Turning Technology into Sales

In September, the Walnut Creek office of Alain Pinel Realtors will kick-off a unique new Agent coaching program called “Turning Technology into Sales”.  Led by APR Manager Joseph Cutrufelli, this program is designed to help Agents take their online marketing and business development efforts to the next level.

According to Cutrufelli:  “Clients in today’s market expect more from their Realtors than just information about local homes for sale.   My agents depend on technolgy to connect with their Clients and provide access to valuable information on market activity, statistics and community information related to Walnut Creek real estate.   We use coaching programs such as this to enable agents at all levels make better use of these tools in order to provide the highest level of service to our Clients”.

During a series of bi-weekly workshops, Realtors in APR’s Walnut Creek office will learn best practices for online lead generation and share strategies for converting online business opportunities into clients, listings and sales.   This exciting new coaching program reflects APR’s corporate philosophy and Manager Joseph Cutrufelli’s committment to the combination of leading-edge technologies and ongoing training/support, with a goal of enhancing Agent sales productivity.

Foreclosure Rescue Scams

Homeowners Beware
Foreclosure Rescue Scams

With the recent rise in foreclosures, foreclosure-related scams have exploded onto the real estate scene. These so-called “foreclosure rescue companies” claim they will help save your home, but in reality are out to make a profit — at your expense.

Red Flags for Foreclosure Rescue Scams
If you are at risk of or in foreclosure, you should be on the lookout for foreclosure scams. Here are some of the red flags to
watch out for:

• Asks for money upfront before providing any service
• Instructs you not to contact your lender, lawyer, housing counselor, family, friends, or others
• Asks for mortgage payments to be made directly to his or her company or a bank account set up by that person, rather than your lender.
• Requires payment only in the form of cash, cashier’s check, or wire transfer
• Promises to stop the foreclosure process, no matter the circumstances
• Advises you to transfer your property deed or title to his or her company
• Offers to fill out paperwork for you
• Asks for something to be done immediately and without delay. This includes pressuring you into signing paperwork that you have not had the chance to read thoroughly or do not fully understand
• Encourages you to lease your house and buy it back over time
• Offers to buy your house for a fixed price that is not set by the housing market at the time of sale
• Asks for you to give a power of attorney
• Asks for signatures on a grant deed or deed of trust
• Asks for signatures on a document that has lines left blank
• Fails to provide copies of signed documents
• Refuses or fails to put an oral promise in writing

Report Fraud
If you have been a victim of a foreclosure-related scam or approached by a scam artist, you may report the incident to the following organizations and government enforcement agencies:

• California Attorney General
http://ag.ca.gov
• California Department of Real Estate
http://www.dre.ca.gov/
• Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD)
http://www.hud.gov/
• Federal Trade Commission (FTC)
http://www.ftc.gov/
• Your local Better Business Bureau
http://www.bbb.org/

Legitimate Resources
If you are at risk of foreclosure or have already received a foreclosure notice, you should contact your lender immediately.  Homeowners also may seek the advice of a reputable housing, financial or credit counselor, attorney, or other qualified professional.
Homeowners may visit the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Web site at http://www.hud.gov/ to view its Guide to Avoiding Foreclosure and its list of California HUD-approved housing counseling agencies. In addition, the non-profit
Homeownership Preservation Foundation has a 24/7 toll-free Homeowner’s HOPE Hotline at (999) 995-HOPE.

Copyright© 2009 CALIFORNIA ASSOCIATION OF REALTORS® (C.A.R.). Permission is granted to C.A.R. members only to reproduce this material for non-commercial purposes. Other reproduction or use is strictly prohibited without the express written permission of the C.A.R. Legal Department. All rights reserved.

The information contained herein is believed to be accurate as of April 9, 2009. It is intended to provide general answers to general questions and is not intended as a substitute for individual
legal advice. Advice in specific situations may differ depending upon a wide variety of factors. Therefore, readers with specific legal questions should seek the advice of an attorney.

APR and InnerCircle.com – Putting Word of Mouth on the Web

We are pleased to announce that Alain Pinel Realtors has an affiliation with a new web service called InnerCircle.com. InnerCircle is putting local word of mouth references on the web, giving local businesses the ability to listen in to the questions and needs of people in the community around them.

InnerCircle represents an opportunity for you to build relationships with people in your community who are looking for local service experts like dentists, accountants, and real estate professionals. We are currently running APR ads across the real estate related categories on this new site. We have also put the contact information and photos of each of our Alain Pinel Realtors agents in their local business directory. This will allow people to easily refer you to their friends and others in the local community.

InnerCircle is really quite simple: Users post questions about what they are looking for. These questions are on the InnerCircle site and users can also post the questions back to their Facebook profiles for their friends on Facebook to see. Others in the community have an opportunity to answer local questions and be seen as “local experts”. It’s really that simple.

InnerCircle is new and will be adding all sorts of new features in the months ahead. As they grow, you should start to see more questions and activity in your neighborhood. Use the site as an easy way to establish new relationships with the people around you.

Follow APR on Twitter @apr

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Now you can follow APR  on  Twitter  @a_p_r

This week @a_p_r will be “tweeting” to you live from the Inman Connect SF technology conference at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco.  Follow @a_p_r on Twitter to receive updates about technology tips, web resources and conference highlights.
If you don’t have a Twitter account, go to http://www.twitter.com to sign up.

APR Investment Group Launches New Website

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This week the APR Investment Group, led by Managing Director Stephen Pugh, launched , a new website for their commercial real estate practice.  Point your browser to www.aprinvestmentgroup.com to preview the new site.

The site features an updated design and iconic images from the San Francisco Bay Area.   Other features of the site include a featured listing gallery, detailed property information, and a Client Account login area.

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