The digital age has launched the real estate business world into more than just an understanding of market analysis reports and insurance replacement valuations. Today’s real estate appraisers need to understand website landing pages, white papers and social media platforms. To give an adequate example of the importance of social media; it is reported that if Facebook was actually a nation it would have the fourth largest population in the world. Those looking for business exposure need to understand how social media works in order to survive.

Social Media is Queen

1. Knowing Where Your Target Market Congregates

The lack of time and cost of gasoline may account for the fact that most people in the market for real estate services are using the internet to research companies. In the instance of purchasing a home, two statistics stand out in the 2010 National Association of Realtors Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers:

45% of all home buyers used online video to tour a potential home

Ÿ  74% of real estate clients used the internet to research all of the necessary avenues when purchasing or selling a home

This pales in comparison to the 29% that approached an agent in order to view a home. Consumers simply use the phone book less and the internet more to rely on accurate and up-to-date information about companies.

2. Answering Questions and Saving Time

Making use of social media platforms like YouTube and Facebook allows you to connect with your potential market any time of the day or night. Whether you’re a Sarasota or Bradenton Real Estate Appraiser (or located anywhere in between), placing answers to frequently asked questions right on your social networking sites can help save time and build trust in your company simultaneously. This can also be accomplished by creating an informative blog and using Facebook to promote new posts.

3. Door to Door Flyers are Dead

Old school methods of communicating and advertising just don’t work for the current real estate appraiser clients, and the door-to-door method certainly won’t cut it with the up-and-coming tech savvy generation. The average person spends a minimum of five of their entire waking hours attached to their computer, iPhone, iPad, Blackberry, or other form of electronic communication device. They are continually checking emails, Facebook status updates, or ‘surfing’ the internet for information.

4. Keeping Things Fresh With Market Analysis

Once you have created a blog and/or Facebook page it is possible to continually remind potential clients you are still ready to serve them. Utilizing items like an updated market analysis and sending out a Facebook post or ‘Tweet’ on Twitter is like sending out a virtual reminder postcard. The more people hear about your company, the more likely they are to use your services. If they are a past client, it may remind them to recommend you to someone they know. Social media is powerful! Use it to your advantage.

5. Social Media is Outranking Email

According to a 2010 digital study, email is no longer in the forefront of internet activities. People are spending 4.6 hours every week on social media sites like Twitter and Facebook. This is above the 4.2 hours on accessing email. With social media on the rise, it is vital that businesses become fluent in ‘Tweeting’, creating YouTube videos, feeding blog posts to Facebook and LinkedIn, and monitoring social networking sites for questions and potential leads. Keeping one step ahead of the competition is essential for any business at any age, and social media allows you to do just that!

As always, thank you for following my website. If there is a particular area of social media you find to be the most useful in your field, please leave us a comment and share the knowledge!

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Reserve Study Season is here!

by Patricia on August 5, 2013

Recently our books filled up with reserve studies quicker than ever, mostly because budget season is upon us with most condo associations starting their budget sessions in October.

While the bulk of appraisal work happens between January and May, reserve studies are a hot commodity between June and October.

Here is a list of items we will need when a community association manager (CAM) or an HOA or condo association orders an initial reserve study, meaning they never had a study done before:

  • All maintenance plans you have in place with maintenance providers
  • Current reserve balance
  • Interest rate
  • Operating budget
  • Complete list of your equipment
  • Invoices for recent repairs, replacement and new construction
  • Construction plans
  • Site plan
  • Your last reserve study, if any

When the inspection day comes, we will need access to all buildings, so make sure a representative of the board or the property management is present. All buildings will have to be measured on the exterior and the interior. Pools and other site improvements have to be accessible as well.

Hands of Couple Looking at Blueprints

If you have construction plans, please have them ready available for the analyst. And if you have a list of all your machinery and equipment, the data collection will be much easier and your reserve study will be completed in a much shorter timeframe.

During the inspection we will take a lot of photos, depending on the size of the assignment somewhere between one and three hundred.

After the inspection our first step is to develop the component list, which contains all assets, their in-service date, the useful and remaining life and the current cost per unit. The component list is the heart and soul of each reserve study and is the basis from which the data is entered into the software.

Our firm uses software developed in California. The law regulating reserves is probably the most stringent in California; therefore, in my opinion the Reserve Analyst® software is topnotch.

After we will have finished the data input, the software will calculate the reserves in three different reserve scenarios; current, threshold and fully funded models. This draft will be reviewed for accuracy and after possible necessary adjustments the final reserve study will be printed.

Board-Meeting

After delivering the study to our clients, our firm usually schedules a consulting session with the board and the property management to explain the ins and outs of the reserve study. The finalized study can be overwhelming with all the data and funding models it contains, especially for communities which never had a study done before. But we are here to help and our firm’s forte is to working closely with the client to avoid confusion and misinterpretation. Quite frankly, the best part of finalizing a reserve study is the interaction with the client, assisting, explaining and helping to plan for the future.

If you have questions about reserve studies, please call or email us at any time. You can also find a lot of information in the CAM library.

 

 

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The unintended consequences of Dodd-Frank

June 7, 2013

This article was published by Gulf Coast Business Review – Friday, May 31, 2013 The Author is Kevin F. Jursinski, a Florida Bar board-certified real estate and business litigation attorney in Fort Myers. I found this report in the Gulf Coast Business Review too important not to share in its original form with my clients. This is […]

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How Condominium Associations should select an Insurance Agent

May 28, 2013

Many of my clients still believe they should get as many bids as possible from insurance agents for their flood and wind coverage. During my site visits and inspections I hear this discussion over and over again. Therefore it is time to set the record straight and explain how the “bid process” really works. Here […]

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Buyer Beware – Or Why Condominium Insurance Purchase Is Not The Same Any Longer

May 20, 2013

The recent decision in the 4th District Court of Appeals case “Citizens Property Insurance Corporation vs. River Manor Condominium Association Inc.” sheds new light on F.S. 718.111(11)(f). Condominium association from now on should take extra care to know what property assets are included in their standard insurance policy and which are not. The River Manor […]

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Does your building need an ISO inspection?

May 5, 2013

First, let me clarify what ISO stands for: The Insurance Services Office (ISO) http://www.isopropertyresources.com/About-ISO/About-ISO-Root/ISO-Overveiw.html is a leading source of information for risk management in the insurance industry. ISO provides information for many professions and industry sectors like insurance carriers, finance sector, health services, and real estate in general. Their products help their customers to measure, […]

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Three Reasons the Housing Recovery may not last (a CNN Money Report)

April 22, 2013

This is the second time I am reading a report where economists are worried about cash buyers. The first report was about cash buyers in the Fort Myers area with a leading Realtor voicing concerns that cash buyers, who in most cases are investors and absentee owners, will bring change to the micro market and […]

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Citizens Extends the 2009 FIGA Assessment

March 29, 2013
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Finally – We Are There. Real Estate Is Back!

March 25, 2013

For the last seven years real estate sales dragged on and on and the prices came down significantly. Now the drought is finally over and residential real estate is on the road to success. There is still a large amount of foreclosures and bank owned property in the market and prices in this submarket are […]

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Cigar Smoking and Social Networking

January 12, 2013

Combining your professional business passions and your love for a good cigar, just makes sense!   Yes, it might come as a  surprise to many, but I really appreciate a good cigar from time to time. A couple of years ago I got my hands on some nice Cuban cigars (please don’t ask how) and […]

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