Recently in the Northern Virginia and Washington DC area, you may have noticed the proliferation of three types of disparate groups: REALTORs, policemen and cicadas. However, all three are dedicated to what they do, whether it be to represent their clients to their fullest ability, serve and protect people from the evils of the world or just simply be a cicada. (I bet you can guess which is which!)
If you visit the Inman Real Estate Connect San Francisco 2013 Speakers page, you may see a familiar face. That's right! CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty's own President and CMO, Edward Berenbaum, has been chosen as one of the speakers for the upcoming Inman Real Estate Connect. Inman Real Estate Connect is an event held twice a year, in New York City and San Francisco, where real estate industry leaders meet to "learn best practices, forge partnerships and make deals that will keep them ahead of the competition." Source Eddie is passionate about many things, but nothing more than giving CENTURY 21 Redwood Realty and CENTURY 21 AdVenture Redwood agents the most up-to-date technology and tools needed to succeed in today's competitive real estate market.
When a housing market is as active as it currently is in the Washington DC area, prospective homebuyers need every advantage they can get. One of the most obvious and important advantages is knowing what new houses fitting buyers' specific criteria have just come on the market. The tool enabling this advantage is the home search tool, found on many brokers' (like CENTURY 21 Redwood) and agents' websites, with limited service companies like Redfin, as well as third-party sites like Zillow and Trulia. Should you be using a home search? If so, how do you choose which one makes you the most competitive homebuyer?
Continued slowed economic growth and lack luster improvements in the national employment market are leading the 30yr Fixed near its all-time low and the 15yr Fixed at its recorded low. With the equity markets thriving many households are anxious to devote surplus savings to the stock market hoping their money will once again work for them. In an investment arena touted with "benchmark" returns some still painfully remember losses their portfolios and investment accounts took between 2008 and 2010 when the Capital Markets froze. Talks with investment advisors focused not on how much of a return to expect but rather how to "hold serve" and protect funds one had managed to save and invest.
Opening email in the morning can make anyone's palms sweat. Seeing "171 new messages" on top of the 1,456 messages you already have in your inbox can ruin the start of a perfectly good day. What are we to do? On April 12, 2013, I had the opportunity to present the Five Commandments of Email Management at the National Association of REALTORs' TechEdge Event in Fairfax, Virginia. It was a jam-packed day of speakers and panels, presenting not just the newest in technologies for real estate, but also touching back on basics and how to implement these tools in life and in business. I am happy to present a shortened version of that email management talk here, in blog form!
With Fixed Rate Mortgage products near recorded lows "No Closing Cost" refinances are popular again and for good reason. Someone refinancing a Fixed Mortgage of $350,000 with a rate of 4.75% down to 3.5% stands to save over $254 monthly. So how does the no closing cost refinance work since surely there are some lender fees, title insurance, settlement expenses and State/County taxes? The answer is simple; the borrower elects to take the slightly higher than market interest rate and in return receive a credit from the lender to cover most if not all closing costs. With rates so low the borrower can refinance to a smaller payment and often not pay any closing costs nor increase their principal balance.
From recent travels to Australia, it's easy to see some differences and similarities between the two countries, especially when it comes to real estate and the utilization of technology in your real estate business. Some differences are dramatic, like the love of auctions or the lack of a Multiple Listing Service. However, just as we experience in the United States, technology serves as a common language between the two countries and its residents.
Technology! Real Estate! They go together like peanut butter and jelly. It's one of the things I love most about my job as Technology and Training Director at Century 21 Redwood Realty. And, this Friday, the National Assocation of REALTORs® is helping bring you a great event with varied, qualified speakers on a myriad of technological topics. NAR's e-PRO® Tech Edge Event is almost upon us in Fairfax, Virginia. Are you going?
As my dispatches from Down Under continue, so do the revelations of the differences between Australian and American real estate. Are you a fan of "House Hunters international"? Have you seen the typical process of buying a home in Australia? If so, you'd know that besides the short "open home inspection" times, that there are few actual buyers agents in Australia.
What is a "buyer's agent"? In the United States, a buyer's agent is someone who specializes in the needs of buyers, including: aid in securing financing through a reputable lender, providing information about trusted settlement companies, and providing detailed market trends & information, as well as being a conduit for negotiating and communicating with the seller. Oftentimes, as in Northern Virginia, it's a requirement to sign a buyer's agreement (i.e., Exclusive Right of Representation) with any real estate broker/agent you're working with. In Australia, however, it's a rarity to be represented by a buyer's agent.
What does it take to be a real estate agent Down Under? I currently have the opportunity to explore some more of the real estate world in Australia, and look forward to bringing you some of the similarities and differences. It's not just extra "u's" in words and Vegemite. There are some distinct differences that truly distinguish Australian real estate and real estate agents from the United States real estate industry.
Yes, there are real estate agents in Australia. However, unlike our National Association of Realtors (NAR), Australian real estate agents can be part of the Real Estate Institute of Australia (REIA) or other local Real Estate Institutes (such as the Real Estate Institute of Queensland) or part of no association at all. Just as the NAR lobbies for and sets standards for agents who are REALTORs, the REIA also endeavors to do the same. However, while the NAR is viewed as an organization that provides standards and training for its agents, protection when need-be and a lobbyist, the REIA is primarily a lobbying entity.