Listing Gadget Improved and Flexmls App Renamed

Flexmls has undergone a few small new changes. Here’s what’s different.

CCBS and UCB Added in Custom My Listings Gadget
The “My Listings” gadget has now been updated to display an agent’s CCBS and UCB listings. The CCBS and UCB lines are not available on the Classic dashboard. CCBS and UCB are sub-statuses of Active but the gadget now separates them.

My-Listings

Flexmls App Renamed
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The mobile “Flexmls by FBS” app has been renamed as “Flexmls Pro” in the Apple App Store and Google Play Store. If you already have the app, there is no action to take.

 

Listing on Social Media Quiz

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You might be a Photo Quiz whiz, but do you know the rules for putting those photos on social media? Test your Facebook smarts with our Social Media quiz.

Social Media Quiz

STAT Market Update: December 2015

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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.

STAT: 2015 in Review

Each month in STAT, our charts and commentary reflect on the previous month. For example, a December STAT issue will have November’s numbers. This month our commentary will focus on year 2015 in review.

We started 2015 as quietly optimistic, bucking what Freddie Mac’s Multi-Indicator Market Index (MIMI) defined as a “weak and declining market”. It can be great to be a prognosticator of prognosticators, especially when we can sit back and relish our own accomplishments. We were right to be optimistic. The success of 2015 doesn’t rise to champagne corks popping off but there were market improvements in almost every way.

As 2014 ended and 2015 began, there were obvious improvements in our underlying market fundamentals. Put simply, our market was healthier. Price increases had returned to sustainable levels, distressed inventories continued their descent and the percentage of conventional buyers continued to improve. These improving metrics continued throughout the entirety of 2015. With the exception of January, monthly sales volumes for each and every single month were higher in 2015 than in 2014.

Beyond a doubt, 2015 was a much better year than 2014. When Freddie Mac published their quarterly report in October, our market was redefined as improving. Of the four metrics comprising the index, Phoenix outperformed national metrics in terms of affordability and mortgage currency, but lagged behind national averages in overall employment and home purchase applications. As anticipated, our weakest metric, home loan purchase applications (which were still impacted from credit scores damaged by foreclosures), showed marked improvement as 2015 progressed. In particular, the home loan purchase application metric improved 13.73% between August and October.

October 1 saw the introduction of new TRID guidelines causing a temporary disruption of our charts in terms of both sales volume and the median sales price. By mid-December our charts returned to their normal trajectory, leaving the one last noticeable remnant: +4 days added to average closing time for home purchased with a mortgage.

All things considered, 2015 will go down as an average year. Of the 15 years ARMLS has been reporting sales volume, last year ranks as the 8th highest. After the highs and lows our market has experienced over the last decade, an average year is a nice place to land. It was the type of year you can build a career around.

Credit

Any talk of an easing of credit requirements in 2015 was just that, talk. The average FICO score for FHA loans in January of 2015 was 682. This number rose to 689 in June through October and was 687 in November. The average loan-to-value (LTV) ratio for FHA closed loans remained constant through 2015 beginning the year at 95 and closing in November at 96. One of two metrics that did change on FHA closed loans was the closing rate. The closing rate of FHA loans was 57% in January, this number improved to 63.8% in November. When it came to conventional loans closed, the trend lines were very similar. The average FICO score in January was 752 with the number rising slightly in November to 754. LTV ratios for the year ranged between 80% and 81% with the November ratio at 80%. Just like FHA loans, the closing rate ratio saw improvement throughout the year moving from 69.8% to 71.9%.

The second metric that changed in 2015 was how long it took loans to close. The average time to close a conventional purchase increased from 38 days in January to 49 days in November. A portion of this increase was directly attributable to TRID, the average number of days to close a loan increased from 45 to 49 days between October and November. The improvements we saw in closing ratios in 2015 were a result of improving credit scores among applicants.

New Construction

New construction was up 18.2% in Maricopa County, according to public records. Historically, economists have recognized that new home sales are a leading indicator of economic activity, which means they are the first to turn up before a rebound and the first to decline before a recession. New home construction in Maricopa County has been at historic lows for seven years. In the spring of 2015 in Maricopa County, we saw reports of new home building permits increasing 40% year-over-year. In December, we saw these numbers translate into newly constructed homes. December 2015 reported the highest number of new home sales in the last seven years. The 1,284 new construction sales were 44.9% higher than last year for the same period. While new home sales account for only 3.7% of the homes sold on the MLS (27% all new builds were sold on the MLS in 2015), tracking new builds still remains important to the average agent both as an economic indicator and a source of future product.

Rentals

The rental market in 2015 remained tight, vacancy rates were low and rents were on the rise. Say no more, 2015 saw Maricopa County in the midst of an apartment boom. Maps and Facts Unlimited, citing local sources in October, reported nearly 20,000 apartment units in some stage of planning and development. As a caveat they added “Apartment permits peaked in 1984 (30 years ago!) when 33,000 units were permitted.” The significance of 1984 is that baby boomers were between the ages of 20 and 38. Just like the boomers before them, I believe the current boom in apartment construction can be linked directly to the millennials. In 2015 millennials (adults ages 18 to 34), surpassed Generation X to become the largest share of the American workforce according to a Pew Research Center Analysis of U.S. Census Bureau data. The significant number of millennials is impacting our rental market. The renters of today will become the homeowners of tomorrow and these new apartments will offer a source of buyer leads.

As we begin 2016, all of our housing market metrics are positive, nothing but green lights. Over the next three years, approximately 3,500 to 4,000 completed foreclosures per month will hit their magic seven year anniversary and millennials will mature one more year (or at least grow one year older). Gas prices today are continuing downward with a gallon of regular selling for $1.97 compared to $2.04 last year at this time. Oil prices are down to $30.48 a barrel compared to $48.55 last year.

If you followed STAT for any time, you know I’ve been very bullish on housing and that I’ve been expecting a break out year. To be precise, I’ve been anticipating 2016 to be that year. So now that we are on the cusp of 2016 and all our housing metrics have been trending in a positive direction, why do I feel cautious looking ahead to 2016? I don’t know. Maybe it’s because our market is facing a lack of inventory on the lower end as reflected in the median price appreciation more than doubling the appreciation of an average priced home. Maybe it’s because our booms translate into busts and while the metrics are positive now for apartment construction — is it possible we’re over building? While prices at the gas pump are great, is the price of oil reflective of a deflationary cycle and what will be the economic impact of job losses in the oil sector? Will homebuilders that have been focused on affluent buyers be able and willing to address the entry-level buyer?

I believe everyone is in agreement that we currently have a huge amount of pent-up demand, but pent-up demand can stay that way for a long time, and while our recovery has been consistent it has also been slow, very slow. While the sentiments of local builders are positive and have been accentuated by our positive gains in December, the national homebuilder stocks are trending negatively. The S&P Homebuilders Select Industry Index is down 12.62% yearover-year and the S&P Building and Construction Select Index is down 17.96%. The stock market has been volatile, where a 401k based on S&P 500 is down 7.5% in the first two weeks of the year (which can be problematic for first time buyers hoping to use their 401k as the source of their down payment).

It’s apparent my concerns for 2016 lie outside of housing numbers. So, what do I expect for the 2016 housing market? My final answer is I don’t know. Maybe I’m confused because it’s a presidential election year and I saw a euphoric housing year in 2004, followed by a crushing housing collapse in 2008. While I have no idea what 2016 holds for our housing market, I’d be happy to see a repeat of 2015, as I said earlier — it’s the type of year you can build a career around.

The ARMLS Pending Price Index (PPI)

The ARMLS PPI projects a median sales price for January 2016 of $212,000. We begin January of 2016 with 7,486 Pending/UCB listings compared to 6,731 last year. In January of 2015, ARMLS reported 4,784 sales, this year we are anticipating 5,300 for January 2016.

50 Reasons You Need a Realtor

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Think you don’t need a Real Estate Agent? Think again. Buying or selling a home is one of the largest financial transactions people will make in their lives. If you (or anyone you know) is on the fence about getting a Realtor, check back here each week for another reason why using a professional is the wisest move you can make.

We will add new reasons throughout 2016 until we hit 50:

  1. They can handle the lookie-loos. 
  2. Your Realtor can score 100% on this quiz. Can you?
  3. Realtors can handle a client’s *ahem* anxieties.

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There’s An App For That

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At a recent monthly Phoenix real estate tour, Kerry Melcher, ARMLS® MLS Director and former Realtor of 27 years, kicked off the event with a presentation of her favorite apps for Realtors. In case you missed it, here’s a recap of her top apps hand picked for maximum benefit.

  1. Supra eKey
    • No more checking your bag to make sure you have your ActiveKey or worrying if it’s charged. The eKey is an app on your smart phone that lets you access the new lockboxes via Bluetooth. *You must visit an ARMLS Support Center to get started using the app. Call us to learn more.
  2. DocuSign, Sign-n-Send, eSign (via AAR)
    • Scribble your Jon Hancock and send the document right from your phone, unless you enjoy printing, signing ,scanning, and emailing.
  3. MLS
    • Flexmls and Homesnap Pro are mobile versions of your MLS. If you’re not taking advantage of these your shorting yourself.
  4. ShowingTime
    • Schedule and manage showings with other subscribers in the format that’s most convenient for everyone (integrated into the Flexmls app and Homesnap Pro).
  5. Magic Plan
    • Need to re-arrange a room? See what it looks like before you do any heavy lifting by setting to-scale dimensions, selecting your furnishings and creating a perfect floor plan.
  6. Monsoon
    • Tax and public records data at your fingertips via MyMonsoon.com (not an app but optimized for your device).
  7. Social Media
    • Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram- Go where the clients are. Having a strong social media presence opens the door for prospective clients to find you and makes it easier for current clients to get to know you.
  8. Cardmunch, Worldcard
    • Snap a pic of a business card and have it neatly filed away in your app.

ShowingTime Look Outs

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ShowingTime, our new showing request management system, is up and running. As more and more Subscribers learn the system, understanding these five popular functions can help ensure you have a smooth experience using ShowingTime.

  1. ShowingVoice Prompts
    • The prompt is programmed to start when it hears your voice (it’s voice-activated), so be sure to say “hello” to get it started when you answer.
  2. Reduce Your Emails/Notifications
    • You can choose which notification emails or communications you receive by checking or unchecking the each box under “My Agent Setup” in ShowingTime.
  3. Sending Notifications to a Co-Lister
    • Under “Listing Setup”, select the listing you want and then click “Add New Co-Listing Agent”.
  4. Updating Your Profile in ShowingTime
    • ShowingTime will auto-populate your contact information from Flexmls the first time you log in. Once you’ve logged in, you can manually change any profile information. Updating your contact information in Flexmls will not update your profile in ShowingTime if you’ve modified any of the pre-populated contact fields.
  5. Showing Instructions in Flexmls vs ShowingTime
    • The showing instruction functionality in ShowingTime is similar to those in Flexmls but function differently. They are an added convenience but since ShowingTime isn’t mandatory, those showing instructions are informational only. In contrast, Flexmls showing instructions are binding (subject to penalties and fines) and should be viewed before entering a property.

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

 

ARMLS will be available to assist Subscribers on Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Monday, January 18.

The ARMLS Helpdesk (480-303-7020) and the Tempe Support Center will be open

 

9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.

 

 All other departments and support centers will be closed.

 

 All ARMLS locations will return to normal business hours on Tuesday, January 19.

ShowingTime: Q & A

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q & a

ShowingTime is almost here! To help our Subscribers hit the ground selling, we’ve compiled a list of answers to some of the more frequently asked questions.

Q: When will it be available?
A: ShowingTime goes live Monday, January 11.You’ll find it under the “Daily Function” tab and as an icon on the “Details” page of the listing.

Q: Mac and mobile friendly?
A: Yes.

Q: Will this eliminate the need to use the questionnaire through Supra?
A: Yes, the ShowingTime feedback system can easily replace the Supra questionnaire. Just be sure to turn off the questionnaire in Supra.

Q: Will I get showing request texts or calls at 3 a.m.?
A: No, text messages, ShowingVoice calls and push notifications are only sent between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Requests made at 3 a.m. will be sent at 8 a.m. the following morning. Emails are delivered right away.

Q: Will the feedback reports need to be sent manually or are they automatic?
A: Feedback reports are sent automatically and can be sent/resent manually.

Q: How long do agents have to send feedback?
A: There is no time limit on how long an agent has to submit feedback. However, the feedback request emails are only sent three times automatically (agents can set it to send up to four times). The links in the email survey are only active for seven days. After that, the recipient has to respond to feedback through ShowingTime website.

Q: Can you program the showing requests to go to a co-listing agent instead of the listing agent?
A: Yes, you can decide who will receive the request (co-lister, seller, etc).

Q: Will we see if the seller accepts or denies the request?
A: Yes! Depending on how you select to be notified, you’ll get a text, email, phone call, and/or push notification alerting you of any actions.

Q: Is there a time frame the listing agent should accept?
A: An Agent has 3 days to approve the request. After that, the request expires.

Q: Will the seller be copied on feedback responses?
A: That’s up to you! Using Enhanced Feedback User, you can have feedback held for your approval or select to have it automatically sent to the seller. Under Standard Feedback User, only you receive the feedback, which you can then copy and paste into an email for the seller.

What’s with all the ShowingTime hype? Well, it’s a great product! This is day 4 of a 5 day information campaign before ShowingTime goes live on January 11. Visit our website to learn more about all the ways it can improve the way you do business.

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