Archive for Real Estate

HOW TO BUILD SOME BUZZ FOR YOUR REAL ESTATE BUSINESS BY USING PERSONALIZED POSTAGE STAMPS!


Do you want your real estate development company to make an indelible impression on the public?

Is it one of your goals to separate your property management firm from your competition and truly stand out?

Real estate agents, do you want to give your clients a unique calling card instead of the standard business card?

If you answered “yes” to any of the above questions, it’s time to create some buzz for your business.

BUZZ BUILDER TIP NUMBER 1: Put YOUR OWN stamp of approval on all of your business correspondence and advertising material by printing up some personalized postage stamps for your business.

For those of you out there who haven’t read the latest edition of PERSONALIZED POSTAGE STAMPS FOR DUMMIES, a personalized postage stamp is a United States Postal Service approved mailable stamp that has a picture, photograph or text message added to it by a member of the general public or a non-governmental entity. Personalized postage stamps are hot sellers and have become very popular with the public. An individual can put a picture of their newborn baby, their wedding picture, a beloved pet, their business logo, company website address, and so much more on a personalized postage stamp. These stamps can be put on envelopes, flyers, brochures and postcards just like regular postage stamps.

For a start-up business who really wants to get their name or product out to the public, this is an excellent and reasonably priced way to do it. It is also a good way for those well-established or large chain businesses to take a more personalized marketing approach toward their customers.

There are so many benefits of personalized postage stamps that anyone from New York Real Estate Services Giant, Terra Holdings LLC to individual Bronx Brownstone Owner Joe Schmo can take advantage of. To name a few:

Personalized postage stamps can help a business gain new customers. For example, millions of business correspondence travels throughout the United States every day. A single piece of mail is passed around and seen by numerous people on a daily basis. An envelope with a personalized postage stamp that has a moving company’s logo, slogan and other contact information on it could virtually gain them new customers before the envelope is even delivered to the addressee.

Personalized postage stamps can generate excitement and awareness. A beautifully shot photograph of an antique fireplace in a loft on a personalized postage stamp could cause people to excitedly talk about who took the picture and make them want to learn more about the real estate photographer and perhaps obtain his or her services. A snazzy photo of a new luxury apartment building, the date that it opens and the building’s website address printed on it combined with a private golf club giving away a sheet of 20 stamps to its new members as a welcome gift could alert wealthy prospective tenants and possibly create a frenzy to get into the luxury apartment building.

Personalized postage stamps can be used to announce special events to the public. Property management companies can announce a gala on a personalized postage stamp one year in advance to give their clients, invited guests and the press ample notice of the event so that they can attend and avoid any scheduling conflicts. If year-after-year the gala grows in popularity and becomes a hot ticket event, a personalized postage stamp can become a treasured memento of the event. A personalized postage stamp could also become a valuable stamp if a famous or even infamous person attends the gala at one point and does something newsworthy. Die-hard fans of famous people tend to snatch up as many items as they can with their favorite celebrity on them. These stamps could become a unique collector’s item that both fans and stamp collectors will pay big money for.

Personalized postage stamps can be used to launch your product or brand. For example, if you are a software development company who has created new real estate legal forms & contracts software and you want to promote it, a good way to do it is by putting your company’s personalized postage stamps on postcards with a picture and info about the product and then mailing them directly to real estate agencies, brokers and developers.

Before an individual or business can put personalized postage stamps on their business correspondence or advertising material they first have to create a logo for the stamp if they don’t already have one. When it comes to creating a logo, make it as unique as possible to distinguish yourself from other companies and your competition. The logo should jump out at a person and make them take a second glance. Use your imagination and your heart to create images that you think your target market wants to see. Also, seek imput about your logo from a couple of people from your target market. For a text logo, use different fonts and play around with colors to come up with the best creation. Remember to buy the best logo making software that you can. This is no time to skimp and be cheap. Your logo will define you, your business and your product so buy only the best. If you don’t feel that you are qualified enough to create your own logo, consult a professional and have them do it. Also, remember that a logo doesn’t have to be expensive to be good, I have seen some companies and graphic artists on the internet who charge as little as $20.00 for a logo. But always remember the old saying, “you get what you pay for.” So proceed with caution.

Although it is a little bit more important for a business to have a logo than a slogan, having a unique catchphrase coupled with a picture image can only help the public identify your business or product even more. When it comes to creating a slogan for your product, make it short and catchy but also keep it simple. When I say simple that means that even an older child should be able to say the words to your slogan. Remember that children grow up and may purchase your product or service someday all because of a catchy slogan embedded in their head at an early age. Also, remember to stay away from long multi-syllable words, technical words & phrases and words in a foreign language when composing your slogan. If you need proof of my advice, take a look at these slogan gems: “Where’s the beef?” (Wendys 1980’s), “Don’t leave home without it!” (American Express 1970’s) and “Melts in your mouth, not in your hands.” (M&M Candies 1950’s). All of these slogans are short, catchy, simple and get to the point which is why they are so beloved by the general public even to this day.

For those companies who choose not to put their logo or slogan on their company’s personalized postage stamps, there are other options. An eye-catching photograph can be just as effective as a logo. Just remember to obtain the services of the best photographers in their field of specialty. If you choose to use photographs that you took yourself, make sure they are high-quality images that upload easily. Animated and computer generated images are a popular and unique way to go but tend to be a little more expensive. If you know how to draw and would like to create an image for your personalized postage stamps with a “personal” touch? Well, take out a sketch pad and some colored pencils and draw it by hand. Next, take a picture of it with a good camera with a zoom lens. If you don’t know how to draw, obtain the services of a professional artist.

When your artwork and slogan are completed, it’s time to put them on a personalized postage stamp. The United States Postal Service has approved three vendors for this service. They are Endicia Internet Postage (www.endicia.com), Stamps.com (www.stamps.com) and Pitney Bowes who teamed up with Zazzle for this venture. Zazzle is an online marketplace where an individual can buy or sell custom products that they create on the Zazzle website. To order personalized postage stamps from Pitney Bowes/Zazzle, go towww.zazzle.com. Each website has easy step-by-step instructions on how to upload your artwork and text to the stamp. The websites tell you in detail what file and image formats they will accept, the type of content the U.S.P.S. will accept on the stamps, postage denominations, etc. You normally have to register first on these websites to create your own personalized postage stamps but it is free to do so. So, get out there and do it!

Once your personalized postage stamps have arrived. It’s time to put them to work for you. Here are some suggestions:

-Put 3 or 4 of your company’s personalized postage stamps in your press kit. Include a short story about how you came up with the idea for the concept of your stamp(s).

-Send a sheet of 20 stamps to local reporters and writers as gifts to introduce your business. Who knows, they may do a bang-up story about your business in addition to using the postage stamps.

-Ask public and college libraries if you can leave a few sheets of stamps for their patrons periodically. If a patron needs a stamp all they have to do is go up to the reference desk and ask for one. Limit one stamp a day per patron.

-Always keep a steady supply of your company’s personalized postage stamps at the front desk of your business office for tenants, clients, business colleagues, etc. It is also a good idea to keep a few stamps in your purse or wallet just in case someone needs one.

-Are you giving a party or special event? If so, as a parting gift, give your guests a couple of your company’s personalized postage stamps for attending.

-Create a separate webpage for your personalized postage stamp creations on your company’s website or put one of them in the upper right hand corner on the home page of your website.

-Do you want to make some money in addition to promoting your business? Go to www.zazzle.com and create some personalized postage stamps for your business on their website and become a “contributor” so that you can open up a custom gallery to share your creations with not only the Zazzle community but with anyone who has an internet connection. You not only can make at least 10% profit on each personalized postage stamp that is purchased from your gallery but Zazzle is an extremely popular website, stamps with your company’s info could be seen by thousands of people who may be interested in obtaining your company’s services.

-If your personalized postage stamp meets certain criteria, upload it to stamp collecting sites for additional exposure for your business.

-Send a couple of sheets of your company’s personalized postage stamps to moving companies or housecleaning agencies and encourage them to use them on THEIR business correspondence. This “move” is an easy way to obtain prospective clients or tenants.

-Be sure to mark your territory by putting your company’s personalized postage stamps on ALL of your business correspondence and advertising material.

-Has there been a recent change of leadership at your company or is your company a start-up and would like to introduce the owner or individual in charge? If so, put a photograph of the individual on your company’s personalized postage stamps and send out a notice to shareholders, your competitors and newspapers to let them know of this event.

-If a tenant sends his or her rent payment through the mail, provide them with a return business envelope with one of your company’s personalized postage stamps on it.

-If a valued tenant or client has a birthday coming up, send them a gift that they will actually use. Send them a sheet of 20 personalized postage stamps inside of a birthday card that was signed by all of your company’s employees.

-Do you attend any networking events or belong to any trade associations? If so, attach a couple of your company’s personalized postage stamps with your business info on them to your business cards.

Owning a real estate or real-estate related business requires more than just the usual like collecting rent from tenants, buying rental property or drawing up contracts. So much more is required. For example, to stay a viable entity a business must also keep their offices and rental properties clean and sometimes that means that an owner may from time-to-time have to vacuum the floor, dust the furniture or clean a toilet. It just comes with the territory.

There are so many things that an individual in the real estate industry has to do to remain viable and one of those things is advertising. Rental properties don’t get rented if a landlord does absolutely nothing. A landlord HAS to advertise! It is a must! One of the things that a landlord has to do is put an ad in the newspaper and let people know of an opening in a dwelling so that they can fill it. If they don’t they not only lose money but they will get left behind or blown away by their competition.

The business world can be extremely cutthroat and businesses are always looking for the “next big thing” that will catapult them to household name status and put more dollars in their pockets. Well, the “next big thing” is here! Take advantage of this cost-effective advertising tool! Print up some personalized postage stamps for your business and use them to promote your company, services, product or properties and create some buzz!

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WHAT EVERY LANDLORD NEEDS TO KNOW ABOUT DOMESTIC VIOLENCE!


To alot of landlords, domestic violence is a strange and foreign subject that they don’t know anything about and if the truth be told, don’t want to know anything about. But let me tell you landlords, that’s the kind of thinking that can not only get your tenant killed but it can also get you, your staff members and other tenants killed as well. Today, every landlord should know the basics about domestic violence because most likely it has or is happening to one of your tenants in an apartment or house that you own or manage.

Landlords, ask yourselves this. Can you live with yourself if you know that a woman is being beaten in one of your dwellings and you do absolutely nothing about it? Landlords, do you really want to own a property on which a woman was murdered due to domestic violence?

If you answered “no” to any of the two questions above, you are a true professional who should be very proud of themselves! You are a brave, intelligent and compassionate landlord who truly cares about the well-being of their tenants. With this attitude, you are now ready to learn the basics of domestic violence. First, let’s start with the definition.

Domestic violence (also called intimate partner abuse, battering or wife-beating) is physical, sexual, psychological, and economic abuse that takes place in the context of an intimate relationship. There are many forms of abuse that are inflicted upon a victim of domestic violence, however the abuse suffered by the victim is usually physical.

Domestic violence is used by one person in a relationship to maintain control over the other and to get what they want from the people who care about them. Partners may be married, not married, heterosexual, gay, lesbian, living together, separated or dating.

Some examples of domestic violence are:

– name-calling or put-downs

– keeping a partner from contacting their family or friends (isolation)

– withholding money

– stopping a partner from getting or keeping a job

– actual or threatened physical harm (slapping, punching, kicking)

– sexual assault (rape)

– stalking
– discouraging a partner from going to school or getting a degree

– intimidation

Batterers use domestic violence to create an atmosphere of fear in order to keep their victims “in line” and prevent them from being free self-sufficient individuals. Batterers also choose to abuse their victims and can act differently when they want to. Batterers are not “out of control” but have a severe compulsion to be in control. They basically want their victims to exist to meet THEIR needs not their own. Victims of domestic violence are often hesitant to report or leave their batterers for several reasons such as shame and embarrassment, guilt, financial or loss of income, retaliation by a batterer, lack of support from family and law enforcement or for fear that noone will believe them because the batterer acts entirely different in front of other people.

The violence inflicted upon a victim of domestic violence can be criminal and include physical assault (hitting, pushing, shoving), sexual abuse (unwanted or forced sexual activity) and stalking. Although emotional, psychological and financial abuse are not criminal they are forms of abuse which can lead to criminal domestic violence.

When it comes to domestic violence, anyone can be a victim! Victims can be of any age, sex, race, culture, religion, education, employment or marital status. Although both men and women are abused, most victims are women. Children in homes where there is domestic violence are more likely to be abused and/or neglected. Even if a child is not physically harmed, they may have emotional and behavioral problems due to domestic violence. Family pets such as cats, dogs, birds and hamsters can also be unfortunate victims of domestic violence.

Below are some brutal statistics about domestic violence that every landlord should know.

-1,000,000 incidents of violence against a current or former spouse, boyfriend, or girlfriend are reported every year. -Three million women are physically abused by their husbands or boyfriends every year.

-At least one in every three women has been beaten, coerced into sex or otherwise abused during her lifetime, worldwide.

-Nearly one-third of American women report being physically or sexually abused by a husband or boyfriend at some point in their lives.

-Thirty percent of Americans say they know a woman who has been physically abused by her husband or boyfriend in the past year.

-In the year 2005, more than half a million American women were victims of nonfatal violence committed by an intimate partner.

-In 2005, women accounted for 85 percent of the victims of intimate partner violence and men accounted for approximately 15 percent of the victims.

In 2005, intimate partner violence made up 20 percent of violent crime against women. The same year, intimate partners committed 3 percent of all violent crime against men.

-As many as 400,000 women each year experience intimate partner violence during their pregnancy.

-Women of all races are about equally vulnerable to violence by an intimate partner.

-The most rapid growth in domestic relations caseloads is occurring in domestic violence filings. Between 1993 and 2005, 18 of 32 states with three year filing figures reported an increase of 20 percent or more.

-On average, more than three women are murdered by their husbands or boyfriends in this country every day. In 2000, 1,247 women were killed by an intimate partner. The same year, 440 men were killed by an intimate partner.

-Women are much more likely than men to be killed by an intimate partner. In 2000, intimate partner homicides accounted for 33.5 percent of the murders of women and less than 4 percent of the murders of men.

-Pregnant and recently pregnant women are more likely to be victims of homicide than to die of any other cause, and evidence exists that a significant proportion of all female homicide victims are killed by their intimate partners.

-Domestic violence is the third largest health problem facing the gay and lesbian community today and trails only behind AIDS and substance abuse.

-Approximately one in five female high school students reports being physically and/or sexually abused by a dating partner.

-Forty percent of girls age 14 to 17 report knowing someone their age who has been hit or beaten by a boyfriend.

-In a national survey of more than 6,000 American families, 50 percent of the men who frequently assaulted their wives also frequently abused their children.

-Slightly more than half of female victims of intimate violence live in households with children under age 12.

-Studies suggest that between 4 to 10 million children witness some form of domestic violence annually.

Landlords, I know that alot of you out there may be very overwhelmed and shocked after reading some of the above statistics about domestic violence and wonder what the hell you can do about it. To be honest, very little since domestic violence is such a big problem, but doing something is a whole lot better than doing nothing. Landlords, below are a few things that you can do to decrease domestic violence on your property.

-If you can afford it and it is feasible, provide armed security guards in your apartment buildings and around the houses that you own or manage.

-Landlords, encourage your tenants to let you or management know if they suspect that another tenant is being abused so that you can encourage them to seek help.

-Landlords, if you suspect that one of your tenant’s is being abused, encourage them to seek help immediately and also obtain a restraining order!

-Place domestic violence literature in your apartment buildings and in your rental offices.

-Post emergency phone numbers (police & fire dept, d.v. hotline) on a bulletin board in your apartment buildings.
-Install a pay phone in your building for emergency situations.

-Take a queue from “neighborhood watch” areas and start a “domestic violence watch” in your apartment buildings.

-Landlords, don’t be a hero! If a domestic violence situation arises, call the police immediately and let them handle it! (Also encourage your tenants to do the same.)

-Landlords, be informed! Keep abreast of the domestic violence laws and shelters in your area.

-Ban firearms from your property.

-Landlords, pray to God for the safety of a tenant that you suspect is being abused.

In terms of domestic violence, there is only so much that a landlord can do, it really is up to the victim and the batterer to do their parts to break the cycle of domestic violence. But both parties must want to break it. If the victim and the batterer don’t try to break the cycle of domestic violence, the violence not only happens over and over again to the victim but if the victim and the batterer have children then another dreaded cycle of domestic violence can start all over again. And let’s face it, no victim of domestic violence wants history to repeat itself when it comes to their children. I mean, what mother wants to see her daughter become a victim of domestic violence. And certainly no victim of domestic violence ever wants to see her sweet little baby boy grow up and become a batterer who beats his wife and children and have the cycle of domestic violence carry on into the next generation.

Victims and batterers, stop the violence now! Break the cycle of domestic violence! For more information call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1-800-799-7233 or for hearing impaired persons call 1-800-787-3224. Help is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

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8 WAYS TO CONTROL LITTER AND KEEP YOUR PROPERTY LOOKING BEAUTIFUL!


Cigarette butts, coffee cups, plastic bags, half-eaten food thrown onto your property by passerby’s or debris brought onto your property by storms or strong winds can be a real nightmare for real property owners and managers because it not only makes your property look unkempt and tacky but it can also bring down the value of your property and drive prospective home buyers and renters away. What’s a property owner to do? Below are a few tips on how to keep your property beautiful and litter-free.

GIVE A SIGN!
Place a few signs strategically all over your property to let people know where to dispose of litter. Try to place signs near garbage recepticles for maximum effect.

REPORT ILLEGAL DUMPING!
If you see illegal dumping taking place copy the license plate, make of the vehicle, the time, date and the location the dumping took place and report it! Don’t let these law-breakers get away with it! Illegal dumping not only de-beautifies a property but it can also be a major health hazard. If you see illegal dumping taking place and you want to report it discreetly, do it online. Just about every state has an online illegal dumping action/complaint form that an individual can fill out that only takes a couple of minutes. To find an online illegal dumping action/complaint form simply go to a popular search engine like Google and enter in the following key phrase, “report illegal dumping.” Also include the state where you reside. For instance, I live in New Hampshire so I the key phrase that I would enter in at Google would be “report illegal dumping new hampshire.” Also, you can report illegal dumping to your local law enforcement agency as well.

RECYCLE!
Recycling keeps your property looking beautiful, is good for the environment and puts a little money in your pocket. So, recycle, recycle, recycle! Landlords, place labeled bins for cans, bottles, newspaper and plastics in the common areas on your property and encourage your tenants to do this in their apartments as well.

ADOPT-A-STREET!
Adopt-A-Street programs are sprouting up all over the United States. The concept is simple. Groups or individuals agree to adopt a street or an area and take responsibility for keeping it clean. Landlords and managers join an Adopt-A-Street program and encourage your tenants to do the same to keep your property looking picture perfect.

REWARD!
Sometimes it takes more than a sign to get people to stop littering. An incentive like a small cash reward, a free watch or perhaps some gift certificates to a retail store or restaurant to a person who has picked up the most trash or reports individuals who are littering can really go a long way in keeping your property beautiful and litter-free.

PENALIZE!
Landlords or property managers, if you or someone else reports that one of your tenants has been littering impose a fine to let the individual know that littering is unacceptable.

OPEN YOUR MOUTH!
One of the best ways to stop people from littering an keep your property beautiful is one of the simplest. Open your mouth but only if you can do it safely! If you see an individual littering, say something. Let them know where the nearest trash recepticle is, tell them that littering is wrong.

PICK IT UP!
If you see another individual throwing something on the ground, be a good samaritian and pick it up! If you have the time and see litter on the ground, take a few minutes and pick it up and dispose of it properly.

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HOW TO MAKE MONEY BLOG MARKETING FOR THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY!


I have a question for all of you real estate professionals out there.
Have you seen an ad like the one below either online or in a newspaper lately?

If you have, great! You are in the loop!

If you haven’t, then you had better educate yourself on this growing phenomenon because it is about ready to explode! And this is one explosion that you don’t want to miss out on.

—-Blog Marketing Help Wanted – (work from home) Furniture Store

Hi,

We are an online furniture company looking for someone that can write posts everyday in blogs to promote pages of our website. We need someone with experience in Blog Marketing and looking for someone that has a bunch of different blogs related to the home and garden and has good google page rank.
____________________________________________________________________________

WHAT IS BLOG MARKETING?

The explosion that I am talking about is Blog Marketing. For those of you out there who don’t know what Blog Marketing is, to put it simply, it is a relatively new and unconventional form of internet advertising that gives a business or an individual the opportunity to promote, sell or bring awareness about their product, service, company, property or cause on a blog or in blog posts.

IS THERE A BLOG MARKETING VOCABULARY FOR DUMMIES?

Blog or a Weblog is basically a journal that is available on the internet. The entries are usually chronological and provide thoughts, commentary or news on a particular subject. When it comes to subject matter on a blog, the sky is the limit meaning that the content on a blog can be about anything. There are comedy, political, business, cooking and sex blogs on the internet, just to name a few. Most blogs are textual but some blogs in addition to having text also have photos, videos, and audio as well as links to other blogs, web pages, and other media related to its subject.

Blogging is writing about a subject in your blog.

Blogger is the author of a blog or an individual who updates or writes entries in their own blog or someone elses. An individual can do this for free or for a fee.

The Blogosphere is the total number of blogs and blog-related websites on the internet or the blogging community as a social network.

Blog Host is a server or place on the internet where people can find your blog.

Blog Url is the address of your blog on the internet.

Blog Feed is a function of special software that offers a way for people to subscribe to updates and new content on a blog. Information about the updates and new content is then published on another website like Bloglines (http://www.bloglines.com). This provides a way for individuals to keep up with the latest and hottest information posted on different blogs.

Reciprocal Blog Link or Link Exchange is an agreement between two blogs or websites where each site places a link on its site to the other.

Ping is a basic internet program that lets you verify that a particular internet address exists and can accept requests.

Trackback is a request by a website to notify them when an individual links to one of their documents.

WHO IS BLOGGING?

The question shouldn’t be “who is blogging” it should be who isn’t blogging. People all over the world, young, old, disabled, healthy, black, white, rich, poor, college-educated, high school dropouts, celebrities and average joes are part of the ever growing blogosphere. The Blog Herald, an online newspaper, recently reported that there are over 60 million blogs on the internet worldwide. This number is expected to increase dramatically in the next five years.

WHAT ARE THE BENEFITS OF BLOGGING?

For the savvy real estate professional, the benefits of blogging are endless! I have included some of those benefits below.

-Property management companies can “brand” their services or company and become a household name in the process.

-Real estate agent’s can increase their search engine ranking thereby increasing the number of people who visit their websites.

-A commercial real estate advisory firm can increase their website ranking thereby bringing them more clients.

-Landlords, can attract new tenants to a their personal website which could lead to the renting or leasing of their properties.

-Real estate software manufacturers can attract buyers and investors of their software.

-Real estate law firms can keep abreast of the new landlord-tenant laws and cases which can aid them in representing their clients better.

-Real estate professionals can establish themselves as experts in the field.

-Landlord’s can differentiate their properties from other landlords.

-Provides a healthy way for a landlord to vent his frustrations out about difficult tenants and colleagues.

-Provides a forum where landlords can warn each other about tenants who are excessively delinquent in rent and lease payments.

-Provides a forum where tenants can warn each other about slumlords.

-Provides a fun and unique way for small property owners to compete with real estate giants like Donald Trump because you don’t have to be a billionaire to have a successful blog that is read by thousands of people.

-Excellent networking tool. Real estate professionals can use their blogs for business or pleasure like meeting men or women.

-Easy way to find employees. Alot of real estate writers have gotten freelance jobs through their blogs.

-No geographical boundaries. A property owner who puts a listing on his blog of a townhouse that is located in Des Moines Iowa can find a buyer for that house in

Timbuktu Africa.

-Low-cost alternative to television, newspaper and radio advertising.

-Cheap way to get company, service, property, product or cause out to the masses.

-A real estate professional can increase his or her reputation as a leader and innovator.

-Can give a property owner the opportunity to reach a younger more affluent consumer base. Generation Y is considered to be the “internet generation” and more financially sound than previous generations.

-Saves big money on focus groups and research. Most blogs have a comments or feedback section that a consumer can fill out free of charge and let a business know their opinion or thoughts on a product or service.

-Improves internal company relations and creates a better working environment. Blogs give employees a forum to express their ideas and opinions. It’s possible that a company could find an idea from an employee on a blog that could make them millions of dollars.

-Builds credibility for an individual or their business.

-Can raise a real estate professional’s profile in the industry.

-Can be a less time-consuming form of communication. A president of a property management firm can get his or her message out to staff and clients all at the same time instead of having to do it individually.

-Allows you to keep up-to-date with all of the latest trends in the real estate industry.

-Can generate buzz about your product, service, property, company or cause.

-Gives you the chance to make your voice heard on an issue that you either agree or disagree with in the real estate industry.

HOW DO I GET STARTED BLOGGING?

Starting your own blog is very easy. The only thing that is required before you can set up your blog is an email address. Once you have a functioning email address, the next thing that you have to do is pick a blog host. The number of blog hosts on the internet is astronomical so as a blogger myself I am going to share with you the blog hosts that I use. I personally recommend WordPress, TBlog and Blogger. The primary reasons why I recommend these blog hosts is because they are free, easy to set up and gives you instant traffic to your blog. I have included some of the features from each of these blogs.

-Fast and free blog setup.

-Public or private blog option. You get to choose whether you want only your colleagues to see your blog or if you want it seen by anyone with an internet connection.

-Numerous templates and themes to choose from which lets you give your blog the look that you want.

-Easy tag system which makes it easy for people interested in the same topics as you to find you through specific keywords that your blog posts are classified under.

-Excellent grammar features such as spell-check and preview.

-Photo and videos upload features which gives you the opportunity to share your images.

-Excellent stat system which tells you how many people are visiting your blog, where they are coming from, your most popular posts and which search engine terms are sending people to your blog.

-Superior spam technology which prevents you from receiving junk mail.

-Large blogging community which brings instant traffic to your blog.

-Superior page and blog management tools that help to give your blog a polished and professional look.

-Feed stats system which tells you how many people are subscribed to your blog via your blog’s feed.

-Multiple blogs & authors features which gives you the opportunity to create as many blogs as you want and lets visitors make entries on your blog.

-Custom HTML which stands for Hyper Text Mark-Up Language. It is basic software language that is used to create webpages.

-Hyperlinking feature that allows you to use keywords to link to another blog or website.

As with anything in life, there are alot of good things about TBlog, WordPress and Blogger but there are also some bad things about these blog hosts too.

Let’s take TBlog (http://www.tblog.com) for example. Sometimes it takes a long time for webpages on this server to load which can cause you to lose the post that you were writing about so you have to re-write it again. The post doesn’t get automatically saved. And the worst thing about TBlog is the “Visits Counter” feature. After writing a new post on TBlog, I like to bring up the blog itself while I am still logged into the system so that if there are any errors I can correct them without having to log back into the system. Unfortunately, TBlog counts this as a visit. Sometimes I will check my new post three times and the “Visits Counter” will go up by three.

There are two things that I dislike about Blogger (http://www.blogger.com). The first is minor. The “Dashboard” which lets you access all of the features in your Blogger account isn’t as comprehensive as TBlogs and WordPress’. However, they do have the necessities. The second is major. There is no “Stats” feature on Blogger at all. So basically you don’t know how many people are or who have visited your blog and if an individual happens to locate your blog, you don’t know where they came from. However, an individual can put a hit counter on their blog at Blogger. I tried to do this many times but I had so much trouble doing it that I gave up.

I guess that I spoke too soon when I said that there was good and bad about all three of the blog hosts that I have mentioned in this article. When it comes to WordPress, (http://wordpress.com) I really don’t have any complaints about this blog host due to the fact that I am a basic blogger meaning that I don’t put any photos or music in my blog posts. Out of all three of them, WordPress would be at the top of my list followed by TBlog and bringing up the rear would be Blogger.

SHOULD I PAY SOMEONE TO BLOG FOR MY BUSINESS OR SHOULD I DO IT MYSELF?

After selecting a blog host, a real estate professional has to decide who will do the blogging for their business. A real estate professional has two choices. They can do the blogging themselves or hire a professional blogger to do it.

If you decide to do the blogging yourself, before you get started you might want to check out some blogs on the internet that are similar to the one that you want to create. Make note of blogs that have a large number of visitors and comments. Also remember that you don’t have to be William Shakespeare to have a successful blog. For example, take 15 year old blogger Michael Yurechko from Vancouver Canada who not only works for a few blogs online but has co-founded one of his own. When it comes to blogging there is no education or age requirement to be a good blogger simply have a basic knowledge or be passionate about the subjects that you write about in your blog and you’ll be just fine.

A second option would be to hire a professional blogger to do the writing for your blog. If you do decide to do this, first read a wide array of the blogger’s work to make sure that their writing style will be compatible with your blog. Next, find out the blogger’s search engine and website rankings. If you can, try to get references from other individuals or businesses who have obtained the blogger’s services. Once you have chosen a blogger, the following things need to be decided.

-Do you want to obtain the blogger’s services on a part-time, full-time or freelance basis.

-Does the writing need to be done onsite or will the blogger work out of their home.

-How often does the blog needs to be updated.

-How much time does the blogger needs to devote to updating the blog.

-If there will be any deadlines for the content of the blog.

-How much the blogger will be paid, how often and the form of payment (i.e. paypal, money order, company check, etc.)

Once all of the terms have been worked out between you and the blogger have a contract drawn up to protect yourself.

SHOULD I PAY FOR SOMEONE TO MENTION MY BUSINESS ON THEIR BLOG?

Do you want to take advantage of the blog marketing phenomenon but you don’t want to start your own blog or have a professional blogger write the content for your website? I have an option for you. Another unique way to enter the blog marketing world is to pay someone else to mention your business, property, service, product or cause on their blog. If you are interested in this option, I am going to recommend the following company.

The company is called Blogsvertise which is a blog marketing company who runs a program where they pay bloggers to write about companies, products and services on their blogs and put a link to the website or product page as well.

The reason why a company should consider this option is because it not only builds buzz and increases your search engine ranking but it also gives you the opportunity to reach a large consumer base. The majority of blogs accepted into Blogsvertise’s blog marketing programs are blogs that are hot, read by alot of people and have a loyal following. Let’s face it, when anyone starts a blog it takes time to build a following but this option nips that in the bud. Plus, it’s easy to do and you don’t have to do any work, you simply pay someone else to do it. Pricing for this service varies so if you are interested in this option you’ll have to contact Blogsvertise (http://www.blogsvertise.com) personally.

CAN YOU GIVE ME SOME BLOG MARKETING TIPS?

Real estate professionals, if you really want to promote your business, property, product, service or cause on a blog, here are a few tips that will increase your success.

-Submit your blog’s url to all the major search engines like Google (http://www.google.com/addurl). There are alot of search engines who will do this for free but you might also want to consider paying for this service. There are some search engine submission services that can submit your blog to hundreds of search engines all at the same time. Just remember that it can take weeks for a search engine to include your url in their index.

-Submit your blog’s url to blog directories like Blogarama (http://www.blogarama.com).

-Place free ads on websites like Craigslist (http://www.craigslist.org) and Backpage (http://www.backpage.com) to spread the word about your blog.

-When writing a post include keywords and phrases in the blog post itself and in the blog post’s title so that they can be easily found on search engines preferably on the first or second page. When the majority of people are having trouble finding something on the internet they will enter some keywords on a search engine like Google to find it. So, make sure your blog is search engine optimized.

-Commit to putting interesting content on your blog.

-Try to update your blog at least 3-4 times a week but it is best to do it daily.

-Stay away from foul or profane language on your blog unless it is warranted.

-Print off a couple of copies of your best and most interesting blog posts and put them on community bulletin boards in your area, at your local library, take a couple of copies to networking events and business seminars.

-Have some business cards printed up with your blog’s name, url and short description then pass them out liberally.

-Submit your blog to feeds like Yahoo (http://publisher.yahoo.com/submit.php) and Blog Digger (http://www.blogdigger.com/add.jsp) for increased exposure.

-Participate in reciprocal link and link exchange programs like BeLinked (http://www.belinked.info) to bring more traffic to your blog which is a highly effective marketing tool.

-Monitor links, traffic, comments and mentions of your blog with services like Google Alerts (http://www.google.com/alerts) or Blogpulse (http://www.blogpulse.com).

-Enable automatic trackback and pings.

-Search engine optimize and distribute a press release announcing your blog.

-Always respond to comments on your blog and when you are alerted of a mention of your blog on another blog thank that blogger in the comments of the post.

-Most importantly, have fun and keep blogging!

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LANDLORDS: BEWARE OF THE DOG IN YOUR APARTMENT BUILDING!


Even though cats are now the most popular pet in America, dog’s are still man’s best friend. Not to mention, one of its most reliable and hard-working best friends. Millions of Americans rely on man’s best friend for a variety of services every day.

Guide Dogs help the blind make trips to the grocery store, bank or anyplace else that they need to go thereby giving them the independence and confidence to go out into the world.

Therapy Dogs visit people who are incapacitated or restricted from freedom of movement. These dogs provide entertainment and help to cheer up individuals such as the elderly in nursing homes or sick children in hospitals.

Police Dogs help to track and immobilize possible criminals while assisting officers in making arrests and investigating crime scenes.

Search Dogs locate individuals who are missing, lost in the woods or buried under debris from a collapsed building.

Herding Dogs help shepherds and cattle ranchers manage and guard flocks of other animals like cattle or sheep.

Rescue Dogs assist people in dangerous situations like helping to save an individual from drowning when their boat capsizes. (On January 26, 2001, Diane Whipple sure could have used the help of one of these canines.)

The following true story should not only be a precautionary warning to all property owners and managers, it should also be required reading.

On January 26, 2001, Diane Whipple was thinking about making tacos for dinner. She stopped for a few groceries and drove home to begin making the tacos. Diane would never get the chance to make those tacos because she was savagely mauled to death in the hallway of her upscale Pacific Heights apartment building in San Francisco by two 120 pound Presa Canario Dogs. The two dogs who killed Whipple were owned by her married neighbors, Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel. Both were convicted of involuntary manslaughter in her death.

The number one priority for all property owners and managers of apartment buildings should be to provide a safe living environment for their tenants inside of the apartment building. They also need to have in place sufficient safety precautions for the property that they own that surrounds the apartment building on the outside of the building as well. Landlords should take whatever measures that are humanly possible to ensure their tenant’s safety regardless of cost or inconvenience.

There are some things in life that can’t be avoided but in Diane Whipple’s case, I strongly disagree. With certain safety precautions combined with good ol’ fashioned common sense, I feel that Miss Whipple would be alive today.

I have talked to alot of people about this heartbreaking and controversial case. They all agree with me. Diane Whipple’s death could have been avoided! I was personally glad when Edythe Pamela Whipple-Kelly, Diane’s mother and Sharon Smith, Whipple’s life-partner for seven years filed wrongful death lawsuits against two parties. Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel, owners of the dogs. Rudolph & Annette Koppl, owners of the apartment building and Marina Green Properties Inc., property management firm for the 40 unit apartment building. Both of the lawsuits were eventually settled and the terms kept secret, i.e. both parties paid a boatload of money and want to put this public relations nightmare behind them.

I strongly feel that Marjorie Knoller and Robert Noel were mostly responsible for Diane’s death due to the fact that they knew that both of the dogs were aggressive towards other people, they failed to take sufficient safety precautions with such large and dangerous animals and that both of the dogs actually attacked and terrorized other tenants in the apartment building.

However, I do feel that the owners and property management firm are to blame as well.

Allowing a tenant with a dog who weighs 120 pounds into a residential apartment building is not the smartest move, no matter how gentle the dog is. But to allow a tenant to have two 120 pound dogs is absolutely ridiculous and potentially dangerous because of their large size.

The property owner and management firm should have also required that two people be present when taking two 120 pound dogs in and out of the apartment building.

Marjorie Knoller was walking Bane and Hera, the two 120 pound dogs that killed Diane Whipple, alone on that tragic day.

If a landlord allows a tenant to have two 120 pound dogs in an apartment building then they need to follow-up with the owners of the dogs and the other tenants living in the apartment building to make sure everyone is comfortable with this situation. Neither the owner or property management firm did this.

One of the biggest bombshells to come out of the Whipple trial is that alot of the tenants who lived in the apartment building that were attacked by the Presa Canario dogs didn’t file a complaint with management against the dogs or their owners. In the property owner’s and manager’s defense, if management doesn’t know how serious a problem is, they can’t do anything about the problem.

To prevent another tragedy like Diane Whipple from happening again, property owners and managers, please read my suggestions on dog safety:

-The most effective way to protect the tenants in your apartment building from

vicious dogs is simple. Don’t allow ANY dogs in the building.

-If you do decide to allow dogs in your apartment building, restrict the weight of the

dog to 30 pounds or less.

-Restrict each tenant to one dog.

-If you let a tenant have more than one dog, require two or more people to be

present when taking the dogs in and out of the apartment building.

-Require dogs to be on leashes at all times in the apartment building.

-For apartment buildings with alot of children and handicapped people, require

dogs to have muzzles or choke collars on at all times in the apartment building.

-Require all dogs to be with its owner or another designated person at all times

while in the apartment building.

-Property managers, when doing a background check on a potential tenant, be sure

to search for complaints and lawsuits brought against their dogs.

-Property owners, if a dog attacks another tenant in the building, depending on

the circumstances, quickly decide whether the dog can stay or if it should be

evicted.

-If a dog attacks a tenant or other tenants more than once, evict the dog from

your building.

-Require all dog owners in the building to have insurance that covers dog bite

and other canine-inflicted injuries.

-Property owners, make sure that you have insurance that covers dog bite and

other canine-inflicted injuries. Also make sure that you have personal liability

coverage, landlord liability coverage, landlord negligence coverage and property

damage coverage.

-Property owners and managers, penalize dog owners who break the rules.

-Keep brochures and pamphlets about pet safety in the rental office or in common

areas of the apartment building.

-Put signs in the hallway on the rules for pets in the apartment building.

-Encourage tenants to file a complaint with management or animal control

authorities about a vicious dog in the building.

-Keep extra leashes and pet safety gear in rental office in case of an emergency.

-Property owners, provide tenants who are thinking about getting a dog with a list

of pet stores so that they can find out info about which breed of dog is suitable for

apartment living.

-Encourage tenants to carry a small pack of doggie treats with them just in case they

run into a vicious dog in the building. By giving the dog the treats, he or she may

focus their attention on eating the treats thereby giving them a chance to escape.

-In some instances, a dog whistle can be used against a vicious dog to inflict pain

to the ears, giving a person a chance to escape.

-As a last resort, tell your tenants to also carry a canister of pepper spray, mace

or even hairspray to spray into a vicious dog’s eyes, which would also give them

a chance to escape.

-Property owners and managers, as a last resort, keep a stun gun or tranquilizer

gun in the rental office in case of an emergency.

-Property owners, tell your tenants not to run up to dogs, approach them when

they are eating or sleeping, speak loudly around them, have them watch for

aggressive body signs like ears laid back along the head or tail not wagging.

-Property owners, provide tenants with a regular fence or invisible fence so that they

can leave their dogs there while they take the groceries or children into the

apartment building.

-Property owners, if a tenant notices a change in a dog for the worse, encourage

the tenant to let management know about it so that they can tell the dog’s owner

to take the dog to a veterinarian or dog psychiatrist.

-Property owners and managers, if one of your tenant’s is attacked by a vicious

dog in the building, encourage your tenant’s to get help asap or for the tenant to

try to help the victim as much as they can without putting themselves at risk.

Landlords, let’s face it, when a tenant gets killed on your property, it’s bad for business. Paying out million dollar settlements because a tenant got killed on

your property is also bad for business. Don’t let this happen to you! Take the

proper safety precautions if you do decide to allow dogs into your apartment

building and also use a little common sense so that a tragedy like Diane Whipple will never happen to one of your tenants in your apartment building.

A SPECIAL NOTE: Bane and Hera, the two dogs that killed Diane Whipple, don’t represent all dogs. The majority of dogs in America are “good” dogs. I believe Bane and Hera were once “good” dogs but were made into “bad” dogs by bad people. Millions of Americans rely on “good” dogs like guide dogs and police dogs for a variety of services everyday. Dogs have become so essential to the American culture that it would be hard to function without them. And I personally wouldn’t want to function without them. And I know that a million other Americans would agree with me. Even

though cats have become the most popular pet in America, dogs will always be man’s best friend!

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