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Seniors housing market - 08/19/2007


Opportunities abound for Realtors® who are ready to service the senior market
By Brenda W. Casserly, President & COO, ERA Franchise Systems, Inc.

Realtors® cannot ignore the impact that seniors are having on the business of real estate. Activity in the senior segment of the market is steadily increasing due to demographic shifts that have put a higher concentration of the U.S. population in an older age bracket.

As a real estate professional, there's a lot that I find exciting about the senior market. First of all, it is big, and it is growing. According to the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), the number of households in the U.S. headed by someone between the ages of 55 and 64 in the market for a home was about one million in 2001. NAHB projects that figure to grow to approximately 1.2 million households in 2006. One forecast projects the number of baby boomers age 65 and over to increase nearly 80 percent during the next two decades.

Another attribute that distinguishes the senior market is the broad range of motives for buying or selling a home. Many seniors wish to sell their homes because their family has grown and they are now seeking a low-maintenance property that frees them up to enjoy a more leisurely lifestyle. Selling a primary residence or a vacation property may free up equity that can be applied toward retirement. The changing interests and capabilities of seniors also influence the need for proximity to transportation, health services, shopping and other activities.

Success in servicing the wide-ranging needs of senior homebuyers is achieved through the right combination of programs, training and marketing. Sales professionals who have built a strong referral network and practice sound prospecting techniques will have a leg up on capturing these diverse and demanding buyers and sellers. Realtors® who make the effort to secure specialized certification will distinguish themselves as especially qualified to service the needs of seniors.

One characteristic that distinguishes seniors from first-time homebuyers is a lower tolerance for uncertainty. The ERA® system offers the ERA® Sellers Security® Plan (SSP), a program designed expressly for homesellers who seek that extra level of assurance. Simply put, the SSP guarantees that a seller who qualifies for the program will sell their home at a pre-determined price within 180 days of listing, or ERA Real Estate will buy it.

According to the Senior Advantage Real Estate Council, 90 percent of seniors do not put their home on the market until they have settled on their new living arrangements, and Realtors® must be prepared to help seniors select a mortgage that meets their needs. ERA Mortgage offers buyers with unique financing requirements the opportunity to choose from more than 100 different loan products. A professionally staffed Agent Help Desk helps sales associates offer products that best match their clients' financial goals.

Specialized certification programs are another means to assure seniors that Realtors® are capable of serving them. Late last year, ERA Real Estate became the first global real estate franchise to deliver the Seniors Real Estate Specialist (SRES) designation in a virtual classroom. The course, offered through the Senior Advantage Real Estate Council (SAREC), was developed to educate sales professionals about the special needs and concerns of senior homebuyers and homesellers.

The transition into a senior lifestyle can be an exciting time. For Realtors® who are prepared to assist the growing community of seniors, it can be a rewarding time as well

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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Preventing Id Theft - 08/19/2007

Could This Be Your Story?

When Janet Romano opened her credit card bill, she got more than she bargained for.

"I'm diligent about matching up my receipts to my bill," Romano said. (We've changed her name to protect her privacy.) "Several of the charges were mysteries to me."

A call to her credit card company began a months-long effort to recover from identity theft and credit card fraud. First, Romano found thousands of dollars in fraudulent charges on her credit card bills. She disputed each charge but the finance charges kept growing. She even found a purchase of an Internet domain name on her bill. That domain name created a Web site that scammed people out of hundreds of thousands of dollars.

"Some people using the scam site knew how to look up the name of the site owner. A public directory listed my name and phone number. I actually got messages on my voice mail threatening to break my legs," said Romano.

Romano thinks that identity thieves got her information when she replied to an email asking her to refresh her email account information. It looked like a real request-so real that even a cautious consumer like Romano replied with her personal and financial information. Such email tactics are called "phishing."

Identity Theft is Growing

Unfortunately, phishing is a growing way to steal someone's identity. And it's only one way. Identity thieves can take your personal information from your mail box or your home. They can steal your wallet or purse, or convince you to give out personal information. We all have to be on our guard.

Identity theft is the fastest growing white-collar crime. It happens when an identity thief obtains some pieces of your personal information. The thief then uses the information about you-without your knowledge-to commit fraud or theft. The identity thief is disguised as you. The trail leads back to you.

You Can Act Against Identity Theft

In this course you will learn more about how identity theft happens. You'll see how thieves get and use your information. Then, you can take steps to be on your guard, so that what happened to Ms. Romano won't happen to you. As with any crime, you cannot completely control whether you will become a victim. But you can minimize your risk. You can be alert to how the crime happens. And you can manage your personal information cautiously.

In this course, you will:

Know what identity theft is
Do a wallet check to protect yourself from identity theft
Take steps to protect yourself from identity theft in your home and on the road
Recognize early warnings of identity theft
Take the first steps if you're a victim of identity theft
Have the numbers to call to get help or more information


Let's get started.

Technical Requirements

To appreciate this seminar experience, it is critical that you have the appropriate software, plug-ins, and network connections. Please take the time to download the latest versions of the plug-ins mentioned below if you do not already have them.

Browser: Internet Explorer 6 and higher, Netscape 7.2 and higher or equivalent browser. Your browser must be JavaScript-enabled and must be set to accept cookies.

Network Connection: The recommended minimum connection is 56Kbps. A faster connection is encouraged to take better advantage of the media elements in the seminar.

Contributors

AARP Consumer Protection Team
This seminar is brought to you by the AARP Consumer Protection Team, which provides tools and education to help consumers protect themselves from financial fraud, abusive practices and other risks to their savings and assets. To support this goal, AARP is 1) developing a wide variety of print resources and messages; 2) partnering with other organizations that share this interest; and 3) advocating for federal and state requirements that protect consumers from identity theft.

AARP is a nonprofit, nonpartisan membership organization that helps people 50+ have independence, choice and control in ways that are beneficial and affordable to them and society as a whole. We produce AARP The Magazine, published bimonthly; AARP Bulletin, our monthly newspaper; AARP Segunda Juventud, our bimonthly magazine in Spanish and English; NRTA Live & Learn, our quarterly newsletter for 50+ educators; and our website, http://www.aarp.org . AARP Foundation is an affiliated charity that provides security, protection, and empowerment to older persons in need with support from thousands of volunteers, donors, and sponsors. We have staffed offices in all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

Copyright 2005, AARP.

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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ERA Mortgage - 08/19/2007


Tailor-made Mortgages
It's true what they say - no two customers are alike. That's why we cater to each customer's unique financial situation. By offering over 150 different mortgage products, ERA Mortgage can meet the diverse requirements of all of your customers. And, if any of our programs fall short of your customers' requirements, just let us know. We'll work to create a custom mortgage product just for them.

Tools of the Trade
ERA Mortgage leads the industry in the application of technology to the loan origination process. Access to information is key to providing superior service, and we continue to invest in state-of-the-art technology to improve the speed and quality of communication.

MortgageLoanStatus.com provides everything your customers need to track the progress of their loan before closing, and Mortgagequestions.com gives your customers access to a wealth of after-the-sale support. Both Web sites are available 24/7.

* Mortgage loans are subject to qualification, receipt of satisfactory appraisal and verification of income, asset and debt information provided by the costumer.

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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ERA Mortgage information - 08/19/2007


Special Financing Program from ERA Mortgage

Interest rate buydown program benefits seller, and buyers

Our Special Financing Program differentiates your seller's home in this competitive market and provides lower monthly payments for the buyer. This means a larger pool of buyers for listings, which can ultimately help sell homes faster.

To learn more about our Special Financing Program, click answers to frequently asked questions (FAQs) about the ERA Mortgage Special Financing Program! You can also read the ERA MortgageMatters article or contact your ERA Mortgage Advisor.

Now Available: Special Financing Ads on the Mortgage Resource Center

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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Seller security plan benefits - 08/19/2007


Program Benefits

The Sellers Security® Plan Slogan "We Will Sell Your House, Or ERA Will Buy It!"® drives inquiries and interest. Often underlying that consumer question... "What's this deal about ERA buying my house?"... is skepticism and doubt.

What are the benefits to a Seller?

There are three unique core benefits of the SSP.



Non-contingency status: Sellers that need to purchase another home but can't because their current home is not sold find this program of great value. The plan provides a guaranteed sale and closing date resulting in increased buying power.


Increases the number of buyers for their home: when a Seller lists with ERA®, prospective buyers can often times take advantage of the SSP in order to sell their house to purchase that ERA® listing. In essence, we increase the pool of buyers for all our listings, especially a home that will attract a move-up buyer. This benefit is another reason to list with ERA® regardless of Seller's interest in the SSP.


A multitude of options: If in the event a Seller needs a contract quicker than one can be market generated, by listing with ERA® a contract can be forthcoming to enable their next home purchase. And if in the event our optimism about their home selling is wrong due to economic conditions outside our control, by listing with ERA® they have the option at any time to proceed with our guaranteed sale program.

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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Seller security plan - 08/19/2007


Let's Go Shopping!"

Most other real estate companies can only sell their listings to a cash buyer or a homeowner whose current home is sold and ready to close. You have access to those buyers and more! There are potential buyers for your listings that own a house that would like to buy another but can't because they need to sell their current house first. In addition the down payment for this purchase is often tied up in their current home.

By listing with ERA®, the SSP enables you to turn prospective buyers into qualified buyers for Sellers homes. I have a marketing program that exposes a your house to more buyers netting you more money.

The "Let's Go Shopping!" campaign supports creating buyers for listings.

The newly designed "Let's Go Shopping!" tagline adds another dimension to the exclusive ERA® Sellers Security® Plan program. Once you have listed a home it's time to go shopping. Call or email me for more details.

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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Seller security plan - 08/19/2007

Let's Go Shopping!"

Most other real estate companies can only sell their listings to a cash buyer or a homeowner whose current home is sold and ready to close. You have access to those buyers and more! There are potential buyers for your listings that own a house that would like to buy another but can't because they need to sell their current house first. In addition the down payment for this purchase is often tied up in their current home.

By listing with ERA®, the SSP enables you to turn prospective buyers into qualified buyers for Sellers homes. I have a marketing program that exposes a your house to more buyers netting you more money.

The "Let's Go Shopping!" campaign supports creating buyers for listings.

The newly designed "Let's Go Shopping!" tagline adds another dimension to the exclusive ERA® Sellers Security® Plan program. Once you have listed a home it's time to go shopping. Call or email me for more details.

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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ERA Homeprotection plan - 08/19/2007


ERA Home Protection Plan®
Comprehensive, Insured

Program Overview:
The ERA Home Protection Plan is a fully insured home warranty administered by American Home Shield.

With the ERA Home Protection Plan, you can increase your chances of selling your home faster and for more money, or can enjoy the peace of mind knowing that your new home comes with a home warranty for a full year. The plan covers repair and replacement costs on most major home systems and built-in appliances, including heating and cooling systems, duct work, electrical and plumbing systems, water heaters and much more. If a problem does arise, service is always just a phone call away. See the "Escalation Communications Process" should you need to report or follow up on an issue. Call or email me today for a free home warranty information package.

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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ERA Answers - 08/19/2007


ERA Answers
We know that ERA® professionals are totally committed to providing whatever it takes to help their customers through the home buying or selling process. ERA Answers is part of that ERA® commitment.

The ERA Answers Book addresses nearly 100 of the questions on real estate customers' minds. It's handled in a clear and comforting way, helping you to see that an ERA Affiliate is the "answer" to buying or selling. The ANSWERS Book is intended to see ERA as the real estate expert and the most logical company to turn to for any potential buying or selling. Call me today for a free answers book.

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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The power of single homeownership - 08/19/2007


The Power of One: Singles Opt for the Advantages of Homeownership

By Brenda W. Casserly, President & COO, ERA Franchise Systems, Inc.

It may surprise you to learn that a recent study completed by the Joint Center for Housing Studies at Harvard University cited single-person households as one of the fastest growing housing markets in the country. In fact, nearly 5 million one-person households will be added in the coming decade.

As real estate professionals, we must stay aware of emerging trends to best understand the unique lifestyles of our clients. To understand the motivations of single home buyers, we should first look at the experiences, wants and needs that shape their home buying decisions and review some of the leading factors behind this growing trend.

According to the 2002 Census Report, between 1975 and 2002, the share of Americans who had never married increased from about 24% to 29%. Currently, about half of all adults are unmarried, and a single person living alone occupies one in four households. These figures are a sign of the times. Unlike days past, many people today have embraced a single life.

Changing societal norms and expectations, improved personal wealth, increasing rates of higher education, and even longer life expectancies for women, have all contributed to the rise in single-person households. So what are the changing norms and demographics that have positioned this customer base to drive a significant portion of the housing market?

Obviously, changing marriage trends and expectations are a leading factor in the increase in single-person households. Although between 80 and 90% of Americans will get married during their lifetimes, rises in personal wealth, length of education and changing attitudes regarding gender roles have resulted in both men and women delaying marriage until later in life. For example, one out of three men and more than one out of four women in their early 30s were unmarried in 1997, compared with fewer than one in 10 in 1900. Coupled with a divorce rate hovering around 50%, many single persons have grown accustomed to their lifestyle. They have the financial stability to live where they want and do not have immediate plans to marry (or remarry).

Perhaps of greatest interest, women actually make up a large portion of single home ownership. Their role in the housing market is expected to continue to accelerate as women's success in the workplace continues to expand and personal income disparities continue to narrow. An article in Business Week Online in June of this year reported that on average, women ages 25 to 34 earned 82% as much as men in 2000, as compared to only 68% in 1975. As this trend continues, expect to see even more financially independent women become home buyers.

Now that you have a better understanding of the characteristics and motivations of this emerging customer base, what are some factors real estate sales professionals need to remember to help these clients as they look to purchase a home? With only one set of hands at home instead of two or more, some singles opt for homes with lower maintenance features; including vinyl siding, brick, and vinyl windows to decrease the time devoted to maintenance. Others chose condos or town homes where exterior maintenance, landscaping, and snow removal are all handled by the homeowner's association for a monthly fee. In addition, some look for a tight-knit community that may be conveyed by having neighbors close at hand.

For seniors who are single, many choose to move to active adult communities that are specially equipped to provide wonderful amenities for a lifestyle of one including golf courses, pools, and recreation centers. Other seniors consider proximity to cultural centers, medical facilities, public transportation or family when buying a home.

Another factor sales associates should encourage single home buyers to consider is their future needs as well as the future resale value of a property. While a one-bedroom townhouse may be enough room now, it would not be if the buyer planned on marrying or having children in the near future. And while a single person may not mind having one bathroom, it could be a major detraction for a future prospective buyer looking at the house down the road. If they can afford it, buying slightly more house than they anticipate needing could very well be a wise investment decision for single home buyers.

As with any unique home buyer, taking a few extra minutes with a prospective single client can help you to learn about their current living situation, as well as their future plans. This will allow you to create a customized plan, specific to their needs and set the tone for a successful business relationship.

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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