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Latinx as the New and Emerging Market for Real Estate
As National Hispanic Heritage Month comes to a close, it's imperative to highlight the rising Latinx homebuying market. Over the past 10 years, the Latinx population has comprised more than half of the total homeownership growth in the United States. This trend is expected to continue over the next 20 years. According to Urban Institute, the Latinx population will make up around 70% of growth in the years between 2020 and 2040. This study conducted by Urban Institute also forecasts that Latinx will be the only demographic that will see an increase in homeownership in the following decades. How and Why? This sudden increase is largely due to a large demographic of Latinx youth entering the home buying market. The Wall Street Journal states that in 2019, Hispanics in the United States had a median age of 30, compared to an average age of 44 for non-Hispanic white Americans. With a younger presence, the timing of this sudden uptick in homeownership is understandable. There are still certain hurdles when it comes to home buying that remain for Latinx individuals. For example, the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, the unemployment rate has been 1.9% higher for Hispanics than for white Americans, potentially making it harder to have enough for a down payment. Additionally, many Latinx citizens work restaurant, hospitality, and construction jobs that were negatively impacted by COVID-19. How to Accommodate One potential way to navigate and grow with this up and coming market is to provide sales and marketing materials that cater to the lifestyle and culture of the Latinx demographic. Hiring bilingual employees or members of the Latinx community and also translating collateral is also a great opportunity to connect with this growing market. A good example of an accommodation for the growing Latinx market is Transactly. Transactly offers several bilingual Transactly Coordinators that can help in any market and on a variety of tasks. As the Growth Continues Despite the roadblocks that might be in the way, the Latinx homebuying market is expected to continue to rise. The Urban Institute projects that by 2040, 70% of the net new homes purchased will be attributed to Hispanics. With that kind of figure, and especially with the current market, it's vital for agents to pay attention to the Latinx pool of homebuyers as it continues to grow. To view the original article, visit the Transactly blog.
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4 Reasons Why the End of Forbearance Will Not Lead to a Wave of Foreclosures
With forbearance plans about to come to an end, many are concerned the housing market will experience a wave of foreclosures like what happened after the housing bubble 15 years ago. Here are four reasons why that won't happen. 1. There are fewer homeowners in trouble this time After the last housing crash, about 9.3 million households lost their home to a foreclosure, short sale, or because they simply gave it back to the bank. As stay-at-home orders were issued early last year, the overwhelming fear was the pandemic would decimate the housing industry in a similar way. Many experts projected 30% of all mortgage holders would enter the forbearance program. Only 8.5% actually did, and that number is now down to 3.5%. As of last Friday, the total number of mortgages still in forbearance stood at 1,863,000. That's definitely a large number, but nowhere near 9.3 million. 2. Most of the 1.86M in forbearance have enough equity to sell their home Of the 1.86 million homeowners currently in forbearance, 87% have at least 10% equity in their homes. The 10% equity number is important because it enables homeowners to sell their houses and pay the related expenses instead of facing the hit on their credit that a foreclosure or short sale would create. The remaining 13% might not all have the option to sell, so if the entire 13% of the 1.86M homes went into foreclosure, that would total 241,800 mortgages. To give that number context, here are the annual foreclosure numbers of the three years leading up to the pandemic: 2017: 314,220 2018: 279,040 2019: 277,520 The probable number of foreclosures coming out of the forbearance program is nowhere near the number of foreclosures coming out of the housing crash 15 years ago. The number does, however, draw a similar comparison to the three years prior to the pandemic. 3. The current market can absorb any listings coming to the market When foreclosures hit the market in 2008, there was an excess supply of homes for sale. The situation is exactly the opposite today. In 2008, there was a nine-month supply of listings for sale. Today, that number stands at less than three months of inventory on the market. As Lawrence Yun, Chief Economist at the National Association of Realtors (NAR), explains when addressing potential foreclosures emerging from the forbearance program: "Any foreclosure increases will likely be quickly absorbed by the market. It will not lead to any price declines." 4. Those in power will do whatever is necessary to prevent a wave of foreclosures Last month, the White House released a fact sheet explaining how homeowners with government-backed mortgages will be given further options to enable them to keep their homes when exiting forbearance. Here are two examples mentioned in the release: "For homeowners who can resume their pre-pandemic monthly mortgage payment and where agencies have the authority, agencies will continue requiring mortgage servicers to offer options that allow borrowers to move missed payments to the end of the mortgage at no additional cost to the borrower." "The new steps the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD), Department of Agriculture (USDA), and Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) are announcing will aim to provide homeowners with a roughly 25% reduction in borrowers' monthly principal and interest (P&I) payments to ensure they can afford to remain in their homes and build equity long-term. This brings options for homeowners with mortgages backed by HUD, USDA, and VA closer in alignment with options for homeowners with mortgages backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac." When evaluating the four reasons above, it's clear there won't be a flood of foreclosures coming to the market as the forbearance program winds down. Bottom Line "The likelihood of us having a foreclosure crisis again is about zero percent." To view the original article, visit the BoomTown blog.
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What Are the Most Requested Home Qualities that Buyers and Sellers Are Looking for?
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Remote Working in Post-COVID America: What's Next?
Since 2005, working from home has grown more than 11 times faster than the rest of the workforce and 54 times faster than the self-employed population. Before the pandemic, only 9% of employers offered remote working on an ad hoc basis to at least some employees. Fast forward to the first week of June 2021, 72.5 million American families had adults working from home. During the height of the pandemic, 51% of the workforce was working remotely, though the option to work from home varied significantly by industry. More than 80% of workers in banking and finance could telework, while only 16% of retail, trade, and transportation workers could, and one-third of health care and social services providers could. Remote Working Isn't Going Away Many employers have found that remote working options are attractive employee benefits as the pandemic winds down. In a recent survey of 2,000 workers by Morning Consult for Prudential Financial, 87% of workers who have been working remotely during the pandemic want to continue doing so at least one day a week. Nearly half of current remote workers in the survey (42%) said if their current company doesn't continue to offer remote-work options long term, they will look for a job elsewhere. Global Workplace Analytics, a forecaster of workplace trends, estimates that the average employer of 500 workers would save $1.9 million annually by reducing office space, $1.3 million in absenteeism, and gain more than $7 million in increased productivity. And it seems employers are taking note; in March 2021, LaSalle Network, a national recruiting firm, surveyed top executives at 350 companies and found three out of four (77%) are planning to offer a hybrid model with a portion working in-office and a portion working from home. A recent Gallup survey found that 26% of workers who are teleworking because of the pandemic will continue to do so, while Global Workplace Analytics estimates that 25-30% of the workforce will be working from home multiple days a week by the end of 2021. The Draw of Remote Working A December 2020 Homes.com survey found that nearly half of respondents (45%) said they would move if given a chance to work remotely, with 20% indicating that remote working was why they moved within the last year. Additionally, the survey found that 40% of those who moved or planned to move had set their sights on locales more than 100 miles away. Among that group, half of them sought locations more than 500 miles away. Many of these workers are drawn to remote working because of its financial benefits. By working at home 2-3 days a week, employees can save between $600 and $6,000 per year, due to reduced travel, parking, and food costs. They could also save the equivalent of 11 workdays in annual commuting time. According to the latest government data, 90% of commuters report driving to work at a median cost of $11 per day, or $2,782 per year. Nine percent of the commuters surveyed took public transportation at a median annual cost of $1,612. Where Do Remote Workers Want to Live? In 2020, vacation home sales jumped 57.2% over 2019, more than twice as much as the 20% year-over-year growth in total existing-home sales. Many believe this increase has been affected by remote workers. "With many businesses and employers still extending an option to work remotely to workers, vacation housing and second homes will remain a popular choice among buyers," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist for the National Association of Realtors. "The enduring opportunity for remote work will continue to raise the already high demand for property in these counties, particularly in those counties with reliable broadband internet service." Still, for most hybrid remote workers, vacation destinations are too far from their home offices to make commuting even a few days a week a viable option. As more employers introduce remote working options, many workers have either moved to, or are considering moving to, an exurb or rural county where prices are more affordable. While the cost and time to commute two or three days a week from a more distant location could equal or exceed commuting costs before the move, these workers know they'd still enjoy lower costs of living overall. Rural America is Attracting Remote Workers Rural areas across the country are experiencing a wave of remote workers. By August 2020, brokers in Lake Tahoe and nearby Truckee, California, were running out of inventory due to an influx of remote workers. Overall, Truckee saw a 23% increase in real estate transactions. On the other side of the country, Winhall, Vermont welcomed so many new residents in 2020 that its high school saw a 25% increase in enrollments last September. Vermont is one of several states and smaller cities offering incentives to attract remote workers. Others include: "The Shoals" region of Alabama Alaska Maine Tulsa, Oklahoma Topeka, Kansas Newton, Iowa New Richland, Minnesota Natchez, Mississippi The West Virginia areas of Morgantown, Lewisburg, and Shepherdstown Livability.com recently partnered with Fourth Economy to compile a list of the "10 Best Remote-Ready Cities in the U.S." Categories and amenities included broadband access, availability of remote work, affordability, a robust regional economy, and quality of life. Six of the ten were small cities: Grand Rapids, Michigan Bellingham, Washington Oak Park, Illinois Fort Collins, Colorado Frederick, Maryland Duluth, Minnesota Bad News for Cities, But is it Permanent? The explosion in remote working has simply not been good news for cities. Since the start of the pandemic, thousands of people have moved away from urban centers, with cities like San Francisco and New York City experiencing the most significant losses and their nearby suburbs experiencing the greatest gains. "This upsurge in working from home is largely here to stay, and I see a longer-run decline in city centers," said William D. Eberle, Professor of Economics in Stanford's School of Humanities and Sciences and a senior fellow at the Stanford Institute for Economic Policy Research (SIEP). However, some studies are showing that the urban flight might not be as prevalent as previously though. A recent study by Unacast, a leading generator of mobility data, found that in January and February of this year, the declining population growth in New York City actually reversed over 2019 levels. With remote working becoming more normalized across industries, cities are left with a two-pronged problem solve: first, how to stop the exodus of those who are leaving for literal greener pastures, and second, how to entice residents back in. As more people get vaccinated and businesses continue opening up, it could help curb the urban flight by creating new jobs or opening up positions that shut down for the pandemic. But jobs aren't enough. Unless city centers are revitalized with more suburban and rural amenities to justify the cost of urban living, they may face a substantial uphill battle. To view the original article, visit the Homes.com blog.
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Online Home Buying: A New Beginning for the Home Buying Process
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Why Builders Can't Keep Up with Home Sales
Once upon a time, the key words in real estate were "location, location, location." Then, the infamous three Ls, at least in the new construction sector, became "land, lots and labor." Those Ls remain important, to be sure. But now, as far as builders are considered, the Ls refer solely to "lumber, lumber, lumber." Softwood is used in structural framing such as beams, joists, and trusses as well as sheathing, flooring and underlayment, interior wall and ceiling finishing. Softwoods also are used in certain manufactured products, particularly cabinets, windows and doors. Since April 2020, the cost of softwood lumber has risen more than 300%, adding nearly $36,000 to the price of a typical house, according to the National Association of Home Builders. The Factors Behind Surging Lumber Costs The primary reason for this price surge is insufficient production at mills across the country. Like most other businesses, pandemic stay-at-home orders greatly impacted the ability to produce products in sufficient quantities to satisfy demand. And even though operations around the country have increasingly opened back up, many mills are still not back to pre-pandemic capacities. Another factor is the import duties placed on Canadian lumber during the previous administration. And now, in a step that has brought a strong rebuke from NAHB President Chuck Fowke, the current administration is proposing to double the tariffs on Canadian lumber shipments. What Else is Stifling Builders' Production? While the cost of lumber is builders' most pressing problem, it is hardly the only one. Here's a brief rundown of the other issues that are keeping them from erecting all the houses needed to take some of the heat out of the blistering housing market: Availability Builders rarely have trouble securing appliances, which they must have to obtain occupancy permits. But now, 95% of those polled by NAHB reported shortages of refrigerators, stoves and the like. Shortages are now more widespread than at anytime sine the 1990s when the NAHB first started tracking. Skyrocketing lumber prices have rightfully dominated the headlines, but prices for steel, concrete and gypsum products also continue to climb at record pace. In a recent survey by marketing and advisory firm Zonda, which monitors some 18,000 active communities nationwide, 86% of builders reported significant supply disruptions resulting in significant construction delays. Among the components that are tough to obtain are interior doors, windows, siding, plumbing fixtures, shingles, insulation and cabinets. About the only item builders aren't having a hard time finding are kitchen sinks — as in, "everything but…" Practically everything else is in short supply; again because production was severely curtailed during the height of the pandemic. And as a result, the costs to builders for many of the products they need have also rocketed. Regulation Another NAHB study found that regulations imposed by all levels of government account for $93,870, or 23.8% of the average sales price of a new house, which is currently $397,300. Of that, $41,330 is attributable to regulation during development, and $52,540 is due to rules that must be followed during construction. Because of the pandemic, builders and their customers aren't getting all they are paying for, though. At least not lately. Local building departments are so short staffed that it is taking longer to get plans approved and the required inspections made. There are other regulatory issues that builders must contend with, too. The most recent was a change in the National Electrical Code, a change that caused HVAC systems to fail. The new rule, the NAHB contends, was hastened unnecessarily during a process that was manipulated by special interests, perhaps trying to sell a particular product. Land "Builders are paying stupid land prices," Zonda's Tim Sullivan told his clients recently. But they almost have to if they want to remain in business. Why? Because the supply of home sites is dwindling rapidly. Zonda says roadwork has commenced on just 165,000 lots nationwide. Considering that some 500,000 new homes are sold annually, that's not a lot. Builders tend to believe the lot pipeline will be most constrained for the rest of the year, but about a third of those polled said finding buildable sites will be an issue next year as well. "The under supply isn't going to go away," said Sullivan. Location Remember the original three Ls? Forgetaboutit. A community's relationship to downtown used to be much more important, but it hardly matters these days in the new home market. Zonda research shows that 70% of the best-selling communities are 30 miles or more from their central business districts as builders move farther and farther out to hold the line on prices as best they can. In Houston, for example, properties within 10 miles of downtown are notching 1.1 sales per month while those 30-35 miles out are grabbing 4.3 deals monthly, up 118%. (READ MORE: Which Markets Will See New Home Builds Ease Inventories?) Higher Prices Zonda's research shows 97% of builders have raised prices, half of those by $10,000 or more. But, said the company's chief economist, Ali Wolf, "There's virtually no sticker shock." Even as builders restrict supply, prices continue to march higher. One reason: The market is supported in large measure by out-of-towners moving from places where housing prices are out of this world. For example, a 2,500-square-foot house that costs $1.16 million in San Francisco or $1.14 million in Los Angeles runs a mere $450,000 in Austin. That's why locals are buying farther and farther out, where the prices are the less expensive. Labor Experienced carpenters, plumbers, electricians and other tradespeople are in short supply. But only 49% of builders said that's a big deal right now, probably because they're beset by other, more pressing problems and because they're not erecting houses as fast as they'd like. Slowing Down To protect against getting too far ahead of themselves, a majority of builders are "by design" now taking only a specific number of contracts per month. While 9% said it's still business as usual, 17% said they are accepting offers only as new lots come online, and 13% said they are "pausing" sales or reservations. As a result, new home production slid in April and is likely to continue slowing. Supply constraints, labor scarcity and a lack of buildable lots "are weighing meaningfully" on builders' ability to keep up with housing demand, says Doug Duncan, chief economist at Fannie Mae. Builders, he adds, have little choice but to slow the pace of construction. Syndicated newspaper columnist, Lew Sichelman has been covering the housing market and all it entails for more than 50 years. He is an award-winning journalist who worked at two major Washington, D.C. newspapers and is a past president of the National Association of Real Estate Editors. To view the original article, visit the Homes.com blog.
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Tech and Mental Health: It's been a long pandemic
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What Will Happen When the CDC Eviction Ban Ends?
At the outbreak of the COVID pandemic last year, the Centers for Disease Control placed a ban on all rental evictions, fearing that many evicted renters would end up in shelters or move in with friends or family, conditions that would exacerbate the spread of the virus. Since then, the CDC order has been extended several times and now is scheduled to expire on June 30. But what happens when ban expires? The Current Scenario Forty-four states and dozens of local jurisdictions imposed their bans on evictions in the early weeks of the pandemic. (Here is a complete list.) Many of the state bans lasted only ten weeks. Nevertheless, a recent study by researchers at five leading universities found that the lifting of 27 state bans on evictions between March and September contributed to the spread of the virus, resulting in 433,700 excess cases of COVID-19 and 10,700 additional deaths. According to the Center for Budget and Economic Priorities, the ban has kept more than 10.7 million renters — about 15% of adult renters ― in their homes without fear of eviction. Their April study found that renters of color were more likely to report that their household was not caught up on rent: 22% of Asian renters, 22% of Black renters, and 20% of Latino renters said they were not caught up on rent, compared to 9% of white renters. The rate was 20% for American Indian, Alaska Native, Native Hawaiian, Pacific Islander, and multiracial adults taken together. Is the CDC Eviction Ban Illegal? When the CDC order finally expires — which may happen as early as June 30 — an estimated $32 billion in back rent will come due, with up to 8 million tenants facing eviction filings, according to a tracking tool developed by the global advisory firm Stout Risius and Ross, which works with the nonprofit National Coalition for a Civil Right to Counsel. According to the Princeton University Eviction Lab, 3.6 million people face eviction cases In a typical year. On May 6, a federal judge threw out the moratorium on evictions but agreed to put a temporary hold on her ruling as the government seeks to reverse the decision on appeal. U.S. District Judge Dabney Friedrich said that although there was "no doubt" Congress intended to empower the CDC to combat COVID-19 through a range of measures such as quarantines, a moratorium on residential evictions was not among them. The ruling was widely regarded as a setback for millions of Americans who have fallen behind on rent payments during the pandemic. The Recovery is Helping Landlords Weather the Ban On the flip side, the recovery is helping landlords and property owners with rental income without having to resort to evictions. In fact, this spring shows virtually no sign of the ban. The National Multifamily Housing Council found 80% of apartment households made a full or partial rent payment by May 6 in its survey of 11.7 million units of apartment units across the country, only 1.7 percentage points below total rent payments in May 2019, ten months before the pandemic. "This month's findings are part of what seems to be an increasingly clear pattern of economic recovery and strong demand for multifamily housing," said Doug Bibby, NMHC President. "With more and more vaccines being administered, job creation on the rise, and tens of billions in rental assistance being distributed to residents and housing providers in need, the outlook for the industry is a positive one. "With rental assistance being disbursed, the economy on the way back, and a broad return to normalcy underway across the country, it is past time for the federal eviction moratorium, a policy that was intended to be an emergency effort, to be concluded," Bibby said. (READ MORE: The Collateral Damage of the Pandemic on Real Estate) Emergency Aid is Slow to Reach Renters and Landlords Congress approved $25 billion in December and $20 billion in March to keep lower-income renters in their homes without fear of evictions. The federal government now has $46.5 billion for emergency rental aid. Some $17.6 billion has been awarded to state governments, but 20% is going to states not taking applications from tenants and landlords. The program offers up to 12 months of rent and utilities to low-income tenants economically harmed by the pandemic, with priority on households with less than half the area's median income — typically about $34,000 a year. To be eligible for rental aid, renters must earn $198,000 annually or less for couples filing jointly, or $99,000 for single filers; demonstrate that they've sought government help to pay the rent; declare that they can't pay because of COVID-19 hardships, and affirm they are likely to become homeless if evicted. They must also file declarations saying they would become homeless or be forced into a "shared living setting." It takes time to identify the neediest residents so that they can make the declarations, apply for relief and process the paperwork, but for millions of renters who are delinquent in their rent payments, the clock is ticking. "Tens of thousands of tenants and families are being evicted every week, many of whom would have had the right to stay in their home," Dave Uejio, the acting director of the Consumer Finance Protection Board, recently told reporters. "The scale of that is hard to wrap your head around." What Can We Expect? Many state and local governments are preparing for an end to the CDC eviction bans, including those enacted statewide by governors or state legislatures that are also expiring. In Colorado, the Department of Local Affairs has paid out more than $80 million in Emergency Rental Assistance since last year with federal and state aid money. But about one quarter of the 50,000 plus applications is still pending. Tenant organizers have asked the governor to step in with another state eviction ban if the federal moratorium expires. Landlord groups say the market should be allowed to do its work before landlords suffer more damage. "People are hopeful that we're getting to the end of manipulation of the markets," said Drew Hamrick, general counsel for the Colorado Apartment Association to Colorado Public Radio. In Seattle, the city council is concerned that evictions will create a flood of homeless students and is considering banning certain school-year evictions and requiring landlords to offer lease renewals in many cases. In March, Seattle Public Schools had more than 2,100 students registered as homeless, according to district data. More than half were doubled up with other families, and 17% were living in transitional housing, while others were in shelters and on the streets. San Diego County passed a new law on May 4 that caps rent increases at roughly 4% increase based on the inflation rate included in the Consumer Price Index for the San Diego region for April 2020 to April 2021. In Minnesota, aid to renters has been slowly distributed, and legislative negotiations about how to end the moratorium in an orderly way have gotten bogged down over timing. For more than a year, a state executive order has made it difficult for property owners to cancel leases or otherwise remove problem tenants. The state government, landlords, and tenant groups are now working to have a solution in place by July. New York's state legislature has extended its eviction ban through August 31. Neither tenants nor landlords want to see a spike in evictions that will disrupt families, contribute to homelessness and throw rental markets into chaos. While this doomsday scenario seems unlikely, it's not entirely off the table. At least for now, both renters and landlords are left holding their breath. For information about your locale, Nolo has compiled a state-by-state list of eviction moratoriums and related legislation and sources of rental assistance for tenants and landlords. Steve Cook is the editor of the Down Payment Report and provides public relations consulting services to leading companies and non-profits in residential real estate and housing finance. He has been vice president of public affairs for the National Association of Realtors, senior vice president of Edelman Worldwide and press secretary to two members of Congress. To view the original article, visit the Homes.com blog.
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3 Problems and Solutions Trending in the New Housing Market
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What Are Home Buyers Looking for in 2021?
Current trends in the real estate market have got everyone's attention. Record-breaking low interest rates, dwindling inventory, and the changing function of a home are affecting sales. What are home buyers really looking for? Are they all jumping on the bandwagon for fear of missing out on the next great listing? Or perhaps they are seriously looking to fulfill a need—for comfort, shelter, a remote workplace, and a sense of home. Either way, they are not just looking, they are buying at a rate not seen in years. Riding the Wave You have just had the best year of your real estate career. Your listings are selling even before you have finished inputting the data and organizing your first virtual tours. You are definitely riding the wave of the current trend in the market. You need to keep the momentum. So looking back, what have you learned about your buyers and what are they seeking in 2021? The Real Estate Buyer Persona According to the most recent NAR study, the typical home buyer was 47 years old with an annual income of $96,000. They plan to live in their new 1900 square foot home for around 10 years and they really want to buy sooner than later. If the buyer contacted you first, it is very likely that you became their real estate agent for the transaction. Studies show that 73% of consumers used the first agent that they contacted. So what about the other 27% and what about the ones who didn't choose you? How can you increase your leads and turn them into repeat buyers? The Journey Starts Online Since 97% of all buyers start their search on the internet, it is evident that you need to have a great online presence. How do you get your brand out there and compete with the thousands of other real estate professionals vying for the same buyers? What are home buyers looking for and what makes them choose you as their real estate agent? Show Value Presentation skills are first and foremost when you market a property. Seeing is believing now more than ever. As a real estate professional, you have to show value to your buyer and that means giving them what they want. The home buyer's preferences haven't dramatically changed in comparison to a year ago, but what has changed is the way they view potential homes. When you provide immersive 3D tours and accurate square footage on an easy-to-follow floor plan, the buyer is better informed to make a decision on whether or not the property is suited to their needs. What Is Trending for Home Buyers The world was shaken up by the events of 2020 and it has caused a ripple effect throughout the real estate industry. Buyers have been snatching up listings fast due to low-interest rates paired with a little fear of missing out. How can you help them find what they want going forward into 2021? Here's a look at what's trending with home buyers: Renovations are a no go for almost half of today's buyers There is an increase in the demand for multi-generational homes Pets are now additional family members and they need their space too More than 87% of buyers are financing their homes Your role as a real estate agent is to help your buyer find the home they are looking for at a price they can afford. Help them navigate through 3D tours and explore the floor plans of their potential new home. When they need a multi-generational home, a floor plan is a great tool to let them interact and easily visualize where they can set up a secondary suite. Exploring the 360° tour lets them know if renovations are a necessity or if the home is in move-in condition. When you help them make an informed decision, they will avoid buyer's remorse. Buyer optimism remains high and if the past few months are any indicator of the future, then you know the real estate tsunami has not retreated. Expect the unexpected – we didn't see 2020 coming until it hit us all in our (masked) faces.
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3D Tour Videos Will Replace Still Photos in Property Search
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Spring 2021 Housing Market: Will the Extremes Calm Down?
The 2021 spring housing market can be summed up to two extremes better suited for a primetime TV medical drama than an economic snapshot: the sellers market is on steroids, while the buyers markets are on life support. Why so extreme? Real estate laws of supply and demand dictate that rising demand reduces the number of homes for sale and increase prices. Higher prices then motivate sellers to sell, opening greater supplies of inventories and reducing the pressure on prices. Moderated prices and more homes for sale encourage buyers to buy, and sales increase until supply and demand start their familiar dance all over again. That's how things are supposed to work. Except, moving into the spring 2021 housing market, they aren't working that way at all. Soaring prices and starving inventories aren't motivating enough sellers to sell, nor are they discouraging many buyers from buying. So, we're left with a pair of extremes, whose forces are stronger than supply and demand, and twisting housing markets out of shape. Fear Worsened the Inventory Drought Even before the COVID-19 pandemic and current recession, the housing market was facing a substantial supply shortage. Afraid of missing out on the lowest mortgage interest rates in a generation, extraordinary numbers of millennial first-time buyers jumped into the markets in the first weeks of the pandemic's arrival in March 2020. However, millions of sellers delayed listing their homes at the launch of the spring 2020 sales season. By July, high demand and low supplies drove sales prices to an all-time high, and inventory levels plunged 21.1% below 2019 levels, marking 14 straight months of year-over-year declines. Inventories Are Still Disastrously Low Fast forward to the end of February 2021, housing inventory was a record 29.5% lower than a year earlier. Buyers quickly consumed the new listings, and time on the market fell to 20 days for a home to go from listing to contract, an all-time low. At the end of March, total housing inventory amounted to 1.07 million units, up 3.9% from February but still down 28.2% from one year ago. Unsold inventory stayed at a 2.1-month supply, marginally up from February's 2.0-month supply and down from the 3.3-month supply recorded in March 2020. Inventory numbers continue to represent near-historic lows since NAR first began tracking the single-family home supply in 1982. In fact, according to the National Association of Realtors, the U.S. housing market is short about 3 million available homes. New Home Production is Still Struggling Looking beyond the spring 2021 housing market itself, a more enduring problem is the chronic underproduction of new homes. For five decades, America's supply of entry-level homes has declined. Production of entry-level construction fell from 418,000 units per year in the late 1970s to 65,000 in 2020. According to NAR's Lawrence Yun, new-home underproduction is the chief cause of today's inventory shortage. Freddie Mac's chief economist, Sam Khater, agrees. "Simply put, we must build more single-family entry-level housing to address this shortage, which has strong implications for the wealth, health, and stability of American communities," Khater says. Typically in a recessionary time (such as the pandemic), housing demand declines and supply rises, causing inventory to rise above the long-term trend. Khater believes the main driver of the housing shortfall to be the long-term decline in the construction of single-family homes. When falling rates led to higher demand, supplies could not keep up, and by late 2020, prices soared at a double-digit pace. Shortages of affordable homes brought the pandemic sales boom to a halt. Sales fell 6.6% from January 2021 to February, and supplies did not increase during February, a month when sellers traditionally begin to list their homes for the spring sales season. Rates and Prices Will Slowly Rise During the Year So far, the spring 2021 housing market has been a mixed bag. During the first quarter of 2021, rates on a 30-year fixed-rate mortgage stayed below 3% percent until the first week of March. By April 1, however, they reached 3.18%, which lowered the house-buying power of consumers enough to cost 55,600 potential home sales, according to First American's chief economist Mark Fleming. Freddie Mac's forecasters expect rates to continue to rise slowly and reach an average of 3.4% in the fourth quarter of 2021, as the economy slowly recovers from the pandemic. What We Can Expect Moving Forward As long as the economic outlook post-COVID is optimistic, interest rates should go higher. Despite the nation's continued economic uncertainty, demand drivers will continue in 2021, and rates, though starting to increase, will still remain very low. A gradual return to normalcy will raise incomes, and lenders will discontinue some of their pandemic-era restrictions. More millennials and Gen Xers will enter the market, especially with those low rates. Freddie Mac's forecasters expect the rate on a 30-year fixed mortgage rate to average 3.4% by the fourth quarter of 2021, rising to 3.8% in the fourth quarter of 2022. Fannie Mae forecasts that housing starts will rise 17% by the end of the second quarter over last year's poor performance, then 4.7% in the third quarter. The massive shortfall in unsold inventory will continue, especially for affordable starter homes. Supplies are at record low levels this spring, and they will not normalize until new construction can meet the demands of a growing population. For now, the spring 2021 housing market is just one snapshot of many in a tale that is poised to get worse before it gets better. Steve Cook is the editor of the Down Payment Report and provides public relations consulting services to leading companies and non-profits in residential real estate and housing finance. He has been vice president of public affairs for the National Association of Realtors, senior vice president of Edelman Worldwide and press secretary to two members of Congress. To view the original article, visit the Homes.com blog.
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Low Inventory Won't Last Forever. Two Reasons to Be Optimistic
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Will the Great Urban Flight Last?
As COVID-19 has ravaged across the country, millions of people have faced lockdowns and home quarantines. Homes have become classrooms, offices, recreational spaces, and countless other identities. Especially in urban areas, walls have increasingly felt like cages, leaving residents craving open spaces, more square footage, and greenery. What has since transpired is nothing short of a phenomenon we're calling "The Great Urban Flight."
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How Has COVID-19 Impacted Use of Smart Home Products?
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Integrating 'The Flood Discussion' into Your Real Estate Practice
Recent studies indicate that 41 million homes across the US are at risk of flooding -- a number significantly higher than is indicated by FEMA flood maps. This new data highlights a nationwide cause for concern for homeowners, including many in areas previously thought to be at low risk. In South Florida, as many as 1 in 3 residential properties are in danger of sustaining flood damage. Leading Realtors are getting ahead of the curve by integrating "The Flood Discussion" into their real estate practice. Here are five takeaways to integrate flood into your work with your customers, to make you the most knowledgeable, confident, and profitable Realtor in your market. 1. On the Buyer Side, include flood as a housing criteria We are used to setting criteria based on location, pricing, number of bedrooms, etc. Flooding, for example, has historically been an afterthought. With a 30-year investment — typically the biggest investment of our customer's life — it's critical to put flooding on the list of criteria, especially with the frequency of storms all across the country. Note: while flood has historically been a 'coastal' issue, flooding is occurring more frequently across the interior of the US. 2. On the Seller Side, do your research on the listing property More and more, the question of flooding and impact of weather is going to come up regarding the listing. So get out in front and ask your owners the 'tough questions' about the history of flooding and other climate-related issues. It will be better to know the facts, so you can present them professionally, accurately, and appropriately in the marketing of the property. 3. Understand the 'total cost of flood ownership' As we evaluate properties with the customer — listing price, taxes, utilities, homeowners insurance — it's important to integrate new terms like Flood Zone, Flood Risk and Flood Insurance. Note: It's important to remember that flood insurance is NOT included in homeowners insurance, and it is a separate insurance policy. Yes, no one likes to add costs. Yet, given that one storm can cause $$$$$ of damage in the blink of an eye, it's critical to evaluate a property's risk profile with your customer's risk tolerance. Across much of South Florida and the United States, home buyers can secure 'peace of mind' flood insurance for reasonable rates. 4. Investigate the two flood insurance options: NFIP and Private Insurance Most Americans are aware of NFIP — which stands for National Flood Insurance Program, managed by FEMA. Based on a flood mapping system, NFIP has standard coverage limits of $250,000 for buildings and $100,000 for personal property based on the flood zone where the property is located. In the South Florida market, for example, more than 30 private insurance companies have begun to offer flood insurance over the last several years. Private insurance companies generally price flood insurance based on a property's latitude and longitude coordinates, as well as over 200 data points to calculate the exact price-risk profile per property. To better understand these differences and the options available for a property, consider getting one NFIP and one Private Flood Insurance Quote. 5. From Contract-to-Close, engage a licensed flood insurance expert Let's be honest, Flood Insurance is confusing and is best left to the experts who practice it each and every day. Most importantly, engaging a licensed flood insurance professional separates any potential issue of Errors and Omissions from the REALTOR® and their customer's real estate transaction. Acadian Insurance offers a free consultation for all Miami REALTORS® and their customers. In 15 minutes, the Acadian Team can provide you with all the knowledge you and your customers need to make smart, informed, confident decisions. If you are interested in learning more, access our free eBook: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Flood Insurance* (*But Were Afraid To Ask) CartoFront is a technology services company that is simplifying flood insurance for REALTORS(R), their clients, and insurance agents. If you are interested in learning how you can bring CartoFront to your MLS for free, please contact [email protected]
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PropTech: What Does It Mean for the Real Estate Agent?
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Three Predictions for the Real Estate Market in 2021
In a normal year, the real estate market sees an uptick in new listings and total sales during the spring and summer (March-June) and a steady decline in those same figures in the fall months (September-December). Obviously, though, 2020 wasn't a normal year, and the real estate market proved anything but predictable. Despite continued lockdowns, stay-at-home orders, and social distancing guidelines, we've yet to see any signs of a slowdown. So, predicting what's to come is a bit more of a challenge than in previous years. But here's what we believe is in store for 2021.
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Pets and Zoom Rooms: 2 Property Features Every Real Estate Agent Should Focus On
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Top 10 Interior Design Trends for 2021
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, which has altered the way we work and school, home owners have had to alter their home environment to adjust. Here are the top 10 design trends for 2021 that real estate agents have observed their clients adopt or request.
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How 2020 Changed Homebuying and Selling
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2021 Housing Inventories: Will They Run Out?
After months of record lows last year, 2021 housing inventories are under the microscope. In real estate terms, normal market conditions see about six months' worth of homes listed for sale at any given time. That means that at the current sales pace, it would take six months to sell all of the resale houses currently on the market. But, as we all know, these are not normal times.
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5 Predictions for the 2021 Housing Market
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How to Ride the Wave of a Seasonal Sales Cycle
The real estate market is highly seasonal and sales are adversely affected by the drop in temperatures during the winter months. According to the National Association of Realtors' statistics, 40% of homes are sold in May, June, July, and August. This seasonality leaves many real estate professionals working at a cheetah's pace in summer and scrounging for business in the off-season. Adjusting for the season can help your profitability, cash flow, and long-term success. Here's how to ride the wave of our seasonal sales cycle.
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4 Factors Influencing the Real Estate Rebound
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The Latest Trends in Team Software
The following is an excerpt from RE Technology's Success Guide to Team Software: Website Some team platforms develop excellent websites with a high focus on lead generation, content creation, and search engine optimization. Teams doing a lot of online digital advertising will need to look for websites that offer the ability to create lead generation pages--also called squeeze pages. Others recognize that a team website is like a business card. If you are not in love with the activities around online lead generation, having a fancy website is probably not that important to you. Mobile Apps Mobile apps have been an exciting growth area for team platforms over the years. The driving trend among these mobile apps has been less about developing branded mobile search apps that are in the Apple App and Google Play stores, and more about delivering functionality that allows teams to access customer records on the fly, or to take a group approach to responding quickly to customer requests. If your team is mostly mobile, rather than office based, this may be a very important feature for you. Contact Record Monitoring One of the biggest areas of new development in software for teams has to do with reference data and client monitoring. Using artificial intelligence, the software can track activities across all of your client records. Using this data the software can, for example, tell you when there is a customer that you have not interacted with in the last year or suggest that you reach out to a customer who has been spending an insane amount of time looking at listings on your site. The goal of contact monitoring is to make sure that you stay connected to everyone in your database, and to focus on those customers who show the most activity in the process of executing a transaction. Some solutions even monitor Facebook and LinkedIn for the most recent posts made by your clients so you can check up on them from within your contact records. Contacts, Calendar, Email Integration Most business professionals lack time for administrative upkeep such as scheduling meetings or updating contact records in multiple places. An important feature in team software platforms is mobile phone integration. It allows an iPhone or Android device to connect to your CRM. If you get a new customer call on your phone, and you save that contact, your phone will then sync the contact record to the CRM in your team solution, so you do not need to re-enter it. Likewise, if a team member schedules a task or meeting for you, they can access your calendar for your availability and set that appointment so it displays on your phone's calendar. If you are speaking to a tech supplier for your team, ask them about Google Sync or Outlook Sync. Reporting and Forecasting One of the challenges to operating a team is to measure team productivity. These metrics fall into the realm of reporting and forecasting. Depending on the role of the team member, good reporting and forecasting can provide the team leader with data that shows how team members are using the system, the value of business they have in the pipeline, etc. Remember, when you are running a team, you need to think about it like you are running a business or running a brokerage. Productivity per team member is a key matrix that you need to track. Dynamic Automation The idea behind software has always been automation. In the past, automation in team software was pretty linear. Linear automation is when you schedule things to happen at a specific time in a specific order. On day one, do this. On day two, do that. On day five, do this other task; on their birthday, do this, etc. Dynamic automation uses the intelligence of software to observe consumer actions and adjust the behavior accordingly. In tech speak, they use the term "if this, then that." For example, let's imagine that a past client comes to your website to read an article about home improvement, then starts looking at houses. Dynamic automation would bring this to your attention and save the search for that client without them needing to do anything. The software could then send them a follow-up email the next day with the listings that they reviewed and ask if they have questions or would like to see any other homes. These auxiliary communications use machine learning or artificial intelligence to anticipate the needs of clients dynamically and automatically. Download Success Guide: Teams to learn more about Team software trends, how to evaluate Team software, and more.
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The 4 Pillars That Will Drive Real Estate Forward
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As Pandemic Brings Greater Interest in Real Estate Careers, Agents Face More Competition
Real estate may soon be getting more competitive. According to a recent report in Housing Wire, the COVID-19 pandemic has led to a record-breaking number of Americans looking to start a real estate career. While the individual reasons vary--some are enticed by a summer marked by an eye-popping volume of higher-priced home sales in the suburbs; others, laid off or furloughed, are looking to control their own income streams rather than be subjected to the whims of an at-will employer—the numbers are appreciable: Membership in the National Association of Realtors (NAR) is up 1.9% year-over-year, and brokerages like Keller Williams are reporting 3,000-3,500 newly licensed agents joining the firm per month, an unprecedented increase according to the company's Director of Growth, Matt Green.
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3 Key Stats that Show Just How Busy 'Busy Season' Was
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75% of Real Estate Agents Optimistic About the Market Despite Pandemic
Despite the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus pandemic, 75% of real estate agents feel confident about the future of the market, according to a Homes.com survey of nearly 700 agents and brokers. The survey highlights the ongoing strength of the real estate sector, even as other industries continue to suffer losses from coronavirus-related shutdowns. Though real estate professionals were initially uncertain of how the market would respond to pandemic restrictions, the survey found that over 41% of agents have since experienced the same or greater listing activity compared to a typical year. In fact, 66% said they had no listing cancellations since the outbreak began, and of those who have, 88% have had less than five. The 2020 real estate market has been a strong seller's market for most locales, but the Homes.com study still found signs of seller apprehension; 81% of agents indicated they have gained less than five new listings since the pandemic began. "This survey shows how well agents and brokers were able to pivot during the pandemic," said Homes.com president, David Mele. "Their expertise in the real estate process is invaluable which makes them indispensable to buyers and sellers now more than ever." Among the additional findings: 59% of agents have utilized at least one method of online home viewing when working with clients. With 44% of the votes, video tours have been the most popular method, followed closely by virtual tours at 43% and virtual open houses at 19%. 31% of agents indicated that virtual home viewings helped to close a sale, while 23% said that they were able to close on a home sale without a traditional, in-person viewing. The confluence of a pandemic and strong seller's market seems to have, at least for the time being, tampered consumers' needs for in-person viewings and highlighted the growing importance of virtual content for buyers. 77% of agents indicated positive news regarding their clients' homebuying budgets, with 63% saying budgets remained the same and 14% saying their clients' budgets actually increased. Twenty-three percent said budgets have decreased. In line with buyer budgets, 59% of agents said that low mortgage rates have helped them gain business. "Overall, 60% of agents said that, despite the pandemic, business is the same or stronger than before its onset," Mele said. "While the remainder of this year remains uncertain, these findings show how adaptable the industry is, and that agents will do whatever it takes to help consumers in their buying and selling endeavors."
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Busy Season Is Busier Than Ever
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As Listings Increase, So Too Has Agent Confidence
According to the latest Homesnap Confidence Index Report, agent confidence in their local real estate market has reached its highest level since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Homesnap surveyed approximately 40,000 agents on whether they were more optimistic, less optimistic or had no change in feeling about the health of their market in May compared to April. The results, broken down by region, are as follows:
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Waze Is the Hottest Trend in Real Estate Marketing. Here's Why
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Shifting Population Due to Working Remotely
The COVID-19 pandemic could cause a major shift in where many people live. This week, I had a conversation with a friend who lives and works in the San Francisco Bay area. He is one of the estimated 400,000 high-tech workers living in the region. Our discussion turned to the idea of coming to Florida and working remotely and getting a three-hour head start on his coworkers due to the time zone change. This made me to start thinking about possible opportunities. I have two family members that have worked from home since March. Both live in major metropolitan areas and have expensive commutes, and are also thinking of other opportunities. If I can live anywhere and work remotely, where do I want to live? Why wait until I retire to locate to my dream home?
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Real Estate Returning to Normal with New Tech
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Are Buyers Readying to Re-enter the Market En Masse?
To get a picture of buyer behavior, Homesnap's data scientists analyzed trends in three key metrics: properties shared by agents, properties searched by agents, and properties favorited by agents. These metrics offer a clear view of buyer intent and sentiment, as agents who are actively sharing, favoriting, and viewing properties are doing so with their buyers. This is what our data scientists found: In a normal year, real estate buyer activity follows a predictable hill-shaped pattern. After a winter lull, home search actions ramp up in the early spring and maintain consistency throughout the summer before tapering off in the latter half of the fall. It looks a lot like this:
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Analysis: Agents Should Double Down on Facebook and Instagram Ads as Advertising Costs Drop
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Understanding the 2020 Real Estate Market
There is one common question every real estate agent needs the answer for: "How's the market?" While it's important to know what's happening in your area, it is also good to know what's happening nationwide. In the most recent Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar, "2020 Market Predictions for Real Estate," speaker Steve Harney shared what experts are saying about this year's real estate market.
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Real Estate Agents' 2020 Market Predictions
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Marketing to Millennials: Identifying Trends for Future Homebuyers
It's no secret that millennials are buying homes later in life than their predecessors. The reasons are the usual suspects -- rising costs of living, housing costs, and student debt. Identifying trends and patterns with millennials can be a powerful tool when marketing to this generation's homebuyers and closing deals. Check out these trends and see how you can use them to your advantage!
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3 Big Tech Trends: What's ahead for 2020 and beyond
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Profiting from the iBuyer Trend
It's no secret that iBuyers are expanding their reach in the real estate market, often causing agents to worry about their place in the industry. In the most recent Secrets of Top Selling Agents webinar, Anthony Lamacchia shares his secrets for working with iBuyers in "Worried about iBuyers? Well they aren't going away!" Lamacchia is the Broker/Owner and CEO of Lamacchia Companies in Boston, Mass. He also owns Lamacchia Property Management, Lamacchia Development, and REAL Training Systems Inc. As an advocate for real estate-related topics, he is an expert in the industry. In 2018, Lamacchia was nominated for Inman's Most Innovative Broker/Owner for his REAL Training program and expanding platform of "how-to" videos for agents. In his Secrets webinar, Lamacchia shows what agents and brokers can do to thrive during the growing iBuyer phenomenon and get a cut of the marketing trend.
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2020 Hindsight: Game-Changing Tech and Tools from the Last Decade
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[Best of 2019] Listing Agents Offering 1% and $1 Commissions: Is This a New Trend?
Here it is--our top article of the year! This article was originally published back in April and is the most read article of 2019. See #2 here, or read the full list of our Top 10 articles from 2019 here. A real estate agent called complaining that he spoke with one of his buyers who wanted to see a property he found online. When the agent went to check the listing out, he was shocked. The commission stated was for $1. Being the professional that he was, he went to show the condo. He sent me a copy of the MLS sheet and, lo and behold, it was true. Then I contacted the listing agent thinking perhaps they were new and had made an error. Nope, she said, it was correct. The commission was one dollar.
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The 6 Trends We're Seeing in Top Real Estate CRMs
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6 Real Estate Trends to Keep an Eye on in 2020
The countdown to 2020 is officially on! That means one thing: planning season. We're taking a look back at some interesting patterns from 2019 and discussing our top picks for real estate trends to look out for next year.
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What Does a Possible Economic Recession Mean for the Housing Market?
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What Are iBuyers?
A real estate agent's job today looks a lot different than it did 25 years ago, and in another 25 years, there's no telling what kind of changes will be in effect. What we can tell is that real estate may currently be undergoing a lasting change. What are we talking about? iBuyer programs. Companies like Opendoor, Zillow, and OfferPad are buying homes directly from homeowners and reselling them to buyers. While homeowners using iBuyers are currently a very small minority, as these programs spread, they could change the role real estate agents play in a home sale.
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Top 10 Issues Impacting the Real Estate Industry: Annual Forecast Reveals
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Gen Z is Buying Their First Homes! Here's What You Need to Know
Millennials and their buying habits have been under the scrutiny of the real estate industry for years. We've watched them go from a minority to the largest group of buyers in the market, but now Generation Z is taking its first steps into the housing market, and it's time we learned more about this new group of first time buyers. In an effort to do just that, Homes.com polled more than 1000 adults from Generation Z aged 18 to 24 years old. Questions focused on Generation Z's expectations about the home buying experience and their home buying plans.
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Instant Offers: How Real Estate Agents Can Compete
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Real Estate Marketing Trends that Need to Die in 2019
It's not hard to find real estate marketing advice online--but proven, high-quality marketing tips are a different story. Too often, agents simply go along with the crowd, embracing the latest "hot" marketing trend, even if it's not actually delivering great ROI. Worst of all, some of these marketing trends can actively hurt your chances of landing new clients or getting a home sold. If your marketing tactics don't inspire confidence, then how can you expect buyers to be confident in your ability to close the deal? Make the most of your real estate marketing investment by avoiding these real estate trends that need to die in 2019.
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Listing Agents Offering 1% and $1 Commissions: Is This a New Trend?
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The Latest Trends in Market Analytics
Perhaps the most significant disruption in real estate market analytics has been the launch of Zillow's Zestimate. The Zestimate is an automated valuation model that uses mathematical algorithms to speculate what a home's value might be. In the banking industry, these mathematical algorithms are called AVMs, or Automated Valuation Models. As consumers gained access to the Zillow Zestimate, it sent the industry into a tailspin. "The Zestimate is too high," or "The Zestimate is too low," shouted the crowd of industry pundits, REALTORS®, and consumers alike. The tailspin was created by opening up the dark box of real estate data that had previously only been available to real estate professionals. On a property by property basis, real estate agents would carefully sift through dozens or hundreds of properties on the market, under contract, or recently sold in the process of establishing a market value for a home. This remains true today, and the real estate professional who painstakingly performs this analysis continues to be the authority in helping sellers price homes or supporting buyers with successful offers. So the battle is on. Real estate agents have a strong challenger in Zillow, who aims to become the source of real estate information on property values. The good news is that software vendors in the real estate industry continue to raise the bar for REALTORS® by delivering a wide array of products that not only enable the agent to gain astute insights into market data, but analyze and report on that market data with exceptional professionalism. Used correctly, the agent can continue to maintain their position as the most trusted source of what is happening in the real estate market. The challenge is adoption. We have seen an enormous effort expended by the National Association of REALTORS® to maintain the advantage of the REALTOR by the development of the RVM®, or REALTOR Valuation Model. It is like an AVM, but only available to members of NAR. The RVM is created by NAR though their subsidiary, Realtors Property Resource®. This is certainly nothing new, but it is a significant trend in the industry because of its enormous evolution. The product has gotten really advanced in the data available, its ease of use, and certainly the quality of its reports. Frankly, RE Technology believes that RPR is among the most advanced mobile tools available to real estate professionals today. Another enormous development in the real estate industry has been in tax systems. CoreLogic has shifted their development of REALIST® from a standalone solution and opted to focus on Matrix 360, a fully integrated MLS and tax system in one. Alongside this trend, we have seen CRS Data completely rebuild their tax interface and become one of the newest tax systems in real estate. These systems, along with the marketing focused tax system Remine, have splintered the strategic direction of off-market data accessed by real estate professionals. Of course, data quality as measured by accuracy (typos), depth (number of fields), and timeliness (speed of update from the recorder's office) varies by county. No matter how good the software or reports are, the underlying data is the most important resource. Agents and brokers continue to tie market data into their CRM and leverage market reports in lead generation forms for "What's my home worth?" In this regard, we have seen a lot of activity by leading CRM providers like Inside Real Estate, Contactually, Top Producer's Market Snapshot, Boston Logic, Booj, Real Estate Webmasters, Gabriels, and so many others. It is the most powerful drip marketing report with soaring open rates, some hitting as high as 40 percent because consumers are starving for this information and expect it from their agents. Want to learn more about how to make market analytics work for your business? Download our FREE Success Guide to Marketing Analytics today!      
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5 Buzzworthy Real Estate Marketing Trends You Can Use
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Shift Happens: How Top Agents Survive (and Thrive) in a Turning Real Estate Market
"Shifting, bursting, normalizing..." Whichever way you shake it, it's time to start planning for what's on the horizon in the real estate industry. It's been a whirlwind couple of decades in the real estate industry, with many agents experiencing both the peak highs and devastating lows. Defined by the crushing great recession of 2008 and the subsequent steady rise to a booming seller's market (fueled by sky-high home prices and stalled inventory growth), it's been a wild ride. Moving into 2019 the #1 buzz in the biz is undeniably the shifting market. Let's start by saying, the market isn't falling apart. No reliable predictions show that the market shift will mirror anything close to the 2008 collapse, so most real estate professionals are adopting a healthy sense of caution, rather than urgency. But it is shifting. So what does this mean for your business? It may be a period in time that separates the good from the great. The agents that adapt quickly and pivot strategically are the ones that will enter the next decade with a healthy, thriving business.
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Real Estate Advertising Trends You Should Be Aware of This Holiday Season
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Home Design Trends: What Homebuyers Are Looking for Today
The changing trends within the housing market are often fast paced and challenging for agents to keep up with. Thanks to the popularity of smart homes and Joanna Gaines (the queen of home-remodel TV), today's home buyers and sellers are becoming surprisingly knowledgeable about home design, and specific about which features and trends make up their never-ending lists of must-haves.
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3 Easy Ways to Future-proof Your Real Estate Business
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4 Powerful Digital Marketing Trends to Watch in 2018
Real estate agents have to not only master their core competencies, but they have to have a solid grip of sales, marketing and branding – because they will ultimately be the driving force behind this trifecta for the longevity of their career. And in the world of digital marketing, it is important to keep the pulse of an industry that sees algorithm changes every quarter. Far too often with marketing campaigns, we see companies get into grooves and not be able to adjust with the times. And it can be an all-out competition for your attention in a digital space that is growing, overcrowded and saturated with content by the minute. With that in mind, try to focus on these four key areas in digital marketing where all the current data points to being a primary focus in 2018.
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How Mobile Tech Is Changing Real Estate Forever
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Booming Marketing Trends in Real Estate
Real estate marketing is evolving at a rapid pace, and in such a competitive environment, real estate agents need to be at the forefront of cutting-edge trends to appeal to the needs of their evolving clientele. Hot markets, fluctuating demand, evolving technology, and new generations of homeowners all play a role in shaping the real estate market – and how agents approach it. Competition forces creativity The Toronto housing market made global headlines this past year with its scorching hot listings – but it has also shown how aggressive the space can be for Realtors to compete in, and how it is forcing them to get really creative with listings. Consider this: since 2014, 9,000 new agents have received their license in the Greater Toronto Area alone, which is now home to 52,000 Realtors. Using this market as an example, some agents have started to offer a night out as a thank you to clients, a membership for a year at a local gym or fitness club, the free use of a drone for showing the property, complimentary staging – even going as far as slashing their commissions.
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15 Real Estate Resources That Will Help You Sell More Homes in 2017
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5 Social Media Trends You Need to Leverage
Let's face it: you know social media is essential to sustaining a successful business – but so do your competitors. And they're working tirelessly to build a reputable online presence. So, how do you stand out and build recognition? Well, for one thing, following the latest social media trends is a must. To maintain relevance and continue to influence your viewers and visitors, you need to ensure your posts evolve alongside a perpetually changing online landscape. We've compiled the latest – and most important – trends here, as an easy guide for staying on top of your social media game. 1. Mobile still dominates Traditionally mobile was perceived as helpful in improving your online presence – but its ascent to the primary (and not secondary) screen for most social media users means you need to be thinking of creating content specifically designed for smartphone users, according to Sprout Social. As handheld devices evolve and continue to gain prominence, it's time to start focusing your marketing efforts on mobile devices – smartphones, tablets and smartwatches.
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Top Online Marketing Trends for Real Estate Pros
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7 Actionable Mobile Trends for Real Estate Agents
The year is 2016 and it seems that everywhere we turn, there’s new technology cropping up. Throughout it all, mobile technology not only continues to improve exponentially, but it’s nearly ubiquitous. You’d be hard-pressed to find someone who doesn’t have a mobile device these days. But, what does that mean for real estate agents? According to the NAR, in 2015, 50% of home buyers used mobile technology to find their new home. Most real estate agents spend very little time in their offices and they’re nearly always on-the-go, making mobile technology ideal for their business lifestyles. But are they all utilizing it to the fullest extent? There are plenty of reasons for real estate agents to integrate mobile into their business strategy, but they may not be aware of all the resources available to them for doing so, and how these trends could potentially make a huge difference in their day-to-day.
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Home Trends: What's In (and Out) for 2016
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Onwards and Upwards in 2016
It's that time of year again—time to reflect on the year that's passed and look forward to what's going to matter most in 2016. Our hope is that when you do, you focus on some of your most celebrated moments and find a nugget or two of inspiration for 2016. Looking back on the market It's been a good year for real estate: Home sales are strong in most markets—likely to come in at around 5.3M. Moderate price increases continue to make housing affordable. Best of all, when it comes to that all-American dream, home ownership is an important part for 87% of people. (It's even higher for millennials at 91%.) And if you're wondering about next year, according to Jonathan Smoke, "We are entering a normal, but healthy, housing market." Here's his list of the top 10 markets to watch in 2016. Our prediction for 2016 We predict that 2016 is going to be the year of doing the basics better. Year after year, we see top producers doing the basics better, and even through the ebbs and flows of the market, and the whims and emotions of buyers and sellers, they remain at the top of their game.
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Six Real Estate Trends to Watch for in 2016
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What Will Buyers Want in 2016? Smart Homes!
Buyers want smart homes? What's that? Don't worry, if you don't know the slightest about smart homes, you're not alone. Technology, like real estate trends, is constantly changing. Sometimes it can be hard to stay in the driver's seat. Smart homes, or homes with built-in intelligence systems, are rapidly gaining in popularity, causing buyers to increasingly look for more high-tech home upgrades as technology advances. Who's doing the driving? The "Internet of Things," or "IoT," is the connectivity of everyday objects to the internet and one another, a phenomenon embraced and expected by the general public in all manner of applications. As wireless internet technology advances, and becomes easier to operate and more cost effective, smarter experiences can be provided in the home. Crash course There are an array of home technology options, such as WiFi, Bluetooth, Zigbee and Z-Wave, with various compatible home automation devices. However, technology compatibility issues abound, especially when a mix of wireless home technology solutions are used. The goal in the not-so-distant future: compatibility. Major players in the smart home technology market are joining forces in support of an open wireless network standard that would allow interoperability among various products.
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Why Millennials Won’t Buy Boomer McMansions
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Is It Walkable? More Buyers Want a Pedestrian-Friendly Community
People in cities across the U.S. are reaching the same conclusion: they're sick of cars. Favoring a more walkable city, current real estate trends are pointing toward buyers seeking out less pollution, less noise, and less stress in pedestrian friendly communities. How important is this feature? It's the number one real estate trend in both foreign and domestic buyers. Is society canning the cars? Coming full circle, Americans seem to be outgrowing the automobile in favor of more pedestrian friendly towns. Instead of moving out to the burbs, homeowners are looking for locations walking distance to work and play alike. The greater the mix of uses, the higher the demand is for homes in an area, driving up not only property values, but local tax revenue as well. What are buyers looking for? A healthy and convenient lifestyle, either within walking distance of jobs or walking distance to timely and reliable transit systems. A wide array of amenities – accessible sans automobile – including retail, restaurants, schools, parks, museums, waterfront and cultural landmarks, sports and athletics, nightlife, and more.
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What They Don’t Tell You – Real Estate Market Trends
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10 Insights into Real Estate Technology for 2015
2015 is shaping up to be a big leap forward for real estate technology. Venture funding is flooding into the space, and M&A activity is at all time high--not to mention the closing of the Trulia and Zillow merger! With mobile technology permeating every aspect of an agent's business, mobile real estate technology will begin to become more widely adopted. Thanks to the proliferation of smartphone adoption among real estate agents, 2015 is guaranteed to transform the technology landscape in the industry. 1. Prepare for mobile to take become the indisputable focal point of everything real estate tech 2. iBeacon technology will begin to be used in listing signs 3. Drone photography and video will be regulated for the real estate industry as FAA issues first set of guidelines in September 2015
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7 Signs of a Soon-to-Be Super Hot Market (and Why You Can’t Ignore Them)
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2013: The Year of Mobile
As a tech company with a popular mobile tool, we're in a unique position to observe technology trends as the years go by – and 2013 was certainly one for the books. What we saw in 2013 was double the number of people logging into our mobile applications--a trend that continues early into 2014. More specifically, we tracked over 15 million logins, over 40 million properties viewed, and over a billion photos viewed on mobile devices. Say it with me: WOW! Let's take a moment to look a bit closer at this trend. Why Mobile? This is a "chicken or the egg" sort of question. Part of the reason we're seeing such growth in mobile is that more real estate professionals are developing a purposeful mobile strategy and implementing effective mobile tools. However, the reason they're doing so is that more consumers are using mobile as part of their real estate transaction. NAR, for example, states that over 68% of homebuyers use their mobile devices to search for homes these days. Perhaps the largest use of real estate consumer mobile activity is when prospective homebuyers use a mobile device to begin their home search. This is where we come in, with our branded property search apps. Of course, if you don't provide an MLS data-driven property search app like ours to your buyer clients, they'll be getting their data from the other apps out there or from the mobile Web. Unless they're using an MLS app or the realtor.com® app, you can't be sure that the data they are looking at is accurate or up-to-date.
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A Portrait of the Agent – Realtor® Habit Survey
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Friday Freebie: Guide to Mobile Engagement
The explosion of mobile devices has changed how consumers search for real estate. More importantly, it's transformed how your website generates leads. Think that prospect who couldn't access your site on their iPhone will visit again from their laptop? Think again. The truth is, if your site isn't optimized for mobile, you're missing out on a huge number of leads. Mobile is an intimidating world, and it can be hard to know where to begin. In this week's Friday Freebie, we highlight a guide that can show you exactly where to start. Download a free whitepaper from Delta Media Group Delta Media Group started seeing dramatic changes in consumers' online search behavior starting in 2010. "Those changes in behavior are maturing now," said Delta CEO Mike Minard in a recent interview. "The method in which REALTORS® need to engage these customers is different." To get agents and brokers up to speed on these changes, Delta has released an informative white paper that's easy to read, regardless of your level of tech savvy. "The Mobile Customer Experience: Trending, Optimization, and Application" explores recent trends in online engagement, backed by traffic statistics from over 35,000 websites. In this free paper, agents and brokers will learn more about: Mobile engagement trends Measuring client expectations Mobile web vs. apps Click here to download the white paper now!
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How Real Estate Agents are Using Mobile Technology
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[Infographic]: Home Buyer Search Habits
Spring is here! Birds are chirping, the air is warmer, flowers are blooming and the beginning of a busy real estate season is upon us. To help prepare real estate pros for another busy season of "wheeling and dealing," Homes.com would like to share some valuable insight on homebuyer search trends. Recently, we surveyed consumers about their home search habits and have compiled them into this handy Home Search Habits infographic. Highlights: Make sure your properties are on national listing sites like Homes.com. Almost 70% of consumers reported that they search for properties here. Not only that, 40% indicated that they search online for homes every day! Get your fingers nimble because over half of consumers (52.8%) prefer to communicate via email. Deal breaker alert: Be sure to showcase eye-catching property photos as a whopping 90% reported that they're less likely to see a home in person if the listing has no photos. No photos. No deal. We hope that these trends will help you with your leads and client growth. Do these results represent your clients? We would like to know if these results are helpful and related to your own database demographics. Comment below or discuss with others on our Facebook page.
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Study: How Online Is Driving Offline
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Are You Recognizing the Trends in Your Market?
If you want to kick up your lead generation, one of the key elements is to be dialed into what's happening in your market. Five years ago, many of us were focused on working niche markets like new homes, but when the market shifted, the new home market fizzled out. Now the market is shifting again with news on the street that there is going to be less REO inventory and more short sales. The move-up buyer market is strong because interest rates are spurring folks to action. With this in mind, you have to be ready for these active trends and shifts in your market. Here are seven key things to pay attention to in order to find the emerging trends in your market and create marketing momentum behind them. 1. Study your market. The MLS has so many tools and resources to help you learn what is actively going on in your market. Run reports of what is selling in your market, what price point is moving and where the movement is happening. Sort the data so you can see if there are particular neighborhoods that are moving as well as what types of properties are selling more actively (i.e., condos, short sales in the move-up price range, investor market, etc.).
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Tablets: The Future of (Digital) Advertising
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Infographic: The Price is Right!
Our friends at ActiveRain and Market Leader created this gorgeous infographic to demonstrate where real estate agents are spending their money – and where it should be going. Data for the infographic came from a survey of more than 2,000 real estate agents as well as information from the 2012 National Association of REALTORS® Member survey. So, without further ado, here’s the infographic. We’ll share some of the highlights on the next page.
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Just how important IS technology in Real Estate?
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33 Must-Know Stats about Modern Real Estate Customers
We love to remind our clients of Peter Drucker's critical insight: Know the customer so well, that your products and services virtually sell themselves. So, here's are 33 things you need to know about them if you want to grow your business! Let's talk real estate consumers, not houses, for a moment. If you want your sales, marketing and customer-relationship strategy to be as effective as possible, make sure you've understood just who you're trying to connect with this year. In fact, of the top 10 reasons people bought a home last year, most were "personal" reasons. So stop spending as much time worrying about housing inventory and make sure you have mastered the research about the housing consumer. Here are some to get you started, courtesy of multiple sources, including the National Association of REALTORS, Pew Research, Nielsen, Morgan-Stanley and a few other pieces we've brought together. Buyers: 37% of recent buyers were "first time" buyers – a drop from 50% in 2010 They typical buyer was 45 years old – up from 39 a year ago 37% of buyers were under the age of 31; 32% were over 55 While all buyers use the internet to search for homes, for 35% of them, it was the first step in the process; 21% started by contacting an agent 21% of buyers were single females; 12% single males 64% of all buyers had no children under 18 at home Buyers found real estate agents (83%) slightly more useful than the internet (81%) 92% said open houses were very- to somewhat-useful sources of real estate information Buyers found the home they purchased in the newspaper 5% of the time 58% of buyers wanted to see videos when looking at property online
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For REALTORS, The Answer Is In "The Cloud"
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Shedding Light on Online Security
Shedding Light on Security Concerns Growing concerns about the security of personal information will impact us all, on both a personal and professional level. As a REALTOR®, it's essential for you to understand these concerns so that you can answer client questions and choose the right technology for your business. If you're aware, informed, and diligent, you can safeguard your data and reassure your clients.
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A T-Mobile Royal Wedding Tribute
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Inclusion: Secret Sauce of Social Media
Guest contributor Chris Brogan says: Inclusion is the secret sauce of social media. It’s one of the biggest opportunities. We can fill that sense of a need to belong. Social media allows for this. Before you get all “gee whiz” about that, or think that it’s something too touchy-feely, realize that what humans want more than most things is validation. When we look at ads, the biggest emotion we tend to feel is, “I’m the type of person who would have that.” It’s this sense that we need to be included. But advertising and marketing quite often leaves people feeling left out.
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Your Reputation: To Be Shared Online?
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Viewers Have Options: Make Sure They Choose You
These days consumers have so many marketing messages and sales pitches to weed through, the challenge to marketers is to make your materials easy to find and engaging enough to hold their attention.  Consumers have a choice, and they know it. If it's boring, someone else probably made another video or flyer with similar information and they can easily find it.  Here is a short video detailing how to avoid getting tossed in the "boring" category as online home buyers search for the right REALTOR® for them.
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Time Management Begins With You
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The Science of Timing: Blogging
How many times a day or week should you blog to keep people interested? Do you know what time of day is best for blogging? Does it matter? The answer is simple: there is a science to blogging. With millions of bloggers, how do you make your message rise above the digital noise and gain traction within your industry? When are people listening? Don't worry, there are answers to this based on scientific research. Modern day blogging has evolved into a science. If you are interested in keeping a client and subscriber base informed and engaged with you and your message, it is well worth your time to invest in learning some of the research behind the science of blog timing. HubSpot social media scientist Dan Zarrella discussed his research on timing. He has conducted research on the Internet for the last 2-3 years. Of all the subjects he researches, the science of timing is the number one piece of data consumers want to know. He researches and identifies best practices. This webinar presents all the data to date that Zarrella has studied. It covers three marketing mediums businesses use for inbound marketing: social media, email and blogging. This article focuses on blogging specifically.
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The Science of Timing: Emailing
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Study: Only Takes 4 Minutes to Go From Funny to Irritating
The Onion News Network is the Saturday Night Live of news reporting. Creating humor from seemingly thin air, the creators of this hilarious media database enjoy creating newsworthy articles and videos based not at all on news.  I subscribe to all their channels and highly recommend you do as well.  Not convinced? Well, keep reading. They recently posted a study called "Threshold of Percieved Humor." This one is good. The following was taken from the Onion's online news section.
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9 Easy Ways to Get Unfollowed on Twitter
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5 Things To Know about Marketing on the Web
Developing your ability to engage customers online is critical now more than ever as people turn to the web in virtually every aspect of life. Turning your skills into something that can actually result in a transaction is a more challenging than simply posting an update on Facebook or Twitter. To use the Internet to market your product, (remember that real estate is a product) it’s going to require not only time but a determined commitment to learn how to use this powerful tool to your best advantage. Here are five marketing pearls to ponder upon.  
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The Queue: A Look at RETechSouth, Bob Hale, and 4 New Technologies!
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LinkedIn: Are You Leveraging the Premier B2B Social Network? [Infographic]
On RETechnology.com we talk about "edutizing" your clients. In 2011 potential clients won't look twice at your post/blog unless its evident that by reading your information you will give them something of value first and foremost. Often, especially in service industries, it is vital to impart some kind of education to potential clients. Give them a little something interesting to think about, share with their friends and feel like the source of valuable information. Don't give too much; you want to continually become the conduit to their valuable information. That is the goal. One of the best examples of this is HubSpot. I love reading their blog and today they posted something really facinating about LinkedIn. In their recent post, they provide some valuable marketing advice as they share LinkedIn's infographic:  
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