New Housing Law Protects Against Discrimination

A new law was put in place this past Friday (June 17th) at the U.S. House of Representatives. The Equality Act passed by a vote of 236-173; this act includes protections for LGBTQ people against discrimination in housing.

This law has been added on to current state anti-discrimination laws on a national level by providing an extra layer of support against discrimination throughout the U.S. Earlier this month, the Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2019 has also been trying to add gender identity and sexual orientation to the classes that are defended against discrimination.

Maine Senator, Angus King, explains: “No one should be denied access to affordable housing because of who they are. Safe and affordable housing is the basic building block for all Americans seeking to achieve economic, educational, and personal success.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit also recently ruled that landlords could be held liable for any acts of discrimination if they did not respond to harassment tenants might be facing.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Hosting a Successful Open House

With spring in full swing, open houses have been popping up around the neighborhood – and you’ve probably seen one or two as you’ve driven along your commute.

While open houses can be time consuming, they are a great way to garner potential clients and showcase your brand.

Here are some quick tips on how to throw a rewarding open house – for both you and your client!

Scheduling

Many open houses are scheduled on Sundays. While this time slot works perfectly, don’t be afraid to think outside the box to attract more attention on your listing.

Maybe your listing would fare better if it were held on a weekday during lunch hours or after work. You might have potential clients stopping by along their way home.

Marketing

How can you gather attention for the open house?

One of the best options is to use social media. Post on Instagram and Facebook about your upcoming open house – include the date, time, and location. Think about creating a Facebook Live Stream during the event; this way, viewers and those that follow your page are notified about your live stream and could stop by the open house after seeing your update.

Many real estate agents also suggest door knocking. Hold a special private open house for the neighbors of your listing – they can provide feedback on living in the area, which can help you sell the home. You can also create door hangers of your event, and hang them on the neighbor’s front door. Neighbors might also be able to get you referrals, if they know of anyone looking for a home.

Staging

Either the home is completely empty, or the sellers are still currently living within the home.

If the home is empty, you have some options. You could either hire a staging company, or you could create a virtual staging of the home. If you create a virtual staging, include the links on your social media pages, and bring your tablet to the open house to show potential buyers.

If the sellers are living in the home, give them some quick tips on tidying up and removing personal items– i.e., photographs, mail, pets, etc.

It’s also important that you set the mood for the event! Think about making cookies or warming up appetizers in the kitchen. Scents that are genuine will be seen as an extension of the home and create a warmer open house experience.

Providing Essentials

Don’t forget about that sign-in sheet! That will be vital to your potential lead list. Open Home Pro allows agents to have viewers of the open house sign in on a tablet and even asks custom questions. Their contact data can be transferred to your CRM for follow up after the event!

Reflect

After your event, it’s important that you discuss how it went with your client. Let them know of potential interest, but also be realistic. While an open house is a great way to showcase the listing and get more eyes on the home, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee a sale within the day or even week.

Don’t forget to congratulate yourself after hosting a successful open house! You’re one step closer to gaining more leads and sitting at the closing table.

It’s All in the Family – Birth Order and Housing Preferences

Whether you’re a firstborn, the middle child, the baby, or an only child – you believe you’re the best, and you have your reasons.

Duh, we all do!

It’s no surprise as to how much research has been put in place for siblings, but an interesting take on favorite housing features is turning heads.  

According to the home and décor site, Apartment Therapy, it looks like your birth order might influence your housing preferences.

Licensed Psychotherapist, Ana Jovanovic, explains, “birth order plays a certain role in our upbringing, and thereby also affects the way we tend to think of ourselves and the behaviors we choose.”

What’s the breakdown here?

Oldest and Only Child: Usually, firstborns and only children are neat and orderly. They’ll notice the little details – like the crown molding or any paint chips in the home. Because they were constantly under the watchful eye of their parents, they are more likely prefer a home that offers independence and solitude.

Middle: The middle child goes with the flow and doesn’t stress too much about the little things. They’re used to the hand-me-downs, so things don’t have to be considered “perfect.” They also might be more flexible about who they live with – i.e., living with roommates.

Youngest: The baby of the family is constantly surrounded by family and thus will more likely prefer a community environment when selecting a home. The youngest enjoys being surrounded by a variety of people – condos, apartments, and townhomes would be a natural selection for a place to live.

Do you fall in line with what these findings show?

Top 10 Markets for Home Appreciation -Many in the NW!

They’ve always said location is important – and, according to Housingwire.com, these 10 markets listed below are nodding in agreement.

The markets below will see residential property values rise an average of 7.85% in the next year, which is more than twice the 3.7% rate estimated for the rest of the country. Experts are anticipating seeing this change through March 1, 2020.

Why are these markets anticipating an increase?

Major influencers for these small-to- mid-sized markets are low housing supplies and steady population growth.

Here are the ten markets estimated to see the highest rates of value:

City%
Idaho Falls, ID10.2%
Odessa, TX8.8%
Boise City-Nampa, ID8.7%
Bellingham, WA7.8%
Olympia, WA7.6%
Midland, TX7.5%
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ7.1%
Spokane, WA7.0%
Yakima, WA6.9%
Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, WA6.9%

It should be noted, however, that although these increases are greater than estimated for other areas, they are down slightly from previous year with the average increase being 8.3%. Experts agree that this shows a slowdown for most markets.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Upping Your Social Media Engagement

Question, tell me how you feel about using social media?

Social media engagement is important when it comes to creating a successful brand.

This should come as no surprise – social media is essential to your real estate business, and if you’re not utilizing what it has to offer, then you’re missing out on prime prospecting opportunities.

Through social media, you can meet potential clients, expand your listings, and showcase the services you have to offer. If 87% of marketers rank exposure for their business as the main benefit of their social media efforts, then you should download those apps and hop to it.

For the most part, social media can seem simple enough – post a picture, write a caption, submit – it has more to offer than meets the eye. That, and some of social media’s lingo can be a bit confusing to some.

Two of the most important vocabulary words to social media’s jargon: engagement and impressions.

What are they? Why do you need them? Check out our simple guide below.

Impressions

To make this clearer – this is digital impressions. This number includes how many times you post, upload, tweet, etc. to your social media world. However, impressions don’t consider how many “clicks” you get.

Engagement

No, not a wedding ring. Engagement is all about how many shares, comments, clicks, retweets, etc. you receive from what you’ve been posting.

How They Work

Essentially, the higher your impressions (the more your uploading, posting, etc.), the greater chance your content has to come across multitudes of consumer’s news feeds – which should hopefully lead to higher engagements.

What You Can Do

  1. For starters, use more video. Video is incredibly important on social media and can easily shift viewers into consumers.
  2. Images receive more comments than posts without images – so break out your camera. Think about posting sold properties, current listings, events you participate in that concern the industry, etc.
  3. Work on showcasing yourself! When a client is out “shopping” for a real estate agent, they want to know who you are. Share stories about yourself so you become approachable and relatable.
  4. Rule of Thirds from Hootsuite – when sharing content, a third should be about your business, a third for sharing ideas within the industry, and a third on your personal stuff / interactions.
  5. RESPOND. After you upload your content, don’t ignore any responses you might receive! Interact with comments and shares to prove you care about who you reach and who you can help in the real estate world.

Now get on out there and make those impressions!

It’s Home Improvement Season – Do You Know Where Your Permit Is?

If you build it, they will come.

And by they – we mean consequences….if you don’t have a permit for those remodeling projects you’ve completed for your home. 

When you’ve decided to remodel or make improvements to your home, it’s important to take a step back and research whether or not a permit from the city government is needed.

If your remodel requires a permit, it’s crucial that you get one – not only will these changes go on record with the city, but permits will also help sell or refinance your home; buyers and lenders want to make sure all projects comply with building codes, so if you’ve got the proof, you’ll be good to go.

But how do you know which projects require a permit? Luckily, not all of them do.

Projects that Require Permits

  • Fencing installation or repairs: check with your city to see if there are any height restrictions.
  • Window installation: if you’re installing bigger windows, a permit is required to cut holes for them. This also includes skylights and new doors with windows.
  • Plumbing and electrical work: installing or replacing pluming or electrical wiring (whether that’s an outlet, switch, etc.) 100% requires a permit. However, if you’re completing smaller projects, like a repair or a light fixture installation, a permit isn’t usually needed.
  • Structural changes: this includes changes to load-bearing walls, balconies, decks, porches, roofs, or foundation flooring.
  • Heating maintenance: replacing your water heater, ventilation system, gas and wood fireplaces, and ducts all require permits.
  • Additions: new construction, replacements, upgrades, and additions to the home all require permits. Detached garages or sheds are examples of what an addition might look like.

Projects that Don’t Require Permits

  • Paint or wallpaper projects.
  • Installing new countertops.
  • Landscape work.
  • Installing flooring – hardwood, carpet, etc.
  • Installing or replacing a faucet.

If you’re still unsure of whether or not you might need a permit, you can call your local city office, or you can hire a professional contractor!

Describe Your Perfect Date – To List Your Home, That Is

We see….a date in your future….a date that will provide the best time to sell your home…

Actually, ATTOM Data Solutions became the fortune teller we all wish for when we’re on the fence about listing a home.

The company analyzed more than 28 million single-family home and condo sales over the past eight years to find the best time of year to sell. Summer, coming as no surprise, was the top contender. But, what are the exact dates ATTOM found?

May 24th, May 31st, June 20th, June 21st, and June 28th were the dates to watch. With average seller premiums of 10% or more, it might be worth it to wait and list your home on one of these dates.

Todd Teta, Chief Product Officer at ATTOM, explains, “Families start their home search when they know their kids will be out of school and when the weather is ideal for home viewing and moving, giving home sellers an upper hand in price negotiations.” 

ATTOM’s analysis is shown below:

MonthMedian Sales PriceSeller Premium
June$200,0009.2%
May$190,0007.4%
July$199,5007.3%
April$184,0636.4%
March$178,0006.1%
August$195,7065.8%
February$170,0005.6%
September$190,0004.7%
November$188,1734.0%
January$170,0003.7%
October$188,0003.3%
December$188,0003.3%

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Open House Safety Measures

Be ready…open houses are in full swing! Open houses are a great way to get eyes on your listing – and they sell for $9,046 more than homes that don’t.

If you and your client are planning to present an open house, it’s crucial that you also go over any safety concerns prior to having strangers enter their home. It’s not only for their safety, but for yours as well.

As you’re walking through their home with your client, look for these items and prep for not only a successful open house, but a safe one too!

Photographs

Kindly suggest your client remove any family photos from their home. Storing away family photos for an open house not only serves as a way for potential buyers to envision their own family within the home, but this process can also serve as a double purpose. Unfortunately, because we don’t know who will be walking through the open house, it’s important not to show who is currently living in the home.

Valuable Items

Definitely remind clients that you can’t be responsible for any thefts that take place! Instruct them to stow away valuables – these could be anything from documents that include personal information (bills and mail) to electronics, jewelry, etc.

Prescriptions

Something you may not have considered hiding or moving: prescription drugs. Nearly half of 164 estate professionals surveyed at the Greater San Diego Association of REALTORS® Expo reported knowledge of prescription drug theft taking place during open houses.

Tell your client to remove or lock up any prescriptions they have within the home.

Weapons and Lighting

If your client has any weapons – knives, guns, etc., have them removed from the home.

Instruct your client to leave lights on prior to showings, regardless of the time. This way, agents (you) don’t have to walk into a dark home. After the showing, you should also leave lights on for your client’s return.

This is only a brief list of examples to keep things running safe and smoothly; before scheduling an open house, sit down with your client and go over their expectations on how they’d like the home to be treated and go through this list of safety measures with them.

A Delicate Balance – the Relationship Between Renters and Landlords

Did you ever come up with a quick lie after accidentally breaking something at your parent’s house?

Yeah…us neither.

If you are a renter, it might feel as though you’re under the rules of a parent – just with the surname of “landlord.” 

Porch.com surveyed 563 renters and 532 property owners nationwide – and what they found might surprise you.  

When asked if landlords trust their tenants, more than half responded saying they have confidence in their tenants to keep the property in good condition, whereas 38% of renters claimed that if they owned the residence, they would treat it better.

For a landlord, it might be stressful to cover renovations – and it’s true, most homeowners are not prepared to cover emergency repairs. The survey showed that 78% of property owners had to cover rental repairs each year, with an average of six repair issue calls coming in per tenant.

A renter’s biggest lie while living under a renting contract: fibbing about owning a pet at 26.2%. 22.5% of renters surveyed also admitted to not disclosing broken items in the home after moving out.

Security deposits are another tricky issue – 23.8% of renters believed landlords unfairly held back part of their security deposit, while 24% of landlords admitted that they did.

And while 65% of renters cite that they are still renting because they can’t afford a home, survey respondents still seem optimistic – with 9 in 10 tenants saying they would like to own a home in the near future.

Image from Porch.com

Homeownership Hesitation? The Housing Market Stalls

The warmer weather shouldn’t bring cold feet; but it looks like home shoppers are having second thoughts.

Although mortgage rates have been relatively low, they’re paired with rising home prices – which doesn’t make it any easier on a first-time homebuyer.

For the first time in more than two years, homeownership in the U.S. has dropped, falling to 64.2% in the first quarter of 2019 from 64.8% in the fourth quarter of 2018.

With higher home prices and lower housing inventories, comes a dip in homeownership.

When you consider younger homebuyers being the current major force with purchasing homes, it might make a little more sense as to why there has been a sudden decline. Joel Kan, Associate Vice President of Economic and industry Forecasting at the Mortgage Bankers Association, explains, “the first-quarter drop in the homeownership rate is a temporary blip […] millennials are going to be in tighter financial circumstances – they are going to be vulnerable to big swings.” 

A lot of experts agree that the current trend of lower mortgage rates should help homeowners approach the housing market.