“The Time To Buy Is When Things Are On Sale!”

There is no doubt that American’s love a good sale. Looking to find a good deal on things we need to use every day or items we would like to own is almost an obsession. Coupons, discounts, bargains, or whatever else you would like to call them, Americans love a good deal, and really love to save money! So what does this have to do with increasing the numbers of loans you close? Simple, houses and the money to buy them is on sale NOW!

You just have to follow recent trends and the sales data that is coming in to recognize that the “housing bottom” has come and gone, as well as mortgage interest rates have hit bottom and are starting to climb! In fact, almost everyone you ask would tell you they think housing prices and interest rates are headed higher in the next couple of years.

Declining home inventories and budget deficits are sending prices higher in both housing and mortgage interest rates. Some are predicting as much as a 5.5% rise in home prices, with some closer to 10%, and we all know that as mortgage rates rise, the only thing keeping them from really exploding to the upside is the fact that the Federal Reserve is buying FORTY BILLION DOLLARS in mortgage backed securities every month. Sooner or later, that will end.

So what does this mean to you and your clients? It means that a vast number of people in this country who would benefit from refinancing are going to miss this opportunity because they don’t know that they should be doing so. As we discussed last week, 43% of all home owners are in a position to save money by refinancing their mortgages, they just haven’t done so. We also see that while a large number of people would like to either own a home, or own a different one than they currently own, they are reluctant to do so because they are not sure now is the time to act. The only way they will know, is if you tell them. You must share the facts and allow people to benefit from the obvious.

Everyone needs to live somewhere. Everyone will have a cost for shelter. Regardless if you rent or own, you will pay something to live somewhere. Rent prices are going higher faster than home prices. About 20% of all renters could buy a home today that would cost them less money after taxes then where they currently are renting. Why do they still rent? Because nobody told them they could buy! In fact, all the media has done is tell people how bad it is to own a home. How it is almost impossible to get a mortgage. Well, we all know that those so called “experts” are dead wrong.

Housing is an essential part of life. Owning a home is part of the American Dream! Yes, the process is more challenging. Yes, you have to do your homework. Yes, it does require some effort to buy a home, but the opportunity to buy a home today while they are on sale is HUGE! Getting into your ‘forever home” right now before prices and interest rates go any higher can really add up to huge savings over the life of your stay. We are talking tens of thousands of dollars. In some cases, those that don’t buy now will never catch up to an increasing price and cost market.

Mortgage professionals and their Realtor® referral partners need to get together and engage this market. 2013 is poised to be a HUGE purchase market for real estate. A large number of people have put off buying until they were sure the market had hit bottom. Well, it did, and prices are going higher. For those who thought they would wait for interest rates to “bottom out”, well, they did and they are heading higher.

It is time to take action. We need to inform people about the market and share the opportunities. Mortgage professionals and their Realtor® referral partners need to hit the streets and share the news. Find that great listing that sold quickly and tell those neighbors. Find that home that sold for more than list price with multiple offers and tell those neighbors. The next great listing is right next door or across the street from the last great listing. You need to take action or be prepared to sit on the sidelines as others go and make money!

Just think of yourself as “opportunity”. Get out and get KNOCKING! The business isn’t going to come and find you, you need to go out and get it! You will do more business if you talk to more people! When opportunity knocks, just answer the door!

Mike

Questions or comments please go to our website: http://www.improvemytomorrowcoaching.com
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Opportunity is in the NUMBERS!

When you coach and train some of the best mortgage professionals in the industry, you learn quickly to follow the simple math of opportunity. The reality is, you do more business when you speak to more people. Originators and managers will often over complicate the process by making things far too complicated. I believe in keeping things as simple as possible so that many people can take advantage of a strategy to succeed, not just a select few. The issues isn’t about the top producers or training people to be top producers, the issue is creating a fundamental strategy with support systems, that will help grow the production of those “average” originators.

For years I have argued that far too much attention was focused on recruiting or training people to reach the so called “top producer” status. Well, I am not quite sure what that level of production is, but I know only a select few will ever reach that level. How sad. But what if we focused on how to grow the average producer and just change the expectation of what that was? What if we set a whole new level of expectation of our people and taught them how to do a better job producing higher quality loan files and more of them?

The answer is in the numbers. In the next few weeks, I will be writing about a variety of things we can all do to help grow our production numbers, not to the 150 units plus, or to the forty or fifty million dollar range; but to teach new people and to grow our current people to succeed at a higher level of production? What if the new normal looked like five to seven closed units per month? That would be almost DOUBLE the average production rate. How would that look to you?

The first issue is to get really clear on where you can locate loan opportunities. The answer is EVERYWHERE! In today’s market, the math really points the way. One of my clients shared a report with me that was presented to them at a company meeting. It showed that the single largest loan servicer in the country, Wells Fargo®, ran some numbers and here is what they found. They found that by searching their portfolio of loans they were servicing, that 43% of all the loans they serviced met these three important criteria. They had interest rates of over 4%, had less than 100% LTV, and the borrowers had a 680+ credit score. So that means that almost HALF the loans they service where optimal targets for refinancing!

If that were not amazing enough, when you include the number of people who rent currently, but are already in a position to buy a home today and have a combined payment that would be at or less than the cost of renting, you would have almost 35% of every adult in this country that would benefit from talking to you about lowering the cost of where they live. 35%! Better than one out of every three adults needs to be having a conversation with you TODAY because you can make the cost of where they live cheaper!

December of 2012 had the largest number of purchase loan mortgage applications in the prior 20 months. That covers two full “buying seasons”. December! If December was so solid with purchase business, and a big portion of current mortgage holders can qualify to refinance and have yet to do so, what is holding you back from getting in on a GREAT SITUATION? The answer is, you aren’t talking to enough people!

Opportunity is in the NUMBERS! People need to know the story. Contrary to popular belief, there is no shortage of mortgage money for those who can afford to pay back the loans they want. Yes, there is regulation. Yes, there are many documentation requirements. Yes, it isn’t easy as it once was, but it is possible, and that is why all these people NEED to talk with YOU!

YOU CAN MAKE THE COST OF WHERE PEOPLE LIVE CHEAPER!

We love to answer your questions and hear your comments. Please visit our website: www.improvemytomorrowcoaching.com or email me at Michael@improvemytomorrowcoaching.com

January Is For Planting?

Yes, in many ways January is one of the best months to plant; the seeds of opportunity! Many new beginnings happen in January. However, by not recognizing what opportunities to plant for, and realizing where these opportunities are likely to come from, you might as well just throw the “seeds” out on to the road.

As mortgage professionals we are required to prospect for both short term and long term opportunities. The actions we take on a daily basis need to be consistent with our market and the types of activities that are taking place. For example, January is a huge month for expired listings. Your Realtor® referral partners may be very active in this area and be focused on “courting” those with their property listings having expired and without a plan on how or what to do to sell their home. Many just give up and forget about selling because of a “bad market”, but others relist with their current agent and give them a second chance, while others will select a new agent and seek a fresh start.

Why is this important to a mortgage professional? Because if you expect referrals from Realtors®, you need to know their business cycles and what they are focused on so you can play a supportive role. What can you do to support your Realtor’s® efforts? Try working with them as part of a team approach that will help market and sell their home. Work with that homeowner to identify their financial situation and how much it might really cost to buy that next home, and what the cost will be to carry it. You see many transactions never happen because of misinformation. Sellers often reject offers that they could have accepted because they think they need every last cent to buy their next home. They don’t take into consideration that rising home prices are actually costing them money every day! You see, most people sell a home for less money than the one they are planning to buy. If they are selling at $200,000 and planning on buying at $250,000, and prices go up 5% during the time they sit on market, they are “losing $2,500 in value between the two properties. Now look at what happens if interest rates begin to climb a quarter or half a point in rate? Over the life of the loan you are looking at tens of thousands of dollars!

Sharing strategies and concepts like this with your Realtor® referral partners can help them engage in more conversations, create more interest, and generate more opportunities for themselves and for you!

Another thought about January and planting the seeds of opportunity is the fact that rates are off the bottom and the recent rise in rates may be an indicator that we have already hit bottom and if you haven’t taken advantage of refinancing or buying your “forever home”, now would be the time to act!

January is the time that Realtors® accumulate listings for sale heading into the spring housing push. Those who list now are looking to “beat the market” and those that are looking to buy now are trying to be the first to see the “fresh inventory”. Either way, mortgage professionals need to be planting the seeds that grow relationships that turn into opportunities all year long!

Do you have your plan in place to make the most of 2013? If not, why not?

We welcome your questions and comments; please feel free to go to our website: www.improvemytomorrowcoaching.com

The Life Cycle of Loan Originations

First let me start this post out with a very special “Happy Birthday” to a very special lady, my wife MJ. Without her dedication and never ending patience, none of what you see would be even remotely possible.

With the New Year off and running, many loan originators are out and about implementing new strategies for success, or trying to connect with old strategies that once worked. Either way, a new year presents itself and we either approach it as we always have and accept the same results, or we make adjustments to modify our actions and activities, in search of improved results. Either way, I feel it important to share this week something I share with my clients and often have to remind them of, the life cycle of a transaction.

Fundamental as this may sound, likely because it is, many loan originators and most managers forget a very basic principle of our industry, what we do and how what we do turns into opportunities. I have found myself repeating this over and over with my clients as we have composed and scheduled our 2013 business plans, and I felt it important to repeat here in this publication.

All loan origination opportunities start by contacting people, or having people learn about you, and what you do. So step #1 – CONTACT PEOPLE! When you contact and connect with people, and they learn who you are and what you do, you put yourself in a position to achieve step #2 – REVIEW CREDIT! This means different things to different people, but in my world it means the “THE BIG 5”

“W-2s – TAX RETURNS – PAY STUBS – BANK STATEMENTS – CREDIT”

Any conversation taking more than ten or fifteen minutes is really not productive if you haven’t reviewed these first. Just my opinion, do what you want, but in my world of above average producing originators, we don’t waste time talking theory, we spend our time working with facts.

Once this is done we proceed to step #3 – PRESENT OPTIONS! Can they do a deal today? Are there things that need work? Do they have to be incubated for situations to line up correctly? If they can act now, what are the specifics on how to move forward? Once these issues are resolved, we are lead to step #4 COMPLETE A PERFECT LOAN APPLICATION! I am not just talking about filling out some paperwork and trailing all kinds of documentation. I am talking about a perfectly complete file, ready for submission that your processor doesn’t waste a moment trying to “figure it out”, but can get to work right away and you then go on to your next application.

Great applications turn into step #5, loans that close on time with little hassle and result in transactions that contain very happy clients, satisfied and impressed potential referral partners, commissions, and people who would very much like to repeat the process again and again!

Not every contact leads to a loan. The ratios of one step to the others can vary in many ways. It is important that you know these numbers so you can identify what works best for you and how to improve areas that might need help. The key factor is, you know that the process begins with contacting people and reviewing credit reports. Everything else follows.

So managers, help your originations team by tracking their credit pulls. You be the accountability partner they need to be sure that their prospecting efforts are leading to the number of opportunities they need to reach their goal. By quantifying known actions to a specific result, you can help your people work more effectively! Also, become committed to the perfect application. Do not tolerate sloppy applications and missing documentation. Most of your compliance challenges are a result of sloppy or incomplete loan applications. You can either teach your people how to become mortgage professionals, or show them different career opportunities because the days of turning incomplete applications into processing and expecting someone else to do the work are over.

We have been regulated to the point of insanity largely because we as an industry haven’t seen fit to require higher professional standards of ourselves. We can all stop waiting and start doing. Set the standards, learn the numbers, and hold your people accountable.

Loan originations have a very specific life cycle. This cycle doesn’t conclude with a closing. Closings lead to step #6 – KEEP CONNECTED WITH YOUR CLOSED CLIENTS BY PROVIDING ONGOING VALUE! Closed clients are your best friends. They already know, like, and trust you! Keep the relationship alive by maintaining the relationship through value! As the months and years go by, the relationship gets stronger, and these people will refer you to others. When the time is right, they will use your services again and again.

Learn your numbers. Establish your protocols. Become the professional. Nurture your database through ongoing value. Enjoy the rewards of a real professional mortgage practice!

We look forward to your comments and questions. You can always reach us at: www.improvemytomorrowcoaching.com or email me at Michael@improvemytomorrowcoaching.com

Avoid The Treadmill

January brings us a new year full of new and exciting opportunities. So why is it that most people approach this New Year in the same way they approached the old one? Seriously, if you use the same approach, will you see a different result? My guess is, not likely.

Every gym in the country is full today. There isn’t an open treadmill to be found. People on the treadmill are making an effort but are those efforts part of an overall strategy that will generate a desired result? I don’t think so. In fact, many set too large a goal to be reach far too quickly. Are you really going to lose 100lbs this year? Why not 5lbs by February 1st? Are you really going to run a marathon? What about building to a 5K in April?

Every January we have people headed off in all kinds of directions, making huge changes. Often, this approach is ineffective, and often harmful. Doctors and emergency rooms all across the country will be visited by those who tried to do too much, too soon and caused themselves injury, sometimes severe!

As a coach to many top origination professionals across the country, it has been my experience that it the small, minor adjustments that are easiest made and often produces the best long term results. Focus on simple small steps each day that over time will build to an often-bigger result. Start with the simple. Avoid the treadmill. Just add to what you already do by a little and add one new SMALL thing. Here are a few small things you can do that won’t hurt you, but if developed into a lifetime habit, can grow your business to much higher levels.

1)    Speak to ten people each day live!

2)    Contact all the sellers on your purchase contracts.

3)    Communicate with both Realtors® on your purchase deals.

4)    Attend the closing and follow up to build a new relationship.

5)    Ask yourself what it is you do that actually generates business, and do it just a couple of hours each day.

Five simple steps that will help keep you off the treadmill and on the road to bigger and better results.

A brief word about the “Fiscal Cliff” and the bill that was passed into law; it does extend short sale forgiveness. Other than that, is resolves very little and leads to a bigger and more dangerous situation in the next couple of months over the debt ceiling. If you are asked, the answer is, “I would buy or refinance now while rates are at historic lows”.

Closing thought, January is traditionally a month of beginnings. It also is a month of quick defeat of over ambitious plans and expectations. You must have a reasonable plan of action. You must have a schedule that helps you manage your activities, communications, and prospecting. You must track your efforts and monitor the results you get to be sure you stay on course to reach your goals. January is a month when most of those defeated are beaten down and off track in less than three weeks. Can you follow your own plan for more than three weeks? Can you find the courage and dedication to reach out and grab what you say you want?

By January 22nd it will all over for most everyone. Are you going to be one of the few that commits to a daily plan of action and accountability? If not, you will have plenty of company. The “wall” for marathon runners is 20 miles. In January, the “wall” of resolutions and commitments happens before the 22nd. On January 23rd, will you be on schedule and on target, or will you be back on the treadmill?

 

Mike White

Improve My Tomorrow Coaching

Questions and comments are always welcome. Please visit the website: www.improvemytomorrowcoaching.com.