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ERA’s New President Susan Yannaccone Gets Candid about the Firm’s Future during RISMedia’s CEO Exchange

Sep 25, 2016 by

Day 2 of RISMedia’s 2016 CEO Exchange kicked off bright and early at the Harvard Club of New York City with a networking breakfast sponsored by ERA Real Estate, during which RISMedia President & CEO John Featherston had the opportunity to candidly discuss the future of ERA with newly appointed President & CEO Susan Yannaccone.

John Featherston: Congratulations on your new role as President & CEO of ERA. You’ve held a variety of roles with a number of franchise organizations, which lends you a unique perspective. How will your background inform your leadership of the brand?
Susan Yannaccone:
My experience leading through change during my time with a number of real estate brands provides a great perspective to capitalize on the tremendous momentum ERA has to shape the next generation of the industry. When it comes to change, rather than respond to it, you need to effect it. This will position you to lead the transformation and shape the future. I’d also like to add that I’m forward thinking—always anticipating what’s next so we can keep our customers competitive. I had a mentor who advised me to always ask “What’s next?” and that has stayed with me over the years through the various positions I’ve held.

JF: What’s your vision for the brand?
SY:
While ERA has a 45-year history in the industry, we’ve been on a tremendous run lately. Not only has the brand been entirely reimagined, we’ve also seen tremendous growth—opening in 12 major new markets. I plan on continuing to leverage this momentum in a number of ways, while focusing on customer service and truly understanding what the customer needs, in addition to what our brokers and agents need to thrive. As I look toward the future at the helm of ERA, one area of focus will be to increase the brand’s visibility across the country by adding companies, agents and yard signs. In addition, we will leverage our best-in-class learning development platform to fuel productivity and continue our relentless focus on innovation and transform the way we connect with consumers to fuel business. Our customer-first approach and strong focus on leadership development will be instrumental in taking the brand to the next level, positioning it for the next generation of this industry. All of these things will be instrumental in determining where the brand needs to go today and tomorrow.

JF: What are some of the most significant challenges you see the franchise industry facing?
SY:
Whether you’re a franchisor or an independent broker, the biggest challenges are going to be keeping up with the pace of change and remaining relevant for today’s consumer. Change isn’t stopping. In fact, the pace of change is accelerating, and you have to be on the forefront to remain relevant. In the end, it’s not about embracing the tool for today, but understanding today so that you’re relevant tomorrow.

JF: As a franchisor, what would you say are the best practices for remaining competitive in today’s market?
SY:
First and foremost, be true to your culture and own what makes you unique in the marketplace. From there, it’s important to focus on a customer-first/service approach—a big part of the ERA value proposition. It’s also critical to continually hone your value proposition by understanding customer needs, and be aware of how the value proposition cascades from brand to broker to agent to consumer. Yes, we are in the franchise business, but the value we provide to our brokers must allow our brokers to provide value to their affiliated agents. At ERA, we see our role as being additive to a broker’s existing model so that they truly feel as though they’re better off with us than without us.

JF: You have big shoes to fill as you follow in the footsteps of Charlie Young, who did a great job building ERA. Where do you see yourself taking the brand?
SY:
I don’t believe in changing just to change. If what you’re doing is working, continue executing on that. Charlie has done an excellent job. In that vein, I’ll reference a great quote from professional soccer player Mia Hamm: “Celebrate what you’ve accomplished, but raise the bar a little higher each time you succeed.” Setting yourself up for future success is all about finding the things you do well, and executing really well on those. Be true to your culture and uniqueness. As I mentioned earlier, the ERA brand has been reimagined, so we’ll continue to raise the bar and be strategic when it comes to our growth and where we’re going.

JF: What are the key characteristics of your brand of leadership?
SY:
When it comes to my style of leadership, accountability reigns supreme. I’m a big fan of the Four Disciplines of Execution, and I work with my team collaboratively to ensure everyone has ownership of how they can meet their goals to successfully move the organization forward. I also believe in authenticity and approaching the job fearlessly. And last but not least, I love a challenge and the feeling of accomplishment I get when I tackle a challenge that’s thrown my way.

JF: The idea that we’re heading toward a slowdown was mentioned during the opening day of our CEO Exchange. If this does occur, what words of wisdom would you offer real estate professionals?
SY:
Prepare for it. Be ready to capitalize on any opportunity because there will always be an opportunity in change—and that’s not always a negative. Those who aren’t prepared for a slowdown may be looking to get out of the business altogether. It’s also important to be agile enough to adjust your business for the market you’re in.

JF: What advice do you have when it comes to rallying the troops to recruit and bring in new blood?
SY:
Rallying the troops and bringing in new blood begins with providing a collaborative work environment. You also need to understand the way the younger generation thinks by getting their perspective through idea sharing sessions. Marrying the generations together is key, so it’s crucial to remain open and collaborative. And don’t throw away good—or bad—ideas because of a demographic. We’re dealing with a totally new digitally native generation, and we need to understand how to work with them.

JF: Please describe your Young Leaders Network, and its role in the future of ERA Real Estate.
SY:
Our Young Leaders Network plays an instrumental role in fostering the next generation of leaders. Open to everyone in the network, members of the group take part in yearly summits and meetings with other brokers to share best practices and learn the fundamentals of running a business before they take over. Individuals also learn what it takes to be involved in a network.

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Existing-Home Sales Ease in August

Sep 24, 2016 by

Existing-home sales eased up in August for the second consecutive month despite mortgage rates near record lows as higher home prices and not enough inventory for sale kept some would-be buyers at bay, according to the National Association of REALTORS®. Only the Northeast region saw a monthly increase in closings in August, where inventory is currently more adequate.

Total existing-home sales, which are completed transactions that include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops, declined 0.9 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.33 million in August from a downwardly revised 5.38 million in July. After last month’s decline, sales are at their second-lowest pace of 2016, but are still slightly higher (0.8 percent) than a year ago (5.29 million).

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, says recent job growth is not yielding higher home sales. “Healthy labor markets in most the country should be creating a sustained demand for home purchases,” he says. “However, there’s no question that after peaking in June, sales in a majority of the country have inched backwards because inventory isn’t picking up to tame price growth and replace what’s being quickly sold.”

“Tight inventory, rising prices and tepid economic conditions continue to hold back existing home sales, and housing progress overall,” says Quicken Loans Vice President Bill Banfield. “As interest rates are poised to rise in the near future, supply will need to increase to sustain significant growth in the market.”
Adds Yun, “Hopes of a meaningful sales breakthrough as a result of this summer’s historically low mortgage rates failed to materialize because supply and affordability restrictions continue to keep too many would-be buyers on the sidelines.”

The median existing-home price for all housing types in August was $ 240,200, up 5.1 percent from August 2015 ($ 228,500). August’s price increase marks the 54th consecutive month of year-over-year gains.

Total housing inventory at the end of August fell 3.3 percent to 2.04 million existing homes available for sale, and is now 10.1 percent lower than a year ago (2.27 million) and has declined year-over-year for 15 straight months. Unsold inventory is at a 4.6-month supply at the current sales pace, which is down from 4.7 months in July.

The share of first-time buyers was 31 percent in August, which is down from 32 percent both in July and a year ago. First-time buyers represented 30 percent of sales in all of 2015.

“It’s very concerning to see that inventory conditions not only show no signs of improving but have actually worsened in recent months from their already suppressed levels a year ago,” adds Yun. “While recent data from the U.S. Census Bureau shows that household incomes rose strongly last year, home prices are still outpacing incomes in many metro areas because of the persistent shortage of new and existing homes for sale. Without more supply, the U.S. homeownership rate will remain near 50-year lows.”

According to Freddie Mac, the average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage was 3.44 percent in August for the second consecutive month and remained at its lowest rate since January 2013 (3.41 percent). The average commitment rate for all of 2015 was 3.85 percent.

Properties typically stayed on the market for 36 days in August, unchanged from July and down considerably from a year ago (47 days). Short sales were on the market the longest at a median of 144 days in August, while foreclosures sold in 42 days and non-distressed homes took 35 days. Forty-six percent of homes sold in August were on the market for less than a month.

NAR President Tom Salomon says in today’s fast-moving market, a Realtor® who knows about down payment options and their target area is essential to a successful buying experience. “Given the inventory shortages in most markets, new listings at affordable prices are receiving multiple offers and going under contract almost immediately upon becoming available,” he says. “Home shoppers serious about buying need to be ready with a pre-approval. This allows a Realtor® to hone in only on homes within the buyer’s price range and ensures any offer presented to the seller is taken seriously.”

Inventory data from Realtor.com® reveals that the metropolitan statistical areas where listings stayed on the market the shortest amount of time in August were San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, Calif., San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, Calif., and Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Wash., all at a median of 33 days; Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colo., 36 days; and Vallejo-Fairfield, Calif., at a median of 37 days.

All-cash sales were 22 percent of transactions in August, up from 21 percent in July and unchanged from a year ago. Individual investors, who account for many cash sales, purchased 13 percent of homes in August, up from 11 percent in July and 12 percent a year ago. Sixty-two percent of investors paid in cash in August.

Distressed sales – foreclosures and short sales – were 5 percent of sales in August (lowest since NAR began tracking in October 2008), unchanged from last month and down from 7 percent a year ago. Four percent of August sales were foreclosures and 1 percent were short sales. Foreclosures sold for an average discount of 12 percent below market value in August (18 percent in July), while short sales were discounted 14 percent (16 percent in July).

Single-family and Condo/Co-op Sales

Single-family home sales declined 2.3 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.70 million in August from 4.81 million in July, but are still 0.6 percent above the 4.67 million pace a year ago. The median existing single-family home price was $ 242,200 in August, up 5.3 percent from August 2015.

Existing condominium and co-op sales leaped 10.5 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 630,000 units in August from 570,000 in July, and are now 1.6 percent above August 2015 (620,000 units). The median existing condo price was $ 225,100 in August, which is 3.7 percent above a year ago.

Regional Breakdown

August existing-home sales in the Northeast jumped 6.1 percent to an annual rate of 700,000, which is unchanged from a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $ 274,100, which is 0.8 percent above August 2015.

In the Midwest, existing-home sales decreased 0.8 percent to an annual rate of 1.27 million in August, but are still 0.8 percent above a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $ 190,700, up 5.5 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the South in August fell 2.7 percent to an annual rate of 2.16 million, but are still 0.9 percent above August 2015. The median price in the South was $ 209,700, up 6.7 percent from a year ago.

Existing-home sales in the West lessened 1.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.20 million in August, but are still 0.8 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the West was $ 347,400, which is 9.2 percent above August 2015.

For more information, visit www.realtor.org. 

RISMedia

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Sometimes There is No Explanation Needed…

Sep 24, 2016 by

Sometimes there simply isn’t any words needed to explain a story.  Watch.  You’ll see.

The post Sometimes There is No Explanation Needed… appeared first on National Real Estate Post.

National Real Estate Post

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Best Practices for Using Social Media in Your Business

Sep 23, 2016 by

Being a successful real estate professional means knowing how to navigate social media. It’s almost impossible to network (especially to Millennials!) without Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest. And when used effectively, they can be cost-effective tools that help target new clients.

You can become more successful at social media by keeping the following in mind:

Learn the respective platforms. Because each social network is different, each has its own unique set of standards—a one-size-fits-all strategy won’t work across multiple platforms. But, if you learn the nuances of each, you’ll know what content will work where. Be sure to always include your contact information on each post, so potential clients can reach out to you directly. And no matter what network you’re learning, regular interaction makes people feel like they are working with a human, and someone who understands their needs.

Keep productivity in mind. Assigning social media duties to just one person can help keep everyone as productive as possible. It will also ensure that your message remains consistent, and will minimize confusion to any potential clients. If your company is large enough, you may even need a whole social team to create and plan posts across multiple sites.

Create a company use policy. Your social media accounts represent your company, which means they are no place for beach photos or family reunions. You’ll need a social media strategy that outlines exactly what is allowed, and what is not. Even if you have a special team dedicated to your social networks, make sure everyone in the company is aware of the policy. This way, they can help promote your brand through their own social media accounts, to better align with your goals.

Stay positive. Be sure to stay professional and upbeat with your posts—this includes interactions with other companies’ pages and client reviews. Routinely monitor reviews and posts for negativity, but always respond in a professional manner. This is a great opportunity to show customer service, in handling social media complaints with respect, transparency and timeliness.

Share quality content. To gain a solid following on social media, the most important thing you can do is become a resource for current and potential clients. Simply listing accomplishments or posting new listings can drive away new followers. Interact with useful information and articles, while marketing your business efforts intermittently.

Use photos and hashtags. If possible, include a photo with your posts. Some networks, like Facebook and Twitter, often include a preview what you’re posting, which helps draw eyes to your post. This also gives other users an idea of what your post is all about and often makes them more likely to click on your page. You can also turn common words into hashtags (#ForSale, #Madison) at the end of posts, to link your post to others with similar content.

Visit http://www.onlinehsa.com/mediacenter.aspx for more tips on how to use social media for your business.

RISMedia

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Bye Bye Refi Things are Changing Now

Sep 23, 2016 by

Things are changing guys and today we’ve got Barry Habib letting us know how, when and why.  Be sure to tune in and prepare to say bye bye refi.

The post Bye Bye Refi Things are Changing Now appeared first on National Real Estate Post.

National Real Estate Post

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Giving Millennial Homebuyers What They Need

Sep 22, 2016 by

With the housing market seeing significant recoveries in home prices, many millennials are making a move toward homeownership. In fact, according to the National Association of REALTORS®, “for the third straight year, the largest group of recent buyers were millennials.” For many in this generation, this will be their first home-buying experience, and they’ll be looking to their agents for help.

While it’s important to cover topics such as financial obligations and home inspections with these millennial first-time buyers, there are other aspects of the experience can be easily overlooked. Here are three tips for working with them to help simplify the process and ensure they find their perfect home.

  1. Learn their needs and motives

When most people begin searching for a home, they already have an idea of what they want or don’t want. However, after visiting property after property, millennial buyers can begin to lose sight of these priorities. While you want to make it to closing as quickly as possible, you know it’s important for your client to find a home they’re truly satisfied with. Because of this, implementing a Buyer’s Guide is a great way to find out what your buyers are really looking for.

Asking questions about their motivation for moving, their ideal future home and their financial process can make the decision process easier, and can help you approach them with the right home opportunities. Armed with their priorities, it will be easier for your clients to pick a home they love, rather than just because it has a good listing price. While you know sacrifice may be necessary, by asking your clients to prioritize their needs, they’ll be able to make a tough decision if needed.

  1. Provide them with educational resources

As an experienced real estate agent, you know that buying a house costs more that just the listing price. However, most first-time buyers are unaware of this. While they may have fallen in love with a property that seems to be in their budget, after property taxes, HOA fees and commuting costs it could be more than they’re able to afford.

To avoid this problem from the beginning, give your clients a list of additional expenses you feel they might overlook. Homes.com also provides a customizable first-time buyer’s resource to help clients learn the basics of home-buying so they won’t be shocked by an unexpected event. This can help you show your expertise as an agent, while also allowing you to create a better relationship with your client.

  1. Clarify the contract

You’re finally there – your clients have found their perfect home and made an offer. The seller agreed on the price and you’re ready to close. First-time buyers will surely be anxious to wrap up the transaction as soon as possible so they can move into their new home. However, remind them that it’s important to take the extra time to fully understand the obligations of their contract.

This is another great opportunity for you to shine, especially because navigating tedious contracts will be completely foreign to most home buyers. Be sure to explain their contract in a way that will put their minds at ease and help them feel satisfied with their decision. By making the closing process as stress free as possible, it’s likely that clients will feel comfortable recommending you to friends and family who may be looking for an agent in the future.

The first step in helping these buyers is making sure they can find you in their search for an agent. If you are looking for ways to target millennial first-time homebuyers, Homes.com can help. With over 13 million monthly visitors, Homes.com can connect you with quality leads in your area, by giving you the ability to target consumers during the initial stages in their home-search process. Don’t let any more of your local millennial home buyers slip away to your competitor, start connecting with them today.

RISMedia

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