Live Free or Die!

free·dom; noun

The power or right to act, speak, or think as one wants without hindrance or restraint.
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What a glorious concept and one we embrace in the good ole USA.  My question is, “Do you really embrace freedom?”  Do you love your job?  Or are you trapped?  I ask only because for the past 6 months I have experienced freedom in a way I haven’t in a long time.  Real estate is built for freedom.  We choose the  brokerage we affiliate with. We are typically independent contractors so we choose when we work, the clients we work with, and even the type of business we specialize in.  So it’s set up to be free, or at least flexible.
The twist is that at some point we allow it to conume us and the very reason we got into this in the first place is long forgotten.  Clients dictate our schedule. We work all weekend and late at night, often at the expense of our families and social life.  Enough I say!  YOU teach people how to treat you.  You choose.  You decide.
My path in real estate is not typical in that I elected to go down a leadership path.  I have spent the past 15 years running, growing, building real estate companies, and mentoring agents.  Often times acting as the managing broker with hundreds of agents under my license at any given time.  That cuts into your freedom.  Typical bankers hours, 2 weeks vacay, no overtime as it usually salaried work and beholden to everyone all the time.  In my last role I found myself turning right instead of left to go the office, just looking for reasons not to be there.
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Then I got Real.  I decided what was important, and discovered I could truely work from anywhere, at any time.  Talk about freedom. Make the money I need to make, be anywhere I want to be. Still make an impact on my team, family, and industry.  I’m in!  I’m not tied to geography, office hours, or a desk.  I roam where I want, when I want.  Of course I need my mobile device and an occasional wifi connection.  By hey, no problem in this day and age.  Like the quote above says, it just takes a little courage to see things differently…and a little more happiness to creep into your life.  Now conversations with my wife are about how many days we can spend on the road in our RV this summer and what trips we want to take with our kids.  It’s a new world people.  Reach for the sky!
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The Future of Real Estate

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The real estate industry has been buzzing about “The future of real estate.”  Actually it has been a slow build over the past decade and the crescendo may be near.  So what’s all the buzz about?  Well, let’s look back to the days when we decided to give the keys to the castle to Realtor.com.  The idea was brilliant.  An avenue of getting our listings in front of the masses via their online portal.  And after all they were “The Official Website of the National Association fo Realtors.”  What could go wrong?  Well for starters some of the leadership of Realtor.com went to jail for securities fraud.  Next came the Zillow’s and Trulia’s of the world.  But I digress.

The buzz lately has been more about how real estate sales are transacted and the business models of the companies offering brokerage services.  Historically there have been a few models real estate companies employed.

  1.  The traditional model, where the broker is the focus and provides lots of tools, training, marketing, etc to the agents, who in return take a lower commission split.
  2. Independent/100% model.  Agents take on more responsibility of running a business and receive a higher split. In return they pay  monthly or transactional fees to offset the overhead the broker takes on.
  3. Interdependent.  In this case the agents and broker share the costs, and in many cases the agent has an opportunity to earn a higher split, up to 100%, once an annual CAP has been paid.  There are typically additional costs the agent pays for such as office space, admin or tech fees, etc.

Add in the so-called discount brokers who offer consumers a lower fee to list homes, or in some cases rebates, or companies where the agents are employees vs. independent contractors, and the playing field becomes convuluted.  All of these models have their place and attract great agents by the way.  But how does “The future” come into play?

What we are seeing now are established brokerages trying to reinvent themselves, hybrid models being developing, and tech companies launching innovative new models.  And that’s where I take umbrage with “The future.”  Most of these brokerages are simply re-packaging old models or adding “bolt on” technology to appear futuristic.  To that I say good luck.

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Welcome to Real.  Launched in 2014, a team of real estate professionals, technologists and venture capitalists joined forces to spark this revolution by creating Real, a technology-powered, full-service brokerage.  Our mission is simple:  Always find ways to make agents lives better.  And we do that by building and owning the tech.

Our Difference?  Creating a brokerage powered by a digital platform that frees agents.  In the past, brokerages offered agents “value” by providing brand recognition, access to listings, a desk a fax machine, and paper marketing tools like business cards, letterhead, and yard signs, while measuring their success in agent sales.  Real uses technology to provide agents with the tools, marketing materials, contracts, platforms, technology, lead management, listings, and support they need through a fast, intuitive, technology-driven platform.  And the difference between Real and other tech-based brokerages is our platform is built with agents in mind, not the consumer.

Now, we offer a ton of value for the consumer.  We just do it through our agents, who are empowered to work from anyplace and never have to worry about sacrificing service or worry about the experience they create for their clients.  While Real’s technology grants our agents the ability work from anywhere, any time, our true difference lies in the way we treat our agents, and our redefinition of success.

By marrying industry leading technology, with an agent-centric approach that disposes of archaic industry standards, Real has become one of the fastest growing technology driven brokerage in the United States.  If you’d like to learn more about the Real platform, please visit us at joinreal.com or reach out to me directly.  I’d love to share our platform and answer any questions.

 

California Real Estate Market is on Fire!

The CA real estate market is on fire, however as seasonality kicks in more inventory will be coming and that means more competition and choices for home buyers. If you are thinking about selling your house, now may be the time.  Get a free price evaluation here:  Free Home Value Estimate

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Keeping it Real…

CABear

It. Just. Got. Real. Welcome to Real Broker! Specifically, welcome to Real Broker CA. So who is Real?

Your success is Real’s mission.

Real is a technology-powered brokerage for agents who believe innovation is the key to serving clients better & reaching goals faster. In essence, Real is YOU, powered by tech.

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What makes Real different than other tech-based brokerages? I get asked that a lot! Simply, our vision and mission is to, “Always look for ways to make agents lives better”. In other words, unlike other brokers, we built the Real platform for our agents. They are our clients. While we deliver an awesome app for buyers and sellers to find homes, complete valuations, learn about neighborhoods and schools, our tech was built to help our agents deliver these services at the highest level possible.

Now here’s the twist. We also have a platform for independent brokers who may be looking for an exit strategy. Maybe you want to focus on selling and not managing your agents. Perhaps you want to give up the back office admin, compliance, and oversight. Oh, and just maybe you want the best tech platform for your agents. Well I present, “Powered by Real“.

Give your agents a better platform. High-powered tech. 24/7 support and E&O. Better commission splits. Or, if you want to grow your business, consider a branch office operation. Maintain your local branding and autonomy. Offload your agent support to Real. Let us help you recruit the best agents. Earn 100% commission AND overrides on your agents.

No matter what your current business set up is, Real is ready to help. We operate in 26 states, and are up and running throughout the CA market. If you would like more info, want to demo our tech, or just have questions, please do not hesitate to contact me. I’d love the opportunity to share our platform and business model with you. Thanks…and keep it Real!

Jason Lopez
CA Broker of Record
Real Broker
CalBRE #01180851
619-248-6434
JoinReal.com

I get asked about this all the time!

Maybe the most asked question I get is, “What are the crime stats in this area?”  That’s a tough one because perception is not always reality.  However, the San Diego Union tribune releases this handy interactive map that shows exactly what is happening and where.  Simply click here to access the map.

 

What if my appraisal comes in low?

appraisal2It has been known to happen.  A seller puts their house on the market.  A prospective buyer makes an offer.  The seller accepts it.  Now the real work begins.  Next come the inspections, physical, pest, HVAC, roof, pool, etc.  And if the buyer is getting a loan, the most important one of all…the appraisal!

What is an appraisal?  Well it is basically how the lender determines if the home is worth what they are being asked to loan.  But it’s more than that.  The appraisal is an opinion of value at the given moment.  Huh?  You see, appraisals can change on the fly based on what the market is doing.  As an example, let’s say your appraisal came it at a value of $480,000, and that is what the accepted offer was.  Great we have a deal.  Now let’s say the next day the exact same floor plan closes at  $500,000.  There is a new baseline established and the buyers just benefited by having the equity rise by $20,000.

But what happens if the appraisal on that $480,000 offer came in at $460,000?  The lender is not going to loan on a property that they feel is not valued at the agreed upon sales price.  In essence the seller has to sell the home twice, once to a buyer and then to the lender.  So now a renegotiation between the buyer and seller takes place and typically there are a few outcomes that happen.

  1. The seller can lower the price to the appraised value.
  2. The buyer can agree to pay the difference and bring in more cash.
  3. The buyer and seller can split the difference.
  4. The deal can be cancelled and everyone goes their separate ways.

If an agreement cannot be reached, and the contract included an appraisal contingency, meaning the home had to appraise at the agreed upon price or higher, the buyer can cancel and get their deposit, if any, returned in full without penalty.  It’s also important to remember that an appraisal is an opinion of value in a given moment.  So if a seller had an appraisal done say 3 months ago, the lender will not accept that and will still have an independent appraiser go out.

The last thing to consider is that depending on the type of financing the buyer is getting, the appraisal could be more detailed.  As an example, if the  buyer is getting an FHA or VA loan, the appraiser may “call out” things like chipped paint, structural issues, mold and the systems in the home.  If you are thinking about selling, you need to understand how the financing terms you will consider could affect the appraisal and ultimately the sale.  So it’s not just about price, consider what types of terms will be acceptable to you.