We close out March and end the first quarter of 2014. Yes, we are already a quarter of the way through 2014 and I am sure many are not happy with how this year looks so far. I want to recap this first quarter, or at least help you look at in and use the information to help you adjust your sights on the balance of the year.
Yes, refinances continue to dwindle, but there are still plenty of refinances being done. Don’t stop having those conversations; just make sure you have balanced yourself by prospecting the increasing number of purchase transactions that are making their way through the system. While not a strong wave of business, the numbers continue to rise. Total applications are down year over year; but let’s look at the reality of those numbers just a moment. The first two quarters of 2013 were about as good as it gets for loan origination. Interest rates were in the low to mid three percent range, plenty of housing inventory to choose from with short sales and foreclosures at very high levels, plus the regular transactions available made it a very attractive buyer’s market. So for any of you looking to compare the first quarter of 2014 with the first quarter of 2013, you might want to use an asterisk because it certainly wasn’t a level playing field.
It has been my experience that most of my clients close between 15% and 20% of their total business in the first quarter of the year. Last year my clients closed an above average 28.8% of their total annual production in the first quarter of the year, and a total of 58.2% by the end of June. These numbers sound HUGE, but you have to take into account where the housing and rate markets were in the first six months of last year. Clearly, any attempt to compare the first quarter and first half of 2014 with those of 2013 would be a huge mistake. The total number of refinances is down significantly year over year and that would be enough to make it a challenge, but throw in the abnormal winter conditions this winter that no doubt impaired home sales. So take a breath and don’t panic because there is some good news in the numbers.
In tracking both credit pulls and preapproval activity, both sets of numbers are UP right about 40% year over year! Yes, UP over last year. This could be a good indication that the second and third quarters of 2014 may be a much stronger purchase market than some people think. In fact, every originator that I work with that did a majority of purchase business last year seems to believe that this is shaping up to be an exceptional year for purchase transactions should these early trends continue. Think about it, interest in purchasing a home is more intense than last year at this time. For whatever the reason, the interest is there. We just really need to nurture that interest and help those people who are interested make it happen. Here are a few things to be sure you are doing to maximize your own potential:
1) Share positive information about the benefits of buying NOW!
2) Share why waiting could be costly!
3) Talk about the “Forever Home Strategy®”
4) Talk about the “First time Home Seller Strategy®”
5) Get people preapproved and keep connected every week to be sure they are viewing properties.
6) Share success stories in person and through social media.
I know it isn’t easy to promote a positive agenda with some people. Don’t worry about them. Just share the positive message and see who responds. Work with those people who want to make positive things happen and don’t argue with those who wish to be negative. Nothing great has ever been accomplished by anyone who said “I can’t”. Just move on and talk to the next person. Always remember, Some Will, Some Won’t, So What, Someone’s Waiting!
Predictions of the market being off by 40% or more are certainly discouraging. The question is, why does your business have to be off? Why can’t you grow your business in a declining market like many have before you? Total business may very well be less than last year, but what about those who don’t survive the new reality? Where does that business go? Well, it goes to the person who steps up and takes it. Some people will get out of the industry in 2014. Some will see their numbers fall off. Fewer will find a way to keep their numbers solid, while a select few will have their best year ever in 2014.
So which will it be for you? Are you moving up? Will you hold your own? Is it time to find a different path? Only you can answer these questions. The first quarter of 2014 has come to an end. What do your numbers look like? What are your plans to prosper?
Questions or comments: Mike@IMTCoaching.com
Or visit us online at http://www.improvemytomorrowcoaching.com