How to Sell a Home with a Bad Past

A stigmatized house may often be a hard sell. In the digital age, there are very few secrets — prospective buyers can search for any gruesome details and facts about an unfortunate event that once took place on the property. Even if the home is a gem, it still may sit on the market for longer than it should, because of its dark past. The history can affect (or not affect) prospective buyers — a violent or widely reported murder or suicide, a common belief that the property is haunted, or even someone who died peacefully in the home — can ...

Benefit from a Commission Advance at Tax Time and Beyond

When you live solely on commissions, cash flow and timing are vital. Most real estate agents learn the hard way that commission payments don’t always sync up with billing cycles — including quarterly tax payment requirements. Not only could this be harmful economically, but it can also be psychologically damaging — a career demotivator. Don’t give up hope. eCommission can help with advances on that all-important commission payment, before the final closing on the property. The advanced commission payment can help keep cash flow consistent and bridge the time gap between commission checks, especially at tax time. It’s not a loan — ...

The Most Gentrified Cities in America

Gentrification is the buying and renovation of houses and stores in deteriorated urban neighborhoods by upper- or -middle-income families or individuals, raising property values but often displacing low-income families and small businesses, according to Dictionary.com. The site also defines gentrification as the process of conforming to an upper- or middle-class lifestyle, or making a product, activity, etc., appealing to those with more affluent tastes. However you define it, gentrification has been a controversial mixed blessing, to say the least. Depending on what side you’re on, the process is either a new lease on life for a troubled, decaying neighborhood, or ...

Estimated Tax Considerations for Real Estate Agents

Although the digital age is changing so many dynamics in the real estate business, the tax process is mostly business as usual. Most agents are still considered independent contractors or self-employed sole proprietors. In most of all cases, that means that no taxes are withheld from your commission checks; therefore, you’re responsible for paying taxes four times a year (quarterly). These are called “estimated taxes,” an educated guess as to how much you will be earning and the resulting percentage you will pay in taxes. These estimated taxes are used to pay both income taxes and self-employment taxes (Social Security and Medicare ...

Catch the Boomerang Buyer!

Life happens in cycles, and a new one is about to offer you a big opportunity. The homeowners who defaulted on their mortgages during The Great Recession are eligible to buy homes again. Those bankruptcies are coming up to be discharged — many have already been — and those homeowners may be contacting you. Between 2007 and 2014, more than 12.8 million homes began the foreclosure process. That’s 29 percent of all homes with a mortgage. In 2009, when foreclosures were at their highest, more than 650,000 homes entered foreclosure in a single quarter. That’s 1.5 percent of those with ...

Where Do You Stand on the Real Estate Generational Divide?

We’ve all faced the perception that the real estate industry is slow to change, resists technology, and insists on doing business the same way it always has for decades. We’ve seen older colleagues struggle with spreadsheets, virtual reality and even smart phones, and we’ve known brokerages that are still mostly relying on hard-copy paperwork and file cabinets. The truth is that the real estate business is actually evolving fast, and is in the midst of a sea change. It’s opening itself up to a tidal wave of technology, and is eager to catch up and move ahead of the curve. Younger ...

Construction Outlook 2018

An increasing reliance on technology (drones, virtual reality), a continued interest in live/work/play urban nodes, growing concern over infrastructure, and changes in demographics are what will be influencing construction in 2018. In addition, construction is what will help the country bounce back from the natural disasters of 2017, which included hurricanes, wildfires, and heat/cold waves. Specific construction trends that are expected to continue to increase in 2018 include modular/prefab structures. The perception that prefab is cheap and poorly constructed is quickly changing — Today, top architects are becoming interested in the benefits of this business, which include decreasing profit margins and lowering construction ...

Mortgage Rate Outlook for 2018

The stock market entered 2018 on a wild roller coaster. But here’s the slightly more stable story for mortgages thus far: According to the mortgage agency Freddie Mac, mortgage rates held below 4 percent for 26 straight weeks in 2017. Freddie predicts that 2018 will be a year of rising rates again. The average 30-year fixed-rate mortgage increased from 3.95 percent during the first week of January 2018 to 4.15 percent by month’s end. This marks only the second time in the past year that rates have increased 20 basis points (read as 0.20 percent) within a four-week period. There is a consensus among ...

Should you Work with a Hybrid Brokerage?

The old days: brick-and-mortar real estate brokerages, with human, hands-on real estate agents who guide clients through the process of buying and selling property. The coming days: technology agencies, almost exclusively available online, where an entire deal can be handled in the digital realm. It’s not as surprising as it first sounds. Ninety percent of homebuyers use the Internet as their go-to research tool, according to a joint study by The National Association of Realtors® and Google. These days, a home search starts with the Internet, viewing the property on smartphones, and learning negotiating tutorials on YouTube. The real estate agent is ...

Help your Clients to Downsize

Preparing a house to be market-ready can often be a trying and emotional experience for the seller. Many Baby Boomer-age sellers may have lived in their property for decades, and the act of downsizing could come with an array of stresses: sadness, depression, anxiety, anger, fear and uncertainty, among others. According to The National Association for Senior Move Managers, by 2030, the population over 65 will increase by 80 percent. Trulia found that more homeowners would rather have a smaller house than a larger one (37 percent compared to 23 percent). Thirty-seven percent of Baby Boomers said that ...