Monthly Archives: November 2010

Battling the Cyber-Monday Blues – The Top 5 “Must Dos!”

Coasting in on the heels of Black Friday, Cyber Monday of 2010 promises to be the most lucrative of the past five years to online retailers…as well as internet scammers.  With holiday transactions reaching almost into the billions, how can you avoid becoming a victim of various internet crimes?  We’ve got the inside scoop on defending yourself against these cyber-pirates!

The Federal Trade Commission has tips on safe shopping practices and actually recommends purchasing Gift Cards as gifts(or for purchase-making) instead of using several different online shopping.

Even the Better Business Bureau has a Top Ten list for staying safe this holiday season.

1) If you MUST use a credit card, use one credit card for all transactions. If someone steals your information, it’ll only be one card that you need to cancel/dispute charges over. Not to mention using one card will give you a better accounting over what you’ve spent for the holidays!

2) Don’t handle your online transactions on a public computer or in a public place(i.e. using a hotspot or your neighbor’s “available” wifi connection) – you’re asking for trouble if you enter your personal information on someone else’s machine or even use someone else’s network connection for your shopping needs.

3) Make sure you have antivirus/spam protection on your computer – it’ll be almost impossible to resist clicking on sales promotion links from your email, but be smart – don’t click on links from obscure online retailers, no matter how sweet the deal sounds. If you haven’t heard of the company, that’s your first clue.

4) If you do all of your shopping on one site, say, Amazon.com, Ebay.com or Bestbuy.com, decide on an amount you want to spend and load that amount onto a gift cardthat you will use exclusively for holiday gift purchases. This way, you can go as often as you like to your favorite site and make as many purchases without fear of losing any personal information.

5) Hang onto your receipts for at least thirty days beyond the holiday event…many merchants are bottlenecked during this busy season and phantom transactions will typically rear their ugly heads after the seasonal event - keep a watchful eye on your credit card accounts as those transactions trickle in!

Most importantly, listen to your gut instincts: if it seems too good to be true, it probably is and if you find yourself in a moral battle with yourself whether or not to get something for fear of breaking the bank, you’re probably better off without it! :P

Brenda

The Social Networking Power of Linked-In and FourSquare

If you’re reading this, chances are you were linked here through one of the more popular social networking channels: Twitter, Facebook, etcetera.  Though it’s been around longer than Twitter, Linked-In is returning as a contender for valid social media usage, spurred to more practical use with the nation’s recent economic downturn.

Originally intended as a tool for individuals to have a “virtual resume,” Linked-In has evolved into a social resource for seasoned professionals and entry-level enthusiasts alike to network their way to more lucrative opportunities and a leveraging device for companies to further market their business. Linked-In has become a living “Classified Ads” and the network of people also serves as yet another potential customer base from which businesses can pull.

Set up your free Linked-In account today and don’t forget to  TR Lawing Realty, Inc on LinkedIn !!!

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An interesting amalgamation of addictive online gaming and social networking, FourSquare allows users to track their adventures around the globe, “checking in” at locations like eateries, job sites and entertainment venues while gaining “badges” of experience. You can connect with other friends and compete for status: the more you visit a place, the more likely you are to become the “mayor” of a location.  Add us to your To Do List and see if you can oust Jennifer M. as the mayor!

Both Linked-In and FourSquare have downloadable apps that you can install on your smartphones, making the ability to take part in these social media phenomenons almost effortless!

The Best Lights for Christmas!

Sure, we know…you haven’t even gotten your turkey deep-fried yet and people are already talking about Christmas!  If you’re wanting something outdoors-y to do over the holiday season but don’t necessarily want to leave the comfort of your toasty-warm vehicle to do so, consider these awesome Christmas light displays:

Carolina Christmas – The Lowe’s Motor Speedway boasts a millions lights as one of the largest drive-through light parks in the country! $20 per car or, for those not wanting to wait in line, $35 for the express!

ChristmasTown USA – Within thirty minutes of Charlotte, this free-to-walk-or-ride lights display is a sight to behold!

Christmas in Davidson - Showcasing the Three Fs of Fun, Food and Festivities, this family-friendly even will last from December 2nd to the 4th!

These are some of the main attractions around Charlotte, but for the truly adventurous, nothing beats a family car ride around town!  Stay tuned to T.R. Lawing’s Facebook Fan Page for an upcoming list of popular neighborhoods with astounding amateur decorations for the season!

Attention, Realtors! Become a “Preferred Agent!”

Are you one of our “Preferred Agents?”

T.R. Lawing Realty manages over 2,000 properties, spread throughout the Charlotte and surrounding Charlotte areas. Previously, prospective clients could only view our properties the traditional way: by coming into our office and checking out keys with a cash deposit. We heard the voice of our customers and realized that many people looking for properties preferred to meet someone there as opposed to picking up and returning keys to our office. With this in mind, over a year ago, we installed Supra locks at all of our vacant properties over the $900 price range and invited area Realtors to show our properties.  This method worked incredibly well and so we installed Supra locks at all of our vacant properties over the $600 price range.  We have quite a few properties available for showing!  In short, we could use your help!

Have you visited our website lately? Specifically, have you visited our Realtor’s Portal - offering a suite of tools ranging from a Rental Rate Estimator, links to Continuing Education courses, as well as our Realtor Referral Form and much more?

“How can I become a “Preferred Agent?” you ask.  It’s as easy as this: Send  your contact information to us at referral@trlawing.com : Name, a good contact number and area of Charlotte or surrounding Charlotte areas you would be willing to travel to to show our properties.  When our leasing agents connect with clients interested in viewing the property, they will have the client contact you to set up an appointment. If the client wishes to make an application, you will register them using our Realtor Referral Form  and once they sign a lease, we will forward your referral fee(%15 of the first month’s rent or $150, whichever is greater) within 30 days of their move-in date! Anytime you assist our clients or you recommend a client to us who successfully leases one of our properties, you will receive a referral fee!

What are you waiting for?  Click to Become a “Preferred Agent” today!

Customer Talkback: The Results Are In!

We crafted a survey.  We invited you to give us your feedback.  You did not disappoint!

For our “Your T.R. Lawing Realty Experience” survey, these were the results:

1. How did you find out about T.R. Lawing Realty?

16.7% answered: A www.Google.com search, 8.3% answered: A T.R. Lawing yard sign,   16.7% answered: www.trlawing.com , 8.3% answered: www.Craigslist.org ,  16.7% answered: Friend, 8.3% answered: www.Rentalhouses.com , 33.3% answered: Other, which consisted of: Rental sign on house, First Properties of the Carolinas, MLS Search and an agent from Keller Williams Realty.

Our online marketing, yard signs and word-of mouth seem to be working the best here! Keep talking us up to your friends!  :)

2. Are you a native of Charlotte or are you relocatig from another city/state?

41.7% of you were Native Charlotteans! The remaining 58.3% were from as far as Egypt, Iowa and New York and as close by as West Virginia and South Carolina!

It was a close race, but it seems most are relocating here from other areas. Is it our cusine? Our southern charm? Whatever the reason, people are moving to Charlotte in a big way! And if you’re new to the area and don’t quite know your way around, many choose to rent FIRST and possibly buy later!

3. What kind of property were you looking for?

66.7% of you wanted houses, 33.3% of you wanted condos/townhomes, 8.3% of you wanted apartments and 8.3% of you wanted duplexes!

Despite the recent economic downturn, single-family houses are still in high demand! We have many property flavors available, however!

4. On a scale from 1-3 ( 1 being Small Inventory – Too Few Properties To Choose From and 3 being Large Inventory – A Healthy, Plentiful Portfolio ) how would you rate the size of T.R. Lawing Realty’s inventory of available properties?

36.4% of you thought we had a healthy, plentiful portfolio, 45.5% felt we had just the right amount and 18.2% of you thought we had too few properties to chose from.

A myriad of property flavors is a big component to success in the rental market, but also having more than enough is a great element – people love having enough to chose from!

5. How did you end up choosing a property?

9.1% of you chatted with a leasing agent over the phone and they recommended some properties to you, 45.5% of you saw the property you were looking for on our website, 9.1% of you came into the office and sat down with a leasing agent, who recommended some properties to you, 18.2% of you were enterprising and used a vacancy list you picked up from the office and searched yourself and 18.2% of you chose another route and either: saw the property you were looking for with a TR Lawing yard sign and called us or had your Realtor show you the property.

Our online component has many ways in which you can interact with us: from online chat to personalized emailed vacancy lists, let us know how we can help you on your search!

6. How easy was it to view a property of T.R. Lawing Realty’s?

100% of you said it was VERY EASY!  You either checked out keys from our office or met a realtor there!

7. How would you rate the showability/cleanliness of the properties you viewed?

63.6% thought the properties they viewed were very clean – ready to be moved in and 36.4% thought they were okay, but needed some basic cleaning. No one chose the Filthy option! One person made the comment:   “The one I chose was ready to move-in but I saw others and they were not move-in ready.”

Thankfully, T.R. Lawing Realty encourages prospective renters to go view properties prior to submitting an application, so if the properties do need some sprucing up, these things can be noted on the application and we can have it taken care of before you move in!

8. How would you rate the friendliness/helpfulness of T.R. Lawing Realty staff?

72.7% said that we were very helpful and that we went above and beyond to assist you while 27.3% thought we were average but could use some improvement. No one thought we were rude or unprofessional! One surveytaker made the comment: “They guided me through the process!”

We understand that finding a place to live can be a rather stressful orderal, but we do what we can to make the transition smooth and the process as painless as possible!

9. How easy was the application process?

36.4% of you thought it was easy - you understood our process and your application was processed quickly, 54.5% thought the process was okay – and that it took a reasonable amount of time while 9.1% of you thought the process was hard and it took too long to process your application.

We pride ourselves on being able to turnaround an application from start to finish within two business days. If you can provide the required information: photo I.D., social security card, at least three most recent paystubs and completed application, we can make that happen!

10. On a scale from 1-3, rate your overall experience with T.R. Lawing Realty!

72.7% of you said we were great,  easy to deal with and you found what you were looking for! You’d recommend us to a friend! 18.2% of you thought we were decent - you didn’t find what you were looking for, but we were professional and nice to deal with! only 9.1% thought we were horrible and would never do business again(but never said why).

It looks like we’re doing something right and will continue providing our customers with excellent service!

A hearty thanks to all of our survey participants! We will make improvements and continue doing what we do best: renting the Charlotte Metro Area one home at a time!

Online survey courtesy of www.SurveyMonkey.com

Top Five Places To Eat In Charlotte!

Driving around the Charlotte Metro Area to look at properties can work up quite an appetite!  Thankfully, your Foodie Gurus at T.R. Lawing Realty have you covered!  Here are the Top Five Places To Eat In Charlotte(and surrounding areas)!

1. Uptown Charlotte – I’m a sucker for novelty setups and fast, but delicious food!  The Midnight Diner offers that classy, authentic roadside diner feel with a healthy-portioned fantastic meal!  From burgers to grilled cheese, they’ve got it all, AND they’re open 24 hours!  Check this place out if you’re in Uptown Charlotte after hours. Feel free to stop by these T.R. Lawing listings while you’re out and about:

626 N. Graham Street Suite 208

508 N. Tryon Street Apt 111

718 W. Trade Street Unit 408

*Culinary runners-up: Villa Francesca, Johnny Burrito, Nix Burger&Brew.

2. Matthews Area – if you’re looking for the best wings in Charlotte, look no further than the Township Grille in Matthews! Touting authentic “Western New York”-style food, Buffalo Bills fans are well received! Stop by these properties while expressing your inner sports fan:

2336 Equestrian Drive

4108 Wallbrook Drive

8712 Clifton Meadow Drive

* Culinary runners-up: Buffalo Wild WingsHops Grill Brewery

3. South CharlotteVillage Tavern is located in the heart of Charlotte’s South Park neighborhood and is a great place to meet friends after work or enjoy a delicious steak from their wood-fired grill.  Their huge outdoor dining area is the perfect place to enjoy the Carolina weather and a glass of wine from their award-winning list.  Check out these T.R. Lawing listings while in South Park:

520 New Bern Station Court

1205 Scaleybark Road Apt. D

4879 Oglethorpe Place

*Culinary runners-up:  Roasting Company, Beef & Bottle, Del Frisco’s 

4.  Concord Shop ’til you drop (or get hungry) at Concord Mills Mall and then head to Macado’s Restaurant for a great meal.  With a menu as large as theirs, you are sure to find something for even the pickiest eater in your family.  From Mexican Potato skins to German pasta salad, there is something for everyone at Macado’s!  While in Concord, swing by these T.R. Lawing listings:

3323 Garrett Drive SW

9683 Walker’s Glen Drive

9644 Evanston Street NW

*Culinary runners-up:  Quaker Steak & Lube, Razzoo’s Cajun Café

5. Mooresville While in Mooresville, you must check out The Prickly Pear.  The remodeled church setting is terrific for enjoying their modern Mexican cuisine.  An eclectic Mexican menu and the signature Prickly Pear Margarita make for a unique Mexican dining experience!  Check out these listings convenient to Mooresville:

603 Old Meeting Way

11228 Suunto Lane

*Culinary runners-up:  Soiree on Main, Turn 4 Pizza, Lancaster’s BBQ

Happy hunting and good eating!

*Special thanks goes to Foodie Gurus Sallie, Kori and Dottie for their input!

An Introduction to QR Codes

 

Don’t bother refreshing your browser page: the image above is SUPPOSED to look like something that crashed from an old 8-bit video game system.  This is a QR Code. A QRC, or Quick Response Code, allows for any QR-enabled smartphone to scan the code in question and direct the smartphone to the corresponding link, which could be a webpage or a phone number!

If you’ve ever gotten frustrated typing in a long website address or phone number, this technology was created JUST FOR YOU.

Here’s a great site on the history of QR Codes.

If you have an iPhone, Droid, or other next-generation smartphone, chances are you have a BarCode or QR Code reader already installed. Take a look at your extended menu. No, seriously, go take a look. Is it there?  If you have doubts, you can always go here to get a list of available QR Code reader programs to fit your specific smartphone. No doubt you’ve heard of the iPhone app FoodScanner, which allows users to scan barcodes of products in the store to pull up nutritional value to match their diets or ShopSavvy, which allows users to scan barcodes and find the best deal of the product in their area.

This technology is all part of, and influenced by, a concept termed Augmented Reality.  You’ve seen pieces of this whenever you’ve used your GPS or looked up GoogleMaps or a service similar. Even using sites like GasBuddy.com have fledgling applications of this augmented reality.

The QR Code above links to www.trlawing.com – if you have a smartphone, try it out!  You may be seeing more of these around town sooner than you think!

Comment Box: Share Your Thoughts about T.R. Lawing Realty!

No organization can continue giving excellent customer service without feedback!  Here’s where you come in!  Now’s the time to make your voice heard!  Click This Link to let us know what’s on your mind!

We’ll be closing the survey next week, so give us your feedback soon! We’ll post results and address feedback comments next week!

Thanks!

From the New Kid On the Block

I recently started working for T.R. Lawing Realty as a property manager, and coming from my experience, I know that property management is a fast-paced environment where almost all the parties involved have a level of expectation that borders on instant gratification.

It’s my opinion that the best companies work hard to keep a healthy balance between their customers and their products, and in the world of property management, I’ve been impressed with how well T.R. Lawing Realty runs.

From their front office to their maintenance repair staff, everyone has their own specialties that they throw into the mix and with all these ingredients, The Machine runs – without these components, it would be tough to manage one property let alone the two thousand plus that T.R. Lawing does.  From my perspective, they’re a great team and they know how to work together. 

Just looking at the many ways they do business, from keeping up with technology in the office to even the social networking tools they use, I find myself excitedly looking forward to learning more about and working with this company!

Dottie

From Trick-Or-Treaters to Renters!

Happy Belated Halloween!  I hope everyone had a safe and exhilarating holiday!

As I was handing out candy to children dressed as many types of monsters, I(oddly enough) thought of some similarities the Halloween event had with property management.

The first thing I thought of was this: on Halloween, kids want candy. Point blank. Just as the event of Halloween kicks off a need for sweets for children, any number of events in a person’s life can give rise to the need for a new place to live. This event can be caused by a slow building over the course of a few months, or it could happen overnight. In either case, once that change happens, it happens instantly, and the person wants and needs a new place.  A child’s desire for candy can be as strong as a person’s desire for a new place to live.

The next thing I thought of was this: kids want a certain type of candy more than another type, and candy preferences change from child to child. Such is the same for adults – we each have our own styles and preferences when it comes to the dwelling in which we decide to reside. While a favorite candy stimulates the taste-buds, a preferred style of home gives an individual the ability to express themselves and find a sort of peace. Getting that favorite piece of candy or finding the home that’s just right for you gives you a GREAT feeling, no matter who you are!

Next, presentation is extremely important. Schools and adults drill children on the importance of safety during this holiday season: to stay in groups, to leave houses with no lit porch-lights alone and to be discerning with the candy they receive. It’s safe to say that if you leave your porch-lights off, you won’t be getting any trick-or-treaters at your door. Following that same train of thought, those who go the extra mile on decorating find that throngs of excited children will swarm their doorsteps. Why is that? Because the presentation draws the children in – the kids know that if someone took the time to put those extra touches, it’s a good bet that they might be giving out some really good candy(and in large quantities)! In real estate management, presentation is a huge part of the process – if your home doesn’t show well: it has various things damaged or is not clean, not to mention if it’s not advertised online or in yard signs, people won’t go to view it, much less rent it! The property needs to be marketed correctly and needs to show well. Those who go that extra step will get more trick-or-treaters!

As a property manager, what have I learned from this? 

1. You have to have patience when marketing a property – just as the Halloween event spurs the need for candy in children, many different events in the lives of each individual can spur the need to find a place to live. You have to be ready when this change occurs so that you can meet the needs of the public! 

2. You need to have variety. Not everyone wants the same kind of candy just like not everyone wants the same type of home.  A portfolio of myriad possibilities will be quite attractive to someone looking for something unique, something to fit themselves.

3. You need to advertise and put your best foot forward on your presentation.  The more quality you put into your investment, whether it be decorations and spooky sounds in your yard for trick-or-treaters or making sure the interior is freshly painted and your property photos show well online, the best presentation will increase your chances of reaching potential clients!

What else have I learned?  You need to try to get all of your candy gone by the end of the night – you might be tempted to eat it yourself, and I don’t need the extra calories!

Kori