Caruso’s Saturday Shot!


Happy Saturday Everyone! And happy last day of the month!
Can you believe we are ALREADY done with March?! Where is the time going?
That’s why it is SO important that we enjoy each day & try to live life to the fullest.
It is important that no matter how hectic our lives may get we need to still find the time, even if for just 5 minutes to relax and enjoy life. It is also important to spend time with your loved ones before it may be too late. With the time just flying by its important that we do not take life for granted. So stop stressing & enjoy life…you only get one.
 
 I know you are used to seeing beach & sunset pictures so this photo is a little different.
 It was taken in Northern California from a lookout spot in the Oakland Hills. Our world is so amazing, there are always new places and new things to see. Wishing you all a wonderful weekend & much happiness for the next month!
 
Bring on April!
 
“The more I want to get something done, the less I call it work.”
 ~ Richard Bach

 

We Are Now Accepting Qualified Listings
Now providing “Short Sale Services”
Call Today for More Info and our “Spring Thing….”

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

www.MichaelCarusoRealEstate.com

Best regards,

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CLHMS CRB CRS GREEN GRI

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

Be Michael Caruso's Friend! Watch Caruso TV! Are You LinkedIn with Michael? The Voice of Orange County Review Michael Caruso! Tweet Michael Caruso!

Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist  Member of The Institute Luxury Home Marketing   Million Dollar Guild Member  Member of Proxio Pro - The International MLS

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Friday Funny ~ Pet’s can be smarter than you think…


 

A lady was walking past a pet store when a parrot said, ”Hey,
lady! You’re really ugly!” The lady was furious and continued on
her way. On the way home, she passed by the pet store again and the parrot once more said “Hey, lady! You’re really ugly!” She was incredibly ticked now, so she went into the store and said that she would sue the store and kill the bird. The store manager apologized profusely and promised he would make sure the parrot didn’t say it again. The next day, she deliberately passed by the store to test the parrot. “Hey, lady!” it said. “Yes?” “You know.”

 

ha ha ha! Happy Friday!

 

 

 

We Are Now Accepting Qualified Listings
Now providing “Short Sale Services”
Call Today for More Info and our “Spring Thing….”

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

www.MichaelCarusoRealEstate.com

Best regards,

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CLHMS CRB CRS GREEN GRI

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

Be Michael Caruso's Friend! Watch Caruso TV! Are You LinkedIn with Michael? The Voice of Orange County Review Michael Caruso! Tweet Michael Caruso!

Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist  Member of The Institute Luxury Home Marketing   Million Dollar Guild Member  Member of Proxio Pro - The International MLS

 

Direct Mail Marketing with Caruso


 

 

There are some real estate agents that swear by direct mail marketing and some agents that swear at it.  As a homeowner, I get other agent’s mailers and marketing pieces periodically. I collect these marketing samples not because I am interested in buying or selling real estate, but because I am interested in their marketing messages. Most agents assume that the internet is the place to be and focus the majority of their marketing efforts on on-line marketing. As much as I do online marketing I feel direct mail can be just as effective if you have the right marketing message. Here are a few examples I have gathered throughout the web of direct mailing – the do’s & the don’ts.

Just Sold, Just Listed – This is the typical real estate mailing. It’s good to know that houses are selling and quickly, but there is nothing within the marketing message that compels the prospect to contact the agent or keep for later use.

Marketing Blunders: No call to action; No compelling reason to keep the piece of mail; and it focuses too heavily on the agent’s accomplishments as oppose to the market. The marketing piece has a “iTheme” to it. “I sold,” “I listed house XYZ in town XYZ,” but as a homeowner they really only care about themselves. Every consumer tunes in to the what’s in it for me station.

Recent Sales  – This last mailer was is my favorite & the marketing message is simple: “Your house could be the next one sold.” On the back of this mailer, agents put a list of just sold homes which is eye catching. This is something most would keep.

 

 Direct Mail Marketing Tips

1. Message Matters – Make your message compelling. Give a reason for the seller or buyer to keep your flyer or contact you right away. Limited time offers works wonders for this.

2. Frequency Matters – Make your mailers into a campaign, a series of related mailings. You almost have to assume that some home buyers or sellers will discard the mail the moment it touches them, but consistency will convert. On average, there is a 7% return on investment when it comes to mail and 1-2 year turnaround time. Sending mail should not be your primary source of marketing, but it certainly can compliment your marketing strategy.

Vary your marketing messages. Those people who want to do business with you will contact you if you are compelling and consistent. You’re not likely to sell to everyone, but one commission, one opportunity can lead to several business deals in a heartbeat!

 

We Are Now Accepting Qualified Listings
Now providing “Short Sale Services”
Call Today for More Info and our “Spring Thing….”

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

www.MichaelCarusoRealEstate.com

Best regards,

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CLHMS CRB CRS GREEN GRI

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

 

Everything Buyers with Caruso!


 

 

Buying a home can be stressful. As a real estate agent, you get to see home buyers at their best — that is, the joy they feel when they step into their new home. But you first usually have to see them at their worst — the stress and tension they may feel in trying to find that perfect house. That puts you in role as adviser, friend, and counselor.

 

As a salesperson, you might be wondering what your customers really think about the home-buying process, and what, exactly, they expect from you beyond helping them find that ideal house. The bottom line: They expect a lot. The National Association of REALTORS® conducted a survey that shows what buyers want from their agents.

 

 Here are the five biggest expectations;

1.   Help finding the right home to purchase.

2.   Help negotiating the price.

3.   Help negotiating the terms of the sale.

4.   Determining what comparable homes are selling for.

5.   Assisting with paperwork.

 

That’s not all. Buyers surveyed also said some of the biggest benefits real estate practitioners can provide is helping them understand the home-buying process as well as pointing out unnoticed features or faults with a property. What’s more, the majority say they are looking for an agent who can improve their knowledge of home-search areas and provide a list of service providers.

The following are seven suggestions for real estate professionals in better assisting today’s buyers for improved client relationships.

 

1. Don’t Be Slow to Respond  – Behind only honesty and integrity, response time is rated as a “very important” quality in real estate professionals, according to the NAR survey.

So how quick is your response time? Real estate professionals ignore or respond too late to nearly 75 percent of customer leads that come in through online channels, according to a secret-shopping study by PCMS Consulting and One Cavo. The study, which evaluated practitioners’ response rate to Internet leads from customers, found that nearly half of agents did not respond to the Internet leads. And, 23 percent of the leads that did receive calls back were contacted about eight hours after forms were submitted. That’s still too late, the survey’s researchers say. “Today’s Internet consumer is expecting a response certainly within the hour but, more likely, within 15 or 20 minutes,” said Bradley Miller, One Cavo founder and president.

 

2. Be a Savvy Negotiator – The good news: For the most part, most buyers are satisfied with the real estate agents they choose, and nine out of 10 say they would recommend their agents to others, according to NAR’s 2011 Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers. But there’s one area in particular they feel agents need a little extra work: negotiation skills. This and technology skills were the only areas where buyers expressed less satisfaction with their agents.

Today’s buyers want a deal — or a steal. Are your negotiation skills up to par for challenging transactions? In your last few negotiations, how successful have you been? Have your buyers felt satisfied in the end? Or have too many deals fallen apart lately?

 

3. Don’t Come Across as an Amateur – Home buyers love to view photos and videos of homes, which has compelled more real estate professionals to hastily put on photographer and filmmaker hats. But if video isn’t your forte, then maybe you shouldn’t grab that pocket camera or smart phone and broadcast your work on YouTube. You actually might do more harm than good.

One real estate professional in the Dallas area decided to shoot several neighborhood videos from a handheld camera, turning buyers off of several neighborhoods in the area. The videos were all captured as the agent drove through the neighborhoods (safety tip: don’t film and drive) and captured it all on a cloudy, winter day — not exactly the best backdrop for making neighborhoods look appealing. If you want to do a neighborhood video, wait for a sunny summer or spring day to show off the vegetation and greenery, make sure you keep the camera in focus, and film when you’re not on the move. Better yet, maybe take a film class or enlist an aspiring filmmaker for help. Same goes for property pictures as well — if you’re not good at shooting photos, then seek professional help, or obtain the skill set you need to do a professional job.

 

4. Have a Web Presence – As a determining factor for choosing an agent, reputation was rated No. 2 behind trustworthiness, according to the NAR survey. For many consumers, online search has become a go-to method to find out more about a practitioner’s business, and one of the things they look for is other clients’ reviews. If nothing comes up when they Google you, some buyers will assume you’re not very established in your business, and they may have a tough time putting their biggest purchase in your hands. If it’s a Facebook page with some questionable photos, well, that won’t likely win you any clients either.

Social networking pages like LinkedIn often come up early in Web searches, so make sure they’re up-to-date and represent your business.

 

According to surveys, home buyers also say real estate practitioner and company Websites have been useful in their home search. Here’s what they rated as top site features:

1.   Photos

2.   Detailed information about properties for sale

3.   Virtual tours

4.   Interactive maps

5.   Real estate agent contact information

6.   Neighborhood information

 

5. Don’t Dodge a Question – There are certain questions you can’t answer because of fair housing laws, such as “What kind of people live in this neighborhood?” or “Is this home in the best school district?” But if you just ignore the question or gloss over it, you inadvertently make the buyer lose faith in your knowledge about the market or feel like their question didn’t matter.

Keep data on demographics, crime, and school reports with you, available at your Website, or even in a special buyer packet you give clients when touring homes. That way, when they ask you a question you can’t answer, you can point them to where they can find it on their own.

 

6. Follow the 3 E’s – You’ll have to wear multiple hats as an agent. Be ready to educate, empathize, and encourage.

 

Educate: Educate the buyer on the area, what comparable homes are selling for, the average price per square foot in the neighborhood, and every stage in the buying process.

 

Empathize: Buyers are bound to throw something at you that may seem absurd during the home search. Remember, this is a big step, and it’s scary so they may get cold feet and suddenly a seemingly easy fix to you — like the color of the walls — becomes a huge obstacle they can’t overlook. Even if the gripe seems unreasonable, keep your cool, listen to their complaint so they feel heard, and then propose a practical solution or find a compromise.

 

Encourage: Once your buyers select a home, validate their decision. Review the priorities they stated in their home search, and how well the home measures up: Did they find a good match? A big portion in the buying process is the feeling of validation — that they made a good decision, which will help lead them all the way to the closing table.

 

7. Don’t Pull a Houdini – After buyers select a house, don’t just disappear until closing day. You’ll make them feel abandoned. While buyers say they most want assistance in finding the right property, they also say they want their agent’s help with understanding the entire process and recommendations of service providers. Find excuses to make contact, even when there’s nothing to do that week to move the transaction forward. For example, “I saw this interesting article in the newspaper and thought of you,” or “I just drove past the house and it looks great. I know you’re getting excited for move-in day.” Send happy birthday greetings or remember special dates. For relocation clients, help them get adjusted to the community by offering up fun things to do in the area.

 

 

The end of a transaction is really just the beginning to building a relationship with your clients, proving you’ll be there every step of the way and beyond, to the next time they need your services — or their friend does.

 

We Are Now Accepting Qualified Listings
Now providing “Short Sale Services”
Call Today for More Info and our “Spring Thing….”

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

www.MichaelCarusoRealEstate.com

Best regards,

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CLHMS CRB CRS GREEN GRI

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

 

Caruso Never Sleeps ~ Spring Forward to Water Efficiency


 

As winter begins its transition to spring, the weather will soon become warmer and our water habits will start to change. It’s natural for MNWD customers to use more water in the warm spring and summer months, but it remains critical all year long to use only the water you need. Follow these four simple steps this spring to become more efficient with your water use:

 

1.)    Tune-up your sprinklers: Make sure your timer is set to only water a maximum of three days per week, replace any broken sprinkler heads and adjust the spray so there is n overlap or watering of your patio or sidewalk.

2.)    Add California-Friendly plants to your garden: As you begin to replant this year’s garden, make sure to add in California-Friendly flowers and shrubs. These plants come in a wide variety of attractive colors and sizes and use very little water.

3.)    Check for leaks as part of your spring cleaning: Make sure to look for leaks inside and outside of your home as your spruce things up for the warmer months ahead. One leaky toilet can waste enough water to fill several swimming pools!

4.)    Apply for rebates: MNWD offers rebates for the purchase of a wide variety of water-efficient products. Visit www.MNWD.com to learn more.

 

We Are Now Accepting Qualified Listings
Now providing “Short Sale Services”
Call Today for More Info and our “Spring Thing….”

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

www.MichaelCarusoRealEstate.com

Best regards,

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CLHMS CRB CRS GREEN GRI

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

 

Caruso Funny ~ Job Ad Meanings


 

Ever wanted to know what is behind those standard phrases in job ads?

It is all being revealed now, just read on…

The real meaning of words in Job Ads

COMPETITIVE SALARY:

We remain competitive by paying less than our competitors.

JOIN OUR FAST-PACED COMPANY:

We have no time to train you and you’ll have to introduce yourself

to your co-workers.

SEEKING ENTHUSIASTIC, FUN, HARD WORKING, PEOPLE:

….who still live with their parents and won’t mind our

entry-level salaries.

CASUAL WORK ATMOSPHERE:

We don’t pay enough to expect that you’ll dress up; well, we don’t

shave around here and wear our tats with pride

JOIN OUR DYNAMIC TEAM:

We all listen to nutty motivational tapes.

MUST BE DEADLINE ORIENTED:

You’ll be six months behind schedule on your first day.

SOME OVERTIME REQUIRED:

Some time each night and some time each weekend.

DUTIES WILL VARY:

Anyone in the office can boss you around.

MUST HAVE AN EYE FOR DETAIL:

We have no quality control, so you better get it right

COLLEGE DEGREE PREFERRED:

Unless you wasted those four years studying something useless like

philosophy or English.

NO PHONE CALLS PLEASE:

We’ve filled the job; our call for resumes is just a legal

formality.

SEEKING CANDIDATES WITH A WIDE VARIETY OF EXPERIENCE:

You’ll need it to replace three people who just left.

PROBLEM-SOLVING SKILLS A MUST:

You’re walking into a company in perpetual chaos.

REQUIRES TEAM LEADERSHIP SKILLS:

You’ll have the responsibilities of a manager, without the pay or

respect.

GOOD COMMUNICATION SKILLS:

Management communicates, you listen, figure out what they want, and

then do

ha ha ha!

We Are Now Accepting Qualified Listings
Now providing “Short Sale Services”
Call Today for More Info and our “Spring Thing….”

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

www.MichaelCarusoRealEstate.com

Best regards,

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CLHMS CRB CRS GREEN GRI

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

Caruso Never Sleeps ~ The Carmel Creeper


 

The California plant of the month is the Carmel Creeper! Want to add a burst of color and fragrance to your yard? Plant the Carmel Creeper. These beautiful, aromatic and hardy plants are a member of the lilac family, and have a place in even the most water-efficient gardens.

 

Carmel Creeper can fulfill almost any need in your garden. It can be pruned short to be used as ground cover and it can reach heights of up to 6 feet tall if allowed to grow, making it an ideal hedge. Carmel Creeper is available with blossom colors ranging from white to lavender and dark blue. Whatever the color of the blossoms, they are strikingly set off by a background of lush, dark green leaves and fill your garden with a lovely lilac aroma.

 

Because Carmel Creeper is a California native, it requires only minimal care and almost no water once it is established. It will grow best in your garden in an area that has good drainage and full to half sun. Carmel Creepers blooms come to life in the spring, so now is the perfect time to add it to your California friendly garden!

 

Quick Facts:

Season: Spring

Size: Up to 3 ft. wide, 6 ft tall

Color: White, Violet and Blue Flowers

Water: Low

Sun: Full to half sun

 

We Are Now Accepting Qualified Listings
Now providing “Short Sale Services”
Call Today for More Info and our “Spring Thing….”

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

www.MichaelCarusoRealEstate.com

Best regards,

Michael Caruso, Broker ABR ABRM CLHMS CRB CRS GREEN GRI

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