When Your Real Estate Agent Won’t Tell You All You Need to Know

Anyone dealing with a real estate agent always wonders about how straight the dealing is. How can they ever be sure that their agent is giving them all the details they need to make an informed decision? It doesn’t help that real estate agents like to use advertising speak (whatever they say sounds like a line from an advertisement, not like anything a real person would use to communicate). Thankfully, real estate agents are legally bound to be upfront with you and they take that duty seriously. Still, there are some circumstances where your agent won’t really tell you everything you want to know. After all, he’s a salesman who needs to make a sale.

If you think about it, the situation that the real estate agent finds himself in is something like the circumstances they present in the first Poltergeist movie. If they are going to be selling houses that sit on top of the cemetery, they would rather you didn’t know about it. It could be a beautiful home, but it could be right next to an area that’s known for its crime statistics more than its great schools. You don’t have to ask your real estate agent about every single home and neighborhood he wants to show you – you just have to tell him right off the bat that you are not willing to accept a house in an area that has more than a certain level of crime of any kind. If you don’t believe the real estate agent, go ask the local police station what they think of the crime in the area.

Anyone who’s seen Erin Brockovich doesn’t want to be sold at home in an area that has any environmental issues going on. Real estate agents typically receive advice in their training to not go volunteering information on the environmental issues to do with an area. It could just get too troublesome. All you need to do then is to search on the Environmental Protection Agency’s website yourself. Just put in the zip code for the area you’re interested in, and right away, you’ll know if your house is built on top of the toxic waste dump.

If an area has great schools, you can be sure that your real estate agent is going to never stop crowing about it. Buyers, typically ones with children are usually very interested in how great the schools in the area are. You really don’t need to depend on your real estate agent for this. If you really want to know about the schools in an area, you should probably check websites like SchoolMatters or GreatSchools to see what kind of teacher-student ratio you’ll be looking at.

It’s something that’s repeated so often that it’s lost all meaning, but any time you go out making an expensive purchase, it really is buyer beware.

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Self-Help and the Importance of Fitness: Tips From Experience

When the safety procedures are being demonstrated before a plane takes off, the crew will instruct you that in case of an emergency, oxygen masks will be available. They however, insist that if you are travelling with infants or children, you should first put on your masks and only then help your children. The reason for this is that you have to be fully equipped before you can help others. This is so true with self-help too. You need to have a mind, body and soul which are totally fit in order to help yourself improve. The best illustration is the story of my own life.

More than ten years ago, while I was still in my early 30s, I was diagnosed with a blocked artery in my heart. There was a 90% block and I had an angioplasty done and a stent implanted. Whilst the news came as a shock to me and the family, it actually got me thinking. I was a self-help enthusiast to the core. Never missed attending motivational seminars, spent a fortune of self-help books, CDs and other material and I was also religiously implementing all that I was learning and was in fact, seeing benefits both in my personal and professional life. However, with the busy work and family schedule and my other commitments (I was doing my MBA too!!); I had actually neglected my own health.

The heart problem acted as a wakeup call for me. My cardiologist put me through a 3-month program at the Cardiac Rehabilitation Center. This was essentially a gym which was being monitored by qualified nurses and physicians. It was here that I experienced the actual benefits of regular exercising. I could feel that my energy level was increasing. The exercises were done first thing in the morning, for 3 days in a week and it helped give me the ‘feel-good factor’. Besides, the feeling that I was a ‘sick’ person started going off, since I felt positive that if I could work out in a gym (though under supervision) for 3 months right after an angioplasty, I wasn’t that sick after all!! This was a big motivational factor. In fact, exercise helps to keep you motivated.

After the 3-month program, I continued the exercise schedule by going for regular walks. Honestly, this was more from fear rather than anything else. However, the benefits seemed to be only increasing. I was a regular at the park near my home and I started making new friends who were also regulars. Gradually, the walks became an integral part of my life. It induced a kind of ‘positivity’ in me. The walks also kept me really alert and observant, as I was always looking out for the regulars at the park while trying to see if there were new exercisers on the park.

So, in reality, just walking three days a week helped me feel more energetic, kept me motivated, made me more positive and helped make me more alert and observant. These are just a few benefits of keeping fit. This, in my opinion is the first step to self-help and self improvement.

Few tips that have helped me stick to a regular exercise routine:

  • Firstly, don’t set your goals too high. Start small (really small) and slowly increase the intensity of your exercise. Tell yourself you will walk or exercise only once a week, but keep to it.
  • Regularity is the keyword. Even if you exercise only once a week, make sure that you do not skip it any week.
  • Set a time for exercise and fitness. If you think you will exercise when you find the time, you will never be able to do it. Make it part of your daily chores.
  • Try and finish off your exercise first thing in the morning. I find that this really works for me.
  • If for some reason, you had to take a long break, try to start all over. So, if you were used to walking for 45 minutes a day, thrice a week and you had to break off from this routine, don’t try to walk for 45 minutes when you restart. Start off with a 20 min walk and then slowly build it up. This again, is something that works from my own experience.

And remember – like the instructions given by the airline crew, your fitness is of utmost importance not only to you, but to keep your family, friends and all others close to you fit and happy too.

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Basic Forum Marketing Tips

Forum marketing is a great way to get traffic to your website, but only if it is done properly. Most people don’t really understand what a forum is, or how valuable it is to have for marketing your business. It’s also a great resource to build a reputable name for yourself, and expand your customer base. In this article I will give you three basic forum marketing tips.

A forum is a meeting place where people come together to ask questions, answer questions, or give advice. This is usually related to one specific subject. What you should do in a forum is answer people’s questions, and give out advice as well. You can’t answer these questions unless you have knowledge about them, or you plan on educating yourself. Knowledge is power in forums, so make sure you actually know what you are talking about, or you will sound like a fool, and people won’t want to click on any link in your signature. This brings us to our next basic forum marketing tip.

The second basic forum marketing tip is to create an effective forum signature. A forum signature is the little bit of text after a post, and using it effectively is important. Focus on including your name, and a link to your website. Another important aspect is making your signature look attractive. Don’t use different font sizes, and don’t use more than two or three different font colors. It might distract rather than attract. The text you write should give the reader a subtle call to action, but you should stay away from writing something generic.

My last basic forum marketing tip is to be committed. I can tell you right now that you probably won’t make it up to the top of Google immediately. The more posts and comments you make, the more credible you become. This will raise your rank with Google, and then you’ll get more traffic to your website. It’s a chain of events, and in order to become a trusted user, you should post comments about five times per day, if not more.

In conclusion, forum marketing is underused and undervalued in business marketing. Using forums is a great way to promote your business. However, if you don’t use these three basic forum marketing tips – to answer questions and give advice, create an effective forum signature, and be committed. – forum marketing could be a waste of time.

Wishing you the best,

Beth Balcum

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