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 »
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 »
There’s a dark secret lurking in the throats of the National Association of REALTORS® employees. I personally uncovered this closet skeleton on a reconnaissance mission in the Chicago Association of REALTORS®’ professional development wing.
I walked up to the desk and announced that I was reporting for duty to cover the Certified International Property Specialist (CIPS) class. Except here’s how I said it:
Meg White: Hi! I’m from REALTOR® Magazine, here for the “sips” class.
Patsy Smith Wyant: Oh great; we’re so glad to have you! Except it’s C-I-P-S.
Meg: Really? Not “sips”?
Patsy: Yep! It’s C. I. P. S. [flashing hugely welcoming, forgiving smile]
Meg: [blushing] Oh geez. I’ve never heard anyone at NAR pronounce it like that. I’m sorry.
Patsy: No problem! Happens all the time, really. David [Wyant, Patsy’s partner and the instructor for my class] always jokes, “It’s not a drink that you sip!” And, you know, people don’t talk about being a “gry” [GRI, Graduate, REALTOR® Institute] or a “cree” [CRE, Counselor of Real Estate].
Meg: Makes total sense, now that you mention it. But I imagine hearing “sips” all the time would have the same effect as it does when the rest of us down at 430 N. Michigan hear “real-it-or” or “nahr.”
Patsy: Haha, yeah. It is kind of like that!
So, as you can see, I started at the absolute bottom when it came to the knowledge required to become a certified international property specialist. With that baseline set, let me share a few other items I learned from the globetrotting Wyants during Global Real Estate: Transaction Tools. While some of these information nuggets won’t be a huge surprise to global experts out there, there were others that had the whole class in disbelief, saying, “Really?”
Q: Do you need a social security card to purchase property in the U.S? Continue reading »
By Stacey Moncrieff, Editor in Chief, REALTOR® Magazine
I had an opportunity Thursday to spend some time at a symposium and reception Thursday, where REALTORS® attending the Midyear Legislative Meetings were celebrating the work of the 2011 HOPE Award winners.
The Home Ownership Participation for Everyone (HOPE) Awards is a national industry awards program that recognizes individuals and organizations that are working to increase and sustain minority home ownership, revitalize communities, and expand affordable housing opportunities.
Winners are named in seven categories, including education, financing, and brokerage. But at the symposium, the 2011 winners agreed that education was the common thread among all the winners. As the housing crisis has unfolded, I’ve seen a lot of news stories focused on the disproportionate impact on minorities.
That’s why I was struck by the work of the HOPE winner in the education category, the Center for Homeownership, in Winston-Salem, N.C. According to Center Director Phyllis Caldwell, the center has seen an overall foreclosure rate of less than 2 percent. “Education is absolutely the key,” Caldwell told me at the reception. Continue reading »
By Erica Christoffer, Multimedia Web Producer, REALTOR® Magazine
Covering real estate issues for REALTOR® Magazine is fun, rewarding, and challenging. I love talking to members and capturing their story. So when I was offered the opportunity to shadow the Reuter Team real estate office in Geneva, Ill., I jumped at the chance. Coming from a journalism background, I thought it would be a great educational benefit for me to experience the day-to-day business of a REALTOR®. It’s one thing to hear someone talk about their job, it’s another to actually watch them do it.
In full disclosure, the Reuter Team consists of my co-worker YPN manager Rob Reuter’s family members, including his dad Wayne, mom Teresa, and sister Mary. Rob asked his family to host me last Wednesday and they graciously accepted me as their tag-along.
If I had to sum up my take-aways from the day in five keywords, it would be…
- Transparency Continue reading »