Local realtor nationally recognized

PIQUA – Whitney Small with Brownlee-Wray Realty of Piqua has earned the nationally recognized Seniors Real Estate Specialist® designation from the Seniors Real Estate Specialist Council of the National Association of Realtors®.

Small joins more than 15,000 real estate professionals in North America who have earned the SRES® designation. All were required to successfully complete a comprehensive course in understanding the needs, considerations, and goals of real estate buyers and sellers aged 55 and older.

“Working with seniors to meet their housing needs requires an expert understanding of their lifestyle and financial needs, and the SRES® designation means that a Realtor® has that understanding,” Small said. “Whether they are buying, selling relocating or refinancing, seniors can be confident that a Realtor® designated SRES® will be able to help them every step of the way.”

SRES® Council, founded in 2007, is the world’s largest association of real estate professionals focusing specifically on representing senior clients in real estate transactions. There are more than 15,000 active members of the organization worldwide.

The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing more than 1.1 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries.

For more information, visit SRES.org.

For the Daily Call

Foreign investment in US housing booms

WASHINGTON — U.S. home sales to foreigners surged 49 percent between April 2016 and March 2017, to a record $153 billion, according to the National Association of Realtors.

The D.C. area continues to have its fair share of those foreign homebuyers, but nearly half of all foreign sales were in three states: Florida, California and Texas.

Overall, 284,455 residential properties in the United States were purchased by foreign buyers during the 12-month period, including roughly 10,000 in Maryland and Virginia, or about 2 percent of all residential sales in the two states during that time.

Figures for sales to foreign buyers in D.C. were not available.

“This region is popular for the same reasons that other top regions are popular. If they’re looking for investment properties, they want to go into an area that has a stable and secure housing market, which is usually based on a sound job market, and the D.C. area definitely has that,” Danielle Hale, with the National Association of Realtors, told WTOP.

Virginia ranks as one of the most popular states for Chinese buyers.

China led foreign investment in U.S. residential real estate in the last year, at $31.7 billion. But Canada ranks second, with $19 billion in transactions in the last year, more than double the number in the association’s 2016 survey.

China and Canada are followed by the United Kingdom, Mexico and India for foreign purchases of U.S. residential real estate.

Why the increased interest?

“We think foreign buyers are acting on their beliefs that the U.S. is a safe and secure place to live work and invest, and they’re continuing to come here in spite of political and economic uncertainty both in the U.S. and aboard,” Hale said.

Buyers include those seeking vacation and investment properties, as well as temporary workers who are in the U.S. for more than six months for professional or educational reasons, the association said. Some foreign buyers however plan to relocate permanently to the U.S.

Like WTOP on Facebook and follow @WTOP on Twitter to engage in conversation about this article and others.

© 2017 WTOP. All Rights Reserved.

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Why NAR thinks preserving ‘net neutrality’ is crucial for agents and brokers

You’ve probably heard the phrase “net neutrality” by now — but do you know how the concept (or its disappearance) could affect your real estate business?

In June, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) joined a coalition of businesses and public interest groups working to preserve rules surrounding the Open Internet, also known as net neutrality. Today, the trade organization filed comments with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) about the rules to replace current net neutrality guidelines as proposed by FCC Chairman Ajit Pai, who was appointed by President Trump in January.

If net neutrality is not preserved, real estate agents and brokers might have to start paying more for their websites to perform as well as they have in the past. “As the business of real estate continues to evolve, a free and open internet is increasingly critical to Realtors,” said NAR President Bill Brown in a statement strongly urging the FCC to preserve net neutrality. “Net neutrality rul…

Horning recognized as top rated CEO in real estate


Local Realtors donate school supplies to Boys & Girls Clubs – Las Vegas Review

Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors members are participating in a school supply drive organized by the Nevada Association of Realtors and its LeadershipNVAR Class of 2017 to benefit local c ...

Members of the Greater Las Vegas Association of Realtors are teaming up with the Boys Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada this summer to donate school supplies for students served by the clubs.

GLVAR President David J. Tina said the school supply drive is part of a statewide effort being organized by the Nevada Association of Realtors and its LeadershipNVAR Class of 2017 to benefit Boys Girls Clubs throughout Nevada.

These same groups organized a similar drive last year, when local Realtors donated more than 1,000 backpacks stocked with school supplies for the Boys Girls Clubs of Southern Nevada.

Tina said these community service projects enable GLVAR members to show their support for a national partnership between the Boys Girls Clubs of America and the National Association of Realtors.

He added that Boys Girls Clubs are a home away from home for nearly 4 million American children who visit the clubs each year, including thousands of boys and girls here in Southern Nevada.

“This is another example of how our local Realtors contribute to our community,” Tina said. “We’re encouraging our members to do what they can to support this cause and to help local kids go back to school with the basic supplies they need to succeed.”

Las Vegas Realtors’ Stephanie Dibbs-Mangual, a 2017 LeadershipNVAR class member and one of the leaders of this project, said, “This drive is a big challenge to our leadership class and our Realtors friends across the state. It will be exciting, too. Our class fully intends to get to work and promote the value of these donations. We want to bring many smiles to the children who thrive in these clubs and the staff that works tirelessly to help kids.”

GLVAR is encouraging local Realtors to bring backpacks, No. 2 pencils, folders, three-ring binders, markers, dictionaries, wide-ruled paper and other school supplies to the GLVAR office at 1750 E. Sahara Ave. in Las Vegas, as well as other designated drop-off sites around Southern Nevada. GLVAR members can also donate bottled water, sunblock, lip balm, sanitizing wipes, sports equipment, musical instruments and new clothing for children served by the clubs.

GLVAR’s school supply drive started in May and concludes in August, just as local children return to school. For more information, visit www.nvar.org.

GLVAR was founded in 1947 and provides its more than 13,000 local members with education, training and political representation. The local representative of the National Association of REALTORS®, GLVAR is the largest professional organization in Southern Nevada. Each GLVAR member receives the highest level of professional training and must abide by a strict code of ethics. For more information, visit LasVegasRealtor.com. Email your real estate questions to ask@glvar.org.

Persicketti: How home buyers should approach a tight housing market – The Herald

Matt Persicketti – Three Rivers Association of Realtors President

Because real estate is a commodity where values fluctuate according to supply and demand, prices tend to rise when inventory is low.

That’s the situation faced by today’s buyers who are attempting to purchase a home.

In fact, National Association of Realtors chief economist Lawrence Yun has been quoted as saying “demand is easily outstripping supply in most of the country and it’s stymieing many prospective buyers from finding a home to purchase.”

There are things one can do to help get through the buying process in a tight inventory market with as little stress and difficulty as possible.

Before beginning to look at homes, the first thing you need to do is to meet with one or more lenders to get a preapproval letter which indicates the price range of the homes you should be looking at. Keep in mind that what the lender states you can afford and the price range with a payment you are comfortable with may be two different things.

So, it is important to determine a final budget, stick to it and be prepared to walk away if the asking price surpasses your budget.

When determining your budget, make sure you take into account additional costs of ownership such as taxes, utilities and insurance. Once you begin your search, try to concentrate on your needs versus your wants.

In other words, you can compromise on certain wants, such as hardwood floors or stainless steel appliances, that can be added later whereas a particular school district or large backyard may be things you want to emphasize in your search.

In this type of market, homes do not remain available that long. So, you must be prepared to make a quick decision or risk missing out on the home altogether.

You should also resist the temptation to submit a low offer as a starting bid. Rather your offer should reflect what you are willing to pay (or very close to it) because, in many instances, you can be faced with a multiple-offer situation.

In the case of multiple offers, the seller is not necessarily looking for the highest offer, but the best offer.It can come down to conditions attached to the offer, such as flexibility on closing time.

You may also consider waiving certain contingencies or showing your seriousness by putting down a higher earnest deposit.The reputation of your lender can also be a factor.

Lastly, it is important to work with a local Realtor who is a member of the National Association of Realtors and knows areas and neighborhoods that you are considering.

• Matt Persicketti is president of the Three Rivers Association of Realtors.

New residential energy effiency certification has local roots

One Virginia-based startup with ties to the Charlottesville community is working to help homeowners and the real estate market realize the gains of environmentally friendly and efficient features — and they are hoping to take their services to a national level.

“We need to help homeowners understand that they can make these investments in their properties and they can have a way to capture the important information about that and then … have it available for a future buyer, appraiser [or] lender so that the true value of that property can be represented in the market,” said Cynthia Adams, the co-founder of Pearl Certification.

Pearl offers certifications for homes that evaluate building shells, heating and cooling systems, appliances, smart devices and other home features. Based on the number of points a home scores, it may qualify for a Pearl silver, gold or platinum designation.

Adams, who previously worked as the executive director of the Charlottesville-based Local Energy Alliance Program, started Pearl in 2013 with Robin LeBaron, who co-founded the National Home Performance Council. They started working full time for the company in 2015.

The company is based in Vienna, but the Charlottesville area was one of Pearl’s first markets. According to Adams, Pearl has certified approximately 60 homes in the area, and about 80 local real estate agents are Pearl partners, meaning that they have received additional training on working with energy-efficient homes.

Local realtors say the program is unique because although efficiency certification programs are often geared toward new construction, Pearl also certifies existing homes.

“It’s a very unique program,” said Anne Gardner, CEO of the Charlottesville Area Association of Realtors. “It’s something that we’ve definitely needed in the marketplace to help homeowners who may be selling a home that was not constructed originally with these features, but want to add these features for their own enjoyment, as well as increasing the value.”

“You’ve got a situation where I think more and more people are looking for energy-efficient homes, and not just in new, but in existing and resale homes — and then people who aren’t even interested in selling are interested in knowing how they can make their home more energy-efficient,” said Michael Guthrie, broker and CEO of Roy Wheeler Realty. “That’s kind of where Pearl Certification came in.”

In comparison to rating systems such as Energy Star, EarthCraft and LEED — which Adams said are often done for new homes as a one-time designation — Adams describes Pearl’s certification system as a way to maintain a “living record” for a home as improvements are made.

“It’s a little bit like a CARFAX for a house, but we’re not necessarily looking for problems — [with] CARFAX, often times you’re looking at it because you want to understand was [the car] in an accident, did it get taken to the shop regularly, things like that,” Adams said. “We are also creating a record, a history of that property, but we’re looking at it more from its performance-based assets.”

Greg Slater, an associate broker with Nest Realty, said keeping track of energy-efficient improvements is important because there have been instances where homeowners have not received the value of their improvements in real-estate transactions. 

“Homes are coming back to the market that cost less to operate and are built better, but they are being compared to other homes that aren’t that way and they’re not getting the value for them because realtors don’t understand the features,” Slater said. “The owners don’t even in some cases understand the features of their own homes — they just know they have a lower power bill.”

Pearl helps “connect the dots” between home upgrades and the appraisal process, Slater said.

When a homeowner has a house certified by Pearl, a certifying contractor conducts an analysis of energy efficiency that includes looking at various features in the house and performing a blower door test, which measures air leakage. Pearl’s standard certification ranges from $269 to $349, with the cheaper option for homeowners who work with a Pearl partner agent. The certification package includes a report on the home’s efficiency, a completed appraisal addendum and a marketing kit.

“[Pearl] helps not only in the sale portion of it, but it helps in the appraisal and lending side of the equation, as well, because once you are able to quantify the improvements and give the impartial third-party validation to the value, then it becomes more accepted and a better part of our process to be able to capture what that true increased value looks like,” Gardner said.

This information from the Pearl certification process also can be plugged into the Multiple Listing Service for an area. Slater said this can be useful in the Charlottesville area, which added “green fields” to its MLS just a few years ago.

“Before we changed our MLS, we didn’t have fields to identify these types of features that were going into the homes,” Slater said. “Now, as realtors, we have the ability to identify those features in the MLS.”

Pearl also can play a role in helping homeowners decide which improvements to invest in over time and connect them with contractors. Adams said homeowners often take an incremental approach to upgrades.

“One of the longstanding problems in our industry is, the holy grail had been, well, the most cost-effective thing for a homeowner to do is a deep energy retrofit,” Adams said. “It’s not how contractors do business and it’s not how homeowners think about their houses.”

“We want to help homeowners understand what sequence might be most advantageous,” Adams added. “And if I am thinking about upgrading or replacing something, what should I be thinking about?”

Pearl also certifies new homes for builders and is in both Virginia and Maryland markets. Moving forward, the company hopes to build a national presence.

In April, the National Association of Realtors announced Pearl’s acceptance into the REach® technology accelerator program. Adams said this will provide important mentorship and networking opportunities.

“Now is the moment when we staff up and we go out and we try to get people engaged with our products and services,” Adams said.

Home staging decreases time on market







Summer cloud and beach scenes photographed with an Iphone 6
Staff video by Mark R. Sullivan
Mark R. Sullivan


WASHINGTON  – Sixty-two percent of sellers’ agents say that staging a home decreases the amount of time a home spends on the market, according to the National Association of Realtors 2017 Profile of Home Staging, www.nar.realtor/reports/profile-of-home-staging.

“Realtors know how important it is for buyers to be able to picture themselves living in a home, and according to NAR’s most recent report, staging a home makes that process much easier for potential buyers,” said NAR President William E. Brown, a Realtor from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties. “While all real estate is local, and many factors play into what a home is worth and how much buyers are will to pay for it, staging can be the extra step sellers take to help sell their home more quickly and for a higher dollar value.”

According to the report, which is in its second iteration, nearly two-thirds of sellers’ agents said that staging a home decreases the amount of time the home spends on the market, with 39 percent saying that it greatly decreases the time and 23 percent saying it slightly decreases the time. Sixteen percent of sellers’ agents believe that staging either greatly or slightly increases a home’s time on the market, while 8 percent believe that it has no impact.

Seventy-seven percent of buyers’ agents said that staging a home makes it easier for buyers to visualize the property as their future home, and 40 percent are more willing to walk through a staged home they first saw online. However, 38 percent of buyers’ agents said that staging positively affects a home’s value if the home is decorated to the buyer’s taste, meaning that a home’s staging should be designed to appeal to the largest number of potential buyers.

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Realtors representing both buyers and sellers agreed that the living room is the most important room in a home to stage, followed by the master bedroom, the kitchen, and then the yard or outdoor space. The guest bedroom is considered the least important room to stage.

The highest share of buyers’ agents, 31 percent, reported that staging a home increases its dollar value by 1 to 5 percent. Thirteen percent said that staging increases the dollar value 6 to 10 percent, while 25 percent stated it has no impact on dollar value. Only 1 percent of buyers’ agents felt that staging has a negative impact on a home’s dollar value.

In March 2017, NAR invited a random sample of 53,760 active Realtor members to fill out an online survey. A total of 1,894 useable responses were received for an overall response rate of 3.5 percent. At the 95 percent confidence level the margin of error is plus-or-minus 2.25 percent.

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