FHA to require second appraisal on select reverse mortgages

The Federal Housing Administration announced Friday that it will require reverse mortgage lenders to provide a second property appraisal on loans flagged by FHA as potentially having an inflated property valuation. The agency said the move is intended to reduce risk to the Mutual Mortgage Insurance Fund, which will ultimately ensure the long-term sustainability of the program.

REALTOR® Safety: Every Client, Every Day, Every Time

More than a decade ago, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) launched the REALTOR® Safety Program to educate its members on the potential risks they face while on the job. While September is dedicated as REALTOR® Safety Month, this topic deserves attention every day of the year. For real estate professionals, staying safe requires knowledge, awareness and empowerment on many different fronts.

Beneficial Safety Resources
To simplify and support brokers’ efforts to educate agents about safety, NAR developed a wealth of materials, all compiled in one convenient location: NAR.realtor/safety.

Below are three steps you can take to spread the importance of REALTOR® safety with your agents, and to learn more about the resources available from NAR.

1. View NAR’s 2018 REALTOR® Safety Webinar
Habits to Keep You Safe on the Job Year-Round
Presented by: Cheryl Knowlton, REALTOR®

In this free webinar, an industry expert explains how to minimize risks and stay safe in your day-to-day business interactions. For more details and to watch the recording, visit NAR.realtor/safety/safety-webinars.

2. Watch and Share NAR’s Newest Safety Video
Videos are a great tool for raising safety awareness and educating consumers about your safety protocols. NAR has compiled over a dozen videos on a wide variety of safety issues, including the newest topic, “Personal Safety Tips for Real Estate Professionals,” which can be viewed at NAR.realtor/safety/videos.

In three short minutes, this new video quickly and effectively highlights safety procedures that every real estate professional should incorporate into their daily routine and follow with every client. Be sure to watch it and share it with your agents.

3. Utilize Customizable Safety Tools for Brokers
NAR has compiled several safety-related forms you can tailor to your office:

  • Agent Identification Form
  • Agent Itinerary
  • Office Safety Action Plan
  • Prospect Identification Form

To access these and other materials for brokers, visit NAR.realtor/safety/resources-for-associations-and-brokerages.

  1. Check Out Additional Tips and Tools
    NAR offers many additional safety resources at NAR.realtor/safety. Find help on:
  • Planning your safety strategy
  • Finding safety educators for in-person training
  • Locating safety articles, organized by category
  • Identifying more webinar recordings and videos

Follow us (@NARdotRealtor) on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to repost our weekly safety tips and keep safety top of mind.

Continue the Conversation
However you decide to talk about safety with your agents, it’s important to keep the conversation going beyond REALTOR® Safety Month. Together, we can help real estate professionals understand and learn how to avoid the risks we face—steps that can mean the difference between life and death. Start today by sharing this article with your agents and help ensure safety is always top of mind.

Learn more and access all of NAR’s REALTOR® Safety resources at NAR.realtor/safety.

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Building a Powerful Tech Toolbelt

How RPR® helps California broker work smarter

Derek Sprague, CCIM, has made the most of his 13 years as a partner at Mossy Oak Properties California Farm & Ranch in Bakersfield, Calif. A combination of factors has led to his success thus far, such as staying actively involved in the industry and building a strong national network of fellow real estate professionals. And throughout it all, he has relied on technology like Realtors Property Resource® (RPR®) to help him work more efficiently and effectively.

“RPR bolsters my real estate toolbelt,” says Sprague. “The mobile app is incredibly useful for obtaining data and delivering a professional experience to clients on-the-go.”

Technology that enhances and streamlines the real estate experience is essential for a busy professional like Sprague. While he has exponentially advanced his career and circle of influence by serving on committees for both the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) and the California Association of REALTORS®—including being recognized among NAR’s “30 Under 30″—Sprague admits that balancing his daily client responsibilities and his numerous volunteer roles has been challenging.

“But my industry involvement positioned me to advance my professional career much more rapidly than I ever would have on my own,” he maintains. “Being able to hear best practices and learning how other successful people are doing business helped me build my business. Additionally, a number of my 30 Under 30 contacts have provided me with referrals over the years, and knowing I have trusted colleagues across the country makes it easier for me to make referrals when my clients are looking for properties in other regions.”

In order to balance his networking commitments with his busy real estate career, Sprague learned how to work smarter by leaning on technology, such as geographic information systems (GIS) technology that he uses in tandem with data and analytics he curates from RPR.

Sprague deploys GIS technology to bring in sales comps and create maps to display where comps have sold, and the prices paid per acre.

“Real estate is geography, so I’ve played around with GIS enough times to create a system for our company that takes advantage of several aspects of that tool,” he explains. “Recently, a client needed to locate properties with no conservation easements, and within five minutes of using GIS, we pulled together a map showing all the properties under that criteria, the names of the owners, and so forth.”

Sprague then uses RPR’s map-based searching for on- and off-market properties to rapidly access data when he’s out in the field. This adds a more detailed level of data to the GIS findings, including tax, demographic, economic, flood zones, distressed data, school information, and more.

“Sometimes I work on land projects throughout Central California,” Sprague explains. “RPR gives me access to data that’s tough to find and centralizes it in one spot. To have a tool that aggregates data in a quick, simple and easy-to-use way is critical.”

Sprague says he is as impressed with the RPR platform’s user-friendliness as he is with the attentive technical support he has received.

“RPR is committed to the success of its users by delivering hands-on training, and they are incredibly responsive to feedback,” he explains. “Out of all the technology solutions I have access to, RPR is probably the only company that will travel to present trainings.”

For more information, please visit blog.narrpr.com.

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Zillow Creating a More Streamlined Experience for Offers Customers With Lender Acquisition

Company Is Developing Opportunities for Broker Partners as It Builds Out New Mortgage Technology

Zillow Group’s Zillow Offers (formerly Instant Offers) program continues to make its presence known, expanding into new markets and offering new tools to consumers.

Recently, Zillow made news again with the announcement that they’ll be acquiring Mortgage Lenders of America, based in Overland Park, Kan., a move designed to streamline and shorten the mortgage process for consumers who purchase homes through Zillow Offers. As Zillow builds out this mortgage product, the company says it will make tools and technology available to brokerages, consistent with its goal of providing a superior consumer experience while strengthening partnerships in the real estate industry.

Through Zillow Offers, the company buys and sells homes, always with a local broker and agent representing them in the transaction. As they sell those homes, they put them in the MLS and ensure cooperating brokers get market-rate commissions.

According to Zillow Group, the program is going well. Zillow Offers is up and running in Phoenix, Las Vegas and Atlanta, and will soon be live in Denver. In Phoenix alone, Zillow has purchased dozens of homes so far, with more than a dozen on the market, and more under contract. However, Zillow has found that the vast majority of sellers still prefer to go the traditional route—with an agent—and they report that the program has generated great seller leads for broker and agent partners.

Getting a mortgage is often the hardest, most complicated part of buying a home. Zillow Group believes that the acquisition of Mortgage Lenders of America will allow the company to leverage its technological expertise to provide an easier and faster mortgage experience; Zillow also plans to offer tools and technology to brokerage partners so that they can improve capture rate at their own mortgage affiliates. According to Zillow, these tools are still in development and will be rolled out in the coming months.

While Mortgage Lenders of America will help buyers of Zillow-owned homes have a more seamless experience, the company originates a fraction of the loans requested through the Zillow Mortgages marketplace every year. Mortgage Lenders of America will continue to offer mortgages to homebuyers outside of Zillow Offers, and will continue to participate in their lender marketplace. Zillow Group will also continue to offer lender advertising programs including Connect, Custom Quotes and lender co-marketing.

In 2017, consumers submitted 23 million loan information requests through Zillow Group’s consumer brands. Zillow plans to continue to grow this marketplace and bring tools to industry partners to help them further grow their businesses.

For more information on partnering with Zillow Group as they build out mortgage technologies, please visit www.zillow.com.

For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark RISMedia.com.

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Against Grain, Luxury Market Moves Up

Against Grain, Luxury Market Moves Up

Luxury prices are strengthening, with double-digit growth in 20 of the largest markets in the nation—a contrast from the housing market overall, according to the August Luxury Home Index by realtor.com®. The age of inventory in the luxury segment sped up to 121 days, the Index shows.

“The conditions in the luxury segment are quite different from the market overall—it’s really a tale of two markets,” says Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com. “Although U.S. median listing prices show signs of slowing growth, luxury prices are moving in the opposite direction in many places. For the second consecutive month, we’ve seen more markets with double-digit, entry-level luxury price growth than in the past four years.”

According to the Index, which analyzes 91 counties in the luxury segment—examining prices in the top 5 percent of all sales, specifically—the fastest-growing luxury markets are:

  1. Sarasota County, Fla.
    Price (Top 5%): $1 million
  1. Queens County, N.Y.
    Price (Top 5%): $1.29 million
  1. Santa Clara, Calif.
    Price (Top 5%): $2.84 million
  1. Boulder County, Colo.
    Price (Top 5%): $1.35 million
  1. Collier County, Fla.
    Price (Top 5%): $1.71 million

For more information, please visit www.realtor.com.

DeVita_Suzanne_60x60Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia’s online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com.

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