WOW Inman News was the best that we have seen yet with some great moments and great feedback for ListedBy from users and some of the top industry pros!
Also never a bad thing to get to play a bit in NYC!
- As my esteemed colleague noted, the industry is taking more and more of the home buying process online and seems to be a real drive towards completing transactions online and eliminating the paperwork nonsense that we have dealt with for so long. This obviously was a big part of why we founded the ListedBy.com site. To allow users to not only research homes online but actually buy homes online, and we are excited to be a part of that for the industry as a whole. Ideally we would like to incorporate a paperless system into our site that would perhaps make it even easier for our users to not only submit offers on homes online but actually complete the transaction. Who knows, we might have made a partnership for that at this event.=)
- NYC is enjoyable and one heck of a place to go, but those stories that you hear about the airport at JFK are all true!
- It was a pleasure for me to get to chat with a couple of industry rockstars in particular that had some sentimental value for me. Won’t state their names as don’t have authorization to, but one CEO in particular still owns the site where I bought my first Detroit, MI property online that to some extent started the whole idea for creating the ListedBy site. It was great to chat with someone of his caliber for an hour and hear he actually really liked the concept of our site! Also, great to see a few good friends and partners like Bill from Revestor, the boys from NuOffer, my main man Hector from Trycera (All great companies to check out) and many more.
- We REALLY got some positive comments from a lot of the industry’s top agents about the website and saw that they really love the ability that ListedBy allows for them to have direct offers from the buyers, which allows them the opportunity to double their commissions by representing both parties. Also, agents and users all loved the new and improved page for service providers where you can search services for free like you would on a servicemagic.com and other similar websites, but with us of course it is all for real estate management and purchases.
- We once again had a helicopter to give away to one lucky user. Roger always tries to get it out of the box and fly it around, which sometimes results in the police being called. Luckily I was there to save him from himself! Another personal note highlight for me is that we got to have a great dinner with a killer view of the city with my big guy Roger. It was nice to have a moment like that with a great business partner and friend to look at where we have come and where we hope to go with the site as we continue to grow. As we all know, running startups and really any business has ups and downs, and takes a certain level of dedication. So moments like that, events like NAR Orlando and this one are really a big part of what makes it so enjoyable and rewarding, and why I am so thankful to all of you for using the site and allowing us to keeping putting out those 15 hour days to try and get better all the time.
To clarify, the gentleman noted in the photo there is Hector from Trycera, not Roger.
All in all it was exceptional and we look forward to being a part of many more events like this one in the future and hopefully seeing some of you there also. Who knows, you might win a helicopter, or even better, private dinner with me and Roger!
Americans are on the move. The United States Census Bureau estimates that 12.5 percent of Americans – nearly 40 million people – changed residences each of the past two years. While many turned to moving professionals for assistance, some learned the hard way that not all moving companies are created equally. In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) received nearly 3,000 complaints about moving companies last year alone – a double-digit increase from the prior year.
Some good news arrived in October in the form of a new law that provides additional protection for victims of “rogue” moving companies that hold belongings hostage in the interest of scamming consumers to pay unexpected fees. The new law gives FMCSA the authority to force the return of consumer belongings in addition to the ability to levy fines of up to $10,000 per day.
Unfortunately, our industry has been plagued by moving ‘companies’ that advertise unbelievable ‘deals’ that turn out to be consumer scams,” says Jon Sorber, executive vice president of Two Men And A Truck, the nation’s largest franchise moving company. The new regulations are a welcome change for those of us committed to operating legitimate moving companies, but they are just a start. Education is really the key to making sure consumers avoid the hassle of a moving scam in the first place.
Sorber suggests consumers ask the following questions before hiring a mover:
1. Can your family, friends and co-workers make a referral? It’s likely that you know several people who’ve hired a moving company in the past year. Why not tap the resources of people you trust to share their experiences?
2. Does your mover have a brick and mortar facility you can visit? Often the “rogue” mover operates from a storage unit or perhaps with no office at all. If you are dealing with a legitimate moving company, they will have an office with trucks, employees, boxes, supplies, etc.
3. Is your mover licensed in your state? The majority of states require a formal license to operate as a mover, and selecting a licensed, insured mover is your best bet in guaranteeing a hassle-free experience.
4. What community or industry associations does the moving company have? Is your mover in good standing with the Better Business Bureau? Are they active members of the local Chamber of Commerce? Choose a mover who is valued and trusted within your community and you’ll likely eliminate any concern of questionable practices.
5. Does your mover offer free moving quotes? A legitimate mover is going to provide free estimates of your move before a single item is moved. If they refuse to do so, keep shopping regardless of how good the deal sounds.
Paul Oakley is senior vice president for Government Affairs at the American Moving and Storage Association (AMSA), the moving industry’s largest trade association. He and his team began working with Congress in 2008 to develop the new regulatory provisions that go into effect this month. Like Sorber, he believes the new laws provide some measure of safety, but cautions that more work must be done to eliminate dishonest moving practices.
The laws going into effect in October directly impact policing of the industry, says Oakley, but ultimately we must have safeguards that make entry into the industry more difficult, tougher enforcement against bad actors, and a greater effort needs to be made to educate consumers on how to choose a proper moving company.
Two Men And A Truck offers more questions consumers should ask before hiring a mover at www.twomenandatruck.com/moving-questions. Consumers might also consider AMSA’s Before You Move checklist at www.moving.org.
Investors are snapping up real estate deals including rental properties with high cash on cash return that can reach 24 – 26 percent annually, time shares for dimes on the dollar, and solid parcels of land in great locations. Gold also seems to remain high on investor lists, including central banks. World Gold Council Analysts offer some explanations in this great piece posted on ARA.
“Since the onset of the recession when many investment portfolios took a hit, there has been a lot of talk about the value of investing in gold as one way for investors to protect against market volatility and preserve wealth. Now, as policy makers both here and in Europe take steps to stimulate economic growth, there is a group of investors quietly adding gold to their own portfolios: the world’s central banks.
As a legacy of the gold standard that backed many of the world’s currencies prior to 1972, Western central banks such as the United States of America, Italy, France and Germany, hold large quantities of gold. In contrast, many of today’s emerging economies including China, Russia, Mexico and India have until recently held little to none. While the 8,133 tonnes of gold held by the U.S. Government in Fort Knox (and other locations) no longer directly backs our currency, it has returned over 8 percent a year over the past 30 years for the long term wealth of the country.
For years, the Western central banks were net sellers of gold, to the tune of 400-500 tonnes per year, in large part because they saw the need to diversify away from gold. But that trend began to shift in the second half of 2009 as Western market central banks all but halted their gold sales while emerging market central banks increased the pace of adding gold to their monetary reserves. Globally, central banks bought 77 tonnes in 2010, and for all of 2011 bought an astonishing 456 tonnes of gold.
So what’s caused this change in how central banks view gold? Analysts from the World Gold Council (www.gold.org) offer the following explanations for why the central banks are buying gold:
* Central banks are trending away from investing primarily in the U.S. dollar and the Euro. The recession in the U.S. and the debt crisis in Europe have caused banks to take pause when investing in assets from these countries. While the U.S. dollar will form a large portion of overall reserves for years to come, gold is being added by central banks around the world to diversify their asset base.
* As countries including China, India, Mexico and Russia get wealthier, they are increasingly focused on storing that wealth. Many are finding that an allocation to gold of between 2 and 10 percent provides protection against risk in their overall portfolio.
* Gold is one of the few assets that central banks are allowed to buy. Other assets include U.S. Treasuries, Euro bonds, and Japanese Yen. Unlike bonds, gold is one of the few universally accepted assets that central banks can own that has no credit risk, meaning, gold does not represent an IOU from another country, company or person.
* Gold is considered a hedge against the U.S. dollar. This makes it an attractive tool for central banks to protect against any further declines in the value of the U.S. dollar.
“The trend that we are seeing where global central banks are increasing their gold holdings reinforces the critical importance gold plays in an investment context. Gold serves a function no other investment asset can: it preserves capital, diversifies portfolios, and is highly liquid. These principals hold true for central banks as well as individual investors,” says Ashish Bhatia, manager of government affairs at the World Gold Council.</p><p>According to the World Gold Council, central banks are on pace to purchase at least as much gold this year as they did in 2011. The increased investment in gold by these banks highlights gold’s role as an asset that provides diversification and wealth preservation during uncertain economic times.
The information provided is for educational purposes only. Consult your financial adviser before making any investment decisions.”
A still murky economy and uncertain real estate market may have you wondering if buying a home is a good idea. Whether you’re thinking about buying, or already have and just need some affirmation, you may find it comforting to know there are still plenty of good reasons for financially stable people to buy a house. Here are a few:
* Homeownership can help make good credit even better. If your credit is in poor shape, you’ll want to monitor it before seeking a mortgage. But if you have good credit, live within your means, and consistently make good financial decisions, a mortgage can be the kind of “good debt” that helps your overall financial health. Making regular payments on a mortgage shows potential lenders that you’re a less risky candidate for a home loan. Before you begin home shopping, it’s a good idea to check your credit. Enrolling in a product like freecreditscore.com can help you better understand and leverage your credit.
* A mortgage can function like an automatic savings plan. By now, you’ve read the news reports about how little we Americans save these days. Well, every year you pay on your fixed-rate mortgage, is a year of building equity, and equity is like money in the bank. When it’s time to sell – whether you’ve stayed in your home seven years or the full 30 year term – you’ll have created equity and should be able to sell your house for more than you owe.
* Homeownership comes with plenty of financial perks, including an income tax credit for property taxes you pay on your home. For detailed information on tax breaks check out IRS.gov. Buying a home also affords you the opportunity to halt your housing costs. Rent will always go up from year to year, but if you have a fixed-rate mortgage (avoid adjustable rates) your biggest annual expense – housing costs – will be locked-in.
* Mortgage interest is a good deal when stacked up against other types of interest that don’t do much for you – such as high credit card interest rates or low rates on savings accounts and CDs. Mortgage rates are low right now, meaning you can pay less over the life of a loan than at practically any other time in recent history. Plus, it’s the only kind of interest that you can deduct from your taxes.
* Prices are still relatively low and inventory is high. It’s been a buyer’s market for a long time, but that’s going to change. The question is: when will the market start to improve in your area, taking home prices with it? You’ll have to do some legwork and astute research to determine when is the best time for you to buy.
If you monitor your credit and are on a sound financial footing, buying a home can still be a good idea. And now is as good a time as any to make your purchase.