Trulia adds personalized ‘Activity Feed’ to mobile apps

Inmannews - Tue, 08/29/2017 - 1:41pm
Trulia has redesigned the home page for its for-sale and rental apps, aiming to tailor its design to a user's specific interests ...
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Flipping the pyramid with NAR’s new CEO Bob Goldberg

Inmannews - Tue, 08/29/2017 - 12:35pm
If you feared more of the same when Bob Goldberg was named CEO of NAR, take heart. The rhetoric of our new leadership is focused on engagement, openness and transparency -- knocking down the façade of the 'ivory tower' and facilitating dialogue with members, even those who disagree ...
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Case-Shiller: Home prices ascend up, up and away

Inmannews - Tue, 08/29/2017 - 10:39am
June’s S&P/Case-Shiller Home Price Index shows that home prices are continuing to ascend -- impacting affordability and the overall robustness of the housing market ...
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Flood insurance issues emerging in the waters of Houston disaster

Inmannews - Tue, 08/29/2017 - 8:47am
Harvey's timing couldn't be more interesting from a legislative standpoint. The storm that's dumped trillions of gallons of water on Houston has coincided almost perfectly with two flood-related legislative tangles ...
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Realtor helps rescue 300 Houston flood victims

Inmannews - Tue, 08/29/2017 - 8:12am
"There is no real estate business happening in Houston right now," said Nicole Lopez, a Realtor and team leader at Houston's Intero Real Estate Services. But you won't find her on high ground watching Netflix ...
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Objection battle: Comebacks to the most common client doubts

Inmannews - Tue, 08/29/2017 - 6:00am
Sick of hearing why your client isn't ready to list or move forward with you? Get the perfect comeback from schooled agents who are quick on their feet.  ...
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Agent/broker perspective: Are home inspections a waste of time for agents?

Inmannews - Tue, 08/29/2017 - 3:00am
In this monthly column, Anthony Askowitz will explore a hypothetical Miami real estate situation from both sides of the broker-agent dynamic. A veteran Miami real estate agent feels strongly about participating in her customers’ home inspections. Their broker wants her to focus on more productive uses of her time ...
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What should you expect from a CRM worth paying for?

Inmannews - Tue, 08/29/2017 - 2:30am
What functions are necessary in a CRM (customer relationship management) for real estate agents to stay on top of their database? How do you leverage technology to fulfill these things ...
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5 unexpected team leader takeaways from ICSF

Inmannews - Tue, 08/29/2017 - 2:00am
As a real estate team leader, I feel as though I am usually expected to be the end-all, be-all source of information, knowledge, inspiration and a multitude of other things for my team members ...
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How to calm millennial fears about homeownership

Inmannews - Tue, 08/29/2017 - 1:00am
We all keep hearing tales (and complaints) of millennials moving back in with their parents after graduating college. And we know that millennials now make up the largest segment of homebuyers, but they're hesitant to jump into the housing market ...
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A guide for investing in rental property

American Apartment Owners Association - Mon, 08/28/2017 - 10:56pm

Investing in rental property.

Rick Nayar bought his first rental property at the age of 27 – and had 25 by the time he was 30 years old.

The owner of Orlando, Florida-based Centurion Realty Group, Artesian Title and Full Circle insurance companies, Nayar saw investment real estate as a good opportunity to build wealth and achieve monthly cash flow.

Since 2003, Nayar has bought, rented, sold and flipped more than 1,000 homes.

nvesting in rental property isn’t for the faint of heart, however, but with adequate due diligence and the following tips is worth considering.

Pick a great location. For long-term equity growth, a residential rental property in a good location is key.

“Look for proximity to major roads, public transportation, and most importantly, schools,” says Abhi Golhar, host of Real Estate Deal Talk in Atlanta.

Research rents in the area you want to pursue, both in as-is condition and with repairs or improvements, adds Chris Taylor, a broker with Advantage Real Estate in Boston.

“I find the biggest mistake investors make is overestimating what their property is worth, which results in vacancies and below-market rents,” Taylor says.

You also want to get inside the minds of your audience: If you are in a college town, for example, it’s important to know how students think, the maximum distance they’re willing to be from campus and the locations they consider ideal, Taylor says, so you can buy a property that will be in high demand.

Start small. Start with an affordable initial investment like a single unit or a duplex versus a whole apartment building, says Ryan Coon, founder of Rentalutions, an online property management platform for do-it-yourself landlords.

“That way if things go south and you are unable to afford to pay for mortgage or maintenance, you are not running the risk of going bankrupt,” he says.

Because you’re just getting started, avoid properties needing significant repairs, since these could cause you to overextend yourself.

Consider using a property manager and ask friends for referrals for attorneys, contractors and other real estate professionals who can help you and will become valuable contacts over time, Coon says.

Run the numbers, then run them again. It’s important to treat each rental property like its own business to serve as a good investment.

“The most important consideration for prospective landlords is to accurately estimate rental income and the costs associated with leasing,” says Lucas Machado, president of House Heroes, a South Florida real estate investment company. “Until a landlord has a precise grip on these issues, they risk owning a property that – rather than a profitable investment – is a net loss every month.”

Betting on appreciation alone is not a good idea.

“Rental purchases should have positive cash flow and good rate of return,” Machado says. That could be anywhere from 8 to 15 percent in a residential market. Investment real estate is often valued by its capitalization (cap) rate, which is computed by taking the net operating income divided by the going cap rate in the neighborhood to come to an appropriate price.

Your monthly expenses will include the mortgage or debt service, taxes, insurance, lawn and pool maintenance, property management (optional) and insurance. At least 20 percent down payment will likely be required if financing the purchase.

Vacancy, turnover and eviction are realities of leasing any property, so wise landlords must assume at least a month’s rent loss annually, Machado said.

Don’t over-improve the property.To keep your cash flow at optimal levels, don’t spend too much on upgrades for a rental property that will likely need maintenance and repairs during turnovers anyway.

“The best advice I ever got was to imagine a box of minimum standards and never go outside that,” Nayar says.

This keeps your monthly rent at an appropriate ratio of about 1.2 to 1.4 times the monthly cost of the property, with plenty of cushion.

Because maintenance is also a given when owning rental property, Nayar buys a home warranty that costs $500 per year to better spread out the cost of repairs.

“I give the information to the tenant and let them know they will have to pay a $35 deductible directly to the company every time they need something done,” Nayar said. “You will be shocked how much this takes off the plate in terms of maintenance. It’s important you are upfront with tenants about this and set this expectation.”

Consider what type of maintenance is required based on the type of property you purchase. For a single-family home, the landlord is generally responsible for things like lawn mowing and snow removal, but if you buy a condo or townhouse, that maintenance is included in the condo fee, resulting in a more hands-off process, Taylor says.

Choose tenants wisely. Dealing with tenants can be stressful, but it doesn’t have to be. “A final critical evaluation is if the buyer intends to manage the rental herself or himself. Are you prepared to thoroughly screen tenant applicants, and assert yourself in difficult tenant situations?” says Elizabeth Gibson, chief content officer for

“A landlord needs thick skin,” she says. “If you’re likely to waver with applicants who are not qualified, or with late rent payments and other lease violations, you may need to hire an agent [property manager] to protect your investment.”

Tenant income should be at least three times the rent and verified by having their employer sign a form, Nayar says, which will hopefully keep vacancies and eviction losses to a minimum.

Source: CNBC

The post A guide for investing in rental property appeared first on AAOA.

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Open House Thefts Putting Agents on Alert

American Apartment Owners Association - Mon, 08/28/2017 - 10:02pm

A string of thefts in Wisconsin is serving as an important reminder for real estate pros to stay on guard during open houses.

Wisconsin brokerages are warning their agents about three cases of thefts at open houses and a private showing in Middleton. The suspect allegedly stole laptops and other valuables during the showings.

Charlie Wills, a real estate pro with First Weber Realty, told ABC News 18 in Eau Claire, Wis., that his brokerage is releasing a publication to all of its clients that includes some security practices in the real estate market.

Some tips referenced in the publication include:

  • Conduct open house showings during daylight hours only.
  • Review the property’s condition to ensure all utilities are working.
  • Advise sellers to remove valuables or to place them in safes or other secure locations.
  • Staff open house events with additional agents if a large number of visitors is expected.

Wills also notes that the tradition of the listing agent remaining in the kitchen or another spot of the home during an open house is starting to change.

“We don’t stay in one location,” Wills says. “What you do is canvass, and you walk the property and check in with people.”

Wills says that real estate pros must remain vigilant during open houses.

“I feel like most of us have that gut feeling if someone should or shouldn’t be in the house,” Wills says. A suspicious visitor should not be confronted, he says, but engaged instead. “Now, you’re trying to redirect their energy, and instantly, if they’re not very interested in buying, they’ll leave.”

In the recent Wisconsin thefts, police have identified a possible suspect, a 52-year-old Madison woman. No arrests have yet to be made.

Source: Realtor

The post Open House Thefts Putting Agents on Alert appeared first on AAOA.

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Amenity-Driven Renters Are Selective: Village Green Survey

American Apartment Owners Association - Mon, 08/28/2017 - 9:48pm
The company’s national study found that although there are generational differences when it comes to a community environment, a majority of renters are taking a growing interest in amenity offerings.

Diane Batayeh, CEO of Village Green


Village Green released the results of its First Annual National Renters Index, a nationwide survey of resident opinions on the rental market. According to the results, renters are becoming more selective with their wants and are taking a growing interest in amenities. The top three criteria residents use to evaluate a property were price at 85 percent, location at 81 percent and then community environment at 49 percent.

When searching for the perfect home, 59 percent of renters search online before visiting, with 65 percent using renting websites. Another 58 percent read reviews on the communities before making the decision of whether to live there.


Amenities are a growing trend in the rental market, with options such as fitness centers, dog parks, on-site salons and business centers—these apartments end up providing much more than just a place to sleep for the resident. According to the survey, 62 percent said that having a ‘homey’ look and feel is most important, followed by 60 percent saying it fits their lifestyle. Rounding out the top four at 52 percent equally were the importance of being able to issue a maintenance request online and offering high-end property amenities.

Although renters are searching for better community offerings, there is a generational gap when it comes to what is most important. According to the Renters Index, 48 percent of Millennials are willing to pay a higher rent in order to get high-end amenities, whereas only 28 percent of Baby Boomers are willing to do the same. In contrast, 68 percent of Gen-Xers and 69 percent of Baby Boomers look for clear and thorough information on the provided amenities, while 69 percent of Millennials care most about high quality photos of the spaces.

“The feedback from this National Renters Index serves as a call to us all that we need to be listening to our current and prospective renters about the amenities and experiences sought from their next rental experience,” said Diane Batayeh, CEO of Village Green. “To maximize resident satisfaction, we need to insure Renters carry the belief that they are getting a special experience and living in an environment filled with sought after amenities and the feel of home.”

Image courtesy of LinkedIn

Source: MHN

The post Amenity-Driven Renters Are Selective: Village Green Survey appeared first on AAOA.

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The gift of giving back: Help clients donate to their favorite charity

Inmannews - Mon, 08/28/2017 - 2:29pm
Real estate agent Nick Ialacci of Douglas Elliman shares one creative approach his brokerage takes to charity donation.  ...
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Don’t let your top producer status fizzle out

Inmannews - Mon, 08/28/2017 - 2:20pm
Data shows that less than 2 percent of top producers are able to grow their business by 10 percent year over year. Find out the secrets to bucking that trend and attain sustainable long-term growth as an agent.  ...
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When the hurricane hits your town: A Texas broker’s first steps

Inmannews - Mon, 08/28/2017 - 1:57pm
A real estate client who closed on a home one week ago calls to tell you "There's nothing left." On top of that you find out your office is destroyed -- the roof collapsed -- and you don't have rental insurance ...
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What Home Thieves Target Most

American Apartment Owners Association - Mon, 08/28/2017 - 12:38pm

Renters are more likely to experience a burglary than homeowners, according to data from the Bureau of Justice Statistics. Apartment buildings with two to four units are the most at risk of theft.

“This is probably because plenty of people come and go from apartment complexes daily, while homes only have a few family members who enter or leave,” according to ADT, a security firm, which recently analyzed data on burglary risks across the country.

There were nearly 1.6 million burglaries in 2015, amounting to about one every 20 seconds, according to the FBI. About 72 percent were residential.

The cities with the most burglaries, according to ADT’s analysis, are: Lake Charles, La.; Vallejo, Calif.; Pueblo, Colo.; Youngstown, Ohio; Springfield, Ohio; Dayton, Ohio; Canton, Ohio; Santa Fe, N.M.; Memphis, Tenn.; and Albany, Ga.

On the other hand, ADT reports that the cities with the lowest amounts of crime tend to share similar social and economic characteristics, such as low unemployment rates, high education levels, and small populations. The cities with the fewest burglaries are: Palatine, Ill.; Orland Park, Ill.; Peabody, Mass.; Fishers, Ind.; Leesburg, Va.; Ramapo Town, N.Y.; Novi, Mich.; Carmel, Ind.; Rochester Hills, Mich.; and Johns Creek, Ga.

Of 400 convicted burglars who shared their reasons for committing a theft, their top reasons for break-ins were: drugs (51%); money (37.1%); foolishness (5.4%); thrills (4.4%); or revenge (2.2%). The ADT survey also showed the top items these convicted burglars were hoping to find in a break-in were: cash (90%); jewelry (77.8%); illegal drugs (65.9%); electronics (63.5%); prescription drugs (50.5%); and clothing or shoes (18.4%).

Source: “Burglary Odds Across America,” (August 2017)

Source: Realtor

The post What Home Thieves Target Most appeared first on AAOA.

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