April 6, 2009
ABoR Members Honored by State Association The Austin Board of REALTORS® (ABoR) congratulates Sytha Gustafson Minter, Charles R. Porter and James A. Reed for the honors they received at the 2009 Texas Association of REALTORS® (TAR) Winter Meeting this month. Garnering awards in both political involvement and education, these individuals exemplify the diversity and dedication of our membership. Sytha Gustafson Minter of Horizon Realty received the Strike Force Award for her contributions to TAR’s grassroots initiatives. Minter was
awarded this honor based on her involvement in the opportunity race program, her service as a legislative liaison and her participation in various TAR Political Affairs programs. She is also a committed investor in the Texas Real Estate Political Action Committee (TREPAC) and a registered voter. Charles R. Porter, 2007 ABoR Chairman and owner of Bryker Properties, received this year’s Ethics Program Award for his course “Basic Water Rights of Texas,” which premiered in June 2008. This class explores the
important role water rights play in Texas real estate brokerage, touching on topics including the founding principles of Texas water law, the “Rule of Capture” and how it impacts aquifers, and riparian rights and “flowing water.” James A. Reed of James A. Reed and Associates received the Sales and Marketing Program Award for his “Short Sales 101” course. In this class, agents are provided with a fuller understanding of the process involved in negotiating “short sale” transactions. First taught in July 2008, the course
educates students on what constitutes a short sale, how the foreclosure process is handled in Texas, how to successfully negotiate a short sale and common problems with these transactions. More information on TREPAC and ABoR’s political involvement may be found at http://www.abor.com/gov_ affairs/home.cfm. Both “Basic Water Rights of Texas” and “Short Sales 101” are offered regularly through the ABoR Academy. Visit www.abor.com/courses to view a full course schedule and to register for classes.
Existing-Home Sales Rise In February
Central Texas Real Estate Sales Volume Down, But Home Prices Show Modest Increase
Existing-home sales increased in February, reversing losses in January. Even so, sales activity remains relatively soft, reflecting additional layoffs and buyers waiting for housing provisions in the economic stimulus package to take effect, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – rose 5.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.72 million units in February from a
Austin Board of REALTORS® February 2009 Statistics releases February 2009 real $271,048,500 – Total dollar volume of single-family estate statistics properties sold. According to the February $189,900 – Median price for single-family homes, a 2009 Multiple Listing Service five percent increase from February 2008. report by the Austin Board 9,373 – Acti ve single-family home listings on the of REALTORS® (ABoR), the market, a three percent increase from February 2008. Austin-area home sales volume 1,116 – Single-family homes sold, a 28 percent decrease as compared to February 2008. remains down year-over-year, but home prices have risen compared to February 2008. The median price of a singlea 28 percent decrease as compared family home in Central Texas was $189,900, up five percent from to one year ago. Collectively, sales in February 2008. There were 1,116 singleSee INCREASE, Page 3 family homes sold in February 2009,
pace of 4.49 million units in January, but are 4.6 percent below the 4.95 million-unit level in February 2008. Seasonal adjustment factors are more volatile in winter months, but sales rates over the past few months show dampened sales activity. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said firsttime buyers accounted for half of all home sales last month, with activity concentrated in lower price ranges. “Because entry See FEBRUARY, Page 7
Protecting Your Online Reputation By: Bernice Ross Like it or not, you have a reputation as a real estate professional both online and offline. Are you taking the necessary steps to protect that reputation? The majority of real estate agents have an e-mail account and a Web site. A much smaller number are actively engaged in LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and/or MySpace. An even smaller number are blogging. Given that the median age of today's Realtor is over 50, it's not surprising that a vast majority don't un-
derstand why participating in these sites is good for their business. Their attitude is, "Why should I care that you are on your fourth cup of coffee today?" Protecting your online reputation begins with activating an account on the major social networking sites mentioned above. Whether or not you choose to participate in the online conversation, it is absolutely critical that you complete a personal profile in order to protect your name and reputation. Here's why. Recently, an executive assistant shared what happened to one of her high-profile clients. She handles all of his e-mail PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PA I D Victoria, TX PERMIT 207
correspondence because he seldom uses a computer. Obviously, blogging and social media sites are not part of his universe. Because her client did not have a profile on these sites, someone who became angry with him was able to set up a profile using his name. This person then posted information that was damaging to her client's reputation. It cost them thousands in legal fees to clean up the mess. To prevent this from happening to you, set up a profile on each of these sites immediately. Then, if someone else claims to be you or shares your name, it will be clear from
Limelight La Vid Urban Homes Page 2
your photo and profile that you are two different people. As an additional precaution, if you have not reserved the
The ShowCase USA is now featuring Inman News, the leading source of independent real estate news, information, advice, research, opinion and commentary for industry professionals and consumers alike.
See REPUTATION on Page 3
Sales Pep Talk How’s that R-Word working out for you? Page 20
The LimeLight La Vid Townhomes offers a blend of craftsman architecture and contemporary finishes. These 37 unique residences include details expected in the custom market and pricing competitive with urban South Austin new construction. Built on 4.34 acres the developer has selectively placed each building on the site in an effort to reduce impervious cover, save trees, & create open space. Standard features include granite counters in the kitchen, cedar covered garage doors, sprinklers, fenced yards, security, pre-wired surround sound, rounded sheetrock corners, rustic alder cabinets, stainless steel appliances and more. Please see the La Vid website www.lavidhomes.com for specifications and additional details. La Vid Urban Homes has engaged Certified Homes to complete the construction phase of buildings on site. Certified Homes is a local custom home builder who has been building in Austin, Texas for the last 15 years. Rick Hardy received an undergraduate degree within the School of Architecture and a Masters in Regional and City Planning from the University of Oklahoma. Robert Hardy holds a B.S. in Construction Science from Texas A&M University. Robert is also a member of the American Institute of Constructors, an Associate Constructor, and has an OSHA Certification. Rick started building in Dallas, Texas in 1985. Robert is the company construction and project manager.
Located 4.5 miles south of downtown Austin this affordable, gated community is close to new restaurants, gyms, shopping and entertainment in the Mopac/ William Cannon area as well as the South Congress district. Easy access to the Airport via Ben White as well as Town Lake, Zilker Park, and Auditorium Shores.
Now Building Phase Two! Exclusive Marketing Agent for La Vid Urban Homes: Lori Kattner, Realtor HARDY REALTY | 512-921-8113 | email@example.com For company information please contact: La Vid Urban Homes Rick Hardy, a licensed Texas Real Estate Broker PO Box 161775 | Austin, Texas 78716 | 512-263-9446 firstname.lastname@example.org 2
April 6, 2009
The ShowCase USA
Coldwell Banker United Renews With Coldwell Banker Brand
ABoR Unlocks Realtors Potential
Town Hall Meeting April 30th
Chart a Course to Healthy Industry
Streetman Homes Hamed NAHB Green Building Award Finalist
Distressed Property Expert
Victoria Reviel named Zip Relaty "Broker of the Year 2008" The N.W. Coldwell Banker United No. 1 Office in Texas
Home Sales Should Stabilize Soon
Fed Actions Suggest Great News on Mortgage Rate
Bank Offers Home Loans Below 4%
Five Cities Receive 'Ambassador' Designation for Affordability
Responsible Lending Principles
Fed Move to Buy More Securities Will Boost Housing Markets
Tax Credit Key to Selling Homes
Accolades Grow for NAR's Green Designation
Champions School of Real Estate Grand Opening, NAHREP luncheon at Cool River Café WCAOR St. Patrick’s Day Celebration, North American Title, AMBA Luncheon ZipRealty Rally Boat Cruise on Lake Austin, ZipRealty Field Day at Grand Mesa, WCR/TREPAC Celebrity Dinner
Parkside at Mayfield Ranch
SALES PEP TALK
How's That R-Word...
AGENTS ON THE MOVE
New Agents Welcomed!
INDUSTRY NEWS & EVENTS
Announcements and Calendar
REPUTATION from Page 1 URL for your name, (e.g., www.yourname.com), take immediate steps to do that as well. Gen X and Gen Y clients typically research your online reputation before they do business with you. To see what others are saying about you online, set up an account at Google Alerts. There's no charge. The system automatically notifies you when and where someone references your name online. It's also important to remember that whatever you post online is there for posterity, even if you take it down at a later date. The pictures or the videos that you thought were so funny today can do lasting harm tomorrow. For example, one of my friends asked permission to shoot a video of me taking a quick survey. He then had me choose between two sets of services and asked which one I would prefer. I chose the set that represented his company because the price was substantially lower. Since I signed the video release before we started, I didn't think much about it afterwards. It all seemed perfectly innocent. Several weeks later, I received a call saying that I was the "star" of this video and that the competitor referenced in the video was livid. I was appalled because the president of the other company has been a great supporter of our services. I spent the better part of the day tracking down the right people to have my part of the video removed and then doing damage control with the other company. Today, you must be supervigilant about any type of recordings, podcasts or videos that you let other people make of you. Another key concern is what you post on your profile. Many people use Facebook as a way to share personal information with friends and family. Facebook and Twitter are now evolving into important tools for
business communication. To protect your family and friends, set up separate accounts on Facebook and/or MySpace that are available only to those you personally know and trust. Keep your business and public-facing accounts separate. On Facebook, you can do more than just connect. You can "poke" other members, send them a beer or ask them to join a cause. While these are fun ways to connect, they can be tremendous time-wasters. Furthermore, each one of these applications accesses the contact information that resides on your Facebook page. In many cases, the applications come from outside organizations. Do you want the information on your home page published elsewhere outside of your control? One of the most serious mistakes that you can make is to post your birth date on your profile. I constantly get birthday requests and have now blocked that functionality on Facebook. While many of us don't want to publish our ages, the real reason to avoid using your birthday is to protect yourself from identity theft. If a site requires you to register and requests your birthday, think carefully about whether you really want to use that site or not. There's a high probability that they are doing "data mining." Data miners collect your personal information and Web surfing patterns and then sell them to other companies. There's no question that our lives are becoming increasingly more public. To protect your online reputation, be vigilant about what you do in public as well as online. Big brother's iPhones and Flipcams are everywhere. Copyright 2009 RealEstateCoach.com
Online Learning Communities Help Austin REALTORS® Connect Searching for an easy way to communicate with fellow REALTORS® about issues that are important to your real estate business? Look no further than the ABoR Learning Communities. This unique social media tool offers password-protected forums that allow ABoR members and MLS subscribers to build a stronger industry through idea-sharing. Links to the Learning Communities can be found in the My Account section and the Quick Links menu of Abor. com. Upon entering the Learning Communities site, users are welcome to join a variety of groups that focus on exploring different aspects of real estate, from green living to emerging market trends. Group members may post discussion topics; share news, links and resources; and communicate with one another via messaging and chat features. Each group
is moderated by one to three REALTORS®, who ensure that discussions remain positive and productive. ABoR’s Learning Communities also enable members to build personal profiles and share noncommercial classified ads and upcoming events with fellow REALTORS®. Log on today and discover how fruitful connecting with your colleagues can be. All ABoR members and MLS subscribers who visit the Learning Communities before May 1 will be entered to win a $75 gift certificate to the Roaring Fork steakhouse. For more information, please contact Kate Voth at 512/454-7636, ext. 1303. The Austin Board of REALTORS® is a non-profit, voluntary organization representing more than 8,000 licensed REALTORS® in Central Texas. For further information, please contact Angela Brutsché at 512/454-7636, ext. 1300.
INCREASE from Page 1
year gap begin to close on sales volume and hope consumer confidence will continue to rise to further spur the market.” He added, “With unprecedented incentives available to homebuyers, such as an $8,000 firsttime homebuyer tax credit and some of the lowest mortgage interest rates in history, we believe many Central Texans will recognize this spring as a great time to build wealth through Austin real estate.”
February 2009 contributed $271,048,500 to the local economy. “These statistics demonstrate how Austin-area home prices have held steady and continue to appreciate, despite volatile credit markets and difficult conditions in other states,” explained ABoR Chairman Jay Gohil. “Compared to last month, we’re seeing the year-over-
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April 6, 2009
Eye on the Economy:
Home Sales Should Stabilize Soon
As we expected, growth of real gross domestic product (GDP) for the final quarter of 2008 has been revised down substantially by the Commerce Department — from an annual rate of -3.8% in the “advance” report to -6.2% in the “preliminary” report. The revised number is the sharpest quarterly contraction since the depths of the 1982 recession. The downward revision for the fourth quarter reflected weaker numbers for many components of GDP, including consumer spending, business inventory investment, net exports and nonresidential fixed investment — including production of nonresidential structures. The housing production component of GDP (residential fixed investment) was revised only slightly, showing a 22.2% rate of contraction that knocked 0.78 of a percentage point off the overall GDP growth rate for the fourth quarter. That’s quite a large drag from a relatively small component of the economy (about 3%) that’s been falling for three full years.
Another Stock Market Debacle Deepens Economic Problems Early This Year
The stock market apparently had hit
bottom early last November, and the market managed to stage a modest recovery over the balance of 2008. But then the equity market took another major leg downward, carving another $2 trillion from household net worth and decimating the attitudes of consumers, businesses and financial market participants alike. The market has rallied in recent days, on the backs of financial companies of all things, but the market remains deeply in bear territory and the durability of the recent rally is highly in doubt. Available evidence on economic activity for the early part of 2009 points toward contraction of all major components of real final sales (inflation adjusted) other than spending by the federal government on national defense. Another major decline in GDP definitely is in the cards for the first quarter — we’re currently estimating -5.5% — even if the stock market continues to improve over the balance of this month. With respect to housing production, we’re expecting residential fixed investment to contract at an annual rate of about 40% in the first quarter, the largest quarterly contraction of the entire downswing. This is virtually inevitable in the wake of a massive downshift in housing starts late last
DON’T IGNORE THE SIGNS!
year and early 2009 that’s taking residential construction put-in-place down sharply at this time.
Labor Market Deterioration Has Picked Up Steam
The current recession began at the end of 2007 when the job market started to lose ground, and the labor market has been deteriorating rapidly through February. According to the latest figures, nonfarm payroll employment has declined by 4.4 million since the recession began, and more than half of that decline, 2.6 million, has occurred during the last four months. Residential construction (builders and specialty trade contractors) continues to be an important part of the deteriorating employment story, shedding 911,000 jobs since its peak in February 2006 and losing 226,000 during the last four months alone. The unemployment rate has been moving up substantially from the cyclical low of 4.4% in 2007 and major increases have been recorded in recent months. Indeed, the civilian unemployment rate jumped from 7.6% in January to 8.1% in February, the highest reading since 1983. The Labor Department’s broadest measure of labor “underutilization,” including
discouraged workers and those working only part time for economic reasons, soared to a lofty 14.8% in February — up by more than five percentage points over the past year. Further deterioration of the labor market is inevitable, for both the housing sector and the overall economy. We expect large payroll job losses to persist through the second quarter and we expect the unemployment rate to peak out above 9% around the end of the year.
Home Sales Should Be Stabilizing Soon
Large cumulative declines in home prices in many areas, combined with attractive interest rates on prime conventional conforming fixed-rate mortgages (salable to Fannie Mae or Freddie Mac) and an FHA/VA loans, have generated substantial improvements in housing affordability measures even as the deepening recession has taken a toll on median household income. Surveys of consumer sentiment (University of Michigan) showed relatively large proportions of households saying in both January and February that it was a “good time” to buy a house, primarily because of low See STABILIZE, Page 13
Yes, There Is Help In Kyle! Luann M. Sandahl, LPC
Now is the time for your clients to buy! All signs indicate there’s never been a more opportune time for your clients to buy a new Meritage, Legacy or Monterey home. Plus our generous realtor incentives make it a win-win situation. Don’t miss out! Bring your clients to one of our 33 Austin area neighborhoods today before many of these special savings opportunities are in your rear view mirror.
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MeritageHomes.com or call (512) 627-9619 Promotion available for a limited time only. Prices, rates, terms, programs and availability subject to change or revocation without prior notice or obligation. Offers and availability, including amount, duration and particular home/plan, vary. Cannot be combined with any other promotion or incentives unless approved by Meritage Management. Job Loss Protection Program is not a commitment to lend. Loans subject to underwriting, credit, and property approval. Loan products and coverage terms and limits may vary by state. Not all borrowers will qualify. Maximum benefit of up to $2,500 per month for up to six months, subject to involuntary unemployment insurance policy terms, restrictions, and conditions, vesting and waiting periods, claim filing requirements, and certificate of coverage issuance. Other restrictions may apply. Terms, policy, and programs may be changed or cancelled at any time without notice. Equal opportunity lender. $8,000 Federal tax credit available to qualified first-time homebuyers. Limitations apply. Please see your tax advisor for details or visit www.federalhousingtaxcredit.com. Free Credit Repair program is available to help educate and inform you about credit related issues. Such information is not intended to serve as legal advice. We do not promise or guarantee your credit score will be increased or restored. APR for: Monterey is 5.509%; Meritage is 5.528%; Legacy is 5.552%. Estimated payments, subject to change based on market conditions. Example shown: $1,031 - 1st year payments rate at 4.250%, 2nd – 30 years fixed at 5.250%. The payments above require 10% down and are a combination of a 1st mortgage (4.250% 1st year/5.250% 2-30 on a 30 year fixed-rate loan, fully amortized, $417,000 max amount) and a 2nd mortgage (at 8% fully amortized over 30 years, due in 15 years, $100,000 max amount). APR based on a 30-year fixed rate loan, calculated on a 365-day year with typical closing costs. Payments estimate principal & interest only, and do not include taxes, insurance, mortgage insurance or HOA dues, if applicable. Not valid with existing contacts or other offers. Not a commitment to lend. Rates, APRs, fees, payments, offer, loan products, & programs may vary and are subject to change or cancellation at any time without notice. Subject to underwriting/credit/property approval, seller contribution limits, and other conditions. Financing through Prestige Lending Services, Ltd., an affiliated lender. TX license No. 75436. (512) 527-0200. 8920 Business Park Dr. #175, Austin, TX 78759. Equal opportunity lender. Other restrictions may apply to programs. Please see agent for details. Broker Co-op paid at closing; Broker MUST accompany buyer on 1st sales office visit. Square footage references are approximate only. Photographs are representative of a Meritage Homes design, but not necessarily offered at the advertised communities.
April 6, 2009
The ShowCase USA
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Coldwell Banker United, Realtors Renews Long Term Franchise Agreement Coldwell Banker United, Realtors, which has grown dramatically since affiliating with the Coldwell Banker® brand in 1986, has renewed its franchise agreement and will remain a Coldwell Banker affiliated company through at least 2020. Coldwell Banker United, Realtors is the largest affiliate within the Coldwell Banker system. Coldwell Banker United, Realtors, under the leadership of Richard A. Smith, president and chief executive officer, has grown from a small operation in College Station, Texas, to being ranked as one of the top five real estate companies in the United States by REAL Trends. Today, Coldwell Banker United, Realtors has more than 2,400 sales associates working in nearly 80 residential offices in Texas, Mississippi, Alabama, Florida, North Carolina and South Carolina. “I have worked with Richard and his management team at Coldwell Banker United, Realtors for many, many years and have always been so impressed with them,” Jim Gillespie, president and chief executive officer of Coldwell Banker Real Estate, LLC. “They have done an amazing job of increasing the in brokerage company’s footprint, size, scope and profitability over the years, yet never wavered on their dedication to ensuring the needs of their sales
associates and customers are met. Richard is a leader in the Coldwell Banker system, and we are thrilled that he sees so much value in the brand.” Gillespie also pointed out that Coldwell Banker United, Realtors led the entire Coldwell Banker franchise network in 2008, which includes affiliated companies in 46 countries, in transaction sides and gross commission income. “I am as excited today as I was in 1986 when I first affiliated with Coldwell Banker,” Smith said. “The brand has a rich history spanning 103 years, yet continues to lead our industry with innovation after innovation. My management team and I have a responsibility to make certain that our sales associates have the best opportunity to grow their businesses while providing consumers with unmatched resources. There is no better brand than Coldwell Banker to help us achieve those goals.”
Right: Jim Gillespie, President and CEO Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC, Alex Perriello, President, Realogy Franchise Group and Richard Smith, President and CEO Coldwell Banker United, Realtors signing a 10-year renewal.
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April 6, 2009
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April 6, 2009
The ShowCase USA
FEBRUARY from Page 1 level buyers are shopping for bargains, distressed sales accounted for 40 to 45 percent of transactions in February,” he said. “Our analysis shows that distressed homes typically are selling for 20 percent less than the normal market price, and this naturally is drawing down the overall median price.” The national median existing-home price for all housing types was $165,400 in February, down 15.5 percent from a year ago when the median was $195,800 and conditions were close to normal; the median is where half of the homes sold for more and half sold for less. “Given the downward distortion in price comparisons due to distressed sales, it’s important for owners to keep in mind that this doesn’t equate to a similar loss of value for traditional homes in good condition,” Yun explained. Yun said a recovery in the West is much stronger than expected. “Strong sales gains in the West are led by California, where the median listing price is beginning to rise for the first time in three years,” he said. NAR President Charles McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in DallasFort Worth, said home shopping activity has picked up with housing affordability at a record high. “The number of buyers looking for homes rose 5 percent in February, and also was 5 percent above a year ago,” he said. “It appears most of the increase in buyer traffic occurred in the latter part of the month after the $8,000 first-time buyer tax credit was put in place. At the same time, mortgage purchase applications have risen, so we expect to see sales picking up around late spring.” McMillan noted that more potential buyers are learning about the tax credit, just as the traditional spring home-buying season begins. “In this changing market, smart buyers and sellers consult with Realtors® who can advise them about current conditions in their area, and counsel them on the best way to move forward,” he said. According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixedrate mortgage edged up to 5.13 percent in February from a record low 5.05 percent in January; the rate was 5.92 percent in February 2008. Last month’s average mortgage rate was the second lowest since data collection began in 1971. Last week the rate further declined to 4.98 percent. Total housing inventory at the end of February rose 5.2 percent to 3.80 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 9.7-month supply at the current sales pace, unchanged from January. In the six months prior to February, the total number of homes for sale had steadily declined from a record level last July. Single-family home sales rose 4.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.23 million in February from a level of 4.05 million in January, but are 3.6 percent below the 4.39 million-unit pace in February 2008. The median existing single-family home price was $164,600 in February, down 15.0 percent from a year ago. Existing condominium and co-op sales increased
11.4 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 490,000 units in February from 440,000 units in January, but are 13.1 percent lower than the 564,000-unit pace a year ago. The median existing condo price was $172,200 in February, which is 18.7
"...most of the increase in buyer traffic occurred in the latter part of the month after the $8,000 first-time buyer tax credit was put in place. At the same time, mortgage purchase applications have risen..." percent lower than February 2008. Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast jumped 15.6 percent to an annual pace of 740,000 in February, but are 14.9 percent below February 2008.
The median price in the Northeast was $251,200, down 4.8 percent from a year ago. Existing-home sales in the Midwest increased 1.0 percent in February to a pace of 1.04 million but are 14.0 percent lower than a year ago. The median price in the Midwest was $131,000, which is 7.8 percent below February 2008. In the South, existing-home sales rose 6.1 percent to an annual pace of 1.74 million in February but are 11.2 percent below February 2008. The median price in the South was $146,700, down 10.0 percent from a year ago. Existing-home sales in the West increased 2.6 percent to an annual rate of 1.20 million in February and remain 30.4 percent higher than a year ago. The median price in the West was $204,600, which is 30.3 percent below February 2008. The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Copyright National Association of REALTORS. Reprinted with permission.
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Fed Actions Suggest ABoR Leadership Program Unlocks Great News on ® REALTORS ’ Potential Mortgage Rates The Federal Reserve on March 18 announced it was taking aggressive actions to unlock the nation’s sluggish credit markets and putting a major focus on further lowering mortgage interest rates. In the process, the Fed has sent a strong signal to prospective home buyers that highly favorable financing terms make this the right time for fence sitters to return to the housing market. The Fed said it would buy up to $300 billion in long-term Treasury bonds over the next six months and purchase up to an additional $750 billion in mortgage-backed securities backed by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — bringing total agency MBS purchases this year to $1.25 trillion. The Fed said it also plans to double its purchases of Fannie and Freddie debt to $200 billion. Mortgage rates are expected to drop significantly in response to the Fed moves. In his analysis of the results of Freddie
Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey for the week ending on March 19, Chief Economist Frank Nothaft noted that long-term bond yields plummeted following the Fed’s announcement. “Yields on 10-year Treasury bonds fell by about a half percentage point after the announcement,” he said, “marking the largest one-day decline since Oct. 20, 1987." Nothaft largely attributed reports of slower industrial production for a decline in last week’s long-term mortgage rates to near-record lows. The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage averaged 4.98% in the latest Freddie Mac survey, down from 5.03% the previous week. One-year Treasuryindexed ARMs averaged 4.91%, up from 4.80% in the prior survey. The above article has been provided to you compliments of NAHB and Nation’s Builder News.
Congratulations to the inaugural class of the Austin Board of REALTORS®’ Leadership Program. This course, led by Lynda Conway of J.B. Goodwin, REALTORS®, will enable select ABoR members with strong management abilities to interact with other motivated individuals to further improve their leadership skills. Participants will also establish a valuable network of resources that will aid their continued development. The Leadership Program began February 9, and participants will graduate on May 27, 2009. The following applicants have been chosen based on their involvement and experience in the real estate industry: Paula Adkins of Paula Adkins Real Estate; David Burton of Home Team of America; Chad Cardani of Austin Real Pros, REALTORS®; Socar Chatmon-Thomas of Elegant Estates by Auction; Barb Cooper of Coldwell Banker United, REALTORS®; Marcus Cox of Avalar Austin; Bill Evans of Austin Real Pros, REALTORS®; Aaron Farmer of Texas Discount Realty;
Debbie Fontenette of Keller Williams Realty; Jay Gohil of Jay Gohil Realty; Leonard Guerrero of J.B. Goodwin, REALTORS®; Shelia Hawkins-Bucklew of Hawkins Bucklew International, REALTORS®; John Horton of John Horton Realty; Susie Kang of Joa Realty; Janet Murdock of J.B Goodwin, REALTORS®; Julie Potts of Hill Country Property Management; Joe Stewart of John Horton Realty; Sherri Teepen of Keller Williams Realty; and Robert Wright of R.L. Wright, REALTORS®. Applications for the upcoming Leadership program, which runs from July 8 through October 28, 2009, will be accepted through mid-May. For more information on ABoR’s Leadership Program and the application process, contact the Education Department at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512/454-7636. The Austin Board of REALTORS® is a non-profit, voluntary organization representing more than 8,000 licensed REALTORS® in Central Texas. For further information, please contact Sally Yaryan at 512/454-7636, ext. 1600.
Bank Offers Home Loans Below 4% A small bank in the Pacific Northwest is hoping to boost sales for builders who owe the bank millions by offering mortgages to new homebuyers at less than 4 percent interest. Banner Bank began offering the low rates through a subsidiary on March 7 in Portland, Ore., and surrounding markets, and plans to expand the program next month to Seattle and Spokane, Wash., and Boise, Idaho. In announcing the "Great Northwest Home Rush" program, Banner subsidiary Community Financial Corp. said borrowers with good credit and 20 percent down payments could qualify for 30-year fixed-rate loans with a "note rate" of as low as 3.875 percent. That translates into a 3.973 percent annual percentage rate, or APR, when the best rate available from most lenders is closer to 5 percent. Even prospective homebuyers bringing no money to the table could obtain 4.875 percent fixed-rate loans, the bank said. The catch is that the loans are available only for properties purchased from a list of several hundred homes and lots developed by about 75 builders who have millions in outstanding loans with Banner. The list includes homes and lots in Redmond and Vancouver, Wash., and several cities in Oregon including Beaverton, Bend 8
April 6, 2009
and Portland. As many as $50 million in lowinterest loans will be made in the Portland area through March 22, said Ken Larsen, Banner's senior vice president, real estate lending. "We've had pretty nice success with it in Portland," Larsen said, selling 30 of 300 available homes on the first day. "We want to reach out to people who are sitting on the fence and waiting
hoped the $787 billion stimulus bill signed into law on Feb. 17 would bring 30-year fixed-rate mortgages down to 2.99 percent on sales closed by June 30, and to 3.99 percent on closings between June 30 and Dec. 31 (see story). The National Association of Realtors, which supports a temporary government interest-rate buy-down program, has estimated that a 1 percent reduction in mortgage interest rates
for the bottom, and help them out. Noboby will know where the bottom is until two months later." Banner's program is not unlike a proposal put forward by building industry groups that the government subsidize mortgage rates for all qualified borrowers. The National Association of Home Builders and other members of a "Fix Housing First Alliance" group had
boosts buying power by 10 percent and can generate 500,000 or more sales. Although the Federal Reserve is purchasing billions of mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac -- a move that's credited with bringing rates on conventional, conforming loans to near-historic lows of around 5 percent -- the stimulus bill did not include the interest-rate subsidy program advocated by the
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industry. Some economists and real estate professionals worry that buyer incentives and even some foreclosureprevention initiatives might unnecessarily prolong the housing downturn by preventing home prices from returning to levels where they are supported by market fundamentals. Sean O'Toole, chief executive officer of ForeclosureRadar.com, a company that tracks properties through the foreclosure process in California, said lowering interest rates generally increases prices, as homebuyers buy based on monthly payments rather than price. "What will happen to prices after the 4 percent deals are gone and someone needs to resell? They'll drop to prices people can afford at then-current rates, leaving all those folks with 4 percent loans underwater," he said. If lower interest rates mean higher sales prices, that will also mean higher property taxes for homebuyers, O'Toole said. The low-interest loans Banner is providing consumers will give them more buying power, Larsen said, but he doesn't see the potential for the program to artificially inflate home prices. "We just have a small piece of the market, and I'd argue that prices can't get much lower for the new stuff," Larsen said. The bank can't expect to make See BANK LOAN, Page 13 www.TheShowCaseUSA.com
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Five Cities Receive 'Ambassador' Designation for Expanding Affordable Housing Opportunities Five cities have been designated as 2009 Ambassador Cities by the National Association of Realtors® and the U.S. Conference of Mayors. The cities are Houston; Lexington, Ky.; Jupiter, Fla.; Helena, Mont.; and TriValley, Calif. NAR and the U.S. Conference of Mayors, through its Council on the New American City, launched the Ambassadors for Cities program in 2003 to encourage cities and local Realtor® associations to form partnerships to promote and expand affordable housing opportunities in their communities. “Realtors® build communities and are committed to promoting safe, decent and affordable housing opportunities,” said NAR President Charles McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth. “The five cities receiving the Ambassador for Cities designation this year should be commended for forming strategic partnerships with their mayors and local governments as well as public, private and nonprofit organizations to help create and maintain affordable housing in their communities.” The goal of the Ambassador for Cities program is to highlight successful private and public partnerships that will serve as models to other communities. The five Ambassador City designees will each hold public events during the year, which will highlight the success of their partnership and provide an opportunity to further discuss and encourage affordable housing. Through the program, Realtor® associations receive a plaque and $5,000 to help promote their event or initiative. Since its inception, the program has honored 34 cities and awarded $170,000 in grants to support local affordable housing initiatives. The 2009 Ambassador for Cities designees and their programs are:
help low-income elderly and disabled/mobility impaired residents maintain their homes. Repair Affair is an annual event that assists elderly homeowners with necessary exterior repairs; RAMP provides low-income families with wheelchair ramps or other exterior modifications for easier mobility at their homes.
Jupiter, Fla., and the JupiterTequesta-Hobe Sound Association of Realtors®
SOLD on Jupiter. JTHS has partnered with local government to host several affordable housing and homeownership events. The events include a parade of affordable homes for sale in the community and a fair where residents can learn about affordable housing options and meet with lenders, Realtors®, and nonprofit home buyer assistance agencies to learn more about mortgages and homeownership.
Tri-Valley, Calif. (Pleasanton, Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon and Danville) and the BayEast Association of Realtors®
Tri-Valley Housing Opportunity Center. BayEast has partnered with a coalition of five cities to develop the Tri-Valley Housing Opportunity Center, a nonprofit public charity that provides pre- and post-purchase home buyer education, income and asset development education, information regarding private sector lender programs, and funding sources – helping match those in need with programs and services that benefit them most. Realtors® serve as trainers for TVHOC orientations and workshops and help develop unique sales solutions for low- and moderate-income buyers. Copyright National Association of REALTORS. Reprinted with permission.
Helena, Mont., and the Helena Association of Realtors®
Helena Area Housing Task Force. HAR is partnering with the city and mayor to recreate a housing task force and develop a comprehensive housing affordability strategy, including a local housing needs assessment, which will help identify housing needs in the community, establish housing priorities and recommend affordable housing projects to the city and partners. The task force will address the changes in housing needs that have occurred in Helena since the last plan was developed in 1999 and update the strategy annually. Houston and the Houston Association of Realtors® Houston HOPE Homes. HAR has partnered with the city of Houston to increase Realtor® and consumer awareness of the city’s downpayment assistance programs, which offer $30,000 to $40,000 to qualified individuals who purchase homes below a set price in one of nine Houston neighborhoods currently undergoing revitalization. HAR created a map-based search engine, available on both the Houston HOPE Web site and www. HAR.com, to help consumers search listings easily in the Houston HOPE neighborhoods.
Lexington, Ky., and the LexingtonBluegrass Association of Realtors®
Repair Affair/Remodeling for Access and Mobility Project. LBAR’s nonprofit organization, the Realtor®Community Housing Foundation, has partnered with the local county government on two projects to
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April 6, 2009
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STABILIZE from Page 4 prices and low interest rates. Improving sentiment has not yet shown through in official home sales data. Sales of new homes, as reported by the Commerce Department, and “pending” sales of existing homes reported by the National Association of Realtors® (both based on contract signings) declined substantially in January, reaching new cyclical lows. NAHB’s proprietary survey of large single-family builders, available through February, is providing some tentative encouraging signs. Seasonally adjusted gross sales (new orders) have been essentially flat since last November, and seasonally adjusted net sales showed a modest recovery over that period as sales cancellations continued to move downward in absolute terms. NAHB’s broad-based single-family Housing Market Index also was essentially flat during the NovemberFebruary period, albeit at or near the record low for the series, and preliminary tabulations point toward more of the same in March. NAHB’s baseline forecast shows a bottoming-out of sales of both new and existing homes in the first quarter of this year, aided and abetted by key provisions of the economic stimulus bill that was signed into law on Feb. 17 — the $8,000 refundable, but not repayable, tax credit for first-time buyers and the boosting of loan limits for both the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs) and FHA back to 2008 levels.
Everything Now Depends on the Strength of Economic Policy
The economy recently has gone from bad to worse, despite a variety of economic policy supports put in place late last year. The fate of the economy and the housing sector now depend very heavily on the strength of President Obama’s three-legged policy stool, along with complementary monetary policy support from the Federal Reserve. Policy actions by foreign governments also will be part of the policy puzzle. There are major question marks about all of this: • Will the recently enacted fiscal
stimulus bill be large enough, with enough short-term stimulus, to fill widening holes in key components of private spending? • Will Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner’s Financial Stability Plan really stabilize financial markets via recapitalization of the banking system and removal of “toxic” assets from bank balance sheets? • Will President Obama’s plan to stem mortgage foreclosures be strong enough to make a real difference? • Finally, will the Federal Reserve be able to revive moribund credit markets via various “balance sheet” policies when the federal funds rate already is at its effective floor? Regarding the credit markets, the recently launched Term Asset-Backed Securities Loan Facility (TALF), a cooperative venture involving the Fed and Treasury, holds out promise for selected consumer and small-business asset-backed security (ABS) markets — and possibly for commercial as well as private-label mortgage-backed securities markets. But it’s too early to tell how much difference the much-heralded TALF will make. The resolve and skill of economic policymakers will determine the length and depth of the current recession and the dimensions of the ensuing recovery and expansion. It does appear that policymakers have agreed, explicitly and implicitly, to prevent more “systemically important” major financial institutions from going belly-up. (Lehman Brothers was an unmitigated disaster for the markets.) If that’s the case, and if a decent measure of financial stability is restored in reasonably short order, then the recent judgment by Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke that, “…there is a reasonable prospect that the current recession will end in 2009 and that 2010 will be a year of recovery,” looks like a good bet. That’s the guts of NAHB’s current baseline forecast, although the range of risk remains unusually wide. The above article has been provided to you compliments of NAHB and Nation’s Builder News.
BANK LOAN from Page 8 much, if anything, on the low-interest mortgages themselves. But the loans may help Banner control rising losses in its residential construction and land-loan portfolio because the money it loans to consumers will also come back through the door as debt payments from builders. "Our intent was to sell our builder inventory and help our builders out," Larsen said. "They've got units that, until they sell them, they can't start on the next one." Banner never engaged in subprime lending, but did provide construction and land loans to dozens of builders during the boom. The Walla Walla, Wash.-based bank's publicy traded parent company, Banner Corp., recently reported that it had about $150 million in bad residential construction and related lot and land loans on the books at the end of 2008. Although one- to four-family construction and land loans represented only 23 percent of Banner's loan portfolio, they constituted 82 percent of nonperforming assets, bank officials said. Other banks in the region have had similar problems. Two of Banner Bank's competitors, Silver Falls Bank and Pinnacle Bank, were closed by Oregon regulators and placed into receivership by the FDIC last month after losses on commercial construction and real estate loans soared. In January, Banner reported a $78.5 million fourth-quarter loss and a $128 million loss for the year, and the government took a $124 million stake in the company in November through the Troubled Assett Relief Program (TARP). But company officials say they have reduced their exposure to residential construction loans, and that Banner remains well capitalized. According to a regulatory filing, Banner cut back construction and land development loan originations by 36 percent in 2007, to $855 million, and made even more drastic cutbacks in 2008. By the end of last year, Banner said it had reduced the outstanding balance of one- to four-family residential construction loans by $233.9 million, down from a peak of $655 million in the summer of 2007. Nevertheless, at the end of September,
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two dozen developers who owed Banner Bank more than $1 million each had stopped making payments on their debts, the company said. Among those defaulting on their loans were a developer with 196 unfinished lots in a subdivision near Seattle, who owed $18 million, and the builder of a partially completed, 49-home subdivision in "a desirable suburban location" near Portland who owed $11 million. Banner has also been forced to take back more and more of the property put up as collateral by developers. The $10 million in real estate-owned property on Banner's books at the end of September included a subdivision with a book value of $4.5 million "secured by 74 fully developed and marketable single-family building lots" in Salem, Ore. By the end of the year, the dollar value of REO inventory and repossessed assets on Banner's books had more than doubled, to $21.9 million, the company said. With new-home construction in many regions having essentially ground to a halt, there will inevitably be a shortage of new homes once a recovery sets in because there will be a lag before builders can catch up with demand, Larsen said. "Nobody is building new homes right now, and once these are gone, they're gone," he said. Banner's low rates have caught the interest of the news media, including columnist Laura Rowley, who called the incentive program "a model of how the Troubled Asset Relief Program is supposed to work," in her "Money & Happiness" column published by Yahoo! Finance. Larsen said the attention the program has received is not unwelcome, but comes as something of a surprise, given that many builders offer incentives to buyers. It may be that the program is easier for consumers to grasp than seller contributions or interest-rate buy-downs, he said. Copyright 2009 Inman News
April 6, 2009
Save the Date: Town Hall Realtors® Recommend Meeting Set for April 30 Responsible Lending Join your fellow REALTORS® on Thursday, April 30 for ABoR’s spring Town Hall Meeting. The event will last from 9 to 10:30 a.m. in the ABoR Auditorium and includes breakfast. This meeting is a great opportunity to catch up with your colleagues and get to know the 2009 Association leadership team while learning more about your industry. Gerald Klassen, a research analyst with the Texas A&M Real Estate Center, will deliver the keynote speech, entitled “The Future of Mortgage Finance and its Impact on Your Business.” He will also discuss current economic conditions affecting the Texas and Austin housing
markets. The Town Hall Meeting is free and open to all ABoR members, but advance reservations are required. Secure your spot by visiting https://www.abor.com/ events/townhallspring.cfm. For more information on the upcoming Town Hall Meeting, please contact ABoR’s Education Department at education@ abor.com or 512/454-7636. The Austin Board of REALTORS® is a non-profit, voluntary organization representing more than 7,500 licensed REALTORS® in Central Texas. For further information, please contact Angela Brutsché at 512/454-7636, ext. 1300.
Chart the Course to a Healthy Industry Register for ABoR’s Annual TREPAC Golf Tournament Calling all golfers! Registration for the annual Texas Real Estate Political Action Committee (TREPAC) Golf Tournament is now underway. The tournament will be held on Friday, May 1 at the award-winning Falconhead Golf Club, located at 15201 Falconhead Blvd. in south Austin. With a registration fee of just $99 per person, this event is sure to sell out. If golf isn’t your sport, you can still show your support for TREPAC by purchasing a $25 dinner ticket. The 2009 TREPAC Golf Tournament begins at 10 a.m. with check-in and practice. Lunch will be available from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., at which time the tournament will begin. Be sure to stay for the awards ceremony and dinner at 5:30 p.m. Prizes will be awarded for
putting, men’s longest drive, women’s longest drive and more. Registration for the tournament includes lunch, range balls, green fees, golf cart, beverages and dinner. Payments are accepted via cash, check or credit card. All payments are a direct investment in TREPAC. For more information and to purchase tickets, contact Emily Chenevert at firstname.lastname@example.org or 512/4547636, ext. 1501. TREPAC, the Texas Real Estate Political Action Committee, is your profession's insurance policy that safeguards your interests. Invest in yourself and your profession— contribute to the PAC. For further information, contact the Government Affairs Department at government@ abor.com or 512/454-7636.
Realtors® care about protecting consumers from unfair lending practices and are important allies in those efforts. That is the message National Association of Realtors® President Charles McMillan delivered to the House Financial Services Committee’s Subcommittee on Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit in testimony today. “As we have seen recently, abusive lending erodes confidence in the nation’s housing system, strips equity from homeowners and damages local and national economies,” said McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth. In 2005 NAR adopted a set of Responsible Lending Principles to encourage lending practices that ensure consumers have affordable mortgage choices and are protected in the real estate transaction. The principles also call for ensuring strong underwriting, eliminating prepayment penalties, eliminating mortgage flipping, strengthening enforcement against predatory and abusive lending practices, and maintaining the independence of appraisers and the appraisal process. While NAR’s written testimony further detailed the responsible lending practices that NAR has advocated for many years, the focus of McMillan’s testimony was appraisal independence. “Realtors® believe that a strong and independent appraisal industry is vital to restoring faith in the mortgage origination process,” said McMillan. With a record of supporting legislation that strikes the proper balance of oversight and consumer
protection, NAR has endorsed legislation that would strengthen the independence of the appraisal process by ensuring appraisers serve as an unbiased arbiter of a property’s value. To protect consumers, NAR recommended that lenders be required to inform each borrower of how property value was determined and provide them with a copy of each appraisal at no additional cost. NAR also called for stronger penalties against anyone who improperly influences the appraisal process, federal support for better state enforcement, and enhanced education and qualifications for appraisers. “The irresponsible and abusive lending that occurred during the past few years has taken a toll on our communities and our nation. Now is the time to correct these problems to ensure we do not face the same circumstances in the future,” McMillan said. “Realtors® are proud to encourage responsible lending and we stand ready to work with Congress to ensure that the nightmare of foreclosures does not overshadow the American Dream of homeownership. As the leading advocate for homeownership and the real estate industry, NAR will continue to address issues facing Americans who are trying to purchase a home, protect their current home or preserve investment opportunities in residential and commercial properties.” Copyright National Association of REALTORS. Reprinted with permission.
Realtors® Say Fed Move to Buy More Securities Will Boost Housing Markets The following is a statement by National Association of Realtors® President Charles McMillan: “The National Association of Realtors® applauds the Federal Reserve announcement today that it would purchase an additional $750 billion in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac mortgage-backed securities and up to $300 billion in longer term Treasury securities. This is great news for American home buyers
and homeowners because mortgage interest rates will continue to remain at historic lows. “NAR has been advocating since last fall that the Fed be more active in buying mortgage-backed securities. We are excited that the Fed acted on this provision of the stimulus plan that we offered to the government in November. “Greater numbers of home buyers will be able to purchase a home, and
homeowners facing challenges will be able to refinance into better terms. We already are experiencing a great improvement in housing affordability due to historically low interest rates, and the Fed’s move will push affordability conditions to the best levels in 40 years. In addition, continued low rates will lessen foreclosure pressure and help stabilize home prices sooner, as more American buy homes and draw down inventory.”
The National Association of Realtors®, “The Voice for Real Estate,” is America’s largest trade association, representing 1.2 million members involved in all aspects of the residential and commercial real estate industries. Copyright National Association of REALTORS. Reprinted with permission.
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Tax Credit Key to Selling Homes, Marketing Experts Say Home builders may be underestimating the mileage they can derive from the recently enacted $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers and should be doing whatever they can to actively promote it with their prospective buyers, according to residential marketing experts participating in an NAHB teleconference on March 16. “Home builders and their sales and marketing teams can use the credit to clear off excess inventory,” NAHB President and CEO Jerry Howard told the more than 900 association members who called in for the presentation, which included a question and answer session on specifics of the provisions governing the use of the credit. Suggesting that it is “the best kept secret in the world” in quarters of the housing industry where it can do the most good, Dan Levitan, MIRM, CMP, of Levitan and Associates in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., noted that “except for large and regional builders, we are not doing what we should to promote this tax credit.” Big builders have placed major banners heralding the tax credit on their Web sites, Levitan said, and Lennar and Centex have added flash productions
that enable visitors to click through to information explaining the credit and the availability of attractive mortgage interest rates. “This shows us how important this tax credit is to us today in getting the buyer motivated and giving us an excuse to get in contact with that prospect and get them excited,” he said. While the marketplace has remained slow since the credit became available as part of the massive stimulus package signed into law on Feb. 17, Levitan said that production builders are reporting that they have sold homes based on the availability of the credit in tandem with other programs they have been running to attract reluctant buyers. “We are using it as a tool to stay in contact with our customers and differentiate ourselves from others who aren’t promoting the credit,” Levitan said. Educating consumers about the credit is key, and NAHB has created a detailed list of frequently asked questions that association members can deploy to provide information to the home-buying public at www. federalhousingtaxcredit.com. Members of the association can bolster their businesses with a range of promotional materials posted at www.nahb.org/economicstimulus.
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The Real Deal
Levitan said that home builders associations have been leading efforts to promote the credit. Among them, the Greater Birmingham Association of Home Builders, in partnership with the Birmingham Association of Realtors®, is highlighting the first-time buyer tax advantage in its “The Real Deal” campaign, a five-day event on April 16-20 that will push sales of new and resale homes listed by members of the associations. The goal of the program, which can be franchised by other HBAs around the country, is geared to getting the local housing market moving again, and it is being publicized through a television, radio and print media blitz and sponsorships through leading area businesses. “Get something like this going with your local home builders association,” Levitan advised teleconference participants. When “everyone is working together, we ought to be able to sell tens of thousands of houses this year using the tax credit.”
Gaye Orr, MIRM, CMP, of Coldwell Banker Advantage New Homes in Raleigh, N.C., said that builders need to educate their salespeople on the tax credit if they want their promotions to yield success. “We in the industry should really be up to speed on this. Your salespeople on the front line need to be comfortable with it,” she said. In the meantime, consumers are walking into sales offices “with more questions than they have answers for.” Although it may take a tax professional to determine for prospective buyers how best to take advantage of the credit, letting people know just a few options — such as how to speed up receipt of the money from the credit — “can get people off the fence,” she said. The credit also has significant relevance for households in the trade-up market, she said, who have to sell their departure residences first before they can move to a new home, suggesting that not only firsttime buyer sales agents need to have expert knowledge on how the credit works. Combined with the availability of the credit, teaming up with a local financing company to provide financing incentives and convincing the sellers of existing homes to reduce their prices will “help sell departure residences,” Orr said. She also recommended holding home buyer seminars on the tax credit, an “old school” approach that is “tried and true,” nevertheless. “Mention the word stimulus and people’s eyes start to glaze over,” she said. “Offer past prospects the chance to come in and find out what this means for them.” Rob Dietz, NAHB’s director of tax issues, said that the credit is “an important benefit,” with 35% to 40% of the home buying market consisting of first-time buyers. He stressed that buyers need to close on their principal residence on or after Jan. 1 of this year and before Dec. 1 to qualify. To get the proceeds from the credit into the hands of buyers faster, filers can amend their 2008 tax returns to include 2009 home purchases. Although it is no “silver bullet” for monetizing the credit so that it can be used for a downpayment, prospective buyers who know that they will be completing settlement on a home within the eligible time period can adjust their payroll withholdings to save up money for the closing, he said. State housing finance agencies in Missouri, Delaware and other states are looking at ways to advance the tax credit amount as a short-term loan. The above article has been provided to you compliments of NAHB and Nation’s Builder News.
Streetman Homes Named Accolades Grow for NAR's NAHB Green Building Green Designation Award Finalist The National Association of Home Builders (NAHB) announced today that Streetman Homes is a finalist for the 2009 NAHB National Green Building Awards. The prestigious annual awards honor home builders, remodelers, home builders’ associations, and other organizations for advancing green building through innovative design and construction techniques, excellent educational programs and successful advocacy efforts. Streetman Homes was nominated in the Single Family category for a 5-STAR green home located at the Mueller Redevelopment Project in Austin, Texas. A key vision in the green building process for Streetman Homes is the meticulous attention to materials that are utilized. Spray foam insulation, using a combination of agricultural components that are grown in the United States, is a green feature provided with the home that offers an excellent insulating value, virtually eliminating air waste and lowering utility costs while creating a cleaner in-home environment. Other features within the home include on-demand tankless water heaters and enhanced fully enclosed thermal envelope air conditioning systems.
The awards are part of the NAHB National Green Building Program, NAHBGreen, which includes education, advocacy, marketing and certification services for green homes. Since NAHBGreen debuted in February 2008, almost 150 homes have been certified across the country. Project entries must be scored to the NAHBGreen rating system to facilitate judging. “Streetman has been building green homes for years, but for Mueller, the decision was made to elevate the playing field,” said Ryan Jackson, Streetman Homes Director of Sales and Marketing. The master plan for Mueller requires homebuilders to strive for a three-star Austin Green Energy program rating, “We said, Let’s see how high we can go.” “Between 2006 and 2008, the number of award applications quadrupled. The tremendous growth of this program reflects the growth of green building practices all over the country,” said NAHB Green Building Subcommittee Chair Eric Borsting, a California homebuilder. The awards will be presented at a gala dinner during the NAHB National Green Building Conference. The 11th annual conference is set for May 8-10 in Dallas, Texas.
The National Association of Realtors® has received an Award of Excellence for its Green Designation, a program designed to equip Realtors® with advanced knowledge on green building practices and green property features. The recognition was granted through the Associations Advance America program from the American Society of Association Executives and The Center for Association Leadership. The Green Designation is now eligible to be considered for a Summit Award – the top recognition for association programs from ASAE and CAL. NAR is one of only 21 organizations nationally to receive the AAA award for 2009. “Realtors® are industry innovators who consistently find ways to provide their clients with cutting edge service,” said NAR President Charles McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth. “As green building issues become more important to buyers, sellers and businesses, more and more Realtors® are adding value to the real estate transaction by developing green business practices. The Green Designation is an excellent example of innovation in this area.” NAR’s Green Resource Council confers the Green Designation, which
was launched in November 2008 at the REALTORS® Annual Conference and Expo. The Green Designation program includes 18 hours of coursework, and Realtors® who have earned the designation are prepared to help consumers and clients in their search for environmentally friendly properties and work to incorporate green principles into their own practice. “NAR’s program truly embodies the spirit of the Associations Advance America campaign. It is an honor and an inspiration to showcase this activity as an example of the many contributions associations are making to advance American society,” said 2008-2009 AAA Committee Chair Janet C. Gibbs, chief financial officer for Feeding America. The AAA program is a national competition which recognizes associations that propel America forward – with innovative projects in education, skills training, standardssetting, business and social innovation, knowledge creation, citizenship, and community service.
Copyright National Association of REALTORS. Reprinted with permission.
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The ShowCase USA
April 6, 2009
e s i u r C t a o B y l l a ZipRealty R on Lake Austin
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ZipRealty Field Day at Grand Mesa
Above: Shannon Powers and Victoria Reviel of ZipRealty.
Above: (Back Row)Shannon Powers, Chip Irving, Blue Morris, and Lula Leon, (Front Row) Marty Kelly, Victoria Reviel; Maria McPherson, Branka Bogdanich and Phillip Norris of Perry Homes. At Crystal Falls "Grand Mesa".
r e n in D y it r b le e C C A P E R /T R WC
Above: WCR past State Presidents created a "Sister Act". Right: Becky Hill the WCR 2008 National President (Sonny) and David Burton of GMAC Real Estate in Austin (Cher) got you babe. 18
April 6, 2009
The ShowCase USA
Born and raised in Texas (Victoria, TX). Lived in Austin, Cedar Park & Leander since 1995, 1990 Graduate of the University of Notre Dame with a
Degree in Business Management My previous life was spent in the high tech industry working for IBM, Compaq Computers and Hewlett-Packard for 15 years. I was a Systems Engineer installing large computer projects for IBM in addition to performing technical sales. As an employee for Compaq computers I was the creator and sole member of a large lab running performance testing on network products for which I wrote industry white papers in addition to performing computer networking demonstrations at trade shows and multi-city road shows. Finally, at HP I was a Customer Relations Manager for systems that provided cellular communications in countries such as Japan, Norway, Sweden, Germany and other European countries in addition to the United States, Canada and South America. I’ve now been a Realtor® for nearly 4 years, and I’ve landed at a company that
I really enjoy working for in ZipRealty. Every housing transaction over these years has revealed a different challenge, and every one of them has been rewarding in a different way. So often I get to help a new family purchase their first home – sometimes just in time for a new baby to arrive. I have what I call my “Infinite Client Philosophy”: I will provide my clients with such great satisfaction in the home buying/selling process that they will recommend me to their kids and/or grandkids when the time comes for them to buy a home. I have received accreditations for my GRI and I have completed the ABR course work and I have also been certified as a Short Sale Specialist. After many years of using and preaching the benefits of incorporating electronic/online signatures for Real Estate transactions, I have created a course for DocuSign, the electronic document signature tool. While my
Marty Kelly course has been taught several times within ZipRealty, the plan is to roll this course out to the Williamson County Board in addition to any other boards that may desire the course. I am currently a member of WCAOR, ABoR, TAR, and NAR in addition to serving on the Education Committee of WCAOR. Aside from Real Estate, I am a member of the Notre Dame Alumni Club of Austin, where I have participated in our Habitat for Humanity Projects, building homes for those in need in addition to many other community service projects.
Realtors tell us your story! Mail your 400-600 word bio and a photo to:
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Mortgage rates have been driven to historic lows, so it’s a perfect time for your clients to get a new home. The key is to make sure they get the right mortgage. We make it easy with a variety of ways to apply, a wide range of financing options and knowledgeable BBVA Compass representatives. At BBVA Compass, our financing options include, but are not limited to: Financing for physicians, attorneys, and CPAs with no down payment Construction/permanent financing and Renovation/rehab loans Condominium/loft financing Fixed-rate, adjustable-rate, and interest-only options available In times like these, it’s good to know you have a financial partner you can count on for the long term. To learn more stop by your local BBVA Compass Banking Center or call (210) 370-6090. Some restrictions apply. All loans subject to approval, including credit approval. BBVA Compass is a tradename of Compass Bank.
The ShowCase USA
April 6, 2009
Sales Pep Talk By Paul Montelongo
Will you choose “not to participate” in the socalled “R-word”. You know the word…it’s all over CNN, NBC, CBS, CNBC and every major media outlet. Even in the “R-word” economy, there are people and companies who are selling more, closing more and prospering more now than ever. It’s not rocket science. It’s common sense, practical thinking mixed with a dose of vision. Here are five ideas about how to thrive right now rather than die on the vine. But first, here are two examples of prosperity for you to consider… I was in Las Vegas last week (again), and the $8 billion City Center project in the middle of the Vegas strip is evidence enough. This is a thirty-seven acre city within the city. Sure, the project got started five years ago, but there are many projects that have come to a screeching halt….Not this on On a more personal scale, I had breakfast in Vegas with two guys whose companies are growing leaps
How’s That R-Word Working Out For You? and bounds in the real estate investment and financial portfolio business. Aren’t those supposed to be the two areas that are struggling the most right now? Not for them.
In order to thrive….
1. Keep it real…Take an honest look at your business situation. Don’t bury your head in the sand and just give in to the negative media hype. That’s the lazy way out. If your business has been affected, do something about it. Understand where the improvement needs to be made and get started immediately. Here’s the rub. Don’t get bogged down in the overanalysis of your business situation. It can be like seeing yellow cars everywhere just after you bought a yellow car. All of a sudden yellow cars are at the top of your awareness. If you look for trouble and problem areas in your business, guess what? They will appear all day long.
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Be honest, but be brief. Once you identify a situation that needs correction, get with the program and correct it. 2. Head on a swivel…keep your eyes and your brain open to new opportunities. You don’t necessarily need to look for a career change, though I would never rule that out. Make something happen within your area of expertise. If there is only one person or company in your industry that is thriving right now, get to know what they are doing, who they are doing it for and how they are doing it. Become their best friend and student. You will be amazed at how much people will help you if you just keep your awareness open to the idea. Perhaps you can create a new product or service, or implement a certain “twist” on an existing product or service. It is times like these that opportunity seekers get rich. 3. The light is not a train…There is light at the end of the tunnel and it is here sooner than you think. Actually NOT. The real truth is the light at the end of the tunnel is here exactly when you think it is. So the moment you believe you will find solutions, they will arrive. The moment you believe you will thrive in your business, remarkable things will begin to take place. Oh, by the way, you will probably have to muster up a bunch more faith than you currently have in order for it to happen. 4. Act like you been there before…When you act with the confidence and composure of a seasoned professional, guess what? You begin to achieve the results of a seasoned professional. However, you must sustain your actions in order to continue to receive the benefits. If you freak out, panic or get stressed out over your situation, you will only restrict the flow of ideas to your consciousness. Also, good ideas and good people will begin to show up to associate with you because you keep your level head. 5. You will attract what you project…Whatever your thinking is about this current economy, or any economy for that matter, will be projected out onto everyone you deal with. If you believe that customers buy only for a low price, guess what? They will negotiate with you only on price. If you believe that consumers are not spending money at all, guess what? They certainly won’t spend it with you. If you believe that you have to hunker down and weather the “R-word”, guess what? You will be a mole in a hole and no one will do business with you. The beliefs you hold in your mentality and in the fibers of your personal spirit will project out onto everyone you meet. Oh, by the way. Add to this list you must associate with people of like-mind and like-consciousness. If you hang around negative people, including watching the likes of Wolf Blitzer and Anderson Cooper on CNN, you will feel the same paranoia that is perpetuated in the media. Wrap yourself around doers, thinkers and visionaries. They are everywhere. Paul Montelongo, is an international authority on sales motivation. He conducts corporate sales training programs, delivers inspirational keynote addresses and offers retreats for sales and management teams worldwide. Get free weekly electronic tips and learn more about Paul and his resources for sales professionals, at www.PaulMontelongo.com.
April 6, 2009
The ShowCase USA
on Agentsthe Move
Glenn Browne I moved to Austin back in 1990 as a freshman to the University of Texas at Austin. While I have spent a couple of years away on sabbatical every now and then I have always considered Austin my home. I got into Commercial Real Estate in 2001 then left that firm to pursue a culinary itch at a high-end restaurant in Taos, New Mexico. However, after only a year Austin was calling me back and so was the Real Estate business I switched from commercial to residential and never looked back. It is so much more satisfying finding someone their ideal home than an office or warehouse. I look forward to working with you to find your new home. Please contact me at glenn.browne@ ziprealty.com. Toll Free: 1-800-CALL ZIP x 3846 Cell: 512-797-3781.
serve, to promote and protect your best interests with the utmost integrity, and to make the real estate transaction as smooth and enjoyable as I can. My background includes an education in Business from Baylor University and six years of successful experience as a residential Realtor. In addition, I also have significant experience as a former residential mortgage loan officer and a property and casualty insurance agent. As such, I'm able to add a great amount of value to the process. In my personal time, I spend my time with my son Ryan, my wife Bridgette, and our very spoiled Golden Retriever Bella. I am very involved in their lives and enjoy going to sports team practices, traveling, and sampling Austin restaurants and music. I look forward to the opportunity to work with you! Please contact me at email@example.com. Toll Free: 1-800-CALL ZIP x 3343 Cell: 512-767-9319.
Scott Hearne Whether you are a first time home buyer, investor or perhaps purchasing your 3rd or 4th home, my commitment to you is to provide the highest level of customer service that you rightly de-
Johnny Duarte After graduating from Texas State University with a degree in Marketing, I jumped head first into Real Estate. I have always had a fascination with Real Estate and sales. I thoroughly enjoy
working with people and love seeing my clients find their dream home. I feel my strong negotiation skills, and attention to detail help make all my transactions flow smoothly. I take a personal interest in every one of my transactions. I will work diligently throughout our process and look out for my buyers' and sellers' best interests. I not only offer my own professional services, I have a team of lenders and title companies that will work cohesively to make this process as stress free as possible. My goal is to create life long customers who feel confident in recommending me to their families and friends. I am not just another Realtor; I am a native Austinite. Please contact me at johnny.duarte@ ziprealty.com. Toll Free: 1-800-CALL ZIP x 4102 Cell: 512-576-7725. Michelle Hoad To me, real estate is more about customer service than sales. I can't make you love a house, but I can make sure you enjoy the experience. Because it's not just a house, it's your home. Please contact me at michelle.hoad@ ziprealty.com. Toll Free: 1-800-CALL ZIP x 3196 Cell: 512-964-8980.
ATTENTION: New agents in the office? Moving to a new office? Send a bio (no more than 150 words) along with a photograph to CharlesL@theshowcaseusa.com
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www.courtyards-oc.com April 6, 2009
Mike Kight Earns Certified Distressed Property Expert
Days on Market
High Low $ Volume
$465,000 93.84% $30,650 87.82% $15,485,095
Days on Market
High Low $ Volume
$490,000 93.33% $65,000 86.67% $15,353,768
# Homes Sold
58 X, W
# Homes Sold
63 X, W
Days on Market
High Low $ Volume
$499,000 92.58% $60,350 88.23% $13,216,787
Days on Market
High Low $ Volume
$535,500 91.54% $63,100 95.75% $26,098,283
Days y on Market
High Low $ Volume
$620,000 95.38% $50,000 72.46% $14,264,963
Days on Market
High Low $ Volume
$420,000 95.48% $45,000 91.84% $10,152,999
Days on Market
High Low $ Volume
$540,000 98.27% $69,900 92.09% $10,680,161
Days on Market
High Low $ Volume
$547,000 92.73% $63,001 85.60% $14,969,543
# Homes Sold
95 X, W
# Homes Sold
RE/MAX Capital City is proud to announce our agent, Mike Kight, has achieved the Certified Distressed Property Expert (CDPE) designation from the Distressed Property Institute. Mike is one of the first few Realtors® in the greater Austin area to receive the designation. Having completed Mike Knight extensive training in foreclosure avoidance and short sales, Mike has a valuable expertise to offer at a time when the area is experiencing a substantial increase of homeowners facing financial hardship. Mike is excited about this new opportunity to gain a specialized know-ledge and learn new processes that will allow him to successfully assist homeowners in need. Mike Kight has been a lifelong Texan who grew up in South Texas. In 1987 he moved to Austin and has been a full time Realtor® in the greater Austin metro market for over a decade. He can be reached at 512.924.6524 or visit his website at www.mikekight.com.
Victoria Reviel named Zip Realty “Broker of the Year 2008” “If there was ever someone who is the epitome of the phrase “Giving 110%”, it is this Year’s Broker of the Year, Victoria Reviel.” “Whether it is training, team support, revenue achievement, leadership, agent development, or Victoria Reviel community involvement,Victoria immerses herself in the task with vigor and enthusiasm and follows through with incredible detail until the task at hand is achieved with success. With that attitude and dedication, it is no wonder that Victoria has launched an extremely successful Broker Boot Camp for the Austin agents that has been modeled by other districts, contributed greatly to the achievement of District goals, is a highly recognized member of the Austin Realtor community, is lauded constantly by her agents, DD, and fellow management and peers and holds the position as Zip Realty’s Texas Designated Broker.” Bob Yakominich Sr. Vice President of Sales Zip Realty Inc.
# Homes Sold
49 X, W
# Homes Sold
57 X, W
# Homes Sold
104 X, W
# Homes Sold
57 X, W
April 6, 2009
The ShowCase USA
Coldwell Banker Local Office Earns #1 Office Award in Texas The Northwest Office of Coldwell Banker United, Realtors was named the Number One Office in Closed Adjusted Gross Commission Income in Texas for independently owned and operated affiliated companies in the Coldwell Banker® system in 2008. The Northwest Office of Coldwell Banker United, lead by Vanessa Bivens, Vice President of Sales, was recognized at the Coldwell Banker International Business Conference, held March 1 – 4, 2009 at the Henry B. Gonzalez Convention Center in San Antonio, Texas. The annual event united thousands of Coldwell Banker sales associates, brokers, managers and employees for an intensive professional development program and awards ceremony. “I could not be more proud of our professional team of sales associates for this prestigious accomplishment,” says Bivens. “I see our agents go above and beyond every day to serve our clients and help navigate them through the real estate process. In today’s tough economic climate, our commitment to excellence is more important than ever.” “Coldwell Banker United, Realtors represents the best of what Coldwell Banker brings to the real estate industry,” says Jim Gillespie, President and CEO of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. “Solid customer service is a focus for Coldwell Banker United, Realtors and they clearly excelled in this area in 2008 by helping home buyers and sellers accomplish their goals.” Coldwell Banker United, Realtors was established in Austin in 1990. The Northwest Office, located at 9442 N. Capital of Texas Hwy in the Arboretum area, has about 60 sales associates. Vanessa Bivens and her team of associates can be reached at 512-343-7500, or on the Web at www.cbunited.com. www.TheShowCaseUSA.com
Industry News & Events WCAOR Announcements Green Expo 2009
Brought to you by the Williamson County Association of REALTORS When: July 25th Where: Round Rock - Dell Diamond Go To: www.GreenExpo2009.com Info: In an effort to bring REALTORS and consumers together, The Williamson County Association of REALTORS will hold its first annual Green Expo this Summer. This event is open to the public. Green Expo Sponsors Sponsorship Levels: • Premium: $5,000 • Partner: $2,000 • Educational/Gift Certificate Sponsor: $500 • Patron: $250 Exhibitor Booth Options: Indoor Booths • Large Premium Booths: $500 (8'x10') • Premium Booths: $400 (8'x8') • Vendor Booths: $350 (8'x8') Outdoor Booths • Ballpark Booths ($300 (10'x10') *Additional $25 for electrical capabilities
ABoR NEWS YOU CAN USE Upcoming Classes and Events
1st 9:00am-11:00am 1st 12:30pm-3:30pm 2nd 8:30am-2:30pm 2nd 1:30pm-4:30pm 3rd 1:00pm-4:00pm 6th 8:30am-12:00pm 6th 1:00pm-4:30pm 8th 8:30am-5:30pm 8th 9:00am-11:30am 8th 1:30pm-3:30pm
MLXchange CMA Real Estate Reality- Leasing Understanding Residential Real Estate Appraisal Understanding Real Estate Inspections Code of Ethics: Your Promise of Professionalism TREC Ethics MCE TREC Legal Update MCE Reduce Risk, Increase Performance MLXchange Basics - Hands On MLXchange Add Edit
9th 9:00am-11:00am 13th 8:30am-5:30pm 13th 8:30am-5:30pm 14th 9:00am-11:00am 14th 1:00pm-3:00pm 15th 9:00am-11:00am 16th 9:00am-11:00am 16th 1:00pm-3:30pm 17th 11:00am-12:00pm 20th 8:30am-5:30pm 21st 9:00am-11:00am 21st 1:00pm-3:00pm 23rd 9:00am-11:00am 24th 11:00am-1:00pm 28th 2:30pm-4:30pm 29th 1:00pm-3:00pm 30th 9:00am-11:00am 30th 1:00pm-3:00pm
MLXchange Client Communications Arbitration of Appraisal Review Board Determinations Graduate REALTOR Institute (GRI) III MLXchange Website Management MLXchange CMA MLS Business Tools/Lab Realist Tax MLX Broker and Office Mgr/Lab WyldFyre 7 CRS206 Technology MLXchange System Customization MLXchange Client Communications MLX Report Writer/Lab Lunch and Learn MLXchange CRM Realist Tax MLXchange CMA MLXchange Website Management
Rogue Rush 5K and 10K Run
CALENDAR OF EVENTS April:
10th AYREP Coffee Talk TBA @ Waterloo Icehouse 360, 6203 N. Capital of Texas Hwy Contact Meredith Cain at MeredithC@theshowcaseusa.com (512) 627-6795
14th NAPMW Monthly Luncheon 11:30am - 1:00pm @ Holiday Inn NW Contact Connie Smith at firstname.lastname@example.org
15th NAHREP Monthly Luncheon 11:30am - 1:00pm @ Cool River Cafe Contact Ron Urias at email@example.com (512) 448-0844
What: Rogue Rush 5K Run When: April 11th 7:30am Where: Parkside in Mayfield Ranch Go To: www.roguerush.com Info: Colorful and crazy, this event will remind you why you started running. Perfect for families, new & veteran runners, Greeks & non; this race is enjoyable for everyone.
WCAOR Building Grand Opening 10:00am - 3:00pm @ WCAOR Building 123 East Old Settlers Blvd Round Rock Contact WCAOR at firstname.lastname@example.org (512) 255-6211
What: Rogue Rush 10K Run When: April 11th 7:30am Where: Teravista in Round Rock Contact: email@example.com Go To: www.roguerush10k.com Info: Learn more about the race, volunteer opportunities, training and registration.
WCR Networking Luncheon 11:00am - 1:00pm @ ABoR 10900 Stonelake Blvd Contact Cheryl Eskridge at firstname.lastname@example.org (512) 749-6833
Visit www.theshowcaseusa.com for more events.
See More Online
The ShowCase is on Facebook Managing Partner Cara Diaz | CaraD@theshowcaseusa.com
Director of Operations Charles Long | CharlesL@theshowcaseusa.com
13300 Old Blanco Rd. | Ste. 235 | San Antonio, TX 78216 Office: 512-306-8083 | Fax: 210-493-5560 We proudly support the following organizations
Senior Vice President of Sales & Marketing Meredith Cain | MeredithC@theshowcaseusa.com Vice President of Sales & Marketing Tiffany Amore | TiffanyA@theshowcaseusa.com
The ShowCase is published once a month. We are a non subscription for the members of the WCR, ABOR, WCAOR, NAHREP, AYREP, NAPMW and Industry Professionals. The ShowCase is not responsible for opinions or facts expressed by non-staff writers or for errors and any by products in advertising or editorial copy. REALTOR® is a registered trademark. The word REALTOR® sometimes appears without the registered trademark symbol (®), for the purpose of saving space. Wherever the word REALTOR appears in this paper, the registered trademark should be assumed. We welcome submissions of photos, Press releases or articles to be sent to CharlesL@theshowcaseusa.com.
The ShowCase USA
April 6, 2009
Models Now Open! Palomino Park (Cedar Park) From the mid $200’s • 512-507-1059
Austin’s Colony (East of Austin) From $108,975 • 512-382-6673
Greenridge (Round Rock) From $199,975
Blanco Vista (San Marcos) From the $130’s • 512-392-5671
For more information contact Dennis Ciani at 512-507-1059 ©2008 Pacesetter Homes. Prices subject to change without notice. Square footage is approximate and based upon architectural design; area may vary according to construction. See your Sales Representative for details.
Real Estate Industry News in Austin