Realtor News

Everyone’s Dancing for this $25M Listing

A video of a $25 million listing in Corona Del Mar, Calif., features professional dancers flipping, waltzing, moonwalking, and cavorting their way through the 9,600-square-foot home. Even the listing agent jumps in to dance at the end.

The video stars alumni from TV dance competition shows, “World of Dance” and “So You Think You Can Dance.”

The listing agent Tim Smith told® that beyond creating an intriguing video, the dancers also are helping to generate buzz for the deluxe property. Each of the dancers is an influencer on social media, with hundreds of thousands of followers. “Each dancer is required to post it on social media,” Smith told®. So far, the video has reached more than 10 million followers.

Smith has created viral videos in the past for his listings. Last year, he produced a video inspired by the dance the Dougie for a $55 million estate nicknamed the “Duffy House.”

“It’s all about massive exposure,” says Smith. “The two buyers who bid against each other on the Duffy House were both from outside of California and heard about it from the video.”

Smith hopes the same will happen for his latest video, which cost $25,000 to produce.

(Article republished from REALTOR® Magazine)

‘Jewel Box’ Homes Become Hot Trend in Luxury Sector

More luxury homeowners are being drawn to “jewel box” homes, smaller footprints that are souped up with amenities and upscale, deluxe finishes, The Wall Street Journal reports.

The number of new luxury homes of 3,000 square feet or less has jumped nearly 20% since 2013. That has corresponded to a decrease in large, high-priced homes, according to data from Home Innovation Research Labs, a subsidiary of the National Association of Home Builders.

“Empty nesters want to downsize, but they want luxury homes, not starter homes—luxury kitchens, marble surfaces, all the latest and greatest,” Tim Costello, CEO of Builder Homesite, told The Wall Street Journal.

Some home buyers may not want to deal with the hassles of maintaining a large home so opt for smaller options, housing analysts add.

However, The Wall Street Journal reports that finding new-home construction that fits the jewel box profile can be difficult. More builders are starting to experiment with them though. In Georgetown, Texas, just outside of Austin, builders are testing smaller luxury homes in the range of 2,034 to 2,564 square feet. Sitterle Homes has sold about 40 such garden homes in the town’s Cimarron Hills, a private country club community, over the last five years. Prices range from $460,000 to $825,000.

“Now that the kids are gone, they are looking to right-size,” Brian Shields, a partner with Sitterle Homes and president of its Austin division, told The Wall Street Journal about the types of customers that are most drawn to the luxury smaller homes. “They still want high design and nicer appointments and finishes.”

Jennifer Bunsa, an interior designer, and her husband purchased a two-bedroom, 2,400-square-foot home in Miami in 2013 for $495,000 and has spent more than $280,000 renovating it. They added custom walnut cabinetry and a ceiling-high slab of Calacatta gold marble for a backsplash, and have been knocking down walls in their remodel. “The small footprint allowed us to spend extra on details that would otherwise have been spent on a fourth or 10th bedroom,” she told The Wall Street Journal.

(Article republished from REALTOR® Magazine.)

Another City is Paying Newcomers to Move There

Topeka, Kan., is the latest city offering a cash incentive to new residents to relocate there. It will pay up to $15,000 to those who move to Kansas’ capital city.

Topeka is the latest in a growing list of metros that are looking to entice new residents with cash offers. The list also includes Chattanooga, Tenn.; Baltimore; and Tulsa, Okla. In 2016, the state of Maine launched a campaign that vouched to pay the vacation expenses for those who come to the state on vacation and then end up moving there.

The “Choose Topeka” program will match funds that are put up by employers to attract professionals to live and work there for at least a year. They’re offering up to $10,000 for renters and $15,000 for those who purchase or rehab a home.

Up to 60 new residents will be eligible for funds through the program.

City officials say their goal is to draw young couples to relocate and start families in the area as well as fill jobs, including in the animal health science and financial services sectors.

Topeka has seen its population shrink over the years. In July 2018, its population was 125,904—nearly 2,000 less than 2010.

Nearby Tulsa offered a similar incentive program in the hopes of attracting new residents and so far, its idea has worked. More than 100 workers were selected from 10,000 applications as part of its Tulsa Remote program its first year. Officials say the program will more than double in size in 2020 and welcome 250 new residents with financial incentives for moving there.

(Republished from REALTOR® Magazine.)

Could 3D-Printed Homes Help Affordable Housing?

The evolving capabilities of 3D printing may help the housing industry respond to the affordable-home crisis. Some organizations now believe the process could be the answer to ramping up affordable housing across the globe. And it could do so quickly—you can print a home in just 24 hours.

Icon, a construction tech startup in Austin, and a housing nonprofit called New Story unveiled its first two 3D-printed homes that were constructed for low-income families in Tabasco, Mexico. The 500-square-foot homes were printed in just 24 hours.

The 3D printer uses a cement-based material to create textured walls with curved edges. The homes feature two bedrooms, a living room, kitchen, and bathroom.

The Tabasco community will serve as a prototype for the potential of using 3D printing to respond to affordable housing shortages. Eventually, the community is to include 50 3D-printed homes for low-income residents.


Why Should You Use a REALTOR®?

All real estate licensees are not the same. Only real estate licensees who are members of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® are properly called REALTORS®. They proudly display the REALTOR “®” logo on the business card or other marketing and sales literature. REALTORS® are committed to treat all parties to a transaction honestly. REALTORS® subscribe to a strict code of ethics and are expected to maintain a higher level of knowledge of the process of buying and selling real estate. An independent survey reports that 84% of home buyers would use the same REALTOR® again. Our members abide by a strict code of ethics and have access to a wide variety of business services that are not available to non-REALTORS. This gives them a competitive edge in the marketplace, enabling them to provide superior services to buyers and sellers of real property.

12 Reasons to Use a REALTOR®

  1. Your REALTOR® can help you determine your buying power — that is, your financial reserves plus your borrowing capacity. If you give a REALTOR® some basic information about your available savings, income and current debt, he or she can refer you to lenders best qualified to help you. Most lenders — banks and mortgage companies — offer limited choices.
  2. Your REALTOR® has many resources to assist you in your home search. Sometimes the property you are seeking is available but not actively advertised in the market, and it will take some investigation by your agent to find all available properties.
  3. Your REALTOR® can assist you in the selection process by providing objective information about each property. Agents who are REALTORS® have access to a variety of informational resources. REALTORS® can provide local community information on utilities, zoning. schools, etc. There are two things you’ll want to know. First, will the property provide the environment I want for a home or investment? Second, will the property have resale value when I am ready to sell?
  4. Your REALTOR® can help you negotiate. There are myriad negotiating factors, including but not limited to price, financing, terms, date of possession and often the inclusion or exclusion of repairs and furnishings or equipment. The purchase agreement should provide a period of time for you to complete appropriate inspections and investigations of the property before you are bound to complete the purchase. Your agent can advise you as to which investigations and inspections are recommended or required.
  5. Your REALTOR® provides due diligence during the evaluation of the property. Depending on the area and property, this could include inspections for termites, dry rot, asbestos, faulty structure, roof condition, septic tank and well tests, just to name a few. Your REALTOR® can assist you in finding qualified responsible professionals to do most of these investigations and provide you with written reports. You will also want to see a preliminary report on the title of the property. Title indicates ownership of property and can be mired in confusing status of past owners or rights of access. The title to most properties will have some limitations; for example, easements (access rights) for utilities. Your REALTOR®, title company or attorney can help you resolve issues that might cause problems at a later date.
  6. Your REALTOR® can help you in understanding different financing options and in identifying qualified lenders.
  7. Your REALTOR® can guide you through the closing process and make sure everything flows together smoothly.
  8. When selling your home, your REALTOR® can give you up-to-date information on what is happening in the marketplace and the price, financing, terms and condition of competing properties. These are key factors in getting your property sold at the best price, quickly and with minimum hassle.
  9. Your REALTOR® markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. Often, your REALTOR® can recommend repairs or cosmetic work that will significantly enhance the sell-ability of your property. Your REALTOR® markets your property to other real estate agents and the public. In many markets across the country, over 50% of real estate sales are cooperative sales; that is, a real estate agent other than yours brings in the buyer. Your REALTOR® acts as the marketing coordinator, disbursing information about your property to other real estate agents through a Multiple Listing Service or other cooperative marketing networks, open houses for agents, etc. The REALTOR® Code of Ethics requires REALTORS® to utilize these cooperative relationships when they benefit their clients.
  10. Your REALTOR® will know when, where and how to advertise your property. There is a misconception that advertising sells real estate. The NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® studies show that 82% of real estate sales are the result of agent contacts through previous clients, referrals, friends, family and personal contacts. When a property is marketed with the help of your REALTOR®, you do not have to allow strangers into your home. Your REALTOR® will generally pre-screen and accompany qualified prospects through your property.
  11. Your REALTOR® can help you objectively evaluate every buyer’s proposal without compromising your marketing position. This initial agreement is only the beginning of a process of appraisals, inspections and financing — a lot of possible pitfalls. Your REALTOR® can help you write a legally binding, win-win agreement that will be more likely to make it through the process.
  12. Your REALTOR® can help close the sale of your home. Between the initial sales agreement and closing (or settlement), questions may arise. For example, unexpected repairs are required to obtain financing or a cloud in the title is discovered. The required paperwork alone is overwhelming for most sellers. Your REALTOR® is the best person to objectively help you resolve these issues and move the transaction to closing (or settlement).

(Information herein © 1995-2014 National Association of REALTORS®)

How to Choose the Right REALTOR® For You?

Not All Agents or Brokers are REALTORS® – There is a Difference

As a prerequisite to selling real estate, a person must be licensed by the state in which they work, either as an agent/salesperson or as a broker. Before a license is issued, minimum standards for education, examinations and experience, which are determined on a state by state basis, must be met. After receiving a real estate license, most agents go on to join their local board or association of REALTORS® and the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS®, the world’s largest professional trade association. They can then call themselves REALTORS®.

The term “REALTOR®” is a registered collective membership mark that identifies a real estate professional who is a member of the NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® and subscribes to its strict Code of Ethics (which in many cases goes beyond state law). In most areas, it is the REALTOR® who shares information on the homes they are marketing, through a Multiple Listing Service (MLS). Working with a REALTOR® who belongs to an MLS will give you access to the greatest number of homes.

Using an Agent and the Obligations that are Owed to You

An agent is bound by certain legal obligations. Traditionally, these common-law obligations are to: Put the client’s interests above anyone else’s; Keep the client’s information confidential; Obey the client’s lawful instructions; Report to the client anything that would be useful; and Account to the client for any money involved.

NOTE: A REALTOR® is held to an even higher standard of conduct under the NAR’s Code of Ethics. In recent years, state laws have been passed setting up various duties for different types of agents. As you start working with a REALTOR®, ask for a clear explanation of your state’s current regulations, so that you will know where you stand on these important matters.

The Difference Between a Buyer’s and a Seller’s Broker

Suppose you sign an offer to buy a home for $150,000. You really want the property and there’s a chance other offers are coming in, so you tell the broker that “We’ll go up to $160,000 if we have to. But of course don’t tell that to the seller.” If you’re dealing with a seller’s agent, he or she may be duty-bound to tell the seller that important fact. In most states, the seller’s agent doesn’t have any duty of confidentiality toward you. Honest treatment might require that the agent warn you that “I must convey to the seller anything that would be useful so don’t tell me anything you wouldn’t tell the seller.”

TIP: If you’re dealing with seller’s agents, it’s a good idea to keep confidential information to yourself. These days many home buyers prefer instead to hire a buyer’s broker, one who owes the full range of duties, including confidentiality and obedience, to the buyer. A buyer’s broker is often paid by the seller, regardless of the agency relationship.

How to Evaluate an Agent

In making your decision to work with an agent, there are certain questions you should ask when evaluating a potential agent. The first question you should ask is whether the agent is a REALTOR® . You should then ask:

  • Does the agent have an active real estate license in good standing? To find this information, you can check with your state’s governing agency.
  • Does the agent belong to the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and/or a reliable online home buyer’s search service? Multiple Listing Services are cooperative information networks of REALTORS® that provide descriptions of most of the houses for sale in a particular region.
  • Is real estate their full-time career?
  • What real estate designations does the agent hold?
  • Which party is he or she representing–you or the seller? This discussion is supposed to occur early on, at “first serious contact” with you. The agent should discuss your state’s particular definitions of agency, so you’ll know where you stand.
  • In exchange for your commitment, how will the agent help you accomplish your goals? Show you homes that meet your requirements and provide you with a list of the properties he or she is showing you?

(Information therein © 1995-2014 National Association of REALTORS®)