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Category Archive : Area Agents

Capital Hill

$1.4 Trillion Federal Funding Bill Just Signed Includes Several Provisions Beneficial to Realtors

LAS VEGAS, NV – This week, President Trump signed a $738 billion Federal spending bill for the 2020 Fiscal Year into law that averts a government shutdown and provides funding for numerous essential services as well as instituting several new aspects, such as granting federal employees paid parental leave and authorizing the official creation of a new branch of the military- Space Force.

However, there were several other, less publicized aspects of the spending bill that will prove very beneficial to realtors across the country; three in particular, in fact, that National Association of Realtors (NAR) President Vince Malta said installed “Confidence and stability” into America’s housing market and economy.

First up is a nine-month extension of the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). The program enables property owners in participating communities to purchase government- administered insurance protection against losses from flooding, and this extension ensures that policies will continue to be issued and renewed through September 30, 2020, during which time NAR hopes Congress will be using it as a stepping stone towards a 5-year re-authorization of NFIP with significant reforms included to ensure that the programs remain both affordable and sustainable. 

Next is the Terrorism Risk Insurance Program (TRIP), which received a seven-year re-authorization. This bill was originally signed into law by President George W. Bush in 2002 in response to the September 11 attacks, creating a federal “backstop” for insurance claims related to acts of terrorism. Without the protections this bill affords, numerous aspects of the real estate industry would face hazards in terms of financing, especially when it comes to commercial developments. NAR has been a strong and vocal supporter of the re-authorization of TRIP.

And finally, three tax provisions directly impacting the real estate industry – that originally had all expired at the close of 2017 – were granted temporary extensions through the end of 2020; these extensions are all retroactive to the beginning of 2018. First, forgiven mortgage debt is excluded from gross income; this means that property owners who sell their primary residence for a price that falls short of the debts secured by liens against the property will not have to pay taxes on the forgiven amount. Next, premiums for mortgage insurance can continue to be deducted. And third, “green” improvements to commercial structures for the sake of making them more energy-efficient also remain tax-deductible.

Shelter Realty is a Real Estate and Property Management Company specializing in the areas of HendersonLas Vegas and North Las Vegas, NV. Feel free to give us a call at 702.376.7379 so we can answer any questions you may have.

Raiders Rendering

Recent Sporting Team Exodus to Las Vegas Having Impact on Housing Market

LAS VEGAS, NV – According to recent reports, the recent influx of high-profile professional sporting teams to Las Vegas – including the Raiders NFL team in 2020 – has created a unique atmosphere in the region for real estate salespeople; the idea of wealthy athletes looking to transplant themselves into their new home town, and looking to do it in (expensive) style, can make for good career ideas.

Realtors have been looking forward to the very real possibility of high-paid members of numerous sporting teams seeking to purchase multi-million-dollar homes in the Las Vegas area, even going so far as attending recent seminars giving insight on dealing with athletes and their unique – and at times, difficult – housing needs.

While some athletes are looking to spend millions of dollars on a fancy home, others – who may not have many years left on their contracts or are not as high-paid as others – are looking for something a bit easier to do away with once their time in Southern Nevada is up.

Nonetheless, the recent exodus of high-profile sports teams to Vegas has the potential to make Realtors serious money; reports indicate that with the Raiders taking up permanent residence in Vegas come their 2020 season, demand from players – already used to jet-setting lifestyles – for luxury homes and condos in proximity to the famed Las Vegas Strip will be high. Even the lowest-paid NFL player makes the league minimum of $500,000, so there will likely be money to burn on the part of the Raiders players once they arrive.

In addition, with the ongoing construction of the team’s corporate headquarters and practice facility in Henderson, the entire Raiders management and support staff will be making the move to Vegas as well, opening up even more high-cost housing needs that Realtors will need to satisfy. Raiders quarterback Derek Carr, coach Jon Gruden, and president Marc Badain, have all already purchased homes near the team’s Henderson practice facility, and more are sure to come in the months ahead.

Shelter Realty is a Real Estate and Property Management Company specializing in the areas of HendersonLas Vegas and North Las Vegas, NV. Feel free to give us a call at 702.376.7379 so we can answer any questions you may have.

Las Vegas City Council Stiffens Penalties for Squatting or Aiding Squatters; Organizes Dedicated Squatter Task Force

LAS VEGAS, NV – The Las Vegas real estate scene is hot right now; according to reports, demand is far outstripping supply in terms of both housing and rental units, with prices soaring and continuing to increase ever since the Southern Nevada area has recovered from the housing bubble burst of the mid-2000’s. Jobs are increasing, the economy is stabilizing and beginning to flourish, and big-name businesses such as Amazon and the NFL are setting up shop in the region, galvanizing current residents and inviting a virtual flood of newcomers from out-of-state looking for a fresh start.

While these factors are no doubt a good thing for Las Vegas, the latest real estate boom has brought a negative with it that local officials are currently scrambling to combat- squatters, people who break into vacant or empty dwellings and live there illegally until they are removed by property owners or authorities. There are a number of reasons squatting is an issue in Las Vegas currently, but while homelessness is an issue that any major city has to deal with in one way or another, the main reasons have already been touched upon in this article- the general lack of housing options and the ever-rising prices of the ones that are currently available.

In Las Vegas, however, the issue of squatting is increased by the fact that the mid-2000’s housing crisis has left numerous homes simply abandoned or foreclosed upon; more so than the national norm at the moment, and thus ripe for the picking by anyone looking for a place to crash illegally. But while squatting to some may merely appear to be a harmless pursuit of somewhere to live, to others – legitimate property owners – it’s proven to be a hardship, and one that local government is looking to address in a hurry.

One area couple, according to reports, has been involved in a nearly year-long dispute with a number of squatters that have been regularly breaking into a former office that they had previously used for a family business; despite sinking money into boarding up the property and constantly calling the police, the couple nonetheless noted that in the last several years, there have been at least 30 break-ins, and that their patience is wearing thin to the point that they are considering selling rather than deal with the headache.

Recently, people squatting in a downtown Las Vegas house caused a fire in the dwelling, causing approximately $75,000 in damage before local fire department crews were able to get the blaze under control. Thankfully, the damage was contained to the individual property in question; no injuries were reported, and the fire prevented from spreading to other adjacent units. Some area realtors have actually started carrying weapons when visiting properties listed for sale, just in case they have an untimely – yet rare – encounter with a squatter; more often than not, they simply walk into the aftermath of their unwanted presence, consisting of discarded food and clothing items, and occasionally, minor damage to walls, doors, or cabinets.

Although squatting is mostly contained to small, specific areas at the moment, local officials are looking to head off the problem before it becomes more widespread and problematic; especially as it related to maintaining local property values. The Las Vegas city council is currently putting together a registry that identifies and classifies currently vacant homes that run the risk of being taken over by squatters, and then taking steps to secure those properties, which typically consist of ones that have been abandoned or foreclosed upon and are currently in-between owners and, thus, are not currently subject to regular use by legitimate parties.

In addition, the City Council has passed laws stiffening penalties for squatting and/or aiding squatters, and has organized a dedicated squatter task force that allows officials to not only keep up with the activities of potential squatters, but actually keep ahead of them. In addition, more work is being done, including setting up coordination across municipalities in order to form an organized front against such activities. In the meantime, real estate experts suggest not advertising a property as being vacant with a for sale sign on the front lawn or window, and to refrain from posting the street address of any available property on a publicly-accessible real estate website.

Need real estate information on the fast-evolving Las Vegas market? Free residential market appraisal? Property management assistance for investment homes in the area? Please feel free to give us a call at 702.376.7379 so we can answer any questions you may have.

How Your Las Vegas Real Estate Agent Can Help You Price Your Home Competitively

One of the most important services a Las Vegas seller’s agent can perform for his client is to set a realistic and competitive market price on a client’s for sale property. Setting a price that will satisfy the seller, and simultaneously attract eager buyers is no easy task, particularly under current market conditions.

Trying to price your Las Vegas Home on your own is going to be a hit or miss project. You will need to expend a lot of time checking out the neighborhood, and you won’t have the resources and up-to-date data available to a professional real estate agent.

The first thing your appointed real estate representative will do is to explore his/her MLS database to find listings and sales of comparable homes in your immediate neighborhood, usually within a half mile radius. Your Las Vegas Realtor will check for homes similar in age, and square footage to yours, access to major thoroughfares, etc.

Your real estate agent will also:

  • Pull information on similar homes that may have been taken off the market and re-listed
  • Determine price reductions and ratios by comparison of listing to sales prices
  • Adjust pricing to reflect comparative upgrades and lot size
  • Investigate pending sales of neighborhood homes for asking price, sold price, time on market, etc. Since these properties are sold but have not yet closed, some of this information might possibly be obtained from the listing agents
  • Analyze similar unsold homes in the neighborhood whose listings have expired or have been withdrawn in order to uncover similarities in why they did not sell. This information could be very helpful to the agent in developing a marketing plan for the client
  • After all the relevant data has been collected, your agent will then discuss with you the overall marketing plan, such as how the property will be advertised, and set an asking price for the home based on the researched data, stock of present inventory, and reflecting current market conditions

Certainly, it is easy to see how much time, experience, expertise, and access to the necessary data it takes to properly market and sell a home, and how important it is to have professional guidance in advertising, pricing, negotiating, and selling the average person’s most valuable asset.

So, if anyone tells you it’s a waste of money to pay an agent’s commission to list and market your home, that person is obviously badly misinformed as to what a dedicated and knowledgeable Las Vegas Real Estate Agent can do for a client.

It could be a costly mistake for you to attempt to price your home based on skimpy data, or on what you think your house is worth, and have the property sit unsold until you realize, particularly in this current so-called “buyers market” that you really do need the help of a professional realtor.

If you need the assistance of a professional real estate agent, feel free to give us a call at 702.376.0088 or reply below.

Las Vegas Agents: Why Are You Paying Franchise Fees?

Is it necessary to hang your Las Vegas Real Estate License with a franchise company like a Century 21?  I thought so.  When I got into the business back in 2001, I hung my license with a Century 21 franchise in Henderson, Nevada.  I really didn’t realize the cost of doing business at a franchise like Century 21 until I received my first closing check.  Being a new agent, I was on a 50/50 split but I didn’t realize I lost an additional 6% for the franchise fee.  How is that a 50/50 split?  After a few more closings, I sat down and looked at my options.  Was I really receiving a benefit hanging my license at a franchise like Century 21?  Was it really worth 6% on every transaction I closed just to hang my license at a brand name real estate company?

Maybe a few years ago it did make sense to hang your real estate license with a franchise like Century 21 but in today’s real estate market, it makes no sense.  The shift to the Internet has leveled the playing field in the real estate industry.  Buyers are using the Internet to search for homes and sellers are using it to find a real estate agent who can sell their home.  This is why I don’t understand why a Las Vegas Real Estate Agent would hang their license at a franchise that charges 6% for every transaction they close like a Century 21.

Let’s look at another example of why it doesn’t make sense.  Las Vegas home prices peaked in June 2006 with a median price of $315K and currently the median home price is $141K.  The average real estate commission in today’s real estate market is $4,230 compared to $9,450 in 2006.  Anyone that loses that kind of income is going to notice a serious hit to their pocket book.  With that kind of loss of income, why would you keep paying the same fees you were paying in 2006?  Your fees are still the same but your income isn’t.

In today’s Las Vegas Real Estate Market, if you are going to hang your real estate license at a real estate brokerage, you better be receiving something of value.  Whether it be low monthly licensing fee, real estate leads or a generous split, it needs to make financial sense.  The cost of doing business has not decreased, so every dime you can cut from your expenses is very important.

Every dollar you make from your real estate business is very important and to give away a few hundred dollars per closing just to be associated with a brand name company is not worth it.  Like I said earlier, I hung my license for over 4 years with a Century 21 Franchise that charged me a franchise fee on every transaction I closed.  I must have given away over $10K dollars during that 4 year period and for what.  Since I started my real estate brokerage, Shelter Realty, Inc., I never had a client tell me they wouldn’t work with me because I wasn’t associated with a brand name real estate company.

So back to my original question, why are you giving away a few hundred dollars in franchise fees on every transaction just to be associated with a brand name brokerage?

If you are a Las Vegas real estate agent whose interested in joining our real estate team, we have opportunities for you.  For more information, fill out the form on our Las Vegas Real Estate Career page or call us at 702.376.7379.

Things Your Realtor Can’t Tell You

When I’m driving with Buyers showing them properties in Las Vegas they inevitably ask me a question I can’t answer. I am not trying to be evasive I just can’t answer them without the risk of being sued, fined and/or having my license revoked. What I am writing about here is mostly in response to Fair Housing laws and the governments attempt to eliminate discrimination in Real Estate/Lending.

The first important definition to understand is a practice called steering. Steering is “the illegal funneling of home buyers to particular areas based on a desire to keep the make up of a neighborhood the same or intentionally change it” (definition provided by ask.com). The second important definition to understand is the practice of Redlining. This term was coined when lenders actually drew a redline on a map and refused to lend money to people buying in that area.  The lenders argued that they were unacceptably risky areas to lend in. The lenders lost that argument on the grounds that they were discriminating against people based on racial and income profiles.

So please don’t ask me (or your Realtor) if there are a large percentage of one type of people (read: Race) or another in a particular neighborhood. Even if I knew (which I usually don’t) I won’t tell you anyway. There are decent demographic statistics at the US Census bureau’s website if you are interested in such things (and the new census starts in 2010). The same goes for me offering specific information about various religious buildings in the area (I can’t do it, look on the Internet). Ditto in regards to school ratings, environmental issues and crime statistics. Two good ways to get a feel for a neighborhood is to drive the area and talk to the neighbors.

A Realtor is also prohibited from disclosing confidential information about their clients to anyone other then their broker (for a certain period of time). The exceptions being unless they are ordered by a court of law or given written permission by the client. The reason why I mention this is sometimes the Realtor can be representing both the buyer and the seller. In this case, the Realtor has to walk a fine line as to what he or she can reveal to whom.

Fortunately, we live in an age of abundant information. If you know where to look you can find almost anything on the Internet. Want to know how much the seller paid for the house, look at your county recorders website for their property tax records. Want to know how many sex offenders live in the area, you can go to Family Watchdog website. School information can be had at the National Center for Education Statistics website. I often tell my mother, “don’t be afraid to try things on your computer, it will stop you before you do something stupid”. I suggest a similar thing to you, if you want to know something about a neighborhood (and I can’t tell you), ask a search engine.

My name is Greg Hoffman and I have lived in Las Vegas since 1990. I have been a Realtor here since 1999. I welcome your comments good, bad  or indifferent.

Las Vegas Expired Listings

With so many Las Vegas Homes for Sale it’s becoming more difficult to find buyers.  Homes begin to sit on the market for days, weeks and months with no offers.  Many times, homeowners become frustrated and blame their real estate agent for not doing their job to sell their home.  Is it really the fault of their real estate agent that their home is not selling?  It depends.  If their real estate agent is actively marketing their home instead of just waiting for another agent to bring a buyer, than I would say no it’s not their fault.

So what happens when a home does not sell?  Eventually it expires with their real estate agent, unless they extend the contract with the agent.  Once it expires, the homeowner can expect to be bombarded with phone calls and mail from other Las Vegas Real Estate Agents stating they can do a much better job and sell their home.

My advice to Las Vegas Homeowners would be to interview several Las Vegas Real Estate Agents and ask lots of questions.  Here are a few important questions you need to ask:

  1. Are you a full or part time real estate agent?
  2. How long have you been involved in selling real estate?
  3. How many homes have you sold in the last 90 days?  In the last year?
  4. What type of marketing will you be doing to sell my home?
  5. What makes you different from other real estate agents I have interviewed?
  6. If I am not satisfied with your performance, can I fire you and hire another real estate agent?

Obviously there are many more questions you should ask, but these are a few of the more important questions that you need to ask.  Remember don’t panic if your Las Vegas Home expires and don’t rush into a new contract with another Las Vegas Real Estate Agent.  Do you due diligence and interview several agents until you find one that you are satisfied has the credentials, experience and marketing programs to sell your Las Vegas Home.

Las Vegas Real Estate Career

Not many are interested in a Las Vegas Real Estate Career with all the negative publicity that the Las Vegas Real Estate Market has been receiving lately.  I actually think that the Las Vegas Real Estate Market is poised for a rebound very soon making it an excellent time to get your real estate license!

Are you currently licensed to sell real estate but just not doing much business?  Have you had to get a part time job just to get by?  Why don’t Las Vegas Real Estate Agents who aren’t doing very well look for a new real estate company to hang their license?  I hear all the time about how business is so bad and if they just could get some leads they would be happy!  But yet, they seem afraid to take that step and find a Las Vegas Real Estate Company that can make their personal business more successful.

My question is, “What do Las Vegas Real Estate Agents look for in a real estate company when it comes to switching brokerages?”

Las Vegas Home Marketing

How many Las Vegas Real Estate Agents actually know how to market a home?  Is there a science to truly marketing a Las Vegas Home?

Most Las Vegas Homeowners who are selling a home for the first time usually choose real estate agents that are referred to them from their friends thinking that all Las Vegas Real Estate Agents are the same.  The truth is, not all Las Vegas Real Estate Agents are the same.  There are many Las Vegas Real Estate Agents that are part time agents, their are some that are primarily buyer agents, and some that specialize in only listings.  So back to my original question, “is their a science to marketing a home?”  I would say yes and here is why!

With so many Las Vegas Homes on the market, some bank owned and some short sales, it is imperative to get as many potential buyers to view the home in order for it to sell.  It is difficult to compete with these bank owned homes because the banks are pricing these homes so low in order to sell them quickly.  So how do you generate potential buyers?  The first thing you need to do is obviously price the home correctly!  The second thing that needs to be done is to analyze the neighborhood and surrounding community.  For example, say the home is in the northeast part of Las Vegas.  This potential home is close to Nellis Air Force Base and might make an ideal home for military personnel transferring to Nellis due to its close proximity to the base.  So it might make sense to market the home on the base and websites that target military personnel.

What about a home near a hospital?  It would make sense to market the home to the employees of the hospital with flyers and possibly in the Hospital newsletter that gets distributed to the staff.  So the point is, it is very important to analyze the community that surrounds the home you are going to list, you never know where you are going to find the buyer for your listing.  Their is a good chance the buyer could already be working in the surrounding community!

Some Answers to Credit Score Mysteries

One of the most common things said when I am talking to a potential client on the phone is “I don’t want you to run my credit because it will drop my score”.

This is one of the most annoying statements made when you are trying to qualify a client for a mortgage. You simply can’t give them proper information without reviewing their credit report. So, I decided since how credit scores are calculated are somewhat of a mystery to everyone that I would elaborate some on this topic.

Each time a consumer applies for a loan, credit card or auto loan, they are having their credit checked. These credit checks are used by lenders to determine if the consumer is able to obtain financing. Every time a lender checks a consumers credit history, it shows up on the consumers credit bureau (Experian, Trans Union and Equifax) as an inquiry. These inquires can drop the consumers credit scores if too many inquiries are made in a certain period of time.

Many lenders rely on the FICO scores they pull when running a consumers credit history. These scores are tabulated by software from Fair, Isaac and Company Inc, along with what information is on the consumers history. Due to increasing pressure on Fair, Issac and Company to release how their software works, they have released information on how their scoring model calculates a FICO score for the consumer.

Inquires on a credit report are an indicator of risk and according to Fair Isaac and Company, the more inquires made means the more likely the consumer will not be able to pay his bills. When consumers want to buy or refinance a home, they usually contact more then one mortgage company for information. In order for the consumer to get accurate information from several mortgages companies, they need to have their credit checked by each mortgage company which in turn leads to many inquiries (especially if using an online site which shops various lenders). Since too many inquiries lead to lower scores, eventually the consumer could lose out on decent financing because their scores are too low.

Now for some good news and a way to combat that dreaded statement in the beginning of the article.

There is a new policy at Fair Isaac and Company, the software will ignore all auto and mortgage related inquiries that occur in the previous 30 day period from the time the credit is checked by the lender.

These inquiries will not be used to tabulate the credit score for the consumer. For each 14 day period prior to the 30 day period, only 1 inquiry will be counted no matter how many inquires where made during a particular 2 week period.

Inquiries on a credit report carry the lowest impact on scores. Things like high balances in relation to credit limit, recent late payments, judgments, and bankruptcy carry much more weight in tabulating a score. This information should be very usual to combat the consumers resistance to pulling credit because it will effect their scores.

Real-estate agents and mortgage professionals need to remind their clients that it is critical to sit down and review credit in order to provide options on the mortgages that they qualify for. This is the only way to provide the client with accurate information.

Las Vegas Discount Realtor?

Is there still a need for Las Vegas Discount Realtors in this real estate market?  The premise for discount Realtors was to discount their “commissions” to make it more affordable for those sellers that only wanted to pay for certain services.  So instead of providing a full service, discount Realtors only provided the services the seller was willing to pay.

Back in 2004 and 2005 when homes were flying off the market as soon as they were placed for sale, sellers were looking for discount Realtors as they knew their home would sell as soon as they entered it into the Multiple Listing Service.  Even full service real estate brokerages were lowering their commissions in order to satisfy their sellers as they knew the real estate market wasn’t bearing a 6% or 7% commission.  But that is just not the case in this real estate market.  There is way too much inventory and in order to sell a home, it is imperative that a home gets as much exposure as possible to get potential buyers to walk through the door.  Which means, Las Vegas Real Estate Agents need to market their listings, which costs money!

Many Las Vegas Discount Realtors, not all of them, just place their listings in Multiple Listing Service and wait for another Las Vegas Real Estate Agent to bring them a buyer.  Unfortunately, that is not going to sell a home in this market!  There are way too many homes for sale and now that homeowners have to compete with bank owned and short sale properties, it is imperative that they price their home accordingly and their real estate agent needs to get as much exposure as possible!  So I just don’t see where a discount Realtor can compete with a full service Realtor and provide the same marketing and exposure the home needs to sale.

Where Are All The Las Vegas Real Estate Agents?

I have been following the news and reading the newspaper about so many Las Vegas real estate agents having to get part time jobs just so they can survive. Many Las Vegas agents have given up on a career in real estate all together.

 So what’s my point? 

Well, I have been trying to hire new agents for the last 2 months and it’s like trying to find a needle in a haystack. I am very active online and participate in many real estate forums and it appears that many real estate agents all over the country are looking for leads.

But if that’s the case, why I am having such a hard time finding agents to give business? I have personally emailed them, posted on craigslist, posted in real estate forums and sent out bulletins on Myspace.  Can you believe I have had only 1 Vegas agent contact me?

I guess maybe the agents that are still working are doing very well and don’t need any extra business or maybe the just don’t want to work with me?  Nah, that can’t be it?