Locate a GRI GRI Designation Real Estate Masters e-PRO Certification

Monday, August 31, 2009

Where are Interest Rates Going?

Dean C. Piller by GRI Instructor Dean C. Piller
Teaches GRI Course 109 - Residential Real Estate Finance, West Los Angeles College Instructor, Mortgage Broker
View future classes taught by Dean C. Piller

When applying for a real estate loan, borrowers are faced with the dilemma of when is the best time to lock in their loan. The longer the lock period, the higher the interest rate, and conversely, the shorter the lock period, the lower the interest rate. Here are a few facts you should be aware of.

If the borrower locks in an interest rate at the beginning of the loan process for 30 or 45 days and interest rates go up, they will be protected, as long as the loan closes before the lock expires. If the loan is delayed for any reason and cannot close on time, the borrower may be stuck with a higher interest rate.

If the borrower chooses to float their interest rate and lock only when the loan is ready to close, they will get a better interest rate than what is offered for a 30-day lock. With a short-term lock, however, you will be subject to the current rates, and if they are higher, you will have wished you had locked your loan in sooner.

What should you do? Guessing the market is very tricky, and every lender is different. My suggestion is to work with a lender that will allow you to float down your locked interest rate if rates get better without penalty. That way, you can lock in a rate to protect yourself, and if rates go up, you’re OK. If rates go down, the lender will allow you to float down to the better rate. Ask these questions at the beginning of the loan process, not at the closing!

Friday, August 28, 2009

GRI California classes for the week of Aug 31

GRI Schedule

San Jose - Sep 1 (Tue) - GRI #100 Agency Relations...
San Jose - Sep 1 (Tue) - GRI #101 Ethics, Professi...
Pasadena - Sep 2 (Wed) - GRI #111 Investment Prope...
Corona - Sep 4 (Fri) - GRI #107 Technology Appli...
Santa Cruz - Sep 4 (Fri) - GRI #111 Investment Prope...

More information: All GRI schedules | How to Register | (888) 785-4800

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Justify Your Value to Every Client

Michael Soon Lee by GRI Instructor Michael Soon Lee, MBA, CSP, CRS, GRI

Author: "111 Ways to Justify Your Commission" and "Black Belt Negotiating"

Very few professionals have to justify their fee to their clients but in real estate, it’s essential. For some reason, both buyers and sellers believe that we do little to earn our money so you’ve got to show them your value if you want to get paid what you’re worth. I give every buyer, seller, FSBO and expired listing a separate list of over 100 things I do to earn my commission. It always amazes them to see how much work actually goes into selling or buying a home and after they see my list my fee is rarely an issue.

So start today to make your own list of what you do to earn your money. Every time you perform a service for a buyer or seller jot it down and add it to your list. You might even be surprised about how little you’re paid for all of the work you do!

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Great Solution to a Common Listing Problem!

Where do you post your listings? How long does it take? Are you looking for a better solution to get your listings up faster and on more websites?

You can simplify the process of creating and posting your listings by using Postlets.


Simply include as much information about your property as you can, upload a picture and when you are done, your listing will automatically be posted on the following sites:You will also be given a code and instructions on how to quickly and easily post your listing on craigslist or any other website. You can also embed a “mini” version of your listing on your website or your blog.

Don't have your own website? You won't need one. Just showcase all your listings on Postlets. You get your own dedicated site with all your listings and an “About Me” page.

With the free account you can post as many listing as you want, but are limited to only 6 pictures per listing.

You can upgrade each listing to a PRO listing for more options and a more impressive looking listing. The upgrade costs $10 per listing.

Friday, August 21, 2009

California GRI classes for the week of August 24

GRI Schedule

Visalia - Aug 26 (Wed) - GRI #111 Investment Prope...
Lancaster - Aug 27 (Thu) - GRI #108 GRI Risk Managem...
Fresno - Aug 27 (Thu) - GRI #107 Technology Appli...
San Gabriel - Aug 28 (Fri) - GRI #100 Agency Relations...
San Gabriel - Aug 28 (Fri) - GRI #101 Ethics, Professi...
San Diego - Aug 28 (Fri) - GRI #102 Trust Fund Manag...
San Diego - Aug 28 (Fri) - GRI #104 Fair Housing...

More information: All GRI schedules | How to Register | (888) 785-4800

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tips to Get That Listing in Showroom Ready Shape!

Jerry Kidd by GRI Instructor Jerry Kidd, GRI, CRS, CRB
Teaches GRI Course 107 - Real Property, Tax and Exchanging
View future classes taught by Jerry Kidd

Many markets that we work in are impacted by distressed properties...homes that may be in foreclosure, or need to do a short sale or even REO properties. If you are representing one of these homes, you have your work cut out for you in attracting the right buyer.

We all know that homes that are staged properly can often sell quicker or for a higher dollar than homes where little or no effort has been expended to manage the buyer experience. (You know this from your GRI 106 Course!) Even if your seller is not in a distress situation, they may be impacted by nearby homes that are distressed.

The problem with staging is that it can be quite expensive to do if you hire a professional stager. Many of us are called upon by our sellers to offer tips on how to best present their homes to prospective buyers. If you are like me, that presented a nearly insurmountable problem...my decorating skills are at the bottom of things that I can do well!

Recently I attended REBarCampSF (Click on the link if you don’t know what that is...go ahead, we’ll wait here patiently until you come back) in San Francisco where I became aware of the work of Alice T. Chan. Alice is a home stager and educator who has assembled a Staging Home Study Course as well nearly a dozen videos that will walk you through the process of helping your client stage their home. While the course will likely have a cost (It’s not released at the time of this writing), the videos are free, and they offer a wealth of tips on inexpensively adding some pizazz to your listings. The tips range from kitchens, baths, exteriors, landscaping, painting and more. Alice even takes you into a Lowe's to show you how to buy inexpensive lighting and plumbing fixtures!

If your listing needs some paint, there are a couple of free tools from Benjamin Moore that are outstanding! One is an iPhone App (Free and requires an iPhone of course) that will allow you to photograph something that has that perfect color you want to match. It then will show you the closest color in stock at Benjamin Moore and then shows you a palette of compatible colors. Great for deciding on colors for trim and accents.

But, if you or your client need to “see” how the color will work in their home BEFORE spending the money on paint, then you need to get on over to a Benjamin Moore store and pick up their “Personal Color Viewer” a $10.00 CD (or available as a download from their website.)

This nifty tool allows you to upload a picture of the room (or exterior) of the house and then change the color of the walls and trim to your heart’s content until you end up with the perfect scheme that will win the hearts of your prospective buyers.

Sherwin Williams also offers an iPhone app (free) that is similar to the Benjamin Moore app. At the time of this writing, their online color matching service was unavailable so I couldn’t test it. It did not appear to be able to accept pictures of your house, although it did have several scenes that you could choose from that you could use to approximate what a different paint color would look like.

So, go visit Alice, get the tips that you need, and if the home needs paint, use either the Benjamin Moore website/CD or the Sherwin Williams website to help you choose the paint and get that listing sold!

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Should I Hold Title to Real Estate in a Living Trust?

Dean C. Piller by GRI Instructor Dean C. Piller
Teaches GRI Course 109 - Residential Real Estate Finance, West Los Angeles College Instructor, Mortgage Broker
View future classes taught by Dean C. Piller

Should I hold title to real estate in a Living Trust? A question that should be referred to an attorney and or tax expert qualified to evaluate your particular situation. Here are some general facts to know about Living Trusts.

Why do people use a Living Trust? Answer: To minimize or postpone death taxes, avoid time consuming and expensive probate, and shield property from attack of certain unsecured creditors.

Can a Trust hold title to a property? Answer: No! The Trustee actually holds title on behalf of the trust.

Can a Trustee borrow money on real estate in the Trust? Answer: Yes, if it is permitted by the trust. Be aware that some real estate lenders will not loan money to a trust, and the parties may be required to deed out of the trust to secure a loan, then deed the property back into the trust after the loan has funded.

Conclusion: Complex tax and legal questions should be referred to competent professionals.

Friday, August 14, 2009

California GRI classes for the week of August 17

GRI Schedule

Pleasanton - Aug 19 (Wed) - GRI #107 Technology Appli...
Thousand Oaks - Aug 20 (Thu) - GRI #112 Environmental Co...

More information: All GRI schedules | How to Register | (888) 785-4800

Free Online Photo Editor

Jerry Kidd by GRI Instructor Jerry Kidd, GRI, CRS, CRB
Teaches GRI Course 107 - Real Property, Tax and Exchanging
View future classes taught by Jerry Kidd

Have a need to edit photos quickly? Don't have access to your laptop or desktop computer where you have your normal photo editor?

No problem! Just point your browser to www.photoshop.com and use the FREE Adobe online picture editor and organizer.
Free Online Photo Editor


Photoshop.com offers a solution for managing, editing, storing, and sharing your photos online, with tutorials, inspiration and more. It is available from any web-enabled computer, compatible mobile phones, and directly from within Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 or Adobe Premiere Elements 7 software.

Well, it's free to store up to 2 GB, after that you have to pay. The service is currently available at two levels of membership--Basic and Plus. The Basic level is free with the option to purchase additional storage space starting at $19.99 per year. The Plus level costs $69.99 per year with 20 GB included storage space, and $129.99 per year with 100GB. (Plus-level membership is only available to customers who also purchase Adobe Photoshop Elements 7 or Adobe Premiere Elements 7 software. This is because you will need the Organizer in Photoshop Elements 7 or Premiere Elements 7 in order to use most of the additional features of Plus membership.)

Once a photo has been uploaded, you can perform the usual activities of resize, crop, rotate and exposure adjustments as well as utilize a number of fun effects.

Once you have your photos the way you want them you can share them with Facebook, Flickr, Photobucket, Picasa and share them in other public and private galleries.

For more details, spend some time on their FAQ page:
http://kb2.adobe.com/cps/405/kb405296.html

This product is not meant to replace the full Adobe Photoshop software, but it will give most of us all that we need in a photo editor for the best possible price...free!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Tech: Create and Track your Email Newsletters with MailChimp

When you are ready to send out your next email newsletter, try using MailChimp's free e-mail service that will send and track your email campaigns. Email marketing is a great way to attract clientele and spread the word about your new listing. However, it's difficult to know how many of the emails you send out are actually reaching their destination. By using a service like MailChimp, you will get detailed reports about how your email marketing campaign is doing.

Create and Track your Email Newsletters with MailChimp


Signing up is easy and after you provide MailChimp with information about you and your industry, not only will you receive information on your own campaign, but you will also see how your campaigns measure up to those of other Realtors.

The software itself is browser-based and very easy to use. You can create a subscription list by copying and pasting from an excel spreadsheet, or uploading from a .csv or tab delimited file.

Create and Track your Email Newsletters with MailChimp


You can also personalize the sign-up forms that allow people to join your mailing list.

Create and Track your Email Newsletters with MailChimp


Whether or not you are proficient in HTML, MailChimp makes it easy to design your email. They have great looking Real Estate themed graphics to choose from. If you don't find what you are looking for, you can always upload your own graphics. Upload pictures of your new listing, or any custom graphic that you have created.

Create and Track your Email Newsletters with MailChimp


Keep in mind that with the free version of MailChimp, a badge is displayed on every e-mail. If you decide to upgrade your account, the badge will be removed. You can also choose to keep it if you would like to receive referral rewards.

Create and Track your Email Newsletters with MailChimp


Once you have sent your e-mail, you can review the report on your campaign at any time. A pie chart will give you details on your campaign showing you how many emails were opened, unopened, or how many bounced. You can also see how many times people clicked on the links in your email or forwarded the message to others.

Create and Track your Email Newsletters with MailChimp


With a free account, you can have 100 subscribers and send out 6 emails a month. MailChimp is very flexible with their pricing. They offer set prices depending on the amount of subscribers you have (starting at $10 for 500 Subscribers,) or a pay-as-you-go price with rollover credits.

Friday, August 7, 2009

California GRI classes for the week of August 10

GRI Schedule

Laguna Hills - Aug 11 (Tue) - GRI #108 GRI Risk Managem...
San Luis Obispo - Aug 12 (Wed) - GRI #113 Real Property, T...
Vista - Aug 13 (Thu) - GRI #112 Environmental Co...
San Mateo - Aug 13 (Thu) - GRI #102 Trust Fund Manag...
San Mateo - Aug 13 (Thu) - GRI #104 Fair Housing...
Sacramento - Aug 13 (Thu) - GRI #109 Residential Real...

More information: All GRI schedules | How to Register | (888) 785-4800

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Don't Compete on Price!

Michael Soon Lee by GRI Instructor Michael Soon Lee, MBA, CSP, CRS, GRI

Author: "111 Ways to Justify Your Commission" and "Black Belt Negotiating"

If a client wants you to lower your fee for listing a house or finding him or her a home just because another agent is cheaper - think twice! If you do you are now competing on price and the lowest bidder wins the client but loses in the long run. Instead of lowering your fee explain why you charge a higher price. How can companies like Nordstrom, Lexus and Waterford charge premium prices even in this economy? Simple. People appreciate and are willing to pay for value. Sell value – not price.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

R.E. Masters is back in California


We are proud to announce the re-launch of R.E. Masters™, a diploma program that is an advanced learning series EXCLUSIVELY for GRIs. The premier series of the R.E. Masters™ program will be offered at the C.A.R. location, along with 5 other AORs. This series will be presented via C.A.R.'s Face2Face Video Conferencing.

Earning your R.E. Masters™ diploma will show you have obtained the knowledge and expertise needed to make your real estate career a total success.

Locations to hold the R.E. Masters™ diploma program will be:
Bakersfield AOR
Bakersfield
First Class: Aug 14, 2009
Solano AOR
Vallejo
First Class: Aug 14, 2009
San Luis Obispo AOR
San Luis Obispo
First Class: Aug 14, 2009
West San Gabriel AOR
San Gabriel
First Class: Aug 14, 2009
California AOR
Los Angeles
First Class: Aug 14, 2009
Greater Antelope Valley AOR
Palmdale
First Class: Aug 20, 2009

The R.E. Masters™ series consists of six 8-hour courses, offering 48 hours of CE credit that may be used toward DRE license renewal. The R.E. Masters™ diploma program:
  • #201 - Probate and the Foreclosure Process
  • #202 - Taxation of Transactions in Real Property
  • #203 - Tax, Financial and Estate Planning
  • #204 - Advanced Investment Property Analysis
  • #205 - Marketing in the Internet Age
  • #206 - Winning Negotiation Techniques
Call (888) 785-4800 to enroll or for more information.