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Buying or Selling a Home in 2016? Realtor.com® Helps Consumers Navigate the Process with Top Tips
SAN JOSE, California, January 14, 2016 — On the heels of a 2016 Housing Forecast that predicts a healthy real estate market for the coming year, realtor.com®, a leading destination of online real estate services operated by News Corp subsidiary Move, Inc., today debuts Top Tips for Home Buyers and Sellers in 2016. These tips will guide everyone from house-hunting virgins to flipping fanatics through the market specifics for the next year, cutting through the clutter of real estate advice to highlight what is most important for buying or selling a home in 2016. "The 2016 housing market is forecasted to be mainly a seller's market, filled with increasing home prices, relatively low inventory and fierce competition between buyers," said Jonathan Smoke, chief economist for realtor.com®. "Buyers looking to close this year need to keep an open mind and be prepared to move quickly when they find a home that meets their needs. For sellers, it's about understanding the ins and outs of their local market so they can optimize the price of their home and close quickly." The top tips for 2016 home buyers include: Be the early bird. Over 85 percent of buyers who plan to purchase in the next year intend to buy in the spring or summer of 2016, according to our most recent realtor.com® survey. With roughly 50 percent more listings inventory relative to the number of potential home sales expected in January and February, buyers who start their search early face less competition with nearly the same number of homes. Comparison shop for mortgages. Mortgage rates are expected to reach 4.65 percent and prices are predicted to rise 3 percent year over year in 2016. Buyers planning to finance their purchase should put as much effort into getting the right mortgage as they do finding the right home. A lower interest rate can make the difference in qualifying for a home and save thousands over the life of the loan. Consider a new home. In 2016, the number of new homes on the market is expected to grow more rapidly resulting in a 16 percent increase in new home sales year over year. Buyers should consider the new home options in their market; they are likely to have less competition and to enjoy a broad selection of homes. While new homes are typically higher in price, they are usually larger and offer performance advantages and warranties that could reduce operating and maintenance costs. Markets where new homes will capture a higher share of sales include: Boise City, Idaho; Charleston-North Charleston, S.C.; Salt Lake City; Nashville-Davidson-Murfreesboro-Franklin, Tenn.; and Myrtle Beach-Conway-North Myrtle Beach, S.C.-N.C. Buy a home in the Midwest or South. The biggest issue expected to hold buyers back this year is an inability to find a home in their price range. Considering a home purchase in the Midwest or South may be a good option for those who really want to close in 2016. Local markets such as Dayton, Ohio; Birmingham-Hoover, Ala.; Harrisburg-Carlisle, Penn.; Augusta-Richmond County, Ga.-S.C.; and Des Moines-West Des Moines, Iowa offer buyers high affordability, increasing inventory and favorable lending standards. The top tips for 2016 home sellers include: List during peak season. Unlike buyers, demand benefits sellers. Prime home buying season begins in April and reaches its peak in June, according to realtor.com® analysis of home sales. Sellers who list their home during the prime spring and summer months benefit from a larger population of buyers and potential bidding wars, which often result in higher prices and faster closings. Price a home to the market. In 2016, prices are expected to increase nationally 3 percent year over year. Local prices changes are anticipated to be more dramatic with markets such as Stockton, Calif. and Las Vegas, Nev. expected to increase by 10 percent. Sellers who work with a local REALTOR® to optimize the price of their home based on its unique features and surrounding neighborhood are often able to receive the highest price for their market and sell more quickly. Offer incentives. Last year, 37 percent of all sellers offered incentives to attract buyersi. Sellers who are open to negotiating beyond price are more likely to find scenarios that result in wins for both sides resulting in a potentially faster sale and more seller profit. Sell a home in California. While many local areas are showing favor to sellers this year, California markets are accelerating past the positive national averages and showing extremely favorable conditions for sellers. Robust job growth, increasing prices and limited inventory have sellers ready for big gains in Stockton-Lodi; Bakersfield, Calif.; Fresno, Calif.; and San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif. Ready to test – and boost – your real estate savviness? Realtor.com®'s 2016 Housing Quiz gives buyers and sellers an edge with the top tips for 2016. It also features an interactive infographic that shows the best growth markets for 2016, the top 5 markets for each of the three age groups –millennials, young gen X-ers and retirees – expected to lead the 2016 buying spree, and a year-over-year comparison of some of the most important national housing and economic indicators. About Move, Inc. and realtor.com® Move, Inc. operates the realtor.com® website and mobile experiences, which provide buyers, sellers and renters of homes with the information, tools and professional expertise they need to discover and create their perfect home. News Corp acquired Move in November 2014, and realtor.com® quickly established itself as the fastest growing online real estate service provider as measured by comScore. As the official website of the National Association of REALTORS®, consumers know they can look to realtor.com® for the most comprehensive and accurate information anytime, anywhere. With relationships with nearly 800 multiple listing services (MLS), realtor.com® has more than 3 million for-sale listings, which account for more than 97 percent of all MLS-listed for-sale properties. More than 90 percent of the listings are updated every 15 minutes. Move's network of websites provides consumers a wealth of innovative tools, including Doorsteps®, Moving.com™, SeniorHousingNet and others. Move supports real estate professionals by providing many services to grow their businesses in an increasing digital, on-demand world, including ListHub™, the nation's leading listing syndicator and centralized intelligence platform for the real estate industry; TigerLead®; Top Producer® Systems; and FiveStreet and Reesio as well as many free services.
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Top 5 Year-End Recommendations for brokerWOLF Users
The brokerWOLF Support Department has compiled our annual top 5 recommendations to help your year-end process run smoothly. 1) Update your program: Ensure you are on the latest version of the program before you issue your first payroll for 2013, and again before you generate your tax slips. Any changes will be implemented as they are announced; however there can be late changes. Check the Release Notes which can be accessed under the HELP drop-down menu in brokerWOLF to see the changes implemented in each update. 2) Update your Control Dates: Control Dates are used to ensure that accounting posting entries are kept within a pre-determined date range. On the Misc1 screen of the Company Profile (E.1.1), select your Control Start and End Dates. Control dates ensure that no entries can inadvertently be posted or reversed into a prior period. Updating your control dates won't close your year-end; it simply ensures that your prior year financials won't be affected after you start working in the New Year. If you see a warning indicating your Control Start Date is more than one year in the past, choose the option to edit your control dates and consider changing them so postings for the New Year are not inadvertently dated for January 2013. 3) Refer to the Accountant Year-End Recommendations Tip Sheet: The Tip Sheet section of the brokerWOLF HELP menu (F1) includes tips for many different situations. When preparing for your fiscal year-end, this tip sheet provides a list of reports for you to review and provide for your accountant so you are prepared for your fiscal year-end. 4) Review the resources available before you start preparing your Tax Slips: Before you are ready to generate tax slips for your staff and/or agents, please refer to the information in brokerWOLF HELP for menu option 9.5.3 (staff) & 9.5.4 (agents). There is also a Tip Sheet called FAQ's for Tax Slip Preparation, which includes information on the most common questions... and don't forget to order your forms. 5) Make any Payroll updates that are unique to your company or staff members: Two of the most common changes the brokerWOLF support team sees are listed below: U.S. Payroll: Verify the state unemployment tax (employer) has the correct percentage in the auxiliary field (9.5.1). This percentage will be unique to each company and assigned by your state. Please ensure the percentage is entered correctly, for example 5.4% would be entered as .054. Canadian Payroll: When processing your first staff payroll, if any TD1 basic tax rates have changed you will be prompted to update your staff members that have the base tax credit amounts. Employees with overridden tax credit amounts will need to complete new TD1 forms to determine their tax rates. TD1 and Provincial Tax Credit amounts can be manually entered in on the Payroll screen in your staff profiles (I.1.1). TD1 forms are available from the CRA website. If you have any questions about this information or how it may affect your company please feel free to contact our Support Department. Utilizing the Support Request Form located in your HELP drop-down will allow you to attach Trades/Transactions, Staff/Agent profiles, Vendors, etc.., which will provide the brokerWOLF support team with information to investigate your questions and get back to you with a detailed response. Happy Year-End! To view the original post, visit the Lone Wolf blog.
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Home Prices Are Low. Should You Buy Now?
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DotLoop Powers 23 New Michigan Real Estate Offices to Meet the Demand of Today’s Buyer and Seller
The move towards completely electronic real estate transactions is quickly becoming the norm throughout the industry. Recently, Michigan agents joined a growing number of real estate professionals across the country as 23 offices began using DotLoop in the month of April to complete deals electronically and increase efficiency. In response to the growing presence of mobile technology among consumers, REALTORS® use DotLoop to leverage technology, meeting a growing demand to buy and sell homes online. For years, real estate agents and brokers advertised listings online, yet failed to employ closing or transaction functions in the same online space. According to the 2010 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers, the share of buyers who searched "frequently" online for their home rose to 89 percent in 2010. DotLoop delivers that solution for real estate agents and the home buyers they serve. Using what's known as a "collaborative workspace," agents share and adjust documents with clients in real-time, anywhere they have Internet access. When all negotiations are complete, electronic signatures are used to finalize the contracts quickly and securely. Agents across the country using the "collaborative workspace" are completing deals quicker and easier than before. "This will set us apart from other agents in how easy it is to make offers on our listings," said Darne Ridgley, REALTOR® with Keller Williams. "The client view will be easy to explain and the co-op agents will not have any trouble viewing it either." While transactions may only be initiated by DotLoop authorized agents, it's available to the cooperative agent receiving the initiation for free. This open source engagement with other agents allows transactions to maintain transparency and simplicity with the home buyer's and seller's interests in mind. Jim Bowling of RE/MAX Preferred Group of Southern Ohio said, "Depending how you look at it, it could mean the difference of getting a signature at 1 p.m. or 5 p.m. once my client gets off work. My clients sign contracts at work, in seconds." DotLoop helps an agent overcome the inefficiencies of the traditional real estate process and meet the demands of today's home buyers and sellers. By leveraging technology, both agents and their brokers position themselves for future success. Agents across the country continue to adopt DotLoop's collaborative workspace with nearly 10,000 new users added every month. In the midst of a national expansion, DotLoop continues to simplify the home buying and selling process for agents and clients in New York, Ohio, Florida and more to come over the next year. About DotLoop Headquartered in Cincinnati, Ohio, DotLoop is transforming the real estate industry by providing a collaborative workspace where any real estate agent can share and sign transaction documents. As the leading provider of collaborative negotiation services, DotLoop is available to service all real estate professionals throughout the United States and Canada. The innovative DotLoop platform is a collaborative, wholly web-based negotiation platform that lets users add, adjust, approve, and sign documents digitally – addressing the challenges of security, efficiency, and overhead costs in today's real estate industry. Learn more about DotLoop.  
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Where Do I Start? A Facebook Page or Blog?
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Smarter Agent Acquires Toor.me
Smarter Agent, the leading mobile real estate network, today announced the acquisition of Toor.me, combining Toor.me’s QR code product with Smarter Agent’s existing suite of mobile real estate apps that can be branded to agents, brokers, realty franchisors, media and finance companies. Toor.me provides the real estate industry with mobile, desktop and social enhanced tours of their property listings. Integrated use of Toor Tags (QR Codes) makes ads and real estate signs interactive with mobile devices, sending potential buyers instantly to a mobile experience of the property. Sites are viewable on a desktop, tablet or any mobile device. Toor.me encompasses: Visual Tours (Non-Flash) QR Short Url’s Google Maps Integration One touch contact of agent: mobile, office, and/or email. One touch social share: Facebook, Twitter, or Email YouTube Fields Unlimited Photos Unlimited Websites For One Low Price "Every real estate yard sign should have an interactive mobile component to engage homebuyers,” said Smarter Agent CEO Brad Blumberg. “Toor.me brings properties to life for homebuyers and provides a powerful listing tool for agents and brokers. QR codes attract attention and are a growing entry point for consumers to learn about properties.” Smarter Agent has been developing real estate apps for more than a decade and is the only company that offers real estate professionals a branded mobile solution that consists of native apps for iPhone, BlackBerry, Android, Palm OS; apps on feature phones across Sprint, Verizon Wireless, AT&T and T-Mobile; and handles mobile web and text all in one. “Toor.me is far ahead of other QR and text code based companies in providing an experience to wow homebuyers, and we look forward to having this talented team as part of Smarter Agent,” said Eric Blumberg, President of Smarter Agent. Together, the companies aim to increase opportunities for mobile interaction, connecting homebuyers to agents and their listings. “Since the very beginning, even before we had a finished product, it has been the goal of Toor.me to revolutionize the way that real estate is marketed, bought and experienced,” said Allen Hartwig, co-founder of Toor.me. “By combining forces with Smarter Agent, the realization of that goal will be much sooner and done so with a greater impact. I am looking forward to designing world class mobile experiences and services with Smarter Agent that truly revolutionize real estate to be more social, more green and more meaningful.” Nick Smoot, co-founder of Toor.me, added, “I am excited to join forces with Smarter Agent.  Brad and Eric are the Godfathers of mobile real estate. Together we will continue to make the future of real estate marketing exciting and rewarding for our customers.” Toor.me and Smarter Agent got married! from Nick Smoot on Vimeo. Try a Toor.me demo: http://www.smarteragent.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/Toor.Me-Demo-qr-code.png Or direct any browser to:  http://toor.me/of/82 Download Smarter Agent’s free real estate app:  http://www.smarteragent.com/blog/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/smarter-agent-qr-code.png If you would like to learn more about Smarter Agent, please click here. 
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Driving Your Referral Business
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3 Tips to Help You Deal with Your Scalability Problem
Scalability is defined as “a characteristic of a system, model or function that describes its capability to cope and perform under an increased or expanding workload.” Or in more relevant terms ... the ability to expand your coaching business and its revenue AND increase your profit margin (your labor stays constant while revenues grow ... sounds nice doesn't it?). 99.9% of coaches, trainers, consultants, counselors, authors and solopreneurs of every kind have 1 very big common problem: scalability.  It’s a problem because if you’re not in action doing whatever it is you do to make sales, sales stop.  Which means the money stops.  That’s the real problem. Wouldn’t it be great if money came in without you having to exert tremendous amounts of energy to generate every damn penny? On Wednesday, December 15th at 11am EST, Kim Andes, founder of Frame of Mind Coaching, will share the 3 keys to establishing scalability: 1.       Leverage what you know 2.       Provide an extraordinary customer experience over and over 3.       Technology Click here to register! Scalability is as much about leverage as it is about growth.  For a business to grow, evolve, and/or simply stay afloat, it must gradually move from prospecting-based to marketing-based.  A prospecting-based business means revenue is only generated when you are actively seeking sales; a marketing-based business is one with leverage – and therefore scalable – in which sales transpire without you having to exert tremendous amounts of energy. On Wednesday, December 15th at 11am EST, Kim Andes will share with you exactly how they have achieved a sustainable level of scalability in their coaching business, Frame of Mind Coaching (and in what areas theyneed to keep evolving). Scalability is also about working smarter not harder.  If you want to achieve higher sales, while exerting less energy, then don’t miss this event; the content of this call is HUGE for you – especially as we enter into a new year, with new goals! Join us Wednesday, December 15th at 11am EST and finish 2010 with a BANG!  Get serious about making more money, in less time, in 2011. Click here to register! To learn more about Frame of Mind Coaching, please click here.
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Want to Learn about Increasing Your Income AND Your Work-Life Balance?
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What is Your Strategy to Recruit Experienced Agents?
RISMEDIA, September 19, 2009 — Recruiting experienced agents is an easy way for brokers to bring excitement back into their office as well as impact their bottom line. While bringing in experienced agents is a great way to keep your office productive, many real estate professionals are relying on passive forms of advertising to bring in new agents. Here, Todd Shyiak, President, Cogent Step Recruiting discusses the formula for successful recruiting.  Recruiting experienced agents can bring immediate benefits to a broker — an immediate impact to the bottom line, increased market share and excitement in the office. Yet, most simply don’t have a strategy or the time to recruit experienced agents.  Of the brokers who do have a plan, many rely on “passive” forms of advertising — drip email campaigns, a website page and direct mail pieces touting the advantages of their brand and office. But passive ads are easy to dismiss and even ignore. The best and perhaps only way to recruit experienced agents is to call them directly until you actually speak with them. When you speak directly to an agent, you can determine if they are perhaps unhappy where they are today and/or if they are interested in hearing more about your value proposition. The number of agents you end up speaking to and meeting with using the phone instead of ads will increase your chances of achieving your goals exponentially.  To successfully recruit experienced agents, a broker must first have a goal in mind then develop a plan and execute that plan daily. Assuming the broker has a solid value proposition (an established brand, technology tools, training, competitive rates and good market share, for example) and a commitment to grow their market share, the next step is working through the numbers. If, for example, a broker has set a goal of recruiting 10 experienced, producing agents this year and he or she has 600 agents in their market area with sufficient sales volume to warrant a call, break it down like this:  Calling 600 successful agents on their cell phones until you actually speak with them will require a commitment to make 150 calls per week for 12 weeks (1,800 total calls). You will end up speaking with approximately 80% of the agents (480) and leaving a voice mail for 120.  Of the 480 that you end up speaking to, between 9 and 12% will be “interested” in exploring their options either because they are unhappy where they are or they want to learn more about your brand/value to them and their business.  Of the 40 to 60 interested agents, you should be successful in booking 20 to 40 face-to-face meetings.  20 to 40 meetings will result in between 5 and 10 agents recruited and a lot of momentum and excitement in your office that will result in the “collateral” recruiting of even more Agents.  The right energy, scripting and objection handling on the initial call will identify a much higher percentage of interested agents in the first place. The critical needs analysis, both on the phone and during the face-to-face meeting is crucial to understanding agents’ current issues and future needs and wants. Broker training on consultative best practices will ensure a higher success rate for the face-to-face meetings.  Being committed to growing your market share may be a great goal, but you must also commit to train yourself (or your managers) on recruiting best practices. That’s where Cogent Step Recruiting can help. When a broker is overwhelmed with the sheer volume of calls they need to make, let alone understanding the other elements of successful recruiting, we offer an outsourced solution. Most agents are quite happy to get a call from an executive recruiter.  The ability to effectively identify and attract experienced agents is more than a tactical advantage—in a highly competitive market, it is a core capability that will drive the success of your business for the long term. Set a goal, develop a plan and execute.  Todd Shyiak President Cogent Step Recruiting www.cogentstep.com  RISMedia welcomes your questions and comments. Send your e-mail to: [email protected]  
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Terabitz Launches Web Platform for Brokers
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