The MetroTex Realtors In Action Committee Does It Again!

Guest blog by Travis-Lee Moore, Nathan Grace Real Estate. 

“A turkey walks into a bowling alley…….but seriously.”

Last month, in November, the MetroTex Realtors in Action Committee hosted the once again wildly successful Turkey Bowl!  The event was themed “Disco Inferno” this year and more than 200 bowlers and cheerleaders - another sold-out crowd - gathered at the Plano Super Bowl for an afternoon of real estate industry bowling good times and competition.  The event and its attendees raised a whopping $8,725.00 that goes to our fantastic partners at the North Texas Food Bank.  Every dollar feeds six people, so in one afternoon we managed to come together to see that more than 52,000 folks were fed.  Strike!

The Turkey Bowl is an annual event that takes place every November.  Bowlers compete for top bragging rights and attendees purchase an overabundance of raffle tickets in hopes of winning iPads and $500 gift cards.

Realtors in Action, Leadership, and Leadership Alumni volunteer at the North Texas Food Bank about once per quarter. We encourage all members to join us, even (or especially) those not currently serving on a committee. Watch our social media pages for upcoming volunteer days. Everyone is welcome. Bring your clients, your kids (ages 10 and older, please), or your entire office. If you’ve got a scout or honor society candidate at home who needs volunteer hours, this is a great place to fulfill some of that requirement. We make a big impact in the few hours we’re there. It’s fun, it’s easy, and it feels great to do something to help end hunger right here at home.

We can do ninety-two!

The North Texas Food Bank, founded in 1982, is a Dallas nonprofit hunger relief organization that distributes donated, purchased and prepared foods through a network of more than 200 Partner Agencies in 13 counties. As a member of Feeding America, NTFB supports the nutritional needs of children, families and seniors through education, advocacy and strategic partnerships.

MetroTex represents more than 18,000 real estate professionals involved in all aspects of the real estate industry.  Established in 1917, MetroTex represents the entire North Texas region as the area’s largest REALTOR association.  MetroTex is an advocate for the real estate industry, the real estate professional and private property rights.  Association Mission Statement - The MetroTex Association of REALTORS, Inc. exists, in conjunction with the Texas Association of REALTORS and the National Association of REALTORS, to serve all members by providing products and services which help members succeed in their business in an ethical and professional manner.

Check out our amazing new way to save you time and money

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It’s new, it’s exciting, and it will change the way you do business. It might even save you money. Introducing our latest upgrade to your MLS package, TransactionDesk® by Instanet.

Imagine being able to start a transaction directly from the Matrix listing. Storing all of your documents in the cloud and having them automatically assigned to the corresponding transaction. Writing contracts and getting them signed on the fly. Keeping track of your calls, contacts and activities related to a transaction. All in one place. Without any extra fees.

Now included in your MLS dues, TransactionDesk is a complete transaction management system and it’s fully integrated with Matrix for a seamless user experience. For instance, if you fill out the Residential Data Input Form on TransactionDesk for a new listing, it will auto populate your incoming Matrix listing when you’re done. Any affiliated documents can be stored with TransactionDesk, too so they’re right where you need them, wherever you are.

TransactionDesk® includes

  •     InstanetForms® Replaces the need for ZIPForms. Complete online  forms and contracts on any device.
  • DocBox® All of your documents in one place. No more muddling between two different uploading platforms. Now you can upload any document and have the ability to edit them online. DocBox is a complete paperless online document management and storage solution. Enjoy unlimited storage forever. You’ll no longer need a separate cloud storage system like Dropbox or Google Docs, although they are compatible with TransactionDesk if you need them. Keep them private, for MLS users only, or mark them as public so potential buyers can see them. You’re in control.
  •  AuthentiSign® E-Signature Tool. Do you use DotLoop, Docusign, or Inked? There’s no need for another service now. With unlimited signatures and transactions, you can legally e-sign documents and forms online.
  • InstanetFax®. Unique fax cover sheets with each transaction ensure that incoming faxes from inspectors, appraisers, and anyone else gets correctly filed instantly. Then, take those documents and have them signed, make changes, or save pages to unique files all in the same system. Unlimited inbound and outbound including paper fax to email. 
  • Customer Portal. Online collaboration and service tools available to clients 24/7.
  • Calendar, Appointments, Contacts, Tasks, & More. Track your to-do list, keep records of your calls, store your contacts and calendar all in one place. Takes over a lot of the tasks of a typical CRM software package. Get automated reminders to complete tasks. Managers, you’ll be able to keep track of and review your team’s transactions from any location.
  • Start transactions directly from the listing. Simply click on the green Instanet logo under the listing photo and start a transaction instantly. Information from the listing will be automatically added to the transaction, so you don’t have to input it yourself.
  • Create your own transaction templates. Customize your templates for the transactions you use most, or use your broker’s templates. If you’re starting fresh, use the wizard to guide you through.

To access this great new benefit, simply log in to NTREIS and click on the Instanet button on the right hand side on the home page. Or, if you’re already in Matrix, click on the TransactionDesk link under External Links on the lower right hand side of your Matrix home page.

Go ahead, give it a try. It’s pretty user-friendly. And watch our e-news for updates on training classes and webinars to teach you all the tips and tricks of TransactionDesk. With its cross-platform flexibility and full integration with Matrix, you’ll be sure to save time and effort with every transaction.

We’re excited to bring you this great new benefit. For questions and technical support, contact the MetroTex MLS-Tech Support line at 214-540-2755.

How would TPP impact Texas?

Are you down with TPP? While the Trans-Pacific Partnership has gained attention by becoming a talking point for presidential candidates, it’s sometimes hard to know what impact such an agreement would have here in North Texas. But it’s important that we try. The economy in North Texas is quickly becoming one with an international focus. And, with the real estate market so dependent on the local economy, it’s important for Realtors to understand the pros and cons of TPP and its potential impact on Texans. Learn about TPP and make your voice heard in November.

Whether or not you support increasing free trade, there is no disputing that the countries involved in TPP are already important to Texas’s exporters. The Department of Commerce notes that last year Texas exported nearly $140 billion in goods to Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam alone. In fact, 55 percent of Texas exports went to TPP countries, from nearly 20,000 companies. Most of these companies were small to medium sized businesses. These businesses would no doubt benefit from the elimination of foreign import taxes. The elimination of these taxes would reduce the cost to their buyers– by an estimated 25 to 59 percent in many cases.

Economists and business leaders point to these cost savings as having the potential for creating more jobs and faster, more economical trade. They also believe that the elimination of restrictions on trade could have big beneficial impacts on agriculture and in the service industry.

The controversy over TPP begins with a lot of unanswered questions. Because governments are eager to create more open trade, they are negotiating most of the partnership details out of the public eye. Activists opposed to eliminating trade barriers are concerned that a variety of protections currently in place will be eliminated. For instance, it is unknown whether the TPP will include labor standards based on current international conventions or how such standards will be enforced. Similar standards in place to protect the environment and public interest policies might also be impacted. Further, activists want assurances that access to affordable generic versions of medications will be protected. Agricultural experts want to know that farm workers are protected and that dumping of crops won’t force family farmers out of business.

Texas businesses stand to benefit greatly if the TPP is passed in some version. With our strong economy ready to do business with the world, it could be a great time to be a Texan. But with so many unanswered questions and concerns, no one can say for sure that this massive trade agreement would be a panacea to struggling global economy, or its greatest folly.

Hear from both sides of the TPP feud. For local interpretations of TPP’s impact on Texas, visit http://trade.gov/fta/tpp/states/texas.asp to see the government’s official stance, pr listen to the Texas Standard interview with Raymond Robertson, a professor of economics and government at the Bush School at Texas A&M. For a more general explanation, listen to What is TPP and why are both parties so angry about it? from PRI. Then decide for yourself.

And, don’t forget to vote in November. 

Tips for Buying a Home with Friends

With housing inventory low and prices going up, some people are making the decision to partner with friends and buy a home together. This scenario allows people who otherwise would not be able to afford a house to share expenses and achieve the dream of becoming homeowners. But how do you know if buying property jointly is the right move for your clients?  

It is important to remember that this is a business transaction, so your clients and their friends will have to approach it as such. You are going to have to have a very open, very frank conversation with all parties about their finances, their plans for the future, what to do if someone wants to sell, etc. If these are conversations they are uncomfortable having or they are worried about the effect they might have on their friendships, then buying a home with friends is probably not the right choice for them.

However, if your clients and their friends can come to terms, owning a home while sharing the burden of all the costs can help you build their savings while gaining equity in a home.

Here are some tips on purchasing a home with friends you can share with your clients.

Review your friends’ finances. This is most likely the largest financial decision of their lives, so now is not the time to hem and haw on questions of finance. They will need to be aware of everyone’s credit scores, income, savings and any other relevant assets. It is important to make sure that your clients and their friends are financially prepared to become homeowners.

 

Decide how payments and costs will be split. Questions to consider are how much each person will contribute to the down payment and if that will affect how your clients and their friends divide the mortgage payments? Will the utilities be split evenly every month or will they alternate who pays? It is important that these details be worked out and understood by everyone involved before the home is purchased.

Decide on the type of house. Are they planning on buying a single-family home or a multi-family home? Do they see themselves sharing a kitchen and bathroom, or are they looking to buy a place where they will each have your own private residence. Your clients and their friends should also decide ahead of time on everyone’s must-haves for the home. Knowing that the friends will only buy a house with a big backyard or that they will not buy a house on a corner lot can save you a lot of time house hunting.

Get everything in writing. It is important that all of the co-purchasers keep written documentation of all of the agreements regarding financial and other responsibilities. So many people think that because they are dealing with friends that there is no need to write up a contract, but it can help you to avoid conflicts and surprises down the road.

Work with a Realtor. Buying a home is an important decision, and whether your clients and their friends are doing it on their own or with a friend, using a Realtor® is a smart move. A Realtor can provide counsel, discuss listings, show homes in person, negotiate on your clients’ and their friends’ behalf and help them stay focused on the issues that are most important.

If your clients and their friends enter the arrangement educated and prepared, co-purchasing a home can be a great way to get your clients and their friends on the first rung of the homeownership ladder.

Contract tips from the MetroTex Forms & Contracts Committee:

1. The Unrestricted Right to Terminate Option time period in Paragraph 23 was changed effective January 1, 2016, to 5:00 pm on the last day of the option period, per the contract terms, in the time zone the property is located. 

2. TAR form #1926, “Seller’s Invitation To Buyer To Submit New Offer” is available for use by Sellers that do not wish to “counter” offer(s), but want to encourage the Buyer(s) to continue negotiations.  Consult your Broker or Manager for proper use of this form.

3. MLS Status TIP: There are three (3) flags that appear on an Active (ACT) Listing, and remain there for 5 days: “$” means there is a price change; “B” indicates the listing is Back on the Market; “N” indicates a New Listing.

4. In Paragraph 6D, Objections, it is a good idea to consult a real estate attorney for appropriate language to insert if the Buyer intends, or is considering, tearing down the current structure and rebuilding.  There could be restrictions the Seller and/or Buyer are unaware of.

5. MetroTex form, “Notice of Withdrawal of Offer” is available for use by members.   It will function for either the Buyer or Seller wishing to withdraw their offer or counteroffer, prior to acceptance by the other party.  Consult your Broker or Manager prior to using this form.  It is in the MetroTex library of ZipForms.

6. MLS Status Tip: Active Contingent (CON) means the Seller has accepted an offer, but has requested the property remain available for showings, and Seller will entertain back-up offers.  This status may be used in any situation and is not tied to a specific contingency in the Contract.  Ask the Listing Agent before you show.

7. General Information and Notice to Buyers (TAR1506) is an excellent form to provide to all buyers – not just first-time buyers!  It contains a wealth of valuable information about appraisal, environmental concerns, inspections, home owner associations, mineral interests, property insurance, residential service contracts, termination option…and more!! (Your find this in the TAR library on ZipForms.)

8. TREC has six (6) Promulgated contract forms. Please be sure you are using the correct form for the type of property: 1-4 Family Residential is for 1-4 UNITS; condominium contract form has specific condo requirements. Do not use the 1-4 Family for condos!  Unimproved is for vacant land, whether a lot in a subdivision or many acres with no structures on it;  New Construction has 2 forms; Complete (ready to move in!) and Incomplete (which can be anything from “dirt” with a build job to not-quite-finished).  Farm and Ranch has very specific provisions for those properties.  USE THE CORRECT FORM!

9. MLS Status Tip: Active Option Contract (OPT) means the Seller has accepted an offer and the Buyer is exercising the Unrestricted Right to Terminate Option in Paragraph 23 of the Contract.  The property is available for showings and back-up offers.

10. Paragraph 21 calls for the contact information of the Principals to the Contract, meaning Buyer and Seller, NOT the Listing or Selling Agent.  

11. Most title companies are not able to provide copies of earnest money checks due to regulations about redacting the bank information on the checks.  A good business practice for all real estate professionals would be to blackout the account number and routing number on copies of checks before they are sent to other parties, such as listing agents, etc.

12. MLS Status Tip: Active Kick Out (KO) means the Seller has accepted an offer contingent on Sale of Other Property by Buyer, and the property is available for showings and Back-Up offers.  There is a “Kick-Out” time period for the Buyer to waive their contingency.  Good idea to check with the Listing Agent before showing!

13. Paragraph 4 of the revised contract forms, effective January 1, 2016,  calls for disclosure of a relationship between the license holder and “spouse, parent or child,” or business entity in which the license holder owns more than 10%, or a trust where the license holder is a trustee.  Be sure you read this paragraph carefully and make all appropriate disclosures.

14. Paragraph 7-F, Completion of Repairs and Treatments, states “unless otherwise agreed to in writing…. Repairs and treatments must be performed by persons who are licensed to provide such repairs or treatments, or if no license is required by law, are commercially engaged in providing such repairs and treatments.”  SELLERS MAY NOT MAKE REPAIRS THEMSELVES UNLESS BUYER HAS AGREED IN WRITING!!

15. MLS Status Tip: Pending (PND) means the Seller has accepted an offer,  the property is not available for showings, and the Seller will not entertain Back-Up offers.

16. There is no provision in the contract for an “automatic extension” of closing delays for lender or title company (TRID) issues.  If the closing is being delayed past the date in Paragraph 9, an amendment to extend the closing date is required, signed by the parties.

17. Buyer should give Seller a specific time for submitting repair receipts, at least 5 days prior to closing date, so that no delays will be incurred.  If buyer is having property re-inspected prior to closing, that should also be scheduled several days prior to closing.  Any changes to the closing documents will require at least a 3-day delay.

18. MLS Status Tip: Withdrawn (WTH) means that based on the terms agreed to between the Seller and Listing Broker in the Termination of Listing form (TAR-1410), the property is no longer available for showings.  Due to the conditions agreed to in the Termination of Listing, the property cannot be listed with another broker.  The listing will expire on the original expiration date entered into the MLS.

19. Explain to Sellers at time of listing that any known inspections by buyers who do not close will have to be disclosed to subsequent buyers.  This alleviates the need for that discussion at a later time.

20. When the Buyer notifies the Seller they are exercising their unrestricted right to terminate under Paragraph 23, the notification should include the Release of Earnest Money form for the title company to release the funds. 

21. When the Buyer is specifying the POA/HOA be provided by the Seller during the Option period, and this requires an additional “rush” fee be paid to the Association, there should be a statement with the provision of who is going to pay that additional fee, the Seller or Buyer, and the amount of the fee to be paid.

22. MLS Status Tip: Temp Off Market (TOM) means the Seller has a reason not to show the property for a period of time, and is still in a Listing Agreement with the Broker.  There can be various reasons for not showing the home, such as illness, remodeling, etc.  THIS IS A TEMPORARY STATUS, and should not be used in place of Cancelled or Withdrawn statuses.

23. Advise Sellers that they will be required to pay the POA/HOA Resale Certificate and Subdivision Information fees at the time of contract, not at closing.

24. The Listing Agent should contact the POA (aka HOA) to obtain information regarding fees, procedures, time required to get Subdivision Information and Resale Certificate, etc AT TIME OF LISTING THE PROPERTY!!   This will save time and stress when an offer comes in!

25. MLS Status Tip: Expired (EXP) means the listing has expired and the property was not sold.  If the property is re-listed within 31 days, Cumulative Days On Market (CDOM) will display the combined days on market (DOM) for the current and prior listing, or listings.

26. Most POA/HOA fees paid by the Seller are good for 60-90 days – check with the POA/HOA for confirmation.

27.  DO NOT DELIVER THE OPTION FEE TO THE TITLE COMPANY!! The Option Fee goes to the Listing Agent/Broker to be transmitted to the Seller.  The Title Company cannot – and should not – accept the option fee!

28. MLS Status Tip: Sold (SLD) means title to the property has been transferred to a new owner and all photos will remain in MLS indefinitely.  After 30 days all documents will be purged from MLS.

29. An additional Option Fee is required to extend the option.  It must be delivered to the Listing Agent/Broker or Seller, and must be receipted to confirm delivery.

30. If a property will not qualify for FHA or VA financing, note that fact in the MLS – and don’t check VA or FHA financing.

31. MLS Status Tip: Look at History in MLS to fully understand a property’s entire history.  Days on Market (DOM) is calculated from the list date through the “off market” date, at the change to Pending (PND), Sold (SLD), Expired (EXP), Withdrawn (WTH), Temporarily Off Market (TOM), or Cancelled (CAN) status.  A property could be on the market one day, Pending or Temporarily Off the Market for 30 days, and back on the market showing a DOM of one day!

32. If you have a legal question, call the TAR Legal Hotline; 800-873-9155. Want more information on current topics?  Visit the “Advice for Realtors” blog at texasrealestate.com/our-blogs.

33. MLS Status Tip: All pictures, other media, and listing data remain on file indefinitely for all listing statuses, except Expired (EXP) and Cancelled (CAN).  When in Expired or Cancelled status, all media is purged after six months and listing data is purged after 3 years.

34. Make sure the prospective purchaser of a house built before 1978 receives a copy of the pamphlet, “Protect Your Family From Lead-Based Paint in Your Home.”  It is the Realtor’s responsibility to comply with this federal law!  It is available on ZipForms.

35. If a buyer of a home built before 1978 is contemplating remodeling or renovations, advise them to consult an EPA-certified contractor, per the Renovation Repair Program.

36. MLS Status Tip: Cumulative Days On Market (CDOM) is calculated by adding the Days on Market (DOM) from a previous listing with the DOM of the current listing when the break between listings is less than 31 days.

37. Use the Information About Property Insurance for a Buyer or Seller form (TAR 2508) to assist the Seller in accurately completing the Seller’s Disclosure regarding the importance of disclosing previous damage and insurance claims, and the CLUE report.

38. When representing a buyer making an offer on a condominium, USE THE TREC PROMULGATED CONTRACT FORM FOR CONDOMINIMUMS (TREC No. 30-12, dated 11-2-2015).

38. MLS Status Tip: The calculation for Days On Market (DOM) continues to accrue if the status is Active (ACT), Active Option (OPT), Active Contingent (CON), and Active Kick Out (KO).

39. Confirm that Buyer and/or Seller know the HOA transfer fees and assessments prior to negotiating a contract.  The Listing Agent should get this information from the HOA/POA.

40. There are 11 statutory exceptions to the requirement for the Seller to complete a seller’s disclosure of property condition for the buyer.  They do NOT include, “never lived in the house” as some investors will tell you!!  Know what the exceptions are!

41. MLS Status Tip: Days On Market (DOM) is calculated from the list date through the off-market status change.  If Pending (PND) or Temporarily Off the Market (TOM) status is changed back to one of the Active statuses, Days on Market is less than the calendar days on the market by the number of days the property was in an off-market status.

42. There are several versions of a seller’s disclosure – your broker will advise which one to use, or the seller may choose the one they prefer.  The form that is approved by TREC meets the minimum basic statutory requirements of the Property Code.

43. In Paragraph 6-D, Objections, it is not necessary, nor advised, to enter the clause, “single family residential use” in the blank after “or which prohibit the following use or activity…”

44. If the buyer wishes to add language to the offer regarding the buyer’s willingness to pay above appraised value, an attorney should be consulted to draft the language according to the intent of the parties in that specific transaction. AVOID THE UNLAWFUL PRACTICE OF LAW!!

45. All executed Listing Agreements, Leases and Sales Contracts, including terminated agreements, are to be retained by the Broker for 4 years, per TREC.  This does not apply to Buyer Representation Agreements.

46. In addition to the 6 TREC Promulgated contract forms, there are 4 contract forms provided by TAR for the voluntary use of Realtors when appropriate to the proposed transaction: New Residential Condominium Contract (complete construction), TAR-1608; New Residential Condominium Contract (incomplete construction), TAR-1609; Commercial Contract – Improved Property, TAR-1801; Commercial Contract – Unimproved Property, TAR-1802.

By 2019, cyber-crime will cost businesses an estimated $2 trillion annually. Don’t be a part of that statistic!

Wire fraud is a common occurrence in our industry here is an example of a notice you may wish to consider adding to your email signature line. This notice should not serve as a substitute for educating your clients and other participants in your real estate transactions about email wire fraud.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: Never trust wiring instructions sent via email. Cyber criminals are hacking email accounts and sending emails with fake wiring instructions. These emails are convincing and sophisticated. Always independently confirm wiring instructions in person or via a telephone call to a trusted and verified phone number. Never wire money without double-checking that the wiring instructions are correct.

Building Credibility With Foreign Clients

With nearly one in four residents in Dallas County from abroad, chances are pretty good that you’ll work with an expat at some point. There are some unique challenges that foreign buyers face when entering the US market, whether they are moving here or simply buying an investment.

Without a strong US credit history, would-be homebuyers moving into the area face unique challenges when trying to get established. They need to make a cash offer, or they may need to be able to put a large amount (up to 50% down). Before you start working with a foreign buyer, search for an interview local lenders who routinely work with international clients. They’re a great resource to have on hand.

Have other vendors and contractors in your portfolio as well. Whether they’re new in town or not here at all, they’ll greatly appreciate being able to turn to you for reliable referrals.

The process in the U.S. is often pretty different than how real estate is handled in other countries. Be prepared to explain the process down to every step. Clearly outline expectations both verbally and in a follow-up e-mail and be prepared for and open to a lot of questions.

When you’re working with foreign investors, give detailed feedback about their investment portfolios frequently. If you’re also managing their properties, let them know what’s working well and what isn’t. You’ll gain more credibility and repeat business.

Your international clients may not be in town for every showing. If your client is traveling or not able to attend a showing, suggest a virtual walk-through via Facetime, Skype or any number of available apps. Keep in mind time differences when booking appointments.

Finally, it’s a good idea to earn the Certified International Property Specialist designation and to join out Global Business Council here at MetroTex. The designation and the Council will be an invaluable part of building your business. Look for the next meeting and classes on the MetroTex calendar on mymetrotex.com.

Upcoming MetroTex Classes and Events

3 Not-to-be-Missed Classes in July

With the market as active as it is, getting the price right the first time is more important than ever before. Whether you’re representing buyers or sellers, you need to have the depth of knowledge to give your clients the very best advice. Fortunately, MetroTex is offering three classes in July to improve your CMA skills.

CMA v. Appraisal, July 8: Provide your clients with the best possible comparables and learn the differences between comps and appraisal. This course will look at legal, ethical and regulatory requirements needed for appraisals as well as help you develop a process for determining the best comps. It will also explain lender requirements when it comes to appraisal, so you can better handle a successful resolution to the deal when the appraisal doesn’t land where you thought it should. July 8, 2016. 9 AM – 12 PM at MetroTex Dallas and via interactive simulcast to Grapevine, Garland, Lewisville, and Duncanville locations.

Next Level CMA, July 8: Take your CMA skills to new heights when you learn how to properly make adjustments to your comps. Price the property correctly for buyers and sellers alike. July 8, 2016. 1 PM – 4 PM at MetroTex Dallas and via interactive simulcast to Grapevine, Garland, Lewisville, and Duncanville locations.

Pricing Strategies: Mastering the CMA, July 12: Earn the Certification! The Pricing Strategy Advisor (PSA) certification is specifically designed to enhance your skills in pricing properties, creating CMAs, working with appraisers, and guiding clients through the anxieties and misperceptions they often have about home values. This robust course will teach you how to price homes properly, make adjustments to comps, how to work with appraisers and more. At the end of the session, you will have the skills needed in this fast-moving market to get the price right.  July 12, 2016. 8:30 AM – 5 PM at MetroTex Dallas location.

MetroTex is offering more than 50 classes and webinars in July. Check out our full schedule at mymetrotex.com.

Buyers Agents! Get your Offer Noticed!

It’s tough to be a buyer’s agent these days! You’ll spend a lot of time showing every house that comes on the market as soon as it lists and writing offer after offer only to lose out to the competition. But there are some things you can do to get your offer noticed in the stack.

Network in Your Area
Get to know listing agents in your area. Give them a call and see if they have anything coming to market that meets your client’s needs. Join social media platforms that discuss properties coming to market (a simple search for “Coming Soon” and your town on Facebook will likely reveal a few groups in existence. If not, start one and invite all of the agents you know to join). They’re a great way to get a heads up on properties that will be listed, so you can see them as soon as they are active.

Call the Listing Agent
If the house looks good on paper, call the agent before you see the property. Ask what the seller’s circumstances are. Do they need a leaseback or a longer close? Are they planning on painting or changing carpet while the house is listed? Are there any special features that might not be apparent at a glance? Or, have they had a recent appraisal or inspection? Develop a relationship with the listing agent before you show the property. That way, when your buyers have questions, you’re better prepared.

Check for Documents on the MLS
Take the time to check for additional information in the MLS – things like average utility bills, seller’s disclosure, or a list of upgrades are great tools and shouldn’t be overlooked in your rush to get to a property first. The more information you have, the better.

Have Financing in Place
Make sure your buyers go through the pre-approval process and that their lender has a reliable history of closing on time. Remember that a pre-approval is much stronger than a pre-qualification letter because it demonstrates that all of the necessary documents have already been reviewed and closing won’t be held up because of things like missing tax returns or paystubs. Also, having a really good lender that understands the new closing documents and timelines is crucial. If you’ve got a good relationship with your lender and you’ve got pre-approval in place, you should be able to close reliably within 30 days even with the new lending procedures.

Call the Listing Agent Before You Write the Offer
When your clients are interested in making an offer, call the listing agent first. Ask if the sellers have a preferred closing date, if they need a lease back, and whether there are other offers. Let the agent know when to expect your offer – and meet or beat that deadline. And – tell the agent a bit about your clients – how much they love the home, how they have been looking in the neighborhood for some time, or how important it is to them to send their kids to that school. The listing agent wants to know that your buyers are motivated and serious. Make sure you have the correct email address to submit the offer. Express to your buyers that time is of the essence in this stage of the game.

Use Care When Writing an Offer
Nothing turns a seller or a listing agent away from your offer faster than an offer with mistakes. If you check a box that an addendum is attached, it had better be included the first time. Make sure all fields are addressed and that the math is right. Pay attention to the third party lender addendum, dates and conditions. Sellers want to work with an agent who will the most likely to ensure a smooth and drama-free transaction. And a big red flag is raised when a contract comes with little errors or inconsistencies.

Think hard how your structure the offer: Things like a larger earnest deposit and a larger down payment signal to the buyer that your buyers are serious and are more likely to be able to close the loan. Cash offers are great, but they won’t necessarily win the day if the other terms aren’t as good. If you’re putting in an offer that is well over list and you don’t have comps to justify that high of a sales price, make sure that it is clear that the buyer is willing to pay over appraisal value and has funds to cover the portion that the lender won’t.

Don't Request Favors.
If there are items specifically listed as included with the house, then by all means, put them in the contract offer. But don’t ask the seller to leave non-realty items without compensation, or to perform cosmetic fixes that weren’t part of the listing. If your buyers insist on some of these items, at least float it past the listing agent first to see what kind of reception that type of condition would receive. It could be that the sellers were planning on selling items before the move and it would be beneficial to them to negotiate them. Just verify before you write it.

CE Classes Can Help
Classes like Write it Right (coming up on July 10) and Secrets of Top Buyers Agents (Aug. 23) are a great way to really hone your skills and offer a chance to network with fellow agents. Register online 

5 Networking Habits of Successful REALTORS

We all know we need to do it, but like diet and exercise, regular networking is a habit that can be hard to start and even harder to maintain. Like long-forgotten New Year’s resolutions, networking is one habit that REALTORS tend to get into when times are slow, and which fades off with the first taste of success. But in order to maintain that healthy glow, your business needs networking year-round. Keep your business steady through all kinds of market cycles and embrace the power of your network.


Listen to new clients. Obviously, the biggest point of networking is to meet new people and get them to use you. One of the best ways to do that is to train yourself to listen. Ask about families, challenges people are facing, work, milestones approaching. Elicit conversation from people and they will begin to trust and appreciate you more.

Bring clients together. You know people. That’s your job. Most of them probably either have a business or work for one. Find out what they do and what they need. Think about other people in your network. Could any of them fill that need or would they know someone who does?  Introduce them. You’ll gain referrals if you give referrals first. In fact, plan to give out more referrals than you receive. Actively look for opportunities to give out referrals.

Smoother transactions. Look, we all know a lot of real estate agents. And no, you’re not going to score both sides of every deal. At some point you’re going to have to work with other agents to get a deal done. So don’t shy away from talking to other agents and getting to know them. Negotiating is easier if there’s already a history of friendly conversation. Think of other agents as resources. After all, they’re only your competition if they’re better than you. And you are a master at networking, so there’s no problem, right?

Gain a mentor or two. Sometimes when you are networking you’ll run across someone whom you really begin to admire. They may or may not be in your industry, but they are successful in what they do. Harness that success. Take your would-be mentor out for coffee and ask about that success. Find out how you can incorporate their successes into your own life and business.

Collect cards. Collect more cards than you give out. If you are collecting a lot of cards, it means you’re talking to a lot of people. And that means that you are finding new connections to make. Remember, give referrals and make connections without expectations that you will receive an equal number in return. Your job is to make people feel like you value them, you listen to them, and you want them to succeed.

Get your head in the game and refocus your networking efforts for the year. Remember, we’re only halfway through 2015. There’s still plenty of time to make this your best year ever!

Agents, now is the time to register and upgrade for free with www.dfwrealestate.com. Claim your leads and give your clients the most accurate listing information available.

 

Buyers Agents! Are you doing everything you can for your Buyers?

Capture the buyers’ market and earn both referrals and customers for life.

Are you going the extra mile for your buyers after you close? Are you employing all of the best strategies for actually getting them to close in the first place?

Sometimes the best way to give your clients the best possible service is the small gestures you make after the sale. An offer to arrange for a babysitter or a dog walker in the first day or two of moving if they’re new to the area goes a long way to helping out without getting in the way. Or, send them a link to their neighborhood online newsgroup (NextDoor is a popular choice) gets your clients into the loop. A month or so after they’ve settled in is the best time write a thank you note with a little extra thrown in, like a lottery ticket or a gift card to a local restaurant, nursery or pet groomer.

Little touches show you care and reinforce the relationship you’ve formed with your clients.

Want more? MetroTex offers a suite of classes just for buyers’ agents. In fact, there are several on the calendar in May. So come on out and find out how to become your very best with MetroTex! Want to know what class to take next? Call our CE Sleuth hotline at 214-540-2716 and ask Amy.

Register online at mymetrotex.com

Here is a sample of just some of the classes we’re offering in May:

Business Development:

·         5/17/2016        8:30am - 5pm     Senior Real Estate Specialist

·         5/18/2016        11:30am - 12:30pm   Buy & Hold Real Estate

·         5/19/2016        8:30am - 5pm  Generate Buyer & Seller Leads

·         5/24/2016        9:00 AM -  1:00 PM  Secrets of Top Buyers’ Agents

Understanding the Industry:

·         5/10/2016        10am - 12pm   New Construction: Porch-Patio

·         5/14/2016        1:30pm - 5:30pm   From Sold to Close

·         5/14/2016        8:30am -12:30pm   Write it Right

Tech Tools to Increase Efficiency:

·         5/10/2016        1pm - 4pm      Introduction to RPR

·         5/12/2016        9am - 12pm    MLS-Accessing PropertyTax Info

·         5/12/2016        1pm - 4pm      MLS-ZipForm On Line

·         5/13/2016        1pm - 4pm       MLS Advance Matrix

·         5/18/2016        1pm - 4pm        MLS-NTREIS Find

·         5/31/2016        11:30am - 1:30pm   iPad for Buyers' Agent

10 Power User Features of the RPR app

The RPR app and busy REALTORS® have much in common. Mainly, they are each constantly in motion. We know that to keep up with an agent’s need for quick access to property and market trend data, the app must continually build in new features and related usefulness. Fast forward, here are the top 10 features of the RPR app power users should know about, including some important new enhancements.

1.    Choose your start screen
When you first open the RPR app, the default screen shows recent activity around your location. Although if you find yourself searching for properties by address more than your location, change the default home screen. First, swipe left or right to find the screen you want to see first when you open the app: Search, Nearby Properties, Local Market Data. Once you’ve landed on the screen you want to see first, press the home icon in the top right for two-seconds. It will turn green, and confirm the change.

2.    Draw map search
The name says it all. When you want to restrict searches to a particular geographic area, start by either pressing the Locate Me button on the home screen, or search for a general geography (i.e. City or ZIP). Once on the map, pan and drag to the neighborhood/area you want to search and then press Draw.  Now, use your finger to outline the boundaries of the search area. To save your custom search area, choose the Star icon located at the bottom right of the screen. When the Save This Search screen opens, type a name and choose Save With Custom Name. That custom search will now be available by pressing Saved from the home screen and then Searches. From here you can also choose the pencil to edit the saved shape name.

3.    Compass mode
With the addition of Compass Mode, reviewing the RPR map while moving has become easier. When turned on, the blue compass marker at the top right of the map turns into a compass with a North arrow. If you rotate to face a different direction, the map will rotate with you in real time. So the map always displays the direction you're currently facing, even if you've moved around.

4.    Map, Hybrid and Satellite map view
Each map view has its advantages, so knowing how to quickly switch between the views is useful. Tap on the map, and the toolbar will display on the bottom of the screen. Press the Map Settings icon on the left. Now switch between Standard, Hybrid and Satellite.

5.    Zoom to parcel level to see all homes
There are many reasons you may need to see each home in a neighborhood, like when walking your farm area.  To do so, zoom in on your map to reveal each property in the area. Start by either pressing Locate Me, and then from the map pinch and zoom into the street level. Gray pins will show up with their RVM value represented.

6.    Swipe in List View
Sometimes it’s about how quickly you can get to the information or feature you’re seeking. If that includes saving a property, calling the listing agent, adding property notes, or creating a report, try swiping left on a property in list view. This will show you shortcuts to each of those actions.

7.    See comparable properties
The RPR app does not have the comps analysis tool, for that you’ll need to use the website. But when you need access to comparable properties while mobile, this feature will come in handy. Start by searching for the subject property, or if you are standing at the location use the Locate Me button. Once you’ve opened the property record, scroll down to Location/Details, and choose Find Nearby Comps. This will take you to a map view with recent sales and active properties. To see only sold properties, select Filter and turn For Sale and Sale Pending to No and then press Apply Filters. Switch to List View and now scroll the list and review the system generated comparable properties.

8.    Report cover photo
It’s easy to add a new cover photo to the RPR app’s report covers From within the app, locate the subject property, choose Notes and then Photo Note.  Snap the photo or upload a saved photo from your phone album, and choose Upload. Then choose Edit, select the radio button for Report Cover and press Save. Now, when you generate a Property, Mini-Property or Seller’s Report, your photo will appear on the cover.

9.    Print / share reports
Do you print the reports you create? Or perhaps you email, text or share them to social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. All of these are easier with the new Print/Share button that has been added to the report viewer. See for yourself next time you view a report, press the Sharing button at the top right.

10.  Research schools
It’s no secret that schools are consistently ranked as one of the most important factors in parents’ decisions about where to buy a home. With the RPR app, delivering school information to your clients and prospects when they need it is simple. From the app home screen, choose Advanced Search. Now press Schools. From here you can drill down by your location, a geography or school district. Also, use the filters to choose the type of schools you want to search: Elementary, Middle and High School. From the results page choose Get a School Report.

What are you doing to achieve your goals tomorrow?

If you’re still breathing then you probably haven’t accomplished everything you want to do in life just yet. The thing is, if you’re not actively trying to reach your goals, then they’re most likely going to stay wishes than realities.

Write down your goals. Do it. Right now. We’ll wait. How big is your list? Write more. Go big and write down 100 things you’d like to see in your life. Make them big and small and in some cases wildly audacious. If you cant’ think of 100 things, then keep stretching until you’re close. When you write things down, you not only have a visual reminder, but you also form a more concrete vision for yourself in your mind.

Now, that’s a lot of ideas. You probably can’t imagine how you’d ever possibly accomplish all of those things, much less get started. Don’t worry. We’re going to break these down into manageable chunks.

Pick 10 things from your list that you want to work towards this month. Pick a mix of long term goals and more immediate ones. Now, break each one down into micro steps you could take toward meeting that goal. Want to lose a few pounds? Break it down into small bits, setting your micro-goals in increments in ounces rather than pounds, or finding an app to log your food consumption, or adding 10 minutes of walking to your day. How about that goal of getting organized? Tackle one desk drawer, shelf or even one file folder this week. Do this for all of your goals. Write all of the micro goals down, too.

Now for the fun part. When you accomplish a micro goal, acknowledge it. Cross it off the list, take a picture, give yourself a gold star. Whatever makes you enjoy that sense of accomplishment. Every month go back and look at your accomplishments and see how much closer you are to achieving that one big thing. In a year, you’ll be able to look back and see that you really have been productive and you’ll feel great about it. Audit as you go. Add more goals to your Top Ten as old ones are reached. Modify the steps you need to take to reach your bigger goal if they don’t seem to be getting you closer. And remember to celebrate your big wins. You’ve earned the 

Showing Courtesy and Professionalism When You’re Showing

With the burgeoning spring market, temptation to skip past the rules and forget common courtesy can get the better of us. But showing violations are a serious matter and shouldn’t be taken lightly. For your own protection, please remember to follow the MLS & Key Service Rules.

Things that are never allowed:

  • Showing properties without an appointment
  • Giving lockbox combination codes to clients
  • Allowing clients to go alone to properties
  • Giving Supra Keys to either an assistant or client and allowing them to open lockboxes in violation of the rules.

What are the consequences? Fines are the most common and usually members are also required to attend an Ethics Course. But members may also be liable if something happens when an unauthorized showing happens and their keys are used to access the property. Further, imagine your embarrassment if your client is visiting a property without authorization and gets in trouble for trespassing. Or defending yourself when it turns out the client gets bit by a dog that would have been removed if the showing had been authorized. Try winning that deal back. You also risk assuming liability if there is a theft of the seller’s property.

What should you do if you encounter an issue like this? Email a detailed account of the issue along with any CSS or other appointment records and/or a report from the Supra box showing who opened the box. Email the complaint to cathyf@dfwre.com.

Avoid a messy situation and remember these rules:

  • ALWAYS Make the required appointments as directed in the “Showing Instructions”.
  • NEVER give lockbox combination codes to clients or any other third party.
  • NEVER allow them access to a listed property without you.
  • NEVER loan your Supra key to anyone.

Remember, Supra key rules are in place to protect you, the Seller, and the Buyers.

Please enjoy this thriving market while it lasts. Don’t make mistakes that can deprive you of your ability to reap the benefits of a healthy market.

Trinity Treasure Run 5K – Get Moving For a Great Cause (And a Great Time)

Attention Realtors, readers and friends! Whether you’re one of those fitness types who can run a 5K without breaking a sweat, or one for whom “running” is merely a euphemism for rushing to the next appointment while breaking a few traffic laws – this event is for you. Run or walk (or sign-up somebody else from your office to run or walk) this easy, FUN trail and help raise money for a great cause. Or, if the extent of your exertions lies in lifting a pint – join us after the race at Four Corners Brewery for good times and great networking.

The Trinity Treasure 5K run/walk (3.1 miles) will follow the Trinity Skyline Trail with its picturesque views of downtown and the Margaret Hunt Hill Bridge. Grab your friends and colleagues and sign up today to show some DFW Realtor Spirit!

Proceeds from the event benefit the MetroTex Charitable Trust and Be the Difference Foundation. The MetroTex Charitable Trust awards grants each year to local school programs that benefit students and help build communities. Be the Difference Foundation raises funds for research and programs in the fight against ovarian cancer.

What better way to spend a Tuesday evening than doing something great for your body and your community? Find the Trinity Treasure 5K on Facebook and invite your friends!

Use the code 2016TREASURE for $5 off entry to the 5k! 
April 12th  $35
5:00pm - 7:00pm

Sign up for the Trinity Treasure 5K here.

Contributed by: Brenda Masse, Green Scene Home Inspections