Archive for the ‘National Association of Realtors’ Category

Housing Market

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Homeowner and Stability Affordability Plan praised

President Obama’s plan to help the housing market drew praise this week.

“The administration’s proposed plan, combined with provisions like the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit in the just-enacted American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, will help minimize foreclosures, shrink housing inventory, stabilize home values and move the country closer to an economic recovery,” said Charles McMillan, president of the National Association of Realtors®.

The Obama administration outlines the following as key components of the plan:

  • Refinancing for up to 4 to 5 million homeowners to make their mortgages more affordable.
  • A $75 billion homeowner stability initiative to reach up to 3 to 4 million at-risk homeowners.
  • Supporting low mortgage rates by strengthening confidence in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

John A. Courson, president of the Mortgage Bankers Association, also had praise for the effort, noting “it provides crucial refinance opportunities to borrowers whose mortgages are held or guaranteed by Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac.”

However, he noted the association had some concerns. Specifically, he said the plan doesn’t seem to offer much help to borrowers whose loan exceeds their property value by more than 5 percent.

“This will limit the plan’s success in some of the hardest hit areas in California, Florida, Nevada and Arizona, as well as some areas on the East Coast,” Courson said. 

You can find the executive summary of the plan here.  

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New Leadership

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NAR welcomes President Obama and his administration

The National Association of Realtors® is welcoming President Obama and his administration, and pledge to work with him to stabilize the U.S. housing market.

“We welcome President Obama’s efforts on foreclosure prevention and agree that addressing rising foreclosures and strengthening existing home sales and housing initiatives are critical components to a housing and economic recovery,” NAR President Charles McMillan said.

McMillan says NAR will continue its focus on policies that will help get buyers into the market to reduce inventory and stabilize home prices. “This is the only way to successfully improve and sustain the housing market and the nation’s economy,” McMillan.

McMillan this month also said NAR is pleased that Congress is working to ensure that any additional Troubled Asset Relief Program initiatives or economic stimulus package include provisions that will stimulate home sales, prevent foreclosures and restore conidence in the housing market. 

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Tips for Success

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Magazine offers tips to succeed in 2009 real estate market

An article in this month’s issue of REALTOR® Magazine takes a look at the National Association of REALTORS® 2009 economic forecast and then offers some tips on how to best maneuver in the market.

NAR predicts that existing home sales will edge up 6 percent this year, after falling for two years, but the real estate market is still expected to be difficult. New home sales are expected to continue dropping, the article says. Prices overall have decreased about 12 percent from their 2006 peak, the magazine said.

You’ve undoubtedly heard these tips offered up before, but they are worth repeating. Here are a few from the article:

_ Target areas where prices that are dropping quickly. David Howell, a broker in Viriginia, says that in some areas of his market where prices were well below their peak, sellers were getting multiple offers in fall 2008. He expects the trend to continue.

_ Communicate sales to consumers. Alicia Trevino of Alicia Trevino REALTORS®, in Mesquite, Texas, praises door hangers as cost-effective way to let residents know that homes are selling in the area. At the 2008 REALTORS® Conference & Expo, she said that “people get the perception I’m the only one out there selling,” because she is one of the few people in the area to use the hangers, the magazine said. Other effective communication tools are newsletters, “just-sold” postcards and e-newsletters.

For the full list of tips on home sales, plus forecasts and tips for for-sale inventory and mortgage financing, click here.

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Technology for 2009

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Article Offers Technology Checklist for New Year

Michael Antoniak offers a technology checklist for 2009 in January’s issue of REALTOR® Magazine.

Among the must-haves for many real estate agents: mobile phones, computers, digital cameras and navigation solutions, he says.

For phones, Antoniak says a smartphone is the best choice for many agents. He notes the latest iPhone and Blackberry Bold as well as the Motorola Motozine ZN5, which was unveiled as a “mobile imaging device good enough to replace a digital still camera.”

On computers, he says a notable trend is the additional selection of ultra-compact mobile computers. Some examples, Antoniak says, are the Lenovo IdeaPad S-10, Dell Inspiron Mini-9 and the Asus Eee PC 900.

The selection for cameras with wide-angle capabilities is growing, he says, and the article identifies Nikon’s Coolpix P80 because it has a zoom for highlighting features and a wide-angle setting that allows an entire room to be photographed.

Lastly, on navigation systems, he identifies hardware systems, like Sony’s Nav-U line, but also says that more GPS functions likely will be built into other hardware or provided as a service.

Click here for the full report.

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New Leadership

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NAR, C.A.R. have new leaders for 2009

There is new leadership at the National Association of REALTORS® and the California Association of REALTORS®.

Charles McMillan, who’s been a REALTOR® for more than 20 years, is the 2009 NAR president. He is also the director of realty relations and broker of record for Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Dallas-Fort Worth.

McMillan was NAR 2008 president-elect, and was the first vice president in 2007. He also served as the Texas Association of REALTORS® president in 1998.

In a speech at a NAR leadership summit in August, McMillan spoke about change, warning, “if you are not ready and willing to address change, you will not succeed.” He also said that leaders must be able to distinguish short-term change and real progress. McMillan’s final point was this: “I believe all change starts at the individual level. It cannot be forced on an organization, each and every member is responsible for doing their part.”

Meanwhile, James Liptak, a broker with Country Real Estate in Paso Robles, is the 2009 C.A.R. president. Liptak is also president of James & Sydney Liptak Inc.

In a story in California Real Estate Magazine, Liptak says he wants to be C.A.R. president because “This is the most successful real estate organization in the world. … We’re the largest state trade association in the country, and we’re the best. It’s like standing on top of Mount Everest. You’re looking at the rest of the world, and you’re looking at it from a very advantageous viewpoint.”

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Election Reaction

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NAR: We’re in a good place

REALTORS@ are “in a good place,” 2009 National Association of REALTORS® President Charles McMillan says following  Sen. Barack Obama’s win in the presidential election and gains made by Democrats in U.S. House and Senate races.

“REALTORS® are excited by this historic election and stand ready to work with our new president and the new Congress on issues that are at the heart of the American dream of homeownership,” McMillan said this week.

NAR says the availability of affordable mortgage financing and affordable health insurance are at the top of REALTORS® priority lists. Those issues, NAR says, are also priorities for Democrats and Republicans.

The REALTORS® Political Action Committee helped more than 400 candidates, with a little more than of half of the money going to Democrats.

On its Web site this week, NAR highlights a few REALTOR® wins in Congress, including Rep. Jerry McNerney, a Democrat from California who “played a key role in Congress to increase conforming loan limits.”

“Rep. McNerney made his mark quickly as a strong advocate for FHA reform, the home buyer tax credit, and expanded homeownership opportunities for veterans,” says NAR Chief Lobbyist Jerry Giovaniello.

Click here for the full story.

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Helping Clients

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Real estate training company founder offers tips to help relocating clients

Kelle Sparta, founder of the real estate training company, Sparta Success Systems, offers tips on how to make life easier for relocating families on REALTOR® magazine’s Web site this week. 

Sparta says the first thing to keep in mind is that relocating clients are under great stress and will be appreciative of the help real estate agents can provide.

She suggests sending a relocation packet to clients before they arrive in town. She says the packet should include information about school systems, crime stats for neighborhoods and a map. She also says agents should compile a list of fun places to visit and send a copy of forms and contracts related to a real estate purchase in the area.

When the clients are house-hunting in the area, Sparta suggests agents should schedule the hotel rooms for their clients’ stay, set up interviews for potential schools and tell them how the closing process works in the area.

After closing, Sparta suggests agents offer to make arrangements for utilities to be turned on for move-in day and have pizza, salad and drinks delivered that day as well.

For the complete article and all of Sparta’s suggestions, click here.

Sparta is also the author of “The Consultative Real Estate Agent: Building Relationships that Create Loyal Clients, Get More Referrals, and Increase Your Sales.”

Meanwhile, Primacy Relocation and Worldwide ERC earlier this year put together a few lists of the best cities for relocating families. You can find it here

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Real estate agent tips for speaking to reporters

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REALTOR® magazine makes suggestions on how to talk to a reporter and become a news source

Do you get nervous speaking to reporters? August’s issue of REALTOR® magazine offers tips on how to speak to journalists and how to become a news source.

Bill Zucker is the managing director of media practice for Burson-Marsteller in Chicago. Zucker suggests asking the reporter what the focus of the story will be before you agree to be interviewed so that you can research statistics to back up your answers. 

The article also suggests agents keep their answers simple and never say “No comment.”

To become a news source, the article suggests you call or e-mail a reporter if you think you have a good story idea, but make sure you pitch it to the correct person. Another suggestion is to provide an anecdote or personal insight that will hold the public’s interest.

Here are a few other tips from the article:

  • Send regular press releases or story ideas to reporters.
  • Be sensitive to their deadlines.
  • Provide facts with your story ideas.

For more suggestions, read the full article and watch the "Be a Media Star" video.

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  • REALTOR Magazine article
    Tips for real estate agents speaking to the media
  • Intero Real Estate Services
    Intero Real Estate Services is one of the premier real estate brokerages in the nation, with 60 offices and more than 2,200 sales associates serving Arizona, California, Colorado, Florida, Hawaii, Nevada and Texas.

NAR forecasts modest movement in existing home sales

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Association president says home buyers getting great deals now

The National Association of Realtors® is forecasting modest near-term movement in existing home sales, “with a recovery in sales seen during the second half of the year.”

The association released the forecast this week. It projected that sales of existing homes will grow to an annual pace of 5.75 million in the fourth quarter from 5.01 million in the second. A 5 percent increase in existing home sales is expected next year, the association says.

The report showed the Pending Home Sales Index fell 4.7 percent to 84.7 in May compared to 88.9 in April. It is 14 percent below the May 2007 reading of 98.5.

“The overall decline in contract signings suggests we are not out of the woods by any means,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “The housing stimulus bill that is still being considered in the Senate is critical to assure a healthy recovery in the housing market, jobs and the economy.”

NAR President Richard F. Gaylord says the current market is offering immediate benefits for many buyers. He also notes that sharper consumer price gains could mean higher mortgage interest rates next year.

The association also forecast that sales of new homes are likely to drop 32.3 percent to 525,000 in 2008.

For more information, please click here.

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