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Study: The income needed to buy a home in the Bay Area has doubled in five years

Study: The income needed to buy a home in the Bay Area has doubled in five years - SFGate

The most arresting data point in a new report from the California Association of Realtors reveals that the income needed to buy a median-priced single-family home in the Bay Area has nearly doubled in five years.

Back in 2012, a minimum annual income of $90,370 was needed to purchase a Bay Area home at the median price of $447,970. Now, a home buyer needs to be bringing in $179,390 to afford a mean-priced house at $895,000, the report looking at second-quarter 2017 home sales data concludes.

This reality of skyrocketing real estate prices might seem rather unfair to those of us who haven't seen our salaries shoot through the roof. If you're trying to save for a home, it can be difficult to keep up with the rising prices unless you're receiving significant raises at work.

Before you house-hunt, you've got to answer two questions. How much house can you afford, and how much house should you actually buy?

Media: Money Talks News

And even if you do achieve that golden salary of $179,390, don't expect it to get you anything within San Francisco city limits where the median-priced home costs a staggering $1.45 million and requires a salary of $290,630.

 

 In fact, according to the report, only 12 percent of buyers in the city can actually afford a median-priced single-family home.

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Pocket Listings may short-change sellers

Pocket Listings may short-change sellers (sponsored) - SFGate

The fast pace of Bay Area real estate, where homes are snapped up as soon as they hit the market, is fueling an interesting trend: pocket listings, homes not listed on a Multiple Listing Service (MLS), are on the rise.

An off-MLS listing strategy may seem appealing on the surface – your agent sells your house quickly to a buyer he or she already knows about without having to inconvenience you with excessive showings. But sellers beware.

The MLS provides tremendous exposure for your home. Properties on the MLS are immediately available to nearly 200,000 real estate professionals throughout California and their clients. Plus, they are automatically shared with online consumer portals, like realtor.com, Redfin, and Zillow (unless you request otherwise).

 

By limiting your property to your agent and a buyer he or she may have in mind, you'll never know if you're getting the most money possible in the sale. By limiting exposure of your home you're also limiting the number of prospective buyers. In fact, MLSListings data shows that homes listed on the MLS sell for 30% higher, on average, than those sold off the MLS.

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Agents Sell Homes For More Than FSBOS: Study

Agents Sell Homes For More Than FSBOS: Study

  • Agents tend to achieve higher sales prices for properties than comparable FSBO listings, enough to offset their commission fee, according to a recent analysis.

Academic research has often cast doubt on the value of real estate agents, but a new study will come as music to their ears.

It suggests that homeowners will net roughly the same proceeds whether they sell through a real estate agent or take the FSBO (for-sale-by-owner) route.

That’s because agents tend to achieve higher sales prices for properties than comparable FSBO listings — enough to offset their commission fee, according to an analysis released by automated valuation model (AVM) provider Collateral Analytics.

This makes a strong case for hiring an agent, considering that agents allow homeowners to reduce the work, risk, and time of selling a home, said Dr. Michael Sklarz, the CEO of Collateral Analytics and a co-author of the study.

“Overall it is clear that FSBOs have a low probability of selling, and if they do they will likely net the same or less after closing issues, plus they are more likely to screw up on disclosures which may lead to lawsuits after the fact, when buyers discover material facts not disclosed,” added Norman Miller, who produced the study with Sklarz and is a real estate professor at the University of San Diego.

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Bay Area adds 21,000 jobs in July, strongest month of 2017

Bay Area adds 21,000 jobs in July, strongest month of 2017

Led by Santa Clara County and the East Bay, the Bay Area’s job market powered up to its strongest showing of the year in July, erasing worries that the region’s economy could swerve into a downturn, a new state report indicated Friday.

Santa Clara County added 7,400 jobs during July, while the East Bay gained 6,600 jobs, according to a report from the Employment Development Department. The San Francisco-San Mateo region added 3,500 positions. All the numbers were adjusted for seasonal changes.

“The hiring was awesome in July,” said Stephen Levy, director of the Palo Alto-based Center for Continuing Study of the California Economy. “We are having some very good gains now, and we are hearing about more companies planning to expand, to lease office space, to buy land.”

The nine-county Bay Area added 21,000 jobs in the single strongest month of hiring for the region so far this year. Santa Clara County’s gains were also the best for that region in 2017.

“The expansion will continue,” said Mark Vitner, senior economist with San Francisco-based Wells Fargo Bank.

The upswing in Santa Clara County offered a welcome counterpoint to economic setbacks in the first third of 2017. During three of the initial four months of 2017, the South Bay lost jobs, but the area has now added jobs for three consecutive months.

“The economy in the Bay Area is still strong and healthy, yet the pace of expansion is inevitably slowing down,” said Jeffrey Michael, director of the Stockton-based Center for Business and Policy Research at University of the Pacific, noting that job gains in prior years have been greater than much of 2017. “There is no concern of a slowdown or recession in our near-term forecast.”

California added 82,600 jobs during July, the EDD reported. But the statewide unemployment rate worsened and increased to 4.8 percent in July compared with 4.7 percent in June. The figures for payroll jobs and unemployment are derived from two different surveys and can sometimes move in different directions.

“We are effectively at full employment both in the Bay Area and in California,” said Robert Kleinhenz, director of economic research with Beacon Economics and UC Riverside’s School of Business.

The technology industry was a major factor in the employment boom in Santa Clara County. Tech companies added 2,000 jobs in the South Bay during July, according to a Beacon Economics analysis of seasonally adjusted EDD figures. The tech industry, however, shed 300 jobs in the San Francisco-San Mateo area and 1,200 in the East Bay.

In addition to the robust tech gains, Santa Clara County also added 2,300 hotel and restaurant jobs and 1,200 health care positions. Retail also was sturdy, adding 700 jobs in July, the Beacon analysis showed.

The East Bay’s strongest employment sectors in July were hotels and restaurants, which added 2,300 positions; construction, which gained 1,300; and health care, up 1,000.

The strongest industry in the San Francisco-San Mateo area was hotels and restaurants, which added 1,100 positions, according to the Beacon assessment.

Experts believe the East Bay has benefited from overflows of companies that have fled from San Francisco, the Peninsula and the South Bay.

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Average US Mortgage Rates Edge Lower; 30-Year at 3.89 Pct

Average US Mortgage Rates Edge Lower; 30-Year at 3.89 Pct. | Business News | US News

WASHINGTON (AP) — Long-term U.S. mortgage rates edged lower this week.

Mortgage buyer Freddie Mac said Thursday the rate on 30-year, fixed-rate mortgages slipped to 3.89 percent from 3.90 percent last week. While historically low, that's still above last year's average of 3.65 percent. The benchmark rate stood at 3.43 percent a year ago.

The rate on 15-year, fixed-rate home loans, popular with homeowners who are refinancing their mortgages, fell to 3.16 percent from 3.18 percent last week.

Record-low interest rates have helped spur home purchases and boosted the housing market. Yet despite the low mortgage rates to lure prospective homebuyers, the housing market has remained hampered by tight mortgage credit, rising home prices and tight supply of homes on the market.

In the latest indication of low inventory constraining home purchases, real estate brokerage Redfin reported Thursday that sales in July declined 3.5 percent from a year earlier. The number of homes for sale fell 11 percent, marking 22 straight months of year-over-year declines in inventory, according to Redfin. There was a three-month supply of homes in July, higher than June's record-low 2.5 months but well below the six months that represents a market balanced between buyers and sellers.

 

To calculate average mortgage rates, Freddie Mac surveys lenders across the country between Monday and Wednesday each week. The average doesn't include extra fees, known as points, which most borrowers must pay to get the lowest rates. One point equals 1 percent of the loan amount.

The average fee for a 30-year mortgage was 0.4 point, down from 0.5 point last week. The fee on 15-year loans was unchanged at 0.5 point.

Rates on adjustable five-year loans rose to 3.16 percent from 3.14 percent last week. The fee declined to 0.4 point from 0.5 point.

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Tips for first-year real estate agents

Tips for first-year real estate agents

New to

Real Estate

CONGRATULATIONS – you have yourself a real estate license! It’s official: you are now a real estate agent.

So, what’s next? Garrett Lenderman, lead writer and researcher for Keller Williams’ publishing division, offers valuable insight.

 

“Your database is your business.”

Oftentimes, the difference between an average business and a mega business can be pinpointed to the number of times an agent communicates with members of their database.  

“Each time you touch people in your database, you gain a piece of mindshare, which will help position you as someone they need to talk to when they think about buying or selling real estate. The more frequently you communicate with your database, the more mindshare you gain, and the more you’re able to profit from the relationships you build within it,” Lenderman explains.

He also emphasizes that how you talk to your database matters. While the world continues to invent new, easier ways for us to communicate with one another, for real estate agents, the number one weapon of choice is still the phone. This isn’t because real estate agents are old-fashioned; it’s because voice-to-voice communication is extremely efficient and effective. When engaging with someone else, what we say is only one half of the equation – there’s also how we say it. When speaking with someone else, we constantly send and receive millions of signals that all add up to our interpretation and understanding of what’s being said. When using simple forms of communication like text messaging, we restrict our ability to use our full arsenal of communication tools.

So go out and talk to people, and make sure what you say counts. Lenderman suggests, at the very least, you should pick up the phone and call everyone in your database at least once a quarter. When designing touch plans to add to that, remember that the more personal you make it, the more effective it will be.

“No is a spectrum.”

The importance of learning that “no” and “yes” fall on a spectrum is key to becoming a successful agent. When someone tells us “no,” there’s usually a condition associated with it. When talking with people who are interested in real estate, it’s important to gauge how strongly someone is committed to their current decisions and what needs to happen for them to change their minds. Sometimes you’ll find that you have the ability to help people turn their no into a yes.

Learning to interpret people’s needs is part of being a good communicator, which is why it’s important to focus on building your skills through scripts and dialogues, as well as experience, on a daily basis.

“You have to invest in your business and you have to invest in yourself.”

Starting out viewing your job as just that – a job – is a mistake. Agents should view and handle themselves as business owners. By treating real estate as an enterprise from day one, you set yourself up for future growth and success. This means operating off of a schedule that allows you to take control of your time, investing in a database that provides you and those you’re looking to serve with continuing value, continually educating yourself so that you can educate your customers, and pairing big goals with big actions and big accountability that will guide you to the future you desire. 

“It’s never that hard again.”

Starting something from scratch is always going to be hard. Your first cold call is hard. Selling your first home is hard. The good news is that it is only going to get easier from here. Repetition, making mistakes, and learning as you go will help make things exponentially easier. Experience is a great teacher, and relying on your own and asking others to share theirs will help you on your own personal and professional growth journey.

“Take a leap.”

Jumping into a new career in real estate can be challenging. Working on outreach, making real connections with customers, creating a strong database, and treating real estate like a business are all key ingredients for success.

MREA_copy_1287094641101.jpgAssuming you’ve chosen to hang your license with Keller Williams, you’ve already started your career off on the right foot. Plug in to your market center by taking advantage of the training and expertise all around you. And, if you haven’t already, start memorizing the proven models and systems of The Millionaire Real Estate Agent –  a book that has sold more than 1,000,000 copies and helped agents just like you create a business worth owning.

 

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Americans believe home price correction imminent

Americans believe home price correction imminent | 2017-08-09 | HousingWire

Americans increasingly believe the housing market is overheating and home prices continue to rise, and said they suspect a housing price correction may be imminent, according to the latest Modern Homebuyer Survey from ValueInsured, a provider of down payment protection for homebuyers.

However, housing confidence continues on a positive trajectory due to high home prices and low inventory. The company’s Housing Confidence Index score increased one percentage point from the first quarter to 68.7 in the second quarter on a hundred-point scale.

And nearly eight in 10 Americans, or 79%, saying homeownership is an important part of the American Dream.

But despite this commitment to homeownership, they are less confident in buying a home now and don’t believe it will hold its current value. The survey showed 57% of Americans said home prices are overvalued and unsustainable in the second quarter this year. This is an increase of seven percentage points from the first quarter.

The fear was even higher in urban areas, where 65% of Americans said homes are overvalued and unsustainable.

Prospective homebuyers were also more wary as 63% of all homebuyers and 72% of all Millennial homebuyers said they are concerned with the timing of the market and want to make sure they are not buying high.

“We see more homebuyers concerned with timing the market,” ValueInsured CEO Joe Melendez said. “This is especially true for Millennials, who are more likely to switch jobs, relocate or need to upsize in the next few years. No one wants to buy at the peak and find themselves underwater as so many did a decade ago.”

While experts explained living in a home more than seven years could lower the homebuyer’s exposure to market fluctuations, only 37% of Millennials plan to live in their next home more than six years.

“Beyond the jitters, I see in our survey an increasingly informed nation of homebuyers, who understand the risk of the market,” Melendez said. “To those concerned about a price correction, or waiting to time the market, I recommend a proactive approach. Have an exit plan, then anytime you find a home you love is a good time to buy.”

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We’re Definitely Not In A Housing Bubble

We're Definitely Not In A Housing Bubble | Seeking Alpha

By FS Staff

In 2005 and 2006, Financial Sense regularly warned that US housing was in a bubble. Now, with the national average above the 2006 peak (see below), does that mean we are in a bubble again?

This was the subject of our recent FS Insider interview with Rick Sharga, a leading expert at the largest online real estate marketplace in the world, Ten-X.

Rick Sharga: We’re Are Definitely Not in a Housing Bubble

We're definitely not in a bubble. We have a handful of markets that are frothy and probably have hit an affordability wall of sorts but the fact of the matter is, while prices nominally have surpassed the 2006 peak, we're not talking about 2006 dollars. We've had 9 years of inflation to factor into home prices today...and, in fact, if you really dug into the analysis what you would find is that home prices today have basically recovered to about where they were in 2004."

This is true. If you look at a chart, inflation-adjusted home prices are exactly where they were in the first half of 2004.

But, then again, doesn't that mean that we could be just a year or two away from entering one? Not necessarily - it all depends on the growth rate.

From 2002 to the final peak in 2006, home prices were consistently growing 7.5% or greater every year and even jumped to as high as 16% on a year-over-year basis during the blow-off phase in 2005. Currently, home prices are appreciating around 6.5% each year. That's still pretty good, but still below bubble-level growth rates.

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Timeline: How To Build Your New Real Estate Career From Day 1

Timeline: How To Build Your New Real Estate Career From Day 1

Timeline: How to build your new real estate career from day 1

A career as an agent can be one of the most rewarding jobs you ever have (and also one of the most challenging)
 

  • Develop your motivation for becoming a real estate agent.
  • Know the personal and financial resources you’ll need to succeed.
  • Get a mentor, a sponsor and a buddy.

The real estate event of the summer
Connect with other top producing agents at Connect SF, Aug 7-11, 2017

Congratulations! You have made the wonderful decision to pursue a career in real estate as a licensed real estate agent.

A career as an agent can be one of the most rewarding jobs you ever have — both personally and financially. On the flip side, there are certainly many challenges and obstacles for anyone who wants to become the next great agent.

What’ll you find in this post is a timeline and a to-do list wrapped into one. The timeline starts from the moment you make your decision to become a real estate agent.

I’ve divided the timeline into two parts: The time before you pass your real estate exams and the time after. If you handle your business well before you get your license, you will be able to launch into your career faster and more prepared than most agents.

Again, congrats on making the decision to become an agent. Now, let’s make that dream a reality.

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Part 1: Before licensing

Step 1: Determine your objectives

Month 1

As with starting any new job or before doing anything in business, the best question you can ask yourself is: “Why am I doing this?”

Determining your motivation — your reasoning, your why — is the most important thing you can do because it will keep you going from day one to day 10,000.

  • Are you looking to get your real estate license to practice part-time and do a few deals every year for a select number of family and friends?
  • Are you looking to get your real estate license so you can buy and sell real estate for yourself?
  • Or, are you getting your license to practice full-time and make this job your career?

Once you decide why you are getting your real estate license, you’ll be able to make decisions, such as selecting a licensing school and a real estate broker, that make the most sense for you.

Step 2: Understand the job responsibilities

Month 1

Most people who think about getting their real estate license don’t always understand the full scope of the job. Plus, they always think the job is much easier and more glamorous (as portrayed on TV and in real estate seminars) than it is in real life.

As a licensed real estate agent, whether full-time or part-time, you are always on the clock. Real estate never stops.

Be prepared to put out fires first thing in the morning. Get ready to do deals during lunch and well after sundown. Know that nights and weekends are when most of your clients will want to contact you.

On top of your constant obligations to your clients, know that most your job duties center around prospecting.

You may love looking at houses. You may be the best negotiator in the world. And you may know everything there is to know about financing. But if you don’t have any clients to work for, you won’t be in business for very long.

Other things to consider are all of the benefits that were once provided to you by your previous employer. Things like health care, social security taxes and more are all things real estate agents, as independent contractors, have to provide for themselves.

If you aren’t ready to handle these things yet, you should probably wait to start as an agent until you are ready.

Step 3: Plan your life accordingly

Month 1

Now that you have an idea of what you’d like to do as a real estate agent and you know some of the real requirements of the job, you’ll want to make sure that everyone who’s depending on you is onboard with your decision.

If you’re the head of your household and you aren’t bringing in a paycheck for the first few months as an agent, will you be able to support your family?

If you have time obligations with friends and family on nights, weekends and holidays, will they be OK with you being on your phone to close a deal at 8 p.m. on the Fourth of July?

Have a real conversation with the people that matter most to you in your life, and make sure they’re on board with your decision, too.

Step 4: Research real estate licensing schools

Months 2-4

In most states, there are several different ways to obtain your real estate license. You have to determine which learning style is best for you.

Some schools offer a one-week cram courses so you can learn all of the material and sit for the exam by the end of the week.

Some schools offer online learning programs that allow you to learn at your own pace over the course of 12 months.

Other schools offer a combination of in-person teaching with online resources.

Determine which way you learn best, and then pick the school that offers the best options that match your learning style.

Step 5: Research real estate brokerages

Months 2-4

This step in the process might be the most important part on your journey of getting your real estate license. Your broker can help you set a good foundation as you begin your real estate career.

In general, you will want to take a look at six different areas of expertise that a brokerage can provide and compare and contrast them against each other. The six areas of expertise include:

  1. Education and mentorship
  2. Branding, advertising and marketing programs
  3. Technology tools
  4. Lead generation capabilities
  5. Compensation
  6. Company culture

See which brokerage offers the best tools, options and resources for you, and pick one once you get your license.

Step 6: Start grassroots marketing campaigns

Months 3-5

One of the most important duties of a real estate agent is to prospect for clients. After all, if you don’t have any clients, you can’t perform any of the other parts of the job.

To help you get clients on day one of being a real estate agent, start laying down some grassroots advertising campaigns with your close friends and family now.

Start telling people that you are studying to become a real estate agent and that when you have your real estate license, you’ll be happy to help them with anything they need when it comes to real estate.

Step 7: Secure funding sources

Months 1-5

Most of the people who get their real estate license plan on working as a residential real estate sales agent. These sales agents work as an independent contractor for a real estate brokerage.

As an independent contractor, the best way to think of yourself is as the CEO of your own small business. That small business is you. You are the CEO of the real estate company of you.

As a small business owner — like any business owner in any industry — there are costs associated with starting the business.

Just to get your license and start practicing real estate, you need to spend money. Some people can spend anywhere from $200 to $800 on classes, textbooks, tutors and exam prep.

Once you select your brokerage, you will most likely be required to pay fees to join local associations, get access to the local MLS and even pay your brokerage additional fees. These fees can easily eclipse $1,000 to $2,000 in the first year alone.

Once you begin your career, you’re going to have to advertise yourself and your services. These activities cost money. It is nothing for some agents to spend $500 to $1,000 (or more) per month on these campaigns.

What’s more, you could potentially have no income sources for up to three, six or even 12 months on the job before you close your first sale. The loss of potential revenue (the money you would have made if you stuck with your old job) is a major expense that most agents overlook in their first year.

You need to find a way to secure funding sources for you as a small business owner.

Some agents develop savings over months and years before they go into the career full-time. Some agents get part-time jobs to help pay some bills. And some agents even find loans and investors to help them grow their business.

Whatever way you intend to pay for your business, be sure you have a solid business plan that can keep you afloat for at least the first year of being in business.

Part 2: After Licensing

Step 1: Select a brokerage

Month 5

When you are doing your research on brokerages, you should ideally interview with at least four different brokerages. The four different types of brokerages include large national franchises, regional franchises, large local brands and small independent brokerages.

Interviewing with at least one brokerage from each of these categories gives you a better understanding of what the tools (and costs) are associated with joining a particular brokerage.

Once you weigh all of the pros and cons, pick the brokerage that best works for you.

Step 2: Determine your business goals

Month 5-6

As an independent contractor, you are your own boss. You are the boss of your own small business, and your small business is being a real estate agent.

Like any good small business, you’ll want to create goals for your business. You’ll want to create goals regarding how many homes you want to sell, how much money you want to make by the end of the year and how satisfied your clients are with you.

If you set goals for yourself, you have something to strive for. It gives you that extra motivation whenever things seem dull or when your business seems to be in a rut.

You are more likely to accomplish your goals when you write them down. Plus, if you start telling other people your goals, you are even more likely to accomplish them.

Step 3: Find a mentor, a sponsor and a buddy

Month 5-7

The career of a real estate agent, as we think of it today, has been around for nearly 100 years. There have been millions of individuals who have come before you to do the exact same job duties you’re planning on doing in the foreseeable future.

Sometimes you don’t need to reinvent the wheel. Talk to the people who already tried inventing it to see what works and what doesn’t.

This is where finding a mentor is highly recommended.

A good mentor for a first-year real estate agent is typically someone who has been in the real estate industry full-time for at least the past three years or more. Typically, you’d like to see some level of success with this mentor, either through sales or involvement in the community.

A good mentor is one who will listen to your hopes and dreams, your ups and your downs, and your pitfalls and challenges.

Your mentor will then be able to give you the words of encouragement that you need to succeed and let you know when you’re traveling down the wrong path. A good mentor will help you build a framework for your career.

A sponsor is a little different from a mentor in that a sponsor can be someone either in or out of the real estate industry. He or she doesn’t need to be someone with tremendous business success (although the more the successful the better). A sponsor needs to be able to open doors for you that otherwise wouldn’t be opened.

A good sponsor is someone who has your back and will shout your name to everyone he or she knows with a vote of confidence that means business. Finding a good sponsor can be harder than finding a good mentor, but it’s well-worth the effort.

A buddy is a fellow real estate agent, preferably someone who has about the same knowledge, talent and resources as you do.

Your buddy, or accountability partner, is someone who can help keep you on track of your daily goals. Perhaps you and your buddy can prospect together, go to networking events together or even show homes together.

A buddy is someone who will make the doldrums of everyday work life feel better.

Step 4: Create your database of 100

Month 5

When you first get started as a real estate agent, you may be tempted to launch into several different costly advertising campaigns. I’m here to say that those activities aren’t necessary and can actually do more harm than good.

Instead, for your first few months as a real estate agent, focus on the people that already know, like and trust you. You are significantly more likely to work with a close connection than a random lead on the internet.

Spend your first few weeks as a practicing agent developing your database of 100. This list is a list of the 100 people you know, like and trust best. These are the people who, if you were to call or text today, would respond to you within a few minutes.

Inform the people on your database of 100 that you’re now a practicing real estate agent and that you can help them (and their database of 100) with any real estate services they may need.

Then, spend the rest of your career following up and providing value for the people on your list. A dollar spent advertising to the people on your database is much more effective and efficient than a dollar spent on any other advertising activity.

Step 5: Advertise

Month 6 until forever

There are countless ways in which you can advertise yourself as a real estate agent. In fact, I wrote about 99 different lead generating activities last year.

Lead generation is the lifeblood for any real estate agent. If you are not prospecting today, you will go hungry tomorrow.

You need to spend every day working on your advertising plan. The more time you spend on developing a good prospecting plan, the more you can rely on business down the road.

You don’t need to do every lead generating activity under the sun, and you don’t need to spend a lot of money (if any) doing it either. Like a good exercising and eating habit, you need to spend a little bit of time and effort every day to get the best results.

Step 6: Get educated

Month 7-12 — and beyond

If “location, location, location” are the three most important words in real estate, then “education, education, education” are the three most important words for your real estate career.

First, you are required to take a certain amount of continuing education classes. So, at a minimum, you should be taking classes to learn (or relearn) topics and theories about the real estate industry.

Another reason to focus on education is because all of the great business professionals focus on it. They spend time reading the paper, journals, booksand articles on their industries and about business in general. They spend time going to seminars, conferences and trade shows to hone in on the latest and greatest trends.

If you’re not learning and not getting educated, you are falling behind everyone else in the industry who is taking advantage of all of the great educational resources out there.

Step 7: Get involved

Month 10 and beyond

One of the reasons you wanted to start your career as a real estate agent was because you realized that agents have tremendous flexibility with their schedules. They can often work when they want and where they want.

Well, now that you’ve got almost a year under your belt learning about the real estate industry and perhaps even doing a few transactions, you should use your time wisely and get involved.

That means getting involved in your local Realtor association. Spending time with your fellow practitioners to help elevate the standards of the industry as a whole.

That means getting involved with your favorite local charity and community organization. Use some of your flexibility to give back some of your time to those who need it most.

Finally, use your time to get more involved with your family and friends. If your old job was one that had you working long hours and never able to make the kids’ baseball games or dance recitals, now is the time to exert some influence over your life and take control of the things you want to do.

The lifespan of a real estate agent is one that can last three months or 30 years. If you lay a solid foundation before you even get your real estate license, you will be better prepared to make this job a career.

Follow the steps in this timeline of becoming a real estate agent, and you will find this career to be both financially and personally rewarding.

Nico Hohman is the broker-owner at Hohman Homes Real Estate Brokerage & New Home Consultants in Tampa-St. Petersburg, Fla. Connect with him on Facebook or Twitter.

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Many Bay Area homes have yet to recover pre-recession values

Many Bay Area homes have yet to recover pre-recession values

With double-digit price appreciation returning to some Bay Area markets, we’re used to hearing that the region’s homeowners are a lucky bunch, richer by the minute.

It’s often true, but not always.

A new report by Trulia, the real estate website, finds that only 60.4 percent of single-family homes in the Oakland metropolitan area have recovered their pre-recession peak values, compared with 84.3 percent in metropolitan San Jose and 98 percent in the San Francisco metro area. Out of 100 U.S. metros whose housing recovery was measured by Trulia, Oakland ranks 34th, while San Jose ranks 19th and San Francisco is No. 2 in the nation.

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