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Author: United American Mortgage Corporation

The Important Role of Testimonials in Gaining the Trust of Clients

Client testimonials and their power in marketing.

People can often be skeptical when choosing a realtor. If they hear even one not-so-great story about your services, it could send them running to your competitor. If you want to become a real estate agent people trust, gaining the trust of clients, showcasing your success, and displaying testimonials are essential.

How Testimonials Help

One of the best things you can do for your business is to gather testimonials. The effectiveness of testimonials is rooted in the concept of ‘social proof,’ which states that people are more likely to do something if others who they respect and know are informed and are already doing it. Testimonials provide a window through which clients can visualize what it’s like to do business with you. They can even highlight your strengths and expertise. In the crowded and competitive real estate market, this can set you apart from the rest of the field.

Effective Testimonial

For a testimonial to be effective, it has to be authentic. People can spot a fake testimonial and may be put off your business for good. A good testimonial is one that:

  • Reflects your strengths and expertise
  • Refers to how you address the client’s specific needs
  • Compares you to the competition favorably
  • Sounds sincere and credible

Collecting Testimonials

Whenever you have a positive experience with a client, it’s wise to ask for a testimonial. Staying engaged and maintaining a good relationship with your clients even after a sale has been completed will make it easier to request reviews. You can also adopt a system that allows you to ask for testimonials without having to chase clients. A great way to do this is to include links, auto-responders, call-to-action features, and similar tools where clients can easily leave feedback.

Testimonials can help land you the trust of clients and prospects. At Dean Rathbun, we know how to make testimonials work for you. Learn more about how we can help your growing agency.

Steps to Re-List a Property That Isn’t Selling

Listing not moving? Here’s what to do.

As a real estate agent, you may come across a property in your career that doesn’t budge when you put it on the market. It can be difficult to know what to do and how to handle it, especially as the market can fluctuate often. For tips on how to re-list a property that isn’t selling, read on.

Firstly, you need to determine why it isn’t selling. Perhaps the homeowners are too unrealistic with their sale price, perhaps they need to remodel to attract the right buyers, or perhaps you need to dig deeper into why it’s not compelling possible homeowners.

Next, you’ll want to do the following three steps:

  • Talk to the homeowners face to face. Make sure all the decision makers will attend.
  • Know your audience. Before the meeting, make an effort to understand the seller’s point of view. If you don’t, you may be out of rapport with their perspective.
  • Make sense. Let the homeowners know the national, state, and city stats versus what is happening locally in the market. Show them what is happening right on their doorstep.

You’ll want to give the homeowner three options. Instead of simply presenting comps to a homeowner and mutually agreeing on a price, it’s advisable to utilize this three-option pricing strategy to make the home as compelling as possible.

Above Fair Market Value (Not compelling) – Talk about pricing above the fair market value, and how having the higher pricing strategy hasn’t worked so far.

Fair Market Value (Compelling) – Pricing at the fair market value is based strictly on the comps. This will make the property more compelling, and that certainly has its advantages.

Below Fair Market (Most compelling) – What really makes a property more compelling? When you set a price that is competitive for the local marketing. You may spark a bidding war and feeding frenzy around the property.

Talking to the homeowners will help you to understand their expectations and move forward in the re-listing process.

Re-listing a home can be a minefield. Luckily, the team at Dean Rathbun can help homeowners and agents alike. Whether you’re looking for the right home loan or resources to expand your agency, we’re here to help. Visit our team to learn more.

Don’t Miss the Costa Mesa Community Run

Join in the Costa Mesa Community Run coming September 23!

Don’t miss the 11th Annual Costa Mesa Community Run that will take place September 23, 2018, at Fairview Park. The event features one of the best 5K and 10K courses you’ll find in Southern California! The run will be fun for the whole family – so get everyone involved! What’s more, this year they are offering a new low price for the Family Fun Run. Dress up in your favorite superhero costume and run the course that is less than 1 mile.

All attendees that finish the run will receive a custom designed race t-shirt and a goodie bag loaded with great surprises.

The race promises to be bigger and better than before:

  • Start and finish inside the stadium at Estancia High School
  • Professionally timed event for accurate results
  • Unique cross-country style course
  • Enjoy the beautiful trails of Fairview Park
  • Designed tech t-shirts for every participant
  • Mostly flat and suitable for all abilities
  • Benefitting education foundations of Costa Mesa

The Costa Mesa Community Run has been able to grant nearly $150,000 to the schools of Costa Mesa. This has allowed the youth of Costa Mesa to take steps to achieve their goals and better the community. Bring your friends along for a fun day! Join your neighbors and fellow runners for one of the best races of the year.

For more information about the Costa Mesa Community Run, click here.

The Costa Mesa community is one of the best! Whether you’re looking for a quality home loan to land you your Californian dream property or a growing agency looking for connections, the team at Dean Rathbun can help. Contact us for more information!

Understanding the Home Appraisal Process

What you should know about home appraisals.

Do you know what a home appraisal is, or why it is so important for you to have? Many people misunderstand this crucial component of the home buying experience. In essence, an appraisal is a valuation of your home – it is needed to ensure the homebuyer, the home seller, and the mortgage lender receives the accurate value of the real estate in question.

Generally, you can choose your real estate agent and lender, but you cannot choose your appraiser. The appraiser will be chosen by your lender to provide a level of independence from the buyer and seller. This helps to produce an unbiased report on the worth of the house.

The most important component involved in arriving at a property’s value is called comparable sales, or comps for short. These are similar properties, usually located within a mile or so of your property, that have sold within the last 90 days. The appraiser will compare the home’s features against the comparables’ features to get a better understanding of the home’s value. Factors range from square footage, appearances, amenities, and condition. The appraiser will take special note of improvements that greatly add value to a home. These include new flooring, kitchen and bathroom remodeling, adding living space in a basement, and additions to the property.

Once the appraiser has inspected the property, he or she will provide a written report with their analysis and conclusions about the property’s value. If the home appraises at or above the purchase price, then you’ve completed a major step in the home-buying process and can move towards closing! Sometimes, a home will appraise for much less than the agreed-upon purchase price. Generally, you will have a legal way out of the sale if the appraisal comes in too low. Another option is to renegotiate for a lower sale price based on the appraised value.

Have more questions about the home appraisal process? Buying a home is no small feat, so it pays to have a trusted, experienced professional on your side! Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

Best Golf Courses in Palm Desert

Enjoy a game of golf? Check out these top-rated courses.

Whether you are an avid golfer or a seasonal player, you may know that nothing quite beats a Californian golf course. The lush green grass, constant sunshine, and fresh air make ideal conditions for every golfer. If you have yet to check out the top golf courses in Palm Desert, here are a few to try!

Desert Willow Golf Resort

Known to be well maintained, have good deals, and challenging enough to be fun, golfers should check out this stunning location. It’s highly rated as one of the most beautiful courses in all of Palm Springs, and this course doesn’t let you down. Complete with cactus plants and wildflowers, you can truly enjoy nature while having a round of golf. 

Marriott’s Shadow Ridge Golf Club
Located in the Coachella Valley, Shadow Ridge Golf Club enjoys over 350 days of sunshine and blue skies every year. This beautiful and peaceful valley is often referred to as the “golf capital of the world” because of its ideal playing conditions and abundance of courses.

Palm Desert Country Club

Palm Desert Country Club is a premier golf club in Palm Desert and the Coachella Valley. Renowned for its wide fairways and subtle greens, the Palm Desert Golf Club appeals to golfers of all levels. The golf course and golf clubhouse have recently undergone tasteful renovations. Come play a round of golf and see why generations of golfers have hailed Palm Desert Country Club as a “must-visit” golf course

Are you looking for a home loan to land your dream home in California? If you’re interested in learning how you can get the best loan for your needs, the team at Dean Rathbun is ready to help!

Don’t Miss the 2018 OC Fair!

The OC Fair is back and it starts tomorrow! 

Are you ready for ultimate summer fun? Running from July 13th to August 12th, the OC Fair is back and bigger than ever. During the 23-day event, you can enjoy live entertainment, shop from local vendors, marvel at exhibitions, check out the competitions, and indulge in some seriously good eats.

The carnival is what you’re going for, right? There are a wide variety of rides, ranging from the Wheel, Balloon Ride, Carousel, Crazy Coaster, Galaxy Coaster, Super Slide, Zipper, and lots more! There are rides to suit people of all ages and are fun for the whole family.

This year, the 10th Annual OC Fair Fun Run 5K will be held on Sunday, August 5th at 8:00 a.m. Gather your family and friends to enjoy this run around the whole fair! Additional exhibitions include The Courtyard Wine Seminars (designed to wow your inner wine connoisseur), and city days celebrations.

Quite possibly the best line up to date is that of the exhibits. Joining us for the first time is My Fair Selfie, a pop-up palace of photo fun. Opening July 20th, don’t miss this year’s must-see exhibit. Along with culinary exhibits, garden and floral displays, crafts, visual arts, a heroes hall, and more, there is plenty to do and see!

OC Fair Hours
Wednesday-Friday: Noon – Midnight
Saturday-Sunday: 11 a.m. – Midnight
Monday-Tuesday: Closed

What are you waiting for? Grab your tickets here! Bring the whole family for extra summer fun.

From the team at Dean Rathbun, we hope that you and your family enjoy this special event. Contact us for all of your home loan needs.

Fun Fourth of July Events in Costa Mesa

Don’t miss these exciting July 4th local events!

There is no other celebration quite like Independence Day, falling on July 4th of every year. On July 4, 1776, the thirteen colonies claimed their independence from England, helping to eventually form the United States. This holiday is one of the most significant national holidays in the U.S., and us Americans are only right to celebrate in style! To get involved in Costa Mesa celebrations, check out these events!

Pacific Symphony: Music of Chicago

July 4, 8:00 p.m. | Pacific Amphitheatre @ OC Fair & Event Center

Celebrate the Fourth with the music of Chicago, known as the “rock and roll band with horns.” With hits like “You’re the Inspiration,” “25 or 6 to 4,” “If You Leave Me Now,” and “Hard to Say I’m Sorry,” you’ll be swept away by the melodies that make this band such a beloved classic. To cap off the evening, sing along to your favorite patriotic tunes as we salute our armed forces and thrill to a sizzling fireworks show. This year, parking is free!

Concert On The Green and Firework Festival 

July 4, 3:00 p.m. | Irvine High School Stadium

Hosted by the Irvine Police Association, this event is a Pyro Musical sky concert & Fireworks extravaganza! This year’s event will be featuring live music by the Derek Bordeaux Group, Professional Field Entertainers with Field Games and Activities, Bounce Houses, Raffle with Prizes & Gourmet Food Trucks (food available for purchase).

Fourth of July at Centennial Park

July 4, 4:00 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. | Centennial Park, Santa Ana

The city of Santa Ana will celebrate Independence Day fireworks at 9 p.m. Celebration begins at 4 p.m. (activities end at 8 p.m.) with live music, delicious food, youth sports activities, kids jump zone, face painting, and more! Along with the fun, children will have a chance to meet important figures from American History at our annual History Walk and see a civil war cannon display. To end the festivities, a 20-minute firework finale will light up the night sky! So bring the family, a picnic, and lawn chairs, and enjoy a fun-filled evening!

4th of July Parade & Pier Festival 

July 1-4, 9:00 a.m. – 10:00 p.m. | Multiple locations

Complete with live entertainment, exhibitors, food vendors, a parade, 5K run, and fireworks, don’t miss this spectacular event to celebrate the fourth of July.

 From the team at Dean Rathbun, we hope that you have a fun and safe fourth of July! For all of your property buying needs, get in contact with us today.

3 Ways to Research a Property Online

Find out about properties before you purchase.

These days, nearly every home search starts online. Sorting through listings, photos, floor plans, and descriptions is a great way to suss out the market for those who are just starting to house hunt. When you find a home you love and are ready to bid on it, it’s wise to find out as much information as you can about the property before you place your bid. Fortunately, there are a few ways to find out more about your chosen property!

Check Building Records

Nearly all public information and documentation is now available online, so you can check the building’s permit history. The law requires most sellers to disclose previous work done on the property. However, there may be a history of earlier work that the seller didn’t know about. For example, if there is a newer kitchen but no history of a permit for a work, there may be a chance that someone did the work without a permit. This could be an issue, especially if they violated health or safety codes.

View It On Google Street

Simply type in the address to Google Maps and click on the street view. Street view provides a snapshot of a property at a particular moment in time, which can provide insight into the recent history of the property or neighborhood. Keep in mind that the image that pops up may not accurately reflect the home’s current state. You may spot something that raises questions about the neighborhood safety or the structure of the home. For example, if there were bars on the windows previously, then you may question why there are no bars on the windows now.

Download a Neighborhood Crime App

A variety of crime reporting apps for mobile devices show recent crimes that have been reported on a map, including assault, theft, robbery, homicide, vehicle theft, sex offenders, and quality of life (which often means noise complaints). This is an easy way to get an overview of how easy and safe the neighborhood is to live in.

Being prepared for a home sale or purchase is critical. Ensure that you know how to handle it by relying on the expertise of a professional mortgage corporation. Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

House Hunting Tips to Help You Make the Right Choice

Find the home of your dreams with these tips in hand.

In pursuit of the perfect house, it’s easy to get carried away by a potential home’s beautiful characteristics. However, it’s important that you don’t push aside the important stuff that you’ll be kicking yourself for later. If you are inspecting multiple houses, there is every chance that you’re going to end up feeling exhausted and frustrated. However, a few organization tips and simple strategic steps can help you find the home of your dreams without the stress and worry. Here are our tips to help you stay focused on finding the right home for your needs.

Set your priorities. Before looking at any houses, make a list of what you definitely want, such as three bedrooms or a large backyard for the dog. Then list features that you would like, but aren’t entirely deal-breakers. Once you only view homes with your must-haves, you can narrow down your choice and finally view homes that are right for you.

Take photos. When you start to house hunt, it can be overwhelming to remember all the homes that you’ve seen. Help to keep track of all the homes by taking notes and photos. That way you’re better able to remember which home was which. However, before you take photos, remember to ask the realtor for permission. 

Make a comparison chart. After you have seen multiple houses, make a spreadsheet that compares details of each house against your priority list. Remember to make notes after each visit so that properties are fresh in your mind. Include notes on landscaping, the condition of the roof, natural light in each room, time of day, storage space, and price.

Envision yourself in the space. Just because the current owner has the second bedroom set up as an office doesn’t mean you can’t use it as a home gym or baby nursery. Wall colors, furniture arrangement, and window treatments can all be swapped out, so use your imagination to put yourself in the home.

Look high and low. When we view a property, it’s easy to rush through the property to get the feel of it and view the layout. It’s important to take your time so that you look high and low, too, spotting any problems that may be present. Make a point of focusing on things outside of your usual line of vision.

Buying a home is no small feat, so it pays to have a trusted, experienced professional on your side! Contact Dean Rathbun when it comes time to finding the perfect plan of action to buy your home. We are happy to help you.

Is Buying a ‘Starter Home’ Still Smart?

Pros and cons of buying a starter home.  

As generations come and go, so do traditions and right of ways. When the Baby Boomer generation was moving into adulthood, it was common to buy a ‘starter home,’ often considered a modest, small property. As their families and careers grew, they moved into larger homes. These days, many individuals and couples struggle to come up with the down payment for a first home. They may even wonder if it is smarter to wait and save more money so that they can buy a bigger and better home to settle in. If you’re on the fence, here are some advantages and disadvantages that come along with buying a starter home.

Advantages:

  • It builds stability quickly.

A great benefit that often strikes most people is the stability they feel when they become homeowners. They may feel more grounded, less constricted by landlord rules, and part of a larger community. Finally, they can call a property ‘theirs.’ Many new homeowners enjoy decorating, entertaining, and enjoying their own space.

  • Builds equity.

Generally, when you get into your first home, you can realize some equity. If you can commit to a significant period of time, such as five to seven years, there’s a chance that you can come out well ahead. That is, if you keep up with home maintenance and improvements that add value.

Disadvantages:

  • Buying twice means moving twice.

If you think you’ll be ready to upgrade in just a few years, it could be more cost-effective to save and stretch for the larger house. That way, you can stay in it longer without the hassle (and expense) of moving twice in a short period of time.

  • You may spend more than you wanted to.

There are some definitive costs when it comes to homeownership, from property taxes, mortgage payments, to furniture, landscaping, and maintenance expenses. Some parts of homeownership are trial and error. If you’re not ready to be responsible for a load of expenses, you might be better off renting until you have saved up enough for a long-term home.

Contact Dean Rathbun when you’re looking to secure the right mortgage for your needs. We work with your credit score and financial picture to ensure that you lock in the right home loan to land that house of your dreams. Give us a call to get started.