Premiere Mortgage Services Inc. - Dana Bain

January 16, 2017 - FHA loan policy about down payments for new purchase home loans is quite clear. One condition of FHA loan approval is that the borrower provide a minimum cash investment--a down payment--of at least 3.5%.

That money is required to be verified by the lender as having come from an approved source. What is an approved source? The borrower can tap into his or her own cash reserves, cash-in investments, savings bonds or other holdings. The idea behind verifying the source of your down payment on an FHA mortgage is to prevent borrowers from provided money obtained from non-collateralized loans such as a credit card cash advance, payday loans, etc.

Down payment funds may also come from someone else in the form of a gift, so long as that gift and the giver meet certain FHA requirements. In order to establish whether a particular gift of down payment money is permitted, we have to examine what the FHA describes as a bona fide gift. According to HUD 4155.1 Chapter Five Section B, In order for funds to be considered a gift, there must be no expected or implied repayment of the funds to the donor by the borrower.

Then there's scrutiny of the gift giver. According to Chapter Five, An outright gift of the cash investment is acceptable if the donor is
  • -the borrower's relative
  • -the borrower's employer or labor union
  • a close friend with a clearly defined and documented interest in the borrower
  • a charitable organization
  • a governmental agency or public entity that has a program providing home ownership assistance to low- and moderate-income families, or first-time homebuyers.
The FHA doesn't just list who may give such a gift--it also has rules discussing who MAY NOT provide gift funds for an FHA loan down payment. The gift donor may not be a person or entity with an interest in the sale of the property, such as
  • the seller
  • the real estate agent or broker
  • the builder
  • an associated entity
Gifts from these sources are considered inducements to purchase, and must be subtracted from the sales price.

FHA loan rules are specific and clear in these areas to insure fairness and to preserve the integrity of the home buying process with FHA loan funds. For more information on how these rules may apply to your situation, ask the loan officer or contact the FHA directly.
Posted by Dana Bain on November 28th, 2017 2:05 PM

The cake has been cut, the thank you notes written, and the last vendor has (finally) been paid. Depending on your budget and style, getting married may be one of the most expensive events of your life. The average wedding in the United States in 2016 cost $26,720, and even if you had help from family and loved ones, you probably had to save up quite a bit for the big day.

After spending a lot of money on a major life milestone, it might be hard to know what to save for, or to even want to save. While you can certainly give yourself a breather, don’t neglect your savings account.

If you built up good saving habits in preparation for your wedding, like paying yourself first or utilizing automatic savings, you don’t want to lose steam, particularly if you want to move towards other important life milestones. Here are 5 things to consider starting to save for:

#1: Saving for a Delayed Honeymoon

It’s great to take some time off after your wedding to relax and recharge. But it’s becoming more popular to put off the honeymoon, which some have coined the “later-moon.” There are a lot of reasons it might make sense for you to put off your honeymoon. One of our favorites? More time to save. If you’re already spending a lot of money on a wedding, it can be hard to save up for the honeymoon you want to take. You don’t have to compromise just to get away the day after you say “I do!” Once the pressure of paying for the wedding has passed, you can devote some more dedicated saving power to your dream vacation. Plus, you can take some time to rest from any wedding craziness, helping you fully enjoy your delayed honeymoon.

#2: Saving for a New Home

We know not all couples follow the “traditional” milestone track – get married, buy a house, have kids. But even if you already own a home, getting married means you might be reprioritizing. Your current living situation might not be ideal anymore for a variety of reasons, like needing more space or having different tastes. Whether you already own or you’re first-time homebuyers, consider saving money for a house.

#3: Saving for a Car

Are you still driving your college clunker? Channel your new-found saving skills into saving for a new ride. You may be combining finances for the first time, which could help you afford an upgrade. If you’re a two-car household, talk to your partner about which car will need to be replaced first. You may also want to consider varying what kind of cars you own. If both of you own smaller cars, you might want to save up for a vehicle with more cargo space for big purchases, or to fit more people. Which leads to…

#4: Saving for Kids

Before the wedding bells finished ringing, you probably already had one nosy family member ask you, “When are you going to have kids?” But even if they aren’t on the direct horizon, if you plan on having kids it doesn’t hurt to start saving now. According to the USDA, the average cost of raising a child born in 2015 was $233,610, and that’s without any college expenses. While those costs will be spread out over 18 years, planning ahead of time could ease the financial burden of starting a family.

#5: Saving for Retirement

If you’re enjoying the early days of wedded bliss, you probably aren’t think about retirement. But now’s actually a great time to consider how much you’re saving for retirement. In addition to banking on good savings habits, you likely need to swing by the HR department at work to update your marital status. While you’re there, get a refresher on any retirement plans, like 401ks, your company offers, as well as if they’re willing to match your contribution.

Massachusetts License Number Broker MB1498

Dana Bain NMLS #18693

Robin Dunbar Bain NMLS #18699


How To Contact Us

By Phone: 978-422-2311 (Office)
  1-800-480-0545 (Toll Free)
  978-501-0427 (Mobile)
By Fax: 978-422-2313 (Fax)
11 Malvern Hill Rd
Sterling, MA  01564-2829

Posted in:General
Posted by Dana Bain on November 21st, 2017 4:32 PM
View Comments (2)

Have you ever called a mortgage company and received a quote and then called back the next day and the same rate was no longer available??

Mortgage companies, Banks and Credit Unions are subject to potential daily and even hourly shifts in the market. Interest rates fluctuate on the simple principal of supply and demand.   Global 1

Mortgage rates trade based on Mortgage Back Securities and The Bond Markets as well as the overall economy.  The vehicles that mortgage rates are based on are considered very conservative, stable and tend not to have the wild swings that one would find in the Stock Market.  If the Stock market begins to see large increases or decreases, Investors will shift Billions of dollars in and out of the Stock Market and move them in to the Mortgage Markets.  This will cause mortgage rates to either rise or fall.  Stock Market tanks, good news for Mortgage Rates, Stock Market rallies and rates suffer.   Investors and Traders will constantly shift funds out of the riskier stocks into the safe haven of the mortgage markets.  These shifts can occur as little as once a day or in some cases can happen multiple times during a trading day. Thus causing mortgage rates to possibly change multiple times in a day.

These markets are affected globally as well; so even after the markets are closed in US, whatever is happening in Europe, Asia and around the world will cause our markets to move one way or the other.

Here are some of the variables that are being watched in today’s market:

  • Middle East
  • Europe and Asia’s Economy
  • Comments by the President
  • Politics
  • The US Housing Market
  • Unemployment in our Country
  • The Price of Oil and Gas
  • The “Feds” decision to move short term interest rates
  • The overall health of the US EconomyPercent Down

Any of these items can trigger a rally one way or another.  Even a simple comment at a breakfast meeting by the President, the Fed Chairman or someone in power is enough to influence the markets.

Additional Mortgage Rate and Index Information:

To help us understand why mortgage rates change, it is important to realize that there is not one interest rate, but multiple ones. Below are some of the most prevalent interest rates and indexes that also have an impact on mortgage rates:

Prime rate – This rate is often offered to a bank’s best customers. If you are shopping for a home equity line of credit, then it is important to familiarize yourself with the prime rate. HELOCs are typically based upon the prime rate -plus or minus a certain percentage.

LIBOR – Stands for London Inter-bank Offered Rates. Libor rates are based upon the rates that a select group of London Banks offer each other for inter-bank deposits. Many adjustable rate mortgage programs use the Libor index.

Treasury bill rates ”T-bills” and Treasury Notes – These are short-term and intermediate debt instruments used by our Government to finance their debt. The treasury index is based upon the auctions of U.S. Treasury bills or on the Treasury’s yield curve. Like the LIBOR index, the U.S. Treasury index is a popular index for adjustable rate mortgage products. Also, the Twelve Month Treasury Average (12 Month MTA) is a popular index which is based upon the twelve month average of the monthly yields of U.S. Treasury securities (maturing in one year). The MTA is a popular choice for option arm mortgage programs.

Treasury Bonds – Unlike T-bills and Treasury Notes, treasury bonds are long-debt instruments. These bonds are used by the U.S. Government to finance its debt.

Cost of Savings Index – often referred to as the COSI index. This index is based upon the annual average of interest rates on World Savings deposit accounts. The average is pulled on the last day of each month.

11th District Cost of Funds – Often referred to as the COFI index – The COFI index is based upon the average of the borrowing cost to member banks of the Home Loan Bank of San Francisco of the 11th District. Unless you are shopping for an option arm mortgage, it is unlikely that your loan will be affected by this rate.

Certificates of Deposit Index – Often referred to as the CODI index – this index is arrived at by calculating the average of the past twelve months rates of 3 month CD rates.

Federal Funds Rate – The fed funds target rate is the rate which federally chartered banking institutions lend balances to other depository banks overnight.

This is a lot of information to weigh each day when calculating mortgage rates.  In general, most Banks, Investors, Lenders etc. will set rates around 10:30am once most of the morning economic reports have been released and the markets have had time to react to the information.  In a calm trading day on Wall Street, these rates would be good for that imagesCA6UKL3Jday.  In a day where lots of Economic reports and World events are occurring, these rates can be reset a few times as the Markets fluctuate.  It is important to call your lender or bank often to check on these rates as they can and will change.  It also important not to follow online rate sites that may be posting Average Rates as this information can be old as well a different Financial Picture then you may have.  The Freddie Mac rates are based on closed loans from last week and an average of .7 Points of fees in the rate. This may give you a range, but not accurate enough to base your mortgage payment on or what is happening today in the markets.


Please leave a comment, email or call me anytime with questions you may have about mortgage programs, rates and to get approved for a mortgage.

Dana Bain NMLS# 18693 978-422-2311  Download My Mortgage App Also At 

Posted in:General
Posted by Dana Bain on October 16th, 2017 3:48 PM

Loan officers at broker shops have an advantage over those at big banks and mega retail lenders because they have access to hundreds of lending options. They can shop around on behalf of their borrowers to find the best mortgage for their needs. One borrower’s top priority might be to find the lowest rate possible, whereas another borrower may be most concerned with using the lender that can close their loan the fastest.

Whatever the situation, loan officers in the wholesale channel have that flexibility to match their clients with the right lender, program, price and guidelines. This means that they can provide better service to more borrowers, giving them a great sales pitch for growing their business. With the ability to accommodate more peoples’ needs, it makes sense for loan officers or bankers to choose the wholesale route. Dana Bain Mortgage Home Loan Services Market Price Leader For Over 30 Years Strong!  Highest Rating On BBB, Bankrate, Zillow.  


Posted by Dana Bain on September 8th, 2017 4:10 PM

Loan officers at broker shops have an advantage over those at big banks and mega retail lenders because they have access to hundreds of lending options. They can shop around on behalf of their borrowers to find the best mortgage for their needs. One borrower’s top priority might be to find the lowest rate possible, whereas another borrower may be most concerned with using the lender that can close their loan the fastest.

Whatever the situation, loan officers in the wholesale channel have that flexibility to match their clients with the right lender, program, price and guidelines. This means that they can provide better service to more borrowers, giving them a great sales pitch for growing their business. With the ability to accommodate more peoples’ needs, it makes sense for loan officers or bankers to choose the wholesale route. Dana Bain Mortgage Home Loan Services Market Price Leader For Over 30 Years Strong!  Highest Rating On BBB, Bankrate, Zillow.  


Posted by Dana Bain on September 8th, 2017 4:10 PM
Newsletter-September 4th, 2017
Provided by
Dana Bain
Premiere Mortgage Services
11 Malvern Hill Road
Sterling, MA01564
Phone: (978) 422-2311
Fax: (978) 422-2313

Market Comment

Mortgage bond prices finished the week slightly positive which helped rates remain favorable. The Case-Shiller 20-City Index showed housing prices rose 5.7% as expected. Housing has been a bright spot in the economy showing steady gains. Consumer confidence printed at 122.9, better than the expected 120.3 reading. ADP payrolls data was stronger than expected. The US economy grew at a 3% pace in Q2/2017. Economists expected GDP to increase 2.7%. Personal income rose 0.4% as expected. Spending increased 0.3% versus the expected 0.5% increase. Core PCE prices rose 0.1% as expected. Weekly jobless claims were 236K versus the expected 240K. Unemployment was 156K versus the expected 173K with an unemployment rate of 4.4% versus the expected 4.3%.

We ended the week better by approximately 1/8 of a discount point.



Date & Time



Factory Orders

Tuesday, Sept. 5,
10:00 am, et

Up 0.8%

Important. A measure of manufacturing sector strength. Weakness may lead to lower rates.
Trade Data

Wednesday, Sept. 6,
8:30 am, et

$43.5B deficit

Important. Affects the value of the dollar. A falling deficit may strengthen the dollar and lead to lower rates.
Fed “Beige Book”

Wednesday, Sept. 6,
2:00 pm, et


Important. This Fed report details current economic conditions across the US. Signs of weakness may lead to lower rates.
Weekly Jobless Claims

Thursday, Sept. 7,
8:30 am, et


Important. An indication of employment. Higher claims may result in lower rates.
Revised Q2 Productivity

Thursday, Sept. 7,
8:30 am, et

Up 0.8%

Important. A measure of output per hour. Improvement may lead to lower mortgage rates.
PCE Core Inflation

Thursday, Sept. 7,
3:00 pm, et

$13B Low importance. A significantly large increase may lead to lower mortgage interest rates.

Trade Data

In the distant past the US economy tended to be viewed as relatively unaffected by economic activity in other countries. However, increased trades with other countries and an increased reliance on foreign purchases of US debt have generated a market awareness of trade-related issues. The exchange rate of the dollar and foreign trade flows are interrelated. One must buy dollars to purchase US exports, and sell dollars to buy imports. Likewise, foreign investment in US debt requires the purchase of US dollars, and is thus affected by exchange rates.

Each month the Commerce Department gathers an enormous amount of detailed data on exports and imports. The data is broken between goods and services trade. The overall trade balance is the dollar difference between US exports and imports on a seasonally adjusted basis. The report also highlights trade flows between the US and various partners. Since the mid-1970’s, US imports of consumer and capital goods have exceeded exports, so a merchandise trade deficit has existed. The US has always maintained a service trade surplus, and because this surplus is not enough to offset the merchandise trade deficit, a net export deficit has resulted.

Due to the overwhelming amount of data considered, trade is difficult to forecast, and can present surprises. For a variety of reasons, the financial markets will often be unaffected by surprises in trade data. However, the data still has the ability to cause mortgage interest rate volatility.

Rates remain historically very favorable. Now is a great time to take advantage of these levels.

Dana Bain  Mortgage Home Loan Services - Market Price Leader For Over 30 Years Strong. 978-422-2311 Stay Connected with me anywhere!

MORTGAGE MARKET IN REVIEWNewsletter-September 4th, 2017
Posted by Dana Bain on September 1st, 2017 5:54 PM

Mortgage Companies & Banks use your credit score to make decisions on extending you credit. Five factors that affect your credit score are:

1. Payment history
2. Amounts owed
3. Length of credit history...
4. New credit
5. Types of credit in use

Message me for more information!

You can rely on my 35 years of mortgage experience.

Dana Bain
Premiere Mortgage Services Inc. MA Lic. NMLS: 1498
NMLS ID # 18693

Office 978-422-2311

Posted by Dana Bain on July 19th, 2017 6:45 PM

Justin Buck and Paige Nigh were on their third offer. They had put in two others for South Boston condos they liked, but no luck.

“[We] were outbid on both,’’ Buck said, so when it came time to make their third offer, their realtor suggested they include a personal letter.

“She just knew that we were in love with it. She was like ‘OK, you love this place, so this is what you need to do,’ ’’ Nye said.

She also had them include a photo of themselves (they chose a nice one of them dressed up at a wedding), and they kept their note short and sweet, talking a little bit about how they met, explaining that they had recently moved in together, and emphasizing that the place “would be ideal for the next chapter in our relationship.’’

It seemed to work.

“There were four final offers all above asking price but around the same price,’’ Buck said, “but we were the only ones to include this biography, and from what [our realtor] gathered, it was a deciding factor.’’

While the strategy seems enticing, the result does not appear to be typical.

There’s not much hard data about the effects of a personal letter, though in 2013, when the housing market was making its way back to prerecession levels, the home-buying website Redfin said the personal letter improved an offer’s success by 9 percent. (An all-cash offer, by comparison, increased the likelihood of acceptance to 28 percent.) So perhaps a letter could be one of the tools buyers use in seller’s markets as a way to make themselves stand out.

“I think it’s definitely helpful, depending on the seller,’’ said Buck and Nye’s realtor, Susan Doig.

“A lot of agents think it’s a waste of time, think it doesn’t work. I think that’s bad,’’ said Brendon DeSimone, brokerage manager for Houlihan Lawrence in Bedford, N.Y., and author of “Next Generation Real Estate: New Rules for Smarter Home Buying & Faster Selling.’’ “It’s a competitive market; if it gives you an edge, do it,’’ DeSimone said.

But not everyone feels that way.

“It could work against them,’’ said Christine Smith, a realtor with Haverhill-based Buyers Brokers Only and a lawyer. “Say they got their offer accepted and they wrote this lovely letter, and then they do a home inspection and find a couple things they want the seller to address. Not little things. The seller knows how much they want the house, and it kind of weakens [the buyers’] position.’’

Smith also posits that the exchange of personal information in the letter could be a violation of fair housing laws. Those laws prohibit discrimination against protected classes of people, discrimination based on race, color, religion, national origin, sex, disability, and familial status.

What if a couple without kids and a couple with them have similar offers and both write letters, she asked. If the sellers pick the buyers with children, are they discriminating against the couple without them?

This is a matter of debate among real estate agents, but Michael McDonagh, general counsel for the Massachusetts Association of Realtors, said he understands a buyer’s need to tell his or her story. “But I think there should be some caution there,’’ he said. “It’s not a good position to be in if you’re a seller. You don’t want anyone to accuse you of making your decision to sell to somebody based on their status in a protected class.’’

Matt Ramey, associate broker with Jacob Realty in Back Bay, doesn’t necessarily see anything wrong with writing a letter, but he isn’t wild about them. “I tell my buyers that the letter is a component, but it’s not a strategy. It certainly doesn’t hurt, but at the end of the day the dollars speak the most,’’ he said.

David Hollady, a former client of Ramey’s, agrees, but he also had a letter work out very much in his favor.

David and his wife, Nikki, bought homes in Boston and in Chicago a year and a half apart. (Nikki works in Chicago and David in Boston, so they split time between the cities.) They wrote letters for both. They had the highest offer on their Boston home and could close quickly, so the letter didn’t really seem like a factor. But when they were trying to acquire the Chicago property, Nikki wrote a letter to the elderly man who had raised his family in the home, telling him that she had grown up in that city and that they planned to raise a family there.

They beat out a cash offer. “There is no reason why we should have gotten that house, but it was because my wife wrote that letter,’’ David said.

Ramey said that’s the only time he’s heard of that happening.

Both Ramey and Doig said people with an emotional connection to their home, like an older seller who raised a family in a house, would be the rare kind of seller who would put sentiment ahead of cash.

Getting personal could also work against you.

If the seller is in the middle of a divorce or dealing with the recent death of a relative, he or she might not want to hear about your happy family. “It can backfire if the seller feels the buyer is trying to manipulate them,’’ said Lisa Steele, a realtor with Steele Associates Real Estate in East Dennis. Recently, a buyer submitted one with an offer, and although it was a lovely letter, Steele said, “the seller knew the offer was the only thing that mattered and brushed off the note completely.’’

And if it’s a bank-owned property, DeSimone said, don’t even bother writing a letter: “The bank isn’t a person. They don’t care.’’

And Ramey said: “There are more important things than a sentimental letter. Show your financial qualifications, show that you are serious about the house, then try and sprinkle a little emotion onto it with a letter if you want.’’

Steele agrees.

“You just really never know what [sellers] think of your life or what they think of their life that they’re moving on from.’’

If a buyer wants to write a letter, she encourages them to talk only about the house and the neighborhood, adding in a compliment or two. She will also pass on information about the buyers she represents at their request, but she said she tries not to let too much personal information get in the way of what is a business transaction. When she is representing the sellers, she paraphrases the buyers’ information so that she isn’t revealing anything about race or marital status.

But for someone for whom a letter worked, revealing personal details seems like a risk worth taking.

“I told [my wife] it was a crazy idea,’’ David Hollady said. “I told her that we shouldn’t even bother. We had an FHA loan, and who would even consider that?

“Not for the last time, I was wrong.’’


#DanaBain #BestMortgageRatesInMassachusetts #978-422-2311 #PremiereMortgageServicesInc. #RealEstate #BostonRealEstate 

Posted by Dana Bain on July 17th, 2017 4:20 PM

Newsletter-July 17th, 2017
Provided by
Dana Bain
Premiere Mortgage Services
11 Malvern Hill Road
Sterling, MA01564
Phone: (978) 422-2311
Fax: (978) 422-2313

Market Comment

Mortgage bond prices finished the week higher which put downward pressure on rates. Trading was positive the first portion of the week with no data. Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen’s testimony to Congress held no surprises. She continued to state that inflation remains softer than the Fed would like, that the slack in the labor market continues to diminish and that future policy decisions (read rate hikes) are data dependent. The 247K weekly jobless claims were approximately as expected. Producer prices rose 0.1% versus the expected 0.1% decline. The core, which excludes volatile food and energy, rose 0.1% versus the expected 0.2% increase. Consumer prices were unchanged and the core rose 0.1%, which was near expectations. We ended the week better by approximately 1/4 of a discount point.



Date & Time



NAHB Housing Index

Tuesday, July 18,
10:00 am, et


Moderately Important. A measure of single family housing. Weakness may lead to lower mortgage rates.
Housing Starts

Wednesday, July 19,
8:30 am, et


Important. A measure of housing sector strength. Weakness may lead to lower rates.
Philadelphia Fed Survey

Thursday, July 20,
10:00 am, et


Moderately important. A survey of business conditions in the Northeast. Weakness may lead to lower rates.
Weekly Jobless Claims

Thursday, July 20,
8:30 am, et


Important. An indication of employment. Higher claims may result in lower rates.
Leading Economic Indicators

Thursday, July 20,
10:00 am, et

Up 0.2% Important. An indication of future economic activity. A smaller increase may lead to lower rates.
10-year Treasury TIPS Auction

Thursday, July 20,
1:15 pm, et

None Important. TIPS will be auctioned. Strong demand may lead to lower mortgage rates.

Philadelphia Fed

Federal Reserve Banks were created to control the central banking system of the United States. The banks are divided into 12 districts and facilitate the monetary system by moving currency in and out of circulation in accordance with the policies set by the Federal Open Market Committee. The Reserve Banks handle check processing, hold cash reserves and make loans to depository institutions. Each Reserve Bank regulates commercial banks in their district. The twelve districts include Boston, New York, Philadelphia, Cleveland, Richmond, Atlanta, Chicago, St. Louis, Minneapolis, Kansas City, Dallas, and San Francisco.

The Philadelphia Fed report is a survey of manufacturing businesses in the Northeast region. The report is valuable due to the timing. It is released before the month is over and is the second regional report released. While there are many other regional reports throughout the month the Philadelphia Fed report is considered to be one of the most valuable. It has historically shown strong correlation with purchasing managers index data and therefore analysts give it considerable attention.

Be cautious heading into the economic data this week. Thin summer trading conditions often lead to lackluster days of trading with minimal rate movements. However, thin conditions also can result in some wild swings from time to time. Understand the event risk before making overnight float/lock decisions.

#DanaBain #BestMortgageRatesInMassachusetts #PremiereMortgageServicesInc #RealEstate 978-422-2311

MORTGAGE MARKET IN REVIEWNewsletter-July 17th, 2017

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Posted by Dana Bain on July 17th, 2017 3:11 PM

95% of Realtors that have responded so far have said NAR isn't doing enough to protect them from Zillow.

On today's National Real Estate Post ( hosts Frank Garay and Brian Stevens ask Realtors across the country - What is NAR (National Association of Realtors) doing to protect their interests when it comes to Zillow. So far NAR's lack of response or action to this speaks volumes. Meanwhile Zillow continues to gather all of the housing data from Realtors and their MLS then they turn around and use the information provided and sell that leads back to the realtors. 

 Then there is the NEW "Instant Offers" from Zillow. Instant offers allows sellers to list their homes on Zillow for FREE and sell directly to investors. Where does this leave the realtor? Eventually Zillow will sell this lead to one of their Premier advertising Realtors. The realtor will provide a CMA to the seller and IF the seller chooses to work with the Realtor - then and only then - will the sellers contact information be provided to the realtor. If the seller likes the CMA provided and feels like they can handle the transaction they will proceed WITHOUT A REALTOR. Or they can hire any Realtor they choose to help facilitate the transaction. So picture this, the seller has an agreed upon price based on a CMA from a realtor. They choose to hire a Realtor but the seller wants to pay the realtor a nominal fee ($500?) to facilitate the transaction, after all, the seller and the investor have already agreed upon price and there won't be any need for advertising or marketing services like a normal realtor transaction. How long will it be before this is mainstream? This is only the first step for Zillow. Maybe it's me but I think NAR should get off the sidelines and use some of the $200MM it receives annually from it's members and... I don't know..maybe...protect them? What say you?


In select markets today, the competition isn’t just from other neighborhood brokerages. It’s also from companies like and, with attractive online platforms that promise sellers a quick, hassle-free, cash sale. This week, Zillow joined the fray, introducing its “Instant Offers” platform in two test markets, Las Vegas and Orlando, Fla. The platform enables sellers to receive and compare cash offers from selected investors, as well as obtain a CMA from one of Zillow’s paying customers, a Zillow Premier Agent.

For many real estate agents, these online marketplaces feel like a threat to their role in the transaction and their livelihood. Zillow, which makes a significant share of its revenue providing tools and services to real estate agents, has moved to dispel that concern, saying it will encourage, but not require, sellers to connect with an agent to close the transaction.

It remains to be seen whether Zillow will be successful enough to expand Instant Offers to more markets. If it does, the promise of a quick sale may capture some consumers’ attention. But many professionals say they relish the opportunity to compete and communicate their value as a real estate professional.

Read more: Zillow Offers $1 Million to Improve Zestimate

What would you say to sellers who are considering the option of a direct, cash sale? Here are six talking points.

  • I work in this market and know the community better than any website could.
  • I will help you get your house ready for sale.
  • I will market your home to the widest possible audience, not just investors seeking to make a profit on your home.
  • I will aim to get you the best offer possible, and I have the skills to help you negotiate the terms of the sale.
  • One of the best parts of my job is helping you find a buyer who will love your home the way you do.
  • As a REALTOR®, I follow a Code of Ethics that includes a pledge to “protect and promote the interests of [my] client” (Article 1). These online companies may facilitate your transaction, but not necessarily with your interests in mind. With “Instant Offers,” unless you choose to work with an agent, you’ll be on your own handling the details of the transaction.

If past performance is any indicator of the future, sellers will continue to gravitate your way. The National Association of REALTORS®’ 2016 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers showed that 89 percent of sellers worked with a real estate professional to sell their homes. Only 8 percent of home sales in 2016 were FSBOs, a form of which is direct sales.

Still, direct sales may pose other challenges to the industry.

In addition to competing for sellers’ attention, these online investor sales may exacerbate the already tight inventory situation many of your buyer clients are facing. Instant Offers, for example, connects sellers with a small group of investors who are partnering with Zillow. Sellers who go that route are taking their home out of the inventory for the average buyer.

Also, sellers who choose direct sales aren’t listing their property on the MLS. How will that affect the reliability of MLS data? Not just real estate professionals but also economists and governments use that data to spot market trends, determine fair market values, and make plans.

John Mosey, president of NorthstarMLS, which serves more than 16,000 real estate professionals in Minnesota and western Wisconsin, sees no cause for concern on that front. “We’ve dealt with things like the ‘coming soon’ phenomenon and off-MLS activity, and we’re seeing that these trends aren’t shifting FSBO numbers,” he says. “Our transaction volume in 2016 was $19 billion, and we’re in the Midwest, where market values don’t come close to the coasts. So you don’t need the off-market activity to get a true picture of what’s going on. I think the potential harm with these off-market listings is that a lot of them have never been market-tested, so it’s hard to get an accurate appraisal.”

If nothing else, Mosey adds, direct-sale platforms are yet another innovation that should make both MLSs and practitioners think more deeply about how to communicate their value.

Denee Evans, CEO of the Council of Multiple Listing Services, lives in Las Vegas where Instant Offers is being tested. She draws a correlation between real estate and her previous work in the financial industry. “Even when people began doing their own online trading, there was a healthy industry for financial planners. You need a professional to help you with that. There are too many little things to keep track of,” she says.

 “Even with my real estate knowledge, I don’t buy and sell houses myself,” Evans says. “There’s no replacement for a professional who does this every day and knows the ins and outs of the market.”


Posted in:General and tagged: NAR and ZILLOW Dana Bain
Posted by Dana Bain on July 8th, 2017 2:16 PM


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