It’s not what you learn, it’s what you implement.

There’s no better way to learn about new trends, strategies and tools then to immerse yourself in a live conference. Like many of you, I learned a lot at this month’s REALTORS® Conference & Expo. But learning and implementing are two different things and the longer you wait to implement what you’ve learned, the less likely you ever will. Here are some of the things I implemented this week after learning about them at the conference:

  • I subscribed to Which Test Won. This site was referenced by Kelley Koehler as a great resource for learning more about A/B testing and what makes a web surfer more likely to convert into a client.
  • I downloaded DocuSign Ink. A great new free app that allows me to digitally sign almost any contract. Thanks to Shannon King for presenting this app.
  • I downloaded and started experimenting with Twenty Eleven. I learned about this free theme for WordPress during Steve Zehngut’s presentation on responsive web design. The theme reconfigures itself as the screen size shrinks, making it far easier to read and navigate via a mobile phone. I think this would be a great theme for for building cheap single property websites.
  • I signed up for Local Mind. Hat tip to Chris Smith for this one. It ties in your Foursquare, Twitter, and Facebook accounts to allow you to find out what’s happening at local venues. I’m still experimenting with it, but I think it has some cool potential for real estate agents.

I still have more stuff I want to implement in my Wunderlist app. With the holiday weekend approaching, I plan to check at least a few more things off that list. How about you? What do you plan to implement this weekend?

Speaking of Real Estate

ProAPOD iCalculator Updates the Inflation Rate Calculation

real estate calculatorThe online real estate calculator developed by ProAPOD real estate investment software has updated the inflation rate calculation by adding the latest US government CPI data released on November 16, 2011.

This means that you will be able to measure the buying power of the dollar for any year beginning in 1913 to the most current month in 2011. For example, are you aware that if you purchased an item in 1913 for $500 that the same item would now cost you $11,435.40 due to an inflation rate of 2187.1%?  Of course, inflation rate is just one of dozens and dozens of calculations provided in the real estate calculator.

Why Not Check it Out?

ProAPOD® real estate calculator is a unique online financial calculator that displays the definitions and formulas for dozens of real estate investing returns, ratios, and measures with the calculation. So you get a quick and easy way to arrive at a result (only possible with financial hand-held calculators) and can learn at the same time.

Plus, the calculator is 100% web based, requires no download, and can be accessed from any PC, MAC, Smartphone, iPAD or other internet device from any meeting, classroom, or foreign location day or night.

Plus, if you are an educator, student, or involved in real estate in any capacity you are entitled to purchase this online real estate calculator for just $24.95 (a discount of 64% off retail price).

The Perfect Solution for Starting Multifamily Property Analysis and Marketing

real estate agent softwareProAPOD’s AGENT 6 real estate agent software provides residential agents and others typically less engaged with multifamily property the rock-solid essential elements to soundly get involved with multifamily properties.

With this popular flagship solution you can create compelling cash flow analysis and marketing reports needed for listing and selling presentations, or to make “on the spot” presentations when the need arises.

AGENT 6 real estate agent software contains all the right elements short of tax shelter and time value so residential real estate agents and others looking to get involved with multifamily property listings and sales can jump in affordably at a professional ground floor level.

You get all the right rates of returns, reports, and features you need create quality cash flow and marketing presentations required when listing and selling multifamily properties.

AGENT 6 also calculates both USA (default setting) and Canadian mortgages so it is ideal for real estate agents in Canada who work with income-producing property. The method is very simple: you just select the option from the software’s toolbar to change the default setting from USA amortization to Canadian amortization.

Why not service multifamily property like a pro?  It has proven to increase an agent’s chances to capture more walk-ins and call-ins, service more customers, and get more colleague referrals. Learn more about this software solution (including screen shots and sample reports) at http:www.real-estate-agent-software.html.

 

Can You Head Off Inaccurate Appraisals?

No, but you can take a few steps to make them less likely

Appraisers lacking experience or familiarity with an area continue to be a major problem for home sales, but you can minimize the chances of a bad appraisal killing your transaction by helping to ensure the appraiser knows what you know about the property, valuation pros told REALTORS® yesterday at the 2011 REALTORS® Conference & Expo in Anaheim yesterday.

Ever since New York entered into an agreement with secondary mortgage market companies Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in the wake of the mortgage crisis several years ago the industry has been plagued by what practitioners say are inexperienced and geographically incompetent appraisers. That agreement, called the Home Valuation Code of Conduct (HVCC), has since been replaced with provisions in last year’s Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform act. The new law aims to curb bad appraisals by regulating how appraisers are chosen. Although the use of third-party appraisal management companies (AMCs) isn’t mandated under the rules, many lenders comply with the law by contracting with or operating their own AMC. Practitioners say many of these AMCs are undermining appraisal quality by hiring inexperienced appraisers who are willing to work for less money and comply with what many appraisers say are unrealistic time frames for turning around valuations.

Whatever the experience level or geographic competency of the appraiser who’s been assigned to conduct a valuation of the house you’re listing or selling, you want to minimize the possibility of an inaccurate appraisal by doing four things, says Anna Ruotolo of RPM Mortgage, Inc., in Walnut Creek, Calif.

1. Meet appraisers when they arrive at the house. Offer to show them around just as you would if they were home buyers. That way there’s a better chance they’ll see the unique features of the house the same way the buyers do. And don’t let the appraisers tell you they can’t talk to you. They can. The law prohibits agents and others from pressuring them to arrive at a certain value, but there’s nothing in the law that prohibits the two of you talking and sharing information. “You can talk to them about anything,” she said.

2. Provide them with comparables that you think are appropriate. They might or might not use them but at least you’ve made them available.

3. Provide a sheet of predominant features. These can be anything that sets the house apart from others.

4. Document any discrepancies with the assessor’s data. It’s not uncommon for there to be inaccuracies, so you want to make sure the appraiser knows if something’s not right. Sometimes the inaccuracies are as obvious as a misstatement of the number of bedrooms.

You also want to ask questions of the appraisers, Ruotolo says. That way you can determine their level of experience and geographic competency. The fact is, there are rules for establishing geographic competency, and if they don’t meet those rules, you can raise the point with the AMC or lender. Among the questions you want to ask:

1. How far is their office from the property?

2. Do they have access to the local MLS data? They can’t know all the facts of the listing if they don’t have that.

3. Are they familiar with the area?

4. How frequently are they in the area? When was the last time they were there?

If you suspect the appraiser lacks geographic competency, raise the issue with the AMC. You might also raise the issue with the agency in your state that regulates appraisers, but you don’t want to file a complaint if it’s just a value dispute.

“You have the right to insist on the competence of the appraiser on behalf of your clients,” said Frank Gregoire, an appraiser in St. Petersburg, Fla., and a past chair of NAR’s Appraisal Committee.

Speaking of Real Estate

ProAPOD Real Estate Investment Software Eleven Years Later

ProAPOD Real Estate Investment Software, a rental property cash flow, rate of return, and profitability analysis and marketing program, which initially consisted of one version for agents and investors locally now supplies four separate versions to customers worldwide.

According to developer and owner James Kobzeff, ProAPOD was originally conceived in 2000 merely to provide an easy-to-use and affordable solution for local colleagues as an alternative to the not-so-friendly and expensive real estate analysis software typically available.

Kobzeff admits turning to the internet after his software gained popularity locally. But attributes an article published by REALTOR® Magazine in May 2003 featuring his program that really got things rolling.

“When REALTOR® Magazine featured ProAPOD as a Cool Tool”, Kobzeff says, “orders began pouring in from real estate professionals throughout the United States for our real estate investment software.”

It was the new-found customers resulting from that exposure he tells us that planted the idea for another version. “They liked my software so much,” Kobzeff says, “they encouraged me to expand the analysis options by adding elements for tax shelter and time value of money.”

“So I got to work on it,” he adds, “and soon thereafter released our second ProAPOD solution. A deep-level cash flow analysis program with computations for taxes and time value that includes the coveted after tax cash flows and rates of return.”

According to Kobzeff the third solution was suggested a few years later by a novice investor fresh from a real estate investing seminar complaining that the investor software offered at the seminar was inept and expensive.

“I agreed”, Kobzeff says. “So I dug in and in a couple of months released a solution for novice investors that provide twice the features at a third the cost of what the investment seminars offer.”

This newest offering from ProAPOD is a web-based real estate calculator. When asked about it Kobzeff said, “The idea was to combine function with learning. So while our real estate calculator mimics a financial calculator’s computations, it displays the definitions and formulas so users can also learn real estate investing.”

Products:

AGENT 6 – Rock-solid essential analysis and marketing. This is the perfect ground-floor solution for getting involved in the listing and marketing of multifamily properties. Price $149.95  [Learn More]

INVESTOR 4 – Deep-level analysis without marketing. The ideal way for novice investors buying to hold property to benefit from full tax and time value consideration without the cost for marketing elements used for re-selling the property. Price $199.95 [Learn More]

EXECUTIVE 10 – Deep-level analysis and marketing. This is a complete before and after tax solution for those buying, listing, and marketing investment property as an ongoing business. Price $279.95 [Learn More]

REAL ESTATE CALCULATOR – Dozens of real estate investing definitions and formulas with the calculations. Includes 24/7 PC, MAC, iPad or smartphone mobile online access. Price $69.95 (educational discount available). [Learn More]

Availability:
Agent 6, Investor 4, and Executive 10 are MS Excel applications for Windows and include two permanent downloads. The real estate calculator is web-based and requires only a simple login. All solutions require a one-time payment only without subscription or renewal fees.

About:
ProAPOD® is a privately held software company located in Salem, Oregon. James R Kobzeff is the founder and owner.

Contact:
James R Kobzeff, Owner
ProAPOD Real Estate Investment Software
503-949-9034
http://www.proapod.com

ProAPOD Customer Support Articles Updated

ProAPOD Real Estate Investing Software provides lots of online customer support articles for customers who require a little extra help when it comes to resolving issues concerning the Windows operating system (namely, Vista and Win 2007) and Excel (namely, 2007 and 2010).

This past week we went through the articles and revamped them so they are easier to comprehend. We also added an article that addresses several issues surrounding Excel 2010 encountered by a few customers. Namely, “How to Display Our Toolbar”.  The problem was mostly raised by one customer who couldn’t figure out how to show the Excel Add-ins tab in order to display our toolbar.

The issue is resolved easily by re-setting the program’s macro security settings but it requires the visibility of the Excel Developer tab which was not visible to the customer. So we decided to give instructions on how to show the Developer tab, then how to use it to select the correct macro security security settings, and the finally how to display our toolbar.

If you would like to view our list of customer support articles go to  Customer Support Issues or you can access it from our website at www.proapod.com > Learning Center > Customer Support Issues.