Helping Home Buyers in a Seller’s Market

A seller’s market meant that current inventory is less than the number of buyers in the real estate market. For buyers, that means more than one person may be interested in a single listing. Unfortunately, this means your buyers may end up heart broken. Someone may out bid them and if they have already fallen in love with the home it will be even harder. It’s important to prepare your clients for reality versus expectations as they begin their hunt for the home of their dreams- or as close to their dreams as possible.

In a sellers’ market a buyer must change their home buying strategy to have success when many homes will have multiple offers. Time is of the essence. Multiple offers happen with more regularity in a sellers' market than a buyer's market. That's because by its very nature a seller's market is defined in part by low inventory and lots of home buyers. A beautiful home that is priced well can attract more than one offer. Remember, your client might not be the only buyer.

Preparing the Home Buying Offer in a Seller's Market

  • Price. Price is not always the most important factor. But do not offer less than list price. Realize you may need to offer more than the amount the seller is asking.
  • Earnest Money Deposit. A larger earnest money deposit might look very attractive to a seller. Your client is going to pay it anyway at closing.
  • Don't Request Favors. This is not the time to ask the seller to give you the refrigerator or washer and dryer, or part with fixtures, or paint the front door.
  • Delay Buyer PossessionIf it is customary for the seller to move at closing, give the seller a few extra days to move. Another buyer probably won't think of this maneuver, and the seller will look more kindly upon an offer that lets them move at leisure.
  • Submit Preapproval and Proof of Funds Documentation. If your preapproval letter is from an out-of-area broker or lender, get a local preapproval instead. Mortgage pre-approval goes further than prequalification because you submit all the required paperwork up front. The bank then verifies the amount you can afford to pay for your next home. It takes the guesswork out of your home search and shows sellers you can back your offer up with real money.

Be Upfront About All Expenses

In the world of real estate, referrals and repeat business drive an agent’s success over time. Make an effort to present a clear picture of all the expenses a home buyer has after purchasing a home. Go over how much property taxes and mortgage insurance are and how they’re added into the overall payment. Explain the average utilities on that home and the cost of maintenance. Having this information presented clearly allows buyers to choose a house they can truly afford, even when all the little extras are added in.

Don’t Let Impatience Wreck Their Budget

Patience can be hard to come by when you feel pressure to beat buyers to the punch. But try not to get so carried away you forget the financial goals you’re working toward. Remember, it is recommended keeping your clients mortgage payment to no more than 25% of their monthly take-home pay on a 15-year fixed-rate mortgage.

Stress the Value of Improvements

While a turnkey home is attractive to homebuyers because they can move in and not worry about doing a single thing, it isn’t always realistic for buyers on a budget. If their budget doesn’t align with their wants and needs, stress the value of buying lower and making some improvements on their own. Buyers can expect a 70 percent return on investment from improvements to the exterior of the home, such as new siding. This not only gives them something to take pride in but can also help them financially down the road.

Jump on That Seller's Market Showing

Don't let your buyer wait until the weekend to view a home in a seller's market. By the weekend, that home could be sold. Try to be one of the first showings. Sellers usually don't enjoy having buyers come through their homes at all hours of the day, so most would like to see their home sold quickly. If you write a good offer, a fast offer and a clean offer, your client’s chances of acceptance are far better than those of a buyer who is unprepared.

It’s hard to leave emotions out of the home-buying process. After all, your clients purchase a place where they’ll live out their days, raise families and have gatherings of friends and those they love. It’s an emotional decision in many ways. However, if your buyers approach purchasing a home from the emotional side of things, they won’t be as likely to make smart business decisions. Do your best to guide them toward smart choices that will protect them financially, but at the end of the day, remember that you also must deliver a house they’ll love. When you balance those two competing needs, you’ll win both as a real estate agent and as a person.

 


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Minnesota Real Estate 6/30 Renewal Deadline

How do I renew my Minnesota real estate license?

Minnesota real estate salespeople and brokers must renew their licenses every two years by June 30th. To meet renewal requirements, you must

  1. Complete 15-hours of continuing education per year.
  2. Pay a fee
    • Salesperson: $60 + $10 technical processing fee
    • Brokers: $120 +$10 technical processing fee
  3. Go to the Minnesota Real Estate Commission portal and renew your license be 4:30 pm central time on June 30th.

What continuing education is required to renew my Minnesota real estate license?

You must complete 30 credit hours of approved courses each 2-year cycle. Courses are broken into two 15 hour modules. Courses must include:

  • 1 credit hour of Fair Housing
  • 1 credit hour of Agency Law
  • 1 credit hour of Residential Contracts for 2016-2017 renewal
  • You cannot take the same course twice in a licensing cycle

When must my Minnesota real estate license continuing education be completed by to avoid license lapsing?

Continuing education must be completed by June 30th, however, if you wait until the last two weeks of June to complete your continuing education you risk having your license lapse as well. It takes the state time to process realtor renewals, if your renewal is not processed by July 10th your license will lapse.

Where do I find courses to renew my Minnesota real estate license?

Real Estate Training Institute offers Minnesota approved online continuing education courses to renew your license. We offer a 15-hour package and individual courses to meet requirements for your 2020 module. Individual courses are also available.

Who submits my continuing education to the state of Minnesota?

Real Estate Training Institute will submit all Minnesota resident continuing education. Nonresidents are responsible for submitting their own continuing education to the state. Continuing education certificates are available immediately after completing courses.


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Takeaways From ICNY 2020

Inman Connect 2020 is an event for residential real estate professionals to discuss the present and future of the industry. New York City's The Close attended the Inman Connect 2020 conference and shared their key takeaways from the event. Below is a short list of their findings, to learn more view the full article.

  1. Online Real Estate Lead Quality Has Dropped Since 2012
    In the past 8 years the number of online leads has grown by 510% while the number of new home sales has grown by 10%. Meanwhile, the cost of internet leads is steadily increasing, even as the quality declines. We all know you can't run a successful real estate company without leads so rather than ditching your leads as expensive and unproductive, take the time to really nurture your leads and change your expectations.
  2. Relationships are King but Content is Queen
    Relationships and content need to work hand in hand to represent your business. According to real estate marketing expert Katie Lance, "Every listing, every photo, every single letter of every single word of every single sentence is a representation of your brand. What sort of content are you making to create opportunities for incredible client experiences?” In other words, you need to create great content to engage your audience and make building relationships easier.
  3. Traditional Mortgages Are Being Disrupted
    Companies like Divvy, Flyhomes, and Orchard are providing buyers a new way to buy real estate.  Companies like Divvy will purchase a home for a buyer that doesn't have a down payment and lease it back to them.  A portion of lease goes towards your down payment - once you've saved enough Divvy sells the home to you. Learning about these companies and the growing number of financing options will enable you to market to totally new clients.

These are just a few of the major points from the Inman Connect 2020 conference. View the full article for more.

 


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Getting and Keeping Real Estate Clients in 2020

Learning how to get and keep clients in real estate is a never-ending battle. With technology moving at lightening speed, getting and keeping your clients is tough! Understanding how to find qualified clients is more than just getting the phone to ring, it’s knowing how to keep it ringing consistently that will help your business grow.

 Follow Up is Everything

Most salespeople only reach out once or twice and then give up. Knowing your market, understanding your clients dreams and goals, and connecting them is hands down the most important characteristic in a salesperson. Following up, showing them that they are important, and a top priority will take time. Often it is a six-month, year or two-year long process of keeping in touch and providing them value. If you have amazing luck and someone calls you to set up their listing immediately, the rest of us are jealous! Typically it is a drawn out dance between the agent and the buyer/seller. Keeping track of where you are at with each client and every possible client can be exhausting. If you struggle to keep track adding a service to do that for you can save you hours of time. Customer Relationship Management (CRM) software is build to help you keep track of new and existing clients. Having a CRM that takes care of remembering who, what and when to send calls or emails so you don’t have to remember is a life saver that will pay for itself.

 Relationship Referrals

To get the highest closing ratio, relationship referrals are crucial. If you build strong relationships with current clients, they can expand your network like nothing else can. By using the referrals and relationships where trust has already been established, your business will gain momentum.

 Build a Personal Brand

Your personal brand is the overall impression that your audience gets from your social media posts, marketing, lead generation, and pretty much everything else you put out into the world as a real estate agent. Doing a personal brand audit and deciding on some branding basics will absolutely help you get clients. Come up with a logo, slogan, website, and general aesthetic that you can keep consistent across all your real estate marketing and social media channels. If you’re somewhat tech savvy or at least willing to learn,  a course on real estate social media marketing is a great way to up your skills. Plenty of agents are getting a decent ROI with Facebook and Instagram ads but another great way to get clients is to try to integrate your hobbies into your personal branding. The idea here is to appeal to your audience’s fun side by highlighting hobbies or interests you might have in common. For example, if you’re a baker, you might want to consider making a cute Instagram post with you baking at your new listing, or maybe go out and rate the local bakeries and post the videos on YouTube. Then you won’t just be another real estate agent. Clients who are also amazing in the kitchen will be far more likely to choose you over someone with similar skills who isn’t a baker. Of course, that other agent may have a culinary degree and volunteer at the soup kitchen, but their audience will never know. So, don’t be a secret agent when it comes to your hobbies and interests!

Educate with Insider Knowledge

Educate potential and existing clients. For potential clients, create a blog full of helpful hints and tricks to aide in their real estate search. For existing clients, point out a feature in an apartment or something about a building that a client wouldn’t know by looking at the listing online. People appreciate learning something from their real estate broker. Teaching someone something they didn’t previously know helps to build trust and a feeling for them that you are adding real value to the buying or selling experience.

Fake It Until You Make It

Luck can change your real estate career. We’ve all heard stories about agents who stumble their way into seven-figure listings their first week on the job. For the most part, those stories are true. But luck isn’t everything. Even if a local millionaire takes a liking to you, you still have to prove to them that the risk of hiring you is worth their time. If you are just starting out, you likely don’t have many accomplishments to point to so your personality is going to have to work overtime to seal the deal. Work on yourself and develop the confidence and knowledge that every good agent needs. Read everything you can about real estate and business and face your fears BEFORE you get lucky enough to book that listing presentation.

 

 


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Colder Temperatures Cool Down the Colorado Real Estate Market

Over the past year or so, the media has deceivingly discussed the decline in the real estate market across the U.S. Will there be another 2008? Is another recession around the corner? While these words may instill some fear, that’s where the tall tale ends. Real estate projections in most of the nation all show steady continual opportunities. Most states, Colorado included, are seeing continued above average home sales for this chilly time of year.

After a 6 year long hot real estate market, it is to be expected that the market will cool down. The residential and commercial markets in general remain strong and agents are just now seeing properties remain on the market for longer. Coloradans have seen inventory increases and that’s resulted in increased price reductions and concessions. To put it simply, sellers can’t be as aggressive in their pricing strategy because the market is going from one (sometimes even less) homes per buyer to three or four. This increase gives buyers more options to choose from and less competition when putting in offers. After a heavy multiple offer scenario market, a cool down is a good thing.

Today, nine out of ten home buyers require financing to purchase property. Fortunately, interest rates are lower than this time last year. This dip in interest rates means that buyers shouldn’t just look at the sales price, but also factor in the cost of the loan. Buyers purchasing homes under $500,000 have some big advantages this time of year. Typically, November through February is a great time for buyers to purchase a home and more people should take advantage. Moving expenses are far lower and the power of negotiation and available choices have multiplied.

For agents, buyers and sellers, winter isn’t the easiest time for home showings because of the weather. For agents, this is a great occasion to spend time with family for the holidays and to complete your required continuing education.

This time of year can be stressful enough, completing your continuing education doesn’t have to be! With Real Estate Training Institute, you can stay in and use any internet enabled device to complete your courses.


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Alaska Real Estate: It’s Time to Renew!

Top 5 Things to Know Before Renewing:

  1. All Real Estate Licenses expire on January 31 of even-numbered years regardless of when first issued (except new licenses issued within 90 days of the expiration date will be issued to the next biennium).
  2. Licensees who receive their original license within 12 months of the expiration date pay the full license fee and then at their first renewal pay a prorated renewal fee (half of the current license fee).
  3. You must renew your license on or before the expiration date to continue to practice in Alaska. There is no grace period to practice on a lapsed license.
  4. Renewal forms will be mailed at least 60 days before the expiration date to the last address you provided to the board. You must report all new addresses to the Board in writing.
  5. Before a license can be renewed, real estate licensees must complete the following for maintaining continuing competency:
    • An 8-hour continuing education core curriculum
    • 12 contact hours of continuing education in elective topics

This time of year can be stressful enough, completing your continuing education doesn’t have to be! With Real Estate Training Institute, you can stay in and use any internet enabled device to complete your courses.

 

We provide: Alaska approved continuing education that meets your elective credit requirements. You will receive your CE Course Completion Certificate immediately upon completion.
All classes are HD VIDEO or FULL NARRATION with PRINTABLE TEXT

Prevent Danger and Keep Yourself Safe!

Recently at an open house in southern California a real estate agent was attacked by a man posing as a prospective buyer. Unfortunately, this is the world we live in and therefore real estate agents must remain vigilant and prepared. Agent safety can be tough when your job requires you to perform independently. To avoid issues, agents should be proactive and take safety into their own hands. The first step to doing so is to understand that safety is your responsibility to yourself.

Recognize the Traits that Make You Vulnerable

Agents always want to look well put together and professional, however, there are a few safety issues that should be discussed. For example, do not wear expensive jewelry and if possible, leave your purse in the trunk of your vehicle. These small details can make all the difference when an attacker is deciding if you would make a good victim.

Respond, Don’t Ignore

Typically, agents are taught to be polite and accommodating, so they will often ignore signs that something is wrong.  Experts on agent safety emphasize the importance to listen to your instincts.  Many agents who have been assaulted, like the agent previously mentioned, ignored the client’s unusual behavior before the attack.

Reduce Your Chances of Becoming A Victim

Ask clients for identification. Establish a special form for clients that includes contact information and a copy of the ID or driver’s license. Meet clients in the office first. This will prevent clients from trying to harm you later, because they know someone else can identify them. When showing a client, a house, avoid walking ahead of them or getting into confined places, like basements, with them.

Take Responsibility—Learn Self Defense

Agents are exposed to danger on a regular basis when they’re doing their job, and even more so for those who are not professionally trained to defend themselves. We know it’s rarely possible to have another trusted person accompany you while driving clients to showings or with you during every open house. That is why we created an online course for you to learn about personal safety and self-defense. We will help you plan ahead and make yourself a less appealing target. You will learn about safety responsibility, safety threats and safety measures to name a few. Remember the key is to let others know where you are, when you will be back and have an excuse to leave if ever you don’t feel comfortable with your circumstances.

These are just a few of the many valuable skills you will learn when taking Certified Training Institute’s Personal Safety and Self Defense 4 Hour CE Course. Real Estate Professionals: learn valuable safety skills and meet your continuing education requirements at the same time. Be prepared for the unexpected, visit Real Estate Training Institute, choose your State and take this class today!

 


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Falling in Love with Your Open Houses this Autumn

The beginning of autumn is like a breath of fresh air--a bit of relief from the offensive summer heat is more than welcome at this time of year. Real estate professionals can capitalize on buyers' eagerness to enjoy fall by bringing the best of the season into their open houses. By using the weather to your advantage and creating some seasonal charm, your open houses will be a hit!

Potential home buyers are likely to purchase a home before the holiday season gets in full swing--this means they will be more serious and ready to make an offer as soon as they find the right fit.  Here are some tips to planning a sensational autumn open house.

Up the Curb Appeal

Set the tone the second interested buyers walk up with a festive fall wreath and doormat. It’s an easy way to add color and style to the front entry, which is great for curb appeal. A doormat invites people in and can add a touch of personality. Bonus: the doormat can also help keep the floors clean.

Focus on Lighting

Lighting can be just as important during an open house as it is in your real estate photographs. Make sure any exterior lighting is working properly and utilize a mix of lamps and ceiling lights to create the perfect ambiance. Don’t go overboard with scented candles or similar items--some viewers may be allergic to the smell. To play it safe, look into electric candles or other lighting sources that can make your property glow without upsetting potential buyers.

Serve Seasonal Refreshments

Providing refreshments for an open house is an excellent, low cost way to incorporate fall touches into your open house. Think about pairing warm cookies with FAQ sheets on the neighborhood or hot cocoa next to a printed floor plan. This personal touch, while small, can make a big impact. Potential buyers will feel comfortable in the space and leave with all the information they need.

Add Autumn-Inspired Elements to the Decor

Continue the autumn theme throughout the house by adding touches of seasonal decor: fall-colored throw blankets and pillows on the couch, a pumpkin cookie jar and apple-cinnamon potpourri in the guest bathroom.

Open Up the Windows

Now is the best time of year when you can open the windows and let the crisp, clean air inside. If you have a fantastic view or outdoor living space, opening the doors and windows can also call attention to the features.

Hosting a memorable fall open house will rely on your ability to make potential buyers feel at home in the space. Create a cozy atmosphere by relying on little fall touches. Keep the inside of the property warm and incorporate subtle fall decor. To make the house even cozier, you can leave out a few fall activities for kids like coloring pages or word puzzles. Between the activities, the warmer temperatures, and any other fall touches, potential buyers will fall in love with the property.

 


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Two Real Estate Firms in Hot Water in Hawaii

 

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has settled with both Century 21 Homefinders of Hawaii in Hilo, and Coldwell Banker Island Properties of Kahuhui, Maui for violating the federal Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA). Collectively the companies have agreed to pay more than $26,000 in penalties for failing to provide proper lead-based paint disclosure to buyers and renters of homes built before 1978 in Maui and the Big Island.

The companies were cited under the TSCA’s lead-based paint disclosure rule, which applies to housing built before the residential use of lead-based paint was banned in 1978. The rule requires sellers and lessors of pre-1978 homes to provide prospective home buyers and tenants with a federal brochure about lead-based paint, any information known about lead-based paint in the home, and a warning statement about the potential dangers of lead-based paint. Buyers also have the option to inspect pre-1978 homes before becoming obligated to make a purchase. With this knowledge, potential home buyers and tenants can make informed decisions about whether to buy or rent a specific residence.

Century 21 Homefinders of Hawaii has agreed to pay a $6,962 penalty to settle alleged disclosure violations. Coldwell Banker Island Properties paid a $19,344 penalty in an earlier settlement. Both real estate companies have certified that they are presently in compliance.

High levels of lead in blood can cause permanent damage to the nervous system and widespread health problems, according to the EPA, including reduced intelligence and attention span, hearing loss, stunted growth, reading and learning problems, and behavioral difficulties. Young children with developing nervous systems are most vulnerable. “Reducing childhood lead exposure and addressing associated health impacts is a top priority for the EPA,” said EPA Pacific Southwest Regional Administrator Mike Stoker in a news release. “These settlements protect Hawaii communities by ensuring that lead paint rules and regulations are followed.”

Click here to learn more about the Disclosure Rule.

 


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Nebraska Real Estate Professionals – It’s time to renew!

Brokers and Salespersons in Nebraska are required to complete 18 hours of continuing education each two-year licensing cycle.

If your license starts with an odd number your renewal is November 30, 2019.

 

The speedy housing market in Nebraska is thanks not only to fierce competition over a scarce selection of homes, but also the healthy economy and Nebraska’s “Nice” factor. Compared to East and West coast negotiations, which are like a sport, Nebraskans are nice, decisive and unwilling to take too much time or deal with the hassle of a long negotiation. Both Lincoln and Omaha are on the road to expanding their job market, inviting even more newcomers from larger more expensive cities causing homes to be bought even quicker. Nebraska home values are expected to remain stable. The job market in Nebraska is on the rise and the demand for housing is expected to increase. It is a great time to be a real estate agent in Nebraska!

Keeping up with your education is vital to your prosperity in Real Estate. Without completing the requirements, your license will be just another card tucked in a corner wallet pocket or the candy covered bottom of your purse.

Don't let your continuing education be the reason you miss out on all the commissions from the hours of hard work you put into listings, showings, contracts etc. We understand as an agent, your time is extremely valuable.  We know in the last few years "For Sale" signs have been flying off homes in Nebraska and thoughts of CE have been on the back burner.

In a recent interview Doug Dohse, president of the Omaha Area Board of Realtors, informed us that the market is about to change. He stated “There are just not enough homes for sale, that’s what’s driving [the fast market] more than anything else.” As the housing market begins to slow, now is the time to get your Real Estate CE courses complete. Currently, in both Omaha and Lincoln (more so than any other big metro area across the country) homes are spending on average only 32 days on the market before being snatched up. That doesn't give you much time to get your continuing education done but that's what makes our program so great! You can take your courses from anywhere, at any time and on any internet connected smart device, making it simple and time effective to complete your CE today!

 

We provide: Nebraska approved continuing education that meets all of your requirements. We will report your CE to the Nebraska Real Estate Commission after completion.
All classes are HD VIDEO or FULL NARRATION with PRINTABLE TEXT