Real Estate Information Archive


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Your Property Assessment, Do You Need to Appeal?

by Steve Westmark

STEVE:  Hi.  This is Steve Westmark with Counselor Realty.  Thanks so much for watching my video blog this week.  Coming in the mail, either you’re getting it or have gotten it, is your property assessment that’s coming out for 2012, which will affect your 2013 taxes.  Many people look at those and then just kind of throw them away and don’t think much about it.  But it does have an effect on how much you’re going to pay in your taxes.


For instance, it varies somewhere about 1.2 to 1.5% of your assessed value of what you’ll pay in taxes.  So if it’s on a $100,000 assessment, the tax could be from 1,200 to 1,500.  And if you have a property that is over-assessed, and that is one of the things that we’ve run into over the past few years is that our property values in the early 2000s kept going up, up, and up and the cities kept assessing higher, higher, higher.  And now with the decline in values, the cities are not keeping up with their assessed market value.


And so today I want to talk to you about how you can get your taxes in line with a property assessment appeal process.  The assessment appeal process happens basically this way.  You will get something in the mail that comes from your city.  The city gives what they believe is the assessed market value.  You need to make a determination is that a fair market value or have they over-assessed it.  Many cities have and I’ve met with clients where I’ve helped them through the process to get their property reassessed.


So that if in fact you have a property that’s assessed at 600,000 and the current sales are only showing 500, you go to the city and ask them to reassess it.  And that is the first part of the appeal process.  You go into the city or you may hire a representative like me to go into the city and appeal the process and say I believe that you’ve over-assessed my property.


And what I do in those types of situations is I’ll bring in a sale or multiple sales that have happened somewhat like yours in the period.  And what they look at is the November of 2010 to November of 2011 to determine what your assessed value for 2012 is, which will affect your 2013 taxes.  I hope that’s understandable.  Now if you go to the city and the city doesn’t agree with you and I don’t agree or we come to a conclusion that they haven’t been fair in looking at that, you can take it to the Hennepin County Board of Appeal and Equalization.


And we’ll scan this in to you.  This happens to come off of the Minneapolis city’s website that explains the appeal process.  But you appeal to the Board of Appeal and Equalization.  And generally, once you get there, it’s either appealed and you get the property value the way you want it, or if they don’t do it properly, you have one more appeal and that’s where you appeal to the Minnesota Tax Court.  Now if you have a property that’s 300,000 assessed or less, it goes to the Small Claims Division and is a very simple process.


If you have an assessed value of 300,000 or more, you go to the regular division of there.  And that can be used for any type of property type, whether it be a residential property, which I’m basically talking about, or commercial, or industrial, or those types of things.  If that is not acceptable, and I’ve never seen anything go beyond that, but I know people have dealt with this and this is where you probably get an attorney involved. 


And that’s where you own the IDS Center, somebody feels it’s worth $100 million and the last sale is 50 million, you’re going to take it to the Supreme Court and ask for a fair judgment on the property.  Well, that kind of gives you an overview of the property assessment appeals process.  As you get those, if you see something that comes to you in the mail and you don’t think that it’s right, you can either do it on your own or you can call me and we help for a small fee. 


We’ll walk you through the process and we would like to participate in the tax savings of 25% in the next year taxes and then you get what goes on in savings in the years after.  Hopefully, that’s been a very interesting thing to you today and helps you understand the appeals process for your real estate taxes.  Make it a great day.  Bye.

Some of my notes from Cyberstars 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas

by Steve Westmark

Cyberstars 2012


Surviving Your Serengeti – Stefan Swanepoel

                7 Skills to Master Business and Life

  1. Wildebeest – the dominant species of the area. The tenacity of never giving up.
  2. Lion - the killing machine, a plan, a strategy, with focus. Strategic! The Tactician.
  3. Crocodile – enterprising, independent, creative, determined, industrious, entrepreneurial. Enterprising.
  4. Giraffe- gentle, quiet – the glue that keeps a company together. Graceful – good natured, compassionate, gracious, caring.
  5. Mongoose – risk taker, he seeks out change. Risk Taking – courageous, confident, venturesome, resourceful – the Explorer
  6. Cheetah – the fastest and most efficient. Efficient and effective. Efficiency- effective, focused, agile, resource, maximize. The Proficient One
  7. Elephant – communicate, empathy, understanding, sharing, good listener – Communication – The Conversationalist

You can go on line with an app to take a test to see what animal you are?

Now what?

  1. Discover your skill
  2. Master your skill
  3. Survive your Serengeti
  4. Understand others – learn their skills
  5. Thriving – succeed











Stefan Swanepoel – Trends Report 2012   

Mobile Trends

  1. Tech Trends – Look for mass adoption of, ubiquitous & universal products that are omnipresent, thereby creating continuous, and connectivity to everything.

5 billion phones were sold in 2011. Proliferation of personal information that anyone can know.

Only 210 million TV’s



`Global connectivity

“It’s a fundamental shift in society as a whole”

Mobile life, health, payments, learning, real estate


  1. New generation of people that don’t know the past generation thought
  2. Apps – 2008 – 500 apps, in 3 years 300,000apps
  3. Mtagging- coding system   - anyone, anywhere, anytime, anything, anyway
  4. Three top innovations – Dynamic grids, Intelligent Sensors, Automatic integrating device
  5. Three top challenges – Global mobile virus,” Always on” generation, Pervasive privacy
  6. Top three shifts – Mobile advertising surpasses web advertising, Mobile currency replaces physical currency, Permanent connectivity totally redefines business
  7. Top 3 opportunities – A new era of knowledge, Emergence of “everyware”, Redefining the home buying transaction











Ultimate Lead Capture & Conversion Systems

Brenda Wade, Ashton Gustafson, Rob Levy, Sue Adler

Buyers’ leads from the web start looking 12 months out. Must build drip campaigns that last for at least a year. Then it is call, call, call, & call. They require numbers on the lead form. Have to make at least 5 calls.

Ashton is using Tiger Leads and then putting into Real Pro Systems. The lead comes and then it is what you are going to do about.


Organic SEO – you do it through content with community sites. Doing video along with the community pages. A community page of a community page. He put four videos on the each community. Predefined searches, neighborhood information. 

Stealth sites – a new system to make the SEO, a sub host of the domain. Any Realtor can use a Hud home. Take a picture on your own.  Adding video to your email drip campaigns.

Lead generation of Tiger Leads – great pictures and great maps.

New custom website for Sue Adler . She is using boomtown and a mobile app from diverse solutions. Google generation does not want to talk to someone. You need to come to being of help to them.  They don’t want to be sold, they want to be helped.

What you show them stuff that they can’t find online. Charts and information that is greater than what you can generally find on the web.

Leads coordinator – 10% is paid – call coordinator to keep making calls. One lead – 3 calls a day for 3 days to get a live person.  They want to see houses. They want freedom to search.









Three Minutes of Fame

Focus on basics to follow-up with expireds, having a plan, accountability

$500 prelist on taking listings. Cushioning the blow to listing of taking a listing.

Taking the Military Specialist Designation

Consumer Electronics Show – iTwin, remote access Sans Cloud; OlloClip -3-1  iPhone Lenses; Pentax Optio WG1 camera

Free Mobile Property Listings App – Sven

Community Video Tours –

iRig Mic- a mike that plugs into your iPhone and then post

iPad Presentation buyer and seller presentation – have Sven send news portal that lets your push to Twitter, LinkedIn

Apps – prompster pro, easy release,, flipper (cash flow), open home pro

Print media – The Week – upper end marketing all over the country

Action plans – 60 of them, make them as flow charts. Plans for listings, closings, prelist, post-sale, broker open house, and open house – make them as you run into something that would be a system.

Fiverr – what you can get done for 5 bucks

Wayback machine – Google it

Go Pro Hero 2 – video for interviewing – it is about $350.

Virtual assistants – join me with virtual on the desk top, went international. $6 per hour.

Google business apps – using checklists

Google alert your top 50 referral services

Target marketing – high end 4 place piece to 8000000 assessed value, expired mailing to people, staying focused on fewer.

Google voice phone number – then got call to answer your phone for you and where to direct it to. Send message to voicemail, text, or email.

SEO - and blogging with 12 blogs a month, using word press. Post video on and linking it back to your website you will go in higher SEO.

Predictive analytics – smart prospecting – Real Agile.  They did do some focusing on the short sale type where you look at when they bought, what the mortgage is to look for short sale.

My CyberOffice – collaborative with a team of technology. Water cooler breaks. eLearning Lounge

Paperless Pipeline – working to be totally paperless.

Juice pack power station – mophie –

Main gear – helps you to develop a computer the way you want it.

10 days of pain – converting internet leads, after 3 to4 listings that they look at and then have them sign in. Emails send that is about them.  Then send houses according to what they were looking for.

LinkedIn released cardmunch app

Simple life – book – a great book for life balance – Tom & Art Raner

Learning the functionality of VOIP system service. Most come with.

Sparkpeople is an app for weight loss

Knotes is an app as way to personalize how you interact

Pole Pixy – put your camera on a pole that gives you elevation for your photo

Price bracket email by saying properties above and below

Secret homes – put your listings that are before you put on before on MLS

SkySlope – document storage- digisign is part of it – Debbie Yost

Berkeleyside – photo by doing a 3rd party

Google analytics to look at address and see where they come from

Setting a graph showing days on market compared to list price

Don’t be a Realtor commodity

Facebook webinars – it costs $99 per month

Appzilla2 – an app you should look at

Sign and send – you can take your finger and sign – New warrior training adventure

Powerful questions – can bring clarity, provide a paradigm shift, support integrity, identify core values

What do you want me to continue doing? What do you want me to stop doing? What do you want me to start doing?

Listing presentations -  In an ideal world, what would your sales process look like? What are you looking for in a Realtor? What of anything I’ve said or not said that would make you feel uncomfortable listing with me?

Buyer questions – Which house will align best with our family goals? Which house will nourish our family best?

Daily questions – What am I willing to do today to support my goals? What am I grateful for? What will nourish my soul today?

Additional powerful questions – What is my body telling me? What do I already know that I have forgotten? What is the core of my fear? Anger? Jealousy? Who can benefit from a kind word? What 3 things do I most want to complete today? This week? This month? This year? This lifetime?

For short sale have the buyer apply with the lender that is short sale. Low appraisals and problems from lender side streamline themselves.

Animoto – professional videos for virtual tours – to make a form

Talkatone – connect your google voice, text and call for free, call and text from our iPad, protect your privacy, save on your minutes and text

Form Tools PDF – go paperless, import pdfs and create templates, sign form, email form


Plaxo and snagit for cards




Ultimate Buyer Consultation/ Initial Meeting System

Gretchen Papineau, Terry Moerler, Peter Richmond, Seth Dailey

Get the people into your office

  1. Find out their needs and then do the consultation.’
  2. They are not a real buyer until they come in the office, let me tell you how I work, come into my office for 15 minutes to show some tools, setting expectations with the customer.
  3. Buyer consultation with both buyers, parent, lender and yourself
  4. Things to have in the consultation – get to know them, buyer questionnaire, ,do the DISC, funnel  approach, reverse for when do they want to move. Managing the buyer’s expectation of lending, showings and the like, working with a wish list, learning the DISC with each customer then learning to communicate with them how they want it, you need to see if you are going to be able to control
  5. When you have a difficult client that doesn’t work, you find the proper referral person for the customer.
  6. Use statistics to help buyers make proper decisions –
  7. Asking for the order – tell me the top 3; yes, no or maybe list; analysis of what is working.


Ultimate Listing Marketing Plan/Systems

Pat Wattam, Char MacCallum, Sven Andersen, Shane White, Paul Lewis

Setting Seller Expectations – Home Selling Manual – Char

Listing Plan that is an Action Plan

Automated email plan – 10 campaign emails that remind them of the unique things that you do.

Using all the photos the MLS will let you.

Photos are sooooooo important that we do marketing!

Virtual staging –virtual staging by ilaria bario

Tag them in a YouTube in the video of the house. Need to confirm that seller agrees.

Photography – Paul makes a very strong effort with sellers for photos


Ultimate Contract to Close

John Morley, Char MacCallum, Tim Burrell, Dawn Thomas, Darrell Isaacs –CRM , making a system

There is nothing you do that you can’t use drop box

Workflow automation – working your plan

Google docs

Closing checklist differ – REO, Short Sale, Traditional


Ultimate Listing Appointment and CMA Systems

Shane White, Chip Neumann, Pat Wattam, John Morley

Chip uses Quantum Digital for his career book. He does it all in one book for buyers & sellers.

Chip does a lot of pictures – he puts on power point to just show them but doesn’t give out

Shane is staying front of seller after you take the listing. Getting information to them as automated as possible, listing hub for them, email reports, finding things that gives them the info that relates to their property. Touching the seller by showings, emails, mail, calls. Works with absorption rates to help find the proper market position.

John – effective listing digital presentation. 

  1. Initial phone call
  2. Home Tour (Team member does)
  3. Prelist book they look at before coming in
  4. Home Consultation
  5. House sale management (Manage the market with housing coordinator)

Pat – Her listing presentation

  1. Marketing bag with treats
  2. Send electronic version of prelist
  3. Prelist package – making it colorful  ( Her and the team, market plan, family)
  4. Personality of getting the listing is by having enthusiasm about their house.
  5. She works to get the listing that day, but seems that she needs do good follow-up

Dawn Thomas – whatever your profile with consistency. Your content, your branding, your look.

                Blog- from word press

                Yelp – Dawn works really hard at building her image. She sends out a letter to buyers and sellers.


                Keep your business hours off so that when people search from other parts of the world, without            hours you get stuff over the world and different time zones.


Ultimate Client Follow Up Systems – Buyers & Sellers

Beth Jaworski, Chip Neumann, Sven Anderson, Tammy Hines

Send hand written card – it is really unique

Send floral arrangement –

Leave chocolates when video/photo

Send sellers a weblink of all the websites to look at listing

Color coded dates of an office calendar as well as calendar in Outlook

Constant contact maintained with client

Take your Yelp & LinkedIn and ask them to rate you

Move day – send 2 pizzas and soda

CMA’s to buyer and buyer orphans

Thank you letter when you get the listing

Drip campaign with videos for buyer – Real Pro

Chip is very plan directed – he has been very creative in using multiple plans



Ultimate File Management Systems

Cheryl  Scott Daniels, Brenda Wade, Shane White, Seth Dailey, Stephanie Evelo

Dropbox –

+google –Docs, voice,




Tech Tools

Obeo – virtual tours, can redecorate like virtual tour

Umail – transcribes your voice mail into an email that you can then forward – YOUmail

Life scribe pen  - take notes and it records at the same time – Live Scribe, need a special pad, that turns it into a PDF – – it is like googles priority email

Evernote – communicates to phone and computer,

Soundnote – unlimited reporting, it great for recording, record listing presentations, record notes from seeing the house. Audionote – much like soundnote that you can put into dropbox. Mentalnote –

Keyboard for iPad – Origami – you can get at the Apple Store

Dr.bott – purchasing Apple stuff – Battery boost or go to Radio Shack

4s iPhone – location reminders – go into reminders to tell you when you are in a location

PDF printer –

Charger device from Brookstone 4 way power charge – it is multiple

Personal apps to followup after closing – truxmaps

Snapshot postcards –

Sketchonline – floorplans

My fitness pal – App

Kryptonote                                buyer-agent-selection   homesearch       solutions

Gotowebinar –

Apps – Prohdr for photos; colorsplash ; dermander- ; withingscale;

Chevy Volt is the perfect techie tool.

Matchgeocode – maps

Magicplan – floorplans –take multiple pictures around thehouse

Comicbook – takes your pictures and turns it into a comic book

Dropbox – it is a life saver, have all your files in one place

Nitropdf –

Bose – plays off the iPod- SoundLink


Email stationery – 4 separate stationery

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Contact Information

Photo of The Steve Westmark Team Real Estate
The Steve Westmark Team
RE/MAX Advantage Plus
14451 Highway 7 Suite 100
Minnetonka MN 55345
Fax: 952-241-1600