‘We have buyers ready’: the worst lies agents tell clients

Inmannews - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 3:00am
A while back, I came across an unexpected opportunity to take on a client in an area where real estate agents prospect fiercely and relentlessly -- and sometimes fib a bit to gain listings.
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Are you well-positioned for the rise of pocket listings?

Inmannews - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 2:45am
A pocket listing is a strategic advertising move made by the listing agent of a property. This move is designed to provide sellers with the best probability of obtaining a high price for their property.
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Meet the Inman Innovator finalists: Most Innovative Real Estate Agent part 2

Inmannews - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 2:30am
This year’s finalists are using marketing, experience from past lives and an unparalleled level of client service to stay relevant and elevate the industry as a whole.
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Say ‘thank you’ like a pro: 8 agents share tips for showing clients gratitude

Inmannews - Fri, 07/13/2018 - 2:00am
Great agents are always on the lookout for new and better ways to express gratitude and cement long-term relationships. I talked to many agents over the past couple of weeks, and here are some of the best ideas they shared.
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MarketView Broker by ShowingTime

Inmannews - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 8:42pm
Focus your brokerage on recruiting talent, analyzing growth opps & managing/coaching your agents.
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New CoreLogic training program may boost home appraisers

Inmannews - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 2:25pm
The number of qualified home appraisers is declining every year — and that’s why CoreLogic and The Columbia Institute are teaming up to launch an appraiser trainee program.
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Realogy appoints its first-ever president of Coldwell Banker Texas

Inmannews - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 1:44pm
NRT LLC, the Realogy subsidiary that operates the real estate giant's company-owned brokerages, has named Charles El-Moussa as Coldwell Banker Texas' first-ever president.
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The Real Word: Are you an independent contractor?

Inmannews - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 1:17pm
Watch Byron Lazine and Nicole White give a real estate agent’s perspective on industry-related topics. This week, they’ll ask whether real estate agents believe they are independent contractors and what that means exactly.
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Meet the Inman Innovator finalists: Most Innovative Real Estate Company part 2

Inmannews - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 12:50pm
Every year, Inman celebrates the most innovative companies that are shaping the future of real estate, establishing themselves on the industry’s cutting edge.
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Meet the Inman Innovator finalists: Most Innovative Real Estate Company

Inmannews - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 12:26pm
This year's finalists are committed to forging new frontiers, carving paths and building tools that'll help the entire industry find its way forward.
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Walmart taps Matterport to power new virtual-shopping experience

Inmannews - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 12:05pm
Walmart is using Matterport, a provider of thousands of virtual 3D home tours for property listings, to power an immersive shopping experience on the retailer's website.
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ProxyPics Location-Based Photos

Inmannews - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 11:08am
ProxyPics, a powerful platform to get you current location-based photos.
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Should your real estate client agree to a bump clause?

Inmannews - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 9:48am
A bump clause allows sellers to enter into a contract with a buyer who has a home-sale contingency, and "bump" them if they find a better offer. Is it a win-win?
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Zillow’s war chest is ready for acquisitions: What’s next?

Inmannews - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 9:44am
Remember the days of the under-the-radar, hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars deals such as the Zillow-Trulia marriage and News Corp buying We are in a similar environment now, but this time, there is no question that deals are in the works and many are coming down as we speak.
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Upcall Call Outsourcing & Lead Qualification

Inmannews - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 9:15am
Upcall is the #1 solution to qualify and nurture your real estate leads over the phone, 24/7.
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The hottest housing market in the US is up 13% and now may be headed for a crash

American Apartment Owners Association - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 9:14am
  • Home prices in Washington state rose nearly 4 percent in the first quarter, the most in the nation, and more than 13 percent from one year ago.
  • Strong job growth and tight supplies have fueled the housing market, leading some to fear that it is a bubble.
  • Experts say the housing market is vulnerable to rising interest rates, job losses due to tariffs and local policies against development.

Seattle-area real estate agent Jerry Martin said he first entered the business in 1977, which means he remembers the days of double-digit mortgage rates and multiple booms and busts. That includes the bubble in 2006 and 2007 and the historic collapse that followed. None of that, he said, quite compares to the “craziness” that has been going on lately.

“It would not be unreasonable for a three-bedroom, one-and-three-quarter bath, 1,500-square-foot home to go on the market and within the hour or two you’re looking at multiple offers,” he told CNBC. “We’ve had situations where 20, 30 offers were coming in on a piece of property.”

The Washington state housing market is the hottest in the country. Prices increased nearly 4 percent in the first quarter, according to the Federal Housing Finance Agency, the largest jump in the nation. They are up nearly 13 percent from one year ago. That compares to just under a 7 percent increase over last year nationwide. But inventory — the supply of homes on the market — has not come even close to meeting that demand.

The situation is especially critical in the Puget Sound area around Seattle, which has added nearly 55,000 jobs in the last year alone, thanks to hiring at big employers like Amazon, Microsoft and Boeing. Combine the resulting surge in population with a slow pace of construction and you get a classic crunch.

“A good, healthy market in any area is probably four to six months of inventory. Within the last two or three months, we were, in our primary markets, with about two to three weeks of inventory,” said Martin, a Re/Max agent and the president of Washington Realtors, which represents about half of the real estate brokers in the state.

Martin said the crunch has eased a bit in recent weeks with the start of the peak selling season. Still, like just about every real estate agent, buyer, seller, homeowner and renter in the region, he worries about where the market is headed next and how much longer the boom will last.

The demand for housing has hit nearly every sector — rental apartments, condominiums, as well as single-family homes. Seattle workers are being forced to look farther and farther from the city to find a place to live.

“It can’t continue. It just can’t continue, because where is the end?” he said.

An even bigger question is how the boom will end. Will it be a soft landing? Or is Washington setting itself up for a crash?

A real estate bubble ready to pop

James Young, director of the Washington Center for Real Estate Research at the University of Washington, said that as long as there is real demand for property, the market can continue to grow.

“A bubble happens when you have the prices going up without the demand going up,” he said. “You’ve still got demand going up in Washington, so I don’t see a huge issue here.”

In its quarterly report on the Washington housing market for the first three months of 2018, the center put statewide inventory at a little more than five weeks, which it called a “slight imbalance.” The report said around 113,000 units sold in the first quarter, a 5.1 percent increase from the same period a year ago.

But Young cautioned that the market can change quickly.

“If demand were to disappear tomorrow, there’s a lot of construction going on out there,” he said. “I’m not sure housing prices would crash or anything, but it’s one of those things that you always have to be mindful of.”

Young said one of the biggest risks to the market involves local policies.

The real estate market got a big scare in May when the Seattle City Council approved a so-called head tax of $275 per employee at companies with more than $20 million in revenue. The tax would have raised about $47 million per year to help ease the city’s homeless crisis. But when Amazon — widely seen as the main target of the tax — threatened to stop further growth in the city as a result, the council backed down and repealed the tax.

But Young worries that additional measures will be coming down the line, similar to the head tax, targeting both supply and demand.

“You’ve got other sorts of policies and things that have been floated out there in terms of big employers. You’ve got a lot of different economic attitudes and economic positions toward developers,” he said. “There’s lot of regulatory issues that constrict the supply.”

Developers, meanwhile, are trying to forecast demand three years down the road — the time it takes to plan and build a project. If they get it wrong and overbuild, “that’s where your crashes occur,” Young said.

Martin, meanwhile, worries about events far from Washington state.

“If jobs are lost based on tariffs, or if we have these trade wars going back and forth, people are going to be skittish, because they don’t know if they’re going to have a job tomorrow,” he said.

Also a concern: interest rates, which are on the rise as the economy heats up. A 30-year fixed-rate mortgage in Washington averaged 4.4 percent last week, according to They were under 4 percent a year ago.

Higher rates make homes even less affordable than they are now, and that could price some buyers out of the market.

Stress points in the market

At the same time, some moderation might be welcome in a market that is moving too fast for anyone’s good — “buyers and sellers alike,” Martin said.

Not only are buyers being forced to chase after soaring prices, but sellers are forced to navigate so many competing offers in such a short period of time that they cannot always tell whether they are getting a fair price. And then the sellers become buyers in the same stressful market.

“The baby boomers that want to downsize, they can’t find an affordable house within the state,” he said.

The stress is also affecting everyone else in the process.

“Let me include the real estate brokers as well,” he said as they try to manage expectations on both sides of the deal.

Even real estate appraisers face challenges as they try to value properties based on comparable sales in the neighborhood at a time when comparisons are changing almost by the minute.

Martin said the situation started to improve in May, as inventory finally expanded to levels not seen since 2008. In retrospect that expansion was one of the first signs of the crash. The hope is that this time it is just a badly needed breather.

“Who knows what may happen government-wise, economy-wise or anything else,” he said. “I really wish I had a crystal ball.”



The post The hottest housing market in the US is up 13% and now may be headed for a crash appeared first on AAOA.

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How to Hire a Property Manager: Tips to Find the Right Pro

American Apartment Owners Association - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 9:11am

If you’re wondering how to hire a property manager, you have no doubt heard how this professional can be a boon to landlords who want to outsource the nitty-gritty details of running a rental property. But finding a good property manager can be challenging, since the quality level and services they provide really do run the gamut.

The key to hiring the right property manager for you is to draft a detailed job description and ask the right questions during the interview process. Here’s how to do that, so you can find the perfect pro who will save you headaches rather than create new ones.

In an ideal world, “if you choose the right manager, it should make your life more peaceful and more profitable,” says Kimberly Smith, author of “Making Money With Rental Properties,” which is part of the Idiot’s Guides series.

Some property managers will have connections that will help fill your vacant properties with good tenants who pay on time and never cause a ruckus. Furthermore, a skilled property manager can do everything from marketing to rental collection to handling day-to-day maintenance issues.

“The right property manager will be able to deliver more efficient management and, in some cases, less expensive services,” Smith notes. In other words, paying a good property manager can actually save you money.

“For example, if they are managing 10 properties in one area, they can contract to have all HVAC systems serviced seasonally and get a volume discount,” she explains.

How to hire a property manager: Ask for recommendations and references

Most employers check employee references before extending an offer, and hiring a property manager should entail the same steps.

When Brady Hanna, president of Mill Creek Home Buyers in Kansas City, KS, first got into real estate investment, he was busy, exhausted, and overwhelmed. He went with the first property management company he found, and it was a huge mistake. Hanna learned the hard way what happens when you don’t ask around.

“They ended up filling my vacant unit, but as I scaled up and added several more properties, their communication was terrible,” Hanna says. “It was like pulling teeth to get information out of them. Sometimes I couldn’t reach a live person when I called, and several months in a row my rental income was paid significantly late and there were always excuses from the management company as to why.”

Hanna fired the company and then asked other local real estate investors for recommendations. That’s how he found the company he uses and trusts today.

“I would estimate that only roughly 20% of all property managers are great, so you want to find that out ahead of time instead of learning the hard way like I did,” Hanna says.

How much do property managers make?

Property managers are paid in a variety of ways, so you need to come to an agreement with your manager based on your individual needs.

Hanna provides this guide for reference: “When filling vacant units, they will typically charge half to one full month’s rent for marketing and filling your unit. Then on the ongoing management, the fee is usually anywhere between 7% to 10% of the rent collected. Some property managers will also charge an up-charge on maintenance items as well.”

Check the property manager’s qualifications

“A property manager that is acting on your behalf to lease and manage your property must assume fiduciary responsibility and needs to be a licensed real estate agent,” Smith says.

Other requirements vary from state to state, but you can call the nonprofit National Property Management Association to find out what the rules are for your area. For example, some states require HOA management licenses or property management licenses.

Lay out clear expectations

Generally, a property manager’s job is to manage the rental process from start to finish. That means “if the property is vacant, they will hire contractors to get it rent-ready at the owner’s expense, take pictures of the property, market it for rent, screen applicants, handle the showings of the property, fill it with a tenant, collect rent, and handle all maintenance requests as well,” Hanna says.

If tenants aren’t paying, it’s typically a property manager’s job to file for evictions and work with attorneys to collect back rent.

But there is no standard property management job description, which means it’s up to you to outline exactly what you are looking for from the get-go, Smith says. Do you want the start-to-finish management? Or are you looking to split the duties? This needs to be spelled out from Day 1.

Questions to ask a property manager

Not sure how to ascertain whether or not a manager can do the job you need? Hanna suggests asking the following questions:

  • What is your process for screening applicants?
  • How long does it typically take you to fill vacant units?
  • How many units are you currently managing?
  • How big is your staff?
  • What is your process for maintenance requests?
  • What is your process when a tenant doesn’t pay rent on time?
  • Have you filed evictions before? If so, how do you do that?

A good property manager should readily have answers to these questions—and if not, that’s a red flag. Remember, the whole point is for the pro to make your landlord duties easier, and part of that is simply establishing clear communication and a comfortable rapport.



The post How to Hire a Property Manager: Tips to Find the Right Pro appeared first on AAOA.

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More Homeowners Turning to Short-Term Rentals as Investment Strategy

American Apartment Owners Association - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 9:07am

About a quarter of all vacation and investment property owners rented those properties out as short-term rentals in 2017, and nearly a third plan to do so in 2018. According to a new report from the National Association of Realtors (NAR), nearly half (45%) of investment buyers report they plan to generate investment income through renting instead of flipping or price appreciation. Short-term renting may be a good way to do it.

“Our data at Mashvisor confirms that in many locations, especially tourist destinations like California and Florida, short-term renting is the optimal rental strategy,” observed Daniela Andreevska, the real estate rental data firm’s content marketing director. “Vacation homes seem to be the future of real estate investing as more and more travelers opt for this option instead of staying at hotels,” she added. STRs may generate more rental income and, as a result, higher returns on investment (ROI) thanks to nightly rental rates (vs. long-term leases), “not to mention the fact you can use your short-term rental property for your own vacation,” Andreevska said.

Who Is Buying and Where

According to the same NAR report, about a third of vacation buyers purchased properties for STRs in a “resort” area, while the same percentage of investors purchased a property in a suburb or subdivision. This indicates that many of the new STR investors may be new to the real estate investing sector entirely, especially in light of reports that about nearly three-quarters of the vacation-home-buying population believe “now is a good time to buy.”

Potential STR Pitfalls

With a new investor population in the mix, however, STR investors must be aware of the potential pitfalls associated with this type of investment. For example, buyers considering purchasing their STR using a self-directed retirement account may encounter unexpected complications associated with using the home personally or managing the rental in any way. Even more prevalent are instances of individuals purchasing such a property, then finding their plans for renting it out short-term via popular platforms like Airbnb thwarted by local regulations and an antagonistic hotel lobby.

“One thing investors should keep in mind is the legality of renting out on a short-term basis [in any given location],” warned Andreevska. “Before deciding to buy a vacation home to rent out, make sure to do due diligence research of not only the existing laws on short-term rentals, but also whether any significant change might be expected in the near future.”



The post More Homeowners Turning to Short-Term Rentals as Investment Strategy appeared first on AAOA.

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Where are the best-run (and worst-run) cities in America?

Inmannews - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 9:04am
Not only does Idaho have the best potatoes, it has some of the nation's best-run cities, too. WalletHub's latest study named Nampa the most efficient city.
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Apartment Renters Now Expect Sustainable Design Features in Their Units

American Apartment Owners Association - Thu, 07/12/2018 - 9:03am

Sustainable design features including energy efficiency and good indoor air quality are now becoming so common that they are almost taken for granted.

“What used to be exceptional is now everyday,” says Dave Borsos, vice president of capital markets for the National Multifamily Housing Council (NMHC), a multifamily industry advocacy group.

Today, new apartment units almost always include some green features. And the owners of older buildings often incorporate sustainable design component in their plans to renovate and refinance existing properties. For example, nearly half (42 percent) of overall multifamily financing provided by Fannie Mae in 2017 qualified for its Green Rewards program, which offers lower interest rates to apartment properties that have earned green building certifications or pledge to cut their energy use by 25 percent or more through renovations.

At the same time, apartment renters have come to expect green building features like good indoor air quality and energy efficiency, making them more of a requirement in many markets. “For new buildings, it’s kind of what people do today,” says Borsos.

Renters take green features for granted

Apartment renters’ interest in sustainable design is still strong enough to translate into real money for property owners. They are willing to pay an extra $27.21 a month in rent to live in buildings that have green certifications—that works out to more than $300 a year per apartment in extra income, according to the “2017 NMHC/Kingsley Renter Preferences Report.” The report uses surveys of 269,000 renters about which factors guide their decisions on where they want to live.

Roughly two-thirds (61 percent) of renters said that they were “interested” or “very interested” in living in apartment buildings that have earned a certification for energy efficiency or sustainable design in 2017, according to the report. That’s a majority of those surveyed, but it’s still less than the three-quarters of renters (75 percent) who said they were interested in such features in 2015. The same is true for buildings that recycle (which interested 75 percent of renters in 2017 vs. 80 percent in 2015), and buildings that have sustainability initiatives (65 percent vs. 73 percent).

The cost of incorporating many green features in apartment properties has also dropped to be roughly comparable to conventional construction. “There is no cost difference any more—green has become standard practice,” says Borsos.

For example, energy efficient light bulbs used to be considerably more expensive than conventional lights, and quality of light created by the fixtures was often noticeably different from the warm glow created by incandescent bulbs. Today those differences have largely vanished. “The cost to replace is not the light bulb, but the cost to get the ‘cherry picker’ out there,” says Borsos. “From a maintaining a building and the return of investments, it makes a lot of sense.”

Green features are commonplace for Fannie Mae borrowers

In 2017, Fannie Mae provided $27.6 billion in financing to apartment properties that qualified for its Green Rewards program. That’s close to half of Fannie Mae’s total $67 billion in multifamily financing activity.

Fannie Mae’s Green Rewards program often slices roughly a fifth to a third of a percentage point off the interest rates offered to apartment borrowers. Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac offer the discount on all of their loans to qualifying properties, from short-term rehab loans to permanent financing.

Lenders are making programs like Green Rewards work for all of the borrowers, not just the few that have made green building a mission. “We are looking to be easier for the smaller owner,” says Chrissa Pagitsas, director of the green financing business for Fannie Mae. “The people that haven’t done green yet are going to be the harder ones to reach.”


The post Apartment Renters Now Expect Sustainable Design Features in Their Units appeared first on AAOA.

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