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Updated: 2 hours 47 min ago

White House Summit Focuses on Builder Challenges

Wed, 07/21/2021 - 03:03

Higher material costs and persisting supply chain challenges continue to strain home builders.

The enduring issues brought federal officials and industry stakeholders to the table to discuss possible solutions during the White House Summit on Homebuilding Supply Chain on July 16.

The breakdown:
– Changes in prices for softwood lumber products between April 17, 2020, and July 8, 2021, have added $29,833 to an average new single-family home price, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB).

– The same changes have added $9,990 to an average new multi-family home price tag, translating to households paying an additional $92 a month for  apartment rentals.

– The White House virtual summit discussed core challenges across the housing supply chain to help inform possible near- and medium-term efforts to improve housing inventory.

– NAHB stressed the need for lumber mill producers to boost production to meet rising demand.

What this means:

Home builders have shouldered inflated costs of building materials for the past year since the outbreak of COVID-19. That financial burden has trickled down to buyers in the red-hot housing market who have seen substantial surges in costs for new construction.

This White House summit was the product of longstanding efforts by NAHB and housing advocates to educate and influence policymakers to address the sector’s challenges.

“While today’s White House meeting was a step forward, we are not out of the woods yet,” read an NAHB statement following the event. “Looking ahead, we will remain laser-focused on not only lowering lumber prices and increasing supply, but also keeping pressure on policymakers to improve supply chains for all building materials in order to protect housing affordability.”

While lumber prices have started to decline recently, they are still much higher than a year ago, before the boom in home remodeling and an unexpected surge in buyer demand.

NAHB has indicated that the sawmill’s output continues to lag, creating concerns that prices could spike again.

NAHB joined other industry professionals to meet with Secretary of Commerce Gina Raimondo, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Marcia Fudge, National Economic Council Director Brian Deese and Council of Economic Advisers Chair Cecilia Rouse at the summit.

“The U.S. has a longstanding shortage of affordable housing, and participants discussed how that challenge is being exacerbated by short-term supply chain disruptions across the home building sector, including fluctuations in lumber prices, supply chain disruptions in other critical inputs including resins and engineered wood products, transportation challenges with ports and trucking, and underinvestment in training and skilled workforce development,” read a White House statement following the summit.

Jordan Grice is RISMedia’s associate online editor. Email him your real estate news ideas to jgrice@rismedia.com.

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Realogy Names Caitlin McCrory New Head Industry Relations

Wed, 07/21/2021 - 03:01

As Vice President, Industry Relations at Realogy, Caitlin McCrory will drive the company’s advocacy efforts, develop strategic policy objectives and build collaborative relationships with industry organizations. She will report directly to Marilyn Wasser, Realogy executive vice president and general counsel.

“In her new role, Caitlin will focus and amplify the deep industry experience, leadership and relationships that exist across Realogy’s leading brands and businesses,” said Wasser. “Now, more than ever, we must ensure the collective voices of our affiliated agents, franchise owners and business leaders rise above industry dissonance as Realogy aims to bring further transparency, simplicity and clarity to consumers. Caitlin’s extensive real estate knowledge, including expert understanding of data policy, multiple listing services and other critical components of the transaction, will help us shape the future of real estate.”

McCrory joins Realogy from Redfin, where she served as head of industry relations, focused on developing the company’s relationships with multiple listing services, associations and other brokerages. Previously, she served the National Association of Realtors (NAR), managing the association’s relationships with multiple listing services, the Real Estate Standards Organization and the Council of Multiple Listing Services. Prior to her role at NAR, McCrory was the communications director for Metro MLS.

“As the leader in a dynamic and changing industry, Realogy has an incredible opportunity to guide real estate’s future,” said McCrory. “I am excited to help forge that future by channeling Realogy’s broad industry insights, strengthening relationships across the real estate sphere, and engaging in strategic advocacy for those we serve to ensure Realogy continues to be a powerful voice in the industry.

For more information, please visit www.realogy.com.

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Rocket Homes Search Tool Expands to 50 States

Wed, 07/21/2021 - 03:00

Rocket Homes recently announced its home search tool now includes listings from all 50 states, with housing information on every major metropolitan area across the country.

“By pairing the ability to quickly find the perfect home for you, along with proprietary market intelligence not available on any other site, Rocket Homes has developed a truly game-changing platform that gives a much-needed competitive advantage in today’s incredibly hot housing market,” said Doug Seabolt, CEO of Rocket Homes. “Moving beyond the initial home search, through the complementary integration between sister companies Rocket Homes, Rocket Mortgage and Amrock, we’ve cracked the complexity of the purchase process to create the most seamless end-to-end experience—making what is a traditionally challenging transaction a simple one.”

Rocket Homes provides users with Housing Market Reports—insights that deliver data in an easy-to-consume format, including median list price compared to nearby cities, monthly analysis of number of homes for sale by bedroom count and year-over-year comparison of average days on market.

Rocket Homes also provides credit monitoring tools, educational materials and trainings to help homebuyers boost their credit score and ensure they are ready to buy a house. These resources were developed in-house using proprietary technology and are used by clients of many of the businesses across Rocket Companies.

“Rocket Homes achieving 50-state home search is a testament to how Rocket Companies is leveraging data and technology to move the needle—ensuring our clients have the most intuitive solutions to some of life’s most complex financial transactions,” said Jay Farner, CEO of Rocket Companies. “Americans crave simplicity and certainty when they are navigating major life changes. We are opening the door to more and more consumers who have traditionally shied away from the market by continuing to innovate and deliver industry-leading client experiences.”

In addition to home search, Rocket Homes has its Partner Agent Network—a network of thousands of agents in more than 3,000 counties. When a homebuyer enters the Rocket platform, they can be matched with a Rocket Homes Partner Agent based on their precise needs and location. The real estate professional can then use the Rocket Pro Insight tool to help guide their clients through the mortgage process.

For more information, please visit www.rockethomes.com.

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Collaborative Culture Is Necessary for Hitting Aggressive Growth Goals, Says Washington Broker

Tue, 07/20/2021 - 13:05

In my two-plus decades of experience as a real estate investor, sales professional and now managing broker of CENTURY 21 North Homes Realty, I’ve learned that within moments of great transition, there are also moments of great opportunity. So, as the world works together to thrive in a post-COVID normalcy, I feel that this time in history is an opportunity. And our goal moving forward will be to elevate and give 121% in providing real estate consumers with the best experience possible, have fun doing it, grow marketshare and make more money than ever before. The way I see it, doing so equates to happier brokers, better local, state and national economies, stronger communities and personalized outcomes for homebuyers, sellers and investors.

Granted, it’s a unique leadership style, but an extraordinary offshoot of an office culture like this has been the collaboration among our team, from the office admin to sales to operations to the industry professionals we partner with. I have worked and talked with peers from other offices, and the stories I hear and read are very different from what we have built here.

In the last office I worked in, there was a hierarchy of desks and a class system that presented itself in many other ways. At CENTURY 21 North Homes Realty, I make it very clear that there are no lines like that. Everything is fluid. I don’t want people writing things down with their elbow over a piece of paper or feeling that there’s jealousy and that they can’t help one another, because there’s enough out there for everyone. Collaboration is a must if we are to hit our aggressive growth goals.

A collaborative culture is made easier when the team likes and respects one another. We want everyone to be successful, even among the branch leaders. Poaching, or anything along those lines, is not tolerated. Nobody should feel that they must watch their back when they come to the office. This is something I take very seriously. It’s a discussion I have when I’m interviewing people, and those are expectations I lay out ahead of anyone joining our office.

Looking ahead at our plans and goals for 2021 and 2022, I’m diving deep and having a lot of conversations about our economy, media and how workplaces and the ways we communicate and engage with each other are changing, and the impact on consumer perceptions and expectations. We are all media creators and communicators who demand (and deserve) positive experiences from our chosen product and service providers.

To deliver on that promise, I take pride in leading a team that enjoys helping people get to their desired real estate outcomes, having fun throughout the client relationship and growing marketshare all while helping our brokers make more money than ever before.

Laura Croll is managing broker at CENTURY 21 North Homes Realty in Portland, Oregon. For more information, please visit
www.century21northhomes.com/portland.

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June Housing Starts Rise but Supply Is Sinking

Tue, 07/20/2021 - 13:04

Overall housing starts increased 6.3% in June to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 1.64 million units, according to the latest data from the Commerce Department. Weakening permit numbers for both the single-family and multifamily markets are putting a damper on inventory growth, however.

The June reading of 1.64 million starts is the number of housing units builders would begin if development kept this pace for the next 12 months. Within this overall number, single-family starts increased 6.3% to a 1.16 million seasonally adjusted annual rate. The multifamily sector, which includes apartment buildings and condos, increased 6.2% to a 483,000 pace.

Housing Starts: 1.64 million (+6.3 month-over-month, +29.1% year-over-year)
Multifamily Starts: 474,000
Single-Family Starts: 1,091,000

Building Permits: 1.59 million (-5.1% month-over-month, +23.3% year-over-year)
Multifamily Permits: 483,000
Single-Family Permits: 1,063,000

Completions: 1.32 million (-1.4% month-over-month, +6.5% year-over-year)
Multifamily Completions: 416,000
Single-Family Completions: 961,000

Regional Year-to-Date Data

Midwest: +25.5%
South: +21.5%
West:  +28.0%
Northeast: +41.4%

What the Industry Is Saying

“While lumber prices have just recently begun to trend downward, builders continue to deal with rising prices of other building materials, such as oriented strand board, and major delays in the delivery of these goods,” said Chuck Fowke, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB). “We are thankful that the White House recently held a meeting to seek solutions to these supply chain issues that are harming housing affordability.”

“The recent weakening of single-family and multifamily permits is due to higher material costs, which have pushed new home prices higher since the end of last year,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz. “This is a challenge for a housing market that needs additional inventory.”

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Balanced Economic Growth Ahead, Reports Fannie Mae

Tue, 07/20/2021 - 13:03

Fannie Mae’s Economic and Strategic Research (ESR) Group recently released its July 2021 commentary, finding that second-quarter growth is now expected to be 8.1%—a revision from last month’s 10.1% forecast.

The details:

– The third and fourth quarter growth projections increased—to 7.1% and 6.6%, respectively—signaling that economic recovery will occur mostly in the second half of the year.

– The research group predicts an increase in near-term economic growth as well, driven by inventory investment and government spending.

– Inflation is still a concern. The group expects “higher-than-consensus levels of inflation” through the end in 2022. This could be due, in part, to more temporary price pressures giving way to housing-driven inflationary pressure, according to Fannie Mae.

The takeaway:

Home price appreciation could slow some and balance out through the rest of the year and into 2022, experts said.

“On the supply side, we think homebuilders will be able to increase production as supply chain disruptions and labor shortages alleviate, which should add to the inventory of new and existing homes available for sale,” Mark Palim, Fannie Mae vice president and deputy chief economist said. “On the demand side, we expect the increase in housing demand we saw over the past year to ease, as the impact of unique recent factors lessens, including adjustments to accommodate pandemic-related remote work arrangements, stimulus checks bolstering household savings and record-low mortgage rates.”

“However, demographic trends remain favorable for a strong housing market over the next few years, and, combined with the chronic undersupply of homes built over the last decade, upward pricing pressure is likely to remain through the forecast horizon—just not at the rate seen this spring,” added Palim. “Nevertheless, we expect home price growth to become one of the more persistent drivers of inflation going forward, as other, more transitory factors diminish.”

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior online editor. Email her your real estate news ideas to
lizd@rismedia.com.

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Home Improvement Spending on the Rise

Tue, 07/20/2021 - 13:02

Home improvement and maintenance spending is on the rise, with growth expected to accelerate in the second half of the year—continuing to rise through mid-2022—according to the latest Leading Indicator of Remodeling Activity (LIRA) report from the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University (JCHS).

The LIRA predicts that annual growth in home renovation and repair expenditures will reach 8.6% by the second quarter of next year.

The takeaway:

“Home remodeling will likely grow at a faster pace given the ongoing strength of home sales, house price appreciation and new residential construction activity,” said Chris Herbert, managing director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies. “A significant rise in permits for home improvements also indicates that owners are continuing to invest in bigger discretionary and replacement projects.”

“Larger gains in retail sales of building materials suggest the remodeling market continues to be lifted by DIY activity as well,” says Abbe Will, associate project director in the Remodeling Futures Program at the Center. “By the middle of next year, annual remodeling expenditures to owner-occupied homes are expected to surpass $380 billion.”

Source: JCHS

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RE/MAX Adds 5 Vendors to Marketplace Roster

Tue, 07/20/2021 - 13:01

RE/MAX, LLC added five companies to the RE/MAX Approved Supplier program. Encompassing tools for everything from lead generation to digital payments and more, all services and materials are available for purchase directly through the RE/MAX Marketplace, the online portal exclusively available to RE/MAX agents in the U.S. and Canada.

New members of the RE/MAX Approved Supplier program include:

1800BusinessCards: A full-service online printing company offering a wide variety of printed marketing products, including business cards, postcards, flyers, door hangers, letterhead, envelopes and a variety of other common printing products. RE/MAX Affiliates can create custom marketing materials using the company’s free design templates and online design studio.

eLead Network: A new lead generation and conversion solution. Agents, teams and brokerages can choose any size coverage area and receive a guaranteed number of exclusive leads each month. They also offer a 20 Touch Lead Qualifying service. The eLead Network also offers integration with several CRMs.

Payload: Keybox by Payload provides billing, reporting, routing and compliance services. The digital payment platform helps integrate and automate real estate payments such as earnest money deposits, agent fees, commission and any other manual payment process. The full scope of the Keybox payment technology stack is now available to the RE/MAX network.

RateMyAgent: RateMyAgent helps affiliates with reviews. Through the platform, agents ask clients for one review that is then distributed across multiple channels. Reviews can also be gathered in one place on a unique page with links to the agent’s contact info and social media channels.

Stagerie: Stagerie is a national online home staging consultation marketplace, connecting real estate agents, homeowners, and expert stagers. Stagerie allows an agent to take photos with their phone of an occupied home and submit them for review. Within two days the agent receives a staging consultation task list to share with their client, who then uses the list to fully stage their home for photos, marketing and listing for sale.

Many of the companies in the RE/MAX Approved Supplier program offer exclusive discounts to RE/MAX agents.

For more information, please visit www.remax.com.

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KW Launches Team-Centric Expansion Network

Tue, 07/20/2021 - 13:00

Keller Williams (KW) is launching the KW Expansion Network to support the business operations of U.S.-based KW real estate expansion teams.

“Top-producing real estate teams continue to outperform the market substantially, so we’re accommodating their expansion needs under one national brand and one national brokerage,” said Marc King, president, Keller Williams.

By early 2022, the KW Expansion Network will be operational in all 50 states. Throughout 2021, KW will continue to initialize operations of the network. A KW expansion team is a team that expands beyond its local market to a new location.

The KW Expansion Network will maximize operational efficiencies for teams and offer a simplified, standardized compensation plan for expansion teams to grow into new markets. The network was developed in partnership with KW’s franchise owners and stakeholders.

Matthew Szalecki has been appointed the senior director of strategy and operations at the KW Expansion Network. Along with leading the initial R&D efforts, he will direct the operations, risk management and strategic policy and vision for the network.

Szalecki previously served as director of brokerage operations for Fathom Realty and as a regional operations manager for eXp Realty.

“I’m both honored and humbled by the opportunity to lead the KW Expansion Network,” said Szalecki. “We already lead the industry in the development and success of real estate teams. Now, we’ve made it operationally and financially simple to grow a team without borders.”

“Along with the operational efficiencies, expansion teams will be further supported with physical space provided by Keller Williams’ existing local offices for agents to meet with clients, attend live training events and closings and contribute to the culture of the local market center,” said Szalecki.

Source: Keller Williams

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Arizona Team Leader Doubles Down on New-Agent Mentorship

Tue, 07/20/2021 - 03:03

Mariesa Arthur was a single mom with a toddler 23 years ago when she began her career in real estate. She had absolutely no idea what she was getting into, she says.

But she figured it out, and today she leads a structured team of 40 agents, serving Maricopa County and greater Mesa and Phoenix, Arizona, with the full support and mentorship she longed for as a new agent struggling to make her mark.

“Real estate can be a sink or swim effort for a new agent,” Arthur says. “Without the proper guidance and support, and with no income guarantee, too many feel like failures, dropping out before they reach their first anniversary.”

In response, Arthur developed a mentorship-based team program that came to be known as Career Agent Development (CAD). She ultimately took the unique approach to DPR Realty, where her team today averages between $45 million and $60 million in sales annually in a competitive market where the average sales price is $365,000.

Barbara Pronin: What was the wake-up moment for you, Mariesa—way back when you were an inexperienced agent?

Mariesa Arthur: I went in knowing I was a people-person, thinking I was a pretty good salesperson and that I could do this on a flexible schedule so I could spend time with my toddler. But I quickly realized that, first of all, real estate takes a full-time commitment and, second, that I needed help and I needed to learn fast.

BP: What did you do?

MA: I read everything I could, I asked for advice and I worked my tail off to prospect and gain as much experience as I could with as many people as I could—and I was lucky. Before long, I was reaching and exceeding my goals. By then, I had become a team leader, and I understood that coaching and mentoring can be the key to success for many agents. So, I joined a mentor program and developed the bones of an extensive agent training curriculum designed to provide a pathway to success. As it grew, I realized that to be really effective as a leader, I would need to fully devote to it—which I did.

BP:
This was the team model now called Career Agent Development?

MA: Yes. In 2002, I was hired to direct a structured training program, and for recruiting, training and managing a team of new and veteran agents along with a team of field coaches and support staff. It became CAD, and it’s the program I took with me when I joined DPR Realty in 2009.

BP: How do you manage a team of 40 agents?

MA: With the help of five devoted accountability coaches, plus an admin and marketing and social media manager who are both licensed agents and who are as passionate about CAD as I am. In addition to monthly business and planning meetings, each agent gets our hands-on support. We are their challengers, their cheerleaders and their devoted resources—and it isn’t just about production. We are family, with a collective attitude.

BP: What do you look for a prospective team member?

MA: Our goal is to recruit people who are driven to succeed and who are in it for the long haul. We don’t want any “divorces” in the family, so to speak, so we look for people of integrity who are team players, ready to pull together and provide support as well as receive it.

BP: What differentiates CAD from other team programs?

MA: Our success as a team and as individuals is based on referrals and long-term relationships, so we provide our team members with high-quality lead generation systems based on relationship-building, and ongoing sales technique training to ensure they don’t miss out on opportunities. We also provide things like monthly client pop-in gifts, and client appreciation parties like our family picnics and Winter Wonderland events that can bring as many as 600 attendees.

BP:
How did the 2020 year of COVID-19 impact your team?

MA: The year started off slow before it roared to life in the second half, so while it wasn’t our best year—we did over $50 million in sales—it was a good year. Much of our internal and external communication had to be Zoomed, of course, and our client appreciation parties were out, but our client reach-out never faltered and, thanks to our years of relationship-building, neither did the loyalty of our clients.

BP: What are your goals looking forward?

MA: We are looking into a technology-oriented website for our agents—and we’re always looking for new ways to improve our processes and communication. Mostly, we are bent on nurturing successful careers for our family of agents. This is such a cliche to say, but team work really does make the dream work.

Barbara Pronin is a contributing editor to RISMedia.

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Is Inventory Making a Comeback?

Tue, 07/20/2021 - 03:02

Housing inventory experienced considerable recovery for the second consecutive month in June, according to the latest Zillow Real Estate Market Report. Inventory is still low in this high-demand market, however, which is continuing to push prices upward.

The details:
– Inventory is now 29.2% below 2020 levels but is steadily improving.
– Home value growth is up 15% YoY—breaking annual records for the second consecutive month.
– The Zillow Home Value Index (ZHVI) reached $293,349 in June (up $38,341 from last year)
– Monthly growth accelerated in 48 of the top 50 metros, holding firm in Pittsburgh and Memphis.

The takeaway:

While inventory is still much lower than needed, these slow increases are giving buyers a little more breathing room, taking some pressure off a market that was consistently seeing above-average market performance for the summer months.

“Another month of rising housing inventory gives buyers some additional options and a little more bargaining power,” said Jeff Tucker, senior economist at Zillow. “While the level of inventory remains incredibly low by historic norms, it is now on a trajectory that should give buyers reason to hope for a cooldown in price growth this winter, consistent with normal seasonal trends.”

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s senior online editor at RISMedia. Email her your real estate news ideas to lizd@rismedia.com.

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Regional Spotlight: Texas Sees Small Land Sales Boom

Tue, 07/20/2021 - 03:01

The number of small land sales in Texas increased in 2020, while price per acre hit an all-time high, according to the 2021 edition of the “Texas Small Land Sales Report” released today by Texas REALTORS®.

The total number of small land sales across Texas increased 34%, with 10,465 tracts sold. The average price per acre grew 3.8% year-over-year to $6,471 an acre.

The details:

– Increases occurred in all seven regions of the state: Far West Texas experienced the strongest increase at 53%, followed by Austin-Waco-Hill Country with a 33% increase over last year.

– The average tract size for small land sales in Texas decreased from 32 acres in 2019 to 30 acres in 2020. Most regions across Texas saw a decrease in average tract size except for the West Texas and Gulf Coast-Brazos Bottom regions.

The takeaway:

“After spending a year in lockdown, and with so many Texans working from home, many buyers are seeking more space and are looking for land away from city life,” said Marvin Jolly, chairman of Texas REALTORS®. “These buyers are not only farmers and ranchers. Many are moving from out of state and are purchasing land in Texas due to the attractive opportunities and quality of land available.”

Charles Gilliland, Ph.D., economist with the Texas Real Estate Research Center at Texas A&M University, commented, “I’ve never seen this high of demand for small land before. The market for land has become as competitive as the market for single-family homes. Last year, land sales activity gained steam in the third and fourth quarter; this momentum has continued into 2021. Although the price per acre increased slightly in 2020, I anticipate stronger price increases ahead in the remainder of 2021.”

Source: Texas REALTORS®

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Real Estate Q&A: Is Landlord Responsible if Renter’s Dog Bites Someone?

Tue, 07/20/2021 - 03:00

(TNS)—Q: We own a rental house and allow renters to bring their medium and small dogs. Who would be liable if a renter’s dog bites and injuries another visitor on our property, such as the landscaper or another guest on the property? — Anne

A: A landlord will usually not be liable if their tenant’s dog injures someone. However, there are exceptions to this general rule.

If you are aware your tenant has a dangerous animal and do not have it removed from the home, you could be held responsible if someone is injured. You could also be held liable if you are aware someone is breaking the lease and do not put a stop to it.

For example, you said your lease is for small and medium dogs, and you know that your tenant brought a large dog, and you do not do anything to enforce the restrictions. If this large dog bites someone, you could be on the hook.

If you help take care of the dog, such as taking him for a walk or feeding her when your tenant is at work, and the dog later attacks someone, you could be held liable.
This is another reason that every landlord should treat renting as a business and not become friends or get involved with their tenant’s life.

When renting to a tenant with a pet, screen the pet along with the prospective tenant. You should also require your tenant to get renters insurance that includes liability protection.

Finally, enforce the terms of your lease. Letting your tenant slide on the agreed rules can cause you to be held liable if something goes wrong.

Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar. He practices real estate, business litigation and contract law from his office in Sunrise, Florida. He is the chairman of the Real Estate Section of the Broward County Bar Association and is a co-host of the weekly radio show Legal News and Review. He frequently consults on general real estate matters and trends in Florida with various companies across the nation. Send him questions online at www.sunsentinel.com/askpro or follow him on Twitter @GarySingerLaw.

©2021 South Florida Sun Sentinel
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Cybercrime Hits Title Industry: Cloudstar Victim of Ransomware Attack

Mon, 07/19/2021 - 13:05

Cloudstar, a company that operates five data centers and provides support to title professionals throughout the U.S., is the latest victim of a “highly sophisticated ransomware attack.”

The company released a statement on Sun., July 18 announcing the cyber attack.

The details:
– Cloudstar’s systems are currently down, except for its Office 365 mail services, email encryption offering and some support services.

– The company has hired third-party forensics experts Tetra Defense to assist in recovery efforts. Cloudstar has also reached out to law enforcement and is negotiating with those behind the attack.

The takeaway:

The pause in services could have severe impacts for an industry that’s having to keep up with the ongoing churn of property closings amid this bustling market.

“Ransomware attack against [one] of the main title industry cloud hosting providers is going to create utter havoc to the lending industry on Monday when consumers find out they can’t close,” Sterbcow Law Group Partner Marx Sterbcow posted on Twitter. “Dual cloud hosting may now be a requirement for title agencies.”

“We have informed all of our customers and are committed to helping them through this and working in the best interest of the industry,” Cloudstar’s website states. “We will continue to investigate this incident and provide updates to our customers as we have additional information to share.”

The cyber attack is the latest in a string of online crimes, with Ransomware the preferred program for holding digital information hostage, according to CNBC. In 2020 alone, victims paid nearly $350 million worth of cryptocurrency in ransom.

This is a developing story. Stay tuned to RISMedia for more updates.

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Builder Confidence Inched Lower in July

Mon, 07/19/2021 - 13:02

Builder confidence for newly built single-family homes slipped down one point to 80 in July, according to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB)/Wells Fargo Housing Market Index (HMI).

The details:

– The HMI index measuring current sales conditions decreased by one point to 86
– The component measuring traffic of prospective buyers dropped six points to 65
– The index measuring sales expectations in the next six months increased by two points to 81
– For the three-month moving averages for regional HMI scores, the Northeast fell four points to 75, the Midwest fell by one point to 71 and the West posted a two-point decline to 87. The South remained flat at 85.

The takeaway:

“Builders continue to grapple with elevated building material prices and supply shortages, particularly the price of oriented strand board, which has skyrocketed more than 500% above its January 2020 level,” said NAHB Chairman Chuck Fowke. “We are grateful that the White House heeded our urgent plea to hold a building materials meeting with interested stakeholders on July 16 to seek solutions to end production bottlenecks that have harmed housing affordability.”

“Builders are contending with shortages of building materials, buildable lots and skilled labor as well as a challenging regulatory environment. This is putting upward pressure on home prices and sidelining many prospective home buyers even as demand remains strong in a low-inventory environment,” said NAHB Chief Economist Robert Dietz.

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Brand Report: RE/MAX Says June Created ‘Perfect Trifecta’ for Hot Housing Market

Mon, 07/19/2021 - 13:01

June created the perfect trifecta for a hot housing market: June home sales and prices both set report records, while inventory grew for the first time in 15 months.

The month of June, typically the biggest month of the year for home sales, saw sales soar 14.2% over a strong May and top all other months in the 13-year history of the report, which spans 53 metro markets. The median sales price of $336,000 was also a report record, eclipsing the previous record of $320,000—set in April and tied in May—by 4.9%.

The number of homes for sale, meanwhile, grew 1.9% over May—the first increase since March 2020. Inventory, however, remained 37.5% below June 2020 levels.

“June saw a unique case of supply and demand rising in unison, thanks to an uptick in sellers listing their homes for sale—a very welcome sign for frustrated buyers,” said Nick Bailey, president, RE/MAX, LLC in a statement. “People are relocating as companies and individuals make long-term decisions about remote work and getting back to the office. Also, sellers appear to be more confident about finding another home after they sell their current one. If these trends continue, inventory levels should keep growing.”

With year-over-year comparisons skewed by the pandemic, May-to-June averages for 2015-2019 are helpful in illustrating what’s typical at this time of year. June has been the top month for home sales in four of the past six years:

– June 2021 home sales increased 14.2% month-over-month, more than doubling the 6.4% average gain from May to June in 2015-2019. Year-over-year, sales were up 26.4%.

– June’s median sales price of $336,000 was 4.9% over May’s, very similar to the typical May-to-June increase of 4.6%. Year-over-year, June’s price is 21.9% higher than June 2020’s $275,000.

– The 1.9% increase in inventory from May to June was far greater than the typical gain of 0.6%. Still, inventory was down 37.5% year-over-year.

June’s average days on market of 24 was four days less than May’s and represented a faster sale by 21 days compared to June 2020. June’s 1.1 months supply of inventory compares to 1.2 in May and 2.2 year-over-year.

Highlights and the local markets leading various metrics for June include:

Closed Transactions
Of the 53 metro areas surveyed in June 2021, the overall average number of home sales is up 14.2% compared to May 2021, and up 26.4% compared to June 2020.  Leading the year-over-year sales percentage increases were Honolulu, Hawaii, at +92.3%, New York, New York, at +80.6%, and Miami, Florida, at +78.4%.

Median Sales Price – Median of 53 Metro Median Prices
In June 2021, the median of all 53 metro median sales prices was $336,000, up 4.9% compared to May 2021, and up 21.9% from June 2020. Fifty-one metro areas increased year-over-year by double-digit percentages, led by Boise, Idaho, at +38.0%, Augusta, Maine, at +34.7%, and Phoenix, Arizona, at +30.1%. No metro areas saw a year-over-year decrease in median sales price.

Days on Market – Average of 53 Metro Areas
The average days on market for homes sold in June 2021 was 24, down four days from the average in May 2021, and down 21 days from the average in June 2020. The metro areas with the lowest days on market were Cincinnati, Ohio, at 9 and Nashville, Tennessee, at 11 followed by a four-way tie at 12 among Boise, Idaho; Seattle, Washington; Denver, Colorado; and Omaha, Nebraska. The highest days on market averages were in Miami, Florida, at 80, Des Moines, Iowa, at 73, and New York, New York, at 67. Days on market is the number of days between when a home is first listed in an MLS and a sales contract is signed.

Months Supply of Inventory – Average of 53 Metro Areas
The number of homes for sale in June 2021 was up 1.9% from May 2021 and down 37.5% from June 2020. Based on the rate of home sales in June 2021, the months supply of inventory decreased to 1.1 compared to 1.2 in May 2021, and decreased compared to 2.2 in June 2020. A six months supply indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers. In June 2021, of the 53 metro areas surveyed, zero metro areas reported a months supply at or over six. The lowest months supply of inventory was a five-way tie among Albuquerque, New Mexico; Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina; Manchester, New Hampshire; Denver, Colorado; and Seattle, Washington, at 0.5.

For more information, please visit
www.remax.com.

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MoxiWorks Names Jim Crisera COO

Mon, 07/19/2021 - 13:00

As the new COO, Jim Crisera will help oversee the streamlining of processes and automation across the real estate tech company’s customer-facing teams. With more than 25 years of experience working with enterprise and SaaS companies, Crisera has a diverse range of experience from finance operations, marketing and sales, and customer service, bringing a depth of knowledge to this new role.

“As MoxiWorks continues its growth into a 3.0 company, we maintain the philosophy that what got you here won’t get you there,” said York Baur, MoxiWorks CEO. “We are taking great care to keep evolving in a thoughtful way that helps us grow with our customers and help them achieve success which is why I’m so thrilled to welcome Jim to the team in this next phase of growth. I am confident with Jim’s background and expertise he will help us scale the right way to continue to provide industry-leading service to our enterprise customers as an enterprise company.”

Crisera has spent most of his career in the enterprise software and SaaS space and during the last 10 years was president and CFO for Altify as he helped enterprise SaaS companies successfully grow and scale.

“It’s all about putting the customer at the center of what you’re doing and focusing on the best possible outcome for each and every one of them,” said Jim Crisera, MoxiWorks COO. “I’m excited to continue to build upon the success of the MoxiWorks team; focusing on building out a solid foundation to support our ongoing growth. This is such an incredible time to be in this industry with a lot of technology-driven growth and change taking place. With this transformation come significant opportunities for both MoxiWorks as well as our customers, and we’re going to be ready to continue our market leadership going forward.”

For more information, please visit moxiworks.com.

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RISMedia Is Back, Live: See You in November

Mon, 07/19/2021 - 02:04

RISMedia Power Broker & Newsmakers Reception & Dinner Happening Live in November

Virtual education proved to be an essential part of the COVID playbook, but nothing beats in-person learning and networking. RISMedia is proud to announce we will be returning to live events, kicking things off in November with our Power Broker & Newsmakers Reception & Dinner.

Networking and Celebrating
This year’s Power Broker & Newsmakers event will not only recognize the hugely profitable real estate brokers who stepped up during a demanding year and ranked at the top of our Power Broker Report, but will also celebrate our Real Estate Newsmakers, including the induction of our 2020 and 2021 Hall of Fame—industry icons who proved anything can be achieved no matter the challenges ahead.

Our Power Broker & Newsmakers Reception & Dinner will be held on Friday, Nov. 12 at 6:30 P.M. PT at the Marriott San Diego, California.

Power Brokers Gather to Share Insights
Additionally, don’t forget to pay us a visit during the National Association of REALTORS’® annual Conference & Expo, for our Power Broker Forum—”Setting Your Sights on a Record-Breaking 2022.”

What: In RISMedia’s annual Power Broker Forum, leading brokers discuss how to achieve new levels of success as we move beyond a pandemic environment. As market dynamics continue to shift, panelists will share how they’re building a business plan for the future, one that incorporates valuable strategies and innovations that emerged over the past year and a half, but also returns to the basics that made them successful in the first place. From rethinking office space to implementing the right technology to addressing the new needs of today’s buyers and sellers, brokers will share how they’re reengaging agents—and attracting new ones—as we move into 2022 and beyond.

When: Friday, November 12, 2021 | 10:30 p.m. PT

Where: San Diego Convention Center, Room TBA

Additional details will be announced in the coming months. Stay tuned for more exciting news from RISMedia. For information on attending the event, please email dryan@rismedia.com or visit our Power Broker event site.

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Expect More, Stress Less: Demanding What You Need as an Agent

Mon, 07/19/2021 - 02:02

For potential homebuyers, the shortage of homes on the market combined with an unprecedented surge of competition from other buyers is spurring bidding wars, all-cash offers and imperviousness to sticker shock. In other words, the industry is hot.

For real estate agents, this means lots of pressure to make clients happy, and if they can’t make this happen, there goes the deal and future referrals.

Yes, the market is on fire, but the stress brought on by the inventory shortage and increasing expectations of buyers and sellers makes an even greater case for an agent’s need for top-notch brokerage support and service. At HomeSmart, we believe full-scale agent support should be the standard. It’s that simple.

Here’s how brokerages should be supporting their agents.

Agent Support

Providing tools, resources and administrative support keeps agents motivated because they know someone has their back:

Marketing
From listing presentations to flyers and brochures to social posts, your brokerage should support you with marketing materials to build your business.

Staying in Touch
Top real estate agents might not need pointers on how to close a deal or help their clients, but they still need additional resources. Your brokerage should check in regularly and assist when needed.

Tech Tools
Day by day, the industry is becoming more dependent on technology. Having access to the latest technology that streamlines processes is key. At HomeSmart, we provide our agents with the user-friendly RealSmart Agent software and app, a management tool that lets agents control every step of the transaction from one place.

Training Opportunities

Having opportunities to learn something new or brush up on skills is beneficial for agents. Access to educational classes that run the gamut from meeting the demands of hybrid live-work spaces to marketing best practices helps agents anticipate the needs of clients.

Company Culture

Agents should be proud to work under their brokerage banner and be part of a culture of collaborative communication and support. A culture that empowers agents to feel in control, especially in a stressful market, is what should be expected.

This is what a brokerage should look like. Agents should be demanding this kind of support, service and experience. Brokerages should be supplying it. At HomeSmart, our secret sauce is the ability to support all agents, no matter their industry experience or goals.

Isn’t it time you get what you deserve from your brokerage?

Ashley Bowers is president of HomeSmart International. She uses diagnostics and leadership interaction in order to build engagement and alignment throughout the organization. For more information about joining HomeSmart as an agent, visit homesmart.com/join, or visit HomeSmart.com/Franchising for franchising opportunities.

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Leveraging Real Estate Technology Consumers Now Expect

Mon, 07/19/2021 - 02:01

One lasting benefit of the pandemic is the way it has made digital communication more commonplace when interacting with clients. Our buyers and sellers no longer see it as ancillary to the transaction process, but expect it as part of the way we do business. But instead of resting easy with what we do already, now is the time to bring more digital tools into our wheelhouse.

Agents used to worry that clients would get too overwhelmed if we gave them too much information all at once. But the past year has brought an increase in online interactions and has raised the threshold for what clients are used to receiving in digital formats—not just from real estate agents, but professionals in most other industries with whom they interact. That means we should take the opportunity to add more than just photos, video tours and a description of the home when we are interacting with serious buyers or their agents.

At DocuWalk, we built our platform so it would be easy to include everything from the property survey to a home inspection report all in one package. This approach, which consists of providing more information, increases the opportunities for lines of communication since there is more room to highlight the specific features the buyer is interested in.

For example, I recently worked with a buyer who wanted a home where the neighbors wouldn’t be allowed to build right up against the property line. By including a survey in the initial marketing package, I was able to show them how the floodplain prevented neighbors from being able to do that. This created a way to continue the conversation with the buyer about the reasons why the home would be a good fit for them, rather than having them quickly dismiss the property since other houses in the neighborhood were built up as far as could be.

On the selling side, I was recently able to sign a listing agreement with the sellers of a luxury property by showing them the extensive marketing package I put together with background information on the workmanship of the renovations they had completed. This appealed to their pride of ownership and demonstrated that I was invested in finding buyers who would treat the  property with the care and attention it deserved.

Digital marketing and communication have become the norm thanks to the pandemic, but instead of sitting back and being happy with the tools we already use, we need to find more ways to show our value to clients. By expanding our digital marketing, we create more possibilities for gaining their attention as well as more openings for matching their specific wants and needs. Given the new digital normal, we don’t need to worry about digital overload.

Allen Alishahi is president of ShelterZoom, the technology company behind DocuWalk. For more information, please visit
www.docuwalk.com.

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