Latest Posts

Social Media

Social Media in various countries – What should you know?

I attended SEMpdx’s SearchFest 07 on Wednesday, had a great time and I met some interesting people involved in search marketing. John Hartman (he’s in our group) was on a panel, and did a great job presenting and taking care of all the audio/visual demands. While listening to the Web 2.0/RSS panel I really liked the presentation by Dan Harbison, the Internet Marketing Manager at the Portland Trail Blazers.

I was surprised by Dan’s and the Blazer organization’s energy in adopting social media; did you know there’s a social networking site just for Blazers’ fans? The site is called I Am A Trail Blazers Fan. Even though there’s been some rough years for the Blazers and their fans, Portland still loves their only professional sport, and the success of the online community is a testament to that.

I asked Dan if he’d like to present at our next Portland Social Media meeting and he was happy to accept. So, that’s the first item to add to the agenda; I think you’ll really benefit from hearing what a large organization has done with social media. Now, I’m in the process of securing a place and time; so here’s the big question you need to answer: Is the evening of March 27th accommodating to a majority of members?

So Your Clips Are on YouTube For hobbyists and entrepreneurs, getting your videos on YouTube is a great way to build an audience, connect with a community and a way to build your brand. But, large content owning companies see things differently, and they aren’t happy. On Tuesday of this week, those behind the Oscars, the Academy, contacted YouTube and demanded they take down videos uploaded by YouTube’s users of selected scenes from Oscar night.

I haven’t watched any of the clips but Jason Chervokas blogging at the Social Media Club blog says the Will Farrell and Jack Black musical had been viewed over 250,000 times; it was very funny. YouTube complied on Wednesday and all the clips have now been removed. What is at issue here is copyright, the web site Oscars.com and the Academy’s insistence that everyone must view Oscar-related clips on their web site (distribution). The Academy’s demand caught the attention of much-paid-attention-to Maverick’s owner and blogger Mark Cuban, who suggested the Academy should have just created a short preview of the full sketch and then transition to an advertisement encouraging people to go to Oscars.com to watch the current video and to view exclusives or behind

the-scenes videos. This isn’t a bad idea, you might as well communicate on the massive network YouTube has and it won’t cost you anything; YouTube handles all the maintenance and staffing costs for hosting your video. In addition, somewhere in the Academy’s messaging on YouTube there could have been an encouragement for others to email the YouTube links to friends, post it in their blogs, etc. I’m on the Oscars.com site right now and I can’t find the Will Farrell video anywhere – all they link to are Thank You Cam videos (boring), Press Room videos (what?), Road to the Oscars video, Ellen’s Video Diary and Behind the Scenes videos, and there is no way to embed these videos in your blog. Talk about bringing back the 90’s philosophy of “capturing eyeballs”. So if you, as a professional or as an agent of a company, find yourself looking in horror as your commercials, produced videos, or short clips of your films flood onto YouTube, take some time to think about how you can engage the audience of people eagerly watching those videos. You never know, instead of scathing blog posts condemning an Oscars-like move, bloggers and the news might commend you for “getting it”, and you might make more money from your brand…

There we go, now I got your attention! For increasing the attention, the length of the videos is prescribed to be short. In the videos, there are some tiktok length ads are placed which will turn the duration long. It should be considered through the people while making the  social media video with different contents. 

Doc Searls writes challenging a charge made by Brian Solis in What is Wrong with Social Media? that Doc is an influential driver and definer of Social Media. Solis answers his headline’s question 3/4 the way down the article with: It’s an emergent term that as Stowe put it, defines the socialization of information (Social Media) as well as the tools to faciliate conversation (social media).

With those descriptions, and the collective support from some of the most visionary edglings, I’m not sure why there has to be anything wrong with the name. Seriously. Something different is happening here, the tools for expression and communiation have never been cheaper and more available to the population.

I think anxiety advances on people that ruminate on the negatives of having to adopt the role of Producer. I precieve there’s a group of people that don’t want to play the role of the Producer; they just want to write, or send pictures to their parents, or express their humanity without having to interact in a many-to-many manner.

Perhaps there’s also another way to express this: equally unattractive to some might be the hundreds or thousands of people that are to consume their creative energies; perhaps this word is unattractive by it’s definition: con·sume -verb to destroy or expend by use; use up. Still further, others might be put off by the fervor of activities by marketing and PR folks in the area of Social Media. Chris Heuer, of Social Media Club, has a quote in the WebProNews article addressing this situation:

 “Let’s stand up for what is right about “social media” rather than tearing it down just because a few misguided folks are misappropriating the meme. We need not throw out the term Social Media for the mere fact that some people will sour its intention and purpose during the course of socializing the deeper understanding of what is happening and what it means.” Keeping up with this conversation and the excellent opinions contained within is dizzying and a bit tiring. So I end saying Doc Searls comforts my confusion and ignorance with his abilty to clarify, define and propose something for us to think about.

Health and Fitness

The Importance of Maintaining Patient Relationships in Your Healthcare Practice

What sets your clinical practice apart from other medical or dental providers in your region? One crucial element of keeping your patients coming back is to focus on the quality of their experiences in every contact with your practice. Your organization must focus on maintaining patient relationships over the long-term. Attention to this important strategy for building patient loyalty will help to preserve the long-term stability of your healthcare practice.

Read on for some great tips that physicians, dentists, and other healthcare professionals can implement in their clinical practices for improved patient relations. The principle reason you should focus on patient relations is because patients are your primary source of income.

Sadly, most doctors have taken the last statement a little too literally that has resulted in medicine becoming more of a business than a profession where they are interested in minting more money without a caring a fig for patient privacy but I am lucky in that I have a family doctor proficient with everything from teeth to other parts so I don’t have to look for a Dentist near me.

When you think about why patients keep coming back to your clinical practice year after year, you realize that there are factors beyond whether you belong to their healthcare network. Patients usually have several options for their medical and dental needs.

What about your practice sets your services apart from the services of competing providers? Use these tips to guide you in developing a practice-wide approach to building loyalty with your patients.

  1. Develop an organizational objective for building and maintaining positive relationships with patients for your clinical practice. Your objective should be tied closely to your mission statement or vision. You can find a way to include this slogan in your marketing materials if desired. Some possible places to include your message about the importance of patient relationships are in your advertising materials and company stationery.
  2. Design a business plan or strategy that describes the methods that you and your staff will use to achieve the organizational objective of maintaining relationships with patients. Your methods should identify clearly how patients will be contacted and treated as important customers of your clinical practice. You might use methods like regular mailings (i.e. a patient newsletter), courtesy reminder calls prior to scheduled appointments, and required contacts with patients before they leave the office.
  3. Provide training to staff on your organizational strategy for sustaining patient relationships. Your training agenda should include specific examples of how all employees contribute to the organizational objective of building patient relationships. From the receptionist to the billing department, patients should feel that they are valued. When your staff knows what you expect, they can be instrumental in helping you meet your objective.
  4. Build extra steps into your clinical routine that reassure patients that you value them as individuals. Patients will become long-time customers of your clinical practice if they enjoy the total office experience. As the provider, you also occupy a big role in keeping patients coming back again and again.

In the end, patients want to give their business to providers that make them feel valued as individuals. Who wants to get their physical exam or dental work in a factory?

Your attention to patient relationships will also increase the word-of-mouth referrals. Your patients will send other patients to your practice because of the quality and service you and your staff provide. Your medical or dental practice will thrive if you can maintain the organizational focus on this important objective of keeping patients as long-term customers.

Kitchen

KitchenAid Architect II Series Washer: Appliance Review

KitchenAid has long since been one of the most trusted and popular kitchen appliance manufactures amongst consumers. Their Architect Series II has been one of the most successful lines they’ve released. The KitchenAid Architect II model KUDK03CT is also a washer that I’ve spent quite a good deal of time with so I’ve decided to write up some of my experiences.

Cleaning Efficiency: 4/5

Features: 3/5

Noise Level: 5/5

Value: 4/5

Overall: 4/5

Product Overview:

The first thing that gets most peoples attention is the appearance. This is especially true of the stainless steel version of the washer (the KUDK03ITBS). The model I’ve been using is in fact a stainless model and it looks great and I’ve found it to be very easy to clean. For the price it is difficult to find a more expensive looking washer. Check it out in person and I bet you’ll be impressed. The interior is easy to clean and also made of a stainless material.

The first time I used the KUDK03CT I didn’t even realize it was on, I actually had to look twice to make sure I had turned it on correctly. This is perhaps the quietist washer I have ever used. I found that the controls were actually very easy to use and I didn’t even have to refer to the manual to operate it. The only problem is that the wash cycle is very long compared to other washers that I’ve used. The bonus is that the dishes do come out very clean so it is all worth it in the end.

My favorite option is the dish add feature. This allows you to stop the cycle and add a dish. I don’t know how many times before I got this washer I would have to hand wash a dish that I neglected to add to the load. Also there are never any large pieces of food left collecting at the bottom of the washer’s floor thanks to a very efficient disposal-like system which annihilates all of the food particles separated from the plates.

One thing I should bring up is that this washer is made in China and has a lot of plastic components. The durability of this washer has been questioned by some consumers however there is a 1 year limited warranty for what it is worth. The information about the material available at the https://homedesignx.com/ site is correct for the purchase through the people. The ratings of the material are high irrespective of the place where they are manufactured. The warranty card provided to the kitchen products should be valid for long duration to get the benefits. 

Product Value:

The KUDK03CT can be found at online retailers and major appliance stores for about $550. This is the perfect option for those looking for a reasonably priced replacement that offers a decent amount of features. If you’re looking to replace all the kitchen appliances this washer is also a member of a fantastic line of kitchen hardware offered by KitchenAid.

Those interested in the stats should note that this washer is a 4 cycle, 120 volt machine that is capable of handling a place setting suitable for 14. The dimensions include a depth of 24 7/8″ a Width of 23 7/8″ and a Height of 33 7/8″.

Travel

Cheap Air Fare: Some Secrets That Can Save You Money

If you sometimes have last minute travel plans that pop up, or even if you just like the idea of jetting off to random destinations at the last minute, you probably know that air fares can be costly if you haven’t planned in advance. But there are some options that can help you save money, even if you want to travel more spontaneously than a two week vacation planned a year in advance. You can get cheap air fares even when life takes an unexpected turn and you’re required to do the same.

First of all, most last minute deals on cheap air fares are posted by airlines three to fourteen days before a flight is scheduled to leave. If you have time to plan at least a few days in advance, then you should take a look at these deals first to see what’s being offered. You’re likely to get an even better deal if you have some flexibility with your travel dates and departure times. But you have to act fast if you see a good deal on a popular destination that’s departing soon. These seats don’t last long at all, and if you wait they’re likely to disappear. Airlines only offer cut rate deals to fill the vacant seats on their flights, and once they’re gone you won’t necessarily find the same deal on a different flight. So don’t expect to get a rain check if you miss it the first time!

Most of the time you’ll get the best deals by buying your ticket directly from an airline’s web site. But if you don’t find a suitable rate that way, try visiting websites like www.lastminute.com or www.11thhourvacations.com. If your travel plans can be flexible and you have a sense of adventure, you can find some great deals at these sites. Another site you should try is www.priceline.com, whose television advertisements you’ve probably seen. Priceline lets you make an offer on a flight and will then try to match it with an airline that accepts your bid. The more leeway you have on the exact time and date you can travel, the more likely you are to find a great deal at this site. But keep in mind, if your bid is accepted than you are committed to paying the price you bid, even if you found a deal on another site while you were waiting to hear.

If you want to travel overseas, another option you have in order to save loads of money is to use an airline consolidation service. You will sometimes need to have quite flexible travel plans to take advantage of the extreme savings you can get through these companies, but it can be well worth it. A good place to start if you want to explore this option is at www.airlineconsolidator.com/.

And last but not least, don’t forget to compare costs at discount airlines when you’re looking for cheap air fares. And sometimes, simply driving an extra hour or two to depart from a different airport can mean a lower air fare, too.

Just make sure that you don’t select airlines that are of low quality just to get airfares that are cheap and affordable as that would spoil your entire trip as most people are worried about the trip for which they need to be prepared and stop fretting about things like how do I spend a day in Atlanta or Chicago as travelling is also an important part of the trip.

Food Travel

Fit-Tip of the Day: Snack While You Drive

Okay, so maybe today’s “fit-tip” is a bit misleading, but hey, I’ve got to get your attention one way or another, right? On the other hand, you did read that correctly; I’m actually encouraging you to snack while you drive. Before we get started though, I feel obliged to send out a quick disclaimer: If you’re a two-hands-on-the-wheel-at-all-times-no-exception kind of driver, this “fit-tip” might not be for you (you’ve come this far though so you might as well keep reading). Anyways, there you have it, my safety clause. Let’s move on.

Now, unless you’re an absolute homebody, don’t own a vehicle, or are too young to drive, there’s a good chance that you spent a decent amount of time in some sort of mode of transportation on a regular basis. Because there never seems to be enough time in a day, being efficient with our time and knowing when and how to do simple things that will make sense in the long haul is extremely important. This is where snacking during the drive comes in.

It’s becoming common knowledge that eating 5-6 proportionate meals spread evenly throughout the day encourages the body to maintain or speed up the metabolism and make the most of consumed nutrients. Yet although the concept is simple, I’ve found that many people simply have a hard time eating this often. When we snack as we drive, it’s an excellent opportunity to take care of some of those sometimes troubling meals during a time when there’s really nothing else to do. The catch of course is what we decide to snack on. Because this is a “fit-tip”, it’s only right that we make these snacks healthy ones. It’s always easy for me to pack a Ziploc of walnuts or munch on an apple, and though both of these are great choices, I usually use my car snacking to take care of those healthy food items that I’m not exactly too thrilled about eating.

For instance, when I’ve got a standard commute ahead of me (say around 30 minutes or so), I take a regular plastic party cup, fill it with raw broccoli, and make it my goal to finish the greens before arriving at my destination. Because my attention is on the road and my broccoli isn’t really my main concern, I’ve found that the motion from my hand grabbing the broccoli and putting it in my mouth sort of goes on a cruise control.

So am I telling you to eat healthy foods that you find nasty while you drive? Sort of, but in a more appealing way. Don’t try and eat anything that will make your drive miserable; just choose snacks that you know are of benefit to you. You also want to pick something that is relatively mess and sticky-free.

Here’s a list (in no particular order) of some great things to snack on as you drive:

  1. Fruit (your standard apple or banana is great, but mix it up sometime and fill up on a plastic cup of blueberries)
  2. Raw broccoli
  3. Raw carrots
  4. Raw snap peas
  5. Edemame
  6. Whole grain bread
  7. All-natural peanut butter on a spoon (just bring a plastic cup to hold the spoon and peanut butter)
  8. Granola
  9. Walnuts
  10. Mixed nuts

Well, there you have it. Hopefully today’s “fit-tip” encourages you to take hold of precious time in the care as an opportunity to take care of a healthy snack/meal. Make sure to check back routinely for more “fit-tips”. In the mean time, drive safely and eat healthy!

“Wow, that wasn’t too bad.”

“Well good. I’m glad you enjoyed it. If that’s what you’re saying at least.”

“Yeah, I think I can do this one. Quick question though – are you sure Twinkies don’t crack the top ten list?”

“Sorry. But I’ll tell you what. I think I’ve found a way for you to eat that Twinkie.”

“Really?”

“Yeah. Eat healthy for 3,000 miles and then grab one to munch on as a reward while you get your oil changed.”

Travel

TSA New Security Rules for International Travel

The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) rules for international travel were developed and implemented to ensure that all TSA rules for airport security are strictly adhered to, and to detect and eliminate any threat to the security of passengers or crew on airplanes traveling internationally.

Development and Implementation of New Security Rules

The TSA began phasing in new rules for international travel in 2009. One of the first steps was to require all passengers to have proper government-issued identification that exactly matches the name on the reservation. When making a reservation, the traveler must also give information verifying gender and date of birth. The information is required for both domestic and international travel.

In January, 2010, The TSA issued new security rules for passengers flying on planes entering into the United States. These rules were implemented after continuing threats to the United States by terrorists and suspected terrorists. The TSA wants to be sure that terrorists, suspected terrorists or others who may intend harm to passengers or flight crew cannot bring anything aboard a plane that would harm anyone or potentially destroy the plane. The new security rules implemented by the TSA have the support of many countries abroad. The TSA has stated that passengers entering the United States on any aircraft that originates from or travels through any other country will be required to cooperate with enhanced screening measures. Enhanced screening measures involve, but are not limited to the advanced full-body scanning process of the backscatter or new wave millimeter scanners. This full-body scan advanced technology is already in use in many other countries, as well as the U.S.

In April, the TSA changed the enhanced screening to an even stricter level. Initially, in January, there was a list of fourteen countries which was used as a means of the enhanced screening. It now is in effect for any traveler coming into the United States from any country anywhere in the world.

Secure Flight

Section 4012 (a) of the Intelligence Reform and Terrorism Prevention Act of 2004 required the Department of Homeland Security to take over matching passenger lists to no fly and watch lists. Secure Flight is a program developed for that purpose by the D.H.S. Its mission is to enhance the security of air travel, both in the U.S. and abroad. It works behind the scenes to more quickly identify those passengers who are on the no-fly list or the “watch” list. Secure Flight conducts pre-screening measures to identify those persons on the watch list and thwart any potential terrorism or other danger. The Secure Flight has been instrumental in the enforcement of the new rules for air travel. It not only conducts the pre-screening on flights originating from countries of known terrorist activity, but also flights out of or within the U.S. After Secure Flight checks each passenger’s identifying information against watch lists, the information is transmitted back to the airlines.

The Benefits of New Rules for International Travel

The threat of terrorism and other criminal acts committed by those traveling from other countries remains a constant threat. The United States, by joining with the international aviation community continually works to protect citizens, travelers and airline crews from violence and terrorist acts. This is accomplished through the development and implementation of tighter international travel security rules.

Travel

Visiting the Dallas Frontiers of Flight Museum

There is no reason to wait for the once-per-year air shows to see the greatest exhibitions of flight and fantasy or touch the powerful and cool metal of some of the most noted planes to ever fly in the sky. The Frontiers of Flight museum is a bit of a misnomer, since it is so much more than a museum. It is essentially, a full air show, gift store, a fun place to visit and more-museum and history lesson all rolled into one-and it is a fantastic place near Love Field in Dallas, to beat the summer heat while having a good time too.

Starting with the museum, visitors can see a wide variety of aviation related items and artifacts, from parts of planes, aviation jackets, helmets, and other aviation related paraphernalia. The items are not limited to just Earthbound/skyward aviation though, since the Frontiers of Flight museum also displays space travel, including boasting that the Dallas Frontiers of Flight museum has on display the only moon rocks in North Texas. Of course, the astronaut dreamer of us all will be impressed by the display of the Apollo 7 command module.

For those who are a bit more hands-on about flying, the Frontiers of Flight museum has open cockpit days where visitors are able to sit in and touch things in a real plane cockpit. For those wanting to take it a bit farther, the flight simulators are a blast. For the kids, there is the FunShuttle, able to be built and flown, watching it climb over 100ft up in the air. What better way to beat the summer heat in Dallas, Texas than hands-on airplay like that?

During the school year, schools, churches and youth group tours find Frontiers of Flight a wonderful place to bring groups of children, for fun and education. However, during the summer, the Frontiers of Flight museum really shines. Model airplane projects can be built and flown, special guest speakers come at various times during the summer as well, and the flight demonstrations are not to be missed.

With the fee to tour the museum and see the flight artifacts and touch and take pictures of planes and cockpits of planes and have a good time while eating the summer heat, you can’t beat the admission price of less than $10 for adults. If your child has a summer birthday, the Frontiers of Flight party tour and package is a great way to beat the summer heat and celebrate their special day!

Located near Love Field airport, at 6911 Lemmon Ave, Dallas, Texas, the Frontiers of Flight museum is only a short drive and central location to most of the Dallas area, and well worth the trip for an outing or adventure, particularly for the flight enthusiast. For those not so interested in flight, check out the annual swap meet – something for everyone at Frontiers of Flight to help beat the summer heat in Dallas, Texas! For more information, you can call the museum at 214-350-1651.

Travel

Kayak Vs Sidestep which site is better for flight offers?

If you are searching for cheap flights then you no longer have to visit just Expedia or Priceline any longer. There are now two other travel sites which are quickly growing in popularity. One of them is Kayak.com and the other is Sidestep.com. So which one is better between these two? Following is a comparison of the two websites to see which one offers the best deals.

First lets start with Kayak.com. This website helps it’s consumers to find travel sites that offer affordable airlines, hotels, and rental cars. The best part is that Kayak.com does not charge any fees for their services. What many don’t realize is that this website was founded by the same people who first came up with Orbits, Travelocity, and Expedia. The difference between Kayak.com and other travel site is that they do not just search their own site, but over 140 airline websites and other travel agencies that are found online. They even search several international sites so that you can get the best deal on cheap affordable airline tickets. You also have the option of signing up for fare alerts, and they will even compare the prices they find with that of other travel sites like Expedia.

Now what does Sidestep.com have to offer? Well to start with it also searches more than 200 travel websites in order to find users the cheapest flights, hotels, and car rental services. They search airlines across the world to get the best deal. They also offer travel guides and reviews generated by their consumers. They average about 5 million visitors per month just from the United States. The only problem with sidestep.com that I have found its that it takes a long time to load because it is searching so many different sides.

As far as profit is concerned it seems that Kayak.com is definitely coming out on top so far. Which is probably why the two have decided to merge. Considering the fact that the two sites are very similar and they both offer cheap flights as well as other features this merger could only end up being beneficial.

Most of the money for both sites is made through partnerships and from advertising. Kayak’s layout could definitely use some improvement since it has too much of a search engine look to it. If you take a look at Sidestep.com you will see that it has a much better interface with a lot more content to browse through. The social network site for travelers that is offered on SideStep.com is also a huge plus for the site. When it comes to finding cheaper flights however and better travel deals overall I would have to say that Kyak.com really wins that one hands down. I have yet to find any better deals on Sidestep.com than I have found on Kayak.com. No that they are merging both companies will be even better. Both of the companies make well over $50 million dollars in revenue, so profit is definitely not a problem with either company. The bottom line is that you can easy find affordable flights and plenty of options to choose from. Both sites offer something different so it does depend slightly on what you prefer.

REAL ESTATE

The Disadvantages of Owning a Condo

So, you think you want to own a condo. You want smaller space. You don’t want to deal with mowing the lawn or shoveling snow. Fair enough. However, you should definitely look before you own. Yes, condos have a downside.

One problem is other people’s pets. If other condo owners don’t obey the leash law, you may find someone else’s dog on your leg. Also, you might be the unlucky recipient of a late night barking serenade if someone is walking his or her dog in the evening.

Another problem is insulation. If the insulation is poor, you have no privacy. For instance, your conversation may be heard by your neighbors, and vice versa. (Do you really want Nosy Nellie to know your family dirt? Also, do you want to hear your neighbors really think about you?) Neighbors may also hear your doors closing. Also, if you have downstairs neighbors, they may hear your toilet flushing or even your footfalls if you have on hard shoes. (When I said no privacy, I meant it.) In addition to privacy issues, it’s easier to hear a neighbor’s television or radio, and vice versa, because of the poor insulation.

Want a home business? You better check your condo rules. That’s right. Some condos don’t allow you to use your own home as a business.

Another problem is decorating your home. Some condos don’t allow you to change your front door or the blinds on the windows or patio. Also, if you want to have work done on your condo, it has to be approved. (Oftentimes, the company that does the work has to be approved, as well.)

At this point, you may be wondering what the difference is between owning a condo and renting an apartment. One big difference is voting. Yes voting. For instance, in some condos, owners vote on whether or not the condo entrances are locked in the daytime. Do you really want other owners determining how secure your home is?

Another difference is, if you don’t like the apartment, you can leave when your lease is up. With a condo, you have to sell it.

In conclusion, a condo is not really your home. Living in a condo has a lot of the advantages and disadvantages of renting an apartment. However, if you want to leave, you have to sell it. So, before owning a condo, you might want to try renting one first.So, you think you want to own a condo. You want smaller space. You don’t want to deal with mowing the lawn or shoveling snow. Fair enough. However, you should definitely look before you own. Yes, condos have a downside.

One problem is other people’s pets. If other condo owners don’t obey the leash law, you may find someone else’s dog on your leg. Also, you might be the unlucky recipient of a late night barking serenade if someone is walking his/her dog in the evening.

Another problem is insulation. If the insulation is poor, you have no privacy. For instance, your conversation may be heard by your neighbors. Do you really want Nosy Nellie to know your family dirt? Neighbors may also hear your doors closing. Also, if you have downstairs neighbors, they may hear your toilet flushing or even your footfalls if you have on hard shoes. (When I said no privacy, I meant it.) In addition to privacy issues, it’s easier to hear a neighbor’s television or radio, and vice versa, because of the poor insulation.

Another downside is voting. Yes voting. For instance, in some condos, owners vote on whether or not the condo entrances are locked in the daytime. Do you really want other owners determining how secure your home is?

In conclusion, living in a condo has a lot of the advantages and disadvantages of renting an apartment. However, if you want to leave, you have to sell it.

REAL ESTATE

Real Estate in Today’s Marketplace

You decided that you want to sell your current property. You thought, why should I spend money unnecessarily,

I can just sell my property myself, but can you in today’s market place with so many foreclosures and short sales throughout the real estate market nationwide. Your home is probably the largest investment that you have. Without the professional guidance and assistance of a Realtor you may find that selling your property yourself may entail numerous complications and issues. Realtors abide by a strict code of ethics and generally pledge to promote and protect the interest of the party that they represent as well as having a fiduciary responsibility to the other parties involved in a transaction. It is important to ask yourself if you are really saving money selling your property yourself if you do not have enough knowledge regarding selling and marketing your property to the general public. You may determine that working with a professional real estate agent is a lot less expensive than you may have thought.

Real estate agents evaluate the current market conditions within your area, showing you the properties that are currently available as well as those that have sold and closed escrow within the past 6 months or less. They also use the tax records as well as the Multiple Listing Service to evaluate the pricing structure. Market trends are continually changing, so the values within your immediate area change as well, and foreclosures have affected the market values within many neighborhoods nationwide. You do not want to price your property too high for the current market or too low. Unfortunately foreclosures have forced the values down within many areas. Marketing your property within a difficult market is also challenging. Pricing is just one aspect of real estate, others include forms of advertising. What type of photographs are best to put in an ad for on line advertising. In the current market is it best to use social media to advertise your property, or various real estate web sites, and what about print advertising is this still a valuable medium in toady’s market place?

If you decide to try and sell your property yourself, how are you going to show the property, open houses or by appointment? Many times we find in the industry that open houses are not the best way to market a property. You need to be available to show the property to prospective buyers and this may include night time and weekend showings, so are you going to be available during all of these times to meet prospective buyers? Real estate agents generally place a lock box on a property giving access to the other agents to show the property to prospective buyers. This enables them to have flexibility with the showing times and of course the agents should always let the seller know that they plan to show their property and give them an approximate time that they can expect them to be at their property to show it and leave their business card at the subject property as well for follow-up about the property.

With the current economy you are putting yourself and your property in jeopardy by not knowing who the individual is that is coming into your property if you hold an open house yourself. The individuals that you are allowing into your residence have not generally been pre-qualified by a lender. A lender spends the time to evaluate the income, credit worthiness and current financial obligations of an individual and basically informs them of what price range property they can afford as well as the monthly payment that they can afford. The lender evaluates their ratios and also discusses various loan programs with the client so they understand what they are getting themselves into when they purchase a property. The lender also will explain to the buyer the various point structure sometimes associated with a loan, such as discount points and origination points as well as additional fees required to obtain a loan. The lender will also follow the loan process as it progresses including the appraisal and making sure that the property appraises for at least the sales price as well as having all the documents prepared for the closing.

There are many additional steps in preparing a property to close escrow and in some states they involve the use of real estate attorneys and in other states they use title and escrow companies instead of an attorney. Funds need to be collected and documents prepared prior to the close of escrow. This is where the use of a title and escrow company is important for they contact the current lender and ask for loan balances and the pay off statement as well as handling many additional aspects of the closing process for both the buyer and the seller.

In a short sale or foreclosure situation there is major involvement with the financial institutions that the sellers loan was originated with. Also many issues may arise within these particular facets of real estate, that an individual seller may not know how to handle themselves, without proper legal representation or a real estate professional who has the knowledge and expertise to handle these types of transactions and have them close escrow.

In summary it is really important to consider whether you have enough knowledge in the current real estate industry to be able to list and sell your property yourself. You may determine that working with a professional Realtor may be the right decision, for they may be able to actually get the job done in an efficient and less stressful manner than you trying to do it yourself.