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Real Estate Associations

State association tackles tricky topic of redeveloping abandoned properties to improve communities

One state association pulled together Realtors, lenders, politicians, non-profits, and community members to discuss how abandoned properties can be approached for the betterment of the entire area.

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The Richmond Association of Realtors (RAR) and the Partnership for Housing Affordability recently offered two workshops designed to encourage the redevelopment of abandoned properties.

Underwritten with a grant from the National Association of Realtors, the events brought together developers, lenders, government officials, non-profit leaders, and Realtors to discuss strategies for improving communities through the revitalization of vacant buildings.

The numerous hazards of vacant properties

Aside from being eyesores, empty homes, apartments, shops, and manufacturing facilities attract transients, drug dealers, and are dangerous for children. Vacant properties are costly to communities, demanding an inordinate amount of attention from police, fire, and health officials.

Crime around these nuisance properties is higher than in developed areas, making adjacent property values fall.

The potential benefits of property and neighborhood revitalization are obvious. Rehabilitated homes meet the need for affordable housing, redeveloped communities gain a sense of empowerment, and neighborhoods become safer.

Commercial properties can be made available for startups, art studios, non-profit headquarters, and community centers. Expanding cities that are in need of space can find immediate room to grow through property redevelopment.

Despite positives, the challenge is huge

Despite the obvious benefits, however, the revitalization of vacant properties is challenging. Since the owners of many vacant properties are unreachable, bankrupt, or deceased, a wide range of community leaders must work together to develop a strategy.

This reality prompted the Richmond Association of Realtors to become the catalyst for a conversation that could yield transformative results in needy neighborhoods.

The first of RAR’s two workshops addressed the need for equitable, market-based neighborhood revitalization. The second workshop was a strategy session for dealing with vacant, abandoned, and problem properties.

The sessions gave experts from a range of professional fields the opportunity to understand the issues better, but also to begin developing polices, tools, and strategies for facing the challenge presented by vacant properties.

Richmond event is instructive for all Realtors

The best agents know they have a responsibility to the communities where they work. Assisting in the development of strategies for revitalizing vacant properties is a great way for Realtors to offer their professional skills as a way to give back to the community. It is also an excellent way to open doors for new business and growth.

Everyone is a winner when vacant properties become vibrant again.

#VacantProperties

Stephen St. John is a writer and speaker with a background in business, education, and non-profit ministry. He earned his Bachelor's Degree in Organizational Management and Master's Degree in Theological and Ministerial Studies. Alongside his wife and seven kids, Stephen has lived and worked in North America, Africa, and Asia.

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National Association of Realtors

The more communicative you are, the more you’re apt to earn

Communication is key in any relationship, but even more so when it’s the Realtor/Client relationship. Here’s why.

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In our fast-paced, technology-driven world, Realtors need to be able to engage clients quickly and in a way that allows them to be both personable and professional. Celeste Starchild, Vice President of Move and General Manager at ListHub, gives a bit of insight on how Realtors can tap into the online market more efficiently.

One of the first thing Starchild suggests is maximizing your online presence with search engine optimization or SEO; effectively using SEO will boost targeted advertising to reach consumers when they are most likely to be ready to buy or sell a home.

She states, “search engine marketing drives high quality and high volume leads. If you have the budget, you can pay for the right to have your name and business visible to practically all consumers looking for an agent in a specific location.”

Consumers want immediate responses

This is especially important given the majority of consumers in today’s market are “digital natives.” These “digital natives” are millennials or Gen X-ers who have been around technology so long, they can’t remember a time when the Internet wasn’t at their disposal. Due to this, they tend to go online to do research because they are not familiar with doing business in-person. They also expect an immediate response, as they are used to texting and email, not phone calls and letters.

Starchild states, “consumers want immediate responses from their friends and family via email and texting. Realtors risk missing an opportunity with this demographic if they aren’t responding in a timely, informative, and personable manner.” This includes areas such as social media.

Have you notices Facebook actual lists a response time on business pages now? They do. Most businesses strive to answer messages within an hour, or risk losing business.

Don’t shoot yourself in the foot

Facebook can be an extremely successful and cost-effective marketing tactic for Realtors by using predictive advertising. With this, you can target scenarios such as job relocation, marriage, child birth, and divorce, as purchase drivers and your ad will appear alongside a potential buyer’s Facebook page. This is one of the most powerful and effective ways to reach consumers, according to Starchild, as you are reaching out to them at the critical moment of decision.

Practically every interested buyer or seller will search online for information about a Realtor and read reviews about them before contacting them. This is another area Starchild suggests you examine: “It doesn’t matter where on a search list a Realtor shows up if they don’t have an updated profile with a professional headshot, listed contact information, and a few client recommendations. Failing to do [this] will ultimately lead to missed business;” and no one wants that to happen. So, take a few moments and ensure your contact information is updated and readily available as a search result so you do not miss a potential client.

Improve earnings by being communicative

Once a client messages you, you should aim to respond in the first five minutes, even if your response is automated with a promise to follow-up quickly. As long as you’re reaching out, you can increase your contact rates exponentially.

“Consumers are looking for facts and they want them now. How you respond and interact with them influences their decision on whether or not they’re your client forever, or they’re on to the next one,” says Starchild.

No one wants to miss business, simply because they forgot to respond. Automate responses, use social media, and update your Realtor profile and you’ll be on your way to maximizing your contact rates and client satisfaction.

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Real Estate Associations

NAR Board approves major MLS rule changes to take effect in January

The NAR Board has approved new MLS rules to improve transparency for consumers, all set to take effect in just a few weeks.

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To improve transparency in a time where forces are pushing to muddy waters, the National Association of Realtors (NAR) announced today that proposed changes to its guidance for local Multiple Listing Service (MLS) broker marketplaces have been approved by a Board of Directors vote.

The changes seek to “ensure disclosure of compensation offered to buyer agents, ensure listings are not excluded from search results based on the amount of compensation offered to buyer agents, and reinforce that local real estate agents do not represent brokerage services as free,” according to a NAR statement.

The following changes are set to take effect Jan. 1, 2022 (per NAR):

  • (1) Reinforce that local marketplace participants do not represent brokerage services as free. While Realtors® always have been required to advertise their services accurately and truthfully, this change creates a bright line rule on the use of the word “free” that is easy to follow and enforce.
  • (2) Ensure disclosure of compensation offered to buyer agents. The change bolsters transparency and Realtors®’ existing duties and practices to talk with their clients about what services they provide and how they are compensated.
  • (3) Ensure listings aren’t excluded from search results based on the amount of compensation offered to buyer agents. This changes wording to reiterate Realtors®’ existing duty to inform clients about all relevant properties meeting their criteria.

“Grounded in our commitment to act in the best interests of buyers and sellers, we regularly review and update our guidance for local broker marketplaces to continue to advance efficient, equitable and transparent practices,” said NAR President Charlie Oppler.

“These latest changes more explicitly state what is already the spirit and intent of the NAR Code of Ethics and local broker marketplace guidance regarding consumer transparency and broker participation,” Oppler noted.

Brokers we spoke with for this story unanimously agreed that this rule update simply codifies what was already what they believe to be the modern practice of real estate.

He added, “This is another example of NAR constantly evolving to ensure pro-consumer, pro-competitive marketplaces for buyers and sellers, and brokers. NAR is proud to be affiliated with the hundreds of local broker marketplaces around the country and will continue to tirelessly pursue changes that improve the real estate experience for all Americans.”

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Real Estate Associations

You know there’s a national real estate mentorship program, right?

(REAL ESTATE) It’s been a long time coming, but the call for mentorship in real estate has been realized thanks to the new NAR program. Here’s how to sign up.

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Mentor speaking with his mentee over mentorship video.

A mentor can help you grow and develop your knowledge and skills. Unfortunately, in the real estate industry, “being thrown into the deep end”, without proper mentoring, has become the norm. For years, we’ve said this shouldn’t be the case and those Realtors should be mentored so they can be set up for success. Now, the National Association of Realtors® has finally heard our cry for mentorship.

The NAR has a mentorship program that is “designed to help budding professionals in underserved areas thrive in a real estate career”. Named NAR Spire, the program will match mentees from “historically marginalized communities” with seasoned Realtors.

Those in the program will not just be exposed to the day-to-day business operations, but will also receive insights into marketing, appraisal, IT, and financing aspects of real estate. Along with that, they will be given educational opportunities, be able to attend business-related events, have one-on-one mentorship meetings, and have access to an online platform designed specifically for the program.

“NAR Spire is a groundbreaking new initiative designed and developed to drive inclusivity in the real estate industry,” said NAR CEO Bob Goldberg.

“We’ve reached beyond NAR’s walls to collaborate with partners across a number of industries,” Goldberg adds, “and we’re confident this program will help Realtors® enhance their reputation as invested, engaged and integral members of every U.S. community.”

You can join the program by completing an application form to become either a Mentor or Mentee.

After you’ve submitted your form, a program coordinator will evaluate your information to conduct a matching process. Your educational and professional background, experience, time availability, and location will all be taken into account to make a match.

When a match has been made, the Program Coordinator will provide you with your mentor/mentee contact details and make an introduction. Then, you will fill out an agreement, review guidelines, and complete an action plan.

Afterward, it’s up to the mentor and mentee to start the mentoring process.

According to the NAR website, the mentorship experience provides opportunities for both the mentor and the mentee, and I think we can agree that is true. For mentors, they will have the opportunity to coach the new kids to help them reach their full potential and also learn a thing or two in the process. For mentees, well, they will finally get the guidance they need to learn the ropes and thrive in their careers.

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