - 12:34

(TNS)—The rules of the retirement game just saw a sizable overhaul in Congress, giving a nod to the reality that many Americans can’t afford to quit working.

The changes aren’t massive enough to put to rest concerns about an upcoming retirement crisis where some forecast a growing gap between the haves and have-nots. Even so, the adjustments are likely to help some households boost their retirement savings.

The new law, signed by President Donald Trump in late December, has key twists for those who work at small businesses, those who steadily work part-time at a given company and those who are worried about whether they’re on a bleak path to outlive the money in their 401(k). Eventually, workers may see their 401(k) plans begin to add options that offer annuities in their 401(k) plans, too.

The SECURE Act—or the Setting Every Community Up for Retirement Enhancement Act—offers small business owners some additional tax incentives for starting a retirement plan and seeks to make it less costly to do so. Financial services firms would be allowed to offer new multiple employer 401(k) plans to unrelated small companies with unrelated businesses.

Workers who spend a large chunk of their careers at small companies that do not offer pensions or 401(k) plans are particularly vulnerable to an inadequate level of savings to cover the bills in retirement.

Here’s a look at some points to know:

Turning 70 in 2020? New rules can help delay spending savings.
Start thinking of age 72, instead of 70-and-a-half, if you want to delay taking money from your IRA or 401(k) for as long as possible.

Under the new law, savers who are currently in their 50s and 60s wouldn’t be required to take a minimum distribution from retirement savings until they hit age 72.

Taking out the correct required minimum distribution, or RMDs for short, is essential each year, especially since the penalty for not doing so is 50 percent of what you should have taken out that year. The penalty is in addition to the ordinary income tax you pay on the money you withdraw from the retirement accounts. (Tax experts at H&R Block note, though, that it is possible to get a waiver by making the appropriate withdrawal as soon as the mistake is discovered and filing Form 5329 with an explanation of the error. If the IRS considers the error to be reasonable, the penalty will be waived. It may help to talk with a tax professional.)

Given that many Americans are living longer and working longer, it can make sense for some to try to keep their hands off their retirement savings for as long as possible.

“This isn’t necessarily a one-size-fits-all-situation,” says Keith Bernhardt, vice president of Retirement Income for Fidelity Investments.

Keeping the money in a tax-deferred IRA or 401(k) can help the account grow more in the future, too, depending on the success of your investments.

“You’re still benefiting from the tax-deferred nature of having money inside the account,” Bernhardt says.

The new threshold applies to people who turn age 70-and-a-half in 2020 and later.

The new 72 is simpler to track than the old age rules. After all, it’s a little odd to try to figure out when you turn age 70-and-a-half.

One potential point of confusion: If you turned 70-and-a-half in 2019 or earlier, you don’t get the benefit of the new delay. You’re still required to take the RMD for 2019 and in future years.

The new rules can give you more flexibility for minimizing the tax hit in some years, too. Maybe you’d rather spend money from a regular brokerage account earlier in your retirement years.

Say that investment outside of a retirement account is worth $10,000 but only $2,000 of that money represents actual earnings. Then, you’d only be taxed on the $2,000 not the entire $10,000.

Take $10,000 out of the IRA and you’d be taxed on the full amount if you saved that money on a pre-tax basis while working.

Take a hard look at your own numbers and talk to a tax professional or financial adviser. Outliving your money remains a real risk for many. Once people retire, they can run the risk of dipping too heavily into their retirement savings and running short of money as they age.

Though people retire at different ages, Fidelity noted that participants in the 401(k) plans it manages often retire around age 65.

“Regardless of age, most make withdrawals in the first year, then the withdrawal rate declines until the required minimum distribution age,” according to Fidelity.

One drawback for withdrawing money from a tax-deferred retirement account is that withdrawals are taxed at your regular income tax rate. You might face a 10% percent penalty if you withdraw the money before age 59, as well. If you take out too much money, you’re at risk of driving up your annual income tax bill.

Retirement savings can help young families, too.
The Act allows parents to withdraw money without penalties—but you would pay income taxes on those withdrawals—from a 401(k) or IRA to cover costs associated with childbirth or adoption. The change applies to distributions in 2020 and afterward. New parents would be allowed to withdraw up to $5,000 without the 10 percent penalty if the money is withdrawn within a year of the birth or adoption. You’d have to check with your plan sponsor to see when this might be allowed within a given plan.

Working part-time won’t hurt your ability to save.
Going forward, the new law requires companies that offer 401(k) plans to allow part-time employees who have worked at least 500 hours a year for at least three consecutive years to set aside money from their paychecks into the plan. The employer isn’t required to make matching contributions until the worker meets the plan’s normal eligibility requirements.

In the past, someone who was steadily working part-time could legally be excluded from saving for retirement in a 401(k) or similar plan if he or she worked less than 1,000 hours a year. So the change is expected to open the doors for many people who work in retail, healthcare and other part-time heavy fields. The change may be particularly beneficial for women.

How soon will you be able to save? It might be sometime in 2024 or earlier.
Some plan sponsors could wait until 2024 to make this change relating to part-time workers based on the statute, says Mark Iwry, a nonresident senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. Iwry was responsible for national retirement policy and regulation of the private pension system while serving as senior adviser to the U.S. Secretary of the Treasury during the Obama Administration.

But, he continues, some plans will voluntarily implement this change earlier by taking into account years worked before 2021. Or, he said, some might conceivably decide for administrative simplicity not to look back for three years and simply allow participation by employees who have at least 500 hours of service in a given year.

Time for a wake-up call.
By December 2021 or after, savers are expected to begin receiving estimates once a year for how much monthly income their current 401(k) savings might generate in retirement.

Iwry, who has supported such a disclosure for more than a decade, says the number will be key in helping people understand what kind of regular income their retirement accounts could generate.

“People don’t readily have a way to translate the account balance that they’ve accumulated to the amount of regular income that it can deliver to them in their retirement years,” Iwry says.

Think of something similar to the estimates that you receive for Social Security retirement benefits.

Once you have a clearer picture, you may decide to work longer, save more, or maybe even realize that you’re well on track when it comes to saving for retirement.

Right now, many people are in the dark when it comes to their retirement savings, according to Joshua Gotbaum, a guest scholar for economic studies at the Brookings Institution.

Many people haven’t saved enough before they retire, but they don’t know it, he says. Or others who have retired don’t know how long their savings will last and they could be afraid to spend even when they have enough financial resources to do so.

“This lifetime income benchmarking will help both,” Gotbaum says.

Consider this example: A woman with $50,000 in her 401(k) at age 65 could get an annuity paying just under $3,000 per year—or $250 a month—for life.

It’s a number that might motivate you to bump up your regular savings rate.

In 2020, individuals can save up to $19,500 in their 401(k) plans, or $500 more than last year. If you’re 50 or older, you can save even more than that through what’s called catch-up contributions, which max out at $6,500 in 2020. In all, someone 50 and older could save up to $26,000 in 2020.

The annual contribution limit for Individual Retirement Accounts for 2020 is $6,000 or $7,000 for those 50 and older.

Want to work and save more into your 70s?
If you’re working, the new law removes the age cap for setting aside savings into a traditional Individual Retirement Account. Beginning in 2020, the age cap—formerly age 70—goes away for individuals who have wage income.

You’re allowed to set aside money in a traditional IRA as long as you have income from work. Another plus: If a couple could contribute to a spousal IRA before age 70, the new rules allow them to do so now even if the person is older than 70.

But remember, the change is only effective starting with tax year 2020 contributions made for the year 2020, so people should understand the 70 age limit is still in place for traditional IRAs when it comes to contributions made for tax year 2019.

©2020 Detroit Free Press
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Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Staying Ahead of the Competition

Thu, 01/23/2020 - 13:02

Joseph Madaio
Sal Carola
Robert Coppolino

Brokerage: RE/MAX Elite
Based In: Brooklyn and Staten Island, N.Y.
Region Served: New York metropolitan area
Years in Real Estate: Joseph: 35; Sal: 16; Robert: 16
Number of Offices: 4
Number of Agents: 100

You are three equal partners in your RE/MAX brokerage. How is your work divided?
Joseph Madaio:
We break it down three ways: Sal handles recruiting and marketing, Rob handles training and technology, and I’m in charge of everything else.

How does having three equal owners work to your advantage?
Rob Coppolino:
Honestly, it’s nice to have three different views and three different perspectives. We get along really well, but in the end, our philosophy is that it’s all about working for and helping our agents. And with the three of us always available, there’s always someone to help the agents.

How do the three of you communicate with one another to make your brokerage seamless?
We’re constantly in touch with one another, whether it’s on a daily basis or as often as an hourly basis. We phone each other, email, text or whatever is most expedient to make sure we get any question answered and every problem addressed.

Why RE/MAX? And, by extension, which of the brand’s systems do you find most beneficial?
Sal Carola:
That’s easy. It’s the RE/MAX reputation. RE/MAX has worldwide influence and is likely the most recognized brand in the world. The balloon is known by so many people, and the agents that work for RE/MAX have been around for a long time. They’re mature, competent agents and brokers who know the ropes.

RC: I agree with everything Sal said, but I’d also like to add that when Sal and I joined RE/MAX, it was one of the only companies that had our names, the broker’s names, on the signs rather than featuring the company name. That’s huge when it comes to being able to market yourself.

JM: We’re dealing with agents who aren’t part-timers, who aren’t learning the business. When you see our brand, you know you’re dealing with a solid performing agent—someone you can expect to get the job done and done very well.

How do you stay out in front of the competition?
It’s easy when you have all of the top agents in the area working with you. We’re naturally out in front.

What is your best advice for hiring and retaining agents?
We have an open-door policy. We have regular meetings, and we recognize agents for jobs well done. We also recognize top producers of the month by promoting their achievements over social media. Additionally, we’re firm believers in writing handwritten cards. Our cards are always personal, and that personal touch goes a long way with agents and brokers.

RC: We care. We will always be there for our agents. We love this company, and we love our agents. And that’s something you can’t fake.

For more information, please visit

Lesley Grand is a contributing editor to RISMedia.

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Women in Real Estate: Yale Report Underscores Wide Gender Gap in Home-Buying Trends

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 13:12

The real estate playing field isn’t level for women and men, a new study shows.

A recent report by Kelly Shue and Paul Goldsmith-Pinkham of the Yale School of Management, “The Gender Gap in Housing Return­,” with data from CoreLogic, analyzed over 50 million home sales between 1991 and 2017. Results indicated there are significant disparities in buying power and trends between females and males.

According to the report, single women, on average, pay 2 percent more for the same house as a single man, and also sell their homes for 2 percent less. After looking at several factors, such as age, listing agent, income, type of home, ethnicity and education, the report found that women are losing, on average, $1,370 per year on their homes when compared to men.

Why such a loss? The report states the market environment plays a big role, as well as buying with risk. Single women may be tied down with children or may be making lifestyle-based decisions versus financial decisions, for example, and so the timing is different, showed the report. Men may be purchasing riskier properties with higher returns.

“Women earn lower returns on housing partly because they tend to buy when aggregate house prices are high and sell when they are low,” said the researchers.

In a tight housing market, however, the gap is nearly nonexistent, they found. It’s the areas with a higher average age, lower average education and a higher population of single females that are more associated with a bigger gender gap.

“Gender differences in upgrade rates, preferences for housing characteristics and listing agents appear to be less important factors. The gender gap varies with market tightness and demographic characteristics, but remains large in regions with high average education, income and house price levels,” the researchers stated.

The biggest problem? It doesn’t all revolve on how the market is faring. It’s also about how women (especially single women) are perceived in the market. The report found that women are being treated differently from the start—especially during the offer phase. During negotiations, men typically garner larger discounts.

“People are more offended by lowball offers from female buyers. It is an unfortunate consequence of perhaps our culture, and the fact that we may expect that women are more willing to share the pie and share the surplus from negotiation,” said Shue in an interview with NPR.

The largest discounts typically go to a male buyer (with a female seller).

So, where do women win out? When they transact together.

“Women, on average, do better when they are transacting with other women,” Shue said.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at  

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Existing-Home Sales Track Up 3.6 Percent

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 13:09

To cap off 2019, existing-home sales tracked up, according to the December National Association of REALTORS® report this week. December’s adjusted annualized rate of sales totaled 5.54 million, climbing 3.6 percent month-over-month and 10.8 percent year-over-year.

Credit: National Association of REALTORS®

Across all house types (single-family, condo, co-op and townhome), the median price was $274,500—a 7.8 percent increase year-over-year, according to the report. The median price for sales in the single-family space was $276,900, while the condo median was $255,400.

By region:

Existing-Home Sales: 1.3 million (+9.2% YoY)
Median Price: $208,500 (+9.2% YoY)

Existing-Home Sales: 740,000 (+8.8% YoY)
Median Price: $304,400 (+7.4% YoY)

Existing-Home Sales: 2.36 million (+12.4% YoY)
Median Price: $240,500 (+6.7% YoY)

Existing-Home Sales: 1.14 million (+10.7% YoY)
Median Price: $411,800 (+8.1% YoY)

Currently, inventory is at a 3.0-month supply, the report shows. In December, the average existing-home listing was on the market for 41 days, five days less than the previous year. Of December homes sold, 43 percent were on the market for less than one month.

Of December’s adjusted annualized rate of sales, 4.92 million were single-family, while condo and co-op sales totaled 620,000. Twenty percent of sales were all-cash, and 17 percent by individual investors or second homebuyers. Two percent were distressed. First-time homebuyers comprised 31 percent of sales, aligning with the overall trend for 2019, 33 percent.

“I view 2019 as a neutral year for housing in terms of sales,” Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, says. “Home sellers are positioned well, but prospective buyers aren’t as fortunate. Low inventory remains a problem, with first-time buyers affected the most.”

“NAR is expecting 2020 to be a great year for housing,” NAR President Vince Malta says. “Our leadership team is hard at work to secure policies that will keep our housing market moving in the right direction, like promoting infrastructure reform, strengthening fair housing protections and ensuring mortgage capital remains available to responsible, mortgage-ready Americans.”

On the report, Mike Fratantoni, chief economist at the Mortgage Bankers Association, said in a statement: “We expect that home sales will rise in 2020, as additional new housing construction has come onto the market, and the job market remains strong and mortgage rates are low. Typically, the inventory of homes on the market drops at the end of the year; however, the supply of existing homes is now at a record low, and this will constrain the pace of sales this spring from being even stronger, [but] the recent gains in new-home construction is a positive, as the total inventory on the market will allow prospective buyers to find properties.”

Bill Banfield, chief risk officer at Quicken Loans, said in a statement: “Low interest rates in 2019 helped buyers make the leap to purchase more existing homes. While December’s jump in home construction is positive as well, it will not sufficiently meet the demand likely to occur in 2020. This will continue to push prices upwards, stretching first-time buyers, who make up nearly a third of the market.”

For more information, please visit

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How Your Online Content Nurtures Relationships in the Luxury Market

Wed, 01/22/2020 - 13:06

In 2020 and beyond, having a clear understanding of how digital marketing can grow your business will be vital to your success. Adapting to real estate market trends in the luxury market like these can ensure your longevity as an agent or broker and make it easier for clients to find you.

However, there’s still some resistance in the luxury market towards prioritizing online relationships with clients as much as interpersonal networks. While there will always be a need to grow and nurture your interpersonal, real estate market trends overwhelmingly show that an increasing number of clients in both the traditional and luxury markets will start their real estate journey online to find an agent or brokerage.

It’s the Philosophy Behind the Technology That Counts
One thing most luxury real estate agents have in common is that they love connecting with people, but that doesn’t always translate into their online content. Along with understanding real estate market trends, our trainings are heavily based on how to create relationships with clients, how to provide them with real value and even how to relate to different personality types.

At first glance, it may seem like these skills only apply when working face-to-face, but the philosophy behind them applies to any format, regardless of time or place or real estate market trends. The goal is to connect and provide value first, not to make the sale.

For luxury real estate agents to succeed in the new real estate landscape, they will have to consider that their online content serves as a sort of ongoing conversation with their clients and prospects. If you wouldn’t bombard your in-person prospect or client with new listings without truly connecting with them first, then it’s not wise to do that online, either.

How to Grow Relationships Online
If your online content isn’t solely to boast new listings, then what is it for? How do you really connect with your prospects and clients?

Again, the philosophy is the same as it is if you’re networking in person: to connect with people online, your content should showcase your expertise, community insights and your listings.

Some examples are:

  • Highlighting local businesses
  • Sharing interesting facts about the community
  • Nurturing existing clients with a weekly or monthly list of all of the local events going on in your area
  • Taking the time to post a quick blog about the best advice you can give buyers, sellers or investors based on current events or market trends
  • Publicly congratulating buyers after a close (if appropriate) to garner trust and social proof for prospects who have been following along
  • A quick video of you introducing yourself again if you’ve just gained new followers on a social platform

We know that clients in the luxury real estate space are looking for a lifestyle and not just another house, and these examples are all ways to communicate your understanding of that even when you’re not face-to-face with a prospect or client.

Of course, sharing your listings is also important, but thinking of your online content as an extension of real relationships rather than a replacement is key.

If you want to learn the timeless philosophies behind succeeding in luxury real estate, take a look at our training options.

Diane Hartley is the president of the Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, a premier independent authority in training and designation for real estate agents working in the upper-tier residential market. Hartley brings her passion for luxury marketing and more than 20 years of experience growing and leading businesses to her role as president of the Institute. 

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2020 Real Estate Newsmakers: The Luminaries and the Trendsetters

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 13:06

Accomplishments in business. Charitable contributions. Daring leadership. Out-of-the-box thinking. Over the course of the past year, RISMedia’s 2020 Real Estate Newsmakers contributed to the housing industry in numerous ways, bettering their communities, consumers and larger sphere, across eight categories: Achievers, Crusaders, Futurists, Influencers, Inspirations, Luminaries, Trailblazers and Trendsetters. Here, we showcase their stories.

Merri Jo Cowen
Stellar MLS

In 2019, Cowen led the rebrand of My Florida Regional MLS to Stellar MLS. “I am passionate about the real estate industry, and, most especially, the MLS,” Cowen says. “I have been working in the MLS space for over 30 years and recognize the value that an MLS can provide to its customers—and the need…to be moving forward to the future.”

Glenn M. Gardner

In 2019, Gardner was named Leader of the Year by Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, and Gardner REALTORS® was named both Best Residential Real Estate Company by New Orleans CityBusiness and, for the fourth straight year, Top Workplace by Times-Picayune. “I love working in an industry where everything we do affects our families, our neighbors and our communities,” Gardner says.

Pat Riley
President & CEO
Allen Tate Companies

For close to 30 years, Riley has been integral to Allen Tate Companies, his family’s firm, as well as the broader industry. He was one of 10 founding members of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, and, more recently, combined forces with Howard Hanna Real Estate Services. “I am driven by passion for the independent broker and the local brand with international connections; that is the best of both worlds,” Riley says.

Kate Rossi
Regional Executive Vice President, Eastern Region
Coldwell Banker NRT

In 2019, Rossi, an industry veteran, was instrumental in the launch of Listing Concierge across Coldwell Banker NRT’s Eastern Region, encompassing New England, Atlanta and the Carolinas, Florida, Pittsburgh, Pa., and Texas. “I believe that real estate agents are trusted advisors in the real estate transaction, and it is essential to keep them and their needs at the forefront of our business,” Rossi says.

Ron Shuffield
President & CEO
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices EWM Realty

In 2019, Shuffield and EWM Realty became part of the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network. “As a proud member of the HomeServices of America family, we are excited to join the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network,” said Shuffield. “We believe that Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices EWM Realty will be a compelling option for those buying and selling luxury property.”

Nelson Zide
ERA Key Realty Services

In 2019, after being in the business for 42 years, Zide achieved his 1,000th real estate transaction. Since 1998, Zide has been critical to ERA Key Realty Services’ expansion, and for the past 25 years, has been a national speaker and trainer. His motto? “No excuses. Only results.”

Jeffrey Goodman

In 2019, Goodman built on the success of his award-winning walking tour, “Rediscovering New York,” with the launch of a podcast and radio show. In one “Rediscovering” special, he commemorated the 50th anniversary of the Stonewall Riots, telling Broadway World, “I look forward to discussing topics critical to the movement with my influential guests, while at the same time integrating the history of some New York neighborhoods where LGBTQ people have lived, and thrived, for more than 50 years.”

Shovkat “Shoka” Mamedov
RE/MAX 100

In 2019, Mamedov became the broker/owner of RE/MAX’s first Manhattan office, located in Times Square. “Our Manhattan office is in an ideal location to bring the RE/MAX brand to this thriving commercial and luxury residential market,” Mamedov says.

Christine Rae
Founder, President & CEO
CSP International

In 2019, Rae and CSP International launched the CSP Elite program for agents, which assesses and certifies their marketing skills and staging. “So many people told me my idea of staging wouldn’t work,” Rae says. “I went on to build a successful staging business and a school for others.”

Randy Rector
CEO & Owner
HomeSmart Evergreen Realty

In 2019, Rector partnered with Realty ONE Group to operate seven of its California offices, as well as continued to operate his existing HomeSmart offices. “This was an exciting opportunity for me to invest in a brand that continually generates innovative ideas, systems and processes,” Rector said.

Vince Rocco
Associate Broker

In addition to being an expert in the Manhattan market, Rocco is the host of “Good Morning New York, Real Estate With Vince Rocco,” a podcast and radio show, in which he delves into real estate-related topics.

David Serle
RE/MAX Services

A two-time Broker of the Year, Serle is the host of a Facebook Live show, “Breakfast with the Broker,” aimed at collaboration in the industry and professionalism, and to elevate interactions. “You may not always remember everything I have said to you, but you will always remember how I made you feel,” says Serle.

For more from the 2020 Real Estate Newsmakers, go to or RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine. For consideration for the 2021 Real Estate Newsmakers, please email nominations to

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Encourage Your Agents to Invest

Tue, 01/21/2020 - 13:05

NAR PULSE—The Center for REALTOR® Financial Wellness is here to help with resources related to real estate investing. Topics include: REIT, 1031 exchange basics, investing risks and saving strategies. Tell your agents to log in today and start ensuring their future financial security.

Eye-Catching Savings Make Agents Smile
Are your agents taking advantage of the vision and dental insurance plans available to NAR members? Make sure they know about the competitive group rates and savings on their eye care and oral health needs. REALTORS® Dental and REALTORS® Vision are available through the REALTOR Benefits® Program.

2021 NAR Leadership Academy
NAR is now accepting applications for the 2021 Leadership Academy. This program identifies, inspires and mentors emerging leaders from the local and state association level, and allows future leaders to experience multiple facets of leadership and define their leadership style along the way. Application deadline is March 3, 2020.

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2020 Real Estate Newsmakers: The Inspirations and the Trailblazers

Sun, 01/19/2020 - 10:05

Accomplishments in business. Charitable contributions. Daring leadership. Out-of-the-box thinking. Over the course of the past year, RISMedia’s 2020 Real Estate Newsmakers contributed to the housing industry in numerous ways, bettering their communities, consumers and larger sphere, across eight categories: Achievers, Crusaders, Futurists, Influencers, Inspirations, Luminaries, Trailblazers and Trendsetters. Here, we showcase their stories.

Scott Furman
RE/MAX Classic

In 2019, Furman assisted a young couple, in which the husband was newly wheelchair-bound, find a home for their needs, despite the listing being out of their price range. “My motto, ‘Deep personal relationships still matter,’ goes a long way in this business,” Furman says.

Melanie Gamble
Principal Broker
212 Degrees Realty, LLC

In 2019, Gamble was elected secretary of her local board of REALTORS® and at-large director for her state association—and she celebrated her 10th year being cancer-free. “As a breast cancer survivor, I am acutely aware of how precious life and time are for all of us,” Gamble says. “I seek to help others realize their dreams and make the most of what they are given.”

Tony Mattar
HomeCo Chicago

Mattar is the founder of Men of Chicago Real Estate, which recently produced a swimsuit calendar to fundraise for Chicago House and Social Service Agency, which assists those impacted by HIV/AIDS and LGBTQ marginalization. “I feel so lucky to be part of an industry that allows for each individual to stay true to their own personality and personal brand, with no barriers to success,” Mattar says.

Vickie Lobo
RE/MAX Champions

Lobo is the founder of Knock Knock Angels, a nonprofit for homeless military veterans and single parents with children. “It’s truly magical,” Lobo says. “The people we serve have nothing, but after an encounter with us, they have enough!”

Michelle McLean
Coldwell Banker Bain

In 2019, McLean was awarded the Hero of the Year Award at the annual Coldwell Banker Gen Blue Experience conference in honor of her advocacy and charitable work. McLean has also been honored with the REALTOR® Community Service Award by the Tacoma-Pierce County Association of REALTORS® in Washington.

Cori McQueen
Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage

Following her husband’s passing, McQueen has hosted the Steve Haydu St. Patrick’s Lo Tide Run, an annual fundraiser held in honor of him that assists those battling cancer with challenging financial obligations. In 2019, she hosted the second annual Lo Tide Run Gala. “I have a passion for serving others,” McQueen says.

Lori Arnold
Coldwell Banker Apex, REALTORS®

In 2019, Arnold became the first woman elected chairperson of the Coldwell Banker MOB (Multi-Office Brokers), which represents the top 10 Coldwell Banker brokers in the U.S. “I have been blessed to have some amazing mentors, including my CB business consultant when I was a young broker…His mentorship shaped my business, and, in turn, has inspired me to do the same for others around me,” Arnold says.

Brian Bair
Founder & CEO

In 2019, Bair headed up initiatives at Offerpad to bring the iBuyer into national prominence, including the Buyer Boost and Instant Own programs. “While I’m proud of the massive success Offerpad has become, what you see now is only the beginning,” Bair says.

Simon Chen
Executive Vice President, Production & Innovation
Realogy Franchise Group

In 2019, Chen was appointed executive vice president of Product & Innovation at Realogy Franchise Group, charged with digital products, strategic alliances, and learning and recruiting efforts. “Great technology and innovative products are not disruptors; they are enablers that maximize the agent-client relationship,” Chen says.

Ishay Grinberg
Founder & CEO
Rental Beast

In 2019, Grinberg and Rental Beast created Apply Now, an agent-driven online rental solution. “I’m proud of how Rental Beast can impact agents by allowing them to make rentals a core part of their business, put money into their pockets immediately and build a pipeline of future homebuyers,” Grinberg says.

Richard Haggerty
Hudson Gateway Association of REALTORS®, Inc.

In 2019, Haggerty was instrumental in the launch of OneKey MLS, the New York metro area’s first regional multiple listing service. “This MLS will make it easier for brokers to access accurate data that covers the entire region, from The Hamptons through Manhattan and the Boroughs into Hudson Valley,” Haggerty says.

Hagan Stone

In 2019, Stone was chair of the Commitment to Excellence (C2EX) Committee for the National Association of REALTORS®. With 19,000 members of NAR participating (at press time), C2EX aims to increase professionalism in real estate through assessments and customized learning paths.

For more from the 2020 Real Estate Newsmakers, go to or RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine. For consideration for the 2021 Real Estate Newsmakers, please email nominations to

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Celebrating 40 Years: RISMedia’s John Featherston Reflects

Sun, 01/19/2020 - 10:03

(Above) Scenes from my desk during the company’s early days)

An early rendition of the magazine from the spring of 1986

Editor’s Note: In 2020, RISMedia is commemorating our 40th year, and celebrating our incredible milestone with photos, stories and more, in Real Estate magazine and on We extend our gratitude to our partners for their steadfast support, and to you, our readers, for allowing us to continue delivering on our mission. As our Executive Vice President Darryl MacPherson (DMAC) often says…”Onward!”

In commemoration of RISMedia’s 40th year, our founder, John Featherston, gave us a glimpse into the beginnings of the business, what’s changed over the years, and what he’s learned.

Why don’t we begin where it started…how did you get involved in real estate, and how did you launch the National Relocation & Real Estate magazine (today, known as RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine)?
John Featherston:
My first managerial position was as a district supervisor for PHH Home Equity handling the company’s real estate activities in Southern California, Arizona, Nevada and Hawaii. The company was growing rapidly, and we were in need of a more robust network of real estate brokerage companies and appraisers to handle the needs of our clients.

In those formative years, I saw the value of identifying and connecting real estate professionals, mainly brokerage owners of multi-office firms. At the time, there weren’t many. Then there was the growing desire to connect these firms with third-party sources of new business. In this case, it started with corporate relocation and referrals; however, I believed the value would be much greater connecting local and regional real estate leaders with both third-party sources of new business and other real estate professionals.

At first, a directory was the “connector”—then, in 1982-1983, we started with a limited magazine section of our annual directory, which ultimately evolved into our magazine in 1985.

Me, hard at work during the formative years

What were your biggest challenges early on?
The idea of starting a business in 1980, when mortgage interest rates were 18.5 percent and the prime interest rate was 15.5 percent…who in their right mind would have said, “Gee, I think now is a great time to start a business whose very existence would be predicated on selling and closing more homes!”

In the early days, we were constantly challenged with questions from prospective clients like, “Who are you?” and “I have never heard of a business like yours—why should I spend any money with you?” We were young and new, and had no history to point them towards. We also lived in a different world. In the early 1980s, there were no computers, no cell phones, no email, no internet—you had relationships and personal testimonials, and those things either opened doors for you to present your ideas and plans, or, they didn’t!

We spent thousands of hours writing letters on typewriters, making phone calls and sending out bulk mailings, all to build our name and open doors to decision makers for opportunities to tell our story.

Of course, we also had the same challenges every startup had: lack of money and skillsets. No one was more determined than we were to succeed. I couldn’t wait for success to reach us—so, I went ahead without it!

All smiles as we hit the links while attending one of RISMedia’s early events

What are key moments in RISMedia’s story?
Pivotal moments in our history include:

  • Launching our first printed directory in 1981
  • Launching our freestanding magazine and having our first trade booth at the National Association of REALTORS® convention in 1985—a tradition that today establishes us as the longest continuous service exhibitor at the convention
  • Establishing our own meetings/events in 1987
  • Hiring DMAC away from an existing client in 1992
  • Establishing our own internet service company in 1994, which we later sold
  • Formally changing the name of our magazine to “RISMedia’s Real Estate” from
    “National Relocation & Real Estate” in 2005
  • Hiring a new breed of highly skilled and dedicated professionals starting in 2000, who’ve been the blueprint going forward, pushing us to improve our culture and our team (Beth, Christy, Maria, Kara, Kelli, “Big D” Dwyer…)

Holding down the fort at our trade show booth—a tradition that began in 1985, making us the longest continuous service exhibitor at the National Association of REALTORS® convention

Who were your mentors over the years?
JF: We’ve been fortunate to have had many mentors over the years. From 1980 to the early 1990s, their advice focused on structure, finance and general business. From the mid-’90s to today, there has been a constant flow of younger advisors more in-tune with change and technology, which have become the driving forces of our business as far as positioning our content and influence.

My first mentors, however—and the most important—were my mom and dad. They always believed in what I initially outlined to them in the summer of 1980, and encouraged me to follow my dream. My dad was a successful and brilliant businessman, but, more importantly, an honest person and terrific father. Mom was equally brilliant—she was named the “Small Business Person of the Year,” 10 years after my dad passed away, by the Norwalk Chamber of Commerce in recognition for her many travel books sold throughout the world.

Of non-family mentors…the list is long! Dick Schlott, an iconic real estate broker, is a mentor I’ve had for more than 35 years. In the early days, I frequently visited SCORE, the Service Corps of Retired Executives, and sought advice from many retired leaders. These were my initial mentors, and without them, this company would not have survived.

Throwing it back to 1999!

A lot’s come and gone in the industry since 1980, especially considering the evolution of technology. How did the company pivot?
After surviving the early years, we realized we needed to quickly jump on the “new technology” bandwagon and produce all of our magazine pages in-house, rather than employing typesetters, which had been around since 1439, when Gutenberg invented the printing press. We had to migrate to using a new-fangled machine named after a fruit—an Apple—to stay alive and compete. We were among the first to realize that to succeed and survive, we had to learn how to use desktop publishing systems. The Macintosh 1984, 128 RAM, was the technology that propelled us forward!

Since then, technology and its adoption at RISMedia has never stopped, and drives the backbone of our business every day.

What about the “hard times”? How did the company navigate those?
During the Savings and Loan Crisis in the late 1980s and early 1990s, a third of our revenue sources went out of business in one year. That gave us a precursor to what would happen twice more in the years to come: the internet bubble of the late 1990s and the Great Recession and housing collapse of 2006-2010. That taught us to be nimble, agile, and to never, ever put all our hopes and dreams in one basket. Standing together as a team during the darkest days of the recession, we had countless discussions with industry leaders and brokerage owners, sharing with them confidence and hope that the housing market will rebound and, together, we will find a path back to success. That’ll always rank among the most challenging of times, and will also be known in our history as the catalyst for changes in how we operated.

CAPTION: DMAC and I sharing a laugh on stage at our 24th annual Power Broker event, November 2019 (Credit: AJ Canaria, PlanOmatic)

As an advocate for the industry, what are you most proud of?
You have to believe in what you do, or you will ultimately fail. We believe homeownership is part of the American Dream, and helps ordinary people become better citizens in many ways—not the least of which is allowing them to build wealth, while having the pride of owning the very home they live in. That is core to what RISMedia stands for: opportunity. We’re proud of our position. We need to continue to protect homeownership, because it helps ensure and protect all of our freedoms.

As you reflect on 40 years, what are your parting thoughts?
Real estate has given me a second home and purpose, and allowed an average but driven person like me to have a meaningful career, surrounded by a great partner and so many wonderful friends to work with, both within the company and around the nation. It was Mark Twain that said, “Find a job you enjoy doing and you will never have to work a day in your life.” Well, Mr. Twain was right!

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at

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2020 Real Estate Newsmakers: Inside the Issue

Fri, 01/17/2020 - 21:01

Recently, RISMedia announced its 2020 Real Estate Newsmakers, a group of 300 individuals in the industry making news in positive and powerful ways. The 2020 Real Estate Newsmakers include Achievers, Crusaders, Futurists, Influencers, Inspirations, Luminaries, Trailblazers and Trendsetters, along with the third-annual Hall of Fame Newsmakers.

In the January issue of RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine, you’ll find the Newsmakers showcase, highlighting those recognized this year. To access by category, turn to:

42 – The 2020 Hall of Fame
52 – The Inspirations
60 – The Influencers
72 – The Trailblazers
82 – The Crusaders
91 – The Luminaries
98 – The Achievers
110 – The Trendsetters
116 – The Futurists

The January issue of RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine, which includes the Newsmakers showcase, is available for purchase at 

For more from the 2020 Real Estate Newsmakers, go to or RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine. For consideration for the 2021 Real Estate Newsmakers, please email nominations to 

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at

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Disruptor Roundup: Majordomo Looks to Deliver Clarity to Home Inspections

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 19:44

Editor’s Note: The Disruptor Roundup analyzes companies implementing unconventional models.

While each agent and inspector has their own way of navigating the home inspection process, this part of the transaction has largely remained the same over the past several years. Now, however, a company called Majordomo, founded in 2017 in Corvallis, Ore., is looking to change how consumers and agents think about home inspections.

The company states it typically takes two to 12 hours over three to seven days to get through the inspection, which, they say, does not leave a lot of time for negotiations. Majordomo proposes their report—the Domoreport—which is based off the inspector’s report, can help shorten this time and streamline the process.

“It is no secret that the second half of the home inspection is stressful. Homebuyers’ stress rises not knowing the significance of the defects found, how much the repairs will cost and will they close on time.” said Majordomo Co-Founder and COO James Furlo in a statement. “Real estate agents spend from two to 12 hours over three to seven days chasing estimate and repair data from overworked contractors. Sellers are on edge wondering what is wrong with their house, how much will it cost to fix and will their deal even close.”

How It Works

Once the agent or buyer has received the home inspection report, they can upload it to the Majordomo platform. From there, Majordomo analyzes the report, gathering repair details and estimates and delivering it back to the user within 24 hours. The agent and buyer can then use that data in their inspection negotiations.

What the Report Includes

Each Domoreport platform includes neatly categorized sections: Domoreport, Domoscore (in beta testing), Home Inspection, Documents and Explore.

Domoreport: Provides an overview of the inspection, including the date the inspection occurred, what the weather conditions were, who performed the inspection, the real estate broker and the property address. In addition, the repairs summary includes a breakdown of the total number of repairs—categorized by priority and if it is a cosmetic repair—as well as the estimated cost. A spreadsheet lists each repair by type (Inside, Mechanical, Outside, etc.) and includes the cost estimate, the contractor type, the page number for the inspection report and the priority level.

Domoscore: A credit score for the home’s condition, it rates several areas and systems on a color-coded system that ranks as one of the following: Excellent, Very Good, Good, Fair and Poor

Home Inspection: The entire document that was provided by the inspector, with an interactive left-side index that allows users to quickly find specific data

Documents: An area to store the home inspection as well as any other supporting documents

Explore: A list of local programs, tools and services, as well as real estate-related education

Using a “My Repairs” tool, users can create a custom list of their requested repairs, which can then be shared with several emails (the seller and listing agent) to be used in the negotiations process. Users can also add contributors to the report, which can be helpful for including spouses, children or real estate agents in the process.

Possible Drawbacks

While the report is extensive and provides deeper insight into what a home may need in terms of repairs, agents or buyers may be wary of paying the $199 price for the added step. As many inspection companies already provide their report within 24-48 hours, the Domoreport could actually lengthen negotiations in some cases. And because the repair data is estimated, buyers will still need to do their due diligence to get quotes from local contractors or risk extending the negotiation process with sellers who are suspicious of trusting Majordomo’s estimates, especially in cases where buyers ask for credits rather than repairs.

Additionally, the Explore option provided in the sample Domoreports does not provide sufficient information related to repair services—what buyers would find the most useful. Rather, it largely links out to moving guides and other types of educational resources.

While the Domoreport adds another step to the process, however, it may also help organize the negotiations process to ensure everyone is on the same page. Through email negotiations, with copy-and-paste requests, agents run the risk of misspeaking on behalf of their clients.

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at  

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Treating Agents as Family

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 19:24

Juan Navia
Realty ONE Group Evolution
Miami, Fla.

Region Served: South Florida
Years in Real Estate: 15
Number of Offices: 2
Number of Agents: 250

Realty ONE Group credits you with running two very successful branch offices. What is your management philosophy?
Give great customer service. I reply really quickly to text messages and emails. That really is my best practice. I’m always there for my agents, and I’m there when they need me. As you can imagine, they really appreciate that. Agents always tell me that they’ll never leave me. My retention rate is great. Most of the time, if I lose an agent, it’s because they get out of the business. That also becomes the best recruiting tool. My agents talk about my great service, as well as how I train them and am there for them.

What are the top three reasons you joined Realty ONE Group?
I was an independent broker for about 12 years, and my technology was getting stale. Being part of Realty ONE Group, I now have excellent technology I can give my agents. The second reason is brand recognition. Clients demand excellent brand recognition nationally, and Realty ONE Group is a great brand. Lastly, I love the culture within the company. Interacting with brokers in the Realty ONE Group network and helping one another makes us all stronger.

If you had to point to the one thing agents love you for, what would it be?
I’m not a competing broker. My entire focus is to help my agents, who are also my clients, and I am always there for them. I work really hard. Also, the work environment in my office is really friendly. We have amazing energy here.

How do you stay out in front of the competition?
Social media. I create a lot of videos. Right now (at press time), I’m building a YouTube channel with training videos. I also offer something that’s crucial in Miami: I give my training and expertise in Spanish, as well as English. So, while there’s a great deal of competition in Miami, I’m the one catering to the Spanish community.

How have you created an office with a good working environment?
I’ve created a really healthy environment in the office. My agents have to feel like they’re family and part of the team, so I treat them as family. I’m a nice person. I never scream or yell. Sometimes I have what could only be called “character-building days,” but I make sure my agents love to come to work and that the energy is positive.

Final Questions…

What is your best advice for time management?
Use a daily activity tracker. Stick to it, and don’t leave the office without it.

What is your can’t-live-without tech tool?
My iPhone. I love the camera, and I shoot videos with it all the time.

For more information, please visit

Lesley Grand is a contributing editor to RISMedia.

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Affordability Challenges Eroding Growth in the Job Market

Thu, 01/16/2020 - 14:21

In dozens of the largest markets in the nation, costly housing is linked to a lukewarm job market, according to findings from the National Association of REALTORS®.

From 2014 to 2018, affordability deteriorated in 81 housing markets, NAR researchers uncovered—and, as of the third quarter of 2019, 34, or approximately 42 percent, are experiencing fewer gains in the job market.

These areas include Boise, Nashville and Tampa, where affordability has significantly weakened, the NAR research shows. In Boise, examining 2014 through the third quarter of 2019, the median price soared 75 percent; however, in the market today, employment growth has slid 0.8 percent. Similarly, in Nashville, home prices rose 53 percent, while employment growth slowed 1.8 percent. In Tampa, home prices rose 58 percent, while employment growth sunk 0.8 percent.

In addition to Boise, Nashville and Tampa, affordability faded in the following regions, despite healthy job markets in the past, according to NAR:

Grand Rapids-Wyoming, Mich.
Affordability Ranking (Q3 2019):
No. 60, down from No. 37 in 2014
Employment Growth (Q3 2019): -1.7%

Louisville/Jefferson County, Ky.-Ind.
Affordability Ranking (Q3 2019): No. 62, down from No. 51 in 2014
Employment Growth (Q3 2019): -0.9%

Indianapolis-Carmel-Anderson, Ind.
Affordability Ranking (Q3 2019): No. 64, down from No. 46 in 2014
Employment Growth (Q3 2019): -0.9%

Chattanooga, Tenn.-Ga.
Affordability Ranking (Q3 2019): No. 70, down from No. 58 in 2014
Employment Growth (Q3 2019): -0.3%

Columbus, Ohio
Affordability Ranking (Q3 2019): No. 80, down from No. 57 in 2014
Employment Growth (Q3 2019): -1%

Atlanta-Sandy Springs-Marietta, Ga.
Affordability Ranking (Q3 2019): No. 91, down from No. 73 in 2014
Employment Growth (Q3 2019): -1.1%

Spartanburg, S.C.
Affordability Ranking (Q3 2019): No. 96, down from No. 83 in 2014
Employment Growth (Q3 2019): -0.4%

Pensacola-Ferry Pass-Brent, Fla.
Affordability Ranking (Q3 2019): No. 111, down from No. 84 in 2014
Employment Growth (Q3 2019): -1.9%

Raleigh, N.C.
Affordability Ranking (Q3 2019): No. 112, down from No. 90 in 2014
Employment Growth (Q3 2019): -0.8%

Deltona-Daytona Beach-Ormond, Fla.
Affordability Ranking (Q3 2019): No. 125, down from No. 94 in 2014
Employment Growth (Q3 2019): -1.5%

Lakeland-Winter Haven, Fla.
Affordability Ranking (Q3 2019): No. 134, down from No. 89 in 2014
Employment Growth (Q3 2019): -1%

Durham-Chapel Hill, N.C.
Affordability Ranking (Q3 2019): No. 137, down from No. 111 in 2014
Employment Growth (Q3 2019): -1.3%

Jacksonville, Fla.
Affordability Ranking (Q3 2019): No. 140, down from No. 117 in 2014
Employment Growth (Q3 2019): -0.8%

Salt Lake City, Utah
Affordability Ranking (Q3 2019): No. 151, down from No. 146 in 2014
Employment Growth (Q3 2019): -0.4%

Las Vegas-Henderson-Paradise, Nev.
Affordability Ranking (Q3 2019): No. 159, down from No. 143 in 2014
Employment Growth (Q3 2019): -1.4%

Yakima, Wash.
Affordability Ranking (Q3 2019): No. 160, down from No. 145 in 2014
Employment Growth (Q3 2019): -0.6%

Eugene, Ore.
Affordability Ranking (Q3 2019): No. 162, down from No. 155 in 2014
Employment Growth (Q3 2019): -1.9%

Salem, Ore.
Affordability Ranking (Q3 2019): No. 163, down from No. 147 in 2014
Employment Growth (Q3 2019): -1.5%

“Job growth has slowed in these areas in part because limited supply is making homes less affordable,” explains Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR. “As inventory continues to decline and affordability worsens, workers, businesses and companies are less incentivized to do business in these areas.”

According to Yun, affordability can improve, but only if inventory materializes. If left unaddressed, affordability challenges could curb growth in hot housing markets.

“Even fast-growing markets could be hurt and unable to further expand because of weakening affordability conditions,” says Yun. “We must improve affordability by building more homes in line with local job market growth.”

For more information, please visit

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at

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2020 Real Estate Newsmakers: The Crusaders and the Influencers

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 13:09

Accomplishments in business. Charitable contributions. Daring leadership. Out-of-the-box thinking. Over the course of the past year, RISMedia’s 2020 Real Estate Newsmakers contributed to the housing industry in numerous ways, bettering their communities, consumers and larger sphere, across eight categories: Achievers, Crusaders, Futurists, Influencers, Inspirations, Luminaries, Trailblazers and Trendsetters. Here, we showcase their stories.

Rosamaria Acuña
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties

In 2019, Acuña was corresponding secretary for the Sunset Cliffs Natural Park Council, which aims to combat erosion and introduce native plant species in San Diego. Among her community efforts, she is co-captain of her Neighborhood Watch and a lead committee member for the San Diego Architectural Foundation.

Liz Gehringer
Coldwell Banker Real Estate

In 2019, Gehringer was the executive sponsor of the Coldwell Banker #CBWomen initiative, which champions the company’s female voices. “I am committed to ensuring that more and more women at Coldwell Banker see a path to leadership and have the tools and training to realize their professional dreams,” Gehringer says.

Bahar Soomekh
Nourmand & Associates

In 2019, Soomekh hosted the fifth annual Angel City Games, an adaptive athletes event part of Angel City Sports, which she and her husband co-founded in 2013. Soomekh’s son received his first prothesis at 11 months old. “We’re committed to helping the disabled community be able to enjoy, learn, engage and thrive through Angel City Sports,” says Soomekh.

Fred Underwood
Director of Engagement, Diversity & Inclusion
National Association of REALTORS®

In 2019, Underwood helped secure an agreement between the National Association of REALTORS®, the National Association of Real Estate Brokers and the Urban Institute with the goal of increasing African American homeownership. “Leadership grows out of engagement,” says Underwood.

Paul Yorkis
Patriot Real Estate Inc.

In 2019, Yorkis was appointed by Ben Carson, secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, to the Housing Counseling Federal Advisory Committee. “I am honored to serve as the link between the National Association of REALTORS® and the HUD Office of Housing Counseling to improve and expand housing counseling services across America,” says Yorkis.

Greg Zadel
Broker/Owner & Founder
Zadel Realty

In 2019, Zadel was chair of the National Association of REALTORS® MLS Committee, and is currently chair of the association’s MLS Technology & Emerging Issues Advisory Board. “We must continue to adapt our MLS policies to the marketplace in which geographical boundaries and other artificial limitations are hindering brokers’ ability to help with their clients’ real estate needs,” says Zadel.

Stephanie Anton
Luxury Portfolio International

In 2019, Anton led the Luxury Portfolio rebrand, which included changes to the logo and a magazine redesign. “It is an honor to work with the best and brightest in the independent brokerage community and to continue to develop innovative marketing services for our members,” Anton says.

Brad Bjelke

In 2019, Bjelke and hosted the 2019 Council of Multiple Listing Services (CMLS) Conference, along with the inaugural CMLS CEO Summit. He is currently chair of the CMLS.

Steve Brown
President, Residential Sales
Crye-Leike, REALTORS®

In 2019, Brown was appointed chairman of the board of The Realty Alliance for a two-year term. “I’m both humbled and excited at the opportunity afforded me with this position,” Brown says.

Jared James
Jared James Enterprises

In the past year, James, a coach and speaker, launched the podcast “Today with Jared James,” which was named a top 200 business podcast worldwide. “It’s such an honor to be able to have a platform…that allows me to adjust the way that REALTORS® are doing business so they can remain their customers’ best option moving forward,” James says.

Sherri Johnson
CEO & Founder
Sherri Johnson Coaching & Consulting

In 2019, Johnson, a coach, keynote speaker and trainer, partnered with Real Estate Express to launch a 90-Day New Agent Boot Camp. “I am so excited to partner with the national leader in online real estate education and to provide additional coaching and training programs that will help agents take their businesses to the next level,” Johnson says.

Luciane Serifovic
CEO & Founder
Luxian International Realty

In 2019, Serifovic founded Luxian International Realty, designed for the high-net worth market. “Technology helps change happen faster, and the best way to exist is to embrace it,” says Serifovic, adding, “never forget the customer’s needs and satisfaction always come before the pursuit of profit.”

For more from the 2020 Real Estate Newsmakers, go to or RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine. For consideration for the 2021 Real Estate Newsmakers, please email nominations to

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#UsToo! NAGLREP Applauds NAR Introducing Fair Housing Action Plan

Wed, 01/15/2020 - 12:59

We have entered a new decade, but remain in some really interesting times. Despite a recent spike in hate crimes, we have seen a rise in the appreciation for, and understanding of, diverse groups. We hope that this understanding will work towards overpowering the divisive rhetoric and behavior of the few.

The National Association of REALTORS® has been far ahead in recognizing the importance of strong ethical and business practices involving diverse communities, and continues to work hard in this area.

We applaud NAR for introducing their Fair Housing Action Plan (ACT), which commits the REALTOR® community to continued ongoing training, accountability when NAR members violate fair housing laws, continued exposure to fair housing at all REALTOR® events and other critical activities.

Clearly, the November Newsday expose showed that even though NAR has been so progressive and supportive for so long, discrimination in the REALTOR® community still exists. We learned that 40 percent of Newsday’s undercover tests showed that “brokers subjected minority testers to disparate treatment when compared with white testers.” Black “testers” received unequal treatment 49 percent of the time, while Hispanics and Asians also received unequal treatment 39 percent and 19 percent of the time, respectively.

The article was a topic of conversation at December’s NAR Multicultural Real Estate Leadership Advisory Group, which I, along with NAGLREP members Jack Barry and Wayne Woodyard, attended with leadership from other major diverse organizations, including AREAA, NAHREP and NAREB. As we sat, listened and worked together, one thing stood out in my mind: #UsToo.

LGBTs were not included in the Newsday report, but housing discrimination against our community still exists and remains a major deterrent for LGBTs in their desire to be homeowners. NAGLREP has seen discrimination—and the fear of it—up close, and we continue to fight against it.

And NAR has been right there with us.

Back in 2011, NAR amended Article 10 of the REALTOR® Code of Ethics to prohibit members from discriminating based on sexual orientation and gender identity. More recently, NAR pulled funding from former U.S. Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-Calif.) after he disavowed Fair Housing rights for the LGBT community at the same time NAR was commemorating the 50th anniversary of the Fair Housing Act.

NAR, along with so many NAGLREP partners—including Bank of America, HSF Affiliates, Keller Williams, Realogy, RE/MAX, U.S. Bank and Wells Fargo—also stood tall in leading the effort to generate support for the Equality Act, which passed in the House of Representatives in May. This critical legislation would ban discrimination against the LGBT community in many areas, including housing and credit.

Had Newsday also explored discriminatory behavior against the LGBT community, we would likely have seen similar numbers. In fact, last year’s NAGLREP’s LGBT Housing Report showed that 46 percent of LGBT renters fear discrimination in their future home-buying process.

NAGLREP members believe this fear causes potential LGBT buyers to be anxious about being welcomed in a community, not having an offer accepted or even not being approved for a mortgage. These potential buyers are also cautious about hiring the right agent and mortgage professionals.

One of the most telling stats from our report was that 24 percent of NAGLREP members believe that potential LGBT buyers remain renters because of fear of discrimination. Add in that Freddie Mac found that the LBGT homeownership levels to be just 49 percent, and you can see that we have a challenge ahead of us.

Real estate professionals should all be united in showcasing the emotional and financial benefits of homeownership. While I believe most agent discrimination is of the unconscious variety—and not blatant—it’s time for all of us in the industry to understand that our actions have implications.

We see the need for NAR’s continued work on this front.

Our association website,, receives on average 75,000 unique visits per month from LGBT homebuyers, sellers and REALTORS® seeking an LGBT-friendly referral. Many of these visitors go far beyond asking to connect with an LGBT or ally member. They explain past instances of harassment and discrimination, articulate their fear of moving to a new town that might not welcome them and/or their children, and wonder if one community might be safer than another.

The common theme is that these potential clients are looking for an agent who understands that while buying a home is stressful, it is made even tougher when you are in the LGBT minority and crave a safe and welcoming community.

NAGLREP will continue to work with NAR and locally within our industry even more this year to showcase the challenges and opportunities the LGBT community has in attaining homeownership. And, at the local level, our nearly 40 chapters will engage with our corporate partners and LGBT non-profits—HRC, NGLCC, PFLAG, the Matthew Shepard Foundation and other prominent LGBT groups—to showcase the American Dream of homeownership to our underserved community.

Let’s turn #UsToo from a negative about discrimination into a positive. Together, we can turn the corner and make #UsToo representative of growing LGBT homeownership.

Jeff Berger is the founder of the National Association of Gay and Lesbian Real Estate Professionals (NAGLREP). For more information, please visit


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Are Your Agents Looking for a Great Investment?

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 13:46

NAR PULSE— Encourage them to invest in what they know best: real estate. They can start by joining NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Financial Wellness on Jan. 22 at 1 p.m. CT for a FREE webinar, Win Your Future: Investing for REALTORS®. Register today at

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NAR: Americans Bullish on Buying, Selling

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 13:43

Despite absent homes and increasing prices, Americans are confident in the housing market and their ability to buy or sell successfully, according to new research.

As of the fourth quarter of 2019, 74 percent of Americans felt optimistic regarding selling, the National Association of REALTORS® recently reported, while 63 percent were confident in home-buying. Thirty-three percent, notably, “strongly” believed “now is a good time to buy.”

According to the report, the Silent Generation held the highest sentiment, with 74 percent believing “now is a good time to buy,” closely followed by baby boomers, at 70 percent. Not surprisingly, 82 percent of those earning $100,000 or more felt similarly, along with 81 percent of residents in the West—where, by November, the existing-home median price rose 7.1 percent year-over-year, according to NAR stats.

When asked their feelings on home prices in 2019, 64 percent of Americans believe prices rose, 30 percent believe they “remained about the same” and 6 percent believe they declined, NAR’s research shows. When asked their outlook on prices, 48 percent believe they will increase in the next six months, while 41 percent believe they will remain unchanged.

According to Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, economic gains have lifted positive sentiment. In December, the economy generated 145,000 jobs, the Labor Department reported, capping off a decade of expansion, and earnings rose 2.9 percent in 2019. (While meager in retrospect, affordability has improved, additional NAR research reveals.) According to NAR’s newest research, 52 percent of Americans believe the economy is positively progressing.

“The mobility rate has been very low as many have opted to stay put for longer,” says Yun. “However, this latest boost—Americans saying now is a good time to move—is good news. With mortgage rates low, the timing is indeed ideal for those who want to enter into homeownership and for those looking to move on to their next home.”

At the start of the year, the average 30-year fixed mortgage rate sank to 3.64 percent, according to Freddie Mac.

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at

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2020 Real Estate Newsmakers: The Achievers and the Futurists

Tue, 01/14/2020 - 13:40

Accomplishments in business. Charitable contributions. Daring leadership. Out-of-the-box thinking. Over the course of the past year, RISMedia’s 2020 Real Estate Newsmakers contributed to the housing industry in numerous ways, bettering their communities, consumers and larger sphere, across eight categories: Achievers, Crusaders, Futurists, Influencers, Inspirations, Luminaries, Trailblazers and Trendsetters. Here, we showcase their stories.

Matthew Beall
Hawaii Life

In 2019, Beall and Hawaii Life acquired two firms: Country Brokers and East Oahu Realty. “We have enjoyed incredible growth,” Beall says. “I love my Hawaii Life.”

David Marine
Chief Marketing Officer
Coldwell Banker Real Estate

In 2019, Marine led Project North Star, Coldwell Banker Real Estate’s first rebrand in 40 years. “When I go to work or give a talk, I constantly think about how I’m not just representing myself, but so many others,” Marine says. “It’s never just about you.”

Vini Moolchandani

In 2019, Moolchandani helped a $900,000 listing sell in 21 days—after it had been listed by two others and on the market for more than 400 days. “I am beyond grateful to be part of this amazing industry and to be able to serve so many families,” Moolchandani says.

Ward Morrison
Motto Mortgage

In 2019, Motto Mortgage and Morrison celebrated the company’s 150th franchise sale, as well as its third anniversary. “One-hundred fifty franchises sold in only three years is an extraordinary feat for a startup franchisor,” Morrison says. “This growth demonstrates the demand and potential of our business model.”

Fiona Petrie
Executive Vice President & Managing Director of U.S. Operations

From 2018 to 2019, RE/MAX INTEGRA grew substantially, with Petrie facilitating 20 new office openings, 36 expansions and 13 mergers and acquisitions. “I strive to empower others to discover their own talents in the industry,” Petrie says.

Lindsay Smith
Chief Strategy Officer
Title Alliance

In 2019, Title Alliance appointed Smith as chief strategy officer. “My motto is every person—employee, partner and client—should feel like a VIP at all times,” says Smith.

Allen Alishahi
Co-Founder & President

In 2019, Alishahi and ShelterZoom debuted Mithra Contract, a fully digital, tokenized smart contract platform. “I am helping to bring next-generation technology to our industry, which presents an enjoyable challenge,” Alishahi says.

AJ Canaria
Creative Director & Executive Brand Ambassador
Inside Real Estate

At the beginning of the year, Canaria was appointed creative director and executive brand ambassador for Inside Real Estate. “I am one of real estate’s storytellers and connectors,” Canaria says.

Vy Luu
General Manager
Real Estate Webmasters

In 2019, Luu was appointed general manager for Real Estate Webmasters, contributing to its core initiatives, including bringing data standards worldwide. “This will open up data and facilitate competition, ultimately benefitting both sides of real estate transactions,” Luu says.

Mike Miedler
President & CEO
Century 21 Real Estate LLC

In 2019, Century 21 Real Estate LLC appointed Miedler to president and CEO, formerly from chief growth officer. “Success in real estate comes down to two factors: taking care of and valuing the customer,” Miedler says.

Kasey Stewart
Director of Member Development
National Association of REALTORS®

In 2019, Stewart continued to develop educational programs at the National Association of REALTORS®, including the Commitment to Excellence (C2EX) program. “I’m incredibly proud to work with NAR volunteer leaders and staff on C2EX,” says Stewart. “It truly takes a village to launch and grow a program of this magnitude.”

Gayln Ziegler
Director of Operations, Keller Offers
Keller Williams

In 2019, Keller Williams launched Keller Offers, an iBuying program, and appointed Ziegler as its director of Operations. “We feel very passionately that the consumer needs an advocate in their corner with all the changes going on in the industry right now,” says Ziegler.

For more from the 2020 Real Estate Newsmakers, go to or RISMedia’s Real Estate magazine. For consideration for the 2021 Real Estate Newsmakers, please email nominations to

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