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Updated: 2 hours 18 min ago

Focusing on Growth: Technology and Newer Agents

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 21:02

Jay Pitts
Broker/Owner
RE/MAX Premier Properties, Premier Property Management Services
Louisville, Ky.

Region Served: Greater Louisville Metro Area/Central Kentucky
Years in Real Estate: 16
Number of Offices: 1
Number of Agents: 55

What’s your secret to staying relevant in today’s ever-changing real estate landscape?
I stay connected with extremely successful real estate practitioners from all parts of the country. I’m in the Midwest and I’ve found that trends from the coast reach us 12 months removed, or more, in some cases. By hearing what agents and brokers are encountering in more progressive areas, I am always ahead of the curve.

What’s the most significant trend impacting your business today?
The aging agent population. The average age of a real estate agent is nearing 60 years old. The average age of an agent in my brokerage is in the low 30s. When you couple this trend with the fact that consumers have embraced teams and demand technology and progressive marketing efforts, you’ll see that we’re acquiring marketshare with consumers that may have otherwise been referred to more seasoned agents.

How do you attract top agents in your area?
I endeavor to provide a ton of value to the real estate community in general. I’ve produced about 80 episodes of an agent-facing podcast titled, “REsource: Real Talk About Real Estate.” I also host weekly roundtable training sessions at my office and invite outside agents to attend.

What strategies do you employ when assisting buyers who are relocating to your area?
I like to dig in and ask questions about what they expect their life to look like when they relocate here. What did they love about their last city? What do they hope to find when they get here? With our prices being relatively moderate and affordable compared to most of the country, most people relocating to the area are pleased with the amount of homes within their budget.

Where do you see your business in five years?
I see myself selling even fewer homes than I do now. I have cut back my personal production substantially in the last two years in favor of building my team and empowering those around me. I would expect that our agent count will have grown substantially, as well. I have an appetite for growth, but only with the right individuals who have the right values. When you build a business with the right people, it affords you the opportunity to live the personal life you’re after.

Final Question…

What’s your top way to stay in touch with clients?
I employ the typical methods, but I find that discipline is the difference between myself and others that don’t stay in regular contact. Also, simply reaching out, sometimes with nothing planned to say, allows me to be authentic and show them that I care. 

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

Jameson Doris is RISMedia’s blog and social media editor. Email him your real estate blog ideas at jdoris@rismedia.com.

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Obsessed With Finding a Better Way: Quicken Loans Strives for Positive Client Experiences, Every Time

Fri, 03/27/2020 - 21:01

Hired by Quicken Loans as a loan processor 17 years ago, Heather Lovier has enjoyed a variety of roles throughout her career. Today, she is the executive vice president of Client Experience Operations—a role that’s near and dear to her heart. In this exclusive interview, Lovier discusses how she is spearheading the movement to ensure that every Quicken Loans client has an amazing experience, every time.

Real Estate magazine: What is your No. 1 goal in your current role?
Heather Lovier: My main goal is to embody our “ISMs,” which are the fundamental principles that shape and drive our culture at Quicken Loans. Because they are the philosophy that supports who we are, it’s critical that I, and our entire Client Experience team, uphold our ISMs—whether we are interacting with mortgage clients or our team members.

RE: Tell us a bit more about the company’s ISMs and why they are so important.
HL: Our ISMs are truly the fuel behind our culture and guide our actions and decision-making every day. There are 19 ISMs, ranging from “Do the right thing” to “Every client. Every time. No exceptions. No excuses.” They are truly engrained in everything we do; we talk about them and reinforce them constantly. Some of our other ISMs include “We’ll figure it out,” “Obsessed with finding a better way,” “Responding with a sense of urgency” and “Yes before no.”

RE: What’s involved in the process that comes with ensuring every client has an amazing experience?
HL: One thing we pride ourselves on is returning phone calls, texts and emails within 24 hours. If this goal is not met, an email is sent to the senior leadership team, the team member and me, asking why the client was not responded to in a timely fashion. If a team member is too busy to follow up, they know they can always count on one of us to reach out. It’s important for us as an organization to make sure we’re responding to all clients with a sense of urgency. We don’t want any client to feel as though they are just another number to us—because they’re not.

RE: What happens when a client doesn’t have a positive experience?
HL: We take a lot of pride in the high level of client service that we provide consistently, but when we experience the rare issue in the process, we have a dedicated escalation group that works closely with our clients to get things back on track quickly. Not only is this group responsible for coming up with resolutions, but they are also empowered to make decisions and act on them, depending on what the client needs. We also have a project called Operation Heart, which provides an outlet for team members to reach out to clients and engage with them on a more personal level.

RE: Why is it so important to ensure that the client experience is a good one?
HL: A mortgage is a personal and infrequent event for our clients. In many cases, this will be the largest financial transaction a client makes in their life. As a result, we know that we have to bring our “A” game every day. That’s why our client service, and the positive experience we give our clients, is so important to us. A win for us is when a client goes out and shares what an awesome experience they had getting a mortgage or refinancing through Quicken Loans. That’s what energizes our 18,000 team members every day—and that’s what helps us continue to grow as America’s largest mortgage lender.

RE: What’s on the horizon as we head toward the future?
HL: In addition to constantly looking at how we can make the process smoother for our clients, we’re always trying to create a faster process so that clients know with certainty when they’re going to close. We’ll continue to provide visibility into the process for our clients and partners, as well as the real estate professionals we work with. This will provide clarity into what’s going on at all times, ensuring that we’re all on the same page.

If you are interested in receiving one of Quicken Loans’ ISMs books, please send your name and mailing address to AgentRelations@QuickenLoans.com.

For more information, please visit www.RealEstate.QuickenLoans.com. 

Paige Tepping is RISMedia’s managing editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at paige@rismedia.com.

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Round 2: Facebook Live Events for Running Your Business During the COVID-19 Outbreak

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 13:47

Last week, real estate agents took to the Secrets of Top Selling Agents Facebook Group to discuss with industry insiders how they are coping with the coronavirus and how it is affecting their business. Agents were able to come to the group to ask their questions and engage with one another and industry insiders on how they will be able to keep their business running during these uncertain times.

Thanks to the success from last week, and back by popular demand, Secrets of Top Selling Agents, sponsored by Homes.com, will be hosting a second round of Facebook Live events each day of the week starting Monday, March 30, where some of real estate’s top experts and industry leaders will be sharing their advice live.

During the daily Facebook Live events, post your questions to the live Q&A to join the discussion on running your business during these uncertain times. Below is a list of topics and times speakers will be going live. Text “SECRETS” to 313313 to get a daily text reminder before each event. 

Monday, 3/30 at 1 p.m. EDT 

  • How to Do a Virtual Tour From Your Home, featuring RE/MAX Realty team agent and social media national speaker Sue “Pinky” Benson

Tuesday, 3/31 at 1 p.m. EDT

  • Secrets & Strategies to Successfully Working From Home, featuring RE/MAX REALTOR® and founder of #SoooBoca® Lifestyle & Media Michele Bellisari

Wednesday, 4/1 at 1 p.m. EDT

  • Rebranding Yourself During Challenging Times, featuring REALTOR®, keynote speaker and author Leigh Brown

Thursday, 4/2 at 1 p.m. EDT

  • Coronavirus: How Agents Can Be a Voice of Reason in an Uncertain Time, featuring VP of Content and Marketing at Keeping Current Matters (KCM) David Childers

Friday, 4/3 at 1 p.m. EDT

  • Live Interview: Recapping the State of the Industry, featuring national speaker and author Joe Sesso and CEO of Lab Coat Agents Tristan Ahumada

To listen to any of the daily Facebook Live events next week, join the Secrets of Top Selling Agents Facebook Group to participate. Join today! 

Patty McNease is vice president of Brand Marketing for Homes.com. For more information, please visit marketing.homes.com.

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Half of Millennials Delaying Home-Buying Due to Financial Concerns, Study Finds

Thu, 03/26/2020 - 13:29

An Insider and Morning Consult survey reveals that millennials are more likely than previous generations to postpone major life events because they cannot afford them. Money concerns, whether they are student debt, living costs or still recovering from the Great Recession, are not only affecting their financial and physical fitness, but also their timeline of significant life events.

The survey polled 2,096 Americans about their financial health, debt and earnings for the series, “The State of Our Money.” More than 670 respondents were millennials, (ages 23-28 as of 2019), and 730 respondents were baby boomers, defined as ages 55 to 73.

Key Findings
Below is a list of major life events and the share of respondents who have reported delaying each event because of money concerns.

  • Buying a home: 23 percent of baby boomers and 50 percent of millennials
  • Having a medical procedure: 41 percent of baby boomers and 49 percent of millennials
  • Quitting a job: 20 percent of baby boomers and 41 percent of millennials
  • Starting a business: 16 percent of baby boomers and 31 percent of millennials
  • Having children: 8 percent of baby boomers and 28 percent of millennials
  • Getting married: 8 percent of baby boomers and 26 percent of millennials
  • Entering a relationship: 9 percent of baby boomers and 20 percent of millennials
  • Ending a relationship: 9 percent of baby boomers and 19 percent of millennials

Millennials are more likely to delay every life event because of money problems compared to previous generations. The biggest difference is in buying a home, as half of millennials said they have postponed becoming homeowners due to money concerns, compared to 23 percent of baby boomers. This is not very surprising, as the median price of home sales has increased by 39 percent since 1970, according to U.S. Federal Housing Finance Agency data.

About the same percentage of millennials and baby boomers have delayed a medical procedure because they could not afford it. Millennials are twice as likely as baby boomers to have delayed a career decision, such as quitting a job or starting a business, because they did not feel financially fit.

Money is a deciding factor in the love lives of the millennial generation, as well. They are more likely to delay having children (if they want them), get married (if they want to) and enter or end a relationship than baby boomers were at their age.

In fact, the average age for adults to marry was 27 for women and 29 for men in 2017; in 1980, the common age was 22 and 25, respectively. A delay in marriage can sometimes result in a delay in childbearing. A report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that more 30-something-year-old women are having babies than women in their 20s for the first time in history. 

Desirée Patno is the CEO and president of Women in the Housing and Real Estate Ecosystem (NAWRB) and Desirée Patno Enterprises, Inc. (DPE), as well as chairwoman of NAWRB’s Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council (NDILC). With 30 years of experience in housing, Patno is a champion for women’s economic growth and independence. In 2017, Entrepreneur.com named her the Highest-Ranking Woman and 4th Overall Top Real Estate Influencer to Follow. For more information, please visit www.nawrb.com.

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A Special Message From NAR President Vince Malta

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 13:08

Editor’s Note: This is part of a monthly video series from the National Association of REALTORS® to inform and educate members about important aspects of being a real estate professional. Watch for this series each month in RISMedia’s News.

In response to the concerns about COVID-19, commonly referred to as coronavirus, the National Association of REALTORS® is providing guidance to help REALTORS® respond to the coronavirus’s potential impact on the real estate industry. Updates from NAR and its response to the coronavirus emergency are available at NAR.realtor/Coronavirus.

Also of note, NAR has issued information and guidance on the following:

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Newsmaker Spotlight: Fiona Petrie Is Relentless About Achieving Goals

Wed, 03/25/2020 - 13:07

Fiona Petrie is the executive vice president and managing director of U.S. Operations at RE/MAX INTEGRA. On top of managing all the operations in the Midwest and New England regions, Petrie recently led the charge for the U.S. expansion of RE/MAX Empowering Ambitious Ladies, or R.E.A.L., a program designed to empower women in the real estate industry.

Here, Petrie shares the behind-the-scenes of R.E.A.L., and what it means to be an RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker—individuals who are recognized for their positive contributions to the real estate industry—as well as why the women empowerment movement is so important, and what role she’s playing in facilitating ladies in leadership.

You were selected as an RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker, in the Achiever category. What does it mean to be an achiever in the industry?
Fiona Petrie: It was a pretty surprising and humbling experience, and an acknowledgement that really speaks to my “why,” which is about always establishing personal and professional goals and going after them. I am so blessed to work for RE/MAX INTEGRA because I’m surrounded by like-minded individuals who care about growth, innovation and breaking through the status quo. Our founders are iconic achievers, and I’m grateful to work with them and to receive this recognition, especially in an industry that’s usually all about productivity.

You’ve recently been involved in the U.S. expansion of R.E.A.L. Can you tell us about this, and what you hope to achieve with the campaign?
FP: RE/MAX Empowering Ambitious Ladies (R.E.A.L.) is an initiative that’s really close to my heart. The program is designed to provide an opportunity for women to come together to discuss their challenges and share their successes. It is a community of women supporting and challenging each other to be the best versions of themselves

R.E.A.L. originated with RE/MAX in Europe out of a necessity to address the challenges faced by women in real estate, and the need for a forum where these challenges could be discussed. The initiative was then brought to Ontario and the Atlantic-Canada region, where it has experienced tremendous success.

Three years ago, we launched the Ladies in Leadership program in the U.S., which encompassed biannual dinners adjacent to larger RE/MAX conventions. With the expansion of R.E.A.L. into North America, we have folded Ladies in Leadership into the larger R.E.A.L. umbrella.

What will this campaign encompass?
FP: As RE/MAX Founder Dave Liniger says, “A fire burns brighter with many logs.” With that spirit in mind, R.E.A.L. provides a platform for women in the real estate profession to support each other through shared inspirational ideas and stories, panel discussions, virtual and in-person meetings, and additional resources. We’ve really put an emphasis on social media. Facebook is helping us break through barriers and allows us to engage a wider audience.

However, we are not just focused on digital platforms or virtual meetings. Tech is getting us the speed we need, but that tech will never supersede the importance of meeting face to face. We plan to launch hyper-local events to foster and create strong, personalized relationships with colleagues and peers. From there, we will look to expand meetups both regionally and nationally.

Why is it so important to make a difference in the women-empowerment movement?
FP: From the start, RE/MAX has been focused on empowering women in the real estate industry. When the company was founded, the industry was dominated by men. RE/MAX wanted to change that. As such, some of the first agents to represent the RE/MAX brand were women. The company’s commitment to fostering strong leadership among everyone is evidenced by the strong leadership exuded by Co-Founder Gail Linger. Our intention with the R.E.A.L. initiative is to continue this strong legacy of supporting and empowering female leadership, that began with both her and Dave.

By hosting a forum for female RE/MAX agents to vocalize the challenges they face, we are creating a space where female agents can share solutions, empower each other and propel to success.

How will the campaign address the biggest challenges women face in the industry?
FP: The biggest challenge women face in the industry—and often in general—is being underestimated. With R.E.A.L., my hope is that we can bring strength forward. If you believe it, you can achieve it. Our goal is to impress upon the women in R.E.A.L. that your actions will lead you to success.

What advice can you provide to anyone looking to achieve great things in the industry?
FP: I’ve always had a very simple philosophy: Look to people who are successful. One thing I’ve noticed is that successful people often do the things that others don’t want to do—things that are essential to achieving goals. Successful people are the doers. Figure out what has to be done, and be relentless about achieving those goals and taking that journey.

To view Petrie’s 2020 Newsmaker profile and those of all the other honorees this year, visit RISMedia.com/2020-Newsmakers.

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

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Alternative Health Coverage for You

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 13:56

NAR PULSE—We understand that this is a difficult time and that options for healthcare and coverage may be top of mind. If you missed 2020 open enrollment and are uninsured, REALTORS® Insurance Marketplace is here to assist you with options available now, such as Flexible Term Health Insurance. Learn more.

Does Uncle Sam Owe Your Agents Money?
NAR wants to make sure your agents get all the deductions and credits they’re eligible for. The Center for REALTOR® Financial Wellness is their go-to resource for advice on taxes and financial needs. Remind them to log in and get started now!

Anytime, Anywhere CMAs With RPR Mobile’s Comps Analysis
RPR Mobile includes Comps Analysis Express––a simple, intuitive interface to create an on-the-go CMA using a phone or tablet. Update or install the RPR app to try it out.

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Coronavirus and Other Threats This Tax Season

Tue, 03/24/2020 - 13:40

(TNS)—Tax filers now want to keep COVID-19 in mind, as well as other potential threats. The Internal Revenue Service has its own special page dedicated to tax-related coronavirus updates. [The deadline for filing is now July 15, not April 15.]

For those with health savings accounts, the IRS said high-deductible plans can pay for 2019 novel coronavirus testing and treatment, and individuals with such plans would still be able to contribute to a health savings account, even if the plan picks up COVID-related costs.

The high deductible plans would not lose their status merely because they cover the cost of testing or treatment of COVID-19 before plan deductibles have been met.

The IRS also noted that any vaccination costs continue to count as preventive care and can be paid for by a high-deductible plan.

How will you pay your taxes?
Many people pay their taxes by writing a check, pulling out a credit card or even applying online for some payment plans offered through the IRS.

It’s wise to do some research about any new kind of third-party payment service. The Better Business Bureau has received some complaints about Doxo, what’s known as a bill payment aggregation site. Users tap into a centralized platform to pay all of their bills owed to a variety of public utilities, such as water departments, as well as companies.

“Not good value for the cost,” according to one complaint listed earlier this year on the BBB site.

“The fees are high and the website is cumbersome,” said another consumer on the BBB site.

Other consumers said the payments were too slow and it took too many days to get bills paid.

The doxoPLUS program charges $4.99 a month to enable bill payments from your bank account with no delivery fees, up to a total of $3,000 of payments per month.

Roger Parks, a spokesman for the Seattle-based Doxo, said many consumers are happy with the service but in some cases, people don’t pay enough attention to making sure that a payment date will work in their situation. He noted that information is given online for the payment process for specific bills as they are being paid and customers need to check boxes to make sure those dates will work.

He said about 3.5 million people have paid at least one bill using Doxo. The service can be used when a biller cannot handle mobile payments or credit cards. Consumers can pay their bills with 60,000 entities through their bank accounts without paying any extra delivery fees.

Are you dealing with a ghost tax preparer?
Ever imagine you could get “ghosted” by a tax preparer, much like someone who never responds to texts, phone calls or emails after a bad date?

Consumer watchdogs, including the BBB, are warning that unscrupulous characters can set up shop in a short-term rental location and may promise large refunds. It’s possible the big refund depends on illegal short cuts when filling out that return.

“In 2006, the IRS made efforts to increase oversight of tax preparers to combat unscrupulous activity in the industry and began to require all tax preparers to have a PTIN, or a Preparer Tax Identification Number,” according to a BBB warning, “but this system only works if tax preparers sign the returns they file. Some tax preparers that don’t want to follow the process simply don’t sign the returns!”

Instead, it’s made to look like the taxpayer actually prepared his or her own return—and, yes, if something goes wrong, the tax preparer is long gone.

One warning sign: The ghost preparer may want to print the paper return for the client and tell them to sign and mail it to the IRS. For electronically filed returns, they will prepare it but won’t digitally sign it as the paid preparer.

Sarah Kull, the special agent in charge for IRS Criminal Investigations Detroit Field Office, suggests you ask if the tax preparer’s office is open all year and how you’d get ahold of someone if there’s a problem down the line.

©2020 Detroit Free Press
Visit Detroit Free Press at www.freep.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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COVID-19 Relief: Industry Collaborates on Advocacy Efforts, Regulatory Changes

Mon, 03/23/2020 - 13:11

In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, states across the U.S. are implementing restrictions on which businesses can remain open and who must work remotely. Several industry groups, including the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), have taken steps to advocate for the housing industry and ensure that lawmakers are taking independent contractors and small business owners into consideration when drafting legislation.

Vince Malta, NAR president, says that it “is working with Congressional leaders on behalf of our members as a flurry of legislative activity providing economic relief from COVID-19 emerges on Capitol Hill. We are committed to ensuring lawmakers consider small business owners, the self-employed and independent contractors in their response.

“Congress has passed two emergency bills so far and continues its work to secure a third [at press time],” Malta says. “NAR urged Congressional leaders several weeks ago to include support for self-employed professionals, small businesses and independent contractors in any COVID-19 relief package, along with a follow-up letter on March 20. (All of NAR’s activity in this space is recorded here.) NAR has also prepared a guide for REALTORS® as our 1.4 million members work to navigate this crisis while continuing their critical work to provide shelter to the American people.”

As states are currently imposing their own rules, NAR is also working with state associations to classify real estate-related services as “essential” in any emergency declarations. NAR has also advocated for deadline relief for the working capital safe harbor for Qualified Opportunity Funds, as well as for 1031 like-kind exchanges 180-day completion deadlines to help with delays in settlements as title companies close during the outbreak.

According to Malta, NAR is also “working with other trade associations and industry partners to expand access to remote online notary services, provide direct rental assistance for families who have income loss due to COVID-19, and push for relief for property owners from the financial obligations of forbearance and foreclosures.”

Property Owners and Renters
Several organizations—including NAR, the National Multifamily Housing Council, the Council for Affordable and Rural Housing, the National Association of Home Builders and many others—joined forces to draft a coalition letter that requests direct rental assistance for families who experienced a loss of income due to COVID-19. It stresses the need for relief for property owner-related burdens, such as mortgage and other financial obligation forbearance, and warns against blanket eviction moratoriums. On March 23, the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) authorized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to accommodate forbearance for multifamily owners, provided that they cease evictions for renters unable to pay rent as a result of COVID-19.

Real Estate Appraisals, Mortgage
To continue to facilitate real estate transactions, FHFA added flexibility to mortgage requirements, specifically appraisals and employment verifications. In the announcement, also on March 23, FHFA authorized Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to implement “appraisal alternatives,” to avoid in-person interaction; as well as continue employment verifications via email from the employer, if unable to verbally verify, or via a bank statement that shows a recent payroll deposit, or a recent year-to-date pay stub.

According to the announcement, “lenders should continue to utilize sound underwriting judgment to ensure these alternatives are appropriate to the borrower’s circumstances.”

The alternatives extend to May 17, 2020.

Foreclosures, Debt Relief
Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac announced they will be suspending foreclosure and evictions through April. According to FHFA, the suspension applies to any homeowners who have a single-family mortgage backed by either company. Fannie and Freddie are also offering payment forbearance.

“This foreclosure and eviction suspension allows homeowners with an Enterprise-backed mortgage to stay in their homes during this national emergency,” said FHFA Director Mark Calabria in a statement.

Title and Notarization
NAR, the American Land Title Association (ALTA) and others support the Securing and Enabling Commerce Using Remote and Electronic Notarizations Act of 2020, which would help expand access to remote online notaries.

ALTA is tracking the operating status of recording jurisdictions around the U.S. and has advocated for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which creates emergency paid sick leave, and paid family leave, for working families that are impacted by COVID-19.

Small Businesses and Independent Contractors
Several letters from NAR and other industry groups have pressed Congress to provide easily accessible, unsecured credit to employers and any self-employed individuals to ensure they can pay their workers, rent and any other costs. These letters requested the following:

  • “Suspend the filing of business returns and the payment of all business taxes to the federal government for the duration of the pandemic; and amend the Tax Code to, among other items, restore the ability of businesses to carryback any net operating losses against previous year tax payments.”
  • “Suspend the application of the Section 163(j) limitation on interest expense deductions for tax year 2020 to avoid penalizing businesses for borrowing during this crisis.”
  • “Suspend the Section 461(l) loss limitation on pass-through businesses to allow businesses to full deduct any losses they incur this year.”

As the coronavirus and its impact on the industry unfold, RISMedia is providing resources and updates. Get the latest.

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

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Before Pandemic, Existing-Home Sales Soared—What Will Happen Now?

Sun, 03/22/2020 - 10:08

At the start of 2020, the housing market ramped up strongly, bolstered by economic gains, low mortgage rates and record stocks. According to the National Association of REALTORS®, February home sales surged 7.2 percent year-over-year, hitting a pace of 5.77 million, and home prices rose 8 percent—both encouraging figures for spring.

Now, with the coronavirus pandemic progressing, the housing industry is waiting, and watching. The February figures from NAR, while strong, reflect transactions in January, before the outbreak. Forecasting the impact is tricky, according to Lawrence Yun, chief economist at NAR, because the duration of the pandemic remains unknown.

“These figures show that housing was on a positive trajectory, but the coronavirus has undoubtedly slowed buyer traffic and it is difficult to predict what short-term effects the pandemic will have on future sales,” said Yun, who added that the market may shift, with the bulk of deals moving to later in the year.

“There will be a major fluctuation in some [home sales] data,” said Yun. “Whatever is missed out on for a couple of months will come up strongly with a rebound in autumn, provided that this situation is of short duration and the stimulus package provides for lost income. That would be the best-case scenario.”

Before the coronavirus, almost every indicator showed strength. In February, the adjusted annualized rate of sales, 5.77 million, came up 6.5 percent higher than in January and 7.2 percent higher than the prior year, and the median national price rose 8 percent, to $270,100—exceeding incomes substantially, but critical for homeowners, whose equity is the majority of their wealth, in most situations. In this time of uncertainty, that asset is vital, according to Yun.

“Unlike the stock market, home prices do have a stickiness; whatever their momentum is, they only slowly change from month to month,” said Yun, who noted that prices remained on the rise in the 1987 correction and during 9/11. “The only time nationwide home prices declined was in the Great Recession, due to loose subprime lending and overbuilding. [Today] we have tight lending conditions and underproduction. Housing wealth is the dominant portion for most middle-class families, and housing wealth will hold on well.”

In a separate survey, conducted March 16-17, NAR found homebuyer interest is softening, according to 48 percent of REALTORS®, as a result of the virus. Yun anticipates a rebound, once the current situation subsides.

“For the past couple of months, we have seen the number of buyers grow as more people enter the market,” said Yun. “Once the social distancing and quarantine measures are relaxed, we should see this temporary pause evaporate, and will have potential buyers return with the same enthusiasm.”

In the absence of the coronavirus, however, inventory remains scarce. At the end of February, there were 1.47 million listings on the market, a 9.8 percent decline year-over-year, according to NAR. Recently, construction had sprung up, but with demand falling, builders could hit pause.

Housing starts finally broke above 1.5 million for the last three months, so there was a signal that the inventory situation could be improving through the latter part of the year,” said Yun.

Beyond inventory issues, what could restrict sales, REALTORS® say, is the need for in-person services throughout the transaction, like appraisals, certification of deeds and home inspections.

“We’ve been talking to regulators about whether external appraisals will be sufficient,” said Yun, who acknowledged the challenge of county deed offices shuttering, as well.

In addition, NAR is working with authorities on broader solutions, according to Vince Malta, 2020 NAR president.

“In the midst of this national emergency, NAR has been and will continue to be in contact with Congressional leaders and White House officials as they consider various policies to ease the economic impact of the coronavirus,” Malta says. “NAR is engaged in these discussions and presenting proposals that will support real estate and the people that make up the industry.”

As brokers grapple with the pandemic, they have innovated solutions, including being flexible with hours in the office, and holding opens virtually.

“Technology is coming to the forefront,” explained Matt Dolan, of Sagan Harborside Sotheby’s International Realty in Massachusetts, in a recent RISMedia story. “We are using technology and providing creative solutions to bring new options to buyers and sellers.”

“We have asked our agents to work remotely as often as possible [and] scheduled our team meetings to be hosted via video conference,” said Gil Torres, of Exclusive Realty & Mortgage in West Sacramento, Calif.

“We had open houses via appointment in 20-minute windows,” said LP Finn of Coach Realtors®, located in Long Island and Queens, N.Y. “People could come see the house, but they had to make an appointment online or through the office.”

“It is truly inspiring to see so many of our fellow REALTORS® and brokerages adjust on the fly,” Malta says. “Agents nationwide are keeping interest alive with innovative technologies, holding virtual open houses and computer-generated tours.”

As far as home sales, Yun anticipates the forecast for 2020 to shift—but to what degree is unclear, with so many questionable variables. In the coming days, NAR expects to have a new outlook ready.

“It will be interesting to note what will happen in the upcoming months…whether there will be investors trying to take advantage of the market turbulence, or first-time homebuyers beginning to move in with very low mortgage rate conditions, or even distressed property sales,” said Yun.

On March 18, the Federal Housing Finance Agency enacted an eviction and foreclosure moratorium, in effect for 60 days.

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

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Addressing Housing Affordability Challenges in the U.S.

Sun, 03/22/2020 - 10:07

REALTORS® has been working with authorities to create expanded housing options.

Sharp increases in home prices and a lack of housing inventory in the U.S. have resulted in a housing affordability crisis, where both rental homes and homes for purchase are beyond the reach of low- and middle-income families.

To address this watershed moment in real estate, the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), with Secretary Ben Carson taking the lead, has been hosting meetings to discuss these matters with issue experts. HUD also published a Request for Information (RFI) to solicit ideas from the real estate industry and brainstorm solutions.

In comments submitted to HUD, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) stressed that affordable housing is critical to America’s communities and businesses. To address housing affordability issues, NAR offered HUD a series of policy considerations that encourage all market players to collaborate to provide safe and affordable housing. These included:

  • Enhancing Mortgage Market Liquidity – Re-focus the mission of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac on providing liquidity in the mortgage markets for low- and middle-income homebuyers.
  • Reforming the CRA – Clarify existing regulations under the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA) so banks can receive “credit” for serving the lending needs of middle-income households.
  • Incentivize YIMBY – Foster a “Yes in My Backyard”—or “YIMBY”—market to encourage states and localities receiving federal dollars to reform high-density zoning and other land-use rules.
  • Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Funds – Encourage states and localities to update their comprehensive housing and development plans to address barriers to housing affordability. If they do so, they receive additional CDBG funds.
  • Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) – Allowing for development of ADUs is a simple way to increase density and affordable housing. State and local laws can protect the rights of property owners and concerns of neighbors about increased traffic or demand for resources.

NAR also commended the Administration for the work it has already done to improve housing affordability. Since May 2019, HUD has taken several actions, including:

  • Finalizing the FHA Condo Rules – Condos are often the most affordable option for first-time buyers, urban dwellers and those wishing to downsize. HUD’s reform of FHA’s condo rules should yield thousands of new homeownership opportunities and help alleviate affordability restraints impacting markets across the country.
  • Repealing and Replacing WOTUS – The Administration repealed the 2015 Waters of the U.S. (WOTUS) rule and replaced it with a common-sense regulation that more clearly defines the regulatory limits of the Clean Water Act. The Navigable Waters Protection Rule will provide predictability and reduce red tape and lower costs for real estate developers, which will lead to the construction of more homes in all real estate markets.
  • Creating Qualified Opportunity Zones – NAR applauds the creation of the White House Opportunity and Revitalization Council, chaired by Secretary Ben Carson. Opportunity zones have great potential to address housing affordability across our country. HUD has also provided additional incentives for development in opportunity zones through FHA products.

Although there is no single solution to promoting housing affordability and increasing housing supply, NAR does believe that a broad-based policy approach to bring safe, decent and affordable housing to low-income households, as well as methods to enhance the availability of affordable middle-income housing, can be achieved. We look forward to working with HUD and our partners in the real estate industry to reach these goals and improve access to the American Dream of homeownership. 

Russell Riggs is NAR’s senior environmental policy representative. For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.

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Real Estate Q&A: How Is Coronavirus Affecting the Residential Market?

Sun, 03/22/2020 - 10:04

(TNS)—Coronavirus has changed the way we live, and I have received many questions about how it is affecting the real estate market.

So far, the residential real estate market has kept moving. While a few transactions have canceled, the vast majority are moving forward. Lenders are lending, and interest rates are strong.

If you are stuck at home, it is a great time to shop for a lower-rate refinance. Of course, until life gets back to normal, certain precautions are necessary.

Social distancing is a critical consideration. Experienced real estate agents can help buyers narrow down their choices and refine their expectations using online photo albums and virtual tours. Buyers can drive around the area they are interested in to get the feel of the neighborhood.

Even if you do not feel comfortable visiting your prospective new home, you can use this time to figure out what you can afford and which features are most important to you. Work with your lender to get your loan approved.

Most cell phones take great pictures and videos, making it easy for motivated sellers to help their agents beef up their listing.

While I am not recommending visiting a prospective house in person, I am aware that many people are still doing it. If you go this route, be cautious. The real estate agent and buyer should each take their own car. Follow published safety guidelines when looking around the house, avoiding crowds and touching surfaces, and maintaining personal distance. Use common sense and do not feel obligated to continue the tour if you feel uncomfortable for any reason.

The same goes for sellers. While it may be a bit rude to deny entry to a prospective buyer who is hacking and coughing, it is better safe than sorry.

When it is time to write the contract, you should get assistance making sure contingencies are added to account for this crisis. The real estate attorney community is all over this and ready to assist. Many documents can now be signed and even notarized online. Check with the closing attorney and lender to see if they offer this service.

If you do have to go to closing in person, make sure the title company has a detailed COVID-19 plan in place to deal with the crisis.

Gary M. Singer is a Florida attorney and board-certified as an expert in real estate law by the Florida Bar.

©2020 Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.)
Visit Sun Sentinel (Fort Lauderdale, Fla.) at www.sun-sentinel.com
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Developing New Relationships

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 21:03

Steve Wilke
Broker/Owner
WEICHERT, REALTORS® – Triumph Group
Powell, Ohio
WeichertTG.com

Region Served: Central Ohio
Years in Real Estate: 25+
Number of Offices: 1
Number of Agents: 60

What tools does Weichert provide that are working best for your team?
My current favorite is myWeichert, powered by the kvCORE platform. It provides our agents with individual websites they can brand and promote. It also has an incredible contact management component that helps them develop leads from listings they already have. Within hours of someone coming to an open house, the system is reaching out to visitors, asking if they have any further questions about the home or if there are any other homes we can help them find. It saves our people tons of time on the phone.

I understand you’ve experienced a lot of growth in a short amount of time. Can you talk about your decision to build a new space from the ground up?
We joined the Weichert® national franchise system a few years ago and went from 22 agents to 60, which caused us to outgrow our office space, so we found a location in Powell with high traffic and visibility, started the process and moved in two months ago [at press time]. Now we have a huge training room, plenty of meeting rooms with flat-screen monitors, individual workstations and offices, and 28 parking spaces for staff and clients, as well as room to grow. This was one of my best investments.

Now that you’re settling into the new office space, what’s your next major focus?
We’re concentrating on developing new relationships with service providers—title companies, mortgage brokers, even handymen—so we can direct our clients to them and be assured they are going to have an equally professional and responsive experience through the entire home-buying or -selling process.

How are you qualifying these new vendors and partners?
We decided to narrow things down, so instead of offering six or eight lenders, we’ll only have a couple of go-to lenders to assist our clients. We’ll do the same with title companies. We’re not settling for anything less than vendors who will go above and beyond the call for our clients. And because we can send them so much business, I have to say that they’re jumping through hoops to be one of those partners. Next, we’re going to be expanding to home insurance providers and maybe even a home warranty company.

Final Questions…

What’s your best tip for getting the right listing price?
View the house, take detailed notes, then analyze the numbers before going back to meet with the client to set the price.

What’s your No. 1 time management tip?
Use a daily planner and plan your day the night before. Then start the next day nice and early with your to-do list all plotted out.

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

John Voket is a contributing editor to RISMedia.

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New MLS Policy Brings Clarity and Promotes Cooperation

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 21:02

In November, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Board of Directors approved MLS Statement 8.0, also known as the Clear Cooperation Policy. Aimed at benefitting consumers and ensuring a level playing field for brokers, the new policy requires MLS-participating brokers to share listings with other brokers in the MLS within one business day of marketing the property to the public.

Have you ever seen a for-sale sign for a house that wasn’t in the MLS, or have a buyer ask about a property they found online that you knew nothing about? Low inventory levels and tech-enabled pocket listings have resulted in a growing number of off-MLS listings, leading to questions of fairness and serving sellers’ best interests. Amid mounting frustration, brokers, agents and MLSs across the country asked us to consider policy that would reinforce the consumer benefits of cooperation.

After much deliberation, and with considerable input from members, brokers and MLSs, NAR’s MLS Technology and Emerging Issues Advisory Board proposed the Clear Cooperation Policy. The board concluded that leaving listings outside the broader marketplace excludes consumers, undermining REALTORS®’ commitment to provide equal opportunity to all.

NAR President Vince Malta explains, “When properties for sale aren’t input into the MLS, it skews market data, makes it harder for our members to serve clients, reduces buyer choice, creates a potential fair housing risk and often hurts sellers’ interests. I’m pleased the Board of Directors decided that’s not who we are, and overwhelmingly approved the Clear Cooperation Policy.”

What Is the Clear Cooperation Policy?
The policy states that within one business day of marketing a property to the public, brokers must submit the listing to the MLS for cooperation with other MLS participants. Public marketing includes everything from yard signs and flyers in windows to web marketing and social media posts. Effective Jan. 1, MLSs have until May 1, 2020 to adopt the changes.

Pocket and “Coming Soon” Listings
The new policy doesn’t prohibit these specialized listings, but does change some of the rules. Pocket—or office-exclusive—listings are an important option when privacy and exposure are concerns, such as with divorce or a celebrity client. These listings are allowed when they are in the best interest of the seller and not advertised to the public.

“Coming Soon,” a popular marketing tactic to create exposure ahead of showings, is accommodated if they are shared with the MLS’ participants when the listing is advertised publicly. MLSs have flexibility in creating processes around these listings and can add clarity by defining specific statuses and showing requirements as well as determining enforcement measures.

The Impact of the Clear Cooperation Policy
Our MLS is a rare and unique system in which competitors cooperate for the benefit of consumers. It is an indispensable tool that creates a healthy and efficient marketplace serving the interests of sellers, buyers and practitioners. But it only works when REALTORS® act ethically to cooperate with other REALTORS® and respect their exclusive relationships with clients.

According to Rene Galicia, director of MLS Engagement at NAR, “The intent of the Clear Cooperation Policy is to benefit members, consumers and the industry in general by ensuring access to all available listing data. It reinforces the pro-competitive, pro-consumer aspects of the MLS as a broker cooperative and helps power innovation in the industry by providing a central source of aggregated listing data. I encourage brokers to embrace this new policy and get involved in your local MLS’ implementation process.”

Learn More
Visit nar.realtor/ClearCooperation to see the full policy, a webinar, FAQs, and more.

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Connecting the World to Tokyo

Fri, 03/20/2020 - 21:01

Based in Central Tokyo, PLAZA Homes has been connecting people to properties and the world to Tokyo since 1969. Prioritizing their customers’ needs and satisfaction, the team at PLAZA Homes goes above and beyond to provide each and every client the information necessary to find the right property promptly and effectively. Here, Manager Kenji Kubo takes us inside the Tokyo real estate market.

Please describe your current housing market.
Kenji Kubo:
While prices are generally stable at the moment, we’re seeing them rise in particular buildings. Currently, our listings have an average price range anywhere from 70,000,000 JPY to 150,000,000 JPY [at press time].

Tell us about the types of properties in your market and which are most popular.
KK:
Apartments are the most popular type of property in our market, followed by houses and land.

What types of buyers do you work with? Are they predominantly local, or mixed from other countries?
KK:
At the moment, 50 percent of our buyers are local, with the remaining 50 percent coming from other countries [at press time]. Since late 2012, our buyers have predominantly been from overseas, but within the last four or five years, the number of local clients we’re working with is increasing. The reason for this increase could perhaps be because of loan availability for local buyers.

What are some of the most important trends in your market?
KK:
We have seen increased interest in second homes, particularly with clientele from Asian countries, such as China, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc.

What are your biggest challenges/opportunities for growth?
KK:
The Olympics, which are being held in Tokyo, have led to some price increases for properties located within Central Tokyo. We’re also seeing new construction in the area and an increase in infrastructure due to the Azabudai/Roppongi project, as well as the redevelopment project centered around Shibuya and Shinagawa stations, so hopefully, the high-market trend continues.

How does being part of Leading Real Estate Companies of the World® (LeadingRE) help advance your business?
KK:
Being a part of LeadingRE has provided numerous opportunities to meet LeadingRE members from around the world, which has allowed us to appeal to their clients by highlighting the Tokyo real estate market.

For more information, please visit www.realestate-tokyo.com.

Paige Tepping is RISMedia’s managing editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at paige@rismedia.com.

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Daily Facebook Live Events: How to Adapt in Uncertain Times

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 13:09

Despite the widespread uncertainty around the coronavirus pandemic, there are plenty of tactics and new knowledge that agents can retain from industry experts on how to survive during these uncertain times.

Join the Secrets of Top Selling Agents Facebook Group for advice to keep your real estate business running while minimizing risk to yourself and your clients. Each day, during the week of March 23, real estate’s top experts and industry leaders will be sharing their advice via Facebook Live.

During the daily Facebook Live events, post your questions for the live Q&A to join the discussion on running your business during these uncertain times. Below is a list of topics and times speakers will be live. Text “SECRETS” to 313313 to get a daily text reminder before each event.

Monday 3/23 at 1:00 p.m. EDT

  • Coronavirus Listing Presentation Cancellations: Don’t Panic, Just Do This Instead, featuring the broker and CEO of The Betts Realty Group, Barbara Betts

Tuesday 3/24 at 1:00 p.m. EDT

  • 7 Ways to Prospect in Uncertain Times, featuring real estate broker, consultant and real estate educator Jim Remley

Wednesday, 3/25 at 2:00 p.m. EDT

  • Navigating Real Estate in Any Market Condition, featuring national real estate coach Sherri Johnson

Thursday 3/26 at 1:00 p.m. EDT

  • How to Brush Up Your LinkedIn Skills While Quarantined, featuring keynote speaker and author Marki Lemons-Ryhal

Friday 3/27 at 1:00 p.m. EDT

  • How to Thrive, Not Just Survive, in the Turbulent Times, featuring the president of Real Estate Champions, Dirk Zeller

To listen to any of the daily Facebook Live events next week, join the Secrets of Top Selling Agents Facebook Group to participate. Join today!

Patty McNease is vice president of Brand Marketing for Homes.com. For more information, please visit marketing.homes.com.

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A New Normal: Current Events Will Shape How Real Estate Operates

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 13:08

For the last few years, working from home has been a growing movement. More and more employees are finding ways to work remotely when circumstances warrant.

For many of us, though, it’s far from the status quo. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, less than 30 percent of the U.S. workforce is able to work from home if necessary.

I can only imagine how those numbers are changing in the face of current events. In the last week, dozens of companies—including Amazon, Google and Apple—have asked employees who previously were required to come into the office to stay home until further notice. These effects are rippling through real estate, too. Brokerages across North America are canceling open houses left and right, with some even shuttering their doors and asking agents to work remotely.

Although real estate agents are well-known for their mobility, this is a different story altogether. Often, agents are so focused on this being a “people industry” that when we find ourselves in situations like the one we’re in currently, it can be hard to move from being in the office and meeting with clients to self-isolating at home and doing everything online.

In extenuating circumstances, a change in work style is necessary.

It occurred to me that this isn’t the first time our society has experienced outside factors that force us to find a new way to carry on, and it likely won’t be the last time, either. In the 1910s and the 1940s, circumstances—in those cases, international wars—created a need for women to start working in factories, producing supplies for their homes and for the men who were away on the front lines. At the time, this was unheard of, and I would not be at all surprised if it caused the same feelings of uncertainty and unrest that so many of us feel right now.

In the end, though, that change led to a revolution in the workforce that changed the status quo, and has long since become our new normal.

Similarly, this change will affect how we work afterward.

Today, so many of us are used to dealing in-person. In real estate especially, there’s always at least one step of a transaction that requires you to be face-to-face with someone: meeting a client for the first time, showing them a home, signing contracts, collecting and submitting trust/escrow. Even if you work with your clients remotely, you still have to go to the office to submit everything.

I believe this change toward self-isolation may help us all learn a more flexible way to work—and I believe that will be founded on technology. It will help us identify the technology, resources and tools at our disposal to make working remotely as easy as going to the office. Ultimately, it will change how we use technology for what we do every day long after the current uncertainty is over.

I say this to remind you that with all the change, although we may never go back to normal, there will be a new normal for us to grow into.

Sarah Sabatino is the partner marketing manager at Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies. For more information, please visit www.lwolf.com.

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Working Smarter, Not Harder

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 13:07

Freddie Ortega
Broker
Realty ONE Group Strong
Bakersfield, Calif.
Region Served: Kent, Tulare, Fresno and Los Angeles counties
Years in Real Estate: 13
Number of Offices: 2
Number of Agents: 130

Why did you decide to transition from an independent office to Realty ONE Group?
I saw the writing on the wall. My agents needed a lot more resources that we, as an independent, couldn’t provide.

What results have you seen thus far from the transition?
I saw results immediately—just the positive energy, the “COOLture” that was built here in the office.

How does Realty ONE Group make its agents’ jobs easier?
The technology. The ultimate goal of Realty ONE Group is for agents to make MORE money, faster and easier. And how are we going to do that? By getting technology in front of our agents. If we use it the right way, it can help us tremendously. Instead of working harder, we are working smarter. Realty ONE Group has created the technology and apps so that we can work from the convenience of our phones now. We can do certain things we weren’t able to do before.

What is one of the challenges your market faces, and what are you doing to overcome it?
One of the challenges here in this area is discount brokerages, which are providing little to no services to their clients—to the consumers. We overcome, or counter, that by providing a flat rate for full service to the consumer. We are able to provide all the services to our agents, and, in turn, they can pass that along and provide great service to their clients. By charging a reasonable flat rate to our agents, they’re able to stay competitive and still provide full services.

What factor has the largest influence on the real estate industry today?
Social media, hands down, is something that is going to continue to evolve, and there’s going to be more social media platforms that we, as agents and as a company, are going to be able to use to advertise and get our name out there. I love that about Realty ONE Group—they’re at the forefront of it. They understand how social media and agents are connected at the hip, and it’s not going to stop. Social media has the ability to make our jobs so much easier if we understand how to use it the right way.

How are you staying competitive in an industry being flooded by disruptors?
I feel as though we are the disruptor in the industry now. We are going to continue to do what we are doing. We are very creative, and our creativity is going to help keep us at that level of being an industry disruptor. I think that’s what is going to separate us from everyone else.

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

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

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Upstream Gains Momentum

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 13:06

For as long as I’ve been involved in real estate, it’s been a major challenge for brokers to store, manage and give others access to their listing data and other branded content. For decades, broker data has been siloed in the MLS, usually in unique formats that made data aggregation and management an overwhelming challenge.

Today, brokers have a new choice: Upstream®.

Upstream is a comprehensive broker data management platform that aggregates broker data from multiple sources and makes it ready for use in back-office applications, marketing, franchise reporting, staff management, and much more. Brokers can use Upstream to enrich their listing data with high-res broker-branded media, manage expanded agent and team roster data, and securely deliver data to technology and syndication partners in RESO®-standard formats—both RETS and Web API.

For brokers looking to take ownership of their data assets, Upstream is a huge step forward.

CoreLogic® took over the development of Upstream in early 2019, and I’m pleased to say it is now up and running in many markets. As the leader in real estate data management solutions with strong ties to both the MLS and broker communities, CoreLogic is best positioned to bridge the gaps and successfully bring Upstream to the larger real estate industry. Together with the leadership and vision of UpstreamRE, CoreLogic is using its expertise building enterprise platforms to deliver a revolutionary data management solution that gives brokers the control and independence they’ve wanted for so long.

Are you using Upstream yet? It’s ready and waiting—and getting started is simple. Get connected today and take control of your data.

Amy Gorce is principal, Business Development at CoreLogic. For more information, please visit www.corelogic.com.

CORELOGIC and the CoreLogic logo are trademarks of CoreLogic, Inc. and/or its subsidiaries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective holders.

 

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Protecting Yourself From Coronavirus While Flying

Thu, 03/19/2020 - 13:05

(TNS)—If you must fly during the coronavirus outbreak, how might you protect yourself?

Don’t eat on the plane.

That’s one of the tips suggested by Dr. Barbara Ferrer, director of the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health, at a recent news conference:

  • If it’s a short trip, consider not eating. When you eat, you often put your hands in your mouth, and if your hands have touched a virus-infected surface, such as the seat tray, you don’t want to be putting your unwashed hands in your mouth.
  • Wipe down the area where you’re sitting on a plane. Bleach-based wipes and solutions with at least 60 percent alcohol can kill the coronavirus.
  • Wash your hands frequently. Scrub for at least 20 seconds with soap, remembering to lather the backs of the hands, between the fingers and under the nails.
  • Use hand sanitizer, with at least 60 percent alcohol, frequently. Hand sanitizer is helpful when you can’t wash your hands, but it doesn’t work on all types of germs.
  • If you’re seated next to a person actively coughing, ask to be relocated.
  • Under all circumstances, stop touching your face with unwashed hands.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said airline crew should report to the CDC any traveler who has had a fever for more than 48 hours or has a fever and one of the following symptoms: cough, difficulty breathing or an obviously unwell appearance.

Any such passengers should be moved as far away as possible from other passengers and crew, ideally by at least 6 feet—the maximum distance that virus-studded droplets from a person’s cough or sneeze can travel before falling to the ground.

The flight crew should then offer a face mask if available and if the passenger can tolerate it. If not available, the sick person should be asked to cover their mouth and nose with tissues when coughing and sneezing, the CDC said.

This coronavirus can be given to other people through the saliva of an infected person being coughed or sneezed into the wet areas of a person’s face, like the eyes, nose or mouth. It can also be transmitted through a person using their hands to touch an infected surface, like droplets of saliva coughed onto a seatback pocket, and then touching their face with their unwashed fingers.

©2020 Los Angeles Times
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