Archive for the ‘Bob Moles’ Category

Intero Asia Pacific

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Intero expanding in Asia and the Pacific Rim

Intero International Franchise Services, LLC, has announced its expansion into Asia and the Pacific Rim.

The new Intero Asia Pacific will offer master franchise opportunities in parts of Singapore this month and in Hong Kong next month.

“Intero was born in Silicon Valley, which is a crossroads of innovation for the entire Pacific Rim,” Intero President and CEO Gino Blefari says. “This is a natural move for us and one we are uniquely equipped to execute successfully.”

Javier Parraga leads Intero International and Al Mendoza is the managing director of Intero Asia Pacific. Their reputation precedes them globally, Intero Chairman Bob Moles says.

“Their vision and international expertise on franchise development within the real estate sector has driven notable growth and network expansion throughout the world,” Moles said.

For more information, click here.

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Intero International

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Javier Parraga new President of Intero International Franchise Services

Intero has hired Javier Parraga, an international franchise veteran, to become President of Intero International Franchise Services, Inc. In that role, Parraga will work to expand the Intero brand across the globe.  

"I’m thrilled to now be a part of the Intero team," Parraga says. "And I’m excited about the opportunity to bring this successful and innovative brand into the Asia Pacific, Europe, Middle East and Central and South America regions." 

Parraga is a former executive with real estate conglomerate Realogy Corp. He joined HFS, which became Cendant and is now Realogy, in 1996, and has since negotiated and signed more than 100 master franchise agreements covering more than 150 countries and territories. 

Intero Chairman Bob Moles worked with Parraga at Cendant when Moles was chairman at Cendant’s Real Estate Franchise Group. 

"Javier is the finest International Franchise sales executive I have ever met in the world," Moles says.  "We are honored to have Javier’s leadership as Intero International Franchise Services embarks on growing the Intero® brand around the world.


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Intero ready to launch master franchise sales campaign

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Master franchisees will have exclusive territory rights

Intero Real Estate Services is moving forward with its master franchise opportunities.

The company is ready to launch a large-scale sales campaign this summer. Through the sales effort, Intero will award master franchisees exclusive territory rights to select regions in and out of the United States.

Intero will seek partners who know what it takes to run a profitable company and who appreciate how Intero operates. Those who sign on with Intero will manage their own growth, distribution of new offices, and development of strategic alliances and strategy to recruit top managers and agents. The master franchisees also will share franchise royalty, technology, and other revenue opportunities.

“We’ve been preparing for this for quite some time now, working out the kinks and getting our processes in place for the franchise program,” said Gino Blefari, president and CEO of Intero. “Now, we’re ready to move forward 100 percent and find the right people who are interested in gaining exclusive territory rights and growing with the Intero brand.”

Intero Chairman Bob Moles says the opportunities Intero provides are unmatched by other franchisors.

“We’re at a unique place with regard to our growth, and our leadership very is strong, made up of real estate people who’ve worked for years on the ground floor in sales, management and operations. Having access to that kind of experience, paired with the innovations we’re pushing is what’s going to make a franchisee successful.”

Intero’s executive team and Jose Perez of PCMS Consulting will lead the master franchise sales campaign.

For more information, please click here.

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The Role of REALTORS® Today

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Public Radio Discussion: Will real estate agents go the way of travel agents?

Bob MolesLast week, KQED’s Forum (a Bay Area public radio program), ran a segment on the role of REALTORS® in today’s changing real estate environment—are full service REALTORS® a dying breed; with the advent of the internet, will they go the way of travel agents?

The discussion centered around the fact that consumers today can go online and access comprehensive, in-depth information to help them in the buying or selling of their home—data that was once held exclusively by the REALTORS® themselves. Several questions were raised: with all this information available to consumers, are REALTORS® really necessary today , do full service agents do as much work for their clients as they did 10 years ago, and do they deserve the 5-6% commission they get?

Though we in the industry may think that our clients see value in working with a REALTOR®, the media keeps pushing these issues to the forefront again and again, which indicates that these questions are definitely on the minds of consumers.

Guests on the show were:

  • Enrico Moretti, associate professor of economics at UC Berkeley and co-author of “Can Free Entry Be Inefficient? Fixed Commission and Social Waste in the Real Estate Industry,” published in the Journal of Political Economy.
  • Jorrit Van der Meulen, vice president of partner relations for Zillow.com
  • Krista Miller, real estate agent with Windermere Real Estate of the Bay Area
  • Rick Turley, president of the San Francisco Peninsula Region for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage

The panel agreed that REALTORS® serve a role to the consumer, and that it’s ridiculous to make a comparison between the services a real estate agent provides and those given by a travel agent. The buying or selling of your home is a vastly different transaction from buying a plane ticket—in terms of the size, significance (both financial and emotional) to the consumer and consequence of the transaction. REALTORS® are people you develop long-term relationships with, unlike a travel agent, who an individual typically deals with on single transactions.

There was, however, a question hanging in the air about whether or not REALTORS® should continue to receive the traditional 6 percent commission. With so much information widely available online, is that investment for the buyer/seller a sound one? Perhaps it should be lowered?

Turley (Coldwell Banker), Miller (Windermere) and even Van der Meulen (Zillow.com) did a fairly good job of addressing that question by talking about the supporting role REALTORS® serve to consumers on several levels (marketing and advertising homes, acting as professional consultants, assisting in ancillary areas like financing) but there didn’t seemed to be a clear, concise argument in their discussions that really articulated the value of the comprehensive services we provide.

This is troublesome. We in the real estate industry need to start doing a better job of defining and communicating that argument as a whole. As the internet becomes a bigger and better resource for consumers, our clients are going to continue to question our value. Now is the time to clearly define that value before it’s too late—perhaps even in the form of a written customer service value proposition. And, we need to consistently communicate that message industry–wide, to our clients and the market. The questions are already arising in people’s minds. If we don’t speak clearly about how are role as REALTORS® may be changing, but is still as valuable as it was 10 years ago, we are leaving ourselves vulnerable to others defining it for us.

To listen to the Forum discussion, click here.



Intero News from No Limits in Las Vegas

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Derek Overbey’s dailies from the REALTORS® Conference & Expo 2007Derek OverbeyYes, I’m here at No Limits in Las Vegas, with thousands of REALTORS®. There’s 744 exhibitors at this conference, and they are telling us more than 2,000 attendees have pre-registered from 60 countries. And, that number will grow as people show up and register onsite. It’s pretty hectic, and as crazy as you’d expect it to be with that many  REALTORS® in one place.

I’ll be joining a panel this morning for a seminar called "Marketing 2.0," where we’ll talk about how technology is transforming real estate marketing. I’ll bring notes from the discussion tomorrow.

Gino and Bob are given the RISMedia National Homeownership Award

Last night, we went to the 12th Annual RISMedia Power Broker reception, which is attended by all the big, national brokerages. Gino and Bob were completely taken by surprise and given the National Homeownership Award. Sponsored by Bank of America, the award is given in recognition of "outstanding achievements among residential real estate’s most influential and charismatic leaders."

Gino didn’t have a speech ready (I think that made him a bit nervous). But he got up and did great job, talking about the Intero Values and what that means to our business.

Zillow.com Announces Free Listings Feed

The other big news here is that Zillow.com has announced they’re going to allow brokerages to feed their listings for free to the Zillow web site. Intero is currently one of the only brokerages in the Bay Area right now who is working with them. Here’s a brief from their press release.

Real estate Web site Zillow.com this week launched its much-anticipated Zillow® Listings Feed program, allowing brokerages and Web vendors nationwide to feed all their for-sale listings to Zillow.com on an automated basis for free. The program launches this week with numerous industry partners and approximately a half million for-sale listings, with more to be added in the near future. Zillow CEO Rich Barton will discuss the program on stage today at the National Association of Realtors conference in Las Vegas.


If you want to read more about what’s happening at the conference, check out the No Limits Live blog.


The Intero Story

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Watch video about how got Intero started, who we are and where we’re going

Intero Real Estate Services was founded in 2002 by Gino Blefari and group of inspired real estate people. Here’s our story about how we got started, who we are and where we’re going.


THE INTERO STORY


Where Are the Loans?

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Wall Street is nervous, but there are still lenders funding mortgages.Bob Moles Wall Street is nervous. It’s plastered everywhere. Why should we as REALTORS® care? Because, it’s the investors on Wall Street who fund about half the mortgages in the US through the secondary mortgage market. Their capital replenishes the pool of cash that local lenders (banks, credit unions and others) use to help your buyers finance their home. That doesn’t mean the money is entirely gone, though. We’ve still got options.

The mortgage market is a multi-layered, convoluted chain of buying, selling, packaging and repackaging of mortgage loans through numerous institutions, funds and investors. Banks, mortgage brokers and other lenders issue primary loans to buyers looking to finance. These loans are then (in most cases) resold to the secondary mortgage market where they are bundled together with other mortgages (both prime and sub-prime) into mortgage–backed securities (MBS), which are then sold to investors who take on the investment risk of the loan.

When Wall Street starts getting nervous and investors begin pulling their money out of the credit market, this has a direct affect on the number of loans that primary lenders (local banks, credit unions, etc.) can issue because the pool of cash that lenders use to go out and fund more loans in not being replenished. With fewer lenders giving out loans and requiring stricter underwriting processes, the number of individuals who actually qualify for a mortgage goes way down. You can see where this is all going.

How long will the current nervousness last, and how deep an impact will it make on the overall economy? That’s unclear. There’s plenty of predictions from pundits, but it’s really a wait and see game right now. The Federal Reserve is now getting involved, having just cut their discount rate to banks (the rate it charges banks for temporary loans.) See the story here. This has calmed the market some, but what’s going to happen next is still unknown.
 

THE MONEY IS THERE

Even amidst all that is going on, make no mistake there is still capital available to fund mortgages and LENDERS ARE ISSUING LOANS. The loans may be harder to find and can be more costly if your buyer’s credit is not so great, but they’re there.

Here in the Bay Area, several lenders are sending out the message that yes, they are still financing, so come on in. Here are just a few:

  • BANK OF AMERICA
    One of our mortgage affiliates, Bank of America, is continuing to fund loans throughout the US. Cindy Solis, VP, Bank of America Mortgage says, "Our company focus will continue to be the customer and making sure we help them realize their dream of Home Ownership.  At Bank of America we are able to continue offering our vast array of mortgage products because Bank of America is a diversified, national bank with multiple revenue streams.”

    Cindy Solis
    Vice President BoA Mortgage
    (800) 685-0001
    cynthia.l.solis@bankofamerica.com

  • DIVERSIFIED CAPITAL
    Another of our mortgage partners, Diversified Capital, says, “We’re seeing this as a great opportunity. We’re not afraid of our warehouse lines being pulled and have a lot strong lenders that still have funds, and so we’re just concentrating on matching up the buyers with the right loan for their situation.”

    Rick Lewis
    rlewis@divcap.net

  • THE HONTE GROUP
    The Honte Group
    tells us it’s “business as usual,” with a little less volume, but they’re definitely financing residential, commercial, development, fractional and even construction loans.

    Rob McCarthy and Eric Nelson
    (408) 377-4107
    mohara@thehontegroup.com

  • TECHNOLOGY CREDIT UNION
    Tech CU
    doesn’t rely on out–of-state investors for closing their loans, and they’ve just sent out a letter to REALTORS™ stating that they’ll help you close escrows and are willing to back their statements with a 10 day guarantee. If they don’t close your purchase transaction in 10 days, they’ll send your buyer a $100 Visa Gift Card.  Contact one of their mortgage consultants.

    Gina Hack
    Mortgage Consultant Serving Phone & Online applications
    408-487-7559
    ghackl@techcu.com


Intero Leadership Says: You’ve Got to get Up Earlier

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Success comes with good old fashion hard work in real estateDerek OverbeyGuest written by
Derek Overbey,
VP Marketing, Intero Real Estate Services

Do you ever wonder how some people do it? How do they manage a successful career, volunteer for the local food bank, make it to their kid’s soccer game, get in a workout with a personal trainer and still have time to sit down with their family at the end of the day? We wondered about this as well, and so asked Tom Tognoli, Gino Blefari and Bob Moles of Intero what time they got up in the morning to start their day. After all, these guys have been pretty successful in the business. Their answers were eerily simple (and similar): very early.

Tom Tognoli, our COO who’s known for his high-energy personality, says that he follows the philosophy of “Monday Morning MOJO.” Which means what? If you want to walk into the office on Monday with the kind of energy and passion you need to be successful, you have to start creating it before you even step into the building.

“Success is about commitment,” Tom explains. “Don’t wake up in a crisis, or the rest of your day will be one big crisis. If you are getting up at 8 am, you’re getting up too late. Start yourself on a schedule of waking up 30 minutes earlier each week until you are waking up at 4:30 a.m. Quit hitting the snooze bar! Ten years ago, I was getting up at 7:00 a.m. It’s much easier today. Waking up that early allows me plan my day, get in a workout and do what I need to before most people even roll out of bed. It’s definitely an advantage. ”

The Early Bird Gets the WormCome on, Tom. The birds aren’t even chirping. Do we really need to wake up before the sun? We asked Gino what his secret was. Surprise— getting up early.

He wakes up at 4:45 to greet his dog (a Lab) and then goes through several meditative exercises and a physical workout to prepare for the day ahead. He says these morning rituals help to re-focus his mind so he can concentrate on what needs to get done. “Your average person will simply get through the day. I’m going to take the day. I’m not going to head to the office without knowing exactly what I want to accomplish in the hours I’m there.”

With a schedule that keeps him going nearly seven days a week, he says it’s can be difficult to balance his time between personal and professional life. Discipline is the key. That’s why he’s made it one of Intero’s core values.

“There’s no getting around it. If you want to be successful, you simply have to put in the time, sweat and hard work, to make it happen. You have to get up earlier in the morning, and if you’re doing it right, you’ll come home and crash into your bed at night.”

And Chairman Bob Moles, what does he do?

“These days, I get up at 6 a.m. on the ocean side of the mountain (Santa Cruz). I get my workout in, wait for the traffic to clear and then head into the office. Getting an early start has been my routine for years. When I was working on the East Coast, I would get up at 4:30 and work until 6:30 or 7:00 at night, but the truth is, if you go at that pace forever, it will kill you. In my role today, I have a little more flexibility.”

There you have it. It seems to be true that the early bird does, indeed get the worm. We’re wondering about others? Do you think it’s necessary to get up this early in order to be successful in real estate? Or, is there another way to do it? We’d love to hear your stories. Leave us some comments.


Real Estate Sales Have Slowed. What Does It Mean?

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The market may be down, but it’s not out. There are still opportunities for growth.Bob Moles We all know housing sales have slowed in the past year. Are we surprised? Real estate is coming out of an historic period that saw a meteoric rise in home values from 2000 to 2006. Many of us had become accustomed to the massive growth we saw, especially in the last three years: an 8.22 percent increase in house price appreciation in 2004, 12.84 percent in 2005 and 12.61 percent in 2006. But, we all understood that couldn’t continue forever, didn’t we? In looking back at the nineties, we’re reminded of what is typical in this industry:

Year-to-Year Housing Price Appreciation in the US: 1990 to 1999
Taken from OFHE House Price Index for USA
(Includes Valuation Data from Purchase and Refinance Mortgages: 1990Q1-1999Q1)

  • 1990: 5.07
  • 1991: 0.61
  • 1992: 2.49
  • 1993: 1.06
  • 1994: 2.70
  • 1995: 0.73
  • 1996: 5.40
  • 1997: 2.30
  • 1998: 5.21
  • 1999: 4.45

What’s happening in 2007? The most recent OFHEO House Price Index, shows that in the last year (from Q12006 to Q12007), housing prices have increased 4.3 percent nationally. This means that we may be currently seeing a year-to-year drop in price appreciation (2006-2007 vs 2005-2006), but we’re still above the average of 3 percent for the whole of nineties, the period before the boom that started in 2000. The latest forecast by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) says that home sales are expected to see a gradual upturn through 2008, but with little price fluctuation.


Existing-home sales are projected to total 6.18 million in 2007 and 6.41 million next year, in contrast with 6.48 million in 2006.  New-home sales are forecast at 860,000 this year and 901,000 in 2008, down from 1.05 million last year.  Housing starts are likely to total 1.43 million units in 2007 and 1.49 million next year, below the 1.80 million recorded in 2006.

The national median existing-home price should ease by 1.3 percent to $219,100 in 2007 before rising 1.7 percent next year.  The median new-home price will probably fall 2.3 percent to $240,800 this year, and then grow by 2.6 percent in 2008.



So, let’s put this all in perspective: real estate has slowed, but it’s far from dead.

Housing prices are still appreciating in many parts of the country, though the total number home sales are down according to NAR: -14.6 for single-family units from 2006 to 2007. (This number reflects a downturn in new construction—new single family sales are down -18.2 percent whereas existing homes sales are hovering around -4.6 percent.) When it comes right down to it, remember that all real estate is local, and there are still pockets in ever corner of the country where sales are strong.

Take the Pacific Northwest for example, which is seeing an increase in homes values two times the national average. Washington, Oregon and Idaho have shown more than 10 percent appreciation over the last year. The same can be said for Montana, Wyoming and New Mexico—all above 11 percent. Utah has seen an incredible 17 percent increase. On the East Coast, North Carolina is showing 8 percent growth and Tennessee and South Carolina more than 7 percent. The states affected by Hurricane Katrina are also showing appreciation between 6.9 to 9.5 percent. 


*OFHEO House Price Index, May 31, 2007.

Even within states that are slowing more than the national average, such as California and Nevada, there are areas that are still going strong. The nine counties that make up the San Francisco Bay Area are a great example of this. Statewide, California’s median house price appreciation has slowed to 1.2 percent (OFHEO House Price Index, May 31, 2007), but the median price for a single family home in the Bay Area hit a record high of 660K in May, up 3.4 percent from the previous year, according to DataQuick Information Services.

In looking at the micro-regions of the Bay Area, you see just how dynamic and varied the housing market can be. This graphic is pulled from the San Jose Mercury News (April 2007). It shows difference in what is happening in the various counties: San Francisco +4.9%, Contra Costa +6.1%, Alameda +1.9%, Santa Cruz -0.1%, Sonoma -4.4%, and Santa Clara +10.8%, for example.

Drilling down even further, Santa Clara County prices overall increased by 7.8 percent from May 2006 to May 2007 according to RE Infolink . Within individual cities, however, the picture was once again very different. Take a look at the most recent stats for home price appreciation and home sales provided by RE Infolink for Santa Clara County.

Individual cities in Santa Clara County by increase in the median single-family home price from May 2006 to May 2007.

  • County: $862,500, +7.80%  
  • Los Altos Hills: $3,575,000, +45.90%
  • Mountain View: $1,161,000, +33.40%
  • Los Altos: $1,864,000, +19.90%
  • Saratoga: $1,807,500, +17.00%
  • Palo Alto: $1,517,500, +16.70%
  • Santa Clara: $759,000, +5.40%
  • Sunnyvale: $920,000, +5.10%
  • Los Gatos: $1,412,500, +4.60%
  • San Jose: $760,000, +4.10%
  • Campbell: $795,000, -0.60%
  • Milpitas: $715,000,  -4.00%
  • Gilroy: $710,000, -5.30%
  • Morgan Hill: $877,499, -5.60%
  • Cupertino: $1,171,900, -6.20%
  • Monte Sereno: $2,012,500, data not available


Now, if we look at actual home sales compared to last year, the numbers look slightly different:

  • County: -9.50%
  • Los Altos: 100.00%
  • Los Altos Hills: 57.10%
  • Cupertino: 42.90%
  • Morgan Hill: 37.90%
  • Sunnyvale: 13.60%
  • Saratoga: 11.10%
  • Mountain View: 0.00%
  • Campbell: -3.40%
  • Santa Clara: -9.80%
  • Palo Alto: -10.80%
  • Los Gatos: -17.60%
  • San Jose: -21.10%
  • Gilroy: -22.70%
  • Milpitas: -48.60%
  • Monte Sereno: data not available


As you can see, though most cities are continuing to see appreciation in home values, the actual number of housing units sold is down. Much of this has to do with the dynamics of what is selling in the Bay Area right now. Higher priced neighborhoods are doing well, while most lower priced neighborhoods are having trouble.  (More on that in another blog).

The point I’m making here is this. Yes the market has pulled back, but historically, we’re still in good shape in terms of home values. Which means that even though housing sales have stalled, this won’t last forever. And second, even in a slowing market, there are still opportunities for sales and growth.

To this point, Intero is continuing to open offices new markets across the US and beyond in 2007. We recently opened our first international office in Mexico, added our most innovative office to-date in the heart of Silicon Valley at Santana Row and recently launched into LA.

At Intero, we look for opportunity in people as much as in market statistics. If we can find an individual in a new market who is aligned with our values, believes in the Intero culture and has the dedication and drive to become a leader in their region, we are willing partners in helping them to succeed because we know that it’s our people, more than anything, who make the difference.

If you’re interested in learning more about Intero Real Estate Services franchise opportunities, contact us at:

franchise@interorealestate.com or 1-877-4-INTERO.