Tuesday, August 30, 2016

May housing sales show strong upward trend from April

While prices are up slightly, unit sales up 11.9 percent while prices up 1.1 percent.

The REAL Trends Housing Market Report for May 2016 shows that housing sales increased a robust 11.9 percent from the same month a year ago. The year-over-year gain was slightly higher than April 2016 results and nearly back to the record increases recorded in January and February. The Northeast once again led the way with a huge 19.5 percent increase over May a year ago.

“The May Housing Market Report shows that an acceleration in year-over-year growth in housing sales is not a one-time occurrence. April and May 2016 were two of the strongest months so far this year,” said Steve Murray, editor of the REAL Trends Housing Market Report. “In fact, except for the March results, the first five months of 2016 have all been among the strongest year-over-year results in the past five years. Additionally, price increases continue to soften as the year progresses” said Murray.

The annualized rate of new and existing home sales was 6.434 million which was up from the rate of 5.749 million recorded in May 2015. The results indicate that the housing market continues to show very strong growth.

Housing price increases continue to show moderate change with May 2016 showing a 1.1 percent increase in the average prices of homes sold a year ago.

“The Northeast region had the strongest showing with unit sales up an incredible 19.5 percent. Each region saw unit sales increases with the Midwest showing an increase of 15.1 percent, the South at 10.7 percent increase and the West coming in with an increase of 6.4 percent. The housing market appears to be in good shape despite continued evidence of lower-than-normal inventory levels and has shrugged off other negative news such as the decline in equity markets, low inventories and the slower rate of foreign purchases of homes.”

The average price of homes sold in May 2016 in the Midwest region was up 3.8 percent the best performance in the nation. The South region increased by 2.5 percent; the West saw average prices increase 2 percent, while the Northeast region saw prices decline by 2.4 percent.

“We now expect that housing unit sales increases will continue to be higher in 2016 than thought earlier this past year. Most forecasts say that housing unit sales will increase 3-5 percent for all of 2016 and that average prices will increase 3-4 percent,” said Murray.

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter and is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends Inc. Copyright 2016

Friday, August 26, 2016

Legal Q&A: What do I need to know about the FAA's new drone rule?

QUESTION: I’ve heard that there is a new federal rule regarding drones that is taking effect soon. What do I need to know about that rule?


Have a legal question? Call the Legal Hotline. As a member of NC REALTORS®, you have free, unlimited access to this benefit. Call 800-443-9956 or email legal@ncrealtors.org with any questions regarding contracts, forms, fair housing, disclosure and more.

Monday, August 22, 2016

The secret to dominating the real estate industry

By Kristen MacDonald, content specialist for Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies

You spent the majority of the first 20 years of your life in some form of a classroom, trying to cram as much knowledge as possible to get prepared for the real world. And then suddenly, as if to signal the end of your potential, it stops. You’ve learned all you can learn. Now, go try to make something of yourself.

When you stop to think about it, the concept seems a little bizarre.

The world is constantly evolving; things are changing each day, and there is always some discovery or trend emerging. What you learned in the classroom 15, 10 or even five years ago, won’t necessarily apply today.

The solution? Keep learning!

As a real estate professional, you are part of a highly competitive industry. Brokers and sales associates aren’t in short supply. And that agent down the street? He completed that same entrance exam and sat through The Fundamentals of Running Your Real Estate Business with you last Saturday morning.

Yes, the fundamentals are important; they are what help to build the foundation of your business. The lessons you learn in those classes provide you with the knowledge needed to build trust with your clients. But how do you start those conversations? How do you overcome their objections? How do you stand out among the competition? Keep learning and go beyond what is expected.

Take Tom Brady, for example. The NFL quarterback has earned six trips to the Super Bowl (more than any other quarterback) and won four. The keyword here is earned; an accomplishment like this isn’t achieved by just doing what is expected. Brady has gone above and beyond to perform better and reach his full potential. In a recent article by NESN, Brady even goes as far as attempting to get into stadiums in the middle of the night to get in some extra practice or watching game tape at 3 a.m. to analyze what he could do to be better.

Sure, you’re not a football player but the principles still apply. Becoming great at anything requires putting in lots of effort; putting in more effort than those around you is what allows you to win. Remember, all of your competition has completed the same entrance exam and the additional hours of education that your licensing body requires every few years. It is up to you to ensure you stand out from your competition.

Leveraging new education opportunities is a great way to expand your knowledge and learn new skills that go beyond the basics of what was required to become a real estate professional. And pursuing continued education doesn’t have to mean getting back into a physical classroom. There are plenty of options; here are three to get you started:

Start Reading
Instead of starting off your morning catching up on emails, dedicate time to some light reading—the Internet is filled with a ton of great tips, tricks and stories on the latest trends. I suggest picking a few favorite blogs or publications to read regularly and setting up Google Alerts for topics you don’t want to miss. The key here is being aware. Reading may not necessarily make you an expert on a particular subject but it will set you in the right direction.

Find a Virtual Classroom
Webinars! Webinars are great for a number of reasons but No. 1 on my list is convenience. By attending a webinar, you can gain great value without the high cost of travel or even leaving your desk. Stepping into a virtual classroom also provides the opportunity to re-watch the session and become a master of the skill that was discussed. There are plenty of companies that offer webinars covering a variety of topics, all you have to do is pick which one to attend.

Bring the Classroom to You
This is where you will get the most value and ROI. Bringing an industry expert into your brokerage or attending a speaking session allows you to feed off the energy of the room and engage at a level that can’t be matched by other education opportunities. And since, in my opinion, this is the most important channel, I have a couple of extra tips when it comes to selecting an expert to come to your brokerage or when choosing a speaking session to attend.

First, ensure your experts are truly experts. Anyone can Google, 10 Up and Coming Real Estate Trends and relay the information. The value comes in the lessons learned from professionals who have experienced client objections first-hand and learned from their personal wins and losses. Don’t be afraid to look outside of the real estate industry. A professional with a background in tech or marketing will still have great lessons to share and if they are truly an expert, they will be able to relate their learnings to the real estate industry.

Second, and more important than the first, is to ensure that your speakers not only tell you what to do but how to do it. We all know you need to get leads and market yourself, the question is: how do you do it? Even better than giving you the how look for professionals who can suggest tools and technology that will allow you to execute on all of your new knowledge. Technology has changed dramatically over the last 10 years, and so has its role in business. Today, a brokerage cannot reach its full potential without the proper tools and technology in place. An expert with a solid understanding of what works and what doesn’t will ensure your new education comes full circle and that you can streamline processes and easily implement what you have learned.

These are just three ways that you can continue to educate yourself and grow your business; the truth is, there are many more. How you choose to continue to develop professionally and learn continuously, is up to you. What is most important, is that you do it. In the real estate industry, what you know is what will set you apart. Take a step back into the classroom and towards a more successful real estate career.

Kristen MacDonald is the content specialist at Lone Wolf Real Estate Technologies. With a passion for writing and technology, Kristen loves exploring the latest trends in real estate and sharing her perspective with her audience.

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter and is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends Inc. Copyright 2016

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Legal Q&A: Are bathroom wall mirrors fixtures?

QUESTION: I recently attended a training class on the latest forms changes. The trainer said that bathroom wall mirrors are now fixtures regardless of how they are attached. Is that so? Why are bathroom wall mirrors now being treated differently from other mirrors?


Have a legal question? Call the Legal Hotline. As a member of NC REALTORS®, you have free, unlimited access to this benefit. Call 800-443-9956 or email legal@ncrealtors.org with any questions regarding contracts, forms, fair housing, disclosure and more.

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Enough about millennials

By Patrick Lencioni, The Table Group

Am I the only person in the world who’s tired of hearing people talk about Millennials? Whether it’s a complaint about their entitlement mentality or a declaration of their brilliance, it all strikes me as shallow and simplistic.

Now, I do not deny that every generation has a few things that make it unique. Today’s young people get their information differently than I did. I get that. And they communicate with one another using different devices than I did. No doubt. And I agree that they have different expectations around employment than I did. But isn’t that true of every generation? Why is it that we seem to be fascinated with this new collection of human beings, as though they come from another planet?

My fascination with all this is related to my most recent book, “The Ideal Team Player,” because it has ramifications on how we go about bringing Millennials into a workforce that is increasingly team focused. There seems to be a fear on the part of recruiters and hiring managers that they’ll be forced to deal with hordes of self-focused, isolated and lazy geniuses who are incapable of working well with others.

As it turns out, there is a better way to think about hiring good people than focusing on a person’s generational stereotype. It comes down to looking for three simple, timeless and observable virtues that are reliable predictors of whether someone of any age will be a good team player. Thankfully, while generations change, the nature of teamwork does not.

The first and most important of the three virtues is humility. And yes, plenty of Millennials are humble. Humility is a timeless virtue, one that society will always yearn for, even when its celebrities and cultural icons seem to renounce it. Plenty of Millennials are just as tired of self-indulgence and narcissism as the rest of us. They’re capable of caring for others more than themselves and have the ability to enjoy team success more than individual achievement.

Another critical virtue is hunger, the desire and willingness to work hard, to go above and beyond what is required for something worthwhile. While paper routes and lawn-mowing businesses for teenagers may seem like a thing of the past, hard work and sacrifice is alive and well among young people. The question is whether or not they’ve ever been made to work hard. I’m convinced that a large percentage of people in any demographic group, including Millennials, are capable of hard work, and a certain percentage are destined to be slackers. The key is finding the right ones to hire, and weeding out the others.

The third virtue that indicates that a potential new hire will be a good team player is what I call smarts, which is having common sense about people, and knowing how one’s words and actions impact others. While it may be true that Millennials have spent a disproportionate amount of their time using abbreviations and Emojis to communicate, it doesn’t take long for them to adjust when they realize that the guy or gal sitting next to them in a meeting needs a little eye-contact and emotional connection. All human beings, yes, even teenagers, yearn for interpersonal connection and are capable of embracing it.

And so, let’s take a breath and realize that our society, and our economy, will survive the onslaught of Millennials. Companies that place a high priority on teamwork, on finding people who are humble, hungry and smart, will have no problem with them, or with any other generation for that matter.

In the spirit of this current generation, I’ll close with a tweetable summary: Teamwork is not limited to any one generation. Millennials aren’t so special. In fact, they’ll be just fine.

Patrick Lencioni is founder of The Table Group and author of several books including, “The Ideal Team Player,” and “The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.”

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter and is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends Inc. Copyright 2016

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Legal Q&A: Can a client make changes to the pre-printed language on a NC REALTORS© form?

QUESTION: My client received an offer from a buyer on a Standard Form 2-T, and before signing, my client crossed out paragraph 13 (“Delay in Settlement/Closing”) on the form. I told him not to, but he would not listen. The buyer initialed the change when he received the 2-T back. The transaction has been moving forward, however, the closing is scheduled for next week and the lender does not look ready to close. My client does not want to give an extension. Is this sale dead if we do not close on the scheduled date? Was my client allowed to cross out paragraph 13?


Have a legal question? Call the Legal Hotline. As a member of NC REALTORS®, you have free, unlimited access to this benefit. Call 800-443-9956 or email legal@ncrealtors.org with any questions regarding contracts, forms, fair housing, disclosure and more.

Monday, August 8, 2016

Need Inventory? Try this!

By Larry Kendall, chairman of The Group, Inc. and author of Ninja Selling

Most areas of the country are experiencing a shortage of listings, more buyers than sellers and multiple offers. In some markets, the pushing and shoving are so intense it’s being called a “Mosh Pit Market.” The companies with the listings are controlling the market. How do you help your team generate more listings?

In surveying top listing Ninjas, we find that many of them are listing more properties than ever. How do they do it? Here are three of their top strategies:

1. Bring your A Game. In a hot seller’s market, the temptation is to cheap out. Why invest any money in professional photography, brochures, staging or pre-inspections? This house will sell in 72 hours with multiple offers. This is a short-sighted approach.

Top listing real estate professionals have a mindset that “my next listing is embedded in this listing.” They know that 65 percent of the buyers coming through that house will have a house to sell. They know that curious neighbors will also come through.

When the buyers (sellers) and curious neighbors (sellers) see a beautifully staged home, professional color brochures, a wonderful counter display with all the information on the home, and a contract writing kit, what do they think? Wow! This home is a cream puff and this listing sale professional is a pro. I like how they market. When I sell, I want to list with them. Because the real estate professional brought her A Game, she generated her next listing(s) from this listing.

2. Dog Days. The opposite of a cream puff is a dog. This is a property that has always been hard to sell. Maybe it’s on a busy street, has an obsolete floor plan, is in poor condition—or all three. In a normal market, this property has been nearly impossible to sell. However, anything will sell in the “Mosh Pit Market!” Top listing real estate professionals are calling these sellers and letting them know, “If you have ever wanted to unload that dog, your time is now!”

3. Buyers are sellers. Sixty-five percent of buyers have a house to sell. When they buy, they generate a listing. What if they are afraid to put their house on the market because they are worried it will sell quickly, and they won’t be able to buy another home? Legitimate concern.

Ask this question, “With perhaps the lowest interest rates in your lifetime, are you living in the home of your dreams?” Follow up with, “If you could wave a magic wand and live in your dream home, describe it to me.” Rehearse these questions at a sales meeting and see how it feels when you are the buyer/seller. Discuss how, with the low interest rates; they could be living in that home today. How do they do it?

In most markets, prices have risen dramatically in the past three years. In our market, the average home price has gone up over $100,000. In our market, sellers who put 20 percent down three years ago have seen their equities double or even triple. Most have equity again—big equity in many cases. What about refinancing, pulling money out of their current house, and using that money as a down payment on their dream home?

This strategy isn’t for everyone. They run the risk of owning two homes for a while. However, if they’re in a hot seller’s market, the risks are minimized, especially if they are moving up. In most markets, the hottest segments are the lower and mid-price points. The higher price points tend to be slower markets. If that is the case, they can buy in a slower market segment and sell in a hotter one. Again, this is not for everyone, but top real estate professionals are presenting the idea to their clients and letting their clients decide.

Real estate is like a game of monopoly. Control the board, and you control the game. The way we control the board in real estate is with listings. It’s also how we thrive in the Mosh Pit.

This article originally appeared in the July 2016 issue of the REAL Trends Newsletter and is reprinted with permission of REAL Trends Inc. Copyright 2016
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