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December 31, 2018

Wishing you and your family a Happy & Healthy New Year

Contact for Tickets.
You are cordially invited...

Installation of 2019 SIBOR & SIMLS Leadership Teams
President, Scott Setaro
Thursday, January 10, 2019

Cocktails ~ Ceremony ~ Dinner

Excelsior Grand, 2380 Hylan Blvd., SI, NY 10306

Tickets $65

For tickets and information please contact Annmarie Izzo, Event Coordinator
718-928-3223 or email

What is Old is New Again: Let's Start the Year Off Right!
The presents have been unwrapped, the gifts have been either returned or put into a drawer never to be seen again and now it is time to face the New Year ready for the challenges ahead. This is the time of year to prepare checklists of items that need to be addressed among brokers, manager and agents. Whether you call it risk reduction or compliance seminars, these topics should no longer be left to real estate schools or membership organizations to test the limits of what an agent knows and more importantly, what an agent should know.

Exploring Today's Real Estate Market and its Future
You may have noticed the real estate market tightening and slowing in recent months. Homebuyers are becoming increasingly more cautious due to the feeling that they may be purchasing at the top of the market and will have to obtain a higher market interest rate compared to the past. This also translates to buyers being more difficult to secure in the marketplace for home sellers. This, in addition to an ever-rising interest rate market, is leading to more compression and more competition from lenders. And as the fight for consumers becomes ever more challenging, homebuyers who are in the market become ever more competitive to land for lenders. The fight for purchase business continues.  

Realtors® 2020 President Testifies Before Financial Services Committee on GSE Reform
Association of Realtors® President-Elect Vince Malta testified before the House Financial Services Committee during its hearing, "A Legislative Proposal to Provide for a Sustainable Housing Finance System: The Bipartisan Financing Reform Act of 2018." Malta, a third-generation Realtor® and the CEO and broker of Malta & Co., Inc. in San Francisco, CA, commended the Committee for its work toward comprehensive reform of the nation's housing finance system while outlining NAR's priorities for a legislative restructuring of Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae.

FHA Announces 2019 Loan Limits
On Dec. 14, 2018, the Federal Housing Administration (FHA) released its 2019 Loan Limits, effective January 1, 2019. FHA's loan limits are tied to the loan limits set by the Federal Housing Finance Agency for conventional mortgages. In high-cost areas the FHA national loan limit "ceiling" will increase to $726,525 from $679,650. FHA will also increase its "floor" to $314,827 from $294,515. Alaska, Hawaii, Guam, and the Virgin Islands have a special exception ceiling of $1,089,787 to account for higher costs of construction. Loan limits increased in 3,053 counties and remain unchanged in 181 counties. No jurisdictions faced a decrease in loan limits. Increases in median house prices across the country accounted for the increase in loan limits for 2019.

5 Questions to Ask Before You Build a Real Estate Team
If the thought of building a team has piqued your curiosity, but you're not sure where to start, we've got some help for you!
I started in real estate back in 2004, joining Bob and Fran Medley who had a small team here in Louisville, Ky. They were star power agents and learned from the best in the country. The Medleys retired in 2008-and I took over and started expanding,and grew the business to where it is today. I've been the leader of my 20-agent, five-admin team ever since. Last year we sold 419 homes, and this year we are on track to do about the same level of production.

Finding Listings Using Geographic Farming Tactics

It might seem obvious-or go without saying-that good photography and videography are critical for your success as a real estate professional.
But when you dig into the numbers, just how much of an impact good visuals make borders on shocking. Check out some of these stats:
Homes with high quality photography sell 32 percent faster.
Homes with more photos sell faster, too. 

Blockchain Technology and Consumer Home Buying Preferences and Trends
The National Association of Realtors unveiled a Blockchain Guidance Paper earlier this month during a webinar designed to keep real estate at the forefront of conversations surrounding the emerging technology. NAR also authored a paper that found buyers continue to overwhelmingly utilize both the Internet and real estate agents in the home-buying process.
Although blockchain usage is not yet widely prevalent in the industry, NAR has worked to proactively educate state and local Realtor associations, members and consumers on hurdles that could arise as the technology begins to penetrate the market, ensuring transactions with Realtors "are accurate, efficient and reliable," as the Guidance paper reads.

Visit Staten Island: The Unexpected Borough
On Thursday, BP Oddo's Office of Tourism Cultural Affairs unveiled the new branding and website for Visit Staten Island. Visit Staten Island was created in 2009 to highlight Staten Island as a fun, family-friendly, and historical destination to visit. The goal of rebranding Visit Staten Island is to incentivize those travelling from Manhattan to stay on Staten Island and spend the day at one of the many cultural attractions, shops, and restaurants in the "unexpected borough." This revived campaign also encourages residents to explore their own backyard and take advantage of the programs and events that are found so close to home. The new website features information about attractions, itineraries, events, transportation, and more.

New City Gas Line Law Goes Into Effect January 1
Beginning in the new year, New York City buildings will have to make sure their gas lines are up to code.
On January 1, 2019, the city's Local Law 152 (passed in 2016) will go into effect. It means that gas piping systems of all buildings other than those classified as R-3 occupancy (a one- or two-family dwelling, for instance) must be inspected at least every five years by a licensed master plumber (An exception would be for newer buildings, in which case the initial inspection would take place in the 10th year, after a letter of completion, a Certificate of Occupancy, or the date the building was completed as determined by the Buildings Department rule).

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