Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Broker Snags $13M Deal on WeChat

Broker Snags $13M Deal on WeChat

A New York broker inks a multimillion dollar deal for two condos that was initiated through social media from across the world. 

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

After Trulia Merger, ActiveRain Has More to Prove to Its Users

After Trulia Merger, ActiveRain Has More to Prove to Its Users

activerainIt’s not clear how active the users of ActiveRain will remain, as the real estate social site seems to be reaching a watershed moment following its latest move to further merge with Trulia.

Bloggers on ActiveRain moved quickly to choose one side or the other after the site announced last week that it will live on Trulia’s Web domain. Activerain.com has become activerain.trulia.com, and every blog post — more than 3 million that exist on ActiveRain today from about 250,000 bloggers — that appears on the site will be redirected to a new URL with the new structure. (Trulia bought Market Leader, which operates ActiveRain, last year.)

“I was part of a mass migration from Trulia to [ActiveRain] when Trulia started making changes that hurt the agents who helped make their site what it is,” Scott Godzyk, broker-owner of Godzyk Realty Group in Manchester, N.H., writes in an ActiveRain blog post. “I fear that Trulia will do to AR what it has done to its own site — one that does not care about agents, makes changes without thinking how it will hurt the agents, and has a Q&A section that once was the gold standard but now is loaded with spam.”

Godzyk tells REALTOR® Magazine that he noticed “the service started to change” at Trulia a couple years ago when the real estate hub began implementing strategic shifts in its business. He worries that as ActiveRain more closely aligns itself with Trulia, the social site will suffer the same fate. “Trulia was once a great place to get leads for buyers and sellers,” he laments. “Then they started charging for everything. They made changes that affected the most active agents without any thought or care.”

Godzyk notes that ActiveRain’s “unique community” offers a place to connect unlike any other, where he can “reach out to anyone, from local buyers and sellers to a person looking to relocate to my area from 2,000 miles away.” But if the site’s service begins to give way to profit mongering, he says, it will ruin a site he has come to know as a go-to source of industry information.

“I’ll stay at ActiveRain and wait it out” before deciding whether to leave, Godzyk says. “But I speak for many as we wait, see, and pray that Trulia lets ActiveRain continue to be the ActiveRain we have all come to love.”

In its announcement of the merger, ActiveRain says the move is meant to connect its members to a much wider audience: the 35 million monthly unique visitors to Trulia’s domain. “Our own SEO experts, as well as a number of outside experts we have consulted, believe that the two domains combined will be stronger than either domain standing alone,” the site says. “ActiveRain is going to remain as an independent community of real estate professionals that encourages open discourse, sharing ideas, and growing as a community.”

ActiveRain blogger Anita Clark, ABR, CRS, an agent with Coldwell Banker SSK, REALTORS®, in Macon, Ga., agrees that ActiveRain needs the SEO boost from the Trulia domain. “Purely from a blogging standpoint, I think it is a good move,” Clark says of the ActiveRain/Trulia merger. “ActiveRain blogs had been losing traction with Google, and this was a way to help them gain some of their momentum back. As long as Trulia doesn’t mess with the platform, I believe this nearly transparent switch will have very little, if any, impact on the ActiveRain users in the short-term.”

Others are standing steadfastly by ActiveRain during the URL transition. Melissa Zavala, broker-owner of Broadpoint Properties Inc. in Escondido, Calif., says the most important thing ActiveRain has provided her is a way to connect with new friends across the country. And no move that ActiveRain could make will change that.

“I don’t give a lick that activerain.com is now activerain.trulia.com,” Zavala writes in an ActiveRain blog post. “That doesn’t change who I am, what I’ve learned, how I conduct my business, or what I will do on the site. It doesn’t change how we can benefit from the network, and how the network can launch your career. … I cannot even begin to mention all the friends that I have made on ActiveRain. I have established relationships with amazing real estate professionals across the nation — all of whom I can call in a heartbeat if I need something.”

But a good number of ActiveRain users remain uneasy, or at least confused, about what effect the site’s incorporation into the Trulia domain will have. Kat Palmiotti, an ActiveRain blogger and agent at Better Homes and Gardens Rand Realty in Central Valley, N.Y., admits that she’s a little lost when it comes to the hype around the move.

“To be honest, I don’t know enough about the backlinks or SEO to be able to intelligently comment on the change,” she says. “What I can say is that I received a call two days ago from a business I had written about three years ago. The three-year-old post showed up in their news feed as ‘new,’ even though I hadn’t made any changes to it. So I’m thinking the URL change may have given some new oomph to older posts. Other than that, I have to admit, I’m clueless on what this change may mean for me.”

A vocal group of ActiveRain users are pulling back on their use of the site. Alex Popovic, founder of Semper Find My Home in Phoenix, announced in an ActiveRain blog post that he would no longer be an active user — at least temporarily.

“I can tell you that I’ll be changing over to my own WordPress blog and cutting back on my participation on ActiveRain,” Popovic writes. “While I choose to accept the merger, my participation is another story. I will let time dictate if the merger is a good or bad thing. I just think [ActiveRain will] become bogged down with Trulia’s history of shortcomings. I’ll be back from time to time, but no longer on a daily basis.

“Trulia, prove to me and us ActiveRainers that you won’t lose us to spam or the experience most REALTORS® have had with you in the past. The ball’s in your court.”

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Things To Ask Yourself Before Buying Home Real Estate for Sale in Issaquah

When you are buying properties, you can’t just go to a counter ask for an item, pay for it and bring it home. Everything is just different when you are buying yourself a home. Whether you are a first time buyer or not, you would have to go through some processes that are too important to skip. To make the process easy and convenient for you, you have to prepare for it. Are you trying to buy a home real estate for sale in Issaquah? 

If you are, you should consider asking yourself the following questions below.

What purpose are you buying the house for?

There are several reasons why an individual is interested in buying a property.he could buy it for investment purposes or he could simply buy the home to live in it. It is important that you know what you are buying the property for. This would help you decide which type of house you would prefer to purchase.

What kind of home would you want to buy?

The specific characteristics of the house would then get in the picture. Decide whether you want a single detached home, an apartment, a condominium unit, a town house or anything at all. You have to be specific with the things you want to see in a home. Try imagining the kind of house that you would want to own. List the things that you want to see in it.the things on your list can serve as your guide in finding the right home for you.

How much are you willing to spend for a home?

Although the price should not be the most important thing to prioritize, you can place it 2nd on your list. This could be considered especially when you are on a tight budget, but is also in dire need to buy a home in Issaquah as soon as you can. It really depends on how you prioritize matters. If you think starting with the price can help you, that would be good. As long as you are comfortable doing everything during the transaction, you will be good.

How are you going to pay for the purchase?

You can choose whether to pay the house in full or do it in installments. You can also choose to pay in cash on your own or you may need to borrow a sum from the bank or some particular financier to help you fund your purchase. If you are going to pay in installments, be sure that you have a good credit record. You should know that you can make a very good deal if you keep a clean credit score. This could help you a lot with your home purchases and other purchases in the future.

Can you do the buying on your own?

Can you handle everything when you buy home real estate for sale in Issaquah? If your answer is either maybe or a no, then you might need the help of an expert in the industry. You can get a credible real estate company to help you with your needs. With a realty specialist, your transactions can be easier. It is actually more convenient if someone who is knowledgeable enough can help you.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

International Buyers View U.S. as 'Safe' Investment

International Buyers View U.S. as 'Safe' Investment

Foreign buyers are showing a preference for purchasing properties in the U.S. over other countries, viewing real estate here as a safe place to...

Monday, April 7, 2014

Questions To Ask When Selling With A Real Estate Broker in Issaquah

If you don’t get the best real estate broker in Issaquah, the worst thing that could happen is you having poor quality transactions. Especially when you are selling a property around the area, things could get really complicated. However, if there is a real estate specialist to help you, it is most likely for you to get the deal for your real estate property sale. Not all real estate agents can provide the level of quality service you need. Therefore, you should inquire about their background before you finally let them handle your property.

Here are some questions that will guide you on how to choose the right real estate broker when you are selling a property in Issaquah. 

1. Are you licensed to operate in Issaquah? Ask about the broker’s license to work in the areas of Issaquah. It is very important that you work with a real estate specialist that is allowed to run realty operations and handle transactions in the region. If you find a licensed broker, you can be assured that he or she has more than enough knowledge about how things in the industry run. Not only that. If the broker is licensed to operate in Issaquah, he or she should be keen with the location around the area. It would mean that the broker is very familiar with the place and can help you better with your needs. 

2. How far have you gone with selling Issaquah properties? Ask about the broker’s experience in the real estate industry. Consider asking the broker about his previous experiences with selling a property in the area. You may ask the broker about how long she or he has been working in the area as real estate agent. A broker with longer and more successful experiences in selling realty properties is a lot more reliable. It doesn’t mean that new ones are not reliable at all. It’s just that more experienced brokers have more techniques to help you make a great deal.

3. What tools are going to be used to sell your property? Ask the broker about the techniques to be used to help you sell. Ask if they have a website that they could put up images on, so the public would know about your real estate item. Also, you may ask the broker if they can put your item up in the listings. You may ask about what specific ways can they do to advertise your property.

4. Aside from helping you sell your property, you may as the broker about what other services they can probably offer you. Most brokers can do multiple tasks for you. A good one can offer you more services than what you expect out of them. You may want to sell a property and buy another after the sale. If your broker is good, he or she can help you find your next home as well. 

Most of all, the best real estate broker in Issaquah is one, who can offer you the best services at the most reasonable price. Not all great services are expensive. You only have to find the one that allows you to pay affordable rates, but still get outstanding real estate transactions. 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Lawsuits Challenge Independent Contractor Status

Lawsuits Challenge Independent Contractor Status

Real estate sales associates operating as independent contractors would seem to be a settled area of law, but three lawsuits were filed last year in which associates claimed they were employees and wanted to be compensated as such.

They argued that, based on the kinds of tasks they were required to do and the supervision they were subject to by their brokers, they were hardly working as independent contractors.

Two of the cases are in California and they’re pending. The third is in Massachusetts and late last year the state’s Superior Court ruled in favor of the brokers, saying state law gives the brokers a choice to classify their associates as either employees or independent contractors, and the brokers had properly classified them as the latter. The case is now in appeal, and the Massachusetts and Boston associations of REALTORS® are filing a friend-of-the-court brief in support of the brokers.

“We’re hopeful when considering the appeal that the state Supreme Judicial Court will reaffirm the lower court decision that real estate agents may affiliate with their broker as independent contractors and should not automatically be viewed as employees under Commonwealth law,” says John Dulczewski, executive director of the Greater Boston Association of REALTORS®.

Given the market’s tough conditions this past year or so, some sales associates might be attracted to the income stability that comes with a paycheck. After all, to succeed today you have to deal with inventory shortages, high home prices, tough financing conditions, and stagnant incomes among buyers.

With this as the backdrop, its helpful for brokers to take care in how they structure and maintain the independent contractor relationship they have with their sales associates.

First, know your state law. In Massachusetts, the lawsuit has exposed two areas of law that are in conflict. The state’s real estate law says sales associates can be either employees or independent contractors and it requires brokers to exercise supervisory authority over them, no matter what their status is. That conflicts with the state’s employment law, which defines independent contractors in such a way that such supervision can appear to undermine a contractor’s independence.

“It’s somewhat impossible to exercise supervision over your sales associate pursuant to the real estate license laws and also maintain the independent contractor relationship in compliance with the state labor and employment laws,” says Lesley Walker, NAR associate counsel.

Second, work with an attorney to draft an appropriate independent contractor contract and be sure your associates have signed it.

Third, be aware of what constitutes independent contractor status in your state. How much supervisory control is appropriate? If associates have to buy their own tools of the trade, including their phone, how much say do brokers have over what they can require? And can associates enter into relationships with other entities beyond the brokerage?

“Whether or not there’s an independent contractor relationship is determined not by the intent of the parties but the reality of how the relationship is playing out,” says Walker.

That means it’s not what you say, but what you do. In the five-minute video above, Walker talks about the cases and what to consider as you look at your own situation.

Watch the video.