The Future of Real Estate Investment: Opportunity Zones

Feb 17, 2019 by

According to the 2017 Distressed Communities Index by the Economic Innovation Group, one in six Americans, approximately 17 percent of the population, live in economically-distressed communities, and the average state has 15.2 percent of its population living in these struggling areas.

The new Opportunity Zone (OZ) tax incentive was created as part of the 2017 Tax Cuts and Jobs Act to encourage investment in low- to moderate-income communities across the country through tax benefits, such as deferring tax on capital gains by making an investment in any of the designated zones. So far, 8,761 communities covering all 50 states, including the five U.S. territories, have been designated as opportunity zones, and they will keep this status for 10 years.

The Investing in Opportunity Act has the potential to have a direct social and economic impact upon underserved communities, benefiting investors, communities and taxpayers alike. It is predicted to be a pivotal catalyst for economic recovery, business development and affordable housing, which could help countless individuals achieve financial stability and economic growth for themselves and future generations.

Real estate investors and high-net worth individuals are seeking to take advantage of opportunity zones to use their capital, which otherwise would be sitting on the table, to help their surrounding communities. Thus, industry professionals, especially those in the commercial space, should be informed about the benefits and potential pitfalls of this new investment trend.


  • A Win-Win Situation – Aside from receiving a tax break on their capital gains, investors have an opportunity to make an impact in their local communities.
  • Low-Cost and Low-Risk – This new legislation is a low-cost and low-risk opportunity for taxpayers. Investors bear the brunt of the risk for their originally deferred capital gains, although they do receive a tax reduction for long-term holdings.
  • Direct Impact for Economically-Distressed Communities – Low-income and economically-distressed cities and towns—which include over 52 million American citizens—are benefited by having funds funneled directly into programs that can help with job growth, affordable housing, entrepreneurship, and more.
  • Long-Term Investment – The Act encourages long-term investment by offering a reduction in capital gains taxes owned on their original investments after holding them for five to seven years. In addition, if investors have qualified investments held for more than 10 years, those assets will be exempted from further capital gains recognition over what was deferred originally.


Opportunity zones are anticipated to be influential in putting capital into areas that need it most, which otherwise would have been left on the table; however, a concerted effort will have to be made to make sure that rural areas are not overlooked for investment in fear of small returns compared to more populated city centers in states such as New York and California.

Revitalizing our distressed communities will help bring more jobs to citizens—especially in the development of hospitality businesses—reduce crime rates, and provide resources and opportunities for more Americans to reach their full potential and improve their quality of life. 

Desirée Patno is the CEO and president of Women in the Housing and Real Estate Ecosystem (NAWRB) and Desirée Patno Enterprises, Inc. (DPE), as well as chairwoman of NAWRB’s Diversity & Inclusion Leadership Council (NDILC). With 30 years of experience in housing, Patno is a champion for women’s economic growth and independence. In 2017, named her the Highest-Ranking Woman and 4th Overall Top Real Estate Influencer to Follow. For more information, please visit

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Women in Real Estate: Business-Building Insights From RISMedia’s 2019 Newsmakers

Feb 3, 2019 by

A considerable number of this year’s RISMedia Real Estate Newsmakers are women who are making waves in the industry, advancing their businesses and significantly contributing to their communities. What’s the secret to their success? Strategies range from a focus on mentorship and coaching to relationship marketing and community involvement. Here are their approaches and insights on how fellow women in real estate can advance their business and reach their goals:

Mary Lee Blaylock
President/CEO – Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties
2019 RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker, Luminaries 

“Being hands-on allows me to better understand and fully respect the job of each agent and employee in the enterprise. No one is more important than another. We are all equal human beings with complimenting roles all working toward a single goal: to bring our customers home,” says Blaylock.

Blaylock also reminds real estate professionals to remain honest and ethical when making decisions to reach long-term success. Additionally, Blaylock emphasizes that women should stay confident.

“Put the natural self-doubt aside that we as women have and focus on if the job is the right fit for you,” adds Blaylock. “Make a sound business decision for you and your family. Obtain the input you need and then simply go for it. Remain agile in all you do and remember to respect all people, including yourself!”

Katie Clancy
Team Lead, REALTOR®, Speaker, Trainer – The Cape House Team, William Raveis
2019 RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker, Futurists  

“Achieving balance over the course of a day or week, especially with children, is impossible. As a mother, especially, I recommend that you strive for balance over the course of years instead,” says Clancy. “Intense, time-consuming, distracting motherhood is a season. Also, be patient. Stop fretting over your success like you have to achieve massive goals before you’re 40. In my early 40s, I was destitute, depressed and almost divorced. Now almost 10 years later, I’m enjoying success, happiness and (mostly) balance at levels I never thought possible.”

In terms of gauging success, it’s subjective. Many don’t fully understand the barometer for their impact—a fact represented by Clancy’s inner circle of inspiration.

“I have a ‘Board of Advisors’ which consists of people from all parts of my life and the country. Some of them don’t even know they’re on it. They’re all the people whom I try to emulate for certain things: confidence, sales, leadership, style, marriage, parenting, etc.,” says Clancy. 

Cheryl Eidinger-Taylor
COO/President – ERA Key Real Estate
2019 RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker, Achievers

“I strive to make sure that each of my employees and agents knows that I care about them, both personally and professionally,” says Eidinger-Taylor.

In order to reach business success, she recommends that real estate professionals: 

  • Never stop learning
  • Read business books, self-improvement books and industry-related news, and listen to podcasts
  • Take the time to care for themselves so they can be of assistance to others
  • Spend 10-20 minutes per day in reflection/meditation or prayer—great ideas need to percolate
  • Walk the talk and lead by example
  • Listen twice as much as they speak
  • Practice compassion
  • Give their time, talent and treasure to others less fortunate

“If we all strive for these major things, then we are valuable to our clients and customers, and we keep their best interests in the forefront. Serving others is a gift that gives back because it creates a feeling of fulfillment and purpose,” says Eidinger-Taylor.

Isatou Ceesay
Broker – isatouproperties, CENTURY 21 Real Estate Center
2019 RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker, Crusaders

“Determination is the key to success in real estate, in my opinion. Clients will not have the confidence in you if you are not passionate with what you do for them,” says Ceesay. “Women should not be intimidated by any assignment. You will always have someone to work you through the hurdles. You are not alone.”

This includes not being afraid to pursue leadership roles in business segments that often have few females in charge.

“Commercial real estate comes to my mind right away. It is dominated by men and I don’t know why,” says Ceesay.

Nicole Lopez
Team Leader – The PR Group, Intero Real Estate Services
2019 RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker, Trendsetters

“I’ve always felt a distinct urge to help women who have a passion but might lack direction. Passion for the industry is something you can’t teach; however, I can help equip them with the tools needed to elevate and enhance my agents’ careers and lives. It is the most fulfilling aspect of what we do within the team,” says Lopez.

“I believe that in any sales profession, attaining and keeping the consumer’s attention is a large factor to achieving success within the field. We strive daily to come up with creative ideas to gain and maintain the consumer’s attention. This has helped us retain agents, listings and buyers,” adds Lopez.

Her “$ 250 in Free Tacos” promotion for her listings is one example of this, becoming a huge success after it gained national-level exposure.

“We love creating memorable experiences that keep our current and past clients engaged in our business and referrals coming. It’s truly the small things and attention to detail that will help keep your business booming for years to come,” she says.

Kiesha Curtis
Senior Buyer/Seller Specialist, REALTOR® – Realty Kings Properties
2019 RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker, Inspirations 

“A major key is being a student of my craft. I study real estate! In order to be an expert in this field or any field, you must know it and be able to convey your expertise to others in a way they can understand,” says Curtis. “Another key is understanding purpose…why you do what you do. Define that for yourself, because that is what will keep you going when nothing seems to be working.”

Overall, Curtis believes real estate professionals should place others first, valuing relationships over transactions.

“Make sure those you serve know that you can take care of business—the rest will take care of itself,” says Curtis. “You’ll be overflowing with repeat business and referrals.”

Jerri Udelson
Master Certified Coach – Entrepreneurial Coaching & Consulting
2019 RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker, Influencers

“As a coach, I partner with my clients, helping them create a vision for themselves and their business, acting as a sounding board and offering ideas and input when appropriate,” says Udelson. “I am often the cheerleader for clients who have no one else with whom they can feel comfortable and vulnerable in a highly-competitive environment.”

“Coaching has been key for women who have chosen to step up and start their own agencies or take their businesses to the next level by growing their teams,” adds Udelson.

The ideal atmosphere in which women thrive, according to Udelson? One of support and encouragement.

Know a Newsmaker? For information on nominating or becoming a 2020 RISMedia Real Estate Newsmaker, please email our executive editor, Maria Patterson, at

Liz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at

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Weichert Real Estate Affiliates, Inc. Named to Top Franchise List for Owner Satisfaction

Jan 18, 2019 by

For a fourth straight year, Weichert Real Estate Affiliates, Inc. has been named one of the top franchises in the country by Franchise Business Review in its “2019 Top 200 Best Franchises” list. The annual list is based on franchise owners’ satisfaction with their franchisor.

Award-winning franchisees were selected for this year’s exclusive list based on surveys administered in 2018 by Franchise Business Review to over 30,000 franchises, representing more than 300 leading franchise brands. The annual “Top 200 Best Franchises” list is the only ranking based solely on actual franchisee satisfaction and performance.

“It’s tremendously rewarding to continue to receive such positive feedback from our franchise owners and be recognized on this prestigious list again this year,” says Bill Scavone, president and chief operating officer of Weichert Real Estate Affiliates, Inc. “We’re committed to providing our affiliates with top-notch resources—such as best-in-class technology, productive sales and marketing strategies and incomparable support for both agents and franchise owners—to help them deliver the best real estate service in the industry.”

Participants in the survey were asked questions about their experience and satisfaction regarding critical areas of their franchise systems, including leadership, training and support, operations, franchisor/franchisee relations and technology. Weichert owners surveyed rated Weichert Real Estate Affiliates, Inc. very favorably, with the vast majority saying they enjoyed being part of the Weichert® network.

The training and support, quality of products and technology that Weichert provides were also highly rated by franchisees on the 2018 survey, which helped the company make this year’s list.

For more information, please visit

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2019 Real Estate Trends and What They Mean for You

Jan 17, 2019 by

As we begin 2019, it’s important to take time to reflect on the best way to start your year. Planning at the beginning can give you a clear track to follow, setting you up for greater success. In order to plan your year, it can be helpful to look at what happened in 2018 to see where 2019 is heading.

While no one can be sure what will happen this year, there are some clues we can follow. Here are three trends to consider so you can go in to 2019 as strong as possible.

  1. Buying a home may be more difficult.
    There are a few reasons why buying a home may be more challenging this year. Initially, mortgage rates that had been steadily climbing in 2018 are estimated to reach their peak this year at 5.8 percent. Coupled with this—because most homebuyers determine their affordability by the monthly payments—with the increase in mortgage rates, many will slip into a lower price point. As a result of these factors, and rapid increase of housing prices, it’s likely that overall home sales will decrease, but only slightly.
  1. Inventory will increase.
    In the past couple years, inventory has not been able to keep up with the demand. This year, inventory is expected to increase, but only by about 7 percent. While this is not a huge increase, it is expected to help ease the deficit from past years. At the same time, since the increase is relatively small, it will still help sellers to stay on top. In addition to this, it’s largely expected that the increase will come from luxury homes that hit the market. Because of this, agents who have held off working with luxury homebuyers or sellers could take advantage of this change to test their skills.
  1. Millennials will continue to be the top buyers.
    As we’ve seen in past years, millennials will continue to be the biggest buyers this year. However, since the majority of the millennial group is now approaching their 30s, many of these will not be first-time homebuyers. Instead, they’ll likely be looking to expand, as they search for middle- and upper-priced homes. At the same time, though, it’s expected that millennials will be the most price-conscientious group, as many still carry the burden of student debt. It’s predicted that they will sacrifice on location, amenities or space in order to save money.

What does this mean for you?
Since these trends will cause some shifts in the real estate world, it’s important to begin planning how to use this to your advantage. For example, while it’s expected that more luxury homes will hit the market this year, consider whether you should pursue these types of homebuyers. In addition to this, if you haven’t been working with millennials before, this could be the opportune time to jump in. On the other hand, if you have been working with millennials but only as first-time buyers, this is a good time to reframe your focus and think about them as repeat buyers.

As some of these trends permeate 2019, make sure you are implementing new tactics into your marketing to take advantage of them. If you are looking to attract millennial homebuyers, has you covered. Now, it’s easier than ever for millennials to find their must-have home; it’s up to you to help them get from “This is interesting” to “This is ours!” Find out about’s new advertising opportunities here and start reaching millennial homebuyers today.

Joe Sesso is an author and national speaker for For more information, please visit

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