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Jose E. Humaran's Blog

By Jose E. Humaran | Broker in Miami Lakes, FL
  • New do-not-call rules stop most robocalls

    Posted Under: Agent2Agent  |  January 24, 2014 8:21 PM  |  180 views  |  No comments
    All U.S. telemarketers – a group that includes Realtors calling residential or cell phone lines – must follow new and stricter Federal Communications Commission (FCC) rules over robocalls. A robocall is considered any pre-recorded telemarketing call made to a home landline, or any pre-recorded or auto-dialed telemarketing call or text to a wireless number.

    In general, the new rules ban telemarketers from calling or messaging any home or mobile device unless they have documentation of a consumer’s express, unambiguous, consent – and that consent can no longer be buried in the fine print.

    Consent can be obtained through website forms, a telephone keypress, or a recording of the recipient’s oral consent.

    Established business rule
    Another change: The “established business rule” that allows calls a telemarketer to call a residence is now much stricter when applied to robocalls.

    Telemarketers were never legally allowed to make robocalls to a wireless phone based solely on an “established business relationship.” That rule has effectively been extended to residential phone lines too. Even if a recipient bought something from the caller or just asked for more information, a telemarketer cannot robocall without prior express written consent.

    Opt out
    The new rules also require telemarketers to empower receivers to opt out of further robocalls, even if they previously gave permission. That opt-out power has to be announced at the outset of the message, and it must be available throughout the call.

    For more information, visit the FCC’s Robocalls webpage.

    Source: Florida Realtors®
  • Study: 60% of Web Visitors Are Bots

    Posted Under: Agent2Agent  |  December 17, 2013 7:50 AM  |  63 views  |  No comments

    Could the majority of your website’s traffic be from automated bots? Most likely, according to new figures by Incapsula that shows about 61 percent of all traffic to websites comes from automated bots.

    Only 38.5 percent of the traffic to web sites is from humans. The rest is thanks to non-human traffic, such as search engines, scrapers, hacking tools, spammers, and other impersonators, the study shows.

    However, there are good bots and bad bots. About 30 percent of the traffic is from so-called “good bots”—search engines and cookies that claim to better users’ surfing experience, Forbes reports.

    It’s the lurking visitors from “bad bots” that webmasters need to guard their sites against. Thirty-one percent of bots are malicious, the study found. For example, some bots are data scrapers that may steal your content and duplicate it on other sites. Others are spammers who have the potential to annoy your legitimate visitors with irrelevant content. Other bots include hackers who can inject malware onto your site and impersonators who can slow your site’s bandwidth.

    The Incapsula report found that overall bot traffic was up 21 percent in the past year. The positive news? The number of "good bot" visits to sites is growing while “bad bot” activity is declining, particularly from those which specialize posting in spam comments.

    Source: “Report: Bot Traffic Is Up 61.5% of All Website Traffic,” Incapsula (Dec. 9, 2013) and “Over 60% of All Website Visits Are Bot Traffic,” Forbes.com (Dec. 13, 2013)

  • Realtor.com® Ends AgentMatch Pilot Program

    Posted Under: Agent2Agent  |  December 12, 2013 11:23 AM  |  76 views  |  No comments

    Move Inc., the San Jose, Calif.-based company that operates realtor.com®, has concluded a pilot program it was running in two markets on a product that would match potential sellers with agents in their area. The test of AgentMatch, which operated in Boulder, Colo., and Las Vegas starting in July, was the subject of some discussion, debate, and concern among NAR members.

    Some real estate practitioners vocalized their worries on social media that AgentMatch — which ranked practitioners in each market based on sold data from MLSs, including their number of recent sales, list-to-price ratio, and average days on market for their listed homes — created an unfair advantage for some agents. For example, an agent with very low production volume could still show as a top agent in a specific area if he or she had recently sold there. That could edge out other local agents with far higher production levels and better results just because they hadn't sold in that area, critics argued.

    In a letter to NAR members Thursday, realtor.com® President Errol Samuelson talks about the spirit of the program and the company’s intention moving forward to deliver a more qualitative tool for sellers.

    "In an age of reviews, ratings, big expectations and small attention spans, we wanted to create a service that would place facts, and REALTORS®, front and center," Samuelson says. "We learned a few things in this experiment. We learned that using an algorithm to 'match' consumers with REALTORS® is misguided. A computer cannot find the best REALTOR® for someone, just like a computer cannot place an accurate value on a home.

    "We also learned that metrics like days on market or list price to sale price ratio, while useful within a real estate brokerage, could be confusing or even misleading to consumers. Numbers don't lie, but they don't necessarily tell the whole story, either."

    While the AgentMatch pilot has ended, realtor.com® is still committed to producing a product that will help consumers connect with REALTORS® efficiently, Samuelson says.

    "The larger project remains: We intend to create the most accurate and complete resource for consumers looking for a REALTOR® online, and to continue moving the industry forward with innovative solutions," he says. "Innovation is not easy. It means accepting risk, and the occasional stumble. But it is, in all cases, energy aimed forward."
    Source: Realtor Magazine

  • 5 Tech Upgrades for Your Marketing

    Posted Under: Agent2Agent  |  December 10, 2013 12:50 PM  |  63 views  |  No comments

    With more consumers seeking out listing photos or virtual tours, there are several technologies that could help real estate agents jazz up their marketing now — and in the future.

    • Matterport's $4,500 camera allows agents to take photos of a room and transform them into a 3-D rendering that lets users walk through or fly above the floor plan.
    • InFORM's Dynamic Shape Display will allow people to literally touch objects and market statistics.
    • 3-D printers will make it easier for architects, interior designers, and others to better view spaces before they are built at full scale.
    • MagicPlan automatically calculates the size of each wall with 95 percent accuracy using an agent's phone camera, with exact measurements calculated when paired with a Bluetooth laser meter. The 2-D model can then be uploaded to FloorPlanner to create a 3-D model at a cost of just $3 per floor plan.
    • Google could one day apply the 3-D rendering of a home's interior on a map, letting users virtually sit in the living room.

    Source: "5 Technologies That Push the Boundaries of Real Estate Marketing," Inman News (Dec. 9, 2013) & Information Inc.

  • Next-Gen USB Connector Coming for Tech Gadgets

    Posted Under: Agent2Agent  |  December 5, 2013 12:26 PM  |  55 views  |  No comments

    The USB connector is getting a makeover with a new plug type that is smaller and reversible, but don’t expect it to be compatible with all existing USB plugs. You’ll need an adapter to plug it into older devices, TechSpot reports.

    The new USB connector, dubbed Type-C, is being proposed by USB 3.0 Promoter Group. It will “finally stop issues with not being able to insert the plug correctly the first time,” TechSpot reports. The new version will accept the plug from either end. “Type-C will also be smaller than the current Type-A plug, similar in size to the micro USB 2.0 connector [which is found in most modern cell phones].”

    The connector will be used to deliver power, video, and data across devices. It’ll usher in a new “super-thin class” of devices, the USB 3.0 Promoter Group says.

    The new connector is currently in development. It’s expected to be finalized by mid-2014.

    The Type-C connectors are being developed to be paired with USB 3.1 on new devices toward the end of next year. USB 3.1 will boost power delivery to the devices.

    Source: “New USB connector inbound, set to be smaller and reversible,” TechSpot (Dec. 4, 2013) and “Next-gen USB connector will (finally!) fit both ways,” PCWorld (Dec. 4, 2013)

  • Making the Most of Your Buyers' Winter Search

    Posted Under: Agent2Agent  |  December 3, 2013 2:42 PM  |  56 views  |  No comments

    The holidays are the perfect time of year for some home buyers to purchase a house and snag a great year-end deal — but limited inventory may be the Scrooge.

    After a challenging home-buying season in the spring and summer, many buyers say they plan to reignite their home search during the winter, according to a recent realtor.com® survey. They're hoping for less competition from all-cash buyers and fewer bidding wars during that time.

    However, winter often brings about limited inventories of homes for sale, so buyers will likely find fewer choices. It seems that buyers expect that: 45 percent of those surveyed in the realtor.com® Winter Home Buyer Report say they believe they’ll be up against inventory challenges again during the winter months.

    Some real estate agents are grappling with that issue by finding homes that aren’t officially on the market to increase their buyers’ choices. They are even drumming up “old expires” — homes that were listed several years ago but never sold — to see if the owner will reconsider selling. Some brokers are also sending letters to home owners in their buyer’s preferred neighborhood to motivate a home owner to consider selling.

    Still, buyers shopping for a home in winter may find sellers more amenable to striking a good deal. Particularly during the holidays, sellers can be highly motivated to sell before the end of the year, says Tim Deihl, associate broker at Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty in Boston. Buyers may be able to take advantage of that sellers’ urgency.

    “A seller who’s looking to move a piece of real estate during the holidays is a seller who needs to sell, because nobody in their right mind would pick that as the most convenient time to list their property,” Deihl says.

    Source: “Holiday home-buying may pay off,” Bankrate.com (Dec. 2, 2013)

  • Smartphone Database Aims to Prevent Thefts

    Posted Under: Agent2Agent  |  December 3, 2013 2:38 PM  |  58 views  |  No comments

    One of the fastest-growing crimes in the U.S. is cell phone theft, and the nation’s four largest U.S. carriers, along with the Federal Communications Commission, have banded together to curtail it with a national registry of lost and stolen phones. They’re hoping it can be used to deny activation of reported stolen phones as well as reduce the value of stolen smartphones that thieves try to sell.

    The database lists stolen 4G/LTE smartphones, and the plan is to integrate it with international databases. The database will be maintained by each carrier and will track all phones reported stolen via the phone’s serial number.

    “The matter of stolen devices is extremely important to wireless providers,” says Steve Largent, president and CEO of CTIA-The Wireless Association. “As more countries and more carriers around the world participate in the 3G and 4G/LTE databases, criminals will have fewer outlets since these stolen phones would be blacklisted and could not be reactivated.”

    CTIA still encourages consumers to use apps or programs to protect their phones from theft as well. Several services exist to help find lost phones or remotely wipe them clean to secure data, such as Android Device Manager or Find my iPhone. Apple recently debuted the Activation Lock feature on the iOS 7, which makes it impossible to reactivate a lost or stolen device without an Apple ID and password.

    Source: CTIA-The Wireless Association and “CTIA hopes to deter smartphone theft with global, multi-carrier common database for lost and stolen devices,” TechSpot (Nov. 28, 2013)

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