A Real Estate User’s Guide To the Government Shutdown

As Democrats and Republicans fall all over each other trying to blame the other side of the aisle for the government shutdown, should you be concerned if you’re involved with a real estate transaction right now or in the near future?  Umm – it depends.

Since the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) is a government agency, any borrower who applies for or, has applied to get an FHA or VA mortgage will be impacted.  Those temporary electronic highway signs on the side of the road that read, ‘Incident Ahead – Expect Major Delays’ applies here.

Since the vast majority of HUD workers were sent home early Saturday morning and they’re operating on skeleton crews, virtually no one is there to answer calls/emails, process paperwork or grant loan approvals.  UGH!!! Continue reading

A REALTORS® Guide To Engagement on Social Media

Since social media websites began, the conversation among REALTORS® has raged on as to its importance in the business of real estate.  Five years ago, engaging on social media was considered by many in our industry to be a colossal waste of time and resources.

The detractors claimed that viewing pictures of what someone had for dinner last night or playing Candy Crush was never going to help an agent grow their business.  Well, I think we can all agree that if an agent uses social media for those purposes, the naysayers are absolutely right.

However, research groups are now using metrics to assess the importance of social media because we now have a history of how its significance has evolved over time – and the data supporting its impact is indisputable.

In its latest survey of home buyers and sellers¹, the National Association of REALTORS® asked the question of thousands of consumers who recently bought and sold real estate, “How important is agent communications?”  Here is the chart outlining the findings:

Social Media Importance
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Thirteen percent of consumers now say it is important for their agent to be active on social media.  This may not seem like a big number but consider that when the same question was asked of consumers four years ago, the number was 3%.  For those that don’t want to crunch the numbers that’s a 433% jump in a relatively short period of time.

So now that we’ve determined that there might be something to this social media ‘stuff’, how does an agent use it to their advantage? Continue reading

Getting Started in Real Estate – The Thirteen Dirty Little Secrets No One Will Tell You

People have a habit of making huge, life-changing decisions at the end of December because they reflect back on the year that was and realize, “I don’t want to do this anymore” or, “This job isn’t getting me where I want to be” or, “All the kids are gone, so it’s time for me to do something.”  Sound familiar.

This is usually the point where they investigate how to get a real estate license.  All you have to do is take a couple of classes, pass a test, and PRESTO!  You’re in the business.  How difficult could it be?  And just think of all the MONEY!

Over thirty years ago, I entered the real estate business with no idea that the path I had chosen would lead me to where I am today.  I have survived multiple recessions, high interest rates (16½%) and the introduction of the internet into the real estate business.  Through it all, there have been some guiding principles that have kept me focused on not only surviving in this business but thriving while others have faded away.

As you are contemplating whether to take that first step and enroll in classes or you already passed your licensing exam and are deciding which company to affiliate with, consider the following key points that most real estate recruiters will not cover in an interview:  Continue reading

RE/MAX is the #1 Real Estate Franchise in the US – – Again!

Franchise Times Top 10 - 2017
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RE/MAX was once again a top 10 franchise and the leading real estate franchise for the 9th consecutive year in the annual Franchise Times Top 200+® survey.  This put RE/MAX at the same level of other household names such as Marriott Hotels, Ace Hardware, and 7-Eleven.

RE/MAX was also ranked #2 for total sales volume growth and #8 for unit growth.  The average sales growth of the Top 10 companies was 2.8% – RE/MAX grew by 11.8%.

The Pros and Cons of E-Sign in the Real Estate Transaction

In the world in which we live in today, if you haven’t been asked to electronically sign something, you’ve been hiding underneath a rock.  Our comfort level with E-sign has rapidly evolved in the last ten years. Electronic signatures in real estate transactions are fast becoming the norm instead of the exception.

For purposes of simplicity in this post, I am going to refer to electronic signatures and digital signatures as one in the same, although they are different.  Digital signatures are used in the real estate business and are much more secure than electronic signatures.  If you’re geeky and want to read about the differences, click here to learn more.

Before we touch on the pros and cons of e-sign, a common misconception needs to be cleared up.  I often hear from consumers and agents alike, “Are they legal?”  The short answer, “Yes.”

The Uniform Electronic Transactions Act (UETA) was introduced in 1999 and has been adopted by 47 U.S. states (Pennsylvania is one of them), as well as the District of Columbia and the U.S. Virgin Islands.  UETA allows electronic signatures in real estate transactions as long as the parties to a contract agree to proceed electronically.

The ESIGN Act is a federal law passed in 2000 and grants legal recognition to electronic signatures and records if all parties to a contract choose to use electronic documents and to sign them electronically.

UETA and the ESIGN Act solidified the legal landscape for use of electronic records and electronic signatures in real estate transactions by confirming that they carry the same weight and have the same legal effect as traditional paper documents and wet ink signatures.

Now that they boring legal stuff is out of the way, here are the pros and cons:  Continue reading