Real Estate Branding: Consumers, Commodities & Cameras – Onion Juice Podcast – Dec 4, 2017

We are beyond excited to jumpstart our Onion Juice Podcast partnership with:

Episode 116 – Real Estate Branding

Most people think that branding consists of your logo and a slogan that you pitch on your website and social media.

Our very own CIO & Chief Strategy Officer, Jason Frazier, joins Neil Mathweg to talk about what branding really is, common misconceptions associated with branding and how real estate agents can build a strong brand that helps establish trust.

3 Pillars of Real Estate Branding

Do your customers choose your brand first? This question gets right to the heart of branding. Branding isn’t about logos or slogans.

Branding is about forming a relationship with your customers — a relationship where they know your brand, they like it and trust it. Jason says branding is “what consumers say to other consumers about your business.”

Do consumers know about you? If they do, do they like working with you? Lastly, but most important, do they trust you?

These are the three critical pillars of growing a successful real estate business. Listen to the rest of the conversation to hear more about building a strong brand!

Commodity vs. Brand

There has been a recent shift in how people approach buying and selling real estate. Everything looks the same, agents are all using the same techniques and pitches, companies are trying to feel more personal and individual agents think they need to look for corporate.

Essentially, the real estate industry is being commoditized.

Jason shares that a commodity just results in a simple transaction, but a brand creates an experience and a uniqueness that people will want to experience over and over.

Camera-first Branding

For a long time, “branding” referred to your logo and slogan or the print material your company produced. In today’s camera-first world, logos and slogans are hardly relevant anymore, certainly in the real estate world.

Consumers relate to people, not slogans.

Jason Frazier says “the about page on a realtor’s website is the second most visited page,” a sign that people care more about who they are working with than what the company logo looks like.

If you are a real estate agent publishing content, don’t worry about polishing the content or making everything perfect, your clients don’t care, I promise!

Publish content, be personal and vulnerable, and make mistakes…it will pay off in the end!

Real Estate Branding Tools & Tips

Unlike your video and social media content, there are a few things Jason Frazier says every real estate agent NEEDS to do.

Take the time to set up a professional email.

It’s easy for free mail services to be replicated by malicious parties posing as you, which can cause huge headaches and even potential scams directed at your clients.

I am not going to work with a mortgage lender whose email ends in @gmail.com. It’s risky sending personal information over those channels and it makes it harder to establish trust.”

Get your own website in addition to a corporate bio page.

This offers some flexibility regarding the look and feel, allows you to present your personal brand, and “travels” with you if you decide to leave that company.

Jason also introduces an amazing service called G Suite, that allows you to streamline your process if you have multiple domains and emails to keep track of.

Listen to the Podcast below:

Episode Outline

  • [7:45] Neil introduces Jason Frazier
  • [10:30] The 3 pillars of branding
  • [13:00] How a strong brand can help you build trust
  • [17:15] Commodity vs. brand
  • [21:15] Why your “about page” is the most important page on your website
  • [26:45] Adopt a professional approach
  • [30:30] Jason explains G Suite software

Resources and Links

 

Delaware Budgeting: Your Home is Our Piggybank

Prior to this past Sunday, Delaware was the state that charged the highest property transfer tax in the country.  Customarily 3%, split between buyer and seller, with half the money going to the state and half to the local county in which a property was sold.  After Sunday, Delaware is the state with the highest property transfer tax in the country, by a much larger margin.

Mason Mac specializes in Delaware home loans
Newark, DE, home to the University of DE and one of the best small towns in New Castle County

Thanks to a failure to pass a state budget by the deadline of June 30, a midnight deal on the Sunday of a holiday weekend was struck, increasing the state property transfer tax on real estate transactions up a full 1%.  Also included in the measure were increased SIN taxes (those on alcohol and tobacco products).

So a few cents more for your smokes, a few cents more for your booze, and thousands of dollars more in fees if you plan to buy or sell a home in the 1st state.

On a $300,000 home sale, the result is an extra $1,500 out of pocket for buyers and an extra $1,500 out of pocket for sellers.  It doesn’t take a partisan point of view to consider this a terrible move by the state and it’s “leadership”.  At a time when home ownership rates in the United States are their lowest since the 60’s, and would-be buyers struggle to enter the market largely due to the associated costs, this move by Delaware is a pathetic way to address budget issues.

More and more states and federal governments are looking to the housing market to compensate for decades worth of fiscally irresponsible practices, so it’s important for people to take this into consideration come election time.  Home ownership has historically been one of the biggest and best steps for individuals to achieve financial wealth, but through actions like this one taken by Delaware and not long ago the federal money grab through conventional mortgage “g fees” one of the best financial moves an individual can make is under attack from politicians on both sides of the aisle.

Buying and owning a home is a huge piece of the American Dream, and at Mason Mac we’re helping people achieve that dream every day – while we always educate our clients and partners on the mortgage world, it’s important to know when things like this happen, too.  We have clients, business partners, and tons of friends in Delaware, and we hate to see their homes and home ownership dreams treated like a piggybank by the people in charge.  We hope our Delaware friends don’t see any further increased costs going forward, and that you’ll all remember this 4th of July surprise when election time rolls around.

 

Mason McDuffie Supports OCAR

Mason Mac is a company known primarily for providing great mortgage loans to our clients and ensuring that anyone who wants to achieve the American dream of home ownership can do so with proper education, planning, and the right financing.  While that’s what keeps the doors open and the lights on, another passion we have is in helping others.  We like supporting local folks, communities, and businesses.

Mason McDuffie is a sponsor for the 2017 OCAR palooza event
MasonMac supports Orange County REALTORS

Whether it’s helping some good people in need of affordable housing , helping a deserving young lady get to experience Mammoth Lakes CA while raising money for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation , supporting our troops or helping our business partners with education, marketing , and brand exposure, Mason Mac is always here to help.  This Friday is no different, as we are a sponsor for the Orange County Association of Realtors (OCAR) annual Palooza event at UCI Aldrich Park, supporting our REALTOR friends in Orange county, and more importantly, the OCAR Cares program.

The event will run from noon til 5pm, and will have the following : Food ($5 adult entry includes meal ticket), beer ($3), wine ($5), live music, dancing, food trucks, a bocce tournament, dunk tank, kids games, cash raffle, and a REALTOR cookie wars bake off!

Your friends from Mason Mac will be there too, including our very own Social Media Guy, our Prime Services group, and your favorite managers and LO’s from our local Irvine, Lake Forest, and Newport Beach branch offices.  We’ll be there to answer questions, provide information, and most of all, support the local REALTOR businesses of Orange County.  As a bonus, we’ll be offering up a business card raffle with the winner bringing home a brand new Amazon Echo.

If you’re a REALTOR in Orange county be sure to stop out, enjoy the day, have some fun, and join us at booth number 27.  Bring a business card for your shot to win the Echo, and we’ll look forward to seeing you there!

What: OCAR Palooza!
Where: Aldrich Park at UCI (off Bison Ave, there will be signs directing you to the event)
When: Friday, June 23 2017 from 12pm-5pm

HOLY TRID! New Regulations for the Mortgage Industry Start Today!

Today marks the 1st day of new federally mandated regulations known as “TRID” (TILA-RESPA Integrated Disclosures). The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) has introduced these new regulations as part of their “Know Before You Owe” initiative.

New forms are part of TRID whose purpose is to help make it easier for borrowers to understand complex mortgage documentation. Home mortgages are important for consumers so that they can achieve the dream of homeownership. As much as we try to make the mortgage process less complex for our clients it is still not as simple as we all would like. These new TRID forms look to help with the complexity by merging four forms into two forms.

The New Forms

During the mortgage process, we as the mortgage lender are required to give you these two new forms. One form, the Loan Estimate, you will receive early in the process. The second form, the Closing Disclosure, you will receive later on so you can review the final loan terms before you close.

The Loan Estimate

The Loan Estimate replaces both the initial Truth-in-Lending (TIL) statement and the Good Faith Estimate (GFE).

Within 3 business days after receiving certain information on your loan application (income, property value, etc.) you will be sent a Loan Estimate.

Your Loan Estimate (LE) consists of three pages. The first page lists general information about your loan:

Applicant info and property details
Loan type, purpose and terms
Projected payments during the loan term
Estimated closing costs and how much cash you’ll need at closing

The second page of the Loan Estimate breaks down the closing costs:

Origination Charges (this covers our expenses to do the loan)
Other Costs (third-party charges like homeowners insurance)
Calculation used to determine estimated cash required at closing
Adjustable interest rate table, payment table (for ARM loans only)

The last page shows information about your lender and further details to help you choose which loan is right for you:

Contact info for us “the lender” and your loan originator
Comparisons (consistent table format to make comparing different loans easy)
Other Considerations (details specific to this loan from this lender)
When you’ve decided on your loan option, you MUST sign the Intent to Proceed document. Without this consent, we as your lender cannot move forward with processing your loan.

Closing Disclosure

The new Closing Disclosure replaces both the final Truth-in-Lending disclosure and the HUD-1 statement.

When your loan has been processed and is ready to close, you will have a final discussion with us to go over the loan and its terms. We want to make sure you understand and agree to everything. We will then provide you a Closing Disclosure detailing your loan terms.

The Closing Disclosure is designed to be easy to read and contains the same information as the Loan Estimate essentially. It will reflect your final fees, charges and includes additional information relating to your escrow account (which holds funds to pay your taxes & insurance(, if applicable. You need to review and confirm everything matches what you have agreed to.

The New 3-Day Waiting Period

We as your lender are required to give you a minimum of three business days to review the Closing Disclosure before your closing can take place. If changes to the Closing Disclosure are made, another three-day review period may be required.

To prevent a delay in the closing of your loan, it is important to acknowledge receipt of the Closing Disclosure as soon as you receive it.

Here at Mason-McDuffie Mortgage we have been working hard to make sure our clients have a seamless transaction with these new regulations. If you have any questions about the new regulations or forms, please contact your Loan Originator, or you can email us at info@mmcdcorp.com.

Realtor Safety

iStock_000000849284MediumRealtor safety when showing vacant properties has always been a concern. Recently there have been many stories published on the subject, but none more horrible than the kidnapping and death of Beverly Carter.  With safety now at the forefront, it is time for all firms to make use of available tools to help keep their agents safe.

We have listed some of those tools in this blog post.  You can also read a recent article from Inman here (http://www.inman.com/next/real-estate-agents-using-apps-wearable-tech-to-stay-safe/) which talks about some of the tools we list below.

Push to Alert – Smart Phone app for security at Open House or Private Showings. “Faster than calling 911 and triangulates location”.  If threatened Realtor can press assault icon on the smart phone which immediately dials 911 and locates home address.  Sends message in stealth mode and allows four seconds for user to cancel the alert.

Available for download in the iTunes store.

Guardly Safety App – Smart Phone app offers automatic connection with emergency services, real-time notification to designated people, real-time location tracking and an emergency beacon.

Download is free, a monthly subscription for most features is $1.99, with a one-year subscription of $19.99

Moby App – iPhone, Blackberry and Android (coming soon). Features include Tracking tool that allows you to reveal your location to select contacts.  App can be set to send your GPS location periodically to whomever you choose.  App will send messages at predetermined times that ask, “Are you OK?”.  If two questions go unanswered, the app will automatically notify the contacts you select that you failed to respond and provide your GPS location from smartphone.  Alert tool: with one touch of a button, you will be able to alert your contacts or emergency personnel if you need help.  Alert includes  your GPS location.

Available on iTunes

Real Alert – for iPhone and Android – App allows you to quickly alert your emergency contacts or police when you feel threatened as well as discreetly record “creep data”, key details about suspicious people you encounter.

Cost $1.99

Other Security Options

Secure Show – Starts by purchasing a verification, either singularly or in packs.  Whoever you wanted to verify is sent a verification link, their cellphone number is confirmed, and the prospect is walked through a process where they scan and upload their driver’s license, passport or state ID.  Secure Show verifies that the photo matches the ID, while a third-party company checks the ID against other databases.  It is not a criminal background check.

Once your identity and their identity are verified, both parties receive notifications with photos of each other and a special identifying code.

Normal Turnaround time is 30 minutes or less.

Wearable Devices:

Cuff – is a small device that fits into several cuff versions and also a necklace.  Billed as “Smart Jewelry”, cuff has features like phone notification and activity tracking. Cuff also has a built-in safety feature that, when pressed, sends out a message to designated friends and family with your location, as well as audio that the device picks up. Available for preorder and delivery in March 2015.

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