Cosmetic tweaks to help sell your house fast

Cosmetic tweaks to help sell your house fast
Spring is one of the most popular selling seasons – and it’s right around the corner. Are you preparing to sell your house? You don’t just want to sell it as is. You want to make a few preparations to attract the most potential buyers. Here are a few things you should consider to ensure your home sells fast and you get the best deal!

More for Real Estate Enthusiasts

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Four renovations to consider before selling your house

Make Sure You Clean The House

Cleaning your home before showing it might sound like a no-brainer. But you’d be surprised by how many sellers forget or rush the cleaning process. Even if you’re a relatively clean person, you should give your home a good scrub beforehand – especially the places you don’t frequent. For example, your guest bathroom. Dust accumulates and you don’t want a potential buyer to find dust on the ceiling or smudges on the windows.

Consider The Scent

You don’t want your house to smell like fast food or your dog’s wet hair. A bad smell can deter a potential buyer, which isn’t what you want. Before showing your home, consider lighting a candle or baking some chocolate chip cookies. This way, your home will smell inviting.

Keep Decor & Colors Neutral

Do you have an accent wall in your living room? You might think it looks amazing, but that doesn’t mean everyone will. If you want to sell your house fast, it’s a good idea to re-paint your walls a neutral color, so potential buyers can focus on the space and not be distracted by the walls. You should also consider removing any distinctive furniture or art that could turn-off a buyer.

Update What You Can

If you have the finances to do so, consider making some light renovations before selling your home. For example, update your appliances or replace your carpet with wood flooring. You don’t have to change everything. But even small, inexpensive adjustments could help your home sell quickly.

Don’t Forget About The Outside

How your home looks on the outside is just as important as how it looks on the inside. You don’t want buyers to first see an unruly lawn or a trash can filled to the brim before they walk inside your home. That doesn’t mean you have to spend hours decorating your exterior. Trimming your bushes, planting some flowers and raking the leaves should be enough to impress potential buyers.
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Johnson, Brummer appointed to Fannie Mae board

Johnson, Brummer appointed to Fannie Mae board
Fannie Mae announced today the appointment of Simon Johnson and Christopher Brummer to its board of directors, as well as the extension of Robert Hertz’s board term for another three years.

Fannie CEO Hugh Frater said Johnson and Brummer bring “deep economic, regulatory, and business expertise,” and Board Chairwoman Sheila Bair said the duo are “proven public policy leaders.”

The news of Johnson and Brummer’s appointment comes one day after Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) Director Mark Calabria announced  the disbursement of $1.09 billion for Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac‘s affordable housing allocations. It’s the largest amount ever disbursed by the government sponsored enterprises, and more than double what was provided the prior year.

Fannie Mae’s full year net revenues increased 16% to $25.3 billion largely on the back of record acquisition volumes, while Freddie Mac recorded a net revenue increase of 18% to $16.7 billion.

Fannie Mae reported $138,558 in new business acquisitions in January 2021 – up robustly from January 2019, when it reported only $62,449. Fannie Mae also issued resecuritizations backed by $11.9 billion in Freddie Mac securities.

Johnson, an economist, is the co-founder of and heads several departments at the MIT Sloan School of Management. He’s also a research associate for the National Bureau of Economic Research, a private nonpartisan organization that facilitates investigation and analysis of economic issues.

Johnson wrote an opinion piece for the Washington Post several years ago called “Mortgage Mavens,” where he discussed the impact of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae on the 2015 housing economy. He was also a Bloomberg News columnist.

Brummer, a law professor at Georgetown, served as a member of the Biden-Harris presidential transition team. He is the current faculty director of the Institute of International Economic Law, and a nonresident senior fellow for the Atlantic Council’s GeoEconomics Center. He’s also as a member of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission’s subcommittee on virtual currencies.

Hertz is on the board of directors at both Morgan Stanley and Workiva Inc. He also serves as chair of the Audit Committee, the vice chair of the Compensation Committee, and as a member of the Nominating and Corporate Governance Committee.
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Alex Kutsishin to speak at Spring Summit

Alex Kutsishin to speak at Spring Summit
Alex Kutsishin, CEO & co-founder of Sales Boomerang, will speak at HousingWire’s virtual Spring Summit on March 4, diving into what a two-year study reveals about the importance of borrower retention.

To protect business in a competitive market, industry leaders need a 360-degree, real-time view of customers’ changing circumstances, so lenders can identify opportunities the moment they arise. Kutsishin will outline a borrower retention game plan designed to ensure every borrower has the right loan, right now. Plus, he’ll give a sneak peek at bleeding-edge innovations in borrower intelligence.

A serial entrepreneur, Kutsishin is a HousingWire Tech Trendsetter whose company’s first-of-its-kind borrower intelligence software has helped lenders turn overlooked opportunities into billions of dollars in additional loan revenue. He’s also famous for going all-out as a speaker, whether on a live or virtual stage, and has promised to bring his A game to the summit.

The focus of the Spring Summit is The Year-Round Purchase Market. Record low rates led to a banner year for mortgage lenders in 2020, but as rates rise, real estate agents and lenders will have to adapt to accommodate the demographic tsunami of Millennial homebuyers looking to enter the market.

The summit will covers topics that are critical to success in another unprecedented year, including:

Servicing challenges in a pandemic periodOperational strategies in the current marketThe brave new world of valuationseClosing/RON updateA new regulatory regime

The summit also features sessions on mortgage disruption, lessons from local markets and more.

As with all HousingWire events, we’re bringing together some of the brightest and most successful people in mortgage, real estate, compliance, technology and regulation to offer their insights on what’s happening right now and what’s coming next.

Speakers joining Kutsishin include UWM CEO Mat Ishbia,  Figure Technologies CEO and co-founder Mike Cagney, MBA’s Lisa Haynes, Blend CEO Nima Ghamsari, Mortgage Champions CEO Dale Vermillion and many more.

The 2021 Spring Summit is designed for our HW+ premium members, who get access to all HousingWire virtual events, long-form digital content published weekly, an exclusive Slack community and more. Sign up for HW+ membership and register for the summit here, or get event-only access for your company or team here.
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Stewart acquires Signature Closers

Stewart acquires Signature Closers
Stewart Information Services Corp. has acquired Signature Closers, LLC, the company announced. Financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Read on to learn more about the acquisition.

Compass acquires D.C. title agency

Compass acquires D.C. title agency
The real estate technology company Compass has signed a definitive agreement to acquire a leading title insurance and settlement services company serving the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area, the company announced. In 2020, Compass acquired title and escrow-software startup Modus.

Fidelity’s quarterly revenue up nearly a third

Fidelity’s quarterly revenue up nearly a third
Fidelity National Financial, Inc.’s fourth-quarter title revenue increased by more than 30 percent, according to the company’s latest earnings statement. CEO Randy Quirk said the company is very pleased with its strong financial results and made significant headway in technology investments in its title business.

Median prices up in most Opportunity Zones

Median prices up in most Opportunity Zones
Median home prices increased during the fourth quarter in 77 percent of Opportunity Zones established by Congress. Read on for more details.

Share Tips, Best Practices About Wire Fraud During National Consumer Protection Week

Share Tips, Best Practices About Wire Fraud During National Consumer Protection Week

Title and settlement professionals can join the Federal Trade Commission and more than 100 groups and organizations participating in the 23rd annual National Consumer Protection Week (NCPW), which lasts through March 6.
NCPW is a coordinated campaign designed to focus on the importance of keeping consumers informed while providing them with free resources explaining their rights in the marketplace.
This year, the FTC and its partners will participate in a series of events including webinars, Facebook Live events, and Twitter chats throughout the week. These virtual events will cover a range of topics, including avoiding coronavirus scams, government imposters and cyber fraud.
ALTA encourages members to join the discussion by alerting consumers about the danger of wire transfer fraud when buying a home or refinancing. Click here to access tools and resources ALTA has developed to educate consumers about wire fraud
Share on Social
You can use This messages– or create your own– and share on social media:

[ORGANIZATION] is promoting consumer education during National Consumer Protection Week. Check out this AARP podcast to learn how to protect your money when buying a home or refinancing! #closingscams #wirefraud #NCPW2021

What's Coming Up
Thursday, March 4

1 p.m. ET:

Participate in the FTC's “Slam the Scam” Twitter chat in Spanish with @laFTC, @USAGovEspanol(link is external), and @SeguroSocial(link is external) on avoiding COVID-19 and imposter scams. Use the hashtag #OjoConLasEstafas(link is external) and #NCPW2021(link is external) to follow the conversation.
Topics will include avoiding online scams, including phishing, tech support scams and COVID-19 scams.

1 p.m. ET:
Join the FTC, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and AARP’sFraud Watch Network for a webinar on Cyber Scams & Older Adults (link is external).

3 p.m. ET:
Participate in our “Slam the Scam” Twitter chat in English with @FTC (link is external), @USAGov (link is external), @SocialSecurity (link is external). Use the hashtag #SlamTheScamChat (link is external) and #NCPW2021 (link is external) to follow the conversation.

7 p.m. ET
Join the FTC for a Facebook Live (link is external) with colleagues from the Social Security Administration’s Office of the Inspector General on how to spot and avoid Social Security scams. Please join the FTC and ask questions.


Compass losing money, gaining market share

Compass losing money, gaining market share
The numbers are in: Compass lost $270 million in 2020, and the residential real estate brokerage generated $3.7 billion in revenue.

Those figures are from a statement Compass filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission on Monday afternoon, in which the brokerage proposed offering $500 million in class “A” common stock.

For residential real estate professionals, Compass’s “S-1” – the financial disclosure statement a U.S. company must provide before trading on a Wall Street exchange – has been hotly anticipated.

The hulking document released Monday does not disappoint, with everything from prices on specific Compass acquisitions to a long, philosophical letter from CEO Robert Reffkin.

Compass, for example, racked up $151.7 billion in sales volume in 2020, a leap from $97.5 billion in 2019.

The firm’s revenue has gone up by leaps and bounds each year amid a flurry of brokerage acquisitions, such as the purchase of Pacific Union in San Francisco and Stribling in New York. Compass recorded $884 million in 2018 revenue, and $2.4 billion in 2019.

However, Compass has also lost money each of the past three years, including a $388 million net loss in 2019. In all, it’s lost $1.1 billion as of Dec. 31, 2020.

Recent acquisitions include the firm’s buy of Bold New York for $2 million upfront with “up to an additional $2 million in cash upon meeting certain requirements.”

Also, last month: the brokerage purchased KVS Title Inc., a title and escrow company for $52 million. It is the second such purchase of a title and escrow outfit in the past six months: Compass purchased Modus in October.

The filing also indicates that Goldman Sachs – Reffkin’s former employer – is the lead underwriter of Compass being listed on a public exchange. Morgan Stanley and Barclay’s are also advising the brokerage.

Reffkin co-founded Compass with Ori Allon, who is evidently no longer with the company. The S-1 reads that Allon stepped down from the Board of Directors last month, though he does have a 5.2 percent share of all common stock.

Reffkin, meanwhile, would appear more important than ever.

“Our success depends upon the continued service of our senior management team, including, in particular, Robert Reffkin, our founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer,” the S-1 reads.

At another point, the document reads, “The multi-class structure of our common stock will have the effect of concentrating voting power with Robert Reffkin, our founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer.”

Compass does not provide an estimate for what price its stock might trade at.

Also, the public filing acknowledges that all the financial disclosures may not be totally accurate.

“We have identified material weaknesses in our internal controls over financial reporting,” reads a bolded sentence in the filing.

Another significant risk for Compass’s business may lie in 3rd party tech providers not honoring obligations. The warning is arguably at odds with Compass’s pitch that the brokerage has a competitive advantage due to the in-house technology it provides real estate agents.

Founded in 2012 in New York, Compass boasts 19,000 agents and has raised roughly $1.5 billion from investors, including Masa Son’s SoftBank Group. SoftBank’s Vision Fund holds nearly 35% of Class A shares, the S-1 filing revealed.

Though it’s climbed the ranks of brokerages over the years, Compass trailed Realogy and Berkshire Hathaway Homeservices by sales volume in 2020. At least in terms of revenue, Realogy, posted $6.7 billion in 2020, well above Compass’ $3.7 billion.

Check out coverage from our sister site, FinLedger, here.

Check back for updates on this breaking news story.
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