Real estate Web site Doorsteps has released an infographic that shows demographic and financial data on first-time home buyers, which includes data from the National Association of REALTORS®’ 2012 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Among the key data points:
- First-time home buyers are more willing to compromise on the house, but not on the neighborhood.
- Most first-time home buyers cut out on luxury items (42 percent) and entertainment (35 percent) to save for a home.
- The average age of the first-time home buyer is 31.
Click on the image below for the full-sized infographic.
A political analyst looks at the issues facing the Republicans and Democrats as they look to next year’s congressional races and the 2016 presidential contest.
Much like the secret meetings at the Vatican to determine the new pope, the major political parties are holding their own “conclaves” right now to figure out how to approach the next couple of election cycles, says Amy Walter, national editor of the Cook Political Report. Walter spoke during a luncheon at NAR’s Association Executive Institute event in San Diego, Calif., which ends this week.
Both parties face obstacles over the next several years, Walter says. Unsurprisingly, the biggest issue the GOP has to deal with is appealing more to minorities, a topic discussed at length in the months following the 2012 presidential election.
The Romney campaign believed that the 2012 election would play out much like the one in 1980, in which voter dissatisfaction with the economy and with the general direction of the economy led to Ronald Reagan beating Jimmy Carter, Walter says. However, minorities totaled just 11 percent of the electorate in 1980, she said. In 2012, they made up 26 percent. That trend will continue as 50,000 Latinos turn 18 every month in the United States.
“If your base is older, white voters, the trend line isn’t exactly going in the right direction,” Walter says.
This will make it more difficult for the GOP to win future presidential elections, she adds. Right now, if you look at the national picture, Democrats have a virtual lock on 17 states and the District of Columbia, which equates to 242 electoral votes. The GOP, by contrast, only has about 13 states that are practically guaranteed, which amount to 102 electoral votes.
This gap is at the heart of the effort by GOP Chair Reince Priebus to reach out to minorities over the next few years, Walter says. Additionally, Republicans are touting young rising stars like Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal and Florida Senator Marco Rubio, who are of Indian and Latino descent, respectively.
Despite their success in winning the presidency again last year, the Democrats have significant challenges of their own, Walter says. At the state level, the average GOP congressional district has gotten whiter. That’s due to a combination of redistricting and the fact that Democratic voters tend to cluster in urban areas with a much smaller geographic footprint.
Additionally, the 2014 midterm elections could shift the momentum back to the GOP, she says. Most of the close battles for Senate seats are going to be in states that tend to vote Republican. And minority and young voters typically don’t turn out as much for midterms. That means it will be very difficult for the Democrats to win back a majority in the House and maintain a commanding majority in the Senate for the foreseeable future. “It’s going to be a lot of defense for the Democrats [next] year,” Walter explains.
Also, there’s still some uncertainty as to who the Democratic candidate for president in 2016 will be. Hillary Clinton would seem to be an obvious choice, but it’s not entirely clear whether she’s going to run. And other than Vice President Joe Biden, the Democrats don’t have that many appealing candidates to choose from, Walter says. In contrast, GOP has a surprisingly deep and diverse group of potential candidates right now, including Jindal, Rubio, South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, and Kentucky Rep. Rand Paul.
“If [Hillary Clinton] doesn’t run, it’s going to be a thin bench for the Democrats,” Walter says.
Every day is different. Each one brings new challenges and opportunities, new sources of joy and frustration. But no matter what’s going on, you should be able to maintain a certain level state that’s independent of events, says Jared James, an entrepreneur, real estate speaker, and YPN Lounge blogger.
James, who gave a presentation yesterday afternoon at NAR’s Association Executives Institute in San Diego, Calif., says too many people just react to things that happen to them, thus getting blown around like a dead leaf in the wind. But, he adds, there’s a very simple way to get into a positive, productive mindset every day, regardless of circumstances.
As a serial entrepreneur who currently runs a few companies in addition to traveling all around the country to speak, James uses the following method to get emotionally grounded: No matter where he is or what he’s doing, he spends a half-hour early in the morning each day reading, praying, and reflecting to reach his ideal state.
Additionally, he mentally reviews what he wants to accomplish that day. He says it’s important to get very specific about those tasks. “When you have a desired outcome, your brain gives your body marching orders,” he says. “Every single day, you’re going to have an outcome, whether you set one or not. Wouldn’t you rather have some control over it?”
James suggests implementing a similar routine to reach a consistent emotional state every day and help you achieve goals that will improve your business. You may not think you have the time, but as James says, “People say they don’t have a half-hour in the morning to do this. Well, do you want a spend a half-hour doing this, or eight hours or more not accomplishing anything?”
Though he was speaking to an audience of association executives, entrepreneur and speaker Josh Linkner’s presentation this morning at NAR’s AE Institute in San Diego, Calif., was applicable to anyone who works in real estate. Linkner, who has started and invested in a number of technology companies over the past two decades, says a problem plaguing not only this industry but the entire business world is a lack of creative thinking.
According to Linkner, virtually everyone has some capacity for creativity. However, from an early age, this instinct is suppressed by external forces — particularly school and work. “Our creativity is declining,” he says. “We don’t grow into creativity, we’re growing out of it. The lesson society teaches us is to not be creative, just do what your told and don’t take risks.”
This is a huge issue, though, because creativity and innovation have become more critical than ever before. In a recent survey of 1,500 CEOs around the world, creativity was cited as the most important attribute of leadership today, Linkner says. Moreover, the tendency to do things the way they’ve always been done and avoid taking chances is a recipe for disaster in a rapidly changing business environment.
“Playing it safe has become the riskiest move of all,” he explains. “If you run that game plan in the real world, it’s a surefire path to mediocrity.”
In his presentation, Linkner offered the following five tips for people who want to accelerate their business through creativity: Continue reading »
Seeking to make a better connection with consumers online, Web site realtor.com® (yes, with a lowercase “r”) unveiled new branding this week. The rebranding effort covers — for now, anyway — the corporate logo and the overall design and structure of the Web site.
“We wanted to focus in the near term on the new look and feel,” says Andrew Strickman, realtor.com®’s vice president of brand and creative. “One of our desires was to clean up the design — make it more open, warmer, and brighter.”
The rebranding is the product of an “exhaustive” research and information-gathering project started by realtor.com® and its parent company, Move Inc. in the first quarter of 2012. That initiative involved input from internal stakeholders, REALTORS®, and consumers, Strickman explains.
Based on the feedback received, the overall strategy is to engage both the hearts and minds of visitors.
“People care deeply about the place they live in,” Strickman says. “It’s an emotional decision, but also a logical one. We really wanted to understand the role that a site like realtor.com® plays in the consumer’s mind as they think about and dream about buying a home.” Continue reading »
I recently came across an article on Mars One, an initiative to fund a trip to the red planet by filming the selection of astronauts for a reality TV show. According to the organization’s Web site, the individuals chosen in this process will begin the lengthy preparation for a journey to Mars about a decade in the future.
Once they’ve reached the planet, they’ll begin the process of colonization. (They’ll be preceded by unmanned craft carrying cargo.) The explorers will operate out of a handful of pods connected by tunnels and powered by solar panels that have food production units, research facilities, and living spaces.
Whether the Mars One project is successful in its aims or not, it seems likely that humans will set foot on that planet sometime in this century. Over the past decade, private exploration has expanded to the point where commercial space flights are being talked about for next year. And nations besides the United States and Russia are going to space nowadays.
This got me thinking: What would selling real estate on Mars be like? Very likely, these would be things to think about in a Martian transaction: Continue reading »
When we look back on 2012 a long time from now, it may be viewed as the first year of the recovery, the year in which real estate reversed its course and moved in a more positive direction.
With that in mind, here are 13 reasons — courtesy of REALTOR® Magazine’s online news — why real estate pros can look forward to next year:
1. There’s greater optimism about increasing home values.
2. More new households are forming.
3. Home shoppers are feeling a greater sense of urgency.
4. Home ownership remains a goal of members of the Millennial generation.
5. Foreclosure starts are falling to pre-housing-bust levels.
6. Interest rates should remain low through next year’s selling season.
7. Loan demand for home purchases is climbing.
8. More Americans say it’s a good time to sell.
9. The number of improving housing markets is going up.
10. Job creation is expected to provide a much-needed boost to the commercial sector.
12. As housing values rise and equity returns, fewer home owners are underwater.
13. Real estate is contributing to an overall economic recovery.
That’s not to say there aren’t challenges. Lending remains tight, there’s a large foreclosure backlog, and regulatory challenges and the fiscal cliff loom ahead. But on balance, real estate appears to have a bright future in 2013.
Chances are, you have heard of the Realtors Property Resource® (RPR) by now. But what is it, exactly, and how can it benefit you?
More than four years ago, the idea of a nationwide online database of comprehensive, high-value property information was conceived from an idea that came out of NAR’s Second Century Ventures (SCV) initiative. A plan was developed and approved by National Association of REALTORS® leadership to provide this as a benefit to members, and a very knowledgeable team was organized to execute the initiative.
During the past couple of years, RPR has partnered with about 440 multiple listing services throughout the United States. With those partnerships, about two-thirds of all REALTORS® are able to access RPR as of mid-October, 2012.
Even with that high level of access, as a member benefit, part of RPR’s core mission is to deliver this technology to all of NAR’s 1,000,000 REALTORS®. This is important because it allows “all members to take advantage of RPR’s high value tools, features and reporting capabilities,” says Dale Ross, CEO of RPR. To that end, RPR has announced that they are making the system available to all REALTORS® on Nov. 1, 2012.
“The RPR team is very excited about the opportunity to bring RPR to markets which have been waiting for access to the system,” adds Jeff Young, RPR senior vice president of operations. “We’ve been telling members for months that the wait is almost over.”
So what can RPR do for REALTORS®? Here are just three advantages it can provide:
1. Generate data-rich reports: RPR collects loads of data on individual properties and their surrounding communities. You can use the system to generate custom reports that can include as much of this information as your clients want. “I have never heard of any buyers and sellers who do not like the reports,” Ross says.
2. Connect with younger consumers: Homebuyers and sellers from generations X and Y are doing the majority of their property researching online, often before they contact a real estate practitioner. When they do reach out to agents, these consumers expect them to be able to immediately provide even more valuable information on certain homes. With its extensive yet user-friendly database, RPR allows REALTORS® to do just that. “REALTORS® who use RPR will certainly have more information on properties than consumers who do research online,” Ross says.
3. Provide insight into property values: With the fluctuating housing market during the past few years, it is often difficult to get a handle on a home’s value at any given time. But with RPR’s Realtor Valuation Model® (RVM), users of this system will have an authoritative source with which to provide information about property values using tax information, sale history, and comparables and other data sets. “RPR’s RVM offers best-in-class automated valuations which REALTORS® can refine with their local market knowledge to make it even more accurate,” Ross says.
Want to learn more about how RPR can benefit your business? Go to http://blog.narrpr.com/national-launch. Also, be sure to register for a free REALTOR® Magazine webinar, “A Look Ahead: RPR’s Launch to All REALTORS®,” taking place this Thursday, Oct. 25, 2012.
UPDATE: The webinar is now archived. Go here to download or playback the event recording.