Tips to Create Engaging Real Estate Market Reports

Tips to Create Engaging Real Estate Market Reports

Create Engaging Real Estate Market Reports

Real estate professionals use digital transcription services to produce accurate and timely notes on property-for-sale, home inspection reports, and other content. Along with other industry information, these notes can be used to create real estate reports that provide consumers with information about the housing market so that they can make more informed decisions.

To successfully reach out to their audience, realtors need to create clear, useful, reliable, and visually attractive market reports. Today’s tech-savvy consumers do everything online, and they do it on their mobile phone. And as the internet is all about social media, realtors need to ensure well-presented reports on popular platforms. This will help them get found, establish their authority in the industry, and generate new leads.

  • Ensure content to hold your audience’s interest: What kind of content should a real estate report have? There are many topics that can be covered and best strategy to decide on the content is to communicate with your audience on social media and ask them what they want to hear about. One area where you can’t go wrong is the local housing market. Real estate agents can provide plenty of support and guidance to help home buyers and sellers understand the market where they live or plan to buy. This can help them make an informed decision about when is the best time to buy a home or sell the one they own. Useful information would include recently closed sales in the local market, sales trends over time, what renovated and unrenovated properties are selling for, how long properties tend to sit on the market before being sold, and other relevant market stats and trends. You can also recommend neighborhoods that buyers can check out. Include pictures of attractive and interesting properties that have been sold or are likely to be purchased soon.
  • Include information about the neighborhood and local businesses: A www.bit.ai.com blog recommends documenting everything about the neighborhood in a real estate report. Provide information about the population, access to transportation, businesses and industries in the area, and all the basic amenities available. Providing such useful information will save your audience the time that would go into searching online. Your audience would also appreciate a review about local businesses in the area, such as restaurants, theaters, concert venues, and other attractions (www.placester.com).
  • Avoid insider jargon: Don’t use industry jargon and abbreviations in your real estate market report. Easy Pro Agent recommends focusing on terms that are not in mainstream consumer use and either not using them or taking the time to explain them. Examples of terms that may need explanations are: ‘appraisal’ (written explanation of a property’s fair market value), ‘buyer’s market’ (there are more sellers than there are buyers in the market), and ‘escrow’ (an asset or escrow money is held by a third party on behalf of two other parties that are in the process of completing a transaction).
  • Provide holiday-themed reports: Your audience will love to know what’s going on their locality. Incorporate holiday content into your real estate report to build greater rapport with your audience. Content could include a rundown of impressive displays in your target neighborhoods, special deals on offer, newly-opened businesses, and so on. Providing information on the trending events will position you as the informed source for such matters related to the neighborhood.
  • Present high quality written and visual content: Focus on creating balance between text and visual content in your report. A well-crafted report is one that looks appealing and user-friendly at first glance, highlights important information, and makes it easy for users to browse and find what they are interested in. Compared to text, people are drawn to visual content which comes in many forms: images, infographics, videos, podcasts, presentations, and data graphs. While visual elements will definitely promote increased engagement, make sure to include relevant text along with them. For instance, video/audio transcription services can enhance the usability of your videos and podcasts and enhance the user experience. You can create your own visual content or leverage other people’s multimedia with permission.

Ensure that your real estate market report looks professional and presents all important information in an engaging and visually pleasing manner. To drive targeted traffic to your website, it should link to relevant places on your site such as landing pages, blogs, and guest posts. Any recorded notes that need to be transcribed in the course of creating your report can be done with the help of an experienced digital transcription service provider.

Tips for Writing Effective Home Inspection Reports

Tips for Writing Effective Home Inspection Reports

Recent reports indicate that home equity is soaring. In July, Forbes reported on a Core Logic survey which found that positive economic forces have brought about a recovery in home sales, construction, prices and home equity wealth. These trends will likely drive the demand for home inspection services. An important safeguard for buyers, inspections are performed to assess the condition of the property before the deal is closed. Digital transcription agencies help home inspectors document the audio recording of the inspections and deliver accurate and timely reports of the health and safety of the properties they examine.

Writing Effective Home Inspection Reports

A home inspection is an impartial visual examination of the physical structure and systems of a house, from the roof to the foundation. Home inspections are best performed by a qualified person such as a licensed builder, a surveyor, or an architect. These professionals have an eye for detail when it comes to properties and know what to look for.

 What a Home Inspection Report Should Include

 A good home inspection report is one that is detailed and well written, and leaves no room for misinterpretation. The customized report will describe defects in detail and include digital photos of the major problems. Here are some expert tips for writing a good home inspection report:

  • Provide detailed, relevant information about the home: Home inspection involves reviewing and writing about all the components in a home. Rather than a template format, the report should be customized and include details about the heating system, air conditioning system, interior plumbing and electrical systems, roof, attic, basement, walls, ceilings, floors, doors and windows, foundation, and structural elements. The type of property, its size and age, and its condition should determine the format and extent of detail in the report.
  • List and describe all major concerns: The significant defects of the property should be listed and summarized in order of priority. Providing a clear description of the concerns in the report will allow the buyer to negotiate the price with the seller.
  • Describe defects clearly: If visible leakage or any other defect is noted anywhere, mention it clearly. Any speculation about the cause, effect or implications of the damage can also be included.
  • Avoid use of jargon without an explanation: The wording in the report should be clearly understood by the client. If any jargon or technical terms are used, they should have an explanation. Header, joist, truss, swale, conductor, heat exchanger and polarity are examples of technicalities that may need to be explained to the layman (https://inspectapedia.com).
  • Avoid using ambiguous terms: Some defects will not be noticeable in a simple visual inspection, such as concealed water damage in a bathroom or kitchen. If no defects are noted, experts advise that it is better not to comment. Avoid using terms like Satisfactory, Acceptable, or Adequate.
  • Include digital photos: Inspectors should take digital photos of major defects and include them in the report. Visuals are more effective than words to communicate a message.
  • Ensure consistency and check grammar and spelling: Include only as much detail as is necessary on every topic. Make sure that there are no grammar and spelling mistakes as such errors can convey an impression of carelessness, a trait that no home inspector would want to be associated with!
  • Include maintenance advice and safety improvement recommendations: Good home inspection reports will include maintenance recommendations as well as advice to improve safety.

 Importance of Audio Recording and Transcription

Home inspectors should dictate and record the inspections. Dictating will make it easier to conduct the inspection and move about the site easily. Recording the dictated report will ensure evidence of everything that was said at the inspection and minimize the inspector’s liability. It will also provide a way to explain matters better. Tips on using an audio recorder:

  • Make sure the batteries are fully charged between inspections
  • Always carry an extra memory card
  • Use the recorder for every inspection
  • Turn the recorder on when you reach site and keep it on till you leave
  • During the inspection make sure that the device is recording

Home inspectors can rely on professional audio transcription services to document the audio recordings. This will ensure solid proof of everything that took place during the inspection. Audio recording and transcripts can be also used for training and improving the way home inspections are conducted. A reliable real estate transcription service provider can ensure accurate and timely transcripts which can go a long way in producing neatly typed home inspection reports.

Hurricane Florence – Will It Impact the Real Estate Market?

Hurricane Florence – Will It Impact the Real Estate Market?

Continuation of the blog “How Important Is Flood Insurance in the Hurricane Florence Aftermath”

Events such as floods, earthquakes and hurricanes can impact the real estate sector. It’s been some weeks since Hurricane Florence descended on the coast of the Carolinas with record-breaking rainfall and flooding. It is now time to consider the after-effects of this devastating, unusual storm. How can hurricanes such as this affect the real estate market? Home prices could drop as a consequence of such a natural disaster and real estate agents should encourage their sellers to accept this reality if they want to sell their property quickly. At the same time, some experts also expect prices to eventually rise in hurricane-impacted regions. The real estate sector is sure to witness a flurry of documentation, and digital transcription agencies can be of great support for real estate agents, brokers and inspectors to meet their diverse property transcription requirements.

Hurricane Florence

A real-life example of the hurricane’s impact – the case of Andrea Bowens – was presented on WECT 6 News. Andrea Bowens was supposed to close the sale on a home she owns on September 13; that too, only hours before Florence made landfall. Several trees in her property were down in this disaster, following which the buyer and the other parties involved refused to close on the property. Their requirements to close the deal was to get the trees removed and a home inspection by the lending company.

The latest report from a real estate website Zillow highlights that $1 trillion worth of residential homes sit in the potential path of Hurricane Florence.

It is very likely that people may contact real estate agents to sell their damaged property. People may also be reluctant to move to a storm-damaged area and will be concerned about storm-damaged homes. While selling a home in the affected area, agents must make sure to ask the seller about any past problems and whether they had insurance, and must disclose these details to potential buyers. They can also encourage buyers to talk to home insurers about rates and coverage needs based on any local risks.

Along with such disclosures, agents can also consider pointing out features that may help mitigate damage such as buying houses with domed shapes that are designed for higher resistance to hurricane winds. Buyers, on their part, have the responsibility to ensure that they know what condition a piece of property is in before they buy it.

An article in National Real Estate Investor highlights that different commercial property types are affected differently by a hurricane. This article discusses how hurricanes in previous years have affected this market. It reports that while the hurricane with the most damage was Katrina in Louisiana and Mississippi in 2005 ($75 billion), the one that brought the least damage was Hugo in South Carolina and North Carolina in 1989 ($7 billion).

Will This Hurricane Impact Last Long?

With what diverse reports are coming up with, there’s hope for the real estate sector. According to a report from WWAY, Cape Fear Realtors opine that historically, major storms have an obvious short-term impact on the housing market. Wilimington Biz reports that Tim Milam, the president of Coldwell Banker Sea Coast Advantage, one of the largest real estate firms in Southeastern North Carolina, has said that “After all the storms we’ve had in the past, pretty much sales have picked back up after a week or two and gotten back to normal. I think it will be back to normal if we don’t have extensive damage.”

At the same time, there are also assumptions that this hurricane is likely to disrupt national home sales and construction for months to come. Several realtor associations are also offering grant assistance to victims of Hurricane Florence from the Realtors Relief Foundation, established by the National Association of Realtors.

As those involved in this industry have to often deal with recorded notes relating to construction sites and buildings, legal recordings of real estate deals, and general office work, real estate transcription services could be a good solution to get customized reports of these recordings.

How Real Estate Agents Can Minimize Client Security Threats

How Real Estate Agents Can Minimize Client Security Threats

Though considered slow to adopt technology, the real estate sector is now getting innovative, which makes this industry vulnerable to cyber attacks. Real estate agents are particularly susceptible to data breaches, as hackers know that these agents often save emails and handle sensitive data such as wiring instructions, client information and copies of checks.A wide variety of attacks threaten real estate businesses and these include business Email compromise and ransomware attacks. Even while hiring general transcription companies for documentation tasks, realtors must have a clear idea regarding the data security and confidentiality policies of these firms.

 
How Real Estate Agents Can Minimize Client Security Threats
 

As real estate firms create, use, store and share more information than ever, professionals in this sector should seriously consider safe data storage and management. The National Association of Realtors (NAR) recommends realtors to work with an attorney licensed in the state to develop cybersecurity-related programs, policies, and materials.

Many U.S. states have adopted data breach laws for brokers and other real estate professionals. For instance, in California businesses are required to notify each California resident of a potential data security breach where their personal information may have been obtained by an unauthorized person.

Forbes, in a recent article has discussed certain ways for real estate agents to fix their client security flaws.

Sensitive Data Encryption

Handle the client data in your device or inbox with great care. For better security, encrypt the data before forwarding the file and then delete the details from your servers.

Make sure to deliver the password through a different medium such as text message or over the phone, while sending a password-encrypted document to the client. Such a method prevents hackers from accessing the document via email, as it lacks the password. In Adobe Acrobat, it is easy to encrypt documents by entering a password from within the document settings.

Two-factor Authentication

Two-factor authentication helps to eliminate the exposure of passwords and thus secure your accounts against attackers. In this two-step process, you must first enter your password. The second step is that you will receive a unique code to your phone, i.e. a “one time password”. Along with the password, this code is also important to access the account.

As the code changes each time, a hacker can’t get into your account, unless they access your password and mobile phone.

Never Copy Checks

Instead of copying checks, consider more secure and effective means to verify funds. Most brokerage agreements do not allow real estate agents to transmit the client’s financial data, resulting in agents sharing a copy of the buyer’s earnest money checks via unsecured email.Sharing buyers’ financial information can affect the confidentiality of clients.

In the Forbes article, a real estate firm owner discusses how their firm has created a policy to issue a statement of funds letter that confirms to all parties that funds have cleared and the buyer has complied with the contract. When required by the lender, cleared check copies are sent to them via secure or encrypted email to an official company email address.

Clear Data Policies

The firm must consider creating clear and easily enforceable policies that are easy to understand for the agents as to what they should and should not do. Educating agents on the types of data and how to respond to it helps. While reviewing the firm’s policy manual, consider consulting an attorney and data security professionals to ensure that you abide by law and the guidelines are suitable to protect client data.

Recommendations from NAR

Other recommendations from The National Association of Realtors (NAR) include:

  • Use long, complicated passwords such as phrases or a combination of letters, numbers, symbols
  • Avoid clicking on unknown attachments or links, as it can download malware onto the device
  • Avoid doing business over unsecured Wi-Fi
  • Regularly back up critical data, applications and systems, and keep backed up data separate from online systems
  • Never download apps without ensuring that they are legitimate and won’t install malware or breach privacy

Reliable real estate firms often showcase their commitment to protecting their clients by verifying client information before sharing specifics. Such an office will also make sure to benefit from quality digital transcription service to get accurate transcripts of any type of property reports such as property summaries, construction site recitations and site-engineer notes.

How Wire Fraud Impacts the Real Estate Industry

How Wire Fraud Impacts the Real Estate Industry

Real Estate IndustryAs providers of professional transcription services to real estate entities, we are concerned to learn about the latest threat to the real estate industry, namely, wire fraud. Wire fraud refers to criminal acts done using telecommunications or information technology networks. Other than certified checks, real estate transactions are also done using wires, as they are faster and the funds are immediately available. For many people, wiring funds is the preferred method of moving money. Reports shoe that wire fraud is a growing trend in the real estate industry. According to are port from FBI published in law.com, wire fraud is the fastest growing real estate cybercrime in the U S. FBI reports indicate that in 2017, cyber criminals stole or attempted to steal almost $1 billion from real estate purchase transactions; this is up from $19 million in 2016.

Real estate is attractive to cyber criminals mainly for reasons such as:

  • the diversity of targets
  • they prey on unknowing home buyers who don’t know how to spot a scam, and
  • the huge amounts involved–it is common for buyers to wire transfers for hundreds of thousands of dollars

According to the FBI, the Internet Crime Complaint Center has seen a 48% increase in the number of complaints filed in 2016 in the real estate industry. Most of these complaints were related to wire fraud scam becoming more common in this industry. Information is generally compromised in wire fraud scam process through phishing emails. Once hackers gain access to an email account, they will monitor messages to find someone in the process of buying and selling homes. Then emails will be sent to that account, what looks like real instructions from a title company asking the buyer to wire money to a different bank instead of what the title company had told earlier. Two victims in every scam would be the entity whose email is hacked and the home buyer whose money is stolen.

San Antonio Mom Loses $25,000 in Wire Fraud Scheme

News 4 San Antonio recently reported the case of Jayna Gibbs who lost $25,000 dollars gifted by family and friends following her husband’s death, in wire fraud. Gibbs, who planned to use the money as a down payment on her new home, got an email requesting closing funds to be wired to an escrow account. As the emails looked exactly the same as those that came from the escrow assistant and had the same logo and the officer’s name in it, Gibbs had no concerns about the validity of the email and subsequently wired $25,500 dollars as instructed. But later she got a phone call saying that the concerned title company doesn’t have a wire from her. This company also does not offer insurance for this type of fraud and she is not sure whether they are using encryption to protect private information.

Preventing Wire Frauds

Wire Fraud

  • Practicing good cyber hygiene helps to prevent being a victim of such frauds
  • Make sure that the emails you get in the attachments or the links are verified
  • Stay alert as the most vulnerable time for a scam would be right before a transaction closes and home buyers prepare to send a wire transfer
  • Consider using a cashier’s check instead of a wire transfer
  • Change password regularly and avoid emailing about wiring instructions on an unsecured network
  • If you become a victim, report it as soon as possible. Providing less time for criminals helps the investigators to track down the money
  • Consider checking for fraudulent emails that end in .net instead of .com and whether it came in a secured manner
  • Mortgage brokers, lawyers, title companies and agents should improve their internal security systems and can consider cyber insurance

Title companies handle a lot of your personal information as well. To get a loan payoff from your lender, they will need your Social Security number and loan number to get the information from your lender. Ensure that your title company does all or most of their communications over secure encrypted emails, providing an extra level of security. Realtors as well as attorneys considering services from an online transcription company should also be aware of the document security policies the company adheres to.

Buying a Home? Learn about Mortgage Pre-approval

Buying a Home? Learn about Mortgage Pre-approval

Mortgage Pre-approvalIf you are seriously interested in buying a home, the first step is to get a mortgage pre-approval letter. This letter from a lender indicates that you are a serious buyer and a lender is willing to give you money to buy a house. With a pre-approval letter, you can find a home you can afford by shopping within your means. The letter will be issued after the lender has evaluated your financial history. Mortgage lenders as well as realtors typically rely on cheap transcription services to transcribe such real estate documents. The letter is valid for about 90 days and expires as banks need the most up-to-date information about your salary, assets, and debts. If you fail to find a house before the expiration date, the lender may update the letter based on the re-verification of your financial documents. In case there were no major changes in your financial matters, getting a fresh pre-approval letter from the lender is recommended.

Pre-approval vs. Pre-qualification

It is important to understand that pre-qualification is not the same as mortgage pre-approval. While pre-qualification determines how much a lender is willing to give you, a pre-approval creates a stronger impression on sellers and lets them know you have the cash to back up an offer.

Pre-qualification letter indicates that evaluating your creditworthiness, a lender has decided that you probably will be eligible for a loan up to a certain amount. However, this letter is not a promise, it is just an approximation-based on the information you give the lender and their evaluation of your financial prospects. Often, your current credit report or the statements you have made about your income, assets, and liabilities may not be taken into account by the lender.

Unlike pre-qualification, a pre-approval letter clearly specifies that you qualify for a specific mortgage amount based on the review of all of your financial information such as credit report, pay stubs, bank statement, salary, assets, a year or two of your tax returns and obligations.

Tips to Avoid Getting Denied on Pre-approval

Getting a mortgage plays a vital role in any home-buying process. It is critical for home buyers to understand the mortgage process and know about their own credit history to avoid being rejected when applying for mortgages.

The Home Buyer Reality Report 2017 published by NerdWallet finds that 41% of Americans who have applied for a mortgage felt they were not aware of all of their loan options during the lending process.
Mortgage Pre-approval
Here are some factors to consider.

  • Have a clear understanding of your credit report and calculate the monthly debt you are carrying and how much you owe overall
  • Incorrect or false information on your credit reports should be immediately clarified with the credit reporting agencies
  • On-time payment of bills and clear knowledge on which debts to pay first can improve your score
  • For those without an open credit card or loan, establishing a new line of credit helps to build a positive payment history for the mortgage pre-approval
  • Show consistent income over time, as mortgage lenders don’t look at gross income but rather usable income
  • Make sure to control your monthly spending and avoid large purchases. This helps to lower your debt-to-income ratio and qualify for better interest rates

However, before signing a mortgage it is advisable to talk to different banks. Real estate agents often prefer showing homes to buyers with a pre-approval letter, as it shows that the buyer is financially capable. Real estate transcription services help these agents to meet their property transcription works. Pre-approval letter is not necessary if the buyer is paying in hard cash or if they have a stable job or a solid credit history.