Friday, February 4, 2011
William Raveis Real Estate launces Agent Dashboard, a new way of doing business for agents in the real estate industry
William Raveis Launches Agent Dashboard, Game-Changer in Real Estate Industry
Posted on February 3, 2011 by William Raveis Real Estate
William Raveis has launched the nation’s first free, comprehensive CRM, business management and marketing tool for real estate professionals, the Agent Dashboard. Chairman and CEO, Bill Raveis, announced the program is live in 75 William Raveis offices across the northeast.
This revolutionary tool simplifies the complexities of real estate transactions and client management, offering full back-end support for virtually any agent activity. Now, agents can access information vital to daily business in one location-anytime, anywhere.
“One of the cornerstone’s of our success has been the agent-is-our-client principle,” says Mr. Raveis. “We are constantly thinking of innovative ways to help agents achieve success in a technologically demanding society. The Agent Dashboard will help them lead the industry in effective business management and in maintaining client relationships, pre and post closing.”
The Agent Dashboard offers the following solutions in one, simple interface:
1) The Agent Dashboard features comprehensive marketing plans to incubate any type of client- create a marketing plan for a buyer, seller, new owner or website lead. In addition, market during specific stages of a transaction, such as closings. Convert prospects to leads or sellers into listing opportunities with an Open Home Plan and a Seller Plan. Stay connected with clients long-term with the Raveis Client for Life Campaign and Customer for Life Campaign.
2) Manage your social media presence by adding links to your various social media accounts directly on the homepage. Monitor William Raveis and top industry news by adding rss feeds to blogs and other sources.
3) Fine-tune the aesthetics and content of marketing plans by choosing from an array of virtual postcards, such as just listed and just sold, special occasion, birthday and holiday e-cards.
4) Robust contact management-group contacts by the stage of the buying and selling process. Assign “hot” or “cold” status based on timeframe to buy or sell. Market to hot or cold clients appropriately with automated targeted marketing plans.
5) Monitor your top sources of business, such as open houses, floor duty, website or SOI, through the client analysis feature.
6) Access Extensive Town Hall information-Search records by address, street, owner’s name, tax ID or by mapping. Get neighborhood profile information and see parcel, county, city and zip code boundaries. Enjoy MLS integration.
7) Stay on top of the marketplace by creating customized hotsheets that pull directly from the MLS. Using the MLS Power Search feature, drill down search to specifics, such as days on market, schools in the area, and square footage. Filter search by location, producing results within a certain vicinity. For simpler search, use an MLS Quick Search.
8) Assign clients listing notifications per their specifications. Notifications can span multiple states, cities and towns.
“The Agent Dashboard is the culmination of more than one year in planning and development by a team that worked tirelessly on a conceptual as well as technical framework,” says a proud Mr. Raveis. “This idea was founded on the principle that agents need a more efficient system to manage their daily business, whether they be sitting at a desk or quickly sifting through data on a mobile device.”
William Raveis partnered with leading software developers to create the Agent Dashboard.
Whether through a mobile phone or desktop, William Raveis is currently focused on ensuring all agents become well acclimated with the Dashboard. The company is holding in-depth training sessions in all parts of the northeast to ensure easy accessibility for nearly 3000 agents. Perhaps most noteworthy are the efforts William Raveis’ talented IT department is making to aid agents in initial setup. The department is extending its hours for several months and giving personalized care to agents who have setup questions on various mobile operating systems or on their computer.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Curbing Closing Costs
The New York TimesBy LYNNLEY BROWNING
Published: January 27, 2011
You Don’t Have to Pay It (January 30, 2011) Good-faith estimate rules, part of a tougher Truth in Lending Act that emerged from the mortgage crisis, mean that lenders must provide a clear picture of the costs involved in buying or refinancing a home. Yet consumers may not realize that some of those numbers are actually negotiable, mortgage experts say.
“There’s a lot of room for negotiation in the costs of closing,” said Barry Zigas, the director of housing policy at the Consumer Federation of America, a consumer advocacy group, “and consumers should examine every charge and not hesitate to challenge them and try to bring them down.”
Closing costs can run a borrower 3 to 6 percent of the price of a property, according to the Federal Reserve. In 2010, the average cost for a $200,000 purchase rose by nearly 37 percent, to $3,741, according to Bankrate.com, a financial data publisher; the average in New York State was $5,623.
Most borrowers pay less attention to closing costs, focusing instead on the interest rate offered by a lender. But because many of the fees associated with closing are not set in stone, mortgage experts say, consumers should review the line-by-line estimates with a view toward challenging them. Lenders are required to outline all the estimated closing costs within three days of receiving a loan application.
The standard good-faith-estimate form used by lenders makes it easier to compare the terms offered by lenders, and it lists the services a borrower can shop around for, versus those selected by the lender.
John T. Mechem, the vice president for public affairs of the Mortgage Bankers Association, said borrowers should “simply ask the lender which fees are negotiable and which are fixed.”
“Sometimes a borrower can shop for individual services and find a cheaper alternative to the provider that the lender uses,” Mr. Mechem said.
Mr. Zigas agreed. “Ask, ‘Who is getting paid this fee, and why am I being asked to pay it?’ ” he said.
The good-faith-estimate rules say that certain charges cannot increase at closing, including those for loan origination and points paid to the lender to reduce a locked interest rate, with 1 point equal to 1 percent of the loan amount. But borrowers can negotiate those charges.
Some other charges can rise up to 10 percent, including title services and appraisals, regardless of whether the borrower chooses providers listed by the lender or shops around. In general, charges for any required services that the lender selects or that the borrower shops around for, using companies selected by the lender, can rise 10 percent.
For a $200,000 home with a 5 percent down payment, the settlement costs of that $190,000 loan, not including reserves for property taxes and down payment, typically range from $6,235 to $19,930, according to the Federal Reserve. The loan origination fee can range from $2,130 to $3,105; the application fee, typically from $65 to $640; and points can add $5,700.
While regulators discourage lenders from overestimating costs, they don’t penalize them for doing so.
Therefore, borrowers should understand that “it’s not a time to be polite,” said Kathleen Day, a spokeswoman for the Center for Responsible Lending, an advocacy group. “You have to have a strong stomach and a stiff spine and not bow to pressure from the other side of the table to close the deal,” she said, even in this tight credit environment.
For a refinancing of your primary residence, you can generally cancel your mortgage application for up to three days after closing, with fees refunded.