Building Your Personal Brand; The 85/15% Rule

You might be surprised how great self-marketers spend their time.  They spend a lot of time behind the scenes promoting themselves, learning about the market place and building a personal brand.

What about you?  What percentage of your branding efforts are behind-the-scenes?  Do you think that means you have to get your face and brand out there as much as possible?  Well broadcasting yourself out there 24 X 7 may not be the most effective means to that end.

This short article by Ryan Rancatore demonstrates how as much as 85% of what great personal brand builders do is really behind the scenes. With a scant 15% devoted to putting their message in public, Ryan recognizes that a lot of time is spent in self-education and one-on-one communication.

Check out this graphic:

So how do you do content research simply and without hours at the computer?  Easy!

An example I use is that I have Google Alerts set up for me using Key Words I need in my area.   Every day, Google sends me an email that reports what search activities have taken place using my specific search terms.

Example:  Palm Springs Events OR Events in Palm Springs, CA. Now when new content shows up, I can read it and blog on it quickly.

Another tool to use is the RSS Reader. WHAT is that you ask?

Now now, take it easy.  Its just another way to have your favorite site’s new content delivered right to your RSS Reader or Home Page every day.  How do I do that?  Well check out this link to Tech Savvy Agent and give it a try; its simple to do.  Oh and btw- Tech Savvy Agent is one website you need to use if you haven’t already checked it out.  I’ve learned a lot from them and its all FREE!

For a closer look at the activities that make up Rancatore’s 85/15 Rule, check out his short article here:

Now asses your own activities.  What are your percentages?  How are you assessing your effectiveness? And what tools are you using to streamline your information gathering and branding?

Graphic is reprinted by permission of Ryan Rancatore.  A link to his article is provided at his request.

Posted in Personal Growth, Personal News, Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

Safe and Careful Banking With Your Smart-Phone

Safe Ways to Bank With Your Smart Phone

Follow these steps to lower the risk of having your personal information stolen.

By Cameron Huddleston,

Using your smart phone to check your bank account balance or deposit a check is convenient. But is it safe?

Hackers are getting better at finding ways to tap into smart phones and capture people’s account numbers and other personal information. However, there are ways to lower your risk of becoming a victim, says Michael Gregg, a cyber security expert and founder of Superior Solutions. Here are his tips:

Don’t use public Wi-Fi to access accounts online. Use your phone provider’s network, instead, because it’s more difficult for hackers to tap into it. Public Wi-Fi connections, on the other hand, are easily compromised not just by savvy cybercriminals but by anyone who downloads a free program, which allows users to see what others are doing online and log onto their accounts as them.

Watch out for smishing (fake text messages). If you get a text message supposedly from your financial institution warning you that there may be a problem with your account, don’t click on any links or call a number in the message. The link could take you to a phony site with malicious software that will give criminals access to your phone. And the number could connect you with scammers who are trying to collect your account information. Go directly to your bank’s Web site to check your account or to get a customer service number. And if you get a text message asking you to download a security update for your phone, don’t be fooled. Smart phone makers don’t send out security updates by text message, Gregg says.

Be careful where you browse. Go to sites you know to conduct financial transactions. And before downloading any banking applications, check your financial institution’s site to make sure it offers one. Apple puts all apps for the iPhone through serious scrutiny, but other smart phone makers do not. A year ago, more than 50 fraudulent mobile banking apps appeared in the Android marketplace and were removed once they were discovered — after many had bought and downloaded the apps.

Don’t jailbreak your iPhone. You’ll lose your security mechanisms, Gregg says, if you tamper with your iPhone so it can run on another service provider’s network or download additional apps.

Reprinted with permission. All Content ©2011 The Kiplinger Washington Editors.

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REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Buyers Ready to Snatch Bargains This Spring

REALTOR® Magazine-Daily News-Buyers Ready to Snatch Bargains This Spring.

Buyers Ready to Snatch Bargains This Spring

Bargain prices on housing combined with low interest rates below 5 percent may bring the real estate market its busiest spring season in years, economists say.

Distressed sales continue to put downward pressure on home prices, which may lure more buyers off the fence and ready to snag a deal during the typical prime-time buying season.

Some builders are ramping up discounts on new homes as well as boosting commissions to brokers to try to spark more transactions.

Sellers of existing-homes also are getting more competitive in pricing their homes.

“After three years of the housing downturn, people are becoming much more realistic in terms of valuing their homes,” says Lawrence Yun, chief economist at the National Association of REALTORS®.

An improved job market with better income potential may also motivate more people to buy, says David Berson of the PMI Group.

“Household formations are also very important,” Berson says. “Kids may have moved back in with their parents, or two people may have moved in together, because of job concerns. Now they can move into their own place.”

While interest rates are sitting comfortably below 5 percent for now (30-year fixed rates averaged 4.76 percent last week), economists warn the attractive low rates won’t last long.

“Few think mortgage rates are going lower,” says Mark Zandi, Moody’s Analytics chief economist. “It’s more likely they will be 6 percent than 4 percent next spring. This lights a fire under buyers.”

Source: “Discounts Expected in Spring Housing Market,” The Wall Street Journal (March 22, 2011)

Posted in Affordability, Finance/Lending, First Time Buyers, Palm Springs Lifestyle, Real Estate Sales Palm Springs | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Latest Mortgage News- Obtaining A Loan Is Easier Than You May Think

In a mortgage market that changes as quickly as this one, today’s fact is tomorrow’s fiction.  For buyers, misinformation can be the difference between qualifying for a home loan or not. Sellers and owners, knowledge is foreclosure-preventing, smart decision-making power! Without further ado, let’s correct some common mortgage misconceptions.

1.       Myth: Buyers with bad credit can’t qualify for home loans. Obviously, mortgage guidelines have tightened up, big time, since the housing bubble burst, and they seem likely to tighten even further over the long-term. But just this moment, they have relaxed a bit.  In the last couple of weeks, two of the nation’s largest lenders of FHA loans announced that they’ve dropped the minimum FICO score guideline from 620 (which allows for some credit imperfections) to 580, which is actually a fairly low score.

At a FICO score of 620, buyers can qualify for FHA loans at many lenders with only 3.5 percent down. With a score of 580, the lenders are looking for more like 5 to 10 percent down – they want to see you put more of your own skin in the game, and the higher down payment lowers the risk that you’ll default.  However, if your credit has taken a recessionary hit, like that of so many Americans, this might create a glimmer of hope that you’ll be able to take advantage of low prices and interest rates without needing years of credit repair.

2.     Myth: The Mortgage Interest Deduction isn’t long for this world. Homeowners saved over $85 billion in 2008 by deducting their mortgage interest on their income tax returns. A few months ago, the National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform caused a massive wave of fear to ripple throughout the world of real estate consumers and professionals when they recommended Mortgage Interest Deduction (MID) reform, which would dramatically reduce the size of the deduction.

Fact is, the Commission made a sweeping set of deficit-busting recommendations to Congress, a few of which are likely to be adopted.  Fortunately for buyers and sellers, MID reform is not one of them.  Very powerful industry groups and economists have been working with Congress to plead the case that MID reform any time in the near future would only handicap the housing recovery.  Congress-folk aren’t interested in stopping the stabilization of the real estate market.  As such, the MID is nearly universally thought of as safe – even by those who disagree that it should be.

3.       Myth:  It’s just a matter of time before loan guidelines loosen up.
The US Treasury Department recently recommended the elimination of mortgage industry giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. I won’t get into the eye-glazing details of it here, but the long and the short is that (a) this is highly likely to happen, and (b) it will make mortgage loans much harder and costlier to get, for both buyers and homeowners.   It’s possible that loans are as easy to get as they’re going to get.  So don’t expect that if you hold out, zero-down mortgages will come back into vogue anytime soon. Fortunately, Fannie and Freddie aren’t likely to disappear for another 5-7 years, so you have a little time to pull your down payment and credit together. If you want to get into the market, the time to get yourself ready is now!

4.       Myth: If you don’t have equity, you can’t refi. Much ado is being made about how stuck so many people are in their bad loans, because they don’t have the equity to refinance their way out of them.  If you’re severely upside down (meaning you own much, much more than your home is worth), stuck may be the situation. But there are actually a couple of ways homeowners can refi their underwater home loans.  If your loan is held by Fannie or Freddie (which you can find out, here), they will actually refinance it up to 125% of its current value, assuming you otherwise qualify for the loan.  That means, if your home is worth $100,000, you could refinance a loan up to $125,000, despite the fact that your home can’t secure the full amount of the loan.

If your loan is not owned by Fannie or Freddie, you might be a candidate for the FHA “Short Refi” program. While most mortgage workout plans are only available to people who are behind on their loans, the Short Refi program is only available to homeowners who are current on their mortgages and need to refinance up to 115 percent of their homes’ value.  So, if you owe $250,000 on your home, you can refinance via an FHA Short Refi even if your home’s value is as low as $217,000. If you think you’re a good candidate for a short refi, contact your mortgage broker, stat – there are some in Congress who think that this program is so underutilized (only 245 applications have been submitted since it rolled out in September – no typo!) that its funding should be diverted to other needy programs.

5.       Myth:
If you’ve lost your job and can’t make your mortgage payment, you might as well mail your keys in.  Until recently, this was essentially true – virtually every loan modification and refinancing opportunity required that your economic hardship be over before you could qualify. And documenting income has always been high on the requirements checklist. But there are some new funds available in the states with the hardest hit housing and job markets, which have been designated specifically for out-of-work homeowners.

The US Treasury Department’s Hardest Hit Fund allocated $7.6 billion to the states listed below – all of which are now using some portion of these funds to offer up to $3,000 per month for up to 36 months in mortgage payment assistance to help unemployed homeowners avoid foreclosure.

Posted in Affordability, Finance/Lending, First Time Buyers, Real Estate Sales Palm Springs, Reo/Short Sale | Tagged , , , , , | 2 Comments

BNP Paribas Open Latest Results

BNP Paribas Open Latest Results

Its a beautiful day in Paradise as we continue with the BNP Paribas Tennis Open- one of the foremost tennis events in the world.

And its all happening in beautiful Indian Wells at the magnificent Indian Wells Tennis Garden all located near Palm Springs California.

This is as good as it gets for tennis. All the world class players; and you can get up front and close to them. So close that you will see the sweat fly off their brow or hear the grunts as they play their match just a few feet from you. The main stadium is quite large but the smaller courts around there are small and intimate so you get to see your favorite players up front and so close.

In other news:

Americans Michael Russell, Ryan Sweeting, Tim Smyczek, Donald Young and Alex Bogomolov Jr. were among the 12 qualifiers at the 2011 BNP Paribas Open.

Russell and Sweeting’s wins came over countrymen, with Russell defeating Alex Kuznetsov 6-3, 7-5 and Sweeting accounting for Jesse Witten 6-1, 6-4.

The 32-year-old Russell and 21-year-old Young will be making their fourth main draw appearance in the desert; Russell reached the fourth round on his debut in 2007 (l. to Chela) and the third round last year (l. to Murray), while Young’s best finish was a third-round run in 2008 (l. to Nadal). Sweeting, Smyczek and Bogomolov will all be making their second appearances.

Somdev Devvarman and Rohan Bopanna made history, as two Indians qualified for the same ATP World Tour Masters 1000 tournament for the first time. Devvarman defeated Australian Greg Jones 6-2, 6-4, while Bopanna edged past German Daniel Brands 7-6(5), 7-6(4).

Australians also had their fair share of success, with Marinko Matosevic, Chris Guccione and Matthew Ebden qualifying. South African Rik de Voest and Italian Flavio Cipolla rounded out the qualifying winners Wednesday.

So come on out and see the best in the world play in the BNP Paribas Open and click on the links for results and ticket information!

The Indian Wells Tennis Garden

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Palm Springs Events Calendar, Event listings for Palm Springs California

Avenue of the stars

Avenue of the stars

Palm Springs Events Calendar, Event listings for Palm Springs California.

Check out the local event calendar for March and while you’re at it don’t forget the Dinah Shore is coming April 1st!

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Tennis Anyone Beautiful Indian Wells Beautiful Tennis and…

Tennis Anyone? Beautiful Indian Wells- Beautiful Tennis- and the magnificent Indian Wells Tennis Garden all located near Palm Springs California. Let’s GO!

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