Blog : Homebuyers

Real Estate Marketing Ideas for Real Results

Real Estate Marketing Ideas for Real Results

Is your marketing strategy getting stale? If you’ve been in a promotional rut or have not been seeing the results that you’d like, maybe it’s time to revamp your efforts with new ideas. First, take an inventory of your marketing efforts and expenses over the past 12 months. Analyze how much money you invested, how much time you spent, and which efforts were the most successful. If you think your marketing approach would benefit from new concepts, you might want to consider these:

Ask for testimonials from former clients. First-person testimonial statements can be an effective and persuasive marketing tactic for agents, mainly because prospective clients can often identify with other home buyers and sellers. Include testimonials from satisfied clients on your website as well as in email communications, social media postings, and printed materials.

Give your business cards and marketing materials to service providers that you recommend sharing with their own clients. These types of referrals and cross-selling efforts can often benefit both parties. Be sure to keep family and friends supplied with your business cards and promotional materials, too.

Post some YouTube videos featuring your services and industry expertise. Unlike printed materials, online video sharing helps you get your personality across as you demonstrate your real estate market expertise and knowledge. The videos don’t have to be lengthy, but should incorporate topics that would interest prospective home buyers and sellers.

Update your photographs and videography. If you haven’t had a set of professional photos done in a while, book an appointment soon. In addition to traditional headshots, consider having some informal photos taken, too, to give marketing materials a more relaxed and relatable vibe. If possible, have some photos taken that show you interacting with clients and showing properties.

Revamp your personalized promotional giveaway items to reflect the lifestyles, habits, and interests of prospective clients today. Instead of refrigerator magnets, pens, and fans, consider putting your name and logo on koozies, cell phone accessories, memory drives, reusable shopping bags, or environmentally friendly notepads made from recycled paper.

Get help from American Home Shield®. In addition to distinguishing homes from others on the market and attracting prospective buyers, AHS® can help you with your own marketing strategies. For example, AHS offers a dynamic marketing automation tool that lets agents build and send personalized marketing materials to their clients, as well as open house kits and other selling instruments. Your knowledgeable AHS Account Executive will gladly share additional resources to help you build your business and reach your goals.

Whatever your marketing strategy, it’s a good idea to take stock and re-evaluate your efforts periodically to gauge your results. Talk to colleagues and find out what works for them, and be sure to ask your clients, too, about what factors they consider when choosing a real estate professional.

For more helpful tips from our partners at American Home Shield, make sure to check out their blog! 

Business Owner Insurance Solutions

Business Owner Insurance Solutions

As a business owner, you essentially have TWO families to take care of: 1) your family at home (spouse, children, relatives, partner, etc.) and 2) your work family (employees, business partners, etc.)  These people rely on you to be present, engaged, and earning income.  With September being Life Insurance Awareness Month, it is a great time to review your business insurance strategy and see if you can implement any of the ideas below:

  • Individual Life Insurance
    1. A policy that covers one person and pays out a claim upon death
      1. Affordable coverage available in a variety of policy types
      2. Ideal for entrepreneur with no staff, but is a contributing income at home
  • Disability Insurance
    1. A policy that covers one person and pays out a claim upon a qualifying disability that removes a person from their normal working capacity
      1. Affordable coverage available in a variety of policy types
      2. Ideal for protecting an income stream for business owners or employees
  • Buy-Sell Agreements
    1. A legal contract among owners to buy out the portion of the deceased’s business share.
      1. Life insurance can be used to “fund” these types of contracts!
      2. Secure a life insurance policy naming the business partner as beneficiary for built in purchasing power to retain the business
  • Key Person Insurance
    1. Life or disability insurance purchased by a business on an employee that is payable to the business.
      1. This ensures business revenues continue even if a pivotal team member is no longer able to function in their usual capacity due to death or disability
      2. Revenues keep business operational even in time of crisis

Your livelihood depends on income and sustained business.  You’d be surprised at the creative solutions our team can develop for business owners like YOU!  We’re ready to help you implement smart insurance strategies.

Contact Gateway Insurance Group at: 858-428-3929 or www.gatewayig.com/nexthome

To learn more, read the brochure, “Taking care of Business” by the nonprofit agency, Life Happens:

https://lifehappens.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Brochure_TakingCareofBusiness_2014_Consumer.pdf

Securities offered through Registered Representatives of Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a brokerdealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser. Gateway Financial Advisors, Inc., and Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. are not affiliated. The information in this email is confidential and is intended solely for the addressee. If you are not the intended addressee and have received this email in error, please reply to the sender to inform them of this fact. We cannot accept trade orders through email. Important letters, email, or fax messages should be confirmed by calling 1-858-GATEWAY  . This email service may not be monitored every day, or after normal business hours.

NextHome Edgewater now serving the Naples area

NextHome Edgewater now serving the Naples area

Maurice Cossairt

Pleasanton, CA — September 10, 2019 — NextHome is pleased to introduce Maurice Cossairt as the company’s newest broker/owner to open a NextHome franchise. Maurice and his team at NextHome Edgewater will serve real estate needs throughout Southwest Florida including Punta Gorda, Fort Myers, Estero, Bonita Springs, Marco Island, and Naples. NextHome Edgewater is the 60th NextHome franchise to open in Florida. 

As someone who has owned a home on Marco Island for 20 years, Maurice is excited to share his client-centered service with the area he loves. 

“We are thrilled to be expanding our services into the Marco Island area,” Maurice said.  

Maurice and his team at NextHome Edgewater specialize in vacation homes and are excited about their growing portfolio of satisfied first-time homebuyers, investors, and commercial clients. 

“I love working with first-time home buyers,” Maurice said. “There is something really satisfying about helping those types of clients.”

Maurice has been immersed in the real estate and home building industry since he was young. As a child, Maurice watched his parents run a brokerage and build their business. 

“I’ve been sitting at open houses since I was 12 years old,” Maurice recalled. 

In 2013, Maurice made real estate sales his full-time job. He continued to serve home buyers and sellers across the Naples area as an independent sales associate with Sun Realty until 2017. In those years, he sharpened his networking and lead-generating skills to a fine point. Maurice began his career closing seven transactions per year. However, those sharpened networking skills and robust word-of-mouth marketing now help Maurice close about 37 transactions per year. He also recently oversaw $3.4 million in annual sales in a market where median home prices hover in the $300,000-$500,000 range.

Maurice also created his own career as a designer/builder. As a general contractor, Maurice captained a company of hundreds of employees with many moving parts. However, he soon discovered he could remain in the industry he loved and have a smaller staff.

“After many years running a company with several hundred employees, I found out that I didn’t have to do that,” Maurice said. “I could work with a small group of REALTORS® and give them the individualized attention and support they need.”

In 2017, Maurice started to think that he would enjoy a career change as a NextHome broker/owner. He attended a Florida REALTORS® convention in 2016 where he met NextHome representatives and first considered a career with the franchisor. 

“I was impressed by what I saw,” Maurice said. “I hung on to that interaction, and when the time was right, I knew I wanted to start a brokerage with NextHome. The culture of NextHome is just the way I like to work; it was a good fit.”

Today, Maurice heads a growing office of real estate agents that he is happy to support through training and mentorship. 

“What really differentiates NextHome Edgewater for our agent is the flexibility we provide,” Maurice said. “I like how I can give them the tools they need but also the ability to customize on a client-by-client basis. It is great that NextHome Edgewater agents are able to do the business they want with a broker and brokerage that supports them and gives them the help they need when they need it.”

That level of personal customization, alongside the suite of top-level tools NextHome provides, also sets NextHome Edgewater apart for the client. 

“One of the things I like about NextHome is that I can have the cool marketing tools and all that fancy stuff but I can work in a way that customizes on a client-by-client basis,” Maurice said. “I don’t cram clients in a pipeline and treat them all the same. The personal touch – that’s my brand differentiation.” 

When he is not helping agents and real estate clients, Maurice enjoys boating, going to concerts and playing his trumpet. He is active with Habitat for Humanity and donates to the local chapter of St. Vincent de Paul. Maurice is the proud father of two grown children, a daughter and a son.

“NextHome is thrilled to have Maurice represent our franchise in the Naples area,” said Imran Poladi, NextHome’s Vice President. 

Please join us in congratulating Maurice on the opening of NextHome Edgewater in Naples, Florida! 

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at Charis@NextHome.com.

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

Meet your August 2019 NextHomie of the Month!

Meet your August 2019 NextHomie of the Month!

Sarah DaSilva

Please join us in congratulating our NextHomie of the Month for August 2019, Sarah DaSilva, a rockstar agent at NextHome Freitas Realty Group in Mashpee, MA. Congratulations, Sarah!

In November 2015, Sarah became a NextHomie when her broker Livia Freitas Monteforte opened a NextHome office in Mashpee, MA. With 15 years of experience in the real estate industry, Sarah has seen it all and loves it all. Her passion for helping people find their next home is undeniable and makes her a wonderful representation of a NextHomie.

When asked what’s the NextHome difference, Sarah referenced the #HumansOverHouses hashtag because it’s truly a great indicator of how NextHome is unique. 

“Everyone talks about their technology, tools, and training. NextHome talks about the humans, the people, because they’re the ones that really matter in this industry, and nobody else is talking about them,” said Sarah.

Shortly after joining NextHome, Sarah experienced the power of the NextHome family firsthand when she was affected by an unforeseen life event that took place a week before the annual NextHome conference. She lost all hope in being able to attend the event, but the overflowing kindness she received from her NextHomies was nothing short of “family.” Everyone worked together to make sure she didn’t miss it. 

“When I joined NextHome, I felt the arms of that big family hug engulf me. I knew from that moment that I was home,” said Sarah. 

Outside of real estate, Sarah loves spending time with her eight-year-old daughter, Kennadie. Sarah accompanies her to ballet and hip hop classes, and their favorite thing to do is get creative in the kitchen. They love working together to create beautiful and delicious meals to share with family and friends any chance they get. 

We’re thrilled that Sarah’s passion for real estate, NextHome, and the people she helps is recognized and earned her the August 2019 NextHomie of the Month recognition. Congratulations, Sarah!

Amanda Mills 

NextHome Culture Committee Chair

NextHome’s First Franchisee in Oklahoma Expands Her Reach

NextHome’s First Franchisee in Oklahoma Expands Her Reach

Kimberly Hutson

Pleasanton, CA — August 14, 2017 — NextHome is proud to announce the latest addition to the franchise, NextHome Simply Real Estate. The brokerage will represent the second NextHome franchise location owned by Kimberly Hutson in the state of Oklahoma. She will take over ownership from a fellow broker and Norman Board of REALTORS® member, Carolyn Little. Carolyn will stay on during the transition of ownership as the company’s broker of record.

Additionally, she has acquired the property management division of NextHome Simply Real Estate and will be of service to more than 50 properties. 

“I’m excited about this opportunity to expand in Oklahoma and continue the NextHome way of doing business in our communities,” said Kimberly. “Carolyn has created a wonderful brokerage with an amazing culture. Both of our offices have been very involved in working in our local cities and I’m thrilled to have Carolyn still be a part of the NextHome family.”

Based out of Noble, NextHome Simply Real Estate will provide residential sales, investment property, luxury home sales, first time home buyers, military, land sales, horse properties, multi-family and relocation services to areas including Norman, Moore, Oklahoma City, Edmond, Piedmont, Guthrie, Newcastle, Tuttle, Blanchard, and the surrounding rural communities.

Noble, located just on the outskirts of the city of Norman, is home to just under 7,000 residents. The city is the third-largest in population in Cleveland County.

Before real estate, Kimberly worked as an Executive Secretary to a Bank President and left her job after 10 years to raise her family.

“After the kids were older, I was ready to get back into working full time,” said Kimberly. The couple moved a couple of times due to her husband’s work transfers but were happy to move back to Norman. 

“The process of selling and searching for our homes during those moves is what made me want to get into real estate. I am very passionate about helping people and I want to make a difference in this industry,” said Kimberly.

Licensed since 2013, Kimberly is a member of the National Association of Realtors® (NAR), Oklahoma City Metropolitan Association of Realtors®, Norman Board of Realtors®, and the Edmond Board of Realtors.

Kimberly spent her first year learning as much as possible about the industry. Her commitment to education shines through the time she dedicates towards improving her service for her clients. She has earned several NAR designations and certifications including Graduate of the Real Estate Institute (GRI), Accredited Buyers Agent (ABR), Broker Price Opinion Resource (BPOR), Certified Residential Specialist (CRS), and Short Sale & Foreclosure Resource (SFR).

With her commitment to education evident, Kimberly sold nearly $4 million in real estate volume in just her second year in real estate.

In 2016, she went on to get her broker’s license and joined eXp Realty as a branch broker. As her business continued to increase, she started a team.

Although she successfully led agents as the branch broker, changes in the company franchise structure in Oklahoma caused Kimberly to look in a different direction.

In 2017, she decided to start her own brokerage and was looking for the right company to affiliate with.

“A friend introduced me to NextHome because she knew I was looking for something new and different than what other brokerages offered here in Oklahoma,” recalled Kimberly.

Soon after, Kimberly launched NextHome Prestige Realty in Norman, Oklahoma.

“We are a group of tech-savvy agents that love the tools and resources NextHome provides. We focus on team building, training and representing our clients with a personal experience we are proud of. NextHome gives us the tools and resources we need to streamline our processes and operate effectively and efficiently for our clients’ needs,” said Kimberly.

With a group of career-oriented agents at the brokerage, Kimberly takes pride in how involved the team at NextHome Prestige Realty is with the local community. When they are not in the office or helping clients, you’ll find them out on the golf course sponsoring a hole for a charity tournament, working or serving in the local communities, or helping the local boards.

“We love our communities and giving back is important to us,” said Kimberly.

Outside of selling real estate, Kimberly and her husband of 27 years, Glen, enjoy spending time with their family and friends and traveling as much as possible. The couple has three children – Brooklyn (24), Bridgette (21), and Chad (15).

Please join us in congratulating Kimberly and the rest of the team at NextHome Prestige Realty and NextHome Simply Real Estate on their expansion in Oklahoma!

 

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at Charis@NextHome.com.

 

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

Explaining the Basis of Inherited Real Estate

Explaining the Basis of Inherited Real Estate

At some point in our lives, we may inherit a home or another form of real property. In such instances, we need to understand some of the jargon involving inherited real estate. What does “cost basis” mean? What is a “step-up?” What is the home sale tax exclusion, and what kind of tax break does it offer?

Very few parents discuss these matters with their children before they pass away. Some prior knowledge of these terms may make things less confusing at a highly stressful time.

Cost basis is fairly easy to explain. It is the original purchase price of real estate plus certain expenses and fees incurred by the buyer, many of them detailed at closing. The purchase price is always the starting point for determining the cost basis; that is true whether the purchase is financed or all-cash. Title insurance costs, settlement fees, and property taxes owed by the seller that the buyer ends up paying can all become part of the cost basis.1

At the buyer’s death, the cost basis of the property is “stepped up” to its current fair market value. This step-up can cut into the profits of inheritors should they elect to sell. On the other hand, it can also reduce any income tax liability stemming from the transaction.2

Here is an illustration of a stepped-up basis. Twenty years ago, Jane Smyth bought a home for $255,000. At purchase, the cost basis of the property was $260,000. Jane dies and her daughter Blair inherits the home. Its present fair market value is $459,000. That is Blair’s stepped-up basis. So if Blair sells the home and gets $470,000 for it, her complete taxable profit on the sale will be $11,000, not $210,000. If she sells the home for less than $459,000, she will take a loss; the loss will not be tax-deductible, as you cannot deduct a loss resulting from the sale of a personal residence.1

The step-up can reflect more than just simple property appreciation through the years. In fact, many factors can adjust it over time, including negative ones. Basis can be adjusted upward by the costs of home improvements and home additions (and even related tax credits received by the homeowner), rebuilding costs following a disaster, legal fees linked to property ownership, and expenses of linking utility lines to a home. Basis can be adjusted downward by property and casualty insurance payouts, allowable depreciation that comes from renting out part of a home or using part of a residence as a place of business, and any other developments that amount to a return of cost for the property owner.1

The Internal Revenue Code states that a step-up applies for real property “acquired by bequest, devise, or inheritance, or by the decedent’s estate from the decedent.” In plain English, that means the new owner of the property is eligible for the step-up whether the deceased property owner had a will or not.2

In a community property state, receipt of the step-up becomes a bit more complicated. If a married couple buys real estate in Arizona, California, Idaho, Louisiana, New Mexico, Nevada, Texas, Washington, or Wisconsin, each spouse is automatically considered to have a 50% ownership interest in said real property. (Alaska offers spouses the option of a community property agreement.) If a child or other party inherits that 50% ownership interest, that inheritor is usually entitled to a step-up. If at least half of the real estate in question is included in the decedent’s gross estate, the surviving spouse is also eligible for a step-up on his or her 50% ownership interest. Alternately, the person inheriting the ownership interest may choose to value the property six months after the date of the previous owner’s death (or the date of disposition of the property, if disposition occurred first).2,3

In recent years, there has been talk in Washington of curtailing the step-up. So far, such notions have not advanced toward legislation.4

What if a parent gifts real property to a child? The parent’s tax basis becomes the child’s tax basis. If the parent has owned that property for decades and the child cannot take advantage of the federal home sale tax exclusion, the capital gains tax could be enormous if the child sells the property.2

Who qualifies for the home sale tax exclusion? If individuals or married couples want to sell an inherited home, they can qualify for this big federal tax break once they have used that home as their primary residence for two years out of the five years preceding the sale. Upon qualifying, a single taxpayer may exclude as much as $250,000 of gain from the sale, with $500,000 being the limit for married homeowners filing jointly. If the home’s cost basis receives a step-up, the gain from the sale may be small, but this is still a nice tax perk to have.5

Shane Westhoelter may be reached at 858-428-3929 or shane@gfainvestments.com

Gateway Insurance Group, Inc.
6000 Uptown Blvd NE Ste 100
Albuquerque, NM 87110

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for the purpose of avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Securities offered through Registered Representatives of Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a brokerdealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser. Gateway Financial Advisors, Inc., and Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. are not affiliated.
Citations.
1 – nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/determining-your-homes-tax-basis.html [3/30/16]
2 – realtytimes.com/consumeradvice/sellersadvice1/item/34913-20150513-inherited-property-understanding-the-stepped-up-basis [5/13/15]
3 – irs.gov/irm/part25/irm_25-018-001.html
4 – blogs.wsj.com/totalreturn/2015/01/20/the-value-of-the-step-up-on-inherited-assets/ [1/20/15]
5 – nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/if-you-inherit-home-do-you-qualify-the-home-sale-tax-exclusion.html [3/31/16]
Attorney-turned-broker Opens Two NextHome Offices

Attorney-turned-broker Opens Two NextHome Offices

David Woodruff

Pleasanton, CA — August 2, 2019 — NextHome is proud to announce that David Woodruff is taking the lead at offices in Simi Valley and Westlake Village as NextHome continues to expand across Southern California. NextHome Terra, right in the heart of Simi Valley, will serve the real estate needs of all types of buyers and sellers. Some areas of expertise include residential buying and selling, investment properties as well as residential property management. David’s second location, NextHome Oak Summit, operates out of the beautiful Westlake Village area and will offer the same type of high-level service available in Simi Valley. 

These two locations are the company’s 68th and 69th brokerage in California. 

“Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks are beautiful places to live,” David said. “They both have low crime rates and the best public schools in the area. Not only that, but the aesthetics are enticing. They boast clean air and mountain views wherever you go.”

With median single-family home prices reaching upwards of $800,000, the Simi Valley and Thousand Oaks areas (located just 40 miles northwest of Los Angeles) are catching the eye of California home buyers. As Los Angeles locals look to escape the city and bask in the beauty of mountain ranges, they look to David’s market areas, which include Calabasas, Agoura Hills, Westlake Village, Thousand Oaks, Moorpark, Oak Park, and the unincorporated area of Newbury Park. In addition, NextHome Terra and Oak Summit’s knowledgeable agents can serve buyers and sellers across the San Fernando Valley, Conejo, and Ventura County areas. 

David brings an intimate knowledge of the area and vast industry experience to his NextHome Terra and Oak Summit offices. The Westlake Village local built a thriving career as an attorney, however, David has been dabbling in real estate in some way or another for many years. In 2010 David decided to make real estate his full-time job. He quickly obtained his brokers license in 2011 and has been running brokerages ever since. 

“It’s all about the people,” David said of his love for real estate and running brokerages. “I love always getting to meet lots of different people and being able to help people find a house. I am helping them do something that is really important in their lives. Getting to work with people gives me energy and keeps my job interesting and rewarding.” 

From 2011 to 2012, David owned and operated Ochs Realty alongside partner Steve Ochs in Westlake Village. In 2012, David became the sole owner of Oak Summit Real Estate where he built a team of 12 agents. In addition to buying and selling, Oak Summit Real Estate became the primary representative in the Ventura County and Los Angeles County area for Blackstone, one of the largest real estate private equity firms in the world today. A large part of David’s business became finding and facilitating investment property purchases for the group. 

As his client portfolio became more balanced, David started thinking it was a good time to take advantage of all the benefits a franchised brokerage could provide. 

“Once my business became more broad and balanced, and wasn’t centered on just a couple of large clients, I felt that to be competitive with the many other large brokerages in the area I needed the brand and competitive edge that NextHome could provide,” David said.

The experienced broker and attorney then purchased NextHome Terra from Larry Nease. 

“It was the perfect fit for my strategic plan and I liked what I saw with NextHome,” David said. “Larry told me good things about the business and that was a good influence for me.”

Larry, a well-known name in Simi Valley real estate, continues to work with David at NextHome Terra. 

“NextHome is also fresh. It’s young. It’s exciting,” David said. “It’s a distinct brand and it has a lot of technology. It’s also up-and-coming, so I feel like I’m getting in on the ground floor of something great.”

Today, David and his NextHome brokerages stand apart in the competitive Southern California real estate market through his extensive experience and NextHome Terra and Oak Summit’s culture of excellence.

“The number one thing we bring to the table is experience,” David said. “I have personally handled well over a thousand real estate transactions. I’m also an attorney and a broker – a combination that gets you an unparalleled experience.”

Not only does David have extensive experience in the market, but he also nurtures a friendly and professional environment through his brokerage.

“They (the agents and administrative staff) give me a lift every time I come into the office,” David said. “I also love helping people meet their goals whether it’s to find the home of their dreams, or to make a real estate investment, or to see their house sell for a great price in a good time frame.” 

When he isn’t helping his agents and clients, David enjoys spending time with his wife of 25 years, Joy, and their two daughters, Kendra, 21 and Amanda, 15. 

The family likes to travel, experience new places, watch movies together, and spend time with their extended family. 

“We are thrilled that David found NextHome,” said Imran Poladi, NextHome’s Vice President. “We look forward to seeing all the success his skill-set and hard work will bring.”

Please join us in congratulating David and his team on the opening of his new NextHome brokerages in Simi Valley and Westlake Village!

 

Interested in being a part of the NextHome Real Estate Franchise? Contact VP of Sales Charis Moreno at Charis@NextHome.com.

 

Each office is an independently owned and operated business.

How to Use Gmail: 6 Tips and Tricks That Will Make You Unstoppable

How to Use Gmail: 6 Tips and Tricks That Will Make You Unstoppable

You’re a busy working professional.

You don’t have enough time to tackle your email inbox, and it’s hard enough for you to remember all of the tasks that come with having a busy inbox.

You use Gmail because – you get it. Google creates some of the best technology for working professionals.

Because you’re a working business professional that relies heavily on email, it is imperative for you to find ways to organize and enhance your Gmail inbox and increase your work productivity as a result.

That’s why we’ve pulled together eleven tricks that exist both within Gmail, and through external Google Chrome Extensions, that will show you how to use Gmail better. These tricks will allow you to enhance your inbox, save time, and scale your business.

1. Unsend an Email (Yes, you read that right)

We’ve all been there. That moment when you send an extremely important email, and then you realize there’s an error in the email. You panic. How can you fix it? There’s a solution.

Gmail has a created a feature that will allow you to unsend emails seconds after sending.

After sending an email in the bottom left hand corner of your screen you’ll see an option that says “undo send.” That will recall your email send.

To change the time setting on how quickly you can recall a message, select the “settings” gear in the top right corner. Scroll down to “Undo Send.”

Gmail Email Sent Undo Button

Finally select a cancellation period of either 5, 10, 20 or 30 seconds.

2. How to Clean Out Gmail – Unsubscribe from Emails You No Longer Read!

Most people are subscribed to far too many newsletters. If you’re constantly getting emails that no longer provide you value, do something about it.

Unroll.me is a website that will connect to your email inbox and instantly show you a list of all of your subscription emails. You can take that list and determine which emails you would like to be removed from by selecting an “x.”

 

This process will save you a significant amount of time, as you will not be required to individually unsubscribe from every email send. You will instead be able to unsubscribe from multiple lists at once.

Hello organizational heaven! Your Gmail Inbox will thank you.

3. Email Tracking in Gmail

Wouldn’t it be incredible if you could find out the exact who, what, and when of every interaction with the emails you send from Gmail? This information would allow you to follow up with the right people at the right time.

With the BombBomb Google Chrome Integration, you can track all of your email sends. When you know exactly who’s opening your emails and playing your videos and exactly when they do it, you can follow up much more efficiently and effectively!

 

How to Set Up Gmail Tracking

  • Add a video to your Gmail emails and the extensions will track email opens and video plays.
  • Just send text and BombBomb will track the email open. Click tracking off and we won’t track it at all.
  • Once you’ve got the BombBomb Chrome extension added and you’re logged in, the PowerWheel appears automatically in every Compose and Reply window. You can click and drag it around – move it wherever you’d like.

Gmail Tracking: What’s New with PowerWheel

  • Before you send any email, you can keep tracking on or click to turn it off.
  • Tracking is always on by default in any Compose or Reply email. Clicking it off turns the Tracking circle on the PowerWheel a lighter gray.

You must keep tracking turned on if you want to use the Schedule or Remind features.

When you activate Scheduling, Reminders, Videos, or Help/Feedback from the PowerWheel, you’re taken into a window that gives you access to all the other work areas. Here, too, you’ll find tracking to turn off or on.

The gear icon in the lower left corner of that window gives you access to more Gmail tracking options.

  • Fly-in desktop notifications for email opens and video plays
  • Tracking action bar across the top of your inbox
  • Activity list panel on the right side of your inbox

4. Schedule an Email in Gmail – (& set a reminder too!)

Timing is everything. You can send that email now, or schedule it to be sent later. Set reminders before sending so you never miss an opportunity.

Whether text, video, or some of both, the email you just made in Gmail can be sent right now – or be scheduled to send at any day and time in the future!

To do so, download the BombBomb Google Chrome Extension.

Once you’re setup with the extension, just click “Schedule” on the PowerWheel in any Compose or Reply window.

From that click, you’ll be brought to a calendar starting with today and the next half hour. Schedule the send later that day or for any day in the future. Schedule it on any half hour of the day.

After you pick your day and time, click “Save.” You’ll be returned to your Compose or Reply window and the “Send” button now says “Schedule” and the day and time you selected will appear when you hover over the Schedule button on the PowerWheel.

When you’re done creating the email, click “Schedule” (formerly “Send”). The email goes to your Drafts folder, where it’ll stay until its scheduled day and time arrive for sending with a little “BB Scheduled” tag on it.

 

Change your mind? Just click that “Schedule” button on the PowerWheel and “Unschedule.”

5. Gmail Spell Check

We’ve already talked about how terrible it feels to send an email with typo in it. Even with Gmail’s spellcheck feature you can still misuse words, or use improper grammar. This is where Grammarly comes in as your saving grace.

 

Grammarly is Google Chrome Extension (among many other things) that will connect within Gmail and check every single email you write. The app will simply mark mistakes with a red line. If you double-click on the word, it will give you a correction suggestion. You can even click on every word in your email and Grammarly will suggest a synonym for you.

To download the Grammarly Google Chrome Extension, click here!

PS: You know another great way to avoid typos? Send a video! More on this in suggestion 11!

6. How to Send a Video Through Gmail

Don’t rely exclusively on plain, typed-out text to communicate, connect and convert. Get face-to-face more often by sending simple videos directly inside your Gmail inbox.

BombBomb’s Google Chrome Extension will allow you to send video in your email.

 

First you will need to download this extension! Once you’re inbox is all set up, follow the instructions below.

How to Send Gmail Video 1: Red Record Button in PowerWheel
Click the red record button in the middle of the PowerWheel to open up the pop-over recorder.

From the recorder, click the red circle to record, click the red square to stop, then “Save” to drop the video into the Compose or Reply email. Notice that it’s automatically given an animated preview to help improve video play rate.

NOTE: By clicking and dragging, you can move the video recorder anywhere on your screen and you can move the PowerWheel itself anywhere inside the Compose or Reply window.

How to Send Gmail Video 2: “Videos” in PowerWheel
The big, red record button opens up the video recorder. The smaller “Videos” button on the PowerWheel opens up your video library.

Any video you’ve recorded or uploaded into your BombBomb account is available here.
You can scroll through them in reverse chronological order (most recent first). You can also filter by tag – so be sure to assign a tag to your frequently used videos in your main BombBomb account.

After you click the “Videos” button on the PowerWheel, you’ll have access to your BombBomb video library, as well as other tools and features. Select the video you want, then click “Insert Video.”

How to Send Gmail Video 3: “Send Video” Button
For a time saving shortcut, click the “Send Video” button in the top left corner of your Gmail inbox.

Just one click of that button will:

  • Create a new “Compose” email
  • Open up the BombBomb video recorder

This button is a carry over from previous versions of the BombBomb extension for Google Chrome.

A More Powerful Gmail Inbox:

Tracking, Scheduling, Video, and Snippets were four of the ten suggestions that can be tackled by downloading the BombBomb Google Chrome Extension.

BombBomb is building for you the standard of excellence in business communication. With the PowerWheel, we want to improve specifically and dramatically the effectiveness and efficiency of your Gmail inbox.

This toolset is included with any BombBomb account. Click here to try BombBomb absolutely free (no credit card required) for two weeks. See if it’s a good fit for you!

How To Get Started

NOTE: for Tracking, Schedule, and Remind to work properly, your BombBomb email address and Gmail address must match.

Living in the Future: Smart Home Technology

Living in the Future: Smart Home Technology

Remember the beloved cartoon, “The Jetsons?” Robot maids, jet packs, moving sidewalks, and flying cars? In the 1960s, when the cartoon was first released, there seemed to be only frivolous imaginary creations. Fast-forward to 2019 and many of the technology predictions from, “The Jetsons” have actually come true! Talking alarm clocks, flat screen TVs, smartwatches and video chats to name a few!

These tech gadgets don’t stop there, they’ve recently made their way into real estate via “Smart Home Technology.”

What is Smart Home Technology?

  • Technology with sensors or devices that can be remotely monitored, controlled and accessed via smartphones, tablets, or apps

What are the most popular applications of Smart Home Technology?

  • Wireless Speakers
  • Thermostats
  • Home Security Systems
  • Cleaning Devices (robot vacuums)
  • Smoke Detectors
  • Lighting
  • Door Locks
  • Refrigerators
  • Water Monitors
  • Laundry Machines

What limitations exist?

  • Adaptation can be costly and time-consuming. Buying the adaptors, setting up the networks, learning the controls and having the proper maintenance/updates can be troublesome and expensive.
  • The networks these gadgets rely upon can be prone to security breaches! Be wary of your personal data and monitor your credit and personal information regularly. (Gateway has a very inexpensive Identity Protection product for just $10/month!)

What consumers want and use:

A 2012 consumer report that pulled data from the National Association of Home Builders looked for what Smart home devices homeowners wanted most and found that top five were wireless security systems (50%), programmable thermostats (47%), security cameras (40%), lighting control systems and wireless home audio systems (39%), and home theater and multi-zone HVAC systems (37%).1

A 2015 study from “The Harris Poll” shows:

While the information provided in the studies published above from 2012 and 2015, the desires of Home Owners have not seemed to vary since then. A few of Amazon’s most purchased products include their “Amazon Echo Dot” a smart home speaker/wireless voice control, “Amazon Fire Stick” smart home streaming device, “Amazon Fire Tablet” that can control the smart home apps/functions, the “iRobot” vacuum, “WeMo mini smart plugs” that turn regular outlets into Smart Home hubs, “YI Dome Camera” for security footage, and more!3

What do you use in your house? We’d love to hear from you!

To learn more about our partners at Gateway Insurance Group, Inc. visit their website.

References:

1- “What Homeowners Want”. Home Tech Integration. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
Chart- McCarthy, Niall. “How Prevalent Is Smart Technology In U.S. Homes?”. Forbes. Retrieved 1 April 2018.
3- https://www.bestproducts.com/lifestyle/g3486/best-selling-products-on-amazon/?slide=1
Securities offered through Registered Representatives of Cambridge Investment Research, Inc., a brokerdealer, member FINRA/SIPC. Advisory services offered through Cambridge Investment Research Advisors, Inc., a Registered Investment Adviser. Gateway Financial Advisors, Inc., and Cambridge Investment Research, Inc. are not affiliated.
Shakti and Service Dog Ember

Shakti and Service Dog Ember

Yoga is well known for its benefits to the mind, body and spirit. But for Canine Companions® graduate Shakti, it also led to service dog Ember.

Shakti, who’s had multiple sclerosis (MS) for 21 years, is an avid yogi and instructs yoga classes for people with disabilities. Two of her long-time students, both of whom have MS, would bring their Canine Companions service dogs to the weekly classes Shakti had been teaching. Shakti was able to see firsthand how expertly-trained assistance dogs can help a person with a disability.

Shakti’s journey to Service Dog Ember

Shakti’s MS causes her to have issues with her legs, and she uses an electric wheelchair for mobility. After observing her students’ dogs and the benefits they provide, Shakti decided to apply for a service dog herself. By having an expertly-trained service dog by her side, Shakti was hopeful her independence would be increased.

Shakti was as matched with Service Dog Ember – free of charge – by Canine Companions for Independence. Ember picks up dropped items and delivers them to Shakti, opens and closes, turns on and off lights, and so much more. Shakti says, “I can count on Ember to help me and be by my side wherever I go.” She continues, “This is such an amazing thing to happen for me.”

To learn more about the Veterans Initiative offered through our partners at Canine Companions for Independence, click here!