What to Look for in the Final Walk Through!

winnersThe time has finally come! You’ve looked at houses, found the perfect one made your offer and secured your mortgage, now it’s time to sign the closing papers. There is one more step to do before the closing occurs, the final walk-through. This usually occurs 48 hours before the closing.

What should you look for? While you might be tempted to just enjoy looking at your new house and all its possibilities, you really need to be looking over the house. In your purchase and sale, there might have been a list of items staying with the house. Are they all present? Also, is everything else removed or at least ready to be moved? You don’t want to be stuck with the seller’s junk.

Were there some repairs to be made prior to closing? Have they been rectified and do they have receipts for the work? Also is there any new damage to the house made when the sellers were moving out? Any new water damage after the home inspection?

Also, check to make sure that everything is in working order. Check faucets, tubs, showers, windows, and the heating system. Turn on lights and go through the garage. It should be working as properly as at the home inspection.

If you do spot something wrong, talk to your realtor about it. They will most likely be at the walk-through with you. Now is the time to rectify the problem with the seller. They are eager to close as well.

Now you can attend the closing with peace of mind and all the excitement it deserves.

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Be Wary of Internet Hoaxes and Scams!

Agent Rising BlogInternet Scams and Hoaxes are Rampant today. There are viruses which come in the form of an e-mail from someone you “may” know, hoaxes which could be chain letters, false virus alerts, and scams asking you to visit a site and confirm your account information in order to receive money.

A common type of scam is a fake e-mail from a bank, or other reputable source asking you to visit a website and enter personal information. Scammers take a lot of time to make these e-mails look professional, and then will use your personal information for identity theft. They can copy company logos to make it look more legitimate. Your bank would never call you looking for your personal information, so whether this happens on the phone or over the internet, hang up or delete the email. If you feel it could be legitimate, you can always call the institution and ask if the e-mail or call is actually from them. Err on the side of caution. You should never be giving out your account number or credit card information on an unsolicited call or e-mail.

Strangers are very unlikely to be handing out free money. That is another scam. This will lead you to a website to collect your private information. Delete these e-mails right away.

A fairly new scam is circulating for real estate. A rental property will be listed on a site like Craigslist, with pictures and descriptions. The scammers will ask for a rental deposit site unseen, and will then send the keys along. These usually seem like great deals, but you are unable to tour the property first and are asked to send money to a site before you receive the keys. Beware of this! Drive by the property first and see if you can get in touch with the real estate company representing the property. These are usually houses for sale, and the scammer uses the pictures on the internet to list it as a rental. The agent and the seller has no idea this is listed for rent. You are literally throwing your money away. A legitimate renter will always let you look at the property first and there will be a lease to sign before any money is exchanged.

Be wary on the internet. If something seems to be too good to be true it probably is.

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The Power of Google Drive!

agent rising with googleWhat is Google Drive and how can it make you a better agent? Well, Google Drive is a system to help you organize your paperwork and have it available on the Google Cloud and accessible from any of your devices at any time.

Paperless is the new catchword and Google Drive can help you achieve this. It goes hand in hand with GMail and is very easy to use. When you start your paperwork with a new client, whether it be a buyer or seller, you can open a new folder on your Google Drive with the address or client’s name. As you fill out offers and contracts with your client, you can scan documents onto your computer and load them into this folder on your Drive. From there you can share the information with other parties, such as your office manager or the closing attorney. You can share the whole folder and as you download more documents into the folder they will be shared with the people you designate.

This is a great tool to keep you organized. These documents are available from any device you use, such as your smartphone or tablet and you will never have to worry that you don’t have the correct document with you.

It also has the convenience of saving documents to your drive right from your email at the click of a button. You can then move this into the correct folder. It only takes two small clicks.

Keeping up with your paperwork becomes much easier if you load your paperwork onto your drive as you go along, instead of waiting until it piles up.

You can also download the Google Drive App onto your tablet or Smartphone.

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How to Up Your Marketing in Real Estate

agent risingReal estate marketing is a continual process. It is not something you do once and wait for the results. It is something you should be continually working on to grow your clientele.

Set up your goals. Where do you see yourself in the near future? Your goals should be specific and reachable in a timely manner.

Define the group of people you would like to work with and set your goals to them.

Find your niche. Set yourself apart from other realtors in a certain area, such as commercial, multi-family, farm property and become an expert at it. You want them to feel you are an expert.

Practice talking about your strengths and what makes you different from other agents and why they should choose you.

Arm yourself with information of the neighborhoods you’d like to be an expert in.

Maximize your referrals. Keep in touch with past clients with thank yous and pop-bys. A hand-written note is always a good touch. If you reach out to them, they will remember you and hence send you a referral.

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Massachusetts Realtor Continuining Education!

brandyourselfMassachusetts Realtors are required to renew their license every two years from the date of their birthday following obtaining their license.   They are also required to complete 12 Continuing Education units (CEU’S) in that time period.  While two years might seem like a long time to complete your CEU’s , many realtors are surprised how quickly it passes and that they are due to renew, but have not completed their CEU’s.  While it is good advice to start working on your CEU’s right away, you need not despair if you fall behind.

Ideally, you would consistently work on obtaining your CEU’s  through local classes.  Some agencies offer CEU classes for their agents, such as Bold Moves Real Estate.  You can also take classes at your local real estate association.  Greater New Bedford Association of Realtors regularly offers CEU credit classes at their New Bedford location.  If you are a member, you can visit the website to see a list of upcoming classes and dates.

The Massachusetts Association of Realtors also offers online courses for CEU’s. This can be a great help if you have fallen behind and need to catch up quickly.  Many of the classes are free for members.

Another great tip is to scan your CEU certificates into your Google Drive under a folder marked : CEU.  This way you will have your credits available in one place so you can quickly see how many credits you have and how many more you need for recertification.

Visiting your local real estate association is a great source of information.  Most of the classes are free if you are a member.   There are also private online sources for CEU classes but they may charge for their classes.

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Do You Know Your Technology Today?

Agent Rising BlogDo you know the latest technology out there today?  Last week at the Technology Fair at the Greater New Bedford Association of Realtors, Kate MacGregor went over some of the must-have Apps in Real Estate.

Here are some of the Apps which you can download for free to help you practice y0ur real estate quicker and more efficiently.

Docusign is an invaluable app to obtain signatures when clients are far away and when time is of the essence.

Google  Gmail and Google Drive are a great tool to keep you organized.  You can download all your important documents to your Google Drive and keep them on the Cloud.  This way they are always accessible from any device.

Videolicious is a great App to make video slideshows with music of your listings.  This can help you get the house sold.

MLSPIN  Agent is a great App to help you easily get into MLS and use it more efficiently.

Home Snap is a great App.  Take a picture of any house and it will show you all kinds of information on the house including the price if it is for sale.

Open Home Pro is a great App to help you with the planning and implementation of  your Open House.

Skitch is a great App and can also be used in conjunction with Videolicious to put captions on the photos you use.

Cam Scanner is a great App that uses your camera to scan in photos and documents.

White Pages and ZIP Code are great Apps to help you find and store information  on your clients.

These are just some of the Apps you can download to help you operate more efficiently.   Visit us at for more real estate tips.

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When is a Good Time to Sell Your House? Now!

Agent RisingWhen is a good time to sell your house?  There are a lot of factors which can play into this but the spring market has already started.  Buyers are out and looking and inventory is down. It is a seller’s market at this stage of the game.  Putting your house out there now is a good idea before more houses flood the market.  You will find more competition which means a better selling price.

That being said, when you decide to put your house on the market, is a personal decision.  There are many reasons why you are thinking of putting your house on the market, personal as well as financial.  Once, you have decided to move ahead, find out your loan payoff, include closing costs and commissions so you have an idea what you can afford to put your house on for.  Then think about finding a real estate agent to help you with finding comparable properties to see what your house should be listed at.  They can help you with current marketing conditions and how long it will take your house to sell.

Next, you will need to declutter, clean, and make necessary repairs to help make your home desirable to sell.  The more you do this before you put it on the market, the more attractive it will look and the quicker it will sell.

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What Makes You Special?

Agent RisingThere is something unique and special about everyone. Often that is what makes them memorable. In real estate, you want to be memorable. There is a very good chance that the buyer or seller you just closed a successful transaction with won’t need your services again in the immediate future. It is important to think about how you can make sure they remember you, whether it is six months later to refer you to a friend, or 6 years later to find them a new home.
The relationship you develop with your client is key, your follow-up after the sale is important, but memorable marketing can make the difference. You need to stand out from the crowd. Maybe you are an avid sailor and can specialize in “smooth sailing” with your clients. Or, you own a classic car that will bring some “class” to your marketing materials. Or, you run a marathon every year for charity and pledge to “outrun the competition”. If you got first place in the local pie-making competition, you can promise them a “blue ribbon” commitment to excellence. Whatever your distinction is, it can help you stay memorable in someone’s mind.
Follow-up is always an important part of the business too. Keeping in touch with your clients after the transaction will keep you fresh in their minds also, whether it be an anniversary card on the date they moved into their new house, or a Christmas hello, or a pop-by gift. This will help them remember you when they may need your services again or a referral to a friend or family member.

Also a key ingredient to forming a lasting business relationship is treating them with respect and honesty and putting their needs first. This will certainly cement you in their mind.
Find your specialness and use it! Think about yourself and all your good qualities, or get your best friend to help if you find it difficult. You are special in many ways. Find that something unique and real about you that will make you memorable and use it!
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Real Estate Trends 2014!

hopeislikethesunWhat will 2014 bring in real estate?  That’s a popular question.  Real estate recovery still hinges on job growth.  Job and income and wage growth are still slowly coming back and that will hold back real estate recovery.  This is not likely to change quickly.  Cities and towns with low unemployment may see better recovery than those with higher unemployment rates.

Multi-family apartment building will slow down.  There was a  lot of  multi-family building in the past.  That will slow down and there will be  less of a demand.

Condo development will also be slow and less likely to recover as much as the single-family home. Developers will be slow to put up new condo buildings.

Inventory is coming back.  Distressed  properties are on the downslide  and sellers are looking at better profits.  The buyer’s market is gone and sellers know that interest rates may be on the rise as well as home prices.   This will help them squeeze a better price out for their house.

Lending standards may loosen a little next year but it is not a given.  People may be seeking other routes at finding funds beside their tradional banks and lending institutions.

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What is the Relationship Between a Real Estate Agent and His or Her Broker?

marketingskillsA real estate agent is an independent contractor. Each agent is self employed and responsible for running his or her own real estate business. Some real estate agents seem to believe that they work for the broker. In fact, it is the real estate broker that should be working for the agent, not vice-versa! Agents basically outsource some key business items to their brokerage, such as certain marketing items, administration, escrow, legal and some lead generation. The relationship between and broker and agent is a business to business relationship, and it is therefore critical for agents to review the benefits of being associated with a broker every few years to make sure they are getting the most out of their business. Here are a few questions agents should think about when reviewing their brokerage relationships:

1. Am I getting what I need from the broker to run my business successfully (ie: business cards, marketing materials and leads capturing ability)?

2. Am I able to grow my business or am I restricted by my environment?

3. Do I have an equal opportunity to become a top producer in my firm, or does the broker “play favorites?”

4. Are my ideas to improve the brokerage taken seriously?

5. Does my broker adapt to changing technology and is the brokerage able to stay competitive in the current market?

A good Agent-Broker relationship is essential to your career. It should be a “Win, Win” situation for both.

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