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Scammers Targeting Movoto and Real Estate Agents at it Again

Scammers are once again trying to scam unsuspecting real estate agents around the country, $10 at a time, while pretending to from be Movoto Real Estate via text and email. And it’s happening at high volumes all over the country.

“When it happens, we get 200 to 300 voice mails from agents who have been targeted,” says Noel Smith, a Movoto customer care representative. “They work their way from the East Coast to the West Coast.”

And the fraudsters are convincing.

“I’ve seen a lot of scams, but this is in the top 5 percent of scammers in terms of how legit it looks,” says Adam Garett, a Realtor of Greg Garrett Realty in Newport News, Virginia. Garrett received a text message, which read:

“Dear Realtor, you’ve received a PreQualified real estate lead from MOVOTO” accompanied by a link.

The link took him to mock-up lead page which includes Movoto’s logo, an actual listing, an actual agent’s name, and some blocked out contact information. Accompanying text said this was a pre-qualified lead “as a trial from Movoto” which can be purchased for $10.

These scams have affected other brokerages and listing websites like Redfin and realtor.com, which were targeted earlier this year.

Agents who are hooked into the scam—which is understandable, since, as Garett notes, agents have to quickly respond to leads—pay and are given a phone number to someone who gives them the runaround.

“They must have a call center working for them,” says Noel. “They say the person is on vacation, or there’s a cash buyer. Then they say they’ll call back in a few days.”

They don’t, of course. But there’s some good news: there hasn’t been any evidence yet that the scammers are attempting identity theft.

“To our knowledge, it seems like they’re only after that $10 and hitting as many agents as possible with the scam,” says Noel.

But it’s possible to get that $10 back.

“PayPal usually refunds the money. Even with credit and banking institutions, those charges can be disputed as well,” says Noel. So if it happens, call whatever bank, credit card or online payment system you used to pay for the fake lead.

And remember, Movoto Real Estate does not request payments upfront for leads. Movoto Real Estate is pay upon close, when the client is ready, able and willing to make the transaction happen. Furthermore, Movoto does not send out referrals directly. If you receive any texts or emails requesting money for a lead upfront, it’s not Movoto Real Estate.

The post Scammers Targeting Movoto and Real Estate Agents at it Again appeared first on Movoto Blog.

Movoto Realtor Tammie Trinh Fights for Her Clients

The simple fact that Tammie Trinh has carved out a tremendously successful career in one of the toughest markets in the US, the Bay Area, over the last 15 years speaks volumes about her dedication, knowledge, and savvy when it comes to real estate. Her background as Sr. Mortgage Consultant since 2003, a title she maintains to this day, means her experience and knowledge transcend buying and selling homes to truly offer a full-service experience.

When it’s time to work with someone Tammie dives deep and really does her homework, learning all the ins and outs of the market climate and the client’s goals, and doesn’t waste any time getting them what they want. She once helped a young couple who had been struggling for over a year to find a home. They had made plans to buy a home, get married, and start a family, but their journey had been derailed by their home-buying struggles. Tammie met with them and, with her guidance, they had found their dream home in one week. By the time she attended their housewarming, they were pregnant with their first child.

At Movoto, we were drawn to her bullish, no-nonsense attitude and her dedication to getting the job done, but people are her priority—so much so that she transcends the bottom line. She was able to secure a home for a couple over a higher cash bid because her honesty and integrity left a mark on the sellers. “The house we wanted had 33 offers in and we weren’t even the highest offer, but Tammie left a lasting impression on the sellers that they gave us an opportunity to match and win the house. Tammie is the reason why we own a beautiful home in the heart of Silicon Valley.”

The post Movoto Realtor Tammie Trinh Fights for Her Clients appeared first on Movoto Blog.

More than a Realtor, Ronnie Mangulabnan Is a Star in the Fresno Community

 

Ronnie Mangulabnan has a quality that makes him truly bond with his clients. “I had some great mentors who taught me to always be genuine,” he explains. Rather than viewing his youth and relatively junior career as detriments, he has leveraged them as ways to be more down-to-earth and relatable to those he works with. After many successful closings, he remains close friends with most of his past clients to this day.

Beyond his personable nature, he truly knows the Fresno, CA, market and does everything in his power to serve his clients—even if it means taking calls at 2 a.m. or offering to pay a portion of the closing costs for a young couple who were struggling to get cash together in time for their closing. “I really wanted them to get their new house.” He is a paradigm for the REALTOR® brand, staying active in his community as a board member for both the Young Professionals Network (YPN) and the Asian Real Estate Association of America (AREAA). And he takes his passion for serving his hometown of Fresno outside the real estate realm, volunteering regularly for community outreach events and doing community service.

At Movoto, we feel lucky to have him as part of the team. In a relatively short time, he has shown that he is a real advocate for our brand values—exceptional customer service with a strong focus on how technology can push the envelope in the real estate industry. A recent client who Ronnie accommodated while he was deployed in Germany said, “He always kept my best interest in mind and kept great communication throughout the transaction. He offers exceptional service and is an expert in his industry.”

The post More than a Realtor, Ronnie Mangulabnan Is a Star in the Fresno Community appeared first on Movoto Blog.

Why Have Homeowners Insurance? Here Are Four Good Reasons

Your home is your castle. And whether it’s brand-new or 100 years old, your house is likely your biggest investment. So, it makes sense to protect that treasured investment with a comprehensive insurance policy. While insuring your home is not required by law, there are a few compelling reasons why you should have a home insurance policy.

1. If you’ve financed your home, the lender requires it.
It’s true that the law doesn’t mandate that homeowners carry insurance, but if you are financing your house, the mortgage company will insist that the property they’ve financed be insured. In most states, lenders are allowed to purchase a policy if you don’t have one and tack the premiums on to your monthly payment. By obtaining your own insurance, you’ll save money and get the coverage that’s best for your needs. Don’t pay the bank more money than absolutely necessary.

2. Your home is a major investment, and insuring it protects you financially.
Insurance isn’t always a popular product, but it is an effective one. If your property is damaged due to a natural disaster, fire, vandalism, burglary, etc., the cost of repairs can climb into the tens of thousands of dollars. Homeowners insurance covers not only your primary residence, it insures other structures like sheds and garages (attached or detached). It’s simple math, really: Just one insurance claim payout can easily total more than you’ve paid in premiums, so no matter what happens, you’re protected.

3. Insurance covers more than just physical structures.
More than the walls and roof and floors, homeowners policies insure your precious belongings. Electronics, tools, computers, jewelry, clothing, appliances, etc., are included in your coverage. Depending on your specific endorsements/riders, your belongings may be covered—even when they’re located outside of your home (golf clubs in your car, for example). If a visitor is injured on your property, your policy protects you. And in the event your home isn’t habitable, temporary living expenses while it’s being repaired are also covered by most policies.

4. Insurance gives you strong piece of mind.
The best possible outcome of having insurance, paradoxically, is never having to use it. No matter how cautious you are as a homeowner, however, things happen. Perhaps a clumsy delivery driver slips on your stairs and injures himself. Maybe a negligent utility company doesn’t maintain power lines and a fire breaks out like the 2017 fires in Northern California that decimated entire neighborhoods. Even high-net-worth people can face financial hardship if not properly protected against loss.

As you can see, homeowners insurance is an affordable, convenient way to protect yourself, your home, and your family. If you’re taking out a mortgage, you’ll have to have insurance at or before closing. But don’t just go with the first company your bank refers you to. Be sure to shop around for coverage that not only fits your needs but is from an insurance company that’s reliable and that has a strong reputation. It’s also important to take an inventory of your personal belongings—as Hippo Insurance found most Americans don’t have the right type of insurance or don’t have enough coverage—and the last thing you want is to find out after you’ve made a claim that you’re under-insured.

The post Why Have Homeowners Insurance? Here Are Four Good Reasons appeared first on Movoto Blog.

Robots in Real Estate: Movoto Is Revolutionizing Smart Property Listings

“Hey, remember that house with the robot in it?” Movoto is experimenting with cutting edge technology to make their listings stand out. Top agent Christopher Diez shares his experience helping pioneer the new era of “smart” properties.

My journey in real estate extends far beyond the 13-plus years of experience I’ve had as an agent—I come from a family of Realtors, and I’ve been fortunate enough to watch how the industry has evolved from when my parents were agents to becoming one myself. Advances in technology have been on every agent’s radar for decades, but the industry has been notoriously slow to adapt. How many other business sectors still rely so heavily on physical mailers in an age when snail mail has become almost obsolete? That’s why becoming an agent at a technology-enabled brokerage like Movoto and experiencing firsthand how much emphasis they put on empowering their agents with the latest technology has been a breath of fresh air, and as I’ve seen with my own eyes, a worthy investment.

Now I’m proud to say we’re one of the first to utilize something as novel as a robot to help sell homes.

Chris Diez

‘Join’ Me In

It started with our Managing Broker, Max Diez, exploring how we could leverage technology to maximize our agents’ time and better communicate their expertise, as well as make the entire experience more efficient and pleasant for both buyers and sellers. He had done some research and learned about different robots that were being used in other industries. The idea is that it could enable agents to be in two places at once. I suggested we put it to the test and have a robot stationed at one of my open houses where I could ‘join’ in from a remote location and answer prospective buyers’ questions in real time.

The robot is essentially a screen that sits on a motorized carriage system that I control remotely via a mobile or desktop app. It’s completely Wi-Fi enabled so no matter where you physically are, you can follow a potential buyer around an open house, see what they’re seeing, and have a live conversation through the screen.

First Impressions

I was surprised by how easy it was to adopt. There wasn’t any cumbersome installation involved and I downloaded the software without a hitch. The only limitation was that it can’t surmount big humps or stairs. Movoto backed me the whole way, determined to try anything that could boost their agents as long as it was financially viable. Logistically, as long as you have reliable Wi-Fi, it’s ready to go.

The value it provided was evident in its maiden voyage. Not only was I able to join the open house without having to physically be there, I could also connect a buyer directly with a lender who answered mortgage questions or another agent who answered questions about the school district and neighborhood amenities. Whereas agents usually have to respond to questions about a house by telling buyers they’ll get that answer for them later, I could research and access that information instantly and share it through the robot. It allowed me to, literally, roll right in, answer questions, connect them to licensed professionals, and even begin the offer process if they were ready.

The Wow Factor

Beyond the convenience, the undeniable “wow” factor was exciting to see in action. The seller, other agents, and buyers were absolutely blown away by it. Ninety-nine percent of the time, the first reaction was, “What is that?” before their confusion transformed into, “That’s so cool!” They had never seen anything like it. Buyers, particularly in such a tech-savvy market as the Bay Area, were impressed with the level of care we were putting into make the listing unique and memorable. And it wasn’t long before the initial shock wore off and they were communicating with me naturally through the robot.

For the agents, they recognized it as an absolute game changer. When I explained its value to them, they were floored. In its most practical application, agents could seamlessly juggle multiple listings, property tours, open houses, and broker tours. If they invested in several robots, they could join at two or three open homes. It could also act as powerful training tool for junior agents who could be at open houses and gain real-world experience, while a senior agent offered support through the robot.

But what about the bottom line?

After just two open houses, the property received 21 offers, all above the asking price. A good agent knows that there is never one factor in the success of a home sale, but there’s no denying that the robot made the property stand out. Not only was it an extra set of polish for a listing in such a tech-savvy area, we were able to reach more buyers with real-time information, and it allowed us to move quickly and efficiently in a market where transactions move fast.

While I wouldn’t put any one thing on the success of this listing, if you look at the sum total of parts, Movoto had leveraged the latest technology to give the entire experience a futuristic, cutting-edge feel throughout. And I can confidently say that that translated into more appeal for the property.

The Future of Real Estate Technology

To grow your business as an agent, you have to be able to scale. That means hiring a ton of assistants as your client base grows or finding smart ways to leverage real estate technology. Cold calling every potential buyer or agent in the industry 24 hours a day wouldn’t come close to achieving the reach you can get with a singular Facebook post, and is definitely not scalable. Technology like the robot is.

Robots are just the first step toward the future of technology, and Movoto has made a very bold, aggressive statement by becoming an early adopter. Soon, agents will be able to do everything virtually—from virtual reality tours to digital contracts. Finding homes on your phone is already the norm, and smart locks and smart thermostats that provide remote access are becoming the norm. Movoto is truly pushing the envelope as a technology-enabled brokerage that recognizes this shift and is investing heavily into making these tools available to their agents.

And, let’s be honest, how cool is it to respond to a property tour request no matter where you are with, “I’ll be there!”

The post Robots in Real Estate: Movoto Is Revolutionizing Smart Property Listings appeared first on Movoto Blog.

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