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Investor alleges Zillow lied about co-marketing program

A Zillow Group shareholder has filed a lawsuit alleging the company and its two top executives defrauded investors by misrepresenting its co-marketing program's compliance with an anti-kickback law, thereby artificially inflating the real estate giant's stock price ...
Original author: Andrea V. Brambila
  712 Hits

Decline in July pending home sales reflects affordability issues

July's Pending Home Sales Index (PHSI), a monthly forward-looking indicator measured by the National Association of Realtors (NAR), declined 0.8 percent to 109.1 in July from a downwardly revised 110 in June and declined 1.3 percent year-over-year -- the fourth year-over-year hit the PHSI has taken within the past five months ...
Original author: Marian McPherson
  669 Hits

When clients play commission hardball: What (not) to say

Have you ever had a client ask you to discount your commission? If not, you haven't been selling real estate for very long ...
Original author: Teresa Boardman
  649 Hits

VC doors are wide open for real estate startups | TechCrunch - TechCrunch

Over the last couple of decades, online streaming, shopping and social networking startups have revolutionized the art of sitting around the house. Now, a new generation of internet entrepreneurs is focusing on getting us a better house to sit around in.

Seed and early-stage investment in real estate have grown in recent quarters, even as overall seed-stage rounds declined. At least 108 real estate-focused startups in North America have raised seed or early-stage rounds in the past year, securing more than $400 million, according to Crunchbase data. In the same period a year ago, 102 companies collectively raised just less than $300 million.

Rising interest in real estate deals comes amid a period of generally rising property and rental prices, as well as cultural and demographic shifts that are altering longstanding patterns of household formation. There’s also a sense among investors that real estate, despite being the world’s largest asset class, has historically been slow to embrace change.

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Money Laundering Real Estate | LLC Disclosure | FinCen - The Real Deal Magazine

(Photo illustration by Lexi Pilgrim for The Real Deal)

When Treasury officials rolled out a plan last year to unmask anonymous buyers of luxury real estate, a key criticism was that it excluded deals involving wire transfers — a gaping loophole large enough to drive a truck through, some said. By closing that loophole this week, regulators hope to tighten the noose around bad actors trying to launder money through pricey property.

But there’s more.

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5 Reasons To Refinance Now

August 25, 2017

The era of historically low mortgage interest rates may be coming to an end, but it doesn't appear to be winding up anytime soon. As of this writing, interest rates on a 30-year fixed mortgage have once again dropped to 4%, despite the Federal Reserve's interest rate increases.

Low rates present an excellent opportunity to refinance your home – but even if interest rates are rising, you may still have a valid reason to refinance. Consider these five reasons why a refi may be right for you regardless of economic conditions.

1. Lowering Your Payment – Having trouble meeting your monthly payment? If you can acquire an interest rate that is sufficiently lower than your current rate, you can lower your monthly payment through refinancing. Online calculators can help you determine the break-even point; the time at which the savings realized equals all the costs associated with the mortgage.

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4 ways Russian luxury real estate investing is evolving

I had a meeting with a Russian. I admit it. In fact, I had several meetings with Russians. And the meetings have even occurred in Moscow!

I thought that might get your attention. But please understand that there was nothing sneaky here, and you do not need to tell CNN.

The reasons for my meetings were purely to visit with my affluent real estate clients who live and work one of the world’s emerging global markets.

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Government expands crackdown on money laundering in real estate - CNBC

The Treasury Department said that 30 percent of high-end real estate deals that were subject under a new watchdog program involved people who had been targeted by the government for "suspicious activity" and potential money laundering.

Treasury this week expanded and extended a program targeting luxury real estate deals in New York, Miami, Los Angeles and other big markets to prevent the use of real estate for money-laundering by overseas buyers. The program was designed to prevent buyers from using shell company's or LLC's to hide the identities of the real buyers.

Many expected the program to be killed under the Trump administration, given President Donald Trump's ties to the real estate business. Yet the program was extended in February and is now being expanded to close loopholes. It also added the city and county of Honolulu.

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US millennials are skipping starter houses and buying luxury homes - Dallas News

Millennials in the U.S. were so slow to become homeowners that it was beginning to look like they'd rent forever. Now they're a force in the market for new high-end houses.

Toll Brothers Inc., the largest U.S. luxury-home builder, said Tuesday that 23 percent of its sales this year were to customers with at least one buyer age 35 or younger. That was a surprise, given that the company's average contract price in the three months through July was $837,300.

Buyers in their 20s and 30s have been slow to purchase for good reason. They're marrying and having children later and face a tight existing-home market, where sellers routinely get multiple offers. But the delay has given some of them time to save for a down payment.

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Feds target luxury real estate wire transfers in money laundering ... - HousingWire

The federal government is again expanding its investigation into whether foreign buyers are using shell companies to buy luxury U.S. real estate to launder money after its investigation found that potentially illicit activity is behind more than 30% of cash purchases from foreign buyers in select markets.

Last year, the Treasury Department’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network launched an investigation into unknown buyers using shell companies to buy high-end real estate in Manhattan and Miami-Dade County, because it was “concerned about illicit money” being used in the deals.

The results of that initial investigation showed more than 25% of transactions covered in the initial inquiry involved a “beneficial owner” who is also the subject of a “suspicious activity report,” which is an indication of possible criminal activity.

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