Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Fat Lady Hasn't Sung Yet

Home prices continue to fall in every major city (except our lovely nation's capital), and Atlanta, Las Vegas, Detroit and Cleveland have now hit levels not seen since the 90's.  This feels like the Caribbean limbo, a game of how low can you go. 

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

It's Baaaaaaaaack

Remember the Adjustable Rate Mortgage?  The mortgage that caused so much trouble during the sub-prime debacle?  Well, it's back.  New and improved: 

From MSN Money - The ARM is back, should you bite?

Sunday, March 13, 2011

American Association of Notaries

The American Association of Notaries is a great resource for information, knowledge, notary supplies, and more.  You can follow them on their new Facebook page: American Association of Notaries

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Where To List Your Local Business

2 articles from Hubspot:

A recent survey comparing lead generations via Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, & company blogs found that LinkedIn was most effective for business to business leads.  Surprised?  I am. 

Also from Hubspot, 50 business directories for local marketing (with links to their sign up pages).

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Audit Traps

7 Red Flags that could trigger an Audit:

1. Failing to include a form 1099 or other income (the IRS matches 1099s in their records to your return)
2. Inflating home office deductions  (your home office should be used "exclusively and regularly for your trade or business.")
3. Citing too many losses on a Schedule C (filing a loss year after year is a red flag)
4. Claiming disproportionately high charitable deductions
5. Using too many round numbers (tax return numbers should not be estimates, they should be exact)
6. Reporting rental real estate losses when you don't materially participate 
7. Citing too many business-related deductions (expenses should be ordinary and necessary)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Business Is So Slow And It's Not My Fault

Today I was contacted by a Metro Detroit Title company looking for notary signing agents to handle in-house closings a few days a month.  I've done several mobile closings for them in the past.  Good company, fair pay, pays in less than 30 days.  Great, where do I sign up?  But before I can start, they want to meet me in person, ask some questions, and get to know me a bit more.  You'd think the easy response to that would be "absolutely!"

But I'm reminded of a story another notary signing agent told me a few days ago.  Another Michigan title company was also looking to add some notary signing agents to their roster.  They also had the idea that they wanted to meet and interview these closers beforehand.  According to the title company, 40 interviews were set up.  How many signing agents showed up?  14.  And I just can't help but wonder, are many of these 27 no shows the same people that are constantly complaining about how slow business is right now?  Here's some business.  Someone is trying to hand it to you.  Just show up, be professional, show them you know what you're doing, and you're in.  How easy is that?  Why would you not get out from behind your computer and get some quality face time with a company that wants to work with you?

Marketing your notary services (or any service) isn't just about listing yourself online, sending emails, and filling out sign up packages.  Face to face contact is critical.  There's nothing more powerful than showing a potential client that you're, you know, a real actual homo sapien.  Let them see what you can offer with their own eyes.

As you can probably guess, my response to the title company that wants to meet me was absolutely yes.  Why wouldn't it be?