Rt News8 09 Web Landtitle (2)


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Rt News8 09 Web Landtitle (2)

  1. 1. Volume XXIII, Number 8 www.realtrends.com August 2009 COMMENTARY The Housing Recovery According to several economic and housing experts the keys to the recovery in housing will be the expansion and extension of the existing tax credit, the expansion and extension of higher loan limits on government-insured loans, some corrections to new valuation guidelines and success in the loan modification program. Each of these would (Commentary continued on page 2) ADDiTiONAl COMMENTARY: The Real Estate Company of the Future Affiliated Versus Independent Will Real Estate Brokerage be a Good Investment in the Post-Recession Economy? ANAlYSiS: Agent of the Future REAL Trends Housing Market Report Shows Increase Are You Good at Comebacks? TRENDS: Summary on Effectiveness of Online Strategies Relevant Content is King State of the Market Much Pressure on Mortgage Joint Ventures Consumer Spending Shift NEWS: Compliments of Mergers and Acquisitions Executive Appointments Announcements Sponsored by Virtual Properties One Internet System: Leads to Closings Established 1995: Your Trusted Technology Team
  2. 2. (Commentary continued from page 1) contribute towards the reduction of inventories of unsold vacant homes that are choking the market of homes for sales and feeding the decline in home prices. The decline in home prices itself is feeding a lack of confidence in homebuyers in Office: many markets in the United States. Added to these issues is the impact of unemployment across all sectors as well as the lack of secondary markets for 7501 Village Square Drive, Ste. 200 Jumbo loans where pricing spreads are still considerably above normal levels. Castle Rock, CO 80108 Phone: 303-741-1000 These points were made at a gathering of leading economic and industry experts FAX: 303-741-1070 who attended The Housing Renaissance meetings that were held August 13-15. E-mail: realtrends@realtrends.com Among the economists who participated were Dr. David Berson, chief economist Web site: www.realtrends.com of PMI, Dr. Norm Miller, academic director of the Burnham-Moores Center for Real Estate at the University of San Diego, Dr. Mark Zandi, chief economist and Editor: cofounder of Moody’s Economy.com. A separate panel was composed of Steve Steve Murray – smurray@realtrends.com O’Connor, senior vice president of Governmental Affairs, Mortgage Bankers Association, Nicolas Retsinas, director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies at REAL Trends Staff: Harvard University and David Stevens, recently appointed as the assistant secretary of housing–commissioner of the Federal Housing Administration. Amy Broset – Moderating the panel was Henry Cisneros, secretary of HUD during the Clinton abroset@realtrends.com Administration and Phil Bracken, executive vice president of Wells Fargo Home Daniele Stufft – and Consumer Finance Group. dstufft@realtrends.com Tracey Velt – It goes without saying that the six expert panelists have a fairly good sense of tracey@traceyvelt.com key policy initiatives that will have the most impact on housing in the future. Doniece Welch – Participants in the meeting included senior leadership from the mortgage, dwelch@realtrends.com securities underwriting, residential brokerage and real estate data fields from across the country. Copyright 2009 by REAL Trends. All rights reserved. Material in this The challenges in housing are well known. Regardless of what caused the publication may not be electronically collapse in housing (which those in attendance spent little time discussing) the stored or reproduced in any form challenges include a rapid decline in pricing, huge oversupplies of homes for sale, without written permission. Violators the tightening of credit and valuation guidelines and the surge in distressed will be punishable by a fine of up to properties. Estimates were that nearly 16 million homeowners now have negative $100,000 per offense. equity positions in their homes, a number expected to rise through next spring. Vacancies are now estimated at 1.8 million with an expected rise to more than 2.0 million by the 2nd quarter of 2010 before the numbers begin to subside. Areas to watch Mortgage Tax Credit extension and expansion The panelists agreed that this was a vital component in turning the housing market To purchase a membership or around. Extending the $8,000 tax credit into 2010 was vital. In addition, there was any of the following REAL Trends a general consensus that the tax credit should be expanded to include all buyers of products please visit us at homes and that income limits on buyers should be removed. While the potential of www.realtrends.com: an increase of the tax credit to $15,000 was still being considered, those who have close engagement with policy makers in Washington did not expect that to be adopted. • REAL Trends 500 • REAL Facts Possibility: Good • Valuing a Residential Real Estate Service Business Expansion and extension of higher loan limits • People Still Matter The panelists mostly agreed that the continuation and expansion of higher loan • The Invaluable Investor Study limits would be extremely beneficial to improving the housing market. The slowness in higher priced housing markets, the high spreads in the jumbo loan categories and the spread of distressed properties into higher priced segments all have the high probability of further damage to housing. 2
  3. 3. Possibility: Good economy was now bottoming out and that growth would resume in the 3rd or 4th quarter of this year. Most thought Loan Modifications that housing prices would stabilize by the 2nd or 3rd quarter While all agreed that the program was not off to a strong of next year and would be followed by some years of slower start, according to several sources, major banks and servicers than average growth before resuming a more normal pace were starting to see much better results in the past few weeks (1-2 points above rate of inflation) in the out years. and months. Several banking and servicing organizations indicated that there were great challenges in building and The major risks to a recovery in housing were seen as: training staff to handle the surge of requests without having final guidelines in place as to the proper servicing; while • Employment and the general economy there are many homeowners for whom a reduction of mortgage liability to 31 percent of income was possible they • Mortgage rates must remain at or below 6 percent were still considerably underwater when considering all debts (autos, credit card and other) and a small number of • Modification programs must work and reduce the number homeowners who chose strategic default (as a way out of a of distressed vacant properties coming into the market position of significant negative equity positions). Stevens reported however that the level of modifications was now • Consumer confidence must stabilize and begin to recover nearly the same number as new Notice of Defaults (NOD). All agreed to a moderate or strong level that without a Possibility: Excellent recovery in housing there is a far lower probability that the general economy will recover. Family balance sheets are not There was a general agreement that housing normally leads in good shape overall and without some strengthening an economy out of recession but that in the case of this consumer confidence likely won’t recover sufficiently enough downturn that is not a given. Most thought that the to sustain a recovery. n The Real Estate Company of the Future I have heard many comments and questions about what the Americans will still prefer owning their homes above renting real estate company of the future will look like. Some would them. While the homeownership rate will decline from the say larger with larger fewer offices; others say totally sales record highs that were achieved earlier this decade, they will professional driven; some say smaller and more niche not drop precipitously. We have found not one economist or oriented; others think only consumer focused and driven. business expert who disagrees with this notion. We say yes – it will be a mix of all these kinds and likely Americans will still prefer using a full-service real estate sales more than we can even imagine. One new model may well be professional to assist them in buying and selling their homes. a sales associate franchise model, something like the Top5 Throughout the period from 2001-2009 numerous studies, program currently being offered nationally. We are seeing the including those from REAL Trends, NAR, MBA, CAR and others launch of some that are totally referral driven models based confirm that while consumers have more choices than ever in on marketing online. Any of these could grab some share and how they buy and sell homes they still overwhelmingly use full become a new fierce competitor in the brokerage business. service sales professionals to assist them through the process. The rate of usage varies with the study but it is somewhere The question “What does the real estate company of the safely north of 72 percent of all homebuyers and home future look like?” is too broad. There will be many different sellers who use a real estate professional. models and too many entrepreneurs trying them to know. Will Redfin work at some point (gain large share and be Further this number has not changed materially in all the profitable) or will it be ZipRealty’s structure that will do so. years since the founding of the Internet. Some would say they are the same but they aren’t really. Perhaps they can both be described as “online, discount” Should these make you feel safer about the fundamentals of the models but after that the similarities are few. future? Certainly. Should you feel very safe that the past tells us precisely about the future? No that’s not a safe bet. We know However should we focus the question a little bit and ask the that the newspaper industry felt safe about their hold over real question “What will the future look like for the dominant estate classified advertising, until they didn’t own it anymore; we real estate brokerage firms today, regardless of whether they know that few real estate “experts” (including NAR and REAL are traditional, high commission, capped company dollar or Trends) saw the downturn as being this severe and long lasting. freedom shops then we have a different question - one that we will be reporting on in future issues. But for now we can make investments based on the assumption that Americans will continue to want to own homes and Here is what we believe about the fundamentals of our business. (Commentary continued on page 4) 3
  4. 4. (Commentary continued from page 3) they’ll continue to want to have professional assistance in • Reduce your fixed costs per dollar of revenue procuring or disposing of their homes. • Find ways to firm the pricing for your services We can further state the following with some certainty for all traditional brokerage firms regardless of type or brand or region; • Find new sources and channels of business for your firm. To be successful you will have to do one or more of the These won’t change. They are the same as for the past 20-30 following: years. You don’t necessarily have to do all of them well. But to be successful you will have to do at least three of them well. • Recruit good people More on the real estate company of the future in later editions. n • Work to improve their productivity Affiliated Versus Independent Brokerage Firms Several readers have asked us to take a long-term look at the We have seen affiliates of virtually every national brand that relative performance of leading brokerage firms relative to remain profitable. whether they are affiliated with a national brand or independent. It goes without saying that the market has been Our opinion is that the most important attribute of successful indiscriminate as to which kind of brokerage firm suffered brokerage firms is found first in the quality of the leadership worse as all brokerage firms regardless of this question have of the firm and not its affiliation or type of brokerage. suffered the same downturns in their gross revenues and other Recently we completed a White Paper on the financial key operating measurements. performance of five different types of brokerage firms: Traditional, High Commission, Capped Company Dollar, We would like to make two points. In terms of key benchmarks Freedom Shops and New Old Model firms. While there are of operating performance such as transactions per sales significant differences in the revenue and cost components of associate and per office and sales volume per sales associate each type of firm, the best in each category were still and per office there has been little difference between those profitable in 2008. For a free copy of the White Paper and a brokerage firms affiliated with national firms and those free 30-day trial subscription to Profit Navigator please considered independent. We reported this first in the March contact alana@car.org or kfrance@rebr.com. n 2009 edition of REAL Trends in a number of charts that outlined the relative performance of Volume Per Office the two types of brokerage firms that had been Independents- Volume per Office Branded- Volume per Office ranked on the REAL Trends 500 Report from $200,000,000 1999-2008. One key measurement was in sales volume per office where there was less than a 3 $150,000,000 percent difference between the two types of brokerage firms over a ten year period of time. $100,000,000 As to profitability we can say with some certainty $50,000,000 that again there is little difference. Murray Consulting provides valuation services to a wide $0 variety of brokerage firms of all shapes and sizes 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 from all regions of the country each year. In any given year we will analyze over 100 brokerage firms financial statements in providing valuation Volume Per Agent services. We review over 65 additional firms Independents- Volume per Agent Branded- Volume per Agent financial statements as part of our services to CEO $3,500,000 groups that we manage. $3,000,000 $2,500,000 Our observation is that there is simply no material $2,000,000 difference between the financial performance of nationally affiliated brokerage firms and those $1,500,000 that are independent. We know of some $1,000,000 outstanding independents that have remained $500,000 profitable through the end of 2008; as well we $0 know of some outstanding affiliated companies. 1999 2000 2001 2002 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 4
  5. 5. Will Real Estate Brokerage be a Good Investment in the Post Recession Economy? In each of the past five months, the operational benchmarks Good employees will discover better paying opportunities. and real estate market indicators have been increasingly posi- tive. While these trends in no way suggest that we are out of In any event, a strong argument can be made to support the the storm, they do indicate that the sun is shining through proposition that most if not all firms are going to need new somewhat. They suggest that the industry should be engaged capital to be contenders in the post recession industry. Given in a dialogue relative to identifying what factors will determine this quandary, the industry should start thinking about what success or failure in the post recession real estate economy. it can do to become an appropriate and prudent investment. By way of example, this is an appropriate time to discuss the Obviously all investors have unique and specific elements that industry’s ability to attract the debt and equity capital necessary they look for before investing in a real estate brokerage. to fund its recovery and re-invention after five years of disappear- However there are certain consistent criteria that the industry ing profits, hunkering down, doing without, transition and stress. should be considering. • Does the company have a competent business plan? A number of approaches can be taken to the discussion regarding the role of capital in the real estate industry over A business plan is more than just a blueprint or a documented the next few years. The dialogue might be stated in terms of course of future direction. A business plan also constitutes a what has not happened during the down market. It is commitment, an attitude and a centerpiece for the company’s important to note that, to their credit, virtually every vision and culture. By reading the business plan an investor brokerage has sharply reduced its expenditures in all key can determine whether or not the firm is headed where the areas. This cost reduction process has created a new business investor wants to go. By demonstrating progress towards the configuration called the “slash” model. However admirable objectives of its business plan the firm can prove that it has this cost-control effort has been no company should adopt the imagination and energy to get there. the idea that the slash model will allow for consistent performance in a normal or accelerated marketplace. A slash • Does the company fill a real need or just a traditional model, like a lifeboat, is a very limited-use vessel. function? In a similar vein, the rash of “shotgun” mergers that have taken Much about the function of real estate marketing has place over the past few years may experience dysfunction in changed over the past five years. Twelve new consumer a recovering market. After all, the objectives that created expectations and demands have been identified. Is the these mergers were not based upon growing together but brokerage working towards these new opportunities or simply rather surviving together. Many of the participants in these treading water waiting for the old market environment to mergers will find that while their survival instincts were return? A number of circumstances have arisen since 2002 similar their success visions are not. Capital will be required that together have fundamentally changed the consumer’s to extract from these arrangements. needs. In other words the “real need” in 2010 is far different than the available delivery in 2002. Age and retirement will also create a “capital” issue in the • Is the company managed well? post recession industry. Broker seniority was an issue going into 2006 and it is five years more an issue today. Many senior Many firms had to let their “young tigers” go during the brokers are going to have serious questions whether or not down period. They may be left with a legacy executive and a 66-68 is the right age for reinvention. Where will the capital skeleton crew of pre-retirement veterans who may or may not come from to purchase these assets, or will they just fail? be prepared or capable of taking the company into the new real estate marketplace. Most investors will realize that knowing Beware of an assumption that suggests that there has always how to survive in a down market may or may not constitute been capital to invest in the industry and there always will be. the ability to compete in a new market with new price points, That may become the $1 billion question. Many of the firms new consumers, new business practices and new competitors. that have traditionally been active in acquisition have not done well during the past five years. Their investors may have to ask • Does the company have integrity? whether or not they want to invest “good money after bad.” Years ago investors were worried about a company’s Investment in and the replacement of furniture, equipment reputation. In today’s social and business environment and technologies will require significant amounts of capital. integrity has become the new behavioral standard. Today’s Most economists suggest that inflation will become a major investors are very savvy regarding the dangers facing firms issue as companies in all industries seek to “catch up” with lost that do not integrate integrity into every level of their opportunities. Inflation will hit brokerages in a number of ways. operations, especially when they are engaged with today’s Will the industry go back to its bricks and mortar heritage or social media empowered consumer. will it be investing in alternative service delivery models. (Commentary continued on page 6) 5
  6. 6. (Commentary continued from page 5) • Does the firm have “franchise” value or is it selling a marketplace or is simple selling a commodity. Investors will commodity? be knowledgeable about current industry environment and the contemporary consumer. Premium investors will not be In the investment world, franchise value refers to the sustain- interested in ABC Realty or a “same old same old” outfit that ability and uniqueness of a particular brand or product with can be duplicated by anyone in the industry. consumers. There is great interest in organizations that have “good” franchises that may be focused either on low cost or There are many other factors that will be considered by the high value business model. The market will have little interest contemporary investor. The amount of debt carried by the in organizations that have neither. The past five years have firm is one. Does the company have increasing/stable proven that while the commodity based brokerage may be a earnings? What is the company’s profit history? Structuring great entrepreneurial opportunity it doesn’t necessarily the deal (cash versus payouts and the time periods.) convert well to an investment opportunity. The purpose of this article is not to provide an in-depth MBA • Does the market where the company operates have high level investment analysis but rather to suggest that over the barrier to entry? next few years the capitalization of the real estate industry will become an increasingly important issue for retirement, What are the costs and complexities of entering an industry? replenishing and reinvention purposes. It is time to undertake The higher the cost or more complex the entry into a business this discussion and begin to develop a post recession is the more likely for the development of sustainable points of brokerage business model that will generate market level competition. In addition, investors are going to be interested profits and attract quality investors with its positive and in whether or not the brokerage is differentiating itself in the productive qualities. n ANAlYSiS Agent of the Future We’ve all seen sales associates who entered the business messaging and more. The consumer would like their during the boom years only to choose another career when information yesterday, so we’re really, in the truest sense times got tough. The sales associates who hung in there and of the word, in a now business and agents must be fully found success can weather any market. Times are changing accessible. quickly and so is real estate. 2. Knowledge about the market. Sales associates must know Last year, REAL Trends and Anne Randolph did a study on the what is on the market and be able to access that Agent of the Future. The study identified five characteristics information immediately. They must have a solid that successful agents need to stay successful in the future. understanding of the marketplace. They must: improve the fundamentals, become the expert desired by consumers in a particular niche, use technology to 3. Ability to communicate on a highly professional level. increase effectiveness and efficiency, manage the business Sales associates must communicate with a great deal of professionally and manage a work/life balance. confidence and reassurance so buyers and sellers understand they’ll get competent service. Standards have REAL Trends spoke with sales associates and brokers around become much higher and I feel the agent today has to the country to find out what they think the agent of the communicate verbally in a much more professional and future will need to succeed. Here’s what they had to say: alert manner. Sales associates must become better listeners—those are basic sales skills. John R. Kersten, president/owner Century 21 Town & Country They must have those basic sales skills. When an agent has a Detroit, Mich. great sense of commitment, the consumer is ready to separate the wheat from the shaft. They have a right to do that so the 1. A very good understanding of technology. Sales associates agents today must be honest and do the right thing. must be available to the consuming public through the Internet. We’ve been successful with our Web site and Lori Arnold, president have close to 200,000 visitors a month. Our sales people Coldwell Banker Apex are highly operational wherever they are. However, sales Dallas, Texas associates must also be able to use phone systems, text 6
  7. 7. 1. Tech literacy. Agents must know how to use Facebook, agents always have been and always will be “people” LinkedIn, YouTube, FLIP mini camcorders and more in people first and everything else comes second. their daily business. This includes everything from photo organization to marketing to social networking. A 3. Industry knowledge. Once we have our people and sales willingness to be open-minded in this arena is vital. I find skills in place, then the items noted above coupled with a that the biggest detriment to knowing these things is that strong knowledge of the industry is critical to the long- some associates believe they can’t learn or “aren’t techie.” term success of an agent. In these days of the Internet You don’t have to be “techie” to learn. where customers can do independent research, an agent needs the knowledge and skill to assist the customer in the 2. Understanding that it is ALL about the client. I believe interpretation of that information. we’ve allowed our egos in real estate to drive us to make very bad business decisions. We love to see our name/face Eddie Speas, executive vice president in lights and it’s not about us, it has never been about us Coldwell Banker Advantage and never will be about us. It’s about the client. This same Raleigh, North Carolina ego drives agents and brokers to spend money in places that are not effective. There are three core values that every sales associate should have but you can’t take out the sales aspect of it. 3. Market savvy. This is the ability to know our markets. What is our absorption rate? What is the proper pricing for 1. Trustworthy. The first thing is that no matter what an properties the day they hit the market? That’s important agent needs to be trustworthy. It’s a core value that will so we don’t spend time reducing over and over to hit the always be there in dealing with such a large transaction. proper price point. Really, truly know our markets so we We define success by closing transactions and making can give good advice to both buyers and sellers. money but also having a sustained career and creating enduring relationships. The key to that is trust. Daniel Jacuzzi, president/CEO Century 21 Select Real Estate 2. Knowledgeable. To compliment that you must be Sacramento, CA knowledgeable, competent and continually growing. 1. Enjoy people. The basic lead skill of an agent remains the 3. Exude Professionalism. When you look at what a same as it’s always been. Sales associates must have a true professional is now, things are different because you think enjoyment of people, a desire to serve, be good listeners of a professional as someone who is tech savvy and and great communicators. responsive to the client. Communicate with the client in the way in which they want to be communicated. 2. Have basic sales skills. I believe that many people are Professionalism will change and grow in the future as getting lost in the notion that times have completely more technology comes in to enhance the professionalism changed and the base skills of an agent are different of the sales associate. But, you still have to have that sales today. While it’s true that a solid understanding of aspect—you can’t get away from prospecting and capturing technology, social networking and online marketing have leads. n replaced some of the old marketing methods, successful REAL Trends Housing Market Report Shows First Month-over-Month Increase in Unit Sales Since 2005 as Housing Market Appears to Reach a Floor For the first time in four years, the number of closed unit sales saw the biggest improvement with prices down 11.3 percent was up from the same period in the prior year according to versus the decline of 26.1 percent in the prior month. The REAL Trends, signaling that a floor may have been reached in Southern region also saw improvement with home prices down the housing market. Nationally, unit sales were up 2.8 percent only 8.7 percent versus a decline of 9.7 percent in June 2009. in July 2009 over July 2008. The Western region again showed The Midwest remained at 10.9 percent while the Northeast the greatest strength with unit sales up 12.3 percent while the continues to see softness in pricing with an average decline of Midwest region showed the greatest improvement with unit 13.9 percent and increase over the decline of 10.9 percent last sales climbing 3.7 percent over last July. month. Price declines were mixed. Nationally, the average home price “July 2009 is the first month in four years where unit sales declined 10.4 percent, a huge improvement over the decline increased over the same month a year ago. With June being recorded in June 2009 of 16.5 percent. The Western region nearly equal and July showing a small increase in unit sales (Analysis continued on page 8) 7
  8. 8. (Analysis continued from page 7) there is evidence that home sales have found a floor. These real estate brokers representing more than 35 percent of all results are very encouraging. While home prices continue to homes sales throughout the country. The REAL Trends decline they are doing so at a slower rate than at any time in Housing Market Report collects actual closed housing sales the last year, another signal that, at least for the moment, the data each month directly from brokerage firms. With all 50 housing market shows signs of stabilizing,” said Steve Murray, states covered and results from thousands of brokerage firms editor of REAL Trends. “This is clearly the best month of REAL Trends July/June Housing Market Report (Versus same month a year ago) results that we have seen since we first started publishing the REAL Trends July 2009 July 2009 June 2009 June 2009 Housing Market Report two years ago. Closed Sales Avg. Price Closed Sales Avg. Price While we know that there are substan- National +2.8% -10.4% -0.7% -16.5% tial challenges ahead, with a predicted rise in foreclosures and continued Regional Report downward pressure on prices as a Northeast -1.2% -13.9% -1.3% -10.9% result, it would appear that we are closer to the floor of this recession in South -1.7% -8.7% -6.5% -9.7% housing than we have been at any Midwest +3.7% -10.9% -1.2% -10.9% time in the last four years.” West +12.3% -11.3% +10.0% -26.1% About the REAL Trends Market Report in every metropolitan area, the sample size and geographical reach of the study exceeds virtually every other report issued REAL Trends’ analysis of closed home sales data is pulled from about the housing market. n Coaches Corner: Are You Good at Comebacks? by Mike Staver, Professional Coach and Speaker It’s time to either stop the negative momentum or increase the positive momentum. That’s what makes you good at It’s time to turn off the television set, put down the newspa- comebacks. per, throw away your IRA, or 401K statement and get about the work of a comeback. It’s time to look at your life and Here are a few more suggestions: future in terms of what you can make happen RIGHT now. No longer is there room for worry. No longer can we afford a • Identify the direction of the momentum in your life and minute of doubt. work. Despite the negative, stress-laden world around us, we must • Identify three behaviors that, if you changed them, would change the pattern of energy that so easily sidetracks us from improve momentum. doing the things we know we are good at. I am in the middle of a brand consistency campaign. That is simply making sure • Get clear about what you want to accomplish as the that the experience before I speak, matches the experience momentum improves. when I speak. • Be relentless on just those three things until you feel the I am amazed at the energy this has brought to bear on me. energy shift. Why? Because it requires a focus on new, fresh and stimulating ways of working and seeing the world. It’s what comebacks • As positive momentum increases, add new behaviors and are made of. No matter where you are in your life or work, do them quicker. n know that momentum is your best friend or worst enemy. 8
  9. 9. TRENDS Summary on Effectiveness of Online Strategies We reviewed some data provided to REAL Trends recently by JuNE DATA ListHub that showed some basic data about the effectiveness of online syndication and marketing. The results show only Traffic: Leads: Conversion Rate: the traffic that was generated on listings that were syndicated (as measured per (as measured per (for those with at to these sites through ListHub for brokerage firms and MLSs listing) listing) least 1,000 leads that used ListHub for these purposes. generated) The total viewings The total number It is not that this data is the final word on the effectiveness of listings by site. of leads that were How many resulted of the various Web locations but it does give clients and generated. in a connection to customers one more piece of knowledge that can assist when 1 Yahoo a real estate selecting where to spend one’s time and money when 2 Trulia 1 Trulia professional? marketing online. 3 Zillow 2 Zillow 3 Yahoo 1 HotPads We thank ListHub for allowing us to review this data and 2 Zillow look forward to sharing additional data with our readers in 3 Oodle n the future. Relevant Content is King White Paper by Eric Cosway campaign performance can be personalized. A PURL President, Quantum Digital (personalized URL) is a dynamically generated web address that contains information unique to each individual, like a No one likes being ignored, lumped in with the masses or name or offer. PURLs lead responders from one source, like a seen as anything but the individual that they really are. direct mail piece or printed catalog, to a personalized landing Many people would argue that a one-size-fits-all approach page tailored specifically for that individual. According to the in marketing is ineffective and a waste of time, money and DMA, close to 33 percent of consumers go online to respond resources. Well, in most cases, they’re right. to direct mail. This response rate is increased by 20 to 30 percent when personalized URL addresses and landing pages, Highly personalized direct marketing efforts—direct mail, are used. PURLs allow marketers to speak directly and printed collateral, e-mail and personalized landing pages— specifically to each individual, capture valuable consumer have been proven time and time again to improve response data and track conversions. rates, boost sales and motivate an action on the part of the consumer/prospect. Consider these statistics regarding personalization: A 2007 InfoTrends/CAP Ventures personalization study found • A recent survey conducted by Prospectiv and published in that highly personalized color direct mail generated a 6.5 Brand Week revealed that 80 percent of consumers stated percent response rate—much improved from the 2 percent that personalized coupons tailored to their interest would response rate non-personalized direct mail is said to generate. increase the likelihood of coupon use. This is just one example of many that shows how adding personalization to your marketing campaign can dramatically • 42 percent of consumers read direct mail that addresses increase ROI. their unique needs. (Customer Focus®: Direct Mail Study 2007) Variable data technology is making it easier, more effective and cheaper than ever to include personalized data on direct • Approximently 20 percent of consumers read e-mail mail pieces, printed collateral, in e-mail messages and on marketing when messages respond to their needs. landing pages. Each element within a direct marketing (Customer Focus®: Direct Mail Study 2007) campaign may be personalized with information such as an individual’s name, recent purchase activity, special promotional • According to the Winterberry Group’s 2007 review of offers, variable messages and images—making the experience multiple reports, surveys and communications with unique and relevant for each customer and/or prospect. marketing-industry executives, the top factors in driving response rates included timing, relevance and Even elements used to track response behavior and measure personalization of the marketing message. (Trends continued on page 10) 9
  10. 10. (Trends continued from page 9) Marketers within any industry can benefit from finding ways with all the available data, both in-house and external, to personalize direct marketing content in order to address marketers have the power to personalize and capture the their customers’ and prospects’ specific needs. By working audience’s attention. The result is undeniably improved ROI. n State of the Market Many economists are predicting the bottom of the housing REAL Trends: Are there any bright spots in the market? slump while others are on the fence about just how quickly the market is recovering. REAL Trends spoke with brokers and Fruth: There are a few bright spots. Because this downturn has sales associates around the country to get a snapshot of lasted more than a year, some weaker agents and brokers are individual markets. Here’s what they had to say: taking early retirement. We’ve also been able to recruit some newer, quality agents who were downsized by their employers Lynn Fruth, CEO in other industries. We’ve increased our market share. Also, it’s The Danberry Co., Realtors a tremendous time to be buying properties—more wealth will Toledo, Ohio exchange hands over the next two years than any time in the last three decades. REAL Trends: Tell me about your market today compared to this time last year. REAL Trends: Are you seeing any investor activity? Fruth: The “feel” of the market is that it’s better than a year Fruth: Investors represent a large segment of our market. Our ago. The hard statistics for the first half of 2008 compared to firm currently represents investors from as far away as Hawaii 2009 tells a slightly different story. The good news is that and California. Some are buying and holding and others are fix halfway through the year, we have a total area inventory that up and flippers. is 9 percent less than the same date last year. REAL Trends: Is there anything else significant going on in Unit sales are down 6 percent and sales volume is down 24 your area that is affecting sales? percent. The average sold property is on the market only two days longer than a year ago. We have approximately 14 Fruth: Toledo’s economy remains on a downward slide. We are months of inventory compared to 15 months a year ago. ground zero when it comes to the American auto industry. Two of our largest employers are GM and Chrysler. REAL Trends: What percentage of your business is short sale Manufacturing jobs have declined 25 percent in the last year and foreclosure? and the unemployment level in Toledo is almost 16 percent. Fruth: Short sales make up approximately 20 percent of our If Obama’s cap and trade bill goes into effect, the Toledo area business, foreclosures 35 percent and traditional sales 45 will suffer even more. I will conclude by saying that our percent. company’s leadership is committed to being the best lemonade makers in the country—we have plenty of lemons at our disposal. REAL Trends: What is your biggest challenge today as it On a positive note, it appears that the Toledo area has staked relates to short sales? out a positive position in the alternative energy field and in particular the design and production of solar panels. Fruth: The biggest challenge pertaining to short sales is the length of time that it takes to get a firm decision from the Jim Reese, general manager lender or investor. Some lenders have improved considerably, Carolina One but it’s amazing to me that it can still take over six months to 11 offices get an approval from certain lenders. 865 sales associates If you do enough of these you understand how the lenders got REAL Trends: Tell me about your market today compared to into this mess in the first place. Some lenders can tell you this time last year. within weeks, and you can close in less than six weeks. Unfortunately we are soon reaching a critical time for first- Reese: Our units are off about 22 percent and volume is down time buyers who are seeking the $8,000 tax credit. They’re 31 percent. Our average listing on market is 114 days for those seriously asking themselves if they can afford to get tied up in that sell. As for standing inventory, we’re selling 10-15 percent a transaction that involves a short sale since it would have to of it in the 90-day period. The odds of a property selling close by the end of November. within the listing period are about 28 percent. Our company is selling about 40 percent the first time around, so we’re better than average. 10
  11. 11. REAL Trends: What percentage of your business is short sale buy another house. We have to free those people up but not and foreclosure? impair their ability to get a house. Reese: We’re running around 18-22 percent of our sales as Locally, we’ve had a Boeing aircraft factory, a defense foreclosure and short sales. We’re just in the beginning of this contractor and an electronics firm expand recently. Two distressed property market because there was a moratorium in major employers have announced expansions. Despite that, South Carolina for foreclosures. our unemployment is still bouncing up against 10 percent and that’s a major issue. Our company is offering a job loss REAL Trends: What is your biggest challenge today as it protection program. We’re doing what we can to take the relates to short sales? buyer who has that anxiety and help them feel comfortable buying. We’re offering home warranties on resales, job loss Reese: Communication with the banks. We’re struggling just protection for those who are in the market and a little to get some answer back. Buyers are getting frustrated with worried—anything that can take the anxiety out of the the total lack of communication. The banks are sometimes market. openly shopping their contract. We’re advising buyers that it can take 30 to 120 days and the bank can still pull out of the Iris Ade, broker contract right up until closing. Prudential Preferred Properties Chicago The second issue is not a bank issue; it’s an agent issue. We’ve had agents who say they’re experts offer an unrealistic price to REAL Trends: Tell me about your market today compared to encourage bidding wars. Sure, the bank gets a lot of offers but this time last year. they reject them all because they’re not near what market is. Ade: This time last year, it was still a good market for me. REAL Trends: Are there any bright spots in the market? Even though I could see some changes. I did have clients who had difficulties carrying financing for purchases of new Reese: Builders who are still alive are starting to offer a new construction that may have gone to contract a year earlier. construction product that’s a great deal. REOs are starting to We’ve had to expend a lot of effort to secure financing. get realistic in pricing and that’s a good deal. On the coast, you’ll see extremely high-end properties (over $1 million) I specialize in the $750,000 to $6 million-price range, in the dropping 40 percent. resale side and 85 to 90 percent of that was cash—as a result 2008 was huge for me. It’s scary but they’re absorbing on a monthly rate of 2-4 percent. We’re starting to see shadow inventory, a market has Going into 2009, that same luxury buyer who can still pay 8000 properties for sale, behind that is a group of people who cash in that price range is out there but there isn’t the same don’t have to sell but want to sell. When some properties sell sense of urgency. They’ve been waiting it out, the media has at decent prices, all of a sudden a bunch of resales jump on been so broad in its interpretation of what’s going on that the the market. We’re looking at that as a good prospecting buyer is taking a “wait and see attitude.” I’m just now seeing method— it’s a great time to move up. We find the move-up an increase in traffic. buyers, those who may have put their property on the market a year ago but didn’t sell and didn’t have to sell. My cash buyer doesn’t have a problem moving forward but the market is giving that buyer a pause—what is appropriate REAL Trends: Are you seeing any investor activity? market value? That’s the unknown and the buyer who has cash wants the best value and the seller isn’t in a hurry to sell. Reese: We’re seeing some investors but not the everyday The biggest issue is what that number is and doing the investor—that day is over. The investor we’re seeing is very homework and research so I’m on the same page with the well capitalized investors and going at REOs and significant buyer and seller. low buys. We see offshore investors coming in to buy an oceanfront property for half the price it was listed at a few REAL Trends: What percentage of your business is short sale years ago. and foreclosure? REAL Trends: Is there anything else significant going on in Ade: I’ve not worked with any short sales, I’m a listing agent your area that is affecting sales? but I’ve represented a few buyers who bought at auction of new construction. In my luxury market, foreclosures are such a Reese: The credit implications for people who get out of a small percentage of the inventory. short sale need to change. These people are recorded with a “non pay in full” and it hurts their credit scores and ability to REAL Trends: Are there any bright spots in the market? (Trends continued on page 12) 11
  12. 12. (Trends continued from page 11) Ade: I don’t see the fear that we saw earlier this year. We REAL Trends: Is there anything else significant going on in aren’t seeing that level of uncertainty. I’m seeing activity your area that is affecting sales? now. Buyers want more information, and they’re more receptive to receiving it. At one point, we saw traffic just Ade: The largest challenge that a listing agent is experiencing drop off; it’s getting back to what this market should be is the new challenges with the appraisal process. Eventually going into fall. we’ll work though it. Right now you can often have a significant disparity with two appraisers on the same REAL Trends: Are you seeing any investor activity? property, especially if one appraiser is not familiar with the product or the market area. With the new appraisal codes of Ade: Not at this time. Typically, I would say a good one-third conduct, you can’t provide comps. of my clients were investors but that’s fallen off tremendously. The buyers out here now are end users. Investors are probably Despite that, I’m excited that the market is finally active after short sales and foreclosures—that’s where the deals are now. again. n Much Pressure on Mortgage Joint Ventures Economic conditions have forced mortgage joint ventures to pressure on mortgage joint ventures (JVs), resulting in a restructure and become more efficient. REAL Trends spoke concerted tightening of the belt. This tightening of the belt with three different companies to find out what they’re has meant more nimble, cost efficient JV structures that doing to weather the storm. should yield a higher ROI in the coming years, especially as the purchase market rebounds. Carter Murdoch Bank of America Companies like Bank of America should be uniquely positioned to offer large real estate brokerages and home REAL Trends: How do you see the market for the remainder builders highly competitive JV opportunities that will be of this year and early next year? additive to a firm’s bottom line. Murdoch: According to National Association of Realtors REAL Trends: What are some trends you’re seeing in this arena? (NAR) research, the economic recovery appears to be underway with real estate. Certain markets will most likely Murdoch: Many wholly owned mortgage companies have continue to have a significant supply of distressed properties seen a tightening in the availability of various lines of credit. causing price declines, but most markets will begin to show It’s a cliché, but change does create opportunity for those signs of price stability. that are properly positioned. This is not to say that I would expect a “V” shaped recovery. In many cases, shrinking margins combined with line of Instead, NAR believes that most markets will experience a flat credit issues are resulting in many wholly owned mortgage or slow recovery in unit growth and price appreciation, operations entering into JVs with large financial institutions dependent on stabilization in the U.S. economy and job loss. like Bank of America. This process has accelerated the velocity of JV turnover, thereby creating additional According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, unemployment opportunity for proficient JV operators. has blossomed from historic lows (under 5 percent) just a few years ago to 8.9 percent and growing in April of 2009. Anna Ruotolo, EVP As job growth/loss goes, so goes the US economy. Consumer Prospect Mortgage, previously know as Metrocities confidence is driven by job stability and wage growth. Historically, the labor market is a lagging indicator to REAL Trends: How do you see the market for the remainder economic recovery and this business cycle appears no different. of this year and early next year? REAL Trends: What do you see as the future of mortgage Ruotolo: I see the recovery as bumpy. It’s interesting, one of joint ventures? How will (or have they changed) they change the things I observe is that things are moving very fast but in the next year or two? slow at the same time. There’s a certain velocity that’s exciting, a lot of activity in refinancing and that’s active and Murdoch: According to the Mortgage Bankers Association, fast. But, there are so many rule and guideline changes that purchase mortgage originations have dropped more than 35 we’re seeing the entire process slow down. Close times take percent over the past three years. And, NAR reports that longer. existing home sales have dropped from 7.2 million to less than 4.5 million units per year. This has invariably put As a mortgage industry, we’re getting a tidal wave of 12
  13. 13. regulatory changes and lending guidelines, and we’re trying REAL Trends: What are some trends you’re seeing in this to stay on top of this wave and it’s difficult. We’re just trying arena? to keep up with warehouse lenders’ changes, mortgage insurance company changes, regulatory changes—there’s a lot Ruotolo: A lot of institutional lenders have reduced to absorb. I think we’ll bounce for a while—the jumbos are commissions to loan offices quite a bit and that creates profit hard to sell and finance and the higher price ranges are opportunities for partners. Small JVs aren’t making sense difficult to deal with. right now because partners don’t have enough transactions. And they’re hard to administer. We’re seeing a lot of Until the liquidity opens up, the conforming FHA segment is marketing agreements and JVs dissolved because of the where the market’s at right now. decline in the market across the industry. I think prices will be flat for some time, and then we’ll go It means the JVs that stay will be more focused. The same back to traditional real estate appreciation. We’re seeing things as far as loan officers, a lot of people are dismissing increased activity in distressed markets and a lot of pent up loan officers that aren’t productive, you’re seeing more focus buyer demand in those areas too. I think we’ll see some areas on loan officers and JVs that are real partnerships. that will have average sales price increases and more units selling. Joe Jackson Wells Fargo Ventures My partners think we’ll see a lull this summer. That’s speaking from the real estate side, they’re being hopeful for REAL Trends: How do you see the market for the remainder fall. I think we have some inventory that needs to come on of this year and early next year? the market and that’s worrisome to me. I think we’ll see a lot more short sale activity hit the market. Jackson: After this latest wave of refinancing, we’ll return to a market dominated by purchase volume. We also anticipate I still think we’re in a transition market and there will still be a continued shift toward alliances, which enables the real some shakeout, that’s a gut feeling I have. I don’t think the estate company to offer more control and integration of the consolidations are over yet. And that’s normal in a transition customer experience—and the strongest capabilities to market. support new federal requirements. REAL Trends: What do you see as the future of mortgage It also feels like next year could be a year characterized by joint ventures? How will (or have they changed) they change the “survival of the fittest.” Mortgage partners succeeding in the next year or two? will be those who know how to thrive in a purchase market, and who are seamless in integrating the new realities. It will Ruotolo: What’s interesting is that right now the JV focus is be critical to have these core capabilities in place and some on the low end where the products and the inventory (thus lenders aren’t really prepared. activity) is. Those will work, because you can get good profitability out of it. In the high-end market, or even the As lawmakers move to implement changes in the mortgage mid-range, in those markets there’s little service release and title industries, those who haven’t been anticipating and premium (SRP) on a product—that will be tough to run. planning and staying ahead of the trends will find it harder to respond. I think JVs during this time frame are becoming more important to real estate companies because we’re a primary REAL Trends: What do you see as the future of mortgage source of profit for them—even more so now than in the joint ventures? How will (or have they changed) they change past. I’m hoping that partners will take advantage of in the next year or two? strengthening their JV with us so when the market turns, the Jackson: Our alliance model has proven to be flexible over market share increase can dramatically spike. We’re having the long-term—and to be successful in all economic stronger capture rates, which can signal a market turnaround, environments. While the market has gone down, capture however that’s not always a good prediction. But, now’s the rates are way up as consumers look for trusted lenders. time to be there working with agents, training them on During this downturn, mortgage, title and other core services working properly, setting expectations on escrows, how to are providing brokerages invested in integration of all real handle short sales, REOs, foreclosures and more. estate services a way to meet customer needs and a strong competitive advantage. The future of mortgage JV should be stronger because we have such a strong piece of the brokerage. Loan officers are One of our partners sat on a RESPRO panel this past spring. seeing the value of being there. When the market recovers, He said that real estate companies who don’t have mortgage they’ll be rewarded with loyalty. and title companies might not survive. Many are truly (Trends continued on page 14) 13
  14. 14. (Trends continued from page 13) looking at themselves as full-service companies and have REAL Trends: What are some trends you’re seeing in this arena? incorporated management structures that support a business Jackson: More than ever, survival and success come down to model that focuses on all the customers’ needs. execution. It’s not a good time to face business interruption from the loss of capabilities or to be with a partner We believe this support will continue to increase the success struggling to comply with new regulations. and sustainability of the model. Thus, we continue to see movement toward alliances by real We are seeing, more than ever, that reputation counts. estate companies as a way to offset this business risk while Broker/Owners are comparing notes and talking with peers still providing the one-stop shopping services their customers about how they’re surviving in this challenging market, and prefer. A Joint Venture truly offers the best combination of how their core services are helping them. One such partner is integrated lending, comprehensive business capabilities and our newest Joint Venture partner, Prudential Douglas Elliman reduced risk. This will keep the alliance business model at the Real Estate (PDE). We’re excited to begin this relationship forefront for the foreseeable future. n and feel it’s a validation of the strength of the model. Consumer Spending Shift By Jerry Matthews, Consultant Third, the Internet is making shopping, comparing and purchasing easier than ever. The lowest possible price Consumers have stopped discretionary spending. If this is a anywhere is available to everyone. Impulse buying from permanent shift it originates from several sources and will advertising or physical stores is not likely with such impact critical areas in the future. empowering technology. Frugality has technology as a partner. Trend: Consumers have dramatically reduced spending. In fact, Future Impact: After the recession the level of consumption they have made the amazing flip from consuming to – gulp – will be lower. Oh, there will be the occasional small saving. The spending behaviors seem quite different from past extravagance, but the deeper trend seems set. Obvious losers recessions. are economic growth, retail services and high-end consumables. Retail and commercial business properties are This could be a permanent change in the consumer. If so, it is very vulnerable. leveraged by the convergence of three trends. Increased savings will fuel capital investment in new age First, the recession is severe and economy-wide. Happening businesses. Robust web-based shopping will continue growing. after excessive spending fueled by easy credit and inflated Trust of web transactions will increase with third-party assets, the change was abrupt. Deep recessions with high guarantees and transfer services. unemployment will retard spending. Everyone is fear-frozen. [Note: Consumers is one of 10 areas with greatest future Second, is the transfer of power from Baby Boomers to impact that I track in the “Way of Tomorrow” series.] Generation X. The influence of Boomers is fading through dropping numbers (retirement or death) and Gen X is asserting For more information go to Jerry@JerryMatthews.com. n control. These generations have different attitudes about life style. Gen X is more quality-of-life driven and careful financially. So the emerging power group of the future is naturally a non-consumer. 14
  15. 15. NEWS Mergers & Acquisitions opening of Keller Williams Realty. Operating Principal David McCarthy and Team Leader Carole Helwig will run the new office. Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Chicago announced it has acquired the assets of Drake Realtors Inc. in Clarendon Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate LLC announced that Hills, Ill. The formerly independently owned and operated it has acquired the assets of Tourtelot Brothers Inc. based in company, which has served the Clarendon Hills and the Western St. Petersburg, Fla. More than 35 sales associates from two Suburbs for more than 18 years, will now do business under the Tourtelot Brothers locations will join Coldwell Banker banner of Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. Drake Realtors Residential Real Estate’s St. Petersburg operations. Coldwell Inc. has 17 sales associates; co-owners Diane Smith Cochran, Banker Residential Real Estate will now have nearly 750 real Marie Krasne and Arlene Kubasek will stay at the office as estate sales associates in the local market and nearly 5,000 sales associates with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage. associates throughout Florida, located in 76 offices. Coldwell Banker and Burgdorff ERA in New Jersey are being Executive Appointments combined by their parent company, NRT, itself owned by Realogy Corp. The merger was announced June 23. Since The National Association of REALTORS® announced the then, the Burgdorff ERA offices all over the area are being Weichert Relocation Resources Inc. (WRRI) recently named rebranded as Coldwell Banker outlets. Coldwell Banker now Dean Mellor as client service director for the Calgary office. has a total of 63 offices and 3,700 practitioners in New In this role, he will serve as the single point of contact and Jersey, the company says. knowledge resource for his clients, and manage the service teams assigned to work with his clients’ mobile employees. Morgan Lane, a fast-growing boutique real estate firm in Also in the Calgary office, Lori Nymark was named senior Marin County, California announced on July 20, 2009 that relocation counselor. In this role, Nymark will serve as the it has entered into an agreement with Brookfield Residential single point of contact for relocating employees on domestic, Property Services to purchase Pacific Union Real Estate. international and cross-border moves. In WRRI’s Toronto Mark A. McLaughlin, owner of Morgan Lane Marin, will serve office, Peter Cloutier was named client service director, as the CEO of both companies. Currently, Morgan Lane has responsible for fostering and maintaining superior working 24 sales professionals working from four offices and Pacific partnerships with clients and overseeing the service teams Union has 410 sales professionals in 13 offices in the Bay area. assisting their relocating employees and families. Sotheby’s International Realty Affiliates LLC announced the Former Putnam Investments chairman Charles “Ed” signing of an exclusive 25-year master franchise agreement Haldeman Jr. has been named chief executive of Freddie covering Lazio, Rome, with St. Peter—Real Estate s.r.l. The Mac, the mortgage giant’s third CEO this year. Haldeman, new firm now will operate as St. Peter Sotheby’s International who resigned in June as chairman of Putnam Investment Realty, with Angelo Savioli serving as office manager and Management LLC, replaces John Koskinen, who has been managing director, Arch. Gianluca Puracchio as senior broker interim CEO at Freddie Mac since March, when David and Lola Echeverria Precioso as broker. Moffett resigned. Altera Real Estate announced that Judy Kalbrener, GRI, CRS, Announcements is the newest Altera Real Estate affiliate. Kalbrener is the broker/owner of Altera Real Estate, Honolulu, Hawaii. Leading Real Estate Companies of the World has aligned with eRealInvestor Inc. to provide the network’s 600 brokerage Brookfield Residential Property Services announced that it firms a Web-based suite of financial analysis software for has re-branded its Royal LePage Relocation Services business residential real estate investors. The company’s eRealAnalyzer unit and re-named it Brookfield Global Relocation Services. is a one-click financial analysis application. The solution enables the analysis of thousands of properties listed on real Keller Williams Realty Inc. recently announced that it’s expanded estate portals and Websites. n its growing network to the Newton, Mass. area by the 15
  16. 16. Editor’s Note Good news – July 2009 unit sales were above July 2008 unit Many real estate industry economists believe that the worst sales by 2.8 percent. This is the first time since June 2005 of these declines are over. Much of the optimism is based on that one months unit sales results were better than the same the continuation of current government efforts to stimulate month a year earlier. While prices were still down they were housing. One trusts that those in Washington understand the down less than at any time year over year since early 2008. implications. n After 23 years of publishing REAL Trends in a written We do not make this decision lightly and only after two format we have decided that it is now time to shift to a years of attempting to lower the costs of delivering it in PDF format for all of our readers. At this time over 24,000 the printed fashion. Like many of our dedicated readers leaders in the industry receive REAL Trends each month we do so with great reluctance. We trust that our readers with less than 200 still receiving it in a printed form. will feel that they are getting the same or better value than The cost of printing and postage for so few exceeds the before. – Steve Murray, editor, REAL Trends revenue at this level. 2009 Innovation Conference September 23-25, 2009 Four Seasons Resort & Club Dallas at Las Colinas Here’s what others thought about Today, everyone in our business must be our last REAL Trends conference: focused on innovation – delivering service Simply no better conference for the time and money better, faster and cost-effectively. This year, invested. moderated round tables and small group – Charlie Bengel, Jr., CEO, RE/MAX Allegiance sessions will be fine-tuned to focus on the new challenges faced by real estate professionals. REAL Trends’ brings the best minds and business models Join us in Dallas to get the knowledge you in the industry together to learn from each other. – Chuck McNeal, President, need to move forward. The Group, Inc. Real Estate The most progressive real estate conference I’ve attended!” – Lola Audet, Grand Rapids Association of REALTORS 16