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Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Premier, REALTORS is a full-service real estate company that makes it a tradition to extend our hands to our customers in a manner of quality and honesty. We provide a complete and experienced team effort to bring your transaction to your desired outcome when you buy or sell real estate of any kind.  We proudly provide our services to our community, who has trusted us now for for over a quarter of a century.


Real Estate News

Transacting Business in the Age of Wire Fraud

This month’s National Association of REALTORS® (NAR) Power Broker Roundtable discusses fraud and security strategies.


Pappas_Christina_60x60Christina Pappas, District Sales Manager, The Keyes Company, Miami, Fla.; Liaison for Large Firms & Industry Relations, NAR


Volin_Mike_60x60Michael Volin, Vice President-Legal, Title Resource Group (TRG), a Realogy Company, Camden, N.J.

Docktor_Joan_60x60Joan Docktor, President, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox & Roach REALTORS®, Devon, Pa.

Pappas_Mike_60x60Mike Pappas, President/CEO, The Keyes Company/Illustrated Properties, Miami, Fla.


Stark_Mark_60x60Mark Stark, CEO Broker/Owner, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Nevada Properties, Las Vegas, Nev.

Christina Pappas: The FBI cites wire fraud—and specifically business email compromise (BEC) scams—as the fastest-growing crime in the world, with losses to large and small companies and individuals soaring into the billions and complaints flooding law enforcement with increasing frequency from all 50 states and at least 79 countries. Cyber criminals are constantly on the lookout for new victims who they hope will wire them funds, and real estate transactions—for obvious reasons—are among the most vulnerable. With brokers looking for better ways to protect their clients and their companies, we’ve invited to our panel today a few savvy and experienced industry executives, as well as a guest from the legal team at Title Resource Group (TRG), a leader in title and settlement services. Michael, how do we begin to defend ourselves?

Michael Volin: One of the first things we need to understand, Christina, is that, in spite of all the precautions we take, cyber criminals are pervasive and persistent, and anyone can become a victim. That said, our best protections come, A, from shoring up our personal and corporate security; and, B, from educating consumers early and often during every single transaction.

Joan Docktor: As a full-service company, with title and mortgage, we know we’re vulnerable, and so we’re very strict in terms of security. We drill the basics into our agents and employees. We enforce password policies, are strict with policy breakers, and use two-factor verification. Our agents sign a pledge of understanding regarding policies, in fact, and we send out fake emails ourselves now and again just to see if anyone clicks on them. But we also know that customers can get confused, so we try to cover all the points at which they could be susceptible. No sensitive information is ever sent to a customer via email, for example. We’ll either use a secure portal or, better yet, FedEx it.

Mike Pappas: Ah, yes, back to the future. Hand-delivered instructions. Seriously though, in our offices, associates are never responsible for telling a customer where to send money; it’s also in our contract. That’s done only by our title company or closing agent, verbally or through secured emails, and we drum that into every associate and communicate with every customer.

Mark Stark: In our firm, I’m the only one who can send sensitive wires—and even then, the bank will call and I need to enter a code. In addition, our customers are told over and over do not respond to any last-minute email or phone call requesting a change in wiring instructions. If you do, you’d best be prepared to wave goodbye to your money.

MP: The sad fact is that hackers these days create authentic-looking signature blocks that can replicate yours almost exactly, and customers can get confused—or forget. When it comes to wiring funds, there’s no such thing as too much education about fraud.

MV: Instructions to the customer should clearly say, “Call us at the number you know is accurate—because you’ve called it before—before wiring any funds. Never use a number you receive in an email, even if it looks like it’s from us, and after talking to us, call again to be sure the funds were received.”

CP: That’s one reason why our general policy is “Don’t close on Friday afternoon.” There may be nobody there to verify after 5 p.m. or on a weekend.

MV: So let’s assume for a minute that a customer does get taken, and funds are wired to a criminal. Now, we can’t emphasize enough that time is absolutely of the essence. An immediate call to your bank and law enforcement is your best hope of ever seeing that money again.

CP: And how often does that work out?

MV: Maybe more often than you think. The FBI’s Internet Crime Complaint Center—known as the IC3 center—has personnel taking complaints all over the country. Working with banks and local law enforcement, they have the best shot at recovering mis-sent funds. But again, time is not your friend in these cases. There’s information online worth taking a look at. Type IC3 into your browser. They also operate a Financial Fraud Kill Chain that’s been fairly effective in recovering international wire transfers. Again, the info is worth a look.

JD: A working relationship with the FBI is a good idea in any case.

MS: And if you don’t already have it, think cyber insurance. It’s a must-have in today’s world.

For more information, please visit www.nar.realtor.

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Housing Starts Soften

February’s home-building receded, with housing starts softening 7 percent and totaling 1.24 million, according to the latest data from the U.S. Census Bureau and the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). Notably, single-family starts increased 2.9 percent to 902,000. Multifamily starts (five units or more) came in at 317,000.

The decline is a departure from January, when groundbreaking soared some 10 percent.

“Some multifamily pullback is expected after an unusually strong January reading,” said Robert Dietz, chief economist of the National Association of Home Builders (NAHB), in a statement. “Multifamily starts should continue to level off throughout the year. Meanwhile, the growth in single-family production is in line with our 2018 forecast for gradual, modest strengthening in this sector of the housing market.”

“The fall in housing starts in February is a movement in the wrong direction,” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), in a statement. “The key to economic prosperity at this juncture of economic expansion is to produce more new homes. That will help with job creation and reduce the swift price appreciation in several markets.

“A total of 1.2 million homes were constructed last year, which was vastly inadequate,” Yun said. “Last month’s annualized rate of 1.24 million is only a hair above 2017’s figure. It’s not enough. While relaxing regulations on small-sized community banks may spur more construction loans for building, labor shortages in the industry continue to stunt overall activity.”

Approvals for builds fell, as well, 5.7 percent from January to 1.3 million permits, according to the data. Approvals for single-family starts were down 0.6 percent, to 872,000 permits, while approvals for multifamily starts came in at 385,000.

Completions kicked up, however: 7.8 percent to 1.32 million. Completions for single-family units totaled 895,000 (up 3 percent), while completions for multifamily units totaled 418,000.

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Appraisals Better Check Out With Owner Perceptions

Appraisals are better checking out with what owners perceive, just 0.53 percent below what was expected by homeowners, according to the February Quicken Loans National Home Price Perception Index (HPPI). The Quicken Loans National Home Value Index (HVI) shows appraised values rose 6.37 percent year-over-year.


Appraisals continue to fall short of owner expectations; however, the difference between the two data points is shrinking. The Quicken Loans HPPI reported appraiser opinions of home values were an average of 0.53 percent lower than what owners expected, at a national level. Bucking the national trend, more than three quarters of metro areas measured have appraisal values that are higher than owner estimates. The leader among them is Dallas, with appraisals an average of 2.72 percent higher than expected.

“The Home Price Perception Index is a perfect example of how localized housing is across the country,” says Bill Banfield, executive vice president of Capital Markets at Quicken Loans. “The fact that appraisals are showing home values nearly 3 percent higher than expected in Dallas, but the average appraisal is lower than the owner estimates by almost 2 percent in Philadelphia, illustrates this to a T. Dallas is an incredibly hot housing market right now, and appraisers are seeing just how fast home values are climbing. When shopping for a home, or even refinancing a current mortgage, consumers should always keep the changes in their local market in mind before estimating a home’s value.”

The Quicken Loans HVI reported that annual home equity continued its ascent in February, but the pace slowed slightly. Appraisal values increased 6.37 percent compared to February 2017, despite a monthly decrease of just 0.07 percent. The West was the only region with a monthly drop in home values, showing a 1.87 percent decrease from January to February. On the other hand, the Midwest had the largest gain in year-over-year home value growth, showing a 7.23 percent jump from February 2017.

“With little movement in the HVI data from January to February, it’s clear the same narrative from the beginning of the year remains,” Banfield says. “Low home inventory continues to be a drag on the housing market. As the economy grows and more consumers are in the right place financially to purchase a home, the high demand is driving prices up. As we move into the spring selling season, all eyes will be on whether today’s strong economy can support the higher prices.”

For more information, please visit QuickenLoans.com/Indexes.

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Backtracking: Mortgage Rates Retreat

For the first time this year, the average 30-year, fixed mortgage rate has retreated, back to 4.44 percent this week after rising for nine straight weeks, according to Freddie Mac’s recently released Primary Mortgage Market Survey® (PMMS®). The average 30-year, fixed mortgage rate was 4.46 percent the week prior.

Mortgage rates are moved by Treasury yields, which dipped following an inflation update this week, says Len Kiefer, deputy chief economist at Freddie Mac.

“Tuesday’s Consumer Price Index report indicated inflation may be cooling down; headline consumer price inflation was 2.2 percent year-over-year in February,” Kiefer says. “Following this news, the 10-year Treasury fell slightly. Mortgage rates followed Treasurys and ended a nine-week surge.”

The average 15-year, fixed mortgage rate also reeled in, at 3.90 percent, down from 3.94 percent the week prior. The average five-year, Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable mortgage rate, however, was at 3.67 percent, an increase from 3.63 percent the week prior.

Source: Freddie Mac

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Jason Waugh: Delivering Exceptional Experiences

Jason_WaughVitals: Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Real Estate Professionals
Years in Business
: 76
Size: 32 offices, 950 agents
Regions Served: Oregon and Washington
2017 Sales Volume: $3.9 billion
2017 Transactions: 10,567

This summer, Jason Waugh, president and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Northwest Real Estate and Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Real Estate Professionals, will celebrate his 25th year in the real estate industry.

Prior to joining the firm in 2005, Waugh was a partner with Synergy Sports Management, providing representation services to professional athletes. His experience working with high-demand clients has helped him and the firm succeed time and time again.

Operating 32 offices throughout Oregon and Washington, and employing 950 sales associates, the firm has been a leader in the area for decades.

In 2017, Waugh noted that the markets continued what he had seen the last few years: low inventory with a modest increase or decrease in closed units depending on the sub-market, and continued price appreciation across the board.

The contributing factors? “There’s not enough new construction to meet demand and a healthy economy and job market,” he explains. “We focus on opportunities. Despite the economy and market conditions, favorable or unfavorable, there are always opportunities to be successful.”

In Waugh’s opinion, the firm’s training and technology are a big part of the value proposition that creates differentiation, and that’s how the company separates itself from others.

“What I continue to hear as a point of differentiation is the availability and support delivered by our leadership team and staff,” he says. “Our company is always looking to grow. We have a strong appetite for growth both organically, one agent at a time, as well as through mergers and acquisitions.”

A key motto of the company is “contacts cause contracts and the fortune is in the follow-up.”

“In a general sense, the biggest opportunity for individual brokers has always been and will continue to be consistently nurturing, in a very personal way, the relationships with the folks that have used their services or referred them business in the past,” says Waugh. “The failure to do so creates opportunity for the competition to be top of mind when a consumer has a real estate need.”

In Waugh’s view, we live in an “experience economy,” and to be successful, the firm must be more committed than ever before to creating a superior real estate experience and delivering that in a way the customer wants to be engaged.

“We are focused on equipping our brokers with the best resources to deliver an unparalleled experience, allowing our customers to make good, informed buying and selling decisions,” Waugh says. “How we engage customers is ever-changing too; social media as a medium continues to grow in popularity, as well as communicating by video and text. This new generation of customers is also relying more on reviews and ratings, so embracing that transparency is critical, too.”

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices continues the discipline of investing in tools that provide its brokers with the best data-driven intelligence—another key to success.

“We want them to create a great experience and deliver exceptional guidance to our customers, supported by reliable and accurate market intelligence,” says Waugh. “We attract people to our company in 2018 the same way we always have—providing a culture of support and business services that allows them to compete and win.”

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©2018 BHH Affiliates, LLC. An independently owned and operated franchisee of BHH Affiliates, LLC. Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices and the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices symbol are registered service marks of HomeServices of America, Inc.® Equal Housing Opportunity. Licensed in Virginia.

Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Premier, REALTORS
Roanoke Office

2772 Electric Rd., Suite 1
Roanoke, VA 24018
Phone: 540-343-5000
Fax: 540-343-5135
Email: info@BHHSPremier.com 


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Roanoke/Botetourt Office
1638 Roanoke Rd. Ste. 101
P.O. Box 210
Daleville, VA 24083
Phone: 540-966-3033
Fax: 540-966-3613
Email: info@BHHSPremier.com 

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