By Toby Boyce
“Should NAR include a pro bono provision in REALTOR® code of ethics?”
The question was posed to me recently on Twitter by Sellsius publisher Joseph Ferrarra. It is something Ferrara has been kicking around for a while with “Pro Bono Real Estate Broker?” appearing June 2006 and several other articles including “Should NAR include a pro-bono provision in REALTOR® code of ethics?” on Feb. 24.
I am a huge Ferrarra fan and am honored to have had the opportunity to meet him on a couple of occasions. But, on this occasion I just don’t get it.
There are two key pieces of this discussion that bother me. (1) If you can’t afford to pay a commission on the house, can you afford to maintain the new house? (2) Adding this to the code of ethics doesn’t do anything but give it lip-service.
Don’t get me wrong, pro bono work is extremely noble and can be very rewarding. I strongly believe in giving back to our community – either through volunteering or providing pro bono work for some in the market. However, it all comes back to dollars and cents to me. Real estate is not law. People do not require our services, while everyone may need an attorney at some point in their life. If a buyer is purchasing a starter home, but “can’t” pay my 3 percent commission — so I rebate it back to them. They are essentially getting into the home with 0.5 percent down. Isn’t that the kind of stuff that got the housing market in trouble to begin with? Continue reading »
By Brooke Wolford
Back in January, I wrote a blog post about a recent dispute I had with another practitioner. At the time, the incident had just happened and it hadn’t been completely resolved. Things are finally getting pieced together.
The whole situation was a hard thing for me to go through. My fellow co-workers had always given me respect and knew that I did things professionally. But in every office there is always the one person that maybe doesn’t share the same opinion as you. In my case, I was the type of person who doesn’t get into all of the drama. But when I started getting e-mails from others in my office, the day after the situation happened, I was floored! But at the same time I did not respond to the e-mails and questions from other people in the office. I felt it was inappropriate to say anything. But at the same time, it was hard for me to hold back the urge to defend myself.
But I still tried to take the high road. This has been a whirl wind experience for me. But from every experience, there are valuable lessons to be learned. Here are some tips to better handle an in office dispute.
- Until the issue is resolved, keep it to yourself.
- Be an adult and try and work it out with the other practitioner.
- If you can’t get the issue resolved between you and the other practitioner, always get your manager involved.
- Make sure you have your facts straight. Speculation doesn’t get you anywhere.
- Try to put yourself in the other persons shoes.
- Don’t let yourself get too worked up. Letting yourself get emotional will only hurt the situation.
- Be willing to comprise, if possible.
- If you are right and you have the facts to back it up, don’t give up!
- Don’t get down on yourself if you’re wrong. We all make mistakes!
Brooke Wolford is a real estate practitioner with Edina Realty, Hastings, Minn. Follow her blog at strugglingrookierealestateagent.blogspot.com.
By Jeremy Williams
“A little sleep, a little slumber, a little folding of the hands to rest – and poverty will come to you like a bandit and scarcity like an armed man.” Proverbs 6:10-11
When you read these words initially, especially early in the morning without hot coffee flowing through your veins and ZZ Top blowing out your computer speakers, they may seem not so encouraging at first. You think to yourself, you are working harder than ever before in a market environment that has softened over the last couple of years. The results of your closed production are similar or less when compared to the previous year in which you worked less. It won’t hurt for you to take a little rest; kick back in your chair and take a break. Your tired and feeling beat down.
I believe the words from Proverbs warn us from becoming complacent in our businesses. Now is the time to take control and prosper from the hard work and long hours we put into our businesses on a daily basis. Now is the time to wake up from our slumber.
Remember the following things that should help in refocusing your mindset today.
1. The real estate market is cyclical. If you are in a down or soft market, what you do today will benefit you when the market makes an upswing. Continue reading »
By Laura Rubinchuk
When I heard about the new FHA DELRAP/HRAP guidelines for condo financing, my gut reaction was, “Well, I might as well go find another job.” Some of the subjective guidelines for the new approval process will greatly affect my market:
-Proximity to a noise (i.e. busy streets, highways)
-Proximity to a gas station
-Percentage of commercial space
And the list goes on, and on… For those of us in a Metropolitan/Urban environment, the whole point of condo living in the city is ease of travel and lifestyle. In the D.C. area, we have numerous major highways that lead into the District, the metro system, etc. and the majority of our high-rise condo buildings are located within blocks of these things.
So tell me how it makes sense to take buildings we’ve been selling for years with spot-approved FHA loans, taunt first-time buyers or other qualified buyers who have the minimum 3.5 percent down-payment, and tell them that because it’s the first of the month of this year, now they have to wait WEEKS to months for a green light on the home they fell in love with, if the seller is willing and/or able to wait at all!
Again, I ask, how does the economy continue to grow if the FHA puts the cabash on condo financing and eliminate the pool of buyers who don’t have the minimum 10 percent down-payment but qualify for the loan? Even funnier, why is the HUD website of approved condo projects only searchable from Monday-Friday, 8 a.m.-9 p.m.? Does the site need beauty sleep?
I don’t intend to start a political debate, but I can’t help wondering if the underlying reasons are a bigger concern? Is the FHA running out of money? Are they trying to keep out some buyers so some remain for later in the year?
By Brian Copeland
In 1982, I faintly remember my mom going to fight at Kmart for the newest batch of Cabbage Patch dolls. It was a big deal. They were the hottest toy. All the little girls (and some boys) wanted one. It was only a few weeks to Christmas. It was a recipe for opportunity or disaster. She could get in the fight, get the doll and have a happy Christmas for her niece or wait until after Christmas, get a new batch, miss the rush but miss the holiday.
Showing houses to buyers over the past few weeks here in Nashville, I kinda get an idea of how mom felt back in 1982. It seems that every house we walk in priced below a certain price is either (1) in multiple offers, (2) a short sale that can’t make the contract deadline or (3) just contracted.
So, where does that leave us, the practitioners, and our buyers today? If they wait for a better inventory, they miss the tax credit. If they go to contract now, they may be making rushed decisions. As great buyer’s agents, it’s our job to guide them to the best decisions possible. Here are a few tips I’ve been working out with my current buyers.
- Pre-counseling is mandatory. In the counseling session, it’s imperative to discuss short sales and foreclosures in depth, giving them every scenario possible. Explain to them the “season” of searching they are in and what to expect between now and April 30. Continue reading »
By Nobu Hata
I am loathed to do this, but I’m going to plug a class. If there’s one class or certification training you take this year, make it NAR’s Short Sales and Foreclosure Resource (SFR) training program.
I must admit, after hearing about it from the kind folks at REBAC, hearing about my own company’s training program, and learning about CDPE, there was a bit of short-sale overload on my part. Then after hearing that it “focuses on buyers” from a fellow agent, I had pretty much ruled out. Everyday, we struggle to find the CE classes with the most value and the first impressions I had of it turned me off. Boy was I ever wrong.
The six or so hours flew right by. The content was not only relevant, but looks to able to transcend the passage of time and legislation. Since it was such a timely subject, interaction was lively, and agents shared stories amongst each other; I left with names and numbers of folks at different banks should my need for them arise. In the end, you leave the class armed with the know-how to become a “resource” for your clients – past, present and future.
The big plus? You have bonafide NAR certification (that still means something guys), and you have access to webinars that will be constantly refreshed to fit the times.
The reality is this: short-sales, foreclosure, distressed properties; we’ll be dealing with these homes for the foreseeable future. Continue reading »