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May 18, 2009

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Keller Williams Heritage Hearts and Hands Community Outreach Program 3rd Annual Casino Party Keller Williams Heritage Hearts and Hands community outreach program is proud to announce the success of their 3rd annual Casino Party. The party was held April 2nd at the Holy Trinity Catholic Church Banquet Hall. The Hall was transformed into a Texas Roundup for Cancer, complete with a variety of casino prizes, a silent auction, special door prizes and a Texas Hold ‘Em Tournament with separate prizes of its own. The Hall was decorated with a western flair and attendees set the tone

with gambling excitement. All the fun and prizes only added to the knowledge that proceeds are benefitting a very special cause. This year’s event was fortunate enough to donate $10,000.00 to the American Cancer Society, designated to support Camp Discovery. The mission of Camp Discovery is “to provide a normal childhood experience for children with cancer in a supportive, fun camping

Texas Offices in Real Trends 500 Ranking

Refi Boom, Rise of FHA Big News in Mortgage Markets

One of the nation’s top resources for real estate related trends and news, Real Trends has released its annual list of the nation’s top 500 real estate brokerages. RE/MAX offices made an impressive showing in a year where the market was ostensibly “down”. RE/ MAX offices in Texas did especially well, with 23 appearances in the two lists citing closed transaction sides and

At a time when conventional 30-year fixed-rate mortgage loans are lingering at their lowest levels in half a century, a major boost in refinancing is making big news in the nation’s mortgage markets, said panelists at last week’s NAHB Construction Forecast Conference in Washington, D.C. With the federal government stepping up its role to support the housing finance system, affordable financing is also available as a draw for prospective home

See TRENDS, Page 7-A

See OUTREACH, Page 7-A

Above: Alex Castillo, Aaron Bengoechea, Brenda Reynolds, of Hearts and Hands; Alison Kushnerick with The American Cancer Society; Roslyn Casey President Hearts and Hands, Josh Boggs of Keller Williams and Adrian Trevino.

buyers who have good credit and can make a downpayment and document their income, said Freddie Mac Chief Economist Frank Nothaft. On the negative side for the housing market, mortgage defaults are likely to continue to rise over the course of this year and won’t show improvement until joblessness stops rising. Mortgage refinancings have accounted for 75% of loan applications over the past three months, Nothaft said, and

refis in 2009 are expected to be double those originated last year “and may go a bit higher,” with positive implications for the household finance of those who are reducing their monthly payments. Both Nothaft and Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan credited the current decline in mortgage rates to intervention by the Federal Reserve to buy up securities and debt by the See MORTGAGE, Page 5-A

Home Sales Boom In 'Busted' Markets If we measured home sales the same way we do automobile sales, the housing market wouldn't look so bleak. The success of the auto industry is gauged by individual unit sales on a year-to-year basis. So if Detroit sells 275,000 vehicles one month as compared to 250,000 in the same month of the previous year, all things are swell. In comparison, housing studies focus on pricing. In California, for example, the median price of a home in March 2009 was $253,000, which was 39 percent lower than March 2008. So the market there PRSRT STD US POSTAGE PA I D Victoria, TX PERMIT 207

doesn't appear to have stabilized. However, if one turns to sales statistics, there is a reversal of fortune: Sales of California single-family homes in March 2009 were up 64 percent from March 2008. The odd secret in America's housing data is that the markets -- most of California, Phoenix, Las Vegas and Florida -- that experienced the largest corrections after the bursting of the housing bubble, in 2009, are reporting the greatest percentage increases in housing sales. In February 2009, Phoenix scorched a 55.1 percent increase in resales of single-family detached houses, reports DataQuick Information Systems, a real

estate information company. Some cities, in fact, are showing homesale increases of more than 100 percent on a year-to-year basis. Las Vegas housing blogs have been gloating over the "doubling" of home sales from March

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 SALES BOOM on Page 9-A

The Limelight Woodridge Homes Expands in San Antonio

Sales Pep Talk Top Ten Mistakes to Avoid During An Economic Crunch…Part II

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Woodridge Homes Expands in San Antonio Regional home builder thrives by treating customers with respect and giving them more value than they paid for Woodridge Homes was founded in 2006 by past executives of major national homebuilding companies with over 70 years combined industry experience. The company was founded on two very simple principles: 1.

The customer should always be treated with respect and receive more value than paid for, and


Our employees should always feel like they are important to the company and their opinions are valuable.

Our goal from the beginning was to design homes that first and foremost enhance the customer’s lifestyle at a price that fits their budget. The first thing a customer will notice when they see Woodridge homes is that they all have character, with offsets and varying roof lines on the front and rear of the home, unlike many of the other homes in the same price range, which are basically rectangle boxes designed to be as cost efficient as possible. Because each division president in the local market is a partner in the company, they not only have a financial stake, but they are also owners who take a great deal of pride in the homes they build. When you visit a Woodridge neighborhood, there is a very good chance that at some time prior to purchase, you will meet one of the owners of the company, who will always be interested in your comments and suggestions. When company owners are as accessible as they are at Woodridge, quality is of the utmost importance. Each Woodridge Home not only undergoes a rigorous inspection process, but every home is inspected by the local division president prior to closing. With management working this closely with the customer, Woodridge has the ability to customize our homes to each customer’s desires whenever possible. Woodridge Homes first community in the San Antonio market is The Ridge at Canyon Springs explained Patrick Hamann, Sales Manager. The Ridge at Canyon Springs is located in the Texas Hill Country, on the edge of Stone Oak. Experience the best in luxury living with our upscale homes in this gated master-planned community. Perfectly suited for families, the recreational facilities include a community pool, basketball and tennis courts, and a play-scape. Your children will attend the highly acclaimed Northeast Independent School District. Woodridgebuilt homes start in the $260’s in this community. “We have included many features in our homes that are upgrades with other builders at our price point, this is just one way we strive to provide the best value for our customers, explained Hamann. One of these features that we are really excited to be sharing with our customers is the No-Burn treatment. It is a non-toxic fire retardant as well as mold inhibitor that is typically only used in high end custom homes. Currently we are the only production builder in the area offering this product. Our customers have been extremely excited to learn that we are including a feature like this that saves them money on their homeowner’s insurance, mortgage, and provides piece of mind for them. We also have designed our plans to maximize the areas that families use today, as well as including plenty of storage, art niches, and tray ceilings. “We even include 3 car tandem garages on half of our plans, which has definitely been an important feature for many of our customers.” To find out more about Woodridge Homes’ offerings in San Antonio, call Patrick Hamann at 210-497-8323.


May 18, 2009

The ShowCase USA


1B 1B

Local Property Manager Attends Comprehensive Education Course Are SA Homebuyers and Sellers Gearing up for Summer?

3B Ask the Expert 10B Local Realtors Graduate from 100

Days to Greatness Training Program


4A 5A 7A 8A

NAR Recognizes School of the Future Design Winners Bank of America Home Loans Brand Launched Pending Home Sales Rise, Housing Affordability Near Record HOPE Award Winners Remove Barriers to Minority Homeownership

10A Realtors Support Mortgage Lending Reform

Top Ten Mistakes to Avoid Sales Pep Talk During An Economic By Paul Montelongo Crunch…Part II When times are tough, there are some specific strategies to take that will help you generate more business. Avoid these mistakes and the economic crunch won’t crunch your business. This is a continuation from the last issue…in David Letterman style. Mistake #5: Failure to maintain balance with your personal life and business life. Imbalance can adversely affect your ability to cope with this economy. Remaining balanced will lead to clarity of thought and expand your physical and mental energy. What are the keys? Enjoy your work. Know your optimal work time zones. Do the most productive things during your most product times. Concentrate on your work when you are in the zone… Pay attention to the times of the day when you feel in the zone, most productive and seem to earn the most money. Focus your entire energy, thought process and communication during these optimal time (energy) zones.

Keep a constant check on your internal and external language. You can intentionally shape your business and personal life results with the words you repeat in your head as well as those you speak out loud. Manage your demeanor and personal body language. The way you physically show up in front of your customer sends signals to them. Manage your energy level with regular exercise, good nutrition, family time, intimate relationships and spiritual connection. And by the way, when you leave the office, LEAVE THE OFFICE. Mistake #4: Failure to manage public relations, media speculation, and reporting. It’s unlikely that you are writing the news scripts that are reported on CNN and the major media outlets, but you can initiate “counter-media” efforts. Exercise care in that you don’t get absorbed in watching too much television. Watch just enough so that you have an idea of the public See MISTAKES, Page 4-A

10A First Home Certified Emerald

Under Green Building Standard

11A March Existing-Home Sales Slip but First-Time Buyers Rise

1B 1B 2B 8B

'Get Housing Moving' Tours Hits Sales Goal in 53 Days on the Road Zillow Debuts iPhone App

When you want a lender who stands out from the rest

Free Fall in Economy Losing Momentum How to Overcome Home Buyer Objection in Today's Market

10B Builders With NAHB Green Credentials Soars


6A 4B

Sitterle Dusty Shoe Preview, Texas Affordable Housing Specialist Class KB Home Grand Opening of Quarry at Iron Mountain, RE/MAX 360 Top Producers

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11B Announcements and Calendar

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May 18, 2009


MISTAKES from Page 3-A perception. Then, create your own portfolio of success reports. In every single market there are success stories. There are people and companies who are seizing opportunity. Even though the story may be buried deep in the back of, find it…and share it with your employees, your customers, your business affiliates. Have a counter approach to the negativity of the media. Proactively reach out to your customers and prospects with good information, i.e. low interest rates; steady value of housing products; buyer’s market; plenty of choices; their dollar stretches farther. Donald Trump says, “the only bad publicity is no publicity”. In other words, regardless of what happens in the media, you can turn it around to help you. Do you have to be creative? Yes. Do you have to be insightful and look for the nugget of gold? Yes. But it is there…all over…. which leads to mistake #3…. Mistake #3: Panicking in any shape or fashion. When you freak out and panic, it grows like mold….your employees feel it…your colleagues feel it…your customers feel it and worst of all the market place in general senses your desperation. More importantly, panic creates indecision. It also causes you to vacillate and waiver in your determination or freeze up all together. What is panic? Or the better question is…what causes panic? It is fear…fear of the unknown or the uncertain. I had a mentor tell me one time, when I sense fear about a certain thing, the first thing I do is go to the bookstore and buy a book on the subject. Education greatly reduces fear and uncertainty, hence reducing panic. Panic is a state of mind where the individual is usually making a picture in their head bigger, darker, gloomier and more devastating that what is real. It is nothing more than your imagination. You say you are a “realist.” Define reality. Your reality is what you make it. So if you have to choose, choose to make your reality support you rather than cripple you.. Mistake #2: Not maximizing the power of the Internet, i.e., e-mail marketing, your website presence and social marketing sites. The easiest way for you to stay in contact with your customers, vendors, trade

partners, and your network is through email marketing. Deliver valuable information, helpful content and give people a reason to be in your network. There are many resources to help you do this. Here are just a few for you to peruse: • – to outsource electronic work including website development • and www. – to distribute high volume email messages • – to have a more cost effective office and support staff • – to sell, trade, buy, barter services, goods and products and to find cost effective labor and marketing • and www. – to create a blog experience for your network of vendors, customers, prospects, colleagues and peers. • For an example of how to post a blog, please visit my personal blog… http:// • Local university students looking for credit or work experience offer a very low-cost way of doing business. If you get just one sale from these resources, is that worth it to you? Mistake #1: Buying in to the negativity of the media and naysayers of the economy. Have a keen awareness this is not the end of the world. We all must keep ourselves focused on the most positive aspects of the economy and especially on the opportunities that lay ahead. Historically, millionaires and billionaires have been made in the most challenging of economic times. If there were ever a time for you to be an opportunist, now is that time. It will require that you be creative; that you diversify; that you dissect your business and re-define yourself and your career and that you remain focused on every single positive aspect of this economic situation. 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


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NAR Recognizes School of the Future Design Winners The annual School of the Future Design Competition recognizes the efforts of young students in integrating sustainability, technology and community involvement into school design. This year’s winners were announced by the National Association of Realtors® and the Council of Educational Facility Planners International Foundation at an event last night. Middle school students from around the country participated in the competition, which is part of School Building Week, April 27-May 1. The week is sponsored by NAR and CEFPI, as well as the U.S. Department of Energy, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the American Institute of Architects and more than 30 associations and private companies. “Realtors® build communities, and schools are a big part of those communities,” said NAR President Charles McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth. “Realtors® support programs like the School of the Future Design competition because we know that healthy, high-performing schools help build strong, stable communities. NAR congratulates the winners of this year’s competition and is proud to be a part of this valuable educational program.” The competition underscores the importance of well-designed, environmentally sensitive school buildings in enhancing studentteacher performance and engaging the surrounding community. It challenges teams to redesign their schools to enhance learning, conserve resources, be environmentally responsive and engage the surrounding community. The grand prize winner was Imago Dei Middle School, Tucson, Ariz. Second place went to Explorer Middle School, Mukilteo, Wash. Third place was a tie between Seneca Middle School, Macomb, Mich., and the Gereau Center, Rocky Mount, Va. Honorable mentions went to the Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School, Old Lyme, Conn., and Charles Hart Middle School, Washington, D.C. Imago Dei Middle School was presented with a check for $2,000 for its first-place project. To develop their future school, the students studied all aspects of green design. They chose a barren site that was centrally located and accessible by bus and bike, with the idea of rebuilding it using recycled materials from a condemned property on the site. The students also solicited ideas from schools in China, Mali and France, to get global input for local benefit. Explorer Middle School received $1,500 for its second-place design, which takes employs a two-story design to accommodate projected

future enrollment. Green building and sustainability principles are prevalent in their design, which includes recycled jean-packed walls, a green roof, greywater recycling, a wetland, and composting areas. The design also considers the needs of the larger community, providing a playground, soccer fields, a softball/ baseball diamond, and community use privileges in the gym, library, computer lab, and auditorium. Seneca Middle School and the Gereau Center were both awarded $1,000 for their third-place projects. The students at Seneca Middle School set out to design a school that is safe, accessible and technologically advanced. Each student would have an “I Touch” computer system, and students would access the school with a card key containing a GPS chip. The school would include rainwater gardens, solar panels and wind turbines, and be serviced by alternative fuel school buses. The Gereau Center students focused on inspiring education by creating an atmosphere that promotes positive energy through attentiveness to basic, human needs. The students configured the shell of the school into a celebration of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains, and proposed technologies including geothermal heating and air conditioning, super insulation, triple pane glass and solar hot water heaters. The student teams at Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School and Charles Hart Middle School each received $500 for their honorable mention design projects. The Lyme-Old Lyme Middle School students proposed a school with energy efficiency and self sustainability features, with state-of-the-art classrooms that include a personal outdoor garden space. A geodesic dome would house a roof deck area with Pedal Power bicycles that produce the building’s electricity. The design from Charles Hart Middle School would use bio walls and a green roof to insulate the school and improve air quality. The green roof would also be used as an outdoor classroom to study biology and ecology, and would grow plants for the school’s landscaping and organic vegetables for the cafeteria. The School of the Future Design Competition kicks off each year in September. Each student team is required to submit a project model made from recycled materials, a short video or presentation, and a 750-word narrative description explaining the planning process and rationale behind their project. Copyright National Association of REALTORS. Reprinted with permission.

The ShowCase USA

Bank of America Home Loans Brand Launched Bank of America on April 27 introduced its Bank of America Home Loans brand at locations nationwide and unveiled new tools designed to help clarify the home finance process for home buyers and owners. The bank’s Clarity Commitment is a single one-page loan summary that clearly presents to borrowers the terms of the loan in straightforward language. The information includes the interest

rate, monthly payment, payment terms and an explanation of closing costs and other loan information. The summary is provided at both the time of application and at closing, and is available on most new purchase and refinance transactions, including traditional and government-backed loans. Bank customers can use the Bank of America Home Loan

Guide — an interactive Web site, — to obtain personalized information in preparation for home buying and loan refinancing decisions. The guide can help consumers understand the criteria that drive lenders’ decisions, steps they can take to be more successful in the search for an appropriate home loan and how a home loan fits into their budget and

total financial picture. Barbara Desoer, president of Bank of America Home Loans, said that the bank had met with thousands of customers to create the tools they wanted. “Doing the right thing for our customers is the foundation of our brand promise to always be a responsible

MORTGAGE from Page 1-A

year, “a big change.” Another major development in today’s mortgage market is that subprime and Alt-A lending have virtually disappeared; from 2001 they quintupled to about a 34% share of the $3 trillion in single-family loans originated in 2006. Conventional, conforming prime loans accounted for a full 62% share of those originations last year, up from 33.2% in 2006. In the secondary market, the private label mortgage securities that blossomed during the subprime lending craze, accounting for more than half of mortgage-backed securities at their peak, have faded away, Nothaft said, leaving the market almost entirely to Fannie, Freddie and Ginnie Mae. Even though they accounted for about only 15%, or 8 million, of the 55 million mortgages outstanding, private label securities held 50%, or 1.7 million, of the 3.46 million loans that were seriously delinquent at the end of last year. While White House efforts to

modify problematic loans with at-risk borrowers will help reduce foreclosures, Nothaft indicated that prime borrowers are also now contributing to defaults, primarily because of the weak state of the economy. “There is a direct correlation between job losses and increases in delinquency rates,” he said. “If unemployment rises higher, it will trigger additional delinquencies.” Survey research by Freddie Mac using only data from prime buyers found that the leading cause of delinquency in 2007 was unemployment or the curtailment of income, which was cited by 43% of those who had fallen behind on their payments. The second biggest factor was illness or a death in the family, which accounted for 25.5% of the delinquencies. “We have poured a lot of things into the housing policy beaker,” said Fannie Mae’s Duncan, but he was not optimistic that everything is in place to support a full-scale housing rebound.

Borrowing $1.23 last year for every dollar they earned, households need to further reduce their ratio of debt to disposable income, he said, and that could cut into the amount of consumption that’s needed to fire up housing and the economy. The crisis in the subprime mortgage market, he said, “was just the trigger to reveal the excess leverage” on the balance sheets of households and financial institutions. Duncan also voiced concern that lending standards, while not tightening as much as they were, have still not loosened up to accommodate many potential home buyers, and he suggested that there might be further downward pressure on housing prices and a potential for more foreclosures. “It is not clear we are through this storm yet,” he said.

government sponsored enterprises. The Administration’s Homeowner Affordability and Stability Plan is also set to help some four to five million home owners refinance loans owned or guaranteed by Fannie and Freddie, Nothaft said, with allowable loan-tovalue ratios as high as 105%. After slowing to a crawl at the height of the housing boom when subprime lending was on the rise, Federal Housing Administration insurance is back in business in a big way, Nothaft said, with its loan volume up sharply as buyers take advantage of the program’s 3.5% downpayment requirement. FHA lending surged to 29% of singlefamily mortgage originations in the final quarter of last year, up from about 2% in the 2005 to 2006 period, the highest it has been since 1942, he said. When VA loans are added, the two government housing programs accounted for about one-third of the market at the end of last

Woodridge Homes

See BRAND, Page 11-A

The above article has been provided to you compliments of NAHB and Nation’s Builder News.

Mortgage Lending

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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

May 18, 2009



Sitterle Dusty Shoe Preview

eougher and Bill B wrence ls o h ic N a ranchsca agent Marjorie L Above: F s m Homes. er Willia with Kell of Sitterle n o s y a r G and Rick

Above: E ddie Sill of Sit Diamond Realtysa.c terle Homes and De om and W illie Rang bra Curiel of Red el of Wo rldVenture s.

Above: Sally Romo of Bra dfield Properties w ith Dwain a nd Becky H of RE/MAX arris Preferred Re altors.

, Kim Watson n d e T : e Abov ron Va s. nd Sha e Ploetz a f Sitterle Hom o in r Pope

See more agents sightings on

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Texas Affordable Housing Specialist Class

Above: Texas Affordable Housing Specialist class at SABOR. The 12-hour certification class combines MCE courses that provide you with the knowledge to help first-time homebuyers and increase homeownership and retention in Texas. 6-A

May 18, 2009

The ShowCase USA

TRENDS from Page 1-A sales volume. RE/MAX of Texas CEO Richard Filip received news the ranking enthusiastically and extended his congratulations to RE/MAX offices and Texas brokerages alike. “We are extremely proud of every office that made a showing in this year’s Real Trends 500,” says Filip. “Our offices and real estate professionals strive everyday to reach their maximum potential in service to their clients, regardless of their market conditions. Moreover, because our offices are all independently owned and operated, in many cases RE/MAX offices are putting up astounding numbers with far fewer agents than other real estate companies. Our presence on this list illustrates how the level of production achieved by individual agent casts a mighty reflection on the company as a whole.” Among the RE/MAX offices that were ranked in the Real Trends 500 were Dallas offices RE/MAX DFW Associates, RE/MAX Premier Group, RE/MAX About Dallas and RE/MAX Preston Road. In Tarrant County, RE/MAX Associates of Arlington & Mansfield, RE/MAX Pinnacle Group Realtors and RE/MAX Masters made impressive showings. Jeff Osborne’s RE/ MAX Capital City and Kate Keating’s RE/MAX North - San Antonio proudly represented the cities of Austin and San Antonio respectively. Finally, in Texas’ largest city, RE/MAX Cinco Ranch and RE/MAX The Woodlands & Spring represented Houston, “We are blessed to have such professionals operating under the RE/ MAX name,” Filip concludes. “We also congratulate all the Texas brokerages who made the list this year. Together we are proving to the nation and the industry that Texas real estate is still a force in this economy.”

Pending Home Sales Rise, Housing Affordability Near Record Pending home sales rose with many first-time buyers taking advantage of historically good housing affordability conditions, according to the National Association of Realtors®. The Pending Home Sales Index, a forward-looking indicator based on contracts signed in March, increased 3.2 percent to 84.6 from a level of 82.0 in February, and is 1.1 percent higher than March 2008 when it was 83.7.

Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said it should take a few months for the market to gain momentum. “This increase could be the leading edge of firsttime buyers responding to very favorable affordability conditions and an $8,000 tax credit, which increases buying power even more in areas where special programs allow buyers to use it as a downpayment,” he said. “We need several months of sustained growth to demonstrate a

recovery in housing, which is necessary for the overall economy to turn around.” NAR’s Housing Affordability Index remained near record highs. The affordability index was 166.7 in March – down from an upwardly revised record of 174.4 in February due to higher home prices in March. The index remains 30.8 percentage points higher than a year ago. See RECORD, Page 10-A

See More Online OUTREACH from Page 1-A environment while offering hope and creating memories. Through this experience, campers have an opportunity to build self-esteem, have positive personal growth and become role models for others.” Hearts and Hands a 510 (c)(3) NonProfit organization is thrilled to support Camp Discovery as part of their public outreach program. Established 4 years ago, Hearts and Hands furthers the Keller Williams Heritage tradition, promoting leadership and volunteer opportunities for those wanting to selflessly give back to the Greater San Antonio Community. Mark your calendars for the Hearts and Hands Annual Golf Tournament, scheduled for September 18, 2009 at Silver Horn Golf Club of Texas. A special thanks to all those who helped make this party a success, volunteers, donors and guests alike.

The ShowCase USA

May 18, 2009


HOPE Award Winners Remove Barriers to Minority Homeownership This year’s HOPE Awards (Home Ownership Participation for Everyone) winners exemplify the efforts of countless individuals and organizations across the country committed to closing the minority housing gap. Award recipients are selected for their outstanding leadership and achievement in helping minority families realize and sustain their homeownership dreams, forever enhancing and changing their lives. The 2009 HOPE Awards winners are the Korean Churches for Community Development, Los Angeles (Education Award); Illinois Assistive Technology Program, Springfield, Ill. (Finance Award); Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina, Durham, N.C. (Media Award); Chris McCarthy, Nashville Area Habitat for Humanity (Leadership Award); and Affordable Homes of South Texas Inc., McAllen, Texas (Project of the Year Award). HOPE Awards winners receive $10,000 and a $1,500 gift card from cosponsor Lowe’s. On May 12 the winners will present their programs and answer questions from journalists and industry experts at a symposium moderated by national real estate columnist Ken Harney. Later that evening, HOPE Awards winners will be recognized at a gala dinner and ceremony at the National Building Museum in Washington, D.C. Sachi Koto, former anchor of CNN Headline News, will emcee the event. The HOPE Awards is a national industry awards program that was created in 2001 to recognize individuals and organizations that have made


May 18, 2009

outstanding contributions to increasing minority homeownership, revitalizing communities and expanding affordable housing opportunities. The awards are conferred every other year. The HOPE Awards is sponsored by a partnership of real estate organizations: the Asian Real Estate Association America, Chinese American Real Estate Professionals Association, Chinese Real Estate Association of America, National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals, National Association of Real Estate Brokers, and the National Association of Realtors®. A panel of distinguished judges selected the final winners from more than 100 applications. The judges were Henry Cisneros, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development; Congressman Wm. Lacy Clay (D-Mo.); Nicolas P. Retsinas, director of the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University; Steven Nesmith, former Assistant Secretary of Housing and Urban Development and partner, Holland & Knight; Judge Lillian K. Sing, San Francisco Superior Court. Award winners were chosen based on impact, innovation, minority focus, contributions to affordable housing and minority acceptance. The 2009 HOPE Awards winners are: EDUCATION AWARD Korean Churches for Community Development, Hyepin Im, Los Angeles KCCD was founded in 2001 as a nonprofit faith-based organization that serves as a bridge between the Asian

American community and the greater community. The goal is to increase access to resources and funds to assist low income individuals, strengthen nonprofits and revitalize area neighborhoods. The organization does this by helping remove cultural, linguistic, and economic barriers through education, economic development programs and strategic public and private partnerships. KCCD has provided homebuyer education and counseling to more than 5,000 individuals and is helping to sustain homeownership in the L.A. area and other parts of the country through foreclosure prevention and loss mitigation counseling. Since 2007, KCCD has helped over 1,700 homeowners in distress. FINANCE AWARD Illinois Assistive Technology Program, Robin Benson, Springfield, Ill. IATP is a non-profit organization dedicated to enabling people with disabilities to fully participate in all aspects of life. The organization also oversees the Homeownership Coalition for People with Disabilities, which since 2002 has helped more than 300 people with disabilities and their families statewide achieve greater levels of independence through homeownership. The group is committed to assisting all people, regardless of their disability, in purchasing and maintaining their own home through comprehensive pre- and post-purchase support, allowing them to live in the community as independently as possible.

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LEADERSHIP AWARD Chris McCarthy, Nashville Area Habitat for Humanity, Nashville, Tenn. Chris retired in 2000 from a career in business, only to come out of retirement a few years later to take over as CEO of the NAHFH. Under Chris’s leadership, NAHFH has grown tremendously in recent years –from building 10 to 15 homes each year to upwards of 60 homes locally and globally. NAHFH has been recognized in the top one percent of the nation’s Habitat affiliates and received the EPA’s Energy Star Partner of the Year Award, the first Habitat affiliate to receive this award. In 2007, Chris led the development of one of the largest all-Habitat neighborhoods in the U.S.; the 43-acre community has 138 homes as well as play lots, walking trails and picnic facilities. Chris is now leading the construction of two more communities, with a potential of 500 more homes. MEDIA AWARD Community Reinvestment Association of North Carolina, Peter Skillern, Durham, N.C. CRA-NC created Nuestro Barrio, a Spanish-language mini-series about Hispanic life in the U.S. While Nuestro Barrio’s objective is to educate viewers, the telenovela, or soap opera format, helps engage and entertain viewers on a variety of issues including homeownership, finances and banking, and health and wellness. The program has been broadcast to more than 25 million See WINNERS, Page 10-A

SALES BOOM from Page 1-A 2009 as compared to March 2008. One blog noted that 2,879 single-family homes were sold in March 2009, which was a level of activity not seen since 2005. When the media looks at Las Vegas, it generally focuses on the fact that the city has one of the highest foreclosure rates in the country, notes Gordon Hammond, a Las Vegas Realtor and team leader for ZipRealty. "But what they fail to tell you is that we also have some of the highest resale rates on foreclosures." Las Vegas' inventory of homes on the market today is a little more than 13,000 units, Hammond adds. "A year ago, it was significantly higher, possibly as high as 21,000 homes." The markets that have been affected the most in terms of the housing-bubble crash appear to be going through a solid recovery, especially in regard to unit sales, observes Mark Perry, professor of economics and finance at the University of Michigan's Flint campus. Perry tracks statistics on individual housing markets, and as he notes, in that state's unsold inventory index -- which measures how long it takes to sell a house -the time line dropped from 12.2 months in April 2008 to just five months in April 2009. So homes are moving quickly. What's driving housing sales in these downtrodden cities is nothing more than advantageous pricing. "The markets with largest bubbles are now going through the largest corrections in terms of falling prices," says Perry. In a hint of market stabilization, the California Association of Realtors reported that while the median price of a home was lower in March 2009 than a year earlier, it was actually higher at $253,000 than the $247,500 in February. In addition, the statewide Realtor group estimated the state saw 522,980 singlefamily home sales in March, up from 319,290 the year earlier. "California is a bifurcated market," comments Leslie Appleton-Young, the association's chief economist. "You have the distressed component of the market where prices are off 50 percent from peak, then you have higher-end coastal areas that have not experienced the kind of price declines you see inland." In the inland areas such as Riverside-San Bernardino, which suffered a huge foreclosure problem, home sales in March were up 126.8 percent from where they were in March 2008. "First-time buyers are very active in that market," says Appleton-Young. "A lot of things are going on for the homebuyer right now: an $8,000 federal tax credit that will expire at the end of November and a California credit of $10,000 if one buys new construction. If you look at prices, PITI (principal, interest, taxes and insurance) for a first-time homebuyer in the middle of 2007 was about $3,300 and today is $1,600." Other California locations with crazy runups in home sales include the High Desert region around Victorville, up 172.7 percent, and the Monterey County region around Salinas, up 248.7 percent. Asked if the buyers have been users or investors, Appleton-Young says there have been reports of investors coming in and buying 50 to 100 properties for 40 cents on the dollar. The poster child for busted housing markets has been the Sunshine State, but the pattern of resurging home sales has been running deep in Florida as well. Miami-Dade County home sales are up about 100 percent, says Wenceslao Fernandez, a Realtor with Keller Williams Realty in Miami Beach. There are a lot of sales of homes that are in financially stable conditions, but the ones that are moving the most are the short sales, foreclosures and REOs, says Fernandez. "When prices go down, demand goes up." So who is buying? The clientele has been varied from foreign buyers to domestic investors and owneroccupiers. Another Florida city showing 100 percent-plus annual increase in home sales is Fort Myers on the state's West Coast. Buyers in March included Vince

and Alli Glorioso, Fort Myers residents who traded up to a more expensive home. This was not an opportunistic move, but a planned strategy. "My wife's work situation changed and that was one of the factors for moving," says Vince Glorioso. "We lived in Fort Myers since 1996 and owned our own home. But, we needed another bedroom so that my wife could have a dedicated office and we could still retain a guest room." The home the Gloriosos bought was built around 2004-05 and sold at the time for $349,000. The Gloriosos acquired it for $320,000 -- a good savings, but not great. They could have scooped up a foreclosed, fivebedroom, 2,600-square-foot home for a mere $279,000. They didn't because the latter was trashed, with appliances missing -- including the pool heater. In fact, the Gloriosos couldn't even tell the state of the pool because the water was so green and occluded. In addition, neighborhood fees were very high. "We could have saved on the mortgage," says Glorioso, "but expenses would have been higher." In the month of March, the Fort Myers area experienced the largest number of single-family home sales ever, even harking back to the boom days, notes Denny Grimes, a principal with Denny ITCiAppShowcaseShowCase.pdf 5/7/09 3:45:57 PM

Grimes & Co. in Fort Myers. For further good news, Grimes adds, most of the recent buyers will be living in those homes. "Back in the heyday of the boom, in 2004, our market went from 75 percent user-based and 25 percent investorbased to 90 percent investor and a little bit of user," he explains. "It's now back to that 75 percent user and 25 percent investor." What's driving the market in Fort Myers? Nothing more than pricing. An abundance of cheap land led to massive development, which ended up as an oversupply of homes. Values subsequently collapsed. In 2005, Fort Myers had just 12 homes in the multiple listing service under $100,000 -- in 2008 there were 4,200. Median sales, says Grimes, dropped to under $90,000. "This is Economics 101," Grimes says. "It doesn't matter if you have too many blouses in the boutique or too many houses on the market. If you've got too many, you better put them on sale." Copyright 2009 Inman News

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Realtors® Support Mortgage Lending Reform To help Americans continue to achieve their dreams of homeownership, there must be a balance between safeguarding consumers in the lending process and ensuring reasonable access to mortgage capital. That is the message that the National Association of Realtors® delivered to Congress today, reiterating its support of comprehensive legislation to reform mortgage lending. At a House Financial Services Committee hearing, NAR President Charles McMillan testified that reform to the mortgage lending system is needed to restore consumer confidence in the economy and the housing market. “Historically low mortgage rates and a significant tax credit for first-time home buyers have begun to bring people back to the housing market. However, we need wholesale reform of the mortgage lending sector to give consumers the protection they need and the confidence necessary to expedite the housing recovery,” said McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth. The recently introduced Mortgage Reform and Anti-Predatory Lending Act of 2009, H.R. 1728, contains many of the reforms NAR has been seeking, but McMillan cautioned against overregulation. “We must strike an appropriate balance between safeguarding consumers and making sure they have access to mortgages at a reasonable cost. Undue regulation of the mortgage market could be as harmful to consumers as the lack of regulation that led to irresponsible lending and other abuses,” McMillan said. “We must be sure there are no unintended consequences here.”

NAR believes the current definition of mortgage originator as “any person who assists a consumer in obtaining or applying to obtain a residential mortgage loan” is too broad, since Realtors® as part of their normal level of service provide advice, counsel and assistance across all aspects of the real estate transaction. In addition, NAR supports the safe harbor provisions in the legislation, but as written, these provisions may be too narrow. “The safe harbor should include more products than 30-year fixed-rate mortgages. We need to protect more home buyers from risky lending products, and that requires some flexibility in financing terms,” McMillan said. NAR supports regulations that require lenders that make subprime mortgage loans to establish appropriate escrow accounts. Borrowers making at least a 20 percent downpayment should have the option to budget for these payments independently. NAR also believes that a strong and independent appraisal industry is vital to restoring faith in the mortgage origination process. “H.R. 1728 strikes a good balance by strengthening the accountability and oversight of appraisers while creating new consumer protections,” said McMillan. “We applaud the efforts of this committee and the authors of H.R. 1728. This bill is a major step in the right direction and we look forward to working with Congress to adjust and improve the legislation to make it even more meaningful and safe for all consumers,” McMillan said. Copyright National Association of REALTORS. Reprinted with permission.

WINNERS from Page 8-A households and 60,000 DVDs of the program have been distributed through high schools, financial institutions, and nonprofit partners. PROJECT OF THE YEAR Affordable Homes of South Texas Inc., Robert Calvillo, McAllen, Texas AHSTI is a non-profit housing initiative that provides education and homeownership opportunities to low income residents in South Texas. AHSTI acts as land developer, general contractor and a full-service mortgage provider. Since 1976 the organization has placed more than 2,800 families RECORD from Page 7-A The HAI is a broad measure of housing affordability using consistent values and assumptions over time, which examines the relationship between home prices, mortgage interest rates and family income; tracking began in 1970. The Pending Home Sales Index in the South rose 8.5 percent to 93.2 in March and is 7.7 percent above a year ago. In the West the index increased 3.9 percent to 93.1 and is 1.7 percent higher than March 2008. The index in the Northeast fell 5.7 percent to 59.5 in March and is 24.1 percent below a year ago. In the Midwest the index slipped 1.0 percent to 82.3 but is 8.2 percent higher than March 2008. NAR President Charles McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth, said the increase in buying power is quite remarkable. “Compared to a year ago, the typical family can pay much less in mortgage costs for the same home, or buy a better home without necessarily increasing their monthly payment,” he said. “For buyers who’ve been on the sidelines

into homes, nearly 40 percent of those were single parent families. With a loan portfolio of over $36 million and a total past due delinquency rate of less than 5% and annual new home production of 100 homes per year, AHSTI is the largest non-profit housing producer in South Texas. Cosponsors for the 2009 HOPE Awards are Lowe’s, the Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council, Realogy, Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate, Century 21, Coldwell Banker, ERA, NRT LLC and Sotheby’s International Realty. Copyright National Association of REALTORS. Reprinted with permission. and have good jobs, the market has never looked more favorable. Homeownership has always offered immediate benefits and long-term value, but the advantages in today’s market are unique.” A median-income family, earning $61,100, could afford a home costing $291,600 in March with a 20 percent downpayment, assuming 25 percent of gross income is devoted to mortgage principal and interest. Affordability conditions for first-time buyers with the same income and small downpayments are roughly 80 percent of that amount. The affordable price was notably higher than the median existing single-family home price in March, which was $174,900. 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.

First Home Certified Emerald Under Green Building Standard RGB Custom Builders of East Stroudsburg, Pa., has built the first home to be certified to the Emerald level of the National Green Building Standard rating system. Builder Bob Brown’s home scored a total of 724 points in the six categories of the standard, which include energy, water and resource efficiency, indoor environmental quality, lot and site development and home owner education and maintenance. The National Green Building Standard was approved earlier this year by the American National Standards Institute as a green rating system for new homes, remodeling projects and subdivisions. The 1,900-square-foot home has not been sold yet, Brown said, because the company is using it as a showcase for green building techniques and to spur more home sales. In the week after it was certified, the home attracted 60 visitors in the small Pocono Mountains community where it is located. Those touring the house have been especially interested in its geothermal heat pump — a top-of-the-line model 10-A May 18, 2009

that added $20,000 to the cost of the home, Brown said. However, current tax credits for energy efficiency bring the price down to $14,000 and the home’s owners can expect lower heating and cooling costs to pay for the pump in less than four years. Before beginning construction, Brown used the standard scoring tool to see how his current home projects would rate. The good news, he said, was that RGB Construction’s base homes scored at near the top of the standard’s Silver level. The company targets the area’s luxury market, building 20 to 25 homes annually at an average price of $450,000 plus land costs, and it has been using many sustainable building practices without calling them green. Now, Brown said he’ll likely offer his home buyers the option of Gold level certification for an additional cost of $3,000, which will pay for certification, low-flow toilets and the other products he will need to reach that level. The home cost about $45,000 more to build, Brown said, but it would still have

reached the Emerald level without a number of the materials and appliances that were chosen — such as the heat pump, $4,500 in landscape design and installation costs and $2,600 worth of cork flooring. “We could probably cut $15,000 off this number and still be Emerald,” he said. It’s also 38% more efficient than the standard home he builds, which scores at the Silver level and is 30% more efficient than a home constructed under prevailing building codes. Brown said that the next job should be much easier now that he understands the scoring system and the certification process. His brother and business partner kept careful records to document and measure almost every step they took. While the documentation helped them in the learning process, much of it was not necessary for certification. “We didn’t need to do a lot of the things we did,” he said. “Now that the learning curve is down, we can probably do this in our sleep.” Brown also credited Frank Malpere, his NAHB Research Center-accredited

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verifier, for his expertise, which also helped him through the process. Having a show home just down the street from the company’s sales office is sparking more than the usual amount of interest from home shoppers, he said. “Everyone wants to see it, and that’s working well for us,” he said. In a press release, NAHB Research Center President Mike Luzier congratulated Brown on his home’s achievement. “We are thrilled to have a home certified Emerald so soon after that option became available,” he said. “It’s a testament to the flexibility of this national certification program that allows builders to select the right level of green for their markets and their customers.” Since the ANSI approval of the National Green Building Standard in January, more than 1,000 homes have been scored to the standard using the online scoring tool at NAHBGreen. The above article has been provided to you compliments of NAHB and Nation’s Builder News.

March Existing-Home Sales Slip but First-Time Buyers Rise Existing-home sales eased in March but first-time buyers are responding to low mortgage interest rates and tax credits, according to the National Association of Realtors®. Existing-home sales – including single-family, townhomes, condominiums and co-ops – declined 3.0 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.57 million units in March from a downwardly revised level of 4.71 million in February, and were 7.1 percent lower than the 4.92 million-unit pace in March 2008. Lawrence Yun, NAR chief economist, said the market appears to be stabilizing with modest monthly ups and downs, and that first-time buyers are driving the market. “The share of lower priced home sales has trended up, indicating a return of many first-time buyers, which we also see in a parallel member survey,” he said. “Sales in the upper price ranges remain stalled because of higher interest rates on jumbo loans.” Although prices rose from February to March, the national median existing-home price for all housing types was $175,200, down 12.4 percent from March 2008. The price increase from February to March was 4.2 percent, which is much higher than the typical 1.8 percent seasonal increase between those two months. Distressed properties, which accounted for just over half of all transactions in March, typically are selling for 20 percent less than traditional homes. An NAR practitioner survey in March showed firsttime buyers accounted for 53 percent of transactions, based largely on contracts offered before the $8,000 first-time home buyer tax credit became available. “Buyer traffic has been rising, and real estate offices are getting phone inquires about the tax credit,” Yun said. “By early summer we should be seeing a positive impact on home sales from record-low mortgage interest rates in addition to the stimulus provisions.” NAR President Charles McMillan, a broker with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Dallas-Fort Worth, said first-time buyers are crucial at this stage of a housing recovery. “The housing market always heals from the bottom up, and with large numbers of firsttime buyers entering the market it will become a little easier for sellers to trade up or down, according to their needs,” he said. “Although homeownership builds wealth over the long term, buyers need to evaluate their options. In this market, buyers and sellers who use a Realtor® to represent them are making a smart move,” McMillan said.

According to Freddie Mac, the national average commitment rate for a 30-year, conventional, fixed-rate mortgage fell to a record low 5.00 percent in March from 5.13 percent in February; the rate was 5.97 percent in March 2008; data collection began in 1971. “Record-high housing affordability conditions are helping markets recover, with home sales higher than a year ago in Minneapolis, Northern Virginia, Las Vegas, Phoenix and most areas of California and Florida.” Total housing inventory at the end of March fell 1.6 percent to 3.74 million existing homes available for sale, which represents a 9.8-month supply at the current sales pace, compared with a 9.7-month supply in February. Single-family home sales slipped 2.8 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.10 million in March from a pace of 4.22 million in February, and are 5.7 percent below the 4.35 million-unit pace in March 2008. The median existing single-family home price was $174,900 in March, which is 11.5 percent lower than a year ago. Existing condominium and co-op sales fell 4.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 470,000 units in March from 490,000 in February, and are 17.8 percent below the 572,000-unit pace a year ago. The median

existing condo price was $177,600 in March, down 18.7 percent from March 2008. Regionally, existing-home sales in the Northeast fell 8.0 percent to an annual pace of 690,000 in March, and are 22.5 percent below a year ago. The median price in the Northeast was $231,700, down 18.4 percent from March 2008. Existing-home sales in the Midwest were unchanged in March at a pace of 1.04 million but are 11.1 percent lower than March 2008. The median price in the Midwest was $141,300, which is 6.1 percent below a year ago. In the South, existing-home sales slipped 1.7 percent to an annual pace of 1.71 million in March and are 10.9 percent below a year ago. The median price in the South was $146,900, down 12.2 percent from March 2008. Existing-home sales in the West declined 4.2 percent to an annual rate of 1.13 million in March but are 18.9 percent higher than a year earlier. The median price in the West was $252,400, which is 11.1 percent below March 2008. Copyright National Association of REALTORS. Reprinted with permission.


BRAND from Page 5-A lender and help create successful home owners, and these tools exemplify that process,” she said. Through its 6,100 banking centers, Bank of America Home Loans also introduced Flat Fee Mortgage Plus. The new mortgage product has no application fee and one single closing fee that represents the lender and other fees required for third-party services. It will be available through additional channels in the future. The Bank of America Home Loans brand represents the combined operations of Bank of America’s mortgage and home equity business and Countrywide Home Loans, which was acquired on July 1, 2008 and has now been retired. The company originates and services one out of every five loans in the country, representing a servicing portfolio of almost 14 million loans. During this year’s first quarter, Bank of America funded $85 billion in first mortgages, helping more than 382,000 Americans purchase a home or refinance an existing mortgage. More than $16 billion of those mortgages were for 102,000 low- and moderate-income borrowers.

For the homebuyer looking for comfort and convenience, natural gas from CPS Energy is the answer. With an energy-efficient natural gas clothes dryer, homeowners can do up to three loads of laundry for the price of one load in an electric dryer. And natural gas clothes dryers produce 30 percent less emissions. That’s good for everyone! For more reasons to choose natural gas from CPS Energy, call 353-2539 or visit us at

The above article has been provided to you compliments of NAHB and Nation’s Builder News.


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May 18, 2009 11-A

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Agent Sightings Quarry at Iron Mountain Grand Opening

Eye on the Economy Free Fall in Economy Losing Momentum

Page 4-B

Page 2-B

Section B

San Antonio May 18, 2009

Local Property Are SA Homebuyers and Sellers Gearing up for Summer? Manger Attends San Antonio Residents Evaluate Whether this Summer Comprehensive is the Time to Make a Move in Real Estate April through August is typically an some incentives Education Course active real estate season, when school available right

Amy Moody, a local leader in the residential property management field, has just completed an intensive management course on Tenancy from the National Association of Residential Property Managers (NARPM). This allinclusive course outlined innovative and important issues affecting the residential property management field. Amy's commitment to education is a clear signal of the level of professional service she wishes to provide her customers and clients. "The tenancy course provided a wealth of knowledge and an excellent forum of discussion of current events and issues specific to tenancy. The information gained and shared will assist in streamlining our processes and procedures," says Amy Moody of Moran Property Management. There are currently over 2000 members of NARPM, the nation's only professional organization for managers of residential properties, from single family unit to 4-plexes. Members represent over $20 bilìion in residential rental properties nationwide.

is out and San Antonio residents are ready to make a move. This year, however, some may wonder if now is the right time to purchase a first home or sell their home to move up or downsize. Florence Terrell, Chairman of the San Antonio Board of REALTORS®, offered this advice, “Every real estate decision is personal and should be made based on your own goals and situation. That said, there are

now and other conditions that make this a very favorable time for many people.” The incentives referred to by Terrell include a tax credit up to $8,000 for first-time homebuyers and mortgage interest rates at unprecedented lows.

Additional credits through the Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs can make a home purchase even more affordable to first-time buyers. See SUMMER, Page 9-B

‘Get Housing Moving’ Tour Hits

Sales Goal in 53 Days on the Road Setting an example for home builders coast to coast who face the challenge of communicating with prospective home buyers about the advantages of making a purchase in today’s marketplace, John Wieland, chief executive officer and founder of leading Southeast home builder John Wieland Homes and Neighborhoods, on April 30 wrapped up his “Get Housing Moving” tour with the sale of his 101st new home and more than $42 million in sales. Wieland pledged to sleep on the floor of his unsold homes until he reached his sales goal, a feat he accomplished 53 days into his tour

with the sale of a home to Mr. and Mrs. Jason Patton in the Green River neighborhood in Canton, Ga. The community is adjacent to the newly opened Joseph Knox Elementary School, which is equipped with cutting-edge technology. River Green residents can also enjoy a huge clubhouse, full-time activities director, two swimming pools and six tennis courts along with miles of walking trails, including one down to the Etowah River. “With more than 400 homes already occupied, River Green is destined to be one of Canton’s jewels of a neighborhood. We are very proud of

it,” Wieland wrote in his blog, where he chronicled his experiences during the campaign and where he will continue to post entries to promote public awareness of the important role of housing in leading economic recovery. Wieland logged in more than 6,134 miles and slept in 50 unsold homes while traveling to his home communities in Atlanta; Charlotte, N.C.; Charleston, S.C.; Nashville; and Raleigh, N.C. in the “Wiebago,” a John Wieland-branded motor home. “The tour was a huge success See TOUR, Page 5-B

Zillow Debuts iPhone App Imagine strolling through your neighborhood and, with a glance at your iPhone, finding out instantly how much just about any home you walk by last sold for. What if your iPhone could also display your location on a map that pinpoints nearby homes for sale and any that have recently changed hands? That's the promise of the new location-based iPhone application unveiled today by property valuation and listings giant Zillow. Zillow's iPhone app lets users see

their location on a map as they walk or drive through a neighborhood, pulling up details not only on 3.3 million forsale listings but about 95 percent of all U.S. homes. The free iPhone app delivers much of the same information that draws nearly 9 million visitors a month to the company's Web site,, including home value "Zestimates" on more than 88 million properties and data on recently sold homes. That's what separates Zillow's iPhone app from other real estate smart-phone applications, said Spencer Rascoff, Zillow's chief operating officer: Users can pull up details on just about any

View the virtual issue online at

home they are interested in -- not just those that are for sale. "Basically what we've done is put the power of Zillow into the palm of your hand," Rascoff said. "Pushing the baby

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 ZILLOW on Page 7-B

Eye on the Economy:

Free Fall in Economy Losing Momentum

The contraction in real gross domestic product (GDP) for the fourth quarter of 2008 now stands at an annualized rate of 6.3%, according to the “final” estimate released by the Commerce Department on March 26. This represents a major downshift from the third quarter of 0.5% and was the sharpest decline since the depths of the 1982 recession. The housing production component of GDP (residential fi xed investment) contracted at a 22.8% annual rate in the fourth quarter and knocked 0.8 of a percentage point from the overall GDP growth rate — quite a negative contribution from a component that now accounts for less than 3% of total GDP. Consumer spending, which now accounts for 71% of the total, contracted at a 4.3% annual rate in the fourth quarter and registered a negative growth “contribution” of -3.0 percentage points — an extremely large drag from this part of the economy. Consumer spending rarely goes negative. Consumer spending apparently stopped falling in the early part of this year, but serious weakness in other sectors of the economy apparently kept real GDP in free fall during the first quarter. We’re estimating -5.2%. Residential fi xed investment probably contracted at nearly a 40% pace

— we’re looking for a major downshift in nonresidential fi xed investment (structures as well as capital equipment and soft ware) — and businesses undoubtedly cut inventory positions considerably in the first quarter. Spending by state and local governments inevitably lost ground as well. The rate of decline in real GDP should slow considerably in the second quarter — we’re estimating -2.0% — as the cutback in business inventories abates and the drag from housing lightens a bit. We expect real GDP to stabilize around mid-year and to post modest (below-trend) growth in the second half of this year. The GDP recovery should gather momentum during 2010, with abovetrend growth emerging by the second quarter. If this pattern materializes, a significant run of self-sustaining above-trend growth will be in store for 2011 and beyond.

The Labor Market Will Absorb More Damage

Normal lead-lag relationships ensure that the labor market will continue to lose ground while GDP growth stabilizes and begins to post modest below-trend positive growth later this year. We’re expecting net payroll job losses over the balance of this year and pos-

sibly into the early part of 2010. We currently expect payroll employment to flatten out in the first quarter of next year and to show decent growth during the second half of the year. The civilian unemployment rate is destined to rise by about another percentage point from 8.5% reported in March. We expect this rate to top out at 9.4%, on a monthly average basis, during the first half of 2010, not far below the peak reached in the wake of the doubledip recession in the early 1980s. The projected pace of the GDP recovery during 2010 drops the unemployment rate to 9.0% by late in the year, leaving plenty of labor market slack to support above-trend GDP growth for quite a while into the future.

Mortgage Rates Should Fall Somewhat Further

Today’s home mortgage market is essentially a fi xed-rate world, as adjustable-rate loans have nearly exited the scene. Furthermore, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac recently have been accounting for about 70% of the fi xedrate mortgage (FRM) market, with FHA/VA loans making up most of the rest. The spread between the prime conventional conforming FRM rate and the 10-year Treasury rate widened out considerably last year when Fannie and Freddie were spurting red ink and their futures were highly in doubt. The spread improved to some degree after federal authorities seized the government-sponsored enterprises (GSEs), placed them under federal conservatorship and affirmed the quality of their debt and guaranteed mortgagebacked securities. The Federal Reserve clearly wants to drive mortgage rates down further, and our central bank has committed to buy large amounts of GSE debt as well as mortgage-backed securities guaranteed by Fannie, Freddie and Ginnie Mae in order to accomplish that feat. The Fed also is buying longer-term Treasury instruments in an attempt to drive down mortgage rates and other private yields along with Treasuries. NAHB’s forecast assumes that the Fed will have some success in lowering long-term Treasury rates in coming quarters and that the spread between the FRM rate and the 10-year Treasury rate will narrow systematically over the short-term forecast horizon. We expect the prime conventional conforming FRM to hover around 4.7% for much of this year.

Consumer Views of Home Buying Conditions Have Improved

Broad measures of consumer confidence by the Conference Board and consumer sentiment by the University of Michigan remained at or below their respective record lows in March — pri2-B

May 18, 2009

The ShowCase USA

marily because of the extremely weak labor market conditions prevailing at that time as well as a weak outlook among consumers for income over the next six months. The University of Michigan regularly asks consumers whether they think it’s a good or bad time to buy a house. The proportion saying “good” has been around 70% in recent months, including March, well up from the cyclical lows posted back in 2006. The rebound in perceptions of home buying conditions has been driven primarily by lower house prices, but also by lower mortgage rates. Weak assessments of general economic conditions obviously have been holding back prospective buyers who view house prices and interest rates as favorable. In March, none of the consumers who rated home buying conditions as “good” cited “good times” as a reason, while a significant number of those saying it was a bad time to buy a house listed “bad times ahead” as a factor. In previous cycles, home sales ordinarily started up before employment and consumer confidence rose, generally because low mortgage rates and enhanced affordability encouraged some pent-up demand to come onto the market early in the game. That dynamic hopefully is coming into play at this time, supplemented by the appeal of the temporary $8,000 tax credit for first-time home buyers.

Home Sales May Have Stabilized

Sales of both new and existing homes perked up a bit in February from their respective record lows. Furthermore, more-timely survey measures produced by NAHB suggest that the demand for new homes is firming up on a seasonally adjusted basis. NAHB’s proprietary survey of large public and private single-family builders, accounting for roughly one-fourth of the national for-sale market, suggests that seasonally adjusted gross sales (new orders) flattened out in the first quarter and that net sales for the first quarter were somewhat above the fourth-quarter pace. Furthermore, a strong downtrend in cancellations has produced some recent improvements in cancellation rates, measured relative to current gross sales or to the backlog of signed sales contracts in the hands of builders. NAHB’s broad-based single-family Housing Market Index (HMI), based on monthly surveys of about 400 companies of all sizes, had been mired in a record-low and narrow range from last November through March of this year. However, the HMI moved from 9 to 14 in April and improvements were See MOMENTUM, Page 5-B

Ask the Expert Lisa Kaye Interviews Mitch Stephen an Avid Real Estate Investor LK: Interview with Mitch

LK: I realize that marketing

Stephen, an avid Real Estate can be similar in both cases Investor who has resided in but I recognize mindsets. San Antonio since 1973. In What are the differences you 1996 he went full time into see between the way Realtors Real Investing and in 2005 think and the way creative, Mitch Stephen the San Antonio Real Estate successful Investors think? Mitch: I think the main difference Investment Association dedicated their new offices in his name. January is that when an investor strikes “pay 2009, Mitch became a published author dirt”, checks can come in over and over with the release of his book, MY LIFE and create a “residual income” for the & 1,000 HOUSES; Failing Forward to Investor. Most Investors have one goal and that is to create enough residual Financial Freedom. LK: Mitch, is it true that you really income to eventually retire with a bought and sold over 1,000 properties? monthly “paycheck” Mitch: YES, I’ve bought or LK: What can you tell us about Real controlled over 1,000 properties since Estate Investors that will help Realtors March of 1996. and Brokers become more successful? LK: How does one person buy and Mitch: I think the most important sell 1,000 houses? thing to understand is that Investors Mitch: You have to have a lot are going to ask their Realtor(s) to take of hooks in the water. I have spent a more “non-traditional” role. Nothing years building a rather large network illegal, just non-traditional in the way a database of Realtors, Sellers, Buyers Realtor normally facilitates a real estate and other Investors. I try to stay in transaction. #1. Don’t be surprised if your front of that network on a regular basis primarily by using the internet. I also Investor is working with many Realtors use direct mail to find many properties, at the same time. Traditionally Realtors much like Realtors farm for listings. run across one, maybe two, great deals The difference is, instead of asking for a year and usually by accident. Realtors a listing, I ask if they are interested in are not looking for 65 cents on the dollar deals in their searches. Investors selling their property for cash.

can’t live off one Realtor anymore than a Realtor can live off one client. Investors and Realtors need to cast wide nets to be successful. #2. When an Investor accommodates a sale by owner financing a buyer that can’t get a traditional loan, often times the Investor offers to pay you 20% of the down payment amount instead of 3% of the sale price. It may not be quite as much as you are used to making, but, it is the fastest paycheck in the real estate business. It is absolutely possible for an Investor underwriting their own deal to pay the Realtor the same day your client decides to buy one of their houses and everyone agrees to terms and sign documents.. #3. Investors may ask you to list all of their properties for a flat fee. Investors are repeat customers and the offer makes sense given the fact that these sellers will be using your services 10, 15 20 times a year. Keep in mind: an Investor has to make 20 offers on various properties to get 1 deal. The other 19 offers are rejected because those Sellers prefer to sell their home in the “Retail” market vs. “Wholesale”. This is where a savvy Realtor can make up for some lost ground and the experienced Investor reciprocates for those services rendered by the Realtor by keeping connected and using that Realtor’s services again. LK: As Realtors, we don’t think about the opportunity in that aspect. You Investors are truly thinking and

working “outside the box.” Mitch: Yes, and that is perhaps the most valuable thing to consider the next time you get a call from an investor. Working with creative people rubs off…you may just learn a few tricks of the trade and end up capitalizing on future bargain properties in a big way for yourself. Wouldn’t it be nice to actually accelerate yourself into retirement by using some of the very creative techniques successful investors use every day, especially since you are already in the real estate business? LK: Mitch, I’ve read your book and I loved it. No matter where a person is in their Real Estate career, I have no doubt you can help them. Your book is a generous gift to share with not just the real estate community, but anyone interested in realizing and obtaining their dreams of having financial freedom. How can we help people find your book? Mitch: I appreciate that Lisa. You can see all the details, read some free chapters and check out the reviews at To learn more about working with investors, investing and becoming financially free through real estate, be sure to attend our breakfast seminar with Mitch Stephen at Bass Pro Shops, May 27th, 2009 at 9:30 a.m. – 11:30 a.m. Please call or email your RSVP to or

View the virtual issue online at



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The ShowCase USA

May 18, 2009



KB Home Grand Opening of Quarry at Iron Mountain

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RE/MAX 360 Top Producers Below: RE/MAX 360 Top Producers Damion Grant, Christopher Douglass, Terry Short, Broker - Don Davis, Glen Johnson and Angela Culver.


May 18, 2009

The ShowCase USA

MOMENTUM from Page 2-B

TOUR from Page 1-B

registered for all three components (current sales, buyer traffic and sales expectations) and in all four regions of the country. While one month certainly doesn’t make a trend, the signals provided by the April HMI definitely are welcome.

and truly an incredible experience,” he said. “It gave me the opportunity to connect with home buyers, home owners, company members, real estate agents and brokers. Plus, we’ve seen our best month of sales in more than a year. While I’m off my mobile mattress and back at home, I’m still fully committed to get housing moving on a national scale and get the American economy back on track." To continue the momentum he achieved on the road, Wieland said that he is extending the company’s 101 Home Sale, providing savings of 5% to 25% and a lifetime structural warranty on one more home sale in each of his 56 neighborhoods. “During my travels, I was surprised to learn that hesitancy still exists with regard to buying a home, given the great pricing to home buyers,” Wieland said. “But then again, that’s part of the reason I started the tour in the first place. Through education, I hope to alleviate some of this concern, as unquestionably, the time has never been better to buy a new home.” Along the way, Wieland provided insights into the current marketplace that builders can use to improve their own sales.

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Under ordinary conditions, the economy would be expected to rebound at a quick pace as major cyclical drags lift and forceful policy actions give a strong push forward. However, the coming economic expansion figures to be less robust than usual, due to two structural “headwinds” — tighter credit conditions with less financial leveraging in national and global systems; and less aggressive consumer spending as heavily damaged household net worth and reduced prospects for capital gains encourage more saving out of current income. Both of these headwinds are blowing now, won’t subside for some time and will inevitably hold back the housing recovery. Credit conditions for both home buyers and housing producers will be much tougher than during the unsustainable boom period earlier this decade. Furthermore, the recent wrenching experience with falling home prices and widespread foreclosures is bound to keep some downward pressure on the homeownership rate and to encourage consumers to put less of their resources into housing — unless housing policy enhancements work against these forces.

In an April 16 entry in his blog entitled “There’s More Than Price,” Wieland provided a message that home builders should be sending to their customers when they find themselves in heated competition with bargain-priced foreclosures and short sales. “Sometimes bargain shoppers don’t ask themselves whether the bargain home really meets their family’s needs,” he wrote. “Is this

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The Early Stages of Economic and Housing Recovery Will Be Relatively Gradual

Price Isn’t Everything

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The recent data on home buyer demand described above have bolstered our view that new-home sales bottomed out in the first quarter. Our short-term sales forecast depicts a gradual recovery process that begins in the second quarter and gathers momentum through 2010. Data on housing starts and building permits through March have bolstered our view that total and single-family housing starts will bottom out in the second quarter of this year, although the multifamily sector is not likely to stabilize until the end of the year. We expect starts to gain ground during 2010, although constraints on housing production credit will undoubtedly limit the gains — particularly in the multifamily sector. Residential fixed investment (RFI), which includes manufactured home shipments, brokers’ commissions and improvements to structures as well as the production of new single-family and multifamily units, should continue to exert a drag on GDP growth over the balance of this year — although the drag most likely will be lessening as the year progresses. We expect RFI to post positive growth throughout 2010, helping to lift GDP growth into a healthy range by mid-year.


The Recovery in Housing Production Is Coming into View

Wieland took his tour to the executive committee meeting of the Greater Atlanta Home Builders Association, which he served as president in 1980, and he cited the local association’s efforts in “continually working on strategies to spread the word that now is a great time to buy a new home as well as to uphold the professionalism of the industry.” While NAHB truly is the voice of the housing industry, he said, “it is the local associations, such as ours in Atlanta, that really make the difference. It was great to be back at the housing center with so many people hard at work for a truly great industry.”

(210) 493-HOME The ShowCase USA

May 18, 2009



Quarry at Iron Mountain by KB Home Do your clients dream of having the kind of home that friends and family describe using words like "wow," "spacious" and "amazing?" That's the kind of response KB Home is hearing from those who tour their new model home at Quarry at Iron Mountain. Located in the Stone Oak-area, Quarry at Iron Mountain offers buyers 10 one-and-two-story floorplans on oversized homesites in a beautiful community complete with private swimming pool, children's playscape, and picnic pavilion. Beautiful views-priceless. Check out the beautiful kitchen with an island to die for and help your clients imagine the outdoor entertainment possibilities on the oversized covered patio. Visit Quarry at Iron Mountain, open daily from 10am 7pm at 1207 Andover Bay. Directions to Quarry at Iron Mountain: From Hwy. 281 North, pass Loop 1604 and exit Sonterra Blvd. Head west approx .5 mi. and turn right on Hardy Oak to community on right. For more information call (210) 495-5312.

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The ShowCase USA

ZILLOW from Page 1-B stroller around your neighborhood will never be the same." Zillow is the latest company in the real estate space to offer applications that can be downloaded to the iPhone or other Internet-capable "smart phones" in order to deliver their services in a user-friendly way. In February, for example, Trulia rolled out an updated version of its iPhone app, which not only provides access to about 3 million listings but can show users where and when open houses are scheduled (see below). offers mobile applications for Windows Mobile and iPhone operating systems that facilitate access to the site's listings. As smart phones capable of surfing the Web become more popular with real estate professionals and consumers, many companies maintain parallel Web sites designed to deliver information to mobile phones' smaller screens. Other than a browser, there's no special software needed to surf Web sites that have been tweaked for mobile users. But navigating Web sites adapted for mobile phones can still be somewhat clunky. Mobile phones are easily tripped up by Web site staples like Flash animation, for example, and scrolling though pages or drilling deep down into a site can be a chore. "If you go to from your BlackBerry, it will have a search box, and will come back with a Zestimate for a property, but there's no map," Zillow's Rascoff said of the site the company has optimized for mobile users. "That's maybe 10 percent of the Zillow experience." Zillow has joined the ranks of companies now offering custom software applications that make it easier to access their services using a smart phone.

Zillow may even decide to update its iPhone app before developing software for another phone, Rascoff said. While Zillow's iPhone app can serve up much of the information found on, it doesn't provide access to data on neighborhood schools and valuation indexes for neighborhoods, cities and states that are featured on the Web site. Other tools for Zillow's Web site users -- including the ability to save a home as a favorite, or e-mail it to friends -- are also absent. Zillow says the current version of the iPhone app does not support advertising, but that future versions may have that capability. The iPhone app can't be used to seek offers from lenders on Zillow's Mortgage Marketplace, either. Some smart-phone application developers say it's important not to attempt to cram too much functionality into a program that users will be using spontaneously on the go. But Rascoff said future versions of Zillow's iPhone app could have additional capabilities.

How it Works

In some ways, Rascoff said, Zillow's iPhone app already has a leg up on the Web site.

"To be honest, I think the iPhone app -- maybe not in this first version, but out on the horizon -- might be better than our Web site," Rascoff said. The iPhone's ability to broadcast the user's location (via signals received from Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites orbiting the Earth makes it unnecessary to type in an address, neighborhood or city (although users can still access information that way if they want). Instead, when users permit the application to track their location, they appear as a blue dot on a map on their iPhone screen, which moves along with them as they walk or drive through a neighborhood. In the 95 percent of areas where Zillow has coverage, each home on the screen displays an estimated value on its rooftop. Clicking on a home calls up details from public property records, including the number of bedrooms, square feet, historical values, recent sales of the home, and recent sales of comparable homes nearby. For-sale homes include that information plus See ZILLOW, Page 9-B

Supplying all your tournament awards and giveaways.

The iPhone Edge

While the iPhone is not the only smart phone capable of running custom software applications, Apple got a jumpstart on the competition by allowing third-party developers to sell -- or, in this case, give away -- their programs through the iPhone App store (see story). Rascoff said Zillow chose the iPhone as the platform for its first smart-phone application because the company believes more of the company's target audience have iPhones than BlackBerrys. While many real estate professionals are loyal BlackBerry users, Zillow thinks there's a broader market for its iPhone app that goes beyond those actively engaged in the process of buying and selling homes. "It's not just about homes for sale, it's about every home," Rascoff said. Zillow's iPhone app provides a mix of utility and entertainment that will appeal to "real estate enthusiasts" like homeowners and wouldbe homeowners keeping an eagle eye on market trends. That doesn't mean that commerce is not at the center of Zillow's iPhone app. Each listing includes the contact of the listing agent, and users of Zillow's iPhone app can call the phone number associated with the listing or send an e-mail with a single click, Rascoff said. "Agents will be getting leads from buyers who are using this iPhone app, so they will benefit whether they have an iPhone or not," he said. The timing of future releases of applications for other smart-phone operating systems depends in part on how quickly Zillow's iPhone app is embraced.

Patricia Tsai

210. 493. 5554

Terri L. Millmeyer Phone: 210.341.7209 The ShowCase USA

May 18, 2009


How to Overcome Home Buyer Objections in Today's Market We all might want more sales than we are getting, or we might like the sales that we do work with to be free of their many contingencies and conditions, but transactions are happening — even in the most stubborn markets. As for the objections our prospects raise, they really don’t differ that much from what many of us have heard in the past. They still can be grouped into the five basic categories — the home’s setting, financial reasons, design, buyer timing and fear — just like they were during the housing boom. And then, as now, most seasoned salespeople have been trained on how to overcome them. Yet, when most new home salespeople hear the dreaded, “We want to think it over,” from their customers today, they simply fold up their tents. So the fundamental impediment brought on by objections in today’s market, as difficult as it may be, may really be more about how we hear and interpret these objections, rather than the actual substance of them, and — even more importantly — how we allow these objections to become part of the selling and buying process. Most of us have spent a good part of our sales career overcoming objections and were trained in how to do it

effectively. We would listen, make sure we understood them, discuss them and provide well-rehearsed and planned answers — and then move on to the sale. Our solutions may not have satisfied our clients’ needs or been what they wanted to hear, but our sales objective was to give our solutions or answers to their objections and move along as if nothing had happened. That’s not a route we would even dare to take in today’s tough market.

Three Levels of Objections

Prospective buyers can raise objections to buying now because of everything from neighborhood schools, an inability to get a mortgage, a baby due in eight weeks and too low a ceiling in the family room to paying too high a price, home owners association fees, fear of working with the builder and more. But no matter what the basis of the objection is, it generally falls into one of three levels of importance — major ones you can do nothing about; intermediate ones you can explain, answer or solve; and minor ones that are inconsequential and should be ignored. Major objections are those that you can’t change, make go away or really do anything about. If there is a power

line or water treatment plant nearby, for instance, you can’t miraculously make it disappear. The best you can do in this circumstance is discuss the objection with your prospects and minimize its impact on the decision-making process by helping them understand that whatever it is that they object to really will not have an adverse impact on their lifestyle or investment. The intermediate objections — the ones you can explain or answer — usually center around perceived room sizes, various aspects of their investment, having a current home to sell, fear of making a decision and the like. These are the objections and issues that you were trained to overcome and can overcome. Your task is to actually make the objections disappear through specific actions, or to lessen their impact and make them seem reasonable enough to your prospects so that a buying decision is still possible. The minor or inconsequential objections are those that are sometimes raised in passing. They may not even be objections but, instead, be merely off-the-cuff comments or observations about the paint, carpet color, model furnishings or something else incidental that really has nothing to do with the floor plan, how well it works for your customers or what they really feel about the home. If you are ready and willing to act on these minor objections, you give them much more weight and importance than they deserve — and you could spend much too much time trying to solve them. The best plan of action with minor objections is to ignore them and let them fade away.

Determine If the Shopper Is Serious

While the nature of buyer objections has not really changed, in order to overcome objections in a down market, your first order of business should be to determine how serious your home shoppers are. If they’re not serious, having a home to sell or worrying about getting their financing really doesn’t matter at all. If they’re not serious, they are not going to buy no matter how hard you work for them. So, to determine how serious they are, I suggest asking them something like, “If your current home (or financing or other considerations they raised) was not a factor and everything was in place for you to do so, would you say ‘yes’ to owning this home right now?” If they replied with anything other than an emphatic and enthusiastic “yes,” then they really haven’t raised an objection, they were just giving you an excuse. And there is no effective way to work with excuses, because as soon as you try to deal with one another one will pop up. However, if selling a home or getting financing or whatever else that they brought up is a true objection and the buyer is truly serious, you have something to focus on and work with. Once you’ve determined their seriousness, the next step is to determine how many obstacles need to be overcome. To do that, I’d ask a follow-up question like, “So, if selling your present home (or getting financing, etc.) was not a factor, are you comfortable going ahead and getting started with owning this home today?” This approach helps to determine if the objection they raised initially was the only one you have to address of if there are other obstacles to making the sale. The approach enables you to discover what you really can and do need to work with — and what is just being offered as conversation. So, before attempting to answer or work with what you think might be a true objection, confirm that it is a true objection and that it stands in the way of an immediate decision. Once you made that determination, you can work with it to eliminate it as a barrier to the sale. Otherwise, you may be making the sales process longer and harder than it needs to be. The above article has been provided to you compliments of NAHB and Nation’s Builder News. 8-B

May 18, 2009

The ShowCase USA

SUMMER from Page 1-B

ZILLOW from Page 7-B

listing price, up to 50 photos provided by the seller, and contact information for the agent or owner selling the property. The iPhone application will also display any of about 150,000 "Make Me Move" listings -- homes that aren't on the market but whose owners say they might be persuaded to sell for the right price. In addition to optional GPS location tracking, Rascoff said users of Zillow's iPhone app have another advantage over those navigating with a traditional computer and mouse. The iPhone's touch screen allows them to slide maps around with their finger, and zoom in and out by pinching and sliding their fingers across the screen. Building an application to take advantage of the iPhone's "slide and pinch to pan and zoom" capabilities is "extraordinarily hard," Rascoff said -- he believes Zillow is the only real estate iPhone app with that capability -- but well worth the effort. "This is the type of application that will make Realtors in particular glad that they have an iPhone," Rascoff said. "It's a game-changing application if you're a real estate enthusiast."

Trulia Update

At one Zillow rival,, there's little dispute that smart-phone applications are game-changers. But Trulia could also argue that the game was changed last year, when the company rolled out its first iPhone app. Since its introduction in August, Trulia says its iPhone app has been downloaded about 170,000 times. An updated version, unveiled in February, incorporated feedback from users to refine the search process, said Rob Cross, Trulia's director of distribution. "When you wanted to filter search results to narrow down on criteria, it was not as easy as it could be," Cross said of Trulia's first iPhone App. The new version makes it easier to sort results or add filters directly from the results page. Listings search remains the core function of Trulia's iPhone app, and the company's experience makes accessing information on about 3 million properties "super seamless and fast," Cross said. Trulia's iPhone application allows users to get more information on a property or contact an agent with a click. But it doesn't do property valuations or provide access to Trulia's "heat maps" -- graphic representations of market trends. "We wanted to do something simple, and we wanted to do it really well," said Heather Fernandez, Trulia's vice president of marketing. "When you look at the feedback (from users), it seems we're doing the right thing." A handy feature of Trulia's iPhone app is the ability to find nearby open houses and display them on a map with the number of hours and minutes each will remain available for viewing. The open-house search function is "very compelling ... to our users, particularly when they happen to be out (looking at houses) on a Saturday or Sunday," Cross said. While many consumers once looked to newspapers as a source of information on open houses, more agents are shunning print outlets in marketing listings. "We see clear spikes on the weekend as open-house activity opens up," Fernandez said. Through a third-party platform, LightPole, Trulia also offers customized applications for an Internetconnected GPS device called the Dash, as well as BlackBerry, Motorola, Nokia, Samsung, LG and other phones offered by the major carriers.

San Antonio homeowners may wonder whether they can earn a return on their current property if they decide to sell. According to the San Antonio Board of REALTORS® MLS system, the median San Antonio home price year-to-date in March 2009 was $145,600, a zero percent decrease/ increase from the year-to-date median price of March 2008. However, the typical Texas family spends not one, but six years in a home. Thus, some properties purchased six years ago at San Antonio’s median price in March 2003 of $107,500 and sold at the median price in March 2009 of $146,000 appreciated $38,500. Terrell explained, “We hear a lot about the market being ‘down’ in news headlines, but consumers don’t always understand what that means. In Texas, we’ve been fortunate that our home values have remained stable and we continue to outperform the nation in employment. Those factors, combined with the financial incentives available to buyers, bode well for Texas real estate this summer.” Another concern common among homebuyers is whether they can obtain mortgage financing.

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Terrell offered this perspective, “Financing is certainly stricter than a few years ago, but it’s not as difficult to secure as some believe. We’re simply seeing a return to lending practices of the past, such as confirming employment and compensation, increased use of credit scoring and more detailed documentation. I’m also seeing more clients finance through FHA programs.” Referring to loan programs offered through the Federal Housing Administration, these programs can offer more flexible down payment and credit score requirements for first-time homebuyers than conventional loans. Terrell summarized, “Homeowners are concerned about whether this is the time to make the real estate move they’ve been planning. To make that decision based on current, accurate information, we encourage Texans to talk with their San Antonio REALTOR®.” She continued, “Your San Antonio REALTOR® can provide the facts about the local market – even specific neighborhoods – and help you understand how all the aspects of buying or selling a home could affect you this summer.”

The ShowCase USA

May 18, 2009


Builders With NAHB Green Credentials Soars Local Realtors Graduate out there so you can advise home buyers about energy, water and resource efficiency and how to get a return on your investment for building green,” he said. • Paul Kinder, a window and door sales Nearly 2,800 builders, remodelers and other representative at Harry G. Barr Company in Fort home building industry professionals have now Smith, Ark., said the designation paid for itself achieved the Certified Green Professional (CGP) the day after he finished taking his classes. As designation — an indication of the growth of the he talked to a customer to explain his product’s green building movement and NAHB’s leadership energy-efficient benefits, he also mentioned his in providing educational opportunities for its Certified Green Professional designation, which members. was enough to immediately seal the deal, he said. The designation is awarded after the successful • Liz Newman, principal of Elizabeth Newman completion of 24 hours of classroom instruction on Custom Homes in Dallas, said that the CGP green building techniques and business practices, designation has enabled her to bring a fresh two years of industry experience, a commitment approach to her business. “I was one of the first to continuing education and adherence to the CGPs in my area, and I used the designation as CGP code of ethics. a competitive advantage that remains with me “These men and women are ahead of the curve,” today,” she said. said NAHB Chairman Joe Robson. “As home buyers Newman will show one of her latest green return to the market and as home owners look to projects next month during the 11th annual NAHB make cost-effective improvements to their homes, National Green Building Conference in Dallas these professionals have already determined May 8-10. It is one of six homes in various stages where the industry’s greatest growth opportunity of construction that builders and remodelers will is most likely to be — environmentally friendly, visit on the May 8 Tour of Green Homes. resource-efficient design and construction. That’s Certified Green Professionals will be honored green building.” at a special reception during the conference. “We Robson cited the examples of three building want to recognize how CGPs set an example for industry professionals who recognize the value of all of us and how they help the industry stimulate the CGP educational designation: demand for greener products and materials, too,” • John Allen, principal of S outhern C onstruction said Robson. & Design Inc. in Madison, Ala., has found his designation invaluable in planning home building The above article has been provided to you and remodeling projects. “It’s important to compliments of NAHB and Nation’s Builder understand the products and techniques that are News.

TOUR from Page 5-B home in a neighborhood where property values will appreciate? Is it really a quality home or just a long-term maintenance problem? Obviously, price is a huge part of any home purchase, but should it be the only part? Should you forget about all the other aspects of picking ‘the right’ home when you see the ‘unbelievable’ low price offered on a home that someone else couldn’t afford?” While some of the low prices available represent great buys, Wieland wrote, some “exist for specific reasons and any potential purchaser needs to be wary. Maybe the school district isn’t so terrific after all. What about the neighborhood? Does the neighborhood have recreational amenities? Are the other homes in the neighborhood holding value? Many times when you buy low, years from now you will end up selling low. “Purchasing in a stable neighborhood with all of the pieces in place for long-term neighborhood

success, and paying just a bit more than a bargain around the corner, can easily be one of the best decisions a family ever makes. After all, a home is not something that you can easily trade in when you find that you made the wrong decision. Price is very important, but it isn’t everything. Paying $20,000 more for the ‘right home’ at 4.5% interest is just $2.50 per day of enjoyment.” During his celebrated tour, Wieland calculated that he shook 378 hands and received 186 cookies. He also reported that the zucchini bread he received from a mystery guest while parked on Peachtree Street in Atlanta was “awesome.”

from 100 Days to Greatness® Training Program

Six new Realtors® at ERA D. Lee Edwards Realty, Inc. discovered how 100 days of nationally acclaimed training can put them on the pathway to not just success but greatness. Karla Cohee, Shelly Eoff, Tamara Gailey, and Nate Todd, all of ERA D. Lee Edwards Realty, Inc., recently graduated from 100 Days to Greatness training. Ronda Dobos and Andrea Biby also received certificates of completion for the course. Biby, Cohee, Dobos, Eoff, Gailey, and Todd joined ERA D. Lee Edwards Realty, Inc. and began 100 Days training in January. During their training, they combined to get 17 property listings, 13 contracts and closed $1,019,900 in sales! “The 100 Days to Greatness training program is the best way to get agents on the fast track to building a successful business that lasts because it teaches them to cultivate relationships with their clients before, during, and after the transaction. Many companies end their interaction with clients after the home closes – but our agents won’t forget you,” said Aja Edwards, Sales Manager for ERA D. Lee Edwards Realty, Inc. and a Buffini & Company Certified Mentor. The 100 Days to Greatness program is a 14week, step-by-step training course that combines training from industry expert Brian Buffini and live accountability sessions – creating a comprehensive, practical learning experience. Students learn how to build and maximize relationships in order to cultivate advocates for life and accelerate their business. The course is applicable to both new and seasoned agents. Locally, 100 Days to Greatness training is offered exclusively at ERA D. Lee Edwards Realty, Inc., located at 1111 N. Walnut Ave. For more information on the program or on how to become a real estate agent, contact Aja Edwards at (830) 620-SOLD (7653).

Andrea Biby

Ronda Dobos

Nate Todd

Karla Cohee

Shelly Eoff

Tamara Gailey

The above article has been provided to you compliments of NAHB and Nation’s Builder News.

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Think Firs t. Think Firs t Am e rica n. www.FASanAntonio.c om

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10103 West Loop 1604 N Ste 101 San Antonio, TX 78254 office 210.543.1200 fax 210.543.2100

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10-B May 18, 2009

The ShowCase USA

Industry News & Events GSABA Announcements

Molly Eaton Awarded the Prestigious (CRS) Designation

Lunch: 1:00 p.m. - 2:00 p.m. Includes: Tour, New Product Show, Tour Booklet, May 20 - TRCC Seminar, GSABA for more Breakfast/Lunch, Refreshments, information call 696-3800. Numerous Prizes May 21 - GSABA Membership Mixer at Continental Breakfast Provided by KB Home Morrison Supply at 10130 Jones Please register through IMS or call Janelle at 593 Maltzberger 78216. Please rsvp to GSABA 1200, ext. 121 No on site reservations will be taken! Bradfield Properties is proud at 696-3800 Numerous prizes to give away! Dinner for 2 gift to announce that Molly Eaton, a May 27 - Remodelor's Council from 11:30am cards, gas cards, carwashes & many more! Realtor at the Stone Oak office, to 1:00pm at the GSABA Ray Ellison has been awarded the prestigious Auditorium For more information, please Certified Residential Specialist contact Jennie Briggs at 696-3800. ® (CRS) Designation by the Council May 27 - Building Believers, GSABA. Molly Eaton of Residential Specialists, the largest June 12-13 - GSABA Fishing Tournament, Port not-for-profit affiliate of the National Association Aransas, TX. To register your team, call ® of Realtors (NAR). Realtors who receive the CRS Sonja or Traci at 696-3800. Designation have completed advances courses and Phillip Bell with RE/MAX-Boerne have demonstrated professional expertise in the field of has been awarded the National residential real estate. Only 35,000 realtors nationwide Association of REALTORS®, (NAR’s) have earned the credential. Congratulations, Molly! Location: Alzafar Shrine Temple San Antonio, Texas Green Designation, the only green Date: Tuesday May 19th real state professional designation Time: 9:00am - 5:00pm recognized by NAR. Phillip Bell Walt Frey, CRS - Instructor Phillip achieved this prestigious designation after completing 18 hours of course work designed specifically for REALTORS®. The courses TREC APPROVED - 8 HOUR MCE WORKSHOP were created in collaboration with a multidisciplinary June: COURSE # 08-00-011-7751 - PROVIDER # 0643 team of industry experts from across the country; WHAT IF… you could SELL a house for TOP ensuring designees gain comprehensive knowledge of 3rd DOLLAR in any market? WHAT IF… a house sold in 1 green homes and buildings and issues of sustainability WCR: Business Resource Meeting MONTH or less? WHAT IF…you found an unlimited in relation to real estate. 11:00am - 1:00pm @ Sonterra Country source of creative and effective tools to CLOSE your More specifically, Phillip was trained in understanding SALES quickly and with STYLE? EXPERIENCE a fun what makes a property green, helping clients evaluate Club, RSVP to and interactive day of Learning. Secure the tools you the cost/benefits of green building features and th need to turn your Business into a FORTUNE! practices, distinguishing between industry rating and 5 classification systems, listing and marketing green SABOR: 2009 REALTOR/Builder Date: Fri. May 22, 2009 - 8:30 – 5:30 homes and buildings, discussing the financial grants Bus Tour Location: San Antonio Board of REALTORS and incentives available to homeowners and helping 7:59am bus departure @ Lowe's Parking 9110 West IH 10, Suite 1 consumers see a property’s green potential. San Antonio, TX 78230 “As energy costs rise along with concern for the Lot at IH-10 & Callaghan Rd. Cost: $99.00 environment, homeowners are looking for innovative Contact Robyn Locke at ways to save money and live responsibly,” said Dick Gaylord, (210) 593-1200 NAR’s immediate past president. NAR’s Breen Designation was developed in response to growing consumer awareness of the benefits of resource-efficient Presented by SABOR's REALTOR®/Builder homes and buildings. The designation helps consumers Visit for more events. Committee Buses provided by FieldStone Homes who care about energy efficiency and sustainable will depart from the Lowe's Parking Lot at IH 10 & building practice identify REALTORS® who can help Callaghan Road them realize their real estate and lifestyle goals. As an NAR Green Designee, Phillip has gained the Date: Friday, June 5, 2009 knowledge and the tools necessary to become a trusted Location: IH-35 Corridor green resource for Boerne and the Texas Hill Country. Cost: $27 per ticket. No on site reserv. For more information about Phillip Bell please visit Tour: 7:30 a.m. - 3:00 p.m. or

Local Realtor Achieves National Association of Realtors Green Designation



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The ShowCase USA

May 18, 2009


May 18th Issue, San Antonio  

Real Estate Industry News & Events in San Antonio.