Notes From Readers: Use the Media to Tell Your Story

Readers write in about flood subsidies, marketing strategies, and more.

November 2, 2013

The media is a powerful tool for telling your business story, but you have to use it wisely. At the NAR Leadership Summit in Chicago in August, Don Cunningham, managing director of global PR firm Burson-Marsteller, talked about how real estate practitioners can hone their messages and stay on point during media interviews. “Stick to your story,” Cunningham told hundreds of REALTORS® attending the summit. “You have to be of the mind-set that I’m going to continue to talk about what I came here to talk about.” Reporters will try to steer you off course into other subjects that you may have not been prepared to talk about, he warned. —Posted Aug. 27 by Graham Wood, Senior Editor

Irish responded: “Putting emphasis on details is very important so that the message will properly be delivered. Giving out personal comments and opinions should be discouraged.”

Scott Rozier responded: “I am sure all these tips are great advice but it seems to me one may come off a bit rehearsed and robotic. Isn’t a live speech supposed to be thought-provoking and inspirational? I think personal opinions and speculation have their place. Just my opinion.”

FEMA Chief: Flood Subsidies Phase-Out Falls on Congress

Any chance of the federal government delaying the phase-out of flood insurance subsidies coming down the pike rests entirely with Congress, FEMA chief Craig Fugate said at a Senate Banking subcommittee. The subsidy phase-out was enacted last year as part of the Biggert-Waters Flood Insurance Reform Act, which reauthorized flood insurance for five years. The law also instituted reforms to make the program more financially sound. In that financial restructuring, Congress included the phase-out of insurance premium subsidies for a small portion of homes and businesses. —Posted Sept. 19 by Robert Freedman, Manager, ­Multimedia Communications

Sandy Ewing, Jr. responded: “Pinellas County, Fla., is going to be impacted the most by this legislation. If the B&W Act is allowed to go through, we will most likely have a sharp rise in foreclosures and vacant homes. Sales have already dropped off sharply. Even if the act is postponed for a year, sales of these homes will be virtually impossible to sell. Who can afford a $500 to over $1,500 a month increase in their [monthly] payments?”

Update: The latest part of the federal phase-out of flood insurance subsidies took effect Oct. 1. It raises the flood insurance rates for properties subject to repeat flood damage or where insurance claims have grown larger than the fair-market value. These properties will see rates increase by as much as 25 percent annually until they reflect full risk.

The Big Question: To Renovate or Rebuild?

The housing stock is getting older in many parts of the country, and more home owners are facing the need to make drastic upgrades. In some cases, home owners are facing an even bigger decision, such as whether to tear down and rebuild a new home. —Posted Sept. 16 by Blu Homes, Blog Contributor

Lynn Tardibuono responded: “Being experienced with flips, I think that rebuilding vs. renovations depends on the current condition of the property. It is really important to know the costs and time frames as well as having honest contractors on the job . . . so it’s all in the numbers: What do you really want and can you afford it?”

John Kelly says: “Rebuild! There’s nothing like a good stick-framed home. You know exactly what you’re getting, and it’s easy to make changes.”

Correction: In the article “What’s the Big Deal About Big Data?” (Sept./Oct. 2013, page 30), Alex Perriello’s title was cited incorrectly. His title is Realogy Franchise Group President and CEO.

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Note: Letters and blog posts are edited for space and clarity. Publication of a letter doesn’t constitute an endorsement of the writer's views by the National Association of REALTORS® or REALTOR® Magazine. Submission of a letter constitutes permission to publish it in any form or medium.