Saturday, May 28, 2022 2:54:27 PM UTC
Customers for Life: How to Become Part of the Homeownership Lifecycle

What: As a real estate professional, the job isn’t only to help clients buy and sell for a single transaction—it’s so much more than that. In fact, it is crucial for agents, especially in today’s competitive market, to create meaningful and long-lasting relationships. Coaching, training and continued education will help agents not only learn the tools and strategies for attracting clients, but become a lifelong resource and expert in the real estate market.

In this webinar, agents will hear from experts about how to become part of the homeownership lifecycle and create lifelong customers.

When: Wednesday, June 1, 2022 at 2 p.m. ET

Register Now!

Sponsored by:



Moderated by:




Moderator: Sarah Bernard, senior coach and team leader for Workman Success Systems, is committed to learning and improving her team management skills every day. During her first year in real estate, Bernard sold $6 million in properties with 12 transactions and was a Rookie of the Year. Since then, she has developed a team of several buyer and listing agents and a support staff. In addition, Bernard’s property management business, which specializes in vacation rentals, has grown from two properties to 20 with its own sales and support staff.

Marshall O’Keefe is a senior director of business development at Rocket Mortgage, leading a diverse team of industry experts who are focused on identifying and developing partnerships with real estate professionals. With a goal of bringing the “Power of Rocket” to real estate companies and agents across the nation, O’Keefe and his team offer unmatched technology and marketing tools to help find new efficiencies and differentiators to grow their business.

Nicole Bostrom Cogan, licensed attorney and a real estate broker with her firm, The Real Estate Center, sees her role as not only an advocate, but also an educator. Whether that is mentoring agents in her firm or coaching other Workman Success Systems clients, few things bring her more joy than helping others fulfill their dreams. After working in the real estate industry for over 20 years, Cogan has had the opportunity to grow with and learn the market, and share her experiences with others through training and education.

Yamel Ramirez Maynard has worked her way up from being an independent commercial/residential REALTOR® and property manager to broker associate and sales manager of over 200 agents at Keller Williams World Media Center. In 2021, she completed certification and training to earn the distinction as a Workman Success Systems Certified Coach. Today, she uses the systems and models that she teaches and learns from Workman Success Systems to co-run The Maynard Real Estate Group with her husband, Rob Maynard.

Each month, RISMedia’s webinars draw more than 1,000 agents and brokers from across the country, eager for exclusive insight from the industry’s most profitable professionals. For a recap of our recent webinar, “Keeping Risk Management a Priority While Negotiating for Your Clients,” please visit RISMedia’s Housecall. To access all RISMedia webinars, please subscribe on YouTube.

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Hauling Houses and Buying the Block: Outside-the-Box Ideas in Housing

Editor’s Note: This is the first part in a three-part series on local innovations focused on affordability and community development.

Often in the housing industry, people get caught looking up. Expecting the next big thing or the solution to long-standing problems to come from a national think-tank, a big conglomerate or an established thought leader is not misguided—a lot of world-changing ideas do originate from these spheres. At the same time, it is easy to miss spectacularly innovative new ideas or approaches simply because they come from elsewhere—from small markets, from outsiders and from different disciplines.

As the entire industry buckles under the weight of a long-simmering crisis of both affordability and lack of inventory, it is possible real estate will claw its way back up through methods and approaches already practiced. It is also possible that, high in the upper echelons of the C-suite, experienced executives and academics are concocting the eventual solutions that will address longer-term problems in real estate like the racial homeownership gap, pessimism around affordability, entry-level new home construction and gentrification.

But it is also possible these ideas are germinating at the grass-roots level, driven by innovators who have found new ways to view housing unencumbered by the burdens of convention and preconception, drawing on resources or expertise not endemic to industry thinking. With how local real estate is, it seems even more likely that great change might grow from the bottom up rather than top-down.

Almost always starting small, these ideas have the chance to grow and spark real and foundational change in how we think about housing:


At 4 a.m. one morning in January of 2017, Harvard doctoral student and educator Mark Martin woke up, and within hours he had the outline for an entirely unprecedented program that would aim to sweepingly and intimately address education, homeownership, skilled labor and real estate markets all together—at least on a small scale.

“Young people would be a part of the solutions in their own neighborhoods rebuilding homes, we would pay them for it, and they would eventually own the homes,” he says. “All of it just kind of hit me at once.”

Martin had spent most of his career in education, frustrated and disillusioned by how badly American schools were failing to meet even the basic needs of students. At Harvard, he says he encountered plenty of sympathy and others sharing that same frustration, but very little in the way of solutions.

“It seemed like we were just going about education the wrong way,” he says.

A year and a day after his early morning revelation, returning to his childhood home in Birmingham, Alabama, Martin launched BuildUP—a fully accredited school that takes young people out of the crumbling local education system and teaches them a myriad of practical skills, including how to build and maintain a home. That home is both their graduation gift and final project, a fully realized dream of homeownership in their home community, imparted with the skills and tools to build a better life.

With around 30 young people enrolled and over 30 houses already owned and in the process of renovation or relocation, BuildUP remains small but has exceeded Martin’s timeline. Other regions as far away as Pennsylvania are already looking at creating some version of the program, he says.

“Our hope is that by doing something boldly different, unique, we can kind of push on systems that control almost all of education,” he says.

As skilled labor remains another huge part of the home shortage crisis, students educated through BuildUP will be able to join the local labor force, finding decent paying jobs and able to renovate and create new housing stock in neighborhoods that have sunk under decades of neglect.

In the area of Birmingham where BuildUP is focused, Martin says that changing the trajectory of neighborhoods is a hugely important part of the equation.

“Basically everyone who could get out did get out, so you’re left with almost nothing but people who got stuck in homes that are grossly underwater,” he explains. “Others got stuck because they’re so poor they can’t go anywhere.”

Launching in these communities was a conscious decision that would prove that the program could work in even the most depressed areas, according to Martin. This decision—to open up in some extremely low-income neighborhoods—also brought support from Fannie Mae, Martin says, with BuildUP standing out as a program that targets very poor families for homeownership opportunities.

BuildUP is currently looking to launch its own mortgage product, according to Martin, with the help of Fannie Mae and other supporters.

“Fannie Mae really wants to be a part of this,” he says.

The homes themselves have so far been acquired by nearly every means imaginable—some from government auctions or land banks, some purchased from private owners for cheap and several homes literally donated and relocated from nearby affluent areas.

“We pick it up off the foundation, and we’ll roll it into places like Ensley or Titusville,” he says. “Areas that have seen nothing but decline. We’ll take a house that appraises for $250,000 or $200,000 in that neighborhood and then put it on land in our neighborhood.”

Many of these homes are in good shape, scheduled for demolition by wealthy owners who are building something else on the land.

“If they can donate the home and be a part of rebuilding Birmingham and be a part of forever changing a family’s life…that’s pretty impactful,” Martin says. “But it also works pretty well financially because it goes from being something they’re going to pay out of pocket , to being something they get a huge tax break on.”

The city also benefits as new properties are added to the tax rolls, blighted homes are revitalized and new laborers join the local economy, Martin points out. He says he hopes towns recognize just how great an opportunity this is, imagining some sort of “buy one get one free” program for dilapidated land could accelerate how quickly neighborhoods are revived (it took 22 months to receive a property from the local land bank).

“A lot of people don’t understand,” he says. “Without the population, you can’t just rebuild the whole city.”

For the students, who will graduate with a post-secondary degree and a home of their own, the impact is hard to quantify, Martin says. Though BuildUP has yet to honor its first graduating class (some students have received high school diplomas and are living in their homes, but have not yet completed their college education), Martin envisions programs like his able to have tremendous impacts for people and housing across the country.

“There’s plenty of need,” he says. “If we make a big enough dent then others start to improve and others start to move in, and all of the sudden it’s the hot spot in town. It doesn’t take long for prices to shoot up.”

The post Hauling Houses and Buying the Block: Outside-the-Box Ideas in Housing appeared first on RISMedia.

U.S. Senate Confirm Sandra Thompson as Permanent FHFA Director

Nearly a year after assuming interim leadership of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA), Sandra Thompson has been named the agency’s permanent director.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Thompson as FHFA director by a 49-46 vote.

Thompson touts more than four years of experience in government, particularly in financial regulation, risk management, and consumer protection. She’s also worked at the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation for more than 23 years, holding several leadership roles, including director of the Division of Risk Management Supervision.

Thompson was named FHFA’s acting director by President Biden in June 2021. He then asserted that Thompson was his front runner for the job toward the end of last year.

“I am honored that President Biden nominated me to be the FHFA Director and for my confirmation by the Senate today,” said Thompson in a statement. “I appreciate the support I received, and I look forward to continuing to work with Congress and other stakeholders as I fulfill my new role.”

While the day was ultimately hers, Thompson gained mixed reviews during her confirmation hearing as a member of the Senate Banking Committee and discussed her achievements in the short time she led the FHFA.

“I can think of no other nominee as qualified to work and make homes more affordable and available to families throughout the country while strengthening the financial standing of the GSEs,” said Senate Banking Committee’s chairman, Senator Sherrod Brown, D-Ohio.

Brown used his opening remarks to highlight Thompson’s resume and accomplishments in the past six months, including her work to strengthen the GSE’s plans to preserve affordable housing and support manufactured housing in rural areas.

Over the last several months, Thompson has tackled the homeownership gap, addressing “irresponsible lending practices,” and collaborated on an interagency fair lending initiative.

Thompson was also criticized by ranking Republican Senator Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who questioned the lack of prioritizing the transition out of conservatorship for the GSEs.

“I’m concerned that the administration is seeking to use FHFA and the GSEs to take on more risks for taxpayers and expand affirmative action into housing,” Toomey said, suggesting that Thompson’s nomination was a “referendum on the administration’s radical housing policy.”

He also claimed that the policy would repurpose the GSEs as social policy tools while embracing a failed model.

“This administration is using the power of the GSEs conservatorship to command and control a huge swath of the American economy and are now asked to ratify this radial housing policy and take ownership of the bailouts and foreclosures that I’m afraid are likely to follow especially given where we might be in the housing cycle,” Toomey said. “We should be reluctant to do so.”

Despite the concerns, leaders of the GSEs commended Thompson and celebrated her confirmation as they looked forward to the growth of the collaborative relationship between the agencies.

“We look forward to building on this relationship under the leadership of Director Thompson with a continued focus on our mission to advance equitable and sustainable access to homeownership and quality affordable rental housing across America,” said Fannie Mae President and interim CEO Dave Benson in a statement.

Freddie Mac CEO Michael DeVito echoed similar sentiments and applauded the announcement in a separate statement emailed to RISMedia.

News of Thompson’s confirmation also garnered praise across the housing and lending industry as organizations showed their support following the decision.

“Director Thompson’s confirmation comes at a time when the housing market and mortgage finance system face historic challenges, including critical questions related to housing affordability, accessibility, and inventory,” said Leslie Rouda Smith, president of the National Association of REALTORS®. “We look forward to working with her and the entire FHFA to identify solutions that will secure the future of housing finance in America.”

Bob Broeksmit, CMB, president, and CEO of the Mortgage Bankers Association, issued the following statement on Thompson being confirmed as director of the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA):

“Since being appointed Acting Director in June 2021, she has repeatedly demonstrated leadership, expertise, and a strong commitment to sound risk management principles while safely expanding access to mortgage credit and creating equitable and sustainable housing solutions for homeowners and renters.

“We look forward to continuing our important work with Director Thompson, FHFA, the GSEs, and other stakeholders to provide affordable housing opportunities for all Americans, while protecting taxpayers and ensuring a robust secondary mortgage market for single-family and multifamily lenders of all sizes and business models.”

The post U.S. Senate Confirm Sandra Thompson as Permanent FHFA Director appeared first on RISMedia.

Opportunity Zones Stay Abreast of Market

So-called “opportunity zones,” identified in the 2017 tax cuts passed under the Trump administration as areas in need of economic redevelopment, have seen significant growth in home prices this year, largely keeping up with broader market trends even with rising mortgage rates, according to an analysis by ATTOM Data Solutions.

Median single-family home and condo prices rose from the fourth quarter of 2021 to the first quarter of 2022 in 55% of opportunity zones around the country, the report found, even as the pace of increases slowed compared to last year.

“Home price trends in opportunity zones mirror what we’re seeing elsewhere in the housing market,” said Rick Sharga, executive vice president of market intelligence at ATTOM, in a statement. “Strong price growth has helped homeowners in these economically-challenged areas benefit from higher equity, and should contribute to the ongoing redevelopment of these areas.”

Investors who pump money into these areas—defined as low income or “distressed” communities and neighborhoods, according to the IRS—are able to defer or avoid taxes on capital gains, depending on how long they maintain their investments. The initiative seemingly has been a success at least superficially, with more opportunity zones seeing a price spike of 25% or higher compared to other areas of the country.

“With so little entry level inventory on the market, homes in opportunity zones represent some of the few remaining affordable options for prospective homebuyers,” Sharga added. “This is especially important for first-time buyers, who typically have to stretch their finances in order to be able to afford a home.”

The report noted that home values in these zones remain significantly lower than the market at large, with typical values under $200,000 in 51% of the zones during the first quarter of 2022.

Key findings: 

  • Median household incomes in 87% of the opportunity zones analyzed were less than the medians in the counties where they were located, the report found. Typical incomes were less than three-quarters of county-level figures in 56% of zones and less than half in 13%.
  • Almost a quarter (24%) of zones topped the national median home price of $320,500 in Q1 of 2022. More than a third (35%) had median home prices of less than $150,000.
  • The Midwest continued in the first quarter of 2022 to have the highest portion of zones with a median home price of less than $150,000 (61%), followed by the South (39%), the Northeast (39%) and the West (3%).

The post Opportunity Zones Stay Abreast of Market appeared first on RISMedia.

Intelligent Tech is the Key to Building Your Brand

With more than 20 years’ experience in the real estate industry, I have managed luxury brands and helped agents develop their personal brands. It is a delicate art. Each agent must create their individual style that incorporates their unique personality, communication approach and relationship skills. But the most successful agents all share a common trait: they are prepared with proficient market knowledge that inspires trust and confidence with their clients.

This is not a skill learned solely through wisdom and experience. It requires having the right tools, resources, and sources of information to keep up with evolving micro-market trends. You must think on your feet and anticipate any question or objection your clients may have.

Many agents spend years cultivating this level of knowledge and set of tools to establish themselves as a trusted advisor to their clients. But the vast majority of technologies available to agents have not kept pace with the demands of the market. Agents are cobbling together their own disintegrated toolkit of tech solutions to set up searches for clients, perform market analysis, create presentations, manage their networks, communicate with clients, generate new leads, and every other task imaginable.

The shortcomings of existing property tech and real estate tech are barriers preventing many agents from achieving their full potential. The bottom line is, if it takes you 45 minutes or longer to create your valuations and presentations, think of your time and money lost due to inefficiency. And if you are juggling many systems, your time is wasted every time you have to switch platforms. Not to mention the enormous cost and effort expended on online lead generation for little to no return.

All these pain points expose a major opportunity to improve the quality and efficiency of real estate tech.

That is what drew me to homegenius. The homegenius suite of technology uses the latest developments in data science, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI) to make brokers and agents the smartest people in the room—empowering every agent with knowledge that will impress their clients and tools that will help them grow their business. homegenius is an interconnected ecosystem of solutions that support the entire real estate transaction from search to close:

  • homegenius connect is a real estate lead network that connects high intent “ready to go” homebuyers and sellers with qualified agents in homegenius connect agent network.
  • geniusprice technology is a ground-breaking intelligent pricing engine that provides brokerages and agents with next-level analytics and insights in an interface that’s easy to use and takes home price estimates to a new level.
  • geneuity is brilliantly simple software for brokerages and agents who want to work through transactions in a faster, smarter way.
  • titlegenius by Radian is a more streamlined and transparent path to closing built on patent-pending blockchain technology, allowing agents to see the entire transaction pipeline at a glance.

It is gratifying to be part of a company that is moving the industry forward in a significant way. But the most thrilling opportunity is the impact we can have helping each agent grow their business. Our products, services and technology can save agents time, and may convert more leads, making them look like rock stars in the process. Visit to learn more about the homegenius ecosystem and tools that can bring powerful analytics to living room conversations with your clients.

Anne Miller is a renowned real estate brand builder. As SVP of the homegenius Broker Network, Miller is currently leading the engagement of the large and growing nationwide network of prospective homegenius agents. Prior to joining homegenius, Miller spent nine years as vice president of luxury and commercial for RE/MAX, where she managed the firm’s luxury brand globally. She previously held the role of vice president of sales and marketing at the residential and commercial developer MCL Companies.

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Is your home Spring-ready?

Winter can do some harm to our homes! With the skies clearing up for more sun (hopefully sooner), here are some tips you can use to get your home ready for Spring and in perfect shape in no time!

Regular upkeep of your home can help extend the life of its components and save you thousands of dollars over time. The following preventative measure is relatively inexpensive and usually only needs to be addressed once or twice a year. Many of them are simple enough that you may want to do them yourself! You can always call a professional whenever you need more help or don't exactly know how to get some of these things done.

Roof: Fall and Spring are good times to conduct routine maintenance on the roof, including replacement of missing or damaged shingles or times and checking for signs of blistering or damage that can lead to leaks. Clear all debris from the roof and gutters, especially the valleys where it can accumulate and cause water to puddle.

Siding: Clean your home's exterior with a garden hose sprayer and mild detergent or a power washer after winter passes. Tighten loose trim and add caulk to areas with cracks to keep the elements from intruding and causing further damage to the structure.

Irrigation: Check the sprinkler system thoroughly to spot and fix leaks and make sure water is not spraying against your home's foundation or siding.

Basement: Watch for signs of moisture intrusion and find the source of any leaks that can lead to serious mould or fungus problems if left unaddressed.

Kitchen/Baths: Replace damages caulking around tubs, showers, sinks, and toilets to avoid water-related damage to the walls, floors, and cabinets.

Dryer: Remove accumulated lint from the exhaust duct at the back of the dryer. Use a long-handled brush to clear the vent that leads outside. Blockages not only impact performance, but they can also be a fire hazard.

Refrigerator: To keep your fridge working well, clean dirt and lint from its condenser coils once or twice a year. Access the coils on the back of the unit or behind the front grill and use a vacuum attachment or coil brush to clean the debris. Failing to remove the build-up can stress the condenser and cause expensive and premature damage to the unit.

Please forward this to any of your friends, family, and colleagues to help them get an early start on repairs!

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