By Kelly Reark
With St. Patrick’s Day fast approaching, my Irish brain has been picking up on all the green in my environment. So I thought that we’d avoid a pinch by adding a little green practice to our life! Here are some ideas to get you going Green:
“Think Globally, Act Locally.” OK, this one is easy. Think about how the Earth could be a better place, and then actually DO something to contribute to that picture in your head. It could be as simple as using a stainless steel canteen instead of those delightful coffee-filled Whobucks cups. Did you know that in America, we use more than 25 billion disposable bottles every year?
Use your car as little as possible. Our community is small, so our office frequently uses golf carts to show off the convenience of the area. One agent even arranged a group to see property via bicycle. Wow, exercise while you work, and don’t forget to whistle.
Read labels. Sometimes I can be a little OCD about this one, but really it’s a good idea to know where the stuff you buy comes from. Take a moment to think about how it got to the very store you are standing in and how much petroleum and energy the freighter, tug boat, train, plane, or cargo truck used to get it there. When you have the choice, support locally sourced goods.
Use non-toxic cleaning supplies. Ditch the pantry full of smelly chemicals for hot water, vinegar, baking soda and a steam cleaner, and you can make every surface in your home squeaky clean and bacteria free. Yes, even mirrors. Just wipe them dry with the morning newspaper before recycling it. Continue reading »
By Rob Reuter, YPN Manager
I was recently approached by staff of REALTOR® Magazine and asked if I could start blogging in the YPN Lounge. I remember thinking to myself “cha right, have you seen my to-do list?” Well here I am and for my first blog in the lounge, I get to write about an exciting topic: the word REALTOR®. It is over 100 years old and many members, and even more of the motoring public, are still unclear of what it means (and how it is pronounced). I’ll admit that even when I was selling real estate, I wasn’t 100% sure on what it actually meant or how it could be used.
Websites, blogs, business cards…YPN Chapter names. Many of these are guilty of the misuse of the term REALTOR® and as the future of the real estate industry, we should all be fully educated on the meaning and correct use of it. To help get us started, here are a few guidelines for use on the Internet taken directly from Realtor.org:
1. The term REALTOR®, whether used as part of a domain name or in some other fashion must refer to a member or a member’s firm.
2. The term REALTOR® may not be used with descriptive words or phrases. For example, Number1realtor.com, numberone-realtor.com, chicagorealtors.org or realtorproperties.com are all incorrect.
3. For use as a domain name or e-mail address on the Internet the term REALTOR® does not need to be separated from the member’s name or firm name with punctuation. For example, both johndoe-realtor.com and johndoerealtor.com would be correct uses of the term as a part of domain names and email@example.com and firstname.lastname@example.org are both correct uses of the term as part of an e-mail address.
4. The REALTOR® block R logo should not be used as hypertext links at a web site as such uses can suggest an endorsement or recommendation of the linked site by your Association. The only exception would be to establish a link to the National Association’s web site, REALTOR.org, or its official property listing site, REALTOR.com.
For a full understanding of the term REALTOR®, here’s a link to its location at Realtor.org: http://http://www.realtor.org/letterlw.nsf/pages/internetuse. So the next time you’re in line at the grocery store or hitting up happy hour and you hear someone say ‘real-a-tor,’ you can turn to them and say “it’s pronounced REAL-TOR and this is what it means.”
By Laura Rubinchuk
For the past two years, I’ve been able to bury my head in the sand when it comes to distressed properties. It’s just not a huge part of the market in the area I do most of my business. As of this morning, only about 6 percent of the active listings were short sales, and fewer than 3 percent were REOs. However, hearing of the shadow inventory that’s possibly coming on, and that most of the properties that were bought in 2005-2007 around here are underwater (some more than others) I finally pulled my head out of the sand and realized it’s not going anyway any time soon, and probably will increase in market share.
I attended a seminar on “The Truth About Short Sales” this week. The amount of information that I didn’t know, and didn’t know that I SHOULD know made my head spin. It got me wondering… how many “short sale experts” are doing a real disservice to their clients? How many want a quick sale and push a short sale without considering the whole picture? I know that I’m not qualified to tell you whether a short sale, foreclosure, bankruptcy, or using your house as a coffin and continuing to pay is the best option. But I can listen. I can help you make sense of a messy situation and direct you to the resources who can help you get to the right decision for you.
As real estate professionals, we know what the market is doing. Are prices coming up any time soon? If not, you know how to market and sell the property, when/if a short sale is right for the client. If not, direct them to someone who can help. Earning someone’s trust in a very uncertain time is hard, but rewarding. Not only will you feel good about helping someone who desperately needs it, but I bet you they’ll be loyal for life. Be a neighbor, be a friend, first and foremost, by putting their needs ahead of your agenda.
By Maura Neill
I am an iPhone devotee. I suffered through years of Palm Treo and various Blackberries (a Curve and two Bolds) to land, finally, in the land of the iPhone. And I couldn’t love it more. The usability and variety of the apps available for work and for play are a big part of that.
It’s the device that seems to have an app for everything (except, as the joke goes, for actually making a phone call) – and below is a list of my 10 favorite apps for my real estate business (for now – since of course, they’re always changing and new ones pop up every day). There are tons of blog articles and Web sites devoted to iPhone apps every real estate practitioner must have – this is not one of those lists. These are just a few of my faves. Maybe there will be a few on this list that are new to you – and I hope you’ll post a comment, send me an e-mail or connect with me on Twitter and share your favorite apps for your business.
And yes, I’m a cheapskate – all of these apps are FREE.
1, 2, 3. Facebook / Tweetdeck / LinkedIn – My social networking triumvirate. They allow you to respond immediately to Twitter @Mentions and DMs, Facebook messages and comments, and LinkedIn connection requests. (Another great Twitter app is Hootsuite, which I like on my laptop, but not as much on my iPhone – just personal preference. The Hootsuite app is only $1.99.)
4. Dropbox – Allows you to access files that are on your home or office computer that you have placed in your Dropbox files. Easy access to contracts, fliers, photos, and any other pertinent files while away from my office. Need to e-mail your client that property disclosure or send the closing attorney that commission agreement? Done! The only thing you need to remember is to move those files into your Dropbox on your computer so that they can sync and be accessed. (Free for 2GB storage; fees apply for larger storage/sharing options.) Continue reading »
By Brian Copeland
I love reading warning labels. One of my favorites is “For external use only,” which has been spotted on numerous curling irons. Another favorite is on a child’s Halloween superman costume that says “Wearing of this garment does not enable you to fly.”
Wouldn’t it be great if homes came with warning signs posted with the true warnings that buyers may need to know? Here are some of the signs I’d recommend.
“Warning! This house is overpriced by $30K because the seller has been under a rock for the past 18 months.” Real estate practitioners carry the power to prevent this label, but find that getting the sign in the yard, getting the bragging rights that he/she “won” the listing, or getting to put it in an internet lead system to get more buyers is more important than being honest with the seller. The same holds true for a buyer’s agent who is too concerned about a paycheck to pull true comparatives for a buyer.
We have the responsibility to point out the pricing warning sign to today’s buyers and sellers. We need to tell sellers, “Oh, and by the way, if you think that you should price it higher because you need negotiation room, you may not see any showings and your home may become stigmatized as a stale home. This could cause buyers to question their ability to resale the home in the future.” As a buyer’s agent we should pull comparatives for every home that has landed in the client’s top five for consideration before going to contract.
“This house is lipstick on a pig.” It’s one of my favorite pulled quotes that the local CBS affiliated pulled out of an interview they did with me when I THOUGHT the camera was off. It holds true though. Some renovated homes are pretty, cosmetic make-up put on a trash of a structure. Be super cautious of renovated homes. If someone is renovating homes in this market, likely they are smart, conscientious and know what they are doing. Only the best try this buy, remodel, resale market of 2009 and 2010. Continue reading »