Cyber Security: What you need to know to protect your clients and yourself!

We all need as realtors to be even more vigilant with the amount of malware and cyber attackers targeting real estate transactions nationwide.  This is a prominent problem here in the Tampa Bay area, and all around Florida. In this article, we have included useful tips, things to be aware of, and important facts that we all should be aware of.

We all need to take IMMEDIATE action in protecting ourselves and our customers even more than

normal with this new “hacking scam” that is on the rise.

1. PLEASE NOTIFY ANY CUSTOMERS THAT YOU ARE CURRENTLY WORKING WITH (BOTH BUYER

AND SELLER), THAT UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCES WILL THEY EVER RECEIVE AN EMAIL FROM YOU

ASKING THEM TO WIRE MONEY TO A TITLE COMPANY OR ANYONE ELSE!!! IF THEY EVER DO

RECEIVE SUCH AN EMAIL ASK THEM TO CALL YOU IMMEDIATELY AND DO NOTHING UNTIL THEY

TALK WITH YOU.

2. THEN PLEASE EXPLAIN TO YOUR CUSTOMER WHEN THE TIME COMES THAT THEY NEED TO

MAKE THEIR WIRE TRANSFER, THEY GO DIRECTLY TO THE TITLE COMPANY THAT THEY WILL BE

WORKING WITH, AND INTRODUCE THEMSELVES, AND REQUEST THEM TO PRINT OUT THEIR

WIRING INSTRUCTIONS AND “HAND THE DOCUMENT TO THEM”. THIS MAY TAKE A LITTLE

EXTRA TIME OUT OF THEIR DAY, BUT IN THE LONG RUN IT COULD SAVE THEM THOUSANDS OF

DOLLARS.

3. LASTLY, PLEASE MAKE IT A POINT TO CHANGE “ALL” OF YOUR PASSWORDS ON YOUR EMAIL

ACCOUNTS, DOCUSIGN (OR ANY OTHER SERVICE YOU USE), MLS, ETC. “AND CHANGE THOSE

PASSWORDS ON A REGULAR BASIS”. MY SUGGESTION WOULD BE TO DO SO ONCE A MONTH.

Please know that most of these hackers are looking for any opportunity to invade your privacy and steal

money from you or your customers. Be careful with what you put online. Make sure you never check

that little box to that asks if you want your password remembered! That gives hackers easier entry to

your information! Always delete your internet history and passwords daily if possible, but certainly on a

regular basis.

EVERY TIME YOU ARE ONLINE YOU ARE LEAVING YOURSELVES OPEN TO BECOMING A STATISTIC, SO

BE CAREFUL, AND BE SMART! Public WiFi is not a secure connection and should not be used to

conduct business. We all must be using secure email addresses and taking steps to protect ourselves,

our clients and our company. We will be implementing company emails here in the next few days,

giving each of you the protection that is needed in order to provide your clients the best service

possible. Also, there will be changes to our policies and procedures within the office to ensure that as

a company we are protecting our clients to the best of our ability. Finally, we are in the process of

obtaining Appfiles for our document management system. YOU MIGHT THINK THIS COULD NEVER

HAPPEN TO YOU, BUT UNFORTUNATELY ONCE IT DOES HAPPEN IT’S TOO LATE.

 

 

Tips on How to Make your Email Drip Campaign a Success

The goal behind a drip campaign is to encourage a certain action from the lead (or customer), such as a sign up, or purchase. An effective drip campaign aims to keep your readers informed and aware of your products, which is especially necessary in the beginning stages of an online relationship, when you are establishing brand awareness with your leads and arming them with the right information to help them make the right purchasing decision.
Read more

Want to Boost Property Value? Here are some Do’s and Dont’s

Determining the things that add value to your property can sometimes be vexing. You can spend a lot of money on improvements thinking they’ll add value to your home, but it won’t matter if the appraiser doesn’t agree.

So how do you know which things add value?

Jamie Chapman, a director of solution consulting at Quicken Loans, was kind enough to record the handy video above. In it, she says that home improvements don’t necessarily have to be big-ticket items. They can be something as simple as improving your curb appeal by adding a new front door.

She also talks about the fact that replacing your 15-year-old HVAC system with a new Climatron 2400™ (patent pending) may not necessarily add to your property value. Why not? Why wouldn’t the very latest in heating and cooling technology offer you a good return on your investment?

Unfortunately, replacing your aging HVAC system with something like the Climatron 2400™ is a basic cost of keeping up your home and doesn’t add to its value. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it; the new system will make your home more comfortable for you to live in. It will also make your home more move-in ready if you decide to sell.

Chapman also discusses the importance of fitting in with the neighborhood. You should pay attention to what your neighbors are doing to their houses, and you should keep up with the Joneses but not try to outspend them. You know, the Joneses get a lot of attention, but it’s just as important to watch the Smiths and McGillicuddys
Read more at http://www.quickenloans.com/blog/home-improvements-that-add-to-your-property-value#UqtkS2HhbzPfztql.99
Read more

St. Pete Beach rated #1 Best Beach in U.S.

Gorgeous, laid-back St. Pete Beach was voted TripAdvisor’s No. 1 Beach in the U.S. and No. 5 in the world in 2012, based on millions of reviews from travelers around the world. When you visit this magical expanse of sand, you’ll understand why.

St. Pete Beach’s shores include the longest undeveloped stretch of public beach in the county at Pass-a-Grille Beach. Live it up with a variety of watersports, from parasailing and stand-up paddleboarding to windsurfing and kiteboarding.

There are plenty of places to set up camp in St. Pete Beach—the town’s beaches are sprinkled with nostalgic Old Florida motels and inns. If you’d rather opt for the five-star experience, the Loews Don CeSar Hotel, known as the Pink Palace, or the Tradewinds Island Resorts, offer beachfront property along with full-service amenities.

For lively diversions away from the shore, head to the Corey Avenue district. For over six decades, Corey Avenue has thrived at the heart of St. Pete Beach. There’s a variety of funky specialty shops, galleries, restaurants, the classic Beach Theatre and more. Plan to spend an hour or an entire afternoon just on this stretch of town.
Read more

Top 10 Reasons to Make the Move to the Bay Area

 

The Saint Petersburg-Clearwater-Tampa scene is an up-and-coming area with endless potential for any age! In recent years the bay area has grown wildly in appeal and development. From the vibrant downtown nightlife, to the new age artisan avenues of Gulfport, to the quaint tree lined neighborhood streets of Seminole, there is something for everyone here. The reasons for moving to this area can be endless, however, here are the top 10 reasons to call the Bay Area home!
Read more

Are You Prepared for the New Closing Disclosure Statment

The HUD-1 settlement statement and Good Faith Estimate forms are going away on October 3. The Truth in Lending Act disclosure is going away as well. In their place will be a new closing disclosure and a new loan estimate. There will be changes to the closing process as well, including a new rule requiring everything to be in place three days prior to closing. And last-minute changes face new hurdles. Learn about the changes in this walk-through.
Read more