Mortgage Business

Professional Selfies for Social Media Sites

Professional Selfies for Social Media Sites
This information is adapted from an article first published on The full article can be read at

Forget Glamour Shots!

Our smartphone cameras have come a long way and some of the newest models on the market can take portraits as beautifully as high end digital cameras. How does your social media profile picture measure up? If you think it could be better, here are few tips from LinkedIn:

Before You Start

  • Find a blank neutral colored wall in a nicely lit area. Preferably not stark white, but void of any pictures or background “clutter;” natural light is going to provide a more even tone than a flash will – south facing windows are great, but avoid direct sunlight.
  • Think about what you’re wearing. Wear a solid color that enhances your personal skin tone and hair color; avoid flashy accessories – unless that is your signature accessory.
  • Consider keeping the image simple. This professional shot is about you, and what you can do for your clients…pictures with animals (like dogs) or in lifestyle settings (like on a boat) could actually deter from your goal.

Taking The Shot

  • Do Not Use The Flash.
  • This is where a selfie stick comes in handy! The problem with “selfie arm” is the slightly distorted angle of your face…unless you’re Kim Kardashian who has probably spent 100s of hours “perfecting” the selfie, best to either have a buddy take the image, or set up your phone on a tripod with a timer.
  • But if you are going with the selfie arm… look up at the camera at a slight angle rather than down. This angle removes the shadows and is a flattering angle for your face.
  • Head and shoulders above the rest… not just your business slogan, but also an easy tip to remember for your profile picture. You’ll be able to crop the shot after taking…so take many pictures till you are satisfied. Also take the image from different angles, usually a slight angle will be more flattering than a straight “face to camera” shot.
  • And while you’re at it, don’t center yourself in the image. It’s suggested to follow the rule of thirds. Your eyes should be one third of the way down from the top of the photo and off to one side. This allows for plenty of room to crop the shot.
  • Where should I look?? Look at a spot in the middle of the top of your smartphone – it helps center your face. And remember to look natural – you want your clients to see your personality!

After You Photograph

  • Edit away! The beauty of smartphones are the features that come with the camera function – you can crop, adjust lighting, enhance tone, even add a filter – but keeping the color crisp and “normal” is probably best.
  • Sending your image via email – if you are going to send the images to yourself via email, send a few at different resolutions. Some social media sites can take higher resolution/larger files while others have more limitations. The point is to make sure your image isn’t blurry.

So, until that time when you can schedule a shoot with a professional photographer for really awesome headshots, use these tips to create a respectable and informal profile picture to help create new connections.

Summary of Tips

Be aware of your surroundings

Do use natural light

Do use a good camera option

Do think about the angle

Do think about what you’re wearing

Don’t center yourself

Let your professional personality shine through

Mortgage Business

Happy 4th of July!

Happy Fourth of July!
Fun & Crazy Tidbits About The Fourth Of July Holidays

If you live in the United States, you know that the Fourth of July is one of our most popular and important holidays. Officially, the Fourth of July is known as Independence Day – a federal holiday commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence 241 years ago on July 4, 1776.

We thought it would be fun to share some interesting tidbits and factoids about this date in American History…

  • John Adams declared that fireworks would become part of each Fourth of July celebration. Before the Declaration of Independence was even signed, he envisioned fireworks as a part of the festivities. In a letter to Abigail Adams on July 3, 1776, he wrote that the occasion should be commemorated “with Pomp and Parade, with Shews, Games, Sports, Guns, Bells, Bonfires and Illuminations from one End of this Continent to the other from this Time forward forever more.”
  • The American Pyrotechnics Association (APA) estimates that more than 14,000 professional firework displays light up the skies in the United States each Fourth of July.
  • Approximately 155 million hot dogs and 700 million pounds of chicken are consumed on the Fourth.
  • Americans began observing the Fourth of July as early as 1777, when the first-ever major celebration in Philadelphia included a parade and a thirteen-shot cannon salute and fireworks.
  • To avoid cracking it, the Liberty Bell has not been rung since 1846. To mark the quintessential day, every Fourth of July it is symbolically tapped 13 times.
  • Several countries used the Declaration of Independence as a beacon in their own struggles for freedom. Among them, France. Then later, Greece, Poland, Russia and many countries in South America.
  • In 1826, second U.S. President John Adams and third U.S. President Thomas Jefferson both died. Exactly five years later, fifth U.S. President James Monroe died.
  • In 1930, George Steinbrenner was born.
  • In 1939, Lou Gehrig gave his famous retirement speech at Yankee Stadium after being diagnosed with ALS. He told the crowd that he considered himself "the luckiest man on the face of the earth."
  • Since 1972, Nathan’s Hot Dogs has held their annual hot dog eating competition on the Fourth.
  • In 2016 Joey “Jaws” Chestnut ate 70 hotdogs and buns in 10 minutes; Miki Sudo placed for the women eating 38 1/2 hotdogs.
Did You Know…

US flag 13 stars – Betsy Ross

The stars on the original American flag were in a circle so the 13 Colonies would appear equal.

Mortgage Business

The Value of a Home Appraisal

Home Appraisals
This article originally appeared on; we’re providing the high – level tips here. The full article can be read at

8 Ways to Improve a Home Appraisal

Is the appraiser from within a 10-mile radius of the property? Also, have as much comparable information about the quality of the neighborhood available for the appraiser.

Provide your appraiser with at least three solid and well-priced comparable properties.

Start with the most impactful minor improvements to increase the value of the home.

"Before-and-after photos, along with a well-defined spreadsheet of what was spent on each renovation, should persuade an appraiser to turn in a number that far exceeds what he or she first called out." Don’t forget to highlight all-important structural improvements to electrical systems, heating, and cooling systems – which are harder to see, but can dramatically boost an appraisal. Show receipts.

"Improvements and additions made below grade, such as a finished basement, do not add to the overall square footage of your house," says John Walsh, president of Total Mortgage Services in New York. "So, they don’t add anywhere near as much value as improvements made above grade."

Even jaded appraisers can be swayed by a good-looking yard. "Tree trimming, cleaning up, a few flowers in the flower beds and paint touch up can all help the appraisal," says Agnes Huff, a real estate investor based in Los Angeles.

Don’t follow the appraiser around like a puppy. "I can’t tell you how many homeowners or listing agents follow me around in my personal space during the inspection," he says. "It’s a major red flag there is a problem with the home."

Best Home Improvement Options to Increase the Home’s Value:

Wood Floors Landscaping
Enclosed Garages


Learn More
Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation 5301 Limestone Road, Ste 106, Wilmington, 19808

Jeff Baxter Jeff Baxter
Sales Manager
Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation
NMLS #191033

Phone: (302) 260-7089
Fax: (866) 685-6528

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Mortgage Business, Real Estate News

Why There Is a Shortage of Real Estate Appraisers

Their numbers are dwindling.

It takes a longer time period to get one done.

The costs have increased while appraiser compensation has decreased.

So, what’s happening and why is there a shortage of appraisers?

The National Association of Realtors recently took a survey and this is what was reported:

“Among the contracts that had a delay to settlement, 22 percent were from appraisal issues. Survey respondents blamed appraisal-centered delays on the shortage of appraisers, valuations that were not in line with market conditions, and “out-of-town” appraisers who were not familiar with local conditions.”

While there is no quick fix, here are some reasons why we are seeing fewer appraisers:

  • Training. It’s expensive, and an appraiser trainee must have 2000 hours of apprentice training (that’s almost one year based on 40 hours per week) with a fully licensed appraiser.
  • Fully licensed appraisers can’t make any money if they have to split the appraisal fee with a trainee.
  • Trainees make very little money—an average of $27,000—during their training period.
  • Appraisers get lower compensation if the appraisal is ordered through a management company.
  • Appraisers will turn down assignments if REQUIRED to provide a quick turn-around time
  • The average tenure of an appraiser is 22 years and they are not being replaced by younger appraisers.
  • The average tenure of a NEW appraiser is 5 years.
  • Appraisers have the added expense of keeping up with new regulations.

What types of appraisal issues have you been experiencing?

Mortgage Business, Realtor Advice

When Was the Last Time You Checked Your Voice Message Greeting?

A View from the Beach

Have you checked your voice message greeting lately?

Is it outdated?

Is it still relevant?

Is there background noise?

Many people record a voice message — and then forget about it.

I suggest that you update it at least once a year.

Here are some questions to ask yourself when re-recording your voice message

  1. Is it too lengthy?
  2. Does it sound sickly “sweet”?
  3. Does it make you cringe (like nails on a chalkboard)?
  4. Is it upbeat and positive?
  5. Does it sound like you are irritated or bothered?
  6. Is it cheerful?
  7. Does it provide too many details?
  8. Is it too lengthy?
  9. Is it a little bit clever?
  10. Do you use different tones/inflections?
  11. Does your greeting reflect your personality?

Experts recommend that you write out a script.

Keep it at 30 seconds or so.

Practice it over and over again.

Ask someone to critique it for you.

Record it and listen to it yourself. Re-record until you are satisfied.

Ask someone to call you and listen to it again.

Oh, and then remind yourself to re-record by adding a note to your calendar to update your voice message next year.

Consumer Advice, Mortgage Business

What is Mortgage Insurance and Why Would a Homeowner Have to Pay the Cost?

What is mortgage insurance?

Mortgage insurance is offered by either the government or private insurance companies to enable lenders to offer smaller downpayments on loans. Before mortgage insurance existed, many had to pay a minimum of 20% down to purchase a home which made homeownership unaffordable for many Americans. Mortgage insurance covers lenders for losses up to a certain amount if a borrower defaults on their mortgage.

There are two types of mortgage insurance available: Continue reading