Learn how Chief Marketing Officer Megan Climer transformed the Tressler brand and her advice to business owners considering a brand refresh.
A new role brings new opportunities
When Megan Climer joined Tressler & Associates in August 2022, she was eager to dive into brand development. Just a couple of weeks into her new role, she began to see opportunities for Tressler to differentiate itself from other law firms in the market. In this interview, she explains what makes a brand and shares how she developed their new visual identity.
Most people think a brand is a name and logo. How do you define a brand?
Their definition isn’t wrong, just incomplete. I have spent the majority of my professional career learning what makes a great brand. A brand is a name and a logo, but I believe it offers so much more. Your brand is your unique identity. And like a person, it has exterior and interior attributes and characteristics that make it identifiable to the world. Like a person, a brand has dreams and a purpose (a vision and a mission), values, a personality, a voice, a story, and an overall essence or feeling. Really, a brand is powerful. It is the foundation that informs and supports your overall business strategy. And it can be your most valuable asset for managing growth.
What did you do first to start developing the new brand?
The first thing I did was take a detailed look at our competition and the overall market. It sounds counterintuitive to spend your time analyzing everyone else, but a competitive analysis is critical to building a brand. By evaluating our competitors, I learned where we fit into the market and the unique opportunities we had to stand out.
What did you do after you finished the competitor analysis?
The next thing I did was complete an audit of our brand. I reviewed the competitor data to see how we measured up, which is always an eye opening experience. It allowed me to see where our brand was falling short and where we had opportunities to shine.
Like many service industries, the legal industry lacks uniqueness. The brand landscape looks very similar in both styling and messaging. I have always said that if everyone else is saying it, it probably isn’t worth saying. Industry platitudes and buzz words become expectations, not differentiators. I knew if we were committed to being different from traditional law firms, our brand had to look and feel different from a traditional law firm. It was our time to break away from the industry brand “standards” and offer a new brand experience.
What inspired the new logo?
After comparing and analyzing for several weeks, I began to brainstorm ideas for how our brand style could be unique. I knew right away what visual elements did not fit our brand personality and what opportunities were available to stand out among our competitors.
I also spoke with Todd and Lisa about our culture and brand personality to get a sense of who we are and what a Tressler brand experience feels like. Todd shared some of his grandfather’s old business papers with an added sticky note that said “brand inspo.” From all of this I began to visualize what our brand style could be. Using combinations of color, texture, pattern, typography, photography, videography, illustration and tone, you can build a complete brand identity that is unique and powerful. I pulled inspo from lots of visuals and created a mood board that kick-started my design.
What did you design first?
I started with our typography. Almost all of our competitors use typography that is traditional and serious in tone. It just made sense to try to design our logo icon using lower case letters. By making the “ta” lowercase, it now feels more approachable, accessible and warm, all things we believe make up the Tressler experience. The lowercase nods to the era of typewriters (inspo from the old papers) and adds a vintage flair to the brand. I used a sans type as our accent font instead of a traditional all caps serif for our business name. Our brand now feels modernized and more relevant to today’s consumer.
It’s great to learn the logic behind the letters. What led you to choose orange as your new brand color?
This part was fun. Color psychology is actually a thing, and it is fascinating! Did you know color works at a subconscious level faster than words or images and creates a gut response? So color choices matter. For us, our previous brand colors were black, red and gray. This overall palette communicated a more bold, corporate, serious and traditional feel all things we believe do not represent who we are. It was also a common color palette used by others in our industry. By changing our colors, we could instantly add visual uniqueness and more accurately communicate our brand personality and essence to our target audience.
Here are some of the insights that influenced this decision. Orange is known as a creative, abundant, positive, passionate, secure and comforting color. The redder tones of orange can communicate strength, stamina and determination, and brown is a color that is viewed as grounding, reliable, balanced, honest, sincere and warm. From all of these attributes, we developed the Tressler orange.
What can we expect next from the Tressler brand?
We are so excited for what is to come! We just launched our new website this month. Our website partner FortyAU, helped me bring our new brand experience to life. Our website showcases our new look, but more importantly, offers a user experience unlike anyone else in our market.
Our social media will also see a refresh. These platforms will continue to be a place we tell our story and engage in meaningful ways with our audiences. Our team also plans to release a series of free digital resources to offer more education around our practice areas to include; digital downloads, blogs, webinars and a new podcast. These extra resources will all be available on our website. As a marketer, I live in creative mode. A new brand offers so many opportunities to educate, entertain and add value to our audience.
What advice do you have for business owners considering a brand refresh?
Wow, that could be a whole other interview! But I’ll do my best to keep this short. Maybe we’ll answer in more detail on a future podcast. (smiles and winks)
1. Define your goals.
When starting any new project having a goal in mind is always a great first step. Why are you choosing to work on your brand? Defining what you want your brand to do for your business will help you create a brand identity that delivers results. Are you a start-up preparing to launch, or are you a small business getting ready to roll out a new product or service? Are you trying to stay competitive and looking for ways to gain more market share, or do you already have a brand but feel it’s time for a makeover? No matter what your reasons are, declaring your motives will enable you to set goals and stay focused as you work through the process.
2. Do the research.
Get to know your target customer and analyze your competition. I didn’t mention customer analysis earlier, but they also influence and impact your identity. Because the truth is, without our customers, we have no business. A deep dive into their personality and habits can help you learn what will resonate most with them. Knowing your competition is powerful. An analysis will take some time to complete, but it is insight you can use to position your brand for lasting success in your market.
3. Be true to who you are.
Know who you are and who you want to be. Your brand is more than a hip logo or slackline. Your brand is your story, your personality, your values, your mission and much more! It is an experience, and one that should be all your own. Your brand can do so many things for your business. It should set you apart, communicate a clear message, tell a story, build credibility, connect with your audience, motivate action, create memorable experiences and loyal fans. You can start your brand refresh today by doing a simple brand audit. Ask yourself how your brand is doing? How well does it do all the things listed above? Where are there opportunities to improve, and where can YOU shine?
As Chief Marketing Officer of Tresler & Associates, Megan leads the marketing, communication and development initiatives for the Tressler brands. She works to strengthen the company’s position as a trusted leader in the legal and real estate industries.
Megan is an award winning web and graphic designer and writer with nearly two decades of business to consumer experience with large and small organizations in marketing, communications, business development, public relations, advertising and brand innovation. She’s an experienced consultant, working with large and small businesses in brand development and marketing strategy and leads brand development workshops for rising and seasoned entrepreneurs. Megan is currently working to complete her first book on brand development estimated for release in late 2023.
Megan is always happy to talk shop about branding. You can follow her on Instagram @mlclimer, connect with her on LinkedIn, or reach out to her directly at [email protected].
Real estate investment trusts (REITs) are not typically something you’ll hear about unless you’re deep into the world of investment opportunities. They’re special companies that operate as trusts and oversee real estate investments. A company acting as a trust may sound strange, but this is how many large trusts work.
When someone with a lot of valuable property and capital places a significant amount of it in a trust, a group of people is continuously paid by the trust to maintain it. Sometimes they work to invest it to grow the contents of the account. A famous example of this would be the executors of the Tolkien Estate, a trust created to protect and maintain the property of the famous author J. R. R. Tolkien, writer of the Lord of the Rings book series.
Currently, Tolkien’s two main executors–Baillie Tolkien and Michael George Tolkien–and a team of lawyers and investors control and care for his estate. This is similar to how many REITs operate when put in simpler terms, but how it starts and benefits a regular investor is a different matter.
Who Creates a Real Estate Investment Trust?
A group of investors can come together or be broached by professionals to invest in real estate investment trusts. Regardless of whose idea it is, investors put money into a trust that purchases and operates real estate properties on their behalf. These investors can be wealthy individuals, investment firms, or large corporations.
What Are the Benefits of Investing With REITs?
REITs are perfect for when stock market investors want regular incomes. These allow investors to invest in nonresidential investments when they wouldn’t normally be able to. Real estate properties such as office buildings, mall complexes, and storefronts are usually impossible for individual investors to purchase themselves. With a REIT, they can.
What makes these trusts even more appealing to investors is that a REIT is what can be considered a highly liquid venture. These are exchange-traded trusts, where investors put liquid cash flow in and get liquid cash flow out. They don’t see real estate agents or title transfer companies if they don’t want to. To be safe, we would recommend that you have an attorney to oversee the title transfers and the contracts to protect your investments.
Investors also only have to be involved as much as they want, which is another reason to invest in a REIT. It operates like a business, meaning others run the day-to-day and only communicate with the investors when they need to put funding in or take the profit out. Though, again, we recommend that investors at least have their attorneys watching over any REITs they’re a part of.
What Can You Invest in With a REIT?
There are many different properties that can be purchased, managed, and sold by a REIT that should interest real estate investors. These include properties that would otherwise be near impossible for an individual investor to invest in themselves due to the time and money needed to make and keep them operational.
Typically, a REIT will focus on one type of real estate, not all of these examples at once. Before you enter into any REITs, you want to make sure there’s a clear goal. It’s unlikely that there are many real estate managers who know how to manage apartment complexes, healthcare facilities, and cell towers. It’s not out of the realm of possibility that someone could manage retail centers and warehouses considering the connection between their businesses. They require business and legal research to make sure that your investment in a REIT is a safe one.
Contact Tressler & Associates Before Entering Any Real Estate Investment Trusts
A real estate investment trust is a good way to grow your portfolio and your capital, especially if you don’t have the time or energy to manage real estate properties yourself. But they aren’t bulletproof, so you need to make sure they’re with qualified investors and managers.
For any aspect of a real estate investment trust, contact Tressler & Associates today.
Loans and payouts aren’t only for incredibly wealthy and successful multi-billion dollar businesses. For small businesses, there is what is called a Small Business Administration loan, or an SBA loan for short. These loans are designed to support small businesses as they start and/or grow in profit and manpower.
What is the SBA?
The SBA, a U.S. agency that guarantees and oversees loans to small businesses, is designed to counsel and assist small business owners with growing their own businesses. They have tools and educational resources available, some for free and some not. These tools and resources include:
Loans: The agency itself doesn’t loan small businesses money but connects them to sources that do and oversee the loan process. These loans are issued by banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions that partner with the SBA.
Entrepreneurial Development: These counseling and training programs are provided by the SBA for a low cost. There’s no experience level required to take them, and they also have mentor programs that can connect new business owners to retired and existing entrepreneurs. There are over 1,800 locations that offer these services across the country.
Contracting: The SBA handles 23% of the U.S. government’s contracting dollars. They only give these contract dollars to small businesses that can provide a service or product for federal departments and agencies. 5% of the 23% is reserved for women-led businesses, 3% for disabled and veteran-led businesses, and the remaining 15% can go to anyone.
Advocacy: The SBA also works as an advocate for small businesses in the nation by reviewing legislation and pushing laws that serve the interests of small business owners.
What is an SBA Loan?
As mentioned, the SBA connects small businesses to loan providers and guarantees your loan. They only partner with verified loan providers that can be trusted to work with small businesses to succeed. The only time the SBA will loan out money themselves is to provide disaster relief.
Having a backed or guaranteed loan means that if the recipient defaults on it or can’t pay it on time, a third party will assume the debt. This means if a small business takes on an SBA loan and defaults on it, the SBA will have your back and take responsibility for the loan.
What Are the Types of SBA Loans?
Like any loan, there are multiple types that serve different purposes. Sometimes a business needs more money than others, and for different reasons. Because of this, the loans have different repayment schedules and different qualifications for loan approval. These SBA loan types include:
504 Loan: Also known as a Grow loan, this provides up to $5 million to a small business to buy assets the business needs to operate. This can include real estate property.
7(a) Loan: This is the SBA’s primary loan program. The maximum loan amount is $5 million and is commonly used for starting businesses.
Disaster Loans: These provide relief in the event of an uncontrollable disaster. This can include natural events like a storm, hurricane, and earthquake, or emergencies such as robberies, riots, and product recalls.
Having the backing of the SBA makes your business far more likely to receive a loan. The agency also allows businesses to make lower payments for a longer time period than loans without the backing of the SBA.
What Do You Need an Attorney For?
A common misconception about SBA loans is that if you fail to pay them, the SBA will cover them for you. You still have to pay the SBA instead, they’re just easier to handle and will charge your business less than another loan lender, but you still have to pay. What you should do in this situation is modify your repayment plan, and to do that with the loan lender or the SBA, you need an attorney.
To change your payment plan, or keep shady loan collectors off your back, contact the corporate law attorney at Tressler & Associates for help.
We are pleased to announce that for all our clients closing on their real estate purchase or sale with Tressler Title, we are now offering an assessment of your Estate Documents at the same time, with an attorney from Tressler & Associates, PLLC, for a low flat fee.
Closing on a property is often an important time to amend your existing estate documents. For those without any existing documents it is a great time to handle it as you can sign both documents in one visit to our office!
WHAT WILL YOU GET?
An Attorney at Tressler & Associates, PLLC, will first review your Buyer or Seller’s estate documents during the course of their closing with Tressler Title. Then the attorney will schedule a phone call with your Buyer or Seller to discuss any updates that may be needed or desired, especially in light of the closing. If new or amended documents are needed, they can be signed at closing! That’s right, close on real estate and update (or create) estate documents all at once.
WHAT DOES IT COST?
The cost for a review and phone call with an attorney is $250.00, however, if additional documents or amendments are needed, the $250.00 fee will be applied towards the total cost of the documents. All fees for this service can usually be paid through the closing itself.
Keep in mind…this service can also be taken advantage of by real estate agents, lenders, and other vendors who are all valuable parts of the closing process.
We look forward to securing your peace of mind in new ways!
We do many title searches every day in our office. In their most basic form, a real estate title search is where we search all pertinent public records to determine what has been publicly filed regarding a piece of real estate. It’s common for us to find some unexpected liens against the property we’re researching.
Usually, an unexpected lien is the seller’s mortgage. These will not interrupt your property purchase because the sale of the house will pay off the lien. However, this is not always the case, so you should never skimp on the title search.
What Should You Do if You Have Unexpected Liens?
It is never fun to surprise a seller with news that there is a lien filed against them, but it is necessary. These liens will need to be released prior to closing on the sale. If not dealt with, you can be left having to deal with the liens yourself as the buyer, or lose out on the sale as the seller. What’s so bad about them is that they can act like unwanted debts.
What do you do if the property you’re hoping to purchase or sell has one or more unexpected liens? First of all, don’t panic. It’s quite possible that the lien is something the seller would not be aware of and will handle it to sell their property. Sometimes the lien may not even be the seller’s, but a clerical mistake that can be fixed.
What if the Lien Isn’t Your Seller’s?
An example could be when a court judgment is issued against someone with a name similar to the seller. These judgments are then recorded and will show up on our title search. For example, if there has been a judgment for $5,000.00 declared against a woman named “Stacy S. Smith” in your county and your name is “Stacy M. Smith,” this will probably show up on our title search because it is possible that this is the same person.
We will simply compare your or the seller’s social security number to the true defendant to clear you or them of that lien with the clerical office. Thankfully, this is often the end of that unexpected lien for a seller.
What if Liens Are Your Seller’s?
If the lien does belong to the seller, there are several routes to solve it. First of all, there is a small possibility that the lien has expired. Depending on the type of lien, it must be renewed or re-recorded every so often to remain valid. If it is not re-recorded in a timely manner, the lien does not apply to your real estate. If it has not expired, you will probably have one of two options:
Wait for the seller to pay the lien or pay it yourself. We can obtain the payoff for you from the creditor.
Tressler & Associates attorneys can negotiate the lien on your behalf. Negotiating a lien, especially an old lien, can sometimes decrease the amount you would have to pay for the creditor to release the lien. If the lien is valid, it will need to be released by the creditor before you can close the sale.
No matter what pops up on your title search, we are here to help guide you and make your closing as smooth as possible.
Contact the Title Search Attorneys at Tressler & Associates to Protect Against Unexpected Liens
If you have any questions or concerns about unexpected liens on your property, you need the help of a law firm that can complete a title search. We have the experience and ability to help you close your deal if you are the buyer or seller.
If you have been contacted about a lien on the property you’re looking to buy or sell, you need to act quickly. Contact us today for help.
In the days leading up to a real estate closing, costs in addition to the purchase price are often a point of confusion. What are real estate closing costs? Who is paying title expenses? Which of the other expenses are you responsible for? These questions, and many more, are some of what real estate attorneys sort out daily. In short, the answer to all of these questions is that it depends.
What Goes Into a Real Estate Closing?
The primary document used in answering, “who is paying what,” is the real estate contract. This is why it is important to understand your real estate contract before signing. Most expenses can be negotiated within the contract. For example, it is negotiable as to who will pay for the following items:
This is not an exhaustive list and, of course, there are exceptions to what can be negotiated. For example, the Buyer will almost always be responsible for Lender fees. However, the Buyer can negotiate with the Seller to have the Seller pay a certain amount towards the Buyer’s costs. Ask your drafter for an estimate of all costs associated with closing and who will be responsible for each of those expenses.
The answer to these questions also depends on the purchase price and loan amounts themselves. Several of the expenses, such as title insurance, is directly dependent on those numbers. In Tennessee, we also have a transfer tax that is due upon any transfer of real estate. That tax is also based on the purchase price.
How Can an Attorney Help with Your Real Estate Closing?
To help with these estimates, Tressler & Associates, PLLC, has a calculator on our website, titled the “TRID Calculator.” This calculator will give you an estimate of the costs associated with your residential transaction. One point of caution, however, is that it will not show Lender fees or the other side’s closing fee.
The closing fee is a flat fee that is the same for both parties in the transaction, so the other side’s closing fee will be the same as the closing fee shown to you on your estimate. We would be glad to walk you through the details of our TRID Calculator.
The bottom line is that “who pays what” in your transaction will be dependent on your contract. We would be glad to draft your contract and assist in negotiating the terms. We want you to be sure of your purchase or sale before signing a contract.
Tressler & Associates Can Help
If you are unsure how to negotiate your closing, how to gauge your closing costs, or need any other legal help with your real estate transaction, Tressler & Associates is here to help. Contact us today.
With the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act (URLTA), there are some rules and regulations that current and potential landlords and tenants need to know about. You may not be giving services you owe your tenants under the law.
Many of our clients own one or more residential rental properties that they rent out. For the most part, these clients are people potential tenants in the community can trust. We know them to always try to do the right thing, and our legal advice helps them do that. That’s how we know there seems to be a lot of confusion and myths about what the law actually says about various rental problems.
Most of the time, if the rental property lies in a certain county in Tennessee where the population is over 75,000, it falls under URLTA. For example, residential locations here in Wilson fall under the URLTA of Tennessee. If the county’s population is under 75,000, then the laws are usually governed by Tennessee case law and are much more difficult to traverse.
These laws can be somewhat difficult to understand. When understood, they are a guide for the landlord. They can lead a landlord through the many minefields of landlord-tenant law. With the help and advice of an attorney, any landlord can understand what they need to do.
In almost all instances of landlord-tenant disputes, it takes an attorney who is a veteran in this area. Our law firm has handled hundreds of these disputes, many of which settle outside of litigation. Our residential real estate attorneys can help you proceed through your contracts as a landlord or tenant. If you have a legal question about the Uniform Residential Landlord and Tenant Act, please contact us today.
The great city of Nashville has recently shown an increase in population which is a sign of a growing economy. With new buildings continuously covering the city, Nashville has become a top destination of attraction and business. These are positive signs that the economy is thriving in the real estate world, which leads to a demand in both commercial and residential properties.
In order to take advantage of the real estate market, which has been on the rise for many years now, it is important to obtain the services of a real estate attorney so that you can legally protect yourself. Consulting with a real estate attorney provides many benefits to a successful transition. An attorney is able to create or evaluate an existing lease for the property that you currently own, or wish to own in the future. There can be many liabilities that are not known while being the owner of a property. In order to feel confident when you are going through a lease agreement, it is necessary to seek the guidance of a professional who can get the facts and provide the proper services.
There are a few policies that can protect you from any issues that may arise during the process of buying or selling a property. The first is for the owner to obtain owner’s title insurance. This is necessary so an owner will be protected from any issues concerning the title of the property that may arise, and you will not have to solve those issues alone or out-of-pocket. The next is for a lender to also have title insurance. If the owner or lender has a title insurance policy, that is not enough to be protected. Both the owner and the lender must acquire title insurance so that you can be properly covered and not have to worry about any of the issues because you will be protected.
Our attorneys make this a peaceful process and assure that your interests will be protected. Let us take the stress off of you and eliminate any possible risks of liability. Have a professional help take you through the proper steps to be safe in your purchase or sale of property.
Are you currently buying or selling a home? Is this your first time buying or selling a home? If so, you should probably consider owner’s title insurance. There are a lot of questions people have regarding this insurance policy, but among the greatest is, “Do I really need this?” This is a completely reasonable question. In Tennessee, you are not legally required to have it, and no one wants to pay for something unnecessary.
What Does Owner’s Title Insurance Do?
At its most basic level, owner’s title insurance protects a property owner from the consequences of a claim on the title of the property. Most people assume this protects you from someone saying, “Hey, this is my house!” Although that is true, it’s not the primary reason. This would seem rather silly because this is such an uncommon and strange occurrence. A claim would likely appear in a different form. Most claims are almost completely out of the purchaser’s control.
The Need Behind Insurance
For example, human error is an ever-present risk. Of course, businesses strive to do their best, but we are human and we make mistakes. From the surveyor’s measurements of the property to the title search to the recording of liens, there is room for mistakes. And of course, there is always a possibility of fraud. Has someone intentionally not conveyed their marital interest? Is someone using fake IDs? Subject to certain limitations, owner’s title insurance protects homeowners from these types of risks.
It is also important because of the monetary protections. If there is a title issue, you will probably not be able to sell your property until you resolve the issue. If you do not have title insurance, you will have to resolve that problem out-of-pocket.
Keep in mind that even though your lender has a lender’s title insurance policy at closing, that does not automatically cover you. A lender’s policy only covers the lender.
Tressler & Associates Can Help You Get Title Insurance
Owner’s title insurance is a one-time payment at closing and one of the cheapest types of insurance you will find. Because of the broad protection that it supplies, we recommend all property owners obtain owner’s title insurance.