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Updated: 2 hours 34 min ago

5 Real Estate Trends to Watch in 2020

Wed, 11/20/2019 - 13:56

The countdown to 2020 is officially on! We’re taking a look back at some interesting patterns from 2019 and discussing our top picks for real estate trends to look out for next year.

  1. Generational Shifts: “Silver Tsunami” + Welcome Gen Z
    As millions of aging Americans enter their 60s and 70s, there is potential for a variety of impacts on the housing market in the coming years. Senior housing demands often mean downsizing and cost saving, so the market could see higher demand for smaller, more affordable inventory. Because inventory of these smaller one-level homes is limited across the board in the U.S., competition could increase. If you live in a popular retirement city (like Florida or Arizona), it’s even more important to be aware of this influx of retirees and what that means for real estate.

It’s also time to say hello to Generation Z. According to a TransUnion report, the number of Gen Z shoppers who took out a mortgage more than doubled in one year. Year-over-year growth was 112 percent in comparison to 12 percent growth from millennials. It’s important to consider what the profile of a Gen Z homebuyer looks like. Similar to millennials, they are riddled with student debt. That means smaller spaces and affordability are key. In combination with the millennial market and the Silver Tsunami, it’s easy to see why experts are predicting more of a demand for affordable inventory that is both senior- and starter home-friendly.

  1. Recession: Facts and Fears
    Some experts predict that a recession will hit the U.S. economy around 2020-2021; however, this time around, the housing market is not the cause, and there’s a good chance that it won’t be hit as hard as other sectors in the economy. Because of some positive signs such as a low unemployment rate, stricter Fed lending policy and steady/increased housing prices, many experts believe that real estate is actually moving towards a more balanced market. The most optimistic predictions lean towards a smooth descent into a balanced market, rather than a crash.

However, it’s important to be cautiously optimistic (and prepared). Recession fears, whether they’re warranted or not, could lead to seller hesitation. Seller hesitation could exacerbate an already low-inventory market, with first-time buyers wanting to snap up good deals, but sellers wanting to wait until prices rise.

  1. Return of the Suburb
    Census data is showing that the “back to the city” trend of the early 2010s is shifting. City population growth has declined while suburban growth has increased. The move towards suburbia could be caused in part by the tapering of the Great Recession, allowing mobility (particularly for millennials) and the ability to purchase homes.

Because millennials are now having children, the rise of suburbia makes sense. They want the stability and affordability of what the suburbs offer; however, they still want some of the city-like amenities they’ve grown accustomed to. And so, the term “hipsturbia” was born. Essentially, it means “cool” suburban communities that are more walkable, accessible and fun. We’re seeing the trend grow in smaller communities outside of New York City and in suburbs of Los Angeles and San Francisco.

  1. The Rise of the iBuyer
    The iBuyer conversation is not dying down. In fact, it’s exploding on the cusp of 2020, with Zillow announcing its plans to expand its iBuyer program in six new markets, and Offerpad raising enough capital to double their cities served in 2019 and again in 2020.

It’s the No. 1 trend in real estate you can’t afford to ignore.

So far, we know that most markets with iBuyer activity are in a median price range of $200,000-$300,000. This seems to be the sweet spot for iBuyer demand; however, the influence is expanding, faster than many predicted, so we’ll have to stay tuned and keep an eye on how these companies perform in different, more expensive markets.

So, what does this mean for agents? You need to start thinking about your answer to this consumer demand (because clearly there is one). The debate is on in the real estate community, with many arguing that you “get on board or get left behind” and building their own iBuyer programs. Keller Williams has jumped on the iBuyer train, launching Keller Offers in the summer of 2019. We believe being transparent about clients’ options from the very beginning and helping them make the best possible choice is essential for being a successful agent.

  1. Technology Gives the Edge
    If the last trend about iBuyers tells us anything, competition is fierce. Based on our experience working with real estate top producers for 11-plus years, we know that technology is critical for building an evergreen/lasting business. Building a tech stack that supports and empowers your business will give you the competitive edge you need. That means finding tools that integrate with one another, deliver ROI and allow you to focus your energy on more dollar-productive activities.

Consider this: Would you rather spend your time manually sending listings to new leads or have a system that automates personalized eAlerts and nurture campaigns? Would you rather spend your time responding to and qualifying a new lead that registered on your site, or work with a company that handles lead qualification for you? Ready to grow your business? Click here to see BoomTown in action.

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How to Survive and Thrive in a Disrupted Industry

Wed, 11/20/2019 - 13:34

When I got into the real estate business at the age of 18, there were no computers being used, no internet, no fax machines and no cell phones. Purchase contracts in many states were one page long and there were no standard disclosure statements and no formal physical inspections. Sellers had one point of contact for access to listings and information: real estate agents. Very few interviewed more than one agent, commission rates were rarely questioned…so, in other words, it was heaven!

My how things have changed! If you want to survive and thrive in the rapidly changing landscape of the real estate industry, then you cannot put your head in the sand and hope it all goes away. You must attack the disruption head-on and strive to shine as the wise advisor and clear choice in your community.

Recently I attended an outstanding conference with top agents from across the country and this was one of the key topics discussed by the top agents attending. I took some notes from the powerful discussions, which I want to share with you. I hope you find them helpful and I really hope they reignite your competitive spirit and your determination to conquer your market, and be the luxury agent of choice in your local community.

Tips to Address Disruptors 

  1. You must have a minimum of three solid systems of creating listing opportunities. Once you have your three, add a fourth and a fifth.
  1. Wherever there are people there are leads. Find groups and networks you enjoy and get connected. Once there, open the conversation by asking, “What are your real estate plans for the next 12 months?”
  1. Commit to long-term and aggressive lead follow-up. Today’s consumers begin their searches online and early, and it could take four months-plus and at least six to seven follow-ups to score an appointment. Remember, to spark urgency, you have more power to persuade them to action than you may realize.
  1. Drop a web of connection over your database. Direct mail, call, email, text and connect on social media through community educational and connection events.
  1. Never rest! Keep improving your skills and earning new designations and certifications. There is always a next level of mastery!
  1. Invest in your education, whether it’s by taking courses, hiring a coach or attending an event. Of all of the tools and toys you could buy, you are your own best investment. Invest in your personal and professional growth to stay at the top of your game.
  1. Upgrade everything you do, especially your listing presentation materials. They need to clearly showcase how you will be the champion to protect the value of your client’s home and net them the most money possible with the least amount of inconvenience.
  1. Over-prepare; it’s hard to get to the table and critical that you don’t blow it.
  1. Drill, practice and rehearse your scripts and objection handlers. You know what they will hit you with, so be ready.
  1. You can’t be an island, so find quality groups to network and mastermind with and work to expand your range, reach and influence in your community.
  1. As you meet more people, be sure to “opt them in” to your funnel and market to them consistently to build rapport and earn their future business. Even if they are not prospects, your CRM and automated tools (if used properly) can keep you top of mind so you get that “come list me call” when they’re ready.
  1. Study the competition and study the structure and models of the disruptors so you can professionally sell against them by comparing the services and benefits you offer. Sell against them factually, not by trashing them. In other words, know your enemy.
  1. Good service is no longer enough as consumers are demanding more. Look at what the top luxury agents in your market are offering. Whatever they’re doing, you need to do it better!
  1. Speaking of service, in today’s world, whether clients are delighted with you or not, they won’t just tell a friend; they will go online and tell hundreds about their experience. Make sure you exceed their expectations.
  1. Be fanatical about collecting reviews and testimonials, and gently script your clients to speak to how your experience, expertise and results helped to achieve a sales price beyond their expectations. Use these reviews to further demonstrate why you are worth a higher rate of commission.
  1. Position yourself to win. Ask if they are interviewing, ask who they are interviewing and go last if you can.
  1. If they don’t sign on the spot, follow up, follow up and follow up some more. Have you noticed how you often have to chase them, and chase them aggressively to win them? The sales trainer Zig Ziglar had a saying, “Timid salespeople have skinny kids.” You have to hunt!

I read the other day that the 80/20 rule (20 percent of agents are doing 80 percent of the business) is going to shift to the 90/10 rule. Ten percent will be doing 90 percent of the business. Strive to stay in that top 10 percent.

If you need help, talk to us and we will help you. We have the pleasure of working with some of the brightest and best in the real estate industry across the nation. Go to www.businessstrategycall.com and book your complimentary session. Good luck!

Debbie De Grote is the founder and owner of Excelleum Coaching and Consulting. The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing is a premier independent authority in training and designation for real estate agents working in the upper-tier residential market.

The post How to Survive and Thrive in a Disrupted Industry appeared first on RISMedia.

Window to the Law: Estate Planning for Your Digital Life

Wed, 11/20/2019 - 13:23

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 e-News.

You probably already have a will or trust that distributes your real property and personal possessions when you pass away. But what about your digital assets? Watch the latest Window to the Law video from the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) to learn about the Revised Uniform Fiduciary Access to Digital Assets Act or RUFADAA, which helps ensure someone has access to your social media, website and other online accounts after your death.

See the video.

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A Continuum of Leadership: An Interview With NAR 2020 President Vince Malta

Tue, 11/19/2019 - 13:28

Malta Carries Forth the Vision for REALTORS®

Vince Malta

Vince Malta recognized a long time ago that there’s great strength in numbers. As a third-generation REALTOR® and CEO and broker of Malta & Co., Inc. in San Francisco, he saw firsthand that when like-minded people come together for a common cause, they can move mountains.

“Associations create advocacy and allow us to have a voice in what’s going on in our industry,” he explains.

Now, as Malta steps in as 2020 president of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), he brings his rich experience and intense passion to help guide the industry he’s loved for 43 years. Find out what’s at the top of the agenda for Malta and the leadership team in this exclusive interview.

Maria Patterson: Vince, I wanted to begin with your background. I see that you have a law degree, so I’m curious to know if you always intended to follow your family’s path into real estate.
Vince Malta: No, I did not. I recognized that real estate is not an easy business. To be successful, it takes many hours, and you have to work beyond the 9-to-5 regimen, so I thought I’d see if there was anything out there I liked more. I got a law degree, which provided opportunities and opened doors, but I kept coming back to real estate. I had grown up in real estate—I would clean properties, collect rent and do the things a property manager would do. Ultimately, my love was real estate. I tried to do something else, but if it’s in you, it’s in you. This is now my 43rd year in the business.

MP: I’m sure your law degree has come in handy, though…
VM: When you learn the law, what you really learn is a way of thinking and looking at things. You realize that there are two sides to every situation. This has helped me in negotiating and running a real estate business.

MP: What is it about real estate that you love the most?
VM: The relationships. I so appreciate the people you meet along this journey—it’s like no other business. I’ve been so blessed to be a member of this association and to have made so many relationships. But the key is our relationship with clients. That is what will ultimately lead to our success. Technology is not going to supplant our role. It’s going to enhance our role if we utilize it properly to nurture relationships and help ensure that the customer has a one-on-one experience.

MP: So you don’t find the new tech models a threat to REALTORS® then?
VM: Rather than dreading it, I’m excited about the opportunity created by the new models out there. I’m of the belief that the role we play is so essential that we can’t be replaced, and the new models give us a chance to prove that. People will pick it apart and take pieces of it, but ultimately, what we provide in the real estate experience, as I’m standing here, is not replaceable.

MP: So, Vince, you have a long history of being very involved at the association level, starting with the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.). Why is it important to have this level of involvement, and how did you balance this with running a brokerage?
VM: It’s all about convincing people around you that it’s necessary to be involved, and then making sure you have a support team so that you can do both effectively. We’re a small, independent brokerage—a family business—so we’re like a majority of brokers. I realized the importance of organized real estate and getting together with colleagues so you’re not living in a vacuum. For smaller independent firms, the association was absolutely essential for staying up to date. Also, some things we can’t accomplish on an individual level, but we can achieve them through an association of like-minded people working for the same objective. Associations create advocacy and allow us to have a voice in what’s going on in our industry.

MP: What are your thoughts upon assuming the role of NAR president for 2020? What are you most excited about?
VM: I’m excited to be working with a great team of professionals. I’m trying to deemphasize my role as president and focus more on being a member of the team that would like to help facilitate change and provide some level of vision. And not just my own vision—I want to go out and seek the opinions of the like-minded and not like-minded. The greatest obstacle is not the change itself, it’s the implementation…the politics. The only way to effectuate change is to get everyone on board and create win-win scenarios. As a leader, I’m looking forward to facilitating change.

MP: Will you be continuing the team approach to the presidency?
VM: Elizabeth (Mendenhall), John (Smaby), Charlie (Oppler) and I are not looking at the presidency as one term. We are showing members that we’re a leadership team that works together. We’re not working in one-year increments. We’re working to change the organization and structure. We need to start moving at the speed of business, not the speed of an association. I couldn’t care less about my legacy. I just want to get the job done and keep it going for future leadership. We have to keep moving it forward.

MP: So what are the main objectives for your tenure as president?
VM: First of all, we need to emphasize the REALTORS®’ role as the best source of property information for consumers by equipping them with tools like RPR® and realtor.com®, and making sure that consumers are armed with the correct information. With emerging models like iBuyers and $8 billion-plus worth of venture capital money coming into the industry, we have to make sure consumers are going in with their eyes open. We are working with realtor.com to make sure our value proposition is expressed to consumers as other models are emerging. We have to enhance our value and provide tools and products to help them succeed. Our Commitment to Excellence program is a good example of that. It’s voluntary, but it’s a great program members can embrace to shore up their weaknesses and help the consumer more.

We also need to collaborate with diverse industry groups and make a positive impact on housing equality and affordability. We can’t be torn apart by a fragmented Congress and political groups. Affordability means so many different things, and the solutions are very complex. We are also driving community development by working closely with our commercial members. We need to collaborate more to engage the community and create jobs, because jobs and housing are linked.

MP: And what are the biggest issues confronting consumers?
VM: First of all, choices. They don’t know which direction to go in, which information is valid or what to rely on. They’re armed with more information than ever and they need someone to help them make sense of it and interpret the data so they can move forward. They have to make sure they’re working with the most accurate data and working with a real estate professional in their corner.

The second is affordability. There needs to be ways to create more affordable opportunities for people. Third, consumers are confused about which way to go. Interest rates are low, but the economy is cooling, so they’re wondering if they should save money and sit it out. They don’t have a crystal ball, but generally, it’s driven right now by lack of inventory. The consumer has limited choices.

MP: And what advice do you have for REALTORS® trying to navigate change and uncertainty?
VM: While I’m not sure what tomorrow will bring, I am certain that REALTORS® will do what we’ve always done: make the necessary changes and mindshifts to remain successful. We’ve been adapting for years and will continue to adapt.

For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.

Maria Patterson is RISMedia’s executive editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at maria@rismedia.com.

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Take a Fresh Look at C2EX

Tue, 11/19/2019 - 13:25

NAR PULSE—The award-winning platform just had a makeover! We’ve enhanced the Commitment to Excellence platform for members, plus added new features for brokers. Now, you can add materials to the C2EX Library specifically for your agents. Encourage your agents to start their C2EX journey today!

Love a Great Deal?
We’ve got two exciting new offers! REALTORS® get a $500 cash allowance plus a two-year maintenance package, including oil changes, when you purchase or lease a 2019 Jeep® Wrangler (2.0L Turbo Engine only) or 2019 Chrysler Pacifica Hybrid! Plus, the cash allowance extends to eligible family members.

Agents Can Share Their RPR® ‘Wow’ Moment
An RPR “wow” moment is when a REALTOR® uses RPR to make an impactful and lasting impression on their clients. Your agents are encouraged to “wow” RPR with their own stories.

The post Take a Fresh Look at C2EX appeared first on RISMedia.

Scams Heat Up During Medicare Open Enrollment

Tue, 11/19/2019 - 13:17

(TNS)—Medicare open enrollment is ongoing and ends December 7. And you better believe the scammers know it.

Maybe it’s someone making a call, claiming to be from your insurance company and demanding information on the spot. Some scammers say you’ll need to buy a gift card or wire money soon so that you won’t lose your health care benefits. Others are trying to get your Social Security number or other information to use in identity fraud.

Signs of a scam include someone who calls and claims to be able to “help you” sign up for coverage or demands to “confirm billing information” so that you don’t lose coverage. Remember, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services and the Social Security Administration will not call you and claim that you must update your information.

Other warnings about scams include:

Watch Out for the Old Back Brace Scam
Con artists are back in action and calling seniors covered by Medicare with all sorts of deals on “free” or “low-cost” back braces, knee braces and other medical equipment. No one from Medicare, of course, is making such calls. It’s only a scam that’s designed to get your Medicare information, according to a recent alert by the Federal Trade Commission.

“If you give them your information, they’ll use it to fraudulently bill Medicare for braces and other medical equipment,” the FTC warns.

Such a move can hurt you because you’d use up some medical benefits and might not be able to get the appropriate equipment, if your doctor later prescribes it.

Smart moves: Never give your Medicare or personal information over the phone to someone who calls asking for it. Check your Medicare Summary Notice to make sure you’re only being charged for services you really got. Don’t fall for paying for things that you didn’t order.

Beware of Calls From Social Security
Consumers are seeing a sizable uptick in callers from impostors claiming to be Social Security Administration agents. Social Security-related calls are now the “go-to” for phone scams after skyrocketing in the first six months of 2019, according to BeenVerified’s Spam Call Complaint Monitor. The scam unseats calls from fake IRS agents, which had been the No. 1 source of complaints during the previous three years, according to the nationwide analysis of more than 200,000 spam call reports.

Spam and robocalls from fraudsters claiming to be from the Social Security Administration accounted for nearly 10 percent of user complaint comments during the first six months of this year—a more than 23-fold increase compared to the first half of 2018, according to BeenVerified, which provides services like reverse call look-up to search who called or texted you.

If you receive a suspicious call from someone alleging to be from Social Security or the Office of the Inspector General, report that information online at oig.ssa.gov/report or call the Social Security fraud hotline at 800-269-0271 weekdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Eastern Time.

The FTC also has a specific site for Social Security scams: identitytheft.gov/ssa. The site has tips for what to do if you gave your Social Security number to a caller and now are worried about identity theft. One such tip: Consider placing a free credit freeze on your credit file to restrict access to your credit report and make it more difficult for identity thieves to open credit in your name.

The FTC site also gives you a spot for reporting Social Security-related robocalls.

©2019 Detroit Free Press
Visit Detroit Free Press at www.freep.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Leave Your Mark: Why Coldwell Banker’s Rebrand Is Guiding the Future of Real Estate

Fri, 11/15/2019 - 21:02

At Coldwell Banker Real Estate, our mission is all about leaving your mark. We want to empower our people to leave their mark on the world of real estate—and our mindset is to aim for the stars. Driven by a passion for progress and a hunger to push the limits of what’s possible, we view the real estate world through a different lens. We are a brand devoted to the service of our clients, the success of our network and the remarkable power of home.

We’ve certainly made an impression over the past 113 years, and we’ve led the charge with a lot of real estate “firsts.” We were the first real estate brand with a code of ethics. The ethics at our core led us to become the first to guarantee service in writing and prove our dedication to our clients. They also led us to create a one-of-a-kind website, develop innovative international real estate apps, and, most recently, change the world of real estate though artificial intelligence and big data with the CBx Technology Suite.

But what type of impression will we make for the next 100 years? Will we be a company that has gotten worse with age, or better with age? Will our mark fade, or will our recognition be stronger than ever? We want our brand to make an indelible impression on the world, and we have some exciting plans to get there. But to become a legend, you have to think like a legend.

Take for example one of the world’s favorite brands. A brand that has gotten better and stronger with age and never stops innovating. Apple.

Apple is an amazing company that makes people’s lives easier through the simplicity and brilliance of their technology, and the excellent way they conduct business day after day, year after year. They showcase how to become one of the greatest, most respected and most successful brands in the world today. In fact, over the past 10 years, Apple has consistently ranked as the first or second most valuable brand in the world. But did you know that Apple is now 42 years old? That’s right, the contemporary brand we know as Apple is actually middle-aged! While the Apple brand has been great for a very long time, it certainly ran into some bumps along the way.

Twenty years ago, Apple had slowed down to the point that it was near the brink of bankruptcy. But somehow it found a way, unlike most other brands, not just to survive, but to thrive. It’s managed to go from a good company to a global force. How’d they do it?

Apple knew its core values, and when it ran into difficult times, it re-established those core values. Some of their values include helping people make their lives easier, continued excellence and leading by example.

Finally, Apple got stronger by acclimating with the times and making necessary changes during key points along the way. Pivotal points in Apple’s history came when they invented things like the iMac, iTunes, the iPad, and, of course, the iPhone. But before all of these things became successful products, they did something else.

The Apple rainbow logo was famous—it was recognized as one of the five most iconic logos in the world, and 20 years ago, that was pivotal to the perception of the Apple brand. But in order to transform their image into a cutting-edge and sleek company, they needed a mark that better represented them. They changed their iconic logo from a rainbow to an Apple.

What would have happened had they not changed their mark? Would they be where they are today? Would the products have sold as well? Not a chance. Many people loved the old Apple logo. And diehard Apple fans certainly hated the very thought of changing it. But it was without question the right move. The incredible success of the brand today makes this inarguable.

Driven by a passion for progress and a hunger to push the limits of what’s possible, Coldwell Banker views the real estate world through a different lens.

Which brings us to OUR story, our core values, our ingenuity and our brand at Coldwell Banker Real Estate. Over the years, our team has worked tirelessly to help give our affiliated agents an advantage with the industry’s top technology and unmatched learning events like the Generation Blue Experience. We’ve crafted and shaped what our brand stands for by consistently creating the most effective advertising and marketing in the real estate industry. This isn’t just puffery. It’s real and indisputable. Real innovation, programs, leadership, expansion, community causes—and very real success.

According to Ace Metrix, we’ve had the highest-rated ads in real estate every year for the last seven years. Our 2017 ad remains the highest-rated real estate ad of all time, placing higher in likeability than ads from Ford, Apple, Google and Budweiser during that year’s Super Bowl.

In the luxury space, we’ve revamped what luxury means. The Coldwell Banker Global Luxury® program is the cornerstone of luxury for the brand. The program plays a big part in the fact that affiliated agents conducted more than 30,000 million-dollar-plus home transactions last year—more than any other brand by a long shot. That level of excellence has translated into a 16 percent premium in average sales price compared to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) average.

Our agent-learning programs like AMP! Achieve Maximum Productivity deliver 35 percent more closed sides* for those that participate with the class. All of this leads to more people looking for Coldwell Banker affiliated agents—we’re the most visited real estate brand online for 2018, according to Comscore.

But how do we become stronger and better than ever before? How do we get even better with age like Apple did?

This past year, our marketing team was charged with clearly defining our core values and evaluating where we’ve been and where we want to go. Home. Awesomeness. Ingenuity. Excellence. Those values have always been a part of what the Coldwell Banker brand stands for.

Which leads us to our mark, our brand logo…and the thousands of questions we asked ourselves about it. What’s interesting is that the idea of changing the logo didn’t come from anyone on the marketing team, at the home office or even an ad agency. It came from our network.

During focus groups with brokers, we heard feedback that the logo was tired, it didn’t represent a brand that is modern and contemporary, and the real estate landscape had changed but our identity hadn’t. From our ads to our social media to our technology, we had all the qualifications to be attractive—but we needed a “new suit.” We’d redone the interior but left the outside of the house alone.

After talking with brokers from our top-performing markets and hearing their request for a change to the logo, we conducted an online survey with consumers to hear their thoughts on the mark. Their opinions confirmed those of our brokers: that the existing mark seemed “dated.” So we began a creative exploration of a new, refreshed mark.


Our thinking behind the new mark was to leverage the equity and familiarity of the existing mark while making the new one more stylish and conducive to today’s media landscape. The rectangular logo was 40 years old and especially ill-suited to the platforms where consumers today are most likely to see it. We wanted a new mark that would fit as easily on a yard sign as it would into today’s square mobile and social formats.

The Coldwell Banker logo has never had a distinctive visual icon attached to it, such as Nike’s famous swoosh, and unlike brands that have short, one-word names, our name is two words and 15 characters long. The previous logo had the words Coldwell Banker, as well as the letters CB interlocked in a box, all contained inside a blue rectangle.

We wanted to create a mark that over time could be quickly viewed and recognized at a glance for shorthand purposes, and increasing the prominence of the interlocking C and B allowed us to do this. But in looking at the interlocking C and B on its own, we didn’t think there was enough distinction or panache to it. Enter…the star.

The five-pointed star, the universal symbol of excellence, floats above the CB initials and represents the North Star—the only star in the galaxy that doesn’t move.

It symbolizes two distinctive things that are completely unique to our company and our brand history. The five-pointed star is the universal symbol of excellence, and in the world of real estate, we feel strongly that no company has adhered to higher standards or innovated in the marketplace like we have. We believe we deserve to be recognized as the single-most excellent brand in real estate and the only brand deserving of this icon.

But there’s more to our star than just being a symbol of excellence. Our star sits in an aspirational position above our CB initials and represents the North Star—the only star in the galaxy that doesn’t move. It’s always there, guiding us home. For 113 years, longer than any other real estate brand on the continent, Coldwell Banker has been there guiding people home. It represents our special backstory and the uniqueness of our brand.

We know we did not invent the five-pointed star, and that many famous brands incorporate a star into their logos, but no other brand in real estate has it. And we feel no brand embodies the symbol of the star like we do.

One of the unique things we looked at while developing this mark wasn’t just how it looked on a yard sign or a building or a business card, but how it looked on our affiliated agents. Apple puts its logo on its products where people see it every day, and in our industry, it’s our affiliated agents and brokers who are in front of clients every day. We wanted to create a mark that looked good on them, so we focused on how to make a mark that is fashionable.

Our inspiration came from luxury brands like Louis Vuitton and Chanel. We looked at how our mark would appear on everything from scarves to socks, from pins to cuff links, and simple items like baseball caps and t-shirts. We also looked at how it appears when featured on other materials like wood, metal and fabric—and it looks great.

To test how consumers would respond to our new logo, we conducted an online survey with 1,000 consumers. After showing them our new mark, 70 percent of them said it was more stylish and sophisticated than our existing mark, and it also ranked higher for representing an innovative, cool and modern brand they want to know more about.

The new mark is something our team agrees is a beautiful representation of our trusted brand. It’s something we’re all excited to share with the world. The biggest surprise on this journey has been how many of our affiliated agents and companies are clamoring to rebrand before 2020. Agents in test markets were pleased with how much input they were able to provide on the new look, and felt empowered by their newly designed offices. They are excited for a look that matches our experience, value proposition and position as a market leader—and we’re ready to execute the full rebrand and leave our mark.

*Based on AMP! Achieve Maximum Production training course across Realogy-affiliated agents. Past performance does not guarantee future results. Visit blog.coldwellbanker.com/iclv for full sample methodology.

To find out how you can be a part of the amazing things happening at Coldwell Banker Real Estate, visit www.coldwellbanker.com/careers.

David Marine is Coldwell Banker Real Estate’s chief marketing officer.

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Why Advancing Buyer Representation Is Important

Fri, 11/15/2019 - 21:02

Insights From the 2019 REBAC Hall of Fame Inductees

The Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) is home to more than 30,000 members and over 25,000 ABR® (Accredited Buyer’s Representative) designees. Every year, the organization showcases a select group of ABR® designees who best exemplify the efforts being made to advance buyer representation in real estate, inducting them into the REBAC Hall of Fame.

This year’s Hall of Fame honorees include Marki Lemons Ryhal, REBAC instructor; Donald (Donny) Allen, broker/partner at Keller Williams Realty of Southwest Missouri; and Karen Stang, broker/owner of Carriage Realty, Inc.

For these industry professionals, a focus on buyer representation has changed the way they do business, and for the better.

Marki Lemons Ryhal

“When I became licensed and opened my own company, I instantly realized that I didn’t know anything about real estate. But I’m an education junkie, so I earned the ABR® designation in my first year,” says Lemons Ryhal, who has been a REBAC member since 2004. “In that first full-time year as a broker, I was in the top 10 percent of real estate transactions in the city of Chicago, and I attribute that to the ABR®.”

For Lemons Ryhal, education has always been a part of who she is. After earning her undergrad, she taught the second grade, then moved on to teaching hospitality management and marketing at the collegiate level after earning her master’s.

Allen shares a similar passion, saying “teaching is just in my DNA.”

Donald Allen

A REBAC member since 1997, Allen recognized the benefit of the designation early on, earning it just a year after becoming licensed. In fact, he is such a strong proponent of the designation that he jumped right into passing along the knowledge to other agents.

“After only 18 months in the business, I had my ABR® designation and I began teaching my colleagues in my office what I had learned. Buyer agency was so new, and I wanted my colleagues to be informed and better trained,” says Allen.

It’s those experiences, he says, that led him to a sales manager position at another company and eventually to Keller Williams, where training is at the core of the brokerage.

Karen Stang

As for Stang, whose father suggested she obtain a real estate license for the “knowledge alone,” the designation has shown buyers that she is serious about learning how to help them “with tools designed just for them.” A REBAC member since 2008, Stang says that “knowledge is power, and power helps us meet our clients’ needs easily and effectively.”

What does it mean to be a REBAC Hall of Famer?
According to Stang, it’s simply advocating for homeownership and homebuyers. For Allen, it’s about “being that ‘go-to’ person for information.” And Lemons Ryhal believes being innovative is a big part of it—specifically looking for ways to deliver content according to people’s preferred learning styles.

Being an advocate for buyer representation also means being an intrinsic part of the local community—a thread all three Hall of Fame honorees share.

Stang plays an active role in local charity efforts, believing in “supporting our community through donations, volunteering and serving on boards.” She is on her community association’s board and volunteers with a local food shelf, Habitat for Humanity and The Humane Society of the United States, in addition to working with her state’s REALTOR® association.

“By serving on the Minnesota REALTORS® Professional Standards Committee, I help enforce our REALTOR® Code of Ethics,” says Stang. “I believe in fair housing, diversity and equal homeownership opportunities for everyone. By being involved, I am doing my part to make real estate better for REALTORS® and consumers.”

Lemons Ryhal is a constant presence in her community, as well, volunteering at the state level “with things that pertain to fair housing and diversity,” and being a member of Delta Sigma Theta—one of the largest black sororities in America—as well as working to advance significant legislation on behalf of the real estate industry.

Allen also serves on several committees, both at his local board and on the state level, and teaches a safety course offered through the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR).

Overall, being a Hall of Famer and an ABR® means cementing a reputation as an expert in real estate and, in particular, buyers—something that has been clear from the beginning for these individuals.

While people crack jokes about the “alphabet soup” after Allen’s name, the results of his designations have been no laughing matter.

“I’ve received more referrals from agents and friends because of my designations. It gives you more confidence to refer someone to an agent with professional designations,” says Allen. “People may not know what each designation stands for, but they know that I am a professional and probably more prepared.”

The ABR® designation has not only propelled his own business, but that of other local companies, as well.

“I work with some of the major employers in Joplin and I help them recruit candidates by giving community tours and highlighting the quality-of-life features offered in my community,” says Allen, who has found success during these tours by promoting his credentials, which include representing buyers at a higher level.

And Stang says the designation has helped her keep up to date on ever-shifting buyer trends, giving her a competitive edge in the market.

“Buyers have always wanted to be informed so that they can make educated decisions,” says Stang. “By staying on top of the latest technology and easily sharing the relevant data with consumers, our expertise shines and our clients win.”

The designation has been so helpful to Lemons Ryhal’s business that she believes it should not be something that people “aspire to learn,” but rather, a requirement, as it will help all agents achieve “a sustainable real estate business.”

“When it comes to REBAC and the Hall of Fame, it has absolutely changed my life,” says Lemons Ryhal. “The ABR® should be the foundation for people coming into the real estate industry, because the pre-licensing courses don’t teach you how to sell real estate.”

For more information on how to earn the ABR® designation, please visit REBAC.net/ABR.

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

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Excelling in Uncertain Times

Fri, 11/15/2019 - 21:01

In the following interview, Martin Bikhit, managing director of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Kay & Co in London, discusses affiliating with the brand network, Brexit’s impact on the market, and more.

Region Served
: London, England
Years in Real Estate: 23
Number of Offices: 3
Number of Agents: 25

Kay & Co is a family business. How does this set the firm apart from the competition?
Our business has benefited from being under the same management since its inception, and we believe that our returning clients benefit from that continuity, too. We are interested in long-term relationships over short-term profit, and, therefore, have built up a loyal client base that crosses generations. My father looked after the parents, and now I am working with their children for their real estate needs. We focus on the three defining principles of Berkshire Hathaway Inc., which are integrity, stability and longevity, and find that business growth and reputation are key components of those.

Do you have any time management tips for other agents hoping to excel?
Always have a long-term goal and then decide on the most efficient way to get there. The best way to do this is to focus on a few things and do those well. If you focus on too many goals, you will not do any of them well. Pick three or four key objectives at a time, which will help you achieve your overall goal for the business, then focus on them and you will see the results.

I understand you’re currently navigating Brexit. How has this impacted your business, and what do you expect the future to be like?
Brexit and the ensuing uncertainty have been a challenge for the UK property market. Buyer confidence has been badly affected, but in the past few months, we have seen a revival of interest, largely spurned by people becoming tired of waiting and realizing they need to get on with their lives. Our revenues are up 146 percent year-over-year, which is a telling sign. For overseas investors, Brexit has been somewhat of a godsend. Prices are about 15-20 percent lower than they were at the peak of 2014, and the sterling has fallen dramatically against most major currencies since Brexit. A dollar buyer can now buy at up to 45 percent less than they would have paid at the peak of the market, and we are seeing the benefits of this with a number of the major sales that have taken place in London in the past year going to U.S. buyers. Irrespective of the outcome of Brexit, we expect to see a significant uptake in UK residential once Brexit is resolved.

Tell me about your franchise relationship with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices. What made you choose this network?
For us, there was no other brand to consider. When we heard the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices value proposition, we knew that it would benefit our business and give us access to a global referral network of quality agents who would give us a platform to compete against the major global players in the UK market. Coupled with a senior management team with long-term global growth plans, superb training and cutting-edge, state-of-the-art technology, there really was only one choice—and that was to put the name of a company revered worldwide in front of our own and join the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network.

How has business changed since the transition?
It has been a very exciting journey. Our clients understand the importance of being able to reach the buyers that other UK agents simply cannot, especially in the U.S. We recently had one client list over $100 million with us in a single day shortly after we announced our Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices network membership, and another developer who we had been chasing for years gave us a 145-unit development in Kings Cross in North London—home to Google and, shortly, Facebook, among others—due to our ability to connect with these buyers before they come to London…and it has paid dividends.

What does the future look like for Kay & Co?
Within the coming years, we intend to have comprehensive coverage of both prime and outer prime London and to build up a presence of 20-30 offices. We recently launched both a commercial offering and a mortgage service, but also plan to enter the relocation market, as well as launch an interior design service so that we give our clients a complete 360-degree real estate offering.

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

Zoe Eisenberg is RISMedia’s senior content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at zoe@rismedia.com.

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Revamp Your Luxury Marketing Campaigns

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 14:11

While luxury homes sales have been bearing the brunt of a mini-recession, recent stats have shown that the market may be on the upswing. According to recent data, while the supply of luxury homes has grown, the sale price has increased by 1 percent over the year. While this may not seem like a large amount, it shows that the market may be turning after its slow in 2010.

In order to make the most of this growth, it’s important to be sure you’re marketing to luxury clients in the most effective way possible. Luxury clients are a different kind of audience, so it’s necessary to consider what has worked previously along with any changes in current trends. Here are new ways to create high-end content to help you reach those luxury clients.

Learn More About the Audience
Luxury clients are different from those looking for lower-priced homes. As a result, they require a different kind of marketing strategy. According to NAR, buyers between 37-51 have the highest median-priced homes of all other buyers and buy the largest homes in median square footage and bedrooms. It makes sense, then, that these are the buyers focusing on the luxury home market. In addition to this, they are in their peak earning years. As a result, their incomes are the highest among all of the other generations.

In order to market to this group, it’s important to understand how they consume information. While generations like the baby boomers prefer TV and newspapers, Gen Xers are more tech savvy and have a strong presence on social media. According to a recent survey, 95 percent of this generation is most active on Facebook and 72 percent use the internet to research businesses. If you’re looking to also scoop up younger buyers and sellers, Instagram is the most heavily used social platform in that age group.

Pick Your Channels
While Gen Xers have the most infiltration in the luxury market, there are still outliers from other generations. If you plan to make the most use of Facebook to connect with clients, consider the way Facebook is most used. After their redesign, the focus of Facebook has been on groups. To make sure your connecting with prospective clients and redirecting them to your business page, work to post relevant, valuable content in groups. These can be on local groups or niche luxury home groups. Because Gen Xers place a lot of value on online research and review, it’s also key to ask past clients for reviews to boost your online reputation.

If you’re looking to connect with younger prospective clients, you can shift your focus to channels like Instagram and Snapchat. Still second to Facebook, Instagram remains one of the fastest-growing platforms and has the highest level of engagement. In addition to this, 57 percent of millennials feel that social media ads are the most relevant form of advertising. Advertising in these locations can drive more business back to you and open additional streams you may not have previously considered.

Craft Your Content
After you have an idea of where you should connect with prospective luxury clients, it’s important to determine what you should be creating. Review what you’re using currently and decide whether it would resonate with high-end clients. When potential clients look for luxury agents in a Google search, you want to make sure you’re coming up in those searches. One way to do this is by including what you want to be known for in your social profiles. For example, if a client is searching for luxury real estate in Miami Beach, by including these keywords in your social media profiles, you’ll be more likely to appear in the results.

In addition to this, if you already have a few luxury properties, consider how you’re presenting them. Rather than using standard pictures in your listing, consider creating an elite listing video. You could even utilize drone technology to give an aerial view of the property. If you’re not looking to expand this quickly, quality listing photos can go a long way. When presenting them on your social profiles, consider boosting their views by creating ads.

If you want to add even more traction to your listings, consider Homes.com’s City Sponsor Ads, which connects you with active buyers searching for a home online. By prominently displaying your listings among the first search results in your city, your listings will be in a better position to sell.

Mark Mathis is vice president of Sales for Homes.com. For more information, please visit marketing.homes.com.

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Pillar To Post Home Inspectors® Continues Growth and Innovation

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 14:03

To say it’s been a busy year for Pillar To Post Home Inspectors is to understate the year 2019 for the Tampa-based company. Aside from celebrating its 25th anniversary in January, the company ranked as the No. 1 franchise opportunity in its category by Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500®. It’s the 19th year in a row for this honor, which is a pinnacle for a franchise company.

“We’re thrilled to once again be recognized as the leader in our category,” says Dan Steward, president and CEO of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors. “We consider Entrepreneur Magazine’s Franchise 500 to be the gold standard of the industry.

“This accomplishment is a testament to the strength of the brand, our franchisees, support team and the Pillar To Post franchise opportunity.”

2018 marked a record year for the company, including the signing of more than 60 new franchise agreements, bringing the number of franchisees to nearly 600 in the U.S. and Canada. About 30 percent of those agreements in 2018 were made through the company’s VetFran program to members of our military. Pillar To Post Home Inspectors takes great pride in their five-star status in the International Franchise Association’s VetFran program.

“During 2019, we’re also seeing many new franchisees from home-related industries such as REALTORS®, former mortgage brokers, construction experts and independent home inspectors who want the power of a national brand behind them,” adds Steward. “In 2019, we’re on course to add an additional 65 franchises.

Kareem Mincey

“One of the newer franchisees joining our family was an independent home inspector in the Metro Atlanta area. Kareem Mincey had worked in the industry for 20 years, but he wanted the technology and support we offered. He now heads up his own Pillar To Post Home Inspectors of Metro Atlanta. You feel like you’re part of a village if you’re in the right franchise system,” says Steward.

Demetrius Payne

Demetrius Payne of Norfolk, Va., decided to use his expertise and skills learned from serving in the Navy for 10 years. Payne then went on to operate a testing facility for aircraft carriers and submarines for 11 years. Ready for a new career, and with an interest in all things home-related, Payne became a licensed REALTOR® in 2017. In September 2018, the practical Payne added a Pillar To Post Home Inspectors® franchise to round out the tremendous services he already offered to homebuyers and sellers. He credits the company’s training to his success in home inspection.

Matt Robertie

At the company’s annual conference held in January, many franchisees were honored. Among them, Matt Robertie of Montgomery County, Pa., was named Rookie of the Year. The military veteran had a stellar first year in business, conducting 308 inspections.

After a distinguished military career, he worked as a residential energy auditor and in sales for five years. Those experiences worked well to sharpen his business senses along with a very personable demeanor and very adept quality of relationship-building.

One of Pillar To Post’s biggest advantages is their tremendous training program. They provide comprehensive training for all new franchisees during the first year of their business. Through their Foundations For Success training and business launch program, franchisees receive two weeks of in-person, instructor-led, hands-on education that covers all aspects of the technical requirements of home inspecting, as well as business operations, marketing and business management. Beyond the initial training weeks, new franchisees are instructed through continuing education mediums that include live webinars, self-paced online learning and one-on-one business coaching, all of which deepen the franchisee’s understanding of successful business operations. All franchisee training is done with a dedicated startup director of Business Development, whose sole focus is the success of each new franchisee.

“Adding and welcoming new franchisees makes our system stronger. We network and innovate; that’s the strength. It’s not always easy, but it’s how we grow as professionals,” says Steward. “We want our very first franchisees to be as happy as our newest ones, and the mentoring we see among them is wonderful.”

Over a span of 25 years, the company estimates that they’ve served well over three million families.

What’s up next for the brand?

Pillar To Post Home Inspectors has formed a new partnership with The Salvation Army to encourage homebuyers and sellers to donate unwanted goods to the charitable organization, with the proceeds from the donations going toward The Salvation Army’s innovative Real Estate for Rehabilitation program.

As the No. 1 home inspection company in North America, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors has an ongoing commitment “to ensure confident homeownership and enrich the lives of the people and communities we serve,” says Stephanie Bowling, the company’s director of Marketing.

“The program is very simple,” says Bowling. “If a homebuyer or seller has unwanted goods that they don’t want to move, they simply contact The Salvation Army and they will send a truck to pick up the goods.”

The Salvation Army’s Real Estate for Rehabilitation program will use the proceeds from the donation to help fund 139 adult rehabilitation centers across the United States that offer free drug and rehabilitation programs. In 2017, more than 145,000 people were served by the programs, which boast a success rate that’s three times higher than traditional rehabilitation programs.

A professional evaluation both inside and outside the home is at the core of Pillar To Post Home Inspectors’ service. Data and digital photos are input into a computerized report that’s printed and presented on site. All information is provided to clients in a customized binder for easy reference, allowing homebuyers or sellers to make confident, informed decisions. For this program, a one-page informational insert highlighting the Pillar To Post Home Inspectors/Salvation Army program will be included in every report, and the alliance will also be featured on the Pillar To Post Home Inspectors website.

“We hope this program will serve as another way to differentiate ourselves as a company that’s dedicated to making a difference in the communities we serve,” says Bowling.

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

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

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These Cities Have Some of the Happiest Renters in the U.S.

Thu, 11/14/2019 - 13:50

(TNS)—When you think about renting in the Bay Area, you might think of challenges like steep prices, low vacancies and endless apartment hunts. But a new report suggests you might be wrong.

A new study from Zumper, an apartment search platform, suggests that the Bay Area has some of the happiest renters in the country. For the 2019 State of the American Renter report, researchers crunched the numbers on key metrics such as percentage of respondents who thought they were getting a good deal, percentage satisfied with their current living situation and percentage who have lived in their apartment for more than five years. Hometown pride also counted for a lot in this measurement of happiness.

In the end, two major Bay Area cities ranked in the top 10 across the nation. Miami nabbed No. 1 in country, but Oakland got second place and San Jose came in fourth. This is despite the high prices that face renters all across the region.

“They were at the top of the list due to their high rankings in the ‘duration’ category,” says Anthemos Georgiades, CEO and co-founder of Zumper. “This means that these two cities had the most renters in the nation who have lived in their apartments for five or more years, signaling an extremely high retention rate.”

One possibility for that strong retention rate could be that renters here are more pleased with their digs than renters in other places. Certainly the Bay Area kills it on scenic views. Or it could be that they are content to settle with good enough in a tough rental market, as the study notes.

“It seems once a renter finds an apartment in the Bay Area that he or she are satisfied with,” as the report puts it, “it’s tough to leave.”

Another key factor could be the proximity to San Francisco, one of the most expensive rental markets in the nation, says Georgiades. If you are accustomed to using the City by the Bay as your yardstick, then living in Oakland or San Jose may well seem like a bargain by comparison.

“Oakland and San Jose rents seem much more affordable,” he says. “One can assume renters in the other two cities are more likely to believe they are getting a good deal on rent, which is another factor that contributes to renter happiness.”

From a wider lens, California fared well in this ranking with four cities making the cut for the top 10. The rest of the top 10 includes Austin, Philadelphia, Los Angeles, Boston, Honolulu, Portland and San Diego.

©2019 The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.)
Visit The Mercury News (San Jose, Calif.) at www.mercurynews.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Front and Center

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 12:54

In our business, success is highly dependent on being front and center in the consumer’s eye. So, what happens when the center keeps moving?

The poet W.B Yeats wrote, “Things fall apart; the center cannot hold.”

The introduction of iBuying has undoubtedly tested the center for the traditional brokerage model, but I don’t think things are falling apart by any stretch of the imagination. I prefer to think of this time as an evolution, and in that vein, it’s helpful to take a step back and gather much-needed perspective of where we have been. This will further an understanding of the path forward to a successful future—one that puts you front and center yet again.

We just completed the Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate Owners’ Retreat, and it was inspiring to hear our incredible guest speaker Mike Delprete from the University of Colorado share his thoughts about the state of the industry.

Ironically, his view that things are potentially coming full circle followed my challenge that every real estate brokerage and its leaders must have the right team in place—both today and every day into the future. Essentially disruption is happening every day, and we must evolve to always be ahead with our staff, offerings to agents and consumers.

Review of Real Estate Disruptors
Mike skillfully guided us through a short history of real estate disruption, which is a tale of control—and more specifically about the power of information.

Before the internet, the real estate agent-controlled listing information and thus was the center of the transaction. With the advent of the web, listing distribution companies shifted focus from the agent to online properties, where information about listings was no longer the sole realm of the agent. Zillow went one step further, took Automated Valuation Models (AVM) that many already had, made it cool, and put itself at the center of the consumer’s focus with the Zestimate.

Mike then shared that Opendoor may have supplanted Zillow at the center by going beyond an estimate and giving an actual offer. That led to Zillow re-inventing itself as an iBuyer to reclaim its status.

Mind Share vs. Market Share
But all along, brokerages and agents have been doing just fine. The various forms of the traditional brokerage still dominate, but the disruptors sure have us taking much time thinking about them. You could say they occupied a lot of “mind share,” but they haven’t caused a dramatic national shift in market share. Even in Phoenix, one of the iBuying epicenters, it has only seized a small percentage of transactions.

Mike told us that while close to 40 percent of real estate consumers get an i-offer, only 5-6 percent actually follow through. Where do the rest of these future buyers go? To a brokerage. Real estate remains a people business, and our clients don’t want to make a bad decision or mistake that could be financially disadvantageous.

Coming full circle, brokerages and the agents are well-positioned to once again reclaim the center, because of the counsel we can offer in the iBuying environment.

The New Center
As we think about the new center, consider a solution that combines the best of both worlds: RealSure, Realogy’s new pilot program that offers sellers with qualifying properties a compelling cash offer immediately upon listing. The cash offer is valid for 45 days, and during this “peace of mind” period, the seller has assurance their home will sell by having a cash offer in hand while the home is marketed by a trusted real estate advisor in pursuit of an even better price, giving the seller unmatched control and flexibility.

Here we see that the key to being front and center in real estate has been and always will be information. What changes in lockstep with the disruptors is the type of information.

Planning for the Future
While this mega-view of our industry involves billions, if not trillions, of dollars, the idea of change is as local as it can get. Every broker needs to understand these shifts in consumer preferences, so you can make decisions about how to evolve your business to stay relevant.

Mind share may ultimately help increase market share, so in looking to the future, how can you best stay competitive in a sea of disruptors? What steps do you need to put in place now to be ready to roll out a new program like RealSure in your market? Do you need to add certain types of people or programs? Are there things you can scale back on that are not as relevant today or tomorrow? Are there synergies you can realize with existing information offerings, like our proprietary PinPoint created with our partner Better Homes & Gardens and its publisher Meredith, that target-market with incredible efficiency and provide even greater relevance in the eye of the consumer?

If we agree that the center will continue to move, then we must also recognize that in order to be successful, we can never stop adapting to ensure that we are always front and center for our clients. Relevance is in the eye of the beholder; let’s be certain they are squarely focused on us!

Sherry Chris is CEO of Realogy Expansion Brands. For more information, please visit www.realogy.com.

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Considering a Video Doorbell? Read This First!

Wed, 11/13/2019 - 12:46

Smart home lovers likely rejoice at the continued flood of smart house accessories on the market, one of which are video security doorbells.

According to the experts at Alarm New England, installing a doorbell camera can help secure your home and eliminate risks associated with opening the door for strangers, and law enforcement agencies across the nation are generally in support of the devices as a tool for reducing crime.

The site SafeHome.org offers these additional points to review before you buy:

Resolution
Most doorbell cameras max out at 1080p resolution, and the higher the resolution, the sharper the image, generally speaking.

Night Vision
Night vision capabilities will allow you to clearly see who is at your door even when it’s dark out, giving you security 24/7.

Field of View
If the video doorbell you are considering says it offers 180 degrees, it means the camera can see everything in front of it, and to the sides, while 90 degrees means it can only see to the front, and a tiny bit to the sides. A wider field of view is preferred for nearly all scenarios.

Audio Features
One of the biggest benefits of doorbell cameras is being able to communicate through it to speak with whoever is at the door.

Motion Detection
Look for advanced features such as monitoring specific zones while ignoring others—perfect for houses near a busy street to avoid getting motion alerts every time someone walks or drives by.

Cloud Storage
For security purposes, having a cloud storage option can be helpful. In the event of someone vandalizing or stealing from your property, you’ll have some video evidence ready.

App Support
Be sure the video doorbell you’re buying has excellent app support so you can actually connect to it fast to see who is at your door.

Many web sources remind homeowners that since all video doorbells require a Wi-Fi network, many manufacturers advise placing the device as close as possible to an internet router. If the internet router is located far from a video doorbell, homeowners may want to consider adding a modestly priced internet signal booster plugged into an outlet adjacent to the newly equipped video doorbell to enhance signal quality and speed.

John Voket is a contributing editor to RISMedia.

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A Successful Retirement Plan Takes Preparation

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 13:07

NAR PULSE—Remind your agents that NAR’s Center for REALTOR® Financial Wellness is here to help with an array of resources—a retirement savings calculator, an interactive tool to test different financial scenarios and many retirement-related articles. Tell them to start planning today!

Market Your Real Estate Effectively

You could be missing an opportunity to reach your ideal client, find better prospects and grow your brand. Promote specialties, unique properties and areas of expertise with a personalized .realestate web address. Purchase as many as you need to market your business effectively. Get started at www.get.realtor.

Leverage Your Member Benefits and Save
In one year alone, over 800,000 REALTORS® saved $63 million by taking advantage of at least one offering through NAR’s REALTOR Benefits® Program. Save this year on a wide range of member benefits from industry-leading companies including FCA US LLC (including Jeep®), FedEx, Adwerx, Liberty Mutual, DocuSign, Dell and more. Start saving!

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Residential Economic Issues: NAR Talks Interest Rates, Market Trends and More

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 13:06

With whispers of trade conflicts and housing bubbles permeating the industry, it can be difficult to gauge the health of the real estate market and what’s in store for the future. With the help of several notable industry economists and researchers, however, the picture becomes a little clearer.

This past week, Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), and several members of his research staff hosted the Residential Economic Issues & Trends Forum during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco.

“This time one year ago, things were very soft,” Yun said. “Consumers were backing out, saying the 5 percent interest rates were too high because they had been looking at 4 percent for four consecutive years.”

Now, things have changed. But where is the market going?

Interest rates remain a focal point. They’ve been trending low, which helps with affordability and job creation. But there’s a difference between Fed rates and mortgage interest rates, and consumers and industry professionals may not be aware when they’re watching those Fed announcements.

“The rates are more tied to communication, not policy,” said Yun. “In prior years, mortgage rates dropped just based on the Fed’s consideration of policy changes, not actual changes.”

The prediction is that Fed rates will remain low, with mortgage rates possibly increasing as inflation kicks in. But in terms of a recession, Yun is confident that one will not happen in the near future if there is no major trade war.

“We will not have a recession and will see a baseline growth rate of 1.5 percent for 2020,” said Yun.

In terms of a housing forecast, Yun predicts moderate growth, but emphasized that building more homes is critical to helping the economy.

Dr. Jessica Lautz, vice president of Demographics and Behavioral Insights at NAR, touched on the results from the newly released Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers.

One of the biggest shifts she’s seeing is a change in the household composition. There are fewer homebuyers who are having children, and that changes buying motivation.

“As birth rates dropped nationwide, fewer buyers have children under the age of 18 in their homes,” said Lautz. “Just a few years ago, buyers were concerned about living near the best schools, but now we’re seeing a jump in the desire to accommodate pets with outdoor spaces and proximity to dog parks and vets.”

In addition, the home-buying age is slowly rising, currently up to 33 from last year’s 32. While it doesn’t seem like a significant jump, Lautz said it is an indicator that consumers have to save for longer periods of time before entering the market, with student loan debt still the major hurdle.

Other trends such as multigenerational living, and friends buying homes together, are becoming more popular.

“Multigenerational living is absolutely a force in the market today,” said Lautz. “More than one in 10 buyers purchased one last year. Traditionally, people have done this to take care of aging parents or aging children that won’t leave, but now they’re doing it for the cost savings.”

Panelists Brandi Snowden, NAR’s director of Member and Consumer Survey Research, and Gay Cororaton, NAR’s director of Housing and Commercial Research, spoke on other trends, such as in the remodeling and foreign buying sectors.

“A kitchen remodel is a great way to increase the functionality and livability of a home,” said Snowden.

Cororaton commented on the sharp decline of foreign buyer purchases since 2017 “amid weakening global economic conditions and rising U.S. home prices.”

Lastly, Julianne Heller, a data scientist with NAR, focused on the importance of predictive analytics, stating that looking at “a member’s choice in music or whether they like coffee” can help in establishing buying trends.

For continuing coverage of the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, please visit RISMedia.com.

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

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NAR Annual: Everything You Missed

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 13:04

From November 8-11, 20,000 REALTORS® gathered for the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, the industry’s largest meeting of the year. In case you missed it…

On the Docket: Pocket Listings
In one of the event’s most notable takeaways, NAR’s Board of Directors approved the Clear Cooperation Policy, or MLS Statement 8.0, which centers on “Coming Soon” and “pocket” listings. Before the vote, brokers debated the impacts of the proposal—see the story, and our coverage post-vote.

Changing of the Guard
Also at the Board of Directors meeting, NAR installed its 2020 Leadership Team, headed by Vince Malta, 2020 president. See Strategic Priorities for the upcoming year, and for more from Malta, check out this month’s NAR Power Broker Roundtable.

Attendees Pack the Power Broker Forum
Five Power Brokers discussed the future of the industry at RISMedia’s Power Broker Forum, and adapting their businesses to compete heading into 2020. Check out our complete coverage of the Forum.

Celebrity Headliners
Billie Jean King. Magic Johnson. Pentatonix. A bevy of famous names joined REALTORS® this year, from basketball legend Johnson’s keynote presentation, to King’s career and life stories, to a concert featuring the Grammy-winning group.

2019 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers Released
At the conference, NAR announced the 2019 iteration of the Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, brimming with demographics and important trends. Check out RISMedia’s story, and access the full report.

A Call to Vigilance
From breaches and fraud to misinformation, the conversation continued on data privacy and security, with expertise from former Facebook Chief of Security Alex Stamos, who discussed 2016 election interference; Frank Abagnale, author of “Catch Me If You Can,” the inspiration for the Leonardo DiCaprio movie; and Robert Siciliano, an authority on cybersecurity.

Hot Topics: The Economy and the Housing Market
At the Residential Economic Issues & Trends Forum, NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun, as well as four members of NAR’s Research team, gave insights into the market, including a forecast for home sales in 2020. Read our recap of the session.

iBuyers: Still a Threat?
In a critical session, Laura Brady, CEO of Concierge Auctions, lent perspective to the trend, asking REALTORS®: “Would you pay a referral and reduce your fee if a deal were handed to you? Of course! At the end of the day, this business is about achieving our client’s goals as efficiently and effectively as possible.”

REALTORS® Step Up
At the inaugural REALTORS® Relief Climb, agents and brokers gathered at Oracle Park, home of the San Francisco Giants, to climb the stairs, benefitting the REALTORS® Relief Foundation and the San Francisco Association of REALTORS® Welcome Home Project.

REALTOR® University Retires
Finally, NAR announced the association is phasing out REALTOR® University, which housed its Masters of Real Estate program, and building out its educational offerings—including associate’s, bachelor’s and master’s degrees—in partnership with Columbia College. Check out our exclusive interview with NAR CEO Bob Goldberg on the news.

For continuing coverage of the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, please visit RISMedia.com.

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

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New Survey Reveals Holiday Travel Planning Trends

Tue, 11/12/2019 - 13:03

(TNS)—One of the busiest travel seasons of the year is right around the corner. As the holiday season approaches, new research from the Travel Channel reveals insight into the travel plans and preferences of Americans—most importantly, how many of them are planning to take an end-of-year vacation.

Clearly, U.S. travelers have been saving vacation days. The Travel Channel survey found that 67 percent of Americans plan to use vacation days and/or paid time off to hit the road this holiday season. Nearly a quarter of these travelers (24 percent) are planning to travel for longer than six days.

Forty-two percent of respondents said that they are traveling to their hometowns to visit family and friends, while 48 percent indicated that they are traveling elsewhere.

Get ready for busy roadways during Thanksgiving and winter breaks. The vast majority of travelers (72 percent) said that they will drive to their destinations. Forty-four percent are planning to travel by air.

The holidays don’t come cheap. The Travel Channel research showed that nearly one-third (28 percent) are planning to spend in excess of $500 on the trip.

Many (27 percent) are traveling with family while one in 10 travelers are traveling to a vacation destination with a significant other or friends.

Mariel Clark, vice president of Digital Video and Editorial for the Travel Channel, provided a number of tips.

For families traveling in groups, she advises keeping options open:

“When traveling with a large group or multiple generations, not everyone will be interested in the same activities. Be sure to allow for some time to divide and conquer, giving everyone the space for their must-see activities,” she said.

Involving older kids in travel plans is also a smart move, noted Clark.

“If traveling with a teenager, make them a stakeholder in the trip by having them pick activities they’ll enjoy, too,” she said.

Streamlining your gear is a good way to make traveling with small children a breeze.

“If traveling with a young child, downsize your bulky stroller for a simple umbrella stroller to travel—it’s easier to carry, tote and pack,” said Clark.

“Pack by outfits, especially for younger kids,” she added. “Try coordinating pants, shirts, underwear and socks in a stack together with PJs. Repeat for the number of days in the trip and add extras like jackets, as needed.”

©2019 Travelpulse
Visit Travelpulse at
www.travelpulse.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC

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Exclusive Gala Honors Power Brokers, Features Keynote by ‘Shark Tank’ Star Copy

Sun, 11/10/2019 - 16:25

(Above) RISMedia’s 24th Annual Power Broker Reception & Dinner (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

More than 600 brokerage executives and industry leaders came together for RISMedia’s 24th Annual Power Broker Reception & Dinner at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo this weekend, in celebration of the elite Power Brokers ranked in RISMedia’s 2019 Power Broker Report.

During the exclusive event, held at the Fairmont San Francisco, attendees heard from Daymond John, founder and CEO of FUBU and star of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” (In-depth coverage of John’s presentation coming soon to rismedia.com) as well as Jim Imhoff, chairman of First Weber, and John P. Horning, executive vice president of Shorewest, REALTORS®, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) 2019 and 2020 Liasions for Large Firms & Industry Relations, respectively.


(Above) Daymond John, Founder and CEO of FUBU and Star of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” and John Featherston, President and CEO of RISMedia (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)


(Above, L to R) 2020 NAR Liaison for Large Firms & Industry Relations John P. Horning, Executive Vice President, Shorewest, REALTORS®; Featherston; and 2019 NAR Liaison Jim Imhoff, Chairman, First Weber (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

“I’d like to thank everyone who has been supportive of RISMedia and what our mission is in the industry, which is to support all the things you do to make homeownership a reality for many millions of people across the country,” said John Featherston, president and CEO of RISMedia, to kick off the evening.

“I want to thank you all for your support this year,” said Imhoff, welcoming the crowd on behalf of NAR. “Four years ago, we started a new program called the Corporate Ally program. This year, we hit $2.7 million in contributions, but that had a lot to do with you—the large brokers we targeted—so thank you for the support you’ve given me.”

“Thank you to RISMedia and the Power Brokers for this dinner tonight. I hope to continue fostering the relationship between brokers and NAR, and sharing the resources that NAR has for brokers and teams,” added Horning.

Additionally during the event, Featherston and RISMedia Executive Vice President Darryl MacPherson presented RE/MAX Elite’s Carl Carter, Jr. with a donation to the Beverly Carter Foundation, established in honor of Carter, Jr.’s mother, slain REALTOR® Beverly Carter, and dedicated to REALTOR® safety.

“I have to start by acknowledging that I’m nowhere near the greatness of any of you sitting in these seats or my mom. It just goes to show the kindness within our industry and how we love each other and how we rally,” said Carter, Jr. “I’m so grateful for everyone, I’m so blessed and I’m so thankful for this moment to honor my mom. Together we can find creative solutions to make our industry safer.”


(Above, L to R) Featherston; Carl Carter, Jr., The Beverly Carter Foundation; and Darryl MacPherson, Executive Vice President, RISMedia (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

RISMedia presented five awards during the event. American Home Shield was awarded RISMedia’s Community Champion Award, recognizing those who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in their commitments toward volunteerism, charitable efforts and public advocacy, and who embody the spirit of service, giving back, and improving the quality of life in the communities they serve. The award is sponsored by Realty ONE Group, and was presented by Cory Jo Vasquez, vice president, Corporate Communications for Realty ONE Group.

“On behalf of all of our associates at American Home Shield, we are honored to receive this award. We really believe in bringing the good and being involved in the community and we’ve kept this at our core. A sincere thank you to RISMedia and to Realty ONE Group. We are so very honored and we are humbled for this important and incredible award,” said Lisa Rice, divisional vice president of Real Estate Sales at American Home Shield, who accepted the award on behalf of the company.


(Above, L to R) Featherston; Lisa Rice, Divisional Vice President, Real Estate Sales, American Home Shield; Cory Jo Vasquez, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Realty ONE Group; and MacPherson (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

Jason Mitchell, president of The Jason Mitchell Group, was awarded RISMedia’s National Homeownership Award, recognizing a member of the real estate community who continuously demonstrates extraordinary contributions toward increasing homeownership and building better communities. The award is sponsored by Quicken Loans, and was presented by Munt Alhussain, director, External Affairs for Quicken Loans.

“This is just amazing, and I really want to thank Quicken Loans for everything you’ve done for me as a human and for my company. I was doing very well until the recession hit and I got hit really hard. When I had to bring my career back, Quicken Loans gave me an opportunity and it’s been amazing,” said Mitchell. “I try to live my life by making sure that I put other people first. I really believe that if you do that, great things will happen. Thank you, everybody.”


(Above, L to R) Featherston; Jason Mitchell, President, The Jason Mitchell Group; and Munt Alhussain, Director, External Affairs, Quicken Loans (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

Chuck Ochsner, broker/owner of RE/MAX Alliance and RE/MAX Equity Group, was awarded RISMedia’s ‘On the Shoulders of Giants’ Award, recognizing those individuals whose efforts, works, deeds and character exemplify superior achievements in and for the real estate industry, yet whose efforts often go unnoticed. The award is sponsored by RE/MAX and was presented by Adam Contos, CEO of RE/MAX Holdings.

“Wow. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to accept this award on behalf of my friend, Chuck. He is very humbled and honored to accept this award. I would like to thank RISMedia and RE/MAX for this outstanding recognition. He’s not only my broker/owner, but also my dear friend. Thank you,” said Karen Levine, broker associate, RE/MAX Alliance, who accepted the award on Ochsner’s behalf.


(Above, L to R) Featherston; Adam Contos, CEO, RE/MAX Holdings; Karen Levine, Broker Associate, RE/MAX Alliance; and MacPherson (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

Jim Fite, president and CEO of CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company, was awarded RISMedia’s Real Estate Leadership Award, recognizing an industry visionary who embraces innovation and exercises resilience to blaze new paths to success for real estate professionals and consumers alike. The award is sponsored by Buffini & Company, and was presented by Dermot Buffini, CEO of Buffini & Company.

“Thank you to John Featherston and RISMedia. And thank you to my friends Brian and Dermot Buffini,” said Fite. “RISMedia has taught all of us a great deal throughout our careers and they continuously bring the best out of us and publish it for us so we learn from each other. So, John, I want to thank you for that. It really makes a difference in our careers and lives. And thank you to the Power Brokers. The fact is we are members of an industry that trusts and shares with each other, and we are better as a result of everybody in this room. Thank you for the opportunity to be here tonight with you and for the incredible award that I will take home with great pleasure.”


(Above, L to R) Featherston; Jim Fite, President and CEO, CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company; and Dermot Buffini, CEO, Buffini & Company (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

Dan Elsea, president, Brokerage Services, and Stuart Elsea, president, Financial Services for the Real Estate One Family of Companies, were awarded RISMedia’s Tech Titan Award, recognizing brokerage leaders who have demonstrated an exceptional ability to adapt and integrate new and innovative tools and services within their organization to improve and enhance the overall consumer experience. The award is sponsored by Homes.com, and was presented by David Mele, president of Homes.com.

“Thank you to RISMedia, Dave Mele and Homes.com. It really is a great honor. It means a lot. The baseline, not just for our business, but for any commerce, is that we can always have someone in a garage coming up with a new idea that’s faster, more innovative and more interesting than the last. And I’ve learned great ideas from all of you, so keep them coming,” said Dan Elsea.


(Above, L to R) David Mele, President, Homes.com; Dan Elsea, President, Brokerage Services, Real Estate One Family of Companies; and Featherston (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

In addition to Platinum Sponsors Buffini & Company, Homes.com, Quicken Loans®, Realty ONE Group and RE/MAX, RISMedia’s Annual Power Broker Reception & Dinner was presented by: Master Sponsors American Home Shield, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, ERA Real Estate, HSA Home Warranty, the National Association of REALTORS®, and Real Estate Webmasters; Host Sponsors Inside Real Estate, The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®, Real Estate Express, realtor.com®, and Realtors Property Resource®; and Event Sponsors ActivePipe, Adwerx, Buyside, CINC (Commissions Inc), Cinch Home Services, CoreLogic, David Knox Productions, Deluxe Branded Marketing, Earnnest, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, Local Logic, Lone Wolf Technologies, MoxiWorks, REACH, PlanOmatic, Propertybase, Sherri Johnson Coaching & Consulting, Workman Success Systems, and Zillow Group.

For continuing coverage of the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, including RISMedia’s Power Broker Forum, please visit RISMedia.com.

The post Exclusive Gala Honors Power Brokers, Features Keynote by ‘Shark Tank’ Star Copy appeared first on RISMedia.

Here’s to Power Brokers: Exclusive Gala Honors Industry Leaders, With Keynote by ‘Shark Tank’ Star

Sun, 11/10/2019 - 10:05

(Above) RISMedia’s 24th Annual Power Broker Reception & Dinner (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

Brokerage executives and industry leaders came together for the Annual Power Broker Reception & Dinner at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo this weekend, in celebration of the elite Power Brokers ranked in RISMedia’s 2019 Power Broker Report.

During the exclusive event, held at the Fairmont San Francisco, attendees heard from Daymond John, founder and CEO of FUBU and star of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” as well as Jim Imhoff, chairman of First Weber, and John P. Horning, executive vice president of Shorewest, REALTORS®, the National Association of REALTORS® 2019 and 2020 Liasions for Large Firms & Industry Relations, respectively.


(Above) Daymond John, Founder and CEO of FUBU and Star of ABC’s “Shark Tank,” and John Featherston, President and CEO of RISMedia (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)


(Above, L to R) John P. Horning, Executive Vice President, Shorewest, REALTORS®; Featherston; and Jim Imhoff, Chairman, First Weber (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

“I’d like to take a quick moment here and just thank everyone who has been supportive of RISMedia and what our mission is in the industry, which is to support all the things you do to make homeownership a reality for the many millions of people across the country,” said John Featherston, president and CEO of RISMedia.

“I want to thank you all for your support this year. Four years ago, we started a new program called the Corporate Ally program. This year, we hit $2.7 million in contributions, but that had a lot to do with you—the large brokers we targeted—so thank you for the support you’ve given me,” said Imhoff.

“Thank you to RISMedia and the Power Brokers for this dinner tonight. I hope to continue fostering the relationship between brokers and NAR, and sharing the resources that NAR has for brokers and teams,” said Horning.

Additionally during the event, Featherston and Executive Vice President Darryl MacPherson presented Carl Carter, Jr. with a donation to the Beverly Carter Foundation, established in honor of Carter, Jr.’s mother, Beverly, and dedicated to REALTOR® safety.

“I have to start by acknowledging that I’m nowhere near the greatness of any of you sitting in these seats or my mom. It just goes to show the kindness within our industry and how we love each other and how we rally,” said Carter, Jr. “I’m so grateful for everyone, I’m so blessed and I’m so thankful for this moment to honor my mom. Together we can find creative solutions to make our industry safer.”


(Above, L to R) Featherston; Carl Carter, Jr., The Beverly Carter Foundation; and Darryl MacPherson, Executive Vice President, RISMedia (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

American Home Shield was awarded RISMedia’s Community Champion Award, recognizing those who have demonstrated extraordinary leadership in their commitments toward volunteerism, charitable efforts and public advocacy, and who embody the spirit of service, giving back, and improving the quality of life in the communities they serve. The award is sponsored by Realty ONE Group, and was presented by Cory Jo Vasquez, vice president, Corporate Communications for Realty ONE Group.

“On behalf of all of our associates at American Home Shield, we are honored to receive this award. We really believe in bringing the good and being involved in the community and we’ve kept this at our core. A sincere thank you to RISMedia and to Realty ONE Group. We are so very honored and we are humbled for this important and incredible award,” said Lisa Rice, divisional vice president of Real Estate Sales at American Home Shield, who accepted the award on behalf of the company.


(Above, L to R) Featherston; Lisa Rice, Divisional Vice President, Real Estate Sales, American Home Shield; Cory Jo Vasquez, Vice President, Corporate Communications, Realty ONE Group; and MacPherson (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

Jason Mitchell, president of The Jason Mitchell Group, was awarded RISMedia’s National Homeownership Award, recognizing a member of the real estate community who continuously demonstrates extraordinary contributions toward increasing homeownership and building better communities. The award is sponsored by Quicken Loans, and was presented by Munt Alhussain, director, External Affairs for Quicken Loans.

“This is just amazing, and I really want to thank Quicken Loans for everything you’ve done for me as a human and for my company. I was doing very well until the recession hit and I got hit really hard. When I had to bring my career back, Quicken Loans gave me an opportunity and it’s been amazing,” said Mitchell. “I try to live my life by making sure that I put other people first. I really believe that if you do that, great things will happen. Thank you, everybody.”


(Above, L to R) Featherston; Jason Mitchell, President, The Jason Mitchell Group; and Munt Alhussain, Director, External Affairs, Quicken Loans (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

Chuck Ochsner, broker/owner of RE/MAX Alliance and RE/MAX Equity Group, was awarded RISMedia’s ‘On the Shoulders of Giants’ Award, recognizing those individuals whose efforts, works, deeds and character exemplify superior achievements in and for the real estate industry, yet whose efforts often go unnoticed. The award is sponsored by RE/MAX and was presented by Adam Contos, CEO of RE/MAX Holdings.

“Wow. I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to accept this award on behalf of my friend, Chuck. He is very humbled and honored to accept this award. I would like to thank RISMedia and RE/MAX for this outstanding recognition. He’s not only my broker/owner, but also my dear friend. Thank you,” said Karen Levine, broker associate, RE/MAX Alliance, who accepted the award on Ochsner’s behalf.


(Above, L to R) Featherston; Adam Contos, CEO, RE/MAX Holdings; Karen Levine, Broker Associate, RE/MAX Alliance; and MacPherson (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

Jim Fite, president and CEO of CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company, was awarded RISMedia’s Real Estate Leadership Award, recognizing an industry visionary who embraces innovation and exercises resilience to blaze new paths to success for real estate professionals and consumers alike. The award is sponsored by Buffini & Company, and was presented by Dermot Buffini, CEO of Buffini & Company.

“Thank you to John Featherston and RISMedia. And thank you to my friends Brian and Dermot Buffini,” said Fite. “RISMedia has taught all of us a great deal throughout our careers and they continuously bring the best out of us and publish it for us so we learn from each other. So, John, I want to thank you for that. It really makes a difference in our careers and lives. And thank you to the Power Brokers. The fact is we are members of an industry that trusts and shares with each other, and we are better as a result of everybody in this room. Thank you for the opportunity to be here tonight with you and for the incredible award that I will take home with great pleasure.”


(Above, L to R) Featherston; Jim Fite, President and CEO, CENTURY 21 Judge Fite Company; and Dermot Buffini, CEO, Buffini & Company (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

Dan Elsea, president, Brokerage Services, and Stuart Elsea, president, Financial Services for the Real Estate One Family of Companies, were awarded RISMedia’s Tech Titan Award, recognizing brokerage leaders who have demonstrated an exceptional ability to adapt and integrate new and innovative tools and services within their organization to improve and enhance the overall consumer experience. The award is sponsored by Homes.com, and was presented by David Mele, president of Homes.com.

“Thank you to RISMedia, Dave Mele and Homes.com. It really is a great honor. It means a lot. The baseline, not just for our business, but for any commerce, is that we can always have someone in a garage coming up with a new idea that’s faster, more innovative and more interesting than the last. And I’ve learned great ideas from all of you, so keep them coming,” said Dan Elsea.


(Above, L to R) David Mele, President, Homes.com; Dan Elsea, President, Brokerage Services, Real Estate One Family of Companies; and Featherston (Credit: AJ Canaria of PlanOmatic)

In addition to Platinum Sponsors Buffini & Company, Homes.com, Quicken Loans®, Realty ONE Group and RE/MAX, RISMedia’s Annual Power Broker Reception & Dinner was presented by: Master Sponsors American Home Shield, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, ERA Real Estate, HSA Home Warranty, the National Association of REALTORS®, and Real Estate Webmasters; Host Sponsors Inside Real Estate, The Institute for Luxury Home Marketing, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, Pillar To Post Home Inspectors®, Real Estate Express, realtor.com®, and Realtors Property Resource®; and Event Sponsors ActivePipe, Adwerx, Buyside, CINC (Commissions Inc), Cinch Home Services, CoreLogic, David Knox Productions, Deluxe Branded Marketing, Earnnest, Howard Hanna Real Estate Services, Local Logic, Lone Wolf Technologies, MoxiWorks, REACH, PlanOmatic, Propertybase, Sherri Johnson Coaching & Consulting, Workman Success Systems, and Zillow Group.

For continuing coverage of the Forum and the REALTORS® Conference & Expo, please visit RISMedia.com.

The post Here’s to Power Brokers: Exclusive Gala Honors Industry Leaders, With Keynote by ‘Shark Tank’ Star appeared first on RISMedia.

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