Author Archives: Debra Jennings

5 Home Buying Mistakes Scarier Than Friday the 13th

Superstitions are a funny thing. Who hasn’t felt a little concerned when walking under a ladder or after accidentally breaking a mirror? At Housefax, we actually like black cats (all cats!), but more than one of us refuses to open an umbrella indoors.

So it’s no surprise that even the non-superstitious among us are likely to feel a bit squeamish on Friday the 13th. According to behavioral scientist Jane Risen, just being aware of the cultural significance of the day (Friday the 13th = bad luck) can make people feel wary. In fact, some people avoid traveling, buying a home, or doing business as they normally would, says historian Donald Dossey, resulting in an estimated $800-$900 million loss in business every time Friday the 13th rolls around.

Ironically, there are things we do all year long that actually can result in “bad luck” no matter what day it is. When it comes to buying a home, there are many mistakes to be made that can turn the house hunting process into a nightmare. Here are five things that can bring home buyers bad luck. Continue reading

Every Second Counts, Plan Two Ways Out [Fire Prevention Week]

Fire Prevention Week (October 8-14, 2017) has been commemorated since 1922, making it the longest running public health observance in the U.S. The week always includes the date of October 9, in remembrance of the Great Chicago Fire that destroyed more than 17,400 structures, left 100,000 homeless, and killed 250.

While legend has it that “Mrs. O’Leary’s cow” started the blaze by knocking over a lantern in a barn, a Chicago Tribune reporter later admitted that he had made the story up. The real origin of the fire is still unknown, although there are a number of theories, including a meteorite.

Few fires today, if any, are started by careless bovine or falling space debris. Cooking equipment is by far the most common culprit, followed by heating equipment, electrical faults, intentional fires and smoking.

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Housefax Contributes to Working RE Home Inspector Magazine

The Fall 2017 issue of Working RE Home Inspector Magazine featured a full-length article by Housefax Marketing Manager, Jill Weittenhiller. In the article, “10 Tips to Get Agent Referrals,” Jill explains easy and effective ways for professional home inspectors to market themselves to real estate agents and brokers. Tips include how to create a brand identity and advice for introducing yourself and staying in touch with agents.

One recommendation is for home inspectors to offer additional services — such as specialized testing or a property history report — to set their business apart from the competition.

Read the full article here.

Housefax and MLS of Hilton Head Island (HHIMLS)

Housefax has partnered with Multiple Listing Service of Hilton Head Island (HHIMLS) to provide its members with the most up-to-date and accurate property report so homebuyers can make informed decisions about prospective homes. Housefax includes detailed information on things like buyer incident reports, building permits, transaction history, floodline information, roofing conditions, sound score, hail exposure, cellphone service quality, information about schools in the area, and more.

Multiple Listing Service of Hilton Head Island (HHIMLS) is a premier multiple listing service in South Carolina, established in 1976. A proud member of the Council of Multiple Listing Services, it is the listing platform facilitating more than $3 billion in annual real estate transactions. Headquartered on Hilton Head Island, it serves all of South Carolina.

Learn more about how HHIMLS helps home sales succeed the very first time.

REALTOR Safety Month: 5 Tips for Agents

Personal safety is something all real estate agents must keep top of mind. September is Realtor® Safety Month, and it’s a good time to review your procedures and make sure that you aren’t taking unnecessary chances when showing a house, working late, or even marketing yourself online. When it comes to protecting yourself and your team, there’s a lot to keep in mind. We’ve gathered some of our favorite safety tips below. Feel free to share your tips or stories in the comments.

Note: Housefax isn’t affiliated with any of the products or websites mentioned below.

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Don’t share personal information in ads or on social media

Remove your personal information from anything available to the public. Use a Google Voice number instead of your personal cell phone number. Use general email addresses like “info@yourdomain.com” or even generate a specific email address for a home (i.e., 1234MainStreet@gmail.com) that you could use for marketing materials and give to clients.
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Who Needs Flood Insurance? The Answer May Surprise You

The 2017 Atlantic hurricane season is shaping up to be one of the worst seasons in over a decade. Earlier this year, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) forecast up to 17 named storms for the season, and Tropical Storm Risk (TSR) predicted three major storms rating Category 3 or higher.

A motel demolished by Hurricane Harvey in Rockport, TX. (Photo Credit: The Texas Tribune)

On August 25, Hurricane Harvey became the first major hurricane to make landfall in the U.S. since 2005. As a Category 4 storm, with sustained wind speeds up to 130 miles per hour, Harvey battered the Texas Gulf Coast, causing significant structural damage in the Rockport and Fulton area and several other coastal towns. As the storm moved inland, the winds subsided to tropical storm levels, but record-breaking rainfall (more than 50 inches in 48 hours in some cases) caused historic flooding in Houston and other South Texas cities. (For perspective, the storms that caused historic flooding in the Midwest earlier this year delivered 10-15 inches of rain in a week.)

Harvey could end up being the costliest natural disaster in U.S. history. At least 60 deaths have been attributed to the storm and related complications. Some 200,000 homes were damaged, leaving more than 1 million people displaced. Texas Governor Greg Abbott has estimated the damage at $150 – $180 billion.

>> Fast Fact: In 2012, Superstorm Sandy caused 150 deaths in the U.S. and $71 billion in damages.

Now a second major storm, Hurricane Irma, is barreling through the Caribbean with the potential to make landfall in Florida, including Miami and the Keys. Already a Category 5—and the strongest storm ever recorded outside the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico—if Irma does strike the U.S. as a Category 3 or higher, it will be the first time two major storms have struck the U.S. in the same hurricane season. Continue reading

Celebrity Housefax: Game of Thrones’ Lena Headey, Cersei Lannister [PHOTOS & HOUSEFAX REPORT]

Cersei Lannister (Lena Headey), Game of Thrones, (Photo Credit: HBO)

Lena Headey may not be a household name (yet), but she’s certainly recognizable. In addition to starring in the 2008 TV series “Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles,” the Emmy-nominated actress has appeared in a number of films including “The Brothers Grimm” and “300.” But her most recognizable – and infamous – role to date is as the conniving and power-hungry Cersei Lannister on HBO’s mega-hit “Game of Thrones.”

Now Headey is taking on yet another role — as a luxury home seller, having just listed her Southern California home for $1.9 million.

Lena Headey’s Sherman Oaks home is for sale (Photo Credit: aaroe.com)

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How Safe is the Water in Your Home?

Is my water safe? That’s the question asked by many Americans these days. After a number of highly publicized water quality issues around the country,  a recent Gallup poll showed that 63 percent of the population is concerned a “great deal” about water drinking quality, with many rating it a higher worry than air quality and climate change.

water quality report

While the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) maintains that America’s drinking water remains “among the safest in the world,” a recent report shows that it’s not without issues. In an extensive effort, News21 – an investigative journalism project backed by the Carnegie Corporation and the James L. Knight Foundation – analyzed 680,000 EPA violations from the last 10 years to discover if U.S.-based water treatment facilities were falling short of protecting the nation’s water supply. The findings weren’t good. Continue reading

Hurricane Season Enters Its Peak — Are You Ready?

For U.S. residents along the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico coast, hurricane season officially began June 1. If the latest projections prove to be true, this year will see an above average number of storms. In fact, Tropical Storm Arlene kicked things off a little early on April 20, and there have been four other tropical storms since then.

As we enter peak season, what should coastal residents know about the 2017 hurricane season? Here’s a run down of important predictions and changes. Continue reading

CoreLogic Acquires Clareity

CoreLogic (NYSE: CLGX), a leading global property information, analytics and data-enabled solutions provider, has acquired well-known real estate technology and consulting firm, Clareity. As reported by Inman, with the purchase of Clareity, CoreLogic extends its real estate tech offerings to include Clareity’s flagship SafeMLS user authentication tool and its single sign-on MLS and broker dashboards.

Clareity co-founder and CEO, Gregg Larson, is a member of the Housefax Board of Directors and Advisory Board. In 2015, Clareity made a six-figure investment in Housefax.

Housefax recently began offering single sign-on access to Housefax Reports for select CoreLogic MLS customers via the Clareity dashboard.

Read more about the Corelogic acquisition of Clareity.