Google

PMI Companies Cracking Down

Jan 16, 2018 by

PMI Companies Cracking Down.  MGIC not liking loose guidelines.  Expect others to follow.

The post PMI Companies Cracking Down appeared first on National Real Estate Post.

National Real Estate Post

read more

Related Posts

Share This

Survey Results: What Keeps Brokers Up at Night?

Jan 15, 2018 by

As we begin a new year, what are the most pressing issues on the minds of the nation’s real estate brokers? What are they most looking forward to in the year ahead? What strategies do they have in place to address inventory issues, technology adoption, agent retention or to ensure their continued profitability? Better Homes & Gardens® Real Estate and RISMedia recently teamed up to find out the answers to these and more questions through a survey on “What Keeps Brokers Up at Night?” Their answers provide a detailed map into the best practices every company can follow to success.

The U.S. brokers we surveyed represented a wide swath of company structures, from companies with less than 3 offices and single digit agent counts to those with more than 400 offices and 13,000 agents. Respondents’ average age range was 51-70 and responded from all regions of the country. Annual sales volume listed by respondents ranged from approximately $ 650,000 to over $ 4.8 billion.

Check out this infographic based on part of the survey results. Full results to follow in article after the graphic.

BHGRE_RIS_survey_infog_final

Top Concerns

Taking a look at brokers’ most pressing, high-level concerns, the top three ‘most disruptive to the current real estate model’ were: Direct-to-consumer, online, flat-fee and 100% commission models. The top three ‘most pressing issues facing the industry’ were lack of inventory, recruiting and non-traditional competition. Top obstacles to profitability were lack of inventory, increasing agent productivity and pressure on commissions. Some responses entered in the ‘Other’ category for this question included discount brokerages, Zillow, too many agents, lead generation and ‘declining market without increase in sales volume on top of rising labor costs.’

On the subject of budgeting, brokers listed online marketing and technology as some of their top investments; also included were administrative, office expenses, labor, rent occupancy, advertising, recruiting and training. ‘Client services’ was the clear winner in what sets their firms apart, showing per tradition that nothing can replace good, old-fashioned customer service. Agent tools, technology and commission structure were the runners up for budget dollars.

Brokers listed their top operational challenges as recruitment of agents, agent productivity and business model competitiveness. And to the question, “What keeps you up at night the most?” brokers listed recruiting more agents as the top answer, followed by new business models, uncertain economy, keeping up with technology, lack of inventory and housing legislation issues.  ‘Other’ answers in this category included: relevance to agents, inspection repairs, Zillow, lack of agent experience, builders and owners reaching buyers directly and lead generation.

Is the key to success being organized? One respondent wrote, “I sleep like a baby because I am organized.” This can only help in business—and with sleep.

Deeper Dive on the Issues

With lack of inventory rising to the top of the most pressing issues, we asked how brokers believe this challenge should be addressed. The top response was ‘increase percentage of new home construction,’ followed by ‘better education of clients on rent vs buy and view of current inventory,’ ‘motivating agents to be more proactive with lead generation,’ ‘reevaluation of local zoning and permit laws,’ ‘changes to tax structure,’ ‘reevaluation of national housing regulations,’ and ‘creative solutions such as manufacture housing.’

Some ‘Other’ responses included: More affordable and entry-level housing and home-buying incentives. One broker stated, ‘Time will solve the problem.’

In an effort to garner some insight from brokers in their own words, our survey included several open-ended questions. On the question, “What best practices do you have in place to ensure your firm and agents remain relevant to today’s consumers?” some answers included: Continuing education, communication, staying on top of technology, training, brand awareness, quality service, integrity, strong online presence, easy-to-use tools, response time, being able to change with the trends, strong marketing and pricing and market knowledge.

We also asked for insight into brokers’ approaches to adopting technology in their firms. Responses primarily indicated this is a high priority, with some having to outsource IT help and other larger firms with dedicated in-house tech departments.

Here’s a sampling of broker responses:

“Technology is a primary focus and one we will continue to put a high priority on keeping up and implementing.”

“The highest priority is absorbing the skills and needs of our millennials.”

“I do not feel like we need to be on the cutting edge of technology because most agents won’t use it anyway. More important to invest in technology that makes agents more productive, happier, gives more free time and easy to learn/implement. Once you make the decision, thorough on-boarding and education is key.”

“Our founder has allocated over $ 40 million to improve technology for our associates.”

“We have a small brokerage It is a challenge to offer the technology that new agents expect.”

“I outsource all of it.”

“We do not have an IT staff. I handle the company’s technology needs as we are a small brokerage. The implementation of CRM or lead management, developing effective on-line marketing and advertising campaigns has become too great a task for the small broker who wants to grow their business. It appears we are entering a period that will greatly benefit national franchise brands.”

“We are continually looking at improving our technology and investing on upgrading our website design to attract customers. Growing our Facebook presence as well.”

“Not the highest priority. Too much industry emphasis on tech and not enough on high-quality, personalized service itself.”

“Moved to paperless system which has been working. This makes everyone more productive. Challenge is learning how to use the technology and staying on top of it. Like marching forward in a sandstorm – you just keep moving and try to pay attention only to those grains of sand that will help you succeed.”

Q. How do you ensure your agents are utilizing the technology systems you have in place?

Many respondents indicated that constant training and education is key to tech adoption by agents. One-on-one support, sales meetings, using technology that monitors agent tech use and providing incentives were also noted.

“Constantly educate them at weekly staff meetings, using case studies or real-world examples. Following up with agents at quarterly reviews to see what issues they’re having.”

“Education. We have literally hundreds of online videos for training on tech systems as well as a marketing company that assists our associates with their online presence and tech skills.”

“Talk about it; demonstrate it and show them personally how to use it. Those that still don’t adopt…they will either grow or go.”

“Offering lots of courses and one-on-one coaching. We track agents’ production based on workshop training attendance.

“My agents are all self-employed independent contractors so I can set company policies that insure legal and ethical practices but cannot require they complete their tasks in a specific manner. I recommend tech and marketing classes whenever available, show agents new and old tech opportunities, explain the advantages of using specific tech tools and make myself available when they feel they need help. I use sugar not a stick.”

Q. What recruiting efforts do you employ to make sure you’re securing the best and brightest?

On this topic, brokers stated they often rely on traditional face-to-face meetings with new recruits, personal relationships and peer recruiting. Some use personality tests. Here are more insights:

“Personal profile of each recruit to learn how they like to work. Tailoring their on-boarding to match their profile. Using our brands extensive recruiting training and tools to help.”

“I mostly do my own recruiting. I try and judge the people that I think would make good sales associates.”

“We are very visible in the local real estate community, interact with agents on a regular basis. Be at their level and not on the “broker pedestal.”

“Ongoing monitoring or local agent’s production. Setting up lunches/coffees to get to know them better and understand what their goals are.”

“Upfront sales personality testing. Create an avatar of our ideal agent, use that to interview and evaluate candidates.”

“Hired a full-time recruiting professional to work with and to hold managers accountable.”

Q. What are your best approaches to retaining agents and how does company culture play a role in that area?

Company culture is paramount to brokers and plays a vital role in agent retention and productivity, and is also key to profitability, many stated.

“We take great pride in the culture we’ve developed over the past 10 years since opening as an independent brokerage. We only recruit/offer to agents that we feel fit our culture…We try to ensure our agents know we expect everyone to act ethically and we ask each of them to know WHY they are in the business and what they want out of it. We make sure they’re in it for the right reasons and support them with their needs.”

“Company culture is essential to retaining agents, as the owner of the company you need to be accessible.”

“Frequently checking in with agents as to how their business and personal lives are going. Showing that you are interested and you care.”

“Maintain a culture of support and focus on agent growth and development. Foster integrity, honesty and sharing among agents. Build a cohesive group of independent contractors who depend on one another.”

“Recognition, incentives, goal setting, accountability – culture is HUGE.”

“Always looking at adding value to our agents’ business through leverage of time through staff, one-on-one coaching, social events, weekly training events, and our culture plays a huge part.”

“Goes to education again. Culture is paramount in our brokerage and we spend a lot of time and energy in bolstering a culture of support, ethics and camaraderie.”

“We offer coaching and focus strongly on building relationships. We have lots of workshops and office parties to have a healthy mix of work hard, play hard.”

“Company culture is critical. As we are small, retention is based upon being involved with each agent’s business.”

“Professional recognition is very important in a ‘sale environment,’ and equally important is being aware of the agent’s personal needs and recognition. Hand-written notes to agents are still effective in a world of impersonal technology.”

“Creating a cohesive and collaborative culture in the office. Offering brokers an attractive split threshold, marketing materials, great websites, attorney PMB and tons of educational opportunities free of charge.”

“Freedom, respect, recognition, mentoring/training, and proper compensation.”

We concluded our survey with a couple of questions about new opportunities and what brokers are most looking forward to heading into 2018. The groups in which brokers see the best opportunities in the year ahead include Millennials and first-time buyers, as well as retirees, move-up buyers, luxury buyers and past clients.

What are brokers most looking forward to in their business in the year ahead? Many said a continued stable economy, continued sustainable growth and sales, low interest rates, more inventory, agent growth and increased productivity, increased market share and new partnerships, and technology platforms. Some also said they were looking forward to retiring in 2018.

In their own words:

“We are going to be trying a new commission structure with our agents/clients with the ability of a flat-fee structure for certain clients. Also, we are going to be taking a more active role in upping the productivity of each of our agents.”

“Having new sales associates joining our firm and hoping an uptick in our local market.”

“Systems, more routine, following the blue print and checking the results.”

“The spring market when buyers are ready to move.”

“Understanding the next technologies that my company has committed to and putting them in motion.”

“Continuing to build successful agent careers. the market may change, but housing needs will always be there.”

And just because we love this…

“We are forming a Golden Girls network of successful women with decades of experience in real estate who are nearing retirement. Our goal is to make the next 5 years our most productive.”

In addition to looking forward to the opportunities to come in the new year, the majority of brokers expressed confidence in the future of the housing industry. Fifty-seven percent of brokers said they are ‘optimistic,’ followed by 20% have a high confidence level. Another 20% stated neutral and only 3% said they had a low confidence level in the housing industry.

Following the survey, John Featherston, CEO and Publisher of RISMedia said, “While real estate professionals are cognizant of the unique challenges facing individual localities or offices, this research overwhelmingly found most to be optimistic about opportunities for success in 2018. From company culture to new technologies to a high confidence level in the housing industry overall, the insights bode well for the industry as a whole and serve as a resource and road map to help others implement best practices and set a productive agenda for the year ahead.”

Sherry Chris, President and CEO of Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate, had this to say: “I have been fortunate to be in the real estate industry for more than thirty years.  Our industry has undergone far-reaching and important evolution in that time: from being broker centric, to agent driven, to consumer centric, and now to being consumer-data driven. Transformational change is a given in any dynamic industry. Our best advice to broker/owners has always been to stay focused on the aspects of their brokerages that contribute to a singular goal: creating a valuable asset. Strategies vary by company. Competitive pressure varies by market. But some things are universal: consumers will always seek exceptional service. Agents will thrive in values-driven, collaborative environments.”

Beth McGuire is RISMedia’s Online Managing Editor. Email her at beth@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post Survey Results: What Keeps Brokers Up at Night? appeared first on RISMedia.

RISMedia

read more

#CES2018: Tech Up Your Style

Jan 15, 2018 by

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

ces-logoThe mega consumer electronic showcase, CES, lands in Las Vegas this week. It may not be the place you typically go to for décor trends, but technology is having an undeniable influence in home design, like see-through refrigerators and smart lighting.

Consumers look to you for expertise too. Forty-two percent of Americans say they would look to their sales agent to provide suggestions about how staging their home with smart home products could impact the sale of their home, according to a newly released Coldwell Banker Real Estate survey of more than 3,000 Americans.

So what do we see that has potential this year to spice up some designs? Here are a few picks from CES 2018.

Accent Wall Light Show

 

Photo credit: Nanoleaf

Photo credit: Nanoleaf

Nanoleaf’s color-changing Aurora light panels would make for an attention-getting accent wall in small or big doses. Connect them in any configuration you like. They just stick to the walls. The panels change colors, and you can sync the lights to music and also with one of your AI’s, Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant. The panels are touch-sensitive so with a tap you can turn them on and off, dim them, or change the color.

Statement Refrigerators

Refrigerators just keep getting smarter. LG’s new InstaView ThinQ smart refrigerator features a 29-inch touchscreen that becomes transparent if you knock on it twice. You can also use the touchscreen to manage your food and get automatic reminders when items are running low.

Photo credit: LG

Photo credit: LG

Samsung has a similar model in appearance with its 2018 version of its Family Hub smart refrigerator. This year’s model offers support for Samsung’s Bixby voice assistant to handle voice commands. It can connect to other third-party devices for the smart home too. So you can actually view what’s happening outside your front door from your refrigerator door.

Photo credit: Samsung

Photo credit: Samsung

Notice both the Samsung and LG models are both featured in black stainless, which we still believe will be a growing competitor to traditional stainless steel.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall … 

Photo credit: Kohler

Photo credit: Kohler

Check out this smart mirror. Kohler is introducing a new Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror, which is a bathroom mirror that has Amazon’s Alexa built-in. It features a dual-microphone solution for accuracy in voice-control and speakers are housed in the casings. There is also a motion-activated wayfinding nightlight for safety, and LED lights for makeup application or other grooming needs. It can also communicate with other connected products in your Wi-Fi network.

Is that an AI in your ceiling? 

Photo credit: GE

Photo credit: GE

Talk with your ceiling lights. You’ll be able to with GE’s Smart Ceiling Fixture. It is a large disk that boasts a speaker in the middle. You can give it voice-driven tasks on anything, like adding an item to your grocery list or telling it to play music. You can also tell it to adjust the warmness or coolness of the lights. It responds to your commands. Flush mount or recessed can lighting options will be available.


Styled, Staged & SoldStyled, Staged & Sold

read more

Related Posts

Share This

The CFPB is free at last!

Jan 15, 2018 by

The CFPB is free at last but can’t catch a break from the media and Senator Warren.

The post The CFPB is free at last! appeared first on National Real Estate Post.

National Real Estate Post

read more

Related Posts

Share This

The Great Debate: What the MLS Can Be, and What It Should Be

Jan 14, 2018 by

Ask any agent, broker or constituent in real estate: There are challenges facing the Multiple Listing Service.

A discussion on the future of the MLS—what it can be, and what it should be—hosted by the California Association of REALTORS® (C.A.R.) recently illuminated those issues, and strived for solutions.

“An MLS should be defined not only by its data, but its access to the data, so brokers can get easy access to and keep the products and services they want and not necessarily what the MLS decides to provide to its members,” said Rebecca Jensen, CEO and president of Midwest Real Estate Data LLC (MRED), during the discussion, held on Jan. 10 in Los Angeles.

Jensen is board chair of The MLS Grid—a consistent data feed, licensing and rules for brokers, MLSs and vendors—as well as on the board of the Broker Public Portal (BPP). The BPP and The MLS Grid are two of a few initiatives in play, along with Upstream, which is backed by the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and Realtors Property Resource® (RPR®).

Art Carter, CEO, California Regional Multiple Listing Service (CRMLS); Chair, Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO)

Addressing the inefficiencies is key, the panel said.

“Our goal is to really work on the challenges…to find a way, through the efforts of all these organizations, to provide consistent data efficiency, to try to break down data silos that are huge pain points in brokerage communities,” said Jeremy Crawford, CEO of the Real Estate Standards Organization (RESO), which has developed data standards used by hundreds of associations, brokerages, MLSs and vendors.

“As someone who lists and sells real estate, I need it to be more efficient—I need to not have to go multiple sources,” said Jeanne Radsick, broker of CENTURY 21 Tobias Real Estate in Bakersfield, Calif., and member of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Mergers & Consolidations Task Force. “I think the first step is we need to have one system.”

Mark McLaughlin, CEO, Pacific Union International

“We are playing a long game,” said Mark McLaughlin, CEO of Pacific Union International, based in the Bay Area and a member of 12 MLSs. “The solution for our businesses to drive efficiencies and economies of scale is very important to us, especially in the race to zero. The only way to do that is to have one database.”

“It’s all about how you define ‘one database,’” however, said Craig Cheatham, CEO and president of The Realty Alliance, a brokerage network that includes Douglas Elliman Real Estate and HomeServices of America. “As I talk to our brokers, it’s not about one MLS or one database; it’s ‘I just want to have access to my data, or my marketplace’s data.’”

Is it beneficial, even, for the existing inefficiencies to be streamlined?

“Fundamentally, the MLS needs to serve [agents and consumers],” said David Silver-Westrick, partner at Keller Williams OC Coastal Realty in San Clemente, Calif. “We serve them less and less with every year—not because we don’t intend to solve their problems, but because the world has moved on, and we’re unwilling to…reimaging our relationship with consumers, and agents’ relationships with consumers, has got to be at the base of what we do.”

“Meeting the consumer where they are, but empowering the agent with more data—that’s available through these silos that we’re trying to break down—will make the MLS more valuable than it is today,” said Quincy Virgilio, broker associate of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in San Jose, Calif.

Concerning, however, is the pace of progress.

“There’s an opportunity that is fast fading in the MLS community as a whole to make meaningful change, and if we do not do it shortly, then we will forever be chasing others that will most likely take the handles and move forward,” said Art Carter, CEO of the California Regional Multiple Listing Service (CRMLS) and chair of RESO.

Is the answer consolidation? Archaic hierarchies are a hurdle, with resistance starting at the top, according to a few panelists.

“The issue boils down to an obvious reality,” said Wes Burk, broker/owner of Patterson Realty in San Luis Obispo, Calif. “I think that the MLS structure itself is a legacy organizational chart, and I think it’s led fundamentally to a bureaucratic roadblock to what should be our primary objective, which is serving the consumer.”

“The people that sit on those [MLS] boards don’t have the broader view that others have…[they’re] not as well informed as they need to be, and it goes all the way through the system,” Radsick said.

Fear is another obstacle.

“It’s really human factors that stand in the way of this—of greater cooperation and consolidation,” said David Charron, chief strategy officer of Bright MLS, which is a consolidation of nine Mid-Atlantic MLSs. Bright MLS adheres to the RESO Data Dictionary.

“The elephant in the room is a lot of people are employed doing this stuff,” Silver-Westrick said. “A lot of people are employed at the local board level, the MLS level—the pushback we get is natural enough. ‘Yes, I’m willing move towards the future, so long as I’m still here.’ I think what we have to discuss is a lot more revolutionary than evolutionary. We’re talking about perfecting a VCR in a world of streaming and virtual reality. We need to leapfrog that. What do you do about the career incentives of the very talented people working in MLSs that say we can do this better, but we want to still be here?”

“The reality is that those people are so protective of their jobs,” said Sandra Deering, broker of record for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage Southern California. “People who sit on the board of directors of MLSs have great intentions, but they don’t have the bandwidth to see beyond their day-to-day operation.”

“There’s fear in association-owned MLSs that they may lose revenue,” Virgilio said. “Let the association use what they want to lay on top of the database. They can serve their subscribers and clients in any way they think best, but put the data in one spot. It’s a matter of getting past that fear.”

As a construct, the MLS is still valuable, agreed the majority of panelists. Across the board, collaboration—and compromise—is needed.

“We have to remember that the MLS is a terrific concept,” said Dale Ross, CEO of RPR. “That should not be thrown out—that has to be enhanced.”

“If you have a hand in creating your future, even if you [only] get 85 percent of what you want, that’s still enough to move forward,” Jensen said.

“We get tension between who does the resolution,” Cheatham said. “Is it [The MLS] Grid? Is it Upstream? Is it RPR? We need to be in a room and be open to letting go of our project…It can’t be the superstars of the MLS world again and again talking about the problem and getting painted with a broad brush. We’ve got to be open, because our industry is at stake.”

Readers: What is the fate of the MLS? What improvements are needed? Comment to share your thoughts.

DeVita_Suzanne_60x60Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com. For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

The post The Great Debate: What the MLS Can Be, and What It Should Be appeared first on RISMedia.

RISMedia

read more

#CES2018: Tech Up Your Style

Jan 14, 2018 by

By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, REALTOR® Magazine

ces-logoThe mega consumer electronic showcase, CES, lands in Las Vegas this week. It may not be the place you typically go to for décor trends, but technology is having an undeniable influence in home design, like see-through refrigerators and smart lighting.

Consumers look to you for expertise too. Forty-two percent of Americans say they would look to their sales agent to provide suggestions about how staging their home with smart home products could impact the sale of their home, according to a newly released Coldwell Banker Real Estate survey of more than 3,000 Americans.

So what do we see that has potential this year to spice up some designs? Here are a few picks from CES 2018.

Accent Wall Light Show

 

Photo credit: Nanoleaf

Photo credit: Nanoleaf

Nanoleaf’s color-changing Aurora light panels would make for an attention-getting accent wall in small or big doses. Connect them in any configuration you like. They just stick to the walls. The panels change colors, and you can sync the lights to music and also with one of your AI’s, Alexa, Siri, or Google Assistant. The panels are touch-sensitive so with a tap you can turn them on and off, dim them, or change the color.

Statement Refrigerators

Refrigerators just keep getting smarter. LG’s new InstaView ThinQ smart refrigerator features a 29-inch touchscreen that becomes transparent if you knock on it twice. You can also use the touchscreen to manage your food and get automatic reminders when items are running low.

Photo credit: LG

Photo credit: LG

Samsung has a similar model in appearance with its 2018 version of its Family Hub smart refrigerator. This year’s model offers support for Samsung’s Bixby voice assistant to handle voice commands. It can connect to other third-party devices for the smart home too. So you can actually view what’s happening outside your front door from your refrigerator door.

Photo credit: Samsung

Photo credit: Samsung

Notice both the Samsung and LG models are both featured in black stainless, which we still believe will be a growing competitor to traditional stainless steel.

Mirror, Mirror on the Wall … 

Photo credit: Kohler

Photo credit: Kohler

Check out this smart mirror. Kohler is introducing a new Verdera Voice Lighted Mirror, which is a bathroom mirror that has Amazon’s Alexa built-in. It features a dual-microphone solution for accuracy in voice-control and speakers are housed in the casings. There is also a motion-activated wayfinding nightlight for safety, and LED lights for makeup application or other grooming needs. It can also communicate with other connected products in your Wi-Fi network.

Is that an AI in your ceiling? 

Photo credit: GE

Photo credit: GE

Talk with your ceiling lights. You’ll be able to with GE’s Smart Ceiling Fixture. It is a large disk that boasts a speaker in the middle. You can give it voice-driven tasks on anything, like adding an item to your grocery list or telling it to play music. You can also tell it to adjust the warmness or coolness of the lights. It responds to your commands. Flush mount or recessed can lighting options will be available.


Styled, Staged & SoldStyled, Staged & Sold

read more

Related Posts

Share This

Sitio web optimizado por: Diseño Web
Plugin Modo Mantenimiento patrocinado por: Plugin WordPress Maintenance