Confidence in Housing Makes Near-Record Return

Confidence in housing made a near-record return in November in the Fannie Mae Home Purchase Sentiment Index® (HPSI), derived from Fannie’s National Housing Survey® (NHS). The HPSI overall posted 87.8 in November, 2.6 percentage points higher than the month prior. The Index hit all-time highs in February of this year, and again in June and September.

“In November, the HPSI rebounded to near its all-time high, returning the Index to its gradual upward trend and suggesting fairly stable consumer home-buying attitudes,” says Doug Duncan, chief economist and senior vice president at Fannie Mae. “These results are consistent with our expectation that the housing market will continue its modest expansion going forward.”

The share of homebuyers surveyed for the Index who believe now is a good time to buy rose seven percentage points to 29 percent, while the share of sellers who believe now is a good time to sell rose four percentage points to 34 percent. The share of those surveyed who believe home prices will go up rose six percentage points to 46 percent.

Confidence could be impacted, however, by tax reform. Both the House and Senate bills, currently in conference, contain homeownership provisions.

“Next month’s survey should offer the public a first look at the influence that potential tax reform may have on consumers’ views toward housing and the broader economy,” Duncan says.

Source: Fannie Mae

Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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NAR Power Broker Roundtable: A Look at the Year Ahead

This month’s National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Power Broker Roundtable introduces Christina Pappas, district sales manager for The Keyes Company and incoming moderator of the Roundtable for 2018.

Moderator: Robert Bailey, Broker/Owner, Bailey Properties Inc., Santa Cruz, Calif.; 2017 Liaison for Large Residential Firms Relations, NAR

Panelist: Christina Pappas, District Sales Manager, Keyes Company, Miami, Fla.; 2018 Liaison for Large Residential Firms Relations, NAR

Robert Bailey: Welcome, Christina! It seems impossible that a year has passed since I stepped into this liaison post, but it has, and it’s been a busy year at that. It’s been challenging but productive, and I have to say, I’ve enjoyed every discussion we’ve had, so it’s a real pleasure to put the reins in your very capable hands.

Christina Pappas: Thanks, Robert. I’ve been following your monthly discussions with interest, and I appreciate the fact that there’s always something of value for brokers and agents to take away. I look forward to scheduling timely topics to explore and adding new and diverse perspectives.

RB: For readers who may not know you, Christina, I should point out that you literally grew up in the real estate world, the daughter of Mike Pappas, whose Keyes Company has been a force in Florida real estate for—believe it or not—more than 90 years!

CP: Yes, well, that’s true, and in fact, we’ve been a family business for most of that time. My grandfather bought the company from the original owner more than 50 years ago, so my dad literally grew up in it, as well. You might say we are poster kids for the family-owned real estate business.

RB: All of which means you are well aware of the issues brokers are facing. In the last year alone, for example, we’ve come through a national election, a changing of the guard at NAR, and a series of natural disasters that has touched many thousands of lives and is impacting our industry in many ways.

CP: Those natural disasters have been top-of-mind for me and, in fact, will be the topic for my first Power Broker Roundtable discussion next month. I think it’s crucial for brokers everywhere to be prepared for the worst, and we need to share precautionary practices that work when you need them—especially from those who have experienced firsthand the havoc that Mother Nature can wreak.

RB: As brokers and as an industry, we have plans and goals for next year. But we need the flexibility to adapt, if we need to, to unknown or unforeseen issues—and I know you’ll do a fine job of making these exchanges relevant. I will look forward to it, and I know you’ll do a fine job of rounding up a dynamite panel. What else are you thinking of in terms of topics?

CP: Well, we’ve all talked about millennials from the standpoint of buyers, but as I can attest from my own experience, millennial agents are the up-and-coming generation. I’d like to talk about how they are redefining our industry, and what we can take from that now.

RB: Interesting—and timely. Clearly, you’ve done some thinking.

CP: I have. I also think there’s great value in revisiting wire fraud, which is becoming more of an issue as we speak, and the best ways to guard against it, and succession planning, which is a hot topic as a generation of boomers, including my own father, begin to look ahead toward retirement.

RB: And I assume you’ll want to tackle how tax reform, in whatever final form it takes, will impact the state of the market.

CP: Absolutely, and any other issues that new legislation may toss into the arena. The point of this Power Broker Roundtable, I believe, is to be open, ready, and flexible—to recognize what’s on the minds of our broker colleagues and share our best strategies for dealing with them…which brings up another point.

RB: What’s that?

CP: As I take over this chair, I want to emphasize exactly what my new NAR role means. I will be acting, as you have for the past year, as a liaison between brokers and NAR. I hope to bring to the forefront some noteworthy NAR news and messages, but I also want to hear from brokers out there about topics they’d like our panels to explore—and, for that matter, from brokers who may never have served on one of these Roundtable panels, but would like to participate now. I’m reachable any time, CPappas@keyes.com, so don’t hesitate to reach out.

RB: Well said, Christina. You’ll be a credit to the post, and I anticipate some noteworthy columns.

CP: That’s my goal—to keep them on-point and relevant—and thanks to you, Robert, for all you’ve done to keep our broker community current over the past year.

RB: My pleasure. Best going forward, Christina. I look forward to next month’s discussion!

For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Women’s Homeownership: A Sanctuary

For real estate agents to be better prepared to serve women homebuyers, they must recognize women’s power as a buying pool and understand the meaning of homeownership to women—the fastest-growing and most exciting market in the housing ecosystem.

Delaying marriage, higher educational attainment and presence in higher-paying jobs have made women a budding home-buying market:

  • According to the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), single women comprised 17 percent of homebuyers in the past year, while single men made up 7 percent.
  • The U.S. Census Bureau reports that in 2016, 49.8 percent of single women were homeowners compared to 46.8 percent of single men, and single women have outpaced single men in homeownership since 1986.

Women’s success in homeownership is an inspiring feat—as they’ve had to balance the gender wage gap and higher mortgage rates—and, despite these developments that have assisted women homebuyers, their personal willingness and sacrifice to become homeowners is where the credit is due.

A Sanctuary
To women, homeownership doesn’t simply mean growing wealth or diversifying portfolios. A woman’s home is her sanctuary, a place of personal freedom, security and comfort in an impacting world. Single women pursue homeownership for various reasons, but they all relate to the desire for freedom—in where they want to live, and how they want to live.

In response to NAWRB’s question regarding how important women consider homeownership and their personal home-buying obstacles on the subreddit AskWomen (/r/AskWomen), one respondent stated, “I enjoy it [homeownership] and am privileged enough to be able to budget for both mundane upkeep and larger maintenance issues. It gives me the freedom to use the property as I see fit, gives me the space that I always wanted, but never had while renting, and, all told, actually costs less per month than renting did.”

This relationship with your house is an irreplaceable characteristic of owning where you live. The confidence and security of knowing you have the power to use and modify your property as you please is an indescribable feeling. From being closer to family and having a property for their pets to providing a stable home to raise children, women are searching for these freedoms.

One of the most long-term aspects of women’s homeownership is the benefit it carries for future generations. Homeownership is an invaluable contributor to generational growth, and women homeowners are effectively paving the way for future generations of women and girls to succeed.

As a real estate professional, understand that single women aren’t waiting for marriage to obtain these benefits; they will make necessary sacrifices to attain them, whether it means taking a second job or adjusting their budgets to afford a down payment. Women are living their single lives fully, and they’re empowered.

Understanding the motivations of women homebuyers and what owning a home truly means to them will help real estate professionals serve this fast-growing buying pool.

Desirée Patno is president and CEO of the National Association of Women in Real Estate Businesses (NAWRB).

For more information, please visit www.nawrb.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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In It to Win It: CENTURY 21 North Shore

A Culture of Teamwork Keeps CENTURY 21 North Shore at the Top of Its Game

“Happy agents are productive agents.” That’s the reasoning of Jim D’Amico, dynamic broker/owner and chief motivator of CENTURY 21 NS Group/North Shore of New England, a Massachusetts-based firm whose more than $1 billion in real estate sales last year is validation of his belief. D’Amico, who has overseen more than 25 years of company growth, understands that his agents are a driving force in the firm’s success. “I’ll stop whatever I’m doing to take a call from one of my agents,” says D’Amico. “I appreciate their value and I want them to know it—to know I’m there for them 24/7 and I value their success as much as they do.” But confident and comfortable agents are only a part of D’Amico’s business philosophy. In this exclusive interview, he shares the vision and strategies that help to motivate continued growth.

Barbara Pronin: Jim, let’s start with a recap of your career path in real estate, and how you came to lead your company.
Jim D’Amico:
I actually started right after college. My dad, a longtime successful property owner in Chelsea, Mass., suggested I get my training as an agent at CENTURY 21. He was a firm believer in the brand before I really knew anything about it. In my first full year, I sold only two homes and I figured I may have chosen the wrong career path. I interviewed in the corporate sector and decided to join a small, successful firm in Chelsea called Florence Lipp Real Estate. Florence was not only a leader in the market; she controlled the market. There, I was trained and mentored by Diane Cambria, who helped me list and sell over 50 homes in my second full year. Then, in 1995, my dad heard the CENTURY 21 agency in Chelsea was up for sale. I rushed over to talk to the seller and made my way through a long and shaky process, but finally, at the ripe old age of 25, I was able to close on the sale with franchisor approval—and the rest, as they say, is history.

BP: How many offices and agents does the firm currently have?
JD:
We have 725 of the industry’s best agents in 41 locations throughout New England, and more to come.

BP: How would you describe your firm’s positioning in your marketplace? What sets it apart from the competition?
JD:
We are a top company both regionally and nationally, and I’m thankful for that, but what sets us apart from others is our agent-centric value system and our teamwork culture. Teams have been an overused term in our industry recently, but what I consider a team culture is people who help one another and root for one another even when they don’t get a financial benefit. That is teamwork. When it comes to our value proposition, we keep it simple. We don’t charge our associates for every little this and that. Charging for errors and omissions coverage, technology, copies, sign installations and more just gets in the way of an agent’s success. It’s very simple for us. Our agents get a great split and we provide great tools. We allow our agents to build their teams as they see fit. We don’t micro-manage. We are here to support them. We thrive on what I call “uber-communication.” That’s the reason I answer my cellphone every time an agent calls me, and if I get an email with a concern from an agent, I pick up the phone and call them. We have a two-email rule: If you have to send a third email on the same topic, don’t. Pick up the phone. I don’t want to ignite some kind of email chain of thoughts that can somehow get misunderstood. It’s all about directness for me, and getting to the root of the agent’s concern and working through it to everyone’s satisfaction. It’s the same kind of thoughtfulness and problem-solving we bring to our customers. They know we’ll do our level best to make their real estate goals a reality.

BP: How have you grown the company over the years in terms of offices and agents?
JD:
We have been very successful both in recruiting top talent and in being a resource for company leaders in the area who are looking for an exit strategy. Since 2016, we have added 24 locations and more than 390 agents to our company.

BP: What attracts agents to your firm, and why do they stay?
JD:
Two things, actually. First, our culture is very strong, as I’ve already indicated, but also our value proposition beats the competition hands down. We offer finite training from the best in the business, unbeatable support, including our own call center, and 100-percent reimbursement for training and retreat participation.

The second big focus is technology. We lead the charge on CENTURY 21’s ZAP and Business Builder lead-generation programs, and provide the best in lead flow technology to our agents from the new realtor.com® stack of FiveStreet, Top Producer, etc. In short, we deliver over 2,000 leads a month to our team, and while many owners are out selling homes, I’m out there assisting our team members in the field or overseeing operations to ensure our people are being properly supported and getting paid promptly. Our business model is no secret, so the best agents want to be with us.

BP: Can you expand a bit on how your business culture works—and on your leadership philosophy?
JD:
For one thing, we have a 100-percent happy rule. In my view, you can’t be successful if you’re not happy, so the rule is, if you aren’t 100-percent happy, you need to pick up the phone and call me so I can see what we can do to change that. For another thing, we lead by example. We don’t ask any of our staff to do what we wouldn’t do ourselves. I was raised with the rule that if you see a scrap of paper on the ground, you pick it up—and that’s the kind of “we’re in this together” culture that we’ve built with our agents and support staff. We’re here for each other every day. Our agents have a say in all we do, from office functionality to décor to systems to policies and guidelines. A lot of company leaders say they listen to staff, but here, we actually do. We don’t manage in a vacuum. We run a transparent and fun operation.

BP: What’s your strategy for effectively marketing the firm and best serving the needs of prospects and clients?
JD:
While other companies market the brand or the company, we market our agents. It’s a fact that all the best agents work at CENTURY 21 NS. That’s what we want prospects to know, and our customers back that up. It’s why our referral and repeat business rates are as high as they are, and why we are consistently on a growth curve.

BP: How do you stay ahead of the curve on technology, online marketing and social media?
JD:
We have great managers and great tech people who are focused on putting the needs of our agents on the table and researching the best ways to make them happen. We are presently working on converting to a paperless environment. We use Lone Wolf Technology’s operating system and dotloop, for example, to help us streamline procedures and move us into a paperless world.

BP: We understand you’ve joined forces with Led2Serve as a way of giving back. Can you tell us a little about that?
JD:
Led2Serve facilitates local and global service projects with a focus on the environment, education and housing—projects like painting a school, building a ramp for the disabled or manning an environmental clean-up effort. We donate a portion of every transaction to help support efforts like those, and our agents, friends and families are able to get personally involved in projects that directly help to better our communities and the world around us.

BP: So, what’s on deck for Century 21 NS?
JD:
In three words: grow, grow and grow. Life is short. We have one shot at this thing, and we are committed to offering the best service to the most people by growing our strength in our current markets, and being the new kid in town in as-yet untapped markets. In short, we will continue to acquire and expand our locations through judicious acquisition, and also to attract and support the industry’s best agents—career professionals who are happy in their work and who are totally focused on understanding and helping to fulfill the real estate needs of their clients.

For more information, please visit www.century21northshore.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Nutley Home Selling Production Has Just One Star

Nutley home selling is not so different from home selling in any other desirable community: the nearly universal underpinnings haven’t changed through the years. So when a homeowner watches a “Just Sold!” sign go up on a neighborhood home he or she just knows isn’t nearly as good a buy as his or her own property, “why them/why not me?” is the normal response.

The answer can be quite simple. If you want your own Nutley home selling campaign to proceed as smoothly as possible, veteran sellers offer some reliable advice:

  • Remove yourself from the equation. Specifically, remove the family photos off the walls and store them in an out-of-the-way place. That evocative stairwell lined with pictures of the kids and family vacations might be a trip down memory lane for you, but it’s a roadblock for potential buyers. The goal in home selling is to effectively showcase the property — don’t make the star of your production share the stage!
  • Store extra clothes. Sort through the clothes you and your family aren’t going to wear this season and remove them from the closets. Overstuffed, cluttered closets give prospective buyers the impression that there isn’t enough storage space, whereas a sparsely hung closet just feels luxurious. If needed, purchase wardrobe boxes to store in the garage.
  • Use the professional talent that’s already on deck — ask your agent for a truly forthright opinion on how your home stacks up against the other current listings in Nutley. Since you’re on the same team, you’ll get the best of both worlds: real, up-to-the-moment comparisons with competing area homes, and suggestions for how to further improve your property’s profile among them.

Preparing to sell a home can seem daunting at first, but once you begin in earnest, with the help of your real estate professional and a few proven guidelines, the process can be fully in motion quickly and easily. The most important thing to remember is that the better you display your property, the more money it is likely to sell for. It all starts when you give me a call!

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    Nutley Home Listings & the Pool Premium

    Nutley PoolsWho isn’t ready for summer? One group that’s clearly already there is this spring’s sellers: everyone whose home listings in Nutley  are already racking up page views. For them and everyone contemplating taking advantage of the busy spring selling season, an interesting fact has come to light. It puts numbers on something that most of us feel intuitively.

    It was the Wall Street Journal that recently called attention to it. They uncovered a study from BYU showing that when home listings including swimming pools go into contract in the summer, their selling price is an average 0.22 percentage points higher than the baseline price for the rest of the year.

    This was a huge study that sampled more than four million housing transactions from 1998 to 2008 in 27 states. For a $500,000 home listing, that difference translates into a roughly $2,000 premium — just for selling a home when the thermometer’s popping!

    It does stand to reason: think of how inviting that cool blue water looks after a hot day of house hunting. Prospects have probably been driving from house to house in a car that’s had to have the AC cranked up. Then compare with January, when a look at a backyard swimming pool is more apt to summon up thoughts of trying to stabilize chlorine levels than of enjoying a plunge into chilly water.

    So how does this reflect on home listings in Nutley this spring? If you own a home with a pool and are putting off a decision to sell, the lesson seems to be that seasonal functionality is real — and working in your favor. The professors at BYU reported that, generally speaking, early spring is a good time to snag late summer buyers. I have to agree: when the weather is nice, my clients set a scene making it easy for potential buyers to picture themselves enjoying that pool. They bring out the deck chairs and the fluffy towels!

    Looking for local home listing tips? I’m here to offer suggestions!

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      Homes For Sale in Nutley NJ

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