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2018 Buzz: Real Estate Issues That Got You Talking

December 28, 2018

It’s been one heck of a year in real estate. Ad targeting on social media, fierce competition among buyers, and legal issues surrounding tenant screening were among the hot-button topics affecting pros the most in 2018. We culled our article archive and found the 10 most-read stories of the year, which highlight the biggest issues and offer useful tips for your business going forward into 2019.

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1. Facebook Removes Ad Options After HUD Complaint
It was a year of intense scrutiny for the social media giant, which was accused of enabling advertisers to discriminate through questionable ad targeting practices. Real estate pros were encouraged to examine their own Facebook ads and ensure they complied with the Fair Housing Act. However, some felt HUD’s action was an overreach. What do you think?

Crime scene police tape

2. Agent Shot, Killed Outside of Home He Was Showing
Safety is an important but not always top-of-mind issue in the real estate community, but the murder of a Philadelphia agent in November thrust the topic back into the spotlight. A month later, a sales representative for a homebuilder was found slain inside a model home. Both incidents serve as a reminder to follow the 10 Commandments of Agent Safety.

Danicing buildings

3. Dos and Don’ts of Screening Tenants Legally
The Fair Housing Act marked its 50th anniversary this year, and while the fundamentals of this antidiscrimination law may seem most applicable to residential real estate agents, property managers, too, must follow specific rules. These eight recommendations are a starting point for using the tenant screening process to keep discrimination lawsuits at bay.

Hand with percent sign

4. Use Your Expertise to Justify the Commission
Clients sometimes have many objections. But when the pushback is about your paycheck, it means they haven’t fully realized your value as a real estate pro. Use these points to demonstrate to your buyers and sellers why you’re worth the commission. You can also learn 10 skills to calm commission gripes and find out how to use your sphere to vouch for your worth.

Couple going over inspection report

5. What Your Buyers Should Ask After a Home Inspection
Upon receiving an inspection report of the home they plan to purchase, your clients may feel overwhelmed and anxious about the list of flaws that were found. You can calm their fears and help them get clarification on each item. And if you're the listing agent, you may talk with your sellers about getting a pre-listing inspection to help avoid this potentially contentious point in the transaction.

Upset woman on phone

6. How to Tell a Time-Wasting Client, You’re Fired!
There are many reasons to call it quits with uncooperative clients, from refusing to commit to the house hunt to stalling on every request from a lender—not to mention those fake buyers and sellers. But when it’s time to part ways, hopefully amicably, you’ll need to manage not only your clients’ emotions but also your own. Learn the red flags of a time-wasting customer and how to say goodbye.

Delapidated to renovated house

7. The Best Housing Markets for Home Flippers
Small investors had a good year, finding plenty of opportunities to flip houses in markets around the country. Home flipping reached an 11-year high in March—good news for the mom-and-pops who once had difficulty competing with large, corporate investors. Here, you can get an idea of whether your market has opened to average, local investors.

Hands grasping cash

8. The Cost of Selling Without a Real Estate Agent
The number of FSBO transactions hit an all-time low in November, and there’s a good reason why. Without your market expertise and sales skills, sellers who go it alone may experience “seller’s regret” when they see how much less they get for their properties. Here’s just how much they stand to lose without you as their professional guide.

Man standing on edge of cliff

9. Why Buyers Will Regret Not Acting Now
Persistent inventory shortages, coupled with rising home prices and interest rates, made the homebuying theme of the year: “you snooze, you lose.” “Every time the interest rates go up, you eliminate a group of people who can no longer afford to buy a house,” one mortgage broker says. That cycle looks to continue in 2019, so learn how to lend your clients more urgency in their home search.

man with head in sand

10. Why Your Listing Is Being Ignored
It’s always frustrating when your listing doesn’t get the foot traffic you hoped it would. The issues keeping potential buyers away, though, likely are easily fixable. Before you host your next open house or coordinate a showing, make sure to address these three elements so visitors won’t turn around and leave as quickly as they came.