September 2019 Newsletter

RBaker copy

Happy Fall, y’all! What’s the big news you ask?! We’re extending the Early Bird Pricing to October 21st! That gives you plenty of time to recruit your colleagues, developers, and local leadership to this year’s conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

This year’s line-up of speakers (with FIVE nationally-recognized!) is one of the best that we’ve ever offered and we know you won’t want to miss. Again, we look forward to seeing everyone November 6-8!

One exciting event at the annual conference is the recognition of our AARC Seal of Approval Communities. If you don’t have the “stamp,” please consider applying for this prestigious status.


Rachel Baker Chair, The AARC

Annual Conference with 5 National Speakers plus Many More!  Early Bird Extended to October 21!

Roaring 20s Returns….Recruiting Retirees in a New Decade      

Chattanooga, Tennessee – November 6th – 8th, 2019

The AARC Annual Conference is pouring new energy and ideas into the retiree community industry.

The AARC Annual Conference is coming — join us and learn where things are GOING:

You’ll enjoy a huge roster of speakers and educators this year. And leading it off, five incredible speakers will share their energy, insight and do-this-now tools for succeeding in the new era of the retiree community industry.

Visit the Conference Page to learn more and sign up.

This year’s heavy-hitting line up:

How To Win More Sales Through All Seasons
Jason Forrest & Mary Marshall, Forrest Performance Group

Trends Affecting Travel and Retirement Decision-Making
Berkeley Young, Young Strategies 

Marketing to Baby Boomers One More Time
Gregg Logan, Managing Director, RCLCO 

Rethink, Retool and Refine – A Case Study
Jane Marie O’Connor, 55Plus

2020 starts the NEW Roaring Twenties and this year’s AARC Conference is booming with innovation and inspiration that will equip YOU for the market ahead.

‘The Roaring 20s Returns: Recruiting Retirees in a New Decade’ is a can’t miss event.

Here’s what you’ll get:

  • Take part in high-energy Sessions
  • Get real-world, ready-to-use techniques
  • Network with fellow industry players
  • Kick up your heels Gatsby-style in an incredible, historic Chattanooga hotel
  • Learn from 5 headlining speakers plus a robust line-up of many industry experts who will speak, teach and inspire.

Come to this fall’s conference and prepare for the NEW Roaring Twenties with us.

Visit the Conference Page to learn more and sign up.

We look forward to hosting YOU at our high-energy, high quality 2019 Annual Conference in Chattanooga, Tennessee!

Redemption in New-Home Sales?

Realtor Magazine, NAR | September 26, 2019

 Lower mortgage rates are prompting more home buyers to consider new-home construction, builders say. Sales of newly built single-family homes surged in August, rising 7.1% to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 713,000 units, the Commerce Department reported Wednesday. This marked the second time in three months that new-home sales rose above 700,000. Further, new-home sales have now jumped 18% compared to a year ago.

The latest report follows on the heels of other positive housing data released last week. Housing starts and building permits surged to a more than 12-year high in August. Home resales also increased to the highest level in 17 months, the National Association of REALTORS® reported. (Read: Home Sales Up for Second Consecutive Month and More New Homes Are Entering the Pipeline)

“This positive data caps off a month of redemption for the housing market,” said John Pataky, executive vice president at TIAA Bank in Jacksonville, Fla. “If American consumers remain in good spirits, there is no reason this positive momentum can’t continue, so long as prices remain in check and housing supply does not get critically low.”

“With job growth continuing and lower interest rates in place, builders report rising confidence levels, and this is reflected in today’s solid sales report,” says Greg Ugalde, chairman of the National Association of Home Builders.

The 30-year fixed-rate mortgage has fallen about 120 basis points compared to last year’s highs. It has averaged about 3.73% in recent weeks, according to Freddie Mac data.

The median sales price of a new home sold in August was $328,400, which is slightly up from a $321,400 median a year ago. Only 10% of sales last month were priced below $200,000, the most sought after, analysts note. The inventory of new homes for sale in August was 326,000, about a 5.5-month supply, the Commerce Department reports.

On a regional basis, new-home sales rose by the highest amounts in the West, increasing 16.5%, followed by a 6% increase in the South in August. Sales fell 5.9% in the Northeast and posted a 3% drop in the Midwest.

regional new home sales


Why many older home buyers are ‘smart sizing’ rather than downsizing

Michele Lerner, Washington Post | September 19 , 2019

Robin and Stefanie Wohnsigl, a couple who recently moved to the Four Seasons at Kent Island active-adult community in Chester, Md., have been on a four-year journey to find the right place for their retirement.

“We sold our big house in Great Falls four years ago and downsized to an apartment in Reston,” says Robin Wohnsigl, a retired Air Force colonel and airline industry executive. “The apartment was great, it had indoor and outdoor swimming pools, and we loved Reston, but we had downsized too much plus we wanted a backyard for our dog.”

The Wohnsigls moved from an 8,000-square-foot house to a 1,500-square-foot apartment before their recent transition to a 3,700-square-foot single-family home on Kent Island.

“Not only did we want more space and wanted to get back to owning a home, but we realized that every time we crossed the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to visit our daughter in Dover, Del., we felt this complete decompression,” says Robin, who is 76. His wife, who retired about 20 years ago, is 74.

Beat Facebook at Its Own Algorithm Game

Strategies to expand your reach on the social network as its latest redesign hits real estate pros.

Stacey Freed, Realtor Magazine | July – August, 2019

© bluebay2014 –

Facebook’s aim to become a “digital living room,” making users’ networks smaller and more private, may require a change in your social media strategy to remain visible to current and prospective clients online. It will take time to know the full impact of the social network’s latest shift, announced in March, which prioritizes private messaging and Facebook groups over other content. But the intent, like other recent Facebook changes, is to limit users’ exposure to posts generated outside their inner circles. That makes it harder to reach audiences organically.

One strategy is to become more active in Facebook groups, which already engage 400 million of the social network’s 2.4 billion users. Join local real estate-related groups, where you’re likely to encounter potential buyers and sellers in your market. Group interactions present an opportunity for real estate pros who engage in their local communities every day, says Lindsay Listanski, head of national marketing for San Francisco-based brokerage Climb Real Estate. “Agents who understand it’s not all about them, that it’s about participating in the community—will be just fine.”

You also may choose to spend more marketing dollars on Facebook ads in order to reach your target audience. “Organic reach is at an all-time low, and in order for people to see your content, it’s all pay-for-play through social advertising,” Listanski says. Before opening your pocketbook, though, consider a few strategies that can boost your visibility on social media.

Make proper use of other photo-driven platforms. Instagram and Pinterest, for example, are strong mediums for showcasing photography, which is the most critical component of your marketing. Focus on presenting listing photos and short stories about your properties on these platforms while using Facebook more for making authentic connections in groups. “If you have great photos and a knack for storytelling, [Instagram is] a platform that’s made for you,” Listanski says.

Share more video content. Facebook favors serving video content—especially Facebook Live—to its users. If your videos are compelling and informative, you’ll likely end up in more of your followers’ feeds. Betti Russo, ABR, managing broker at Realty Executives Exceptional, REALTORS®, in Oakland, N.J., began a weekly Facebook video series in January focusing on topics such as FSBOs and vacation homes. In that time, her video views have grown from only a handful to about 1,100 per video. Though she also shares her videos on Instagram, YouTube, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and Twitter, “most of my traffic comes from Facebook,” Russo says. “What’s important is to be consistent. Have a plan and a schedule, and it becomes like brushing your teeth every day.”

Join a variety of Facebook groups. In addition to real estate groups, get involved in online communities centered on other topics that are relevant to you. This will give you an opportunity to be more authentic in your interactions—instead of selling yourself as a real estate pro—which is the purpose of social media anyway, says Katie Lance, a social media consultant focusing on real estate. “Join a local group on parenting or photography—nothing to do with real estate—and connect with people over things that are personal,” Lance says. “Remember that social media is a marathon and not a sprint.”

Provide extra value to make your posts more shareable. Even if your organic reach decreases, those who do see your posts will be more likely to share them with others if they offer educational takeaways for the audience. “Real estate professionals need to think beyond the marketing copy they have posted on the MLS or on their flyer and think more like a storyteller,” Lance says. For example, instead of posting a simple announcement about a new listing, offer some information about your client’s journey to get the home prepared for market, along with some practical tips for sellers. Your followers are more likely to share such a post with friends and family who may be preparing for a move.

While Facebook’s evolution may cause some pain points, it’s ultimately a step in the right direction for real estate pros, Listanski says. Getting involved in online communities helps practitioners practice the bread and butter of their business: creating relationships, sharing local expertise, and offering guidance to consumers when they need it.

Stacey Freed

Stacey Freed, a former senior editor of Remodeling magazine, writes about the housing and construction industries from her home in Pittsford, N.Y.