Kicking off the 2013 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, members of NAR helped build 28 homes with Habitat For Humanity of Greater San Francisco on Wednesday, Nov. 6.
“These homes are a huge asset development for families,” said Phillip Kilbridge, executive director of Habitat for Humanity of Greater San Francisco. “They can use it as a stepping stone for more education, stability, and deep engagement in their community.”
R. Brian Matza, broker and contractor with Nob Hill Realty, remembers running drills during his days as a firefighter along this narrow property adjacent to a highway in San Francisco’s Oceanview-Merced-Ingleside neighborhood.
“Because of the high housing costs in San Francisco, the affordability index is really difficult, especially for entry level,” said Matza, a San Francisco native. “Now to see this coming in here, it’s a fantastic thing and I’m happy to be part of it.”
San Francisco’s median home price hit $1 million in April – its highest level in six years, according to the San Francisco Association of REALTORS®. Kilbridge says it has become increasingly important to provide opportunities for lower income families to own a home.
Chris Anderson, former editor of Wired magazine and author of “Makers: The New Industrial Revolution” (Crown Business, 2012), who presented at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo Friday, predicts that you’ll carry a small drone in your bag, and when you’re taking on a new listing, you can turn on your drone, push a button, and it will orbit the building or home, mapping and creating a 3D model for you.
Anderson, who founded 3D Robotics, a company that makes GPS-guided aerial drones used for mapping and photography, says that in just three short years he went from being a dad messing around with his kids, Googling “autopilot” and building remote control devices, to owning and operating a multimillion-dollar aerospace company.
Anderson also discussed the changing face of industrial and warehouse real estate in light of the growing “makers movement.” Today, manufacturers are relying on robotics to create products in fields ranging from synthetic biology to furniture. Computer screens and white-collar programmers have replaced smokestacks and assembly lines.
“The reason you’re able to have 3D printers on your desktop is the components are so cheap that regular people are able to afford them,” Anderson said. “It will be regular people doing extraordinary things.”
When Michele Serro, an opera singer with a background in design, had a lackluster experience purchasing her first apartment in New York five years ago, her life mission became clear: Make home-buying human.
“I didn’t feel like there were a lot of resources for first-time home buyers,” Serro said. So she entrenched herself in all things real estate, and harnessed her design skills to create a clean, well-organized online portal that serves up information in the form of digestible articles, easy-to-follow lists, and fascinating infographics.
Whether it’s explaining common mortgage types, offering money-saving tips, or guiding visitors with an all-encompassing home-buying checklist, Doorsteps.com gives users free, step-by-step educational tools that are actually fun to read.
But what really sets Doorsteps apart from other real estate Web sites is that it makes the real estate agent the consumer’s guide.
Doorsteps works like this: The real estate pro signs up and invites an unlimited number of buyers to register at the site. It’s $25/month for the agent and free for the client. As the site walks its users through the home-buying process, member agents can see the same information their clients see and interact with them, answering their questions at each step along the way. It’s perfect for those people you meet who are interested in buying someday but aren’t quite prepared to start looking at houses.
“We designed this as an agent tool from the buyer’s point of view,” Serro explained. “Our plan is to create the best possible experience for buyers, answer all of their questions, and make dynamic content that also benefits agents.” Continue reading »
“New normal” is a phrase we’ve become familiar with in this post-bubble real estate industry. It describes the current landscape of home prices that are lower than their peak but still healthy and steadily rising, stricter lending standards, and continued low (albeit slightly rising) interest rates.
But if you think about it, the term “new normal” really just connotes a recent change. I should know, I just had a baby five months ago – believe me, I’m living in a new normal.
So I’d like to point out another new normal: the situation of the Millennial generation.
I’m sure you’ve read reports saying that many young adults are putting off buying a house because they’re strapped with college loan debt (which, the New York Times aptly points out, is due to rising tuition costs outpacing income levels, among other reasons). More Millennials are returning to their parents’ homes after college to save money. They’re delaying both marriage and starting a family. Many of them are still trying to decide if they ever want to get married and/or have children.
But what else do we know about Gen Y?
Yes, they have higher student loan debt than previous generations, but they’re also more highly educated. According to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, 66.2 percent of 2012 high school graduates are enrolled in colleges or universities (71.3 percent of young women and 61.3 percent of young men), as compared to 61.7 percent of grads who went to college in 1992 and 49.2 percent 40 years ago. More are seeking higher post-graduate degrees as well. And overall, Gen Y has less debt from material items than older generations, shying away from credit cards and fancy cars.
There’s also one more thing we know about Millennials: They love houses — or at least the idea of a owning a home of their own. Continue reading »
The Super Bowl is less than a week away and fans are abuzz in anticipation for the “HarBowl” or the “SuperBaugh,” as the matchup between San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens pits sibling coaches against one another.
But football in general is a family affair — especially among viewers. According to Century 21’s Big Game Survey conducted in December, 84 percent of Americans watch the game from the comfort of their own home, a friend’s home, or a family member’s home.
“It gives us an unprecedented opportunity to tell our story in front of the largest TV viewing audience of the year,” said Century 21 Chief Marketing Officer Bev Thorne. “What’s great is it’s set in the home, which is the heart and soul of the services we offer.”
Drawing a record 111.3 million viewers last year, Super Bowl game day has evolved into a celebrated multimedia phenomenon, infiltrating YouTube channels, Facebook statuses, and Twitter feeds. It’s also a big game day for advertisers — and Century 21 is in the huddle again this year.
Last year, they became the first real estate company to advertise during the Super Bowl in 21 years. The commercial featured Donald Trump, Deion Sanders, and Apolo Anton Ohno working with a Century 21 agent who does it “Smarter. Bolder. Faster.”
“Because [the Super Bowl] brings together friends and family in a very familial environment, it’s a great opportunity for lots of conversation, so we’re putting our Century 21 agents in the middle of those conversations,” Thorne said.
Super Bowl advertisers paying between $3.7 million and $3.8 million per 30-second ad spot. For Century 21, that investment paid off in 2012. Continue reading »
Mountain climbing: it’s the ultimate individual and team sport. In many ways it parallels working in real estate. You need to set an objective then find out what it’s going to take to accomplish your goal. Then you have to stick to it and continue to push through any unforeseen obstacles. And if you’re working in a team environment, you must lend a hand to make sure all members of the team meet the target at hand.
“I relate it a lot to the real estate business,” said Rick Davidson, president and CEO of Century 21. “It teaches you to be nimble, to move at the speed of the market and your clients, and to do what’s necessary to meet the objective at the end of the day.”
Davidson, who has been an avid high-altitude climber since the 1990s, decided to combine his extreme sport passion with another endeavor – fundraising for Easter Seals, Century 21’s philanthropic partner benefiting children with disabilities. So in 2006, Davidson launched Climb for Kids where he annually assembles a team to summit a mountain in order fundraise while inspiring those around them.
“Our business is all about the community,” Davidson said. “And we owe it to our communities to give back and truly be active participants.”
This year, Davidson successfully led the Climb for Kids team up Pico de Orizaba and Iztaccihuatal, Mexico’s highest and third-highest mountains respectively. He was joined by Scott Becker of Century 21 New Millennium, Alexandria, Va., Steve DuBrueler of Coldwell Banker Premier Properties, Winchester, Va., Greg Harrelson and Brendon Payne of Century 21 The Harrelson Group, Myrtle Beach, S. C., Angela Lieb of Century 21 Real Estate LLC, St. Louis, Mo., and Jeff Simon of Century 21 Affiliated, Madison, Wisc.
The team of seven climbed the 17,000- and 18,000-foot mountains in a span of eight days starting Nov. 23. What’s more, it was the first high-altitude climb for four of the seven team members.
“To get those four people to take a risk and make a commitment so significant, and then get out and make it happen, it says a lot about the inspiration,” Davidson said. Continue reading »
Low inventories have created a seller’s market, and your buyers may be tempted to write multiple purchase offers on their favorite listing, for instance, as well as the close second.
On the one hand, it may increase the odds of their getting one of the two homes they want. But is it worth the legal risk if the buyer needs to back out of one of the offers? They could end up in multiple fully-executed contracts to purchase if the offers weren’t written with adequate contingencies allowing them to cancel. They could be accused of breaking a good faith covenant and face major legal ramifications.
How would you advise your client?
An Accredited Buyer’s Representative course may help.
“Never let your clients enter into multiple contracts without intent to buy,” said instructor Adorna Occhialini Carroll, CRB, ABR, GRI, broker/owner of Realty3 in Berlin, Conn., and president of Dynamic Directions, Inc., an international sales training consulting firm. This was one of many important buyer-related topics covered the debut of a new ABR class at the National Association of REALTORS® headquarters in Chicago last week. About 25 REALTORS® from around the country participated in the two-day VIP ABR course, covering everything from buyer’s representation agreements handling objections.
“Our hope is to expose the course so that brokers will recommend the ABR designation to their agents as an essential key component of their professional development,” said Carroll.
The course is designed for any REALTOR® active in real estate. In order to achieve the actual ABR designation, you also need to take one elective course and have proof of five closed transactions where you have represented the buyer.
NAR First Vice President Steve Brown, broker/owner of Irongate Inc., REALTORS® in Dayton, Ohio, was one of the course attendees. Continue reading »
Smile. It’s a simple but powerful gesture.
Smiling says something about your character. It puts people at ease, increases attractiveness, and it’s contagious.
“Some of us need to have more peace in our lives. People want to be around positive people,” said Darryl Davis, New York-based speaker, trainer, and comedian who has been in the real estate business since he was 19 years old. Davis presented stress-relieving tips during the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Orlando Sunday. “It’s hard to smile and be angry and pissed off at the same time.”
A career in real estate can come with a lot of stress, so much so that it’s often ranked one of the most stress-filled jobs. The amount of endorphins released from smiling actually equals 2,000 bars of chocolate, inducing happy feelings and lowering blood pressure.
So, next time you’re in an argument with someone, just plant a smile on your face. It will either defuse the situation, or you’ll get the better of the other person. Either way it’s a win for you, Davis joked.
In addition to showing your pearly-whites, there are other ways to stress less. Here are Davis’s top three tips:
- Let go of your baggage. You’ve made choices in your business and your personal life; many of those choices were spot-on, and some maybe weren’t so great. If you keep beating yourself up over those bad choices, you’re going to continue living in the past. “It’s like driving a car looking in the rear view mirror. Eventually you’re going to crash,” said Davis. It’s time to accept the choices you’ve made in life, for better or worse, and re-focus your energy on moving forward.
- Be committed to what’s possible. Davis ran the New York City Marathon in 2006. He had never done anything like it before. In fact, he said he was so out of shape, that he only made it 0.33 miles during his first training run. But because he had a higher purpose for running the marathon – raising money for children suffering from leukemia and lymphoma – he stayed on top of his training and completed the marathon five months later, raising $25,000 for charity. The key to reaching any goal, he said, is envisioning what you want and then creating it. Start by painting a picture of your life and career goals. “Your success exists in the future; you just have to figure out how to reach it,” Davis said.
- Focus on improving your skills. People can usually relate to those who have had a similar experience in their lives. If you’re having trouble communicating with a client, try using stories, metaphors, and analogies from your own life to handle objections. Your skills also improve when you surround yourself with positive, motivating people. So avoid the “negative-Nancy” in your office and hang around those people who will inspire success.