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Home Buyer Tax Credit Extended and Expanded

Last Friday (November 6), President Obama signed legislation into law that both extended the existing $8,000 first time home buyer tax credit and added a new tax credit for some existing home buyers.

extension-ladder-home-tax-creditHere is a summary of the extended and expanded tax credits:

First time buyer tax credit:

This was extended to May 1, 2010:  A tax credit of 10% of the purchase price of a home, up to $8,000, may be claimed by first-time buyers for the purchase of a primary residence. As long as you are under a binding purchase contract by April 30, 2010 – and close on the transaction before July 1, you can probably claim the credit.

A first-time buyer is defined as someone who has not owned a home in the past three years.

Income limits were increased to $125,000 for singles, $225,000 for married couples filing jointly.

The purchase price of the home can not exceed $800,000.

Existing home owner credit:

If you have lived in your home for five consecutive years out of the last eight years and are buying another primary residence, you may qualify for a tax credit of 10% of the purchase price, up to a maximum of $6,500.

The May 1 / July first time limits apply to the existing buyer credit as well.

The $125,000 / $225,000 income limits and $800,000 max purchase price limits also apply.

The existing home owner credit became effective “on the date of enactment” – November 6.

Of Note: Continue reading this post

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Posted by: Jay Thompson on November 10th, 2009 under Buying or Selling a Home, Financing, Mortgage and Home Loans

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How to Use Twitter

OK, that is a pretty pretentious title. Who am I to tell you how to use Twitter? The simple fact is (and it’s one of the true beauties of social networking) there are no “rules” about how to use Twitter. The title, and gist, of this post however, fits in with my previous post, How Not to Use Twitter. That, and Louis has been bugging me to complete this “series”…

Rules or no rules, there are some tips and techniques that you can utilize to increase your chances of “success” on Twitter.

Whoa, “success” on Twitter? How do we define “success”?

Depends. Personally, I think if you are using Twitter for the sole purpose of generating leads (and eventually commission checks), then you are making a mistake and likely wasting your time. If you want to expand your sphere of influence, if you want to get to meet and engage with people from all walks of life, if you want to share and expand your knowledge and increase your “internet presence”, then by all means, utilize social networking tools like Twitter.

Simply put, the “hard sell” doesn’t work in social media. Start with the “I’m a REALTOR!” and “I’m a top producer!” or “Look at my new listing!” talk and people will instantly tune you out (if not outright unfollow or block you). In my opinion, the single best thing to do with a tool like Twitter is use it to engage with people. Ultimately, you can use Twitter to actually meet people “IRL” (In Real Life). And let’s face it, in real life is still the best social network ever, bar none. Continue reading this post

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Posted by: Jay Thompson on June 9th, 2009 under Twitter

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How Not to Use Twitter

The internet is all abuzz about Twitter.

Twitter is a “microblogging” platform that lets you send 140 character “Tweets” (sort of like instant messages). People “follow” you, and you “follow” others. It’s a social networking platform that is undergoing tremendous growth. (See this article from Nielsen Ratings for more info. And note the largest user demographic is those aged 35 – 49. That’s prime home buying selling age folks…)

Realtors tend to jump on anything that has even a hope of getting them business — and there is nothing wrong with that provided you investigate and understand what it is you are getting in to. And yes, Twitter can get you business. It is a wonderful tool for expanding your Sphere of Influence and for networking with other professionals in and out of the real estate industry.

While there are no “rules” for the proper use of a platform like Twitter, there are unquestionably some guidelines and generally acceptable etiquette practices that, used properly, will accelerate your business growth and used improperly may result in you never getting anything out of Twitter. Continue reading this post

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Posted by: Jay Thompson on April 1st, 2009 under Blogging and Social Networking

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The Future of Real Estate Communication

Yesterday I was perusing online through my cell phone bill. I took note that my two teenagers ages 15 and 17 had sent and received over 10,000 text messages – in December.

The two adults in the home sent and received approximately 400 text messages this month -– mostly between the aforementioned teenaged children. Sometimes it seems like I text them more often than I talk to them.

This got me to wondering about the future of communicating in the real estate industry.

As I write this, I’m looking at an email inbox containing 5,586 messages. Lousy email management skills aside, this is an indication of how often I send and receive emails. As I look into my sent mail folder, I see that I have sent an average of 11.33 emails each day this month. These are emails sent from Continue reading this post

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Posted by: Jay Thompson on December 31st, 2008 under Guest Bloggers, Technology

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Lives of The Realtors: Jay Thompson

It seems everyone had another life prior to real estate. Few people grow up saying, “I want to be a real estate agent!” Rare is the 18 year old that gets a license and does nothing but sell real estate the rest of their life.

I had a plethora of jobs in my youth. I got a job at McDonalds the day I turned 16 and have been pretty much working ever since. One summer in college I moved pianos. That job sucked. Another summer I had a brief stint installing guard rails for the Texas Highway Department. That was about as much fun as moving pianos.

I went to college for two semester’s right after high school. First was at Texas A&M at Galveston where I quickly found out going to a college where you could see the beach outside the English 101 classroom was not conducive to proper study habits. Rather than get kicked out, I packed up and moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas. There I quickly found out being 18, away from home and living in a college town that is jammed full of coeds, in a house with 5 other guys, was not conducive to proper study habits.

I pumped gas that semester in Austin (physically pumped gas – this was back in the day of full service gas stations) which did not pay well. One evening an ad came on the radio announcing that Motorola was hiring for entry-level workers in their semiconductor manufacturing facility. The pay was outstanding—$3.50 an hour (almost a buck over minimum wage!) and it had benefits – like vacation time, tuition reimbursement and health insurance. So I dropped out of college (“They can’t teach me anything!”) and applied for a position.

Fast forward 16 years. I was still employed at Motorola and Continue reading this post

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Posted by: Jay Thompson on September 3rd, 2008 under Lives of The Realtors

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Should You Blog Your Listings?

If there is one question that stirs debate amongst real estate bloggers, it’s whether or not it is “correct” to blog about your listings.

On the surface, this may seem like a no-brainer. Your blog is a marketing platform, it’s quite likely advertising (another subject of much debate) and hopefully people are coming to it in droves – all chomping at the bit to view, and buy, your sellers’ listings.

But let’s step back and look at the big picture and take a look at the pro’s and con’s of blogging listings.

The Pro’s

Sellers want to see their listings in as many places as possible. If you have an established blog with some readership, there is no question that blogging a listing will expose it to more people. And exposure for a listing is generally a good thing.

In addition to getting good exposure for the listing, it can also provide good exposure for you. And whether you want to admit it or not, you are blogging to market not just your listings, but yourself.

The Con’s

Blog posts about listings can be boring. Take for example the typical pitch: Continue reading this post

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Posted by: Jay Thompson on May 8th, 2008 under Blogging and Social Networking, Guest Bloggers

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