Content, not ‘nontent’: Reimagining real estate signs

Inmannews - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 5:57pm
We all have that one thing that drives us crazy. Maybe it's a stubborn buyer. Maybe it's the car blocking your right turn at a red light. Maybe it's waiting for the internet to load on a bad Wi-Fi connection. For Winston Welborn, chief design officer at Hawaii Life, it's poor design and language in the real estate industry that drive him up the wall ...
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Short on listings or short on value? Reframing low inventory

Inmannews - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 3:29pm
SAN FRANCISCO -- We are in the midst of the worst home listings shortage in 20 years, but if you're an agent struggling to claim what's available, it might be time to better leverage your market knowledge and re-evaluate your value proposition ...
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Who in their right mind would sell to an iBuyer?

Inmannews - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 3:07pm
SAN FRANCISCO -- Why would homesellers choose to pay a high commission while running the risk of selling their home at a discount? Or to ask the question another way: Who would choose to use an "iBuyer?" ...
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Experience explosive business growth in 5 small steps

Inmannews - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 2:44pm
SAN FRANCISCO -- In less than 10 years, Kymber Menkiti and her husband have opened seven Keller Williams offices, consistently done more than $1 billion in sales each year and have invested more than $150 million in their Northeast D.C. community.   ...
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Pacific Union merges with Partners Trust, signals more acquisitions

Inmannews - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 2:30pm
Today Pacific Union International formally announced its merger with Partners Trust, an independent luxury brokerage with more than 240 associates in the Los Angeles area. The merger is expected to close next week. Terms of the deal were not disclosed ...
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Invitation Homes merges with Starwood Waypoint Homes

Inmannews - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 1:29pm
Since the mortgage meltdown swept millions of Americans out of their homes, institutional investors have scooped up tens of thousands of these properties and converted them into rentals. Two major players in this Wall Street rampage -- Invitation Homes and Starwood Waypoint Homes -- are now merging to create a single-family rental giant valued at approximately $11 billion ...
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How to become the ‘Un-Realtor’ in your community

Inmannews - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 10:51am
SAN FRANCISCO -- What does it mean to provide service so exemplary that the word "service" itself becomes synonymous with your brand? Scott Stratten of UnMarketing shared a story on stage at Inman Connect San Francisco about the Ritz-Carlton hotel chain and how real estate agents can use the same philosophy to become the "un-Realtor" in town -- the authentic one who turns skeptics into friends ...
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Founding a startup? Don’t make these 7 mistakes

Inmannews - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 9:33am
SAN FRANCISCO -- Building a company from scratch is a Herculean task that requires navigating innumerable hazards. Here are seven of the biggest mistakes that startups make, according to a panel at Inman Connect ...
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It starts with rental housing: 3 key considerations for housing finance reform

American Apartment Owners Association - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 8:17am

Housing finance reform may be making its long-awaited comeback on Capitol Hill. In recent weeks, the Senate Banking Committee has held a series of hearings on the subject, three years after the committee‘s initial attempt at crafting legislation. The Trump Administration insists reform legislation is one of its top priorities.

The fact that Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will each have zero capital come Jan. 1, 2018, should also help focus the minds of those on Capitol Hill.

 With momentum for reform slowly building, lawmakers should consider three critical points:

First, the demographic make-up of America is rapidly changing, with important implications for the type of housing finance system our nation will require. While much of the focus of reform is directed at “single-family” homeownership, the demand for rental homes will be the dominant force in the housing market for the foreseeable future. According to Urban Institute projections, 62% of new housing demand will be rental during the decade of 2010 to 2019, while 56% will be rental during the 2020s. That’s a sharp reversal from past decades when demand for ownership housing far exceeded that of rental housing.

Demographic forces are driving this new “rental-centric” dynamic. The U.S. is becoming more racially and ethnically diverse. Millions of young Millennials who had doubled up with roommates or lived with parents are also now striking out on their own to form households, a trend that will strengthen over time. Unable to meet down payment and mortgage underwriting requirements, rental homes will be the only viable short-term housing option for many of these younger, more diverse households.

Compounding these two trends will be the aging of the 75 million Baby Boomers.  Not surprisingly, some older homeowners will seek to downsize by moving into smaller, more manageable rental units.

The bottom line is that demand for rental housing, already strong as demonstrated by historically low vacancy rates, will intensify even more in the coming years. In response, the nation’s housing finance system must provide sufficient liquidity and resources to the rental sector of the housing market.

Second, a continued government presence is necessary to finance multifamily rental properties, particularly during economic downturns. A government guarantee that protects against “catastrophic risk” helps ensure a vibrant secondary market for multifamily securities that provide critical capital for new rental construction. Without this guarantee, many investors would flee the market and liquidity would dry up. Fannie and Freddie, along with the Federal Housing Administration, have also performed a vital ”countercyclical” function, providing much-needed liquidity during periods of market disruption like we experienced in 2008.

Notably, the multifamily businesses of Fannie and Freddie remained profitable during the single-family subprime crisis, and the multifamily loans they backed experienced relatively low default rates. Over the years, loans supported by the two institutions have helped finance tens of thousands of apartments for working and lower-income families. As they create a new system for multifamily finance, lawmakers must heed the injunction, “Do no harm.”

With more and more Americans renting single-family homes and units in smaller properties, any new system must also find ways to serve this segment of the market more effectively. These properties can benefit from greater access to long-term, fixed-rate financing.

Third, homeownership and renting are complementary elements of the same housing system. Making rental housing more affordable though “demand-side” subsidies and expanding affordable supply helps stabilize families who might otherwise struggle with paying the rent. For some of these families, this stability can provide the foundation for future homeownership.

When the Senate Banking Committee last considered reform legislation in 2014, both Democrats and Republicans on the committee supported imposing a modest fee on government-guaranteed mortgage-backed securities to finance the production and preservation of affordable rental homes. The proceeds generated from this fee would flow into HUD’s Housing Trust Fund and the Treasury Department’s Capital Magnet Fund as well as a new Market Access Fund. Expanding this fee to generate sufficient funds commensurate with the scope of the rental affordability challenge should be part of any future reform effort.

First established in 1992, the “affordable housing goals” requiring Fannie and Freddie to finance a certain percentage of mortgages to low- and moderate-income borrowers and underserved markets have been an important tool to expand access and affordability. But if reform legislation repeals the goals, as was the case in 2014, then new approaches will be necessary if the legislation is to advance in Congress. Thoughtful proposals like the one recently advanced by the Mortgage Bankers Association that suggest replacing the goals with a mix of “quantitative” outcomes and “qualitative” initiatives merit consideration.

It’s been nearly nine years since the federal government first placed Fannie and Freddie under conservatorship. Housing finance reform is long overdue. If Congress can get it right, it will be well worth the wait.



The post It starts with rental housing: 3 key considerations for housing finance reform appeared first on AAOA.

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What You Should Know Before Buying A Condominium

American Apartment Owners Association - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 8:13am

Condos were once thought of as homes that attracted singles or couples, often without children. But today, condos are growing in popularity and attracting families of all sizes.

Condos can be an excellent choice for the right buyers. Here are a few things that should be considered before purchasing a condo. Most buyers start with the condo itself. That may be a good place to begin but, before they buy, buyers should also consider other factors outside of the condo.

Some developers are building condos that have a look and feel like single-family homes. These modern condos have great rooms and open, flowing floor plans that look and feel like a single-family home rather than an apartment or condo.

One of the major attractions of condos is the low maintenance. The community area is maintained by an association funded by the dues that homeowners pay into it.

That’s why buyers’ first consideration should be to explore the development and make sure they like the look and feel of the complex and surrounding community. There are codes and restrictions, often referred to as CC&Rs (covenants, codes, and restrictions) that buyers will have to abide by once they purchase a condo. Buyers should ask to review them before making an offer to purchase a condo. These regulations help ensure that the community maintains its general appearance and any necessary repairs of the external areas.

Review the association’s budget. It may be necessary to get the seller to provide this information because it may not be released to a non-owner who is only a potential buyer. However, in considering buying into a development, it’s almost like going into business with the neighbors in the complex. It’s important to make sure that the association is running properly and has enough of a reserve for necessary expenses and maintenance. The budget and CC&Rs will give an idea of how stable the association is and if increases in the homeowners’ association dues are likely each year.

Find out how many owners in the development are delinquent on their dues. A condo complex that has a high level of delinquencies can cause problems for buyers when it comes time to get a loan or sell the condo. Some loans are not approved if delinquency rates are higher than 15 percent.

Review the minutes from the association’s board meetings. They will reveal the day-to-day issues that occur each month and give an indication of how the development is run. For instance, lots of complaints and filings about noisy residents, loud parties, or dog droppings on the lawn reveal potential problems with neighbors. The minutes will also reveal if the development is engaged in any lawsuits.

Understand what your responsibilities are for the upkeep of the condo. Find out what the association takes care of and what the homeowners have to maintain. Look at the association’s property management team and see how many times the association has changed management companies. Find out why. This will may reveal how responsive the association will be should residents need its assistance.

Ultimately, buyers need to ensure that when they purchase a condo they’re not buying into any legal battles the association is in the middle of and that they will be able to live in their condo the way they want. Study the CC&Rs and do due diligence before buying.



The post What You Should Know Before Buying A Condominium appeared first on AAOA.

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3 Not-So-Obvious Tools That Save Property Managers Time & Money

American Apartment Owners Association - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 8:10am

If you are a buy and hold landlord, property management is key to profit. You can buy your rentals at a great price and have a great plan in place, but without a solid management team to implement your plan, your deal will likely fail. We manage our local portfolio in house, and I recommend that any investor just getting started try managing their own deals at first to get a taste of the management game. It will give you a better understanding of what it takes to run your rentals effectively so you can hire the right manager when the time is right. You can also do what we did and build a property management business to create an additional revenue stream that also manages your real estate for you.

3 Not-So-Obvious Tools for Property Management Success

Whether you are managing yourself or outsourcing, it pays to know the tools that a management company needs to have in place to set them up for success. There are obvious tools like a robust and friendly website that has a tenant portal for them to pay online.

In today’s video, I talk about some not-so-obvious tools that I have found to save us time and money—and to create happier tenants in the long run. Check out the video to learn more!

I only listed 3 tools here but there are many more. Why don’t you leave some others that work for you in the comment section down below?


The post 3 Not-So-Obvious Tools That Save Property Managers Time & Money appeared first on AAOA.

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Seattle set to prevent landlords from considering applicants’ criminal records

American Apartment Owners Association - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 7:58am

Seattle landlords would be almost completely prohibited from screening prospective tenants based on their criminal histories, under a proposed ordinance approved by a City Council committee Tuesday.

The only people who could be denied housing based on their criminal histories would be those listed on sex-offender registries because of adult convictions.

And landlords denying housing to such sex offenders would still need to state a legitimate business reason for doing so.

Some landlords say they should be allowed to consider the criminal histories of prospective renters to better protect their property and their tenants.

During a public-comment period Tuesday, landlord Sara Weaver said the ordinance’s backers want to “put the safety and security of tenants at risk and set property owners up for potential damage.”

Before adopting the new regulations, the council should commission its own study on whether people with criminal histories tend to be worse tenants, Weaver said.

Proponents of the legislation say people who already have served their time shouldn’t be again punished by landlords. They say people denied by landlords based on their criminal histories can end up homeless and are more likely to re-offend than people with housing.

“Nobody is more safe when people who have criminal backgrounds are unhoused,” said Councilmember Lisa Herbold, chair of the committee and a sponsor of the ordinance with Council President Bruce Harrell.

The backers point to studies of supportive-housing programs in which criminal records were not shown to be predictive of problem tenancies.

“Please help the homeless people. They have rights, too. They’re human beings just like we all are,” said Mellie Kaufman, a vendor with the Real Change Homeless Empowerment Project.

Weaver, the landlord, said such studies aren’t relevant because they looked at supportive housing.

The version of the legislation that Mayor Ed Murray sent to the council in Junesaid landlords would be allowed to consider criminal convictions less than two years old, and it said landlord-occupied buildings with four or fewer units would be exempt.

But the civil-rights committee voted unanimously Tuesday to eliminate the two-year look-back clause and nix the exemption for small, landlord-occupied buildings.

Councilmember Mike O’Brien brought forward the amendments, receiving support from Herbold and council members Debora Juarez, Sally Bagshaw, Kshama Sawant and M. Lorena González. Harrell and council members Rob Johnson and Tim Burgess didn’t attend the committee meeting.

A Herbold amendment approved Tuesday calls for the new regulations to be evaluated by the city auditor, with a report due by the end of 2019.

In addition to criminal convictions unrelated to sex-offender registries, the proposed Fair Chance Housing ordinance would prohibit landlords from looking at pending criminal charges, arrests not resulting in convictions or juvenile records, including juvenile convictions causing people to be listed on sex-offender registries as adults.

Under existing law, landlords can deny housing to tenants for arrests that happened within seven years, including arrests not resulting in convictions, according to Herbold.

“Landlords will still be able to screen applicants based on employment, credit scores, income ratios or other criteria,” Herbold said in a statement.

“For a criminal justice system that disproportionately arrests people of color, punishing someone who hasn’t been found guilty is a true injustice,” she added.

“Blocking formerly incarcerated people from accessing stable housing or a job is an extrajudicial punishment and is also a recipe for recidivism and less safety for our communities. I would expect anyone in favor of a safer Seattle to support this bill.”

The ordinance would take effect 150 days after being signed by the mayor, with the Seattle Office of Civil Rights taking responsibility for enforcing the new regulations.

There may be new costs to the city, but those have yet to be determined, according to a City Hall analysis.

The push began in late 2015, when a group of local organizations led by the Tenants Union of Washington State and Columbia Legal Services started a campaign called FARE — Fair Access to Renting for Everyone.

In early 2016, Murray convened a task force on the issue, including representatives from both landlord and tenants groups.

Tuesday’s meeting was the fourth at which Herbold’s committee discussed the legislation.



The post Seattle set to prevent landlords from considering applicants’ criminal records appeared first on AAOA.

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5 Tenant Red Flags Landlords Should Look Out For

American Apartment Owners Association - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 7:54am

Landlords can sometimes get a bad rap for being ruthless, money-driven tyrants. The truth is, many landlords do a great job at keeping their tenants happy and, in return, reap the benefits of these people being taken care of. There is a downside for you as a landlord, though, and that occurs when you have not screened your tenants as well as you should have. Even with a proper screening, bad apples can occasionally sneak through, and that’s why it’s important to know the signs of a bad tenant. Read on for five red flags you need to look out for as a landlord.

  1. Bad Landlord References

One of the most important things you can do is to call past landlords, as you want to know their history of payments, how they treated the rental property, etc. If the past landlord tells you there was an extensive history of late payments, damage done to the property, or, far worse, an eviction, this should be a giant “no” in your book. This is particularly true if these have been recent. If the bad behavior was far in the past and they have since had good reports, this is up to your discretion, but still be wary.

  1. Bad Credit And/or a Tax Lien

Good Landlord 101 includes running a credit check, as knowing how (or if!) they pay their bills is key in deciding whether or not to let them live on your rental property. How landlords read credit reports is also crucial, so if you’re new to doing so, get some help from a company like TransUnion and do your research. Bad credit is a huge red flag and could indicate that they will have trouble paying their rent—tenant screening can save a huge headache. Of course, if the IRS can’t get money from them (hence the tax lien), how do you expect you will do the same? You definitely do not want a squatter!

As for the nitty gritty of credit numbers, be wary of anyone with a credit score of less than 620. As this article notes, “A low credit score can be indicative of many things: problems with budgeting, holding down a job, or taking on too much debt. Whatever the reasons, avoid these tenants at all costs.”

  1. Criminal History

You are well within your rights to run a background check on your potential tenants. If your gut instinct tells you that this is a solid person and his or her credit check and references turn out okay, you might consider ignoring any minor offenses. However, someone with a major criminal history is obviously someone you don’t want living under your roof, especially if you have other renters in the vicinity.

  1. Gaps in Employment And/or Low Income

Your application should include a pretty extensive list of their past employers and how much they have made at each job. Long gaps in history could be an indication of flakiness and low income. You also want to be wary if they make very little money at their current jobs, as you have to weigh the rent vs. this amount of money. If it doesn’t seem to add up, it’s a red flag. Of course, you could ask that someone co-sign for them so that you have someone to recoup the money from him if you need to. That’s something that’s left to your discretion and many landlords will go with their intuition on this.

  1. Awkward Behavior During the Interview and Negotiation Attempts

Again, we can’t stress enough the importance of gut instinct. If the person seems overly nervous during the interview and can’t hold eye contact, it could be a red flag. What are they hiding? If there are gaps on their application and they can’t answer many questions during the interview, they could be hiding be a giant secret (or secrets!).

Attempts at negotiation of monthly rent and/or deposit amount don’t have to be huge red flags, but they’re not great signs either. If you know your rental property is fairly priced, stick to that number. Negotiation could be a sign that they are not able to pay this amount on a regular basis.



The post 5 Tenant Red Flags Landlords Should Look Out For appeared first on AAOA.

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How one real estate tech CEO is living the dream

Inmannews - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 5:50am
Many real estate agents see high tech in one of two ways. Some see it as a competitor trying to undermine their business and phase out their importance. Others see it as possibly useful, but too confusing and time consuming to learn and properly utilize. After all, when you’ve got houses to show, who has time to learn the latest CRM system or landing page builder ...
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Make commissions and transactions easy to handle with Brokermint

Inmannews - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 3:00am
Brokermint is a commission and transaction management software made for real estate brokers. It has a superior user interface, exceptional ease of use, a wide variety of CRM integrations and easy commission structure setup, among other things ...
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How to truly be of value to your luxury real estate clients

Inmannews - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 1:30am
What’s most important when it comes to setting yourself up as a person of value? Why is it wrong to try to twist the prospect’s arm? To succeed in luxury real estate, you have to have your own unique selling proposition that shows what makes you different. You have to bring so much value that you’re positioning yourself as an authority ...
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4 reasons working with friends and family isn’t always a good idea

Inmannews - Thu, 08/10/2017 - 1:15am
You just graduated from real estate school and are excited to begin your career. Your instructors have advised you to interview several companies to see what they can do for you as it pertains to training, mentoring and guidance they will give. All companies have the same tactic: tap into your “sphere.” ...
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Custom digital invites made for real estate: Introducing Modern Stamp

Inmannews - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 5:23pm
SAN FRANCISCO -- A glistening envelope sliced open reveals a beautiful card featuring calligraphy, layers of color and a warm message. That moment can be delivered with a well-crafted invitation sent via snail mail. But a new company on the real estate scene -- Modern Stamp -- aims to emulate that entire experience ...
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What could PR do for your real estate business?

Inmannews - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 3:57pm
SAN FRANCISCO -- The last time you did something amazing in your real estate business, who learned about it ...
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9 ways to maximize your Facebook marketing in real estate

Inmannews - Wed, 08/09/2017 - 3:32pm
SAN FRANCISCO -- Let's face it: articles about appraisals, mortgages and home inspections aren't likely to go viral online. So when Colorado real estate agent Mor Zucker considered her own social media strategy, she wanted to write something that she herself would want to read and share. She created a lifestyle blog, The Denver Ear, about things to do in Denver -- events, activities, restaurants -- and pushed those posts to Facebook ...
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