Zillow sales exec fired after telling Premier Agent customer to ‘take up yoga’

Inmannews - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 2:14pm
A Zillow advertising representative was abruptly fired Monday after sending an email suggesting that a dissatisfied Premier Agent customer "take up yoga, and breathe a bit."
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Compass acquires Paragon, seeks San Francisco market supremacy

Inmannews - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 2:00pm
Compass is now claiming to be the top brokerage in the blistering hot real estate market of San Francisco in sales volume. The technology focused brokerage announced on Monday, the acquisition of the San Francisco-based Paragon Real Estate Group growing its Bay Area team to $500 agents representing more than $4.5 billion in sales volume last year.
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Meet the Inman Innovator Finalists: Most Innovative Real Estate Technology part 2

Inmannews - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 1:32pm
This year’s finalists for the Inman Innovators Most Innovative Real Estate Technology category are coming up with new, different ideas to improve real estate every day.
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Ellie Mae launches online mortgage application platform

Inmannews - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 12:14pm
Ellie Mae is launching a new platform For submitting the mortgage application process entirely online through a series of steps.
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Fighting back: Smaller companies have the corner on creativity

Inmannews - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 11:35am
How are real estate broker-owners responding, adapting or changing? Here's what Tiffany McQuaid, president of McQuaid & Company, is doing.
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Here’s How To Start Catering To Boomer Renters — And Why It’s A Must

American Apartment Owners Association - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 11:04am

When we talk about renting, we often make the assumption that it’s a young person’s game. The accepted narrative of American life is that you rent until you’ve got enough money for a down payment, then you buy a home and you’re a homeowner until you die.

The reality is different — and has been for a while.

For decades now, aging adults have been selling their homes and moving into assisted living facilities or nursing homes as they come to need help with daily living activities. In the last few years, though, an important shift has happened: Aging baby boomers in peak health are ditching their houses for rental properties in unprecedented numbers.

Since 2015, the tax code has changed, making homeownership less advantageous from a tax perspective — one more push toward renting for those waffling as they downsize. Crucially, boomers turning to rental properties tend to be wealthier than younger renters — after all, they’ve had much longer to grow their assets. That can be very good news for landlords.

What Boomer Renters Want

Whether you’re looking to keep properties full or expand your rental portfolio, a shift toward boomers renting could have a major impact on your revenue. Here are a few ways to tweak your offerings to appeal to the boomer demographic.

• Emphasize your maintenance services. Moving to a rental means boomers are freed from lawn mowing, appliance repair, worrying about plumbing issues and the many other headaches that come with owning a home. While younger renters may take these services for granted, emphasizing the extent to which you maintain the property and speed with which you respond when something goes wrong can help win over a renter who has owned a home.

• Highlight your building’s security. Especially as they enter retirement, boomer renters may be looking forward to traveling more. Whether they’re out of town to visit grandkids, staying in a second home or seeing the world, they’ll be happy to know the lights will be on and you’ll be mowing the lawn for however long they’re gone.

• Err on the side of luxury. Anecdotal evidence suggests boomers who are shifting to rentals prefer properties with more amenities. And even for those looking for a simpler home, keep in mind that, if they’ve owned a home in the past, they’re likely used to having their own laundry and parking in a covered garage. Your properties will better appeal to the boomer demographic when they include in-unit washer-dryers and covered parking nearby.

• Offer subtle, elegant support features. Boomer renters likely want to find a long-term home, which is good news for everyone. You can help make that a reality by offering support features in your properties that will enable them (and their visiting friends) to remain independent for years: hand bars in the shower, excellent lighting in all areas, lever door handles rather than knobs, non-slip tape on indoor and outdoor stairs and elevators or chairlifts when possible. Realistically, you’re probably not going to add an elevator to an existing building. But if you’re looking at buying an elevator building or a unit in a building with an elevator, remember that it can be a major boon for older renters.

• Highlight your location. While suburban locations have seen an increase in boomer renters in the last few years, almost a third of rental applicants in urban areas are over 60. Calling out the proximity of your property to must-haves like grocery stores, gyms and shopping districts can emphasize the property’s appeal. And if the property is near public transit, be sure to mention as much: older renters will appreciate the ability to get around if they choose to stop driving at night, in bad weather or completely.

For the next 11 years, . While many of them will opt to stay in their current homes, trends suggest that a sizable group will be looking for comfortable places to rent. As you consider your next property acquisition, keeping this group in mind could yield significant rewards.



The post Here’s How To Start Catering To Boomer Renters — And Why It’s A Must appeared first on AAOA.

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Don’t Rent Out Your Home on Airbnb Before You Read This

American Apartment Owners Association - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 10:55am

You’d be hard-pressed these days to find any homeowners who haven’t considered renting out their home on Airbnb or a similar site—it’s certainly tempting to make extra cash on a room that’s just sitting empty. And if you’re out of town this summer anyway, why not have someone basically pay you to housesit?

But listing your home on Airbnb isn’t quite as easy as snapping some photos and posting them online. Many cities across the globe have regulated the short-term lodging service in order to keep guests and homeowners safe and honest. Navigating these rules might seem daunting, but we’ve broken down the basics that first-timers need to know right here—a beginner’s guide to hosting on Airbnb.

1. Follow hosting etiquette

Airbnb has a list of hosting standards that cover everything from communication to cleanliness, explains Shannon Hyde, the global operations manager at GuestReady, an Airbnb management company with locations across the globe.

Think you can just offer up a bed and be done with it? Nope. You need to make sure you’ve provided essential items such as toilet paper, soap, and linens for each booked guest.

And even though your plans might change, you’ll want to avoid canceling on your guests at any time.

While these aren’t “rules” in the sense that they’re enforceable or come with penalties for violating them, they will have a major impact on the success of your hosting endeavor.

2. Safety is your responsibility

If you’re a U.S.-based host, you’ll also want to take a close look at Airbnb’s guide to responsible hosting in the United States. You’ll need to do your due diligence to prepare guests for emergency situations (e.g., providing a first-aid kit and a list of emergency numbers that includes the nearest hospital), and stay up to code when it comes to smoke and carbon monoxide detectors.

3. Permits might be required

This hosting thing doesn’t come without its costs to you. That’s only fair, right? As Airbnb notes, most cities require hosts to apply (and usually pay a fee) for permits or registrations in order to legally rent out their home—even if it’s just for a few days. Don’t even think about skirting this.

“Ensure you look up any permitting, zoning, safety, and health regulations that may apply,” the service’s site notes, directing users to explore the specific government agencies that regulate the use of property in their particular town or city.

For example, in Minneapolis, it’s the Housing and Fire Inspections department; in San Francisco, it’s the Office of Short-Term Rentals.

4. There’s a limit to how long you can host

Have a guesthouse or second property that you want to make a permanent Airbnb offering? Before you fancy yourself Scrooge McDuck swimming in a pond of money, know this: There are usually rules on how long you can rent out your house.

While each city is different, Stephen Fishman, a lawyer who specializes in tax and business law, says you should verify the following information:

  • How many days a year homeowners are allowed to rent to short-term guests?
  • How many consecutive days homeowners can rent to short-term guests?

Why does it matter? In some cities and states, guests who stay in a home for a certain number of consecutive days are able to be considered tenants. That means that you’d have to go through a complicated eviction process in the event they don’t want to leave—in other words, you could have a squatter nightmare on your hands.

If you don’t comply with your city’s regulations, you could also face hefty fines. Just last year, a woman in Trump Tower was fined $1,000 for violating New York’s recent ban on short-term rentals.

Avoid the hassle by finding the cutoff date in your jurisdiction—and don’t let anyone stay longer than that. No exceptions.

5. HOA and co-op rules might apply

Like cities, homeowners associations and co-ops take a different approach to regulating short-term rentals. Some places might have no rules at all, while others can ban subleasing altogether.

Even if your community doesn’t have specific rules regarding short-term rentals, there are often clauses regarding following local regulations and zoning laws. That means hosts can be on the hook—not only with the city but also with their HOA—if they don’t follow the law.

6. Rental income has to be reported…

Any profits you earn from renting out your home are subject to income tax. Before tax time rolls around, make sure you do your homework about how to report rental income.

One big thing to know: If you’re a U.S. citizen, you’re subject to income tax—even if your property is located outside the U.S. If you’re from outside the U.S. but have a U.S.-based property? Well, you’ll pay taxes on that, too.

7. … but deductions are available

Anything you buy for your rental listing is deductible—even the hosting fees you pay to Airbnb. If you put together a bundle of soaps and shampoos for guests, set out coffee and juice in the morning, or buy extra linens, all of those things can be written off your taxes.

You can even deduct a portion of the depreciation of your home, which is based on the number of days each year the property is rented out and whether or not it’s the whole home or just a room or two.

You can also write off any necessary repairs to keep your rental up to snuff. The key is documenting everything.

“It’s important to track everything and keep all of your receipts, even if it’s just in a spreadsheet or something like that,” Fishman says. “People can get in trouble if they don’t have records.”

Since tax law is always changing, consult a professional to make sure you’re taking advantage of all possible tax breaks—and not breaking the law.



The post Don’t Rent Out Your Home on Airbnb Before You Read This appeared first on AAOA.

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Department of Justice rescinds housing discrimination guidance

American Apartment Owners Association - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 10:52am

The Department of Justice recently announced it will repeal 24 guidance documents on a wide range of issues, including housing discrimination, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

These guidance documents highlighted the serious implications and illegality of discrimination and encouraged individuals to report violations.

The Department of Justice recently announced it will repeal 24 guidance documents on a wide range of issues, including housing discrimination, according to the American Civil Liberties Union.

These guidance documents highlighted the serious implications and illegality of discrimination and encouraged individuals to report violations.

Laws preventing ethnic or cultural backgrounds deterring opportunity and federal protections based on nation of origin are among the information that is scheduled to be rescinded.

“This is another attack by Sessions and President Trump on people of color,” National Political Director of the American Civil Liberties Union Faiz Shakir said. “Our chief law enforcement officer is dismantling structures that prevent racial discrimination in education, in housing and in ensuring fair treatment of juveniles in our criminal justice system.”

The Department of Justice’s plans to repeal housing guidance documents have not been the only blow to the housing industry.

The Department of Housing and Urban Development announced it would provide $37 million to fund a plan by more than 150 fair housing organizations to fight against discrimination. However, HUD killed the essential Local Government Assessment Tool, a computer program that allowed local governments to submit relevant housing data that helped them meet fair housing obligations.

The city of New York announced a lawsuit against HUD, claiming the repeal of the Obama-era fair housing rule violated civil rights.

Notably, several stories of racial discrimination in the housing market have also become pending legal cases as well.

In June, the National Fair Housing Alliance, a group of 19 fair housing organizations and two homeowners from Maryland filed a lawsuit against Bank of America and Safeguard Properties Management for alleged fair housing violations.

The lawsuit claims that defendants intentionally failed to provide routine exterior maintenance and marketing for Bank of America-owned homes in African American and Latino neighborhoods across 37 metro areas.

However, homes in predominantly white working- and middle-class neighborhoods are far more likely to be upkept, according to the NFHA.

The ACLU also announced a lawsuit against Faribault, Minnesota, claiming the city’s Crime-Free Housing Program disproportionately effects members of the minority community.

The program permits police to order the eviction of all members of a household if any member or guest is thought to be engaging in criminal behavior, and evictions can take place even if no one is arrested, prosecuted or found guilty. Additionally, the program asks landlords to refuse potential tenants with a criminal history.

The ACLU holds the Crime-Free Housing Program in violation of the Fair Housing Act and the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, because 9% of Faribault’s population is black and a whopping 90% are renters.

Sadly, housing discrimination is a reality in this country. The repealing of guidance documents by the Department of Justice could make an ongoing problem even worse.

“It’s a shameful move but let there be no mistake — it doesn’t change the law, or the mandate for federal agencies to uphold the Constitution,” Shakir continued. “The ACLU will continue to fight for equality under the law and to protect all civil rights, even as the Justice Department won’t.”


The post Department of Justice rescinds housing discrimination guidance appeared first on AAOA.

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Homes With Central Air Command $5,486 More on Average

American Apartment Owners Association - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 10:42am
  • Nationally, 66.1 percent of homes listed for sale and sold over the past year have central air conditioning, selling for 2.5 percent — or $5,486 — more than comparable homes without central air. In Las Vegas, the share is 99.1 percent.
  • Buyers in hot and humid major metros in the midwest and southwest — places like San Antonio, Cincinnati, and Detroit — are willing to pay upwards of a 5.5 percent premium for central air conditioning.
  • Renters put an even higher premium on central air conditioning, possibly because fewer rental listings — 54.7 percent — advertise it and because they’re not able to add central air to rentals themselves.

Home buyers prefer central air conditioning to outdoor home features like patios or decks.

Air conditioning was listed as a required feature by 62 percent of buyers, while a private outdoor space was deemed essential by 48 percent of buyers, according to the 2017 Zillow Group Consumer Housing Trends Report.

We decided to quantify that preference and found that home buyers paid 2.5 percent more for homes with central air conditioning, on average, over the past year. That’s a premium of $5,486 for the typical (median-valued) home.

The central air premium topped 5 percent in five major metros with sizzling San Antonio, Texas, leading at 5.8 percent, which comes to $10,757. Next are metros with somewhat cooler climates — Cincinnati at 5.7 percent ($9,092), Detroit at 5.5 percent ($8,470) and Indianapolis at 5.4 percent ($8,180). They’re followed by the desert metro of Las Vegas, where buyers paid a premium of 5.2 percent or $13,620 to be cool. Because central air is so prevalent in the Midwest and Southwest, homes without air conditioning are unusual, which is part of the reason the premium in these areas is so high.

In some large, expensive West Coast markets such as Seattle, San Jose, and Los Angeles, cool air commands virtually no premium, likely because highly competitive local market conditions swamp the value premium for amenities such as central air.

Nationally, 66.1 percent of homes listed for sale and sold over the past year have central air. That share tops 90 percent in seven major metros, topped by Las Vegas with 99.1 percent.


Renters put an even higher premium on air conditioning, possibly because fewer rental listings — 54.7 percent — have it. The national premium for central air conditioning in a rental is 2.8 percent, or $40 for the median-valued rental.

New York tops the list, with a premium of 11.6 percent or $275 a month. It’s followed by metros with hot climates: Las Vegas (10.4 percent or $135), Phoenix (10.3 percent or $141), San Antonio (8.1 percent or $108) and Houston (7.6 percent or $117).


We compared homes with and without central air conditioning that were listed for rent, or listed for sale and sold, from June 1, 2017, to May 31, 2018. We controlled for variables that can affect the value of a home such as the number bedrooms and bathrooms, square footage, age of the home, and location.


The post Homes With Central Air Command $5,486 More on Average appeared first on AAOA.

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U.S. Experiences First Monthly Rent Increase of 2018

American Apartment Owners Association - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 10:36am

Have 2018 rent price decreases found the bottom? Has the six-month downward trend finally been stopped?

While one month’s stats don’t define a new rent pricing era, the national median prices of both one-bedroom and two-bedroom units showed modest July increases. Though one-bedroom apartments are still down a substantial 3.63 percent for 2018 thus far, the median July price nudged upward to $1,008, from the previous month’s $1005.

Two-bedroom units increased even more, shaving the cumulative 2018 decrease from 2.71 percent to 1.91 percent as the median July price rose from $1220 to $1230.

1-Bedroom Apartments

This month 10 cities posted increases of 4.5 percent to 6.4 percent. Baltimore, MD And Orlando, FL led the pack with over 6 percent rises and Columbus, OH and Lexington, KY, two municipalities that rounded out the top ten, both had substantial increases of over 4.5 percent.

This is a significant difference from June where the small number of cities with increases in rent price were considered outliers.

Cities with rent prices on the decline posted a more severe range with Little Rock, AR reporting a huge 9.8 percent decline from June.

The next largest decline in 1-bedroom rent price was seen in Columbus, GA, though that city’s decline was less than half of Little Rock’s at 4.1 percent.

Fargo, ND, St. Paul, MN, Jacksonville FL, Durham, NC and Cleveland, OH all reported the same 2.9 percent price drop.

2-Bedroom Apartments

Following the slight upward national trend, the top ten 2-bedroom increasers rose an average of 4.63 percent with Syracuse, NY at the top with a 6.8 percent increase, and Scottsdale, AZ at the bottom posting a more modest but still significant 3.0 percent rise.

Detroit, MI logged a hefty 6.1 percent price increase and even low-priced Green Bay, WI — where a mere $700 could secure a 2-bedroom apartment in June — showed drastic 3.1 percent increase to $722 this July.

Even cities with prices on the decline showed some stability and tightening as the 10 biggest decreasing cities ranged from both Fort Worth, TX and Fargo, ND with eye-opening 4.4 percent losses, to Durham, NC that clocked in with a 1.7 percent fall from $1,210 in June to $1,189 in July.

The rest of the decliners were tightly grouped, falling 2.2 to 3.2 percent.

Rent Report Recap: Where We Stand

June capped a 6-month slide that looked like it might continue into July. This didn’t exactly happen as both national 1-bedroom and 2-bedroom unit averages stopped the decline and nudged upward.

While there are pockets of both strength and weakness, if inflationary pressures persist and the economy stays afloat, landlords may breathe a sigh of relief, and tenants may start to worry.

It’s clear that August rent figures will be very interesting.



The post U.S. Experiences First Monthly Rent Increase of 2018 appeared first on AAOA.

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The Real Word: Does Zillow’s plan for the future make sense?

Inmannews - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 10:17am
Watch Byron Lazine and Nicole White give a real estate agent’s perspective on industry-related topics. This week, they’ll revisit their previous discussions on Zillow's Instant Offers and Opendoor.
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Purplebricks’ Canadian acquisition is an incredible deal, here’s why

Inmannews - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 9:44am
Last week, Purplebricks announced that it had acquired DuProprio/ComFree, the leading fixed-fee and for-sale-by-owner business in Canada, for £29.3 million. This is a great deal for Purplebricks and further strengthens its position as the online agency leader with global ambitions.
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Millennials are happiest in big cities, but they’re being priced out

Inmannews - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 8:38am
Millennials are the only age group to be happier in cities than the countryside -- a finding that could have major implications for real estate.
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8 reasons selling without a real estate agent is a recipe for disaster

Inmannews - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 6:00am
Unguided decision-making when handling the single largest transaction someone makes can result in a rocky real estate process with issues that could have been avoided.
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How a California minimum wage court decision could impact real estate

Inmannews - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 3:00am
On April 30, 2018, my article on the California Supreme Court Dynamex minimum wage decision and its potential impact on real estate set off a firestorm of responses. Here's what I've learned.
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Lesson learned: Don’t leave room for assumptions

Inmannews - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 2:00am
As a veteran firefighter and entrepreneur, Robert Taylor knows his community and its people. He’s turning those connections and insights into a new venture as a real estate agent. What is he learning in the early days of his career that you can put to work in yours?
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5 tips for upgrading your listing’s online appearance

Inmannews - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 2:00am
Digital showings are increasingly important as 44 percent of consumers look online before they start the homebuying process. Here are 5 things you can do to improve your listing’s digital appearance.
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5 ways to drive maximum traffic to your open house

Inmannews - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 1:00am
When holding an Open House, most agents operate by one of two approaches: 1. Hoping and praying to the real estate gods that people show up to your Open House, or… 2. Holding a Mega Open House!
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3 ways agents can take on Zillow and win

Inmannews - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 1:00am
Try a Google search in any market and you’re bound to see search portals like Zillow and Trulia dominating the results. There’s a simple reason why they are winning the online real estate game: users love their platforms.
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The rise of the robot real estate agent

Inmannews - Mon, 07/09/2018 - 1:00am
Agents need to adapt, but their value remains critical to the transaction. It’s no secret: money talks. And the money being poured into alternative technologies and business models in efforts to upend traditional real estate transactions is now too much of a deluge to ignore.
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