Tag Archives: Hillsborough Title


Can You Have Too Much Curb Appeal?

We read an interesting article from NPR recently about one of the famous “Painted Ladies” selling at an astonishing 900K less than the asking price. They’re iconic of not only the city, but of the environment that we all feel San Fransisco has. There’s curb appeal built in—they’re the houses from Full House for goodness sake!

Painted Ladies San Francisco January 2013 panorama 2.jpg
Painted Ladies” by King of HeartsOwn work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

But in reading the article, we suddenly got another picture: that of any homeowner living in homes that are iconic enough to be recognized nationwide—dealing with the tourism and the hassles that come with a home that’s also an attraction. Some people like the attention but even celebrities don’t like the papparazi and other privacy invaders. Imagine buying one of these gorgeous homes and having pictures taken of you when you’re unsuspecting! That’s enough to turn off most homebuyers—and seemingly enough, it affected the sale of the Painted Lady in San Fransisco.

The Curb Appeal of San Fransisco

But, does this translate over to a home that’s not famous? Probably not. If the home’s not an icon of your neighborhood or city, then as much curb appeal as you can muster is usually a good thing. Let’s use the Painted Ladies of San Fransisco as an example of what curb appeal is. Overly famous or not, they are very pretty homes.

Firstly, the home is painted well. The name “Painted Lady” itself comes from the paint job, three colors used to bring out the architectural nuances of the home and to make the home stand out and have character. Curb appeal is all about the visuals and the Painted Ladies definitely have the visual elements going on for it.

There’s no yard to speak of at these homes, either, but the front of them are kept well and offer simplicity as their main attraction. Simple stoops, well-groomed trees, a clean exterior. Simplicity is the key here. Nothing is overwrought, but it’s all well thought out.

That’s key: every homeowner wants a nice looking home, but most of us work and complex looks or elaborate landscapes to keep up might not be to our taste. A simple cleaning and a new coat of paint every so often? Most can manage. Keep your homes simple.

map of San Fransisco

Finally, the homes are generally accessible. They’re by a park on a main street. The location is very good. They’re right off the 101 and I-80 in San Fran, meaning that to get anywhere, it’s a simple commute. The university is just down the street. Between location and looks, the houses (if they weren’t famous) would net almost any asking price the owner wanted. (After all, while this Painted Lady sold for far below asking price, the owner still got $3.1 million for it. That’s nothing to sneeze at!)

Should You Worry About Too Much Curb Appeal?

The simple answer: no. Too much curb appeal generally isn’t possible. Keep up on the modern trends of exterior design, keep the place clean, well painted, and if you can, play up the conveniences of living there. That will help your home sell.

It’ll also help if you don’t let a show film at your home. That’ll keep the papparazi down. Otherwise, make your house look as good as you know that it is!


Blogging Effectively

Blogging is the thing to be doing in online marketing. The trends in marketing are all heading towards online marketing. While hand shaking and grinning at events is always effective (and word of mouth is still king), an online presence is becoming more and more important. While mobile technology is 7 years old, it’s still in its infancy—meaning that now is the time to get in on the game.

blogging effectively depicted at desk

Blogging is the key to getting into this space. Blogs are well-equipped to do three things for your agency:

  1. Promote your ideas and thoughts on the market
  2. Allow others to join in a conversation about those ideas
  3. Encourage sharing of that content and make word-of-mouth easier to get.

It’s not just a hobbyist thing anymore, nor is it just for revolutionary ideas. You’ll never know the reaction you’ll get from your ideas if you don’t put them out there.

Promote Your Ideas Through Blogging

Blogging is for ideas. You have ideas. Big ones. Whether it’s about how the market is flawed (and your great solution to that flaw) or how someone can make the market work for them rather than working the market, you’ve got something to say about the market somehow. Start saying something big, develop those ideas.

Some of the biggest internet successes all started by seeing a great idea and developing those ideas into bigger things. Their sense of entrepreneurship and intelligence moved them from people with ideas into people with products. Elon Musk moved from having a simple web company into helping found SpaceX and Tesla Motor Company. Larry Page started Google on an idea and some knowledge. So can you!

While you might not quite make that level, there’s room in the market for your ideas on real estate. Blog about them, talk about them, get them on paper and into the public. The thing all of these folks have in common is that they made websites that primarily assist others in achieving their goals. Do the same yourself, and see the results grow.

Start Conversations By Blogging

When it comes to the internet, you need to understand that it’s a primarily social medium. Blogs don’t exist just to detail ideas, they’re made to discuss them and make them better. Every big, successful blog has methods of creating conversations around them. WordPress has implemented a system where you can find content on their site and engage using your account. Twitter, Facebook, and Tumblr all have their own conventions on how to share and respond to content.

The key here is that no matter the medium, the form exists to talk to others. Comment sections and conversations on Twitter are important. Invent a hashtag, get people talking, ask for responses. People talking about your idea, especially if you can get your name or your hashtag attached to the conversation, means that you’re getting free press and association with your idea.

Encourage Sharing of Your Blogging

Even if people don’t want to be part of your conversation—say, people are already impressed or just want others opinions for their consideration—at least make it easy and simple for people to share those ideas and articles with others. Promote the ideas on Facebook, Twitter, Quora, wherever you have a social media presence.

Remember when we said earlier that word-of-mouth was the best form of advertising? As the world moves more and more to mobile technology and consumption of media, social sharing and commentary is the new word-of-mouth. In fact, search engines like Google are starting to use social shares through sites like Google+ and other social media to help rank sites in their results—a big factor in getting found online.

Make Your Ideas Live

There are many forms of blogging. Twitter, technically, is a micro-blogging app, which amounts to a series of small posts of ideas you could put up during a lunch break or between appointments. If you find your ideas don’t fit, WordPress.com has a longer form that you can flesh out your ideas on. If answering questions is your thing, Quora is the place to go.

The one thing you shouldn’t do, however, is let your ideas live in your head alone. We live in a big, beautiful world with people who could use them—and who could amplify your idea to your next client.


Home Automation Systems, Apple, and Your Listings

We’ve recently discussed the “Internet of Things” and smart homes, but now there’s some big news from Apple that might shake some things up.

Apple's home automation tech "HomeKit"

What Is Home Automation And The “Internet of Things”?

If you need a quick refresher as to what the internet of things are, it’s a series of gadgets that have been given the ability to connect to the internet for your convenience.

This means that your fridge might have a screen where you log your food levels so you know when to go to the store—and how much to buy. Or, your thermostat could detect if you were home and adjust itself accordingly to save you energy. These features are gaining ground and making sure homes are equipped (or at least ready) for these appliances is a big deal.

The News

Apple announced yesterday during their WWDC keynote presentation that they’re working with some of the biggest names in home technology to get most (if not all) devices onto a single standard of communication. This is a welcome change as the current market is filled with apps for each device, making managing a smart home a little complex.

The list of companies on-screen at the keynote are:

  • iDevices
  • iHome
  • Sylvania
  • Texas Instruments
  • Cree
  • Skybell
  • August
  • Honeywell
  • Haier
  • Schlage
  • Philips
  • Kwikset
  • Broadcom
  • NetAtmo
  • Withings

Now, with the addition of these standards, Siri can control the home with certain commands. The keynote itself used the example of telling Siri “I’m going to bed” to initiate the doors locking, lights going out, and other actions.

There will also be an app (most likely) that will allow you to control all of your devices at once—smoke alarms, thermostats, door locks, and others to start.

If you’re a real estate agent of any kind advising your clients or assessing market value of a home, home automation systems are still valuable, but stay tuned to find out which systems will follow these new standards—and to see how Apple’s new developments will help push the smart home into more common acceptance. This could be big news for the real estate market as well as the consumer market.


The Social Media Cheat Sheet

All of the social media outlets are recommended for your business. They’ve become a force that’s not just for sharing your personal life with your friends but for sharing your professional life with your clients.

Facebook on computer screen
This is how our Facebook looks.

Images, too, have become key to interacting on the social web. As our devices have grown more powerful and visually stunning, the use of images has risen too—to the point of being a necessity.

We don’t need to convince you that you need images, we’re sure—the numbers bear that out. Engagement on photo posts is far, far higher than on text posts. The Internet is a visual medium. But how do you use the images in a way that promotes your business and shows that you know your tools?

Part of it is knowing the image size you’ll need. Below we have a list of image sizes (in pixels) that show the optimal size for images to be seen, clicked, and responded to. All dimensions are listed Width X Height. 

The Big List For Social Media Image Sizes

  • Facebook
    • Cover Photo: 851×315
    • Profile Photo: 180×180
    • Link Image: 1200×627
    • Regular Image: 1200×1200
    • Milestone Image: 1200×717
  • Twitter
    • Header Image (new profile): 1500×1500
    • Profile Photo: 400×400
    • Image for Tweets (recommended size): 880×440
  • Google+
    • Profile Photo: 250×250
    • Cover Photo: 2120×1192
    • Shared Photos: 800×600
  • LinkedIn
    • Profile Photo: 200×200
    • Cover Photo: 646×220
  • Instagram
    • Profile Photo: 161×161
    • Image (Desktop Lightbox): 612×612
    • Feed Photo: 510×510
  • Pinterest
    • Profile Photo: 600×600
    • Pins: 600xinfinite (photos can be as long as you like, but width is fixed at 600px)
    • Pinboard Thumbnail: 220×150
  • YouTube
    • Profile Photo: 800×800
    • Channel Art: 2560×1224
    • Video Thumbnail: 1280×720 (720p resolution if using a screenshot from your video)

Using these guidelines can and will help you to promote your business because you’ll quickly improve your social media prowess and make your business look more beautiful and appealing to the average social user.

Feel free to bookmark this guide to the social media recommended image sizes in case you need the numbers again. Happy marketing!


Hillsborough Title and CornerStone Title Join Forces

Hillsborough Title and CornerStone Title Join Forces- April2014

 

CornerStone Title Joins Hillsborough Title Family of Companies

“Familiar Faces, Increased Resources, Shared Passion for Excellence”

 

LAKEWOOD RANCH, FLORIDA – Aaron M. Davis, President and CEO of Hillsborough Title, is proud to announce the acquisition of CornerStone Title in Lakewood Ranch, Florida. This is the fourth acquisition in four months for the Tampa Bay-based title agency, marking its strategic expansion into the Sarasota-Bradenton area. 

Mary Howard, founder of CornerStone Title, will continue to serve as Relationship Manager for the local operation, which will retain the CornerStone Title name. 

“We are excited to join forces with Hillsborough Title,” Howard said. “The firm’s focus on customer service, best practices, and the highest professional standards is a perfect fit for us. We will continue to provide the personalized service of a ‘Main Street’ company, with the additional support, resources and stability of a larger network. ” 

“Cornerstone Title has a great reputation,” said Davis. “In my investigation of the Sarasota/Manatee County area, CornerStone Title’s name kept coming up as one of the premier agencies. Its quality of service, agency marketing, and moral and ethical values are in perfect alignment with our agency’s core values. Cornerstone Title has a strong foothold in the Lakewood Ranch area, and is a strategically placed office for the convenience of our Realtor and builder clients.” 

Founded in 1984, Hillsborough Title is a locally owned and operated full service title agency in the Tampa Bay area. Resources include in-house legal counsel with three real estate attorneys on staff, a dedicated short sales department, ongoing training, a choice of seven of the top title insurance underwriters in the nation, and advanced title software and systems facilitating Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) compliance, data security and best practices.

With the CornerStone Title acquisition, the growing company currently has 14 locations in Pinellas, Hillsborough, Polk, Pasco and Manatee counties, virtual offices throughout Florida, and a staff of more than 110. Hillsborough Title is ranked the No. 1 title company by number of closings by the Tampa Bay Business Journal and is among the top 1 percent of all the title agencies in the state, according to CoreLogic. 

The merger will be a seamless transition for CornerStone Title. “Very little will change in our day-to-day operation,” said Howard. “All of the familiar faces and treasured aspects of Cornerstone will remain the same. However, our clients will immediately recognize and be able to take advantage of all of the additional resources, begin to utilize the attorneys on staff and very soon see their business positively affected due to this partnership.”

CornerStone Title will continue to operate from its Lakewood Ranch location at 11061 Gatewood Dr, Suite 101, Bradenton, Florida 34211. Telephone: (941) 708-0300. Website: www.CornerStoneTitle.biz.


Florida Housing Market Improving Steadily

Great news for Florida’s housing market: listings, median prices, and speed of sale are all on the rise according to data from Florida Realtors.

housing market improves

The median prices are something to behold. According to the report from Florida Realtors, median prices for townhome, condo, and single-family homes all rose year-over-year—“for the 27th month in a row.” That’s simply astonishing and great news for anyone still concerned that we’re not in some form of recovery.

Additionally, the data notes a reduction in distressed sales and a corresponding interest by families looking to sell their home traditionally. Thanks to that reduction, the report notes that there is a 11.6 percent increase year-over-year in single-family home listings and a 4.2 percent increase in townhouse/condo listings. Supply and price are both going up—which is a good thing for anyone in the real estate industry and for the housing market in general.

However, it should be noted that while this is good news for our year-over-year gains in the housing market, we are still below the national median in sales price (our $165,000 versus the national $188,900). That’s not terrible, but it does show that the value hasn’t quite caught up—but with a 27 month streak of showing improvement, we’re catching up quite nicely. 

Florida Realtors states that, despite these other issues, sales are down for both single-family and townhouses/condos. Dr. John Tuccillo also notes that this is an image of a re-emerging normal market, noting that the weaker sales results in single-family homes and townhouses/condos are “solely the result of plummeting short sales,” meaning that more people are selling their homes for their value and helping stabilize the market.

And good for them, and for you. It’s nice to see us in recovery, gaining value in our real estate, and seeing some normalcy in what’s been a more chaotic world.

Thanks to DSNews and Florida Realtors for the info.


Hillsborough Title Acquires Paramount Title Corporation

HTPT Join Forces 2

 

For more, please visit:

https://plantcityobserver.com/2014/02/13/hillsborough-title-acquires-paramount-title-corp/

https://www.tampabaynewswire.com/2014/01/08/hillsborough-title-and-paramount-title-corporation-join-forces-18709

https://www.alta.org/news/news.cfm?newsID=23604

https://www.thetitlereport.com/TTR/Articles/Two-familyowned-companies-join-forces-in-Florida-59912.aspx