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RIS Media reports - 08/19/2007


RISMEDIA- According to the latest Swanepoel Trends Report the industry has never before experienced as many new business models and competition as it has during the last couple of years as well as growing government interest in the industry.

It seems that the Federal Government doesn't feel that the industry is doing enough and that real estate brokers and state regulators and legislators have impeded competition. Hence, in a new report by the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) and U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ, it has decided to participate in the transformation of the industry by deciding that certain existing laws, rules and regulations need to be repealed.

Although the FTC acknowledges that real estate industry has undergone a number of substantial changes in recent years it also states that competition has been hindered as a result of actions taken by some real estate brokers acting through MLSs and the National Association of Realtors and state legislatures and real estate commissions. The report points to various areas in which the diversity and power of these new models are already reshaping the way real estate is conducted.

According to the report it's all about the consumer, of course, and making sure that their choices are not limited. The Feds especially want regulators to pursue a detailed study of commission rate and fee practices to better measure price competition in the industry. Their feeling is that as commission fees "do not vary in proportion to changing home prices," they are considered to be "relatively inflexible" and therefore have in real terms become too high.

FTC chairwoman Deborah Platt Majoras said, "The FTC is committed to working with the industry and policymakers to ensure that competition is not inhibited and that consumers are well-informed about this important marketplace. Home ownership is the American dream, and real estate brokers have helped to achieve that dream for many. But when anticompetitive practices stand in the way, consumers lose."

Real estate brokers and agents don't want consumers to loose, so that isn't the issue. The real debate is how to "ensure" that the consumer does not loose.

The FTC is recommending that state "legislators and industry regulators" should consider repealing existing laws, rules and regulations like minimum-service and anti-rebate provisions that limit choice and reduce the ability of new brokerage models to compete. To date 12 states have enacted so-called "minimum-service" or "limited-service" laws; Florida, Illinois, Alabama, Iowa, Missouri, Oklahoma, Texas, Utah, Indiana, New Mexico, Virginia and Tennessee.

At this point the minimum-service laws appear to accomplish little more than to add another level of disclosure to the growing stack of paper in a transaction that is already too complex. Many home sellers and buyers already struggle to grasp even the basic aspects of agency and this new addition seems to add no real value to the consumer. In some states, Tennessee for example, agents must spell out services they are not providing to the home buyer or seller - now that makes no sense at all.

There is a broad consensus that the industry has too many licensed real estate agents today for the number of transactions. A former chief economist for NAR, John Tuccillo said in reference to the recent hot market, "There are large numbers of Realtors out there who have not participated in a transaction in months, or even years - and this during the best real estate market in history. The level of competence in the industry has fallen to its lowest point ever," he adds.

So is the solution the implementation of impractical "minimum-service" levels or to follow the latest recommendation to repeal them? Wouldn't a logical argument be that the time has come to rather increase the quality and quantity of the education required to obtain a real estate license in the first place?

The barrier to enter the industry in real estate is very low and when compared to other industries the licensing requirements are far too easy. The average real estate agent only needs to complete some 48 hours of pre-licensing training and pass a simple multiple choice exam to obtain a real estate license. According to research by Anthony Marguleas of A. M. Realty, a California esthetician requires 600 hours, a hair stylist 1,500 hours and a plumber 2,080 hours before they are licensed. The hours required to become a doctor, lawyer, engineer or CPA are obviously off the chart.

So, back to the debate of not wanting the consumer to loose and it is surprising that the FTC Report in its Conclusion and Recommendations does not say one word about ensuring that the participants in the industry are better qualified.

Isn't the logical step to improve the quality and level of service given to the consumer by first improving the quality and level of education and training of the brokers and agents tasked to serve the consumer? Surely this can't be anti-competitive.

The current real estate pre-license education most individuals receive is primarily focused on gaining a better understanding of many of the terms and principles found in the industry so they can pass the exam. The course does little, if anything, to prepare them to become a successful real estate professional.

Therefore, today's average new real estate agent has not been equipped with the necessary skills to properly serve today's consumer. Jim Sherry puts it very bluntly when he states that "Consumers have no guarantee that anyone calling themselves a Realtor actually knows what they are doing."

If the FTC wishes to make recommendations, perhaps it should be recommending higher and better quality pre-licensing as well as ongoing education. This would help ensure that those people licensed to work with the most valuable asset the average family has will be competent in doing so - be he or she a "traditional," "new paradigm" or "online" agent.

Either way, both the FTC/DOJ 2007 Report and the Swanepoel Trends Report 2007 point to the significant change continuing to take place in the real estate industry. For some agents that have been in the industry a long time the "gravy train" has come to an end.

The real estate broker and agent of tomorrow will have to accept the fact that more of them will be fighting for fewer transactions - transactions that are likely to be carrying lower commissions. At the same time technology and new business models will continue to erode away certain functions or duties traditionally exclusively undertaken by real estate agents - again pointing to a decline in earnings per agent.

Real estate has always been a fiercely competitive industry and it is only going to become more so.

Florida Real Estate with Brandon Jordan, your Northwest Florida Realtor serving Crestview, Eglin Air Force Base and Duke Field, and ActiveRain featured Realtor for Okaloosa County since 2007. We provide this information and much more on our site for you at no charge, so please remember us when you're looking to buy or sell real estate.

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A list of all my real estate blog feeds - 08/19/2007


Here is a list of all of my Real Estate Blog Feeds:

My Wordpress runs with a 2.0 RSS feed

http://okaloosamls.wordpress.com/feed/

My active rain running a atom feed

http://activerain.com/blogs/okaloosamls/atom

My typepad running a XML feed

http://okaloosamls.typepad.com/teamsoldtv/rss.xml

MY blogger running a atom feed

http://teamsoldtv.blogspot.com/feeds/posts/default?alt=rss

My space rss feed

http://blog.myspace.com/blog/rss.cfm?friendID=185758128

Add any of the above feeds to your blogs or your homepages.



Florida Real Estate with Brandon Jordan, your Northwest Florida Realtor serving Crestview, Eglin Air Force Base and Duke Field, and ActiveRain featured Realtor for Okaloosa County since 2007. We provide this information and much more on our site for you at no charge, so please remember us when you're looking to buy or sell real estate.

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What does the Walton County Government do - 08/19/2007


What does the Walton county government do
The department of corrections
The construction management department
Parks and Recreation
GIS (Geographic Information System)
The finance Division
The human Resources Division
The planning and development division
Public Works
Emergancy Response
The citizen services division
Find more information on each of the services divisions provided by Walton county Florida at there official website you can click here to go directly to the site www.co.walton.fl.us information provided by CO.Walton.FL.US

Florida Real Estate with Brandon Jordan, your Northwest Florida Realtor serving Crestview, Eglin Air Force Base and Duke Field, and ActiveRain featured Realtor for Okaloosa County since 2007. We provide this information and much more on our site for you at no charge, so please remember us when you're looking to buy or sell real estate.

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New stores coming to Panama city beach - 08/19/2007


Panama city bost new stores opening just about every month. The new members coming include Target stores,Ron Jon surf shop,Panera bread,Starbucks,Southern Theaters,Ripley's believe it or not,Bonefish grill,Dillards,old navy,Back porch seafood house,jimmy buffets,barefoot beach club and many more. Not to mention a housing boom to support all of this new commercial acitvity. Including 5,000 new housing units from lake powell to the bridge flyover in various stages of development

Florida Real Estate with Brandon Jordan, your Northwest Florida Realtor serving Crestview, Eglin Air Force Base and Duke Field, and ActiveRain featured Realtor for Okaloosa County since 2007. We provide this information and much more on our site for you at no charge, so please remember us when you're looking to buy or sell real estate.

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Realogy corp has announced the appointment of vice president - 08/19/2007

Corporation has announced the appointment of Marilyn J. Wasser as executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary. For the past two years, Wasser served as executive vice president, general counsel and corporate secretary for Telcordia Technologies, a leading global provider of telecommunications software and services. In her new role, Wasser will provide strategic legal direction and support for Realogy and its business units, including the Realogy Franchise Group and its five brand networks - Century 21, Coldwell Banker, Coldwell Banker Commercial, ERA and Sotheby's International Realty - as well as NRT Incorporated, Cartus and Title Resource Group. As general counsel, she will be responsible for Realogy's legal efforts in the areas of compliance, litigation and regulatory affairs, human capital, benefits and corporate services, as well as the company's government relations function.
* NRT Incorporated, the nation's largest residential real estate brokerage, today announced the promotion of Hal Maxwell to regional senior vice president of NRT's new Mid-Atlantic region. In this role, Maxwell will oversee a newly created region that comprises NRT-owned companies in Maryland, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania and New Jersey. Maureen Passerini, formerly the regional senior vice president for NRT's Eastern Seaboard region, which included local operating companies in the Mid-Atlantic, will now oversee a new region to be known as the Northeast region, comprised of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage companies in New Jersey, Long Island, Pittsburgh, Connecticut/Westchester and New England. Maxwell most recently served as president and chief operating officer of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in the Mid-Atlantic.
* Sotheby's International Realty Affiliates, Inc. has announced that real estate entrepreneur Jenny Pruitt and real estate executive David Boehmig have partnered to form Atlanta Fine Homes Sotheby's International Realty. The company will serve consumers seeking to sell or buy homes throughout the Buckhead and North Atlanta markets. Pruitt will serve as chief executive officer and Boehmig as president. Pruitt left Jenny Pruitt & Associates earlier this year after fulfilling a five-year contract with HomeServices, which had purchased the firm in 2001.
* David Franzetta has been named chairman and partner for Prudential Arizona Properties. Most recently Franzetta was a principal of Interchange Associates, Inc., an international think tank and research-based consulting firm.

Florida Real Estate with Brandon Jordan, your Northwest Florida Realtor serving Crestview, Eglin Air Force Base and Duke Field, and ActiveRain featured Realtor for Okaloosa County since 2007. We provide this information and much more on our site for you at no charge, so please remember us when you're looking to buy or sell real estate.

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Hud announcement - 08/19/2007


U.S. Housing and Urban Development Secretary Alphonso Jackson announced this week that thousands of communities around the country will receive nearly $1.8 billion to promote HUD's affordable housing and first-time homebuyers programs. The total national funding of $1.757 billion will support HUD's HOME Investment Partnerships Program (HOME) and American Dream Downpayment Initiative (ADDI) in fiscal year 2007.
HOME is the largest federal block grant to state and local governments designed exclusively to produce affordable housing for low-income families. ADDI helps first-time homebuyers with the biggest hurdle to homeownership: downpayment and closing costs. The program was created to assist low-income first-time homebuyers in purchasing single-family homes by providing funds for downpayment, closing costs and rehabilitation carried out in conjunction with the assisted home purchase

Florida Real Estate with Brandon Jordan, your Northwest Florida Realtor serving Crestview, Eglin Air Force Base and Duke Field, and ActiveRain featured Realtor for Okaloosa County since 2007. We provide this information and much more on our site for you at no charge, so please remember us when you're looking to buy or sell real estate.

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TOP100 Builder list - 08/19/2007


For the first time since 2002, the top three companies on the Builder 100 list traded places. While D.R. Horton remains on top, Lennar Corp. rode a 7,209-unit closings increase to become the new number two, and tightened the gap on the list leader to just 3,842 closings. Pulte Homes shiftd back to third, after its closings declined 9.08 percent, with Centex Corp. and KB Home rounding out the top five.
D.R. Horton, with 53,410 closings, out-performed the entire combined next 100 (numbers 101-200), which closed 44,824 units in 2006. And Horton, the biggest of the big builders, almost surpassed the combined closings for Builder 100 companies ranked 51 through 100, which together closed a total of 54,070 units.
With a tough 2006 in the bag, and a difficult 2007 ahead, the Builder 100 could see some shake ups this year. Merger and acquisition activity has been slow since the summer of 2005, with only Emaar Properties' May 2006 purchase of John Laing Homes as the exception. But with company and land values coming back to earth, merger and acquisition activity could pick up this year, leading to further shifts among the Builder 100. (At press time three large deals were in the works, with several more rumored to follow.) (Builder Magazine)

Florida Real Estate with Brandon Jordan, your Northwest Florida Realtor serving Crestview, Eglin Air Force Base and Duke Field, and ActiveRain featured Realtor for Okaloosa County since 2007. We provide this information and much more on our site for you at no charge, so please remember us when you're looking to buy or sell real estate.

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Wallstreet journal report - 08/19/2007


There are several cities in the country where home values are climbing smartly. Portland (OR), Boise (ID), Seattle (WA), Salt Lake City (UT), Houston (TX), Austin (TX), Charlotte (NC) and Raleigh (NC), are among the cities bucking the national trend. Home appreciation there between the fourth quarters of 2005 and 2006 far exceeded the national average of 5.9 percent, according to the Office of Federal Housing Enterprise Oversight. In some markets, like Boise and Seattle, the appreciation jumped well into the double digits.
There's no single secret to these cities' apparent success, but many of them missed the housing boom of the past five years. From 2001 to 2005, annual appreciation in these cities was between two and five percent, far slower than the seven to 12 percent national average, according to the OFHEO. Now they are playing catch-up. Most of the cities also have one or more strong industries to drive their economies - colleges and technology in Raleigh, banks in Charlotte, energy in Houston and aerospace in Seattle. And all have education levels above the national average.
Today's declining prices nationwide are in part the result of an earlier explosion of short-term investors in Florida, California and other booming markets. Recently, both investors and long-term homeowners have been cashing in or cutting losses in formerly hot markets and settling in areas that avoided the boom, such as the Carolinas, parts of Georgia and Tennessee, areas of Texas, the Western mountain states and the Pacific Northwest. (RealEstateJournal.com)

Florida Real Estate with Brandon Jordan, your Northwest Florida Realtor serving Crestview, Eglin Air Force Base and Duke Field, and ActiveRain featured Realtor for Okaloosa County since 2007. We provide this information and much more on our site for you at no charge, so please remember us when you're looking to buy or sell real estate.

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NAR survey - 08/19/2007


Realtors come from varied backgrounds, work mostly on commission and become successful over a period of time, according to a new member survey by the National Association of REALTORS. The typical member is 51 years old, works 40 hours per week and has been in the business for seven years. More than 1.3 million Realtors - about half of all real estate licensees - are characterized in the highly detailed 2007 NAR Member Profile.
Median income was $47,700 in 2006, down from $49,300 in 2004, which had also declined from 2002. Members licensed as brokers earned a median of $73,700 last year, while sales agents earned $34,600. During the last two years, NAR membership increased 23.2 percent. Realtors in the business for two years or less earned a median of $15,300, while those with three to five years of experience earned $44,200. For six to 15 years, the median was $64,600, while members in the business for 16 years or more earned $76,200.
One quarter of all business is from referrals or repeat business from previous clients, ranging from seven percent for newcomers to 41 percent for respondents with at least 16 years of experience. Seven out of 10 are compensated through a split commission arrangement, 17 percent receive a full commission and another three percent receive a commission plus a share of profits.
Thirteen percent of NAR members have been in the business for one year or less, while another 13 percent have been in the business for 26 years or more. Only 10 percent work fewer than 20 hours per week and 30 percent work 20 to 39 hours per week, while 15 percent work at least 60 hours per week. Nearly six in 10 are women, and the typical respondent has been with his/her firm for four years. Five percent are under 30 years of age while another six percent are 30 to 34 years old; 12 percent are 65 or over.

Florida Real Estate with Brandon Jordan, your Northwest Florida Realtor serving Crestview, Eglin Air Force Base and Duke Field, and ActiveRain featured Realtor for Okaloosa County since 2007. We provide this information and much more on our site for you at no charge, so please remember us when you're looking to buy or sell real estate.

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Green Home building - 08/19/2007


Green home building is poised to be the next great sales pitch in America's environmental renaissance. By 2010, half of new homes built are expected to be classified as "green" as more builders try to appeal to consumers worried about global warming, the environment and rising energy costs. Builders say green homes are more durable and tend to sell much faster than traditionally built houses.
But how do you tell if a "green" home is truly green? There are some 80 different local and state green building organizations and at least two different national groups promoting their own rules on what constitutes a green home. The result: a contentious war over whose rules become the national standard for making a house sustainable.
Perhaps the best known group in green building is the U.S. Green Building Council, or USGBC, a non-profit group that developed its own point rating system for green commercial projects and has certified 800 projects as green since 2000 through its Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design program, or LEED. The organization uses consultants under contract to certify projects according to USGBC rules.
In 2004, the Green Building Council rolled out a pilot program for similar grading of residential projects, and today 350 builders are enrolled for 6,000 green homes to go through LEED certification. To get a home certified as green, builders would have to pay about $2,000 for the required inspection. An official program for green homes should be rolled out this fall.
Meanwhile, the National Association of Home Builders, a trade group with 235,000 corporate members, is at work on its own green building standards. The process has been a long and arduous one, incorporating input from not only builders, but architects, interior designers and construction product manufacturers. The rules, being developed in collaboration with the International Code Council, will be written for accreditation from the American National Standards Institute, or ANSI.

Florida Real Estate with Brandon Jordan, your Northwest Florida Realtor serving Crestview, Eglin Air Force Base and Duke Field, and ActiveRain featured Realtor for Okaloosa County since 2007. We provide this information and much more on our site for you at no charge, so please remember us when you're looking to buy or sell real estate.

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