OCAR Blog

News and Information to Keep You a Step Ahead!

Thank you for visiting us at the C.A.R. Expo this past week. Congratulations!


Prize: 2017 OCAR Local Dues

Winners

Stephanie Martin-Velez
Champion Elite Realty

Brian Kamenca
RE/MAX Terrasol


Prize: Ticket to REAL SOCIAL Conference & Expo

Winners

Carole Kim
Carole Kim, Broker

Ericka McAbee
Grayson Homes

Charles Huynh
FirstTeam

Jean Tietgen
HomeSmart Evergreen Realty

 

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Although real estate is not generally thought of as a dangerous occupation, it does have its risks. REALTORS® sometimes work alone or late, may be asked to drive to remote locations, and often show vacant homes to strangers. Here are thirteen things you can do to stay safe on the job. 

  1. Always carry your cell phone where it is readily accessible. Do not leave it in the purse you locked in the trunk of your car or stowed out of sight in a kitchen cabinet.

  2. Be aware of your surroundings. Preview property before you show it. Familiarize yourself with the layout of the property, including all entrances and exits, and with the neighborhood.

  3. Be careful how you dress. Flashy or expensive jewelry may attract the wrong kind of attention. High heels or restrictive clothing could impede your ability to move quickly in an emergency.

  4. Ask prospective clients to meet you at your office or a neutral location—like a coffee shop. Request photo identification from prospective clients and have them fill out a new client information sheet.

  5. Vet prospective clients. Before establishing a professional relationship, use online resources to check a prospective client’s background, being mindful of criminal, civil, and character issues.

  6. Implement a buddy system. Enlist at least five close friends or colleagues on whom you can rely in case of an emergency. Tell them in advance what property you will be showing and trust that they will have your back.

  7. Create a paper trail and witnesses. Before you take clients to see a property, write down the clients’ license plate number and leave it at the front desk. Explain that doing so is office policy; clients who mean no harm won’t mind. And introduce the clients to a colleague or two. If you meet a client outside the office, text this information to a trusted colleague—and make sure that he or she knows your itinerary.

  8. Always take your own car for showings. When you leave your car, lock it. Consider parking along the street instead of in the driveway, where your exit could be blocked.

  9. When showing a property, let potential buyers take the lead while you follow. If there are features you want to call to their attention, do so from the rear, not the front.

  10. Avoid going into walk-in closets or other closed or confined areas with a prospect. Be familiar with all entrances and exits.

  11. Never advertise a property as vacant or show one alone at night. To do so is to invite trouble.

  12. Don't host an open house alone;take along a colleague. Suggest to home owners that they take breakables off tabletops and secure valuables. And request that pets be housed elsewhere so that they do not become a hazard, a nuisance, or a distraction.

  13. While showing a property, keep your hands free. Do not carry a clipboard, a household pet, or any other object that might interfere with your ability to use your cell phone, discharge your pepper spray, or otherwise defend yourself effectively.
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Small Unmanned Aircraft Systems (sUAS), most commonly known as drones, are making an impact in many aspects of life. In the past, being able to use drones for commercial purposes, including in the real estate industry, had been complicated and limited to operators who had an FAA Section 333 exemption.

That just changed. The first operational rule from the Department of Transportation’s Federal Aviation Administration for routine commercial use of small unmanned aircraft systems became effective August 29, 2016.

If you have been following the development of drones for commercial use, here are three significant changes to note with this ruling:

Overall, with this rule, the FAA is making drone technology more accessible to the commercial sector, and real estate is one area where anticipation and expectation is high because with drones, one can take breathtaking video footage and make a distinguishable impact in the marketing piece of the property.

How are drones being used today in real estate?

Mainly, drones are used to capture aerial videography. The aerial footage is weaved into video footage captured from the ground and crafted into a marketing piece; it is then used to showcase the property and represent the essence of the lifestyle in the area. Here are some examples:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dktkJXp6LNc

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HgV_ZDgWCec

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v4E2XRCCwI0

Why does it work?

Out-of-state investors, international buyers, people accustomed to shopping online can have a better sense of the property when video is used wisely, as compared with marketing that employs only still photography.

Is it just a fad in the real estate industry?

Visual imagery is compelling. And effective. Statistics show persuasivereasons why video dominates in marketing today, and why it is expected to continue being an important tool in the future. Innovators are finding ways to use the technology better each time, so even if you are not an ‘early adapter’, we encourage you to keep your eye on this trend and find an appropriate entry-point for your business.

DIY? Three things to consider…

Drone video can be part of your overall video strategy. It adds drama. It adds flair. And because beautiful footage can be shot, it can be a great asset to the video. So when determining if this is something you want to do yourself, consider this…

Video on the ground

The length of the aerial footage you use should depend on what you wish to showcase. For example, if you are planning on using it to market the homes you are selling, you won’t only need to take aerial video – you will also still need to film inside the home to fully capture the property. Have a plan for that part as well.

Editing the video

Multiple video sources means needing to edit all the video footage together, to add background music and maybe even to add special effects, such as adding text that shows how prospective clients may contact you. Check that you have the hardware and software for editing both the audio and video.

Cost

Research carefully the drones that are equipped to give you the professional video your brand deserves. Keep in mind that these drones will be for the professional use of your business – not for recreational purposes. Aside from the drone itself, research what other gear you will need – memory cards, propeller guards, landing gear, etc.

Hire a crew?

Not everyone will be prepared to invest the time and money needed to create a good marketing video personally – with drone technology or not – and luckily, it’s not necessary. Do you typically hire a professional photographer? What about an interior designer for staging? If you do, hiring a professional real estate videographer with drone technology may be a good option for your business. All the benefits, none of the extra work. You can always get a drone for your recreational time and fly it for the fun of it, if you want. Here are the FAA guidelines for the recreational use of drones.

Where can I learn more?

 

 Contributions to this article were made by Jessica Rosado, Tech Helpline Team

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 Effective September 13, 2016, the following MLS Area Names and Codes will be changed as shown below.

 

Current MLS Area Name

Current MLS Area Code

New MLS Area Name

New MLS Area Code

Laguna Niguel East- S of Crown Vly- E of Niguel

NE

Sea Country

LNSEA

Laguna Niguel West- N of Crown Vly- W of Niguel

NG

Summit

LNSMT

Laguna Niguel North- N of Crown Vly- E of Niguel

NN

Lake Area

LNLAK

Laguna Niguel South- S of Crown Vly- W of Niguel

NS

Salt Creek

LNSLT


Additionally, there will be a Matrix Makeover effective September 13. The Matrix Makeover is an update to CRMLS Matrix intended to enhance visual appeal while rolling out some new features like Auto-Save that will enrich user experience. The Makeover is NOT a redesign of the Matrix interface, so users familiar with CRMLS Matrix should have no problem continuing use once the update takes effect.

To review, here’s what’s in store for Matrix Makeover.


For more information about these changes and more, visit the CRMLS website.

 

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Getting your email hacked can happen to any of us, and it can be alarming. The most popular way people realize that their email has been hacked is when a friend or family member lets them know that they received a strange email from them.

Email hackers target the public to take money from them fraudulently. One popular way they take people’s money is by getting unauthorized access to your email account and sending an email to your contacts. The email may state that you are on vacation overseas and suddenly need help and money – could they please send money right away to the mentioned account.

Unaware that it wasn’t really you who sent the email, and because it seems like a legitimate email from you, some contacts do send money to the fraudsters.

If you ever recognize that your personal email has been hacked, do these six things to mitigate risk:

1.   Change your email password right away – Log into your email provider’s web mail portal and go to your account settings. Typically, there is a Security section where you have the option to change your password. Choose a new, strong password that does not resemble the previous one.

  • If you no longer have access to the account, use the ‘Forgot Password’ option to create a new one and recover access to your account.
  • If you used this password in other sites/accounts, change those passwords as well and don’t use the same password in multiple sites.

2.   Review your account Settings – Review your settings, including your login history, contacts, linked Mail accounts, Signatures, Mail Forwarding, Banned Addresses, and Filters; delete anything that you don’t recognize.

3.    Scan for Viruses, Malware, and Spyware – There is a possibility that your computer/laptop may have contracted a virus, malware, and/or spyware in the process. Running a virus scan like Norton, Kaspersky, Avast, and AVG is highly recommended. Additionally, running anti-malware software, such as Malwarebytes, has shown great results extracting these malicious infections.

4.   Alert your contacts – Use another medium to let your contacts know that your email has been hacked (text message, phone, a different email address) and request that if they recently received an email from you, they delete it without opening it, clicking on any links or downloading attachments. If you are sending an email, the Email Subject should be a warning that grabs the reader’s attention. For example: Please do not open any emails from XXX date to XXX date. (You may even want to send them this list of helpful tips).

5.   Report the hack to your provider – Different providers have different methods for reporting these incidents; search their website for their instructions.

6.   Continue to monitor your email, financials, and other sensitive information – Over the years, you may have sent sensitive information which may still be in your email history. Hackers could have accessed it. Continue to monitor carefully the activity on your credit cards, including your real estate transactions and other sensitive areas, to ensure no one else is accessing them.

How did this happen to me?
There are multiple ways it could have happened. One possible way is that your email was hacked while you accessed your email using a public Wi-Fi. A common approach that hackers use is called Evil Twin, and it works like this: Say you are at your favorite local coffee shop named “Strong Joe”, and you want to take advantage of their free Wi-Fi. What hackers will do is set up a second hotspot in that location, naming it similar to the authentic hotspot for that business. For example: The authentic hotspot for the business may be “Strong Joe,” while the hacker’s hotspot may be “Strong Joe FASTEST.” Sometimes business patrons will not notice that there are more than two hotspots with the name, and inadvertently use the hotspot that is set up by the hackers. While using the hotspot trap that hackers created, you may decide to log into your email and catch up with work, friends or family. When you do this, the hacker’s hotspot can grab the email’s security packets, which contain your credentials. And there you have it. You’ve been hacked without realizing it.

Should I stop using public hotspots?
Not necessarily – just be careful when logging into free, Wi-Fi hotspots. Ask an employee for the correct Service Set Identifier (SSID) and password so that you are not inadvertently using one that a hacker has set up, and use public hot spots only for web browsing – not for online shopping, banking or accessing anything that requires entering your user name and password.

Beyond the Personal Email Hack: Reporting Real Estate Fraud
In addition to the email scams that the general population can experience, real estate professionals are also vulnerable to professional fraud when their emails get hacked because real estate transactions often require the transfer of significant sums of money. These types of scams are more sophisticated than what the general public will experience, and rather than covering the details in this article, we will provide you the link to a video that the National Association of REALTORS has created to educate REALTORS on this issue.

WATCH THIS VIDEO about Cyber scams targeting the real estate industry.
(https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j3_CahMlH8U)

This video will show you prevention, damage control, as well as two identifiable areas of fraud in the real estate industry. We highly recommend you watch it and follow their recommendations.

As always, if you have any doubts, or wish to make sure you have followed all these steps above correctly; please be sure to contact us via phone at (877) 562-3156 or online chat.


Contributions to this article were made by Marcos Zayas, Tech Helpline Team

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