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MRED AND THE TRUE COST OF HOME OWNERSHIP

Russ-7391_6x8By Russ Bergeron, MRED President and Chief Executive Officer

Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED), Chicagoland’s multiple listing service (MLS), was formed six years ago. Our customers are real estate brokers. It is our job to facilitate the buying and selling of real estate. A significant part of that is to make sure our customers have as much information as possible so that their clients can make the right decisions – whether selling or buying.

One critical piece of information is “the true cost of ownership”. What really makes up the bundle of expenses that goes into owning and maintaining a property? What is the expected versus real return on your investment (ROI) when you eventually sell the property?

As we come up on Earth Day, April 22nd, the facet of “true cost of ownership” I would like to focus on is the identification of the “green” features of a property. Studies show that green homes might sell for more initially, but in the long run would have a lower cost of ownership, particularly in the area of utility costs.

How does MRED assist brokers in marketing green homes? We are a little different than some other MLSs who have added detailed technical green features to their listings. We did not want to require Realtors® to become green experts and assume liability for reporting specialized data with which they might not be familiar. Instead we choose to identify those properties that have been certified – HERS and LEED, for example – and then allow our customers to attach the certification documents so that anyone viewing the property can see the report.

We also don’t want to support “greenwashing” – that is, describing a property as “green” just because one of the appliances bought 10 years ago is labeled energy star. We feel it is better to leave it up to the experts to certify the property and allow our customers to report that as another fact about the property.

Our compliance department views all listings marked as “green” and checks to make sure that the proper certification documents have been uploaded.

Also available in our MLS system (connectMLS™) in online fillable format is the Sustainable Real Estate Alliance (SREA) Green Disclosure. Each applicable green or high performance feature is checked and the completed form is uploaded as part of the listing. For further assistance, MRED maintains a SREA Green Disclosure Glossary. To access these two documents, please log in to connectMLS™ and click on the “MRED Listing Forms, etc.” link under the forms tab.

The Appraisal Institute has created a form specifically for use by appraisers – The Residential Green and Energy Efficient Addendum which can also be attached to the listing record within connectMLS.

We have witnessed a gradual increase in the number of homes that have included green features and certification. Maybe not as many as one might expect, but slowly growing. I think the next wave of homeowners – mainly a younger and more socially conscious base – will focus more on the greening of real estate and you will see an increased emphasis on high performance homes.

The news of increases in new homes being built will enhance this as well because most homes being built today have some form of green characteristics.

Recently we began working with the Mayor’s Office of the City of Chicago to assist with the reporting of utility costs as part of the transaction. We worked with Elevate Energy and their MyHomeEQ project to automate the collection and reporting of utility data for properties in the city. Obviously in a climate like ours with extremes of heat and cold, utility costs are important. It all ties in with our true cost of ownership goals – it would not be fair or ethical to sell a house to a qualified buyer only to learn that utility costs and homeowners association dues now make keeping the home difficult or impossible. That outcome would not be in anyone’s best interest.

Please check out MRED’s Green Room on MREDLLC.com. We have collected quite a bit of information in an easily accessible place. Green has a proven impact on the true cost of home ownership, and I encourage you to become familiar with what will best help you service your clients.

A Snapshot of Homeowners [Infographic]

A-Snapshot-of-Homebuyers

 

Infographic via KCM Blog

MRED Chicagoland Report for March, 2014

During this year’s spring refresh, seller activity is the first item on the watch list. Low inventory has been a national headline grabber, and many are eager to see if this is the year that brings a bevy of new properties to market for ready buyers. Investor activity and cash purchases should be monitored, as well, along with any increases in new construction. And although interest rates are up from their all-time lows, borrowing costs are still remarkably affordable. It’s cheaper to own than to rent in most of the country.

New Listings in Chicagoland were up 6.0 percent for detached homes and 15.0 percent for attached properties. Listings Under Contract increased 6.8 percent for detached homes and 11.8 percent for attached properties.

The Median Sales Price was up 6.1 percent to $175,000 for detached homes and 25.1 percent to $155,000 for attached properties. Months Supply of Inventory decreased 23.5 percent for detached units and 34.7 percent for attached units.

Consumers are in better shape for the current financial landscape, just in time for the primary home-buying season. Along with an uptick in consumer confidence, GDP growth was revised up to 2.6 percent by the Commerce Department. Consumer spending has risen and claims for unemployment benefits have decreased. Economic health fuels housing market growth. Employed, confident people with rising incomes tend to purchase real property.

MRED real estate professionals can log into MREDLLC.com and click on the Statistics tab to get the latest Lender Mediated and Monthly Market Indicators Reports.

Any questions?  Please contact MRED’s Help Desk at 630-955-2755 or help.desk@MREDLLC.com.

MRED’s Help Desk Does What Michael Jordan Couldn’t

Chicagoland MLS Four-Peats as Top Help Desk Award Winner

top-100-seal-25-small-2014LISLE, ILLINOIS (April 17, 2014) – Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED), the Chicagoland multiple listing service (MLS), is pleased to announce that for the fourth consecutive year its Technical Help Desk has been recognized as one of the Top 25 Call Centers in the United States and Canada by BenchmarkPortal. MRED’s Help Desk has been identified as one of the best small business centers in the category of organizations having 5 to100 full-time call center personnel.

Since 1995, BenchmarkPortal has conducted annual statistical analyses of call center operations throughout the world. BenchmarkPortal hosts the world’s largest call center metrics database in conjunction with the Center for Customer Driven Quality located at Purdue Research Park, Purdue University. The BenchmarkPortal team of professionals has gained international recognition for its call center expertise and innovative approaches to Best Practices for the call center industry.

BenchmarkPortal compares the performance of contact centers throughout North America by evaluating their key metrics against industry peers, to objectively identify centers who are achieving superior results both in financial and qualitative terms.

MRED outperformed others in the Small Center Category in the following areas:

  • Top Caller Satisfaction
  • Average answering speed
  • Average Hold Time
  • Average Talk Time
  • Calls Transferred
  • Average Calls Abandoned
  • Average After-Call Work Time
  • Turnover of Full-time Agents

“This award shows that MRED’s Help Desk ranks among the top performers in its size category in North America, said Bruce Belfiore, CEO of BenchmarkPortal. “We congratulate them and wish them continued success in the future.”

“We work very hard at customer service every day. We have a great team that is dedicated to helping our customers succeed,” said Stephanie Abrams, MRED Help Desk Manager.  “The recognition from BenchmarkPortal is very valuable and greatly appreciated, as it tells us that we are successfully carrying out our mission, to be the very best at assisting MRED customers.”

“MRED’s Help Desk has set a very high standard for itself, but continues to exceed all expectations,” said Russ Bergeron, MRED President and Chief Executive Officer. “I could not be prouder of our Help Desk Manager and Technicians, who are on the front lines successfully serving all of our real estate professionals. Top 25? Awesome!”

About MRED

Midwest Real Estate Data (MRED) is the real estate data aggregator and distributor providing the Chicagoland multiple listing service (MLS) to nearly 40,000 brokers and appraisers and 8,000 offices. MRED serves Chicago and the surrounding “collar” counties and provides property information encompassing northern Illinois, southern Wisconsin and northwest Indiana. MRED delivers over twenty products and services to its customers, complementing connectMLS™, the top-rated MLS system in the country for two years running according to the WAV Group MLS Technology Survey. MRED is the 2013 Inman News Most Innovative MLS/Real Estate Trade Association. For more information please visit MREDLLC.com.

About BenchmarkPortal

BenchmarkPortal’s activities began in 1995, and it is now a global leader in the contact center industry, providing benchmarking, certification, training, consulting and research. The BenchmarkPortal team of professionals has gained international recognition for its innovative approach to best practices for contact centers. BenchmarkPortal hosts the world’s largest database of contact center metrics, which is constantly being refreshed with new data. BenchmarkPortal’s mission is to provide contact center managers with the tools and information that will help them optimize their efficiency and effectiveness in their customer communications. For more information, please call 1-800-214-8929 or visit BenchmarkPortal.com.

MRED and the Heartbleed Bug

Heartbleed-Refresh

An encryption flaw called the Heartbleed bug is already being called one of the biggest security threats the Internet has ever seen.

All MRED systems and products websites are protected, including connectMLSTM and MREDLLC.com. Your information remains safe from threats, including the Heartbleed bug.

Read the links below for further information:

The Heartbleed Hit List: The Passwords You Need to Change Right Now

Test for Heartbleed

First-Time Buyer Challenges

Welcome Home Illinois_InfographicInfographic via Illinois Housing Development Authority. Find more information on this program at www.welcomehomeillinois.gov

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