HousingWire is growing. Come join us

HousingWire is growing. Come join us
2019 has been a year of tremendous audience and product growth for HousingWire and we couldn’t be prouder. 

We launched the Housing News podcast, our OpenHouse newsletter for real estate agents, and the all-new www.housingwire.com, which is firing on all cylinders.We grew our audience by 70% to an expected 8 million readers, a truly record-breaking figure that we’re humbled by.We hired our first Real Estate editor, KK Howley, and significantly expanded our real estate coverage.We’ve added quite a few great team members in each department of our company.We’ve grown each of our newsletter subscriber lists.And we’ve continued to deliver news nowhere else to our loyal and growing audience.

But we’re not ready to rest on our laurels. Far from it. In fact, 2020 promises to be an even bigger year for HousingWire.

We’re planning to become the largest publisher of news and analysis for housing professionals across the real estate life cycle.To do that, we’re planning a significant expansion in our news department that will allow us to deliver even more of the news that we’ve always provided to you.We’re also planning to augment our already award-winning content with much more deep insights and analysis that provide the why behind our daily news coverage.We’re adding a second engage summit, engage.talent, focused on talent recruitment and retention.

To help us achieve our 2020 goals, we’re hiring! 

We’re looking for talented people to fill roles in our editorial, marketing, client success, and sales teams. If you’re interested in joining Team HousingWire, please review our job descriptions at www.housingwire.com/jobs. 
The post HousingWire is growing. Come join us appeared first on HousingWire.
Source: https://www.housingwire.com/rss

Are iBuyers ripping off sellers?

Are iBuyers ripping off sellers?
Selling to an iBuyer means homeowners can forego the uncertainties of listing a property and never have to worry about prepping for an open house.

But are they leaving money on the table? Mike DelPrete, a real estate tech advisor and strategist known as the “iBuyer whisperer” because of his focus on the sector, says they are. But, not much.

The average “discount to market value,” meaning the difference between what an iBuyer pays and what the home could get on the open market, is 1.3%, DelPrete said in an interview on Friday with HousingWire.

That’s based on his analysis of more than 20,000 transactions made by Opendoor and Zillow, the two biggest iBuyers, in 2018 and 2019. Together, the two companies accounted for 86% of iBuyer transactions, meaning a property that was purchased and resold, during the period.

“A lot of people think they’re going to get ripped off by these big iBuyers, but the data shows they’re not,” DelPrete said.

On a $300,000 home sale, that’s a discount of $3,900. DelPrete said some sellers would find that a good trade-off if it gets them to a transaction without open houses and uncertainty.

“That’s the choice for consumers: are you willing to trade a little bit of money for certainty,” DelPrete said. “It’s going to be a difference of several thousand dollars, but it’s not going to be $20,000 or $30,000.”

While sellers don’t have to prep for an open house, they’re still going to get charged for some repairs, DelPrete said.

“If there’s a hole in your roof, you’re still going to be paying for that, in the form of a reduction in the offer an iBuyer will make,” DelPrete said, “but you were going to have to pay for that, anyway, by getting it fixed before listing a home the traditional way.”

Another consideration is fees, DelPrete said. Homeowners who sell to an iBuyer typically will pay a fee that might be a percentage point higher than using a real estate agent, he said.

A traditional real estate agent might charge a commission equal to 5% or 6% of the home’s selling price, depending on what’s negotiated in the listing contract.

The fee iBuyers typically charge is equal to about 7% of the negotiated price, DelPrete said.

“When you take everything into consideration, the difference between an iBuyer and traditional sales is probably going to be a couple of percentage points,” DelPrete said. “Can you get that money on the open market? Maybe. Will it take you three months to sell? Maybe.”
The post Are iBuyers ripping off sellers? appeared first on HousingWire.
Source: https://www.housingwire.com/rss

The growth of the mortgage broker channel gives real estate agents new options for homebuyers

The growth of the mortgage broker channel gives real estate agents new options for homebuyers
The mortgage broker channel has seen a great deal of growth over the last year, with independent mortgage brokers now accounting for more than 16% market share. This momentum – which doesn’t show signs of stopping anytime soon – presents a great opportunity for real estate professionals to join forces with independent mortgage brokers to ensure your homebuyers are getting the best experience possible.

As the mortgage broker network grows, there are more options for you to choose from when looking for a partner. One of the perks of partnering with an independent mortgage broker is that you’re able to work with someone local, embedded in your buyer’s community of choice. Rather than working with a big bank who may only see your buyer as a number, a local, independent mortgage broker can provide personalized, face-to-face mortgage expertise.

And because independent mortgage brokers work with a wide variety of lenders, they are experts at matching your clients with the right loan products. Mortgage brokers are skilled at helping self-employed borrowers and those with second jobs in the gig economy, as well as first time homebuyers or those with less than stellar credit histories. Finding the right loan match can transform a renter into a buyer, and nets you a grateful client ready to refer more business.

In addition, independent mortgage brokers are agile and willing to work with you and your buyers to meet your timelines. Unlike some traditional lenders who keep bankers’ hours or work through a call center, mortgage brokers place a premium on being available when you need them. That means that your clients don’t waste time waiting for approvals — and potentially lose out on their dream home.

There are many reasons to work with an independent mortgage broker, and now it’s easier than ever to connect with one in your area. Visit FindAMortgageBroker.com to learn more about the advantages of working with a mortgage broker and how you can partner with one today.
The post The growth of the mortgage broker channel gives real estate agents new options for homebuyers appeared first on HousingWire.
Source: https://www.housingwire.com/rss

Home-flipping startup Curbio expands to Boston

Home-flipping startup Curbio expands to Boston
Tech-enabled renovation company Curbio has been busy this year.

The company announced this week it is expanding to Boston, adding to its already lengthy list of metros it serves.

In October, the company promised it would expand into Boston as well as Minneapolis, Las Vegas, Portland, Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, and Charlotte within the following months.

Curbio already serves Philadelphia, Baltimore, Washington D.C., Northern Virginia, Atlanta, Houston, Dallas, Chicago, Phoenix and the Florida metro areas of Orlando, Tampa, Miami and Fort Lauderdale.

The company refers to itself as a renovation partner in the remodeling mix. By using software to essentially flip a house, Curbio ensures the renovation process is quick and cost-effective. Clients don’t have to pay the service until the sale on their house closes.

Curbio provides project management, material selection and renovation choices designed to maximize profits for the seller. The company also keeps homeowners informed throughout the process with updates, photos and videos.

Curbio claims they can help customers complete housing projects 60% faster.

Earlier this year, Curbio raised $7 million in funding and partnered with Door.com, both to fuel its expansion. Door.com is similar to Curbio in the sense that customers have 24/7 access to their online portal to view listing performance, buyer feedback, their agent’s analysis and offer details on the website.
The post Home-flipping startup Curbio expands to Boston appeared first on HousingWire.
Source: https://www.housingwire.com/rss

Hey housing professionals, your jargon isn't helping consumers

Hey housing professionals, your jargon isn't helping consumers
“Guess what, consumers! Conforming loan limits were just raised! Awesome, right!? Call me!” 

“Woo hoo! FHA just increased loan limits! Give me a call today!”

“Fannie and Freddie just did…”

“FHFA just announced…”

Rates! Bond charts! Comps! CMAs! 15-year fixed! Jumbo! Blah blah blah.

How many of these posts do we see on social media from our fellow agents and lenders every day? Like, a bazillion! Probably more like six bazillion, if we’re being accurate. Certainly every time a loan limit is increased or interest rates make a big move.

Dustin Brohm, HousingWire Columnist

It’s not necessarily the topic that is the issue, it’s the delivery of the topic that’s the problem.

Do you know what was missing from 5.999 bazillion of those posts? An explanation of what in the world a conforming loan even is! An explanation of how a major move in rates actually affects consumers’ purchasing power. Nothing tangible, just generic, unhelpful nonsense. 

I can count on one hand how many times I saw a lender saying something tangible and actually helpful. Something like “this interest rate bump means the monthly payment on a $300,000 loan went up x-amount.” 

Nope. Instead, just the same old crap that consumers “love” like, “Rates are going up! Better buy now! It’s never been a better time than right now!” 

If you can’t educate consumers, you can’t help consumers. And if you can’t help them, then what the hell do they need us for? 

After all, there’s an app for that now, isn’t there?

Do we realize who we’re actually talking to? You know, those people who aren’t in the real estate or mortgage industry. As in, the exact people we want to hire us. The people we spend ungodly amounts of money on each month just to get a chance to talk to. 

Then we get our chance, and we pepper them with meaningless industry jargon! Smooth move, bro. Maybe the next $300 Zillow lead will be “the one.”

It’s truly stunning how little thought agents and loan officers put into crafting the messages they’re putting out there. They just copy a HousingWire headline, which is full of industry jargon (you know, because it’s written for the industry) and then turn around and use that exact terminology to tell consumers about it. 

This topic has been a bug up my butt for years. It always makes me cringe when I see consumers talked over and confused rather than being educated or informed.

These last couple weeks especially, I’ve really been screaming about this on my podcast, my Alexa flash briefing, on social media, and anywhere else I can get agents and lenders to hear me. We’re only causing more confusion and noise, and adding to the perception that Realtors and lenders aren’t approachable or relatable. I yearn for the day that we stop proving that to be true.  

So why do so many Realtors and loan officers talk over the heads of consumers, with no explanation or education included in the message? Is it arrogance? Is it laziness? Is it a simple lack of thinking through who we’re talking to and the language they actually speak? Unfortunately, I think it’s a combination of it all.

Do we realize that most agents, let alone consumers, don’t know what a conforming loan is? Many consumers don’t really know what an FHA loan is or what “comps” are.

Sure, they may have heard the terms before, but that’s it. They don’t understand the nuances of an FHA loan versus Conventional. A staggering number of consumers still believe that you must have 20% down to buy a home! 

Again, they are not industry insiders. You are. 

Don’t ever assume that consumers know what industry-specific terms mean or what the differences between loan programs are. Not everyone knows what an FHA loan is, or how it differs from Conventional or VA financing, and what that means to them. Don’t ever assume that an increase in loan limits means anything to anyone. Because it doesn’t. Again, most agents don’t even know themselves.

We have to explain these concepts. We have to educate and advise; teach and simplify. But more than just explaining, defining, and pontificating, we have to relate this stuff to the consumer.

What does an increase in conforming loan limits mean for them? How does that affect their ability to buy a home? Explain to your sellers that loan limit increases are good because the pool of potential buyers for their home just got bigger. 

Don’t just tell consumers that interest rates went up or down. Show them how that affects their purchasing power. Does the change in rates mean the difference between a budget of $300,000 versus $330,000? Tell them that!

If rates are going up, don’t just give consumers that tired old line of “Now is the best time to buy or refinance because rates may go up even more!” Show them how it’s not the end of the world. Have them Google “Jimmy Carter mortgage rates” and magically, 10 seconds later, the jump in rates doesn’t seem as big of a deal anymore. 

Be a guide, a reliable, trusted resource to help consumers cut through the noise from all of our competitors who do nothing more than litter the internet with meaningless industry jargon. Anticipate the questions they may have and answer them up front. Many times they don’t even know what questions to ask. (Remember: They’re not actually agents or lenders!) 

In this age of (too much) information, consumers are completely overwhelmed. They’re begging for clarity. They’re craving it. 

If we don’t get their attention and gain their trust by being truly helpful, then some app will. Some Silicon Valley company with $1+ billion in funding and a huge marketing budget will come in and set the narrative.

None of us stand a chance against that if all we’re doing is confusing consumers and driving them into the hands of that fancy new app.
The post Hey housing professionals, your jargon isn't helping consumers appeared first on HousingWire.
Source: https://www.housingwire.com/rss

Sweepstakes winners revealed

Sweepstakes winners revealed
After a strong response to the October Research 20th Anniversary Sweepstakes, we now reveal the winners, including the winner of our complimentary registration to the 2020 National Settlement Services Summit. Read on for more.
Source: thetitlereport.com

Auditors: SOC 2 exams have become ‘more challenging’

Auditors: SOC 2 exams have become ‘more challenging’
Many companies in the title industry swear by SOC 2 certifications. However, title companies and underwriters should know that enhanced requirements by the American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) have made the audit examinations more challenging.
Source: thetitlereport.com