Recently, Fannie Mae began to actively seek out brokers listing more than 30 REO listings from any single Fannie Mae source which understandably is seeing opposition by many large brokerages as well as the National Association of Realtors, according to Keller Williams’ CEO, Mark Willis.
Willis wrote this week to all of Keller Williams associates:
“Dear Associates –
We’ve recently been alerted to heightened enforcement from Fannie Mae of a per-broker limitation of 30 active REO listings from any one Fannie Mae source, and want to assure you that we have been diligently working behind the scenes on your behalf to address this issue.
While we understand that this policy is designed to curb abuses and ensure that all Fannie Mae-backed REO listings receive the necessary attention to detail, we were quick to point out to Fannie Mae’s leadership that the real estate industry’s most efficient REO specialists have invested heavily in people and systems. As we all know, efficient disposition of REO properties is critical to reestablishing stability within the real estate market, and it serves no one to severely curtail the operations of the most successful producers who understand the high-volume, low-margin nature of the REO business.
We also want to dispel the rumor that the National Association of REALTORS is in support of this limitation. Our sources at NAR have indicated that they share our conviction that top-producing REO agents are an integral part of the solution, and that dismantling their businesses in the interest of opening the field to more players serves no one.
Click here to find the letter that we have sent to the President and CEO of Fannie Mae that outlines our position. We look forward to working closely with Fannie Mae in promoting the highest standards quality and professionalism, and will keep you in the loop as this matter develops.
Yours in leading the way,
In a letter to Fannie Mae, Willis wrote, “We are very concerned that due to the high volume, low margin nature of the REO business, the imposition of these limitations would serve to drive real estate professionals away from the market to a greater extent than it would draw in well-qualified new players.”
“I was dumbfounded…”
A more strongly worded opinion was aired by Kansas broker, Chris Lengquist, “Frankly, I have to tell you I was dumbfounded that this rule was even in place! REOs are low profit, exasperating work. Professional real estate agents smart enough to put together a team of 3-8 people to review, list and successfully sell foreclosed property have to deal with governmental minions who need to leave by 4:30 each day because they cannot stand to work a minute’s overtime. Does it occur to Fannie that this is survival of the fittest?”
As a real estate professional, do you think it makes sense to make a rule that applies to the entire industry? Does raising enforcement help or damage the REO practice and real estate sector overall, or is this an appropriate measure? Tell us in comments your thoughts.
Austin tops the list of best places to buy a home
When looking to buy a home, taking the long view is important before making such a huge investment – where are the best places to make that commitment?
Looking at the bigger picture
(REALUOSO.COM) – Let us first express that although we are completely biased about Texas (we’re headquartered here, I personally grew up here), the data is not – Texas is the best. That’s a scientific fact. There’s a running joke in Austin that if there is a list of “best places to [anything],” we’re on it, and the joke causes eye rolls instead of humility (we’re sore winners and sore losers in this town).
That said, SelfStorage.com dug into the data and determined that the top 12 places to buy a home are currently Texas and North Carolina (and Portland, I guess you’re okay too or whatever).
They examined the nerdiest of numbers from the compound annual growth rate in inflation-adjusted GDP to cost premium, affordability, taxes, job growth, and housing availability.
“Buying a house is a big decision and a big commitment,” the company notes. “Although U.S. home prices have risen in the long term, the last decade has shown that path is sometimes full of twists, turns, dizzying heights and steep, abrupt falls. Today, home prices are stabilizing and increasing in most areas of the U.S.”
Average age of houses on the rise, so is it now better or worse to buy new?
With aging housing in America, are first-time buyers better off buying new or existing homes? The average age of a home is rising, as is the price of new housing, so a shift could be upon us.
The average home age is higher than ever
(REALUOSO.COM) – In a survey from the Department of Housing and Urban Development American Housing Survey (AHS), the median age of homes in the United States was 35 years old. In Texas, homes are a bit younger with the median age between 19 – 29 years. The northeast has the oldest homes, with the median age between 50 – 61 years. In 1985, the median age of a home was only 23 years.
With more houses around 40 years old, the National Association of Realtors asserts that homeowners will have to undertake remodeling and renovation projects before selling unless the home is sold as-is, in which case the buyer will be responsible to update their new residence. Even homeowners who aren’t selling will need to consider remodeling for structural and aesthetic reasons.
Prices of new homes on the rise
Newer homes cost more than they used to. The price differential between new homes and older homes has increased from 10 percent traditionally to around 37 percent in 2014. This is due to rising construction costs, scarcity of lots, and a low inventory of new homes that doesn’t meet the demand.
Are Realtors the real loser in the fight between Zillow Group and Move, Inc.?
The last year has been one of dramatic and rapid change in the real estate tech sector, but Realtors are vulnerable, and we’re worried.
Why Realtors are vulnerable to these rapid changes
(REALUOSO.COM) – Corporate warfare demands headlines in every industry, but in the real estate tech sector, a storm has been brewing for years, which in the last year has come to a head. Zillow Group and Move, Inc. (which is owned by News Corp. and operates ListHub, Realtor.com, TopProducer, and other brands) have been competing for a decade now, and the race has appeared to be an aggressive yet polite boxing match. Last year, the gloves came off, and now, they’ve drawn swords and appear to want blood.
Note: We’ll let you decide which company plays which role in the image above.
So how then, does any of this make Realtors the victims of this sword fight? Let’s get everyone up to speed, and then we’ll discuss.
1. Zillow poaches top talent, Move/NAR sues
It all started last year when the gloves came off – Move’s Chief Strategy Officer (who was also Realtor.com’s President), Errol Samuelson jumped ship and joined Zillow on the same day he phoned in his resignation without notice. He left under questionable circumstances, which has led to a lengthy legal battle (wherein Move and NAR have sued Zillow and Samuelson over allegations of breach of contract, breach of fiduciary duty, and misappropriation of trade secrets), with the most recent motion being for contempt, which a judge granted to Move/NAR after the mysterious “Samuelson Memo” surfaced.
Salt was added to the wound when Move awarded Samuelson’s job to Move veteran, Curt Beardsley, who days after Samuelson left, also defected to Zillow. This too led to a lawsuit, with allegations including breach of contract, violation of corporations code, illegal dumping of stocks, and Move has sought restitution. These charges are extremely serious, but demanded slightly less attention than the ongoing lawsuit against Samuelson.
2. Two major media brands emerge
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