Use Social Media the Right Way. Not Just for Realtors.

Targeting your groups is what makes Facebook a great tool for advertising.
Social Media is not JUST a Conversation.
Most of the time a conversation with a possible client is the best way to gather info.
First you have to connect with them. Use Facebook to connect then you can go into the conversation.

Christina Ethridge is the founder of LeadsAndLeverage.com

Experienced Realtors needed on both sides of a distressed property transaction

REO_Short_Sale

The article is a stab at “inexperienced” agents.

A complaint I often hear since the housing downturn is how difficult some REO brokers are to deal with. They are unresponsive, unhelpful, uncommunicative and difficult to transact business with.

I’ll be the first to agree that some REO agents do suck, but I’d like to shed some light on another serious problem in the “real estate owned” and distressed property world. If this issue were properly addressed, it would would dramatically cut down on the headaches and overall angst that go with brokering REOs, short sales, HUD and other distressed properties.

I am a Realtor in Anderson Indiana running into banks that are requesting the properties be listed on the so called “auction sites” that suck. Hubzu in my opinion is one of the sites. It gives the consumer the idea that they are an typical auction site. Normally the bank pay the listing agent a basic fee to list it in the MLS/BLC and do nothing more than put a sign in the yard.

Hubzu then charges the buyer a “technology fee” and sometimes the buyer is responsible to pay the buyers agent fee. The tech fee is paid to Hubzu for processing. Hopefully there are no problems during the transaction because the listing agent can do and knows nothing. They don’t even take listing picture. That is the responsibility of the preservation company.

I make sure to inform all my clients of the pitfalls in dealing with REO properties and especially the ones listed through the crappy auction sites. I just finished a purchase with Hubzu that took 60 days for a cash transaction that should have only taken 14 days. Buyer was ready to close but Hubzu took their sweet time.

See Original Article

 

UPDATE: 11/24/2014

Since the original article was written I am glad that a rep. from Hubzu has contacted me for feedback. We have spoken many times and the result was a gift certificate for the buyer to help mend the relationship for the mishap during the transaction.

I am happy to hear that the company is taking the effort to improve the process for Realtors and Buyers.

Realtors get a chance to voice opinion on Drone usage

The Federal Aviation Administration has invited the National Association of Realtors to participate in a working group that will provide input on forthcoming regulations of “unmanned aerial systems,” or drones.

NAR says it will use the opportunity to “educate FAA officials on how Realtors are interested in utilizing this technology safely and responsibly.”

Drone image via Shutterstock.

Drone image via Shutterstock.

In June, the FAA warned real estate agents who fly their own drones to take pictures or videos of listings that they are not engaged in a “hobby or recreation.” The FAA also provided guidance to hobbyists on the “do’s and don’ts” of flying small unmanned aircraft, citing “recent incidents involving the reckless use of unmanned model aircraft near airports and involving large crowds of people.”

The FAA’s position is that even as it works on the new regulations, it already has the authority to take enforcement actions against real estate agents and others using drones for profit. While the FAA has issued numerous cease-and-desist letters to alleged commercial drone operators, its ability to collect fines against them should it pursue enforcement actions against them remains unclear.

Lawyers with Realogy subsidiary NRT LLC aren’t taking any chances, warning agents who work out of more than 200 offices in the northeastern U.S. not to commission drone photography from vendors until the FAA issues “clearly defined rules” governing the commercial operation of drones. Until that happens, thelawyers said in a July memo, NRT won’t even process or distribute images captured by drones in the affected regions.

NAR says it supports regulations “that would allow members to use this technology safely but that are not overly cumbersome or expensive.”

The trade group expects the FAA to propose regulations in November that would “establish a timeframe” for implementing rules for commercially operated drone flights.

See Original Article

VA Loans for New Home Construction. This is sort of a big deal.

The VA Home Loan program helps those who have served our country to more affordably purchase a home.

VA loans offer qualifying military veterans and service personnel access to mortgages with no money down, competitive interest rates, and do not require the buyer to pay private mortgage insurance. As a result, veterans may save thousands at closing and hundreds of dollars every month through this program.

However, it has been difficult for military veterans to build a new home while taking advantage of the VA loan program’s benefits. Because new construction entails higher risk than the purchase of an existing home, most lenders today do not finance new construction as part of a permanent mortgage. Typically, new construction requires a borrower to get separate loans for lot purchase, construction, and a permanent mortgage when the home is completed. Only the permanent mortgage can be completed through the VA loan program, so veterans incur down-payment and closing costs on the initial loans – not to mention the headache of going through the loan process multiple times.

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(NAR Leadership Summit 2014) Economic Forecast Presentation

Lawrence Yun, NAR Senior Vice President & Chief Economist, gives an economic update to the 2014 NAR Leadership Summit.

Lawrence oversees and is responsible for a wide range of research activity for the association including NAR’s Existing Home Sales statistics, Affordability Index, and Home Buyers and Sellers Profile Report. He regularly provides commentary on real estate market trends for its 1 million REALTOR® members. Yun creates NAR’s forecasts and participates in many economic forecasting panels, among them Blue Chip and the Harvard University Industrial Economist Council. He appears regularly on financial news outlets, is a frequent speaker at real estate conferences throughout the United States, and has testified before Congress. USA Today in 2008 listed him among the top 10 economic forecasters in the country and he has been named among the Most Influential Real Estate Leaders by INMAN News over the past several years.

See Video Presentation here

Net Worth of Homeowners vs. Renters

Graph

In the past 15 years, the net worth of the typical homeowner has ranged between 31 and 46 times that of the net worth of the typical renter.

Homeowner equity is a substantial component of homeowner wealth. The Federal Reserve’s Survey of Consumer Finances, conducted once every three years, provides a snapshot of family income and net worth along with basic demographic details and more detailed information on where families keep the wealth they have accumulated.

The most recent survey, conducted in 2013, offers a picture of the situation as home and equity prices normalized for most household balance sheets.

Data shows that median homeowners had nearly $200,000 in net worth or 36 times that of the median renter who had just over $5,000. The median value of owners’ homes was $170,000.

Many households own a primary residence (65.2 percent). It is the most commonly held non-financial assets after vehicles (86.3 percent).

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Butterfly farm is a surprising job creator

One industry that’s adding jobs? Butterfly farming.

Yup, raising butterflies and selling them to zoos and museums, or to release at weddings and funerals, is a real business — with growing demand.Butterfly PicJane Breckinridge has been doing it for more than 20 years. Her team at Euchee Butterfly Farm in Oklahoma puts on exhibits, or “butterfly houses,” at places like the Minnesota State Fair. There, people can walk through large garden spaces to watch and even feed (with cotton swabs dipped in red Gatorade) thousands of butterflies.

“It’s an exploding industry and there are just not enough butterflies out there,” she said. Everywhere from big institutions like New York City’s Natural History Museum and the Bronx Zoo to elementary schools want to buy caterpillars, chrysalises and butterflies.

The Euchee Butterfly Farm raises about 20,000 butterflies a year, but that’s still not enough to keep up with demand. So it imports another 20,000, mostly from Costa Rica, to make up the difference.

A single butterfly can cost anywhere from 75 cents to $7 on the wholesale market, depending on the time of year and species.

Breckinridge hopes to expand Euchee’s operations with help from a $500,000 grant from the Department of Agriculture, which aims to create jobs. The funds will be used to train Native American members of the Thlopthlocco Tribal Town to raise butterflies of their own to sell to the Euchee farm.

The money in butterfly farming certainly isn’t equivalent to a full time job at first. Tribe members can expect make between $400 and $500 a month from about March through October, Breckinridge said. She hopes to get 100 members of the tribe up and running within a year.

Any chance to earn some income will be welcome in the area, a county where unemployment is higher than the rest of the state, said Brian Wiles, a director at the USDA’s rural development office in Oklahoma.

For now, the Euchee farm will handle operations on the sales end because, logistically, it’s a tricky business.

See Original Article

Tourists flock to Colorado to smoke legal weed

Tourists from around the world are going to Colorado to get stoned legally.

“We have a flow of tour buses coming in every day now,” said Toni Fox, owner of 3D Cannabis Center, a Denver dispensary with an influx of Japanese and Saudi tourists. “We even get charter buses from Texas!”

 

Tourist

 

Fox is billing her dispensary as a “tourist friendly” destination. It has a living-room-style reception room and an 80-foot long viewing corridor with rows of windows so customers can see inside the marijuana greenhouse.

“You can literally watch the cannabis you are purchasing grow right in front of your eyes!” boasts the dispensary’s web site.

Fox estimates that 70% of her 200 daily customers are from out of state.

In Boulder, the Terrapin Care Station recreational dispensary gets at least of third of its income from out of state, according to manager Jarrod Guaderrama.

“I can definitely tell that all the people from Texas, Georgia, California made this their vacation spot because of legal marijuana,” he said. “They’ll say they’re here because it’s beautiful and they’re going skiing. They’ll say right after that, ‘Plus, there’s legal pot here.'”

The Colorado Office of State Planning and Budgeting says the state took in $19 million in tax revenue from recreational marijuana during the first half of the year.

marijuana tourism

Colorado dispensaries like the 3D Cannabis Center in Denver are sparking a boom in marijuana tourism.

But the state doesn’t calculate how much of that is from tourism versus local buyers, and hard numbers are difficult to come by.

Colorado retailers began selling recreation marijuana on New Year’s Day, and in what may or may not be a coincidence, the state also posted a record ski season for 2013-2014. Colorado hosted 12.6 million ski visits according to a local industry group, up 10% from the prior season, but industry executives can’t say whether legal pot was a factor.

Most ski resorts and hotels don’t allow smoking, but there’s a niche industry popping up offering so-called “420-friendly” lodgings catering to this segment of tourists. Some bars and music venues also allow smoking in outdoor areas.

Related: Want a job? Try the pot industry

Entrepreneurs from outside Colorado are also cashing in. Rick Moore owns a bus tour company in Dallas, and started running buses to Denver dispensaries after marijuana was legalized. He charges $400 for the 12-hour trip, which leaves on Thursday and returns on Monday at 3 a.m., and includes two nights in a hotel. Colorado tours now account for about a quarter of his business.

“Some people might try to bring something back, but I discourage it,” he said. “It’s legal in Colorado but outside Colorado it’s not, so I don’t want anybody bringing it on the bus.”

He added that not all of his Texan tourists smoke weed, but they still want to visit the dispensaries.

“They just want to go because they’re curious,” he said.

See Original Article

How to woo a Chinese homebuyer…in four easy steps

 

Chinese buyers are flocking to the U.S. Some want their kids to go to American schools. Others are looking for new ways to invest.

Either way, American real estate brokers want a piece of it.Chinese buyers spent $22 billion on homes in the 12 months ended March 31. They buy more expensive houses, spending an average of close to $600,000 — more than twice the national average. And many of those deals are done in all cash.

Here’s how to woo them in four easy steps:

First, you need to be part of a big American brand.

Not only will your brokerage’s name be more recognizable, but it will also give you the resources you need to reach them a continent away.

Ryan Sherman and Douglas Magid founded Metropolitan Residential Services in New York City as an independent boutique, but in February they decided to become a local Century 21 franchise.

“The reason we affiliated with Century 21 is because it’s the largest franchise operator in the world with 2,400 offices in Asia alone,” said Sherman.

Second, hire agents who know the language and the culture.

Metropolitan courts Chinese clients by hiring agents who speak the language and know the culture. It sends agents overseas to build relationships. One, Sophine Hung, travels to Taiwan and Hong Kong regularly.

“When she goes, she stays a month, networking there,” said Sherman.

Hung said she makes friends, builds trust and lets her sales grow naturally. Nearly all her business comes from word of mouth. Her investor clients trust her so much, they let her pick out properties by herself.

“They don’t even know what the buildings look like,” she said.

Third, be prepared to play personal concierge.

That includes lining up banking services and getting your client’s kids into the best American schools.

For one couple with young kids, Hung arranged a meeting with the principal of a highly regarded school in Scarsdale, N.Y., and a guided tour of its facilities.

She has also set up banking services for clients, finding convenient branches and opening accounts. She puts clients up in her home when they come to New York and when she goes overseas, she sometimes stays with them. Old customers introduce her to new ones.

Finally, build on and maintain the relationship.

Chinese people are all about guanxi, the establishment of connections, said Janice Lee, the luxury properties director for Berkshire Hathaway Home Services in Pasadena, Calif.

“Chinese prefer to go to someone who a friend tells them to go to; they have the guanxi,” she said.

Wei Min Tan, is a New York-based agent for Rutenberg Realty with many Malaysian Chinese clients. He keeps in touch with his past customers and informs them of any bargains he finds. He also provides free property management services for absentee landlords.

One other thing to note: Not all real estate pros who cater to Chinese clientele are Asian.

Rachel Saltmarshall is an African-American broker with Brice Winthrop & Associates in Detroit. She purchased as many as 20 homes a month for Chinese investors, mostly low-priced housing that will be converted to rentals.

A past president of the Detroit Association of Realtors, Saltmarshall offers her foreign buyers a trusted local expert who can put together portfolios of homes.

As an added bonus, she also runs a contracting business, so she can offer her Chinese clients a one-stop shop.

They never even need to step foot in the U.S.

See Original Article and watch the video

Investors Accounted for 17 Percent of Recent Land Purchases

 

A recent REALTORS® Land Institute Survey provides information on the type of buyer in land sale transactions. Investors accounted for 17 percent of land purchases nationwide in the 12 months ending June 2014.Investors bought various land types, with the top types of land purchases being timber (20 percent), development (17 percent), commercial (14 percent), and non-irrigated agriculture land (13 percent).

Close to two-thirds of the purchases were for land in RLI Region 3 (KY, TN, NC, SC, GA, AL, MS, FL) and RLI Region 4 (KS, MO, AR, LA, OK, TX).

See Original Article