Chances are, if you don’t have a Smartphone, you have been pondering the idea of purchasing one. For those constantly on the go, they’ve replaced laptops and PCs. As a result, more websites are becoming “mobile friendly.” In order for you and your clients to have a better mobile experience, consider following some (or all) of the following tips:
- Brevity is key. Lengthy paragraphs consume bandwidth. Keep your web content brief. Eliminate Flash – it hogs memory and isn’t compatible with many mobile devices.
- Turn the tables. Since you probably don’t have every wireless device available, use HowToGoMo.com to evaluate your site’s appearance on mobile devices. You can check button sizes and your site’s searchability (to name a couple), with a complete suite of functions to ensure a better mobile experience.
- Safety first. Having an app like “Red Alert” will give you peace of mind when you’re out and about. With features like automatic 911 dialing and hospital locations, you can rest assured that you’re safe with this app.
- Receipts be gone! When you’re constantly on the go, tracking expense receipts can become a challenge. With the “Expensify” app, you can use your smartphone’s camera to digitally track your receipts – and cut out the paper mess.
- How far? An app called “MileBug” lets you track mileage for one or more cars. It also lets you move files seamlessly to your PC or laptop.
- “Magic” floorplans. The “MagicPlan” app allows users to create interactive floorplans with your smartphone. You can easily make measurements and publish results to your website.
- Track your leads. With the “Open Home Pro” app, you can sign in clients at Open Houses, then immediately send them a thank you with more information about properties. If the status changes on a property, you can notify the attendees of the change.
With a little time and effort, these tips can help you better manage your business on the go, letting you focus on the most important thing: your customers.
Conventional wisdom typically views the winter months as the quietest time in real estate. While it’s true that people tend to hold off on significant life changes around the holidays, savvy agents can use the time for networking, re-certifications, and continuing education. That way, they’re set to go when the market heats up in the first months of the year – with new skills and a list of potential clients.
But, there’s another way agents can take advantage of the time – especially if they have properties on the market: winter open houses. Not only does it mean less competition, but it also means that sellers may find a pool of more serious buyers – such as parties relocating to the area in the 1st quarter.
With most new listings taking place in the spring, agents with sellers on tap for the new year can benefit from “early” listings. It allows a home to stand out early – instead of just being another needle in the haystack. It also increases the likelihood of offers that stick.
Speaking with the Star-Ledger, Prudential’s Marilyn Bailey states it best: “[Winter] is a nice time of year to shop — not as many buyers are out there, so you’re not competing with other offers as much.”
When you’ve decided on the house that is “the” house for you and your family, you make what’s called a “good faith” deposit. This money goes into the agent’s “escrow account” until details of the purchase agreement have been solidified between the buyer and seller. Once the purchase agreement is complete, the money in the escrow account is transferred to an “escrow agent.”
This stage of the process is called “escrow.” Escrow is considered “open” as soon as the buyer’s good faith deposit reaches the escrow agent / escrow company (stand-ins may be a title company, an attorney, or any agent authorized by your state to “close” a real estate transaction). It is at this point that an escrow agent and a unique file number are both assigned to the account.
This escrow agent will be responsible for tracking escrow through to closing. He or she will also be the point of contact for parties involved in the transaction (buyers and sellers) and will have the ability to give ongoing status and answer any questions regarding everything in the escrow process – from title search to insurance. Once all the documents have been gathered and signed, money “officially” changes hands, and escrow (and the transaction / sale) is deemed “closed.”
Qualifying for a mortgage has become more of a challenge these days, but there are things that you can do to increase your odds of getting the best loan.
- Review your credit report. Make sure everything being reported belongs to you and reflects your true payment record. Contact individual creditors to request corrections. Once the creditor has corrected the error(s), check your credit report to ensure your record has been updated accurately.
- Clean up credit. Make timely payments, pay off any collections and pay down credit card balances. Not only will it increase your credit score, it will show to potential creditors that you’re being responsible with your obligations and keeping debt levels low.
- Be honest. Don’t neglect to document credit issues, sources of income, or assets. Not only could such omissions delay application and/or approval, they could lead to a denial of credit altogether.
- Gather documentation. Ensure your paystubs, investment and bank statements are accurate, both in amounts, names, and addresses. If you’re putting a down payment on the property, be prepared to provide documentation on the source of the funds.
- Review Good Faith estimates. Make sure you’re comparing apples to apples and know all the fine print of the loan(s). Don’t just focus on paying the lowest APR, as there can be negative terms buried in the fine print, such as prepayment penalties and origination fees.
While some of these steps may take several months to complete, they can pay off in the end by allowing you the best loan with the lowest rate possible.