At Inman Real Estate Connect…less is more

It’s always an interesting time at Real Estate Connect — checking out cool new technology and discovering new trends, but a couple of themes emerged that might seem contrary to what one would expect from this cutting edge conference.

Several highly productive REALTORS® known for their tech savvy are actually minimalists when it comes to their use of technology, focusing on the basics rather than the flash. Consider Amanda McMillan, CEO of Chicago Home Partner. Amanda typically adopts only one or two new tools a year. This allows her to focus and achieve successful integration with maximum ROI. Her criteria for adopting new technology are elegantly simple: She asks herself, does it make her a better, smarter agent? And, does it help her customers?

Amanda reacted to a subtitle of her panel: “Help your clients get into a new home faster by introducing them to great apps and websites that they can use as well.” She noted that it’s actually not about rushing a client into a home faster. Instead, she believes the process should focus on being a “better” and “more efficient” experience for the homebuyer so they can move at a speed at which they are comfortable. keep reading

Down Payment Resource Wins 2011 Inman Innovator “Most Innovative New Technology” Award

Inman News (Inman) named Down Payment Resource (SM), a proprietary Web tool created by Atlanta-based Workforce Resource, LLC, the winner of the 2011 Inman Innovator “Most Innovative New Technology” award at the Real Estate Connect conference. Down Payment Resource (DPR) was recognized for its ability to efficiently connect eligible homebuyers and eligible properties with government-funded programs for down payment assistance. The product helps bridge the down payment gap for homebuyers and move real estate transactions forward in a difficult lending environment.

Inman’s annual Innovator Awards, created in 1997, honor companies that use technology and innovation to enhance the real estate transaction process and improve the experience for consumers and real estate professionals.

“We are thrilled with this new honor,” said Rob Chrane, founder and president of Workforce Resource. “We hope the recognition of Down Payment Resource will bring more attention to the importance and need for awareness of assistance funds across the country.”

DPR was one of eight finalists in the Most Innovative New Technology category including industry leaders Trulia and WSJ. The category’s finalists featured two new iPhone apps, a mobile agent search tool, a home design iPad app, a Web-based interactive floor plan, a broker/agent marketing system, and a quality assurance system. keep reading

What is QRM? And, Why You Should Care

Qualified Residential Mortgage, known as QRM, is a new type of low-risk mortgage with anticipated lower interest rates. Sounds benign enough, right? But, let’s look a little closer… it’s the details that make the difference and, fortunately, QRM is finally arousing the fear and respect it deserves. So, how do you really define QRM and what’s it for?

The Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act signed into law about a year ago  required lenders to retain a portion of the risk of the loans they sell to investors, unless the loan was deemed “safe.” These exempt loans are known as QRMs; the task of officially defining QRM was left to the wisdom of federal regulators. While the specific details are not yet defined, once they are, QRMs will be the most desirable loans for lenders to make to homebuyers since they will be more profitable and easier on the lenders’ back offices.  At issue are the attributes that qualify a QRM, including credit score, debt-to-income ratio, and the granddaddy of show-stoppers, the size of the down payment. (Our thoughts about down payment size) The current down payment proposal for QRMs would provide incentives for lenders to require a minimum down payment of 20 percent. keep reading