Employee Spotlight – Brianna Valpey

Brianna Valpey is a Title Assistant for Alliance Title’s Lewiston, ID office. Having been with Alliance Title for the past two years, Brianna is eager to always have the opportunity to learn something new in her line of work and understand each property’s history. Brianna helps with recordings, title exams, and customer service requests, as well as completing profiles and order entries for both Lewiston and Clarkston branches.

Of the Alliance Core Values, “Teamwork” is Brianna’s number one choice. She explains, “The people I work with are very important to me; to be able to laugh and get along so well with my coworkers makes a huge difference in how well we can serve our customers. Not only that, but it also shows how much I look forward to coming into work – I know I can count on the people I work with.”

When asked whom she admires most, Brianna looks to her parents. She illustrates that her parents “are hard workers and do everything they can to help the people around them. They’ve helped me become the person that I am today.”

Outside of the office, Brianna loves to be with her family and friends. She also enjoys spending time with her boyfriend and their pets, Keelie, Liz, and Fiona. In her free time, you can find Brianna reading books and comics, as well as testing her baking skills.

Brianna’s favorite quote, “In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life: it goes on,” by Robert Frost, is something she tries to remind herself of. She points out that “you can’t always change what happened before, but you can learn from it and improve and keep moving forward.”

Now that you’ve gotten to know Brianna a little more, stop by Alliance Title’s Lewiston branch to write them in on your next transaction! Brianna looks forward to helping make your home closing a wonderful and positive experience.

Brianna Valpey – Title Assistant at Alliance’s Lewiston Branch
1455 G St. Ste. 102, 83501
208.743.8541
Brianna.valpey@alliancetitle.com

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Understanding Co-Signing

With the majority of homebuyers coming from the millennial generation, they might be receiving a little help from parents or guardians to help them lock down their first home.

Because, you know, student debt might be one of the major hindrances for them.

But if a jointly held mortgage is the answer for your client to secure their dream home, it’s important that you be as clear and direct as possible as to what co-signing entails.

If your client asks you about co-signing, it’s important that you encourage them to speak to a lender or a financial planning professional before taking any action. Then feel free to share the following information with them:

Responsibility

As a co-signer, you are 100% responsible for the obligation. If for any reason the owner cannot make their mortgage payments, you will now be considered responsible for the payments.

Credit Score

Any delinquency will appear on the co-signers credit report.

Future Loans

The co-signed loan takes up part of your debt-to-income ratio and restricts your ability to borrow additional money in the future. If you have upcoming purchases – like a car – you might want to talk with your lender beforehand.

Remember, as a real estate agent, you should clarify that it remains the responsibility of the homebuyer and the co-signer to discuss this option with a lender or professional financial planner to understand fully the pros and cons of taking this route.

Great Scott! 2019 Smart Home Technology

When you were a little kid imagining futuristic worlds, what sort of technology were you visualizing?

Disney’s TV movie, Smart House, got a couple things right. While Pat, played by Katey Sagal portrayed the virtual assistant of the home, we now have Alexa or Google Home as our smart assistant. Did your childhood imagination include that?

CES 2019 – Las Vegas’ annual tech show – recently showcased thousands of high-tech products to update your home.

Here are the top smart home products shown at CES 2019 – and who knows, maybe it’ll inspire you to include a couple of these products in your next renovation.

Smart Assistant Accents

While most of us know Alexa or Google Assistant to be a visual product that is easily recognizable, Amazon and Google are creating stylish accent pieces that will help blend into the design of your home.

The Mui Smart Block can be controlled via voice and looks pretty. When being used, the LCD display will light up and interact with your voice.

Smart Mirror

This Google Assistant-embedded mirror will change your morning routine.  From Capstone Connected Home, this mirror allows you to ask it anything you would normally ask from Alexa or Google Home. You’ll be able to compose email and text messages from it – even by typing directly on the mirror!

Mood Lighting

The Apple HomeKit Eve Light Strip was the smart lighting to take the stage this year. The light strip comes with an adhesive on the back, so you can attach to various parts of your home – under your couch, shelves, or behind your TV screen can add that extra flair.

Nothing’s Stronger Than Family – Freddie Mac and Multifamily Support

Freddie Mac announced some pretty extraordinary news this past week that it had set a new record for multifamily production in 2018.

Its multifamily rendering checked in at $78 billion in 2018, beating the previous record of $73.2 billion in 2017. The breakdown includes $77.5 billion coming from loan purchase and guarantee volume, with the other $500 million coming from Low-Income Housing Tax Credit equity investments.

Financing 860,000 rental units has helped more than 90% of the affordable to low-and moderate-income families that consist of 120% of area median income and below.

Freddie Mac didn’t stop there – they also released additional goals they accomplished this past year, which included a record $8.1 billion in Targeted Affordable Housing Loans and $23.1 billion in Green Advantage loans for energy- and water-saving improvements to workforce housing.  

With the first month of 2019 in the books, it seems as though the new year is bringing a healthy market for multifamily support.

Debbie Jenkins, executive vice president and head of Freddie Mac multifamily explains, “Far too many Americans are struggling to find suitable housing at a reasonable price, and we are continuing our work toward innovations that can help. We’re also striving to improve the customer experience through our digital transformation initiative.”

With digital platforms taking over the real estate market, Freddie Mac is eager to embrace new technologies that help shape the commercial loan process experience – with technology’s apparent ease in the real estate world, we’ll all have to keep an eye on Freddie Mac’s 2019 record breaking statistics.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Hello from the Other Side

While Adele can get away with calling a thousand times…as a real estate agent, you probably can’t.

We all may panic a little when we see our phone ringing – especially if it’s your great aunt calling – but prospecting on the phone can still be a great way to garner clients.

Maybe just use a more modern script and have a clearer vision of what you have in mind.

What makes calling potential clients so scary is the idea of you interrupting their day; the goal of calling should be allowing clients to come to you at their convenience.

How do we set that up?

For starters, do NOT call cold. This is almost never received well. The only time you should “call cold” is when you’ve had some sort of introduction – calling a friend of your client after your client gave you their information, as an example.

Instead, think about setting up a sign-up sheet with the option to leave an email address at your next open house. After the event, email those who left their information! Thank them for attending your open house and let them know you’ll be calling them. Those that will want to talk to you will answer. Those that don’t, won’t.

When you are on the phone, don’t jump into the sale. Understand the aspirations they have in terms of goals for homeownership – then you can come in and talk about what you have to offer.

Calling to acquire clients and schedule appointments shouldn’t be intimidating – you just have to know how to approach the call.

And – maybe don’t call a thousand times.

Top Ten Projects Filed Under Home Improvement Remorse

If you have HGTV backing you to help remodel your home, then the idea of tearing apart your kitchen or bathroom doesn’t seem so scary.

While do-it-yourself projects can potentially help you save money, they don’t all come easy. A recently released survey from ImproveNet shows that almost two-thirds of homeowners regret not calling in a professional on at least one of their projects.

Various home improvement DIY projects might seem like a cake walk – until you’re halfway through and realize you’ve bit off more than you can chew.

The biggest remodel that brought the highest stress was installing floor tiles – particularly in the master bath. Why? Well, making sure the ceramic tile is level and grouted correctly can be painstakingly frustrating and tricky.

The survey shows that 55% of homeowners took longer to complete a project than originally expected – luckily, only 8% of survey responders said their homes were damaged because of their remodel attempts.

Here are the top 10 most regretted DIY home improvement projects:

  1. Installing floor tiles
  2. Replacing a ceiling
  3. Refinishing hardwood floors
  4. Installing carpets
  5. Finishing the basement
  6. Installing hardwood floors
  7. Refinishing cabinetry
  8. Installing sprinklers
  9. Installing showers and baths
  10. Painting home interiors

Renovating on your own can make you feel like a hero once it’s completed – just make sure the remodeling project is within your wheelhouse.

Meet our Coeur d’Alene, ID Branch

To understand the magic of Coeur d’Alene, one must visit the eclectic Northern Idaho city. Surrounded by dozens of lakes created from ice-age glaciers, Coeur d’Alene offers a plethora of recreational activities for any season – as well as jaw-dropping sunsets.

Alliance Title’s Coeur d’Alene branch sits across Riverstone Park and is a skip away from Lake Coeur d’Alene.

The team is heavily involved in community activities and events – they support St. Vinny’s each year with their concert event in the park, Coeur d’Alene’s local college NIC, as well as supporting CASA, the Women’s Shelter, Children’s Village, Boots and Socks through Windermere, Coeur d’Alene Association of Realtors, the local police and fire department, and the Post Falls Chamber of Commerce.

The CDA branch has an incredible group of professionals who desire to help and go above what is required for their customer base. With a combined work experience of 305 years in the industry, accuracy and a timely nature come naturally to this crew.

Each October, the team hosts an Open House that the community is invited to. With a turnout of 250 guests this past October, the CDA branch was especially appreciative of their guests and clients who participated in games, danced to live music, and ate delicious catered barbeque.

When they aren’t hard at work, each employee finds time to relax and unwind. From Noodling – catching large fish with bare hands – to tight wire walking, attending mosh pits at rock concerts, acing spelling bee contests, and powerlifting, this team includes quite the adventure seekers!

Whether you’re buying or selling commercial or residential property in Kootenai County, the professionals at Alliance Title’s Coeur d’Alene location are excited to help make your next transaction a success!

Alliance Title – Coeur d’Alene
2157 N Main St., 83814
208.667.3402

That’s Life: The Path of Your Title and Escrow Transaction

Let’s face it – insurance talk isn’t really the most exciting of discussions. But that doesn’t make it any less important.

When you’re in the final stages of purchasing your home, you’ll get down to the nitty gritty aspects of your title and escrow process. But what does it look like, exactly?

Alliance Title’s Buyer-Seller Guide is available for your use, and breaks down all of the people and steps that will take place during your closing – but as a quick reference, the path that your title and escrow transaction will take is shown for you below!

While these steps might seem tedious, they’re incredibly important to help guarantee the ownership of your new home!

Employee Spotlight – Jan Clemons

The past two years Jan Clemons has been an employee for Alliance Title’s Driggs branch have been a monumental success for the team! As an Escrow Assistant for Driggs, Jan helps direct phone calls, clear title, prepare disbursements, and help Escrow Officers with anything they might need.

Her favorite part of the job comes from the legal aspect; previously working as a Legal Assistant for 20 years, Jan has experience that has proven its worth. Jan explains, “The industry is so different. There have been instances where my legal background has come in handy. I still have a lot to learn, but I am enjoying learning new things.”

Of the Alliance Core Values, “Integrity” is Jan’s go-to pick. She illustrates, “I have a magnet I see every day that says ‘Integrity is doing the right thing even when nobody is watching.’ I try really hard to be a good example for my children to always be honest.”

When Jan is needing strength and motivation, she immediately thinks of her daughter. Her 15 year-old has had a long list of medical problems – but Jan explains that “she is really brave and rarely complains about all the procedures and doctor visits she has endured.”

When she’s not working hard in the office, Jan loves spending time with her husband and children. Reading, crafting, or watching baseball and football are some of the few ways she unwinds from the day.

Jan’s favorite quote, “We have to remember what’s important in life: friends, waffles, and work. Or waffles, friends, work. But work has to come third,” from the Parks and Rec character, Leslie Knope, is a wonderful mantra to remind yourself to stay positive. Jan concludes, “I love that T.V. show, and I love Leslie Knope. After working so many years in an office setting, I can relate to it on so many levels!”

Now that you’ve gotten to know Jan a little more, stop by Alliance Title’s Driggs branch to write them in on your next transaction! Jan looks forward to helping make your home closing a wonderful and positive experience.

Jan Clemons – Escrow Assistant at Alliance’s Driggs Branch
78 N Main St., 83422
208.354.2285
Jan.clemons@alliancetitle.com

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Pinterest for your Marketing

Yes, Pinterest.

It appears that Pinterest gets the least amount of attention when social media is brought to the table.

Pinterest is so much more than just a crafting, recipe building platform. Like Google, Pinterest is a search engine – while keywords are still important, pictures are what drive this app. The better pictures you have to represent your business, the better opportunity you have for potential clients to find you.  

Branding is going to be fundamental once you’ve created a business Pinterest account (business accounts allow you to see statistics of followers and likes). The platform is visual, so you can showcase your listings, your clients, your teammates, or any little tip and idea you have to various boards of your choosing.

Research your neighborhood using Pinterest – if you search for the keyword “San Francisco,” you’ll be able to explore the top pins people are clicking on. This can help spark some ideas for your own future blog writing.

Create boards that reflect your business. Your Pinterest boards are your blog – think of them as categories. Establish a “Listing” board, a “Tips and Tricks” board, or a “Home Closing” board as a couple of different options.

Pin boards back to your blog or website. This way you are allowing potential clients multiple ways to contact you, and issuing them more opportunities to see how successful your business is!

Be consistent with your photos. Stick to one color palette and font throughout your Pinterest board; this way, future homebuyers can easily pick out your brand! Not only does sticking to a color theme make you stand out – it’s just prettier, too.

Follow local business owners, home improvement accounts, and any past clients you may have. Link back to your Pinterest page in any blog or social media post you create to let future clients find you!

Looking for inspiration? Check out Anita Clark’s Pinterest board – a real estate agent from Georgia, Anita has included her location, her specialty, a link back to the company she works for, and has stuck to a theme on her page. 

Don’t let myths about Pinterest fool you – yes, it’s a great place to start a dream wedding board, but it’s also a fantastic social media platform that helps visualize your brand and allows you to be seen as relatable and personal – the most common goals of any real estate agent.

Get pinning!                                                                              

To stay in the loop with all things real estate, check out the rest of Alliance Title’s blog.