What You Should Know About Earnest Money

Hello, Sheri Groom with Republic Title and I’m here with Wade Bogdan, Residential Counsel and we wanted to visit a little bit today about earnest money and the purpose of that with a contract.  So can you help talk a little bit about that?

Yes.  Traditionally earnest money was put in place so that people knew that you were going to try to purchase a property in earnest so basically you’re showing someone that you are serious about purchasing their property.

I like that so earnest and then earnest money. That’s great.  So if there’s no earnest money given does that mean there’s not a valid contract?

So actually that’s a common misnomer. So currently now in common day, you do not need earnest money to have a proper contract.  However, the contract does have a section for earnest money and actually most importantly now the contract was just changed to add a three day time limit for getting your earnest money in after execution of the contract which is pretty much the most important thing that’s going on with earnest money currently.

That’s good information because we would get asked that a lot.  Like do we have to have it? Is it still a valid contract?

So if you have any additional questions, please go to our website and look for our complete list of attorneys or reach out to your favorite business development rep  or your favorite closer.

 

6 Ways To Grow Your Real Estate Business By Using LinkedIn

LinkedIn is one of the most under-rated but highly valued networking sites you can be using in 2020!  The most important thing to remember about LinkedIn, at its core, it is an online resume.  It’s also likely to be among the first handful of results to come up on a Google search, and might be the first place a potential client looks to review your credentials.  Most clients won’t choose a real estate agent who appears to lack knowledge, education and expertise.  So it’s wise to set yourself up for success and utilize this powerful tool.

So, YES, LinkedIn is extremely important and a must-have in today’s digital world.  It’s also the perfect place to promote yourself, your real estate listing, and boast about the skills you bring to the table.

Here are the top 6 things you should focus on with LinkedIn:

  • Your Profile:

Fill out each section to include all levels of education, all accreditations and current and past positions.  Include a high quality professional photo of yourself.  Be sure to include a LinkedIn Banner image that includes a call-to-action (your phone number, your email, etc).  Your headline should be catchy and stand out.  Be sure to fill in your summary section to include real estate listings and other statistics that will jump out to potential clients.  Be sure to use keywords or phrases (real estate, real estate agent) throughout your headline and your summary to increase search engine optimization.  Also encourage previous clients to give you a recommendation so your LinkedIn profile is a non-stop shop for anyone who comes across it.  Upload videos and links to enhance your profile.  Customize your URL and use it everywhere (advertising, business cards, posts, etc).

  • Connections:

61% of real estate agents on social media view it as a way to connect to the community.  LinkedIn revolves around businesses, employees and their connections, so it’s the perfect network for real estate agents who work in an industry predicated on connections, referrals and being involved in the community.  Reach out to everyone in your sphere, alums, etc.  Remember LinkedIn is the best social media platform for professional networking, which means connect with everyone.  Take advantage of the biggest networking platform ever!

  • Content:

This is where many real estate professionals go wrong.  What doesn’t work is just content about listings (remember the 80/20 rule) in hopes of generating sales leads.  What does work is highlighting your professional experience, education and network strength.

Try these 6 content ideas to maximize your effectiveness on LinkedIn:
    1. Share real estate news, industry updates or trends.  Don’t forget to include a caption with your thoughts and opinions as well as a call to action soliciting others opinions and thoughts.  Remember, it’s about engagement so ask questions.
    2. Share information or updates about your local city.  Remember people are very patriotic when it comes to the city they live in, so find local information to share.  Also, now that LinkedIn allows the use of hashtags, include local hashtags in all your posts so anyone searching for that hashtag might come across you, and in turn check out your profile.
    3. Thoughtful and conversational posts.  Try something that will resonate with others such as your struggles, wins, inspiration, or something you overcame.  These are going to be the best conversation starters you can share on LinkedIn.  As real estate agents, you go through a lot, so sharing that will resonate with your audience.
    4. Networking events you’ve attended.  Include connections you made and give them an @mention, photos, food, the service, highlight the event, the vibe and your takeaways.  It shows your connecting with people in your local city.  Often times you’ll hear people say, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.  That’s why this works.
    5. Native video uploads.  Every platform, whether it’s Facebook or Instagram, wants you to use the video feature that is native inside the program.  This doesn’t mean go to YouTube and share it to LinkedIn.  It means, open up a post on LinkedIn and use their Video icon and shoot native video within LinkedIn.  This will keep connections engaged longer in the LinkedIn program and hopefully on your profile.  Our best recommendation for video ideas would be “value added” for the consumer (i.e., Buyer/Seller Tips, Market Updates, community highlights, business you’ve interviewed, etc.).
    6. Write LinkedIn Articles.  When you write an article on LinkedIn, everyone in your connection list receives a notification.  You couldn’t ask for better advertising than that.  If you are a blogger, this is a perfect place to use the content you’ve already created and post it within LinkedIn as an article.

So, take the time, get your profile set up for success, start connecting with former and current clients, friends, colleagues, etc. and work on creating great content.

Instagram Tips for Your Real Estate Business

One of Republic Title’s most popular CE classes is consistently our “Instagram: I Have An Account, Now What?” class. We all know how important it is to have a presence on social media for your real estate business, but how do you create content, know which hashtags to use and most importantly, connect with buyers and sellers? Our technology trainer Annette Carvalho is here to help! Read on for Annette’s top takeaways from our popular class and visit us at www.republictitle.com/residential-education for a full list of upcoming CE classes.

Use Hashtags and Link to your Website

  • Using the “Stair Step” approach, users can spread out hashtags using the Stair step approach (hashtags with lower #’s mean you might be seen more.  So if you did 27 hashtags (which we don’t necessarily recommend) use nine that have 0-50K followers, nine with 50K-100K followers, and nine with 100-250K followers, etc.
  • Make sure to include contact information – including your website – in your Instagram bio.

Use Instagram Stories

  • Instagram Stories are temporary and only hang around for 24 hours. This allows you to post lots of content without bombarding your followers. And your followers are watching! According to embedsocial.com, Instagram stories are used by 500 million users every day.

Connect with your sphere by turning on “Post Notifications”

  • Because Instagram is always changing their algorithmic feed, you may not see everyone that you follow consistently. Make sure to turn on Post Notifications for the accounts that you want to make sure and see. This allows you to respond to their posts in a timely manner.

Use Direct Messages

  • Did you know that you can direct message up to 50 people at a time?

GeoTag your Posts

  • Searching by “Places” is an entire search category on Instagram. Make sure you are using this feature!

Use Instagram Live

  • This is a powerful tool that Instagram is promoting – you will reach more of your audience using Live since Instagram features those videos in a different way.
  • A best practice in using Instagram Live is to promote your live video in advance with email or Facebook. For example: “Catch me LIVE on Instagram Friday at 10am where I will share my 10 biggest tips for getting your home ready for the market.”

For MUCH more on Instagram, social media and other technology trends, sign up for one of our CE classes at www.republictitle.com/residential-education

Using Links in Instagram

Since launching in 2010, Instagram has become one of the leading social media platforms and has transformed the way people do business. It’s no secret why businesses have spent hours developing and creating a strategy to grow and promote their business on Instagram. But as a real estate agent, do you know how to get the most out of the popular platform to help generate leads, market yourself, and engage with your sphere?  Whether you are new to Instagram or a seasoned pro, we want to help!

Why You Should Use Links on Instagram

Instagram has seen an impressive rise since it first launched in 2010. This has naturally made it a desirable outlet for marketers, and anyone else who wants to spread the word about their brand or website.

The problem is that, up until recently, Instagram has been extremely hesitant when it comes to enabling links. Even now, it’s not possible to add links directly to your posts through comments or post descriptions, even though this is something that has been possible on other social networks for a long time (Note: Stories can have links, however, you must have 10,000 followers to incorporate them).

However, there are still ways to incorporate links into your Instagram profile, and they’re well worth looking into. The key is knowing how to encourage those users to check out your key marketing links.

How to Use Links Effectively on Instagram

  1. Add a Link to Your User Profile

The simplest way to get a link on Instagram is to simply add it to your profile. The link will then appear right underneath your user bio, enabling visitors to click through. This is a perfect way to send people to your website’s home page, or to a special landing page.

However, you can also use this feature to get around the fact that you can’t add links to your post descriptions. All you need to do is include a link in your profile that is relevant to your most recent post. Then, add a message to the post itself, along the lines of: “Link in bio!” This is a common tactic, and it offers the added benefit of driving users to your profile.

Since you only get 1 link with Instagram (in your bio), we suggest that you check out one of these services.  They each have free services, as well as pro services.  The nice thing about them is that you can track each link to see how well they are performing in terms of engagement, page views & click through percentage rates.  Even better news – You can send followers to all your favorite sites including your real estate lead generation sites (see our example below using Linktr.ee):

  1. https://Linkin.bio
  2. https://linktr.ee

  1. Use a URL shortening service

The second method we recommend that you use are shortened and trackable links in your posts. You can easily create these using a URL shortening service and a link management platform (Bitly). That way, you’ll be able to track your links and see how well they perform on Instagram, which can help you optimize your efforts even further.

At first glance, it might seem it’s impossible to use links on Instagram.  However, while the platform is unusually restrictive with linking, it does offer numerous creative ways to implement links into your posts and profile.

Real Estate Podcast Picks

As we continue to navigate the current real estate market in North Texas, we want to continue to be a resource to you and your business. We asked our residential sales team to submit some of their favorite podcasts and curated the below list of our top picks which contain expert advice on small business, real estate, sales and marketing, coaching, and leadership.

The Brian Buffini Show by Brian Buffini

Brian Buffini was born and raised in Dublin, Ireland, and immigrated to San Diego in 1986, where he became the classic American rags-to-riches story. After becoming one of the nation’s top Realtors®, he founded Buffini & Company—an organization dedicated to sharing his powerful lead-generation systems with others. Based in Carlsbad, California, Buffini & Company has trained over 3 million business professionals in 37 countries. The company currently serves 21,000 members and trains more than 60,000 a year through live events and training programs. In addition, Brian’s podcast has reached 7 million-plus downloads in more than 180 countries. Today, he travels the world sharing a message of encouragement about how to “live the good life.” His wit, wisdom and motivational style make him a dynamic speaker, adept at helping people tap into their full potential and achieve their dreams. In 2017, he became a New York Times, Amazon and Wall Street Journal best-seller with his latest book, “The Emigrant Edge.”
https://www.thebrianbuffinishow.com/

The Brendon Show by Brendon Burchard

Go behind the scenes with Brendon Burchard, the world’s leading high performance coach and one of the Top 100 Most Followed Public Figures in the world, as he speaks to 20,000 people in arenas, coaches celebrities, helps his students, and reaches millions of people every week with his message for how we can all live, love and matter. Every week, Brendon shares what he’s struggling with, working on and marching towards – and how we can all live an extraordinary life. This is an intimate and inspiring look into the life and strategies of one of the most watched, followed and quoted personal development trainers in history.
https://brendon.com/podcast/

The Mindset Mentor by Rob Dial

The Mindset Mentor podcast is designed for anyone desiring motivation, direction, and focus in life. Host Rob Dial has amassed a passionate following of over 2 million social media followers, including business professionals, entrepreneurs, and small business owners with his expertise and passion for helping motivate people to become the best version of themselves. Rob challenges his audience to live a life of love and purpose. Rob has been featured in Forbes and Inc. for his ability to connect with his listeners. Over the past 15 years he has studied with some of the greatest thought leaders of our time like Tony Robbins, Ram Dass, Dr. Joe Dispenza, Jay Shetty and many more. Tune in if you’re ready to take your life to the next level.
https://robdial.com/podcast/

The Tom Ferry Podcast Experience by Tom Ferry

Tom Ferry is the #1 ranked Real Estate Educator by Swanepoel Power 200 and the best-selling author of “Life! By Design” and “Mindset, Model and Marketing!” As founder and CEO of Ferry International, the real estate industry’s leading coaching and training company, Tom’s ever-growing influence impacts professionals in a wide variety of ways – including rigorous accountability coaching, the popular #TomFerryShow delivering free, fresh and relevant real estate tips weekly, highly engaging training events, two best-selling books, and his legendary keynote speeches. Tom has more than 30,000 hours of coaching experience and works daily to help agents and brokers grow a prosperous business while simultaneously balancing — and loving — their personal lives.
https://www.tomferry.com/podcast/

School of Greatness by Lewis Howes

Since its launch in January 2013, the School of Greatness podcast has grown rapidly to be one of the top-ranked Business and Self-Development podcasts in iTunes. It regularly appears in the Top 50 of all iTunes podcasts, and gets downloaded over 4 million times per month. Episodes range from interviews with incredible world-class game changers in entrepreneurship, health, athletics, mindset, and relationships, to solo rounds with the host, Lewis Howes, and the once a week listener-favorite, the 5 Minute Friday format. Past guests on the show have included powerhouses like Tony Robbins, Alanis Morissette, Scooter Braun, Julianne Hough, Jack Canfield, Arianna Huffington, and so many more.
https://lewishowes.com/blog/

What is Survey Deletion Coverage?

Survey Deletion Coverage is often also referred to as “Survey Deletion”, “Survey Amendment”, and “Survey Coverage.”  When survey deletion coverage is given in the title policy it offers Buyers protection for errors or omissions that may have been made by the surveyor and accepted by the title company by changing the language in the “standard exception” of the title policy to read “Shortages in Area” only.  The “standard survey exception” in a title commitment or policy (before being amended) reads:

“Any discrepancies, conflicts, or shortage in area or boundary lines, or any encroachments or protrusions, or any overlapping of improvements.”

 Upon receipt of an acceptable survey, the title company may amend this exception to read “Shortages in area” only.   Things that a title company will look at to determine if a survey will be acceptable include, but are not limited to, the following:  that items noted on the survey are listed in the title commitment, verify the legal description, check platted building lines and platted easements, and other matters such as the seal and signature of the engineer, date of the survey, and north directional arrow. 

Survey Deletion is addressed in paragraph 6. A. (8) of the TREC One to Four Family Residential Contract, where the parties select between the options of amending or not amending the standard exception in the title policy and who will be responsible for the payment of the premium.

There are other issues that may show up in the review of a survey, such as a building or driveway or fence over a building line, or into a platted easement.  When this happens, the title company may still accept the survey and amend the standard exception to read “Shortages in Area” only, but will generally add a special exception on Schedule B of the title commitment and owner’s title policy for any of these issues that were shown on the survey.              

The cost of survey deletion coverage on residential transactions is 5% of the Owners Title Policy Premium, and is 15% of the Owner Title Policy Premium in a commercial transaction.

For more information on Survey Deletion Coverage, download our Survey Deletion Coverage Q&A flyer 

Close-up Of A Person's Hand Stamping With Approved Stamp On Document At Desk

MISMO Unveils Remote Online Notarization Standards

Close-up Of A Person's Hand Stamping With Approved Stamp On Document At Desk

MISMO has announced the release of its Remote Online Notarization (RON) standards, which will enable the use of audio-visual communication devices to notarize documents in a virtual online environment. 

MISMO’s RON standards were updated to include language to preclude the storage of personally identifiable information. The standards support model legislation that was developed by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) and the American Land Title Association (ALTA), which multiple U.S. states are now using to enact RON laws in their jurisdictions. MISMO noted that some states with RON legislation have already utilized draft versions of the MISMO RON standards to implement their state law. 

MISMO released the standards for a public comment period that runs through Aug. 12, at which point the standards will be moved to Candidate Recommendation status if substantive comments are received in the comment period. The Candidate Recommendation status means the RON standards are ready for broad use across the entire residential mortgage industry. 

“With states across the country enacting remote online notarization laws, MISMO’s standards will support greater consistency as the volume of remote online notarial transactions increases,” said Eddie Oddo, Vice President of Corporate Business Solutions at First American Title Insurance Company, and co-chair of MISMO’s Remote Online Notarization Workgroup. “We’re excited about this next stage in the standards process and look forward to seeing lenders, title companies, software vendors, and notaries leverage RON standards to offer borrowers a more secure and efficient closing process.” 

MISMO’s announcement was also welcomed by David Burner, Strategic Planning and Partnership Manager at Notarize, a Boston-based platform for legal online notarization. 

“We are really excited that MISMO put together the standards for the industry,” said Burner. “There is so much talk about online notarization that sometimes it can be confusing. This was a collaborative effort among different stakeholders, and without MISMO this would not have happened.”

Source: https://nationalmortgageprofessional.com/news/71822/mismo-unveils-remote-online-notarization-standards

Remine At-A-Glance

Did you know that there is a program that allows you to farm neighborhoods much more efficiently?  Our Technology Trainers, Annette and Robin, teach a great class that dives into how Remine can change your farming game. 

Check out our Remine At-A-Glance class and learn how to better farm neighborhoods.

Click this link to sign up for this class or any of our other classes offered by wonderful and knowledgeable trainers.