Diving into the Pools Field

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Navigating the pools field can sometimes feel like a sink-or-swim situation, but understanding all of the pool field options can help you make a splash with your clients instead of ending up all wet.

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The Pool option in the General Property Description field should be your go-to choice when setting up pool parameters.

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Once selected, you’ll see the familiar four options- Both Private & Community, Community Only, Private Only and None. If your client just wants the ability to swim, selecting Community Only and Private Only will bring up houses that either have a private pool on the property or have access to a pool shared by the community. When you select Both Private & Community only listings that have both will appear.

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Pool-Private
The default Pool-Private field helps you search for specific features your Client wants in their private pool, such as heated or diving pools. Selecting Pool-Private without selecting Pool from the General Property Description fields can throw off your search and produce inaccurate results.

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STAT Market Update: April 2016

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Each month Tom Ruff of The Information Market gives his stellar commentary on the housing market. Tom is armed with Pending data of which others do not have access. His insights are below. Read the full issue of STAT for the accompanying graphs.

The metric I’m most frequently asked about in STAT is also the metric I never mention in my commentary: Days on Market. The acronyms ADOM (Agent Days on Market) and CDOM (Cumulative Days on Market) are used by ARMLS to describe how many days a property has been available for sale. A property has to be off the MLS for at least 90 days for the CDOM to restart, even if it is listed by a different agent.

We report the average days on market for properties sold based on CDOM. The number of days a home sits on the market can tell us a lot about pricing. A high CDOM is commonly a strong indicator that the home is overpriced. On an individual listing basis, CDOM can be significant. While the CDOM can be extremely important property by property, the overall market average of these numbers tells us very little. This month in STAT I’m going to tell you very little, simply because you’ve asked.

Outliers are the first issue to deal with every time I embark on a data study. A listing date, a contract date and a closing date offer multiple opportunities for errors. When viewing an individual property, the inconsistencies are obvious and correctable. When viewing the data set as a whole, we rely on the size of the sample to overcome the data inconsistencies. For the purpose of this study, we’re looking at ARMLS sales for the first four months of 2016 in Maricopa County. In our research we’ve added a median metric.

If you want a modest tool to set seller expectations or compare your personal average CDOM to the collective of agents, the table below affords you the opportunity. It should be repeated – this is closed data, meaning the seller and buyer agreed on value.

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CDOM can make for an interesting conversation and is important on an individual listing basis. As for the average Days on Market as reported in STAT, the metric is about as interesting as a dinner conversation with a housing analyst, which may be best avoided. The metric can give individual agents a means to compare their personal statistics to others for advertising purposes. As a means for judging the temperature of the market, supply and demand are a much more telling indicator.

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The ARMLS Pending Price Index (PPI)

Our last Pending Price Index projected an April median price of $220,000 with the actual median coming in at $222,000, off by 0.91%. MLS sales volume in April landed at 8,293, 107 fewer sales than our projected volume of 8,400. Looking ahead to May, the ARMLS Pending Price Index projects a median sales price of $223,839. We begin May 2016 with 7,911 pending and 4,622 UCB listings giving us a total of 12,533 residential listings practically under contract. This compares to 12,291 of the same type of listings at this time last year. We expect sales volume in May to be slightly higher than the numbers last year with an accompanying increase in the median sales price. There will be 21 business days this May compared to 20 business days in May 2015. Our projected sales volume for May is 8,500.

Sean Becketti says our final thought for this month best: “Disappointing April employment data once again kept a lid on Treasury yields, which have struggled to stay above 1.8 percent since late March. As a result, the 30-year mortgage rate fell 4 basis points to 3.57 percent, a new low for 2016 and the lowest mark in 3 years. Prospective homebuyers will continue to take advantage of a falling rate environment that has seen mortgage rates drop in 14 of the previous 19 weeks.” — Sean Becketti, Chief Economist, Freddie Mac.

3 New MLS Fields

We’ve made some improvements to the MLS by adding 3 new fields. These updates can make searching and communicating with other Subscribers easier and more effective.

1. Use ShowingTime added to Showing Instructions

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Use ShowingTime can be set in Show Instructions – DND2 if you wish to require ShowingTime be used to schedule showings.

2. FIRPTA may apply added to Special Listing Conditions

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FIRPTA may apply can now be disclosed and searched in Special Listing Conditions.

3. Garage dimensions and Basement dimensions 

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Garage dimensions and Basement dimensions can now be entered and are displayed on the detail report.

 

How to Edit the COE Date

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Editing

As with most things in life, some times real estate deals don’t “escrow” according to plan. This means that changing the Close of Escrow date is pretty common. And as long as the COE date hasn’t passed, you can do it right from Flexmls. If your COE date has closed within the last seven days, your brokerage can edit the date for you. If your COE date has been closed for more than seven days, give us a call at 480-303-7020 to change the date.

To Change COE in Flexmls

Under the Add/Change tab, select Change and enter your listing number. Once you’ve pulled up your listing, click Listing Information.

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Under the Status Change Info section, find the Close of Escrow field and edit the dates, making sure to click Save Changes when you’re done.

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New Portal Preferences

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You can now choose what happens after a client clicks a listing link from an auto email. Previously, all clients were taken to the News Feed. Now, you can choose from three destinations:

News Feed (the default)
Links will open in the client’s news feed showing the selected listing and up to 200 of the most recent listings the client has received from their subscriptions.

Emailed Listings
Links will open showing only the listings from that email with the clicked listing selected.

Saved Searches
Links will open to the selected listings within the saved search that generated the email.

This setting can be applied for all clients:
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Or on a per-client basis:
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If you are happy with the current default (News Feed), nothing has changed for you.

How Do I Add a Seller in ShowingTime?

Adding a seller to ShowingTIme gives your client or tenant the power to approve or decline showing requests without you having to act as a go-between. You can add as many sellers as you need to make sure everyone gets the notification.

To Add a Seller
Under Listing Setup select the listing you want to edit.

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Click on Add New Owner/Occupant 

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Enter the fields in the pop-up window and click Save

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What Constitutes a Separate Guest House?

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Casita. Studio. Apartment over the garage. These are just a few names given to separate living quarters. While monikers may differ, there is one field to rule them all: Separate Guest House. Located under Exterior Features, this is the only available option for separate living quarters.

What Constitutes Separate Guest House?
Much like a bedroom definition, ARMLS has no official definition for what we consider to be a separate guest house. If the property you’re dealing with has a separate guest house situation that’s a little ambiguous, these alternate MLS fields may be a better fit for your listing:

Separate Bdrm Exit (under Additional Bedroom)
Guest Qtrs-Sep Entrn (under Other Rooms)
Separate Strge Area (under Parking Features)

Your brokerage may have definitive requirements for separate guest houses, so check with your broker for guidelines.

Are Conditional Commissions Allowed?

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Conditional commissions submitted through the MLS offer financial incentives to the buyer’s agent if certain criteria are met. Some examples of conditional commissions include monetary motivation for a full price offer, showing the property or achieving a specific close of escrow date. Per our rules, Subscribers are not allowed to post conditional commissions on the MLS. 

Allowable Compensations
There are only two types of compensation offers that are valid on the MLS. You can include one or both of these in your listing.

1. A percentage of the gross sales price

2. A pre-established dollar amount

Outside the MLS?
Subscribers can still make a conditional offer of compensation, just not through the MLS. Including a statement in the Realtor Remarks that informs other Subscribers to contact you prior to submitting an offer is an acceptable alternative.

STAT Market Update: March 2016

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Each month Tom Ruff of The Information Market gives his stellar commentary on the housing market. Tom is armed with Pending data of which others do not have access. His insights are below. Read the full issue of STAT for the accompanying graphs.

The first quarter officially ended with a sales volume increase of 3.14% over last year. We have averaged nearly 311 sales per day compared to 306 last year so far in 2016, taking into consideration that there were 62 business days in the first quarter of 2016 compared to 61 in 2015. The increase in sales volume was accompanied by annual increases in both the median sales price as well as total inventory. The median sales price saw a 7.87% increase with total inventory numbers up 4.5%. The increase in total inventory broke the pattern of steady declines seen since last year. Even with the increase, total inventory is below normal levels with serious shortages at the lower end of the market. Our rising but lower than normal inventory levels are best explained by the handsome and articulate Mike Orr of the Cromford Report:

This is deceptive for much of the market because almost all of the missing homes for sale are at the affordable end of the market below $175,000, where they are missing in huge numbers. The absence of the normal low end supply is not just in homes for sale. Affordable homes for rent are also extremely scarce. Entry level buyers and potential tenants are facing strong rises in price with no sign of relief.

I thought it might be interesting to look at quarterly Maricopa County real estate activity as an average business day. Think of it as a day in the life of the real estate market via public records. I’ve attempted to group the data by areas of focus. When reviewing the numbers you’ll see just how consistent and stable our market has been year-over-year with just a few exceptions. The data is a compilation of Maricopa County public records data enhanced with MLS data. Side note – all of the data is accessible in Monsoon.

Foreclosures
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Anyone hoping to buy a property on the court house steps has limited opportunity and can expect professional competition as only 8 properties per day are successfully purchased, just over 6 properties per day are returning to the banks.

Bank Sales
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If no one bids on a property after going to auction it reverts to the beneficiary, in most cases a bank. The bank will then sell the property or deed it to a guaranteeing government entity such as HUD, VA, Freddie Mac or Fannie Mae. GSE stands for a Government Sponsored Enterprise and consists of Fannie/Freddie sales. Simply put, 6 properties per day are returning to the banks via foreclosures and 8 bank sales are occurring for a net reduction in REO inventory of 2 each business day. 8 ARMLS STAT MARCH 2016

Distressed Sales
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Active notices refer to homes that were sold while in foreclosure. By definition, a notice of trustee sale had been filed against the homeowner and the property has a scheduled auction date. An active notice gives a home owner additional motivation to sell. Active notices are being used as a lead source by agents for perspective sellers. Most of the properties that have an active notice sell as short sales. The active notice tag just stresses an added urgency to sell. Agents specializing in this arena are selling about 9 homes combined per business day.

Flips
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Flips are defined as any home that was purchased and then resold in a 6 month period. There are two basic types of flips, wholesale and retail. The wholesale market takes place primarily between investors and these flips can be identified by a very short period of time between the purchase and sale with smaller mark ups. Most flips are retail and this is where it gets interesting as they tell us quite a bit about our market. Flips are normally purchased at below market prices, renovated and then sold for prices that fall into the upper range of what the market will bear. Flips account for 23 home sales per business day.

Traditional Sales & New Construction
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Our market is now dominated by traditional sales. New construction is up approximately 36% year-over-year and is one of the exceptions I mentioned earlier. This is good news for our economy as it means not only an increase in construction jobs but also an increase in business for the trades that market to the buyers of newly built homes.

Financing Activity
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The two tables above compare year-over-year financing activity by daily averages and the ratio between the mortgage amount displayed on the deed of trust and the sales price reported on the affidavit of value. These tables compare March 2015 data and March 2016 compiled from Maricopa County public records. When we look at the yearover-year percentage change of these we see the second notable change in our housing market, an increase in conventional financing. The tables above and chart on the next page clearly reflect this change. What’s the significance of this change? I don’t believe it’s an 9 ARMLS STAT MARCH 2016 indication of buyers having more cash for down payments, but rather an indication of buyers either trading up or trading down and using the equity in the home they are selling to make their new purchase. This is an emerging trend and definitely good news.

ARMLS Pending Price Index (PPI)
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Our last Pending Price Index projected a March median price of $215,000 with the actual median coming in at $215,800, off by 0.37%. Sales volume in March as reported by ARMLS was 8,412 which was 412 sales more than our projected volume of 8,000. Looking ahead to April, the ARMLS Pending Price Index projects a median sales price of $220,000. We begin March with 7,476 pending and 4,538 UCB listings giving us a total of 12,014 residential listings practically under contract. This compares to 11,997 of the same type of listings at this time last year. We expect sales volume in April to be very similar to the numbers last year with an increase in the median sales price. Our projected sales volume for April is 8,400. March was a great month over all as it increased in year-over-year sales volume by 6.5% and the median sales price increased by 7.9% over last year’s numbers. In closing I’d like to share a quotation from Sean Becketti, Chief Economist at Freddie Mac, referring to his outlook for the national housing market in 2016:

Housing markets are poised for their best year in a decade. In our latest forecast, total home sales, housing starts, and house prices will reach their highest levels since 2006. Low mortgage rates, robust job growth and a gradual increase in housing supply will help drive housing markets forward. Low levels of inventory for-sale and for-rent and declining housing affordability will be major challenges, but on balance the nation’s housing markets should sustain their momentum from 2015 into 2016 and 2017.

Are Flat Fee / Limited Representation Listings Allowed in the MLS?

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The MLS has no shortage of interesting listing fields. But one of the fields you won’t see is Limited Representation. Flat fee / limited representation listings occur when a real estate broker accepts a flat fee rather than a percentage of the sale price for the selling side of the transaction without requiring the seller to use all services. While services can sometimes include benefits such as lockboxes and monitoring, the seller is mostly responsible for their side of the transaction. These agreements and business models are practiced by brokerages and agents in our market.

Yes, flat fee / limited representation listings are allowed in the MLS.
Deciding which brokerages and models succeed or fail is not the role of ARMLS and in 2005, the Department of Justice filed a complaint against the National Association of Realtors for policies it perceived as limiting competition in violation of the Sherman Act. After a few years of investigation and a few more years of litigation, a settlement was finally agreed upon that ensured limited representations listings be allowed.

Additionally, one of the provisions of the settlement prohibits MLSs from creating MLS fields to identify limited representation listings. While it’s not required, listing agents can disclose a listing has limited representation in the private remarks section.

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