Protect Yourself Against Wire Transfer Scams

The real estate industry is a huge target for wire transfer scams. It’s up to you to protect yourself and your clients, but how? What are wire transfer scams? How do you know if you are a victim? What should you do if it happens to you? Read below to find out more…

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A Little Info About These Scams

These scams normally come from groups operating out of Ghana, Nigeria and other African nations. Individuals in these groups try to connect with potential victims through email and even on social dating sites in order to foster a relationship. The groups, as a whole, send out millions of emails constantly, waiting for someone to click on it. They are smart, creating believable stories about why they need bank account information and convincing the victim in the relationship that by divulging this information and partaking in this deal, they will be helping them out greatly.

 

How to Recognize One

Some scam attempts are obvious, but others can be unsuspecting. If you have an online friend who has started nonchalantly asking personal questions about your financial status, it might be a scam. If you received an email from an address you don’t recognize, it might be a scam, but if you’re not sure, read the content of the emails. Many scam emails will have funky wording, some phrases won’t make sense or words will be misspelled.

Other scam emails can contain content about you needing to make a payment for a medical account or they want you to review your recent payment. If you haven’t made any payments recently or the email address isn’t the same as your health account portal, delete it and don’t click on any prompted links. Lastly, never download any file from an unknown address.

 

How to Protect Yourself Against Them

  • Block IP addresses from nations listed above
  • Avoid using web-based email accounts (they are easier to hack)
  • Be careful what you put on social media (job functions, salary, hierarchical information, etc.)
  • Don’t accept friend requests from people you don’t know
  • Don’t disclose personal information to people you don’t know
  • Be wary of any requests for secrecy or pressure to act quickly

 

What to Do If You Suspect Something

  • Immediately call your bank and talk to the person who has authority to recall a wire transfer
  • Tell your bank that you want them to fully cooperate with the police
    • You have to state this as the bank cannot help the FBI without your consent
  • Report the incident to the FBI at ic3.gov
    • Provide as many details as you can about the beneficiary; account number, contact information, names, etc.
  • Contact the closest FBI field office
    • For an international wire transfer, they can try to create a Financial Kill Chain

 

 

Reference: https://www.wavgroup.com/2018/10/08/how-the-fbi-foiled-a-wire-transfer-scam/

How should agents approach new tech purchases?

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In today’s market, smartphones are the lifelines for real estate professionals while conducting and managing their
day-to-day business. With our vast growth and rapid change in technology, mobile phones quickly become outdated. So how do agents know when and how to effectively swap out their current models for the next gen? And moreover, what emerging tech should they consider adding to their arsenal to continue to advance in the industry?

Agents who have had their iPhones or Androids for a few years at this point may be amazed by the technological advancements for smartphones that have come over the last few years. There are now so many more features, both in terms of apps and built-in hardware that it makes a smartphone purchase decision a little more complicated, but often necessary, according to Popular Science. Generally speaking, those who have had Android devices or iPhones may want to stick with what they’re used to, but those looking to make the switch have a lot to consider.

Comparing the options
It is not always easy for agents to go from one type of device to the other, but some agents can benefit from a change if need be. For instance, those who really give their phones a workout might need a stronger battery and a greater processor speed, while others might prefer higher-resolution screens or better cameras. Moreover, price is likely to be a factor as well, and what an agent has to pay for a new smartphone can vary widely based on a number of factors, including the kinds of upgrade incentives their service providers offer.

It might also be a good idea for agents to consider when they buy their smartphones. All new iPhones and some Android models are often released in the early autumn; therefore agents would benefit by waiting to upgrade their device during that time year.

Of course, when considering any such switch, it’s important to do as much research as possible to determine exactly which next-gen smartphone will meet an agent’s needs most effectively.

It’s not just hardware
Of course, agents rely on technology for a lot more than just what their smartphones provide, and as such it’s important to regularly
examine emerging software options that can help them get ahead as well, according to Fit Small Business. There are plenty of options out there that can help agents on multiple fronts: everything from lead generation and client relationship management to handling electronic signatures during the real estate sales process and building and maintaining a website.

It is also important to consider the budget they may have for such an option, whether it’s a monthly subscription payment for a specific type of software service, or the up-front cost of a more sizable one-time purchase. In either event, it’s also vital to weigh what kind of return on investment the software option is likely to provide. If it’s something that could pay for itself within a few months or a year, it’s probably a smart move for agents to adopt it.

Highlighting benefits of selling with a real estate professional can convert FSBO’s

shutterstock_52831720Data suggests an increasing number of people who want to sell their homes are going the “for sale by owner” route. After all, they think the market so significantly benefits sellers that real estate sales basically push themselves through. Of course, long-time real estate professionals know better, but it’s not always easy to get FSBO sellers to see the other side of the story.

Given the growing popularity of FSBO efforts these days, it might be wise for real estate agents to shift their strategies when it comes to reaching property owners as a means of helping both themselves and those hopeful sellers.  Often, the decision to go FSBO comes because consumers don’t fully understand the value – even in today’s seller-friendly market – of having an experienced agent to lean on throughout the sales process.

How to get them onboard
With this new reality in mind, showing off why working with an agent is beneficial should be job No. 1 for any agent trying to cut into the number of FSBOs in their areas. Perhaps the biggest solution here is that agents know what consumers often don’t: How to properly price and market a home. While owners may feel properties sell themselves, they might not know where to actually begin when it comes to setting an asking price or getting the word out that a property is up for sale. That’s where an agent’s years of experience can go a long way.

Further, agents can often highlight their value by letting owners know exactly how many homes they’ve helped sell in the past year or six months, which can be especially important when agents aided in sales of homes similar to what FSBOs are trying to put on the market. That kind of effort may show sellers that agents know exactly what they’re doing when it comes to properties with similar features.

Show off potential issues FSBOs face
Meanwhile, if homeowners think selling their properties is easy, pros may also want to highlight how working with an agent pays for itself in terms of peace of mind, let alone dollars and cents, according to long-time real estate professional Sharon Harkness. For example, sellers simply may not think about how they’re going to have to wade through oceans of paperwork or how much they will have to do to properly market a home in the first place. And even if they can connect with prospective buyers through things like online listings, actually dealing with those shoppers can come with a lot of ups and downs.

Showing off the fact that when it comes to these issues, owners often just don’t know what they’re getting themselves into, can help to dissuade them from going the FSBO route. An agent’s job in selling a home is hard work, and owners typically not only benefit from it in terms of not putting in hundreds of hours of work, but also when it comes to saving money on marketing their properties and getting higher sales prices.

Brought to you by HMS Home Warranty.  HMS is an industry leader with over 30 years of creating success for clients and providing peace of mind for customers.  To learn more click www.hmsnational.com.

Effectively Manage Your Real Estate Contact Database

Successful real estate agents understand that when you have mastered the ability to develop and effectively manage your client database, then you will go very far in this business. Whether you are a veteran real estate professional or a new agent building your relationships and branding can be hard. Keep in mind, technology is your best friend. Technology helps you connect with more people and market yourself to a mass. At the end of the day, the real estate business is simply a numbersdatabase game. The more contacts that have, the bigger your real estate business will be. Learning how to effectively build and manage your real estate contact database, will give your real estate career the competitive edge it needs.

Try to have all of your contacts in one spot:

Try not to spread out all of your contacts across a bunch of different social networks. The goal here is to do as little of manual work as possible. Good contact files have job titles, email addresses, phone numbers, birthdays, and more.

 Suggestion:

If you don’t have a LinkedIn account, consider getting one. Once you connect with someone, that person will be able to see your email address and you will be able to see theirs. This is a great way to network and communicate with individuals from your past. Remember, referrals are the name of the game.

Categorize & Group your contacts:

Have categories for Friends, Family, Real Estate Agents, Buyer Prospect, Seller Prospect, etc. The seller and buyer prospect categories are for your new clients and referrals.

Develop your announcement content and send it out:

Do you have something important that you would like to communicate to your database? Do so with the use of PREA E-cards.

 

~Throughout your career in real estate, always have a plan to grow. Your real estate contact database will become a huge source of repeat and referral business over time. ~

 

 

Traits of a Great Real Estate Agent

The real estate industry has gone through its ups and downs over the past years. Since the crash and financial crisis, the housing market has been making a slow, but thriving recovery. A professional real estate agent does not become a success overnight; gaining clients’ trust is an important component of real estate success. Keep these traits in mind as we embark on this booming spring market. If you can deliver on these basic consumer expectations, you’ll build a referral business.

Goal-driven: The best agents make the process of transitioning out of a client’s home a smooth experience. Ultimately when you are dedicated to your career as a real estate professional, you will be motivated to provide your clients with a positive home-selling experience.Digital Image by Sean Locke Digital Planet Design www.digitalplanetdesign.com

Resourceful: Being a resourceful real estate agent is important; sending them homes that meet their criteria, as soon as they come onto the market, shows your dedication and knowledge of the market. Using your local MLS or Saved Searches through the Customer Center will keep your buyers updated and save you time.

Friendly: You interact with a lot of different types of people so it is important to be personable. Ask yourself these questions:
1. Can you talk authoritatively without being intimidating?
2. Are you the kind of person who is likely to win the trust of potential clients?
3. Can you encourage sellers to price their home competitively and buyers to make reasonable offers?

Honest: Honesty is important in any profession, but it’s paramount in this industry. When someone buys or sells their home, they are most likely handling the most financial transaction of their life. One of the most important functions of an agent is to provide accurate information about the true fair market value of real estate. The most painful truths are about how a client’s home looks; you have to be willing to help identify and remove any distractions that are in the home to better assist with the sale. Lying to your client only makes things worse and your client will, in the end, appreciate your honesty and advice.

Enthusiastic: Make sure that you understand your client’s property and its major selling points. You must have the skills and commitment to market them with enthusiasm.

Conquer Email Marketing

Email is one of the most effective marketing tools around, returning about $40 on every $1 you spend. As Realtors, you can use email to reach your entire database instantly and by provide them with valuable real estate information. Sustaining a good relationship with consistent communication is a must in today’s marketing world.

Build Your Database:

Offer email signup sheets at open housesEmail Marketing 2To encourage more email subscribers, ask prospective buyers to provide their emails so you can send them new listings that match their search criteria.

Stay in contact with recent buyers to get referrals— “It’s all about making it personal, making it magic, and making the experience unforgettable so that two or ten years down the road they’ll remember to call you,” says real estate pro Cheryl Hanna with Keyes Co. in Palm Beach Gardens, Fla., and also a frequent blogger about customer service issues for Service Untitled.

Use LinkedIn— Once you connect with past clients on LinkedIn, you’re able to view their email address directly on their profile. Check out our LinkedIn for Realtors training video to learn more.

Promote email through your social media websites— Use social media contests and promotions, with relevant prizes, to collect email addresses. When you ask for a person’s email for the entry procedure, be sure to include a section that allows them to choose to opt-in or not to your email list.

Targeting With Email Newsletters and Reliable Content:

Send your clients valuable information about their local area or topics that interest them. Good topics that can be sent out:

-Changes in homeowners association regulations and fees
-Local area events, fundraisers, and news updates
-Local school district statistics and events
-Homeowner tips and advice
-Updates on the local real estate market

If you’re sending things like new listing alerts, open houses, tips for buyers, advice for sellers, make sure you segment your list of clients. By grouping them appropriately, you’ll be sending them information that is valuable to them so it’ll keep their interest.

Photos are good, but Videos are better:

It is important for you to promote yourself and your listings through video marketing. You can share the unique videos that have been created for each of their listings through email. They then can decide if they want to take the time to see the listing in person. We continue to provide with tools that will be beneficial to your marketing efforts. Overall, videos contain more stuff: movement, conversation, facial expressions, and emotions. Videos allow you to portray a truer reality.

Homesale Tools are Available:

Homesale’s innovative and aggressive advertising and marketing activities will help you attract qualified buyers to your client’s property.

  • Homesalecenter.com: Our customer center (inside homesalecenter.com) has drip email campaigns for prospective buyers and rent-tenants.
  • Online Seller Advantage: As an additional feature when an open house is scheduled, an email notification is automatically sent to all customers who saved your home in their online portfolio. These are exclusive benefits that only we offer.
  • Prea Center Ecards: This tool allows you to import your database to PREA Center, split them into groups for target marketing, and send them ecards. There are a variety of templates to choose from.

The value of email marketing lies entirely in your list of customer emails. Keep in mind that 93 percent of consumers check their email and view at least one permission-based email daily.