There’s been a lot of interesting developments making real estate headlines lately. Here are some big recent stories you might have missed. Have you been too busy running your business to keep up with the latest real estate headlines? No worries, we’ve got everything you need to know in one handy article.

Some buyers really are liars

How well do you know that buyer you’re working with? Maybe not as well as you think, because fraud in mortgage lending is increasing more than 12 percent year over year, according to Fannie Mae. And it’s not just general, every-day fraud we’re talking about, but “a very particular kind of fraud: misrepresentation of income on mortgage applications was up 22.1% in the second quarter of 2018,” according to a white paper published by Plaid, a fintech company.

That’s a whole lot of lying buyers.

Some buyers are liars - real estate headlines
Most of the fraudsters are guilty of lying about their assets, income and employment. It’s apparently costing billions of dollars, so the mortgage industry is girding to declare war against them. You may want to (subtly) let your buyers know that all of their financial information is going to be thoroughly scrutinized and vetted by the underwriter.

Bye-bye dual agency?

The Consumer Federation of America apparently thinks that consumers are too empty-headed to understand dual agency so they want it banned. In all 50 states. “Today, many homebuyers and sellers do not know whether their agent is representing their interests, those of the other party, or those of neither,” Stephen Babcock said, according to Meenal Vamburkar at Stephen: maybe it’s you who are confused. Agents represent their brokers, not the homebuyer or the seller. Their broker represents a specific party and, yes sometimes, both parties. Consumer Reports pipes in with “An agent either works for you or works for someone else.” Again, there is no doubt about it. The agent works for “someone else.” That someone is a broker. Maybe when they figure out this very commonly-known detail they won’t be so “confused” over dual agency. At the very least, they won’t sound like complete fools when discussing the topic.

What goes up . . .

What goes up must come down - real estate headlines
Back in January, the Joint Center for Housing Studies of Harvard University cautioned that home repair and improvement activity will significantly slow by the end of 2019. Oh, homeowners will still drop a bundle on repairs and renos, it just won’t be a record-breaking year. The study attributes the slowdown to “Slowing house price appreciation, flat home sales activity, and rising mortgage interest rates,” according to Jessica Guerin at It’s already begun, and here it is only February, at least according to something I read recently on CNBC. I hate to sound like a Debbie Downer, but this doesn’t bode well for the summer real estate market. If confidence rebounds, however, all will be well. Keep an eye on those real estate headlines to see which way the wind blows.

Real estate headlines to share with your seller fence-sitters

Have homeowners sitting on the fence about whether the market is conducive to a lucrative home sale? No doubt they’re reading real estate headlines about falling home prices and other scary stuff. First, caution your potential home sellers to read beyond the clickbait real estate headlines. The truth is, you should tell them, home prices aren’t tumbling and aren’t expected to (at least in 2019). What is happening is prices aren’t appreciating as quickly and at the volume they did in the past. That certainly doesn’t mean these potential sellers’ home value won’t increase this year. In fact, forecasters predict 3.9 percent appreciation, on average, this year. But, put it into dollar form for your lead. On a $200,000 home, that 3.9% represents almost $10,000 in additional value. Get them off the fence by explaining this and reminding them that the second half of the year may look entirely different. Now truly IS the best time to sell. Why not combat this misinformation with some blog content that highlights these statistics? If you need a little creative inspiration, check out these great examples (Easy Agent Pro).

When a company has “realtor” in it’s name, it has to be right, right?

If they have Realtor in their name... Real estate headlines
“NAR research shows us that buyers and sellers say they would prefer to work with an agent who does video marketing.” I found this quote on a site that is licensed by your association to use “realtor” in its name. It caught my eye because of it’s so outlandishly untrue. Honestly. She either made it up or is horribly mistaken. She cited that it came from “NAR Research,” with a link to this page. If you follow that link you’ll see that the statistic is mentioned nowhere.

In fact, the word “video” only appears one time:

Under “FSBO Methods Used to Market Home” (1 percent used video, by the way). But, let’s be kind and say she made a mistake. Perhaps she was referring to where the information on that page came from, the 2018 National Association of REALTORS® Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. Nope. The word “video” isn’t mentioned – even once – in the report. So, where on earth DID she get that statistic? I entered the direct quote into Google and found it on a site that produces video content for real estate agents. So, no agenda there, right? Upon further research, I finally got to the bottom of it. That statistic seems to originate from, in a FOUR-YEAR OLD blog post in which the author pointed to the 2012 NAR survey, not the 2018. As if nothing has changed in 7 years. For the record, in 2019, buyers don’t give a rat’s patootie about video. The most recent NAR survey proves that. Video came in dead last on the house hunting methods they used and found “useful.” And sellers care even less. They value “virtual tours” far more than video when marketing their home. Be careful about acting on what you read, folks. Lots of agents may have been tempted to dump money into a losing marketing vehicle because someone who has an agenda decided to reach into ancient history for a statistic. Due diligence isn’t only something your clients need to perform. Look beyond the real estate headlines and dig deep into the details before you make a decision based on what you read.
  Owner & Operator, Chad Hett The Elite Group  (800) 494-8998 Largest Home Inspection Company in North AmericaBest Selling AuthorSecrets Of Top Producing Real Estate Agents: And How To Duplicate Their Success.”