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Proactively help clients who may be facing foreclosure due to COVID-19

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) You may be wondering how you can proactively help your clients who might face foreclosure. We have suggestions that may help your clients more effectively.

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Proactively prevent foreclosure eviction

Current times are worrisome at best. Not only are people worried about the virus, but about losing their homes, careers, and financial stability. For many real estate professionals, job security is looking a little less secure. For real estate clients, both past and present, the worry of losing their homes is becoming increasingly imperative. In order to alleviate some of the worry surrounding COVID-19 and foreclosure, proactively emailing your clients with a list of available resources could help combat fear and the possibility of foreclosure.

There is no sense in being overly optimistic about the current situation, as none of us are certain how COVID-19 will affect everyone, but often, knowing where to turn if need be, can help relieve looming anxiety. Proactively emailing your clients a list of available resources and steps to take in the event they believe they will be facing foreclosure, will let them know you’re thinking about them and the current situation.

It will also reinforce the fact that real estate professionals are aware COVID-19 isn’t just about physical symptoms; it’s about the emotional and financial ones as well and while we’re all doing our part to help prevent the spread, there are other resources that may be needed, should the time come.

The most important thing to stress straightaway to them is the urgency of time. With any possibility of foreclosure, the quicker your client is able act, the better their chances of being able to save their home. Depending on their mortgage lender or servicer, and their agreed upon terms, the options vary. Let them know there are options, but time is of the essence. Stress to them the importance of contacting their lender and not to delay in taking the first step. There are modification available (provided they meet the requirements) for VA, FHA, Fannie Mae/Freddie Mac, online mortgages, and others, so long as your clients contact their lender and discuss their options as soon as they think foreclosure might be in their future.

I have seen some sources recommending that real estate professionals recommend to their clients they curb their spending in an effort to save their homes from foreclosure; however, in these tumultuous times, I think most clients already know that spending will need to be adjusted. With the rising cost of groceries and medicine, finances should be discussed with the lender, as to not further stress the client, in my opinion.

While it may seem obvious that clients could find this information on their own, remember when you’re already under pressure, it’s difficult to think clearly. It’s easy to feel like you’re drowning and there’s nowhere to turn. Your clients already trust you. They trust that you are an expert in your field and you’ll know the most reliable sources to seek out should things turn more critical. Proactively be a trusted resource for your community during this difficult time and we can all help each other breathe a little easier.

Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

Real Estate Marketing

Twitter considers adding paid “premium” subscription

(REAL ESTATE TECHNOLOGY) In a bid for relevance, Twitter announces their intent to pursue exclusive, paid “premium” features.

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Most people would probably agree that paying for social media isn’t a choice they would make, but Twitter makes a compelling case with their announcement regarding premium accounts.

Twitter, a social media platform with a pretty tumultuous history, is considering implementing a paid premium access feature–and, while premium access wouldn’t be required in order to continue using the platform, it seems that Twitter has packaged quite a few desirable upgrades into that “premium” tier.

Whether or not Twitter plans to add premium accounts in the near future is still unknown, but some users have encountered a survey that asks for feedback regarding paid features. Among those features are custom background colors and fonts, an “undo send” option, the ability to upload longer videos, and even an option to see fewer ads.

Many of these features are cosmetic–for example, freedom to add a Twitter-curated badge that identifies you or your company–but some of them do serve the purpose of making premium account owners more powerful on the platform. Being able to upload longer videos is clearly an impactful upgrade, and Twitter’s survey even mentions a tweak wherein business members would be able to access a premium member’s account in a limited, secure manner.

Another aspect of premium accounts could include a “menu” of responses that companies could choose from, making customer service and outreach that much easier.

With the addition of these latter three features, premium accounts could become prime real estate for small businesses and online-based firms–something that has traditionally been more of Facebook’s forte.

It’s prudent to note that nothing is confirmed as of now, and the features listed in the survey may not appear in the final iteration of premium accounts even if premium access is added to Twitter in the future. However, it does seem inevitable that Twitter will roll out some form of premium subscription given that they both hired a team specifically for a similar feature, and mentioned their intention to move forward with subscription options to investors.

Twitter hasn’t exactly been a cash cow as of late, and with many of the social media platform’s initiatives falling flat in the past, no one has been expecting much in the way of growth from the irreverent bird app. A premium subscription for even a handful of users might be the push Twitter needs to become relevant again, both to users and advertisers.

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Real Estate Marketing

Why you should quit using ‘no-reply’ emails immediately

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) No-reply emails may serve a company well, but the customers can become frustrated with the loss of a quick and easy way to get help.

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no-reply email face

Let me tell you a modern-day horror story.

You finally decide to purchase the item that’s been sitting in your cart all week, but when you receive your confirmation email you realize there’s a mistake on the order. Maybe you ordered the wrong size item, maybe your old address is listed as the shipping location, or maybe you just have buyer’s remorse. Either way, you’ve got to contact customer service.

Your next mission is to find contact information or a support line where you can get the issue resolved. You scroll to the bottom of the email and look around for a place to contact the company, but all you find is some copyright junk and an unsubscribe option. Tempting, but it won’t solve your problem. Your last hope is to reply to the confirmation email, so you hit that trusty reply arrow and…nothing. It’s a no-reply email. Cue the high-pitched screams.

Customers should not have to sort through your website and emails with a microscope to find contact information or a customer service line. With high customer expectations and fierce ecommerce competition, business owners can’t afford to use no-reply emails anymore.

Intended or not, no-reply emails send your customer the message that you really don’t want to hear from them. In an age when you can DM major airlines on Twitter and expect a response, this is just not going to fly anymore.

Fixing this issue doesn’t need to be a huge burden on your company. A simple solution is to create a persona for your email marketing or customer service emails, it could be member of your team or even a company mascot. Rather than using noreply@company.com you can use john@company.com and make that email a place where your email list can respond to questions and communicate concerns. Remember, the whole point of email marketing is to create a conversation with your customers.

Another great strategy for avoiding a million customer service emails where you don’t want them? Include customer service contact info in your emails. Place a thoughtful message near the bottom of your template letting people know where they can go if they’re having an issue with the product or service. This simple change will save you, your customers, and your team so much time in the long-run.

Your goal as a real estate practitioner is to build a trusting relationship between you and your customers, so leave the no reply emails behind. They’re annoying and they might even get you marked as spam.

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Real Estate Marketing

Boomerang Kids and a shift in the American family

(REAL ESTATE MARKETING) Millennial student debt combined with the effects of the pandemic is causing a whole generation to move back home.

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family sharing food

The last decade has seen a significant shift in expectations for the young adults of America. In the early 2000s, a shift started for people coming out of college – those wracked with student loan debt, those getting job offers with limited starting salaries, or those getting unpaid internships to get their careers started. I remember personally having to go through thirty interviews in 2009 during a recession, just to get a basic position in the oil industry. It left me scrounging to make ends meet while also paying my student loans. Luckily, renting from friends and living in a house with three roommates allowed things to reach an equilibrium with finances. Living in a house full of friends became a new normal for many other individuals who couldn’t rely on someone else’s income.

Others however, took a different tact and moved back in with their parents. This action became so common in the 2010s that they were named the “Boomerang Generation”. Now, due to the pandemic, this trend has seen an increase. According to The Atlantic, “A recent analysis of government data by the real-estate website Zillow indicated that about 2.9 million adults moved in with a parent or grandparent in March, April, and May”.

Moving back in with family allows for a number of a mix of inconveniences and perks. One of the main perks includes being able to pay off loans without having to worry about rent or even bills in some situations. A Twitter post by a young privileged woman brought about a great deal of rage from her generation: She was able to pay off six figures in student debt in five years by moving in with her parents but when she decided to let people know about it through social media, she definitely went about it the wrong way – she called out people like it was simple logic to have your parents let you move in and also have them pay for all your bills, while you devote your entire salary to paying off your loans. A more unreasonable demand I hadn’t heard up to that point.

This latest economic depression has certainly forced untold numbers of people to revert to moving in with loved ones even more. And it’s not just millennials. To facilitate survival within family units, siblings of multiple generations are coming together. This shift in family dynamics will probably have a large impact on housing availability and costs in the future.

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