Morning Minute: Federal Reserve finds improving economic growth in early 2015

There was continuing moderate economic growth in January and February as consumer spending, manufacturing production and business spending improved, according to the latest Federal Reserve Beige Book. The Seventh District in Chicago, reported modest gains in construction and real estate activity as home prices and rents increased and sales held steady. The commercial real estate sector saw even greater gains as rents rose, vacancies declined and leasing activity increased. Read the report for the Seventh District.

In other headlines:

Mortgage Rates Move Lower – Freddie Mac reports today that fixed mortgage rates declined this week for the first time in four weeks.

Housing Market Gets Stronger in 2015 - Kiplinger reports that 2015 is expected to be a solid year for the housing market as a stronger economy combines with pent-up buyer demand.

Could Chicago’s Willis Tower get a new name (again)? – The Willis Tower (formerly the Sears Tower) could soon have a new owner, and potentially a new name. The Belleville News-Democrat has the Chicago Tribune story. Read more.

Get answers to questions about commercial broker liens

A great new RVOICE brochure, “What You Should Know About Commercial Real Estate Broker Liens,” (form #649) is highlighted for Managing Brokers in the January issue of IAR’s D.R. Legal News.

Mike Scobey, IAR Assistant Director of Advocacy and Local Issues, says the brochure is based on a 1992 state law that gives real estate brokers the right to a lien on commercial real estate to secure fees and commissions due to them. The law is designed to help brokers collect what’s owed to them without expensive legal battles.

While the brochure provides answers to 10 questions, Scobey’s article gives five examples:

  • What is a commercial real estate broker lien?
  • How is commercial property defined?
  • Who is a broker under the lien statute?
  • How does a broker create the right to a lien on real estate?
  • When does a lien become effective?

Get a free download of the brochure or order a printed brochure by viewing the January D.R. Legal News.

Capital Area REALTORS® wins honorable mention ACE award

The Capital Area REALTORS® received a 2014 Accredited Commercial Excellence Award (ACE) honorable mention during the National Association of REALTORS® annual conference last weekend in New Orleans.

Capital Area won in the area of Technology and Data. The award was presented during the Commercial Leadership Forum at the conference.

Nominations were accepted by the NAR Commercial team in seven categories of newly revised benchmarks. Entrants prepared a short essay and nomination form and submitted them by Oct. 24 deadline.

Commercial: Will the business of ‘going green’ follow Chicago’s lead?

Understanding phrases like “energy-use benchmarking” and the ramifications of a recent ordinance passed in Chicago will make “going green” increasingly important to you and your clients, says one Chicago REALTOR® in the October issue of Illinois REALTOR® magazine.

Angela Aeschliman, the chief operating officer for Watermark Property Management in Chicago and a past president of the Northern Illinois Commercial Association of REALTORS®, says the Chicago ordinance creates new standards for property owners and managers of commercial, municipal and residential buildings, as well as anyone who buys or sells.

In June, owners/managers of buildings with more than 250,000 square feet submitted their first reports on energy consumption, water usage and greenhouse-gas emissions to the city.  In June 2015, owners of buildings with between 50,000 and 250,000 square feet will provide similar reports.  The data will be measured by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency software and must be verified by a licensed architect, engineer or other professional recognized by the city.

The city will be able to share individual building performances next June and Aeschliman says the information could increase competition for more energy-efficient properties.  How quickly these concepts spread to suburban Chicago and the rest of the state will be watched closely by the IAR, local associations and their members.

Read the whole story, “The Growing Business of Going Green,” which includes client concerns about the costs of “going green.”

Illinois REALTOR®: Tips for Marketing Your Commercial Business

Getting your real estate firm’s message and brand out to the public — and potential clients —  is critical for your long-term success.

In the January issue of Illinois REALTOR® magazine, marketing experts share their tips for using public relations, branding and social media strategies to build your commercial real estate business, but the tools apply to agents working on the residential side of the business too.

Why is it so important to develop a brand for your real estate business?

“We’re seeing a huge shift in behavior. Prospects used to reach out to you early in the sales cycle. Now they go to the Internet to conduct research and filter out options. They contact you later and are better informed. Success will increasingly go to REALTORS® with a brand that sells for them,” - George Krueger and Mary-Lynn Foster, co-founders BIGG Success.

Read more strategies from Krueger, Foster and others in this online Illinois REALTOR® article from commercial REALTOR® Alex Ruggieri, CCIM, SEC, MBA, GRI.