1. Zillow and Move are raising their ad rates. Hey, it is a free market. Have you revamped your year-end forecast to account for the price hikes? You should.
2. TRID is the real deal; stop ignoring this regulatory hair ball. If you are counting on the swirl from mortgage or title referrals to help meet your payroll, think again. Big Brother is looking over your shoulder. An alternative may be to own your own escrow company, like many brokers do in Southern California — but only after you check with your attorney.
3. Keep an eye out for hybrid brokers. Hybrids might not steal market share, but they can befuddle consumers because many of these alternative business models have piles of venture capital to advertise discount commissions.
4. Get up-to-speed on Airbnb trends — it is creating fresh new demand for traditional rental housing, including single family homes. Hospitality (short-term) renters are a new market for some landlords. This trend should decrease vacancies, until hotels deeply discount their rates or there is an oversupply of Airbnb properties.
Also, in hot hot AirBnb neighborhoods, this trend should contribute to home price appreciation — a good and bad scenario, depending on who you are.
5. Expect more full commission stomping as sellers rule the roost. What is more important, 6 percent or getting the listing? Tough call for some agents and brokers. Old-school brokers may say hold the line, but newer ones are less ideological about 6 percent — not to mention that commissions are negotiable by law. Like third-generation Cuban-Americans, they are not angry that the U.S. has opened up diplomatic relations with the homeland.
6. The economy is growing, but rates will move up later in the year, say the experts. But the notorious Euro defaulter keeps throwing the economy a Greek curve and gives Wall Street the heebie-jeebies. Predicting the economy is like forecasting the weather — impossible. Moral of the story: Worry more about what you can control and less about big-picture externalities.
7. Keller Williams has had a monopoly on the team concept of peddling real estate. Not anymore; all major brokers and franchises are noodling with or rolling out their version of the team strategy. Will they figure it out? A better question: What is KW cooking up next?
8. Broker Public Portal and Upstream projects may fail, but they have put Zillow and Move on notice: Shenanigans will not be tolerated. But for now, there is no bite in the BPU bark. Count on something else to save the industry from the portals. My two cents: Portals are not an industry-wide problem anyway; get over it.
9. Remember, real estate is cyclical. We are on a several year run, and most market upturns only last five years or so. Put some money away; a Tesla will not fundamentally change your life — being liquid during a downturn will.
10. If you are not obsessed with recruiting millennials to get a grip on millennials you may be up a creek without a hipster helping you row. This quirky generation doesn’t respond to adult lectures — do not even try. Q: How can you tell if someone is a vegan? A: Don’t worry; they’ll tell you.
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