Archive for May, 2007

Realogy Group and NAR responds to 60 Minutes

May 24, 2007

By Beth McGuire

RISMEDIA, May 21, 2007-Heavy hitters from the Realogy Franchise Group and the National Association of Realtors stepped up their response this past week to the 60 Minutes segment about online discount real estate broker Redfin which aired last Sunday. In letters written to 60 Minutes executive producer Jeff Fager, industry leaders expressed concern over what they said were a number of inaccuracies aired throughout the piece, namely the oversimplification of the home-buying process and that the 6% Realtor commission rate is “sacrosanct.”

“Putting aside the inaccuracies regarding ‘sacrosanct’ commission rates, lack of industry oversight and state governments conspiring to stifle competition, the segment grossly oversimplified the complexity of buying and selling a property,” stated Alex Perriello, President & CEO, Realogy Franchise Group in his letter to 60 Minutes. “Real estate brokerage is a performance-based industry. Clearly, not all real estate companies are alike. Results will vary dramatically based on a variety of factors, including the experience and track record of the professional you select.”

(For full text of Perriello’s letter see end of story.)

Perriello’s letter to 60 Minutes was brief by design, however he recently discussed his thoughts on the subject in an exclusive interview with RISMedia.

“We knew the piece was in the works for several months, but when I saw it, I was appalled at the number of inaccuracies in it,” said Perriello. Right from the very beginning-there was [60 Minutes correspondent] Lesley Stahl sitting in front of a giant 6% image almost as big as her as she stated that real estate commissions are ‘sacrosanct’ and suggested that commission rates are fixed. Everyone in the industry knows, including buyers and sellers, that commission rates are negotiable from the beginning of the process and that the average commission today is 5.1%, not 6%.”

Perriello said he couldn’t speculate as to why after several months of investigation, including three days spent at last year’s NAR convention in New Orleans, did the final piece not include more perspective from traditional real estate brokerage, saying only, “perhaps they initially thought they were going to find a big scandal but what they found was a complex industry they didn’t want to report about. There was no ‘smoking gun’ but they had to put something together for the story.”

Reaction to Perriello’s letter, distributed to all Realogy brands, ranged from supportive to angry, he said, over the idea that his letter should have been more reactionary. “There is a lot of emotion out there coming from the people who do this every day who found that piece to be offensive.”

Perriello said the essence of his message is that buying and selling real estate is not a simple transaction, and that “at the end of the day, selecting the right real estate professional is something that has to be taken seriously with a lot of thought. If 60 Minutes wanted to help their viewers they should educate them on how to make informed decisions on the questions they should ask when buying or selling a home.”

Meanwhile, NAR took offense over what it said was a lack of representation in a story where it was cast in a negative light and then unable to defend itself, despite several offers to provide spokespeople to 60 Minutes for the story.

“The CBS 60 Minutes segment on real estate…made several important errors of fact and never provided the National Association of Realtors the opportunity to several criticisms of its policies even though, as you know, three of our executives agreed to be interviewed during the thirteen-month course of your investigation,” stated NAR’s letter to the news program. “On two other occasions, NAR offered the sitting president of the association at the time to be interviewed. You turned both offers down. When such heavy-handed treatment makes it on the air, the first victim is the truth. The second is credibility.”

Nar request correction from 60 Minutes

May 24, 2007

NAR requested that 60 Minutes correct the following four points on its Web site.

* All real estate commissions are negotiable and the average is 5.1 percent, according to the most recent available data.
* The National Association of Realtors is a trade association and does not “govern” the real estate industry.
* There is no such thing as a national multiple listing service. Rather there are more than 900, which are all independently owned and operated.
* “Realtor” is a trademarked term and should never be used synonymously with “real estate agent.”

So far no changes have been made to the story.

Ultimately, Perriello says that while the story generated some buzz throughout the industry, its message should be taken in context.

“You know, it’s one story. You have to take it in context to what it is. It doesn’t change the challenges that are out there in our industry,” he said. “Realtors need to just go about what they do every day and do it well. If a customer asks you about this piece, be informed and respond accordingly. It shouldn’t change anything. There’s a job to be done and they need to get out there and do it. The people who deliver the results are the ones who will prosper and be at the closing table. That’s what people should focus on.”

CBS News 60 Minutes

May 24, 2007

SIDEBAR: Full text of letter to 60 Minutes Executive Producer Jeff Fager from Realogy CEO Alex Perriello:

May 16, 2007
Jeff Fager
Executive Producer
CBS News “60 Minutes”
555 West 57th, 9th Floor
New York, NY. 10019
Dear Mr. Fager:

Your story on the real estate industry that aired on May 13th had more holes than a leaky roof.

Putting aside the inaccuracies regarding “sacrosanct” commission rates, lack of industry oversight and state governments conspiring to stifle competition, the segment grossly oversimplified the complexity of buying and selling a property.

Real estate brokerage is a performance-based industry. Clearly, not all real estate companies are alike. Results will vary dramatically based on a variety of factors, including the experience and track record of the professional you select. Picking an agent to represent you based solely on discount, rebate, or other cash back scheme may seem like a good idea at first glance, but not always at the closing table when all is said and done.

The bottom line is that consumers have ample choice when deciding which real estate company and business model they prefer to represent them in a transaction. Competition is good for the consumer and the industry and is the basis of our free market economy. At the end of the day, the companies that offer the best value proposition to home buyers and sellers will prosper.

Alex Perriello

Alex Perriello
President & CEO
Realogy Franchise Group uptime 100%

May 23, 2007
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The power of singles home ownership

May 3, 2007

The power of singles and home ownership

The Power of One: Singles Opt for the Advantages of Homeownership
By Brenda W. Casserly, President & COO, ERA Franchise Systems, Inc.

It may surprise you to learn that a recent study completed by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University cited single-person households as one of the fastest growing housing markets in the country. In fact, nearly 5 million one-person households will be added in the coming decade.

As real estate professionals, we must stay aware of emerging trends to best understand the unique lifestyles of our clients. To understand the motivations of single home buyers, we should first look at the experiences, wants and needs that shape their home buying decisions and review some of the leading factors behind this growing trend.

According to the 2002 Census Report, between 1975 and 2002, the share of Americans who had never married increased from about 24% to 29%. Currently, about half of all adults are unmarried, and a single person living alone occupies one in four households. These figures are a sign of the times. Unlike days past, many people today have embraced a single life.

Changing societal norms and expectations, improved personal wealth, increasing rates of higher education, and even longer life expectancies for women, have all contributed to the rise in single-person households. So what are the changing norms and demographics that have positioned this customer base to drive a significant portion of the housing market?

Obviously, changing marriage trends and expectations are a leading factor in the increase in single-person households. Although between 80 and 90% of Americans will get married during their lifetimes, rises in personal wealth, length of education and changing attitudes regarding gender roles have resulted in both men and women delaying marriage until later in life. For example, one out of three men and more than one out of four women in their early 30s were unmarried in 1997, compared with fewer than one in 10 in 1900. Coupled with a divorce rate hovering around 50%, many single persons have grown accustomed to their lifestyle. They have the financial stability to live where they want and do not have immediate plans to marry (or remarry).

Perhaps of greatest interest, women actually make up a large portion of single home ownership. Their role in the housing market is expected to continue to accelerate as women’s success in the workplace continues to expand and personal income disparities continue to narrow. An article in Business Week Online in June of this year reported that on average, women ages 25 to 34 earned 82% as much as men in 2000, as compared to only 68% in 1975. As this trend continues, expect to see even more financially independent women become home buyers.

Now that you have a better understanding of the characteristics and motivations of this emerging customer base, what are some factors real estate sales professionals need to remember to help these clients as they look to purchase a home? With only one set of hands at home instead of two or more, some singles opt for homes with lower maintenance features; including vinyl siding, brick, and vinyl windows to decrease the time devoted to maintenance. Others chose condos or town homes where exterior maintenance, landscaping, and snow removal are all handled by the homeowner’s association for a monthly fee. In addition, some look for a tight-knit community that may be conveyed by having neighbors close at hand.

For seniors who are single, many choose to move to active adult communities that are specially equipped to provide wonderful amenities for a lifestyle of one including golf courses, pools, and recreation centers. Other seniors consider proximity to cultural centers, medical facilities, public transportation or family when buying a home.

Another factor sales associates should encourage single home buyers to consider is their future needs as well as the future resale value of a property. While a one-bedroom townhouse may be enough room now, it would not be if the buyer planned on marrying or having children in the near future. And while a single person may not mind having one bathroom, it could be a major detraction for a future prospective buyer looking at the house down the road. If they can afford it, buying slightly more house than they anticipate needing could very well be a wise investment decision for single home buyers.

As with any unique home buyer, taking a few extra minutes with a prospective single client can help you to learn about their current living situation, as well as their future plans. This will allow you to create a customized plan, specific to their needs and set the tone for a successful business relationship.

Okaloosa Florida home virtual tours now available

May 3, 2007

121 VillaCrest Drive Virtual Tour now available go to to view MLS 461602

Countryview Subdivision Crestview Florida Home for sale

Detached Single Family
MLS#: 461602 OfficeFile#: 29850 ListPrice: $230,000
Status: Active ApproxSF: 2,573 BG:
Address: 121 Villacrest Drive  $/Sqft: $89.38
CRESTVIEW, FL Bedrooms: 4
Zip: 32536 Baths Full/Half: 3/
County: OKALOOSA Stories: 1
MainArea: 25 Crestview Area YearBuilt: 2004
SubArea: 02 CRESTVIEW SOUTHWEST OccStat: Occupied
ParcelID: 31-23-3N-056R-0000-0040 ConstrStat: ConstrCmplt
Dir: From Hwy 85 & I-10 go south to P.J. Adams take a right to Villacrest. Follow to # 121 Villacrest on your right.

If you’re looking for a lot of house, look no further. 4 bedroom, 2 bath, south of I-10 2573 sq.ft. You can easily commute from this desireable location. This open floorplan is perfect for the growing family. Countryview sudvision located in Crestview Florida.

Crestview Florida land sale now pending

May 2, 2007

Happy to announce lot 5 Benjamin Street is now under contract.

Residential Land .
Click on Photo to Enlarge
MLS#: 405714mvd OfficeFile#: 27126 ListPrice: $19,200
Status: Pending Last Change: 3/19/2007 Lot Dim.: 160X50
Address: LOT 5 BENJAMIN st  Acreage: 0.18
Zip: 32536 WFFeet:
County: OKALOOSA LotAcc: City Road, Paved Road
MainArea: 25 Crestview Area
SubArea: 02 CRESTVIEW SOUTHWEST Zoning: Residential Single Family
ParcelID: 20-3N-23-2390-0011-0050
Dir: From 85, Left on Duggan, Right on Bay, Left on Blakely,Right on Benjamin Street,property Located on Right.

You must see this lot in order to appreciate the value! This is a great opportunity for a prime building lot.

Crestview Florida house now under contract

May 2, 2007

Under contract 5529 Hwy 393 Crestview Florida

Detached Single Family
Click on Photo to Enlarge
MLS#: 455364mvd OfficeFile#: 29532 ListPrice: $199,500
Status: Pending Last Change: 4/16/2007 ApproxSF: 1,226 BG:
Address: 5529 HWY 393 $/Sqft: $162.72
CRESTVIEW, FL Bedrooms: 2
Zip: 32539 Baths Full/Half: 1/
County: OKALOOSA Stories: 1
MainArea: 25 Crestview Area YearBuilt: 2004
SubArea: 07 POVERTY CRK & DORCAS OccStat: Vacant
Subdiv: METES & BOUNDS ImmOcc? Y
ParcelID: 10-3N-22-0000-0001-0110 ConstrStat: ConstrCmplt
Dir: Go east on Hwy 90 from Crestview, then north on Hwy 393 for approx. 2 miles, house will be on the right.
Legal: Lot 45: Com where S Sec line intersects E R/W Hwy 393 N 1037.91 Fr NE Alg curve 2762 Ft.

This is a must-see! The look of a log cabin home with low-maintenance vinyl siding and a metal roof. The planned layout of this home is obvious when you pull up to the wooded lot just off of Highway 393 with its central location between Defuniak and Crestview; close to the Bases and the 285 split runs up to your country getaway home. Set on 3.3 partially cleared acres with a detached double-car garage and a 24’x24′ workshop with power and an additional bay. Backyard decking is new with an arbor roof for shade. If desired, there is enough room for a couple of horses. Home and workshop are wired for a generator if desired. Inside the home there is laminate wood flooring and crown molding throughout. Extra-large tile in kitchen and dining areas as well as a breakfeast nook in the kitchen; utility room and bathroom are also large tile. Refrigerator, stove and dishwasher are included with the home. Ceiling fans in living room and bedrooms. 50 gallon water heater, 3 ton Carrier A/C & Heating. The home is very move in ready! Please call for more information or to view this home today! Property is zoned RRS-2 which will allow for many uses other than single family. Find the attached file to this MLS listing to view more information.

Defuniak Springs Florida home sold

May 2, 2007

5484 Highway 192 Defuniak Springs now sold

Detached Single Family
Click on Photo to Enlarge
MLS#: 424774mvd OfficeFile#: 28020 ListPrice: $340,000
Status: Sold Last Change: 1/17/2007 ApproxSF: 1,548 BG:
Address: 5484 HWY 192 $/Sqft: $213.18
Zip: 32433 Baths Full/Half: 2/
County: WALTON Stories: 1
MainArea: 23 North Walton County YearBuilt: 2004
SubArea: 04 LIBERTY GLENDALE OccStat: Occupied
Subdiv: METES & BOUNDS ImmOcc?
ParcelID: 25-4N-20-29000-015-0015 ConstrStat: ConstrCmplt
Dir: From the junction of Highway 90 West and Highway 331 North follow 331 North approximately 6.5 miles; turn right onto County Hwy 192.
Legal: COM NE/C OF S2 OF SE4 OF SEC 25; N 88DEG29’42″W 1768.53′ TO POB; N 88DEG29’42″W 348.83′; S 01DEG12’46″W 1246.87′ TO N R/W LINE OF CO HWY C192; S 87 DEG51’30″E 348.88′ ALG R/W; N 01DEG12’46″E 1250.74′ TO POB OR2528-1676

PRICE REDUCTION!! MUST SEE!! Looking for low maintenance and high quality? This is the house for you! This house is made with fine craftsmanship; it’s all the little things that make this house a great home. Mitek Industries stabilizer truss ensures an extra bracing for any possible high winds. House has thermal pane windows which are rated for high winds. The house has a shingled Timberline 7 1/2 pitch hip roof with 30-year OC Supreme dimensional shingles. All thread rods run from the footers to the top of the walls and steel clips on top and bottom of every other stud ensures peace of mind during any storm. When you drive up notice the 380 ft. packed stone driveway has a turnaround area in front of the concrete parking pad which crushed stone and cement mixture done by Broadway Paving. The driveway takes you up to the brick walkway that brings you to a spectacular view (see attached list of flowers and plants in yard). As you enter you will notice the leaded glass front door that opens to reveal cathedral ceilings in the living room and dining room. The custom-tiled entry leads you to the Bruce Oak hardwood flooring in the living room as well as custom-built corner Dimplex fireplace with stone accents; a heating unit is included within. The dining room, master bath and even the laundry room all boast porcelain tile flooring, which adds the extra no-hassle maintenance. The wellhouse that is sided and roofed has electric as well as a brick-paved entryway. The well was installed by Best Well Service. Notice the bird garden area with custom-made bird feeder with bird houses and a cast aluminum bird bath. There are water and electric lines running to the bird sanctuary. Garden timber logs wall the maintained flower bed around the heat pump area; this area is planted with Indian Hawthorn bushes and Mexican Heather flowers. There’s also a small log-walled flower bed to the north side of the home just off the back porch that is planted Fire Power Nandina bushes whose leaves turn red in winter. This home has a 10 ft.x 20 ft. enclosed sun room which is insulated , with ceiling fan. Extended decking runs 10 ft. x 28 ft. that enters the great 2-car garage which includes a bonus storage area overhead with electric lights via pull-down stairs. The garage also features 2 insulated garage doors with the interior drywalled and painted with wood base trim throughout. The back entry door is steel with high half-round windows and 2 windows on the front for extra light.Walk out to your 24 ft. x 36 ft. insulated building with beige-colored steel siding and a dark green steel roof. The interior walls are drywalled; there are 3 thermal pane windows rated for High m.p.h. winds. The building also includes concrete floor, 100 amp service, water, steel entry doorway, 2 drive-through wood doors, 8 ft. wall cabinets painted Covered Bridge red and base cabinets with wood countertops. A steel roof truss completes the look with 12 light fixtures running the length of theceiling. Insulated with R13 insulation in the walls and ceiling.Sellers are willing to pay some standard closing cost.

Crestview Florida home just sold

May 2, 2007

Home just sold in Crestview Florida

MLS#: 432380mv OfficeFile#: ListPrice: $119,900
Status: Sold Last Change: 4/29/2007 ApproxSF: 1,012 BG:
Address: 176 ADKINSON DR $/Sqft: $114.62
CRESTVIEW, FL Bedrooms: 3
Zip: 32536 Baths Full/Half: 1/0
County: OKALOOSA Stories: 1
MainArea: 25 Crestview Area YearBuilt: 1955
SubArea: 03 CRESTVIEW NORTHWEST OccStat: Vacant
Subdiv: JERNIGAN S/D ImmOcc? Y
ParcelID: 07-3N-23-1310-000C-0140 ConstrStat: ConstrCmplt
Dir: Take Hwy 90W, Take a Right on Mapoles just past intersection of 90 & 85.Mapoles ends at North Ave and changes to Seminole, Take right fork to Adkinson, House is on left.
Legal: JERNIGAN S/D LOT 14 & N 5 FT OF LOT 12 & S 5 FT OF LOT 16 BLK C 987-817

Florida cottage complete with picket fence. Great home that has just received a facelift. All new kitchen cabnets, new carpet and ceramic tile and home has been freshly painted. View the landscaped yard from the big picture window. Yard is a gardners delight with pecan and fruit trees that may be enjoyed from the path that leads you through the yard. Metal roof and windows are only a few years old and house has just received new electric service both inside and out as well as plumbing improvments.Nice quite neighborhood.

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