How To Sell A Condo… An Introduction.

Helping customers buy a condo requires a lot of information gathering, especially when a property is financed through a lender. First, find out if the buyers are investors or full-time residents.

Will they need a mortgage?

Now compare properties that fit those needs and read the condo association documents. With these answers in place, you can help buyers match financing and investment goals.

Watch this video for more tips.


NAR releases 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers

WASHINGTON – Nov. 5, 2015 – The share of first-time buyers declined for the third consecutive year – to its lowest point in nearly three decades, according to an annual survey released today by the National Association of Realtors® (NAR).

2015 Profile of Home Buyers and SellersOverall, home sales strengthened, but the uptick was driven more by repeat buyers with dual incomes. The survey also found that nearly 90 percent of buyer-seller respondents worked with a real estate agent to buy or sell a home as for-sale-by-owner transactions dropped to their lowest share ever.

NAR’s 2015 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers evaluates the demographics, preferences, motivations, plans and experiences of recent homebuyers and sellers, and dates back to 1981. Results are representative of owner-occupants and don’t include investors or vacation homes.

In this year’s survey, the share of first-time buyers declined to 32 percent (33 percent a year ago) – the second-lowest share since the survey’s inception (1981) and the lowest since 1987 (30 percent). Historically, first-time homebuyers make up nearly 40 percent of primary purchases.

“There are several reasons why there should be more first-time buyers reaching the market, including persistently low mortgage rates, healthy job prospects for those college-educated, and the fact that renting is becoming more unaffordable in many areas,” says Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist. “Unfortunately, there are just as many high hurdles slowing first-time buyers down. Increasing rents and home prices are impeding their ability to save for a downpayment; there’s scarce inventory for new and existing-homes in their price range; and it’s still too difficult for some to get a mortgage.”

Yun says this year’s survey offers additional clues to why fewer first-time buyers reach the market.

“First–time buyers reported that debt (all forms) delayed saving for a downpayment for a median of three years, and among the 25 percent who said saving was the most difficult task, a majority (58 percent) said student loans delayed saving,” Yun says. “With a median amount of student loan debt for all buyers at $25,000, it’s likely some younger households with even higher levels of debt can’t save for an adequate downpayment or have decided to delay buying until their debt is at more comfortable levels.”

Buyer characteristics

This year’s survey finds a higher share of married couples – 67% (up from 65 percent last year) – with a higher household income than previous years. Married repeat buyers have the highest income among all buyers ($108,600). The share of single-female buyers decreased from 16 percent to 15 percent, and male buyers remained flat at 9 percent.

“Similar to some of the obstacles facing first-time buyers, tighter credit conditions and having less purchasing power than households with dual incomes likely led to the share of single-female buyers declining to its lowest since 2001 (also 15 percent),” adds Yun.

The percent of multi-generational households (adult children, parents and/or grandparents) at 13 percent didn’t change since last year. Eighteen percent of buyers identified as military veterans, 8 percent as an unmarried couple and 3 percent as active-duty service members.

The median age of first-time buyers was 31, unchanged for the last three years, and the median income was $69,400 ($68,300 in 2014). The typical first-time buyer purchased a 1,620-square-foot home (1,570 in 2014) costing $170,000, while the typical repeat buyer was 53 years old and earned $98,700 ($95,000 in 2014). Repeat buyers purchased a median 2,020-square-foot home costing $246,400.

The primary reason for purchasing? More first-time buyers in this year’s survey (64 percent) cited a desire to own their own home as the primary reason compared to a year ago (53 percent). For repeat buyers, desire to own a home of their own and wanting to own a larger home were both the top reason given (each at 13 percent). Nearly half of all buyers (46 percent) said the timing was just right and they were ready to purchase a home.

Most homebuyers (80 percent, up from 79 percent last year) continue to view a home as a good financial investment, and 43 percent believe it’s better than stocks. First-time buyers plan to stay in their home for 10 years, and repeat buyers plan to hold their property for 15 years.

Financing the purchase

An overwhelming majority of recent buyers (86 percent versus 88 percent in 2014) still financed their purchase, despite above-normal activity from all-cash buyers likely pushing the percent share down. Younger buyers were more likely to finance, and the median down payment ranged from 6 percent for first-time buyers to 14 percent for repeat buyers. Almost half (45 percent) of first-time buyers in this year’s survey said the mortgage application and approval process was “much more” or “somewhat more” difficult than expected.

Ninety-one percent of all buyers chose a fixed-rate mortgage, with 23 percent financing with a low-down payment Federal Housing Administration (FHA)-backed mortgage – a decline from 43 percent five years ago; 11 percent financed used the Veterans Affairs (VA) loan program with no downpayment requirements.

In addition to using their own savings for their downpayment (81 percent), first-time buyers used outside resources, including a gift from a friend or relative (27 percent), selling stocks or bonds (8 percent) or tapping into a 401(k) fund (8 percent).

For repeat buyers, the proceeds from the sale of their primary residence (53 percent) was the top source for their downpayment, up from 47 percent last year and 40 percent in 2012.

“With first-time buyers stuck on the sidelines, the majority of sales activity in most parts of the country is coming from pent-up sellers taking advantage of rising home values in their neighborhoods and using their equity to trade up or move down,” says Yun.

The home search process

More homebuyers began their search on the Internet (42 percent) than any other source, but real estate agents remained an integral part of the process: 88 percent of buyers who searched for homes online ended up purchasing through an agent.

The two most popular resources continue to be online websites (89 percent) and real estate agents (87 percent).

“Although buyers between the ages of 18-24 were the most likely to use an agent (90 percent), over 85 percent of buyers in each of the other age categories also used an agent during their home search,” says NAR President Chris Polychron. “With tight inventory conditions leading to stiff competition in several parts of the country, and what’s found online sometimes not entirely accurate, buyers are turning to Realtors for expert advice and assistance in navigating today’s fast-moving housing market.”

The home search resource gaining the most traction is mobile or tablet applications. Their use steadily increased from 45 percent in 2013 to 61 percent this year. However, traditional resources continue to prove popular with buyers, including yard signs (51 percent) and open houses (48 percent).

With tight inventory conditions in many markets, buyers moved faster than in previous years to find the house they purchased, typically taking 10 weeks (for the second consecutive year). From 2009 to 2013, the typical home search process took 12 weeks.

A detached single-family home continues to be the most common type of home bought (83 percent), while purchases of townhouses or row houses remained unchanged from a year ago at 7 percent. Of buyers with children under the age of 18, 89 percent bought a detached single-family home compared to 80 percent of buyers with no children in their home. Overall, the typical home purchased during the survey period was built in 1991 and had three bedrooms and two bathrooms.

Slightly more buyers in this year’s survey purchased a home in a suburb or subdivision (52 percent) compared to a year ago (50 percent). The remaining bought in a small town (20 percent), urban area (14 percent), rural area (13 percent) or resort/recreation area (2 percent). Recent buyers also moved further from their previous residence this past year – a median distance of 14 miles (12 miles in 2014).

Similar to previous years, the biggest factors influencing neighborhood choice were quality of the neighborhood (59 percent), convenience to jobs (44 percent) and overall affordability of homes (38 percent). Unmarried couples were the most likely to cite convenience to entertainment and leisure activities (26 percent), and single women were the most likely to cite convenience to friends and family as an influencing factor (43 percent).

Seller characteristics

Eighty-nine percent of sellers sold their home with an agent. Only 8 percent were by for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) sales, down from 9 percent the last three years and the lowest share ever recorded since the survey’s 1981 inception.

“Although the Internet and digital technology have created several channels for sellers to market their listings to a wider cast of potential buyers, the preference to use a Realtor to sell a home has never been stronger,” says Polychron.

Overall, the typical seller over the past year was 54 years old (unchanged from 2014; up from 49 in 2010) and married (77 percent), with a household income of $104,100 ($96,700 in 2014). The seller lived in the home 9 years before selling, which is a bit less than 2014’s all-time high of 10 years. This year, only 14 percent of sellers said they wanted to sell earlier but couldn’t because their home was worth less than their mortgage, compared to 17 percent a year ago.

Sellers realized a median equity gain of $40,000 ($30,100 in 2014) – a 23 percent increase (17 percent last year) over the original purchase price. Sellers who owned their home for one to seven years all reported roughly selling their homes for $30,000 to $35,000 more than they purchased it. Underlining the price swings during the downturn, equity gains fell to $3,000 for owners who bought between eight and 10 years ago. Homes sold after 21 years reported a price gain of $138,000.

The median time on the market for recently sold homes remained at four weeks for the second year in a row, again highlighting the persistently low inventory in several markets. Sellers moved a median distance of 20 miles (70 percent stayed in the same state) and the top reason for selling a home was that it was too small (16 percent).

Two out of three sellers (66 percent) found their real estate agent through a referral from a friend, neighbor or relative, or they used their agent from a previous transaction.

Client referrals and repeat business remain the predominant source of business for real estate agents, with most sellers (84 percent) indicating they would definitely (67 percent) or probably (17 percent) recommend their agent for future services.

NAR mailed a 128-question survey in July 2015 using a random sample weighted to be representative of sales on a geographic basis. All information is characteristic of the 12-month period ending in June 2015 with the exception of income data, which are for 2014.

The 2015 NAR Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers can be ordered online or by calling (800) 874-6500. The study costs $19.95 for NAR members and $249.95 for non–members.

© 2015 Florida Realtors®

Mortgages: Know Before You Owe

Are you aware of how the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) is making the mortgage process easier?

The CFPB’s mortgage initiative is designed to help consumers understand their loan options, shop for the mortgage that’s best for them, and avoid costly surprises at the closing table.

The Know Before You Owe mortgage disclosure rule replaces four disclosure forms with two new ones, the Loan Estimate and the Closing Disclosure. The new forms are easier to understand and easier to use. The rule also requires that you get three business days to review your Closing Disclosure and ask questions before you close on a mortgage.

via CFPB

How to Impress Anyone in 30 Seconds or Less

As a Real Estate Sales Professional, few things in life will help you more than knowing how to make an immediate great impression… 

How to Impress Anyone in 30 Seconds or Less

Some experts estimate that 85 % of your financial success comes not from your skills or knowledge but from your ability to connect with other people and engender their trust and respect.

Within seconds, everyone you meet forms an impression that largely determines whether they’ll like, trust, and respect you.

Whether you’re an on-site or general real estate sales professional, attending trade association events, or leading an organization, making a good impression is absolutely critical. (No pressure, right?)

When greeting a new customer/client, managing your team or leading your business, connecting to people and making a great impression is very important.

Here are some tips from Lolly Daskal to help you win hearts and minds in 30 seconds:

Neutralize the fight-or-flight response.

The first few seconds of a first encounter are driven by instinctive reactions. Each person makes unconscious immediate appraisals that center around how safe they feel. Be mindful of your immediate signals, and make sure they could never be perceived as threatening.

Respect boundaries.

Be mindful of personal space and respect the boundaries of others. If in doubt, follow the other person’s cues: if they lean in, you lean in; if they stand back, you do the same. Remember that concepts of appropriate personal space vary by culture.

Feed expectations.

In business, first impressions are frequently colored by expectations. We expect people to live up to the image we have created in our minds from their reputation, phone calls, emails, or texts. We expect consistency with that general image — and without it, we feel some degree of disappointment and confusion. It’s not the time to surprise others with a new side of your personality.

Be mindful of body language.

It accounts for more than half of what others respond to initially — so it literally does speak louder than words. Hold yourself in a way that signals attention and an open heart, and keep a facial expression that combines authority with approachability and eye contact.

Stay positive.

The language of the brain is pictures, sounds, feelings, and to a lesser extent, smells and tastes. It’s much more difficult to translate negatives into brain-friendly imagery than positives. Work to develop a positive explanatory style.

Keep control of your attitude.

The general energy you give off is one of the first unconscious things people respond to. If you’re frazzled, project calm. If you’re distracted and unenthusiastic, project positivity. (You’ll not only make a better impression, but you can influence your own mood.)

Manage your moods.

People are drawn to warmth, enthusiasm, and confidence more than anger, arrogance, and impatience. Whatever is going on around you, manage your responses to get the best response from others.


Make sure your words, your tone of voice, and your body language are all saying the same thing. Mixed messages put off others, but consistency gives you clarity and credibility.

Use sensory language.

Activate people’s senses, and mix up your imagery to make sure you hit their strength. Whenever possible, use descriptions of visual images, sounds, textures, motion, and feelings to add meaning to what you’re saying.

Be curious, open-minded, and interested.

If you can get the other person talking and keep them talking, odds are they’ll be drawn to you. Be interested and open-minded; ask questions that spark their imagination and ignite conversation.

Dress for success.

Find a personal style that represents who you are and the message you want to send about yourself. Look at your dress and appearance as packaging a product.

Have a personal statement.

Have a personal statement prepared and memorized so you can tell others concisely and eloquently what you do, what it means to you, and why it makes a difference. Think of it not as a sales pitch but an engaging and artfully crafted mini-presentation.

Work through these points and you should have a great first impression all lined up.

One final tip as you get out there:

Treat every connection you make as if it’s the most important thing you’ve ever done. Because, frankly, you never know when it actually will be.

IMAGE: Getty Images

Reprinted, with sales related edits, from: | BY LOLLY DASKAL, President and CEO, Lead From Within | @LollyDaskal 

New Rules, New Forms, New Closing and Disclosure Procedures

Terrific Synopsis of the New Mortgage Disclosure Rules by Margy Grant, Florida Association of Realtors vice president and general counsel,  as she reviews the changes and their direct impact on your role in the transaction.

This is something All Realtors, lenders and real estate professionals need to get their arms around.

If you wish any training or further information, I suggest you contact Barbi Bozich at Title Security… she has been out in front of these changes for the past 9 months — 727-866-6600.

You May Be Ready for TRID, But Are Your Clients?

Source: Inman – Amy Swinderman


  • Are your clients aware of how the TRID regulation affects the closing process?
  • If this is not their first rodeo, you will need to explain the new process and consumer disclosure forms and establish expectations.
  • Encourage your clients to think through mortgage choices, apply for loan estimates through multiple lenders and indicate intent to proceed; you’ll need to find out who’s responsible for the Closing Disclosure and be the source of accurate information.

So you’ve spent the last 23 months preparing to comply with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s new TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures rule, or TRID, which takes effect Oct. 3.

Or you’ve spent at least a few months on it, anyway — for your sake, let’s hope so.

TRIDBut what about your clients? Are they aware of how the regulation affects the closing process? If they are purchasing their first home, the changes will be new only to you. But if this is not their first rodeo, you will need to explain the new process and consumer disclosure forms and establish expectations for how the mortgage transaction will proceed.

Here are the CFPB’s five recommendations for what to focus on to facilitate the best experience for your clients:

1. Encourage your clients to think through mortgage choices first.

Engaged homebuyers are more likely to select a mortgage loan that meets their needs and presents few surprises during underwriting, the CFPB says. The preapplication time frame is critical, and gives clients a chance to decide on a loan type and down payment amount before they are focused on a closing date.

Agents should make their clients feel comfortable that they can afford the home and receive a mortgage loan approval. They should encourage prospective homebuyers to review their credit reports early in the process so they can find and correct errors to potentially raise their credit score and reduce their cost of borrowing, the CFPB advises.

2. Once a property has been identified, encourage your clients to apply for Loan Estimates from multiple lenders.

Loan Estimates no longer require written documentation, so agents should encourage clients to compare offers from several lenders to avoid second-guessing whether they got the best deal. Loan Estimates show rates and loan terms in an easy-to-compare format, customized based on clients’ credit and the details of their request. Loan Estimates are most useful when your clients define the requested mortgage type and compare “apples-to-apples” Loan Estimates, according to the CFPB.

3. Make sure your clients indicate their intent to proceed.

Clients may request a Loan Estimate and then feel like they’re done — but Loan Estimates expire after 10 business days. If clients do not complete the steps required by the lender to express their intent to proceed, their applications could be closed as incomplete. If this happens, your clients will likely need to start over with a new application.

Lenders will have different policies about what your clients need to do to successfully move an application forward from the Loan Estimate stage into active processing, when the appraisal and other verifications typically begin. Talk to your lender partners to learn about those policies and discuss lender requirements with your clients to be confident that your clients have an active mortgage application underway, the CFPB advises.

4. Be the source of accurate and timely information about the property and transaction.

Because TRID makes lenders responsible for overseeing compliance from everyone involved in the closing, lenders are now at the center of all transactions. But real estate agents will still play an important part in making sure that clients have all the information they need to experience a smooth closing.

The CFPB advises agents to make sure clients have detailed information they can share with their lender about property taxes, homeowners association (HOA) fees, condominium association fees and the estimated cost for homeowners insurance; communicate any transaction changes to everyone involved and confirm that any revised information has been received; and confirm that the lender and closing agent have the buyer’s and the seller’s broker information so it appears correctly on the Closing Disclosure.

5. Find out who provides the Closing Disclosure.

Who will prepare the Closing Disclosure? Some lenders have already said they will be the only party with access to it. Other lenders may allow title insurance or settlement agents to do it.

When and how your client receives this form will vary from lender to lender and state to state — so communication, early and often, with your partners will be key.

Method of delivery may vary, too. Closing Disclosures may be sent via mail, delivered in person or electronically.

Keep in mind that no matter who prepares or provides the Closing Disclosure, the lender is still accountable for its accuracy and approves the final version, the CFPB says.

For more information and guidance on how to handle mortgage transactions after Oct. 3, visit the CFPB’s resource page.

Source: Inman – Amy Swinderman

Has Loyalty Killed Traditional Marketing?

Have you ever thought about de-emphasizing traditional marketing and focusing on loyalty instead?

A recent Harvard Business Review article theorizes that a focus on loyalty should trump marketing. Marketing Is Dead, and Loyalty Killed It

For most people, the word “marketing” summons up a single-minded focus on selling products
– a one-sided endeavor. But one-sided doesn’t work in a world where social media has given consumers a megaphone just as powerful as that of traditional marketers.

Instead, there is loyalty, which requires communicating brand values that people want to be affiliated with. Consumers today have many options, and more than ever they choose particular brands to communicate something personal about their own beliefs and priorities. The best way to establish and reinforce common values is to create content that’s so highly specific it defines not only the brand, but the customer.

Building loyalty is much harder work, and it requires not only valuing customers, but liking them enough to have a conversation every day. Bringing passion and excitement to that conversation requires genuine enthusiasm for your own products and mission. It’s nothing less than answering the question, “What should this company be?”

Read full article… by Alexander Jutkowitz