array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "97630" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26153" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "97630" ["subject"]=> string(32) "10-Year High Profits for Sellers" ["authors"]=> string(18) "By Suzanne De Vita" ["data"]=> string(2248) "Homeowners are profiting when selling—and their average earnings haven't been this high since 2007.
 
At the close of 2017, the average home seller gained $54,000, or a 29.7 percent return on investment (ROI), in the transaction, according to ATTOM Data Solutions' recently released Year-End and Q4 2017 U.S. Home Sales Report. Contradictory, however, is their length of stay: 8.18 years—the longest since 2000.
 
"It's the most profitable time to sell a home in more than 10 years, yet homeowners are staying put longer than we've ever seen," says Daren Blomquist, senior vice president at ATTOM Data Solutions.
 
The best rates of ROI are clustered on the West Coast, the report reveals. The San Jose, Calif., market has the highest return, at 90.9 percent, followed by San Francisco, Calif., at 73.7 percent, Merced, Calif., at 64.6 percent, Seattle, Wash., at 64.4 percent, and Santa Cruz, Calif., at 59.8 percent.
 
Appreciation, generally, improves the potential for profit. Annual appreciation has been highest in Ocala, Fla. (+14.3 percent), Kansas City, Mo. (+13.4 percent), San Jose (+13.3 percent), Salem, Ore. (+12.9 percent), and Nashville, Tenn. (+12.5 percent), the report shows. Additional areas are considerably growing, as well: Las Vegas, Nev. (+12.3 percent); Salt Lake City, Utah (+10.9 percent); Seattle (+10.8 percent); and Orlando and Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. (both +10.7 percent).
 
"While home sellers on the West Coast are realizing the biggest profits, rapid home price appreciation in red state markets is rivaling that of the high-flying coastal markets and producing sizable profits for home sellers in those middle-American markets, as well," Blomquist says. 
 
Source: ATTOM Data Solutions 
 
Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia's online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com." ["preview"]=> string(495) "Homeowners are profiting when selling—and their average earnings haven't been this high since 2007. At the close of 2017, the average home seller gained $54,000, or a 29.7 percent return on investment (ROI), in the transaction, according to ATTOM Data Solutions' recently released Year-End and Q4 2017 " ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "97629" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26153" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "97629" ["subject"]=> string(61) "Cyber Courses or Concrete Classrooms: Determining Value in CE" ["authors"]=> string(16) "By Liz Dominguez" ["data"]=> string(5389) "Continuing education (CE) is mandatory for all licensed salespersons and brokers in the real estate industry, but the requirements are set by each state and vary widely.
 
For example, in Alabama, real estate salespersons must take 15 hours of continuing education courses by Sept. 20 of every even year. Meanwhile, in Georgia, the state requires 36 hours of continuing education every four years. For many states, even-year deadlines are approaching. Are you up-to-date on CE?
 
While states also vary in the elective and mandatory courses they offer, most allow salespersons and brokers to complete their continuing education through either in-person classes—at their brokerage/association, local colleges or real estate universities—or through cyber classes offered by multiple online sources. In a fast-paced tech world, which option is better suited for the modern real estate agent: cyber courses or concrete classrooms? The answer is not as clear-cut as you think.
 
1. Local Colleges/Real Estate Schools/Local Associations

While adding commuting time to a busy REALTOR® schedule may seem like a disadvantage compared to in-house education or online sessions, many agents and brokers prefer to learn in an environment they are not familiar with. In many cases, this can help individuals to better focus and retain information. Additionally, real estate professionals may seek courses offered by their local association as a way to ensure they are learning from a valuable source with local real estate experience.
 
"I prefer, as most of my office does, to complete CE online with the Wisconsin REALTOR® Association," says Jennifer Parr-Murphy, a REALTOR® in Wisconsin. "We used to do them in-person with a local trainer, but attendance dwindled. Some agents also completed a couple of courses at the annual convention, but due to scheduling changes, you ended up missing a whole day of convention classes."
 
2. Broker Classrooms/Education Centers
Many brokerages now offer their own classrooms or education centers with state-approved CE courses. Industry professionals find this extremely valuable, not only because it saves time, but also because they are receiving information from a trusted source. This is the best option for agents who prefer more hands-on, interactive training than the self-learning format of internet classrooms.
 
"I prefer taking my CE at my brokerage's training/education center because the courses are led by instructors who are still practicing in real estate," says Marissa Brown, a property management director in New Orleans. "Since real estate is ever-changing, I feel it is important to learn and hear stories from those who are still working in the field. I also prefer in-person learning over online."
 
3. Online Courses
For the extremely busy agent who prefers to lead-generate and go on appointments without interruption, this option offers flexibility. It also eliminates the commuting factor, allowing agents and brokers to complete courses in the location of their choice.
 
"Online all the way!—for the same reason I prefer Amazon and Shipt to the mall or the grocery store," says Sean Ready, a broker/owner in Florida. "I don't want to pause my day and drive out of my way for something I can have on-demand. In real estate, or any sales-driven industry, your time has value; in fact, it is your most valuable asset! Focus on protecting it, and using it for what provides the most value to your clients and your business."
 
The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) provides a list of approved online CE courses, all of which are available through the Center for REALTOR® Development. A map at the bottom of each course description allows real estate professionals to check whether the class meets their state's CE requirements. 
 
Exceeding CE Expectations
For those REALTORS® looking to expand their knowledge of real estate even further, NAR offers a variety of designations and certifications that can help them stand apart from the competition. The skills and knowledge earned through CE classes can set up REALTORS® with a competitive edge and ensure that they are up-to-date on any significant changes to real estate law and procedures.
 
For REALTORS® interested in obtaining NAR's Accredited Buyer's Representative (ABR®) Designation or becoming a Certified Real Estate Team Specialist (C-RETS), the Center for REALTOR® development is currently offering these courses at a 25 percent discount for the entire month of February. You can find these courses on RISMedia’s Realtor® Courses portal
 
Liz Dominguez is RISMedia's associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com" ["preview"]=> string(261) "
Continuing education (CE) is mandatory for all licensed salespersons and brokers in the real estate industry, but the" ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "97628" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26153" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "97628" ["subject"]=> string(66) "Social Skills: Marketing Your Testimonials to Attract New Business" ["authors"]=> string(16) "By Liz Dominguez" ["data"]=> string(5849) "Editor's Note: This was originally published on RISMedia's blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin' now at blog.rismedia.com: Many companies will tell you that referrals are the bread and butter of their business. And how do they come about? That's simple—word spreads quickly when you offer a good product. But, it's not as easy as sitting back and waiting for that word to go viral. To keep the business coming, you have to keep the testimonials going up on social and across the internet. Here's how you can take your reviews to the next level:
 
Create Unique Testimonial Opportunities
The days of posting only simple written reviews are gone. Consumers want to see excitement and engagement in your company and changing up the testimonial format is a great way to show that. Let your clients choose from a variety of testimonial options so that you have different ways of promoting a review, which will also help your clients feel more comfortable.
 
Video testimonials are a little more personal and have a higher chance of going viral. Since social platforms like Instagram and Snapchat are becoming more popular, you need to continue putting out digital content to stay relevant. These can be simple, selfie-style videos that your clients shoot themselves and then send to you, or you can ask them to pop into the office or film them in front of a branded background. Some buyers and sellers may be wary of being in front of a camera, so find out what they're most comfortable with. 
 
Don't get rid of written reviews either. Instead, add them into your testimonial package. Give your clients a list of sites where they can post their review; it can be the same for every page, but it's important to get those words of praise on as many sites as possible. Facebook, Yelp and Zillow are just some of the sites you should be asking for reviews on. To make these a little more engaging, you can also take selfies or SOLD pictures with your clients and post them on social with their reviews.
 
Guide Your Clients
Even if your clients prefer to take care of the reviews themselves, you can help steer them in the right direction. A review that doesn't mention your biggest wins will end up being less valuable. If you had a great experience with a client, it's okay to let them know what you would like pointed out in their review.
 
An excellent way to do this is to hand out a short survey that clients can use as an outline for their review. Did you sell their home in record time? Include a question that addresses that. Did you prove your market expertise? Include a question about how satisfied they were with your knowledge of comps and available homes. And always ask them to recommend your service to friends, family or anyone else looking to buy or sell a home.
 
And if you're going the video route and your clients prefer to be filmed rather than film themselves, you may want to think about interviewing them. This puts you in control of the video's content and will give your clients some direction.
 
Promote, Promote, Promote!
It doesn't end there. Now that you have a steady stream of varied reviews heading your way, you need to market them on social media and across the internet. You can post snippets of your reviews on Twitter every week and include a special hashtag like #TestimonialThursday. Post your videos and photos on Instagram and your Snapchat Story so all your followers can see. You can even create a testimonial series or playlist on YouTube. Tag your clients, with their permission, so they can share with their own followers. This will introduce your business to a new audience, which is essential to getting referral business. 
 
These reviews can also be promoted during your listing presentations and buyer consultations. Gather the best of your video reviews and create a digital portfolio/video reel that you can show potential clients. Include your written reviews and the accompanying photos within the documents you give your new clients, as well. You can even create case studies using your clients' experiences and reviews to showcase successful business relationships from beginning to end.
 
Once your social audience starts to expect your testimonial videos and excerpts, it won't be long before your phone starts ringing with new business.
 
Find more social media strategies, tips and trends in RISMedia's Social Skills series.
 
Liz Dominguez is RISMedia's associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com
" ["preview"]=> string(258) "
Many companies will tell you that referrals are the bread and butter of their business. And how do they come about? That's" ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "97627" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26153" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "97627" ["subject"]=> string(20) "January Jobs Healthy" ["authors"]=> string(17) "By RISMedia Staff" ["data"]=> string(1788) "The U.S. economy added a healthy 200,000 jobs in January, the Labor Department reported. The unemployment rate held at 4.1 percent, and hourly wages on average went up nine cents to $26.74.
 
“The best news from the January jobs report is accelerating wages, which rose 2.9 percent from a year ago," said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), in a statement. "The continuing job growth of 200,000 in January, and 2.1 million over the past 12 months, have kept the economy at essentially full employment. It is now to the point where employers have to offer higher wages to attract new employees.
 
"Not all is fine, however," Yun said. "The labor force participation rate is still stuck at 62 percent, compared to 67 percent a decade ago, prior to the big recession. Also, the tightening labor market along with faster wage gains means that the Federal Reserve is inclined to raise interest rates more frequently.
 
"Ultimately, the desire to buy a home will rise because of this strong job growth with higher pay, but the financial capacity to buy will be cut because of rising interest rates," said Yun.
 
"Although the U.S. job market continues to be healthy, the real story when it comes to homeownership is what's happening with wages," said Joseph Kirchner, senior economist for realtor.com®, in a statement. "We aren't seeing the wage growth we should be given the steady unemployment and strong GDP…Affordability will continue to be a major hurdle for this spring's homebuyers as housing prices continue to increase." " ["preview"]=> string(278) "
The U.S. economy added a healthy 200,000 jobs in January, the Labor Department reported. The unemployment rate held at 4.1 percent, and hourly" ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "97480" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26153" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "97480" ["subject"]=> string(31) "New-Home Sales Sink in December" ["authors"]=> string(17) "By RISMedia Staff" ["data"]=> string(963) "New-home sales sank in December, with sales of new, single-family homes down 9.3 percent to 625,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). The average new-home sales price was $398,900, while the median was $335,400. New-home listing inventory was 295,000—5.7-months supply.
 
"December's drop in new-home sales was not unexpected," says Joseph Kirchner, senior economist at realtor.com®. "After sales skyrocketed in November—with a record 17.5 percent increase—there were hardly any new homes left on the market to buy in December. The good news is new-home permits and starts have been increasing over the last few months, so the supply of new homes should be up slightly for the spring market." " ["preview"]=> string(287) "
New-home sales sank in December, with sales of new, single-family homes down 9.3 percent to 625,000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau and the" ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "97626" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26153" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "97626" ["subject"]=> string(57) "Investing in Real Estate: How to Diversify Your Portfolio" ["authors"]=> string(15) "By Dixie Somers" ["data"]=> string(4098) "Editor's Note: This was originally published on RISMedia's blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin' now at blog.rismedia.com: Andrew Carnegie—founder of U.S. Steel and one of history's richest men—once observed, "More millionaires have been made through owning real estate than through all other industrial investments combined."
 
Owning real estate investments remains one of the most effective means of growing one's wealth. But to fully take advantage of the opportunities the real estate market affords, those planning on purchasing investment properties should familiarize themselves with the different types of investment products and should spread their investment across several widely different opportunities.
 
But how? Here are a few core concepts:
 
What Is a Portfolio?
Investors and industry professionals refer to a person's collection of investments as a "portfolio." This is a concept that basically encompasses all of your investments. So, if you own stocks, bonds and rental properties, that's what your portfolio consists of.
 
What Is Portfolio Diversity?
A portfolio is "diverse" when the investments it contains vary in relatively equal amounts. Keeping with our above example, a portfolio that is 90 percent stocks, 5 percent bonds and 5 percent rental properties is not diverse. A portfolio with 33 percent of each investment type would be considered diverse.
 
In the context of a real estate-specific portfolio, diversity means owning several different kinds of real estate investments.
 
Why Is Diversity Important?
This is a great question that a lot of new investors overlook. Here's an example that may resonate with many. In 2008, the housing market collapsed. Many people lost their homes, and the average value of those homes went down dramatically. If you were a real estate investor who focused primarily on renting out houses, there's a good chance you went out of business in 2008.
 
But, if you were a real estate investor who was also receiving rent from properties associated with unaffected industries—like commercial real estate—you were more likely to survive the collapse.
 
In short, owning three houses is good. But owning one house and a grocery store is better because even if people don't have the money to buy a new home, they've still got to eat.
 
How Do I Diversify My Real Estate Portfolio?
For the new investor, or for the investor who hasn't explored much of the market, your first stop should be at the offices of an experienced REALTOR® who works specifically with real estate investors. An experienced investment REALTOR® can help you find the right properties—and the right balance of properties—to secure your wealth and make you a tidy profit.
 
Dixie Somers is a freelance writer from Arizona. She is a regular contributor to RISMedia's Housecall blog.
 
This article is intended for informational purposes only and should not be construed as professional advice. The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of RISMedia
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" ["link"]=> string(0) "" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } Today's Real Estate News - Monday, February 05, 2018
Today's Top Stories
10-Year High Profits for Sellers
Cyber Courses or Concrete Classrooms: Determining Value in CE
Social Skills: Marketing Your Testimonials to Attract New Business
January Jobs Healthy
New-Home Sales Sink in December
Investing in Real Estate: How to Diversify Your Portfolio
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