Thursday, November 29, 2012

Nine Ways to Power Network at Your Next Event

by KellerINK Team

Scott Ginsberg, The Nametag Guy, courtesy of
For many, networking is just another part of business trips. But for us, if you’re taking time away from your family and the office, you should be committed to getting the most out of every industry event you attend. And who better to learn networking dedication from than Scott Ginsberg—better known as “the nametag guy.” As the author of The Nametag Principle, Scott is so focused on meeting the right people that he’s worn a “Hello, my name is” nametag for over 12 years—he even got it tattooed on his chest.
“It breaks the ice,” he says. See, Scott’s strategy to make networking simple is to be approachable. Wearing a nametag automatically “portrays self-confidence in your identity,” he says. “It gives people a reason to say hello.”
So, what are some other tips to help jumpstart your stand-apart appeal at the next industry round up? We’ve compiled nine tricks of the trade that are sure to make your next meet-and-greet more productive and less daunting.
Nine Tips to Successful Networking
1. Have a plan. Take time before any event to figure out what you’re looking to accomplish. What do you want to learn? Which speakers do you want to hear? And what is the one networking goal you want to achieve at this conference? If you create a plan beforehand, you can concentrate on education and meeting your goal when you’re there.
2. Leave your business cards at home. When someone asks for your business card, apologize for being out and get theirs. Write a memorable note on the back with Sharpie. Instead of hoping they will follow-up with you, take ownership of the next contact.
3. Envision your introductions. Saddling up to strangers isn’t easy for everyone. So, visualize your conversations before they happen. Have a few easy questions in mind like, “What’s been your favorite seminar this session?” It doesn’t have to be clever or complicated. Sparking conversation—even with a simple “hello my name is”—can lead to idea exchange, insider info and future business relationships.
4. Arrive early. You may be a straggler by nature, but it’s best to be early to events if you’re looking to network. Groups haven’t formed yet, 15 minutes prior to show time. Plus, arriving before the rush will give you an opportunity to survey the room and strategically choose your seat to reach networking goals.
5. Change up your location. And, speaking of personal locale, make it a point to sit someplace new every day. Relocation will give you a greater chance to network and collaborate with a wide variety of attendees.
6. Put away the technology. When you look like you’re hard at work on your laptop, iPad or phone others won’t want to interrupt. Read that online gossip column when you get back to your hotel.
7. Don’t forget your notebook. What better way to solidify a new connection than to trade notes? You can’t be in two places at once, so take good notes and offer them to an attendee that missed that topic. Not only will you be a memorable contact, but you’ll also have a built-in reason for that follow-up call.
8. Follow up. This one is a no brainer, but we’ll say it anyway. Set a reminder to reach out to the new contacts you’ve made via email, phone or personal note post event. Remind them of the great conversation you had or offer up those notes you promised. Timely follow-up is a key tool for creating lasting contacts.
9. Be inviting. And finally, we’ll leave you with one simple success strategy from Scott: Behave as if you’re ready to meet people. And always remember to wear a nametag.
What other tricks of the trade do you use for networking at conferences?

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Do you feel lucky?

NEW YORK – Nov. 13, 2012 – When setting an asking price, some real estate agents and home sellers use numbers believed to bring good luck.

In predominantly Asian neighborhoods, for instance, listing prices often feature the number eight and avoid the bad luck number four. Trulia says 20 percent of listings in these neighborhoods end with an eight, with this particular superstition strongest in communities where Asians represent over half of residents.

Seven is the lucky number in Nevada, where it is 37 percent more common for listings to feature a seven before the zeros in the price; the number of triple-seven listings are three-fold higher in the state than elsewhere across the country.

Listings with 316, representing a New Testament verse, are 27 percent more common in the Bible Belt; while the number 13 is 15 percent less common nationwide than the numbers 12 and 14.

When it comes to buyers, Cornell University marketing professor Manoj Thomas says lower numbers on the left make them feel they are getting a good deal. Because people tend to round down, 54 percent of homes under $1 million have prices that end in nine, according to Trulia.

Jed Kolko, Trulia’s chief economist, says five is the most popular digit in the high-end market, as it is viewed as “the midpoint on the 1 to 10 scale.”

Source: Wall Street Journal (11/09/12) P. M1; Tanaka, Sanette

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

Realtors association CEO discusses South Florida market


Leading the largest local Realtors association in the nation, Teresa King Kinney has some insights into Miami’s residential real estate market.

Teresa King Kinney, CEO of Miami Association of Realtors.
Teresa King Kinney, CEO of Miami Association of Realtors.
Title: CEO of Miami Association of Realtors
Years in post: 19
Family: Married, with one son
Hometown: St. Joseph, Mo.

As CEO of the Miami Association of Realtors, Teresa King Kinney has a keen vantage point on South Florida’s real estate market.
She oversees the largest local group of real estate agents in the country, more than 26,000. Her association provides an array of services and resources for members to help them hone their professional and selling skills, including some 1,600 seminars a year, large and small.
But perhaps the group’s most significant event of the year in terms of impact is the Miami International Real Estate Congress, which started Sunday and continues through Wednesday at the Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables. The group, which focuses heavily on building international awareness of Miami real estate, is hosting agents from across the globe.
Immediately after the event, the National Association of Realtors is gathering in Orlando Friday to Nov. 12th.
Business Monday sat down in an interview with King Kinney, who later responded by email to questions about her association and the local market.
Q. The Miami Association of Realtors is hosting the Miami International Real Estate Congress, which started Sunday and runs through Wednesday. What trends are you seeing in international interest in Miami properties? What has your group done to build relationships with brokers in other countries to build Miami’s image?
International buyers continue to play a pivotal role in the local market, fueling a recovery unlike any other in the U.S. The Miami Association of Realtors has more than 100 partner associations worldwide. These relationships and the association’s international outreach programs continue to boost our market and result in Miami’s all-time sales record in 2011 and subsequent significant price appreciation.
International demand for Miami properties continues to grow. While Florida’s market share of international buying activity in the U.S. declined over the last year, Miami’s grew by more than 10 percent. Nearly one-third of all international transactions in Florida take place in Miami.Q. Where is most of the foreign buyer interest in South Florida real estate coming from these days? Are you seeing growing interest from some nations and less from others?
While Miami is undoubtedly attracting demand from buyers and investors worldwide, it remains a hotspot for Latin American buyers. In Miami, 70 percent of international sales are to Latin American buyers, followed by Western Europeans, who account for 18 percent of local international sales. Miami also attracts buyers from North America, Eastern Europe, Asia, Africa, and Australia.
Latin Americans, not even including top markets of Brazil and Venezuela, prefer Miami over any other market in Florida by a significant margin of 65.8 percent. No other market even comes close.
Not surprisingly, Venezuelan buyers also greatly favor Miami, with 67.4 percent of Venezuelans choosing Miami followed by Fort Lauderdale with 16.3 percent, for a total of 83.7 percent.
Miami is also the top choice for Brazilian buyers, who are nine percent of international buyers in Florida. Nearly 50 percent of Brazilian buyers choose Miami, followed by Fort Lauderdale at 18.6 percent, for a total of 68.6 percent.Q. What obstacles or bumps in the road do you see to the continued recovery of the Miami residential market? In other words, what are some of the key challenges? Are you concerned about access to mortgages? How about the possibility of another cycle of overbuilding of condominiums?
Unnecessarily restrictive underwriting standards continue to prevent many qualified buyers from obtaining mortgages. While standards were not strict enough during the subprime mortgage crisis, now the pendulum has swung too far. Eliminating or reducing excessive restrictions would further boost our market and provide much needed mortgage financing to our residents.
Miami’s position as a global city, combined with its strategic location, its role in international banking and as an international corporate hub, and its multicultural affinity will continue to attract both U.S. and international buyers and investors long into the future.
Demand for housing is evident. We have a strong rental market, nearly 100 percent residential occupancy rates in downtown Miami, and a growing population. Also the dynamics of our market are very different from those of the last boom in terms of the capital being used to fund new projects. Many new projects are being funded by much heavier deposits from purchasers. Miami’s ability to absorb high levels of inventory is unparalleled. New construction which is within our increased acceptable ranges will have no problem.Q. Do you think that banks will be able to sell off their distressed residential holdings without disrupting the broader market? That is, do you expect the shadow inventory to be absorbed without major upheaval to the recovery in South Florida housing?
We don’t expect shadow inventory to significantly impact our market in the future, because it will be absorbed as soon as it hits the market as buyers, investors and the market are waiting for and need more inventory — as we have seen, and was confirmed by the chief economist for the National Association of Realtors.
Also, research by Florida Realtors indicates that concern over shadow inventory in Florida is probably highly overrated, because shadow inventory is easing while sufficient demand absorbs supply.
Distressed sales have declined 12 percent in Miami-Dade County compared to year-ago levels, and there continues to be great demand for distressed properties. Further, in many cases one same property generated more than one lis pendens [notice of foreclosure], erroneously indicating much higher shadow inventory than the reality.
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Read more here:

Market Trends - Broward County, Florida, October 2012

Broward County - Southeast Florida MLS Board
This information is a combination of all residential properties.
Number of homes for Sale vs. Sold vs. Pended
Days on Market & Sold/List Price Ratio
All reports presented are based on data supplied by the Mid-Florida Regional MLS, Realtor Association of Greater Miami and the Beaches, Realtor Association of Miami-Dade County, Realtor Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale, Northwestern Dade Association of Realtor, Realtor Association of The Palm Beaches, Jupiter, Tequesta, Hobe Sound Association of Realtors, St. Lucie Association of Realtors, RMLS (direct members), Realtor Boards of Southwest Florida, Realtor Association of Greater Fort Myers and The Beach, Suncoast MLS of PRO Biz, Inc. or their MLSs. Neither the Associations nor their MLSs guarantee or are in anyway responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the Associations or their MLS may not reflect all real estate activities in the market. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

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Market Trends - Miami Dade County October 2012

Dade County - Southeast Florida MLS Board
This information is a combination of all residential properties.
Number of homes for Sale vs. Sold vs. Pended
Days on Market & Sold/List Price Ratio
All reports presented are based on data supplied by the Mid-Florida Regional MLS, Realtor Association of Greater Miami and the Beaches, Realtor Association of Miami-Dade County, Realtor Association of Greater Fort Lauderdale, Northwestern Dade Association of Realtor, Realtor Association of The Palm Beaches, Jupiter, Tequesta, Hobe Sound Association of Realtors, St. Lucie Association of Realtors, RMLS (direct members), Realtor Boards of Southwest Florida, Realtor Association of Greater Fort Myers and The Beach, Suncoast MLS of PRO Biz, Inc. or their MLSs. Neither the Associations nor their MLSs guarantee or are in anyway responsible for its accuracy. Data maintained by the Associations or their MLS may not reflect all real estate activities in the market. Information deemed reliable but not guaranteed.

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Friday, November 9, 2012

Builder confidence in 55+ market skyrockets

WASHINGTON – Nov. 8, 2012 – Builder confidence in the 55+ housing market for single-family homes showed significant improvement in the third quarter of 2012 compared to the same period a year ago, according to the National Association of Home Builders’ (NAHB) latest 55+ Housing Market Index (HMI) released today. The index more than tripled year over year from a level of 12 to 36, which is the highest third-quarter reading since the first index in 2008.

“Many builders and developers in the 55+ housing segment are reporting an increase in demand from consumers,” says NAHB 50+ Housing Council Chairman W. Don Whyte. “We’re seeing improvement in certain parts of the country where people are moving off the fence and either purchasing a home or renting an apartment designed to more specifically suit their lifestyle.”

There are separate 55+ HMIs for three segments of the 55+ housing market: single-family homes, multifamily condominiums and rental apartments. Each index measures builder sentiment based on a survey that asks if current sales, prospective buyer traffic and anticipated six-month sales for that market are good, fair or poor (high, average or low for traffic). An index number below 50 indicates that more builders view conditions as poor than good.

Although all components of the 55+ single-family HMI remain below 50, they at least doubled from a year ago: present sales climbed 25 points to 36, expected sales for the next six months increased 27 points to 42 and traffic of prospective buyers rose 20 points to 33.

The 55+ multifamily condo HMI had a significant increase of 13 points to 23, which is the highest third-quarter reading since the inception of the index in 2008; however, condos remain the weakest segment of the 55+ housing market. All 55+ multifamily HMI components increased considerably compared to a year ago as present sales rose 13 points to 22, expected sales for the next six months jumped 19 points to 29 and traffic of prospective buyers climbed 11 points to 22.

Meanwhile, the 55+ multifamily rental indices, which already recovered substantially last year, showed continued but more modest increases in the third quarter: present production climbed six points to 31, expected future production increased nine points to 35 and current demand for existing units and expected future demand improved two points to 42 and 44, respectively.

“Like other segments of the housing industry, the market for 55+ housing is continuing on a steady upward path, driven by improving conditions in additional markets around some parts of the country,” says NAHB Chief Economist David Crowe.

Crowe says he expects the positive trend to continue, but “the speed of the recovery is being constrained by factors such as tight mortgage credit, making it difficult for potential 55+ customers to sell their current homes, and shortages of inputs to construction such as buildable lots that are beginning to emerge in some market areas.”

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Faster short sale guidelines start today

WASHINGTON – Nov. 1, 2012 – Starting today, Nov. 1, 2012, new short sale guidelines spearheaded by the Federal Housing Finance Agency (FHFA) go into effect. The new rules impact all mortgages under the federally controlled Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

One part of the change allows a handful of the nation’s larger mortgage servicers to approve a short sale without needing Fannie or Freddie to sign off on it. Servicers include in the agreement are:

• CMG Mortgage Insurance Company
• Essent Guaranty Inc.
• Genworth Mortgage Insurance Corporation
• Mortgage Guaranty Insurance Corporation
• PMI Mortgage Insurance Company
• Radian Guaranty, Inc., Republic Mortgage Insurance Company

“We applaud the nation's mortgage insurers for committing to work with us and our servicers to help more borrowers obtain short sales and other foreclosure alternatives,” says Tracy Mooney, senior vice president, servicing and REO at Freddie Mac. “By paving the way for more borrowers to avoid foreclosure, today’s announcement will support the housing recovery and help reduce taxpayer losses.”

In addition to quicker short sale approval, other changes become effective today. They including new guidelines for homeowners hit by a financial hardship, moved by the military or held back by a home’s second mortgage:

• Borrowers facing an approved hardship don’t have to be delinquent.

• Service members with Permanent Change of Station orders have greater flexibility, including the elimination of back-end debt-to-income ratios or a cash contribution promissory note.

• Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac won’t pursue deficiency judgments in certain cases under new rules. Servicers will evaluate borrowers as part of the short sale approval process.

• FHFA gave servicers more consistent guidelines to process and execute short sales, and consolidate existing short sales programs into a single uniform program.

• Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will offer up to $6,000 to second lien holders to expedite a short sale.

For more information, visit the
National Association of Realtors® website.

© 2012 Florida Realtors®

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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

5 photo apps let you edit on the run

NEW YORK – Nov. 6, 2012 – Photo apps these days are all about picture taking, editing, filtering, animating, printing – and, all important in the eyes of many, sharing them with your social networks.

Many of the apps, including Adobe Photoshop Express, Cinemagram, Pic Stitch and Postal Pix are geared for honing your images and giving them keeper status after a vacation or sojourn around town. But they can be used back at the hotel or during a restaurant reprieve, too.

The very popular Instagram, on the other hand, is very much oriented to use in the picture-taking moment. But you can use it to gaze at your friends’ and other users’ handiwork anytime, on the train or during a break in the workday.

Here are five top photo apps, all of which can be downloaded for free:

Adobe Photoshop Express (iPhone, Android)
A slim version of the photo-editing classic Photoshop, Adobe Photoshop Express is an easy and efficient editing tool. Just take a photo or select one from your camera, Photo Stream or free account, adjust the brightness or exposure, play with the saturation or tint, colorize the image and tack on a border.

It’s annoying to get pitched an Adobe Effects Pack ($2.99) and Adobe Border Pack ($1.99), though you can use the app without them. And sliding a finger across a smartphone or tablet to precisely edit an image can be awkward.

Share the images on, Facebook, Flickr, Twitter and Tumblr or by e-mail.

Cinemagram (iPhone)
Cinemagram is fun. But it may be considered a mere novelty app as it lets you take a video and turn it into a hybrid – a video within a photo. You take a video of your daughter prancing in front of Mount Rushmore, for instance, keep her in motion in the video portion of the Cinemagram and retain the image of the four presidents and the Black Hills as a stationary background photo.

You can touch it all up with filters called Paris or Kingston, render it black and white, or give your Cinemagram a vintage appearance before sharing it on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr or Cinemagram, where you can view other people’s works. You can geo-tag the Cinemagram to identify its location.

Instagram (iPhone and Android)
Instagram is more than a photo app. It’s a social network, too. You can view a friend’s pic of his mutt clad in a red sweater or gaze at New York City taxis submerged in water after Superstorm Sandy hit town.

The app is very intuitive. You take photos or access existing ones from your devices. Plentiful filters and effects turn ordinary photos into professional-looking images.

Instagram is all about sharing, and you can easily upload photos to Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, Tumblr, Foursquare and your Instagram photo map, which plots where your images were taken.

It’s a wonderful discovery tool, and with 80 million users sharing, there are photographic riches to gawk at.

Pic Stitch (iPhone)
Pic Stich also could be considered a novelty. But you can use it to create attractive photo collages by grouping multiple images into a framed photo and share them on social networks.

There are 32 photo layouts to choose from, and framed photo collections are easy to create. You can double-tap a frame to select, tap an image to edit it, and shake your iPhone or iPad to wipe out what you’ve done and start over. Editing tools run the gamut, although they aren’t particularly sophisticated.

As with Adobe Photoshop Express, Pic Stitch pitches add-ons: Borders Add-on and Nostalgia Effects are 99 cents each. You can send framed collections to Walgreens for printing, although image sizes are limited.

Postal Pix (iPhone)
Postal Pix is all about making prints of your pictures, and that makes it seem a tad old school.

But if you want to hold a glossy image in your hand, Postal Pix is fairly easy to use. You select images, pick their sizes and add features such as “1-millimeter-thick high-grade aluminum with a glossy, scratch-resistant surface.” Three 5x7 prints with no extras cost $2.67 and take two to seven business days to arrive, Postal Pix says.

There’s no Facebook or Twitter registration feature, and it’s clunky to type your name and address on an iPhone to get started. You can’t upload images from photo-sharing sites without transferring them to your Photo Stream or iPhone.

© Copyright 2012 USA TODAY, a division of Gannett Co. Inc., Dennis Schaal, special for USA TODAY.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Important: Your Real Estate Taxes are now payable in November with 4% Discount

Paying Your Real Estate Taxes

Real Estate Taxes are collected on an annual basis by the Tax Collector's Office. The tax year runs from January through December.
Tax notices are mailed on or before November 1 of each year, with the following discounts offered:
  • 4% if paid in November
  • 3% if paid in December
  • 2% if paid in January
  • 1% if paid in February
  • Gross tax if paid in March, no discount applies
Real Estate Taxes become delinquent on April 1 of the following year in which they were assessed. As of April 1, a 3% penalty is added to the gross tax amount due. Discounts do not apply to delinquent payments. Delinquent taxes for past years must be paid by cashier's check or money order. Personal checks will not be accepted.
If a taxpayer does not receive a tax notice in November, it is the taxpayer's responsibility to contact the tax collector's office to request a duplicate bill.
Pursuant to Florida Statute 197.122, all property owners are held to know that taxes are due and payable annually. They are charged with the duty of ascertaining the amount of current and delinquent taxes due.