Is Your Home Presentable

Yesterday we had the pleasure of sitting down with Danny Poulos from Elite Lending to film a segment for his remarkable Real Estate Insiders show. We really had a good time and the question came up about what does it take to bring our clients the most money through our various marketing programs.

We can not stress this point strongly enough. Most buyers are shopping for their new home on the Internet before contacting a Realtor®. In fact statistics prove than an astounding 86% of all home buyers are surfing the web as the starting point in the search for their new home. They are on Trulia.com. They are on Realtor.com. They are on Homes.com. You name it and they are there. And if your home is listed by a Realtor® through the Multiple Listing Service they will be seeing it. Maybe!

The maybe is how your home looks on their computer, or phone or tablet. Do the pictures POP? Do the words tell a story? Is there something that draws them to take the next step and pick up the phone? The reality is we find only about 5% of ALL listings in ALL price ranges stand out and have both pictures and a story that are truly enticing.

Let’s take an example of a median priced condo in the Delray Beach market that we recently sold for a client. We sold them the unit less than 2 years before and sold it at about a 40% profit and feel the on-line marketing played a significant role.

In fact the “old” pictures were certainly not bad. In fact, they were better than probably at least half of what we see out there. This fact makes the point even more dramatic. Above is the courtyard photo of the listing when our client purchased the property. Actually a nice photo, good balance, blue sky, sharp focus. But does it POP? Or does this?

But pictures only are part of the story. On-line home shoppers want more. They want to know about the home, the area. A story that paints a picture of why they should be interested. Here is the written description of the property when our client purchased the unit;

Totaly renovated 2 bedroom 2 bath condo in the heart of downtown Delray. steps to the intracoastal,downtown and walking distance to the beach. Renovations include, impact glass, new kitchen flooring bathrooms, appliances and paint.

Basic description with the first word misspelled but does it tell a story? Does it make the property POP? Or does the description we included with our listing?

Every once in a while a special property in a special location becomes available and if you are looking for the ideal location in Delray Beach this may be it. With two bedrooms and two bathrooms this ground floor unit in Parkview Manor is remarkable in every way. This boutique building is located just one block north of The Avenue and steps from the Intracoastal waterway. Every detail has been taken care of in this meticulous renovation. From the replacement of original cast iron waste lines to new impact windows/doors and everything in between you will find a home that should be included on your ”must see” list. The remarkable beaches, restaurants and shops of downtown Delray Beach are literally steps away from your front door. This Village by the Sea is all yours to enjoy on foot.

Please take the time to look at our photos which show the quality of the materials and design used throughout this magnificent property. Rand McNally recently named Delray Beach the “Most Fun Small Town in America so whether you are looking for a full time residence, a place to escape the northern winters or your own Pied-a-terre just off Atlantic Avenue do not miss this one. No surface has been left untouched and the most discriminating buyer will find nothing to do but enjoy this slice of paradise.

If you are thinking about selling your home you really need to understand what the broker who you are considering is going to do to make it POP! If you need any help, or suggestions, no matter where in the country you live please feel free to contact us and we are happy to help. Our passion here at Paradise Sharks Real Estate is to raise the value and quality of real estate services available to anyone. We don’t want your kitchen to look like this;

We want it to POP!

The fact is most real estate brokerages are not going to make your property POP unless you make sure they do. Consumers are free to accept mediocre marketing and pay too much for too little. It is a great example of why we tell each of our clients that they can pay more and receive less but that just would not make any sense. Always interesting, always fun.

Website to offer engineering students academic relief

Myassignmenthelp.com has launched assignment help to assist engineering in Chicago and across the globe.

The goal of the site is to help simplify the work and academic life of students.

The organization has a writing staff which comprises of experienced engineering writers who are highly qualified and have completed numbers of engineering projects. According to my assignment help project head, “Our professional writers have a writing passion to offer academic support to the young students.” Every writer holds at the very least a master’s degree holder in engineering.

Before joining writing team, each person undergoes a lengthy screening process to test skills. Through their site, many engineering students have approached the company for expert assignment help.

The site prides itself on assisting customers not only from Chicago, but around the USA, UK, Australia, Europe, New Zealand, South Africa, Japan, India, China, and many more.

All the given assignments are supported with different online references and offer Plagiarism reports which ensure 100% originality of assignments.

The online writing company also guarantees that their engineering assignments are delivered by the required deadline. All written assignments include with a money back guarantee to ensure that all students receive 100% satisfaction.

Broward County Convention Center chosen for Marketing Mastery 2014 Conference

Fort Lauderdale, FL –Christina Rowe, President of Stand Out! Media Group and Heidi Richards Mooney, Founder of Women in Ecommerce™ are pleased to announce the Greater Fort Lauderdale / Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale as our Venue for the first-annual Day with the Masters Marketing Mastery 2014 Conference taking place on Friday, April 25, 2014.

About the Day with the Masters: Marketing Mastery 2014 Conference: Attending events is an excellent way to grow your business. Besides the content rich programs, top notch speakers and new business strategies, the event provides attendees will an excellent way to network and meet like-minded professionals. The Day with the Masters Marketing Mastery 2014 Conference is designed to for professionals and business owners who want to immerse themselves in knowledge and expertise as our six marketing masters share their cutting-edge techniques and strategies to transform your business today. General admission tickets are only $97 and include lunch. Limited VIP tickets are available and include premium seating, a private lunch with the speakers and other “perks.”

According to Heidi Richards Mooney, Event Co-Producer Chair, “The Greater Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center was chosen because it represents our community in a professional way and the staff are a pleasure to work with. When people hear the name of the location, it gives the feeling of something larger than them, which fits perfectly with our theme, A Day with The Masters. We want people to walk away from our event feeling important, empowered and enlightened. The Convention Center will help us achieve our vision.”

Christina Rowe, event Co-Producer says: “Every event I have attended at the The Greater Fort Lauderdale Broward County Convention Center was first-class. The staff are professional, courteous and attentive to even the smallest details. We know they can handle an event of any size and will give us the attention we require and our guests expect.

About Greater Fort Lauderdale / Broward County Convention Center in Fort Lauderdale: The Greater Ft. Lauderdale / Broward County Convention Center is the country’s premiere waterfront conference facility. The building is a five-minute drive from the airport, within walking distance of many local hotels, and less than one mile from Fort Lauderdale’s famed Blue Wave beaches. Hosting more than 5 million guests and 5,500 meetings since opening its doors in 1991, the Convention Center consistently exceeds guest and meeting planner expectations for five-star food service, state-of the-art technology, and outstanding service in a modern, eco-friendly facility. For more information about the Convention Center call 954.765.5900 or visit http://www.ftlauderdalecc.com/.

About Stand Out! Media Group: Stand Out! Media Group creates your brand online and offline–from your website, Facebook page and profile, social media backgrounds to your promotional materials, marketing, publicity, videos and more. By building a streamlined, recognizable brand online, you will quickly develop a powerful web presence that attracts clients and generates new business. With Stand Out! strategic branding, you can become a well-known expert and leader in your field and dominate the search engines, giving you the edge over your competitors.

About Women in Ecommerce: For more than twelve years, Women in Ecommerce™ has been helping women do business on the web by providing educational events, seminars, webinars, conferences and teleclasses via our website and social media platforms. We have a diverse membership of women from all walks of life representing 54 countries worldwide. Our members are professionals, educators, retailers, retail businesses, work-at-home moms, direct sales representatives, affiliate marketers, online sales professionals, auction site sellers and resellers, web designers, and other technology experts.

For more information about the Day With The Masters Marketing Mastery 2014 Conference, visit www.daywithmasters.com. For more information about Stand Out! Media Group visit: www.standoutontheweb.com and for more information about Women in Ecommerce™ visit www.WECAI.org today! To participate in or learn more about the event, contact Christina Rowe at 732.501.6445, email her at [email protected] or contact Heidi Richards Mooney, at 954.625.6606 or email her at [email protected]

Better Business Bureau plays ball with collection complaints

Are you reading all the news that’s fit to print? Rounds of cost cutting across America have made that a more challenging goal. Most Examiners cover their topics in addition to working on other projects and when businesses that cut their costs too much make aggressive demands for our attention, it takes time away from the time needed to provide quality coverage.

You can see a classic example in this 2 part photo. The debt collection agency of Caine & Weiner is demanding I pay them thousands of dollars although I did not sign a contract with the vendor and I did chose to pay another vendor to perform the service. Consumers have the right to request verification. When I did this by filing a report with the Better Business Bureau, I pointed out that I chose not to sign the contract and opted to prepay a trial, just like millions of other Americans who chose pre-pay plans over complicated contracts. The company’s response speaks for itself – sending me unsigned correspondence on its letterhead (above) and this copy of the contract which I clearly did not sign (below). It may be less expensive to have computers send out letters, but it is not a dependable way of assuring quality control.

A check of the Caine & Weiner website illustrates the company’s minimalist approach to quality control. The executive profile of corporate counsel John Pucin states that “He is admitted to the State Bar’s in Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio.” That’s interesting. Why can’t someone who graduated from law school spell the single syllable word “Bars” correctly, or at least pay someone to proofread and correct documents?

Lots of other consumers have had similar experiences and it looks like real leaders in the business community need to step up to the plate and be realistic about the impact this kind of publicity has on all American business. The Business Consumer Alliance reports that Caine and Weiner had 51 closed complaints over the previous three years. Look what consumers have published publicly about this firm on Yelp: John R. of Reno, Nevada published this detailed report with third party verification from a manager at blue chip firm Pitney-Bowes: “This company sent out a letter saying they represent Pitney Bowes Inc and they were going to charge me $1,000.00 dollars unless they receive an old postage meter. Called Pitney Bowes spoke with a Benjamin call ref #*****0611. Ben said our account is up-to-date and they have no contract with Caine & Weiner and to disregard the letter Ben said it is some kind of scam. Pitney asked for the details on letter and said that they were trying to stop this company. Some business have been talked into giving acct numbers or to send scans of printed postage. Call Pitney Bowes ASAP if you receive this letter. Benjamin said DO NOT call back or give any information to this company.”

An October 24, 2013 complaint filed with the Chicago area Better Business Bureau underscores the burdens of corporate cost cutting at the expense of consumers. As the complaint published at this link shows, Caine & Webber did not even check that the American they were sending threatening letters to was the debtor.

If you would prefer to be inspired by the positive example of well managed businesses that support a positive image for American business, read a recent report from a sports business convention at the San Diego Convention Center at this link.

Real Estate: 3 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom Pool Homes in New Port Richey from $200,000

If you’re looking for a great 3 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom Pool Home investment in New Port Richey and have a starting budget of $200,000, then we’ve got just what you’re looking for.
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New Port Richey, Florida is located in Pasco County and within the county is the largest self-governed town with a population of over 16,000 residents. This town is located right between the cities of Port Richey and Holiday and is surrounded by many familiar cities such as Clearwater and Tampa. One great feature of this town is many areas are coastal and set right along the Gulf of Mexico which provides its residents with many diverse types of real estate. The real estate properties of New Port Richey, Florida range from waterfront single-family homes, to those set more inland. The price ranges of homes in New Port Richey are so widespread, that no matter what your budget, you will be able to find a home that not only suits your lifestyle, but your wallet as well. New Port Richey still owns that small town feel and is greatly displayed through the area and friendliness of the citizens. Purchasing New Port Richey real estate is a no brainer!

Here are some great 3 Bedroom, 2 Bathroom Pool Homes in New Port Richey from $200,000

Josh Parker is the CEO & Team Leader of ProFusion Property Group at Keller Williams Realty, located in Trinity, FL. Josh is an award winning REALTOR®, a 2-time BOLD Graduate, an active Agent Leadership Council Member, the Chairman of the Agent Productivity Committee, and a Tampa YPN Committee Member. ProFusion Property Group specializes in the listing & sale of residential real estate for Pinellas, Pasco & Hillsborough Counties. His team has successfully sold over 250 units for their clients in 2012-2013, while maintaining an exceptional “sold price to list price” statistic of 99.08% (nearly 4% higher than the market average). For more information, free tips, and free home searches, please visit Josh & the ProFusion Team at www.profusionpg.com or www.facebook.com/profusionpropertygroup.

Discontinued Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip frosting – $25 per can on Amazon

Betty Crocker Rainbow Chip Frosting was discontinued in late 2013, much to the disappointment of many loyal fans. The canned frosting is basically vanilla icing with small bits of colored candies mixed in. It has been a favorite in many households for decades for birthdays, Mother’s Day, Easter, or just because. Now Rainbow Chip Frosting has gone the way of many grocery products and is no longer available.

Fans of the frosting have even started several Facebook pages to voice their discontent and get the attention of the folks at Betty Crocker. On one page, “Bring Back Rainbow Chip Frosting,” members post screen shots of correspondence with Betty Crocker about bringing back the product. On March 9, a member named Tasha received this reply from Betty Crocker:

“Hi, Tasha, We’re so sorry to disappoint. Unfortunately, we discontinued the Rainbow Chip because just not enough people were buying it. We have been overwhelmed by the response from Rainbow Chip fans and are considering our options. Please stay tuned.”

So not really a promise to bring it back, but at least Betty Crocker is hearing its fans. If you are lucky, you might find some Rainbow Chip hiding in closeout stores like Big Lots or smaller, lesser known grocery stores in rural areas. But watch expiration dates. The frosting may have been sitting on the shelf for a while and could be out of date. Big Lots is famous for selling grocery items that are past their best buy date.

Then there is Amazon, where customers can find just about anything discontinued for a price. Currently there are 4 different listings for Rainbow Chip in different offers:

One 16 ounce container. There are 6 offers by different sellers. Prices range from $19.99 plush $5.49 shipping to $449.95. (The last offer is eligible for Prime and is probably a stock-out and the seller is just leaving the listing active.)

Three 16 ounce containers. Cost is $93.97 plus $4.49 shipping and is not Prime eligible.

Four 16 ounce containers. Cost is $49.99 and is not eligible for Prime.

Seven 16 ounce containers. Cost is $21.19 plus $26.30 shipping. It is not Prime eligible.

The best bet for sellers is the first offer of one 16 ounce can. The sales rank is the best of all choices at 14,996. The second offer of four cans is the next best offer, however, this means the seller needs to come up with four cans to make the multipack and that may be difficult since this product is nearly impossible to find.

As for buyers, enjoy eating some expensive frosting.

Lifestyles shift

Whether you’re ready or not, as life changes, so do your housing needs. Families grow. Careers unfold.

One way or another, your circumstances change, and you may find yourself looking for a more comfortable home, one that’s in a new locale, or just a better place for your current living pattern.

The home financing process has changed, too. Your lender can make moving to your next home easier. The vast menu of home financing options now available includes fast approval decisions, low down payment programs, and flexible rate, term, and closing cost options.

Financing a home is not a once-in-a-lifetime decision, and the financing package you used to buy your first home may not meet your needs the next time around. An experienced home mortgage originator will help you find a home financing solution that supports your current and future homeownership goals.

The majority of American homeowners purchase multiple homes in their lifetimes. Each time you buy a home, you need to reevaluate your needs and goals. So whether you are trading in your first home for a larger one nearby, relocating for the tenth time, or looking to move to a new area for a lifestyle change, your lender is here to help you reach your dreams.

Assembling the right TEAM

Real estate agents make it their business to know everything about communities and the homes within them. A good real estate agent can:

Establish what you want in a home. Communicating your desires is essential to helping your real estate agent find you the right home.
Search the Multiple Listing Service (MLS) and other resources for homes that match your needs.
Show you appropriate homes.
Provide valuable information on communities, comparable values of neighboring homes, tax rates, and building code regulations.
Help you formulate an offer on the home you want to buy.
Act as an intermediary between you and the seller, smoothing the negotiating process.
When you’ve got a good list of names, interview at least two or three of the agents. In addition to having experience in the area where you hope to buy your home, the agent you choose should be trustworthy and easy to talk to. Tell them what you’re interested in and ask if they can provide some additional information about area schools, taxes, or some other special interest. Then see how quickly they respond and how accurately they follow your request. Once you’ve selected an agent, stick with that agent even when you’re looking at homes listed by other agencies. A good agent will make it his or her business to be familiar with all the listings in your chosen area. Contacting a different real estate agent simply because you’re attracted to a listing of theirs is counter-productive when you’ve built a level of familiarity and trust with your selected agent.

This article links to several different real estate agents in Indiana who are exceptional at what representing buyers and sellers.

Mama & Baby Expo coming in May

Are you planning for a new addition to your family?

As with most expectant parents, this is a busy time, gathering information and collecting all the products and services needed for you and the baby.

San Antonio is fortunate to have a valuable resource for mothers called the San Antonio Birth Collective. This is group of local childbirth and postnatal support professionals. The non-profit group offers a membership that provides a resource directory that is free to parents. Check the link above to learn more about how to apply for membership and how the group is “serving families through education and practical support”.

One of the big events that is sponsored by the SABC is “The Mama & Baby Expo”. This is the 3rd year for the San Antonio gathering and it will be held on May 3rd from 1-4 pm at the TriPoint Event Center. The location is at the corner of St. Mary’s and Hwy 281 near the YMCA.

The expo will feature a documentary about childbirth plus a fashion show and dozens of vendors. This is a great opportunity to meet local midwives and doulas and review the many products and services to help parents. Door prizes and music and games will be available to keep the little ones busy. Check the link above for tickets and further details. Children under age 12 are free.

Best wishes to all expectant parents.

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Yes – sweat the small things

Over the past week, I have visited three gas stations. Each was convenient and the price of gas was the same as other gas stations around the area. Two of the three had a food shop where customers can purchase coffee, an RC and a Moon Pie. Because the local area has had a lot of snow this winter, there was a lot of road salt on my windshield and I wanted to clean my windows. But, at each station, the buckets of window cleaners were empty and the squeegees were dry as a bone.

Gasoline is a commodity and people will search out the lowest price available. Therefore, most gas stations keep the price of gasoline close to what their competitors are offering. So, what is it that makes a customer choose one station over another? It is the little things, like the customer being able wash their windshield.

Customers may not know or even remember who has full windshield cleaners, but they do know when companies treat them well. They may be small but details are important to creating a positive customer experience and are often overlooked. A friendly hello, a “thanks for calling”, a small, unexpected gift or even an honest apology go a long way in creating a favorable customer experience. Moreover, the small extras are not that expensive. It cost nothing to say, “I apologize.” Depending on the number of pumps, a gas station may spend $25.00 per week to keep their windshield cleaners full.

When price is not an issue, customers will repeat establishments that create a positive experience. Even when price is an issue, customers are more likely to repeat business with companies that treat them well. And, sweating the details is one of the best ways of treating customers well.

Trying to Create Tomorrow’s Company with Yesterday’s Rules and Tools: Part 1

If you have ever been to a TED talk or OpenCo conference or any other semi-chaotic gathering of clever Millennials you’ve experienced the new rules of innovation first hand. Everything moves quickly, changes frequently, no one seems to be in charge but everyone except you seems to be in on the joke. All you need to play along is a smart phone, an obscure app, fluency in arcane chat slang and prehensile thumbs. By the time you get the hang of it the party’s over. Like a flock of migrating birds these groups have no center but somehow manage to fly together and reach a distant destination just in time.

Conventional thinking has it that these youngsters are narcissistic slackers who lack the intellectual prowess or willpower of the brawny Boomers.After all, we went to the moon and back, put the miracle in all manner of drugs and made the music of our monstrous stereos dance on the head of a pin. Though our accomplishments may be Homeric they are in fact mostly an extension of the work of the Great Generation and the Great War that defined it. Bigger, smaller, faster or longer our achievements are elaborations of fundamental shifts that occurred over half a century ago. Our technology gives away our actual age – combustion engines, integrated circuits, microwaves, antibiotics and the like. More so, our social institutions while having undergone some freshening are also essentially the same – marriage, religion, political parties and corporations.

Visit your local fair trade coffee shop and you may see Gen Next in their native habitat. If you are truly observant you will notice how they have opted out of our Boomer world – more text and less talk, über-multitasking, ad hoc transportation, dot.org start ups, personalized self-help spirituality and friends with benefits. They work horizontally, spontaneously and are connected primarily by their values – we can do it – as opposed to our vertical generation which is fueled by personal ambition – you can do it. They succeed in their cause by ignoring our traditional boundaries – race, preference, intellectual property and even capitalism itself. So how do we lead innovation in a generation that doesn’t follow leaders? How do you measure the success of an innovation if the aim is social good instead of economic value created? How do you innovate in an institution when the new workforce doesn’t believe or participate in institutions? The answer is simple – you don’t.

The Need for Speed and Magnitude

What has fundamentally changed is that Millennials don’t want the same things we did when we were young and consequently are refusing to pursue that same future in that same way. If you are able to suspend your voice of judgment for a moment – along with your cultural heritage and technical training – you may just see that this generation is changing the way we create and offers those of us who are no longer on the sunny side of the hill some new ways of making innovation happen in our old companies.

The truth is that many of the tools we routinely use in multinational corporations to develop innovations are well over a half century old:

Phase-gate systems were established by chemical companies in the 1940’s because compounds were developed sequentially before the age of molecular engineering.
TRIZ was a creative problem solving technique developed to help overcome the resource constraints of ship building in the Soviet Union during the Second World War.
New product portfolio management was developed as a way of connecting and leveraging a complex array of existing assets to generate incremental improvements during the reign of the robber barons at the turn of the century – the 19 Century.
While these approaches have been updated their underlying basis is essentially the same. They assume a world view that is no longer entirely relevant – economies of scale, organizational hierarchy and evolutionary market development for example. The global economy that emerged after the fall of the Berlin Wall added four billion new participants to the old Capitalist world and changed both the speed and magnitude at which innovation now emerges. The omnipresent web, inexpensive hand held devices and research universities with international presence have accelerated the transition to a decentralized, real time and unbound world where anyone can innovate anywhere anytime. This is too much and too fast for traditional innovation practices to handle. Politicians, patent lawyers and investment bankers alike are all showing signs that can’t keep up with this pace but are still unwilling or unable to adopt new innovation practices. Perhaps the old adage had it right – “Better the devil you know than the devil you don’t know.”

Next time we will explore what are the new rules and tools of innovation that will drive tomorrow’s company.