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Jennifer Shermer

Jennifer Shermer

Capital City Public Relations Senior Writer + Publicist Jennifer Shermer creates and manages marketing programs for businesses to raise their brand awareness.
5 tips to make closing on a new home easier

Five Tips to Make Closings Easier

The homebuying process is filled with excitement, joy, anxiety, stress and relief. There are so many moving parts between deciding to purchase a home and actually closing on a home. Here are excellent tips to help buyers navigate the closing process and ensure a smooth closing for all parties.

Don’t make big life changes or purchases during the home buying process. Don’t change jobs or make purchases that could change your credit score. Examples include financing new furniture or a new car, moving your money around in your accounts or paying for a vacation using your open credit. Don’t do anything that will send red flags when lenders check on your credit.

Assure the title is cleared. Your real estate attorney or title company is responsible for ordering a title report to assure everything is good before the closing. Stay in close contact with them to make sure there are no liens on the property. Liens may delay or cancel your closing.

Create and maintain a repair timeline. Assuming the seller is expected to make certain repairs on the property, make sure you document those repairs (and a deadline for their completion) and share a copy with the seller. Maintain the list and verify, at least several days before your scheduled closing, that the repairs are completed. Schedule a final walk-through the day before closing and verify again that all repairs are completed as agreed upon.

Secure proper homeowner’s insurance. Buyers should shop for and secure homeowners insurance well in advance of the closing. Be cognizant of the home’s location and know if you need to purchase flood insurance. Flood insurance is costly, yet necessary, if you live in a flood zone. If you cannot afford flood insurance, do not purchase a home located in a flood zone.

Maintain close communication with your lender. Do not assume that “no news is good news” if you don’t hear from your lender or closing agent. Because lenders often ask for information at the last minute (i.e., insurance documents, current bank statements or pay stubs), contact your lender the day before and the day of closing to assure you bring all needed documents to the closing. You should also verify with your closing agent that he or she received all loan documents. Oftentimes, it is a case of one missing document, one verification or an email that has not been returned (or lost in a spam folder).

And, “it goes without saying,” yet we will say it: Buyers need to have all paperwork in order and present at closing, including a valid ID and most likely a cashier’s check for the down payment.

PropLogix’s Title Industry Insights for 2019 Features Alliant National’s Jeff Stein

Alliant National’s Regional Counsel Jeff Stein was a featured contributor in PropLogix’s Title Industry Insights for 2019.

For the article, title insurance leaders share perspectives on topics that should be top of mind for settlement agents in 2019.

The story explores strategies and practices for title agents, including wire fraud prevention, marketing, e-closings and blockchain.

Jeff advises, “Blockchain, used appropriately appears to have the potential for robust security through the use of security keys and authentications. As we move forward with applications of Blockchain, we will have to be vigilant in vetting the security in each application.”

Read the full story here: Download

business development with relationship and networking.

10 Business Development Activities to Do Today

The art of business development is identifying and creating relationships that lead to increased revenue for your business.

Relationships may include business organization memberships, partnerships between one or more entities or simply one-on-one referral relationships.

For most successful businesses, business development is a combination of all the above. Here are 10 business development activities you should be doing today.

  1. Ask for referrals, from your clients (current and former), non-competing peers, friends, neighbors and other influencers in your network. Acknowledge your appreciation by thanking all of those who refer business to you.
  2. Join an organization (i.e., Rotary Club, industry/trade association, local chamber of commerce, etc.) where your target clients are likely to be members.

    Get involved with the organization, beyond just attending meetings. Join a committee, become a leader in the organization and network often with members.

    Once members get to know you and build a relationship with you, they are likely to contact you when they’re ready to do business.
  3. Become a good networker. Networking is about getting to know others and their needs so you can connect them to potential clients and influencers that will help their business grow. They will return the favor!
  4. Become a good social networker. Create business accounts and participate in the big social media sites (LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter). Publish great content that is helpful, informative, insightful and relevant to readers. Engage with your followers.
  5. Always carry current, clean and organized business cards in ample supply.
  6. Use easy-to-review infographics as part of your sales arsenal. Infographics are memorable and easy for prospective clients to refer to when calling you for more details.
  7. Remember important dates, including client business anniversaries, vacation trips, births and other important happenings in your network’s business and life. Keep a calendar to help you remember to send them a short note or bring it up in conversation when you see them.
  8. Host an open house at your business. Invite an eclectic group of people who will benefit by meeting and conversing with each other.

    Think of helping others to connect with prospective clients and influencers, as well. Develop a brief welcome to “break the ice” and get the conversations started.
  9. Have a clear understanding of your business offerings and be able to confidently and concisely share at a moment’s notice.
  10. Be curious. Get to know your prospective and current clients, their goals, their fears and their reason for existing in business. When you know them, you are in a great position to help them.

One additional note: Remember Alliant National is a great resource to advise and educate independent agents on business development best practices.

Writing Tips

Do you consider yourself a good writer? Do your coworkers frequently need to help you with polishing emails, letters and other critical business communications? Do you cringe when you think about writing any business communications pieces?

Writing is a crucial communications skill and so important to any businessperson. Here we offer three articles with tips for writing inspiration. Ready, set, write!

Real Estate Corner:

Increasing the supply of housing stock is the key to making housing affordable to a larger population of homebuyers, according to the lenders who responded to Fannie Mae’s Mortgage Lender Sentiment Survey for the fourth quarter of 2018.

Energize Your PR This Year

To say we live in a “communication environment” is an understatement! We have so many communications options that it’s often challenging for businesses to know the most effective and efficient tools to use to reach their target audiences.

Investing in public relations and content marketing is an essential aspect of brand success. Here we offer three articles to get you thinking about ways to energize PR for your business.

Real Estate Corner:

Less than half of homebuyers and sellers between the ages of 35 and 44 believe real estate is a better long-term investment than the stock market, according to a survey from Redfin and detailed in the article from The Title Report:

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