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PRIVACY STATEMENT

TRADEMARK TITLE SERVICES, INC., 13875 Highway 13 South, Suite 126, Savage, MN 55378

We recognize and respect the privacy expectations of today’s consumers and the requirements of applicable federal and state privacy laws. We want you to be aware of how we use your non-public personal information (“Personal Information”), and with whom such information may be shared, to ensure that you understand that we take your privacy seriously, that we strive to limit the scenarios in which we share such information without your permission, and we are happy to work with you to further refine or limit the scenarios in which such information is shared, to the extent we are able.

This privacy statement provides an explanation of our policies regarding such issues. We reserve the right to change our privacy practices from time to time consistent with applicable privacy laws or operational changes within our company, provided such changes do not have a material adverse impact upon your privacy rights.

In the course of the title, closing, or related work we perform on your behalf, we collect an array of Personal Information from you or from others on your behalf. Some of the Personal Information received or collected may include social security numbers, driver’s license numbers, contact information and the like. Such information may be obtained from sources including but not limited to the following:

1.   Applications, email correspondence, phone calls, form documents, or other forms we receive from you or your real estate agent, loan/mortgage broker or similarly authorized representative;

2.   Prior or other current transactions with, or business relationships you have had with us or with our affiliates (including but not limited to RE/MAX Advantage Plus, which is an affiliated business with Trademark Title Services, Inc.);

3.   Internet web sites or other digital media operated by us or by our affiliates, through which you may voluntarily provide information;

4.   Public records maintained by governmental entities (such as the County Recorder, Registrar of Titles, Department of Revenue or similar governmental agencies, offices or organizations) from whom we may need to obtain information necessary for or applicable to your business with us; and

5.   Credit agencies or other consumer date or reporting agencies from whom we may need to obtain information necessary for or applicable to your business with us.

Our policies regarding the protection of the confidentiality and security of your Personal Information

We maintain physical, electronic and procedural safeguards to protect your Personal Information from unauthorized access or intrusion.  We can never guaranty that such information cannot be compromised or breached, in light of the many noteworthy data breaches in which retail, financial, medical and other entities and their customers or clients have been victims. However, within our company we strive to limit access to your Personal Information only to those employees who need such access in connection with the services we deliver to you. Our data security, file security, and employee training protocol and procedures are all designed and implemented in a way that we believe focuses on the importance of keeping your confidential and private Personal Information secure. However, there may be instances in which some of your Personal Information is shared with others, in limited instances for legitimate business purposes, as detailed below.

Our policies and practices regarding the sharing of your Personal Information

We may share your personal information with the following entities or individuals or under the following circumstances:

1.   A limited group of service providers and business organizations that you have selected to do business with in connection with the matter in which we are serving you. Examples of such businesses, organizations or individuals include but are not limited to real estate companies, insurance companies, appraisers, home owners associations, surveyors, city or municipal property tax/utilities/zoning authorities, accountants or attorneys with whom you are working or who have identified a legitimate and appropriate business purpose for which your information is needed.

2.   Businesses and service providers who are related to the transaction (such as agents, title companies or lenders representing or assisting another party to the transaction) or to those companies who perform marketing, communications, or other services on our behalf (such as courier, document recording, etc.).

3.   Selected providers who are not directly connected to the transaction or the services we are performing on your behalf. In such instances, if the information does not need to be shared for a material business purpose that is necessary for us to be able to assist you with the services in which you have engaged us, we will obtain your authorization to release such information before doing so.

4.   Entities or individuals when you direct or give us permission to do so, when we are required by law to do so, or when we suspect fraudulent or criminal activities and your Personal Information is identified in connection with any reporting we must do for risk management, licensing, or compliance.

5.   Entities or individuals when permitted by applicable privacy laws. For example, when disclosure of your Personal Information is necessary in connection with enforcing our rights arising out of any agreement, transaction, or relationship we have with you.

We do not have control over, nor shall we be held responsible for the use, misuse, or data breach of any individual or organization outside of our company with whom your Personal Information has been shared.

One of the important responsibilities we perform, or that vendors perform at our direction or supervision, is recording documents in the public domain. Such documents may contain your personal information, as is typical and customary for deeds, mortgages, certain tax records, and other recorded or publicly filed information.

Requests for accessing your Personal Information, correcting errors, request changes or deletion, opting out, or obtaining additional information:

Certain states afford you the right to access your personal information and, under certain circumstances, to find out to whom your personal information has been disclosed. Also, certain states afford you the right to request correction, amendment, or deletion of your personal information. Any time you are afforded such a right and make such a request, we strive to timely and properly honor such requests. Similarly, if you request that your Personal Information be removed from mailing, contact or distribution lists, or you would like to “opt out” from any information that we may share with providers or businesses where the sharing of such information is not necessary for the services we perform for you, you can make all such requests by written notice sent to the address below.

All requests must be made in writing to the following address:

Privacy Compliance Officer

13875 Highway 13 South, Suite 126

Savage, MN 55378

Multiple products or services

If we serve you in multiple transactions or in multiple capacities, you may receive our privacy policy and notice on more than one occasion.  Please be sure to read the policy on each such occasion, as it may change from time to time. We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

Connecting Across Generations

So much of the real estate industry—really any client-facing industry— is about making connections.  Connecting to prospective clients in a way they will receive that interaction best, may just be the first thought you need to have when beginning to build clientele. The challenge then becomes keeping these client connections strong and positive.

The unique aspect about our industry, is that the client-base isn’t a narrow or specific demographic, but rather a wide and broad one. For instance, one sale you may be working with Millennials and the next Baby Boomers. Additionally, Gen Z is now entering the arena of home-buying as well!

Each generation has its own unique experiences, needs, desires, communication styles and more. We hope to help you serve them better, by sharing a few insights on how to reach and communicate across generations.

Marketing

While some traditional marketing methods will reach the Baby Boomer generation, reaching the younger generations should also largely be done online.

“Millennials and Generation Z are at home on the Internet,” says Iris Stephan
Owner of Stephan Immobilien. “As digital natives, they are very familiar with the digital world and should therefore be addressed directly on the Internet. 

However, just throwing an image of your print ad on Facebook or Instagram isn’t going to cut it. Legitimately understanding the online marketing tools on each app and comfortably using platforms that your target market uses on a daily basis, will be key.

 “On Facebook, for example, I mainly reach Generation X, while young people are more likely to be found on Instagram,” Stephan says. “Video platforms like TikTok are also places where you can reach Generation Z well—provided your content is interesting.”

Then there’s the issue of your website. Each generation will expect different things and interact differently with the technology and resources you provide.

“For some time now, we have been offering the option to digitally fill out and submit forms and contracts on our website,” says Stephan. “Many Millennials and Generation Z immediately took advantage of this option. Boomers, however, still prefer to print out the agreement and fill it out by hand. Many young people don’t even have a printer anymore.”

Communication

For the most part, those in the younger generations grew up with the internet and are accustomed to fast, almost-immediate communication.


“Responding to messages as quickly as possible is essential.” says Stephan. “Since it’s not possible to respond around the clock, this is where modern technology can help.”

She suggests considering automated emails, installing chatbox on your website, and utilizing apps like WhatsApp.

Conversely, Baby Boomers might prefer a weekly phone call with updates or emails, with Gen X likely falling somewhere in the middle.

The important thing is to match the pace of your client as best you can, and to serve them on their comfortable terms,” says Matt Woods, Co-Founder and CEO of SOLD.Com.

Ask your client what kind of communication they prefer and then match their pace. If your client texts often, then text them back often. If they prefer phone calls weekly with updates, use that approach instead.

Consider Their Journey

While each generation certainly has characteristics and experiences that unite them, the first step in connecting with anyone is to ask questions and truly listen. This is a theme we drive home again and again because it’s so important.

Perhaps a Gen Z couple is looking for their first home, but they are still paying off student loans; or maybe a Millennial wants to sell their first home and buy a bigger one for a future family. You might find yourself working with a Baby Boomer who lost a spouse and needs to downsize.

Listen to their stories first. Consider how their generation may impact their goals and decision-making but viewing them first and foremost as a unique and important individual is what will truly set you apart.

Helping Your Client Select the Ideal Neighborhood

When it is time to relocate, your client is not just moving into a new home, they are moving to an entirely new neighborhood with different sights, sounds, adventures and offerings.

Neighbors and neighborhoods can make or break a living experience, and yet are so easily overlooked when a client’s only focus is finding the perfect house.

Before your client moves, it’s important that you encourage them to do their research and look into the neighborhood, meet the neighbors and get a sense for what it would be like if they chose to settle in a specific area.

To get started, here is a brief list of things to consider when helping a client make their final decision.

Meet the neighbors.
  • Encourage your client to walk around the neighborhood in the evening, see who is out and about and introduce themselves. You can do this as well! Asking a few locals about the neighborhood is surely the easiest way to glean an impression and get the insight your clients need.
Pay attention to what the location offers.
  • Although it is all about individual preference when selecting an area, it is beneficial to ask some general questions to really define priorities. Do your clients want to be close to public places or would they rather be away from potential noise and crowds? Does walking distance to neighborhood recreational areas, restaurants or grocery stores sound nice, or is a drive acceptable to get to those locations? Helping your clients consider these questions is how you ensure their future home-owner happiness.
What is the view and landscape like?
  • From newer neighborhoods to more established ones, the scenery can offer big differences in the visual arena. Your clients may be excited about a newer neighborhood location to watch the surroundings evolve, grow and develop or they may be interested in an area that has been in existence longer, with lots of full-grown trees and well rooted landscaping. Either way, the view of their surroundings can mean a lot or very little to a client, but it is another element that should not be overlooked.
Consult with the city.
  • A client may believe they’ve found the perfect sanctuary of solitude—no neighbors as far as the eye can see and perfect tree cover to protect their privacy. However, so much of that can change with city plans or local building permits being issued. When that is set in motion, land begins to be cleared and altered for new projects or breaking ground happens to make way for new homes. Help your clients ask the right questions to discover what the city plans are for the area, so they know what is in store around their potential future property.
Look into local crime.
  • Encourage your client to look into crime and offender statistics and consider these as they prepare to make a final decision. A house may seem perfect and financially feasible, but the location could be less than ideal when it comes to crime. It can be an awkward topic, but a good one to bring up so your client can be well-informed.

While these are just a few ideas to get started, we know that working with clients has opened your eyes to all sorts of preferences and priorities. We’d love to hear from you on what insights and questions you present to help your client select the ideal neighborhood for them!

Pros and Cons of Renovating

There will always be differing opinions on whether or not renovating is a good option for
homeowners, especially in a rapidly changing economic climate like ours today. Many
different factors can make the decision difficult and the outcome murky.
This compilation of the pros and cons of renovating is a great resource to share with
those clients that wrestle with the question of whether to renovate or not.

Pros

Freshens up the space

The first and most obvious pro is giving the home a little refresher. “Sometimes it can
get dull to see the same walls or interior design and shifting a few things can introduce
more comfort.” says Nick Good Broker/Investor with The Good Home Team

Can add value

Some major renovations, like a home addition, can actually add significantly to the value
of the home. “According to The National Association of Realtors, every 1000 square feet
added, increases your home’s value by 30%” quotes Richard Harless of AZ Flat Fee.

Energy efficiency

“Reducing the cost in your utilities not only saves you money, but it’s also a tax
deduction.” says Harless. HVAC systems, windows, lights and insulation can help
reduce the cost of energy and some types, like solar panels, include tax benefits.

Potential for recovered costs

That possible recouping of cost is largely based on the types of renovations done. If
renovations are in-trend and in-demand at the time of the sale, costs are more likely to
be recovered.
“If you are a prospective seller and want to make a profit off of your current property,
renovations may just pay off for you since the housing market is hotter than ever and
buyers are willing to pay a heavy sum for top rated property,” Eyal Pasternak, founder of
Liberty House Buying Group.

Cons

Cost inflation

By now, we’re all acutely aware of the labor shortage and how inflation is making nearly
everything more expensive. This applies to home renovation as well. Costs of labor and
the raw materials are up right now.

Time-consuming

“Renovating isn’t just expensive, it’s time consuming too. Changes that would take a
month normally can go up to two or even more months thanks to a lack of certified
workers,” says Pasternak.

“Bad Decisions”

“Too many people go overboard with personal customization and experiments that leave
a mess… and it later weighs heavy while selling the house,” says Good.

Staying informed

While the current economic climate is battered with inflation, labor shortages and supply
chain issues, many experts believe we are entering a recession which would likely
change most of what makes renovation wise or unwise.
Continue to stay informed about how economic changes impact new construction, labor
force, raw goods and renovation costs in your area. In this way, you can be educated on
how to advise your clients with accurate information–and always remember; each and
every client’s wants and needs are unique! The best way to recommend and advise is
to ask a lot of questions and truly listen!

The Surprising Reality of Resilience

As summer begins and the busy season is in full swing, you may already be feeling the signs of burnout begin. Long hours, numerous calls and unending emails start taking a toll on that balance you’ve tried to build into your life. Instead of focusing on preventing burnout, we’re taking the positive approach! We chatted with Maria Anundson, Performance Specialist at Insperity, to get her expert insight into how we can grow and nurture our resilience.

What exactly is resilience?

A lot of us probably think of resilience as the ability to take on stress, to handle problems, to absorb trial or trauma and keep coming back for more. In reality, resilience can be thought of as the opposite of stress.

“It’s the ability to bounce back; the ability to find contentment in chaos and gratitude in challenge. It’s being able to curb overwhelm and “be” in the moment. Be where you are.” says Anundson.

Obviously, we’ll all go through surprising difficulties or disappointments, and even small rubs that catch us off guard. In some cases, we’ll experience actual physical, spiritual or emotional trauma or deep hurt.

“Resilience is your ability to handle these moments with grace,” Anundson explains. She goes on to explain that resilience is actually a very physical, neurological response. Abundant resilience comes when we consistently build better pathways into our brain well ahead of time—before the stress, the disappointment or the trauma. These pathways are created by our own practices of self-care, thought patterns and beliefs.

So, what actually makes someone resilient?

Resilient people have created neuropathways that lead them back to healthy mental spaces of positivity and gratitude. They have the ability to ‘bounce back’ because of the self-work they’ve done ahead of time.

“When you’re thirsty, you’re already dehydrated.”

We’ve all heard something similar to this before, but it applies to more than just our physical thirst. Our minds also need rest, periods of rejuvenation and healthy thought patterns. When we’re desperate for a massage, longing for the weekend or have tunnel vision for vacation, it’s probably already too late.  Other signs of burnout can be: consistently unprepared, overly irritated or blunt, overwhelmed, reoccurring decision fatigue, or no margin in your life.

Resilience is always a work in progress, and now is the perfect time to restart, rebuild practices and carve out space in your life for resiliency to flourish.

Building our resiliency muscles.

Now that we know a bit more about resiliency and that it’s something that only we can create for ourselves, the question becomes, how do we do that?

Here are a few starting points for building resiliency that you can begin with today and develop over time!

Ignore your screens for the first 30 minutes of the day! This might feel tricky and might take some intentionality, but it will pay dividends as your day goes on. Mornings set the tone for the day, and taking time to be present and think positively about your day is a great way to ‘hydrate’ your mind ahead of time.

Practice gratitude. Write down 3 specific things you’re grateful for each day. This can trickle into the next day and be something you rest on in your half hour of “screen free” time.  

Take a daily walk—not too fast, not too slow—just ticking up your heartrate enough to release endorphins, building physical and mental strength.

Before meetings, draw a rectangle and write down the things inside of that rectangle already on your mind. This is a way to help yourself set them aside for later and focus on the present!

Practice mindfulness (there are apps for this!)

Find a therapist, coach or use company telehealth resources.

Build healthy routines into your life: rest, exercise, prayer or reflection, social time or something that brings you joy are all great resilient building ideas.

Remember structure is good, but your brain enjoys some novelty too!

As we now know, resilience is more of a practice than an ability we’re born with. It’s a state of mind we can all achieve with practice and intentionality! We’d love to hear from you on what you’re doing to build resilience in your own life.

Title Topics: Common Title Questions, Scenarios and Issues

Especially when it comes to first time homeowners, there is not a lot of common knowledge about title insurance. As their trusted real estate professional, this is your chance to educate and guide them, and this blog post contains some good information to start that dialogue.

Two of our own experts, Tami Finch and Lisa Sheflet, have some helpful insights you can reference in your conversations about this topic and as always, you can also reach out to Trademark Title with any other questions you might have.

Common Misconceptions About Title Insurance

It’s not really necessary

“People tend to think that because we conduct a title search and clear the issues we know about, that title insurance isn’t needed,” says Tami. “What they don’t realize is that title insurance protects them against matters not disclosed in the public records, which we have no knowledge of.”

It’s too expensive

“In reality, title insurance is one of the most affordable coverages you will find, as it is a one time fee based on the purchase price, for as long as you own the property,” says Tami. Considering that most other insurance involves ongoing payments, emphasizing the one-time-fee may help people move past this idea.

You can do that right?

“Customers or clients tend to think we can draft many documents that should be done by an attorney.” says Lisa. She advises having an attorney involved if a trust or estate is part of the transaction.

Issues to Look Out For

Fraudulent activities

“There is an increase in fraudulent transactions, such as vacant land being sold by people posing to be the seller, to which we are taking additional steps on all vacant land transactions where we represent the buyer to prevent such fraud,” says Tami.

In this case, a good title company will be in the know and keep their agents updated accordingly if a transaction is at risk of fraud.

Judgments or liens

“When title insurance is being issued, a search is done on all named parties, and can disclose liens or judgments that may be against the individual(s), yet not recorded against the property,” says Tami.

She goes on to say that buyers and sellers may not disclose this to their agents and it could take significant time to resolve. 

Divorce, estates or trusts

“Make certain you are aware if a property is part of a divorce, estate or trust,” says Lisa. Once again, other parties may need to be involved and extra time needed to rectify.

Surveys or splits

“If there is a survey or a split of the land to be done or that is in process, let your closer know and provide the survey ahead of time to prevent delays in closing,” says Lisa.

Solving Problems and Finding Solutions

One of the biggest ways you can be an advocate to both your client and a partner to the title company, is to keep lines of communication open and ask lots of questions.

“Many title matters require the seller to be involved in fixing the issue,” says Tami. “As much as we don’t want to bother the seller, title companies don’t have access to old mortgage accounts, for instance.”

Communicate with your title professionals…they are your partners to get your transaction closed but we cannot do it without clear communication from agents and their clients.

MN vs WI: What to Know

With Minnesota and Wisconsin being so close in proximity, it may be easy to assume there’s lots of overlap in the world of real estate, and in a few ways, there is. Many people who live in MN have cabins in WI or perhaps plan to retire there or vice versa. Certainly, there are many family members who inherit real estate across state borders and are now in the position to sell one of these properties.

However, the overlap mostly stops there. There are numerous differences to keep in mind when helping a client buy or sell a home across these state borders. We chatted with Kate Marlin and Barb Gilmore, Underwriting Counsel for WI and MN respectively, from Old Republic National Title Insurance Company to get their expertise on what real estate professionals should know in these transactions.

Minnesota Title Standards

Minnesota has extensive Title Standards adopted by the State Bar Association.  When a new real estate transaction is in the works, a title professional has to review what is known as the “White Pages” that will tell them exactly which documents they need to record to make a legal, official transaction and establish marketable title for the buyer. If errors are made or documents are omitted, the documents can be rejected by the county recorder’s office.

Wisconsin, on the other hand, has only a few state title standards so title insurance examiners and underwriters determine the documents required for closing based on Wisconsin law, prior court decisions and common business practices.

New Build Differences

In Wisconsin, the mortgage priority goes to the lender so long as the construction mortgage in favor of an institutional lender is recorded prior to any filed mechanic’s lien. Essentially, this makes it easier to obtain title insurance on a new build in WI versus MN. In MN, the construction mortgage must be recorded prior to the commencement of any construction on the property, or any mechanic’s liens filed later will likely have priority over the construction mortgage. Not having all of this in order can definitely slow down the closing process, so if you happen to be a WI real estate professional working on a new build in MN, be sure to educate yourself on MN mechanics lien law and have all your ducks in a row.

Never make assumptions

Despite the proximity of our states, the most important thing a real estate professional can do is stay open-minded and willing to learn about the differences across state lines.

“Don’t assume that everything is parallel because it’s probably not,” says Marlin.

And of course, read the schedule B-I requirements in the title insurance commitment issued by the title company involved. “If you’re not reading the commitment until the day before closing, you might not be able to close,” she says. Work with your trusted title company to understand the required documentation, in advance, so that you’re able to refer a client to an outside resource if needed. Lastly, keep open lines of communication with your buyer/seller and other professionals across state lines. Stay in the know about what you need to obtain to make the client’s process as smooth as possible no matter the circumstance.

Your New Construction Cheat Sheet

New builds are a big part of the emerging real estate landscape. In fact, more than one third of single-family homes for sale right now are considered new construction, according to Redfin real estate firm. This is why our blog post this month aims to give you the facts and insights you need to understand what’s happening and what it means for you and your clients.

We consulted with Kathy Austen of Fidelity National Financial, and her team, to learn more about how real estate professionals can help their clients navigate the new construction world.

Starting with Stats
  • As of the fourth quarter of 2021, inventory of existing homes fell 14.2% from the prior year and there was a record low of only 1.8 months’ supply
  • However, for new homes there was a 6-month supply and inventory was up 34.8%
  • Additionally, in that fourth quarter, nearly 40% of homes for sale in Minneapolis were new builds*
  • Last year, homebuilding reached a 16-year high and material costs for these homes hit a record increase with the median price to build a home at $466,900.00

Helping a client who is considering new construction

While the housing shortage remains, new builds may seem like the solution to a client looking to sell their current home. However, builders are facing their own issues in catching up to the demand. There are delays in shipping materials and price increases (up 15% in 2021). On top of that there are supply chain issues, labor shortages, lot shortages and regulatory requirements to overcome.

Be sure to educate your client, advocate on their behalf and get the honest answers they need from the builder. If your client ultimately decides to build, take the time to truly understand and educate them on M.S.A. chapter 514, their rights and the contractors/sub-contractors rights. For more information, visit the website of the MN attorney general on home building and remodeling.

In addition, some excited clients may want to get started on construction right away, but be sure to let your client know that they should not start any improvements on the land or lot before their new construction loan mortgage is recorded. Signs that mark that definition of construction commencing, includes items you would not think of like tree and brush removal.

“If we find any visible improvements on the land, a separate process is triggered which will require extensive additional documentation and could cause delays for the client,” says Austen.

What this all means

There’s a lot of predictions out there about what could happen in the housing market, but what we do know for sure is that this current climate of shortages and high building costs is making it difficult for first time-buyers.

“Higher mortgage interest rates and construction costs will cause a decline in housing affordability which will affect the home building market throughout 2022,” says Austen. “Given the limited supply and strong demand in both new and resale of existing homes, along with increasing home prices and mortgage interest rates, the entry-level buyer will continue to struggle to purchase a home.”

Your biggest challenge as a real estate professional right now, might just be to help that first-time buyer understand the current climate, so they can overcome the obstacles to get into their first home.

**insights via:
https://www.forbes.com/sites/brendarichardson/2022/02/01/one-third-of-houses-for-sale-are-new-construction-an-all-time-high/?sh=3ff7d33d242c

What it takes to be a sales leader

with Brent Widman

There are probably a thousand different paths that people take to becoming a ‘leader’ in their industry. Yet, without a doubt, these paths all have common denominators. We chatted with Brent Widman, sales coach with Southwestern Consulting (and sales leader himself) to get his take on what it means to be top sales leader today.

Top Sales Tips and Techniques

When coaching, Brent uses each person’s unique goals and responsibilities to guide them in moving forward. However, he identified three techniques that could help any sales professional refresh their goals and up their game.

Consistency

Stay consistent in your processes and activities—whether that’s emails, phone calls, newsletters, texts, follow-ups— Brent says, “You have to show up and do it every day.” When creating these habits and processes, think about which ones you can carry on, which habits that will truly last.

Ask for help

“So many of us have an ego that keeps us from asking for help. We’re afraid to look dumb,” he says. Yet there’s people all around us that are doing really well and would actually love to share in their wisdom. Finding those people and asking for input can be a huge game-changer for your own journey.

Prioritize wisely

Knowing when to say yes and when to say no starts with establishing what you want to prioritize in life. “We can’t manage time (it just keeps on ticking), but we can manage ourselves,” Brent says.

What it ‘takes’ to be a sales leader (and what to leave behind)

Acceptance

People who look at this role as just a job will likely not be the ones leading in their industry. Brent says “Accept it. Accept who you are and what you do.” Leave behind the stigma (or perceived stigma) and fully embrace your strengths, abilities and calling.

Implement > input

“People will go to trainings, get coaches and mentors, read books, and on and on but they will fail to implement what they learn, to put it into action.” Yes, be a student of the game, but be sure to implement at least some of what you’re learning, or what is it but a giant time suck?

Get past excuses

We all have them, but we can move past them. We can take action when we don’t feel like it. We can stretch our motivation muscles and establish consistency in our processes.

Establish processes that work!

“Any top producer is only as good as their process.” So, if it’s not working, get a new process! Get a system that works for you and try on new systems until you find one that fits. Our time and our business are only as strong as the process and habit we have created.

What’s your why?

Brent shares the story of a trip to the carnival with his six-year-old son, before he started with Southwestern. His son wanted to play a game that cost $5, but it just wasn’t possible.

“I was broke…all I had to my name was $23. That night I went home and wrote on a post-it-note how does it feel? I realized I was preventing my son from making memories. It was time to dig in my heels and listen to the people who believed in me because I never wanted to go back to that feeling.”

He found his motivation to do the work and do it with excellence. Without knowing why you’re doing what you’re doing, your motivation and drive can easily slip away. If anything, before you leave this post, take a moment to reflect on why you do what you do… and believe again that you’re capable of becoming the sales leader you want to be.

Staying in the Know About Cyber Phishing Schemes

In our blog this month, we are focusing on how we can stay aware and prepared for any cyber phishing attacks. While these types of fraudulent schemes are not new, they remain relevant as they continue to be pervasive in our daily lives and have evolved since their inception. We asked Brittany Tacquard, Insurance Communications Manager at Stewart Insurance, to give us some insights into these schemes and how to avoid them.

Q. How do you define cyber phishing?

A. There are numerous methods cyber criminals use to breach a device, or break into an organization’s network. “Phishing” is one of those ways and the most common. It is when you receive an email that contains a link or attachment that typically leads to malware being installed on your device, allowing the criminals access to your information.

Q. What are some tactics used by the criminals behind these emails?

A. Phishing emails are not always easily spotted. They can be very specific and appear to be from someone you know. Many times, they use urgency as a way to get you to act fast.

Fast Fact:
75% of organizations around the world experienced
some kind of phishing attack in 2020

Q. What risks do phishing emails pose?

A. Infiltration of your device or various systems you use, breach of non-public information you have access to, gathering of information such as current client transactions to use to their advantage at a later time, and work stoppages [are all risks posed by phishing emails].

Q. What (specifically) should real estate professionals be cautious and aware of?

A. Know that you work in an industry that is rich with data and monetary transactions. You, your business partners, and your clients are being targeted daily.

Fast Fact:
$150 is the average cost per compromised record;
$3.92 million is the average cost of a data breach!

Q. What can we do to safeguard our information and our clients’ information?

A. Be mindful of emails with links and attachments. Increase email security. Speak with an IT professional with secure email gateways and multifactor authentication on your email accounts.

Verify with the email sender via phone using trusted contact information before opening attachments or acting on instructions.

Your Next Step

Acknowledge that phishing and other cybercrime tactics are ongoing threats that require your awareness daily and that they are not going away. Slowing down to assess what you have received or been asked to do in a communication, is critical. In addition, these fraudsters can gather your data or infiltrate your connections not just in their phishing attempts, but over the phone or over social connections, as well. A few other key ideas: Avoid access to open Wi-Fi. Be aware of what you share over the phone or on social media sites, as these cyber criminals can be listening, watching and waiting to learn something about you that makes you a target.

Let us know what ways you will protect yourself and others, as you maneuver through the cyber threat landscape and protect yourself from those cyber schemes?

*fast facts via Must-Know Phishing Statistics: Updated 2021

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