Posts Tagged ‘business

30
Apr
13

Social Media and our Title Company

social media

Social Media…”living in the now”…these are all familiar terms to those embracing the newest trends among the internet and broadband alike. But certain terms like impersonal and generational also tag along with it. This is our opinion on Social Media and how it relates to our business.

Let’s get into the Pros and Cons if you will. If you ask me, it has almost become a necessary evil for business owners to dedicate some amount of time to Social Media. An evil in that Social Media, to be successful, is time consuming and if not done right can deter business, but necessary in that without social media, your business could be missing a wide range of clientele and a vast need for the “now”.

At Title Junction we have embraced, Facebook, Twitter, Linkedin, Google+ and ActiveRain as our main focus among the Social Media sites. First let’s take on the uber-sites, Facebook and Twitter. The pros of each different, but equally effective. Facebook, the un-doubtably the more social of the two is a great way to show a more personal side of our team at Title Junction…posting networking pictures and fun status updates allows a more relaxed environment for connections to occur. Opposite the spectrum is Twitter, directed more towards the informational junkie, it is a great way to prove ourselves valuable by posting interesting and useful topics and thus increasing followers. With both of these proving successful for our business, we have also observed the downside or “cons” to each site among other users. One being the slippery slope of becoming too “social”. When picture updates become too risky and twitter updates show to be invaluable, it often repels business, and defeats the purpose. This leads us to Linkedin and Active Rain, both completely different, but respectively worth while. We would define Linkedin’s purpose to be completely business…it is a great hit on Google for hopeful clients to get in touch with us, with email and all of our contact information listed directly on our profile. But it is equally ineffective when it comes to relationship building; we find a minimum of contact interaction and a lack of user interest. Finally there is Active Rain, most beneficial is the ability for us to target a specific crowd and relate to each blog and user for our common interest, Real Estate. It is fantastic to see Active Rain now adding links to Twitter and outside blogs, truly embracing the power of connectivity. As I conclude, my final opinion is optimistic; I look forward to the future of business and Social Media.

09
Apr
13

Real Estate Agents Remain #1 Tool for Finding Homes

realtorDespite Google, smart phones, social networking and traditional advertising, the most common method for people to find homes is through a real estate agent, according to the most recent Census Bureau’s American Housing Survey.

The survey found that 20 percent of buyers said their real estate agent helped them find the home they purchased, followed by Realtor.com, 17 percent; and word of mouth, 16 percent.

Renters said the most common way they found their dwellings were word of mouth, 34 percent; sign on the outside of the building, 11 percent; and Craigslist, 11 percent.

In deciding on neighborhoods, 20 percent listed “convenience to job” as the most important factor.

Real Estate Digest, Old Republic National Title, Mar 2013
19
Mar
13

6 Legitimate Reasons to Think Twice Before You Buy That House

think twiceBuyer’s remorse is no joke. It has killed many a home buying deal. But buying a home is serious, life-changing business, so some level of deliberation, concern and even rethinking the whole thing, before signing on the dotted line, is actually sensible and smart.

So it can be tough to know the difference between (a) the normal, unwarranted buyer’s remorse every home buyer should expect, think through and move past, and (b) the mental alarm bells that should be heeded because there is truly good reason to revisit whether this purchase is the right thing to do.

Home buyers, we’re here to help. If you’re suffering from a case of buyer’s remorse at any stage before your contingencies are removed, list out the things that come to mind when you fantasize about backing out of the deal.  If your list contains any of the following items, express your concerns to your spouse or co-buyer and your agent. Then, consult with your mind and your heart about whether you’re ready to move forward – or not.

    1.    It’s too expensive.  If you’re buying a house in 2013, it’s completely understandable to have a moment of panic at the sound of the price you’re paying or the sight of all those zeros. It’s a big purchase you’re making, possibly the biggest one you ever will, and those who enter into it with not even the slightest twinge of being nervous might not be taking it as seriously as they should.

That said, fears that a home are too expensive vis-a-vis the other recently sold homes in the neighborhood or the town’s market and future appreciation prospects in general are worth exploring and evaluating before you decide on your offer price or sign a final counter-offer. Your agent can help you understand the complex interacting factors you should consider, including the likelihood of the home to appraise at a given price point and the historical data on sales and home value trends in your area.

    2.    It’s too expensive for you.  For years, I’ve heard buyers express concerns about being ‘house poor,’ meaning that they spend so much on their monthly mortgage payments that they are too broke to do much else. Unless you’re fortunate enough to live in one of those parts of the country in which it is less expensive to own than to rent a home, it’s almost inevitable that there will be some sort of lifestyle revision you’ll need to make post-homeownership.

Most people who have been renting for a long time will find themselves having to make some sacrifices after they buy, in terms of eating out less, going out less, splurging on vacations, clothes and other discretionary spending – this is just par for the course, sensible, and not a good reason not to buy.

On the other hand, there are occasions in which buyers are approved for mortgages beyond what they can truly afford and maintain financial integrity, in terms of still having enough money left over post-mortgage payment for saving, investing and other monthly budget line items that the mortgage banks don’t consider (e.g., children’s school tuition, medical expenses, etc.). If you have set yourself a home buying budget lower than your lender has set for you, get and stay clear on what the wiggle room is – if any. If you feel like you’re exceeding it or getting in a red zone with a particular property, heed those internal read flags.

  3.    The location is not quite right.  I’d probably rank location choice right up there in the top 3 home selection regrets I hear after the fact from home owners.  Clearly, the location you can live in is limited by your budget – you can’t expect to live in Beverly Hills on $100K.  But I’m talking more about the various location choices and judgments every buyer has to make within their price range:

  • between a home in the city, near work, or a home in the quiet suburbs where you get much more space – and a much longer commute,
  • near shops and conveniences, or off the beaten path
  • next door to a school or at the end of a quiet cul-de-sac
  • in a row of townhomes with shared walls and an HOA or in an older neighborhood with lots of land between homes –

    you get the gist.

Location compromises should be made carefully and consciously. If that electrical pole in the front yard really bothers you and you talk yourself out of that concern, ask yourself: are you going to end up hating to drive up to your house every night?  The neighbors who seem to take a lot less care with their yards now might become a real thorn in your side over time.  That extra 20 minutes of commute time might not be as minor a lifestyle change as you can talk yourself into believing – in fact, researchers have found that the longer commutes lower overall happiness, so don’t lengthen yours without serious consideration.

In particular, don’t dismiss noise and traffic concerns without giving it real thought – a friend of mine quickly moved his young family out of the home they’d bought in a new town when they realized that the street was so busy that it was nearly impossible to even pull in or out of their own driveway – much less to let the kids play outside.

To finish reading 3 – 6, CLICK HERE  

12
Feb
13

It’s that time of year again…TAX SEASON!

IRS logoThe Internal Revenue Service opened the 2013 filing season by announcing a variety of enhanced products and services to help taxpayers prepare and file their tax returns by the April 15 deadline.

New and expanded services for taxpayers this year include a redesigned IRS.gov web site that’s easier to navigate and improved service options, including more video-conferencing assistance sites and additional social media tools. In addition, the IRS has stepped up its enforcement efforts to protect taxpayers from refund fraud and identity theft.

This year, taxpayers have until Monday, April 15, to file their 2012 tax returns and pay any tax due. The IRS expects to receive more than 147 million individual tax returns this year, with about 75 percent projected to receive a refund.

Last year for the first time, 80 percent of all individual returns were filed electronically. E-file, when combined with direct deposit, is the fastest way to get a refund. Last year, about three out of four refund filers selected direct deposit.

Did you know about FREE FILE?

Through IRS.gov, taxpayers can access Free File, which provides options for free brand-name tax software or online Fillable Forms plus free electronic filing. Everyone can use Free File to prepare a federal tax return. Taxpayers who make $57,000 or less can choose from about 15 commercial software providers. There’s no income limit for Free File Fillable Forms, the electronic version of IRS paper forms.

Apps and Social Media

For the third year, the IRS will offer IRS2Go, its smartphone application, which enables taxpayers to check on the status of their tax refund and obtain helpful tax information. The IRS2Go app is available for both, Apple and Android users.

YouTube, where viewers can watch more than 100 short, informative videos.

The IRS also has several twitter feeds available for taxpayers @IRSnews.

For the 2013 filing season, the IRS has added Tumblr to its list of social media platforms.

Where’s My Refund?

Even with the Jan. 30 opening of the tax season, the IRS expects to issue refunds within the usual time-frames  Last year, the IRS issued more than nine out of 10 refunds to taxpayers in less than 21 days, and it expects the same results in 2013.

After taxpayers file a return, they can track the status of the refund with the “Where’s My Refund?” tool available on the IRS.gov website.

To use the “Where’s My Refund?” tool, taxpayers need to have a copy of their tax return for reference. Taxpayers will need their Social Security Number, filing status and the exact dollar amount of the refund they are expecting.

 

05
Sep
12

4 out of 5 Renters Want to Buy

82% of non-homeowners plan to buy a home and are willing to make sacrifices in their daily living to make that goal a reality, according to a poll by Century 21 Real Estate.

Half of those polled said they would cut back on dining out, 49% said they would cut back on shopping for non-essential items and 47% said they would give up luxuries in order to be financially able to purchase a home.

A key obstacle to buying a first home, however, is the down payment and qualifying for a loan. The poll found that 45% of those responding said they did not believe they could qualify for a loan or have sufficient funds for a down payment.

And a new poll by the Trulia real estate data company suggests consumers are perhaps overly optimistic about the trend toward higher home prices over the past several months, with 58% believing values will return to boom-year highs within the next 10 years.

The company also said Americans are again looking for large homes to buy. It said 27% of those polled would like a home with more than 2,600 square feet and that 11% would like one with more than 3,000.

***Real Estate Digest, Sept 2012



Jennifer Ferri, Owner

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