By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
Do you have a rival (or rivals) in your business? Either friendly competitors or professional adversaries who, if you don’t top them in a cutthroat battle for greater annual sales volume, will make you lose sleep for the next few months? Does that rivalry make your performance better or worse?
I’ve been thinking about this in the wake of “The Decision,” the televised announcement of NBA top dog LeBron James’ choice to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers play for the Miami Heat a few weeks ago along with fellow superstars Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh. He explained that he made the move to win an NBA title that he wasn’t able to get during the previous seven seasons in Cleveland. (For those of you who don’t follow sports at all, these three players would make anyone’s top 10 list — and a lot of top fives — of the best in basketball today. To put it another way, it would be something like Eric Clapton and Keith Moon leaving their bands to join The Beatles in 1968.)
Shortly after “The Decision,” Michael Jordan, widely acknowledged as the greatest basketball player of all time (and possibly the most intense competitor in the history of pro sports), said that during his playing days, he wouldn’t have “called up Larry [Bird], called up Magic [Johnson], and said, ‘Hey, look, let’s get together and play on one team.’ … I was trying to beat those guys.” Additionally, former player and current basketball TV analyst Charles Barkley said LeBron will “never be Jordan. This clearly takes him out of the conversation.” Continue reading »
By Melissa Dittmann Tracey, Contributing Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
Expectant parents eager to buy a home for their growing family may be surprised to find that they’re a credit risk when it comes to obtaining a mortgage to purchase their new home — even if they have jobs to make their payments.
According to a recent New York Times article (Need a Mortgage? Don’t Get Pregnant, by Tara Siegel Bernard), pregnant women increasingly are being denied home loans as lenders factor in the decrease in salary from when they’re away on maternity leave. The same applies to fathers taking paternity leave — even if the parent plans to return to work.
The disability payments that new mothers receive do not count as qualifying income toward the mortgage. So new mothers who plan to return to work may have to wait and reapply for a mortgage to buy the home after they’ve returned to their job.
About to present another too-low offer to your clients? Turn sellers’ frustration into a potential sale by sharing free tips on fielding lowball offers from the July “Get Your Home Sold” article package now at the REALTOR® Content Resource. Start with these two tips:
1. Check your emotions. A purchase offer, even a very low one, means someone wants to purchase your home. Unless the offer is laughably low, it deserves a cordial response, whether that’s a counteroffer or an outright rejection. Remain calm and discuss with your agent the many ways you can respond to a lowball purchase offer. Continue reading »
By Robert Freedman, senior editor, REALTOR® Magazine
You might be wondering what’s in the 2,300 pages of financial services reform that has just passed Congress. It now goes to President Obama for signature.
Relatively few of the pages of legislation touch on real estate finance directly. Much of the bill addresses the way hedge funds, banks, and other financial services companies are regulated. One of its centerpieces is the new Financial Stability Oversight Council, which will have the job of issuing alerts when it sees lending practices becoming too risky.
But there are pieces of the legislation that could impact you.
By Christina Hoffmann, Content Manager, HouseLogic.com
Are you concerned about participating in agent review sites that let consumers rate your service? Errol Samuelson, president of REALTOR.com, who spoke today during Real Estate Connect 2010 in San Francisco, said it’s worth it. He cited recent Forrester/Intelliseek survey results that say fewer than 50 percent of consumers trust television, radio, and Internet ads. They trust their friends and what they read on ratings and review sites, he added.
Consider this: Most of the reviews on TripAdvisor are good. That’s due in large part to the fact that commenters have to register. When review sites require people to identify themselves rather than contribute anonymously, they generally have more favorable reviews.
“Agents are worried about getting bad reviews, especially if they have lower production,” says Samuelson. “But it’s possible to be a high-quality, lower-production agent and get good reviews.” Continue reading »
By Robert Freedman, senior editor, REALTOR® Magazine
Last year was a tough year for real estate brokerages but when my magazine colleague Wendy Cole interviewed three top brokers last month to learn how they managed to keep growing despite the rough terrain, their answers were illuminating.
Helen Hanna Casey, CRB, GRI, of regional giant Howard Hanna Real Estate, based in Pittsburgh, talked about two inititaives of her company to help boost market confidence among buyers and her sales associates. The first was a job-loss protection guarantee in which her company offered to buy back the property for up to a year after sale if the buyer suffered a job loss, and the second was an ad campaign to get the word out that, despite the challenging financial environment, their mortgage company had $125 million to lend. You can see how the initiatives taken together paint a picture of a company that’s bullish on real estate, despite the tough times, and that was a message that resonated with their sales associates as much as with consumers, Hanna said.