It’s Tax Season… Use Your Refund to Jump Start Your Down Payment Savings!

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*from Keeping Current Matters

According to data released by the Internal Revenue Service (IRS), Americans can expect an estimated average refund of $2,840 this year when filing their taxes. This is down slightly from the average refund of $2,895, last year.

Tax refunds are often thought of as ‘extra money’ that can be used toward larger goals; for anyone looking to buy a home in 2018, this can be a great jump start toward a down payment!

The map below shows the average tax refund Americans received last year by state. (The refunds received for the 2017 tax year should continue to reflect these numbers as the new tax code will go into effect for 2018 tax filings.)

It's Tax Season… Use Your Refund to Jump Start Your Down Payment Savings! | Keeping Current Matters

Many first-time buyers believe that a 20% down payment is required to qualify for a mortgage. Programs from the Federal Housing Authority, Freddie Mac, and Fannie Mae all allow for down payments as low as 3%, with Veterans Affairs Loans allowing many veterans to purchase a home with 0% down.

If you started your down payment savings with your tax refund check this year, how close would you be to a 3% down payment?

The map below shows what percentage of a 3% down payment is covered by the average tax refund by taking into account the median price of homes sold by state.

It's Tax Season… Use Your Refund to Jump Start Your Down Payment Savings! | Keeping Current Matters

The darker the blue, the closer your tax refund gets you to homeownership! For those in Alabama looking to purchase their first homes, their tax refund could potentially get them 69% closer to that dream!

Bottom Line

Saving for a down payment can seem like a daunting task. But the more you know about what’s required, the more prepared you can be to make the best decision for you and your family! This tax season, your refund could be your key to homeownership!

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Why You Need To Get Testimonials From Your Clients

Why You Need to Get Testimonials from Your Clients

When you’re considering using a business, do you put more weight on advertising, or on reviews from people who have bused their services before? Most consumers rely significantly on word-of-mouth referrals when searching for new businesses. Customer testimonials have been a popular, effective marketing tool since long before the digital age. Today, it’s easier than ever to get testimonials from your customers, integrate them with your online marketing, and reap the benefits. We’ve got more details on why testimonials are important and how you can use them to grow your business.

Why Customer Testimonials and Social Proof Are Crucial for Real Estate Business

Customer testimonials are among the oldest, most proven marketing tools. We still rely on them today because consumers of all types place significant weight on the opinion of others. In the digital age, word of mouth is synonymous with the concept of social proof, which means that consumers rely heavily on feedback from their favorite social channels when making purchasing decisions.

  • Reading Reviews – When was the last time you bought a new product from a major online retailer without checking the reviews first? Whether you’re shopping for a new home or a new washing machine, there’s a good chance you’ll want to see feedback from shoppers who have been in your shoes before. Consumers place significant weight on the opinions of other consumers, so earning positive reviews is a great way to grow your business online.
  • Social Proof – Your social media pages aren’t just a place for you to talk about your business. They’re also a great place to get customers talking about you! Visit the social page of any brand that maintains an active presence, and you’re likely to find a wealth of customer testimonials. Many consumers, especially from younger generations, rely heavily on social customer testimonials when making purchasing decisions.
  • Names and Faces – An anonymous quote has value, but your audience is more likely to trust a testimonial that comes with a name and face attached. They want to know that the testimonial came from a real person which is another reason why social and video testimonials have so much marketing value.
  • Connecting with Current Customers – In addition to the potential marketing benefits for new customers, asking your current customers for testimonials is a great way to keep those relationships strong. Customers value the opportunity to provide feedback for their peers, and will often jump at the chance if you’re willing to ask.
  • A Reliable Source of Referrals – Word-of-mouth referrals are more valuable than ever in the marketing world, so making it easy to find customer testimonials is a great way to earn more referrals for your real estate business. Your testimonials are working to grow your business, whenever someone visits your website, reads a review, or engages with your social presence.

Earning customer testimonials is often easier than you might think because in many cases all you really have to do is ask. Maintaining an active online marketing presence is also crucial because it allows customers to leave testimonials at their own leisure. By encouraging customers to provide testimonials, you’re showing that you value their feedback while also earning a powerful marketing tool for your real estate business.