NAR warns of text message scam

Inmannews - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 12:01pm
The National Association of Realtors (NAR) has released a warning about a text message scam that asks members to pay a fine or sales tax on a prize. ...
Categories: RSS

How CEO Bob Goldberg plans to smash NAR’s ‘ivory tower facade’

Inmannews - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 9:52am
The first thing that National Association of Realtors (NAR) CEO Bob Goldberg did upon addressing a crowd of association leaders at NAR's Leadership Summit today is grab a guitar ...
Categories: RSS

HomeLight closes $40M funding round

Inmannews - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 4:31am
Many consumers rely on recommendations from friends and family to find a trustworthy real estate agent, yet a small but growing share are making selections based on the numbers. That's a clear takeaway from the rise of agent-matching service HomeLight ...
Categories: RSS

Every agent has a story: Humanize your brokerage to elevate your team

Inmannews - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 3:00am
In every real estate agent, New Jersey broker Luis Leiva sees a history. A family. A person. "We all have one thing in common as human beings," said Leiva, who seeks to humanize his agents over promoting his brokerage brand. "We all carry baggage." ...
Categories: RSS

Why being authentic is a winning strategy that pays off

Inmannews - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 2:15am
How do you make sure you and your client are always on the same page? When starting off a conversation, do you need to pretend to be someone you're not? And where does consistency come in ...
Categories: RSS

5 real estate marketing trends defining 2017

Inmannews - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 2:00am
Marketing. Can’t live with it, can’t live without it. And though it may sometimes feel like marketing is falling outside of our job description, there’s more marketing in the day-to-day of the running of a real estate business than we may realize ...
Categories: RSS

3 tips for nailing your Facebook target audience in real estate

Inmannews - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 1:30am
Eight in 10 online Americans use Facebook -- a huge opportunity for real estate agents. Here are 3 tips for nailing your Facebook target audience ...
Categories: RSS

3 tips to avoid spamming your Snapchat audience

Inmannews - Tue, 08/15/2017 - 1:15am
The buzz has been big around Snapchat lately. In fact, in March, Snap, Inc., the company responsible for the popular video messaging app, went public in what is said to be the biggest tech IPO since ...
Categories: RSS

Growing eXp Realty agent count propels Q2 revenue

Inmannews - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 3:13pm
EXp World Holdings, the Bellingham, Washington-based holding company for eXp Realty, announced its second quarter 2017 earnings today, reporting revenue of $39.6 million for the quarter, up 198 percent from $13.3 million in Q2 ...
Categories: RSS

How real estate agents are leveraging the August 21 eclipse

Inmannews - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 2:41pm
You might have next week's eclipse already penciled into your planner -- but do you have your protective glasses yet that will allow you to actually, you know, see it? If you're in Vancouver, British Columbia, or Lyons, Colorado, and you happen to be connected to a savvy real estate agent, then they've got you covered ...
Categories: RSS

News Corp profits ‘powered by’ digital real estate services

Inmannews - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 11:43am
As revenue lowers in the company's news and information services sector, its digital real estate services continue to bolster its earnings; digital real estate was responsible for nearly 40 percent of News Corp's profits for fiscal ...
Categories: RSS

Easy as pizza pie: Inman Connect hackers take on offer tracking

Inmannews - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 9:56am
SAN FRANCISCO -- Your pizza pie is being prepared. Your pie is in the oven. Your pie is almost cooked. Your pie is out of the oven. Your pie is in the car. The driver's at your front door. Talk about satisfying. These updates were delivered to Publisher Brad Inman via Domino's Pizza app after he ordered 20 pizzas for a party. "I went 'Wow, this is amazing,'" Inman said of the app ...
Categories: RSS

Proposed legislation would limit criminal background checks for rental housing

American Apartment Owners Association - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 8:23am

Alex Lopez has a dream.

The 20-year-old from Southern California wants to be an international businessman, with a focus on online marketing. He’s in the process of completing his high school degree equivalent and exploring options for higher education. Lopez’s face held a look of earnest determination as he sat perched on a high stool in a Starbucks, describing where he’s been, where he hopes to go and the barriers that stand in his way.

Lopez, like millions of others living in this country, has a felony conviction on his record. His conviction for selling drugs in Southern California casts a shadow over every job interview he attends and every apartment application he submits. He can’t even move back in with his family because he can’t pass the background check and doesn’t want to endanger their rental housing.

The conviction, for which he’s already served his time, follows Lopez wherever he goes.

“I paid for it, that’s it,” Lopez said. “Well, that’s not it.”

“I’m pretty sure down the road I’m going to have to quit my studies for a little to find housing,” Lopez said.

Lopez spends most of his time split between work and school, a load he’s finding increasingly difficult to balance as the threat of homelessness looms. He’s living in transitional housing now, but the time limit on that will come up in just a few months, forcing him into the private rental market and the judgment that comes with it.

He’s worried that he’ll have to choose between housing and his education.

“I’m pretty sure down the road I’m going to have to quit my studies for a little to find housing,” Lopez said.

Stories like his caused Seattle City Councilmembers Lisa Herbold and Kshama Sawant to bring forward legislation that would limit the use of criminal records in rental housing applications by curtailing the amount of information available through background checks that landlords rely upon to weed out what they consider to be unfit tenants.

The bill, called Fair Chance Housing, proposes to help people with criminal records in several ways. First, it wouldn’t allow background checks to include criminal convictions older than two years. Currently background checks can include criminal history dating back seven years (“Washington background checking agencies are flawed and unenforced,” RC, July 26). Second, it requires landlords to offer a business reason for denying an application; simply citing a criminal conviction would not suffice.

There are exceptions: Shared housing, small buildings with an onsite landlord and some federally assisted housing would be exempt.

Proponents of the bill believe it doesn’t go far enough. They want to eliminate the provision that allows background checks to include criminal convictions of the previous two years.

Opponents feel that the bill is one more example of tenant-friendly legislation that’s come from the City Council in recent months that shifts the burden of solving social ills from government to private landlords.

“We should be looking at the criminal justice system, not put this onto individual landlords,” said William Shadbolt, who represented the Rental Housing Association of Washington at a panel discussion of the legislation in mid-July.

Four out of five report that their criminal history is a big reason they can’t find housing in a market that is already pricing people out.

Roughly 30 percent of people living in Seattle have a criminal record, according to the Office of Civil Rights, and 7 percent have a felony conviction. Four out of five report that their criminal history is a big reason they can’t find housing in a market that is already pricing people out.

The result: more people living on the streets struggling to survive and potentially falling back into criminal activity.

“Housing discrimination is very real in our city,” said Nick Straley, an attorney with Columbia Legal Services, a nonprofit legal team that has joined with the FARE Housing Coalition to support the legislation. “We as a city need to be affirmative and direct.”

The problem is growing.

In 2015, almost 7,900 people were released from prison in Washington state, according to the Department of Corrections. Nearly half of those went back to King County or one of the four neighboring counties. The Department of Corrections Reentry team reported that between 2013 and 2016, an average of 38 people a month went from the prison system into homelessness.

In 2017, that figure leapt to 85 people every month.

The federal government already frowns upon systematically denying housing to people based on their criminal history. In 2016 the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) released guidance that required administrators of federally funded housing to look past a criminal conviction and supply substantive reasons that a prospective tenant was not a good fit.

“Bald assertions based on generalizations or stereotypes that any individual with an arrest or conviction record poses a greater risk than any individual without such a record are not sufficient to satisfy this burden,” the document reads.

Institutional racism has created a system in which people of color have disproportionately high rates of conviction and incarceration.

The reason: Institutional racism has created a system in which people of color have disproportionately high rates of conviction and incarceration, which means discriminating against people based on a criminal conviction equates to discrimination based on the color of a person’s skin.

The proposed legislation has raised concerns among small landlords, who worry about protecting their investments, the safety of their tenants and the increasing regulatory burden posed by laws coming out of Seattle’s government.

Landlords are leaving the market, weakening the supply of affordable housing in an increasingly unaffordable city, said Sean Martin, spokesperson for the Rental Housing Association, at a committee meeting on July 25.

“What you’re attempting to do imposing this by fiat will fail,” said one landlord at the meeting.

Anecdotes of criminal behavior and generalized fear of former convicts are not founded in data, and shouldn’t hamper this legislation, Straley told the committee.

“I have yet to hear a single story from any landlord that they were any safer because of screening,” he said.

Instead, such a policy could serve to make everyone safer, Straley said.

“The research is absolutely clear. The more people we get housed, the less crime we have,” Straley said.



The post Proposed legislation would limit criminal background checks for rental housing appeared first on AAOA.

Categories: RSS

Nextdoor announces dedicated real estate sections for each neighborhood

American Apartment Owners Association - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 7:52am

Nextdoor, the social network that aims to connect people living in the same communities, has said it’s introducing a dedicated section on its website for real estate.

RealtorMag reported that Nextdoor will allow real estate pros to sponsor real estate sections in neighborhoods where the site operates, so they can connect more easily with prospective clients in the areas where they do business. Nextdoor said the feature is being rolled out in 10 markets at first: Atlanta; Austin, Texas; Dallas/Fort Worth; Houston; Los Angeles; Phoenix; Portland; Sacramento, Calif.; San Diego, and San Francisco.

Nextdoor is unique from better known social media sites like Facebook as it creates dozens of neighborhood-specific websites that can only be accessed by people living there. This “hyperlocal” focus makes Nextdoor an attractive platform for real estate marketers, reckons Nextdoor CEO and cofounder Nirav Tolia.

“Nextdoor is the only [online] place where real estate agents can actually engage with real neighbors,” Tolia told RealtorMag. “It’s similar to sending out postcards, but it’s a lot cheaper.”

Nextdoor already allows real estate agents to create a kind of business page on its site, and they can do so at no cost. For an additional fee agents can link their Nextdoor page to listings and other information available on their own website, together with recommendations from other Nextdoor users. The company claims more than 22,000 real estate agents have already created pages on the site.

With the new dedicated real estate section, users will be able to discuss topics such as the homes for sale in their neighborhood and property values. In addition, they can also use it to connect with real estate pros who sponsor the section, in addition to those recommended by other users.

The bad news is that sponsoring a real estate section doesn’t come cheap. Tolia told RealtorMagthat pricing varies between $100 and $1,000 per month depending on the neighborhood. The company will only allow one real estate pro to sponsor each neighborhood to begin with, though it may auction off additional sponsorship slots at a later date.

Nextdoor’s initiative comes just days after Facebook said it was bringing its Dynamic Ads capability to real estate, allowing agents and brokerages to promote listings to users who’ve previously viewed their web pages.



The post Nextdoor announces dedicated real estate sections for each neighborhood appeared first on AAOA.

Categories: RSS

Even small rent increases in these cities make people homeless

American Apartment Owners Association - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 7:46am

As rents climb across the U.S., more people are being driven into homelessness.

In some of the country’s hottest housing markets, rent increases have a strong connection with upticks in the homeless population, according to a study released this week from real-estate website Zillow. In New York City, a 5% rent hike would lead to nearly 3,000 more people becoming homeless. In Los Angeles, the same increase in rent would leave around 2,000 people without a place to live.

To produce the report, Zillow created a model that analyzed different variables, including how population growth and changes in rent affect the homelessness rate. The model also considered the accuracy of homeless counts. Zillow then passed Census population figures, homelessness counts and its own rental data through the model to determine the relationship between rental prices and homelessness in different cities. The Census population numbers also take into account people who move in or out of a city, including those who may have moved elsewhere for cheaper housing.

New York and Los Angeles, along with Washington, D.C. and Seattle, witnessed homelessness rates climb by at least 4% between 2011 and 2016, Zillow noted. The supply of affordable rental housing in many cities is so limited that it cannot meet demand, causing the rise in both rental costs and homelessness, said Zillow senior economist Skylar Olsen. “We’ve seen so much pressure in rental-housing markets that it’s created a rental affordability crisis that has spilled over into a homelessness crisis at lower-income levels,” Olsen said.

In many cities, the median low-wage income isn’t sufficient to cover the cost of renting a low-end apartment. In New York, median bottom-tier rents represent 111.8% of the median low-income wage, Zillow found. For Los Angeles and San Francisco, that figures is 107.8% and 99.9% respectively.

Affordability problems for people who earn less money aren’t exclusive to expensive cities. In Philadelphia, Tampa and Houston, someone making the median low income will have to spend well over half of her income on rent.

For many of the people driven out of their homes by higher rents, being homeless means living on the streets. In Los Angeles, only 25% of people who were homeless were sheltered in any way, data from the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

Homelessness is often due to a confluence of factors, including low wages and high rents. In popular housing markets, data has shown that the cost of rent is increasing at such a pace that it’s exceeding the money many retirees earn from Social Security. In New York, hundreds of people working for the city are forced to live in homeless shelters because they cannot afford rent. And 14% of community college students are homeless, according to a study by the Wisconsin Hope Lab, an organization that researches college affordability, and the Association of Community College Trustees.

While the connection between rising rents and increasing levels of homelessness is strong in cities like New York or Seattle, that’s not the case elsewhere. Zillow noted that Houston and Tampa both saw their homeless population decrease even as rents went up between 2011 and 2016.

In Houston’s case, the decrease is particularly notable since the city had one of the worst homelessness rates in the country back in 2010. Today, a 10% increase in rent would only leave 135 more people homeless — comparatively, more than 6,000 individuals would be without a place to live if a similar increase occurred in New York. Local agencies and organizations in the city have led a coordinated marketing campaign to landlords so that more units were specifically targeted to homeless people. These groups also use data to drive where they invest funding to combat homelessness.

Tampa took a different approach. The county sheriff’s department there rethought its approach to homeless people. Police officers began to ask homeless individuals what they needed and found that many couldn’t get jobs because of a lack of identification, so the department helped them get Social Security cards and IDs through driver’s license offices. Now there are eight sheriff’s deputies whose sole task is to get homeless people what they need. Additionally, a nonprofit in the city led an effort to place homeless veterans into furnished apartments.

Tampa and Houston aren’t alone: Other cities with falling homelessness rates between 2011 and 2016 included Chicago, San Diego and Atlanta.

Zillow also argued in its report that the current methods of estimating the number of homeless people across the country are problematic. Local, one-night homeless counts are conducted periodically, and their findings are used to extrapolate an estimated figure of an area’s homeless population.

HUD estimated that more than half a million people “experienced homelessness for at least one night in 2016,” the report said, based on local counts the department collected. But counts like these may only capture just 59% of the actual homeless population, according to a 2008 study in the American Journal of Public Health. As Zillow notes, changes in weather or the number of volunteers can significantly affect the accuracy of a count.



The post Even small rent increases in these cities make people homeless appeared first on AAOA.

Categories: RSS

Move-In Season: How Student Housing Owners Manage The Onslaught Every August

American Apartment Owners Association - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 7:46am

When college students come back to campus for the fall, they are focused on reconnecting with friends, stocking up on school supplies and learning their class schedules. But for landlords, the days leading up to the start of the semester are a hectic whirlwind as they undertake the herculean task of preparing a large apartment building for a surge of simultaneous move-ins.

In a typical multifamily building, property managers gradually move tenants in and out throughout the year, refurbishing units as they become available. But for student housing owners, that year’s worth of work is packed into just one or two weeks. That may sound like an impossible workload to manage, but they have gotten it down to a science.  American Campus Communities, the nation’s largest student housing REIT with nearly 200 properties owned or managed, typically creates a two-week gap between the end of one lease and the start of another.  During that period, referred to as “the turn,” the building manager brings in employees and vendors to replace carpets, patch walls and repair any other damage to make units look new again. “This is our most intense time of the year when all of our properties are turning,” ACC Senior Vice President Jason Wills said. “In the corporate office, we actually have everyone from secretaries to executives fly to various properties to help with the turn. In our culture, it’s a pretty important thing.”   The building managers prepare agreements with local contractors months in advance to help with the turn. In some college towns where ACC has multibuilding projects, Wills said, the company runs out of contractors to hire.  “We actually consume the entire labor pool,” he said. “There are times when we run out of labor and we have to bring something in from neighboring cities.”

The 83 communities student housing REIT EdR owns or manages also have two-week turn periods. On move-out day, typically July 31, EdR managers line up dumpsters and bring in an army of employees with trash bags to scour the building.  “It’s amazing how much stuff students leave in the unit,” EdR Chief Operating Officer Christine Richards said. “We start at the top and go down to the bottom and throw out everything that was left behind.” The managers then bring in teams of vendors, from painters to flooring installers to mechanics. Richards said about 30% of student housing residents will typically renew their leases, so some buildings will put up red signs on units that are already fully occupied. Since they lease individual beds rather than full units, some can be partially occupied but still need some refurbishing, adding another challenging wrinkle to the process.

Richards said her teams spend months before the turn period planning and making sure everyone knows their assignments.  “You’re trying to refurbish all of these units in a two-week period, so you’ve got to have a lot of people on-site and be incredibly organized,” Richards said. “If there’s ever been a turn that hasn’t gone as smoothly as you’d like, it’s because they weren’t as organized as they should have been.”  By the time move-in day comes around, most of the hard work has already been done. Student housing buildings typically come fully furnished, so students are not pulling up U-Hauls full of furniture to the loading dock or hauling couches up the elevator.  “On move-in day, we’re just dealing with cars stocked full of clothes and dishes,” Richards said. “Because everything is done so far in advance, with the paperwork all turned in, all they have left to do is show their ID and pick up the key.”

As soon as students move in, the leasing process for the next school year begins. Just as student housing buildings have more hectic turnover periods than typical multifamily properties, there is similar pressure on the leasing teams. At some large campuses, students finalize their housing arrangements for the next school year in September or October, while others wait until the spring. If a leasing team misses the wave of housing decisions and starts a school year with major vacancies, it may have to wait another 12 months to fill them, a challenge unique to student buildings. Because of this pressure, experienced student housing owners devote heavy resources to leasing, start early and make sure the buildings look as good as new from day one.  “We first start with a robust renewal campaign,” Richards said. “Obviously, the first impression is on move-in day. If those students and parents move into an apartment that’s well-kept and what they expect, they’re more likely to renew.”


The post Move-In Season: How Student Housing Owners Manage The Onslaught Every August appeared first on AAOA.

Categories: RSS

More Real Estate Players Say the Peak Is Now

American Apartment Owners Association - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 7:42am

More than half of respondents to an NREI survey conducted in July said the real estate cycle has reached its peak. The percentage of survey respondents who believe we are currently at the peak of the market totaled 52 percent, up 500 basis points since the results in May of 2017 and 600 basis points since March results. The only time the figure was higher in the past two years was in October 2016, when it reached 55 percent.


At the same time, the percentage of respondents who believe the market is in the recovery/expansion phase has dipped by 11 percentage points, to 24 percent in July. This was the first time the sentiment has dipped this low since October 2015.

The percentage of respondents who believe the market is in the recession phase has gone up from 4 percent in May to 9 percent in July, and the percentage of those who see a cycle trough has gone from 4 percent to 7 percent during the period.

The percentage of those who are not sure which phase of the cycle we are in has stayed relatively unchanged, falling from 10 percent in May to 9 percent in July.

NREI conducts periodic studies of the commercial real estate sector. As part of those surveys, there is always a question on the estimation of the current state of the commercial real estate cycle. A typical NREI survey garners between 200 and 400 respondents. More than half of those respondents are typically owner/partner/president/chairman/CEO or CFO-level executives.



The post More Real Estate Players Say the Peak Is Now appeared first on AAOA.

Categories: RSS

How to chose the best technology for your real estate business

Inmannews - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 7:37am
SAN FRANCISCO -- Of all the ever-growing responsibilities agents and brokers must take on, decision-making is arguably the most complex. With every choice you make -- every dotted line you sign -- you nudge your business closer to (or further from) success ...
Categories: RSS

Short-Term Rental Income Calculations Changed

American Apartment Owners Association - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 7:33am

Freddie Mac has made some changes to the way in which lenders must handle rental income.  The changes are primarily aimed at determining the stability of that income, especially when it is short term and does not involve a lease.  The changes apply to loans with settlement dates on or after February 9, 2018, but sellers can, if they wish, implement them in their entirety immediately.

The company says the changes to rental income requirements reflect changes in the rental market such as short-term rental income and are intended to support the determination of stability, calculation of rental income, and a reasonable expectation that rental income will continue.

A loan used to purchase or refinance the subject property, or a non-subject property, which was not owned in the prior calendar year requires considering net rental income only up to a limit of 30 percent of the total of that net rental income plus all other stable monthly income used to qualify the borrower.  The exception would be a borrower who has a documented history of investment property management experience of at least one year. The change, Freddie says, is to “provide support to sustainable and successful homeownership by requiring a reasonable limitation upon the reliance on a newer type of income stream.”

To use rental income in refinancing a 1- to 4-unit investment property, a 2-to 4-unit primary residence, or a non-subject investment property, the following conditions must be met.

Short term rental income (i.e. from a source where a lease is not utilized) must have a two-year history documented on IRS Schedule E and the property must have been used for the purposes of producing rental income for that period of time.  Freddie Mac says that short-term rental income tends to fluctuate so historical analysis of the degree of volatility is necessary to determine stability.

Long term rental income can be verified through either a current signed and executed lease with an original term of one year or through income reported on Schedule E.  Sellers may also determine that rental income is stable without a lease when it is evident the income is not short-term, based on the documentation provided.

The Freddie Mac Bulletin (#2017-12) also includes technical changes to rental income calculations, clarifications of some self-employed income revisions made last year, and updates to MultiLender Swap posting information.



The post Short-Term Rental Income Calculations Changed appeared first on AAOA.

Categories: RSS

3 ways to reach divorced homesellers and be of value

Inmannews - Mon, 08/14/2017 - 7:25am
As far as devastating life events go, divorce ranks no. 2, second only to the death of a loved one. As a result, it is typically a very emotional experience, and certainly isn’t the time for others to be intrusive and opportunistic ...
Categories: RSS


Subscribe to Rental Housing Journal aggregator - RSS