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“Try On” Your New Home Before Buying

It’s commonplace to try on suits, dresses, trousers or shoes before buying them. People instinctively know they need to try on clothes to be sure they fit, feel comfortable and are attractive on them. What about a home?  It’s probably the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make. Isn’t it even more important to “try on” a home before you purchase it?  

It’s commonplace to try on suits, dresses, trousers or shoes before buying them. People instinctively know they need to try on clothes to be sure they fit, feel comfortable and are attractive on them. What about a home?  It’s probably the most expensive purchase you’ll ever make. Isn’t it even more important to “try on” a home before you purchase it? What on earth do I mean?  Well, it’s usual to look for a home in places that are convenient to work and schools. Most folks take the daily commute into consideration when shopping for a home. Why not take the daily, weekly, and even monthly activities of family members consciously into account, too? Case Study I once helped a young, single woman named Wendy to find and buy her first home.  She worked for Geico, was rising very nicely in the company and wanted a home of her own and the tax break home ownership affords.  She asked my advice about choosing, and we had a conversation in which I mentioned many of the sorts of things I’ve said here. We made a list of what mattered to her. Then we went shopping. We looked at a lot of houses. After we came out of each one, we had a talk about how it measured up to Wendy’s list. One of the houses we looked at belonged to the young woman who later became my daughter-in-law. It was brick, all on one level, had a fireplace in the living room, and had patio doors from the master bedroom and dining rooms to an enormous deck with a hot tub. It was beautifully decorated in a sort of “pared down Victorian” style. There was a brass bed, some wicker, lots of healthy house plants, and a few Victorian pieces of furniture that were actually old, family pieces. Silver framed family photos were clustered on top of the piano. After we emerged from the house, Wendy started down the two steps to the car and then froze in place. She had the oddest expression on her face. I asked what was wrong, and she began to look sheepish and confessed, “That house is so pretty and so nicely decorated, I just enjoyed looking at it and didn’t give any thought to how I’d live in it.  I just wanted it.” We went back inside.  Wendy still admired what had been done with the house, but decided it wasn’t right for her. Knowing what’s important to you can save costly mistakes.  The process of “trying on” a house helps you evaluate what’s important.  I think you’ll find it’s worth the effort.
 
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

What We’re Reading: Nov. 20-22

Thanksgiving, lies, presents, contests, design, finance, and housing cycles.
Hosting for the holiday? Check out these tips to make your guests feel at home. Did you start brining your turkey yesterday? Need AI support? Ever wonder how the giant balloons are made for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade? Here are some more facts about the famous parade. Thanksgiving parades didn’t start out so innocently. Anthony Quintano/flickr/2013 The cocktail is a lie. Need gift ideas for the upcoming holidays? Check out these top-rated gadgets from the past year. Our members would have no trouble selling these houses. Hero dad story behind cult favorite cooking device. These houses aren’t just tiny, they’re stackable! We wonder what Hetty Green would think of Bitcoin. The existing home market in Japan is different from the one in the US.  
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

What We’re Reading: October 2-6

Nobel Prize, security, smart home, Santa, calories, close calls, temperature, AOL, river cruise, and shopping.
Pretty sure we could deal with a phone call at an inconvenient time for news of this sort. There have been so many high profile security breaches recently. Make sure you aren’t making these mistakes. Google released a whole suite of devices, some of which are smart home related, and one of which is fairly incredible. Don’t let the kids know, but Turkey thinks it’s found Santa Claus’ crypt. Alexandre Sato/flickr/2013 We don’t have the counter space for this, but it would be cool to have the info it provides. Just when you think there’s going to be a schadenfreude payoff… This solution is so obvious, why didn’t it happen sooner? AOL Instant Messenger still exists? Not for long. Too bad this won’t be up and running by the convention and expo! Shut up and take our money.
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

Clogged showerhead?? Here is a tip to fix it! 

Clogged showerhead?? Here is a tip to fix it!  Fill a plastic baggie about halfway up with white vinegar. (The sandwich-sized ones are fine, but the quart-sized ones are even better.) Lift the filled bag up and over the showerhead, submerging the showerhead holes in the vinegar. Secure the bag with a rubber band or twist-tie. Let the showerhead soak for at least 2 hours, or overnight. Remove the bag of vinegar. You may want to gently scrub around the holes with a soft brush before turning on the water. Your showerhead should be clean and ready to go.
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

What We’re Reading: October 9-13

Famous locations, social media addiction, financial education, cleaning, energy, pets, internet shopping, names, security, and nail houses.
Shut up and take our money. Ugh, look at those crowds! We’d close it off, too. How addicted are you to the “bright dings of social pleasure?” Recently dubbed Nobel Laureate, Richard Thaler, has a bleak outlook on our ability to apply personal finance education to our lives. Wait, people don’t clean these things? Philip Wilson/flickr/2012 If you are going to have a 3,123 sq. ft. home, it’s probably best to make it as energy efficient as possible. Are we surprised that IKEA is branching out into furniture and toys for pets? Nah. Are we surprised that Amazon sells whole houses? A little. Geez, what did this wasp do to deserve this name? Is this an innocuous or fishy security system? Speaking of safety, you’ll never guess which city ranked #19 of the world’s safest cities. How much could you put up with around you to stay put in a house you love?
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

What We’re Reading: October 16-20

Office haunts, security, natural disasters, family, environment, heating, germs, nuisance, and Halloween.
It would be a little difficult to get those TPS reports done with restless spirits about! Better make sure there aren’t any images of your keys out there! Can people avoid the path of destruction? Unfortunately, unlikely. Has it really come to this?   Mark Morgan/flickr/2015 Toronto will soon be a smart city. We would love to get data on the indoor air quality of this apartment. We don’t need sensors to know that the air quality of this workplace would be heavenly. Servers throw off a lot of heat, so why not use that energy in a positive way? Want to avoid illness and create awkward business and social encounters? We have a way! People just will not stop throwing pizzas on this famous roof! Noted. We won’t bother trick or treating in South Carolina, Alabama, New Mexico, Michigan, or Idaho.  
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

‘Hottest Zip Codes’: A Tale of Three States

Realtor.com®’s annual Hottest Zip Codes in America ranking reads like a tale of three states: California, Colorado and Michigan. Watauga, Texas (76148) Livonia, Mich. (48154) Kentwood, Mich. (49548) Medford, Mass. (02155) Littleton, Colo. (80123) Castro Valley, Calif. (94546) Colorado Springs, Colo. (80922) Overland Park, Kan. (66210) Mira Mesa (San Diego), Calif. (92126) Hilliard, Ohio (43026) California, Colorado and Michigan nabbed six spots in the top 10 (another zip in California, 95758, stopped just shy at No. 11), thanks to three traits: affordability, good-paying jobs and millennials. Of California’s zip codes in the top 10, the median home price ranges from $536,394 (Mira Mesa/San Diego) to $728,267 (Castro Valley); of Colorado’s zip codes in the top 10, the median home price ranges from $273,222 (Colorado Springs) to $533,873 (Littleton); and of Michigan’s zip codes in the top 10, the median home price ranges from $118,833 (Kentwood) to $223,780 (Livonia). Generally, homes in the top 10 are more affordable than counterparts in their county or metropolitan area, and the markets themselves have higher incomes, low unemployment and more millennials. “While low inventory is a challenge, millennials are the largest generation in U.S. history and they are flexing their muscle when it comes to the housing market,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com. “Increasingly, the hottest housing markets are the ones that appeal to millennial preferences, and right now the standouts are relatively affordable suburbs with local ‘it’ factors such as hiking trails, great restaurants and nightlife. “With the largest cohort of millennials turning 30 in 2020, we can expect these types of areas to stay in demand in the years to come,” Hale says. Homes in the top 10 sell in an average 21 days, the ranking reveals, and listings located in the top 10 are viewed four times more on realtor.com than those in the rest of the U.S.
For more information, please visit www.realtor.com.
Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com.
For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com. The post ‘Hottest Zip Codes’: A Tale of Three States appeared first on RISMedia.
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

What We’re Reading: Nov. 27-Dec. 1

Holiday tips, inspections, tiny living, design, science, communities, and AI.
Need a little inspiration as you decorate your home for the holidays? Buying a Christmas tree this season? Make sure you secure it! And don’t do this. Traveling to be with family or friends this holiday? Save money anywhere you go with these tips. Here is a smart home gift guide if you need gift ideas this season. These are not up to code. Mark Moz/flickr/2013 Tiny living isn’t always off the grid living. Keep these costs in mind when you consider going tiny. A flat pack tiny house? Check this A-Frame out! We want homes like this! Science! Hydroponic farm or office building? Why choose? What is the central feature driving sales in this Florida community? Alexa is expanding from your home to your office.  
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

What We’re Reading: September 18-22

Pumpkin spice, New Vocabulary Words, Greening the Workspace, Bitcoin Real Estate Deals and Animal Photography
Sick of Pumpkin spice already? (Personally, I was never into it in the first place)       flavourcurator.ca   Could binge watching TV be killing you or wrecking your sleeping habits? Retrofitted houses stand up to the latest Hurricane in Florida. New vocabulary is the spice of life and Merriam-Webster has once again expanded their dictionary. Just because the language is ever-changing, doesn’t mean you can’t strive for impeccable speech. CRT LABS has a green wall in the Chicago office. It turns out that green walls have many of the benefits of a green roof. Looking for ways to beautify the exterior? Try some of these unique border ideas to spice up your garden. Animal photography – just because! This real estate deal is the first to use solely cryptocurrency! Bill Gates wishes he could go back and make this an easier process. Bookstores are dying faster than ever these days, but these are a cause for celebration!

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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey: October 2017 Highlights

The REALTORS® Confidence Index (RCI) survey gathers monthly information from REALTORS® about local real estate market conditions, characteristics of buyers and sellers, and issues affecting homeownership and real estate transactions.[1] This report presents key results about market transactions from October 2017. View and download the full report here. [2] Market Conditions and Expectations The REALTORS® Buyer Traffic Index registered at 60 (56 in October 2016).[3] The REALTORS® Seller Traffic Index registered at 45 (41 in October 2016). The REALTORS® Confidence Index—Six-Month Outlook Current Conditions registered at 67 for detached single-family, 56 for townhome, and 53 for condominium properties. An index above 50 indicates market conditions are expected to improve. Properties were typically on the market for 34 days (41 days in October 2016). Eighty-nine percent of respondents reported that home prices remained constant or rose in October 2017 compared to levels one year ago (85 percent in October 2016). Characteristics of Buyers and Sellers First-time buyers accounted for 32 percent of sales (33 percent in October 2016). Vacation and investment buyers comprised 13 percent of sales (13 percent in October 2016). Sales of distressed properties (foreclosed or sold as a short sale) accounted for four percent of sales (five percent in October 2016). Cash sales made up 20 percent of sales (22 percent in October 2016). Twenty-two percent of sellers offered incentives such as paying for closing costs (10 percent), providing a warranty (10 percent), and undertaking remodeling (four percent).[4] Issues Affecting Buyers and Sellers From August–October 2017, 73 percent of contracts settled on time (62 percent in October 2016). Among sales that closed in October 2017, 74 percent had contract contingencies. The most common contingencies pertained to home inspection (54 percent), obtaining financing (45 percent), and getting an acceptable appraisal (43 percent). REALTORS® continue to report “low inventory” as the major issue affecting transactions in October 2017. About the RCI Survey The RCI Survey gathers information from REALTORS® about local market conditions  based on their client interactions and the characteristics of their most recent sales for the month. The October 2017 survey was sent to 50,000 REALTORS® who were selected from NAR’s nearly 1.2 million members through simple random sampling and to 5,520 respondents in the previous three surveys who provided their email addresses. There were 3,617 respondents to the online survey which ran from November 1‒9, 2017. The survey’s overall margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level is two percent. The margins of error for subgroups and sample proportions of below or above 50 percent are larger. NAR weighs the responses by a factor that aligns the sample distribution of responses to the distribution of NAR membership. The REALTORS® Confidence Index is provided by NAR solely for use as a reference. Resale of any part of this data is prohibited without NAR’s prior written consent. For questions on this report or to purchase the RCI series, please email: Data@realtors.org. [1] Respondents report on the most recent characteristics of their most recent sale for the month. [2] Thanks to George Ratiu, Managing Director, Housing and Commercial Research and Gay Cororaton, Research Economist for their data analysis and comments to the RCI Report. [3] An index greater than 50 means more respondents reported conditions as “strong” compared to one year ago than “weak.” An index of 50 indicates a balance of respondents who viewed conditions as “strong” or “weak.” [4] The difference in the sum of percentages to the total percentage of sellers who offered incentives is due to rounding.
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

Small Cap Commercial Markets’ Momentum Slows in Third Quarter of 2017

Commercial sales transactions span the price spectrum, but tend to be measured and reported based on size. Commercial real estate (CRE) deals at the higher end—$2.5 million and above—comprise a large share of investment sales. Smaller commercial transactions tend to be obscured given their size. However, these smaller properties provide the types of commercial space where average Americans engage on a daily basis. The National Association of REALTORS® Commercial Real Estate Outlook report focuses on market performance in both large (LCRE) and small commercial (SCRE) sectors.  The report provides an overview of economic indicators, investment sales and leasing fundamentals.
The U.S. economy maintained a solid pace in the third quarter of this year, with positive consumer spending, improved business investments and gains in export activity. Employment continued rising during the third quarter, with a gain of 364,000 net new jobs. Over the January through October period, there were 1.7 million net new payroll positions, with 1.6million in the private sector. Average weekly earnings of employees rose by 2.8 percent in the third quarter of this year, compared to one year earlier. The unemployment rate declined to 4.3 percent in the third quarter of 2016, down from 4.9 percent a year ago. Investment Sales Investment volume in LCRE markets continued into the third quarter of this year. The volume of commercial sales in LCRE markets totaled $114.2 billion, a nine percent year-over-year decline, according to Real Capital Analytics (RCA). The decline curve masked mixed performance across and within the property types. While office sales were down 18 percent on a yearly basis—mostly due to a drop in CBD office transactions—suburban office sales rose. Meanwhile, the industrial sector posted strong sales volume, exceeding the prior peak set in the third quarter of 2007. However, the gains were outpaced by the 32 percent drop in retail sales during the third quarter. Glancing at the broad landscape, markets seem much more nuanced this year. Portfolio sales increased three percent in the third quarter of this year, while single asset sales declined 13 percent. The trend of diverging markets continued, with sales in the six major metros tracked by RCA posting a 12 percent decline year-over-year. In comparison, sales in LCRE secondary markets declined only six percent, while volume in tertiary markets dropped 14 percent. Commercial real estate in SCRE markets continued to experience advances in investment sales, however the momentum moderated during the third quarter of 2017. Following on the first quarter’s 4.4 percent decline and the second quarter’s 4.4 percent increase in sales volume, REALTORS® reported sales volume rose 3.6 percent in the third quarter.   Investment Prices Highlighting the nuanced environment, prices in LCRE markets advanced 7.5 percent in the third quarter, according to RCA. The increase was driven by strong appreciation in prices of apartment and industrial properties, which advanced 10.0 percent and 8.2 percent, respectively.  Prices for retail properties were virtually flat, with a slight 0.8 percent year-over-year increase. Office property prices rose 5.1 percent during the quarter, as both CBD and suburban properties experienced appreciation. Capitalization rates in LCRE markets continued on a slight downward trend, moving from 6.9 percent in the second quarter to 6.8 percent in the third, based on RCA data. On a yearly basis, cap rates were flat, as the 20 basis-point compression experienced by apartment properties was balanced by an equal cap rate increase for office and hotel properties. In small cap markets, investors remained active, seeking higher yields. The shortage of available inventory—a defining market feature during this cycle—remained the number one concern for REALTORS® engaged in commercial investments. Prices for SCRE properties advanced, posting a 3.9 percent yearly advance in the third quarter of this year. The price trend mirrored broader markets, displaying a moderation in momentum. The pricing gap between sellers and buyers remained the second highest ranked concern. Capitalization rates in SCRE markets declined from the first two quarters of this year, to an average 7.2 percent across all property types. However, on a yearly basis, cap rates were flat. Outlook Commercial leasing fundamentals are expected to continue on a positive trend, benefiting from the tail winds of an expanding economy. Tax reform discussions have been favorable toward commercial investments, although questions remain about various aspects of the Senate and House proposals.
With the Federal Reserve’s commitment to unwinding its easing measures, in addition to a likely rate increase in December of this year, interest rates are expected to move upward in 2018. For commercial investments, there are downward pressures expected on cap rates going forward, although the impact is likely to be unevenly distributed across geography, sectors and property class. In SCRE markets, increased scrutiny from banking regulators has tightened lending conditions, a trend which will close out 2017.  
 
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

Sherwin Williams’ Pick for 2018’s Hottest Color

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine A rich blue with jewel-toned greens is forecasted to be 2018’s hottest color of the year, according to Sherwin Williams, which unveiled its 2018 Color of the Year choice this week. Other paint companies will be announcing their paint choices over the next few weeks. Oceanside SW 6496 is a statement color. It can add a bold, attention-getting pop to wall colors, furnishings,  accessories, and even a home’s front door. “Green-blues in deep values, such as Oceanside, respond to changes in light, which is a quality that creates intense dimension,” says Sue Wadden, director of color marketing at Sherwin-Williams. “It is a tremendously versatile color, and harmonizes with other diverse color groups.” Oceanside is reminiscent of a marine-inspired look. But Sherwin Williams says the color can be woven into practically any design style, from mid-century modern to Mediterranean, traditional, or contemporary. Sherwin Williams says the color is versatile enough to be paired with any number of other colors, from hot pinks, yellows to navy or sky blues. For 2017, Sherwin Williams had selected Poised Taupe (SW 6039) as the hot color. The company has been pushing the brownish-gray hue into more color schemes this year. Sherwin Williams had predicted taupe to become the next “it” color base for many homes today, edging out the popularity of gray. But for 2018, Sherwin Williams is returning to a bolder shade for its hot-pick. “People today have a growing sense of adventure, and it is making its way into even the coziest corners of our homes,” Wadden says. “We are craving things that remind us of bright folklore, like mermaids and expeditions across continents. Oceanside is the color of wanderlust right in our own homes.” Photo credit: Sherwin Williams Photo by Laura U, Inc. – More patio photos Photo by Laura U, Inc. – More kids’ room ideas
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

Register Today: 2017 REALTORS® Conference & Expo

In a little less than one month, over 20,000 Realtors®, industry experts and guests will flock to the Windy City for the 2017 Realtors® Conference and Expo (Nov. 3-6) at the McCormick Place – West Building. Housing affordability and supply, commercial real estate flood insurance, tax reform and more are some of the key topics that will be discussed during the jam-packed weekend. A few must-see sessions on the first day, Friday, Nov. 3:   Incoming NAR President Elizabeth Mendenhall will share her presidential agenda and insights into the top challenges and opportunities facing Realtors® in 2018 NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun will present his 2018 economic and market forecast NAR Researcher Jessica Lautz will present unpublished findings from the soon-to-be-released 2017 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Registration is free for members of the media. To register, contact Sara Wiskerchen, 202-383-7515 or swiskerchen@realtors.org.  More details, including a list of all noteworthy sessions for media attendees, will be posted here over the next week. For a full conference schedule, visit www.realtor.org/convention.nsf/. Below is the full media advisory: — WHAT:  2017 REALTORS® Conference & Expo WHEN:  November 3-6, 2017 WHERE:  McCormick Place – West Building, Chicago REGISTER:  Contact Sara Wiskerchen, 202-383-7515 or swiskerchen@realtors.org For conference updates and on-site information, visit realtors.mediaroom.com. Onsite press registration opens Thursday, Nov. 2 at 8 a.m. in McCormick Place – West Building, Room W475. WASHINGTON (October 5, 2017) – More than 20,000 Realtors®, industry experts and guests will convene in Chicago November 3-6, 2017 at the 2017 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, themed “The Sky is the Limit,” to address the top issues facing the real estate industry. News conferences will be held Friday, Nov. 3 with incoming National Association of Realtors® President Elizabeth Mendenhall, who will share her presidential agenda and insights into the top challenges and opportunities facing Realtors® in 2018; NAR Chief Economist Lawrence Yun will present his 2018 economic and market forecast; and NAR Researcher Jessica Lautz will present unpublished findings from the soon-to-be-released 2017 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Also during the meetings, NAR’s Lawrence Yun will share the latest outlook for the residential housing market during the Residential Economic Issues & Trends Forum Friday, Nov. 3 from 8:30-10:30 a.m. Yun will also present his commercial forecast at the Commercial Economic Issues & Trends Forum later that same day from 1-3 p.m. The general session keynote address will be presented by Olympic gold medalist Michael Phelps. Members of the media are invited to a reception Friday, Nov. 3 from 5–6 p.m. at Sopraffina, 10 N. Dearborn St., Chicago, Ill., 60602. For a full conference schedule, visit www.realtor.org/convention.nsf/. The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing  more than 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. # # #  
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

What We’re Reading: September 25-29

The Chicago Cubs, Levi’s Jacket, New iOS 11, Microsoft Office 2019, Twitter, Hipster Neighborhoods, and Repurposed Mines
It may be easy to miss this cottage tucked just outside of Wrigley Field. Bill Murray has been approached to play the coach in the movie about the Cubs’ World Series Win. Speaking of the Cubs, they just clinched the National League Central Division Title! Here’s a very unique house design made up of a cluster of cargo containers. The touch-sensitive jacket from Levi is finally available, making it possible to control your smartphone with a touch to your sleeve! All the features you need to know about the new iOS 11. Here’s why you shouldn’t charge your phone overnight… Is Twitter giving users exactly what they didn’t ask for? Bill Gates uses an Android phone, plus the next version of Microsoft Office is coming to a computer near you sometime next year. Expressing yourself in chat lingo – showdown between “haha” vs. “lol”. Looking for the hipster neighborhoods in your city? If you hear these things said at your workplace, it’s time to take action and get your job search moving! I don’t know about you, but #2 in this list sounds completely amazing! Unhealthy things, that are actually good for you?  I’m in! Stop throwing away your empty toilet paper rolls!   GorillaSushi/flckr/2009       This shiplap is sailing away…  Fixer Upper is ending after season 5. Make Halloween safer for kids with allergies by taking part in the teal pumpkin project.
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

Instant Reaction: September Owners’ Gains Forecast

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Index shows that U.S. prices of single-family homes continue to rise. The national index level in September reached a new high and is up 6.2 percent from a year earlier.  But what does this mean for homeowners? Home prices affect the wealth of homeowners. As the price of housing increases, the wealth of homeowners increases as well. Based on the above increase of home prices, it is estimated that value of owners’ household real estate was increased by 1.4 trillion in the last year and 116 billion came from home price increases in September. That means that 75 million homeowners each gained $18,500 on average in September 2017 from a year earlier.
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

“Renting Back” After Your Home Is Sold

Sometimes it’s helpful to sell your home before you really want to move. This often happens when you are having a new home built, but aren’t sure of the completion date. Is there any way you can sell your home so you’re sure of the funds available for the new purchase, but continue to live in your old home until construction of the new one is complete. Yes, there is with the renting back strategy.
Sometimes it’s helpful to sell your home before you really want to move. This often happens when you are having a new home built, but aren’t sure of the completion date. Is there any way you can sell your home so you’re sure of the funds available for the new purchase, but continue to live in your old home until construction of the new one is complete. Yes, there is with the renting back strategy. Enter the Lease-Back or Rent-Back Agreement The particulars of this strategy vary from state to state, but in the strong seller’s market we’re experiencing, buyers will often agree to let the seller stay in the home for a period of time as long as rent is paid. In a competitive situation, the buyer willing to do this will often have the winning bid even though there is another offer as high as his. The agreement covering the situation states the length of time the seller will remain.  It can be done with a specific date named or wording that allows the seller to remain up to a specific date with the possibility of her moving sooner. The amount can be a fixed figure paid out of the proceeds of settlement or a monthly amount, or a daily amount. It is usually, but not always, tied to the amount of the mortgage payment under the buyer’s new loan. Sometimes there is a deposit against damage, sometimes not.  There is usually a clause saying the seller will hold the buyer harmless for any damage to himself or his property which occurs after the sale is consummated and before the seller moves.  The attorney who draws up your contract offer can create such an agreement. If you’re using online forms, you should be able to find one for this situation. If you’re working with a real estate broker, he or she can handle it for you.    An Example I’ve recently seen a very pleasant example of this idea in action. An elderly widow contracted to have a one level condo unit built in a new community which provides all exterior maintenance. She had had hip replacement surgery and wanted to get away from the drawbacks of the home in which she’d reared her children. The home was large, had stairs and was located on a large, partially wooded lot with many mature perennials and shrubs. Both the home and garden were beautiful, but high maintenance.  Her contract to purchase required a series of deposits and a firm indication as to her source of funds well before settlement on her new condo. The widow put her home on the market. A young couple with two sons was very anxious to buy it. The situation was competitive. They made the widow an offer. She countered their original offer. She did not raise their offer price, which was slightly below her asking price.  She did not believe the young couple would qualify for a larger loan. Instead, she did something rather creative. The widow countered with a proposal that she “rent back” for a period of “up to” a certain date (a date beyond her scheduled competition date on the condo) in exchange for a modest flat sum to be paid to the buyer at settlement. The total rent back period was less than two months. The flat fee was less than the amount of the new mortgage payment for the buyers. However, since they made no payment on their new mortgage the first month, it wasn’t too far out of line. The couple really wanted the home, so they accepted the counter offer.  Another win, win situation was created. The widow only had to move one time and the young couple got a house they probably wouldn’t have in a straight bidding war. If you find yourself in a situation similar to either the widow or the young couple, perhaps you can work out a similar solution.
 
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

REALTORS® Expect Continued Home Price Growth in Most States in the Next 12 Months

In the monthly REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey, the National Association of REALTORS® asks members “In the neighborhood or area where you make most of your sales, what are your expectations for residential property prices over the next year?” Home prices have been on the rise as demand continues to outstrip supply. At the end of August 2017, the inventory of homes for sale stood at 1.88 million homes, which is equivalent to 4.2 months of the current monthly sales pace.  Month’s supply has been falling since January 2015, 27 consecutive months now. With falling inventory, home prices have increased. As of August 2017, the median price of existing homes sold was $253,500, surpassing the peak median price of $229,500 in June 2006. The map below shows the median expected price change of the respondents in the next 12 months at the state level, according to respondents in the August 2017 REALTORS® Confidence Index Survey.[1]  REALTOR® respondents expected strong price growth in Washington, Nevada, Utah, and Colorado, of more than five percent in the next 12 months. Since January 2012, the year which can be considered as a breakout year for the housing market, home prices have increased by 68 percent as of July 2017, a four-fold increase compared to the 15 percent gain in median household income. Housing starts, although improving, have not kept pace with the 1.5 million estimated demand for units coming from net household formation (about 1.2 million) and units needed to replace obsolete or destroyed homes. Housing starts need to ramp up even further, especially in Texas and Florida, to replace the housing units damaged or destroyed by hurricanes Harvey and Irma. In Texas alone, the Texas Division of Emergency Management of the Department of Public Safety reported that as of September 19, there were 15,458 destroyed residential properties and 61,667 damaged properties (single-family, mobile, and multi-family).[2] [1] To increase the number of observations for each state, NAR uses data from the last three surveys. [2] DSO Spreadsheet 17-0021, Texas Department of Public Safety, https://www.dps.texas.gov/dem/sitrep/default.aspx
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

WATCH: Realtors® November Housing Minute

Existing-home sales and contract signings saw strong gains in October, but both remained below year ago levels because of the persistent supply and affordability barriers in much of the country. Watch above, or visit https://www.nar.realtor/videos/housing-minute to view a 56-second, animated video from the National Association of Realtors® summarizing how the housing market performed in October, as well as a breakdown of single-family home prices during the third quarter of this year and NAR’s 2018 housing forecast.
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

On the House: What to Expect When It’s Time to Get Your Home Inspected

(TNS)—Buying a house can be difficult enough—especially in today’s market. Even after a seller accepts an offer, the sale is not a done deal until certain “contingencies” are met. Some are straightforward: Some buyers stipulate, for example, that a sale cannot proceed until they sell their current home. Other contingencies are more complicated. Either way, all are in place to protect buyers and sellers, allowing either to walk away from a deal if their conditions are not met. Navigating these contract conditions can be confusing, and in today’s hot real estate market in which some buyers are waiving contingencies in order to win bidding wars, it can be difficult to determine which are important. These days, real estate agents say they have seen buyers waive inspection contingencies to make their offers more attractive. In doing so, buyers are forgoing their rights to an independent inspection, meaning they cannot ask the seller for repairs or walk away from a property if it turns out to be unsatisfactory. In short, buyers are accepting a house as is—and potentially, all of its hidden problems. To help buyers decide how important independent inspections are, we spoke to real estate agents and inspectors about what goes into a home inspection, and whether waiving that condition is a good idea. What exactly is a home inspection?
In most typical real estate transactions, a home inspection is the next step that occurs after a bid is accepted. Buyers are responsible for hiring the inspector before the deal closes, and the process is in place to protect them. The inspector’s job is to examine a home, determining whether there are problems with its exterior or interiors, from the foundation to the roof. The inspector provides a report to a buyer, who can then bring that information to a seller and use it back at the bargaining table. How quickly do I have to schedule one?
“It depends on the contract and the state you’re in,” says Frank Lesh, executive director of the American Society of Home Inspectors. But typically, he adds, buyers have five to 10 days after a home goes under contract. Lesh’s advice: Once a home is under contract, contact an inspector immediately. “Inspectors are busy, especially in hot markets,” he says. “Some people tend to forget and wait until the last minute. You really only have a few days.”
How can I find a well-respected home inspector?
Regulations for home inspectors differ across the United States. In New Jersey, for instance, inspectors are licensed and regulated by the state’s Home Inspection Advisory Committee. To become certified, inspectors must, by law, complete 180 hours of study courses, including 40 hours of unpaid field work in the presence of a licensed inspector. Each inspector must pass a national exam, and complete continuing education every other year. In Pennsylvania, by contrast, home inspectors are not regulated by the state, and instead are required to be a “member in good standing of a national home inspection association,” such as the American Society of Home Inspectors (ASHI) or the International Association of Certified Home Inspectors (interNACHI). Each association has its own requirements on certification and continuing education; for example, ASHI requires inspectors to pass the national exam and to complete 250 inspections to become certified. Continuing education is also required. What does my home inspection cover?
A general home inspection is a noninvasive exam of a seller’s home. “The standards of practice are pretty uniform,” says Pete Ciliberto, owner and chief inspector of Real Estate Inspections, an inspection group. “We are covering all the major components and systems of a house—all of the structural elements, the foundation, exposed framing,” and more. What that means: A general inspector will inspect the general structure of the roof, and the gutters and downspouts around it. He or she will make sure the home’s “flashing”—the thin layer of waterproof material that prevents water from getting into where it does not belong—is correct. The heating and air conditioning systems are also inspected to ensure they are up to snuff. So are ceilings and floors, chimneys and vents. The ventilation of attics is inspected, and a generalized overview of electrical systems is completed. “There are probably over 200 things that we inspect,” Lesh says. What does it not include?
Many things are not included, inspectors say. An inspection is not technically exhaustive, they pointed out, nor does it determine a property’s suitability. Inspectors are not required to determine whether a building is up to code, and they are not required to move furniture, enter crawlspaces, or offer any services besides the inspection. Most important, the experts said, inspectors are not required to determine the presence of rodents or pests. They are not required to assess air quality or test for mold, mildew or fungus. Airborne and environmental hazards are also excluded, meaning radon, lead paint and asbestos tests are not conducted in a general inspection. However, buyers can bring in specialists if they have particular concerns—or hire a general inspector who may be trained in a specialized area. “There are guys who do mold testing, air sampling, and other ancillary services,” Lesh says. “If you want one person to take care of the whole thing, you can (find someone) to do that.” Why should I get one—and should I waive that contingency?
When making a financial decision as significant as purchasing a home, you want to confirm that you are making a wise investment. While inspections are not holistic, they offer a snapshot of a home’s condition, and can give you fair warning of what repairs may be needed now or in the near future. Plus, agents point out, after an inspection report is issued, a buyer can use the report to ask a seller for repairs—or can walk away entirely. “They can ask for anything they want or can terminate for any reason—they do not have to say why,” says Mike McCann, a real estate agent with Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach, REALTORS®, which has offices in the Mid-Atlantic region. “The fall-through rate is only about 10 to 15 percent of the time, but I will tell you now, over 90 percent of the time, concessions are made after the inspections.” McCann says he advises clients to never waive the inspection. “If they don’t own the home, there are many things about it that they don’t know yet. You can’t check the roof. You can’t see every joist. Having a professional go through that is very important.” ©2017 The Philadelphia Inquirer Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com. The post On the House: What to Expect When It’s Time to Get Your Home Inspected appeared first on RISMedia.
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

5 Tips to Maximize Your Home’s Value When You Sell

Whatever the reason for selling, you’ll want to get the most out of the transaction.  Some simple tips can help you market and sell your home in the least amount of time, for the maximum value.
1) First, do your homework.   Find out the local market conditions for your neighborhood.  Depending on your area, there may be better/worse times to sell.  Once you’ve decided to sell, there are three different levels of service that you may want to consider: • Sell the home yourself (FSBO)
• List your with a Discount / Flat fee broker
• Utilize a full service real estate agent/brokerage If you are inclined to sell the home yourself, note that you will bear the responsibility for marketing your property, along with full legal disclosures, inspections, appraisals and the like.  You should be very comfortable with real estate related documents, and comfortable with the legal implications resulting from the transaction.  You can also choose to use a discount or flat fee broker, who will assist you to sell your property.  Depending on the broker you select, you may be able to get some assistance with marketing, open houses, disclosures, title/escrow, etc.  Make sure that you understand exactly what services you are willing to pay.  Make sure you understand what services are covered under each pricing plan.  Find out if your listing will be posted on the website, what signage will be available to you; find out if you are posting the home to the respective MLS (multiple listings service) in your area. Each broker is different, so make sure to get references from former clients.   If you want to market your property to the largest pool of possible buyers, list your property with a full-service real estate broker/firm.  Now, before you pick up the phonebook or check that postcard you received in the mail, make sure to take the time to interview more than one agent/agency.   Find out if they are a REALTOR® -- a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS, a trade organization of nearly 1 million members nationwide.  Members of NAR subscribe to a stringent code of ethics to guarantee the highest level of service and integrity.  You may also want to know if they have any special REALTOR® designations, such as GRI and CRS, which require that real estate professionals take additional specialized real estate training.  In addition to qualifications, you should check references of the agent.  Make sure to speak with former clients to see if the agent is responsive and is available to keep you up-to-date with progress.   You need to have direct contact with your agent, so you will need to be as comfortable as possible.  The agent that handles your listing should: • Detailed marketing plan for your house, including online and offline marketing 
• Prepare a Comparative Market Analysis (CMA) of properties in your area that have sold, as well as properties currently listed
• Help you determine the best selling price for your house
• Advice on suggested home improvements  During the time that your house is on the market, potential buyers will make appointments to view your home, along with the planned open-houses that you or your agent may schedule.    Try to evaluate the house as if you are seeing it for the first time. Buyers need to envision themselves living in the home, so take care to present the property in its best light.  Put yourself in the position of a potential buyer and view the property starting at the front, itemizing the most cost-effective enhancements to make.  2) Clean up as much as possible.  You may want to paint walls (neutral colors are best) or spruce up wallpaper.  Replace old flooring and worn carpets.  Check and repair damaged or unsightly caulking in the tubs and showers.  If possible, hire a cleaning service. Display your best linens, towels, and shower curtains. Make up beds, and put fresh flower arrangements on the table.  Make sure that there are no offensive odors in the house.  Odor is the first thing buyers notice, and often a permanent turnoff.    3) Make your house their new home.  Put away or pack small appliances and other items that might be sitting on countertops or tables throughout the house. You want buyers to visualize the space in each room, so it is best to remove as many smaller items as possible.  Remove personal items, pictures and items to present clear shelves, book cases and walls.  Move excess furniture to make rooms more spacious. Replace heavy curtains with sheer ones that let in more light.  Clean and organize the closets. If you must, store boxes in an out of the way location.  You may also want to rent a temporary storage unit, to allow you to de-clutter every part of the house. 4) Don’t forget the outside!  The right landscaping can enhance the curb appeal of a home.  Eliminate weeds, patch bare spots, fertilize and water. Take a good look at the shrubbery. Bushes that have grown to cover windows should be pruned to let sun and light into the home.   Fill in bare spots with small shrubs and colorful, fast growing annuals, such as impatiens and petunias. A few well-placed flower pots by the front door can be very inviting. Today's buyers want low maintenance. Your goal should be a beautifully maintained yard that looks easy to care for. 5) Allow your agent/representative to show your home.  Buyers don’t want to offend current owners, so they may be more hesitant to consider your home if you are present for open-house events.  Be flexible about showings. It’s often disruptive to have a house ready to show on the spur of the moment, but the more often someone can see your home, the sooner you’ll find a seller.
 
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

Why Doubling the Standard Deduction Won’t Help Most Homeowners

One of the most talked-about provisions in the tax reform framework that the Trump Administration and Republican congressional leadership released a few weeks ago is the doubling of the standard deduction. Of all the changes the framework would make, this one is presented as something that will help middle-income households. And that is true, but the households that it mainly helps are renter households. Home-owning households will likely see their taxes go up even if they were to take that increased standard deduction. There are two reasons for this. First, although the standard deduction would increase from $12,600 for a family to $24,000, the plan would do away with the personal exemption and the exemption for dependents. Right now, those exemptions are $4,050 per person, So, for a family of four, the family would see their standard deduction rise from $12,600 to $24,000 but they would also no longer get to take their exemptions, which, under the current code, would total $16,200. So, they would gain almost $12,000 but lose more than $16,000. Households with larger families would lose even more. Second, for homeowners who are used to itemizing their deductions, all of these deductions except for two—the deductions for charitable giving and mortgage interest—would go away. For many middle-income households (those earning between $50,000 and $200,000), the two remaining itemized deductions won’t be enough to make it advantageous for them to continue itemizing. That’s mainly because they would lose the deduction for state and local taxes, which, for many households, is the single largest itemized deduction they take, even larger than the deduction for mortgage interest. As a result, they would almost certainly stop itemizing and instead take the standard deduction. While that might give some of them a better tax picture than if they continued to itemize, it would nevertheless be less than what they receive in tax benefits under the current code. Just as importantly, the change would wipe out the distinction between owning and renting in the tax code. That’s a distinction that’s been part of the tax code for more than 100 years and losing it would result in an across-the-board drop in home values by 10 percent or more, NAR estimates. Of course, everyone’s tax picture is unique. How one person or one family comes out under the proposed changes will differ based on many factors–household income, household expenses, the number of dependents, the size of the mortgage, the state a household lives in, and so on. But in general, based on analyses NAR and other organizations have either done themselves or commissioned others to do, the result won’t be a net gain for most middle-income households but rather a net loss. That’s why NAR and many other organizations are opposing the changes the framework is proposing. NAR’s concerns are detailed in the latest Voice for Real Estate news video. Watch now.
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

New and Updated in the Library – October 2017

The following References have recently been updated in the Library: Arbitration & Dispute Resolution Traditionally, real estate industry disputes rely on negotiation for solutions. If negotiation fails, litigation is often initiated. Mediation involves the skillful intervention of a third-party professional to help resolve disputes that arise between two or more parties. Arbitration, a form of alternative dispute resolution (ADR), is a legal technique for the resolution of disputes outside the courts. The parties to a dispute refer it to one or more persons (the “arbitrators”, “arbiters,” or “arbitral tribunal”), whose decision (the “award”) they agree to be bound. It is a settlement technique in which a third party reviews the case and imposes a decision that is legally binding for both sides. Franchises vs. Independents Most REALTORS® are likely to be affiliated with an independent, non-franchised company. The decision to join a franchise or an independent firm can be difficult. There are pros and cons to each. Starting Your Career in Commercial Real Estate Though both the U.S. and world economies remain in a somewhat precarious state, the commercial real estate market has shown incremental improvements since the economic collapse of the 2000s. Navigating the commercial real estate landscape often requires deft knowledge and skill. Resource Efficiency Mortgages The green movement is here to stay, and nowhere is this more apparent than in the housing market. Vacation, Resort and Second Homes In 2016, low housing inventory in 2016 impacted housing sales and prices across the nation. As inventory remained constrained, home prices increased.  Also in 2016, the share of buyers who purchased a primary residence rose for the third year to 70 percent from 65 percent. The share of vacation home buyers declined for the third straight year to 12 percent from 16 percent.  The share of investment buyers remained unchanged at 19 percent for the third straight year.  The median vacation and investor home purchase price was higher in 2016 than in 2015. The typical price was $200,000 for vacation buyers, up from $192,000. Investors typically purchased a median-priced property of $155,000, up from $143,500. Thirty-six percent of investors and 29 percent of vacation buyers paid all-cash for their property purchase. When financing their purchase, 45 percent of vacation buyers and 47 percent of investors financed less than 70 percent of their purchase.  The sales estimates are based on responses from nearly 2,099 U.S. adults who purchased a home in the last year.  On this page, you will find information on the activity in the vacation/second home market as well as tips on working with the vacation/second home buyer. You’ll also uncover a variety of resources available from the National Association in addition to updates on the RSPS certification. Industrial & Warehouse The outlook for the industrial/warehouse sector continues to brighten, including expected decreases in vacancy rates and projected gains in rental rates. The demand for warehouse space is on the rise and gaining the attention of companies and investors. Read about market data and statistics; innovative ways to market and utilize warehouse space; and insight into the how the legalization of marijuana is making an impact on the warehouse industry. Effects of Trails and Greenways on Property Values Examining the effects trails and greenways have on the value of surrounding properties and some possible resources people can use to educate communities about them. Small House Movement Does size matter? The current economic climate as well as a desire for a greener lifestyle has driven some Americans to examine how much space they really need. The small home movement is hardly a novel concept—just ask New Yorkers who often spend decades in studio apartments.
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

Buying in a Seller’s Market: Who’s the Winner?

Editor’s Note: This was originally published on RISMedia’s blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin’ now at blog.rismedia.com: Crowdfunding Your Way Into a Home Great Spaces: Living Luxe in Beautiful Bradenton Survey: Broker Operations and Technology The change of season often brings a shift in real estate market conditions. Inventory tends to decline and buyers may become more aggressive in their home search. This change can affect real estate transactions in a variety of ways. Here’s what you need to know about buying or selling a home in a seller’s market:
Time is valuable.
Buyers don’t have as many options as during the peak purchasing months. This means more competition because there aren’t as many homes to look at in their price points. Buyers need to know what they want. If they absolutely need three bedrooms, then they’ll have to ignore that two-bedroom house or risk losing out on better opportunities. They will also need to be prepared to make offers quickly. Buyers without a preapproval will not be considered and will likely miss out on highest and best deadlines by the time they obtain one. On the other hand, sellers will have an easier time selling their home. If in good condition, their home will likely be the cream of the crop during low-inventory months. Offers are aggressive.
In a seller’s market, buyers will often have to deal with multiple-offer situations. If they don’t bring their best offer to the table, they will most likely lose out. Sellers can also prioritize stronger terms. They may decide to go with a lower offer if the buyer can close faster or is putting more money down. A combination of the highest purchase price with a 20 percent down payment and a reliable lender is usually the winner. Of course, you can’t forget that cash is king. An all-cash offer will likely trump any others on the table. Negotiations are a game changer.
Unfortunately, buyers may lose some negotiating power in a seller’s market. Unless the seller is incredibly motivated to get rid of their property, they may take advantage by refusing to take care of some inspection items. Buyers should be wary of asking for too much, as even big-ticket items may not be taken care of. Unless something is a safety or health hazard, it shouldn’t even be brought up. Sellers may also decide to be more selective about what they are leaving with the house. They may decide not to include appliances such as a refrigerator, dishwasher or washer and dryer. Even small things like tone in a negotiation email should be taken into consideration. Alienating the sellers this early in the game can force them to go with a back-up offer. Real estate agents are essential.
Even though a seller’s market clearly tips the scale in one direction, buyers are more likely to lose out if they are not working with an experienced agent. Likewise, sellers may not even be aware of their advantage without the help of a real estate professional. Agents will advocate for their clients—whether they are buyers or sellers—by helping them get as much as possible during sale price and inspection negotiations. Things that may not seem significant—such as getting all of the paperwork submitted correctly, sending emails to the opposing agent and doing due diligence on the property—can make a huge difference in a seller’s market. Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com. The post Buying in a Seller’s Market: Who’s the Winner? appeared first on RISMedia.
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

Don’t Just Sell a Home; Market a Lifestyle

Kevin Tengan told attendees at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo to remember that home buyers are looking for “a place for their life to happen.” To help your listing stand out from the competition, focus on the lifestyle the property will help buyers achieve, in addition to common details such as square footage and number of bedrooms. That’s the advice of visual effects specialist Kevin Tengan, who has turned his experience working on Hollywood productions into the foundation for a real estate business that reflects his love for imagery and storytelling. A buyer might say they want a four-bedroom, three-bath house with a sunny kitchen and a backyard, but what they’re really looking for is “a place for their life to happen,” he said during a session at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Chicago earlier this month. “A lot of what we communicate is ‘what’ and ‘how,’ but few talk about ‘why,’” said Tengan, CRS, chief operating officer of RE/MAX Prestige in Honolulu. “Start with the why.” As you develop marketing campaigns, remember that saying a home is in a great neighborhood isn’t as powerful as showing why that is the case, said Tengan. For example, if you produce a video property tour, include footage of nearby attractions such as beaches, museums, shopping districts, and other aspects of a community that can inspire a buyer to want to live in the area—not just in the home. Anything you can do to tie your listing to the lifestyle buyers want will attract more traffic, Tengan said. One of the keys to developing marketing materials that will resonate with buyers looking for a certain lifestyle is understanding the trends that characterize the people you are trying to reach, said Emily Line, vice president of commercial services for Realtors Property Resource®. As a real estate professional, you have access to an enormous amount of data about what consumers are looking for. There are services that can sift through the information and create reports to help you develop an effective pitch, Line said. The data can help you tune in to trends that reflect the kind of buyers you want to reach. You can identify people in certain kinds of occupations, where they like to shop, and what they like to do for entertainment, Line said. This information can help you connect with buyers in your area, as well as investors who want to purchase commercial or residential properties that will attract certain types of tenants, she said. Turn the information you collect into a marketing tool by incorporating it into a story that connects the property to the goals and lifestyle of those who would buy it, Tengan said. “At the end of the day, the story is all that matters. A great story evokes a reaction.”
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

 

Instant Reaction: July Owners’ Gains Forecast

The S&P CoreLogic Case-Shiller National Index shows that U.S. prices of single-family homes continue to rise. The national index level in July reached a new high and is up 5.9 percent from a year earlier.  But what does this mean for homeowners? Home prices affect the wealth of homeowners. As the price of housing increases, the wealth of homeowners increases as well. Based on the above increase of home prices, it is estimated that value of owners’ household real estate was increased by 1.3 trillion in the last year and 110 billion came from home price increases in July. That means that 75 million homeowners each gained $17,600 on average in July 2017 from a year earlier.
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Brandon Farber

Brandon Farber

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