Foundation Tips for Homeowners

Because of the long periods of heat, Florida can be infamous for its fair share of foundation issues. As the weather becomes dry and hot, the soil around your home will contract and possibly cause your house to shift. This can explain cracks and uneven surfaces in your home. To avoid some very costly and time-consuming house repairs, here are some tips from various companies on how to care for your foundation.

Schedule a yearly plumbing inspection
According to Granite Foundation Repair, “plumbing leaks are one of the biggest causes of foundation issues. Check for leaks in sprinkler systems, freshwater lines, sewer lines and other parts of your plumbing system.”

If you notice a plumbing leak anywhere in your house, call your plumber immediately.

Install root barriers
If a large tree with invasive roots is too close to your home foundation, you can have root barricades installed. You may also have the tree removed from your property to prevent damage, such as heaving in driveways and sidewalks, cracking in walls and sometimes even sewer line issues.

Common trees with invasive roots are Silver Maple, American Elm, Live Oaks, and Magnolias.

Keep the soil around your home foundation at a constant moisture level
Many Florida homes have a sprinkler system installed around the base of the house. If your home does not have this, it may be worth the time and money to install one and prevent swelling and shrinking of the soil around your concrete.

“The soil… [has] a tremendous capacity to absorb (and lose) water,” An article by Dawson Foundation Repair stated. “This means that the soil will swell when it is very wet and it will shrink when it is very dry. This creates significant stresses on the concrete slab which is resting on top of the soil. Keeping the soil around your home foundation at a constant moisture level with seepage water hoses will help reduce the chances of needing house leveling in the future.”

Install a good drainage system for your home
Houses are built on either a positive or a negative slope. A positive slope ensures that water is draining away from the building. A negative slope does just the opposite: it forces water to flow towards your foundation.

Be sure to consistently clean out your homes gutters and downspouts. Granite Foundation Repair also explained how to unclog a clogged downspout: you may need to insert a plumber’s snake into the downspout to clear it out completely.

Monitor your home’s temperature
To the best of your ability, keep your house at a consistent temperature without going too high or too low. Too many temperature fluctuations may cause your structure’s concrete slab to expand and then contract, which causes foundation damage.

Keep a Foundation Log
It may be a good idea to track the changes in foundation, especially by noting the size of cracks and such. To a foundation repair specialist, this written log can be extremely valuable, should your house need repairs.

Check your homeowner’s insurance
Depending on your policy, it may cover foundation or plumbing repair. This would ease up a lot of the out-of-pocket costs for you and your family.

Questions? Comments? Reach out to your First International Title rep today!

How to Stand Out in your Next Listing Appointment

Out of all the real estate agents in the strong markets of Florida, what are you doing to distinguish yourself from the masses? Listing appointments, a common practice of the real estate agent, doesn’t have to be monotonous. Here are a few ways to help you stand out and ensure a closed deal during your next listing presentation.

Treat it Like a Job Interview
Because it is a job interview. Put your ego aside and come ready to present yourself truthfully and genuinely as the best person for this position – to help your client sell a house – and why. Don’t be afraid to talk about your achievements alongside of your responsibilities as their REALTOR®. And always be honest. Writer Kevin Hoover also mentions the importance of being truthful in an Inman article from January 2019.

“The point of the listing presentation is to gain trust,” Hoover said. “It would be counterproductive to include exaggerations or discrepancies from the truth.”  

Finally, leave a physical copy of your resume along with your picture for them to remember you by.

Come Prepared
Whatever materials or resources you help ease a seller’s concerns or questions about the process, bring it. Fill a folder with simple checklists and articles to aid in their understanding of how the process is going to look. You don’t have to go over everything in the meeting as you don’t want it to be an overload of information. Let your clients take the folder home and use for future reference. And, of course, include your branding and contact information so that they can reach you when they’re ready to list.  

Take Notes
One of the most important characteristics of a great real estate agent is attention to detail. However, no one person can remember everything. Taking notes is crucial at the listing appointment.

“If you go into the presentation believing that you will earn the client, which you should, you will need to remember the details of the conversation if you want to maintain your level of professionalism,” Hoover stated. “The best way to do that is to take notes.”

Before you begin writing, be sure to ask for permission. You want to ensure that your potential clients are aware and comfortable with their words being recorded. Most people will say yes, however, it’s important to build that trust, especially on the first meeting. Also, use a physical notepad and pen, rather than typing on your laptop or cell phone. While using your laptop or cell phone isn’t necessarily wrong, you may come across as closed-off and disengaged.

When you come back around at the end of the transaction and refer to something they said in your listing presentation, your clients won’t be able to hide their gratitude for your memory.

Get to Know Your Clients
In accordance with taking notes is getting to know your clients. You want to ask them detailed and specific questions about their likes, dislikes, family, and what they’re looking for in a real estate agent. Write down their answers. If the deal is sealed, so to speak, ask for their birthday, anniversary, and kids’ birthdays in order to stay in touch with them throughout the year and long after their house is sold.

Express Your Gratitude
As they say, a hand-written card goes a long way. A day or two after the meeting, be sure to write a card thanking them for their time and attention. Mention something in the card that was specific to your conversation. Not only will it remind them a few days later of your services, it adds the perfect professional touch and will showcase your attention to detail.

There are other ways to say thank you besides just a card. You can include a gift card, a branded item such as a pen or keychain, or anything else that will help the client remember you.

All of us at First International Title desire to see our real estate partners succeed, which is why we have many resources and flyers to help real estate agents and loan officers with their business. Reach out to your local sales executive to gain access to our many tools available for you to stand out in your market!