Most of us like to be productive in the workplace, in our careers and even in our responsibilities at home. But are we taking the appropriate amount of time out for ourselves? According to Project: Time Off, many Americans leave vacation days unused, often to be forfeited without rolling over or converting to additional pay and other benefits. A key 2015 study by Project: Time Off found that 55 percent of U.S. workers failed to take all allotted vacation time. Reasons for this varied from financial concerns to worry over appearing replaceable in the eyes of the company. A number of us, it seems, struggle with balancing job dedication and taking time away to kick back, relax and enjoy life – even when our companies give their blessings.
For Health’s Sake, Take Time Off
Using those hard earned vacation days does far more than fill your phone, iPad or computer with fond memories of far away places enjoyed with loved ones. Some research studies suggest that taking time away from work (to actually enjoy yourself, not do more work) may have positive effects on your physical and mental health. Such effects include:
- Reduced risk of coronary heart disease
- Decrease in stress
- Less chance of depression
- Enhanced productivity levels
- Improved attitude towards life
- Greater job satisfaction
The Proof Is in the Planning
Not only does taking a much needed break from work every now and then create a positive ripple in your personal and professional lives, the joyous anticipation of such an event initiates happiness in the days and weeks leading up to your vacation. We all get busy, caught up in our day-to-day routines, meeting those monthly and quarterly objectives, and trying to make it from one stage in our careers to the next. However, vacation days left on the table do your health (and your psyche) no good. You’ve earned them, folks – by all means, use them!
The real estate business relies heavily on in the know, in the NOW information – content that is instantaneously retrievable. In today’s technology era, the information you and your clients needs is available faster than ever before, and right at your fingertips. The “on-the-go” environment to which current society insists we acclimate is in large part, a major piece of the broad digital landscape. To ignore this fact or wait for information to find you is leaving money on the table – literally.
Are you using the latest technology to stay ahead of the competition, or is ever-changing technology leaving you in the dust?
Are You Thriving in the Digital Age?
Whether tech-savvy or tech-challenged, we must all embrace not only the application of technology to how we reach, conduct and manage our business, but the accelerated speed at which it moves. Just when you get the hang of one app, the-next-best-thing is already in place, promising greater efficiency and more efficacious results. To help you stay ahead (or at least hang with) the game, we’ve compiled a few of the latest and greatest tech buzz bits relevant to the real estate business:
- Social Media Management. Though around for a while now, social media managers and tracking platforms are typically on the forefront of how to best reach your current audience as well as new clients through a multitude of social media outlets. Hootsuite™, sproutsocial and buffer are three highly rated companies offering the tools you and your team need to successfully plan and manage your social media marketing campaigns.
- Apps, Apps and More Apps. Apps are designed to make your life easier and business more efficient. Aside from learning to use the staples (Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, etc.) to an even greater extent, downloading others like Real Scout, BombBomb™ and curbcall can facilitate and help you grow your business. Run an Internet search to learn more about the latest apps and what is working for others in the industry.
- Virtual Reality. Far more than just a gift you may have placed under the tree this past year, VR technology has made its way into the real estate sphere. Companies are eliminating the distance barrier for home buyers, as several are now offering VR and 3-D viewing experiences from the comfort of, well, anywhere.
- “Alexa, find me a new home.” Changing the face of shopping and information retrieval, Amazon’s Echo and other virtual assistants are just the next step in reaching clients. Of course, creating the customization for the Echo dot and similar devices will likely require the help of a web developer, but this is certainly an area to watch (and engage with, if able).
- (Big) Data Analysis: Analyzing the exorbitant amount of data relating to a business on any given day is a lofty task, at best, even for smaller real estate firms. From shopping patterns and financials to insurance and risk assessment, information gleaned from data analytics provides intel on the how, why, when and where of clients’ decision-making, helping organizations optimize their reach and better engage with, service and retain business – now and into the future.
However you choose to apply the latest technological developments, one thing is certain: We all work to serve our clients, in the best way possible. Choose what platforms works for you and your business, but by all means, do not get left behind.
With another year of ups and downs logged in the books, many have made predictions detailing what 2017 has in store for the housing market. In what position did 2016 leave us? Notable to last year:
- Mortgage rates dipped below 4.0% early in the year, only to catapult beyond 4.0% following the presidential election.
- A larger number of millennials jumped onboard with the home buying process.
- The country saw a decrease in the unemployment rate, coupled with an increase in earnings.
- Low housing inventory remained a concern, especially in first-time homebuyer markets.
How 2017 Will Play Out, According to Experts
Though decelerating in rate compared with recent years, the 2017 housing market is expected to experience an upward trend in growth. Factors determined to influence this growth trend include:
- Demand for housing steadily on the rise. The Millennial and Boomer generations are slated to take the lead in buyer demographics.
- Slow, but steady, uptick in housing prices. A pricing increase is anticipated thanks to low inventory and modest growth expected in the U.S. economy. Prices, however, are expected to be a full percentage less than that of 2016.
- Increase in sales early on in the year. The threat of rising interest rates will likely catalyze people into buying during the year’s first quarter, a period typically seeing a dip in sales.
What Factors Have Experts Concerned?
The overall consensus seems to be a positive outlook for an upward trend, but there are a few factors that many agree will affect the growth pattern for 2017:
- Volatility in mortgage rates. The Fed has hinted at three rates hikes to be implemented throughout the year.
- Decline in new and existing home sales. Though not expected to drop dramatically, a decline in sales from 2016 is expected, thanks to rising mortgage rates.
- Inventory shortage in lower-priced brackets. Many first-time home buyers may experience difficulty in finding affordable housing.
Wherever we land at the end of 2017, we think it’ll be a year of growth, positive outcomes and potentially even a lesson in patience. For questions or expert assistance with your real estate settlement needs, contact Linear Title & Escrow at (757) 340-0340 today.