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It's not just cat videos the public is going crazy over; it's all videos, including real estate videos. Marki Lemons-Ryhal, REALTOR®, teacher, social media expert and Facebook Live video host, swears by live video. "By the end of 2017, 74 percent of all content viewed online will be in the form of a video," she says.

Lemons-Ryhal doesn't just comment on the video phenomena; she's mastered it. She opened her first real estate company in 2003, and a year later had sold over 60 units and jumped to the top 10 percent of REALTORS® in Chicago, in large part due to her mastery of social media.

In 2009, she was invited to speak at National Association of REALTORS® Conference & Expo and was named Illinois Real Estate Educator of the year in 2010. She currently travels and teaches social media and technology classes for NAR, Chase and Goldman Sachs. She has multiple designations and degrees, including CRB, ABR, ABRM, CRMS, and an MBA from Saint Xavier University.

Her first video, "Crabs in a Bucket," received 19,442 views. By taking out a $20 Facebook Ad to boost the video, she got 1,241 more views, resulting in 23,683 views. Using those Facebook views, she leveraged the interest in her video into radio and television interviews. "Social media works," she says. "I don't teach theory. I practice what I preach. We have come to realize one can receive a 2,100 percent return on their marketing if they implement video."

Video Can Be Your Best Marketing Tool—If You Know These Facts
The objections to video are the same from all REALTORS®, and Lemons-Ryhal addresses them right upfront:

  • Stop procrastinating. Stop "getting ready to get ready" to do video. Just do it.
  • Don't worry about how you look. Everyone already knows how you look. You're the only one who's not used to seeing you.
  • Cost is not a barrier. All the video equipment you need is included in your cell phone's camera.
  • If you're not doing video, you're ignoring a huge audience. Facebook has over two billion users, so you don't need another app. Live-streaming video is already built into the Facebook app.
  • Video rules SEO. If you want to be found through local Search Engine Optimization (SEO), a video is the best way to do that. Facebook has altered its algorithm to promote video over content.

A few key trends may hold the answers and provide some important insights for your business. For one, both millennials and baby boomers could be your biggest buyers. Interesting trends are taking shape across homebuyers. No longer is the sweet spot only in the middle-aged target. As more 25- to 34-year-olds enter the job market and start earning higher salaries, millennials are poised to take the housing market by storm. On the other hand, baby boomers are not staying put like they used to. They are carving out unique empty nester lifestyles in new and different places.

First, here's what you should know about millennials:

Millennials
Many of those born between 1980 and the early 1990s are expected to buy their first home this year—and likely not a traditional starter home. As a result of paid-off loans and higher-paying jobs, this group is opting for more than a condo or townhome. In fact, this group may be in a position to spend more on a home than you might think.

According to a Fortune.com article, generally speaking, today, "the typical earner can expect to see her wages grow the most between the ages of 25 and 35, by an average 38 percent." This positive income momentum can make a millennial buyer more confident.

Real estate is an image-based business. Agents use photos and videos to both visually and emotionally connect with prospects. While many agents use social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, others are turning to different platforms to reach younger buyers. With 100 million daily users, Snapchat can be a great way to connect with this younger generation. 

Last week, Snapchat introduced Snap Maps, a new feature that leverages users' location services. While Snapchat was relevant to real estate agents from the beginning, the update opens many new possibilities for connecting with clients and prospects.

What Is Snap Maps?
Snap Maps can be accessed by pinching your screen in the Snapchat app. By using your phone's location services, the new feature displays your customized Bitmoji icon to show your location in real time. As you travel, your icon moves to each new destination. Snap Maps also compiles your stories in the maps feature, so users can see your snaps from the past 24 hours. If they're your friend, the stories will appear under your username. All other users will see the stories from the location where you uploaded the snap, without knowing it's from you.

Chris Christie vetoed a bill that would have imposed sales & use taxes as well as occupancy fees that hotels pay onto online rental sites like Airbnb.

In a statement Christie said:

As I have said many times before, I strongly believe that levying new taxes on our already overtaxed residents is not the answer to the state's fiscal challenges. The tax increase proposed in this bill would not only impact New Jersey property owners who have -- for generations -- made their homes available for short-term rentals, but would also disproportionally increase the cost of visiting New Jersey Shore towns and other tourist destinations.

For more information, click here.

A power of attorney ("POA") is a legal document authorizing one person to act on another’s behalf. POAs can be used to conduct financial transactions, buy and sell real estate, encumber real estate, provide for health care directives or manage one’s general affairs, just to name a few. Because of the significant power bestowed by a POA, it is critical that you understand who the parties are, and ascertain the nature and extent of the grant of power under the document.

There are typically two parties to a POA. The person who authorizes another to act on his or her behalf is commonly called the "grantor" or "principal." The person authorized to act is commonly called the "attorney in fact" or "agent."

Citation: OCWEN Loan Services, LLC, v. Quinn, et al., Docket No. A-2668-14T3 (N.J. Super. Ct. App. Div., cert. den. Feb. 7, 2017, published July 10, 2017).

Facts: In 2004, defendants David and Louisa Wuebbens conveyed their home to their daughter, Marla Wuebbens Quinn, while retaining life estates in the property. In 2005, Quinn and her parents executed a $260,000 mortgage on the property in favor of IndyMac Bank, F.S.B. (the 2005 mortgage). In 2007, Quinn refinanced the mortgage loan for $380,000 with IndyMac (the 2007 mortgage) and used the proceeds, in part, to satisfy the 2005 mortgage.

IndyMac’s 2007 title commitment failed to disclose the parents’ recorded life estate interests in the property. As a result, the parents did not execute the 2007 mortgage. In 2009, IndyMac filed an action to foreclose the 2007 mortgage after Quinn defaulted. The mortgage was subsequently assigned to OCWEN.

The issue presented was whether OCWEN’s 2007 mortgage lien took priority over the parents’ earlier recorded life estate interests in the property.

Housing inventory is officially on its longest downward stretch in two decades, with 11 percent less homes on the market year-over-year in June, according to the latest data preview from realtor.com®. Prices in June were 9 percent higher than those one year ago, with the national median at $275,000 and the national median age of inventory at 60 days. 

"We have now gone 24 months in a row seeing the number of homes drop on a year-over-year basis, the longest streak in more than two decades," says Javier Vivas, manager of Economic Research at realtor.com. "More markets than ever are struggling with inventory problems; in 80 percent of markets, there are fewer homes for sale currently than this time last year.

"It's good to see that more homes are coming onto the market, but the bulk of those homes are too pricey for the largest, most desperate group of buyers. With no clear indication that newly-built homes will be able to provide short-term relief soon, there appears to be no end in sight for the inventory shortage. The market will likely remain very challenging for would-be buyers throughout the summer."

A group of investors are questioning the legality of Gloucester County's vacant property registration program.

Two entities that purchase liens on tax delinquent properties are suing four towns and the company that administers the registry.

Two years ago, the county partnered with Community Champions Corp. to establish a database of abandoned and vacant properties in an effort to hold owners of properties -- or mortgage holders -- accountable for upkeep of those sites. Many communities have seen vacant homes fall into disrepair in the wake of the nation's mortgage foreclosure crisis.

The plaintiffs, operating under the names Empire TF4 Jersey Holdings, LLC, Empire TF6 New Jersey Holdings, LLC, and Empire TF5 Jersey Holdings, all of the same New York City address, and Chickadee Investments, in Brick, argue that the program is unconstitutional, illegally targets owners working to get properties back on the tax rolls and charges unreasonable fees.

These investors buy municipal tax sale certificates, which are the liens on tax delinquent properties. These certificates can earn as much as 18 percent interest. When holders of these certificates foreclose on a property in order to take ownership, towns with vacant property registries have required them to pay registration fees so that they can sell the properties to a new owner, the plaintiffs state.

From Gloucester County NJ.com. Read the full article here.

First-time homebuyers are shifting housing industry standards when it comes to home design preferences—and, according to the latest Home Design Trends Survey by the American Institute of Architects (AIA), one of the most significant changes is the end of the era of expansive property and square footage.

Small, simply, is the new big.

"With younger households that are increasingly entering the market looking for more affordable options, home sizes appear to have peaked for this economic cycle," said Kermit Baker, chief economist of the AIA, in a statement on the survey.

Smaller homes are generally more affordable, which is key for many first-time homebuyers squeezed by high home prices and student debt. Small homes, however, are scarce in most housing markets.

Aside from less living space, the architecture professionals surveyed see the following trends taking shape:

  • In-Home Accessibility
  • Single-Floor Plans
  • Open-Concept Layout
  • Informal Spaces

Toms River recently introduced an ordinance that would require a homeowner to obtain inspections and make repairs (if required) prior to a sale of their property. The homeowner would be required to obtain a "Continuing Certificate of Occupancy" in order to close and pay a $100 fee.

The ordinance would require a physical inspection of the property and a search of township records to verify the property is in compliance with all applicable codes. A seller would apply for a CCO at least 21 days prior to closing and the town would have 14 days to inspect and either provide a report of violations or grant the CCO. Several inspectors would be hired to carry out the ordinance.

Commercial property and abandoned homes in need of repair would likely be exempted.

The measure was tabled, for now, due to objections from residents who feared the costs and delays associated with its implementation.

For more on this story, visit the Asbury Park Press website here.