Real Estate Foreclosure Crisis

Foreclosures are present at every stage of the market; from in expensive homes to multi million dollar waterfront mansions, and most of the distress properties are in a price range under $500,000.

Foreclosures of mortgages on residential real property are destabilizing property values as well as disrupting the financial wellness of families, neighborhoods, communities and municipalities. Foreclosures have accelerated not only due to a downturn in the economy that’s affected home sales, but because many homeowners were talked into adjustable-rate mortgages that moved to higher payment levels that they could not afford.

Personal bankruptcies and foreclosures are major influences on credit scores, but it is becoming increasingly more common that late payments due to lost jobs or reduces hours are also affecting credit scores. Many individuals took out home loans that they didn’t understand and bought homes that they couldn’t afford.

There has been a current trend of walk-a-ways, those family that abandon their home before the foreclosure process has been completed or decided to live in their home without making their mortgage payments until the banks do finally foreclosure which depending in which state they live can take upward to two years.

Homeowners that are facing financial difficulties should approach their mortgage lenders as soon as they expect that they might start to fall behind and see what options are available including a loan modification.

Because foreclosures impose extra costs, including legal and administrative as well as the costs of leaving the property vacant for a possibly extended period, both the borrower and the lender often are better off avoiding foreclosure.

Beware the rise in foreclosures has created predatory practices because “foreclosure rescue” has become a lucrative business venture for scammers. There is no quick fix and often a homeowner is left with a daunting financial mess with few options. Even mortgage modifications take time and many are never approved.

Even worst are those homeowners that get approved to only find that they still end up in default months later as they purchased a home they couldn’t afford.

In the event there is a foreclosure there can possibly be tax issues as the lender will report the foreclosure to the Internal Revenue Service and you will be issued a 1099 A, 1099 S or both. Depending on the tax rules in place at the time of the foreclosure the taxpayer could owe taxes on part of the unpaid balance of the mortgage.

Congress passed a bill back in 2007 to exempt taxpayers from having to pay taxes on the personal residence defaults up to and including 2010. Check with your tax adviser to see if there has been additional relief to this tax rule.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Investment Criteria of a Beginning Real Estate Investor

Focusing on property features alone is a quick way to the grave of your real estate career. I think this is an easy concept to grasp, but it does come up, so I wanted to share how I feel about what variables an investor should focus on to make solid buying decisions. Mistakes are made all the time by investors paying too much for a piece of real estate, but I would bet there are even more mistakes made when it comes to NOT buying a property they should. The old saying is, “the only real estate deals I regretted are the ones I didn’t do.” I am not sure I totally agree, but I understand the concept.

If you limit your criteria to property features, you will miss out on fantastic buying opportunities.

When I go to networking events, I often hear investors ask each other about their investment criteria. I cringe when I hear something like, “I am looking for 3 beds, 2 baths that will rent for $1,400 a month.” If I get an answer like that I will likely respond with, “What is wrong with something that is only 2 bedrooms that will rent for $1,500?” The normal response is a look of confusion or no response at all. Obviously there is a lot more to it than the bedrooms and bathrooms and even the price. What about location, HOAs fees, or deferred maintenance? What about the investor’s risk tolerance, potential for appreciation or potential to redevelop in the future?

When looking for deals, there are two points you might want to consider.

FOCUS ON PRICE AND VALUE

If you focus on property features you might miss a neighborhood that produces the financial outcome you are aiming for. I would much rather hear an investor explain their criteria as a return on investment, price to property value, or even a value play in a certain area. This is the criteria that focus on the financials. A skill as an investor should be to be good at coming up with a value (that could be based on resell value, cash flow, or other potential) and then deciding what you are willing to pay for that value. A fix and flip is a great example and is easy to analyze because there are very few factors. Rentals can be a bit more challenging because variables like; location, potential tenants, future vacancies, maintenance, future price changes, your short term and long term financing, management, and rent amounts all play a role in your decision. There are risks with all real estate deals, so you will want to understand those as you work towards the price you are willing to pay.

CONFORM TO AREA

This is not always necessary, but in most cases you will want to conform to the neighborhood. If you are looking for a condo in a building full of 2 bedroom condos, then buying a 2 bedroom condo would make since. If you are only considering buying 3 bedrooms, but you are looking in a 2 bedroom neighborhood, you will severely limit opportunities. In many cases bedrooms add little to no resell value, but that is not always true. A big opportunity exists if you can find a 1 or 2 bedroom house in a 3 bedroom neighborhood. By converting the house with fewer bedrooms to conform to the area, you should see a big upside. You should also see upsides when adding bedrooms to rental property, because it should increase cash flow. All of these opportunities could be missed if you are not open to looking at them. A strategy that I see some investors successfully implement is to first understand a certain neighborhood and get comfortable with the values and then search for discounted properties in that neighborhood. In this case, you will be searching for price to value not property features.

With all this said, a house that does not conform to the area could still be a good investment. Remember, all real estate has value and all real estate is a good buy for the right price.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Real Estate Agent Job Description

Real estate agents liaise between home owners and buyers to conduct the sale, purchase or rent of properties. They work for brokers and play a major role in assisting people buy or sell residential, commercial or industrial property. They keep and maintain an up-to-date account of property listing and other relevant housing information to stay abreast with properties available on the real estate market. They subscribe to several listing services to advertise and market properties up for sale. They also contact property and market properties up for sale. They also contact property owners to obtain information regarding a property.

As part of their responsibilities, estate agents present sales and purchase offers to clients for consideration. They advise them on property rates, legal requirements and general market trend. They also interview clients to determine their property preference or specification. Usually, they prepare a list of properties that best match the needs and requirements of clients. They visit and inspect properties in order to establish precise property value. They also proffer recommendations to clients on properties that best suit their budget and preference.

Most estate agents oversee the preparation of closing statements, purchase agreements, representation contracts and other necessary documents required for estate trade. They conduct negotiations between property sellers and buyers to establish price and other terms of sales. They also liaise with pest control operators, home inspectors etc. to ensure the terms and conditions stated in a purchase agreement are met prior to the closing of sales.

In fulfilling their role, real estate agents oversee the closing of property sales, they ensure payment is complete and appropriate documents signed. They maintain contact with clients to offer them real estate services/products and assist with the resolution of issues. They also provide consultation services to clients to recommend strategies for the speedy sale of property. They often conduct training programs for junior/trainee sales agents to enhance their sales skill. This job position requires at least a high school diploma, state license for practice and an aptitude for sales. Qualities needed for the job include persuasion, interpersonal skills and problem-solving skills.

Real Estate Agent Job Description Sample

Given below is a sample of the job description usually handed real estate agents by most employers:

  • Act as liaisons to conduct real estate trade between property buyers and sellers
  • Present sales offers to clients as well as bid on available properties
  • Carry out investigations to determine client credit status and ability to complete payment
  • Inspect properties to appraise its value and estimate the worth on the property market
  • Interact with clients to identify their requirements and proffer recommendations on properties that best suit their budgets
  • Assist home sellers in promoting their buildings on property listing services to attract clients for purchase
  • Prepare and deliver sales pitches to clients in order to secure real estate contract
  • Provide clients with a list of properties available for sale to assist them in making choice selection
  • Conduct price negotiations between property buyers and sellers to ensure a fair bargain for both parties
  • Provide clients with a tour of residential, industrial or commercial properties to showcase and explain property features
  • Carry out investigations to confirm clients have clear property titles
  • Provide appropriate reply to client’s enquiries concerning property appraisals, financing, maintenance etc.
  • Examine property premises to recommend maintenance measure required to improve the face value
  • Assist clients in evaluating mortgage options to obtain the best rate and terms
  • Attend conventions, conferences and seminars to improve existing job knowledge and expand personal network.

If you are a recruiter needing the best real estate agent to hire, you can use the sample job description above in making one for your company, for use in hiring and assigning duties to the successful candidates.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Choose A CARING Real Estate Agent

Whether you are looking to sell your home, or seeking to buy either your first house, or a new one, statistics indicate, those represented by quality, responsive real estate agents, generally, obtain the best/ finest results! In most areas, there are a large number of agents, to choose from, so doesn’t it make sense, to take the time, and make the effort, to carefully, interview several, and determine, who’s best, for you? There are many factors to consider, but, since, for most of us, our house, represents, either our single – largest, or one of our largest, financial assets, it’s worth the effort, to get, what you need, and deserve. In other words, you need a CARING real estate agent, and. only, when you take the time, and effort, to choose wisely, it’s in your best interests. With that in mind, this article will briefly examine, consider, and review, using the mnemonic approach, what this means, and represents.

1. Character; clarity; cooperative: Focus on the true character, of each individual, Will he proceed, with the level of clarity, to make a quality difference, for the better? Does the prospective agent, proceed with a cooperative approach, rather than an adversarial one?

2. Attitude; aptitude; attention; articulate: You benefit when your representative possesses a positive, can – do, attitude, and looks for ways, you can, rather than focusing on problems. How well – developed are the individual’s skills and aptitude? Will he pay keen attention, to you, and your needs? Choose someone who is articulate, and clearly communicates with all parties!

3. Relevant; realistic; ready: Markets and economies change, and only someone, who pays attention, and uses relevant methods and approaches, achieves the finest results. Avoid someone who seeks to buy, your listing, by suggesting an overly optimistic, listing price. Is the agent, ready, for prime – time?

4. Integrity; ideas; imagination: The single – biggest thing to demand, is someone with absolute integrity! When you find this, then you need someone who will have a well – developed, relevant imagination, and ideas, which make a difference, for the better!

5. Needs; neighborhood: Choose someone who knows the neighborhood, thoroughly, and believes in it. Combining this, with putting your needs, first, is in your best – interest!

6. Generate goodwill; great: A great agent proves his worth and value. by generating goodwill, based on a combination of integrity, knowledge, skill – set, negotiating ability, and other relevant characteristics, as well as his responsiveness, etc. Find yourself, a great, rather, than, merely a good one!

Who you choose to serve your real estate needs, has a significant impact! Choose wisely, and carefully, and make it, a great – fit!

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Real Estate Appraisal – Bring Back the Cost Approach

In the last few years there has been a trend toward a complete discounting of the Cost Approach to value in residential appraisal. For owner occupied homes, the sole technique is now the Sales Comparison Analysis, which involves selecting and comparing individual property sales to a subject property.

Many lenders and government agencies no longer require the Cost Approach technique, even on new or nearly new construction, and appraisers are often instructed to omit it completely, or not to place any reliance on the results. When a lender does require that the Cost Approach be completed, it seems that this is only so that a proper amount of homeowner insurance can be determined. This is, of course, something critically important to the lender as well as the homeowner, but should not be the only criteria for the use of a cost-depreciation analysis.

Years ago a Cost Approach was always required for an appraisal report. The basis of this approach was the Principle of Substitution, which holds that a prudent buyer will not pay more for a home than the cost to acquire an equally desirable substitute home. Accordingly, the reproduction or replacement cost new of a home set the upper possible limit on value, particularly for an existing preowned home. So this analysis served not only as an additional means of estimating value, but also as a governor on runaway home prices.

The cost approach also served an important function as an educational tool for appraisers. To perform this approach, an appraiser had to have at least a minimal working knowledge of residential construction and to carefully observe the quality and condition of the various components of the home. Cost data services, which still exist today, provide continuously updated information on the various costs of construction involved in a home and some are quite accurate.

One service publishes a manual with a wealth of good data and information, complete with descriptions and photographs that illustrate the differences in quality and appearance for different types of homes, which is a great way for new or inexperienced appraisers to familiarize themselves with these features. In recent times I have come across reports by relatively new appraisers where no cost approach was done and it was painfully obvious that the appraiser knew very little about construction or how to evaluate the differences between their subject and the comparable sales they used in the Sales Comparison Analysis. I suspect we have a new generation of appraisers out there who have this deficiency and that’s a bad sign for the future. The best appraisers know something about construction and can immediately spot differences among homes as to their quality level. This ability is also critical for the appraisal reviewer.

The Cost Approach is not without its weaknesses. The primary weakness is in the estimate of depreciation, be it physical, functional or external in nature. These things are difficult to estimate, but again, the appraiser who learns how to do this becomes more knowledgeable and competent, both in the Cost and Sales Comparison methods. Another weakness is in estimating the land value. Actual sales are often not available as a means to determine what buyers are paying for a similar lot and so market abstraction (also called extraction) is used to estimate the ratio of land value to dwelling value from market sales of already built homes. Improperly done, this technique is subject to serious errors. The general rule for the Cost Approach is that it is most accurate when the dwelling is not very old and sales of nearby similar lots are available.

I am of the opinion that the majority of foreclosures involve relatively new homes and that this is where the largest amount of lending losses occur. At least, that’s how it is in my local market which has always had a lot of new construction. There are many reasons for foreclosures, but certainly one is upgrades.

Builders typically offer various home models at “base” prices and offer upgrades for both the home and the lot. Buyers can choose from a wide variety of options to enhance the home and can choose lots that are different in size or that have more trees or other desirable aspects. This is great for the buyer but can become a nightmare for the lender when a foreclosure happens because so many of those nice upgrades do not hold their value in subsequent foreclosure sales, and often do not hold their value as the distressed homeowner desperately tries to sell the home to avoid foreclosure.

The homeowner finds out they are “upside down” meaning the home cannot be sold for as much as the mortgage amount, especially when the initial down payment was very low or when financing costs were included (rolled into) the mortgage, necessitating an increase in the sale price. Another problem is inflated upgrade cost where some builders mark up the prices of upgrades well beyond normal prices that consumers pay at retail stores, even with installation added on. This is similar to what many service contractors (plumbers, car mechanics, etc.) do because they want to make a profit on the “parts” as well as the labor. The problem comes when the markup is excessive.

There is little an appraiser can do about upgrades when it can be shown that buyers often do select upgrades with their new home purchase. In the absence of current resales or foreclosures to compare with, it is not possible to estimate the resale value of upgrades, and values are estimated as of a given date, not the future.

The Cost Approach long served as a reasonable basis for making adjustments to market sales in the Sales Comparison Analysis for individual items. If a home needed a new roof, the appraiser had a handy source for determining the cost for this. Likewise for appliances, HVAC equipment, a garage and the like. Removing the Cost Approach and the good data that comes with it forces too many appraisers to have to guess at these kinds of adjustments and the results can vary wildly from one appraiser to the next.

Long ago homes were valued only by a Cost Approach. The Sales Comparison Analysis (formerly known as the Market Approach) came later. I don’t believe it is a coincidence that foreclosure rates and personal bankruptcies caused by unaffordable mortgage amounts and runaway home prices seem to have increased so much in recent years while the use of the Cost Approach has declined at the same time. Not do I believe it is a coincidence that the decrease in emphasis on cost minus depreciation began about the same time as tremendous inflows of capital into the marketplace encouraged every sort of easy money credit scheme that allowed so many people to buy homes they couldn’t actually afford and that has severely damaged not only the US economy, but the entire world. Mountains of money to lend tend to push caution to the side.

I believe that the Sales Comparison Analysis is surely a good valuation technique, but its down side is that there are too many clever ways for market participants to smuggle hidden costs, fees and even fraud into sales contracts, which make their way silently into market data services and onto appraisal reports. The same can be true for unhidden costs like seller paid loan discount fees and other monies paid toward buyer closing costs. At a minimum, an accurate Cost Approach serves as a useful check on the results of even the most thorough and detailed Sales Comparison Analysis where the appraiser is carefully searching for and analyzing such things. Undesirable things can and do happen in real estate and some can slip past even the best Sales Comparison Analysis because they happen quietly and incrementally.

An example of this is what I call closing cost price compounding. A real estate agent provides a seller a pricing analysis where the agent has found 20 recent sales of similar homes in the area and averaged the prices to arrive at a figure he or she believes is correct for the home. The home is then marketed at that price. Along comes a buyer (perhaps from a higher cost market) who lacks cash, needs some assistance with his closing costs, and makes an offer at or very near the asking price. The seller counters with an offer in which he adds the amount of assistance the buyer asked for to the price.

But what if this type of assistance turns out to be normal for the area and is already reflected in the selling prices of those 20 homes used to set the asking price to begin with? The new sale closes at the upwardly adjusted price and is then used as a “comp” by other agents and by appraisers and the process continues with every repeat occurrence of the needy buyer, causing home prices to rise, affordability to lessen, creating more needy buyers, and setting in motion a snowball effect where prices to rise eventually to the point that they exceed even cost new. This is not unlike interest compounding on your savings account. Over time your balance goes up faster and faster. Combine this with other inflationary market tendencies and you get a nasty bubble that will some day burst to the peril of us all…again.

Obviously, this could be avoided by competent sales agents who understand that those 20 sales already included heavy seller costs and inform their clients of this, but many do not and there is a built in incentive to push prices as high as possible among people working on commission. An accurate Cost Approach would tend to catch this anomaly immediately or at least decrease its effects down the line in future sales because when home prices begin to exceed what it would cost to build an equally desirable substitute home brand new, the competent appraiser knows that something is wrong and that they need to dig deeper into the market data.

A Cost Approach is also a great lie detector for fraudulent appraisals. If an appraiser included a Cost Approach and is using a known cost source or manual that others can subscribe or view, then the estimated costs shown in the appraisal can be reproduced from that same source by someone reviewing the report. So if the appraiser has fudged on cost, that can be detected simply by examining the cost source and parameters the appraiser had described. Moreover, even if the appraiser showed the correct costs, the fraudulently inflated appraisal will exhibit inflated land value in the Cost Approach with little or no support as to where the land value estimate comes from or why it is so high. In fraudulent appraisals, the Cost Approach is “plugged in” with numbers to match the Sales Comparison Analysis. That’s because an honest Cost Approach would have indicated a significantly lower value for the home.

There are other examples of how the Cost Approach could eliminate or reduce runaway home prices, and even detect fraud. I believe it is a foolish mistake to take away or encourage the disuse of any type of analysis or tool from appraisers that has a basis in market data. An analyst in any field of study should be willing and enabled to use as many ways as possible of looking at a problem. Focusing on just one method encourages tunnel vision. I say bring back the Cost Approach and let appraisers decide how useful or accurate it is on a case by case basis. It is not the end-all be-all solution but it is a valuable and worthwhile tool.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Duty Of Confidentiality In Real Estate

In any Listing Agreement there is a point in time when the agency relationship ends.

A Listing Agreement, as it is widely known, is none other than a contract between the rightful titleholder of an interest in land (the ‘Principal’) and a duly licensed real estate firm (the ‘Agent’), whereby the firm stipulates and agrees to find a Buyer within a specified timeframe who is ready, willing and able to purchase the interest in land that is the subject matter of the contract while acting within the realm of the authority that the Principal confers onto the Agent, and wherein furthermore the titleholder stipulates and agrees to pay a commission should the licensee ever be successful in finding such Buyer.

As in all contracts, there is implied in a Listing Agreement an element which is commonly know at law as an ‘implied covenant of good faith and fair dealings’. This covenant is a general assumption of the law that the parties to the contract – in this case the titleholder and the licensed real estate firm – will deal fairly with each other and that they will not cause each other to suffer damages by either breaking their words or otherwise breach their respective and mutual contractual obligations, express and implied. A breach of this implied covenant gives rise to liability both in contract law and, depending on the circumstances, in tort as well.

Due to the particular nature of a Listing Agreement, the Courts have long since ruled that during the term of the agency relationship there is implied in the contract a second element that arises out of the many duties and responsibilities of the Agent towards the Principal: a duty of confidentiality, which obligates an Agent acting exclusively for a Seller or for a Buyer, or a Dual Agent acting for both parties under the provisions of a Limited Dual Agency Agreement, to keep confidential certain information provided by the Principal. Like for the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealings, a breach of this duty of confidentiality gives rise to liability both in contract law and, depending on the circumstances, in tort as well.

Pursuant to a recent decision of the Real Estate Council of British Columbia (http://www.recbc.ca/) , the regulatory body empowered with the mandate to protect the interest of the public in matters involving Real Estate, a question now arises as to whether or not the duty of confidentiality extends beyond the expiration or otherwise termination of the Listing Agreement.

In a recent case the Real Estate Council reprimanded two licensees and a real estate firm for breaching a continuing duty of confidentiality, which the Real Estate Council found was owing to the Seller of a property. In this case the subject property was listed for sale for over two years. During the term of the Listing Agreement the price of the property was reduced on two occasions. This notwithstanding, the property ultimately did not sell and the listing expired.

Following the expiration of the listing the Seller entered into three separate ‘fee agreements’ with the real estate firm. On all three occasions the Seller declined agency representation, and the firm was identified as ‘Buyer’s Agent’ in these fee agreements. A party commenced a lawsuit as against the Seller, which was related to the subject property.

The lawyer acting for the Plaintiff approached the real estate firm and requested that they provide Affidavits containing information about the listing of the property. This lawyer made it very clear that if the firm did not provide the Affidavits voluntarily, he would either subpoena the firm and the licensees as witnesses to give evidence before the Judge, or he would obtain a Court Order pursuant to the Rules Of Court compelling the firm to give such evidence. The real estate firm, believing there was no other choice in the matter, promptly complied by providing the requested Affidavits.

As a direct and proximate result, the Seller filed a complaint with the Real Estate Council maintaining that the information contained in the Affidavits was ‘confidential’ and that the firm had breached a duty of confidentiality owing to the Seller. As it turned out, the Affidavits were never used in the court proceedings.

The real estate brokerage, on the other hand, took the position that any duty of confidentiality arising from the agency relationship ended with the expiration of the Listing Agreement. The firm argued, moreover, that even if there was a duty of continuing confidentiality such duty would not preclude or otherwise limit the evidence that the real estate brokerage would be compelled to give under a subpoena or in a process under the Rules Of Court. And, finally, the realty company pointed out that there is no such thing as a realtor-client privilege, and that in the instant circumstances the Seller could not have prevented the firm from giving evidence in the lawsuit.

The Real Estate Council did not accept the line of defence and maintained that there exists a continuing duty of confidentiality, which extends after the expiration of the Listing Agreement. Council ruled that by providing the Affidavits both the brokerage and the two licensee had breached this duty.

The attorney-client privilege is a legal concept that protects communications between a client and the attorney and keeps those communications confidential. There are limitations to the attorney-client privilege, like for instance the fact that the privilege protects the confidential communication but not the underlying information. For instance, if a client has previously disclosed confidential information to a third party who is not an attorney, and then gives the same information to an attorney, the attorney-client privilege will still protect the communication to the attorney, but will not protect the information provided to the third party.

Because of this, an analogy can be drawn in the case of a realtor-client privilege during the existence of a Listing Agreement, whereby confidential information is disclosed to a third party such as a Real Estate Board for publication under the terms of a Multiple Listings Service agreement, but not before such information is disclosed to the real estate brokerage. In this instance the privilege theoretically would protect the confidential communication as well as the underlying information.

And as to whether or not the duty of confidentiality extends past the termination of a Listing Agreement is still a matter of open debate, again in the case of an attorney-client privilege there is ample legal authority to support the position that such privilege does in fact extend indefinitely, so that arguably an analogy can be inferred as well respecting the duration of the duty of confidentiality that the Agent owes the Seller, to the extent that such duty extends indefinitely.

This, in a synopsis, seems to be the position taken by the Real Estate Council of British Columbia in this matter.

Clearly, whether the duty of confidentiality that stems out of a Listing Agreement survives the termination of the contract is problematic to the Real Estate profession in terms of practical applications. If, for instance, a listing with Brokerage A expires and the Seller re-lists with Brokerage B, if there is a continuing duty of confidentiality on the part of Brokerage A, in the absence of express consent on the part of the Seller a Realtor of Brokerage A could not act as a Buyer’s Agent for the purchase of the Seller’s property, if this was re-listed by Brokerage B. All of which, therefore, would fly right in the face of all the rules of professional cooperation between real estate firms and their representatives. In fact, this process could potentially destabilize the entire foundation of the Multiple Listings Service system.

In the absence of specific guidelines, until this entire matter is clarified perhaps the best course of action for real estate firms and licensees when requested by a lawyer to provide information that is confidential, is to respond that the brokerage will seek to obtain the necessary consent from the client and, if that consent is not forthcoming, that the lawyer will have to take the necessary legal steps to compel the disclosure of such information.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

8 Benefits of Having a Real Estate Website

Whether your old school or on the cutting edge of technology in your dynamic real estate business, everyone needs a website in this day and age. The benefits of having a real estate website are many in number, and the risks of getting left behind without one are very real. So, what exactly are these benefits? Read on for a brief sample.

1- Build a Strong Web Presence

Get found easier and instantly, via Google searches or links on other sites. Have your office’s address, phone numbers, e-mail address, logo, current listings, and specialization displayed at the click of a mouse. Show up in more places, under more categories, and associated with specific strategic keywords. If you combine your real estate website with the rest of a comprehensive marketing campaign, people can find you in so many different ways, your business will be hard to miss!

Make sure to create a listing on Google My Business for local listings, which are area-specific. Yes, you can select who sees you first, depending on where they live.

2- Generate More Leads

This is a no-brainer. Gone are the days of paying thousands of dollars for Yellow Pages ads and highway billboards, hoping enough people will see it and maybe call your office. Do you also want to pay someone just to answer the phone for you full-time, and rely on methods that the average client no longer uses? Your real estate website is like your modern-day “head office”. This should be the first and most important place your potential clients find you, and if you use an online form to collect client info, then the real estate leads are immediate, free, and warm. A website can also serve as the place that you direct clients to your social media, or vice versa, and have the public sign up for your impactful newsletter for regular announcements.

You’ll also now have a thorough database of potential client info for ongoing listings distribution or announcements.

3- Provide More Exposure to Your Properties

The bulk of a real estate website should be dedicated to property descriptions. This is the opportunity to display full-detail descriptions, brilliant digital photography, and 360-degree virtual tours. You can use as much or as little space as you like, provide clickable links, and make it a more interactive experience for the visitor. The listing created on your real estate website can also be shared (for free) via external links to your own social media pages, other real estate websites, community websites, or anywhere else your marketing efforts lead you.

Again, gone are the days of paying for paper advertising in a weekly or monthly magazine with black and white photos, lost among thousands of other listings in the same book. This just isn’t effective anymore, and can even be a waste of money.

4- Tell Them More About You

A real estate website is the perfect place for potential clients can learn more about you as a professional. This is more important in real estate than almost any other service business. Talk about and splash photos displaying awards you have won, events you participate in, community involvement, as well as your personal background and qualifications. When people get to know you this way (as an individual) they get to like you and trust you. This complements your social media and other real estate marketing strategies perfectly.

5- Tell Them About Your Business

Why wait for a local journalist to write an article about you in the paper or local magazine? Want to be known and respected in the local community? Modern technology puts the power back into your hands. Put the information out there yourself, and draw readers in to see it through strategic web techniques.

For no extra cost, you can regularly publish and update details such as the regions you work in, your years of experience, and areas of real estate expertise. Do you have a knowledgeable team? Are you influential in a hot part of town? Do you specialize in condos, revenue properties, or commercial buildings? Put that out there, forever and visible to the entire world. Include high definition photography and videos to reinforce the message, and make a strong first impression they won’t forget.

6- Create a Brand for Your Practice

If you’ve never succeeded in transforming yourself (and your practice) into a brand, or maybe never thought about it, then this is the way. Think about the biggest, most successful, “celebrity” real estate brokers in your area. They are household names, aren’t they? The public is familiar with their names and faces, the same way they know the name of the local grocery store, florist, or school. Top of mind awareness is ultra important in any business.

Think about it. Your picture everywhere, a logo people will remember, a slogan that rolls off the tongue. A properly executed real estate website can begin this process for you, and position you and your agency as the brand of choice in your local market.

7- Use It as Part of Your Listing Presentation

A listing presentation is what an agent shows to the home seller to convince them that he/she is qualified to sell their home. It usually includes stats, a marketing strategy, pricing, relevant experience, and the added value the agent brings to get the job done. If much of this information is already on your website, you save time and effort. Maybe your potential seller already saw a lot of these details and is already impressed by you before even placing the first call.

8- Exchange Information More Easily

No need for potential new clients to call and wait to speak to your receptionist. This small gesture alone can turn off the ultra busy and impatient 25 to 50-year-old shopper, who is used to having questions answered instantaneously these days. No more need to set up an appointment, drive to meet each other, and invest time just for some initial “this is how we work” info. All this can be accomplished with a few brief lines on your real estate website, which people can read within seconds and move onto the next step.

No need for clients to wait for a form to arrive by fax, or stay on the phone during business hours, to fill in their personal info.

This also allows existing and potential clients to provide feedback in an open forum, so you know what they’re looking for. All this can be done 7 days a week, 24 hours a day, and not just during your office hours (when potential clients themselves are most busy).

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

U.S. Real Estate Predictions for 2019

Similar as to how political pundits claim that this election cycle will be the most important in a generation, this year could be the most important year in recent memory in terms of mortgage loans and the residential real estate industry at large. (And if you believe that I have some swap land in Florida I’d like to sell you). For a variety of reasons, I have decided unilaterally to keep it short and sweet this year. Hence, here are the three perennial predictions for 2019.

1. Gig Work.

At first glance, the phrase “Gig Work” seems antithetical to sound mortgage underwriting standards, but it is in fact actually very refreshing. And that is to say that as the aftermath of the 2008 crash could not be further from the subconscious, there perhaps is subprime “creep” into present underwriting standards. But this is not your Daddy’s Oldsmobile underwriting standards. Meaning, that lenders today are more than willing to count part-time and intermittent work as bonifide income, even though it had been looked down upon post-2008.

According to Saideh Brown, President Emeritus of the National Council of Women at the United Nations, “Mortgage lenders are beginning to factor in gig-work for mortgage approval. This is only going to become more prevalent with the current job market. Banks are looking into all sources of income and gig-work is quickly becoming a primary source of income for millennials and must be factored in to get an emotional buy-in to homeownership from this generational block.”

Thus, the bottomline for 2019 on Prediction 1, expect creative – yet reasonable underwriting standards to become apart of normal mortgage underwriting procedures.

2. Saved by the Millennials (again). Whaaat??

At second glance, who isn’t bored by the self-absorbed Millennials. Me for one, but not withstanding that tongue and cheek denigrative response to the flavor of the month generation – who will undoubtedly be replaced by the next off-spring of eternal hopefulless, they do at least make for good print. And here’s the angle; while many are concerned if real estate is a safe bet today, then historically speaking it is – and thus, one’s perspective should be long term, despite the naysayers on non-real estate appreciation for 2019.

According to Dan Green, CEO of real estate site Growella, “Rising mortgage rates aren’t slowing the Millennial Generation’s desire for homeownership. Pent-up demand will continue to unfurl through 2019, moving home values up across all price points. Like all markets, housing is defined by supply and demand. And, so long as supply and demand remain within tolerable ranges, housing will continue to be a good investment.”

Thus, the bottomline for 2019 on Prediction 2, buy now and forever hold your peace, since interest rates are still good.

3. Home price decline.

Real estate has always been local. Hence, the adage “Location, location, location.” With that in mind, there is nothing to catastrophically fret about in terms of buying a home as a primary home. If you’re an investor, then pick your fights carefully, since not all markets will perform as anticipated no matter how smart you may think you are! With that in mind (again), there will be a slight degree of variability – as there sound be, since it would be insanely moronically not to expect some degree of variability. Even in the Garden of Eve, market value likely dipped in price after Adam bit into the apple.

According to Ruben Gonzales, Chief Economist at Keller Williams, “As we look toward 2019, we are anticipating home sales to decline around 2%. We’re expecting it to be another slightly slower year as buyers continue to wrangle with higher mortgage rates after contending with several years of rapid price growth.”

Thus, the bottomline for 2019 on Prediction 3, proceed with caution as an investor, but as a primary homebuyer nothing should reasonable caution you from a buying decision, since home appreciation should be an afterthought, and especially so depending upon your hold period.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

What You Need From Your Real Estate AGENT?

Why do some homeowners, decide to try, to sell their house, on their own, while most, depend upon, and rely on, the services, advice, and expertise of a real estate professional? If you didn’t benefit, from using an AGENT, why would anyone, take that course? Those, who decide to pursue, the For Sale By Owner, or, what is, often, referred to, as the, FSBO, approach, generally, state, they believe, they could achieve the same results, and eliminate paying commissions/ fees, etc. On the other hand, statistics clearly indicate, in the vast number of instances, those, engaging agents, achieve better results, in terms of the size and number of offers, peace – of – mind, etc. With that in mind, this article will attempt to, briefly, consider, examine, review, and discuss, using the mnemonic approach, what this means and represents, and what, one needs, and deserves from the agent, they hire.

1. Attitude; aptitude; attention; action; analysis: Seek representation from an individual, with a real, positive, can – do, attitude, combined with an aptitude, and skill – set, which will best serve your interests, etc! This person must pay keen attention to your needs, and best – interests, and take actions, which best serve, and represent you! Homeowners should benefit, from the professional analysis, and guidance, offered, and provided!

2. Goodwill; guidance: Wouldn’t this often – stressful period, become easier, if you were offered professional guidance, and generate true goodwill? If these are provided, your agent may prove, whatever commission paid, is well, worth – it!

3. Empathy; emphasis; efforts; excellence; endurance: You need someone who effectively listens to you, and, is willing to proceed, with the utmost degree of genuine empathy! This must direct, where he places his emphasis, and efforts, on your behalf! Hire someone who will always demand his utmost degree of personal excellence, and never settle for good – enough! Since there are often, obstacles, stresses, and strains, during this period, you need someone with the endurance, experience, and expertise, as well as self – confidence, to hold – your – hand, and comfort you, throughout!

4. Needs; nuances; neighborhood; niche: Agents must know and understand your region, area, block and neighborhood! How they address your needs, requires using whatever, nuances, help, you get greater results! They must, honestly, understand, and address the niche market, for your property!

5. Timely; time – tested; trust/ truth: If you can’t trust someone, he probably isn’t the best agent, for you! This means, telling the truth, consistently, and using his experience, and expertise, with time – tested, techniques, etc. Never procrastinate, but, rather, respond promptly, and in a timely, well – considered manner, regarding every, and all, relevant inquiries, etc.

Know what you real estate AGENT should provide, and hire one, which serves your needs. Since, for most, the value of their house, represents their single – biggest, financial asset, doesn’t this make sense?

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

How to Get Lely Resort Real Estate for Sale in Naples in Your Budget

Lely Resort Naples Florida is one of the area’s top communities with upscale amenities and a wide variety of home choices. The spans approximately 2,500 acres and residents enjoy top-notch amenities at the Players Club, including two large lagoon-style pools, a vibrant tennis program, extensive fitness facilities and two restaurants. The wide sidewalks invite residents to bike and walk alongside the lushly landscaped boulevards. Two public on-site golf courses plus one private course are also available.

Lely Resort is not only a beautiful community with wonderful amenities, a great location and a varied selection of properties for sale; it is also a very stable community in terms of the number of sales. Home buyers can find any property type in Lely Resort, from two bedrooms/two baths condos to townhouses and coach homes with one or two car garages. There are attached villas available, single-family homes in a large variety of living areas and estate-sized homes. Over forty different subdivisions offer a property for every lifestyle and budget.

Lely Resort real estate sales have been in perfect balance for the last eight years. The local MLS will show between 180 and 240 homes for sale in Lely Resort at any given time of the year. Approximately half of these listings are homes and the other half condos or townhouses. In the past eight years, an average of 265 properties sold each year, keeping the perfect balance between listings and sales. 2014 and 2015 were the two exceptions. Sales spiked to 365 sales in 2014 and reached 315 sales in 2015.

The sales price was between 94 % and 96% of asking price for the past six years. The median list price rose from $349,000 in 2013 to $429,000 in 2014 and dipped to $395,000 in 2017. The number of days on the market rose slightly from a record-low of 54 days in 2014 to 98 days in 2017.

Prices have recovered from the low in 2011 and are back to pre-recession levels for the most part. Prices have yet to hit the record highs of 2004 and 2005.

Whether you make Lely Resort your permanent home or winter home, this resort offers a wonderful lifestyle, great selection of real estate for sale and a healthy resale market should you want to change your home down the road. Most buyers that are in the market for a vacation or secondary home start out with one of the many condos or the townhouses in the Olé section. As they stay longer in Naples or approach retirement, many opt for a single-family home to have room for their children and grandchildren when they visit.

The fabulous Players Club with its resort-style amenities is a big draw for friends and family members and will guarantee a steady stream of visitors to your new Lely Resort condos.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment