MLS will send only the bare bones of listing data to Zillow, Trulia and

By Andrea V. Brambila
Associate Editor
Inman News

In a bid to drive more traffic to listing brokerage websites, consumers will soon see only limited listing data when they search for Mid-South homes on Zillow, Trulia, and other third-party public portals.

In May, Inman News published a guest piece by Redfin CEO Glenn Kelman in which he said that when real estate brokers and MLSs provide information about their listings to big portals like Zillow, Trulia and, they should be more like advertisements ? with just basic details, a price and a few photos ? and a linkback to the full listing on the listing broker?s website.

Fish skeleton image via Shutterstock.

Now, at least one MLS has taken that advice. By the end of the month, Brentwood, Tennessee-based RealTracs Solutions says it will limit the information included in direct data feeds it sends to public portals. RealTracs, which has nearly 10,000 members, is also in negotiations with listing syndicator ListHub to limit third-party portals? display of listing data.

The changes include a four-photo limit; the elimination of several data fields; listing descriptions will be restricted to 150 characters; and public portals will be required to include a link to the listing detail page on the listing broker?s website.

As part of its reasoning behind the changes, RealTracs said consumers deserve a closer relationship with Realtors who provide the work product powering public portals, and brokerage websites can provide a more personal experience for consumers. The MLS also said brokerages should be allowed to manage advertising in ways advantageous to their companies.

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Give Every Room a Purpose

house info2
Experts: Give Every Room a Purpose
Associated Press (09/14/14) Cook, Kim

Staging is important when it comes to putting a home up for sale, and even unused space should be decorated in an inviting way. Many homeowners have one room in the house that does not really have a job, but rooms that feel inhabited and clearly state their function enable buyers to see themselves living in the house. “The purpose of home staging is to draw the buyers into the house emotionally so they say, ‘Wow, we want to live here!'” says Melinda Bartling, a real estate agent and home stager in Overland Park, Kan. Buyers will question why a space looks that way and wonder what is wrong with it. Stagers should consider transforming a small room into a large closet or dressing room, or converting a bedroom into a creative workspace such as an art studio. Depending on the market, turning a bedroom into a home office also may pay off.

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Milwaukee Metro Existing Home Sales Slip in August

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (09/11/14) Gores, Paul

A report by the Greater Milwaukee Association of REALTORS? (GMAR) found that sales of existing homes in the Milwaukee metropolitan area fell 2.2 percent in August, continuing a slower year for the local housing market. The report shows 1,821 homes were sold last month, down from 1,862 in August of 2013. GMAR President Mike Ruzicka said residential real estate professionals are not alarmed by the trend of lower sales because other market characteristics are improving. Ruzicka pointed to a lower number of foreclosures and distressed properties and a higher percentage of traditional buyers. Court records show that foreclosure filings in southeastern Wisconsin are down 22.5 percent this year than in the first eight months of 2013.

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FHA Borrowing Just Got Better

National Association of Realtors

FHA Borrowing Just Got Better

Real estate consumers scored a big win this month when the Federal Housing Administration announced it would eliminate prepayment penalties for borrowers. Learn why NAR fought for the change. That, plus important guidance on copyright law and more on “The Voice for Real Estate.”

Watch now

About That FHA Prepayment Penalty . . .Posted in Breaking News, Economics, Law & Policy, Politics & Government, by Robert Freedman on September 11, 2014

News that FHA will eliminate a prepayment penalty starting next year has been widely reported. It?s a move NAR has been seeking for some time because it will relieve borrowers of a financial hit that?s entirely out of their control and also bring the agency?s policies in line with other federal agencies that backstop mortgages. Perhaps most importantly, it will align the agency?s policies with the qualified mortgage rule (QRM), which defines what the federal government considers a safe home mortgage loan.

What?s being eliminated is an interest-rate charge. For FHA borrowers that pay off their mortgage before the end of the month, the lender is allowed to charge to the borrower the interest rate costs on the loan from the day the loan is retired until the last day of the month. So, if a borrower paid off the loan on Sept. 10, the penalty would be 20 days of interest payments. That can be hundreds of dollars. Once the change takes effect, on Jan. 21, 2015, lenders will no longer be able to apply that interest charge to the borrower.

NAR continues to work with FHA on other matters. A big point right now is getting some improvement in FHA?s policies on condominium financing. It?s too difficult for many condo projects to get the stamp of approval that?s needed for people who want to buy a unit in the project to get FHA financing.

In any case, you can learn more about what NAR is doing on FHA and in other legislative, regulatory, and legal areas in the latest video in The Voice for Real Estate news series.

Debt Cancellation, FHA Prepayment – VIDEO

Greater Milwaukee Association of Realtors – June, 2014 Housing Report

Sales are still down in the Milwaukee Surrounding 4 counties, according to the report, although Milwaukee County showed an increase compared to June, 2013. Optimistic Sellers saw increased listings in June compared to June 2013. The report attributes this to a lack of inventory for buyers to choose from, but I would attribute it to lack of viable buyers due to more stringent Lending rules and the slow economic recovery. Foreclosures still seem to be selling, but the higher priced housing seems sluggish except for the cream puff listings. Time will tell if the increase of listings actually sell, or linger on the market. Overall, I have seen increases in sales prices, and shorter listing times, again depending on the condition of the homes. Bottom line, I see homes are starting to move, but Buyers have the option to be picky, due to the inventory levels.

Read the report:
GMAR June 2014 Housing Report

May, 2014 WRA Real Estate Market Report

May Existing Home Sales Decline Even as Median Prices Rise

The WRA is happy to provide you with a monthly home sales report and in-depth market data. For an overview of the report, see below. For a more detailed look, view the full version at the link below. If you have questions or need additional information, please let us know.

Steve Lane, WRA Chairman of the Board, and Michael Theo, WRA President and CEO

Press Release

MADISON, Wis. – Existing home sales continued to lag behind 2013 levels but median prices rose by a solid margin in Wisconsin. May home sales dropped 6.9 percent compared to the May 2013 volume of sales. In contrast, median prices increased over the same period, rising 3.8 percent to $150,000.

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Click Here to View The 2014 May Home Sales Report

6 Ways to Turn Off Any Buyer or Seller

Trulia Pro BlogFor Real Estate Professionals
Tara-Nicholle Nelson
February 6th, 2014

In the wild world of dating, when you encounter a ?turn-off,? you can just pack it in and not to go on another date with that guy or gal again. But turn-offs can be much more detrimental when they come up in the realm of your real estate.

Often times, your clients may inadvertently make big mistakes that can cost them big when it comes to securing their dream home or their dream offer. Indeed, turn a buyer off, and your seller?s may risk low offers or?worse?a home that just won?t sell. The same goes for buyers. In today?s market, multiple offers are common. And even in cases when your client is the only buyer on the scene, having a cooperative seller goes a long way toward everything from getting access to the place for inspections to getting a price reduction when the appraisal comes in low. Thus, the potential exists for buyers to turn sellers off, and risk having their dream home slip right through their fingers.

As your clients proceed toward their quest for a drama-free home journey, it?s your job to stop them from making these far-too-common mistakes and help them snag the best buyers and sellers to help their real estate dreams become a reality.

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Looking to buy? Best cities for first-time home buyers

Reality Check
Edited by Diana Olic | @diana_olick

In the rush to get in on the bargains of the housing crash, first-time home buyers were largely left out. Investors swarmed the most distressed markets, spreading their cash like fertilizer and pushing home prices up far faster than most expected. In less distressed markets, first-time buyers were still hampered, as the pendulum swung hard from loose lending to too-tight credit.

Now, as the spring season brings more listings to the national market and as investors seem to be pulling back a bit, first-time buyers are testing the water again. Some markets, like San Francisco, will likely be cost-prohibitive, while others, like Philadelphia, could offer easier entry to home ownership.

“First-time home buyers were put at a disadvantage against all-cash buyers, but with interest rates still staying low, with the marketplaces having risen fairly decently, you’re seeing the opportunity where it’s less of an investment for investors but a good opportunity for first-time home buyers,” said Steve Berkowitz, CEO of Move Inc. operator of

Houses are about to get really, really smart ranked the top 10 markets for first-time buyers, using five factors to judge the best: market popularity, prices, inventory, time on market and employment. Pittsburgh, Tampa, Fla., and Philadelphia, ranked highest, mostly because their prices have not spiked much and their unemployment rates are lower than the national average.

Interestingly, Phoenix also made the top 10. Phoenix was one of the hardest hit housing markets during the crash, with prices literally falling by more than half from peak to trough. Investors targeted the market early, buying thousands of distressed properties at deep discounts and driving prices up by double-digits very quickly. Still, Berkowitz said it’s a great place for first-time buyers now.

How we will live: More green, more urban, more efficient

“Investors are looking for a certain level of return,” he said, and they’re not getting it in Phoenix anymore. Large-scale investors have moved on to other markets, like Atlanta and Chicago, where discounts are better.

Click to View Video “Hey First Time Buyers, Here are the Best Housing Markets” released a list of the top markets for the first time home buyer. CNBC’s Diana Olick reports this is a crucial segment of the industry.

Click to View the Video “Where First Time Homebuyers Are” Video

Top 10 Markets for First-Time Home Buyers by Rank

realtor com best places to live 2014

Getting a mortgage is easier, but only just

New programs open options for borrowers article


Mortgage credit continued to trend higher in February, following a steady increase in availability since November 2013, the latest report from the Mortgage Bankers Association revealed.

The mortgage credit availability index edged higher 0.44% to 113.5 in February from 113 in January.

If the MCAI had been tracked in 2007, it would have sat around 800. The index was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012.

“For the third month in a row, mortgage lenders and investors slightly expanded credit offerings in February on net, as a result of offsetting factors,? said Mike Fratantoni, MBA?s chief economist.

“Specifically, the recently implemented QM/ATR sections of the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau regulations stipulate that ARM loans must qualify at the highest allowable rate for the first five years of the loan,? he continued.

Because of this, many investors have discontinued loans whose interest rate adjusts after only 3 year (also known as 3/1 ARMS).

But despite the pull back in the 3/1 programs, lenders and investors added several new 5+ year ARM programs, including those for Jumbo loans, to their repertoire resulting in a net increase to the MCAI, Fratantoni explained.

Brena Swanson
Brena Swanson joined the HousingWire news team in February 2013.
Prior to serving HW in the role as Reporter and Content Specialist,
Brena attended Evangel University in Springfield, MO.

Mortgages, Housing Starts & New Household Creations in 2014 ? What You Need to Know.

The Real Estate Book Blog
Over the past year, there has been a revival of single-family home production. What does this mean for 2014? Housing will continue its climb toward higher ground this year, but builders are still confronting several challenges, according to economists speaking at the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) International Builders? Show (IBS).
NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe explains that consumer confidence has returned to pre-recession levels and household balance sheets are on the mend. Year-over-year household formations are on the rise and now averaging 620,000 compared to just 500,000 during the housing downturn.
At the height of the housing boom, the U.S. was producing 1.4 million additional households each year. Meanwhile, new-home sales are averaging just 8.7 percent of total home sales?barely half the historical average of 16.1 percent. However, builders still face several headwinds, including rising building material prices, persistently tight mortgage credit conditions, difficulties in obtaining accurate appraisals and limited availability in labor and developed lots.

NAHB forecast for 2014:
? 1.15 million total housing starts in 2014, up 24.5 percent from 2013?s 928,000 units.
? Single-family production projected to rise 32 percent to 822,000 units and surge an additional 41 percent to 1.16 million units in 2015.
? 333,000 multifamily starts, up 9 percent from 306,000 in 2013.
? Single-family home sales are projected to hit 584,000 this year, a 35.9 percent increase above last year?s 430,000 sales.
? Residential remodeling activity is expected to register a modest gain this year over 2013.
? A slow and steady housing recovery will bring nationwide housing starts to 71 percent of normal by fourth quarter 2014 and 93 percent of normal by the end of 2015, says Crowe.
? On a state level, the top 20 percent of states will be back to normal production levels by the end of 2015, compared to the bottom 20 percent, which will still be below 84 percent.

Mortgage rates up, but housing still affordable
As the economy strengthens and the Federal Reserve tapers its buy-back of mortgage-backed securities, there will be upward pressure on mortgage rates, but not enough to harm housing affordability, according to Frank Nothaft, vice president and chief economist at Freddie Mac.
Nationally, Nothaft expects that home sales and prices will each rise about 5 percent in 2014, and that housing starts will post a 20 percent gain.
?As we move into the 2014 home buying season, it will be a market dominated by home buying originations rather than refinance originations,? says Nothaft. ?This will be the first time since 2000 that purchase originations will dominate the market.?
He says the reason for the change is because so many households looking to refinance have already done so, and as mortgage rates gradually rise, fewer homeowners will look to refinance. Further, purchase originations are expected to increase as the overall housing market strengthens.

Pent-up demand will fuel growth
In the aftermath of the Great Recession, there is a significant pent-up demand to form households and even to build homes.
At least 3 million fewer households formed over the past five years than would normally have been expected. During this period, many college graduates were forced to double-up or move in with their parents. Stronger job growth and a strengthening economy in 2014 should lead to a rise in household formations, which will be important to supplement housing demand.
?I think this will be a pretty good year for home construction,? says Real Estate Expert and Economist David Berson. ?There will be a big increase in single-family construction, but not as much for multifamily.?
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The Real Estate Book Original Post

New Survey Reveals Pulse of 2014 Spring Real Estate Market

RISMedia Post
A recently released survey indicates a lively Spring season ahead for real estate sales. MRIS, a Mid-Atlantic Multiple Listing Service (MLS), recently released the results from its 2014 Spring Real Estate Outlook Survey.

The survey drew responses from over 1,300 real estate professionals within MRIS’s geographic footprint, including Washington D.C., Baltimore, Northern Virginia, and parts of West Virginia and Pennsylvania, focusing on their predictions for the Spring market.

Over 71 percent of MRIS real estate professionals are more optimistic about the upcoming real estate season compared to last year and predicted transactions would increase this year from 2013. Additionally, 82 percent of respondents think the average home sales price will increase in this year’s Spring market.

The survey also looked at the homebuyer and seller challenges, inventory and new mortgage rules.

Homebuyers and Sellers
Forty-five percent of MRIS real estate professionals predict that 2014 will continue to be a seller’s market, while 33 percent indicated a buyer’s market for this year and 22 percent are unsure.

“The DC Metro market has been, without question, a seller’s market and will most likely remain so,” Strauch added. “In 2013, we saw two months of supply on average, meaning it would take two months for all homes on the market to sell and we expect to see that continue. The Baltimore Metro area is more balanced, but still favors the seller to some degree with its 4.9 months of supply.

According to the survey, other challenges that buyers and sellers will face this Spring season include:

  • Approximately 53 percent of respondents think that an insufficient supply of homes on the market is one of the biggest challenges that buyers face right now.
  • Fifty percent of those surveyed feel buyers were concerned with competition from other buyers; and 48 percent noted low affordability.
  • Over half of the respondents believe that the biggest challenge that sellers are facing right now is pricing their home properly.

Thirty-seven percent of respondents believe that inventory will increase compared to last year and just slightly less (32 percent) indicated inventory will be about the same as last year. Only 22 percent of real estate professionals predict that inventory will meet the demand they expect for 2014.

“Demand is highest for the more affordable price points, which leads to higher competition among condos and townhomes in our region,” says Strauch. “Baltimore and DC Metro’s low supply of attached homes gives seller’s the advantage in our market. Detached homes have a more balanced market and, in some areas, possibly even lean towards the favor of the buyer due to less competition.”

  • Fifty-eight percent responded that the biggest shortage of supply would be homes priced below $300,000; and 29 percent says the largest shortage would be homes in the $300,000-500,000 price range.
  • Approximately 48 percent of real estate professionals predict that attached houses in Spring 2014 will remain the same level of sales seen during 2013.
  • Approximately 21 percent reported that attached houses would rise in popularity over single-family detached homes this year.

New Ability to Repay and Qualified Mortgage Rules
In early January new mortgage rules issued by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau went into effect, designed to lower the risk of defaults and foreclosures among borrowers. As a part of the rules, lenders must determine that a borrower has the income and assets to afford to make payments during the life of the loan.

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Written by Phoebe Chongchua on Monday, 06 January 2014 8:44 am

Compare Multiple Mortgage Rates in Minutes | Free Credit Check

The number of homes purchased with a home loan has been dropping steadily since May, according to RealtyTrac. Instead, cash is king for many reasons. As mortgage rates began creeping up, some homebuyers started opting to purchase with all cash. And that trend may continue as new loan requirements become more strict.

However, for those buyers who do need to purchase a home with a loan, expect to see some changes in the loan requirements as the new year rings in. Here are a just a few of the changes that are going into effect in January 2014. Some of these requirements are already in place by lenders.

The new guidelines are being implemented under The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s Qualified Mortgage (QM) and are designed to help avoid the borrowing catastrophes that caused the housing crisis. The guidelines are what the lenders use to prove borrowers’ ability to repay a loan.

One of the guidelines? requirements is that borrowers must have a maximum debt-to-income ratio of 43 percent. Debt-to-income ratios have already been in place but the new rules won’t allow for any compensating circumstances. That means that not even a significant downpayment or a large cash reserve will be allowed to offset a higher debt ratio.

The incentive to follow these guidelines is huge for the lender. If the mortgages don’t meet the QM guidelines, the lender will be required to hold the loan as opposed to selling it to Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

The QM requirements potentially may have lower loan limits for conventional conforming loans. The agency that regulates Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, The Federal Housing Finance Agency, will delay its normal adjustment of loan limits from January 1, 2014 to sometime later in the year. The agency is trying to see what kind of impact the new QM guidelines will have on the housing industry. For most housing markets, the current limits are $417,000 and up to $625,000 in high-cost areas. How these figures will change remains to be seen in 2014.

Origination fees will be limited under the QM requirements, which could make getting a smaller loan more difficult. Origination loan fees will be limited to no more than 3 percent of the loan amount. This could make mortgage lenders less likely to offer smaller loan amounts because they may not always be able to recoup their costs and make a profit.

Self-employed borrowers already face tough standards and they’ll likely be even more strict in 2014. In the QM guidelines, all borrowers must prove there is sufficient cash flow to make payments on their loan but self-employed borrowers’ incomes typically fluctuate. These borrowers frequently have cash reserves that they rely on to pay bills when their income is off in a particular month. However, even if there is a large amount of money in reserve, it may still be difficult for the self-employed borrower to get a loan approved due to this new “ability-to-repay” QM guideline.

Expect to see changes in the loan approval process as the new year begins. However, some of the specific requirements may not be determined until later in 2014.

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