Caruso Never Sleeps ~ Hard VS Soft Credit Inquiries


Do you know what a Hard versus Soft Credit Inquiry is?

Consumers are entitled to a free copy of their credit report once a year, available through sites like, or While the credit report from is free, it doesn’t include a credit score. For this, consumers must pay a nominal fee.

When a consumer asks about their own credit score, it’s considered a “soft inquiry”, which doesn’t impact their FICO score. Credit card, insurance companies, banks, and others can also make soft inquires, in order to identify consumers for marketing purposes. 

In contrast, “hard inquires” for a consumer’s credit history are made if you apple for a loan, a mortgage, or open a new credit card. Depending on other factors, too many hard inquiries could have a negative impact on a consumers FICO score.

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards,


Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900

Attracting Business through LinkedIn with Caruso!


I came across this question on & after reading the question I thought to myself, you know what, I have the same exact question!

“I am a real estate agent and I am not sure how LinkedIn can help me since it is a business to business platform and I am targeting consumers and homeowners. Should I be focusing just on Facebook which is more consumer oriented? And, if I should be on LinkedIn, how can I best utilize it to help me obtain more business and clients?”

So I thought I would do some research and see how I could answer that question not only for myself but for everyone else who may be confused with LinkedIn.

Media Professionals – A recent study showed that 92% of all journalists are on LinkedIn which is more than any other social networking site. This means that you have more access to individuals who are looking to quote experts like you or publish articles regarding your industry and how you can help your prospective clients. By reaching out to these journalists you can develop meaningful and valuable relationships as they will come to think of you as the expert in your field and ask for your information when they are putting together their next piece. This extra publicity will give you more exposure to even more prospects and enhance your credibility so prospects will want to buy from you.

Referral Sources – Through LinkedIn you can build and enhance relationships with key influencers who can provide you with access to prospects you would otherwise not have known, met or done business with. A referral source is a valuable tool because it is a third party endorsement and they can act as your sales agent as they want to give their customers and clients more value.

Larger companies that offer products or services that are supplementary to yours – Smart companies are always looking to increase their revenues by giving their clients and customers more value. Think of the different companies and organizations that can add your products or services to their own at a premium price – and use LinkedIn to build relationships with the different company’s executives.

Then you need to figure out who would be the best referral sources, key influences, types of media and companies for you to connect with. For example;

* Divorce attorneys – In a divorce couples often have a house to sell. Couples also have other traditional real estate assets that often have to be sold in a divorce. Plus, at least one of the parties in a divorce will need to relocate – meaning they’ll need to buy a new house.
* Local bankruptcy attorneys –  who have clients who have no other choice but to either short sell or go into foreclosure
* Accountants  – who can refer clients to sell their residential or commercial properties to avoid further liability and eventual foreclosure
* Financial planners, estate attorneys &  probate attorneys – who want to give homeowners relief from their unexpected financial burdens
* Banks –  who want to sell their foreclosed properties in the shortest amount of time with the highest net to them

Make sure you create a LinkedIn profile that is written for the referral sources and media you want to attract starting with your headline. In the headline, identify the audiences you want to connect with – and why they should want to connect with you. In your summary, explain to referral sources how you can be of value to their clients and customers and how your relationship will help them.

The key to LinkedIn though is to stay on top of your referral sources’ and media professionals’ profiles. Once you figure out who your best key influencers, referral sources and media types, start doing your research on LinkedIn and make connections. When you make a new connection, invite the referral source or media professional to your LinkedIn group where you provide tips, tools and articles. Every time you are published, featured or quoted in the media you should be announcing it to your connections and group members. This will show them that you are a valuable resource and keep you on top of their minds. So when a referral source has a client needing your expertise, they’ll think of you. And, when the media needs an expert to quote- they’ll come to you.

How do you use LinkedIn to market yourself & have you ever gained business from LinkedIn?

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards,


Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900

Caruso Funny ~ The Talented Salesman


Young Brad from the country applied for a salesman’s job at a city Department store. It was one of those massive stores that sells just about everything.


The boss asked him, “Have you ever worked in sales before?” “Yes, I was a salesman in my home town,” said Brad. The boss liked him instantly and said, “I’ll give you a trial day here at the store, start tomorrow, and I’ll come and see you after closing time to see how you went.”


When the boss met up with young Brad the next day at closing time, he saw him shaking hands with a beaming customer. After they parted, the boss walked over and asked, “Well, that looked good! How many sales did you make today?” “That was the only one,” said the young salesman. “Only one!?!” blurted the boss. “Most of my staff make 20 or 30 sales a day. You’ll have to do better than that! Well, how much was the sale worth?” “Three hundred sixty five thousand, four hundred fifty two dollars,” said young Brad.


The boss stopped, truly stunned now…”Um, how did you manage that?!?” “Well, when he came in this morning and I sold him a small fish hook. Then, I sold him a medium hook, and then a really large hook. Then I sold him a small fishing line, a medium one, and then a big one. I then sold him a spear gun, a wetsuit, scuba gear, nets, chum, coolers, and a keg of beer. I asked him where he was going fishing and he said up the coast. We decided he would probably need a new boat, so I took him down to the boat department and sold him that twenty-foot schooner with the twin engines. Then, he said that his old bomb car probably wouldn’t be able to pull it, so I took him to the car department and sold him the new Deluxe Cruiser, with a winch, storage rack, seat heating, and a built-in TV. Oh, and cup holders.”


The boss took two steps back and asked in astonishment, “You sold all that to a guy who came in for a fish hook?!” “No,” answered the salesman. “He came in to buy a blanket.” “A blanket?” “Yeah, an extra blanket for the couch. He just had a fight with his wife and was sleeping on the couch. I said to him, ‘Well, your weekends ruined, so you might as well go fishing…'”





Now that’s a good sales person…


And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards,


Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900


Implement Your Vision with Caruso!


If you’re a realtor, marketing begins with figuring out your goals, your vision, and how these can combine to create your brand. A marketing strategy also describes the niche market you will be working with. However, many people are unaware of the various realtor marketing tools that can help a real estate agent set his or her plans in motion. Read on to discover the marketing tips from NAR & eCommission for accomplishing just that.

Vision/Brand Consistency

After defining your realtor marketing ideas, set about determining whether your current processes and marketing materials support your new vision. For instance, if your new approach centers on providing environmentally-friendly and tech-savvy real estate service to eco-conscious families, you might decide to switch from a paper to a digital newsletter. You could even take it a step further and offset your newsletter energy footprint with clean energy credits. Analyze your company culture and collective habits to bring your brand vision into line with your actions.

This step is about more than just “being honest” to your marketing vision. Brand/vision integration also streamlines your marketing by creating a consistent, clear message.

Distribute Branding Throughout Realtor Marketing Tools

A new brand vision calls for new marketing collateral, including websites, realtor eCards, online listings, paper fliers, and business cards. Consider redesigning these elements when you put your new marketing strategy in place. Ideally, your natural enthusiasm for your real estate marketing ideas will see you through this update. Let this new energy fuel your research into current procedures. If certain organizational habits are out of alignment with your new brand vision, let them go.

An outside realtor business consultant can help you gain outside perspective on where your brand and your dealings do not match. A realtor business consultant is an expert who can provide an unbiased appraisal of your marketing circumstances. She or he will also be capable of delivering an assessment of your brand integration. One final benefit is that a consultant is sure to bring you dozens of excellent realtor marketing ideas.

Incorporate Realtor eCards To Boost your Realtor Marketing Results

As you comb through your marketing processes, you may find yourself releasing certain marketing techniques, and picking up more up-to-date approaches. As an example, if newspaper advertisements were one of your most central realtor marketing tools in your old model, you might switch to Google AdWords. Or, you could drop your paper newsletter in favor of an online real estate blog, replete with handy tips for homebuyers. Realtor eCards are an exceptional tool for stepping to the forefront of real estate marketing. Basically, a realtor eCards are online videos that showcase property photographs and descriptions of property amenities. Animation and music are also included, to convey the property’s personality and engage potential buyers. Realtor eCards are simple to make – all an agent has to do is type in a few details and upload property photographs. Local attractions, policies, and the price can be displayed at the video’s conclusion ends. And here’s the best part: it’s a cinch to share realtor eCards across online venues, including blogs, digital listings, and social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter.

And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards,


Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900

Tweeting with Caruso!



Tweet Tweet. Twitter. What is it & how can it help me? A lot of people are still confused on how you can use Twitter to improve your business. Twitter marketing can be an effective and inexpensive social media solution for your real estate business.  With only 140 characters required, Twitter offers a short and sweet way to get your message out.Twitter can also be an incredible addition to your current marketing campaign and a truly remarkable marketing tool within your business.  Used strategically, Twitter can be a fun way to raise awareness about your personal brand and other social networks.

So how can you use Twitter to market your business? Here are 3 simple strategies from Better Homes & Gardens that you can apply today!

  1.  Connect with Potential Clients

Similar to Facebook, Twitter gives you the ability to connect with potential clients in a far more intimate way than traditional media.  Potential customers are able to gain a better understanding of who you are, what your business is all about and how you might best serve their needs given their particular circumstance.  The days of hiring someone without any prior knowledge as to how they run their business is over.  Today all anyone needs to do is Google you.  Twitter puts you in a space where potential clients or even past clients can find information, stay up to date and connect with you on a daily basis. Begin your research by identifying who you want to follow.  Locate people with similar interests, within the same line of work or in a particular location.  Two great sites are WeFollow and Twellow.  Both tools let you choose a specific niche, part of the country and even your city through Twellowhood.

  2.  Build Your Database List

Using Twitter to build a database or list of potential customers will not happen overnight, but it can be successful if you take the time to identify who you are talking to and what information matters most to them.  If you are hoping to connect with home buyers then cater to their exact needs by supplying timely updates, answers to their most frequently asked questions and your professional insight into market conditions. While Twitter marketing is similar to Facebook, your message will change based on the limited size of your status update and the less formal atmosphere.  Do not make the mistake of simply pushing out your newsletter or market update.  Make sure you are asking questions and creating a conversation with your followers.  Retweet interesting updates from friends and followers and comment with your thoughts and feelings.  People want to know what makes you tick, so let them! Ask yourself on a daily basis what you can give away, pass along or offer that will keep them coming back for more.  Tips about buying their first home, tips on how to avoid mistakes most sellers make, tips on how to properly prepare their home for sale…the list of content is endless!

  3.  Increase Website Traffic

Increasing website traffic works hand in hand with building your database.  Two strategies to use to increase website visibility:

  • Connect your blog to Twitter and automatically notify your followers each time you post a new article.  An easy way to do this is to grab your RSS feed (example: and create a free account with Twitterfeed.  Once you set up a feed, your new post will tweet out immediately without you lifting a finger. If you use WordPress, a great plugin that auto tweets your post is TweetThis.  Using automation wisely frees up your time and allows you to really engage and interact with your followers.
  • Create an opt-in form on your website.  Attract attention through your Tweets by tweeting about a free home buyer report or your monthly newsletter.  If you use WordPress and work with a system like AWeber, you can create a web form and add it yourself if you are comfortable working with html or you can ask your web designer or IT support for assistance.


And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards,


Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900


Caruso Funny ~ The Old German Shepherd



I got this story passed along to me via email and it made me LOL so I thought I would share it with you! Happy Friday!


An old German shepherd starts chasing rabbits and before long, discovers that he’s lost.


Wandering about, he notices a panther heading rapidly in his direction with the intention of having lunch. The old German Shepherd thinks, “Oh, oh! I’m in deep do do now!”


Noticing some bones on the ground close by, he immediately settles down to chew on the bones with his back to the approaching cat.


Just as the panther is about to leap, the old German Shepherd exclaims loudly, “Boy, that was one delicious panther! I wonder, if there are any more around here?”


Hearing this, the young panther halts his attack in mid-strike, a look of terror comes over him and he slinks away into the trees.


“Whew!,” says the panther, “That was close! That old German Shepherd nearly had me!”


Meanwhile, a squirrel who had been watching the whole scene from a nearby tree, figures he can put this knowledge to good use and trade it for protection from the panther. So, off he goes.


The squirrel soon catches up with the panther, spills the beans and  strikes a deal for himself with the panther.


The young panther is furious at being made a fool of and says, “Here, squirrel, hop on my back and see what’s going to happen to that conniving canine!”


Now, the old German Shepherd sees the panther coming with the squirrel on his back and thinks, “What am I going to do now?,” but instead of running, the dog sits down with his back to his attackers, pretending he hasn’t seen them yet, and just when they get close enough to hear, the old German Shepherd says…

“Where’s that squirrel? I sent him off an hour ago to bring me another panther!”


Moral of this story…


Don’t mess with the old dogs… Age and skill will always overcome youth and treachery!


And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards,


Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900




Caruso’s Tips for New Agents!



If you’re a new agent just getting started in the Real Estate industry here are the top elements that are not only crucial to you but crucial to your business. It is very important to make sure before you start anything to have all of these fundamentals done.


-Secure your own domain name


-Make sure you have a standalone website that can easily grow with you


-Have your own IDX (MLS search tool)


-Put together a letter that you can send to your sphere of influence


-Get to know Craigslist


-Become a “GURU” of your market.


And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards,


Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900




Caruso’s Valentines Fast Facts!


In honor of Valentine’s Day I thought it would be nice to give you a little background on the Holiday & a few fun facts I have put together! Wishing everyone a wonderful day filled with much love & happiness! Spread the love today!

Saint Valentine’s Day, often simply Valentine’s Day, is a holiday observed on February 14 honoring one or more early Christian martyrs named Valentinus. It was first established by Pope Gelasius I in 496 AD, and was later deleted from the General Roman Calendar of saints in 1969 by Pope Paul VI. It is celebrated in countries around the world, mostly in the West, although it remains a working day in all of them. The day first became associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the High middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. By the 15th century, it had evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards (known as “valentines”). Modern Valentine’s Day symbols include the heart-shaped outline, doves, and the figure of the winged Cupid. Since the 19th century, handwritten valentines have given way to mass-produced greeting cards. ~ Wikipedia

Valentines Food Fact:

NECCO ‘conversation hearts” were first manufactured in 1866 called “Motto Hearts”

Events of February 14 ~ Married on this day:

February 14, 1974, The Captain and Tennille were married.

February 14, 1984, Elton John and Ms. Renate Blauel

February 14, 1991, Leeza Gibbons, talk show host and Stephen Meadows

February 14, 1991, Meg Ryan and Dennis Quaid

February 6, 1994, Brian Wilson, Beach Boys Founder and Melinda Ledbetter.

February 14, 1994 Grateful Dead’s Jerry Garcia (51) wed Deborah Koons

February 14, 1994, Roseanne Barr and Ben Thomas, her ex-bodyguard.

February 19, 1995, Pamela Anderson, Baywatch Star and Tommy Lee, Rock star

February 14, 1996, Prince/The Artist married Mayte Garcia.

February 14, 1998 Sharon Stone & Phil Bronstein, San Francisco Examiner Executive Editor


Today’s Food History on this day in…

1779 RIP Captain James Cook, British explorer who charted and named many Pacific Islands, including the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii).

1803 Moses Coats patented an apple parer.

1838 Margaret E. Knight was born. An American inventor, she invented an improved paper bag machine to make bags with flat bottoms.

1886 California oranges were first shipped East by rail.

1903 The U.S. Department of Commerce and Labor was established.

2003 Dolly the sheep died. Dolly was the first animal cloned from an adult animal. (Born July 5, 1996)


And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards,


Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900


Keeping Your Pets Safe this Valentines Day!



Valentines Day is right around the corner. And yes it may be fun for us, humans, but it can harmful to your pets, One big way to show love for your pets is by keeping them safe. Valentine’s Day is famous for chocolates, flowers, cocktails and candy – all things that can be particularly harmful to our four-legged loved ones. Here are some helpful tips I have gathered from various pet websites to keep them safe and avoid any emergency trips to the veterinarian!

Flowers: Lilies are potentially fatal to cats. As pretty as they are, make sure to have an arrangement without lilies. Thorns on roses or other flowers can be dangerous for dogs or other pets. Biting, stepping on or swallowing stems with thorns increases risk for a puncture, which can result in serious infections internally or externally.

Chocolate: Although a favorite gift to give our human loved ones, chocolate is toxic to both dogs and cats. The darker the chocolate, the more toxic, but dark, milk, semi-sweet and baker’s chocolates all can cause adverse reactions. Make sure to keep the chocolate where pets can’t reach it.

Cocktails: Simply put, they pose a threat to your pets. Because of a pet’s small size, even a tiny amount of alcohol can cause problems. Be sure to keep those libations out of reach!

Candles: If ingested, candle wax can cause choking, upset stomach, vomiting or diarrhea. Be sure to blow out any unattended candles when you leave the room, as cats are notorious for jumping up on counters and other high surfaces!

Toss the ribbon and string: Gifts are a nice surprise on Valentine’s Day, but make sure to throw away any pretty ribbons and string they’ve been tied with. “For some reason it’s very instinctive for cats to eat it,” warns Dr. Murray of ASPCA. “It gets caught in their intestines and can saw right through them and cause a perforation.”

Keep sugar-free foods out of your pet’s reach:Xylitol, an artificial sweetener found in many types of sugar-free candies and baked goods, is toxic to dogs and can cause liver failure, says Dr. Murray. It’s best to read the ingredients list on any sugar-free foods and keep any products containing Xylitol out of your pet’s reach.


 **Should your pet get into mischief on Valentine’s Day, the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year at (888) 426-4435. (A $65 consultation fee may apply.)




And thank you for making me Your Orange County Real Estate Connection.

Best regards,


Past President, Orange County Association of Realtors (949) 753-7900