Our take on the Zillow-Redfin partnership

Plus, where have all the foreign buyers gone?

Enjoy the ride

Just ask anyone who knows us. We’re the first ones to tell you that being an agent isn’t easy. Honing your craft as an agent and consistently executing at a high level requires a lot of effort, time, and perseverance. We all know this business can be maddening at times.

That’s why we’ve learned it’s important to take time to appreciate what we love about this industry. We love that we can set our own hours. We love that we are our own bosses. We love that we help people. We love discovering the many new angles of our business. And, of course, we love that you can make a pretty penny doing what we do.

So, if you’re feeling stressed or overwhelmed, take some time this weekend to regroup and make sure you’re enjoying the ride. It may get bumpy at times, but we think it’s still one of the best gigs in the world.

Now let’s jump into today’s Blueprint!

- James and David

Zillow and Redfin partner up

Zillow and Redfin have joined forces to connect buyers and home builders. Per the announcement posted on PR Newswire, home builders partnering with Zillow will now have their listings and communities automatically syndicated to Redfin, expanding the visibility of these homes to potential buyers. This will begin in Q4 of 2023.

This is obviously huge because Zillow has the largest selection of new-construction communities of all real estate websites in the U.S., while Redfin has 50 million monthly visitors to its site.

Our take

We think this limited partnership makes total sense. Right now, almost all the action in the housing market is taking place with new home constructions. With this partnership, interested buyers can now easily find a wider array of home builders, and builders will be even more incentivized to increase production and offer concessions. It’s a win-win.

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Foreign buyers purchased the fewest number of homes in 14 years

Last year, international homebuyers made the lowest number of real estate deals in the past 14 years. That’s according to NAR’s latest study of foreign investment in the US housing market. Here are the main takeaways:

  • Foreign buyer purchases dropped 14.2% YoY.

  • The 84,600 properties purchased from April 2022 to March 2023 marked the lowest level since 2009.

  • Foreign buyers invested $53.3 billion in real estate, down 9.6% YoY.

  • Asian buyers made up the biggest share (38%) of international buyers, while Latin Americans were second (32%)

Our take

The conclusion is inescapable: sharply lower housing inventory in the U.S. and higher borrowing costs across the world have really hurt international buyers. They are facing the same hurdles as domestic buyers and then some, as states such as Florida have imposed severe restrictions on purchases by foreign buyers. They are facing some very real challenges.

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The 5 best real estate referral networks

Agentadvice.com has updated its list of the top 5 referral networks in 2023. Here’s their list:

  • Best Overall Realtor Referral Network: Sold.com

  • Best Real Estate Referral Company for Part-Time Agents: OpCity

  • Best Real Estate Referral Network for Solo Agents: Sold.com

  • Best Realtor Referral Program for Experienced Agents: ZillowFlex

  • Best New Facebook Referral Group: Real Estate Referrals

Our take

Several platforms offer referrals that agents can use to take their business to the next level. We’ve already given you our recommendations for leads, but use this list to learn which platforms will help you build your client network.

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The news that just missed the cut

Foundation Plans

Advice from James and David to win the day

While us agents don’t need to be mortgage experts, we do need to have a firm grasp on the foundations of lending. Today, we want to highlight the three areas every agent should know about the mortgage pre-approval process, which is the first step in getting a mortgage.

Income – Lenders and banks need to be sure that homebuyers have steady and reliable income. This helps them determine whether a homebuyer can comfortably make their mortgage payments. Lenders use income information to calculate the debt-to-income ratio (or DTI) of the homebuyer. As a rule of thumb, the housing payment should be less than 33% of a homebuyer’s gross monthly income (that’s pre-tax).

Credit – Lenders use a potential homebuyer’s credit history to understand how well they manage their debt, and lenders use a homebuyer’s credit score to determine their interest rate and buying power. Advise your clients to take care of any negative implications (bankruptcies, late payments, judgments, issues with collections, etc.) BEFORE starting the pre-approval process.

Cash – Your buyers need to have enough money to pay their down payment and closing costs. Buyers need to have enough cash on hand when they move in. Down payments can range anywhere between 3% to 20% depending on the type of mortgage. Closing costs can be anywhere between 2% to 5% of the sales price, depending on the location of the house.

We’ve barely scratched the surface! Use these resources to learn more, but start with this easy-to-understand video first.

Just in Case

Keep the latest industry data in your back pocket with today’s mortgage rates:

Source: Rocket Mortgage

That’s a wrap on this edition of The Blueprint!

Remember: each day is a gift and a new opportunity to lead the life you want and to become the person you want to be. The mistakes and missteps you’ve made in the past don’t define you. Live as intentionally as you can and be ruthlessly focused on the goals you’ve set out to achieve. You can do it!

Thanks for reading, and we’ll see you back here on Tuesday!

- James and David