Do Your Listings Speak to You?

Posted on: March 9th, 2011 by
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Internet listings are usually the first view buyers get of a home on the market. When buyers are searching online though what sets apart your listing from everyone else’s. Here are some tips that will help you rise to the top of the pack.

Add More Pictures. Add the most pictures allowed by your MLS. Buyers will search by “Number of Photos” and your listing will rise to the top.

Create a Virtual Tour. You don’t have to spend a lot of money, you can “do-it-yourself.”

Add Video. YouTube is the second highest search site on the Internet next to Google, and Google owns YouTube, so your listing will show up faster in online searches. And again, it’s easy and free with some virtual tour services.

Add Personal Narration. Nobody will be as excited and emphasize the key features of your listing like you. Get excited, smile when you talk and use your passion to tell your home’s story.

Get Social. Add your virtual tour and listing to Facebook and Twitter. Promote your open house on Craigslist and Backpage and write a blog in Trulia, RealTown and/or ActiveRain.

Remember that listings may seem tedious for you to write over and over, but buyers don’t see every listing so it is important for you to focus on each individual one the best listing it can be. If you are having trouble with wording or ideas have your sellers write down what they love about their home and let that guide your writing. It is important to express genuine excitement with your words, so that it will engage buyers from the first view.


Password Vault

Posted on: March 7th, 2011 by
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I know that I posted a blog about keeping passwords safe a little while ago, but I found another option that I think is better than the last one…so I felt it was time for an upgrade.

I know there are usually 2 types of password people out there the ones that have 400 unique passwords and the ones that have 900 variations of the same password. For either type of password people this handy device will work. It is a free downloadable password vault. A lot of cell phones come with these now, but you can store them on your computer as well.

S10 Password Vault lets you auto-login to any website/program with account info stored securely on your own PC. You can set up accounts to login upon launch, or use commands (such as: ALT L) to log you in when you reach the login field.

It features small and simple windows, so you do not have to switch back and forth between tabs on your browser to copy/paste. It is also available for download in a portable version so that you can have it on a USB drive and never be without your passwords again.

To download and for more information, go to their site: http://www.s10soft.com/passwordvault.htm


My Favorite Marketing Idea EVER!

Posted on: March 4th, 2011 by
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I know that is big talk…my favorite ever, but really I love this idea. I know that home buyers especially those first timers are concerned with every detail of the home from its floor-plan to its location and that you are trying to compete with every other agent out there to get the most useful information to the potential buyer. So how do you get the upper hand and attract all those pairs of eyes perusing the internet in search of the agent that is a cut above the rest. It is an important relationship, one based on trust from the beginning. So how do you do it?

Well, here is the answer. Attract them with video instead of facts. Give them information about more than just the house. Tell them about the community, the parks, the markets, and all the other interesting things in the area. Let them know from them beginning that you understand making a home involves everything around that location from schools to annual public events. Look at the attached video link and figure out some great ideas to show all those potential buyers to get them interested in the area.

Don’t just tell them in passing about the neighborhood let them see why you love living in your area and what makes it the best location for them to buy!

http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3230181/video_marketing_ideas_for_realtors_real_estate_agents/


Dropbox: The Online Backup Place

Posted on: February 28th, 2011 by
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I found a website today called Dropbox. This site offers a service to backup your computer files online. But the question is why would you want to do this?

For starters, online backup provided by this site allows you to access files from any computer or mobile device (free app for smart phones is available). Using their service you can collaborate on a document with a group of people and instantly see the changes made to the document. Also, you have complete control over who can access the shared folders. They feature a Public folder so that you can directly link people to the files/photos you want them to see.

It is a really useful tool for people on the go who always need to have access to the information on their computer. With 2 GB of free storage available for free and military grade encryption methods on all file storage and transfers, you can rest assured that your documents are safe and secure.

Check out what other features they offer that can benefit you! www.dropbox.com


Who or Whom? Find Out for Sure!

Posted on: February 25th, 2011 by
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Writing notes to your children’s teachers, to a former or future client, or maybe even a contract…do you remember all your old grammar lessons? It is important when writing to mind all of the p’s and q’s of grammar, but do you always remember if it is who or whom?

Well, I did some searching the last time I began to wonder if my ducks were all in line and I found a website that will quickly give you the answers. So your documents can always look seamlessly eloquent.

Check it out: http://phras.in/


What is with all the Tweeting?

Posted on: February 23rd, 2011 by
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Tweeting…Twittering…what is the use? For those of you how don’t know much about the ever-growing world of Twitter it could be really useful for your business.

Twitter at its base is a website accessible from every online connection and smart-phone that allows users to be in constant conversation. You can tell people what you are doing. You might also want to share to others what interesting things you have learned or seen today. You can share your blog posts, or other blog posts through links. You can share almost everything in Twitter. Since everyone can see your posts, all or most people would also likely respond. Also, non-Tweeters can views the posts.

Tweets are a mere 140 characters and take just seconds to compose and publish.One of its biggest benefits is that Twitter can be an informational resource. You never know, you might find people who would give helpful information or advice that could help boost up your business.

You can also use Twitter as a way of keeping in touch with your clients. They can follow you, and at the same time you can follow them. Through Twitter, you can easily exchange ideas and information. You could right away notify them of new listings or updates on older listings and/or open houses and possible schedules of appointments. You can also share links in which you think they might find informative. If you want, you can also make your account private. You just simply set the privacy settings in which only people you approve of can view your tweets.

It only takes a few seconds, but it has the potential to widely expand your name as an information resource and gives great exposure to your website or blog through linking listing information.


Techie Tips and Tools

Posted on: February 21st, 2011 by
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This morning I ran across two online tech tools that I know I will use, so I thought I should share the wealth.

The first one is a file converter. If you have ever been stuck like I have with a silly pdf file that you desperately need to edit but can’t because you only have the free version of Acrobat Reader, then this tool will be a gift from above for you too. It is so simple to use. The website is www.pdftoword.com and in 3 easy steps you can take that pesky pdf and turn it into a word file (either a doc or rich text). Once you complete the steps they email you the file. Easy as pie.

This next one is my favorite probably. It is called WeTransfer (www.wetransfer.com). With this website you can transfer (as in email) files up to 2GB…yes Gigabytes! That is about 1300 songs on a ipod, 3000 photos, or 10,000 Word documents. Like the other tool, this one is super simple. You visit the website and type in the recipient information and attach the files. So now you can send all those files at the same time…or that huge contract will go with ease.

Be sure to bookmark these two tools so that when you need them, you can easily find them.


Tax Tips: What to Deduct?

Posted on: February 18th, 2011 by
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Looking at today’s date I noticed that Income Taxes are due exactly 2 months from today. This year we will all file taxes on April 18th, due to the celebration of Emancipation Day in Washington D.C. on April the 15th.

I am sure that all of you have received your tax preparation documents, and it is now becoming time to sit down and fill out the papers. As many times as you file them, how can you be sure you are taking all the deductions you can?

Well, you could hire a professional to do your taxes and simply be lifted of the burden of the whole thing…or you could bite the bullet and learn what tax laws you can and cannot benefit from. Below are a few popular deductions to get your started this year.

Tax Deductions for Real Estate Agents:

  • Advertising Costs: Signs, newspaper advertising, flyers, online advertising, post cards, promotional materials, and anything else that was used to market your business may be deductible.
  • Professional Fees: Your MLS Board Dues, Realtor Dues, Renewal fees with your state board, Errors & Ommissions Insurance, and any other professional fees you incur may also be deductible.
  • Education Materials: Did you take continuing ed classes or seminars? Those may be deductible as well.
  • Car/Driving Expenses: This is an obvious one most agents remember,  but many often get confused about how much mileage they can deduct or how to separate personal and business use. Another confusing thing for many agents is deducting depreciation if you own your car or lease payments if you lease. You can choose to deduct per mile driven or you can also do the actual cost of insurance, gas prices, repairs & maintenance, and other vehicle expenses.
  • Office Equipment: Office equipment can include desk fees if you have them at your office, computer/software, phone fees (including cell phone), cameras, office supplies, and anything else related to necessities of running your office.
  • Wages Paid: Did you pay an assistant? Hire someone to help you? Did you pay out any referral fees to other agents? All of these may be deductible as well.
  • Business Entertainment: You can deduct fees for dinners, event tickets that are business oriented, entertaining for business at home, and anything else related to costs you incurred for entertaining business clients. Be careful with this one – be sure it was really for business before claiming it.

Thanks, But No Thanks!

Posted on: February 17th, 2011 by
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I was surfing the internet this week when I stumbled across a survey conducted by a national lender. The results of the survey made me laugh so hard that milk came out of my nose – that was crazy considering several hours had passed since my daily intake of dairy, but I digress! So, the survey I saw measured the level of customer satisfaction of the mortgage process. Needless to say, the unscientific results proved that consumers were less than satisfied with the mortgage process in 2010 than in 2009. Consumers cited longer processing times and the burden of gathering documents as their primary reasons for being unsatisfied.

Honestly, I was quite shocked by the survey, not the results but the survey itself. The fact that consumers are unhappy with the process shouldn’t be discovered by a survey. That fact is obvious by listening to consumers’ comments when they are asked for “one more document,” reading the complaint letters they write, or reading the complaints they post online. One only has to open his eyes and ears to hear the complaints.

The cause of the majority of these complaints is additional government red tape creating more disclosures (and redesigned disclosures) and what seems like a never ending request for additional documentation to verify income, assets, and property values.

The solution to this problem is simple. Let the mortgage industry fix the mortgage industry’s problems. Our government cannot legislate solutions to the industry’s problems because the government doesn’t understand the industry’s problems. This is no different than a divorce court judge doing an auto mechanic’s job for a day.

Uncle Sam, if you would have just enforced the lending laws that have been on the books for decades, we never would’ve gotten into this mess we are in now. Common sense tells us you are not going to fix the mess you’ve created (or allowed to be created) by regulating an industry you know little to nothing about. The truth of the matter is you are not protecting the consumer more. You are confusing the consumer more, frustrating the consumer more because they are confused, increasing the cost of obtaining a mortgage, and causing everyone in the process (Realtors, lenders, attorneys, title companies, buyers, sellers, appraisers, etc) to be unhappy.

Besides, this industry of our operated just fine until you loosened the credit guidelines in the late 1990’s in order to achieve a 100% homeownership rate. Uncle Sam, thanks, but no thanks! Why don’t you let the housing industry fix the housing industry? Why don’t you find some regulations to regulate the regulators?


Don’t Buy More Software: Keep the Codes Safe

Posted on: February 16th, 2011 by
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I know that with the big technology boom that almost everyone has a desktop or laptop or both and they are filled with all the latest software (i.e. Microsoft Office 2010). Well what happens if your computer crashes gets stolen, or you buy a new computer and you need to reload that software because everyone keeps their program discs and product codes, right?

After getting your computer hardware setup, the most time consuming part is searching for the software program codes and serial numbers. If you are like me you look all over the place in emails, manuals that came with the software or old computer, and then in every other box I might have placed it.

Now, both you and I can avoid the hassle. There is an application that can scan the Windows Registry for product keys, serial numbers, and other licenses you have purchased in the past. This neat little helper will provide you with a list of all the codes for all the products registered with your name.

So, next time you buy a computer or yours crashes from old age, go to the site below and access this handy application. It will save you time and energy.

http://www.klinzmann.name/licensecrawler.htm



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