Sitting around a table at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco, the four women seem more like they’re at a sidewalk café trading war stories about life, love, and happiness than at a business conference. The first thing that comes to mind — clichés be damned! — is a scene from “Sex and the City” where the girls are at their favorite diner, giggling over the frivolities of each other’s sordid lives. Someone might be Carrie, someone might be Charlotte — probably no one would claim to be Samantha.
What brings these women together is their love and admiration for one another, and it’s fitting that here they sit at the same venue that launched their great four-way friendship: the convention. Continue reading »
It’s what happens between sessions at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo that makes the experience of NAR’s biggest annual event for many attendees. New friendships budding, business connections made, memories added to the bank. And one practitioner at the San Francisco convention this year logged one of the biggest memories of all: Getting married — legally, finally — to his spouse of nine years.
Brian Copeland, GRI, ABR, CRS, an agent at Village Real Estate Services in Nashville, Tenn., exchanged vows with Greg Bullard, a pastor, at San Francisco’s Fay Park near Lombard Street on Tuesday. And the REALTOR® community was there to rally around the couple and their 2-year-old son, Micah Copeland, to show their love and support. Continue reading »
Organized by volunteers, Real Estate Bar Camp is a completely unstructured day of sessions led by anyone who steps up — on any topic. Here’s how it works: REBarCamp attendees volunteer to lead a session on whatever topic is of interest to them and form roundtable discussions with other attendees. There are no individual presentations; a discussion group can pop up at any moment.
“We really build a conference on the fly,” explained REBarCamp founder Andy Kaufman, e-PRO®. The Berkeley, Calif.-based Better Homes and Gardens Mason-McDuffie real estate agent told meeting attendees at the REALTORS® Conference & Expo in San Francisco on Thursday that REBarCamp “is open source — you guys do it yourself.” Continue reading »
A false Facebook post is making the rounds claiming that if you don’t pay the penalty for not buying health insurance, the IRS can file a lien against your home.
The health care reform law requires individuals who don’t meet one of the law’s exemptions to buy an insurance plan that meets minimum requirements or face a penalty. The law set up online state insurance exchanges to simplify cost comparisons among plans and to make purchasing a plan easy. Open enrollment for these insurance plans on the online exchanges began Oct. 1 and runs through March 2014. We’ve outlined all your options in a separate blog post.
Those who choose to have no insurance at all by the open-enrollment deadline will be penalized $95 or 1 percent of their income (whichever is greater). That penalty will go up to $695 or 2.5 percent of income in 2016.
However, it is not true that the IRS can file a lien against your home for failing to pay the penalty.
Though the IRS does have authority to garnish wages and file liens to collect unpaid taxes, the Affordable Care Act explicitly prohibits it from using such measures to collect health-insurance penalties, according to Kaiser Health News, an independent nonprofit news organization dedicated to covering U.S. health policy.
Instead, the IRS will withhold the penalty from your tax return, Kaiser Health News reports. Read the KHN piece here.
The effects of the government shutdown are rippling through the real estate industry, and practitioners are feeling the pain all over the country. Most of the complaints we’re fielding are about USDA loans, which have been entirely frozen. Real estate pros are seeing deals fall apart, as the Department of Agriculture has shuttered its mortgage division during the shutdown.
But agents and brokers whose clients hold every type of loan are getting slammed. Though the FHA is still operational, it has drastically reduced its staff, causing widespread delays in the processing of FHA loans. And while the IRS is down, it can’t verify tax documents tied to conventional, FHA, or any other loans. That translates to many real estate deals being put on hold — or just disintegrating.
It’s becoming a madhouse out there for many practitioners fighting to keep deals alive as the shutdown puts a stranglehold on the market. We’ve gotten a few of their stories. Continue reading »
Everyone’s got their game face on as the NFL and NHL seasons get underway, and while sports fans are rooting for the home team, real estate companies are making plays to the home buyers in the crowds. Next up to score: realtor.com®.
NAR’s official listing Web site, which is operated by Move, Inc., announced that it has inked a deal to become the “category exclusive” sponsor of the NHL’s San Jose Sharks. That grants realtor.com® big ad displays at SAP Center in San Jose, Calif., the Sharks’ home stadium, as well as exposure in regional and national television and radio broadcasts of Sharks games. Realtor.com® will also develop giveaways to Sharks fans, co-branded items with the team, and new campaigns that spotlight its mobile apps.
“We continue to look for ways to connect with on-the-go, busy consumers to provide a personalized and powerful real estate experience on their mobile devices,” says Barbara O’Connor, chief marketing officer of Move. “Our agreement with the San Jose Sharks aligns perfectly with the audience we want to reach.” The deal also holds an element of neighbors helping neighbors: The Sharks’ stadium, after all, is only two blocks away from the realtor.com® headquarters, O’Connor notes. Continue reading »
Whether the New York Jets go big or go home in the NFL’s 2013 season, every game they play is a touchdown for one real estate brokerage.
New Jersey-based Weichert, REALTORS®, has been named the official real estate company of the Jets, which means it stands to get its advertising in front of the team’s 7 million diehard fans — and beyond. The deal will give Weichert signage prominent display at all Jets home games, including spreads on in-stadium TVs. Weichert ads will also be displayed on the highly trafficked NewYorkJets.com Web site, and the company will sponsor the team’s “Jets Talk LIVE” weekly Web program. Radio ads for the company will air during ESPN’s coverage of Jets games.
“Weichert is the largest privately owned real estate company in New Jersey, and the company’s commitment to excellence is similar to ours,” says Marc Riccio, senior vice president of the Jets, whose stadium is in East Rutherford, N.J.
This go-round, though, the Jets’ success could have a big impact on Weichert’s. The team is likely wondering how far they’ll get without star quarterback Mark Sanchez, who’s out with a shoulder injury. But the path to the playoffs started out with a bang this year: The Jets clipped the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to win their season opener Sunday. That bodes well for Weichert. Continue reading »
The media is a powerful tool for telling your business story, but you have to use it wisely. At the National Association of REALTORS®’ Leadership Summit in Chicago on Tuesday, Don Cunningham, managing director of global PR firm Burson-Marsteller, talked about how real estate practitioners can hone their messages and stay on point during media interviews.
“Stick to your story,” Cunningham told hundreds of REALTORS® attending the summit. “You have to be of the mind-set that I’m going to continue to talk about what I came here to talk about.” Reporters will try to steer you off course into other subjects that you may have not been prepared to talk about, he warned. Here’s Cunningham’s game plan for successfully navigating an interview: Continue reading »