array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "98627" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26466" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "98627" ["subject"]=> string(25) "Should I #DeleteFacebook?" ["authors"]=> string(54) "By Patty McNease, Director of Marketing for Homes.com " ["data"]=> string(6026) "The hashtag #DeleteFacebook has been trending on a number of social platforms since Facebook's Cambridge Analytica fiasco. This has caused many to question whether this could be the end of the goliath social network. While most agree that Facebook is too big to collapse, users are still left feeling uneasy with the state of their personal information, and the long reach that Facebook seems to have over their private lives. 
 
In the world of real estate, agents have been told for years that Facebook is a non-negotiable part of their marketing strategy—since their clients could be there, so should they. However, in light of the scandal, agents may be wondering what their best course of action should be. Here are some insights into why Facebook has been so popular within the real estate sector, what the implications of the scandal are, and some actions you can take to plan for the future.
 
Why the initial Facebook push?
At the end of 2017, Facebook saw 1.40 billion people, on average, log on daily. This is more than any other social network. In addition to this, almost 30 percent of those users were between the ages of 25 and 34. Since millennials are still the largest group of homebuyers at 35 percent, it makes sense that agents would be targeting them on a platform they use. Genuine social interaction was another reason for the major push. Facebook gave agents the opportunity to connect with clients in a more meaningful way. 
 
Facebook's marketing and advertising strategy and algorithms make it easy for agents to create ads. Since Facebook allows users to include personal information in their profiles, it makes targeting ads simple. Agents can specify the age group, location, living status, and even likelihood of moving of those users they want to see their ads.
 
Why is the scandal such a big deal?
While Facebook used personal information before for things like ad targeting, it was based on the information provided by the user—political affiliation, location, pages liked, etc. This time, according to The Guardian, a company called Cambridge Analytica "used personal information [through Facebook] without permission to build a system that could target U.S. voters with personalised [sic] political advertisements based on their psychological profile." To obtain this information, Facebook users were prompted to take a quiz called "thisismydigitallife," which then gave Cambridge Analytica access to both their own and their friends' personal information. Even though a little over 270,000 users took the quiz, because they gave access to more than just their own information, researchers were able to obtain data from 50 million user profiles. 
 
This breakthrough has also brought to light the fact that Facebook collects metadata from its users. For those using the Messenger app, Facebook requests access to users' contacts, call and text history, locations and time spent there. Facebook attempts to make it clear that the reason they compile and track this information is to help users connect with people they care about and have a better experience on the social platform.
 
What should I do now?
While we've seen swarms of people leave Facebook over the scandal, overall, the vast majority of users have moved on with their lives and continued to scroll through their newsfeeds. With the information being presented as of now, Facebook is attempting to regain their prominence by creating stronger privacy settings and promising to make amends by publishing privacy shortcuts that will allow you to quickly access privacy. In the meantime, it's important to remember that all users have options when it comes to the site. If you are concerned about your own privacy, there are features that can be turned off, such as location-based settings and automatic updates. Review your current settings to see what data you're making available.
 
For those who are set on leaving the platform, but still want to maintain a social presence, there are some other social networking options. While Instagram is a great way to connect with clients through visual media, the platform is owned by Facebook; however, both Twitter and Snapchat are also popular in the real estate world, and, when used well, can be great ways to connect with new and existing clients.  
 
Even though Facebook is a still a great way to reach new clients, it's perfectly understandable if you're not ready to invest in your social media presence right now. Another way to attract leads is to focus on boosting your website so clients can find you straight from the source. Homes.com SEO Fuel is designed to improve your website's organic search results so that you can get back to doing what you do best...selling. 
 
Patty McNease is director of Marketing for Homes.com. For more information, please visit connect.homes.com. " ["preview"]=> string(486) "The hashtag #DeleteFacebook has been trending on a number of social platforms since Facebook's Cambridge Analytica fiasco. This has caused many to question whether this could be the end of the goliath social network. While most agree that Facebook is too big to collapse, users are still left feeling uneasy" ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "98626" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26466" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "98626" ["subject"]=> string(38) "Millennials Prep for Price, Rate Rises" ["authors"]=> string(18) "By Suzanne De Vita" ["data"]=> string(2286) "Mortgage rates are rising—and millennials are noticing.
 
Ninety-two percent of home-buying millennials in a realtor.com® survey believe higher interest rates will have an impact on their purchase, including a change in desired location, price range and/or square footage. 
 
Other generations are not feeling the impact as significantly. Why? Millennials carry debt, and have down payments that are on the small side, according to realtor.com. The most common debt is on credit cards (had by 78 percent of millennials), followed by a car loan (68 percent), a personal loan (62 percent), a mortgage (62 percent), a student loan (61 percent), and a home equity loan (57 percent). When comparing debt by generation, just 49 percent of Gen Xers and 9 percent of baby boomers have college debt—a burden thought by many to be closing millennials off from purchasing. 
 
Additionally, when it comes to a down payment, millennials have less than others. The majority (37 percent) have less than 10 percent saved, versus 34 percent of Gen Xers and 20 percent of baby boomers.
 
"Existing debt and lower down payments leave younger shoppers more exposed than others to the impact of rising mortgage rates and record-high home prices," says Danielle Hale, chief economist for realtor.com. "These obstacles won't prevent millennials from finding and buying homes, but most will have to adapt to these challenging market conditions by adjusting their home search."
 
Of all buyers—including millennials—just 17 percent believe they will be unaffected by higher interest rates, and only 21 percent believe they will be unhindered by prices.
 
For more information, please visit www.realtor.com
 
Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia's online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com." ["preview"]=> string(311) "
Mortgage rates are rising—and millennials are noticing. Ninety-two percent of home-buying millennials in a realtor.com® survey believe higher" ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "98625" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26466" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "98625" ["subject"]=> string(22) "Mortgage Rates Reel In" ["authors"]=> string(17) "By RISMedia Staff" ["data"]=> string(1438) "The average 30-year, fixed mortgage rate reeled in this week, down to 4.40 percent from 4.44 percent the week prior, according to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®). The average 15-year, fixed rate was 3.87 percent, down from 3.90 percent, and the average five-year, Treasury-indexed, hybrid adjustable rate was 3.62 percent, down from 3.66 percent.

"After dropping earlier this week on trade-related anxiety in financial markets, the benchmark 10-year Treasury stabilized on Wednesday, but at a level slightly lower than from the start of last week," says Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac. "Mortgage rates followed and fell for the second consecutive week; the U.S. weekly average 30-year fixed mortgage was 4.4 percent in our survey this week.
 
"Though rates on the 30-year fixed mortgage are up 0.3 percentage points from the same week a year ago, a robust labor marking is helping home-purchase demand weather modestly higher rates," Kiefer says. "The Mortgage Bankers Association reported in their latest Weekly Mortgage Applications Survey that the Purchase Index was up 5 percent from a year ago, indicating that this spring is on track for a modest expansion in purchase mortgage activity."
 
Source: Freddie Mac " ["preview"]=> string(332) "
The average 30-year, fixed mortgage rate reeled in this week, down to 4.40 percent from 4.44 percent the week prior, according to Freddie Mac's Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®)." ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "98524" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26466" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "98524" ["subject"]=> string(49) "Home-Selling Can Come With $18,000-Plus Price Tag" ["authors"]=> string(18) "By Suzanne De Vita" ["data"]=> string(2508) "Are you a homeowner listing your property for sale? Consider the expenses that are often overlooked by sellers: cleaning costs, moving costs, painting, staging...
 
"Even in the hottest housing markets in the country, selling a home takes time and costs money," says Jeremy Wacksman, CMO at Zillow, which assessed the costs that come with listing in the recently released "2018 Hidden Costs of Selling" report. 
 
"From decluttering and staging to pre-inspections, agents and homeowners often spend months behind the scenes prepping a home—well before it's listed on the market," Wacksman says. "If you're planning to sell this year, try to take some time to research what costs you may be responsible for and how they could affect your profit, or even budget for your next house."
 
According to the analysis by Zillow, the average homeowner is on the hook for $18,342 when selling, with $4,985 allocated to prep projects and $13,357 going to the agent's commission and sales taxes. The data was drawn from Thumbtack, which offers quotes for professional services. 
 
Costs differ by market, the analysis found. In San Jose, Calif., where the median price is one million-plus, the average cost to sell is $81,507; in Cleveland, Ohio, where the median price is $137,600, the average cost to sell is $12,986. (Get the complete data for the largest markets.) 
 
Carrying out improvements, though pricey, is worth it, says Lucas Puente, economist at Thumbtack.
 
"While there could be some initial sticker shock associated with the costs of selling a home, investing in home improvement projects like painting and home staging often proves to be very valuable in the long run," Puente says. "Homeowners starting to think about selling should take time to research and budget for the projects that can ultimately help sell their home faster and at a higher value."
 
Suzanne De Vita is RISMedia's online news editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at sdevita@rismedia.com." ["preview"]=> string(301) "
Are you a homeowner listing your property for sale? Consider the expenses that are often overlooked by sellers: cleaning costs, moving costs, painting, staging" ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "98523" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26466" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "98523" ["subject"]=> string(56) "Submitting Creative Bids During the Spring Market Frenzy" ["authors"]=> string(16) "By Liz Dominguez" ["data"]=> string(4827) "Editor's Note: This was originally published on RISMedia's blog, Housecall. See what else is cookin' now at blog.rismedia.com: It's that time of year again. The spring market is in full swing and crowds of buyers are fighting over their dream house—or at least the closest thing to it, considering this year's nationwide inventory shortage isn't leaving many options. So, what does that mean? For the most part, higher prices, more competition and a whole lot of bids.
 
Listings in good condition tend to get multiple offers this time of year, and buyers are putting forth their strongest submissions—cash offers, over-asking, fast closings, no contingencies, etc. But creativity is the name of the game in this year's competitive market. Buyers are inspired to win over the seller's emotional side. Here are the latest home-buying trends for beating out the competition in a swarming spring market:
 
Love Letters
While they've been around for a while, they're getting a lot more popular, being used by buyers as a last-ditch effort to win via the seller's emotional attachment to the home. Most letters talk about favorite design choices the seller incorporated, plans to raise the family and proclamations that the home is "the one" after a long and tough home search.
 
With so many letters delivered, buyers can't risk being disingenuous. Oversharing or being too emotional can backfire. It's best to get an idea of what type of person the seller is—emotional or data-driven—and what type of activities and hobbies they have in common before typing up or writing a letter.
 
If the sellers lived in the home for years and brought up their family in it, buyers can have their own kids craft letters on colorful paper with sloppy crayon-writing to tie in that connection. Or if the seller is an animal lover, buyers can talk about how the yard is a perfect place for their dog to run around. Including photos with the letter can make the process even more personal.
 
Letters usually tell the seller that the buyer is serious and willing to take care of the home. But some sellers may only focus on the numbers and terms. It's a toss-up, but it doesn't hurt to try.
 
Buyer-Crafted Videos

These are a little newer, emerging after YouTube's digital push into vlogging, or video blogging. While they can come off as cheesy, they are a little more personal than handwritten letters, because sellers will feel like the potential buyer is talking directly to them.
 
And if buyers are feeling gutsy, and the seller has a more creative personality, this can be the perfect place to showcase unique talents while sharing their love for the home. Can the buyer sing? A quirky, original song about the home may just be the winning ticket. Does the buyer play the ukulele? It could be a fun twist that breaks the ice. Or maybe just a sit-down video with the buyers—talking directly into the camera to make it more conversational—is the winning choice.
 
According to REALTOR® Magazine, a couple recently won a bid on their dream home by making a music video to "Our House," which just so happened to be the song the sellers sang to each other when they first lit the fireplace in their home. The connection instantly won the sellers over, beating out another offer that was $20,000 over the buyers' submission. 
 
The options are endless and it's more important than ever to stand apart from the crowd.
 
Agents, what's the most creative way one of your buyers won a bidding war?
 
Liz Dominguez is RISMedia's associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at ldominguez@rismedia.com." ["preview"]=> string(257) "
It's that time of year again. The spring market is in full swing and crowds of buyers are fighting over their dream" ["link"]=> string(65) "http://rismedia.com/cs/{ID}/{AffiliateID}/{SubscriberID}/{ItemID}" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } array(2) { ["ItemsNewsletters"]=> array(5) { ["item_id"]=> string(5) "98624" ["newsletter_id"]=> string(5) "26466" ["section_id"]=> string(10) "Section_01" ["item_type"]=> string(4) "item" ["zone"]=> string(7) "Stories" } ["Item"]=> array(7) { ["id"]=> string(5) "98624" ["subject"]=> string(67) "5 Things a Federal Reserve Interest Rate Hike Means for Your Wallet" ["authors"]=> string(15) "By Susan Tompor" ["data"]=> string(7455) "(TNS)—Consumers tend to pay far more attention to the swings in their March Madness brackets than the latest moves by the Federal Reserve. The reality is the Fed's action will have a more lasting impact on your wallet.
 
The Fed moved to raise rates by 25 basis points, as expected. The Fed's benchmark interest rate increases to 1.5 percent to 1.75 percent.
 
"Job gains have been strong in recent months, and the unemployment rate has stayed low," the Fed said in its statement. "Recent data suggest that growth rates of household spending and business fixed investment have moderated from their strong fourth-quarter readings."
 
Going forward, consumers will continue to see an uptick in the cost of borrowing on everything from credit cards to car loans to mortgages.
 
This is the first rate hike of 2018 but it's not the last, according to economists. Another two or three rate hikes are anticipated for this year, according to Robert Dye, chief economist for Comerica Bank.
 
"Higher interest rates are negatives for most households," Dye says.
 
The U.S. economy has much going for it on the upside—strong job growth, rising home values, some wage growth and higher consumer confidence, and a federal tax cut that is putting more money in many wallets.
 
"I think the positives will outweigh the negatives this year and we will see a strong year for non-auto consumer spending," Dye says.
 
Here are some things to pay attention to now in a rising-rate world:
 
1. Budgets, unlike college basketball brackets, aren't likely to be busted.
The theory is that the Fed has room to raise rates because the job market is so strong. As wages rise, consumers may not be under so much pressure to borrow or they'd be able to afford slightly higher rates.
 
Rates are expected to climb gradually, so consumers still have time to refinance or borrow earlier in the year to avoid higher rates later on down the road.
 
Mark Zandi, chief economist for Moody's Analytics, says his expectation is that mortgage rates and car loan rates will be up by at least a half a percentage point a year from now. For savers, new CD rates are expected to be about a quarter percentage point higher a year from now.
 
"The economy is set to boom," Zandi wrote in a report this week. "Growth is already strong—well above the economy's potential—and will soon accelerate. A massive dose of fiscal stimulus measures, including both deficit-financed tax cuts and federal government spending increases, has just begun to hit the economy."
 
2. Consumers aren't stressing out.
Policy wonks and bankers keep a close eye on all things Fed, but a recent NerdWallet survey indicated that 62 percent of respondents claimed that they didn't know the Fed raised rates last year. The Harris Poll on behalf of NerdWallet surveyed 2,000 U.S. adults ages 18 and older.
 
As of the last hike, the Federal Reserve will have raised rates six times since December 2015. The Fed raised rates three times in 2017, once in 2016 and once in 2015.
 
3. Borrowing costs aren't sky-high.
Mortgage rates rose for a good part of 2018 on strong jobs reports. The average 30-year fixed rate has gone up to 4.54 percent from 4.15 percent in early January, according to Bankrate.com.
 
"Borrowing costs are still relatively low, but moving higher and that's why consumers need to get out of variable-rate debt and lock in fixed rates to insulate themselves from further increases," says Greg McBride, chief financial analyst for Bankrate.com.
 
McBride says he's expecting mortgage rates to remain around 4.54 percent by year-end, but he's expecting plenty of volatility. At some point, mortgage rates could drop significantly if geopolitical issues arise or the U.S. economy slows down.
 
As for other rates, McBride says he'd expect the average five-year car loan rate to be 4.85 percent by year-end, up from 4.46 percent now.
 
Consumers aren't seeing anything close to the average 8 percent for a car loan consumers faced in January 2006, according to Jessica Caldwell, executive director of industry analysis for Edmunds.com.
 
Savers are likely to see higher rates, too. McBride expects the average rate on a one-year CD to be 0.7 percent by year-end, up from 0.49 percent now. The average rate on a five-year CD is expected to be 1.5 percent by year-end, up from 1.10 percent now.
 
4. Ignoring the trend toward higher rates won't help.
As rates edge higher, savvy consumers will want to take extra care to shop around for loans and CDs.
 
Making sure to pay bills on time—and not get overburdened with debt—will help keep credit scores higher and borrowing rates lower for individuals.
 
The average rate for credit cards is the highest ever, at 16.84 percent—and those rates would edge even higher once the prime rate goes up, according to McBride.
 
"But consumers with good credit can still get 0 percent offers for purchases and balance transfers that last as long as 15 months," McBride says.
 
The key, of course, involves maintaining a strong credit score.
 
Charlie Chesbrough, senior economist for Cox Automotive, notes that rates on car loans are near five-year highs, but rates remain relatively affordable, particularly for those with good credit.
 
"Higher lending costs impact car buyers in different ways," Chesbrough says. "For customers with good credit, the monthly payment on a $35,000 five-year car loan will rise about $15 a month from a 1 percent interest rate increase."
 
Consumers with lower credit scores are seeing much bigger rate hikes on the car loans they're taking out.
 
"Assuming a continuation of credit tightening, subprime borrowers will see much larger cost differences," Chesbrough says.
 
5. Consumers can control some borrowing costs.
Most credit cards have variable rates and the interest rate goes up every time the Fed raises rates. Most home equity lines of credit have a variable interest rate that's tied to the prime rate. The prime rate goes up when the Fed raises short-term rates.
 
"Variable-rate debt, such as credit cards and home equity lines of credit, will only cost more as interest rates rise," McBride says. "Transfer balances to low-rate cards, refinance into a fixed-rate home equity loan, or just pay down the debt aggressively—but do it now."
 
©2018 Detroit Free Press
Visit the Detroit Free Press at www.freep.com
Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC 
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" ["link"]=> string(0) "" ["type"]=> string(4) "item" } } Today's Real Estate News - Friday, April 06, 2018
Today's Top Stories
Should I #DeleteFacebook?
Millennials Prep for Price, Rate Rises
Mortgage Rates Reel In
Home-Selling Can Come With $18,000-Plus Price Tag
Submitting Creative Bids During the Spring Market Frenzy
5 Things a Federal Reserve Interest Rate Hike Means for Your Wallet
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