Tag Archives: Tampa Bay Title


Florida Agency Network welcomes Uptown Title

Aaron Davis, CEO of the Florida Agency Network (FAN), announced that FAN has added Uptown Title in St. Petersburg, Fla. Uptown Title is the latest independent title agency to join FAN’s growing family of companies.

Florida’s top two in title join forces

“The Florida Agency Network has grown exponentially within the last few years, and continues to do so. Recently, the Hillsborough Title Family of Companies (Hillsborough Title, Paramount Title, Tampa Bay Title, HomePlus Title, and Cornerstone Title) on the West Coast and Title Management on the East Coast (Trident Title, Performance Title & Escrow, Progressive Title Solutions, and CU Title) joined forces to create the Florida Agency Network, Florida’s largest network of independent title agencies. We are always looking for new and innovative ways to better serve our clients, and adding the additional location and resources of Uptown Title will help FAN do just that,” Davis said.

“We are excited to join FAN and become a part of their family. Their resources, customer service and reputation are second to none, and we are proud to become a part of this amazing network,” Uptown Title Owner Adrienne Prince said.

With the Uptown Title addition, the Florida Agency Network increases its coverage to 27 locations across the state of Florida.

The Florida Agency Network is the largest network of independent title agencies in the state. They have formed a strategic alliance to better serve their clients, allowing them to provide more services throughout Florida. FAN offers 27 statewide locations, IT and network personnel on staff, in-house legal counsel, title plant, municipal lien search, permit resolution department, REO services, foreclosure auction services and much more. 

Source: Title Report

https://thetitlereport.com/TTR/Articles/Florida-Agency-Network-welcomes-Uptown-Title-62318.aspx?utm_source=vwTTRget&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=TTR_Fri_Enew


App of the month: Feedly

 

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App of the month: FEEDLY

Feedly is a nice, clean, simple to use “catalog” for all your favorite blogs. Having 10+ tabs open up at any given time just to keep up with the latest and greatest form your favorites, is  tough work. Feedly simplifies that- how many times have you found a great blog to follow, and then a week later could not for the life of you remember the name of said blog. Never fear; Feedly is here. Simply search for your fav(s), “add” them to your feed, and you’re good to go. Sit back, relax, and let Feedly compile all the new updates into a nice little digest of greatness!

Free for iOS and Android

https://feedly.com/index.html#welcome

 


Flood Insurance Update

The United States Senate has just passed “The Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act” by a vote of 72-22 (both US Senator Nelson and Senator Rubio voted in favor of the bill. This is the bill the US House passed on March 4. This is incredible news for Florida REALTORS® and property owners. The bill will now be sent directly to President Obama for his signature!

* Reinstates Grandfathering – This bill permanently repeals Section 207 of the Biggert-Waters Act, meaning that grandfathering is reinstated. All post-FIRM properties built to code at the time of construction will have protection from rate spikes due to new mapping – for example, if you built to +2 Base Flood Elevation, you stay at +2, regardless of new maps. Also importantly, the grandfathering stays with the property, not the policy. 
* Caps Annual Rate Increases at 18% – This bill decreases FEMA’s authority to raise premiums. The bill prevents FEMA from increasing premiums within a single property class beyond a 15 percent average a year, with an individual cap of eighteen percent a year. Pre Biggert-Waters, the class average cap was 10%. Currently (Post Biggert-Waters), the class average cap is 20%. The bill also requires a 5% minimum annual increase on pre-FIRM primary residence policies that are not at full risk. The updated legislation also states that FEMA shall strive to minimize the number of policies with premium increases that exceed one percent of the total coverage of the policy (e.g., 1% of $250,000 = $2,500). 
* Refunds policyholders who purchased pre-FIRM homes after Biggert-Waters (7/6/12) and were subsequently charged higher rates 
* Permanently Removes the Sales Trigger – This bill removes the policy sales trigger, which allows a purchaser to take advantage of a phase in. The new purchaser is treated the same as the current property owner. 
* Allows for Annual Surcharges – This legislation applies an annual surcharge of $25 for primary residences and $250 for second homes and businesses, until subsidized policies reach full risk rates. All revenue from these assessments would be placed in the NFIP reserve fund, which was established to ensure funds are available for meeting the expected future obligations of the NFIP. 
* Funds the Affordability Study and Mandates Completion – This legislation funds the affordability study required by Biggert-Waters and mandates its completion in two years. 
* Includes the Home Improvement Threshold – This bill returns the “substantial improvement threshold” (i.e. renovations and remodeling) to the historic 50% of a structure’s fair market value level. Under Biggert-Waters, premium increases are triggered when the renovation investments meet 30% of the home’s value. 
* Additional provisions: This legislation includes several other provisions including preserving the basement exception, allowing for payments to be made in monthly installments, and reimbursing policy holders for successful map appeals.


Tech Tip Tuesday: March 11, 2014

Apple releases iOS 7.1 for iPhone, iPad with bug fixes, new features

Summary: The latest version for iPhones and iPads landed on Monday, with new features, user interface tweaks, and a number of bug fixes that aims to appease those who have yet to upgrade.

ios-7-1
(Image: CNET, ZDNet)

Apple has released iOS 7.1, the latest iterative version of its mobile software for its smartphones and tablets.

The software was made available for download on Monday, a week shy of six months after a radically redesigned iOS 7 was released.

The latest software version is compatible with iPhone 4 and later, iPad 2 and later, and iPod touch (5th generation) devices. 

Users of iOS 7 and older versions can upgrade compatible devices over-the-air by navigating to “Software Update” in the “General” section of the device’s settings.

iOS 7.1 includes 41 bug fixes that have plagued some early adopters, along with user interface design tweaks, such as visual changes to the phone dialer and power-off features.

The software also lands with a number of new features, including:

  • CarPlay: formerly known as iOS in the Car, which supports iPhone calling, music, maps, and messaging. It also allows users to control certain functions through iOS’ in-built voice-activated assistance Siri;
  • Siri improvements: Including natural-sounding voices for U.K. English, Australian English, Japanese, and Mandarin Chinese. You can also use it in push-to-talk mode by holding the Home button for the duration of your query;
  • Calendar changes: The list view has returned in month view, and the update has also included country-specific holidays added for many locales;
  • iTunes Radio updates: The radio feature, first introduced in iOS 7, has been updated with new features, including the ability to buy albums over-the-air from “Now Playing”;
  • Accessibility additions: The “parallax” motion feature option now includes Weather, Messages, and multi-tasking user interface animations;
  • Camera settings bolstered: Including a setting that allows users to automatically enable HDR mode for iPhone 5s users;
  • Touch ID improved: The software that controls the biometric reader has been improved to make fingerprint recognition better.

Overall, with its user interface and bug fix improvements, the update is designed above all to resolve some of the initial problems with the software, which some insiders previously reported was rushed in order to land in line with the release of iPhone 5s and 5c smartphones in September.

According to Apple, about 82 percent of all compatible iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices are running iOS 7 as of late February, based on App Store data.

As many millions have waited to upgrade until some of the known and well-documented bugs and user interface flaws have been resolved, that figure is expected to rise significantly in the next days.

For those not able to download over-the-air, Windows and Mac users can alternatively connect their compatible iPhones, iPads, and iPod touch devices to iTunes, and upgrade by selecting the “Check for Upgrade” button in their device’s summary window. 

Or, users can download the software bundle (.IPSW) files from Apple’s website for offline installations in the coming hours. (Enterprise users can use Apple’s Phobos server for download links.) 

In past updates, downloads are often slow at first as millions attempt to upgrade at the same time.

Downloading over a Wi-Fi connection is recommended due to the size of the file, and some users may have to delete content from their devices in order to install.

By Zack Whittaker, ZDNet


Tech Tip Tuesday: March 4, 2014

The Importance of Creating Human Connections with Your Brand in Social Media

human connections

One of the best things about social media is that people are becoming more real, revealing more about themselves. People are showing more courage in putting themselves out there – sure, some guy you went to school with might judge you for sharing your feelings, but there are others with whom your opinions will resonate, and those are the people you really want to connect with. Social media facilitates better connections with likeminded folk, leading to the creation of online communities that foster encouragement, creativity and genuine relationships. It’s really great to see, really heartening to see people who might have felt out of place in the world finding others who feel the same way.

I was reminded of this when Bryan Kramer did a presentation recently where he summed this up perfectly from a business perspective:

There Is No More B2B or B2C: There Is Only Human to Human (H2H)

It’s a simple, inspiring summary that’s been rightfully praised by many in the industry. It underlines that community spirit, that tangible sense of belonging that people are finding in the social media landscape. Inspiring is the best word for it, and I applaud Bryan for his clarity.

What does this mean for business?

Bryan’s statement really captures the mood around social media and how it should be used by brands. There’s a clear shift away from advertising and selling and a move towards creating genuine connections with people. The emphasis on content is largely due to it being a way to create human connections, an opportunity to present who you are as a company, as opposed to what you do. It’s an exciting time to be involved as the opportunities for creating real, meaningful relationships are there, waiting, and the audience is looking for engagement. You just have to reach out to them, understand them, and, ideally, contribute to their world. The opportunity to take up a place of trust and service has never been better, it’s now up to businesses to take it.

So how do you do it?

Listening. This is emphasized by every social media expert in every post and every publication. You need to learn what your customers want, listen to what they’re after, then be responsive to their needs. You’ve got access to more consumer data than ever before, and most of it is happening in day to day discussions, right now, conversations that you can tap into and take notes from. You need to listen, but more than that, you need to hear what’s being said and absorb that information into your processes.

Brands need to be more human

Be real, be genuine. Be adventurous with your messaging. You know your target audience – ideally, you are amongst them yourself – so if you’re taking a risk and putting yourself out there, think about what would resonate with you. What would you respond to as a target consumer? You have the data, the platforms, the means – you can find like minded, or better ‘like-wanted’, folk that will connect with your brand identity. You just have to establish what that identity is.

Be about people

What’s the thing that people always say when they leave a company? ‘The best thing about working here was the people’. Social media gives you a chance to make all businesses about the people. Obviously, your product still needs to be great, but that inner-company camaraderie can be spread further, creating a more collaborative relationship between your business and your clients. People want to be part of a community, to feel like they belong. Social media gives you the chance to show that they belong with you.

It’s not about consumers, it’s not about clients. It’s about people. Listening, engaging, creating real connections. H2H.

They’re out there now, talking to each other, establishing like minded communities. All you have to do is go meet them.

Source: Andrew Hutchinson, Social Media Today


Tech Tip Tuesday: February 25, 2014

Apple’s Serious Security Issue: Update Your iPhone or iPad Immediately

The security hole in Apple's mobile and desktop operating systems had to do with validating the security certificates that are sent back and forth when you’re establishing a secure connection.
 
The security hole in Apple’s mobile and desktop operating systems had to do with validating the security certificates that are sent back and forth when you’re establishing a secure connection.This week, Apple rushed out a patch for its iOS 7 and iOS 6 operating systems to fix a serious security issue. Before I explain further, let me just say this: If you’ve gotten the prompt to update and you haven’t, do it now. If you’re still running older versions of iOS on your iPhone, iPod, or iPad, update now.

Done? O.K., good.

While you’re at it, go download either Chrome or Firefox for your Mac, and stop using Safari immediately until you see a security update for OS X Mavericks, as well.

In a nutshell, Apple has a security hole in both its mobile and desktop operating systems that could let a malicious hacker jump in on what you think is a secure Web transaction if you’re on a public Wi-Fi network like those at a coffee shop, airport or some other location.

The vulnerability affects SSL/TLS, or Secure Socket Layer and Transport Layer Security. These are the two technologies that supposedly encrypt the conversation between your browser and the server you’re trying to access when you visit a website. They’re represented by an “https” rather than “http” in your browser’s URL bar, and they’re supposed to mean you’ve got a secure browsing session in effect.

In fact, thanks to this bug, it’s very possible you don’t. The problem lies in validating the security certificates that are sent back and forth when you’re establishing a secure connection. Thanks to this flaw, your browser can’t verify the authenticity of an encryption certificate, meaning someone could easily be pretending to be your bank’s website, your doctor’s office site or a credit card application form.

There are excellent posts here and here about the severity, technicalities and potential of the vulnerability.

The update to iOS fixes the problem, but as of now, it’s still an issue on OS X Mavericks (although it may not exist in earlier versions of the operating system) for Macintosh computers. There’s a workaround on your Mac, though — use an alternative browser and avoid public Wi-Fi hotspots until there is a fix. That method won’t work on an iPhone, iPad or iPod, because alternatives like Chrome for iOS use the same security background as Safari.

Yes, by the way, people are deeply suspicious of both the timing of when this bug appeared and how it got there, in light of recent revelations about spying activity by the National Security Agency. I’ve also spoken to one engineer who said the errant line of code that caused the security hole could easily have been a copy/paste error that would have been extremely hard to detect.

In today’s environment, I tend to assume the worst, but the important thing now is to download the patch, watch for the Mavericks fix, and as usual, trust no one.

By: Molly Wood, New York Times


Tech Tip Tuesday: September 10, 2013

Tech Tip

Today we want to share with you an easy little trick that often causes some not-so-easy anxiety.

How to post a PDF flyer to social media when working off your phone

So you’ve just received an email with a PDF attachment, and you want to share it on your social media channels, but how?

Easy…

1. Open the attachment.

2. Take a screenshot- doing so will save the screenshot in your photo stream. If you are unsure of how to take a screenshot on your device, click here for an iPhone tutorial or here for an Andorid tutorial.

3. Go to your photos, and select the screenshot image you just took.

4. Click “edit”, and crop the image. You want to crop the image, so that when posted to your social media channels it won’t look sloppy (i.e. like a screenshot).

5. Save the freshly cropped image.

6. Open a social media app (i.e Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. etc.).

7. Click “share photo”, select the image, and then add a fun and informative “caption”.

8. Click “post”, and you’re done.

CONGRATS! You just shared a professional looking post all from your phone! 


Tech Tip Tuesday: August 27, 2013

 Top 3 Mistakes Realtors Make Using Youtube

Following up on our original article, YouTube for Real Estate, we’re covering the most common mistakes real estate agents make on YouTube. By avoiding these mistakes, you can fully take advantage of YouTube and grow your business through the power of creating and sharing video content.

As attention spans get shorter, especially on the internet, messages need to be clearer and presented earlier in order to engage viewers. One of the most common mistakes real estate agents are making on YouTube is creating videos that are too long. From our research, 1 minute and 30 seconds, give or take, seems to be the ideal length of a real estate YouTube video. After your video(s) have been posted for a period of time, you can even use YouTube’s Analytics feature to gauge exactly how long your audience watches your video(s). This will allow you to further fine tune the length of your videos based on your audience’s attention span.

While this point may seem obvious, it is one of the most commonly made mistakes on YouTube. A real estate agent will make a video, post it, then question why the response has been less than desirable only to find out they forgot to place their contact information clearly in the video. Placing your contact information in your videos can and should be done in a few different way. Your contact information should be verbally stated in the video, edited directly into the visual content, and placed in YouTube’s description area. Additionally, your contact information should be added to caption/description/message areas whenever you share your videos on other networks and platforms.

Using video to promote your business does not stop at YouTube. This would be a shortsighted strategy and yield little results. Unfortunately, real estate agents make this mistake frequently. Real estate professionals should start their video promotion with YouTube, but also take advantage of other mediums of communication to continue marketing their videos. Realtors should also be using Facebook for real estate, and this is one of the first places videos should be shared once they’re uploaded. Email is another very important medium to utilize when sharing videos along with posting the video on your website. Finally, your videos should be shared on other social networks like Google Plus and Twitter. By not sharing your video(s), you’re limiting the reach of your marketing, while sharing your video in multiple places increases reach exponentially.

Source: Michael Darmanin, SellState


Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Pinterest

The Good, the Bad, and How to Use it 

Pinterest

There has been a lot of buzz online about Pinterest. Each day, more and more sign up. And, yet it’s still one of the most under-utilized social media platforms…in terms of business, that is. So, what exactly is Pinterest, and how can it help YOU?

Pinterest allows you to share images based on common interests. This has taken the Marketing world by storm due to its rapid growth and room for brand expansion. Pinterest has been collectively thought of as a new stage not only for regular people but for companies to highlight their best products by the best way they can, images.

Pros  

  • The Pinterest audience is 97% female. This is an important consideration seeing that women account for 85% of all consumer purchases. 
  • Great for marketing products such as homes and food.
  • If you position your brand wisely on the network it can create phenomenal traffic for your website.
  • It’s fun and simple to use.

Cons

  • Sometimes original links can lose their way through repining.
  • Images must be of a higher quality to really capture “wow” factor.
  • Pinterest can become very addicting!

What you need to do to shine on Pinterest

  • Upload easy to understand images.
  • Keep board names simple and explanatory. Search engines pick up on these names, and you won’t generate followers, if they don’t know what it is exactly they are following.
  • Include SEO-friendly keywords to bring in much wanted extra traffic to your site.
  • Beef up your boards before you start following fellow “pinners”, your audience will be more likely to follow you if you have plenty to look at.
  • Log onto the network every day for a few minutes to see what’s new, respond to comments, and continue expanding your board and marketing your brand.
  • Keep your personal account separate from your business account.
  • DO NOT go on pinning rampages (i.e. do not pin just for the sake of pinning).

Follow us on Pinterest today!

And, as always, remember your friends at Hillsborough Title want to see you succeed, if you have any questions or want to sit down and look over your social media channels together, just let us know.