February 23, 2020

Amp up your SEO ASAP

Boosting your visibility online through improved search engine optimization (SEO) is a smart move for any small business. After all, 97% of people conduct at least one hunt daily via Google, Bing, Yahoo and other search engines. However, three out of four users don’t bother to scroll beyond the first page of search results.

If you want to rank higher in organic search and direct more traffic to your website, you need to follow a proven plan of attack. To garner effective ideas, I interviewed a trio of professionals for a story I wrote for the US Chamber of Commerce's CO― site. They recommended three key strategies, which you can read more about here.

February 17, 2020

Celebrating a century of screams

For Cineversary podcast episode #20, host Erik Martin speaks with guest Kristin Thompson, film scholar, Criterion Channel video essayist, and co-author of the seminal film studies texts Film Art and Film History, to celebrate the 100th anniversary of one of the most influential movies of all time and the first horror feature film that really mattered, "The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari," directed by Robert Wiene. Collectively, Kristin and Erik explore why this masterwork is worth celebrating all these years later, its cultural impact and legacy, what we can learn from the picture today, how it has stood the test of time, and more.
Kristin Thompson


To listen to this episode, click here or click the "play" button on the embedded streaming player below. Or, you can stream, download or subscribe to the Cineversary podcast using Google Podcasts, Google Play Music, Apple Podcasts, iTunes, Anchor, Breaker, Castbox, Overcast, Pocket Casts, PodBean, RadioPublic, Spotify, Stitcher, and TuneIn.

Learn more about the Cineversary podcast at tinyurl.com/cineversarypodcast and email show comments or suggestions to cineversegroup@gmail.com.

February 16, 2020

Home sweet home style

In addition to price, location, condition, year built, and area amenities, one of the most important factors that buyers consider in a home purchase is the architectural design and floorplan. And for good reason: The style and layout of a home makes an instant impression and has a major impact on comfort, flow, spatial organization, and overall livability.

So which particular design is ideal for your needs? While the answer is, of course, highly subjective, it’s interesting to consider the findings of a recent study by Redfin. After analyzing around 100 metro areas, Redfin learned that the seven most popular home styles are, in order: (1) ranch; (2) craftsman; (3) townhouse; (4) contemporary; (5) modern; (6) colonial; and (7) Cape Cod.

Curious to learn more? Read my full article on this topic published in the Omaha World Herald, available here.

February 9, 2020

Here's how much a real estate agent makes and why they're worth that fee

A real estate agent usually doesn’t earn an hourly wage. Instead, most make their income only after a home has been sold. This income is in the form of a commission, which equates to a percentage of the home’s selling price. So the answer to how much do real estate agents make will depend on how much the home sells for. The average commission today is between 5 and 6 percent of the home’s sales price. Say the home you buy sells for $300,000. A 6 percent commission would equal $18,000.

But that commission money doesn’t go only to your agent. It’s typically split 50/50 between the buyer’s agent and the seller’s agent (also called the “listing” agent). If the seller’s agent also finds the buyer, the agent keeps the entire commission.

Still confused? Read my newest article for The Mortgage Reports here for a more thorough explanation.

February 3, 2020

Underwriting explained

A loan application involves a lot of working parts. One of those parts is played by the underwriter, a professional who uncovers the truth about you as a loan applicant. Underwriting evaluates your honesty and creditworthiness as a borrower. And it helps the lender determine the level of risk involved in providing funds for the property. It’s the lender’s way of performing its necessary due diligence—of doing its homework on the applicant.

Learn more about what's involved in underwriting by reading my first article for Millionacres, the Motley Fool's new site offering free educational content to real estate investors, available here.

January 26, 2020

Want a home that will be worth more? Move near public transportation

Taking the train or bus may sound like a drag – especially if you own a car. But driving yourself to work and back can be an expensive and time-consuming grind. That’s likely a big reason why many people choose to live near convenient public transportation options. In fact, doing so may even raise the value of your residence if you’re a homeowner.

A recent study by the National Association of Realtors (NAR) found that neighborhoods situated within a half-mile of public transit services had higher real estate values than communities further away from rail and bus lines.

Want to know more? Read my newest piece for CTW Features, as published in the Dallas Morning News, available here.