Placester and the National Association of Realtors(R) Launch Free Real Estate Websites to More Than 1.2 Million …

WASHINGTON, DC–(Marketwired – May 25, 2017) – Last year, Realtors® spent a median of $70 to maintain a website. To help reduce those business costs, real estate website and marketing platform Placester is extending its partnership with the National Association of Realtors® to bring a basic “NAR Edition” website to the association’s 1.2 million members at no charge. NAR members will also receive discounts on advanced website features and products.

Placester, an all-in-one business platform, provides industry-leading sales and marketing solutions for real estate professionals, including lead-capturing websites, client management tools, marketing automation and analytics, and an online academy featuring an extensive library of educational resources. Placester’s exclusive websites and discounts for NAR Members are made possible through NAR’s Realtor Benefits® Program.

“With nine in 10 homebuyers citing websites as their most useful source of information, Placester and NAR recognize that in order to succeed, agents need an online foundation that promotes their brand and provides value to the consumer,” said Matt Barba, CEO, Placester. “This partnership will enable every Realtor® to build an online presence that they control. Placester’s mission is to help each and every real estate professional with the online business tools to compete effectively online as well as face-to-face,” Barba said.

With Placester’s exclusive NAR Edition websites, NAR members receive a responsive website for both web and mobile that includes IDX listing integration capability, a mortgage calculator, editable page templates, a homepage with customizable image slideshow, social media integration, the ability to add branding, and more — all for no charge.

In addition to Placester’s free edition for NAR members, Realtors® will also receive discounts on advanced site features and products, including single property websites, broker websites, and Placester’s advanced Essential, Premium, and Premium PLUS bundles, which include integrated lead management, drip marketing tools, and more.

“As technology changes the way consumers approach buying and selling homes, Realtors® are seeing an increasing online demand for in-depth property and neighborhood information,” said Bob Goldberg, NAR senior vice president, Marketing and Business Development. “This expanded partnership with Placester means that every NAR member can create an effective and professional website for free for running and growing their business.”

Built on the foundation of affordable and well-designed agent websites, Placester powers the businesses of more than 400,000 real estate professionals with solutions for CRM and drip email marketing, along with data-driven insights, mobile applications, and marketing services. This includes agents in 95 percent of U.S.-based real estate brands, as well as independent brokerages. For more information on Placester’s exclusive NAR Edition, visit https://placester.com/nar/.

About Placester

Placester is an all-in-one business platform for real estate professionals with beautiful lead capturing websites, lead management, email marketing, marketing automation, analytics, free education and 24/7 support. Founded in 2011 by Matthew Barba, a former real estate agent, and Frederick Townes, a seasoned technologist, the Placester platform enables real estate professionals to grow their businesses online and via mobile through seamless MLS integration, natural language search and eye-catching visuals. In addition, Placester offers a wide range of apps and add-ons for high-impact email marketing, digital advertising campaigns, lead management and streamlining of everyday tasks.

Currently serving two in five real estate professionals in the U.S., Placester is a proud technology partner to leading real estate brands across North America, and the sole website provider for the Realtor Benefits® Program, the official member benefits program of the National Association of Realtors®. To date, Placester has raised $100 million in funding, backed by New Enterprise Associates (NEA), Romulus Capital and Techstars. For more information, please visit placester.com.

About the National Association of Realtors®

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

The Realtor Benefits® Program is the association’s official member benefits program, connecting members with savings and unique offers on products and services just for Realtors® from more than 30 companies recognized as leaders in their respective industries.

Home values continue to rise in Manatee, Sarasota

Home values continue to increase in Manatee and Sarasota counties, even as a strong close to the season gave way to a market that showed signs of cooling last month.

The median price for an existing single-family home in April in Manatee County was $295,000, a 5.4 percent increase from a year earlier, the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee announced Wednesday.

In Sarasota County, the year-over-year median price jumped 9 percent to $272,500.

Sales were mostly flat in Manatee County, with a 1.5 percent increase from April 2016, while Sarasota County had a healthy 8.3 percent surge compared to a year earlier.

“This year’s season started slow in January, but picked up steam in February and March, leveling out again in April,” said Xena Vallone, the 2017 president of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee.

It’s evident that as prices continue to rise, potential buyers are becoming more discriminate in their search for a new home.

Case in point: In Manatee County, the time on the market for an existing single-family home increased from 38 days in April 2016 to 46 days last month. In Sarasota County, it went from 35 days a year earlier to 45 last month.

Inventory in the region remains tight, especially in the lower price ranges, though it is growing. Manatee County saw a 3.6 percent increase in year-over-year inventory in April, while Sarasota had a 12.3 percent jump.

“Higher inventory levels typically increase the time it takes to sell a property,” Vallone said. “However, that is not the case for more affordable price points. Single-family homes priced under $300,000 are going to contract more quickly than those priced higher.”

This year’s season started slow in January, but picked up steam in February and March, leveling out again in April.

Xena Vallone, the 2017 president of the Realtor Association of Sarasota and Manatee

Without more homes for sale, “median prices will continue to rise due to demand,” said Florida Realtors president Maria Wells, who noted that sellers received 96.2 percent of their original listing price last month.

The statewide median sales price for an existing single-family home last month was $234,900, up 10.3 percent from the previous year, according to Florida Realtors research. That marked the 65th consecutive month that the statewide median price showed a year-over-year increase.

The region’s condo/townhome market took a hit last month, with year-over-year sales dropping 22 percent in Manatee County and 0.3 percent in Sarasota. The median price in Manatee County rose 2.1 percent to $170,500, but fell 1.4 percent to 215,000 in Sarasota.

The statewide median price for condo-townhome properties in April was $172,000, up 7.2 percent from a year earlier.

Supply squeeze hurts national sales

Across the country, Americans pulled back their pace of home-buying in April, slowed by shrinking inventories and rising prices.

The National Association of Realtors said that sales of existing single-family homes slipped 2.3 percent last month to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 5.57 million. Still, a stable job market has supported solid demand from buyers as home purchases are 1.6 percent higher than a year ago.

The median sales price has risen 6 percent from a year ago to $244,800. But the sales volume of homes worth less than $250,000 has declined over the past year, while homes worth more than the median have experienced sales growth.

The median sales price across the country has risen 6 percent from a year ago to $244,800.

Sales declined last month in the Northeast, South and West, while rising in the Midwest.

Despite the sluggish report, National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun believes sales of existing homes are poised to climb 3.5 percent in 2017.

“The housing market has exceeded expectations ever since the (November presidential) election, despite depressed inventory and higher mortgage rates,” Yun said. “The combination of the stock market being at record highs, 16 million new jobs created since 2010, pent-up household formation and rising consumer confidence are giving more households the assurance and ability to purchase a home.”

Information from Herald wires was used in this report.

Nevada REALTOR® Jack Woodcock earns NAR’s highest honor

Longtime REALTOR Jack Woodcock
Longtime REALTOR® Jack Woodcock earns NAR’s highest honor.

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Longtime Las Vegas REALTOR® Jack Woodcock was named the 91st recipient of the prestigious National Association of REALTORS® Distinguished Service Award (DSA) at the REALTORS® Legislative Trade Expo in Washington, D.C.

NAR established the DSA in 1979 to honor REALTORS® who have made outstanding contributions to the real estate industry and who serve as leaders in their local communities. The award is considered the highest honor an NAR member can receive. Recipients must be active at the local, state and national association levels.

That certainly describes Woodcock, said Greg Martin, 2017 president of the Nevada Association of REALTORS® (NVAR), who was at the event last week when the honor was announced.

“From serving his country to serving his state and his profession, service is probably the word that best describes Jack and why he’s so deserving of this award,” Martin said. “Since entering the profession in 1974, Jack has been the REALTOR® embodiment of honor, leadership, service and commitment. He has emerged as a proven leader in our industry.”

Martin added that Woodcock “has dedicated most of his adult life to his profession.”

Woodcock will be officially presented with the DSA award during the NAR Board of Directors Meeting at the REALTORS® Conference Expo scheduled for Nov. 6 in Chicago.

Woodcock has been a strong supporter of NAR’s government affairs efforts and what he calls “the REALTOR® Party.” He has chaired the political action committees of the NVAR and the Greater Las Vegas Association of REALTORS® for eight years and held the position of Region XI RPAC Trustee from 2007 through 2012. He was inducted into the NAR RPAC Hall of Fame in 2003, and has been a Golden “R” investor in these political action committees since 2002.

He has said that one of his greatest industry accomplishments is the key role he played in founding, funding and developing the Lied Institute for Real Estate Studies at UNLV in the 1980s. In 2011, the Lied Institute and UNLV honored Woodcock with its Lieder Award.

Woodcock is also a proud veteran who served for 11 years in the U.S. Air Force and received two Air Force commendation medals and a Bronze Star for meritorious combat service while serving two 18-month tours in Southeast Asia. He also served in Germany, in Holland and in the Pentagon in the Command and Control Center for Air Force One.

About the NVAR
The Nevada Association of REALTORS® is a professional trade association with more than 15,000 members. NVAR is committed to protecting, promoting and preserving our communities. Visit www.NVAR.org.

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National Association of Realtors: Existing-home sales (and days on market) dropped in April

The March 2017 existing-home sales numbers from the National Association of Realtors (NAR) contained some hope that maybe (maybe!) inventory was about to normalize, with sales reaching their fastest seasonally adjusted annualized growth pace since February 2007.

That hope was dashed with the release of NAR’s April numbers. Sales fell 2.3 percent from March’s rate, although they showed an improvement (by 1.6 percentage points) over April 2016’s sales metrics.

And the median number of days that a home is on the market dropped to a new low in April — just 29 days. That’s down from 34 days in March and 39 days in April 2016; 52 percent of homes sold in April were on the market for less than a month.

Inventory woes aren’t letting up

“Last month’s dip in closings was somewhat expected given that there was such a strong sales increase in March at 4.2 percent, and new and existing inventory is not keeping up with the fast pace homes are coming off the market,” said Lawrence Yun, NAR’s chief economist, in a statement. “Demand is easily outstripping supply in most of the country and it’s stymieing many prospective buyers from finding a home to purchase.”

The median price for existing-home sales for all housing types reached $244,800 in April, up 6.0 percentage points year-over-year. “April’s price increase marks the 62nd straight month of year-over-year gains,” noted NAR in its release.

Total housing inventory at the end of the month showed 1.93 million existing homes available for sale — that’s down 9.0 percent from a year ago, when 2.12 million homes were on the market. This is the 23rd consecutive month that housing inventory has dropped (year over year). A “healthy” level of inventory is about six months; right now, we’re looking at 4.2 months’ worth of unsold inventory, down from 4.6 months in April 2016.

“Realtors continue to voice the frustration their clients are experiencing because of the insufficient number of homes for sale,” said Yun. “Homes in the lower- and mid-market price range are hard to find in most markets, and when one is listed for sale, interest is immediate and multiple offers are nudging the eventual sales prices higher.”

Listings were on the market for the shortest amount of time in:

  • San Jose-Sunnyvale-Santa Clara, California — 23 days
  • San Francisco-Oakland-Hayward, California — 25 days
  • Denver-Aurora-Lakewood, Colorado — 27 days
  • Seattle-Tacoma-Bellevue, Washington — 28 days

Sales breakdown

Distressed sales, which include foreclosures and short sales, comprised 5 percent of sales in April, down from 6 percent in March and 7 percent a year ago. All-cash sales represented 21 percent of transactions in April, down from 23 percent in March and 24 percent in April 2016.

Individual investors purchased 15 percent of homes for sale in April, the same level as March and up from 13 percent in April 2016. Most investors (57 percent) paid cash in April 2017.

Existing-home sales are based on transaction closings from MLSs and include single-family homes, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops. Seasonally adjusted annual rates are used in reporting monthly data to help accommodate for seasonal variation; the annual rate for any given month represents what the total number of actual sales for a year would be if the pace for that month were maintained for a whole year.

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6 Home Appraisal Myths You Need to Stop Believing Immediately

Putting your home up for sale can be an emotional endeavor. After you come to terms with saying goodbye to a place where you created countless memories, some stranger with a clipboard comes along and puts a value on what’s priceless to you.

And that assessment has the power to tank the entire sale.

Yes, the appraisal is one of the scariest parts of the home-selling process—and one of the most confusing. After all, why is somebody valuing your home after you’ve already determined a listing price and received an offer? Plus, you’re never sure if the appraiser is truly factoring in those countless weekends you spent on backbreaking home upgrades—the Jacuzzi tub, the bidet, and the trendy shiplap walls have to count for something, right?

Not necessarily.

Think of the appraisal as a tool for removing emotion from the equation between the two sides who desperately want to make a sale, And understand that it’s completely natural to be a bit confused about just what, exactly, helps add value to your home in the appraiser’s eyes. But we’re here to clear it up for you.

So take note of these common myths surrounding the elusive home appraisal.

Myth No. 1: An appraisal is the same thing as a home inspection

Although both the appraisal and the home inspection are used as safeguards for the buyer (and the buyer’s lender), don’t confuse the two. Home inspectors and appraisers have completely different jobs. Sure, they both poke around your home. But the inspector’s job is to uncover everything that’s problematic—or could potentially become problematic—with the home, while the appraiser’s job is to find the objective market value of the property. Got that?

To do the job, the appraiser will use comps (the same thing you used to determine your list price), but that’s just for starters. Appraisers take into account a home’s condition, square footage, and location. Appraisers also note the quality and condition of the plumbing, flooring, and electrical system. With data in hand, they make their final assessment and give their report to the lender.

Myth No. 2: The appraiser works for the buyer

The buyer pays for the appraisal, but the appraiser works for—and is hired by—the lender. It doesn’t matter if you and the buyers have agreed on a price. The buyer’s lender needs to be on board because it’s the lender’s investment, too.

But don’t fear: Even though the appraisal is meant to protect the buyer’s lender from a bad deal, appraisers are trained to be unbiased and ethical. In fact, it’s a crime to coerce or put any pressure on an appraiser to hit a certain value.

Myth No. 3: An appraisal will give you the magic number of what the buyer will pay

The appraisal process isn’t an exact science. In fact, the appraisal is only one opinion of what your home is worth. It doesn’t dictate how much the buyer should pay, or how much the seller should accept.

So what happens if the appraisal doesn’t match the contract price?

If your home is appraised lower than the price you and the buyer agreed upon, the lender isn’t going to pony up more money to make up the difference. Instead, it’ll be up to you and the buyer to figure out who pays for the shortfall. Can the buyer throw in more? Or do you, as the seller, need to cover the difference just to make the deal go through? Well, let the discussions begin.

“The seller and buyer can agree to negotiate a new purchase price to match the appraisal, or a seller might consider finding someone willing to offer cash, which doesn’t require an appraisal,” says Roberta Loughman, a real estate agent with Shorewood Real Estate in Colorado Springs, CO.

“Buyers can pay any price they determine for the house, regardless of the appraisal,” adds Janice Buchele, senior vice president of residential operations at the William Fall Group, a national provider of real estate valuation and analysis services in Toledo, OH. “The report simply provides guidance for the lender.”

Myth No. 4: The bigger the house, the higher it will appraise

Consider a supersized home built on an average-size lot in an otherwise modest neighborhood. Although the home might dwarf its neighbors, that doesn’t mean it will be appraised for that much more than neighboring homes.

The value of the home is measured as if it were similar to others in the area that would commonly be expected on that same lot, Buchele says. In fact, some people might consider the bigger home more of a burden—after all, there’s more to be heated, cooled, insured, and maintained.

Myth No. 5: The more bells and whistles, the higher the appraisal

Wait a minute: What do you mean your $100,000 investment in fancy appliances isn’t worth $100,000 extra in the appraisal? OK, take a step back. This situation can be hard for sellers to wrap their heads around. But if you’ve overly improved your space with amenities that don’t exist in surrounding homes, there’s no nearby sales data the appraiser can use to decide just what those amenities are worth.

“If no one else in the neighborhood has a home theater, then typical buyers in that neighborhood probably don’t demand a theater,” Buchele points out.

And that goes for your décor, too. You might think your home is worth more because of the impeccable vibe that you—or your stager—have given the house. But appraisers ain’t got time for decorating divas. They make a straight value judgment on the quantifiable aspects of the house—that is, the square footage, number of rooms, and other measurable data.

Myth No. 6: All amenities are created equal

If you’ve equipped your home with an in-law suite, a sexy Tiki bar, or a home exercise space that actually makes you want to work out—well, we applaud you. But if you converted your garage to do so, don’t expect the home appraiser to give you props.

Your house has a garage for a reason, points out Austin Fernald, a home appraiser in Orange County, CA. “Most people want to park their cars where they are safely protected from the elements and break-ins,” he says.

The moral of the story? Be careful any time you remove one amenity in order to add another—it might come back to bite you in the appraisal.

Upstream Develops Streamlined Method for Integration

BELLEVUE, Wash., May 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Upstream today announced a “two-way” method of integration with the Multiple Listing Service community at the REALTORS® Legislative Meetings Trade Expo. In addition to Upstream’s current method of integration, with brokers entering property information into the Upstream data base for distribution, Upstream, working with their MLS Advisory Group, has developed an expanded “broker input of choice” model.

The teams determined integration and adoption would be facilitated if brokers had a choice on entry location and MLSs could send data to Upstream.  The result is a “broker feed” method of integration where brokerages have a “single choice of input.”  If a brokerage so chooses, they can input listings into their MLS(s) allowing Upstream to receive those listings from the MLS.  Participants can continue to enhance their listings (add additional high-res photos, etc.) in Upstream and manage distribution deliberately. 

“Our objective has always been to solve problems thorough partnerships,” said Alex Lange, President and CEO of UpstreamRE. “Brokers can continue to leverage their current workflow while gaining all the enhancement and management features of Upstream. The MLS Advisory group has been instrumental in determining easier ways for the MLS community to engage and integrate with us.”

The National Association of REALTORS® recognized the partnership and importance of this milestone and announced its continued support of Upstream.  It will continue to provide resources through 2018 via the Realtor® Property Resource (RPR) support and additional funding.

“Upstream has harnessed the technology necessary to make this a reality as we shape the future of real estate,” said NAR CEO Dale Stinton. “This next inclusive step ensures that our Realtor® members remain at the center of the real estate transaction.”

UPSTREAM is a data management company created by and for the industry and consumers to provide a central choice of entry and repository for real estate property data, with the goal of improving efficiency, providing broker/agent control over data which they have generated and for which they are responsible, and enhancing the consumer’s experience by delivering more accurate, timely and consistent property information throughout the country.  The UPSTREAM board of managers includes representatives of Berkshire Hathaway Home Services, Century 21, Coldwell-Banker, ERA, Keller Williams, Leading Real Estate Companies of the World®, The Realty Alliance, RE/MAX, and non-affiliated brokerages. 

For more information about UPSTREAM or to contribute to the enterprise, contact alex@upstreamre.com.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. For more information, visit www.nar.realtor.

Realtors Property Resource® (RPR), a wholly owned subsidiary of the National Association of REALTORS®, is an exclusive online real estate database providing Realtors® with the analytical power to help their clients make better informed decisions while increasing efficiency in the marketplace. For more information about RPR®, visit http://blog.narRPR.com.

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/upstream-develops-streamlined-method-for-integration-300458665.html

SOURCE National Association of Realtors

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Cape Fear Realtors receives national awards

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Housing numbers up in Kentucky; inventory higher in state than locally


Charles Allen Mason is the business reporter for the Daily News. He is originally from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is a 1977 graduate of West Virginia University in Morgantown. In his spare time he enjoys reading, music, sports and cooking.

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NAR Gives Trump Tax Reform Plan a Thumbs-Down

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NAR Recommends Change In CFPB Leadership Structure

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The National Association of Realtors (NAR) endorsed the controversial Consumer Fraud Protection Bureau (CFPB) at the end of a week-long meeting in Washington, D.C. last week – with one significant change.

“NAR continues to support the existence of a federal agency such as the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau designed specifically to protect consumers’ interests with regard to financial products and services,” the association said in a statement. “Further, it recommends that NAR support policy proposals that restructure the CFPB or similar agency from the current single-director arrangement to a qualified five-member board with no more than three members from one political party. The existing independent agency structure and funding sources for an agency such as the CFPB should be preserved.”

The future of the CFPB has come into question during the Trump Administration, as some legislators have called for the consumer watchdog group to be dismantled or restructured.

Massachusetts broker/owner Anthony Lamacchia of Lamacchia Realty chaired the group of Realtors that worked on the policy. Lamacchia said he thinks a change in the leadership structure of the CFPB would greatly improve the organization.

“Having it approved by the National Association of Realtors board of directors was further proof that we came up with what is best,” Lamacchia said in a statement. “We do support the existence of the CFPB; however, we feel that it will be better served with these changes.”

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