Monthly Archives - May 2018

Yellow house with two car garage that has a for sale sign.

What Are the Rules That a Real Estate Agent Must Follow When Marketing Their Services?

Real estate, like most other industries, has some strict regulations. Not only do real estate agents need to abide by certain rules when signing paperwork, but they must also do so while marketing properties to potential new buyers. In fact, you are sure to learn more about the limitations in place in your real estate continuing education courses.

Cold Calling & Telemarketing

While cold calling is not uncommon in the world of real estate, the passage of laws in the last 15 years has changed how real estate agents are allowed to use it. Cold calling can still be profitable, but you must consider these changes when you develop a marketing plan for your business.

Since the 1990s, 26 states have passed laws regulating who can cold call private residents with “Do Not Call” lists. Unfortunately, you might see the blowback from this kind of legislation even if you are not a large company. If you are caught calling people on the list, you may be fined significantly.

You can avoid fines and other consequences by understanding your state’s cold calling laws. Training your salespeople and keeping documentation about changing regulations is beneficial.

Emails

In your real estate continuing education courses, you will also learn more about best practices for sending email messages to clients and potential clients. A newsletter sent via email is a great way to gain referrals, which are crucial to real estate as a business.

To abide by best practices, you should send just one or two emails per week. Otherwise, you may risk feelings of harassment or annoyance from potential clients.

Search Engine Optimization

You will find no hard and fast laws regarding search engine optimization, but you will have a lot to consider when you begin marketing on the Internet. You will find your most effective technique is to focus on local searches, using keywords that are geared toward your city and state.

You should also ensure that all the information you use in your marketing tools is correct. Additionally, your state will typically require that you designate your specific professional status on all marketing materials.

Real estate continuing education

Making the sale is the benefit of excellent marketing skills.

Posted Signs & MLS Listings

If you post a sign in front of a home that says, “Coming Soon,” you should pay close attention to the Code of Ethics. Specific rules exist determining how quickly you must enter a property into MLS after signing an agreement to list. For instance, you cannot post a “Coming Soon” sign outside a property to allow your firm the only access to the property. You are required to do what is in the best interests of your clients.

While you are allowed to clean up photos of a house, you are expected not to change physical conditions and qualities. In fact, doing so many violate the Code of Ethics. For instance, you are not allowed to erase obvious defects from photos highlighting a home’s foundation.

Real Estate Continuing Education

One of the best ways to stay up to date on changing trends and regulations in real estate marketing is to continue learning about them. Keep up with real estate continuing education to avoid falling behind. Start your training today!

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Hand holding a stethoscope over a pile of credit cards.

How Policy Changes at the Major Credit Bureaus Could Benefit Your Real Estate Business

This year, each of the three major credit reporting bureaus is rolling out a new policy, and it could mean good things for consumers. After all, a person’s credit score impacts everything from their ability to rent an apartment to a mortgage interest rate.

As a real estate agent, you may see how this impacts your clients directly. For many clients, getting a house will be easier. In other cases, lenders could make decisions that take into account changing scores. Here’s what you need to know.

How Do Credit Scores Work?

As you likely know, credit scores range from 300 to 850. A score higher than 700 is considered good, but most people looking into buying a house will want scores higher than 760. A credit score is based on payment history, credit utilization, credit history length, credit inquiries, and the number of accounts open.

What Is Changing?

The three major credit bureaus are improving standards by which they use records to report scores. Beginning just recently, the bureaus will exclude tax liens from all credit reports. This could impact some 11% of adults in the United States, many of whom will see an increase in their score up to 30 points.

If someone has failed to pay local, state, or federal government taxes, they may have a lien filed. In the past, tax liens have been included in credit reports. Tax liens were previously included because they indicated that one was unable to pay overdue taxes and thus may not be able to pay other types of debt. Unfortunately, even people who have paid off their liens may still see this reflected in their score for years.

Civil judgment data was also included in credit reports. Judgments may have been made against a person in court, and they have previously reflected as such in a credit score. Even paying off a judgment could mean that the bad mark stays on a person’s credit report for a certain amount of time.

What Do the Changes Mean?

The first change resulting from these new rules could be that more consumers qualify for home loans, which could initially be positive for business. People who were held back by their credit scores in the past may soon realize that they have the opportunity to buy a home, possibly for the first time in their lives.

Man smiling with a cut up credit card.

Consumers may be excited by their changing scores, but lenders could make changes to current policies to address this.

On the other hand, mortgage companies may begin to change their rules for approving loans. They may develop new programs for those with scores that have increased under new guidelines. Sub-prime mortgages are not a thing of the past, so it may feel that a burden falls on your shoulders to discuss loan offerings with your clients.

All of these changes also mean that real estate agents should pursue real estate continuing education to stay up-to-date with industry shifts. No matter where you live, you can keep up with changes that influence your industry. Choose your state now!

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Real estate CE

Arizona Will Permit Online Real Estate License Training Beginning in 2019

With news of the passage of Arizona House Bill 2399, prospective real estate agents in this southwestern state can rejoice. Beginning very soon, anyone wishing to become a real estate professional in Arizona will have the opportunity to fulfill their real estate pre-licensing requirements online.

Real estate CE has always been available online, but pre-licensing courses were previously only available in a classroom setting. So, this is great news! Read on to find out how the world of real estate is about to change in the Grand Canyon State.

What Is Changing in Arizona?

Arizona has only allowed classroom instruction for pre-licensing requirements up to this point. With the passage of Bill 2399, Arizonans will be able to attend real estate license courses on the web. This new law allows future real estate agents to fulfill their course requirements easily and on their own schedules.

 What Is Staying the Same in Arizona?

Arizona salesperson education requirements will remain the same in spite of the changes. Salesperson licensing requirements include 90 hours of pre-licensing education. Real estate salespeople must also complete a licensing examination and a contract writing boot camp.

Sales professionals must take 24 hours of CE every two years to renew their state licenses, which is already available online. Continuing education includes courses in agency law, contract law, disclosure, fair housing, and legal issues.

Arizona brokers must complete 90 hours of prelicensing education and maintain a real estate sales license for at least three of the last five years. They must also attend a broker management clinic and complete the state and national licensing exam.

Broker continuing education requires 30 hours of CE every two years. Coursework includes topics in agency law, contract law, broker management, disclosure, fair housing, and legal issues.

What Are the Advantages of Online Real Estate Pre-Licensing Education?

One of the most significant benefits of online education is the opportunity to pursue different topics. Unfortunately, when you are first becoming licensed to sell real estate in Arizona, the curriculum is set. Some of the topics that are included with the program cover title closing, license law, property management, leasing, income analysis, marketing, property ownership rights, building construction, and land development.

Online education gives you the chance to learn from the comfort of your own home, maintaining your routine. The convenience and flexibility of online education are often crucial factors for individuals who go to school while they manage a full-time job. Future real estate agents can continue working while they pursue their license.

Education on the web also allows you to learn in a self-paced environment. Depending on the layout of the class, you may have the opportunity to move at a pace that is more in tune with your schedule and learning preferences.

Woman working at a table with a laptop.

Online learning will provide Arizona’s future real estate agents with more opportunities to pursue their passion.

What Can Arizona Future Real Estate Agents Expect?

Beginning in January of 2019, Arizona professionals can pursue real estate pre-licensing education on the web. Future Arizona real estate agents can look forward to taking PDH real estate courses online beginning next year.

As the new year approaches, look for real estate courses online at PHDRealEstate.com.  Signing up for online coursework could not be simpler. Choose your state now!

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Real estate training

What Will the New Tax Laws Mean for Real Estate?

In December of 2017, Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. The new laws will impact not only businesses but also individuals and families — including those looking to buy homes this year. Changes to the tax law this year undoubtedly affect your industry as a real estate agent.

Your real estate training will likely begin covering the new tax law, but this does not mean that you should not start with an understanding of the changes now. As a real estate agent, you may be wondering how the new tax legislation will influence your industry. This guide will help you understand what to expect with new rules in place.

Bonus Depreciation

For items deemed in service between 2017 and 2023, owners can expect to see a possible bonus depreciation at 100%. Formerly, the depreciation value was granted at 50%. For you to receive the full amount of money, the item must be recently acquired, though not necessarily new.

Why is this relevant to new homeowners? The new rules include roofing, HVAC systems, alarm systems, and security systems. If you own or buy a rental property, you may be able to say hello to new deductions.

Interest Deduction

For those who own homes between 2018 and 2026, a reduction in mortgage debt interest up to $750,000 is possible. You may see that people living in expensive homes are less willing to move at this time. With fewer people moving out of these high-cost homes, buyers may be considering moving into less costly houses.

Increase Standard Deduction

Your real estate training likely touches on tax law, including the standard deduction for individuals and married couples. With the new law, the standard deduction nearly doubles to $12,000 for individuals and $24,000 for married couples.

These new laws indicate that individuals in the future will be less likely to turn to itemizing. Most individuals with mortgage interest and SALT deductions will not exceed these new limits. The value of mortgage interest and property tax deductions are not as relevant to homeowners as a result.

All of this goes to say that most homeowners will not benefit from a tax differential here. Owners and renters will experience little to no tax difference where there was once a significant one. Of course, owners and buyers should always consult with a tax professional to receive a personalized description of how purchasing a home may affect their finances.

Real estate training

Under new tax laws, homeowners must take note of changes made on their returns.

After-Tax Housing Costs Increase

Under the new law, homeowners may see an increase in after-tax housing costs. Buying a home may not seem as desirable as renting for first-time buyers. Of course, location, home cost, and family needs will all play a role in this decision-making process.

Real estate training should prepare you for the financial aspects of running a real estate business. If you need to brush up on new finance laws and how they relate to your job, you might consider continuing education courses that also help you renew your real estate license. Choose your state now!

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