Employee spotlight – Autumn Cannon

Our Title Officer III and North Region Production Manager, Autumn Cannon, is our newest Alliance Title Employee Spotlight! Our Coeur d’Alene branch has been lucky to have her these past 14 years.

Autumn searches, examines, and services files for Kootenai and Shoshone Counties. She also manages the day-to-day title production for the North Idaho and Montana branches – needless to say, she’s quite the busy bee. Autumn truly enjoys the people she works with and the sense of accomplishment that each day brings.

Of the Alliance Core Values, “Teamwork” is Autumn’s top choice. She explains, “It takes the entire team to facilitate a successful transaction from beginning to end. Alone we would fail, but together we can accomplish anything!”

Continuing the theme of teamwork, Autumn also explains how she appreciates her coworkers: “I admire the team that I work with, and my manager, Jack Wheir, for ‘putting up’ with every one of us!”

When she’s not working hard in the office, Autumn loves spending quality time with her family – whether that’s through summer barbecues, camping, fishing, or swimming.

Autumn’s favorite saying comes from Charles Swindoll: “The longer I live, the more I realize the impact of attitude on life. It will make or break a company, a church, a home. The remarkable thing is we have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day. We cannot change our past, we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way. I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.” Autumn strongly believes that the last sentence really explains it all.

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

Autumn Cannon – Title Officer III and North Region Production Manager at Alliance’s Coeur d’Alene branch
2157 N Main St., 83814
208.667.3402
autumn_cannon@alliancetitle.com

Vacant Versus Occupied: Selling Your Home for More

Don’t place that vacant home in a corner.

A new study from Redfin found that vacant homes sell for $11,306 less and spend six more days on the market than occupied homes for sale.

Which…might be surprising.

While vacant homes allow for easier access for potential buyers to view the listing, these empty spaces seem to be a reason for buyers not to rush on placing a bid on the home. Redfin also suggests that sellers who are in a position to own a vacant home for sale might not be as motivated to receive a higher price as sellers who might need the cash from their sale in order to purchase another home.

Vacant homes, while allowing potential buyers to picture their own personal touches, might seem intimidating to buyers; clients might not be able to envision how the space could be utilized. However, if a home is still currently occupied, the sale will depend on what type of furniture is still in the home.

Redfin agent, Billie Hermerson, explains: “If a home is occupied and the furniture is up to date and fits in the space, it has a positive impact on a potential buyer’s perception of the home and they may pay more than if the home were vacant. But if a seller’s furnishings are dated, dark, or too large for the space, buyers may offer less.”

Other options include staging companies, or setting up a virtual staging online.

New Housing Law Protects Against Discrimination

A new law was put in place this past Friday (June 17th) at the U.S. House of Representatives. The Equality Act passed by a vote of 236-173; this act includes protections for LGBTQ people against discrimination in housing.

This law has been added on to current state anti-discrimination laws on a national level by providing an extra layer of support against discrimination throughout the U.S. Earlier this month, the Fair and Equal Housing Act of 2019 has also been trying to add gender identity and sexual orientation to the classes that are defended against discrimination.

Maine Senator, Angus King, explains: “No one should be denied access to affordable housing because of who they are. Safe and affordable housing is the basic building block for all Americans seeking to achieve economic, educational, and personal success.”

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit also recently ruled that landlords could be held liable for any acts of discrimination if they did not respond to harassment tenants might be facing.

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Hosting a Successful Open House

With spring in full swing, open houses have been popping up around the neighborhood – and you’ve probably seen one or two as you’ve driven along your commute.

While open houses can be time consuming, they are a great way to garner potential clients and showcase your brand.

Here are some quick tips on how to throw a rewarding open house – for both you and your client!

Scheduling

Many open houses are scheduled on Sundays. While this time slot works perfectly, don’t be afraid to think outside the box to attract more attention on your listing.

Maybe your listing would fare better if it were held on a weekday during lunch hours or after work. You might have potential clients stopping by along their way home.

Marketing

How can you gather attention for the open house?

One of the best options is to use social media. Post on Instagram and Facebook about your upcoming open house – include the date, time, and location. Think about creating a Facebook Live Stream during the event; this way, viewers and those that follow your page are notified about your live stream and could stop by the open house after seeing your update.

Many real estate agents also suggest door knocking. Hold a special private open house for the neighbors of your listing – they can provide feedback on living in the area, which can help you sell the home. You can also create door hangers of your event, and hang them on the neighbor’s front door. Neighbors might also be able to get you referrals, if they know of anyone looking for a home.

Staging

Either the home is completely empty, or the sellers are still currently living within the home.

If the home is empty, you have some options. You could either hire a staging company, or you could create a virtual staging of the home. If you create a virtual staging, include the links on your social media pages, and bring your tablet to the open house to show potential buyers.

If the sellers are living in the home, give them some quick tips on tidying up and removing personal items– i.e., photographs, mail, pets, etc.

It’s also important that you set the mood for the event! Think about making cookies or warming up appetizers in the kitchen. Scents that are genuine will be seen as an extension of the home and create a warmer open house experience.

Providing Essentials

Don’t forget about that sign-in sheet! That will be vital to your potential lead list. Open Home Pro allows agents to have viewers of the open house sign in on a tablet and even asks custom questions. Their contact data can be transferred to your CRM for follow up after the event!

Reflect

After your event, it’s important that you discuss how it went with your client. Let them know of potential interest, but also be realistic. While an open house is a great way to showcase the listing and get more eyes on the home, it doesn’t necessarily guarantee a sale within the day or even week.

Don’t forget to congratulate yourself after hosting a successful open house! You’re one step closer to gaining more leads and sitting at the closing table.

Meet Our Eagle, ID Branch

Alliance Title’s Eagle, Idaho branch employees pride themselves on working together to answer every phone call and email in a timely manner.  They understand that communication during a real estate transaction is extremely important and most often, time sensitive.  The team aligns themselves with Alliance’s core belief, that our mission is to close real estate transactions timely and efficiently.  Responding quickly with accurate information is one of the many ways the team goes about helping customers close their home purchase or sale.

In addition to effective teamwork, the Eagle team shares approximately 86 years of combined title and escrow knowledge, which affords clients an accurate and efficient customer service experience.

The Eagle team loves their community and enjoys giving back by participating in various local events.  Every year they continue to grow their contribution to the companywide food drive ‘Closing the Hunger Gap’.  For this initiative, during the month of October, the Eagle team and branches throughout Idaho, Washington, and Montana team up with their local food banks to collect non-perishable food items and funds to help end hunger.  They are passionate about participating and are honored to collaborate with the Idaho Food Bank.

In addition to serving the local community, the Eagle team is proud to have two members who have served our country in the US military: Escrow Officer, Tonya Reeves, US Navy and Branch Administrative Assistant, and Sharla Dudding, US Air Force. Team member, Kelsey Hathaway, has a law degree.

When asked what the Eagle team loves most about their customers, Kimberlie Blasius, Vice President and Escrow Manager, shared “Our customers are loyal, dedicated professionals that we feel privileged to work alongside.   With the partnership between our customers and the outstanding Eagle team, we are confident that we’ll get the closing to the finish line in an efficient and professional manner.”

Outside of the office, you will find the Eagle office staff enjoying the great outdoors.  They enjoy participating in all things ‘Idaho’ including theater, art, mountain biking, camping, four wheeling, and hunting.  Ask them about their latest adventure next time you stop in to the office.

From left to right: Kimberlie Blasius, Kevin Brocke, Tonya Reeves, Kelsey Hathaway, Sharla Dudding, and Chelsea Karling

Alliance Title – Eagle
462 E Shore Dr., Ste. 160, 83616
208.287.5154

It’s All in the Family – Birth Order and Housing Preferences

Whether you’re a firstborn, the middle child, the baby, or an only child – you believe you’re the best, and you have your reasons.

Duh, we all do!

It’s no surprise as to how much research has been put in place for siblings, but an interesting take on favorite housing features is turning heads.  

According to the home and décor site, Apartment Therapy, it looks like your birth order might influence your housing preferences.

Licensed Psychotherapist, Ana Jovanovic, explains, “birth order plays a certain role in our upbringing, and thereby also affects the way we tend to think of ourselves and the behaviors we choose.”

What’s the breakdown here?

Oldest and Only Child: Usually, firstborns and only children are neat and orderly. They’ll notice the little details – like the crown molding or any paint chips in the home. Because they were constantly under the watchful eye of their parents, they are more likely prefer a home that offers independence and solitude.

Middle: The middle child goes with the flow and doesn’t stress too much about the little things. They’re used to the hand-me-downs, so things don’t have to be considered “perfect.” They also might be more flexible about who they live with – i.e., living with roommates.

Youngest: The baby of the family is constantly surrounded by family and thus will more likely prefer a community environment when selecting a home. The youngest enjoys being surrounded by a variety of people – condos, apartments, and townhomes would be a natural selection for a place to live.

Do you fall in line with what these findings show?

Top 10 Markets for Home Appreciation -Many in the NW!

They’ve always said location is important – and, according to Housingwire.com, these 10 markets listed below are nodding in agreement.

The markets below will see residential property values rise an average of 7.85% in the next year, which is more than twice the 3.7% rate estimated for the rest of the country. Experts are anticipating seeing this change through March 1, 2020.

Why are these markets anticipating an increase?

Major influencers for these small-to- mid-sized markets are low housing supplies and steady population growth.

Here are the ten markets estimated to see the highest rates of value:

City%
Idaho Falls, ID10.2%
Odessa, TX8.8%
Boise City-Nampa, ID8.7%
Bellingham, WA7.8%
Olympia, WA7.6%
Midland, TX7.5%
Phoenix-Mesa-Glendale, AZ7.1%
Spokane, WA7.0%
Yakima, WA6.9%
Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, WA6.9%

It should be noted, however, that although these increases are greater than estimated for other areas, they are down slightly from previous year with the average increase being 8.3%. Experts agree that this shows a slowdown for most markets.

Employee spotlight – Bonnie Orr

Bonnie Orr is our newest Alliance Title Employee Spotlight! Having worked within the industry for the past 18 years, Bonnie is the officer you want working on your transactions.

Bonnie is located in our Clarkston, WA branch, and is our Title Officer III. She undergoes title examinations and works with customer service in the office. Bonnie loves the differences between each file – titles turn into puzzles, which make it fun!

Of the Alliance Core Values, “Service” is Bonnie’s top pick. She explains, “Service is the most important thing to all of our customers. In this world of digital service, direct contact with a person that will help you is so essential to customer service satisfaction; we offer that.”

When asked whom she admires, Bonnie has a hard time picking just one: “I admire many people. I admire my boss, Tami Randall. She is a hard-working woman, and she sets the standard high for all of us with her work ethic.”

Outside of work, Bonnie loves to spend time with family. Her three grandchildren, four sons, and husband, all enjoy taking walks with the dogs, painting, or following LCSC Women’s basketball. As Bonnie puts it, “a wonderful, pretty simple life.”

Bonnie’s favorite quote, “God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, the courage to change the things I can, and the wisdom to know the difference,” by Reinhold Niebuhr, is used as her daily reminder. Bonnie illustrates, “This world has gotten pretty crazy, and I think we all need to remember this for peace of mind.”

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

Bonnie Orr – Title Officer III at Alliance’s Clarkston Branch
735 5th St., 99403
509.758.2549
bonnie_orr@alliancetitle.com

Real Estate Tip of the Week: Upping Your Social Media Engagement

Question, tell me how you feel about using social media?

Social media engagement is important when it comes to creating a successful brand.

This should come as no surprise – social media is essential to your real estate business, and if you’re not utilizing what it has to offer, then you’re missing out on prime prospecting opportunities.

Through social media, you can meet potential clients, expand your listings, and showcase the services you have to offer. If 87% of marketers rank exposure for their business as the main benefit of their social media efforts, then you should download those apps and hop to it.

For the most part, social media can seem simple enough – post a picture, write a caption, submit – it has more to offer than meets the eye. That, and some of social media’s lingo can be a bit confusing to some.

Two of the most important vocabulary words to social media’s jargon: engagement and impressions.

What are they? Why do you need them? Check out our simple guide below.

Impressions

To make this clearer – this is digital impressions. This number includes how many times you post, upload, tweet, etc. to your social media world. However, impressions don’t consider how many “clicks” you get.

Engagement

No, not a wedding ring. Engagement is all about how many shares, comments, clicks, retweets, etc. you receive from what you’ve been posting.

How They Work

Essentially, the higher your impressions (the more your uploading, posting, etc.), the greater chance your content has to come across multitudes of consumer’s news feeds – which should hopefully lead to higher engagements.

What You Can Do

  1. For starters, use more video. Video is incredibly important on social media and can easily shift viewers into consumers.
  2. Images receive more comments than posts without images – so break out your camera. Think about posting sold properties, current listings, events you participate in that concern the industry, etc.
  3. Work on showcasing yourself! When a client is out “shopping” for a real estate agent, they want to know who you are. Share stories about yourself so you become approachable and relatable.
  4. Rule of Thirds from Hootsuite – when sharing content, a third should be about your business, a third for sharing ideas within the industry, and a third on your personal stuff / interactions.
  5. RESPOND. After you upload your content, don’t ignore any responses you might receive! Interact with comments and shares to prove you care about who you reach and who you can help in the real estate world.

Now get on out there and make those impressions!

It’s Home Improvement Season – Do You Know Where Your Permit Is?

If you build it, they will come.

And by they – we mean consequences….if you don’t have a permit for those remodeling projects you’ve completed for your home. 

When you’ve decided to remodel or make improvements to your home, it’s important to take a step back and research whether or not a permit from the city government is needed.

If your remodel requires a permit, it’s crucial that you get one – not only will these changes go on record with the city, but permits will also help sell or refinance your home; buyers and lenders want to make sure all projects comply with building codes, so if you’ve got the proof, you’ll be good to go.

But how do you know which projects require a permit? Luckily, not all of them do.

Projects that Require Permits

  • Fencing installation or repairs: check with your city to see if there are any height restrictions.
  • Window installation: if you’re installing bigger windows, a permit is required to cut holes for them. This also includes skylights and new doors with windows.
  • Plumbing and electrical work: installing or replacing pluming or electrical wiring (whether that’s an outlet, switch, etc.) 100% requires a permit. However, if you’re completing smaller projects, like a repair or a light fixture installation, a permit isn’t usually needed.
  • Structural changes: this includes changes to load-bearing walls, balconies, decks, porches, roofs, or foundation flooring.
  • Heating maintenance: replacing your water heater, ventilation system, gas and wood fireplaces, and ducts all require permits.
  • Additions: new construction, replacements, upgrades, and additions to the home all require permits. Detached garages or sheds are examples of what an addition might look like.

Projects that Don’t Require Permits

  • Paint or wallpaper projects.
  • Installing new countertops.
  • Landscape work.
  • Installing flooring – hardwood, carpet, etc.
  • Installing or replacing a faucet.

If you’re still unsure of whether or not you might need a permit, you can call your local city office, or you can hire a professional contractor!