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in this issue…

Putting a Face on Real Estate since 1995™

• ABoR REALTOR Day at the Texas Capitol • Keller Williams Japan Fundraiser • WCR/NAHREP Combined Mixer and much, much more!

Associates in Progress

Closings in 5 Business Days! Details on page 30

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MAY 2011 • VOLUME 16 • ISSUE 1

www.highlandsloans.com

Cool Tech Tools for Real Estate 2.0 by Stacy Stroud

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echnology is changing the game for REALTORS today. With the availability of products like smart phones, tablet PCs and the thousands upon thousands of apps designed to save you time and make your day more productive, what’s the ideal technology setup for your business? We’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite must-have technologies for REALTOR 2.0.

Smart Phones and Tablets According to last year’s REALTOR Technology Survey Report from REALTOR. org, mobile devices such as the iPad are at the

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For many Austin area REALTORS, like Joe Stewart of Joe R. Stewart Realty, mobile devices like tablets and smart phones are more convenient than laptops in some instances, especially when you need to travel light. “I don’t carry a laptop when I travel,” Stewart says. “The iPhone is the heart of my mobility and work. I use it for my website, my customer contacts, Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail. When I need to print something, I just use the hotel business center.” He plans to purchase an iPad 2 soon. And both devices are compatible with Stewart’s lead management software, Top Producer, allowing him to connect with the clients in his database from anywhere. While the iPad dominates the tablet market (starting at $499, the new iPad 2 is even

Front Page: Continued on page 8

Tech Pitfalls Can Leave You in the Dust by Naomi Bludworth

A TM

Putting a Face on Real Estate since 1995

P. O. Box 81366, Austin, Texas 78708

Visit us online 24/7 at www.myRealtyLine.com

top of the list of products REALTORS plan to purchase this year. Smart phones and tablets bring mobility to your business, allowing you to stay connected, access your MLS listings, and give you access to a wide variety of tools that can improve your efficiency and help you better serve clients and prospects. Using a mobile device allows you to view PDF files, access your e-mail, sync your contacts, monitor your social networking sites, and sync your calendar. In essence, you can carry a “light” version of your office with you at all times. At the top of the list of REALTOR’s favorite smart phones are the always-popular BlackBerry, the iPhone, and the Palm, although Google’s Android phone is quickly gaining market share among REALTORS.

s we are inundated with hip, new, cool technologies almost on a dayto-day basis, it’s easy to get wrapped up in the hype of it all. New gadgets such as smart phones, texting, notepads, social media, scannable bar codes, netbooks, e-vites, e-cards, and all the other “e-words” we are now familiar with, have become so second nature for so many of us. We must remember that when push comes to shove, technology cannot, and should not, become the crutch that cripples natural, real human connection in our business.

Presorted Standard U.S. Postage PAID Austin, Texas Paid Permit #715

Reach Out and Touch Someone– The Necessity of Old-Fashioned Human Interaction While e-mail and social media outlets like Facebook are a fast, fun and easy way to keep in touch with others, they do have their limitations. Some of the limitations could be

having profound effects on the relationships you build with potential and current clients, often without you even being aware how you are being perceived. For example, non-verbal cues can’t be read in an online forum. How many times have you read a comment thread on Facebook that turned ugly only to imagine that if that same conversation had taken place face-to-face that it may have turned out differently. In online communications, people can’t see a person’s smile, hear their tone of voice, comprehend sarcasm or even get the fact that they might be joking. On the opposite end, the person giving these non-verbal communication cues is not able to see how the recipient is reacting to them. Were they offended? Did they understand the sender’s emphasis? There are so many people that will not respond at all. What does that mean? Stacy Rider of Keller Williams Realty’s Bartlett Group knows this all too well. “E-mails cannot show emotion and can be misunderstood. I find

Upcoming Events Wednesday, May 18 AYREP May Happy Hour/Pool Party The Ivy at 78704 - 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, May 19 HBA Networking Social Factory Builder Store - 5 to 7 p.m. NAPMW Installation Dinner Maggiano’s Little Italy - 5:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday, May 24 Grand Haven Homes REALTOR Tour Behrens Ranch - 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Thursday, May 26 WCR Business Resource Luncheon Cool River Café - 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Wednesday, June 1 CCIM Networking Luncheon Westwood Country Club 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday, June 2 Austin NARI Spring Golf Tournament Avery Ranch Golf Club - 11:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, June 9 WCAoR Luncheon - WCAoR Office 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Friday, June 10 ABoR Foundation Mercedes Raffle Domain II - 6 to 9 p.m. More at www.myRealtyLine.com myself wanting to convey emotion through the use of exclamation points, highlighted or underlined text but I think we miss the details by not following up with a phone call,” she says. National real estate educator Marcie Roggow of Creative Learning Concepts, LLC hit the

Expectations: Continued on page 28


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Putting a Face on Real Estate since 1995.™


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Austin Board of REALTORS®

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Putting a Face on Real Estate since 1995

Chairman’s Column By Judith Bundschuh • 2011 Chairman

The Countdown is On! Mercedes Raffle Ends June 10

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ime is running out for you to purchase your ticket for the ABoR Foundation’s 2011 Mercedes-Benz Raffle. Your $100 raffle ticket will enter you for a chance to win a brand new Mercedes-Benz, a trip to Germany and more. Purchase your ticket today to support the ABoR Foundation in raising funds for its scholarship program, which provides high school graduates with financial assistance to pursue higher education opportunities. Raffle tickets are going fast and quantities are limited. Purchase your ticket today by visiting www.abor.com/mercedes and enter yourself into the running for a chance to win this exciting Mercedes-Benz giveaway. The winner of the raffle will be announced at the Foundation’s Mercedes and Martinis Raffle event from 6 to 9 p.m. on Friday, June 10 at the Domain II, located near Braker Lane and MoPac in Austin. For more information, contact Rita Barousse in ABoR’s education department by e-mail at rbarousse@abor.com or by phone at 454-7636, ext. 1602.

ABoR to Launch Open Call for Committee Volunteers this Summer Are you looking for a way to be more involved in ABoR? If so, consider volunteering for the association by joining an ABoR committee. As an ABoR committee member, you can build valuable business connections and leave a positive mark on your industry. ABoR has a variety of committees, ranging from government affairs to installation and awards to professional standards, which are looking for volunteer participants. With so many options, I know you’ll find a committee suited to your interests. ABoR’s open call for committee volunteers will begin on Wednesday, June 15 and run through Monday, Aug. 1. I encourage you to become involved at ABoR by volunteering for a committee. June 15 is right around the corner, so be sure to mark your calendars. To learn more about ABoR’s committees, I invite you to visit www.abor.com/about_abor/ committees.cfm. Here you’ll find information

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about each committee, including a committee fact sheet and current roster of participants. Should you have questions, contact Vicki Harris in ABoR’s executive department by phone at 454-7636 or by e-mail at executive@ abor.com. Stay tuned for more information in the coming weeks on Abor.com.

to the mobile-friendly services provided by ABoR. To log in to Mobile Edit, use your MLS login. The password is case-sensitive. Should you have questions regarding ABoR Mobile Edit, contact ABoR’s MLS support team by phone at 454-7636 or by e-mail at mlssupport@abor.com.

Manage Listings on the Go with New ABoR Mobile Edit

Advance Your Technology Skills at the ABoR Academy

ABoR recently announced the launch of ABoR Mobile Edit, the newest ABoR offering for MLS subscribers. With Mobile Edit, MLS subscribers can efficiently edit listings on the go via a mobile device. As a fellow REALTOR, I know you are continually looking for ways to operate in a more efficient, productive, and often mobile manner. Our lives and businesses are on the go. As ABoR MLS subscribers, we now have a way to do just that. ABoR Mobile Edit allows you to manage listings from any location through a mobile phone. Changes made through Mobile Edit are instantly integrated with the MLXchange MLS system. Mobile Edit is availabale in addition to ABoR Mobile MLS, which provides a robust location-based search option. To use this new service, visit www.abor. com/mobile. ABoR’s mobile site is your access

Incorporate and employ cutting edge technology skills into your business with the help of ABoR’s Technology Series, hosted by the ABoR Academy. Through a series of three courses, you will learn about the technologies available to REALTORS, how to effectively integrate social media into your business, and how to implement a personal technology plan for your business. The ABoR Academy will host the Technology Series on the following dates: • May 26: Technology 101: An Overview • May 26: Technology 102: Social Networking for REALTORS • May 31: Technology 103: Putting Technology to Work for You Register for courses at www.abor.com/ education to further your education on the latest real estate industry technology trends. RL

Property Tours Online at

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A commitment to excellence

is what First American is all about.

With excellence in mind, First American is proud to announce the addition of Michele Vannostran to our

Northwest Hills Office! First American Title - Northwest Hills Office 3520 Executive Center Drive, Suite G-100 Austin, TX 78731 office 512.795.9755 | fax 866.766.2813 www.FirstAmAustin.com First American Title Insurance Company makes no express or implied warranty respecting the information presented and assumes no responsibility for errors or omissions.

Michele Vannostran Business Development Representative mvannostran@firstam.com mobile 512.534.6563 ©2011 First American Financial Corporation. All rights reserved. | NYSE:FAF


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Putting a Face on Real Estate since 1995.™

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Putting a Face on Real Estate since 1995

Artist Peggy Weiss, center, displays her work at the Fine Austin Living 1st Anniversary Celebration. Joining her are Shaunna Terry, Beth Ann Cummings and Todd Smith, all of Fine Austin Living and David Tandy of Gracy Title.

Buy photo: RL_05_15_11_B.jpg at www.myRealtyLine.com

Love, peace and hair grease. Mike Takao and Lisa Kosub-Young, both of Keller Williams Realty, talk about all the fun aspects of the ‘70s disco era at the Keller Williams Realty ‘70s-themed awards banquet with David McMillan of United Lending. Buy photo: RL_0405_11_D.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Fire it up, I’m hungry! Dave Albert of Trinity Title and John McClellan of Supreme Lending get the smoker cooking for the Supreme Lending Lone Star BBQ Happy Hour at the WCAoR Round Rock office. Buy photo: RL_05_04_11_D.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com Buy photo: RL_05_17_11_A.jpg at www.myRealtyLine.com

I got $20 and a Dos Equis on that one! Kevin Ginsberg of United Lending doubles up on his hand at the Keller Williams Realty Casino Night Fundraiser for Japan Relief.

4 Steps to Effective Communication Register today for Sente’s

Termites Eating Up Your Sales? Austin Based, Texas Proud

June Power Lunch

Thursday, June 9th 12 Noon – 1PM

4 Steps to Effective Communication How do you communicate? The first step to effective communication is picking the right vehicle for the message you want to send. Learn the other three steps to become the person that everyone wants to hear.

Register at www.SenteLearning.com Click on Austin Real Estate Power Lunches For more information on any of our Power Sessions visit:

PROTECT you and your listing with AHPS FREE Seller’s Coverage that includes Termite Treatment. (Subject to service call fee of $75.00 See Contract for Details)

CALL TODAY! 512-263-3764

www.SenteLearning.com or call 512-637-9900


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The KB Kronicle MAY 5, 2010

KBHOME.COM

512-651-8059

KB Home Appreciates YOU!

(Above) Phoenix Pike, Keller Williams, and Gary Hoffarth, Austin Advantage Real Estate, catch up in the KB Home lobby before the Internet Marketing/Social Media MCE class hosted by KB Home. Jason Blackburn with Laser Focus Training taught Realtors how to use the internet and social media to attract new clients and maintain relationships with current and previous clients.

(Above) Colette Fitzgerald, KB Home, and Wendy Power, Keller Williams, learn new ways to maximize the use of their iPads and iPhones at the iSmart MCE class hosted by KB Home. This informative class was taught by the UniPro Training group.

PARKSIDE AT HARRIS BRANCH IN AUSTIN • NOW OPEN FROM THE $110S

• 3 model homes • 15 oor plans • 1,109 to 2,561 square feet • 1- and 2-story homes • 3-5 bedrooms • 2-3.5 bathrooms • 2-car garage • Community park with playscape, two tennis courts, basketball court, swimming pool and fitness center • On-site ponds and plenty of greenspace • Manor ISD From I-35 take Hwy. 290 east. Turn left on Harris Branch Parkway. Community entrance is on the left. (512) 828-6851 Need a sponsor for an upcoming meeting or event? Need a space to hold your next meeting, class, or event? KB Home is always looking for opportunities to work together with our local Realtor partners. Please contact Colette Fitzgerald, KB Home Broker/Realtor Liaison at cfitzgerald@kbhome.com, 512-651-8059, for more information!


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Putting a Face on Real Estate since 1995.™

Susan Horton, right, of John Horton Realty, thanks Rudy and Becky Hopkins, both of Austin Title, for sponsoring the Social Media Live presentation at the Oasis. The event was hosted by the Platinum Top 50 REALTORS of Austin.

Buy photo: RL_05_02_11_E.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Aisha Dull of Capital Title and Linda DeMarco of Coldwell Banker United REALTORS enjoy a nice evening at Plucker’s in Round Rock at the WCAoR membership mixer.

Submitted Photo Buy photo: RL_05_16_11_D.jpg at www.myRealtyLine.com

Texas American Title Company

We’ve got dependable service you can count on

every time!

Mandy Andrews Account Executive Cell: 512-695-4124

Westlake Office 609 Castle Ridge Rd. Suite 100 Austin, TX 78746 Office: 512-306-9009 Fax: 512-306-9180

Salli Dennis Account Executive Cell: 512-565-9971

www.txa mti tl e.com

Lori Hartman of JB Goodwin REALTORS demonstrates the enormous size of the bathtubs in the Austonian Condos where the company took agents on a tour.


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Williamson County Assoc. of REALTORS®

President’s Column By Victoria Reviel • 2011 President

Can There Be Too Much Technology?

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e all know that technology is an important part of a real estate professional’s life, but is there a point when it becomes too much? Some may believe that all this technological advancement has taken away from the development of personal and business relationships. REALTORS have been quick to adopt both e-mail and mobile phones. As early as 2002, 96.6 percent of REALTORS had a mobile phone. At that same time, use of other wireless devices, particularly those with e-mail or internet capabilities, was low at only 17.4 percent, and less than a third (31.7 percent) of REALTORS used a pager. Desktop computers were used by almost 73 percent of REALTORS at their place of business and 84 percent had a desktop computer at home. By 2010, the technology used by REALTORS was different. Pagers disappeared and only 16 percent of REALTORS planned to buy a desktop PC – a trend that reflects the demise of the brick-and-mortar office. Technology enhanced mobility and

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REALTORS took advantage of that with 34 percent planning to buy a laptop, 21 percent selecting an iPad and 42 percent opting for a smart phone. (www.realtor.org) REALTORS embraced more than just gadgets. The internet enabled REALTORS to create virtual offices to market in new ways, and to expand spheres of influence through social networking. According to the 2010 REALTOR Technology Survey conducted by the National Association of REALTORS’ Center for Real Estate Technology, when asked which factors were important for generating business, the internet ranked third behind referrals and repeat business, but still 54 percent of REALTORS affirmed that the internet was “very important” for generating leads. However, a substantial 29 percent stated that the internet was “important” – likely a reflection of differences in REALTORS’ ability to fully adapt this technology into their marketing program. Technology is not the whole story for REALTORS who want to market, build

May 2011

their business and develop relationships. REALTORS are going directly to consumers by regular face-to-face contact and they’re getting consumers to come to them by establishing themselves as community experts. Many REALTORS will forgo e-mailing to unknown random e-mail addresses and cold calling strangers and instead are getting involved in their communities: running for political offices, sitting on boards, joining the chambers, volunteering in the community, and working to be seen. Volunteering is not only good for you personally, it’s also great for your business. It lets your clients and customers know that you want to give back and that you care about more than just your commission check. The good news is real estate is still grounded in relationship building and savvy agents are using techniques to do just that. WCAoR understands this and we are all about helping REALTORS build strong relationships within the community. Technology has had a substantial impact on the lives of both consumers and REALTORS over the last decade. Consumers

NOT GETTING

have embraced the Internet as a search tool, but also as a social outlet. REALTORS embraced the internet as well, and property listings now flourish online. REALTORS are also increasing their use of social media as a means of expanding their sphere of influence and lead generation. Gadgets have also had an impact on the business by removing the ties of REALTORS to their offices and enabling them to communicate with their clients more easily. Real estate is a fast and fluid business and REALTORS will continue to seek out and adopt those technological skills and tools that augment their business, but nothing replaces getting out and meeting people face to face. So let’s get back to the basics and talk to one another. We may receive leads from IDX, friends on Facebook, Twitters from afar and others will see if we’re LinkedIn, but in the end, we must be able to turn an Internet lead into a business relationship. So reach out and actually “touch someone” with a handwritten card, a phone call or “meet up” and watch your business relationships not only be viral, but soar to new levels of success. RL

WCAoR Golf Tournament - “Mad About Plaid”: Cowen Creek Golf Club Thursday, May 19 11 a.m. registration; 1 p.m. Tee-off time

WCAOR Luncheon “REALTOR Safety” – June 9 Multiple Social Media Pro classes – Facebook, Twitter, Blogging, LinkedIn, Photography Details at www.wcaor.org

— your fair — share of

LEADS?

1. That’s because

2. Which means

3. Which means

4. Which means

you’re not getting your fair share of advertising

you’re not getting your fair share of website traffic

you’re not getting your fair share of transactions

you need a better mouse trap.

Total Share of National TV Voice

Prudential 0%

Total Share of Web Traffic

2010 Web Traffic Market Share remax.com versus franchise competitors Share

RE/MAX percentage of total ad impressions NatioNal by nationalShare real estate of franchises for ads purchased through nationwide buys tV Voice*

of Web traffic‡

aVerage traNSactioN SideS Per ageNt†

Century 21

28.02%

37.93% Coldwell Banker 41.2%

58.7% GMA

0.67% Coldwell Banker

Adults 25-54/1-4Q 2010

19.71%

Source: Nielsen Monitor-Plus / A25-54 GRPs Unequivalized

Prudential

Prudential Keller Williams

6.91%

3.42%

ERA

3.16%

Coldwell Banker

Century 21

Keller Williams

37.93%

ERA

Each RE/MAX® office is independently owned and operated. © 2011 by RE/MAX International, LLC.. All rights reserved. 110193

P

GET THE FULL STORY

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SEE WHAT LEADSTREET CAN DO FOR YOU

Total Share of National TV Voice: RE/MAX percentage of total ad impressions by national real estate franchises for ads purchased through nationwide buys. Adults 25-54/1-4Q 2010 Source: Nielsen Monitor-Plus / A25-54 GRPs Unequivalized *‡ Total Share of Web Traffic: 2010 Web Traffic Market Share, remax.com versus franchise competitors

† Average Transaction Sides Per Agent: This chart of national franchise organizations is based upon 2010 data each organization provided to either REAL Trends, Inc., a leading industry analyst, or to the United States Securities and Exchange Commission on Form 10-K, Annual Report for 2010. Prudential data is based on REAL Trends estimates. Each RE/MAX office is independently owned and operated.


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Enjoying live music in the live music capital of the world are Sarah Scholwinksi of Independence Title, Todd Smith of Fine Austin Living, Melinda Carroll of Independence Title, Shaunna Terry of Fine Austin Living and guest Eric Meissner. Fine Austin Living hosted its 1st Anniversary Celebration with a live band and artwork on display.

Buy photo: RL_05_15_11_C.jpg at www.myRealtyLine.com

The Best Mobile Apps for REALTORS

Andrew Constancio of JB Goodwin REALTORS shows off the view of downtown from atop the Austonian condominium tower where REALTORS from JB Goodwin REALTORS took a tour of the property.

Submitted Photo

One-Time Close Construction Loans

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scott.dill@ViewPointMortgage.com

CONTACT YOUR VIEWPOINT MORTGAGE PROFESSIONAL TODAY FOR MORE DETAILS.

charlie.spriggs@ViewPointMortgage.com

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Putting a Face on Real Estate since 1995

thinner and lighter than its predecessor, and geared for productivity), there are a number of new competitors on the scene. The Galaxy Tab from Samsung, starting at $599, is billed as the world’s thinnest mobile tablet, and runs on the Android 3.0 OS. Just released, the Blackberry PlayBook starts at $499 and comes in 16, 32, and 64 GB versions. If you prefer a device that runs on Windows, Samsung’s Sliding PC 7 has a 10.1 inch multitouch screen, but features its own slide-out keyboard. With specs similar to a netbook, it’s larger than the iPad but smaller than most 10-inch netbooks. Also worth mentioning is the Windows-powered Motion CL900 Tablet PC, a rugged, dual-input device (you can use the multi-touch function or active pen) that is designed specifically for mobile business. The CL900 has a 32 GB solid state drive and up to 2 GB of RAM, and starts at under $1,000. But beyond the raw hardware specs, what will really make smart phones and tablets useful in your business are the apps available for them.

Buy photo: RL_05_02_11_H.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

512-589-0558

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Linnann Guest, Terrie Kunec and Barbara Erker, all of Moreland Properties, get the lowdown on social media at the Platinum Top 50 REALTORS of Austin Social Media Live presentation at the Oasis.

Vice President, Loan Officer

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Doug Scott Senior Vice President, Area Manager

512-971-2233

There are thousands of free and affordable apps to help you do your job more efficiently. Here are a handful of our favorite apps for REALTORS: • Goodreader – a PDF reader that lets you view and edit PDF files, including highlight, draw and make notes. (iPhone, iPad) • Evernote – Helps you remember everything. Capture notes, screenshots, web pages and more and access them from your computer or mobile device. (iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry, Palm Pre / Palm Pixi, Windows Mobile) • Loopnet – Commercial property search and viewing application with a great inventory of MLS and non-MLS listings and a friendly interface. (iPhone, iPad) • Hootsuite – a social media dashboard that helps you filter out the noise and keep all your feeds and lists straight in the social media networks that you use. (iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry) • Dropbox – Simply drag files from your home hard drive into the Dropbox so you can access them from anywhere. (iPhone, iPad, Android, Blackberry) • UpSoundDown – Put your phone on speakerphone automatically by laying it down on a table, or by turning the phone upside down. When you pick the phone back up, you’ll be able to use the handset again. (Android) • Zite – This app is a personalized magazine that gets smarter as you use it. It scans your social media feeds for news based on your reading habits, then populates a virtual magazine with content that is automatically tailored to your preferences. (iPhone, iPad) • Adobe Photoshop Express – Edit and manipulate photos on your device and store them on the Internet to access from anywhere. (iPhone, iPad, Android) • iSwifter – This app allows you to watch Flash videos and view animations on any website from your mobile device. (iPhone, iPad) • Qik – Need to give a quick virtual tour? Want to add a live feed to your website or Facebook page? Qik turns your phone’s camera into a live streaming video feed. (iPhone, iPad, and almost any other smart phone).

Putting a Face on Real Estate since 1995.™

• Sketches – Did you take a photo of a property that you want to e-mail? Sketches allows you to mark it up with notes. (iPhone) • Yelp – Keep track of your reputation online, or better yet, find a great place for lunch. (iPhone, iPad, Android, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Palm Pre)

Set up an Easy Video Blog You can use an easy Wordpress theme (www.WordPress.com) to create a blog that’s purely video, which is handy if you want to point clients to a separate page of photos, educational videos or virtual tours. You can set

Cool Tech: Continued on page 18

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P. O. Box 81366 • Austin, Texas 78708-1366 (512) 821-1900 www.myRealtyLine.com E-mail: info@myRealtyLine.com Publisher: Doren L. Carver doren@myRealtyLine.com Associate Publisher: Tawanna K. Carver tawanna@myRealtyLine.com Managing Editor: Naomi Bludworth naomi@myRealtyLine.com Contributing Editor: Linda McNabb Contributing Writers: Stacy Stroud, Linda McNabb, Naomi Bludworth Contributing Photographers: Doren L. Carver, Linda McNabb Columnists: Judith Bundschuh, Hank Smith, Kay DaSilva, Victoria Reviel, Nicole Boynton, Vaike O’Grady Submission Guidelines: Submit photos, press releases and calendar items to naomi@myrealtyline.com. All photos must be at least 300 dpi and include a caption with first/last name and company affiliation. Press releases must be fewer than 300 words. Non-advertisers submitting calendar items will be charged $25 per submission. All submissions must be received at least seven calendar days prior to ad copy deadlines published at www. myrealtyline.com/advertise.html. Submission items will be included as space allows. Realty Line Austin is published monthly by Caxton Publications, Inc.© as a non-subscription publication for the more than 8,000 members of the Austin Board of REALTORS®(ABoR), the more than 1,100 members of the Williamson County Association of REALTORS® (WCAoR) and the Home Builders Association (HBA) of Greater Austin. Realty Line Austin is a proud member of the Austin Board of REALTORS®, the Williamson County Association of REALTORS® and is a honorary member of the Women’s Council of REALTORS. Realty Line Austin is not responsible for opinions or facts expressed by non-staff writers or for errors and any by-products in advertising or editorial copy. REALTOR® is a registered trademark. The word REALTOR® sometimes appears in this publication without the registered trademark symbol (®) for the purpose of saving space. Wherever the word REALTOR® appears in this publication, the registered trademark should be assumed.


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Man it’s windy out here. Linda Randall of Signature Realty and Tiesa Hollaway of North American Title are blown away by the chance to win an iPad at Supreme Lending’s Lone Star BBQ Happy Hour.

Buy photo: RL_05_17_11_C.jpg at www.myRealtyLine.com

Who knew a presentation on social media would be so social? Over 250 REALTORS and Associates attended this event highlighting the ins and outs of social media do’s and don’ts hosted by the Platinum Top 50 REALTORS of Austin. Buy photo: RL_05_02_11_F.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Sandy Steed of Capital Title and Susan Gregson of United Country Auctions catch up at the WCAoR membership mixer at Plucker’s in Round Rock. Buy photo: RL_05_07_11_B.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Texas Association of REALTORS President-Elect Joe Stewart of Joe R. Stewart, REALTORS leads the way for fellow REALTORS from around the state at ABoR’s REALTOR Day at the Capitol.

Buy photo: RL_05_16_11_B.jpg at www.myRealtyLine.com

Austin Area Market Update Austin Residential Closings

Average Number of Closings Per Month for Prior 12 Months 3000

2500

Partnerships Built on Trust

2000

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1000

500

For more information, please contact one of our sales executives. www.gracytitle.com

Jan-11

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May 2011

The Highest Level of

Experience, Service, & Commitment to

Commercial Closing Success We know that the sky is the limit for Commercial Real Estate success. That’s why we’re looking at the big picture daily. With our ever-growing skyline and market, we’re continually developing strategies to provide you with the best possible experience now and in the future. Our will and determination has driven our level of customer service to the highest standards to gain the trust and enhance the experience for our loyal customers and new customers alike. Our diverse knowledge and combined years of experience is our testament to assure you that you are working with the most proficient commercial team in Central Texas.

Commercial Team From left to right: Susie McCreary (Commercial Division Escrow Manager) Bill Bradshaw (Vice President - Legal) Marie Love (Senior Commercial Escrow Officer) Elizabeth Young (Senior Commercial Escrow Officer) Marie Farber (Escrow Officer) Bob Roberts (Senior Vice President/Commercial Division Manager)

Gracy Title Commercial Division 100 Congress Ave, Suite 100, Austin, TX 78701 (512) 472-9231 www.gracytitle.com

Partnerships Built on Trust

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austin

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Putting a Face on Real Estate since 1995.™

HigHland Homes

Realtor Rewards

Buy photo: RL_05_07_11_N.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Acting as the cheerleaders at the Austin Board of REALTORS REALTOR Day at the Capitol are Susan Patterson, Marjorie Tinnell, Diana Brown and Linda Schulman, all of Indpendence Title. The foursome came out to support the industry in its efforts to inform the Legislature on REALTOR issues.

2 or More Sales = Big Bonus!

sell one Home

sell TWo Homes

sell THRee Homes

Receive 3% commission on your first closing

Receive a 1% bonus on your Highland Homes Visa Reward Card in addition to your 3% commission!*

Receive a 2% bonus on your third and subsequent closings in addition to your 3% commission!*

New Program members will be mailed a Visa card, while existing members will have bonuses credited on their current card 10 to 14 business days after their second closing. Your Highland Homes Visa Reward Card can be used anywhere Visa is accepted.

1

Belterra The Views From the $230s 512-432-0200

2

From the $330s 512-310-7911

Crystal Falls

LIBERTY HILL

From the $330s 512-303-0112

512-251-8900

35 29

29

ABoR ACADEMY CARD

Commons at Rowe lane From the $150s

9

From the low $200s 512-260-8333 LAKE GEORGETOWN

Rocky Creek

arbor Place

8

From the $210s 512-260-2222 6

Guests at the AYREP happy hour at 904 West Condos get to stock up on beverages and tasty treats in between checking out upstairs and downstairs units.

From the $250s 512-255-4454

Whitestone oaks

5

Belterra

Buy photo: RL_05_10_11_J.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

The Ranch at Brushy Creek

7

From the $600s 512-266-7117

aspen Hills and mesa Verde Hills From the low $300s 183 512-301-9110 3

steiner Ranch

4

29

95

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BACk fOR A SECOnD YEAR

1460

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The Academy Card is back for its second year and once again offers cardholders the opportunity to attend unlimited MCE courses for an entire year. 2011 Academy Card holders can attend mandatory continuing education (MCE) courses between April 1, 2011 and March 31, 2012 using their card. Academy Cards cost $99 and allow REALTORS® to stay on a budget while furthering their professional education and satisfying MCE requirements. Purchase your Academy Card at www.abor.com/acard.

AUSTIN Town Lake

Park way

Scenic Brook

Academy Card Brings You Unlimited MCE Courses

UT Austin

183

3

79

Austin ABIA Bergstrom Int’l Airport

1 2

71

*All qualified sales must be original contracts written between January 1, 2011 and35December 31, 2011. For any Realtor incentive or bonus program offered by Highland Homes it is a condition of eligibility to receive payment that the Realtors not offer to rebate or contribute any portion of a bonus or a commission to a home buyer or any other person who is not a licensed Texas Realtor. The company has sole discretion in determining whether this eligibility requirement is met for each sale. We only recognize one Realtor name per sale. CREEDMOOR

A C A D E MY

Learn more about the ABoR Academy and register for a classes online at www.abor.com/education or call the Education Department at 512-454-7636.

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President’s Column By Hank Smith • 2011 President

T

Home Builders Benefit Home Will Help Children

he Home Builders Association (HBA) of Greater Austin has found a great way to give back to the local community. The concept is a “Benefit Home” where the HBA builds a new home by capitalizing on our members’ resources, galvanizing talented builders and trades people plus mixing in a lot of sweat equity. The home is constructed on donations of land, materials, labor and cash. The HBA then sells the home with the majority of the proceeds going to designated local charities. The HBA broke ground on the 2011 Benefit Home on March 24 in the West Cypress Hills community. Not only is this a gorgeous hill country neighborhood with an exceptional amenity center, it is also in the Lake Travis Independent School District. Located in Western Travis County, the home at 5133 Texas Bluebell is the beautiful, yet functional San Saba floor plan by Milestone Community Builders. The home will feature 2,283 square feet, three bedrooms, two and one-half bathrooms and is listed at $300,000. We are grateful to MileStone Community

Builders who is providing the home’s construction management and Castletop Capital who provided the home’s lot. First Lockhart National Bank is financing the project. We have an excellent Benefit Home committee who has done a great job of bringing together all of the pieces that a new home needs. Dozens of members have stepped up to share their talents, time, materials and products. Proceeds from the sale of the home will benefit the Dell Children’s Medical Center and Ronald McDonald House Charities of Austin and Central Texas. The HBA will work with the local Ronald McDonald House Charity of Austin and Central Texas to install a Ronald McDonald House Family Room inside Dell Children’s Hospital, just outside of the neonatal intensive care unit. That room will be created through a combination of donations from suppliers and funds from the proceeds of the HBA Benefit Home. Any remaining funds will be donated to Dell Children’s Hospital as a cash donation when the project is completed.

www.myRealtyLine.com The Benefit Home is just one example of how the 800 plus members of the HBA contribute to not only the economic impact of the communities in which they build, but also make a direct impact on worthy causes within those communities. Since 1991, the HBA has donated more than $1 million through projects in the community like the Benefit Home, Parade of Homes and

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scholarships. We are proud to be an integral part of the Central Texas community. If you are interested in buying the HBA Benefit Home, contact Karen Matuszewski by phone at 917-2653. For more information about the HBA, visit www.AustinHomeBuilders.com, the Home Builders Association of Greater Austin on Facebook and LinkedIn. RL

Buy Photos + Find Events + View Archives

www.myRealtyLine.com

Buy photo: RL_05_05_11_B.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Texas’ best springtime wildflowers are on display at the Belterra information center during the community’s model home tour.


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Putting a Face on Real Estate since 1995.™

Doug Land of Capital City Sotheby’s International Real Estate attends a sales meeting at Independence Title where Melinda Carroll works. The program highlighted the benefits of working together to get homes closed.

Buy photo: RL_031111_A.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Denise Moody and Michelle Piperi, both of Gracy Title, enjoy all the fine art displayed at Fine Austin Living’s 1st Anniversary Celebration.

Buy photo: RL_0405_11_H.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

It’s good to be a Rookie…Rookie of the Year! Tom Dangerfield of Keller Williams Realty accepts his award at the company’s awards banquet.

Buy photo: RL_05_15_11_A.jpg at www.myRealtyLine.com

Thanks for your helping hands. Sponsors for the Japan Earthquake Relief & NWMC Cares:

Keller Williams Realty-NW held a Casino Night Fundraiser on April 8, 2011 to raise money to support the Japan Earthquake Relief and NWMC Cares. We’re proud to announce that over $11,000 was raised for the cause, and we couldn’t have done it without the support and participation from our generous and caring sponsors.

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Suzi’s itle a Grill n n i h w C no’s o t a t i a g n Envoy Chi auran Mag le Italy t Mortga Litt Res ates i ge c o s & As pany n o t m Crich rvey Co 12515-8 Research Blvd, Suite 100 | Austin, TX 78759 | (512) 346-3550 Su

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Texas Lone Star CRS Chapter

Putting a Face on Real Estate since 1995.™

Director ‘s Column By Kay DaSilva • 2011 Director

Connie Hentosh, Bill Cozart, Shanna Schneider, John Perez and Suzie Walker, all with Highland Homes, set up for the big Social Media Live presentation hosted by the Platinum Top 50 REALTORS of Austin.

H

Are You REALLY Listening?

as the convenience of social networking caused us to close our ears to what people are really saying? Social networking has been an outstanding addition to the business plan of many agents, but in the midst of the social media explosion, we seem to be losing the personal touch in communicating effectively with each other in “the real world.” The art of listening is being challenged and it is clear that the agent who remembers to listen will be remembered by their clients. In early April, I had the opportunity to attend the Social Media Live Event sponsored by Platinum Top 50 REALTORS. Todd Carpenter, the director of digital engagement for the National Association of REALTORS, was one the featured speakers. One of the main points he made to the audience was that we need to take our offline listening strategies into the social media world. When you are posting status updates and comments on Facebook, texting, tweeting, etc., are you just talking or are you actually listening to what others are saying? Do you pay attention when people ask

Submitted Photo

Feeling content after a plateful of wings, good company and sports are Rod Morgan of Landmark Properties, David Pavliska of RE/MAX Round Rock, Summer Pavliska of Texas American Title and Jimmy Goff of Goff Properties. The four gathered at the Williamson County Association of REALTORS membership mixer at Plucker’s in Round Rock.

Buy photo: RL_05_16_11_E.jpg at www.myRealtyLine.com

questions or seek advice in their status updates? It is so important to engage with others rather than to just keep talking. There are four points that really hit home that Carpenter shared during his presentation. We need to focus our listening skills to:
 1. Listen selectively
 2. Listen for reinforcement of things that we believe
 3. Listen to reply
 4. Listen to learn
 It is critical to remember that online tools are there to enhance our personal relationships; not to replace them. Don’t forget about the value of the handwritten note. This can be one of the most powerful things you can do – particularly in this era of e-mail and junk mail. Sometimes the convenience of text messaging should take a backseat to a personal phone call.

 When summarizing, Carpenter says that community is vital. Listening is a foundational element of community and true listening starts with the right motivation. When using these tools, you must ask yourself, “Is your motivation to help and serve others?” RL

ROCKY CREEK

in Hill NOW OPEN Drees Drees’newesst newest community communityis isthe theultimate ultimate in Hill Country living…quiet, quiet,secluded, secluded, views miles heavilyCountry living... views forfor miles andand heavilytreed homesitesininone oneofofwest WestAustin’s Austin’most s most sought treed homesites sought afterafter locations. RockyCreek Creekisissure suretotobe be“The” “The” place placetotolive. live. locations. Rocky Reserve you homesite today! Reserve your homesite today! Call Today (512) 264-2444 Call Today, (512) 264-2444 Jon Blance cell (512) 947-3005 jblance@dreeshomes.com Mike TvinnereiM cell (512) 970-7701 mtvinnereim@dreeshomes.com

www.DreesHomes.com


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Cool Tech: Continued it up as a new blog or as a page within your existing blog. One of the plugins you can use to make this possible is Tubepress (www.TubePress. org), an open source PHP library that displays gorgeous YouTube and Vimeo videos and galleries in your blog.

Kim Sandberg of Treaty Oak Homes shows off the builder’s new model home that was finished just in time for the Belterra Model Home Tour.

Save on your Phone Bill with VoIP Service

Buy photo: RL_05_05_11_D.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Brian Pitman and Ann Carson, both of Independence Title, are pleased to hear compliments from Rick and Michelle Dewine about how well the closing on their home at The Waterford was handled. Highland Lakes Real Estate hosted a dock party to show others the fun that can be had by living at the lake.

VoIP, or “Voice over IP”, is an Internet technology that allows you to use voice, fax, SMS, and voice messaging applications over the Internet, rather than the publicly switched telephone network. What this means for you is cheap or free long distance calling. Vonage is a familiar carrier. A few others we like are Ooma (works through your home or office phone, so you don’t need a computer), Skype (video calling, and it works on your iPad), and Fring (free video group calls with up to four people at once, anywhere in the world. Works with iPhone, iPad, and Android).

Get to Know QR Codes QR is short for Quick Response code — a type of 2D barcode used to “hyperlink” objects in the real world. The practice of using them is also known as mobile tagging, because smart phones can be used to read them. The codes can be read from any direction, at high speed, and even if they’re severely damaged. And they

Putting a Face on Real Estate since 1995.™

can hold a lot more data than a UPC. QR codes can drive a smart phone user to almost any type of content — website, contact information, a message, etc. — and save them from having to type or do a web search. To read them, you need a web-enabled phone and QR reader (it comes standard with the Droid and there’s a free app for iPhone and iPad). Although they’re just starting to gain popularity in the U.S., QR codes have been used around the world in advertising, billboards, multimedia campaigns, and even public signage (for example: adding to or replacing expensive signs on nature trails or historical markers). In Japan, they put them on tombstones as a way to share additional information with mourners. If you’re hard core about it, there’s a tattoo parlor in Arizona that will give you a functioning QR code tattoo. How you can use QR codes in your business: • Put one on your business card • Put it on any promotional materials – flyers, T-shirts, etc. • Put it on your listings • Put it in your print ads • Put it on your for sale signs with pictures, virtual tours, details • Use it to promote events QR codes are easy to generate through sites such as kawya (http://qrcode.kaywa.com/) or QR Stuff (www.qrstuff.com). REALTOR.org has a field guide to QR Codes at www.realtor.org/library/library/ fg351. RL

Buy photo: RL_05_11_11_C.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Buy photo: RL_05_08_11_C.jpg at www.myRealtyLine.com

Shirra Hanna, Michelle Burch and Diana Barton, all of Dwyer Realty, host a lunch with KB Home at the ShadowGlen community in Manor. REALTORS had a chance at winning an iPad after visiting the model homes there.

Buy photo: RL_05_07_11_L.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

After giving Texas congressmen an earful during the Austin Board of REALTORS rally on the hill, Sherri Teepen of Keller Williams Realty makes a special visit to the Texas Association of REALTORS office across the street.


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Keller Williams Realty team leaders enjoy a combined networking mixer at The Westin at the Domain arranged by the Women’s Council of REALTORS and the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals. From left: Alice Newman, Mary Lynn Gibbs, Tony Brodie, Gene Frederick and Veronica Barefield, with Jazz Lough, third from right, of Champions School of Real Estate.

Buy photo: RL_05_09_11_G.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Leslie Brvenik, center, of Austin Title, and Annie Fojtik discuss the 904 West Condos with Roland Galang, of Urbanspace REALTORS, which represents the project that served as the location of AYREP’s latest networking event.

Buy photo: RL_0405_11_N.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Roger Buraimoh of Keller Williams Realty accepts the coveted Eagle Award at the company’s award banquet at the Norris Conference Center.

Buy photo: RL_05_10_11_C.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

United Lending is excited to welcome Jan Hill to our team! Jan represents the kind of loan originator you’ve come to know, trust, and be happy to work with at United Lending. She brings many years of experience, expert knowledge and unparalleled professionalism. Welcome, Jan!

Meet the entire United Lending team online at ulmtg.com

Jan Hill,

LOAN ORIGINATOR

512-431-5223 | www.janhillmortgage.com | jhill@janhillmortgage.com


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In the pink corner we have Laura Rosales of Austin Title and in the green corner we have Philip Pense of Reliant Title. The two battle for the company championship for who can eat the most wings at the WCAoR membership mixer held at Plucker’s in Round Rock.

Buy photo: RL_05_16_11_F.jpg at www.myRealtyLine.com

Gena Hammonds, Gene Hammonds and Mary Williams, all of Highland Lakes Real Estate, show guests their way to the dock that was a-rockin’ at The Waterford Marina. By boat or car, visitors got to enjoy property tours, good food and live music.

Buy photo: RL_05_12_11_E.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com Buy photo: RL_05_11_11_D.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Melanie Collins of Drees Custom Homes is always willing to give information and a tour of available homes the builder has to offer.

Submitted Photo

Kent Redding of Prudential Texas Realty accepts the award for Citizen of the Year by the Westlake Chamber of Commerce at the Austin Country Club for his community service works.


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Sonia Guardado, left, of 98th Meridian takes a break after presenting so many superstar marketing ideas at a class offered by Champions School of Real Estate where Stephanie Powell works.

Buy photo: RL_05_13_11_A.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Gabrielle Brown of Sente Mortgage and guest Constance Bestwick hear about how to dominate their niche with selling strategies from speakers Kenton Brown and Joshua Geary. Sente Mortgage hosted the program they called “Business Bootcamp: Force Multiplication” at their corporate office. Buy photo: RL_0404_11_B.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Amanda Bowden and Mary Merrell, both of Keller Williams Realty, make sure everyone has enough chips to gamble with to raise funds for the tsunami relief efforts in Japan. Buy photo: RL_05_09_11_H.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Rose Castro, center, owner of Exit Options Realty, gathers her colleagues and friends together at the combined networking mixer by WCR and NAHREP. From left, Karen Draper, Exit Options Realty, mortgage professional Jodi Sieracki, insurance professional Carmina Eaton, and Will Mannis, Exit Options Realty.

Buy photo: RL_05_04_11_G.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Submitted Photo

Matt Menard of The Home Resource Group, Demetria Simonovic of Highland Homes and Steve Gardner of the The Gardner Group enjoy an amazing three-course meal at Maggiano’s. REALTORS were honored at the event for selling a Highland Home in the first quarter of 2011.

Buy photo: RL_0405_11_C.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Joe Williams, Ed Lundry and Robert Kauffman, all of Keller Williams Realty, reminisce about the disco era at the Keller Williams Realty ‘70s-themed awards banquet.


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RE/MAX of Texas A S S O C I AT E S I N P R O G R E S S - A d v e r t i s e r P r o f i l e b y S t a c y S t r o u d

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E/MAX International began in Colorado in 1973 with Dave and Gail Liniger’s vision of uniting a group of top-producing agents. Dave and Gail felt that to attract and retain the best agents in the business, brokers must offer them maximum compensation, advanced support services and the freedom they need to succeed. Agents would share office overhead and pay management fees, and in return would receive a wide variety of traditional real estate franchise services and high commissions. The concept took about five years to catch on, but spread like wildfire throughout the 1980s and beyond. When Frank DeCicco purchased the franchise rights for Texas RE/MAX operations in 1977, he carried on with the Linigers unconventional concept of allowing the Houston realty professionals to keep the maximum amount of their commissions, with the stipulation that they contribute to the shared overhead expenses plus a small management and promotions fee. Richard J. Filip, CEO and regional owner of RE/MAX of Texas, joined the company in 1979 by a strange twist of fate. In addition to various real estate businesses, he owned a company that provided pilot instruction of hot air balloons. Frank DeCicco contacted Richard Filip about putting a balloon-

5%

marketing program in place for the region, which resulted in the sale of the first hot air balloon to RE/MAX of Texas. The balloon got so much TV time on Good Morning America that the company decided to adopt the balloon as their logo. RE/ MAX hired Filip, who worked his way up from freelance marketing consultant to marketing director. He later became regional director, architecting the company’s explosive growth in the 1980s. Filip acquired full ownership of RE/MAX of Texas in 2002, and under his direction, RE/MAX of Texas expanded to over 265 franchise locations with over 4,200 sales associates who conducted over $11 billion in 2010 sales. To this day, RE/MAX still maintains the number one market share in Texas, with about 14 percent of the business across Texas. That’s no accident. With more national television ads than all competitors combined, and 60 percent of voice share on national TV last year, RE/MAX has been ranked by Entrepreneur magazine and other respected industry and consumer publications as the best and fastestgrowing real estate franchise. Filip attributes much of RE/MAX’s success to the investment the company makes in providing its agents with the right resources. RE/MAX agents have 24/7 online access to RE/MAX University, where they can

Garden Homes from the $160’s 512-215-3424 Larry Carter 512-633-1007 • DeAnne Henry 512-744-8376 11400 West Parmer Lane, Cedar Park

Garden Homes from the $180’s 512-804-2605 • Susan Brubaker 512-577-0465 7233 Manchaca Rd., Austin

Townhomes from the $130’s 512-630-5755 11249 Lost Maples Trail, Austin

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f or y ou and y our c lients. Now more than ever, MileStone offers a personal touch sure to impress you and your clients. Every time you bring a new client to see a MileStone Community, you’ll each receive a gift card for a relaxing massage at Massage Envy. Helping your clients find the perfect home in the perfect community never felt better. So what are you waiting for? Visit a MileStone Community TODAY!

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The Pinnacle Collection

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www.MyMileStone.com

May 2011

take coursework, receive training, and earn just about any designation or accreditation available to the industry. RE/MAX agents hold significantly more ABR, CRP, and CRS advanced professional designations than their competitors. So it’s not surprising that, according to RealTrends, RE/MAX leads the industry with almost 14 transactions per agent per year. According to Filip, RE/MAX is a great environment for REALTORS to learn the business from the most educated team of professionals in the market. “You play better golf with good golfers,” says Filip, a Circle of Legend. “When you work with experienced, productive agents with a great attitude, you get the support you need to succeed.” RE/MAX also offers training at the statewide level, with many of the functions open to industry professionals outside the company. Conventions, conferences, quarterly meetings and luncheons with national speakers offer training on listing presentations, negotiations, and the latest industry laws and procedures. RE/MAX invests very heavily in technology. In 2006 they built the industry’s first nationwide network of IDX websites— which made almost every residential listing in the entire US available on remax.com. The company will roll out a new website in 2012, along with a state of the art mobile app, and already features QR codes on all of their listings. RE/MAX’s sophisticated lead generation and tracking system, LeadStreet, is a powerful tool that puts millions of leads and listings at agents’ fingertips with no referral fees. It distributed more than 50,000 new leads to RE/MAX agents in its first three weeks after launch. RE/MAX agents also enjoy a

On all 35 milestone inventory homes

Townhomes from the $130’s 512-215-5220 Stacy Sheffield 972-670-2419 • Kyle Duran 512-658-0266 1900 Little Elm Trail, Cedar Park

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5% available only on inventory homes; must close within 30 days. One massage offer per qualified customer, please. Other restrictions apply. See sales consultant for details.

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subscription to a marketing tool called Design Center, which features thousands of plugand-play templates that allow them to create an unlimited number of flyers, virtual tours, postcards, and other marketing pieces. Under Richard Filips’s leadership, RE/ MAX of Texas has become deeply involved in the Texas community. Richard and his wife Jeanne are founders of the Texas Sentinels Foundation (www.texassentinels.com), which forms teams of community leaders in cities across Texas. The teams adopt and mentor severely injured military veterans of foreign conflicts, providing a mortgage-free home and a life-scholarship that helps the individual become a productive member of the community. The Filips and RE/MAX of Texas are tireless supporters of Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, the nationwide alliance of non-profit children’s hospitals (Dell Children’s in Austin, for example). RE/MAX Associates in North America have donated over $100 million to the cause and have been a top contributor for four years in a row, while the Filips and Texas RE/MAX agents contribute approximately $400,000 annually to Texas hospitals. The Filips also strongly support Happy Hill Farm Academy and Home (www. happyhillfarm.org), a residential living facility and school for abused children; and the Komen fight against breast cancer. The revolutionary RE/MAX concept of enabling real estate professionals to maximize their business potential has evolved into an organization of approximately 90,000 sales associates in over 6,200 offices. To learn more about RE/MAX of Texas and how you can become part of the team, visit www. remaxtexas.com. RL

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Honk, honk! Fred Norton of Prudential Texas Realty and Emma Polk of Coldwell Banker SG Billings attend the CRS Austin Chapter quarterly meeting to learn about Capital Metro’s traffic plans.

Buy photo: RL_05_14_11_D.jpg at www.myRealtyLine.com

Realty Austin was well represented at the Austin Young Real Estate Professionals’ networking event at 904 West Condos, with Kevin McCarthy, Alicia Kelley and Loren Hall mingling among friends and colleagues.

Buy photo: RL_05_12_11_H.jpg at www.myRealtyLine.com

Buy photo: RL_05_10_11_F.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

SWBC welcomes back...

Featured in the new hit show “Two and a Half Models and a Spec Home” are Tommy Webb of Capital City Sotheby’s International Realty and winner Charlie Sheen. The two were spotted at Taylor Morrison’s REALTOR Red Carpet Grand Opening at Crystal Falls.

Keller Williams Realty Round Rock Proudly Announces Our 2011 Agent Leadership Council

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Tim Moncrief, Brian Blumentruth and Kay Sittler, all of the Barllett Group at Keller Williams Realty, are presented with the award for the Top Gross Commission Income Group by Master of Ceremonies Tony Brodie and Gene Fredrick who are sporting their 70s themed outfits and Afros. Buy photo: RL_0405_11_M.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Carolann Snowden and Gretchen Woellner, both of Coldwell Banker United REALTORS, talk about how social media has helped them keep in touch with their clients at the Social Media Live presentation hosted by the Platinum Top 50 REALTORS of Austin.

Paula Greenfield, Douglas Young and Marvin Filla, all of Coldwell Banker United REALTORS, join dozens of fellow REALTORS at the recent joint sales meeting to learn more about the company’s 2011 marketing and advertising strategy.

Buy photo: RL_05_12_11_J.jpg at www.myRealtyLine.com

Big turnouts mean big smiles. Kristin Tavcar-France, Katrina McCormick and Courtney Lasatera, all of Taylor Morrison Homes, are pleased with the number of REALTORS who attended the company’s REALTOR Red Carpet Grand Opening at Crystal Falls.

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Commentary

you can do yourself to make your website attractive to search engines and visitors. One By Vaike O’Grady • Newland Communities of the most basic, and important, steps is to ensure that your site is constantly updated with fresh and relevant content. This boosts your search engine appeal and offers visitors reasons to visit and share your site. Including a news section on your website is a great place to aggregate this content, but it’s also important to frequently update the home page and other key landing pages. 4. Show your community. If a picture is worth 1,000 words, how much is a 360-degree virtual tour photo worth? New technology has made it affordable to add virtual tour features to your site, allowing you to connect with search results. Volumes have been written on prospects whether they are across town or SEO, but the most basic steps are to enrich across the country. your copy with targeted keywords and relevant 5. Show them what you’ve got. Buyers content. There are some programming love to kick the tires and see what you’ve got. considerations as well. Even if you have a SEO So whether you’re a community, builder or expert in house or on call, it’s worthwhile to REALTOR website, maintaining a database master the fundamentals yourself. of current inventory is a great way to keep 2. SEM, or search engine marketing, visitors on your site. Our latest home search deals with paid search results, with your ads features allow visitors to search by a number of appearing when users search for keywords criteria, including builder, price and number you have purchased, such as “New Homes of bedrooms and bathrooms. Austin TX.” Banner display ads, a related form 6. Grab leads. Any sales pro will tell you of online marketing, look more like traditional it all starts with leads, and your website can ads and can be placed on everything from be one of your best lead generators. There newspaper websites to blogs. Like SEO, SEM are several ways to ask for leads, from simply is a highly specialized and fast-changing field that’s best navigated with the help of an expert – or become one yourself. Strategic use of SEM can yield big results. A recent grand opening promotion yielded a 52 percent increase in web traffic and helped to generate 21 sales in one month. 3. Beyond the critical twin pillars of SEO and SEM, there are many small tweaks

With over 200 Million Websites, How Can Yours Stand Out?

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t’s conventional wisdom that a website is one of the most basic and important marketing tools for a master-planned community, homebuilder or REALTOR. A website is even arguably the most important ingredient in the marketing mix, with most other activities designed to drive traffic to it. But with over 200 million websites now on the Internet, it’s not enough simply just to have one. To succeed in today’s hyper-competitive world of online marketing, your website must be ready to stand out in searches, engage visitors, and generate leads for that ultimate offline goal – the visit to the community and model homes, followed hopefully by the sale. Of course, this very topic has launched entire industries and inspired countless books and articles, but one of the best sources of advice is to find out what works in your own local market. With that said, here are 10 lessons we’ve learned from our recent experiences. 1. SEO, or search engine optimization, which can pay off tremendously by ranking your website high in organic (or non-paid)

asking visitors to sign up for updates, to offering a free download if they enter their information. 7. Gather some information while you’re at it. You can also use your website as a research tool by asking visitors for information. Request basic demographic information and home buying intentions and ask how visitors research their purchase. A REALTORfriendly feature you can add is one prompting prospects to register their agent’s name. 8. Mix in social media. You can integrate your website with your social media by posting new content from your site as links on Facebook and Twitter. Likewise, you can get website visitors to “like” your social media by including links to those. Like the ingredients in a complicated recipe, each marketing element provides a unique contribution to the final result. 9. Follow up online. Don’t let a good lead go to waste. Engage in regular follow-up while being careful not to turn prospects off with too much contact. Send registered prospects quarterly e-mail newsletters with useful news, along with special e-blasts on events and promotions. 10. Engage offline. Getting to know your prospects offline can really help close sales. Create special events for your online prospects, or invite them to community events. RL

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Expectations: Continued

Shanna Schneider and Chris Tomhave, both of Century 21 Realty, discuss the benefits of social media at the Social Media Live presentation at the Oasis. Highland Homes sponsored the event.

Submitted Photo

nail on the head when she says, “multicultural clients in particular often don’t understand our acronyms.” The truth is, most people don’t know how their e-communications are being perceived and unfortunately in this business, it’s very possible that a REALTOR or anyone else in the industry could be losing potential sales or in some ways tarnishing their relationships with clients, all because their online communication is being viewed in ways they never imagined. “We rely on [online communication] because it makes our lives easier but that can lead to us hiding behind our computers and forgetting that real estate is a relationship-based business,” says Nicole Boynton with Gracy Title. Remembering to make real human connection, in person or even by phone, is still an important aspect of creating and maintaining solid business relationships with colleagues and clients alike.

Don’t Fall Into the Technology Black Hole Hit me! Windell Courson of Keller Williams Realty plays a game of blackjack at the company’s Casino Night Fundraiser for Japan Relief.

Buy photo: RL_05_04_11_H.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Proverbial

Everyone has had at least one experience where they sent an important e-mail to a client that seemed to get “lost in cyberspace.” It can be very frustrating to be waiting for a response on an offer, for example, only to find out later that the intended recipient never received it, missed it or forgot about it altogether. There are a variety of reasons why people may not respond to e-mail communication. Perhaps their company spam filter algorithms were changed and sent your important e-mail directly to the “junk” folder. Or maybe they are the type that only checks their e-mail once a week. When they do, they are skimming through hundreds of SPAM e-mails and somehow overlooked the one marked “URGENT” from their REALTOR. This can cause a rift between a REALTOR and their client if the client believes they are not being kept informed. “Clients are rare to accept “oh, there must be a glitch in the system” as an excuse for not hearing from us,” says Chad Cardani of Cardina Group REALTORS. Still some people will receive the e-mail and say to themselves, “I’ll get back to them as soon as I finish cooking dinner,” only to forget until days later. Technology expert Nicole Boynton of Gracy Title, offers this advice. “The key to using technology properly with real estate is to know your clients. If your clients need to meet in person or talk on the phone you should respect that and be able to log off the computer long enough to meet with them,” she says. “You have to communicate in the way that your clients are most comfortable with, even if it’s not the way that you prefer to communicate. We have to adapt our style to match our clients because after all, it is about them and not us.”

Security Issues – How Technology Can Create Liability With so many computer hackers, viruses, malware, etc., keep in mind that online technology is not always the best way to send information; particularly documents

Putting a Face on Real Estate since 1995.™

with sensitive data. Mortgage documents, contracts, income verification documents, and the like include all sorts of information cyber thieves would love to get their hands on. As professionals, always remember that e-mail and other forms of electronic communication are not secure or encrypted and should never be used to send documents with a person’s social security number, name, address, credit card numbers, drivers license number, etc. Learn from others’ mistakes. Take the Texas Comptroller Susan Combs, for example, who is catching a lot of heat for her recent mishap that made sensitive information for over three million Texans available online for more than year. Besides the embarrassment it has caused her and her office, the legal liability is tremendous in the event someone’s identity is stolen. A REALTOR would find themselves in a very similar situation if they were responsible for their client’s identity being stolen. The amount of money it would take to resolve the issue could bankrupt them for life, not to mention completely ruin the relationship with the client. “Recently, a colleague told me of an instance where they needed an answer immediately regarding an insurance policy and the client wasn’t responding to the personal e-mail,” says Roggow. “So she sent it to the manager who opened it and read it. Unfortunately for her it had a lot of personal information in there. The client was furious!” It is important for industry professionals to take the time to protect sensitive information, even if it means slowing things down and making it a point to send the information via snail mail, courier or resorting to the old-fashioned telephone to get someone’s attention. And what about making sure clients are not using technology to their own detriment? Take Christy Gessler with RE/MAX Capital City II for example. She had a client who “friended” the seller of the home he was buying on Facebook. Not realizing he had accepted the friend request from the buyer of his home, the seller, who was in the midst of a divorce, made several posts on his Facebook page stating that he would accept a low offer on his home just to make sure his wife didn’t get anything from the sale. After learning of this information, the buyer quickly modified his offer. “I now counsel my clients to never post anything about the transaction until closing because you don’t want potentially negative information to get into the wrong hands,” says Gessler.

Don’t Forget, People Don’t Like Doing Business with a Machine We’ve all heard the angst people get when they try to call a company for service only to be greeted by some voice recording that seems to get them running in circles. Nothing is more frustrating than doing business with someone who never answers the phone. Real estate is indeed a business based on relationships between people. Don’t lose a client simply because life is too busy to nurture those relationships the tried and true, old-fashioned way. As the old saying goes, “reach out and touch someone,” and you’re sure to stay on the path to success. RL

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Real Estate News & Notes RE/MAX Agent Ernie Hatton Ranked in Austin Business Journal’s 2010 Top 25 Residential Real Estate Agents List

Travis Kessler, Texas Association of REALTORS CEO, welcomes everyone from around the state who came to rally at the state capitol. The line of professionals reached around the building as everyone waited to get their BBQ lunch after the event.

RE/MAX Austin Associates has a lot to celebrate these days. Most recently, Ernie Hatton, a 10-year real estate veteran and associate with RE/MAX Austin Associates, was ranked #11 Austin Business Journal’s recent Top 25 Residential Real Estate Agents List for 2010. The honor comes as no surprise to the Broker/Co-Owner of RE/MAX Austin Associates Doug Byron, who notes Ernie’s

professionalism and adherence to triedand-true methods of running a successful business. “I attribute Ernie’s success, in good times and in bad, to the fact that he works as hard as any REALTOR I know,” Doug says. “This is coupled with his fervor for customer service. Ernie epitomizes the RE/MAX agent.” Contact Ernie Hatton at RE/MAX Austin Associates by calling 507-5142 or by visiting www.erniehatton.com. RL

RE/MAX’s Joyce Hogan Celebrates 15 Years with Company Buy photo: RL_05_07_11_K.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

R E / M A X Austin Skyline would like to extend a heartfelt congratulations to Joyce

Hogan. Joyce is celebrating 15 years with our organization.  We value the experience, character and professionalism that Joyce brings to our network.  RL

RE/MAX’s Camille Ulmann Appears on HGTV

Colette Fitzgerald and Tereso Jasso Jr., both of KB Home, give Phoenix Pike and Adam Barnett, both of Keller Williams Realty, a tour of the builder’s model home at the ShadowGlen community in Manor.

RE/MAX Austin Skyline would like to congratulate, Camille Ulmann, CRS, CLHMS and her client, Monica Hudak for their appearance on HGTV’s segment “My First

Place.” Camille assisted Monica on her relocation from San Francisco to Austin. RL

Coldwell Banker United, REALTORS Recognized as the Number One Company Nationally

Buy photo: RL_05_08_11_B.jpg at www.myRealtyLine.com

Coldwell Banker United, REALTORS, an independently-owned company, was named the number one company nationally in Closed Adjusted Gross Commission Income and in Total Units for the Coldwell Banker system in 2010, among independently owned and operated Coldwell Banker companies throughout North America. “Coldwell Banker United, REALTORS represents the best within the Coldwell Banker family and the real estate industry,” says Jim Gillespie, chief executive officer of Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC. “By achieving high standards of customer service and professionalism, Coldwell Banker United, REALTORS excelled in 2010 helping many realize the dream of homeownership.” This year was undoubtedly challenging for real estate, as it was for many sectors of the economy, but 2010 showed signs of improvement. “Home prices have begun to stabilize and interest rates remain low,” says Gillespie. “Affordability has improved and many markets are at historically strong levels, which make it a smart time for home buyers.” Coldwell Banker United, REALTORS has been serving the real estate needs of the Austin area since 1990. Helen Edwards, president and COO of Coldwell Banker United’s Austin region, gives credit for this prestigious

Submission Guidelines:

award to the company’s sales associates. “We continue to achieve the number one ranking within the Coldwell Banker network year after year because our agents pour their hearts and souls into this business. When you genuinely care about your clients, and have the knowledge, tools and skill set to back it up, quality service comes naturally. That is what we do,” says Edwards. Coldwell Banker United, REALTORS was founded by Richard A. Smith in College Station, Texas, in 1970. The company has grown to 70 sales offices in five states, with over 2,200 sales associates and over 350 employees. For more information, go to www.cbunited.com. RL

Submit photos, press releases and calendar items to naomi@myrealtyline.com. All photos must be at least 300 dpi and include a caption with first/last name, company affiliation and a short description. Press releases must be fewer than 300 words. Calendar items are free to advertisers and $25 per submission for others. All submissions must be received at least seven calendar days prior to ad copy deadlines published at www.myrealtyline.com/advertise.html. Submission items will be included as space allows.


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Becky Hopkins of Austin Title, Chris Rodriguez of Austin Real Pros, Michael Neuman of Realty Executives, Laura Rosales of Austin Title and Roman Esparza of Realty Executives make sure everyone knows one another at the combined mixer at The Westin at the Domain that NAHREP and WCR hosted. Buy photo: RL_05_09_11_B.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Sandra Stevens, second from right, of Pulte Mortgage, Veronica Hamilton, Greg Mayberry and Renee Esacove, all of Pulte Homes, announce the opening of Preston Village at an event at Cool River Café.

Buy photo: RL_05_03_11_B.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

The Austin Board of REALTORS’ Day at the Capitol proves to attract hundreds of voices from across the state. Buy photo: RL_05_10_11_N.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Buy photo: RL_05_07_11_D.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Austin Young Real Estate Professionals’ sponsorship co-chair David Schneider thanks former ABoR chairman John Horton of John Horton Realty for helping support the networking group at its latest happy hour at 904 West Condos.

Mercedes -n- Martini’s Friday, June 10th - Domain II 6:oopm - 9:oopm

live music, food, beverages, door prizes wheel, wine toss and more! Limited VIP tables are Now Available for the Mercedes Finale Event!

Reserve your VIP table today and have your own personal wait staff, enjoy reserved seating for four, and avoid food and drink lines. tables available for $500. Contact Rita Barousse at 512-454-7636, ext. 1602 to reserve your VIP table before they are gone!

Individual tickets are still available for sale,

but time is running out! For more information: https://www.abor.com/foundation/benz/

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Putting a Face on Real Estate since 1995

2011-2012 ABoR Foundation Directors

Cathy Coneway, Chairman, Carol Parker, Laura Pagnozzi, Dee Shultz, Susan Horton, Leonard Guerrero, & Carol Dochen

All proceeds from this raffle will benefit the abor foundation – a 501 (c) 3 charitable organization that distributes scholarships to Central Texas area graduating High School Seniors.


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Commentary By Nicole Boynton • Gracy Title

Is Technology Working for You or Against You?

O

ur society has become heavily reliant on the use of technology and that is usually a good thing. Technology continues to evolve and improve in hopes of making our lives easier. But what happens when technology makes your life worse? Are you protecting yourself from technology and educating your clients? There is an abundance of information offered online and much of our social interaction has moved to the “cloud” as well. Using programs like Facebook and Twitter, we feel safe to say and do things that we might not do IRL (in real life.) Sometimes (GASP!) we share too much information. What if you have a home listed and the seller goes on Facebook and rants about their terrible divorce and how they would just give their house to anyone that makes an offer? Some keen buyer agent now knows that house has a lot of bargaining room. You can’t best represent your client if they are giving away information online about their bottom line price. Part of your listing presentation should include asking the seller

not to post or divulge any information that could jeopardize their bargaining position in an offer. Explain that this specifically includes Facebook. Sometimes you must protect your clients from themselves. Do you use the check-in feature on Facebook or use FourSquare or Gowalla? Maybe not, but maybe you post when you are on vacation, heading to the airport, or even just out for lunch. Check-ins can be fun and sometimes score you a deal at a retail business or restaurant but did you know that thieves use Facebook to find out when you are going to be away from home so they know when to rob your house? A website called PleaseRobMe. com was created to bring attention to the fact that people over share their whereabouts and thereby make themselves a target of robbery. The website has been taken down but the point remains that if you post your location online then you are also telling people where you are NOT. Do you really need people to know when you go out of town or could you wait to post that information and the pictures of your

www.myRealtyLine.com trip until after you return? Think about it. The majority of computer viruses occur due to users clicking on links or opening attachments. If you receive an e-mail with a link to an unknown source do not click on it. For example if you get an e-mail that appears to be from your bank or credit card company and they want you to verify your account info you should go directly to the bank/credit card website to confirm and not use the link within the e-mail. Better yet, call the bank/credit card company to determine whether the e-mail was a fraud. Most banks and credit card companies will not ask for passwords via e-mail. Always have antivirus software installed on your computer to combat these issues as well. PC Mag and Cnet.com provide several recommendations for free virus protection software. Viruses are such serious business that the Department of Homeland Security has a branch called United States Computer Readiness Team to monitor computer threats. Great rule of thumb: if it doesn’t seem right, it’s probably wrong and if it seems too good to be true, it probably is.

May 2011

One last way to make sure that your technology works for you is to create strong passwords for websites. Don’t use the same password for every site and make sure they are a minimum of seven characters. Sites like StrongPasswordGenerator.com can be useful to give you a randomized code. Try to use a combination of upper and lower case as well as using symbols or numbers when possible. An easy way to create a random but memorable password is to use a phrase or song lyric and turn it into a password. If my phrase is “Sitting Cross-Legged on the floor 25 or six to four,” from Chicago’s 25 or six to four then my password could be Sc-lof25o624. As an aside this song title is supposed to be about the time of day as if they are waiting for daybreak at 25 minutes or 26 minutes until 4 o’clock (3:35 a.m. or 3:36 a.m.) Strong passwords are your first line of defense to make sure technology works for you and not against you. They may also get a song stuck in your head. Technology is great and affords us many values but make sure you take the proper precautions and educate your clients too. RL

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Sondra Chambers of Coldwell Banker United REALTORS gives two thumbs up when she wins a $200 Hill Country Galleria gift card at the company’s joint sales meeting.

Submitted Photo

Lynn Blankholm of Highland Homes and Liz Ott of Keller Williams Realty participate in Keller Williams Realty’s Casino Night Fundraiser for Japan Relief to show their support.

Buy photo: RL_05_05_11_A.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Buy photo: RL_05_04_11_I.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Kim Burke of Capital City Sotheby’s International Realty, Jamie Davis of KEYE TV and Lisa Hadley of Belterra welcome REALTORS and guests at the information center as they hand out information, water and chances to win $1,000 at the Belterra Model Home Tour.


Putting a Face on Real Estate since 1995.™

RL austin

TM

Putting a Face on Real Estate since 1995

www.myRealtyLine.com

May 2011

your style

Complete our homes with

savings up to $

40,000

In Design Center Options*

Make your new home a reflection of you purchase a new home from Taylor Morrison and receive 50% OFF Design Options. Choose from over 12 communities Call our friendly Internet Home Consultant, Heather Fox at 512-845-7350 for more information.

LIMITED TIME OFFER! Hurry in today, this deal only lasts from April 1st - May 31st!!

taylormorrison.com *Designer options may vary by community. Savings vary by community. See a Sales Associate for details. Limited time offer for qualified purchases between April 1, 2011 and May 31, 2011 on accepted to-be built purchases. Not to be combined with other offers. Offer for qualified customers utilizing Taylor Morrison Home Funding. Taylor Morrison Home Funding, LLC, License # TX: #737797. Services not available in all states. Rates, terms and conditions offered are subject to change without notice. All loans are subject to underwriting and loan qualification of the lender. Additional licensing or other details, including special financing incentives (as applicable), may be found at www.taylormorrison.com/finance. Maximum seller contribution not to exceed LTV/lender guidelines. Purchase Agreements must be written by May 31, 2011 to qualify. Offer void where prohibited or otherwise restricted by law. Visit www.taylormorrison.com for additional disclaimers. Š May, 2011, Taylor Morrison of Texas, Inc. All rights reserved.

35


Putting a Face on Real Estate since 1995.™

RL austin

TM

Putting a Face on Real Estate since 1995

www.myRealtyLine.com

May 2011

36

Representing the Williamson County Association of REALTORS at REALTOR Day at the Capitol are Lori Higgins of Georgetown Title, Nancy Moore of Private Label Realty, Christy Gessler of RE/ MAX Capital City, Susanna Boyer of Sellstate Real Estate and WCAoR executive officer Marjorie Phillips.

Buy photo: RL_05_07_11_E.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

Clive Rutherford, standing left, of Highland Lakes Real Estate, teams with Sail and Ski to offer guests lakeside property tours at The Waterford. Among those who enjoyed the sunny service were Emma Polk, seated right, of Coldwell Banker United REALTORS and Maggie Messer, seated left.

Buy photo: RL_0405_11_E.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com Buy photo: RL_05_11_11_A.JPG at www.myRealtyLine.com

I’m not a crook, but I have tapes of your last transaction, Michael Brant, right, of United Lending tells Cong Nguyen of Keller Williams Realty at the company’s ‘70s-themed awards banquet.

Realty Line May 2011 Issue  

Putting a face on real estate since 1995. Realty Line May 2011 issue focuses on Technology for the Real Estate industry

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