Every successful REALTOR® shares one common attribute: A commitment to continuing education.
Today, we’re facing disruption from people who say technology will make REALTORS® extinct. There are discounters who say that experience and knowledge are unnecessary.
Our response should not be to argue, be belligerent or fight back, nor to be deceptive or manipulative. Instead, simply resolve to continue to raise your game. Be the most qualified and smartest agent you can be, so you can correctly advise and expertly guide your clients. That will happen only with a commitment and dedication to continuing education.
Too many agents only see continuing education as a necessary evil. Many take the bare minimum of courses to keep their license current. They sit through classes while chomping at the bit to get back to work.
However, continuing education can have a multiplier effect on your career. It can result in greater financial literacy, productivity, and income. It will lead your mind to new ways of thinking. It will enable you to provide incredible value to your clients. Specialty knowledge can help boost your salary and client base. Better educated agents bring heightened professionalism, marketability, ethics and proficiency to the industry.
What might have worked yesterday might not work today. What was relevant in the past might be useless today. That’s because the market is continually changing and evolving. There is so much to keep up with that it can make your head spin.
In today’s fast-paced world, there are new technologies to learn and expertise to be gained so you can stand out from the crush of competition. Agents who embrace technology and integrate it into their daily work will stand a better chance to expand their client base and work with clients from all generations.
In addition to technology, there are new rules and regulations, as well as new forms. I’ve been teaching between 12 and 15 classes annually since 2010. As market conditions and laws change, it is imperative that we remain informed to best position our clients.
If you don’t know the latest, then you cannot serve and protect your clients in the best way. One new sentence can mean a major change. If you make an error due to ignorance, you could find yourself facing a lawsuit and dashing your clients’ dreams. Many feel that the real estate transaction is one of the most painful processes one can endure. Nobody wants to put their clients through pain, especially when it can be so easily avoided through continuing education.
Real estate agents operate in one of the most competitive industries in the U.S. There are few barriers to entry, relatively low startup costs, so thousands of people jump on board every month. What will separate you from the newcomers? It will be your experience, and commitment to continuing education.
The choice is yours. You control your own destiny in our industry. Being the best that you can be by continuing to learn every day is the best choice. We’re never finished learning. As Warren Buffet has said, “Whatever makes you smarter, makes you richer.”
I encourage you to take advantage of the opportunity to learn and attend upcoming classes offered by NSDCAR. It could be a new topic or a refresher on something you think you’re an expert at (you might be surprised what you don’t know). NSDCAR provides members with outstanding resources and tools to enhance your professional skills and better serve your clients. We want every homebuyer or seller to be confident that they are working with a professional who has exceptional real estate knowledge and proficiency.
Nikki Coppa has previously taught recent classes to NSDCAR members. She has served as a C.A.R. Director as well as a National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Director. She is a past chair of the C.A.R. Standard Forms Advisory Committee.
2018 C.A.R. Reports from Sacramento are in!
This May, NSDCAR sent your C.A.R. Directors to Sacramento to represent you in the C.A.R. decision making processes for 2018. The following reports will inform you of the pressing issues discussed in Sacramento this year. With topics ranging from the Housing Affordability Fund to Managed Retreat and everything in between, you will definitely get informed on the topics affecting how you do business in 2018 and beyond.This year we have provided them in an easy to use PDF document. Click Here to View in downloadable PDF format
Housing affordability improved statewide in the first quarter 2018 due to higher wages and lower seasonable home prices, according to the California Association of REALTORS®’ (C.A.R.) “Housing Affordability Index” (HAI). C.A.R. said 31 percent of California households could afford to purchase the $538,640 median-priced home in the first quarter of this year, up from 29 percent in fourth-quarter 2017 but down from 32 percent a year ago. In San Diego County, only 26 percent of households could afford to purchase a median-priced home in the first quarter, which remained unchanged from the previous quarter but down from 28 percent in the first quarter of 2017.
C.A.R. said it was the 20th consecutive quarter for its HAI index to be below 40 percent. California's housing affordability index hit a peak of 56 percent in the 1stQ of 2012. C.A.R.’s HAI measures the percentage of all households that can afford to purchase a median-priced, single-family home in California. The index is considered the most fundamental measure of housing well-being for homebuyers in the state.
To afford the statewide median-priced single family home of $538,640, a household would need a minimum annual income of $111,500 to make the necessary $2,790 monthly payments, according to 1stQ C.A.R. figures. The payment would include principal, interest, and taxes on a 30-year, fixed-rate mortgage with a 20 percent down payment and an effective composite interest rate of 4.44 percent. The effective interest rate in the 4th 2017 was 4.17 percent and 4.36 percent in the 1stQ 2017.
C.A.R. also said that the affordability of condominiums and townhomes improved slightly in the 1stQ 2018. C.A.R. said 39 percent of California households earning the minimum income could qualify for the purchase of a $449,720 median-priced condominium or townhome in the 1stQ 2018, up from 38 percent of households who could afford to purchase in the 4thQ 2017. An annual income of $93,090 would be required to make monthly payments of $2,330 in the 1stQ 2018.
In addition, C.A.R. recently released its April homes sales and price report. C.A.R. said April’s statewide median home price was $584,460, up 3.5 percent from March and 8.6 percent from April 2017. In San Diego County, the median sales price of an existing single-family home was $635,000 in April, 1.5 percent higher than the $625,400 sales price figure for March 2018 and 7.6 percent higher than the $590,000 sales price figure for April 2017.
The median number of days it took to sell a California single-family home remained low at 15 days in April, compared with 16 days in March and 17 days in April 2017. Meanwhile, in San Diego, the median number of days a home remained unsold on the market was 11 days in April 2018, compared to 12 days in March 2018 and 11 days in April 2017.
C.A.R. said existing, single-family home sales totaled 416,790 in April on a seasonally adjusted annualized rate, down 1.7 percent from March and up 2.2 percent from April 2017. April was the first time in nearly three years for the number of available homes for sale to increase following nearly two consecutive years of double-digit declines in active listings, C.A.R. said.
“After nearly three years of decline in active listings, we’re finally seeing an improvement in the availability of homes for sale, which is encouraging for prospective buyers as we enter the busy spring home-buying season,” said C.A.R. President Steve White. “However, entry-level buyers may continue to experience the housing shortage as homes priced under $300,000 continue to bear the brunt of inventory issues.”
“After increasing year-over-year by more than 8 percent for the past three months, the California median home price is close to striking distance of the pre-recession peak price of $594,530, which was recorded in May 2007,” said C.A.R. Senior Vice President and Chief Economist Leslie-Appleton-Young. “With a continued imbalance of supply and demand, we’ll likely break previous price records, which many areas have already done, before the summer is over.”
In other recent real estate news according to news reports:
-- CoreLogic, an Orange County-based real estate information service, said San Diego County’s median home price hit an all-time high of $570,000 in April, increasing 8.6 percent in a year from $525,000 in April 2017. April’s all-time high figure surpasses the previous peak of $550,000 set the previous month of March. The increase was largely led by the rising price of resale condos, going up 11.7 percent in a year to a record high median of $430,000. The median price of a resale home reached a record $610,500, while the newly built home price was $707,500. While the rising prices are notable, they still technically lower than prices at the height of the housing boom. In November 2005, the median hit $517,500, which would be more than $655,000 today after adjusting for inflation.
-- CALmatters, a news media outlet covering state policy issues in California, recently identified several reasons why California ’s housing costs are so high. At its most basic level, it’s a story of supply and demand: Lots of people want to live here and there aren’t enough homes to go around. Among the reasons: We haven’t built enough housing; Demand to live and work and own in urban areas has reached a breaking point; In most parts of California, the process to get new housing approved is difficult, time consumer and expensive; Land, labor and raw material costs are higher in California than the rest of the country.
-- Is a housing bubble coming? Probably not, according to one mortgage insurance company. Arch MI says there’s only a slim chance Southern California home prices will fall in the next two years. Arch MI gauged the economic foundations of home values in 100 major metropolitan areas to determine local housing markets with “minimal” risk. Locally, Arch MI found solid performance among regional businesses and limited development of new homes as factors that should keep home prices firm.
This is t the latest is a series of occasional articles on “Professional Standards” from Rick Snyder, NSDCAR Professional Standards Committee 2018 chairman.
By Rick Snyder
Technology is more important than ever in our real estate sales business. In our digital age, high-quality photos can help consumers personally tailor their home search. Indeed, listing photographs can be the most important part of the home sale listing. It’s true that buyers are relying increasingly on images of listed properties to make informed decisions and determine whether they are really interested in the home. Plus, photos can help REALTORS® save time so they give more attention to only their most serious buyers.
However, with a variety of today’s sophisticated photo-editing and enhancing software on the market today, ranging from the popular Adobe Photoshop to such others as Phase One Capture One, Serif Affinity, Cyberlink PhotoDirector and MacPhun Luminar, photos can be easily altered to portray a property as more attractive than it actually is. Retouching may seem innocent, but it can have a profound effect on the real estate business. REALTORS® should be warned that problems exist when you try to remove a tree, cracks on walls, utility lines, fire hydrants and satellite dishes that exist on the property, as well as enhance the landscaping.
This practice of REALTORS® altering photographs of properties with post-production techniques must be undertaken with care. There’s a difference between enhancing the quality of the visual images of the properties and altering the photographs that may result in a misrepresentation of the condition of the property. Photographs should accurately represent a property’s condition. The condition of the property is a material fact that affects the value and desirability of the property. The concept of misrepresentation must be understood and recognized by REALTORS® in the presentation of information relating to the listed property.
In fact, doctoring photos may be a violation of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Standard of Practice. Using Photoshop software can land you in hot water with an ethics violation on your record.
I recently attended a NAR Professional Standards Committee meeting. We approved amendments to strengthen Article 12-10 utilizing the following language:
REALTORS’ obligation to present a true picture in their advertising and representations to the public includes Internet content, images, and the URLs and domain names they use, and prohibits REALTORS® from:
1) engaging in deceptive or unauthorized framing of real estate brokerage websites;
2) manipulating (e.g., presenting content developed by others) listing and other content in any way that produces a deceptive or misleading result;
3) deceptively using metatags, keywords or other devices/methods to direct, drive, or divert Internet traffic; or
4) presenting content developed by others without either attribution or without permission, or
5) otherwise misleading consumers, including use of misleading images.
Photo altering not only misleads consumers who rely on photos in the MSL or on websites, but damages the credibility and integrity of REALTORS® and our industry. REALTORS® have an obligation to present a true picture of the condition of property in their advertising and representations to the public. If the public loses confidence in the ability of real estate photos to tell the truth of a listing in an honest, straight-forward way, then we’re all discredited.