Tips for Earthquake Safety

Earthquake Preparedness involves more than just stocking your home with earthquake preparedness supplies. Although that is an important task, Fidelity recommends a five-step program including planning, eliminating hazards, disaster kits for home and car, knowing how to be safe during an earthquake, and knowing what to do after an earthquake.

We hope the following flyer is helpful for you and your clients

Download a PDF of this flyer: Tips for Earthquake Safety


Earthquake Safety

Proposition 5 – Property Tax Transfer Initiative

This Initiative would allow California’s senior citizens to sell their home and buy another, retaining some or all of their Proposition 13 property tax savings.

Why is This Needed?

Under Proposition 13, homeowners are protected from rapidly increasing property taxes. However, seniors, who are a big property tax increase if they sell their existing home and buy another one, discouraging them from ever moving. As a result of this “moving penalty,” almost three-quarters of homeowners 55 and older haven’t moved since 2000. This initiative will allow them to sell their home while keeping some property tax protections, and therefore create homeownership opportunities for young families.

How Do Property Tax Assessments Work Now?

real-estate-taxesThe amount any homeowner pays in property taxes is based on the assessed value of their home at the time of purchase. Generally, Proposition 13 limits property taxes to 1% of the assessed value at the time of purchase even if the value of the property subsequently increases.

Unfortunately, homeowners lose their Proposition 13 property tax savings when they move to another home. Under another law, Proposition 60, senior homeowners – defined as 55 years of age or older – are allowed to transfer their property tax bases to another home in the same county so long as the purchase price of the replacement home is equal to, or less than, the sale price of the original residence.

Under Proposition 60, a senior homeowner is limited to making only one such transfer over the course of his or her lifetime. And, if the spouse of a senior homeowner has already transferred a property tax base, that senior homeowner is disqualified from making another transfer of the tax base.

Proposition 90 is an extension of the original Proposition 60 program. Proposition 90 allows senior homeowners to transfer their property tax base to a home in a different county so long as that county accepts such transfers (at last count, only 11 counties in California are accepting transfers from other counties).

Propositions 60 and 90 are relatively limited. That’s where Proposition 5 comes in.

How Will the Initiative Work?

1985238-senior-woman-celebrating-in-chair-at-homeProp 5 would allow homeowners 55 years of age or older to transfer some of their Proposition 13 property tax bases to a home of any price, located anywhere in the state, any number of times.

What’s Next?

Prop 5 will now appear on the November 2018 ballot to decide it’s fate.

Where Can I Find More Information?

California Association of Realtors

916.492.5200

portability@car.org

https://ballotpedia.org/California_Proposition_5,_Property_Tax_Transfer_Initiative_(2018)

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Computer Security 101

With recent reports of fraud targeting real estate transaction on the rise, it is now more important than ever to help protect and educate our clients. Through education and awareness, together we can help to ensure that you have the knowledge to protect yourself from the anguish and consequences of cybercrime and fraud. While there is never a fool-proof formula, there are a few simple tactics to help avoid the potential devastation of getting hacked:

Passwords

PasswordChange your username or, at least, your password(s) on a regular basis. Ensure that you select a strong password using more sophisticated tactics perhaps even deploying the use of a “password manager” to generate them for you. As our passwords have evolved, so have the systems engineered to crack the code. Today, systems built to hack passwords can attempt as many as 350 BILLION guesses per second. Choosing a password you can remember tat is still considered secure has become an art form. At the very least, be sure to utilize a combination of letters, cases, numbers and symbols and be prepared to update it regularly.

WIFI

Coffee Shop securityBe aware of unsecured public WiFi While there is no denying the convenience of public WiFi, special precautions are required to ensure that you are not susceptible to crafty hackers. Protect yourself by keeping your WiFi off when you don’t need it. Further protect yourself by turning off sharing in your system preferences or Control Panel. Enable the “https” option on websites that you visit to add an extra layer of encryption to your online activity.

PROTECT YOURSELF

relevantantivirus-keyBe sure that you have updated your system’s antivirus software or malware detection. Because cyber-threats change so quickly, it is especially important to ensure you have the latest version installed to be prepared for new attacks.

 

 

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Introducing FIDELITY TOTAL FARM

Fidelity is pleased to announce the latest website to help you set up a farm area, analyze the homes in your area, decide which homes to target and manage your farms in many, many ways.


From the website, you can download the complete Fidelity Total Farm or drill into the targeted tabs to better pinpoint your marketing efforts.

Map


Statistics are provided on your farm area so you can establish what exactly is going on in your farm area including owner occupied; absentee; # of years owned; and several others

Graphs


Manage multiple farm areas and have them stored on one site. No more searching for lost emails and needing to contact your title company when you need the farm updated

Farm List

Contact me to learn more…

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Tips for Successful Farming

IPadSuccessful farming should be the cornerstone of every agent’s marketing efforts.Top producers say this is the key to acquiring new leads. Here at Fidelity we have compiled many tips over the years. Here are the best of the best:

Set Up a Database for Your Farm Areas – Create a profile of each home in the farm. Whether on your computer or just in a rolodex or card file, this should include any pertinent information including: birthdays, names, # of kids, pets, etc. Record dates visited, topics discussed—anything that will help you identify this household.

Know Your Competition – Find out what your competitors are doing in your area. Timing can affect the impact of your newsletters and other distributions. If you know what your competition is doing, you will be better able to plan your strategy.

Think Creatively – Use your imagination. You want to get the envelope opened and your letter read! Keep your eye out for clever or unique ideas and try to apply them to your marketing effort. Adapt ideas to each specific area.

Walk Your Farm – Learn the best times to call on people within your farm. Avoid calling too early or too late. Carry a ‘walking farm’ package with you so you know specific property information. Be empathetic with people and sensitive to their individual problems and routines.

Learn to Handle Rejection – It may take a lot of no’s before you get a yes. Your attitude will play an important part, so think positively and don’t get discouraged.

Don’t Forget Your Biggest Source of Referrals – Your friends, family and past clients can be a goldmine!

Target Farm – Your farm database should consist of 300-500 homes. Know your area including churches, schools, markets, etc. Focus on these clients instead of sending out thousands and thousands of letters in a ‘shotgun’ marketing attempt.

Label Your Farm – You should categorize your farms to target in on specific future clients. The following are some categories you can use to name your farms:

Non Owner Occupied – Send newsletters, brochures, pictures of the property to the owner. In a lot of these cases, the owner lives out of state and doesn’t see the property very often. Keep them in touch with their investment.

New Owner – Set up a “Welcome Wagon.” Provide community information and introduce them to their new neighbors.

Equity Owner – If the owners have lived in their home for at least 2 years, they are more likely to make a change. If they are happy to remain in their home, suggest they take advantage of their equity by refinancing and purchasing other property.

Homeowner’s Exemption – Make up note cards informing owner’s that they haven’t taken advantage of the homeowner’s exemption available to them. Attach your business card and distribute to all whom this applies to in your farm.

Real Estate Agent  – Identify all real estate agents within your farm…Get to know the competition. Your local Board of Realtors can help you with this information.

Why Do You Need Title Insurance?

TitleAndKeys

(Click here to download a pdf version of this post suitable for forwarding to your clients.)

Title Insurance. It’s a term we hear and see frequently — we see reference to it in the Sunday real estate section, in advertisements and in conversations with real estate brokers. If you’ve purchased a home before, you’re probably familiar with the benefits and procedures of title insurance. But if this is your first home, you may wonder, “Why do I need another insurance policy? It’s just one more bill to pay.”

The answer is simple: The purchase of a home is most likely one of the most expensive and important purchases you will ever make. You, and your mortgage lender, want to make sure that the property is indeed yours —lock, stock and barrel —and that no individual or government entity has any right, lien, claim to your property.

Title insurance companies are in business to make sure your rights and interests to the property are clear, that transfer of title takes place efficiently and correctly and that your interests as a homebuyer are protected to the maximum degree.

Fidelity National Title provides services to buyers, sellers, real estate developers, builders, mortgage lenders and others who have an interest in a real estate transfer. Fidelity routinely issue two types of policies — “owner’s,” which cover you, the homebuyer; and “lender’s,” which covers the bank, savings and loan or other lending institution over the life of the loan. Both are issued at the time of purchase for a modest, one-time premium.

Before issuing a policy, however, Fidelity National Title performs an extensive search of relevant public records to determine if anyone other than you has an interest in the property. The search may be performed by title company personnel using either public records or more likely, information gathered, reorganized and indexed in the company’s title “plant.”

With such a thorough examination of records, any title problems usually can be found and cleared up prior to your purchase of the property. Once a title policy is issued, if for some reason any claim which is covered under your title policy is ever filed against your property, the title company will pay the legal fee involved in defense of your rights, as well as any covered loss arising from a valid claim. That protection, which is in effect as long as you or your heirs own the property, is yours for a one-time premium paid at the time of purchase.

The fact that Fidelity National Title works to eliminate risks before they develop makes title insurance decidedly different from other types of insurance you may have purchased. Most forms of insurance assume risks by providing financial protection through a pooling of risks for losses arising from an unforeseen event, say a fire, theft or accident. The purpose of title insurance, on the other hand, is to eliminate risks and prevent losses caused by defects in title that happened in the past. Risks are examined and mitigated before property changes hands.

This risk elimination has benefits to both you, the home buyer, and the title company: it minimizes the chances adverse claims might be raised, and by so doing reduces the number of claims that have to be defended or satisfied. This keeps costs down for the title company and your title premiums low.

Buying a home is a big step emotionally and financially. With title insurance you are assured that any valid claim against your property will be borne by the title company, and that the odds of a claim being filed are slim indeed. Isn’t sleeping well at night, knowing your home is yours, reason enough for title insurance?