Tuesday, January 3, 2012

The Agents' Toolbox

Posted for www.miamiforrussian.com

Interinvestments Realty® Digital Newsletter
                                Newsletter date: 1/3/12
Tool #1: Review and readjust
It’s 2012! The New Year is here, and when all the festivities have faded away, it’s time to review and readjust our yearly business plan. The Real Estate Industry is changing at a very fast pace and before you feel the consequences of this ever changing market, you must pause and spend a moment to  rethinking and retool your activities in order to achieve the best results.
Tool # 2: Know your market
Facts of the South Florida real estate market:
• Approximately 60% of all buyers of existing homes and condos are foreign
• 90% of new construction buyers are from out of the country, as well
• One-in-four foreign buyers buy in Florida
• 85% of buyers began their search online and of those, at least 75% are not represented by a Realtor®
                                • The South Florida condo market continues to be driven by Brazilian, Venezuelan and Argentinian buyers
Tool #3: Plan, create and execute
To conquer this market successfully you will need:
• A plan to approach International buyers
• Knowledge, information and a special relationship with the main homebuilders in the area
• A proper Internet strategy
• Be prepared to get business online
• Google? Craigslist? Blogging?
• Search Engines Optimization
• Websites as presentation tools
• International Brokers network
Tool #4: Assess your current possibilities
Is your current Broker offering you the proper tools that you need to be successful? Are you properly positioned to better serve the South Florida market’s demands?
Tool #5: Evaluate your current Broker
Read and score the following statements:
1 = Strong agree
                                2 = Agree somewhat
                                3 = Disagree
A score of 15 or more suggest a Change of Brokers may be in order
                                __ I enjoy going to work each day.
                                __ I feel a strong sense of personal satisfaction and achievement in my work.
                                __ I do not spend my time prospecting.
                                __ All my contracts close.
                                __ I feel good about the amount of money I am earning in proportion to my efforts.
                                __ I sell the best properties in the industry.
                                __ I receive lots of  leads from my Broker?
                                __ Does your current company have an International presence?
                                __ Is the average sales price in your current office over $200,000.00?
                                __ Do you benefit from your current office in-house training?
Tool #6: How your Broker compares to Interinvestments Realty®
Interinvestments Realty® special niche designed for your success:
• Adbuilder.pro builds professional personalized multi-language ads in seconds
• Linkbuilder.pro builds location and development links to optimize your website
• International presence in our award winning multi-language website
• International and local leads from the Internet. (We receive more than 1,500,000 hits each month).
• International access to our network of Foreign Brokers who consistently refer buyers and investors to us for business opportunities.
• Special arrangements with Builders/Developers for higher commissions and bonuses!
• Advanced commission programs with Developers.
• Access to exclusive private real estate auctions.
• Commercial & Business opportunity trainers and coaches.
• Foreclosure, REO, short sales and special HUD homes training.
• A team of attorneys, lenders, title company and specialized counselors that will assist us in every transaction.
• Property Management services provided via Royalty Concierge
Tool #7:  Tips for a successful 2012
Rismedia reported on 12/18/11:
Became a specialist and target a niche market in your real estate business in 2012. Here are some tips for success in the New Year.
1. What’s working and what isn’t? First evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of a current marketing plan. Second, identify your talents and skills. Define the strategies that match your skills. If you want to try something new- for example, the mailing of postcards to reach a new farm- make sure you have enough resources to cover the cost of the project for a period of at least 6 months, if you don’t have the resources, don’t start the project. Implementing a new marketing strategy without giving it enough time to succeed will only dilute the effectiveness of your other marketing programs, because it will sap you of time, effort and energy.
                                2. Hone your sales skills. Jot down a list of the areas where you feel you need improvement. Vow to become more educated and try role-playing exercises to allow you to speak with more confidence and knowledge.
                                3. Re-evaluate your branding and the demographics you’re targeting. To be successful, it’s important to constantly evaluate what types of homes people are looking for in your area, and what they are willing to pay. After you figure out what type of clients you want to target, take the time to adjust your marketing strategy to their preferences.
                                4. Update your profile and marketing materials. Chances are, if your pictures and business cards make you look like you are 25 years younger than you actually are, then it’s time for an update. Shocking the customer is typically not a good idea. Also make sure your resume and website reflect today’s customer, given the financial environment.

Achieving career-related New Years resolutions

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NEW YORK – Jan. 3, 2012 – If you make New Year’s resolutions, you’ve likely seen many good intentions fall by the wayside. Setting and achieving goals is a skill that transcends content, and it’s fundamental to moving forward. It also can be a challenging skill to acquire, but the steps outlined below can help.

What do you want to accomplish? Why? What could hold you back? These are some of the key inner dynamics to clarify on your path to achieving your goals.

Let’s say that you have a sedentary job and are focused on building more activity into your life. If you define that as your goal, your chances for success are minimal because it’s so vague. Instead, get more specific; for example, going for walks after work, joining a gym or returning to an activity that you used to do. Also consider non-recreational ways to be active, such as using stairs instead of an elevator.

It’s essential to know why you have a goal. For example, why do you want to be more active? Go deeply here. Keep asking yourself “why.” If being more active will make you feel better, why is that important? If feeling better will give you more energy, why is that important? Eventually you’ll get to the core of your motivation, such as being able to engage more fully with people you care about. Understanding your deeper motivations will give you an invaluable tool when the going is hard.

Finally, think about factors that could hold you back. Time is an obvious potential derailer. Others may include lack of energy to get started, fear of being unsuccessful, or even fear of being successful. Look at your past experience and notice where barriers have gotten in your way. How could you have overcome them? Also notice successful steps you’ve taken to overcome other barriers.

Avoid one of the biggest derailers of all: trying to do too much. Select one very specific goal and create a sustainable habit.

For example, you might decide to take short walks during the workday. Then make a specific plan. Decide on optimal times, say, midmorning and midafternoon. Define your walking options. If it’s nice weather, you may want to go outside, and on other days, identify indoor options. Try putting reminders on your calendar, and find a walking buddy to make it harder to skip. After a month or so of success, pick your next goal.

Acknowledge your accomplishment every time you do it – pursuing a goal is a big deal, and you deserve to give yourself kudos. If you’re not following through, address whatever is holding you back and get back on track.

Get help from others by sharing your goals and asking for support. Most people will be helpful, but you may run into a few who try to undermine you. Strange but true – every dieter can tell you about someone who keeps pushing the cookies. Don’t let these folks get in your way.

Solid goal-setting tactics will help you achieve any resolution and resolve any issues you face.

Copyright © 2012 the Star Tribune (Minneapolis), Liz Reyer, a credentialed coach with more than 20 years of business experience. Distributed by MCT Information Services.

Buyers vs. sellers on home prices

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WASHINGTON – Jan. 3, 2012 – Housing analysts expect home prices to stabilize in 2012, but that doesn’t mean buyers and sellers won’t continue to be at odds over home prices.

While buyers are feeling good about the housing market and saying it’s a great time to buy, seller sentiment is falling to a record low, a new report by the Mortgage Bankers Association shows. Sellers say they’re unhappy because they can’t snag the prices for the home that they want.

The MBA report finds a large sentiment gap between homebuying and home selling that isn’t expected to narrow for at least five quarters.

From 1992 to 2005, seller sentiment remained high – between 40 percent and 60 percent, according to the report. However, since 2005, seller sentiment decreased to 7.6 percent. Meanwhile, homebuyer sentiment has remained high despite unemployment and economic conditions. Nearly 80 percent of American households say now is a good time to purchase a home.

As home values dropped over the last few years, many sellers refused to budge on their prices to reflect current market traditions. One reason why: About 20 percent of homeowners nationwide are considered “underwater,” owing more on their mortgage than their home is currently worth.

Also, some sellers realize there may be a benefit in waiting to sell or keeping the home on the market to hold out for a higher price, says the author of the report, Gary Engelhardt, a Syracuse economics professor.

“This (trend) could hold prices high enough to drive a substantial wedge between the existing buyer and seller,” Engelhardt says. “And a poor jobs market with limited mobility, a key driver of housing-market transactions, may exacerbate this.”

Source: “Buyers, Sellers Continue to Butt Heads on Home Prices,” HousingWire (Dec. 29, 2011)

© Copyright 2012 INFORMATION, INC. Bethesda, MD (301) 215-4688

Citizens Property Ins. raising costs by looking at details

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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. – Jan. 3, 2012 – Florida-owned Citizens Property Insurance can increase its rates no more than 10 percent per year, but the company has two options that allow it to raise rates without impacting that cap: nixing discounts some homeowners receive for hurricane mitigation efforts and increasing a home’s replacement cost in the premium calculation.

Hurricane mitigation discounts

Florida homeowners get a property insurance discount if their home has added features that help lower potential damage from a storm. To receive the discounts, homes must first be inspected, and a number of policyholders have done so. However, Citizens claims that the original inspections have listed hurricane mitigation upgrades that don’t exist, and many homeowners don’t deserve the discount.

As a result, Citizens is reinspecting homes, and, according to the Palm Beach Post, only about one in three homeowners keeps a hurricane mitigation discount after the reinspection. About 78,000 Florida homeowners have been reinspected so far, and the ones that lose a discount end up paying about 24 percent more – an additional average of $717 per year. Up to 200,000 total homes are slated for reinspection before the end of 2012.

Replacement costs

Even though home values have decreased, many owners have watched their replacement cost – the amount it would take to rebuild a destroyed home following a disaster – increase. And as the replacement cost increases, the cost of property insurance increases. For some policyholders, their home’s replacement cost is double its value in today’s market.

Citizens says it used a private vendor, 360Value, to calculate replacement costs. However, Citizens says it will reevaluate the calculations for South Florida and Tampa homeowners this month.

“In light of publicly expressed concerns about some of the replacement cost valuations generated by 360Value, Citizens will supplement its normal contract monitoring to include a targeted review to validate the accuracy of 360Value outputs,” Citizens said in a release.

Source: Palm Beach Post, Dec. 22, 2011, Charles Elmore

© 2012 Florida Realtors®