Carly Kaplan

Shop Around for Lenders & Save Money on Closing Costs

If you are a first-time homebuyer, you are likely to be in for a shock when it comes to closing costs. The reality is, most home buyers don’t know what goes into closing costs, what they can negotiate, and the fact that they can negotiate in the first place. TitleZoom is more than just the

If you are a first-time homebuyer, you are likely to be in for a shock when it comes to closing costs. The reality is, most home buyers don’t know what goes into closing costs, what they can negotiate, and the fact that they can negotiate in the first place. TitleZoom is more than just the average title insurance company in Fort Lauderdale, we help educate home buyers on closing costs, everything they entail, and exactly which items they can shop around for to lower closing costs.

Carly KaplanShop Around for Lenders & Save Money on Closing Costs
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Meet Suzanne Vilchez, Real Estate Attorney

As we approach the New Year, we are ringing in 2018 with the newest member of our team, Suzanne Vilchez. Suzanne is an integral part of the group as she brings her expertise for both residential and commercial real estate law to TitleZoom. We had a few minutes to catch up with Suzanne and learn

As we approach the New Year, we are ringing in 2018 with the newest member of our team, Suzanne Vilchez. Suzanne is an integral part of the group as she brings her expertise for both residential and commercial real estate law to TitleZoom. We had a few minutes to catch up with Suzanne and learn more about her background and her legal mastery.

Carly KaplanMeet Suzanne Vilchez, Real Estate Attorney
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Can You Buy or Sell Your Home 100% Online?

We do almost everything online these days — why not buy or sell a home online, too? A year ago, you might not have known anyone who bought their groceries online. Now, you can probably think of a few food or sundry items you’ve recently bought online yourself. Online trends that offer real value tend

We do almost everything online these days — why not buy or sell a home online, too?

A year ago, you might not have known anyone who bought their groceries online. Now, you can probably think of a few food or sundry items you’ve recently bought online yourself. Online trends that offer real value tend to ramp up quickly. What seems unknown or crazy at first becomes common practice soon. Real estate is heading this way, too.

Carly KaplanCan You Buy or Sell Your Home 100% Online?
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Serious Questions to Ask When Selling A Home

When you’re embarking upon a real estate deal, it’s important to communicate clearly so that you get what you need out of the transaction. We can help you with questions to ask when selling a home. From the buyer to the realtor to your closing company, there are specific things you need addressed — and

When you’re embarking upon a real estate deal, it’s important to communicate clearly so that you get what you need out of the transaction.

We can help you with questions to ask when selling a home. From the buyer to the realtor to your closing company, there are specific things you need addressed — and if they don’t bring it up, you should!

At TitleZoom, the same holds true. If you need something, reach out. If it’s possible to do for you, one of our title pros will get on it stat.

Carly KaplanSerious Questions to Ask When Selling A Home
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Bouncing Back: A Safe Recovery from Hurricane Irma

Hurricane Irma came through Florida and left devastation in her wake. And, as we come together to clean up, bounce back, and regenerate our community, it’s important that we stay safe during this recovery and keep the tips below in mind as we recoup. Hurricane Irma Recovery General Safety Tips:  Stay off the roads, if

Hurricane Irma came through Florida and left devastation in her wake. And, as we come together to clean up, bounce back, and regenerate our community, it’s important that we stay safe during this recovery and keep the tips below in mind as we recoup.

Hurricane Irma Recovery General Safety Tips: 

  1. Stay off the roads, if possible. Emergency workers are helping facilitate the clean up effort. That means clearing the roads of down power lines, debris, foliage, bringing electricity back to neighborhoods without power, and assisting with floods in certain areas. If it’s not imperative that you be on the roads, don’t. You may not feel like you’re helping, but trust us, you are.
  2. Generators. If you have a generator, use it with caution. Never use a generator inside your home. When operating your generator, make sure your children are far away from it. Do not plug emergency generators into electric outlets. It can lead to danger for workers on power lines that feed your home.
  3. Walking your pets. Be sure to walk your pets on a clear path. Even if there looks to be a clear patch of grass among debris, there could be hidden debris that can lodge itself into your pet’s paw.
  4. Clean up. Use protective eyewear and gloves when cleaning up.

What to Watch Out For:

  1. Fake FPL Personnel. FPL personnel will never try to come in your home. They do not need to enter your home to restore power. If you have an FPL person knock on your door, do not let them in.
  2. Fake contractors. If you’re looking for a contractor to make repairs on your home after the storm, make sure they are legitimate. If they ask for up front payment, you can safely assume they likely won’t complete the work.
  3. Fake emergency responders. Beware of fake emergency responders. Think police officers, public safety aides, and EMTs. Steer clear of unmarked cars with lights and people approaching you out of uniform. If this happens, contact the police.

Tips for Protecting Your Property:

  1. Prepare a list. Prep a general list of everything that has been damaged. You’ll need this to contact the insurance company to file a claim so you can report everything that is damaged, lost, or stolen (from looters, perhaps) to the adjuster.
  2. Report the loss as soon as possible. If you haven’t done this already. Call your insurance company. Due to the high call volume, your insurance company may have an online option where you can file a claim online. You’ll be asked to provide a general description of the damage and your policy number so have that handy, if possible.
  3. Protect from further damage. Board up your windows. Putting undamaged items in a safe place. Any items not included in your first claim may not be covered. Your insurance company can tell you what will be covered.
  4. A new inspection/appraisal. If you were in the process of buying or selling a home, be sure to request a new appraisal and/or inspection. This will protect you when it comes time to finalize the sale of the property.

Overall, be safe as we rebuild our communities after Hurricane Irma. It will take time, but we are already on the road to recovery.

Carly KaplanBouncing Back: A Safe Recovery from Hurricane Irma
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Tips to Stay Prepared & Aware During Hurricane Irma

Here’s your top seven, helpful links to stay updated and informed during Hurricane Irma. We also threw in a couple links with practical information, like where to get gas and how to communicate with friends and family when cell towers are down. Ready – Actions to take when under a Hurricane Watch (Source: Homeland Security) Federal Emergency

Here’s your top seven, helpful links to stay updated and informed during Hurricane Irma.

We also threw in a couple links with practical information, like where to get gas and how to communicate with friends and family when cell towers are down.

  1. Ready – Actions to take when under a Hurricane Watch (Source: Homeland Security)
  2. Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) – A federal disaster response and recovery information
  3. Florida Division of Emergency ManagementThe latest emergency information
  4. Filing and Settling Insurance Claims After a Disaster – From the Insurance Information Institute
  5. Red Cross Emergency App – Instant access to emergency alerts and life-saving information
  6. Zello Walkie Talkie – A free, push-to-talk app to communicate with your friends and family post storm to check-in and make sure they’re OK
  7. Gas Buddy – Lets you find stations nearby that have gas and power

Stay safe out there, Floridians!

Carly KaplanTips to Stay Prepared & Aware During Hurricane Irma
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Moving Hacks: Genius Tips for A Smooth Move

Gather your rubber bands.

Everyone acts like moving is this giant hassle. It’s time to change that vibe. We know you have a job and a life and, um — did you go to the gym yet this week? — but with a few simple moving hacks, your move is a cakewalk.

From packing your clothes to cheap home closings, we have moving hacks you can’t move without.

Forget all the obvious stuff about labeling boxes or only keeping what gives you joy. This is next-level. This is you morphing into a power-packing, cash-saving, 100%-easy moving genius.

Carly KaplanMoving Hacks: Genius Tips for A Smooth Move
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What if you knew exactly where your next client—buyer OR seller—was?

A real estate agent’s guide to bringing in new clients. DISCLAIMER: if the postcards and emails you’re currently sending out—that every other real estate agent also sends out—are working for your business, stop reading here. Unless of course, you’re looking for qualified leads and customer referrals. What if you could buy every person in the

A real estate agent’s guide to bringing in new clients.

DISCLAIMER: if the postcards and emails you’re currently sending out—that every other real estate agent also sends out—are working for your business, stop reading here. Unless of course, you’re looking for qualified leads and customer referrals.

What if you could buy every person in the first five rows of a major league baseball game, a hotdog and a beer and they would use you as their agent to buy or sell their home? As if! Seems crazy, right? Like a waste of marketing dollars.

Maybe this (true) story about marketing to the right audience will make you think a little differently.

Picture this: you’re responsible for the marketing of a national, well-known car rental company that caters to business travelers and corporations. You have the opportunity to advertise your company name on the center field wall at one of the biggest major league baseball stadiums in the country. Do you buy the space? What naturally runs through your mind is yes. My brand will be on national TV regularly, there will be 40,000+ eyes on my company every time the field is packed, and yes, that’s a “prime” location to market my business.

Actually, no. It’s the same idea as sending out postcards and emails to people who aren’t ready to buy or sell. But, while all of those points above are true, your real target market is only sitting in the first five rows of the field. The people in rows six through the top of nose bleed will never rent a car from you. Why? Because your target audience are large corporations that own seats in the first five rows, or business travelers, who are also sitting in those first rows.

So, what if you could buy every person in the first five rows of a baseball field a hotdog and a beer? Bet you’re thinking a little differently now, huh?

Granted, a well-known, national car rental company has a much bigger marketing budget than most companies out there, but the premise of marketing is no different from a mom and pop shop to a Fortune 500 brand. Targeting the right audience is the key to generating qualified leads. Marketing to the masses leads to higher costs and unqualified leads. Marketing as a real estate agent should be no different.

The real estate space is competitive, challenging and crowded. Standing out from your competition is becoming much more difficult. While newsletters, ads in local magazines and mass mailings showed results in the past, real estate is quickly evolving as a new type of home buyer takes center stage. In fact, a recent National Association of Realtors study showed that 89% of buyers found online websites the most useful in their search for a new home.

Realtors: now’s the time to giddy up and get on board.

Here are a few of the top marketing strategies and trends to reach your future clients.

V-v-v-video

Online videos are popular, but now it’s basically all you see as you scroll through Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. HighQ recently announced that 78% of people watch videos online every week and 55% watch videos every day. Still need more data? Cisco suggests that video will account for 80% of all internet traffic by 2019, up from 64% in 2014 (Cisco.com). WOAH.

Essentially, you need to start videoing. When you do start creating videos, evoke emotions to engage your audience. Use relatable language to your audience. And, make sure you use content that is easily recognizable and memorable. After all, you want to leave a lasting impression!

Quick ideas: Do a neighborhood tour video for clients moving into a new town. Be creative and have fun!

Organize and automate, so you can sell.

There is nothing worse than missing that lead you have been chasing for months because you forgot to follow up or you aren’t available in that moment to stop and respond. Ouch.

In the 21st century, marketing automation is our silver bullet. You can monitor lead actions on your website and respond instantly. You can also manage your social media platforms and campaign performances. You can send automatic emails and receive alerts when that lead is ready to buy.

Of course, there’s more detail that goes into it, but some of the marketing automation tools we really dig are: Pardot, Hubspot, and Marketo.

These tools let you do things like:

  • Categorize your database into groups (i.e., buyers, sellers, renters)
  • Create dynamic workflows depending on the actions your leads take (i.e., subscribe to your blog)
  • Alert you to market changes so you can email out to your relevant groups before other agents

Website Optimization

Is your website optimized across all devices? U.S. studies show that mobile internet usage outpaced desktop. YAWN. You’re probably thinking, “I already knew that.” But, even though you knew that, is your site responsive?

Having a responsive site means your clients and potential clients can easily look at your site and navigate it because the content is automatically scaling and formatting to the device being used.

The same old way of marketing to your clients and prospects is becoming a thing of the past. It’s time to step up your game and market to the people that are actually looking for your services. Not the masses.

Stay tuned for our next article on how to raise your referral game!

Carly KaplanWhat if you knew exactly where your next client—buyer OR seller—was?
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How To Negotiate & Not Get Gouged on Real Estate Costs

Stay on the smart side of costs like a boss.

Once you’ve determined a sale price on your home, you still have a checklist of real estate costs to negotiate. Yes, we said negotiate. Some expenses are easier to bargain down than others but don’t just hand over money because a broker or a real estate agent tells you to. Know what you’re paying for

Once you’ve determined a sale price on your home, you still have a checklist of real estate costs to negotiate. Yes, we said negotiate. Some expenses are easier to bargain down than others but don’t just hand over money because a broker or a real estate agent tells you to. Know what you’re paying for and negotiate the real estate costs.

These negotiations don’t have to be stressful or take forever. When you know what you’re talking about, you come across as confident and reasonable — and you get what you want out of the deal.

Carly KaplanHow To Negotiate & Not Get Gouged on Real Estate Costs
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