Freddie Mac, nonprofits team up to increase homebuyer readiness in Kentucky

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In a bid to increase the number of “mortgage-ready” manufactured home buyers in Kentucky, Freddie Mac has partnered with Louisville-based housing intermediary Next Step Network and three nonprofit housing counseling agencies to implement an online education curriculum.

Eight manufactured home retailers are beginning to make potential buyers aware of Next Step’s SmartMH(SM) program. It will pair participating buyers with one of three Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)-approved housing counseling agencies: Community Ventures Corporation in Lexington, Frontier Housing in Morehead, or In Charge Debt Solutions in Orlando.

These agencies will assist people who want to purchase manufactured homes but have blemished credit histories. This includes homebuyer education and advice on strengthening their credit and navigating the finance and purchase processes. The education curriculum will be offered through eHome America, an online homebuyer education platform.

“Manufactured homes are a crucial source of housing stock, said Freddie Mac. It said supporting access to credit and affordable lending for this segment of the housing market is an “integral part” of its mission.     

Figures from the Census Bureau showed that the average price of a new manufactured home is $71,600, while the average price of a new, single-family, site-built home is $372,900 in the U.S.

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Bustos, Realtors celebrate Fair Housing Month over breakfast – Quad

ROCK ISLAND — Area lawmakers, officials and Realtors celebrated Fair Housing Month on Monday with a breakfast at the Martin Luther King Center to mark the 1968 legislation that sought to end housing discrimination.

They also noted efforts to ensure equality of opportunity in housing continue.

The federal Fair Housing Act enacted April 11, 1968, prohibits discrimination on the sale, rent and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin and gender.

April is observed as National Fair Housing Month. The observance also recognizes the inspiration of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. His April 4, 1968, assassination quickly ended congressional debate on the legislation, and it was put on the desk of President Lyndon Johnson a week later.

“We know that challenges remain,” said Sharon Carlson, CEO of the Quad City Area Realtor Association, which sponsored the breakfast.

“According to the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, that agency and its fair housing partners receive over 8,000 complaints alleging discrimination annually — every type of discrimination from individuals and families concerning their right to choose where they live.”

U.S. Rep. Cheri Bustos, D-Moline, said passage of the act and the housing segregation it sought to address are within her lifetime and those of many in the crowd of about 100 at the breakfast.

“This was a time when we still had segregation,” she said. “Many of our schools were not yet integrated, and we still had a problem with families being able to live where they wanted to live. So this was a landmark piece of legislation.”

She said that, under President Barack Obama’s administration, “we took it a step further” with Housing and Urban Development’s 2015 Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing Rule. The rule requires communities receiving HUD funds to examine housing patterns and create plans to address discrimination and bias. 

“Think about what year this is, and the fact that we still need to do that,” Rep. Bustos said.

She criticized the new HUD secretary, Ben Carson, who last year said the act amounted to a “mandated social-engineering scheme” and was an example of “failed socialism.”

“We’ve got a lot at stake, and I have no desire to go backward,” Rep. Bustos said. “And I don’t think people in this room do either. I am here as your partner.”

Ms. Carlson read from the National Association of Realtors’ Fair Housing Declaration, which states Realtors will “provide equal professional services without regard to race, color, religion, gender, disability, familial status, national origin, sexual orientation.” She noted the number of discrimination allegations that still arise.

“We encourage Realtor members and business partners to learn more about fair housing resources available, as we recommit ourselves to working together to create communities of opportunity,” she said.

State Reps. Mike Halpin, D-Rock Island, and Tony McCombie, R-Savanna, also expressed their support for the principles of fair housing and addressed questions about the local real estate market.

“There’s nothing better than being a practicing real estate agent, where you’re actually giving someone that opportunity to have that first home or have a dream home after several years,” Rep. Halpin said. “I think it’s incumbent upon all of us to make sure that that opportunity, and the joy you see on all of those buyers’ faces, is extended to everyone.”

NAR: Personal Safety Company Guard Llama Scores Deal on ABC’s "Shark Tank"

WASHINGTON, April 17, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — With an offer of $100,000 from investor Barbara Corcoran, 2015 REach real estate technology accelerator participant and personal safety device company, Guard Llama, is officially a part of “Shark Tank” television history.

Guard Llama offers a mobile personal security system that expedites the 9-1-1 dispatching process when dialing 9-1-1 is not possible. This technology caught the attention of the National Association of Realtors®‘ strategic investment arm, Second Century Ventures, which announced in 2015 that Guard Llama had been added to its growth technology accelerator program known as REach.

NAR President William E. Brown, a second-generation Realtor® from Alamo, California and founder of Investment Properties, congratulated the company on making their case before the Shark Tank panelists. “The Guard Llama team should be proud of their accomplishment,” he said. “Pitching a product is no small task, especially in front of well-known business leaders on national television, but the Guard Llama team did fantastic.”

NAR is committed to the safety and well-being of its members, and established the REALTOR® Safety Program to empower and inform members of the potential risks they face in this profession as well as how to navigate them safely. According to NAR’s 2016 Member Safety Report, while 95 percent of Realtors® have never been the victim of crime, 39 percent have found themselves in situations where they have feared for their safety or the safety of their personal information. Smart phone apps and devices are among the popular safety tools for real estate agents.

Guard Llama CEO Joe Parisi said that while the “Shark Tank” experience was intense, the event marked a real opportunity for his company.

“Anytime someone recognizes the value in your product and says they want to put an investment behind it, that’s a good day,” he said. “Having a celebrity businessperson do it on a national stage like “Shark Tank” is just extraordinary. This represented a chance to showcase what Guard Llama is doing to help make the world safer, and we’re looking forward to the good work we have ahead of us.”

Additional information on Guard Llama’s products and services is available on their website,  

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.

Information about NAR is available at This and other news releases are posted in the “News, Blogs and Video” tab on the website. 


To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:

SOURCE National Association of Realtors

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Coldwell Banker rebrands international luxury real estate program – Virginian

By Sandra J. Pennecke

Coldwell Banker has been immersed in the real estate market since 1906.

The California company started filming previews of luxury homes about 60 years ago and often showed the previews in movie theaters.

That’s where the name, Coldwell Banker Previews International, originated. But now, Coldwell Banker has retired that name and brought its marketing into the 21st century to make it more modern and better express what it does.

The Global Luxury program was unveiled this month with a new logo, signage and website all reflective of the globalization of modern luxury. Agents will get rebranded stationery, business cards and marketing materials reflective of the new look.

The new website,, boasts a simple and sleek black-and-white logo with a take on the classic Coldwell Banker brand imagery. It will connect 750,000 luxury agents in multiple international markets and syndicate listings to real estate portals worldwide.

The need for a Global Luxury program is there and the numbers reflect it.

In 2016 Coldwell Banker affiliated sales associates represented home buyers and sellers in more than 25,000 luxury home sales transactions priced at $1 million or more. The company said its luxury property specialists handle about $130 million in luxury home sales every day.

“Coldwell Banker sells more homes over one million dollars than any other real estate company in the market,” said Pat Steele, managing broker for the company’s Virginia Beach office, noting luxury homes in Hampton Roads range from $750,000 and above. “This is a new way of setting off beautiful luxury homes in our marketplace.”

Those two words – global luxury – are what Dorcas Helfant-Browning, president of the National Association of Realtors, said defines the program.

“You see that tagline wherever you are in the world and see that we cover the world,” Helfant-Browning said. “We handle luxury properties wherever you wish to be.”

The rebranding comes at an important time in today’s digital environment.

“Entrepreneurs are becoming far more mobile these days,” Helfant-Browing said. “And their desire to move, based on location, business atmosphere or political environment is very important.”

Helfant-Browning also pointed out luxury buyers come from different backgrounds whether they are executives, entertainers, artists, inventors or doctors and they may surface at any time and in any place.

According to the National Association of Realtors, $100 billion in U.S. property sales each year can be attributed to international buyers.

“We had to ensure the message was more relevant to the generation emerging into the global society,” Helfant-Browning said. “The words ‘global luxury’ say it all.”

Nationstar Awarded Top Servicing Performance Rating from Fannie Mae


Nationstar Mortgage announced today that the company received Fannie Mae’s Servicer Total Achievement and Rewards™ (STAR™) performer recognition for overall performance in 2016. The STAR Program recognizes top-performing mortgage servicers for outstanding customer service and helping homeowners find the right solutions to fit their needs. This is the third year in a row Nationstar has received the highest level of recognition for top servicing performance.

“This recognition belongs to our dedicated team members who are focused on giving our customers the best home loan experience possible,” said Jay Bray, Chairman and CEO of Nationstar. “We are honored to receive the highest level of recognition from Fannie Mae’s STAR program for the third year in a row and proud to be recognized for helping to keep the dream of homeownership alive for our customers.”

Fannie Mae’s STAR Program recognizes top performing servicers within one or more of three STAR Performer categories: General Servicing, Solution Delivery and Timeline Management. The 2016 program was evolved to align with the post-crisis mortgage environment and Fannie Mae’s renewed focus on the partnership with their customers.

About Nationstar Mortgage Holdings Inc.

Based in Dallas, Texas, Nationstar provides quality servicing, origination and transaction based services related principally to single-family residences throughout the United States. With experience spanning more than 20 years, Nationstar is one of the largest servicers in the country. Additional corporate information is available in the Shareholder Relations section of

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Fannie Mae Keeping Its Outlook Steady

Fannie Mae is looking ahead with conservative optimism. While its growth forecast for this year remains at a modest 2 percent, Fannie predicts that the coming two years will also see steady economic and housing growth in its April 2017 Economic and Housing Outlook.

One big question mark for the future, including the near future, is the effects of policy changes. But as there have been no major policy shifts under the trump administration so far, Fannie Mae is taking the conservative approach and not altering its forecast.

“We continue to await details on the new administration’s plans,” said Fannie Mae Chief Economist Doug Duncan. “We’re intrigued by the disparity between elevated consumer and business optimism and signs of decelerating first quarter economic growth. However, we expect growth to rebound this quarter as special factors that weighed on growth partially unwind.”

Duncan said that with the firming of the Fed’s preferred measure of inflation, reduced labor market slack, and the more hawkish tone of the Federal Open Market Committee at its March meeting, “we foresee that the Fed will hike rates two more times this year, in June and September, and announce a change to its reinvestment policy in December.”

Overall, Fannie reported, the likelihood of meaningful economic change is low, given the similar unlikelihood of significant policy change. In the meantime, the GSE is watching those aspects of governance and economy that could affect future forecasts‒‒the potential for a government shutdown that Fannie said could hiccup consumer confidence weighed against market indicators that are proving beneficial to consumers.

Long-term Treasury yields have trended sideways this year as a result of looming government shutdown, Fannie reported. Rates dipped to the lower-end of a narrow range  and weak economic news, along with increased geopolitical risks, have moved long-term interest rates lower. Fannie expects the 10-year Treasury bond yield to finish 2017 at 2.5 percent and increase to 2.6 percent by the end of next year.

Fannie’s outlook on employment remains guarded, especially in light of the most recent Bureau of Labor Statistics report on underwhelming job growth in February. The GSE projects unemployment rates to stay flat through next year, around 4.5 percent. The outlook is also cautious about the overall economy. Fannie expects the GDP to drop slightly, from $2.4 trillion to $2.2 trillion by the end of 2018.

Housing activity through February fared better than other hard economic indicators, partly due to the warm winter weather, and the ESR group expects that a seasonal uptick in listings going into the spring selling season will help alleviate extremely tight inventory, Fannie reported. Recent declines in mortgage rates may also motivate some homebuyers to enter the market before rates pick up as the Federal Reserve continues to normalize monetary policy. 

Fannie expects growth in housing starts to increase from almost 10 percent to almost 11 percent between now and 2018. The GSE anticipates new starts to increase steadily over each quarter this year, from the current 843,000 to a year-ending 880,000.

The Week Ahead: Freddie Mac’s Servicer Success Scorecard

Freddie MacOn Tuesday, Freddie Mac will hold a two-hour webinar introducing their new 2017 Servicer Success scorecard. The goal of the webinar is to introduce servicers to the new scorecard’s design and to help servicers increase their performance. The GSE will teach webinar attendees how to access their scorecard and navigate the new application process.

Those approved for the Freddie Mac Servicer Success can access the webinar through the Freddie Mac website.

The 2017 Servicer Success scorecard is a part of Freddie Mac’s Servicing Success Program, which offers analysis of servicer performance through defined metrics, benchmarks, requirements, financial incentives, and compensatory fees. The Scorecard offers metrics for both default management and investor reporting, and releases at the end of every month.

Default management metrics include transition from 30 to 60-plus, cure efficiency, retention efficiency, liquidation efficiency, six-month modification performance, and total timeline trend. The scorecard is open to approved Freddie Mac servicers.

In the webinar, Freddie Mac will cover revisions to the Servicer Success Scorecard, including the revised default management and reporting metrics. According to the GSE, all default management metrics are now equally weighted. Freddie Mac also updated its calculations for all default management and investor reporting metrics.

New reports in the scorecard include a Rank Improvement Report and a 12-Month Rolling Scorecard Summary. The webinar will cover this, plus details on included vs. excluded loans, control variables and calculations.

Freddie Mac has announced new features of the Servicer Success Scorecard, such as easier navigation, a “click and print” option for the scorecard, a trend indicator for performance vs. synthetic history, and Servicing Agent and Interim Servicer Scorecards (as applicable) and related portfolio comparison reports.

For more info and the Servicer Success Scorecard and the upcoming webinar, click here. To register for the webinar, click here.

This Week’s Schedule

Housing Starts Report, Tuesday, 8:30 a.m. EST

MBA Mortage Applications, Wednesday 7 a.m. EST

Freddie Mac Weekly Mortgage Survey, Thursday, 10 a.m. EST

Zillow Real Estate Markets Report, Thursday 8 a.m. EST


Do You Know Who’s Who in a Real Estate Transaction?

Listing agent, broker, agent, buyer’s representative, intermediary—you may have seen these and other terms in various real estate literature. Here’s a quick look at the many roles Realtors can fill in a real estate transaction.

Listing agent or listing broker

These people work for the seller, who has entered into an agreement to be represented by the broker’s firm. Sometimes, an agent who is affiliated with the broker will handle most of the transaction. However, the broker is ultimately responsible for everything his agent does. A listing agent’s or listing broker’s primary responsibility is to act in the best interests of the seller. Although he or she has no such formal duty to the buyer, licensees must treat all parties fairly.

Buyer’s agent, buyer’s broker, buyer’s representative

These people, of course, work for the buyer. Buyer’s agents and buyer’s brokers are sometimes both referred to as buyer’s representatives. No matter what they’re called, their

primary responsibility is to act in the best interests of the buyer. Sometimes, an agent who is affiliated with the broker will handle most of the transaction; however, the broker is ultimately responsible for the transaction.


As the name implies, an intermediary is a broker who acts as a go-between with the buyer and seller in a real estate transaction. Each intermediary situation is different, but all involve specific disclosures and rules that must be carried out exactly to conform with laws governing such transactions.

What about the Realtor?

Any licensed real estate professional can fill one of the roles mentioned above, but only a Realtor has also agreed to abide by a code of ethics. Realtors employ the highest level of professionalism to help you with your real estate needs.

If you’d like more information about buying, selling, or leasing property, visit

The Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors is one of more than 1,200 local boards and associations of the Realtors nationwide that comprise the National Association of Realtors. As the nation’s largest trade association, NAR is “The Voice for Real Estate,” representing over one million members involved in all aspects of the real estate industry. The Greater Fort Worth Association of Realtors serves approximately 3,200 members by providing MLS services, education, governmental affairs, etc. For more information, visit

Tag: the National Association of Realtors

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO The Town Board held a public hearing on proposed short-term rental legislation in January and another is scheduled for Friday at 5 p.m. in the school auditorium. Pictured above at the previous meeting are, from left, Assistant Town Clerk Sharon Jacobs, Town Clerk Dorothy Ogar, Councilwoman Amber Brach-Williams, Councilman Jim Colligan, Supervisor Jim Dougherty, Councilman Paul Shepherd, Councilwoman Chris Lewis and Town Attorney Laury Dowd.

BEVERLEA WALZ PHOTO The Town Board held a public hearing on proposed short-term rental legislation in January and another is scheduled for Friday at 5 p.m. in the school auditorium. Pictured above at the previous meeting are, from left, Assistant Town Clerk Sharon Jacobs, Town Clerk Dorothy Ogar, Councilwoman Amber Brach-Williams, Councilman Jim Colligan, Supervisor Jim Dougherty, Councilman Paul Shepherd, Councilwoman Chris Lewis and Town Attorney Laury Dowd.

Residents protesting a proposed law to regulate short-term rentals (STRs) have hired a high-powered law firm to represent their side at a public hearing slated for April 7. (more…)

NAR Power Broker Roundtable: Building Wealth

The National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Power Broker Roundtable this month discusses how to build wealth.

Robert Bailey
, Broker/Owner, Bailey Properties, Santa Cruz, Calif.; Liaison for Large Residential Firms Relations, NAR

Mark Stark
, CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, Nevada and Arizona
Mike Brodie, Broker/Owner, Keller Williams Realty, Plano, Texas
Tracy Kasper, Broker/Owner, Silverhawk Realty, Meridian, Idaho
Alex Milshteyn, Team Leader, Coldwell Banker Weir Manuel, Ann Arbor, Mich.

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Robert Bailey: I once read that building wealth is so simple that all you need to know can be summed up in a single sentence: spend less than you make and invest the difference wisely. But if you’re in the real estate business for the long haul, one of the biggest challenges you will face is creating a sustainable future. In fact, the issue of preparing REALTORS® for retirement is of such importance to NAR’s 2017 President Bill Brown that he has formed a Presidential Advisory Group (PAG) led by NAR Past President Sharon Millett. Today, we’ll talk to three brokers and a top-performing agent who are committed to the concept of building wealth. Mark, where does the process start for you?

Mark Stark: Agents need to ask themselves three questions. The first is, “Where am I now? Is my house paid off, am I meeting expenses, do I have enough income to support my lifestyle?” The second is, “What do I want? A decent income and lots of family time, or a yacht, three vacations a year, and property in three states?” And the third question is, “What am I willing to pay for what I want? Do I want to work 60 hours a week? Can I handle the risk and invest smart enough not to have to do that?” There has to be clarity about what you want and what you’re willing to do to get there.

Mike Brodie: Planning ahead is essential, as is carefully budgeting your time and money as you’re building your business. Then, as you amass more cash, you begin to create multiple streams of income, whether it’s buying rental property or investing in other ways, or starting your own business. I came to Keller Williams some 37 years ago because I believe their profit-sharing strategy can help real estate professionals fund their future. Whatever it is, you have to plan ahead.

Tracy Kasper: Bill Brown recently advised REALTORS® to not just look ahead to retirement, but to be on the lookout for opportunities that will help you retire gracefully. It struck a chord with me because being in real estate is a learning curve. You can stay ahead of it if you sustain and maintain your pipeline. Generating and regenerating leads every day is a sure way to succeed. Once you do that, you can begin to look for those multiple revenue streams, from investments, finding partnering opportunities with builders, rental agencies and others. Too many agents don’t think ahead.

Alex Milshteyn: I did. When I turned 30, after several successful years in the business, I made a rock-solid decision: I wanted to have the flexibility to retire at age 40 if I want to. I don’t know that I will want to retire then, but I know I want the freedom to be able to. So I sat down with a financial advisor and we mapped out a plan to get me there.

RB: Good for you! What’s your best advice to others?

AM: Start with a retirement account. Build revenue, then create a roadmap that works for you.

MS: Warren Buffett puts it this way: Choose the right story for yourself. It’s a personal decision, which is why you have to focus on where you are and where you want to be.

RB: How important is it for that message to come through loud and clear from the top?

MB: Critically important, because most young agents are focused on getting a foothold. Really good coaching encourages them to look ahead to the long-term.

TK: There is no magic pill for building wealth in this business. It takes hard work and saving enough money to get you through the peaks and valleys.

AM: Unless you’re okay with spending the rest of your life chasing that next deal, you have to create and stick with a plan that will give you financial freedom.

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