You sent out hundreds of promotional emails to thousands of people. The conversion rates on those mass emails seem weak. Why so? Well, maybe those emails weren’t all that good. Quality counts with email marketing. Yes, promotional email strategies are numbers games. Sending out a significant volume of emails to a great many people can be better than sending out minimal mailings. No email strategy, however, works when the content is weak. The words and images must sell effectively. Even the best material, however, suffers when the design of the email undermines it.

The Notorious Non-Responsive Email

A non-responsive email is an email that might as well not exist. An email list comprised of tons of great prospects means little if the email bores them to death. Email marketing must inspire and motivate the recipient. Trying to achieve these results with a template isn’t going to cut it. “Cookie cutter templates” provide a way to make a generic email newsletter. Free ones cut down on overall marketing budgets. The drawback, however, would be the lack of a response. Emails go out. Sales don’t come in. Even procuring no-commitment leads isn’t doable. Flat, dull, “pre-fabricated” marketing emails generally don’t deliver results. So, why waste time with them?

The World’s Mobile Now

Template-based emails rarely make a positive transition to tablet and smartphone screens. The poor transition proves outright disastrous for anyone relying on an email marketing strategy. The year is not 2003. People don’t sit in front of a desktop like they once did. They like mobile devices to browse the internet on the go. Anything pulled up on a mobile screen must fit. Otherwise, the email won’t deliver an effect. Ultimately, sales won’t move.

The Layout Proves Troubled

A non-responsive email comes off as both choppy and incomplete on a mobile device. Sections of the email might not even be visible on the screen. If the viewer can’t see essential parts, the content won’t deliver any results. Anyone who thinks the recipient will zoom in or scroll down doesn’t understand how troubling the layout is. The look creates a wrong impression.

The poor impressions extend to the email’s product or service. The person or company behind the email doesn’t come off very good either. Incompetence turns into a contagion spreading to all associated with the email. Marketing strategies do more than sell products and services. Robust strategies also support the branding of a business/entrepreneur. Weakly composed emails combined with horrible, non-responsive layouts don’t speak well of whoever sent the promotional herald. Casual indifference to a non-responsive email strategy is bad enough. Leaving recipients with an awful impression about the company/entrepreneur comes off as a disaster.

Professional Talent and Responsiveness

Templates remain the preferred choice of amateurs. Poor design and layout reflect the results of amateur work. Anyone serious about a marketing strategy should turn to a professional email marketing team to craft the right approach. The best marketing path creates the best potential to see a return on investment.

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When it comes to retirement, most people take advantage of the sudden drop in responsibility to relocate to somewhere more palatable. When you don’t have to worry about a daily commute or doing the school run, location becomes much more flexible when it comes to daily living. Selling your current home is the first step to consider, and if you’re planning to relocate to a better property, then you’re going to need to make sure that you get a good price for your current home. Finding ways to improve the price or speed up the sales process will ensure that you start your retirement in the right way, and help make the entire process significantly smoother. Here’s how you can fast-track your home sale and get on with the enjoying relaxation that is retirement.

Quick ways to speed up a sale

Before you put your property on the market, you need to make sure that it is ready. Remember that homebuyers want to see themselves living in a home before they commit to buying it, and there are some easy ways to help that process. Declutter your home so that you maximize the feeling of space, and allow potential buyers to see more of the property itself. It is often worth renting out a storage facility if you have too much clutter in your home, but always remember that buyers are also looking for a lifestyle. Make your home look its best, but do include some personal touches so that buyers can see the potential of the property.

Improve those first impressions

Curb appeal is vital in the realtor market. Most buyers make a decision on a property before they even walk through the front door, so you need to make certain that your first impression counts. Ensure that your front lawn is tidy and neat and that you make repairs to existing issues like leaky drainage pipes or loose tiles. Give your front door a fresh coat of paint and always consider the way that your property looks from an objective standpoint. Make sure that you keep as much of the personality of your home as intact as possible, but never underestimate the importance of that first impression.

Add value to your home

One of the best ways to get a better price for your property is to make cost-effective changes to it. There are some key long-term considerations to think about, and whether you opt for a complete overhaul of the central heating system or a conversion to a smarter home, adding value could make retirement a much easier transition. Make sure that your changes are in keeping with the theme of your home, and consider applying to get a Peerform loan that can help you cover the costs of your transformations and see you earn much more profit from the sale. From garden improvements to adding an entire extension, adding a high-value upgrade to your property is always worth considering.

Selling a home needn’t be a stressful experience. Whether you’re on the verge of retirement or you’ve been enjoying the peace and quiet for a while now, selling your home and relocating could be the key to getting the maximum benefits in your new, retired life.

When I purchased my house just over six years ago in Toronto, I found it a fun and thrilling experience. When you’re buying a new home, as long as you have the dough, you can usually customize it as you see fit. If you’re buying a resale home just like me, you can buy in an area with all the amenities that you desire (as long as you can afford it).

While I found the home-buying experience fun (most of the time), there were some costly mistakes that I narrowly avoided. I’m not perfect. I made some smaller scale mistakes on the way, but lucky for me, it wasn’t anything too costly. (That’s why I wrote a book so other homebuyers would hopefully avoid repeating some of my smaller mistakes.)

Without further ado, here are five common mistakes by first-time homebuyers and how to avoid them.


Mistake #1: Shopping for the Lowest Rate Mortgage

When you’re booking a vacation, do you book the cheapest airline ticket, ignoring things like flight times and layovers? I hope not. So, why do so many of us do the exact same thing when we’re shopping for mortgages? We look for the mortgage with the lowest rate without consider anything else, when there are so many other things to consider – mortgage penalties, prepayments and portability to name a few.

A lot of first-time homebuyers aren’t concerned about mortgage penalties, but here’s why you should be. Six out of 10 Canadians who sign up for a five-year fixed rate mortgage break it before the end of the mortgage term. If you asked those 10 Canadians whether they’d break their mortgage when they first signed up for their mortgage, I’m willing to bet all 10 would have said no.

That’s why it’s so crucial to choose a mortgage with a low mortgage penalty. That’s where a  mortgage broker can come in handy. He can help you choose the ideal mortgage based on your financial situation. You’re probably better off paying a slightly higher mortgage rate if it has other features that are important to your like prepayments and a lower penalty.


Mistake #2: Not Getting Preapproved for a Mortgage

Before going house hunting, don’t forget to get preapproved for a mortgage. Without a mortgage preapproval, you won’t have any idea about how much you’re able to spend on a property. You could spend $600K on a home, only to find out a lender will only approve you to spend $550K, leaving you left to make up the financial shortfall. Don’t let this happen to you.

There’s another reason you want to get preapproved. You’ll benefit from a rate hold. When you have a rate hold, which is usually between 90 and 120 days, if mortgage rates go up during this time, you’re guaranteed the lower rate (or the spread if you’re pre-approved for a variable rate mortgage). You have nothing to lose.

And just because your lender preapproves you to go out and spend $550K on a property, doesn’t mean you have to spend that amount (or even more). Take the time to prepare a mock budget if you were already living in the home. Consider housing related expenses like your mortgage payments, utilities, property taxes and home insurance. (If you’re unsure of how much to put aside, ask your mortgage broker or parents if they’re homeowners to get a rough estimation.)

Be sure to plan ahead in case you run into financial difficulties or costly home repairs like a leaky roof. The last thing you want is to be “house rich, cash poor,” with no money left over for emergency repairs.


Mistake #3: Forgetting to Budget for Closing Costs

If you’ve never purchased a home, it’s easy to overlook closing costs. I almost made this mistake myself. I wanted to put every spare penny towards my down payment, so my mortgage would be as low as possible. Luckily my mortgage broker said that I should keep some money aside for closing costs. I’m glad he did, otherwise I could have found myself in a financial pickle and I may have had to borrow the money from my parents. Not a good begin homeownership.

Closings costs are anything but a drop in the bucket. They can add up to quite a bit. Closing costs typically add up to between 1.5 and four percent of the purchase price of a home. For example, on a $550K home, you’d be spending up to $22K on the “transactional costs” of real estate. And it’s up to you to save that money ahead of time. Your lender won’t foot the bill.

Some of the most common closing costs for first-time homebuyers are land transfer tax, real estate lawyer fees and home inspection fees. As a first-time homebuyer, you may receive a rebate on land transfer tax depending on the province you live in, but closing costs can still add up to a lot. Don’t overlook them!


Mistake #4: Purchasing a Home Based on Looks

Purchasing a home based on looks is a lot like dating based solely on appearance. Sure, looks matter to a degree, but other factors like compatibility matter, as well.

When you walk inside a home for the first time, it’s easy to fall in love at first sight and focus on the looks. Sure, it’s impressive if a home has a new kitchen with granite countertops and stainless steel appliances, but what if the “bones” aren’t in good shape? The roof, windows, furnace and structure. Anyone can pay someone to put in a new kitchen, but if the roof is falling apart, is this a place you want to call your own? Are you willing to spend the money on fixing it up? If a home is a flip, corners may have been cut to save time and money. Pay attention to everything  to help avoid buying a money pit. It also helpful to hire a competent home inspector, which we’ll discuss next.

Mistake #5: Forgoing the Home Inspection

In hot real estate  markets, some homebuyers are choosing to skip the home inspection. When you find your dream home and 10 other people are also interested, it’s tempting to forgo the home inspection and make a clean offer (an offer without any conditions). While a clean offer can help you come out ahead and get your dream home, you’re also leaving yourself open to all sorts of costly repairs you might not have anticipated. For instance, the home could have structural issues that only an inspector might notice or a chimney that’s leaning (this happened to me).

A home inspection is almost always money well spent. You’re most likely making the single largest financial transaction of your lifetime. If you’re afraid you might lose the house if you include a condition of inspection, why not do the inspection ahead of time? (Referred as a pre-inspection.) That way if the inspection looks good, you can make an offer on the home with the peace of mind knowing that you’re investing in something that’s rock-solid.


This post was written by Sean Cooper, bestselling author of the book, Burn Your Mortgage. Sean is also a mortgage broker at

You’ve seen the commercials on television. There are even well known celebrities touting them, but is a reverse mortgage really good for your retirement? Most would argue it is; some would argue it isn’t. It boils down to your current financial situation and whether the reverse loan would benefit your retirement finances and savings. The best way to determine if this option is right for you is to evaluate its pros and cons. Here are some of them for your review.


Most consider the number one pro of a reverse mortgage to be no more house payments. In a reverse mortgage, a company, such as American Advisors Group, basically purchases your home from you but still allows you to live in it. You retain official ownership – your name stays on the deed – but when you die, the home transfers ownership to the reverse mortgage lender. This being said, no house payments help you live more comfortably in your retirement, which is a nice perk.

With an AAG Reverse or other lender’s mortgage, you can take the monies in one lump sum, in monthly advances for a designated duration, or as a line of credit you can tap into when needed. Some lenders will also allow you to combine these options, such as taking a small lump sum so you and your spouse can travel around the world and put the remainder in a line of credit. It’s important to note there are fixed or adjustable interest rates attached to these monies.

You can finance your traditional closing costs in the reverse mortgage, which means little money comes out of your pocket once the reverse mortgage is approved. Most reverse mortgages are also exempt from income taxes, although it’s always wise to confirm this with the lender and your CPA. In most cases, the reverse mortgage will not affect your Medicare and Social Security, and you nor your heirs are liable for any increase in your home’s value once the reverse mortgage is collected.


Nothing is too good to be true, and reverse mortgages do come with some cons. Because you still live in your home and retain its title, you remain responsible for home insurance and maintenance costs, homeowners association fees (if applicable), and your property taxes. You also remain responsible for loan interest and fees as they accumulate over time. If you financed your closing costs, you’re liable for those, too, if they aren’t covered in the loan collection, i.e. your home’s sale.

If you plan to leave your home to your children, they won’t get it with a reverse mortgage unless they buy it outright. Once you pass on, your home’s title is transferred to the lender, as mentioned above, and if there isn’t any equity leftover in your home, your kids won’t receive anything from its value. Another thing to watch out for is the mortgage fees. In some cases, they are higher than traditional mortgage fees, so keep an eye on them.

Check with your Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income benefits consultants, too, if you receive either of these federal aids. A reverse mortgage can affect your eligibility and/or benefits amounts, so don’t go into the loan blindly. Understand that if you are ill and must vacate your property for longer than 12 months due to hospitalization, the lender has the right to sell the home and force the repayment of your mortgage. You cannot vacate your home for more than 6 months when healthy.

Is a reverse mortgage right for you? Only you can tell, but now that you know the pros and cons, you’re better suited to make a decision. Talk with experts in reverse mortgage lending and your CPA and benefits consultants. Make sure you have the answers to all your questions.

Investing abroad can give some great returns, especially in this highly globalized economy. However, it’s also ridden with pitfalls, including everything from currency value shifts to cultural barriers such as language. Whether you’re planning to invest in stocks and shares or opt for something such as property instead, it’s important to get some assistance so that you can keep your global investment portfolio looking sharp.

Go for award winners

The investment sector plays host to plenty of recognition schemes that provide industry leaders with a chance to be rewarded for their efforts. Everything from client fund protection to good customer service is recognized in these awards – so as someone looking for investment services yourself, the value of these schemes lies in the way that they can point you towards the best professionals to go to. If you’re looking to invest in Britain, for example, then the nominees for the Share Magazine Shares Awards might be a good place to start. In Australia, the Stockies awards for Australian brokers is a great place to look. No matter where you plan to invest your cash, there’ll be a relevant awards scheme in the country that you want to use.

Find a specialist broker

There are brokers in every major economy around the world, and all of them have wise investment knowledge when it comes to navigating the local markets. However, if you’re based in Seattle and you’re planning to invest in Sydney, then a local broker in either of those places is inevitably going to be more familiar with their own environment than with the wider one.

Step forward the specialist international broker: by approaching a practice or an individual who is an expert in international investing, you’ll save yourself time in the long run as they’ll know how to help. These are usually available through a Google search, or your domestic broker may be able to put you in touch with their practice’s international branch.

Currency dealers

When investing abroad, you’ll usually need to have a good currency dealer on hand who can help you keep as much as you can of your international profits before converting them back into dollars. Some important options to look out for in a currency broker include bulk-buy deals, whereby the exchange rate fee is slightly lower if you’re cashing out a large amount of money. This way, you’ll be able to structure your profit withdrawals strategically and at the right time in order to pay as little as possible on the transaction.

If you’re thinking about investing abroad, then you’ll know that it’s not always simple and easy. There’s a lot to think about, and you could find yourself in trouble if you don’t get the help that you need to make it go as smoothly as possible. From finding a reputable currency dealer to locating an international specialist who works across borders, you’ll be giving yourself the best possible chance of international investment success.