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Breaking/Good News for Housing Industry

Two monumental decisions in U.S. housing regulations this week are major victories for homebuyers – and the housing industry at large.

 

For starters, the final qualified residential mortgage, or QRM, rule eliminates the highly controversial requirement of a specific down payment amount, bringing the rule in line with the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s qualified mortgage, or QM, rule. The latter was created to protect borrowers from predatory lending practices.

 

Another victory for housing: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac are releasing new guidelines that will allow borrowers with lackluster credit profiles to obtain loans with a down payment as low as 3 percent by considering “compensating factors.” Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt, who oversees both Fannie and Freddie, announced the government’s new plan in hopes of quelling lenders’ fears when the government-backed loans they sell go sour.

 

Additionally, Fannie and Freddie also plan to loosen demands on lenders to buy back defaulted mortgages, creating more stability, confidence and clarity for the lending industry.

 

RE/MAX CEO Margaret Kelly applauded the announcements, which ultimately help first-time homebuyers, as well as those who earn lower incomes, to more easily obtain government-backed loans.

 

“This is great news for our industry, and it’s a welcomed change we’ve been advocating at RE/MAX,” Kelly says. “Taking a measured but less stringent approach to lending creates more stable housing conditions and, most importantly, opens the doors to homeownership for qualified, willing homebuyers who’ve been sidelined in the wake of the downturn.”

 

Read more about these key housing developments:
NAR: QRM Mortgage Rule Could Ease Credit for Consumers
Los Angeles Times: Regulator unveils plan to spur lending by Fannie, Freddie
New York Times: Federal Housing Finance Agency Unveils Plan to Loosen Rules on Mortgages

 
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People on the Move

Congratulations to our latest Associates who were highlighted in Atlanta Business Chronicle’s People on the Move

Jengea Bell

Chris Carter

Tammy Plamondon

 
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RE/MAX Checkmate Named Best Real Estate Firm

The Johnson City Press

RE/MAX Checkmate Realtor is family owned and operated and that is something broker and owner Larry S. McClanahan is very proud of.

 

Larry moved to Johnson City with his wife and two children in the early 70s eager to start a career in real estate. At that time, he only dreamed of one day starting his own company.

 

After years of working for someone else, he opened Checkmate Real Estate as an independent firm in 1983 with only three agents. Realizing he need to offer more benefits to his agents and more service to their customers, Larry franchised with a national company after only a few years.

 

Since that time, he has joined the RE/MAX organization, which has more than 7,000 offices and more than 119,300 associates in 65 countries. RE/MAX is one of the most recognized names and corporate logos in the world. Larry said some of the reasons he franchised with RE/MAX is that “they lead the industry in brand awareness, have the most productive sales force and the most professional designations earned by agents.”

 

Larry has always had a love for real estate. He also enjoys the development said of the business. He has been involved in many residential and commercial developments over the years.

 

Rhonda Sampson, Larry’s daughter, has been licensed for over 25 years and, after years of working with buyers and sellers, now manages the office full-time.

 

“I enjoy the agents I work with and it’s great working together in a family atmosphere within our office,” Sampson said.

 

Larry’s wife, Janice, and his son, Mike, work as a sales’ team within the office.

 

Locally, Larry has grown his office to the largest real estate company in Johnson City as well as the No. 1 production company in the Tri Cities area. Larry says he is proud to be associated with the 70-plus agents in his office.

 

“They are an extended part of our family,” he said. “They are the reason we are the number one company in the area. It is due to their hard work, dedication and commitment to their customers needs.”

 

Wanting to offer a full service company, RE/MAX Checkmate is proud to have the addition of a strong commercial division to focus on the commercial needs in our region. Offering a large network of advertising through multiple websites such as Loopnet, CMLS, local Economic Development sites and more.

 

“The addition of Checkmate Auction Company is a huge plus to our firm as well,” stated McClanahan, in-house auctioneer with over 40 years of experience with combined real estate and auction experience. Checkmate Auction Company has concentrated its time and talents on conducting successful auctions of residential, land, commercial and estate sales.

 

This year, RE/MAX Checkmate is excited to improve its website to a state-of-the-art site.  You can visit the new site at checkmaterealtors.com. They have also added a new mobile app that allows their customers to search anywhere… any time.

 

“We recently renovated all 8,000 square feet of office space,” Larry said. “We hope to better serve our agents and the needs of their customers with the renovation.”

 

He invites you to stop by any time for a tour of their facility, which is located at 904 Sunset Drive.

 

The company’s agents sell more than any other agency in the Tri-Cities market and are known for their professionalism, commitment to service, and staying up-to-date on current trends.

 

Everyone at RE/MAX Checkmate is extremely proud to have been chosen Best Real Estate Firm in the area again this year.

 

“We want to thank our clients, customers, friends, and family who voted,” Larry said. “It’s a huge honor, and I would like to personally thank everyone who has placed their trust in us.  We want to be your real estate choice from generation to generation. We know family matters.”

 

RE/MAX Checkmate strives to offer the highest level of customer satisfaction in the industry.  When you are ready to move, as a seasoned investor or a first-time home buyer, RE/MAX Checkmate will help you understand the ever-changing market.  RE/MAX Checkmate will be there every step of the way.

 

This article originally appeared in The Johnson City Press.

 
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People on the Move

Congratulations to our latest Associates who were highlighted in Nashville Business Journal’s People on the Move

 
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RE/MAX of Tennessee – September 2014 Market Trend Report


October 15, 2014 (Alpharetta, GA) – According to the RE/MAX National Housing Report, August home sales were below the pace set in 2013. But, August’s sales were 10.2% above the number of sales seen in 2012. Home prices are not rising as rapidly as last year. The August Median Sales Price rose 12.9%, and the Median Sales Price increase in Nashville, TN was 12.3%. The Months Supply of Inventory rose to 4.5 on a scale where 6.0 indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers.

 

According to CEO of RE/MAX, LLC, Margaret Kelly, “Although 2014 home sales may not reach the levels seen in 2013, the market has performed much stronger than many had predicted early in the year. This year’s market may have started off slowly, but it bounced back and slower price growth is keeping housing from becoming less affordable.”

 

For more information about your market check out the full Market Trend reports based on local MLS data:

 

 

Every market is local! Contact a local RE/MAX of Tennessee real estate agent for details on your neighborhood.

 

The National Housing Report by RE/MAX, LLC reports on 52 major markets and generalizes the nation’s housing industry.

 
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RE/MAX of Kentucky – September 2014 Market Trend Report

October 15, 2014 (Alpharetta, GA) – According to the RE/MAX National Housing Report, August home sales were below the pace set in 2013. But, August’s sales were 10.2% above the number of sales seen in 2012. Home prices are not rising as rapidly as last year. The August Median Sales Price rose 12.9%, and the Median Sales Price increase in Nashville, TN was 12.3%. The Months Supply of Inventory rose to 4.5 on a scale where 6.0 indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers.

 

According to CEO of RE/MAX, LLC, Margaret Kelly, “Although 2014 home sales may not reach the levels seen in 2013, the market has performed much stronger than many had predicted early in the year. This year’s market may have started off slowly, but it bounced back and slower price growth is keeping housing from becoming less affordable.”

 

For more information about your market check out the full Market Trend reports based on local MLS data:

 

Every market is local! Contact a local RE/MAX of Kentucky real estate agent for details on your neighborhood.

 

The National Housing Report by RE/MAX, LLC reports on 52 major markets and generalizes the nation’s housing industry.

 
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RE/MAX of Southern Ohio – September 2014 Market Trend Report

October 15, 2014 (Alpharetta, GA) – According to the RE/MAX National Housing Report, August home sales were below the pace set in 2013. But, August’s sales were 10.2% above the number of sales seen in 2012. Home prices are not rising as rapidly as last year. The August Median Sales Price rose 12.9%, and the Median Sales Price increase in Nashville, TN was 12.3%. The Months Supply of Inventory rose to 4.5 on a scale where 6.0 indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers.

 

According to CEO of RE/MAX, LLC, Margaret Kelly, “Although 2014 home sales may not reach the levels seen in 2013, the market has performed much stronger than many had predicted early in the year. This year’s market may have started off slowly, but it bounced back and slower price growth is keeping housing from becoming less affordable.”

 

For more information about your market check out the full Market Trend reports based on local MLS data:

 

 

Every market is local! Contact a local RE/MAX of Southern Ohio real estate agent for details on your neighborhood.

 

The National Housing Report by RE/MAX, LLC reports on 52 major markets and generalizes the nation’s housing industry.

 
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RE/MAX of Georgia – September 2014 Market Trend Report

October 15, 2014 (Alpharetta, GA) – According to the RE/MAX National Housing Report, August home sales were below the pace set in 2013. But, August’s sales were 10.2% above the number of sales seen in 2012. Home prices are not rising as rapidly as last year. The August Median Sales Price rose 12.9%, and the Median Sales Price increase in Nashville, TN was 12.3%. The Months Supply of Inventory rose to 4.5 on a scale where 6.0 indicates a market balanced equally between buyers and sellers.

 

According to CEO of RE/MAX, LLC, Margaret Kelly, “Although 2014 home sales may not reach the levels seen in 2013, the market has performed much stronger than many had predicted early in the year. This year’s market may have started off slowly, but it bounced back and slower price growth is keeping housing from becoming less affordable.”

 

For more information about your market check out the full Market Trend reports based on local MLS data:

 

 

Every market is local! Contact a local RE/MAX of Georgia real estate agent for details on your neighborhood.

 

The National Housing Report by RE/MAX, LLC reports on 52 major markets and generalizes the nation’s housing industry.

 
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Foreclosures drop 47%

Image courtesy of AJC

Notices down from Oct. ’13, but metro housing landscape has changed.

 

Foreclosure notices in metro Atlanta fell this month to their lowest level of any October since 2001, a crucial signal that stress in the housing market at last has ebbed — although it leaves behind a changed landscape.

 

The 13-county region saw 2,066 foreclosure notices this month, compared to an average of more than 10,000 monthly notices at the height of the housing crisis, according to a report released Monday by Kennesaw-based Equity Depot.

 

Improvement comes from two directions: A stronger labor market means fewer people losing their paychecks, and higher home prices has meant less temptation to let the bank take a home.

 

But more than seven years after housing prices peaked and crashed, tens of thousands of metro Atlanta homes are now owned by huge institutional investors, home values in some areas are still depressed and many lenders remain stingy about providing credit to potential buyers.

 

The shift into rentals has also meant construction of apartment buildings.

 

Average rents for metro Atlanta are up 3.8 percent in the past year, according to Zillow, a real estate research firm.

 

“No doubt that the housing market is still soft relative to where we were,” said Roger Tutterow, director of the Kennesaw State University Econometrics Center. “We are nowhere near back to what we would consider normal.”

 

Foreclosure notices do not always mean the loss of a home. Sometimes, the owner pays what is owed and keeps the home from being sold at auction the next month. But whether the homeowner does end up losing the house or not, the number of notices is seen as a general barometer of stress in housing, as well as in the economy: a signal that owners are having trouble making their monthly mortgage payments.

 

But at the worst of the crisis, lenders were foreclosing on homes at a faster clip than new homes were built at the height of the housing bubble.

 

Between 2006 and March 2014, around 235,000 homeowners — roughly 12 percent of all metro households — lost homes to foreclosure, according to John Hunt, president of ViaSearch, an Atlanta-based market research company. But the wave has passed, he said.

 

“The numbers are back to pre-recession levels. We are not putting many new foreclosures on the market.”

 

When there are foreclosures, appraisers typically use the sales to gauge — and often reduce  — the value of surrounding homes. In 2011, about 20,000 homes in metro Atlanta sold for less than $50,000, Hunt said.

 

But the undertow is abating: Foreclosure notices this month were down 47 percent from October 2013 and were 77 percent lower than October 2011.

 

Bankers now feel less pressured to sell quickly when they take a foreclosed home, said real estate agent Collette McDonald of RE/MAX Around Atlanta.

 

“Foreclosure prices are not the deals that they were a few years ago. You still have investors and clients calling to look at foreclosures, but you have to say, ‘You are too late.’”

 

And that means less of a drag on other prices, she said. “Foreclosures are not much of an issue any longer.”

 

However, the recovery is uneven, she said. Some places continue to wade through foreclosures, especially Sugarloaf, Powder Springs, Mableton, Smyrna and areas south of Atlanta.

 

A return to normal-looking numbers does not mean a return to yesteryear’s normal, said Alex Carrick, chief economist at Norcross-based CMD, a research and analysis company focused on commercial construction.

 

Both lenders and homeowners have been changed by the wave of foreclosures, he said. “Anyone who has gone through it, it’s obviously going to affect their confidence and the decisions they make for some time to come.”

 

The wrenching changes of the past few years have dampened the willingness — and ability — of many people to spend, he said.

 

“You’ve got to have the confidence to spend. And this could affect a whole generation.”

 

This article originally appeared in the Atlanta Journal Constitution.

 
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RE/MAX Named a Leading Global Franchise

Entrepreneur Magazine Ratings Focus on International Size, Growth 

 

For the second consecutive year, RE/MAX, LLC has received the highest global ranking among real estate franchises by Entrepreneur magazine.

 

Appearing in the October edition, Entrepreneur’s annual global rankings of U.S.-based franchises placed RE/MAX highest among real estate brokerage franchises for 2014, and 39th overall. 7-Eleven and Pizza Hut headed up the list.

 

“The Entrepreneur ranking demonstrates the strength of the RE/MAX brand within the real estate industry and around the world,” said RE/MAX, LLC CEO Margaret Kelly. We continue to expand because our business model succeeds in diverse markets. That’s why we have the largest global reach of any real estate company.”

 

To be considered for the global rating, franchises had to be ranked among Entrepreneur’s 2014 Franchise 500, based on “quantifiable criteria such as system size, growth and financial strength and stability,” according to the magazine’s methodology. The global rankings were derived from adjusting the Franchise 500 scores “to give extra weight to international size and growth.”

 

Earlier this year, RE/MAX was the highest-ranked real estate brokerage in the Franchise 500 and was later rated highest among real estate franchises on both Entrepreneur’s fastest-growing list and its low-cost list.

 

This year, RE/MAX is celebrating its 41st anniversary and continues to be recognized as an industry innovator. Just this month, RE/MAX was also named the leading real estate organization in the 2014 Franchise Times Top 200 for the sixth consecutive year and was the only real estate company to be included in the 2013 Top 50 Franchises for Minorities as compiled by the National Minority Franchising Initiative.

 
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