“What has been YOUR online experience?”

Tomorrow is April 1st and I am sure there will be a significant number of “April Fools” shenanigans for us to be amused or victim of. Unfortunately, there is one significant “prank” being played on the public, and that is the mass marketing of a ten minute, online pre-approval. Yup, a computer program and the client’s personal information and before you know it, you are ready to go out and make the biggest financial commitment of your life!

Let me ask you this; what has been your experience with making important choices online? Now before you answer, let’s get clear that we are not talking about buying something we have had experience with where the product is exactly the same regardless where you go; we are talking about a situation where people often don’t know the answers to specific questions or have no idea what options they may have! While many people think getting preapproved for a loan is the same thing no matter where you go, the reality is really very different.

Why don’t we look at a few scenarios to see if you agree? Have you ever shopped for a car? Did you know exactly the make and model car you wanted? Were you clear on all the options? Did you just go online to a website and pick everything you wanted and clicked a button and ordered your car? Or did you physically go to the dealer and look at the cars? Did you sit in the car? Did you test-drive the car? Did you see what options they had and were they worth the price you were paying?

How about using an online dating site? After reading the profile and looking at the pictures, did you agree to meet this person? When you met them, did they look like their picture? Did they act and sound as they described themselves? Was your interpretation of their information represented by the actual person that arrived?

Some people think they know exactly what they want. Some people don’t realize until they get very specific and very real with the numbers that what they want, and what they get can be far different from what they really need or can really afford!

How many times has a customer come to you looking for one thing and done another? When was the last time a prospective client didn’t really know how much money they made or what their obligations really were? Is an algorithm really capable of asking all the questions, understanding the answers, asking additional questions to clarify the situation and then make a determination as to the proper course of action? And if this is true and people really aren’t needed to work the process, are these companies really going to terminate all of their workers? Obviously not; what is going to happen is, some people will get the proper answer and go on their way. Many other people will either be denied or approved incorrectly. And is this what the industry needs? Ten minutes to rocket your way into the wrong choice?

Is the preapproval process the place where speed matters? Isn’t the beginning of the process the place where we should be taking our time to be sure the client understands all of their options? Isn’t this the time to be sure we have all the information or help prepare the borrower to be the best possible borrower they can be? Speed is a wonderful or a dangerous thing. You can get married in Las Vegas for $25 and in 15 minutes. However, a divorce will cost quite a bit more in time and money! You want speed in the loan process from contract to closing!

So in honor of “April Fool’s Day”, be sure your referral partners understand the value in a full document preapproval consultation. Be sure your clients aren’t fooled by using their speed at the beginning of the process where real danger can be found, and take their time up front so the speed in the transaction can happen when it really matters, after they fall in love with the home and want to close and move in! No need to rocket your way into the wrong product or the wrong terms, or maybe even no loan at all!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

“Opportunities Inside”

As we roll forward into buying season, we need to remind ourselves that busy is the enemy of productive. Being busy doesn’t make you money, being productive does! So as soon as you think you are feeling overwhelmed or out of control, it’s time to engage your systems and trust your timelines.

What I like to have all my clients do is construct a timeline for how a transaction will flow. Each of us needs to know what our turn times are and set a specific schedule of events and actions that need to take place, and do so over your transaction timeline. Doing this, will allow you to schedule your work and know when it’s time to get back into your files. This type of structure helps manage your time and also helps set an expectation for your team and creates focus!

Creating specific actions associated with your process is also very helpful. One of the most often overlooked areas for originators is actually prospecting opportunities for new deals or referral partners from the actual transaction itself. I call this “Prospecting from the Process”. In almost every transaction you are going to have opportunities to create new relationships. New potential referral partners, new potential clients, and the opportunity to find these, right from the very transaction you are working on. The big bonus is, it only takes a few minutes of specific action to take advantage of these opportunities found right inside your current deals!

Let’s take a look at just a few:

  • The Realtors® involved on both the buyer’s side and the seller’s side. Call them the day you receive the deal and set the proper expectations and share the process timeline. Communicating a few times during the transaction on a predetermined schedule show knowledge and expertise. A simple “Thank You” note on closing day and a strong follow-up call a week to ten days after closing helps open the door for new referrals!
  • Tax returns offer the potential of an accountant to connect with or a potential referral to an accountant. Accountants have large numbers of clients that own, or should own homes! An annual review for those people can lead to big opportunities.
  • Those working the higher end markets will run into financial planners and money managers. These professionals are always in control of a large number of clients and their recommendations are often followed. When you run into one of these financial professionals, work to get an appointment by sharing specific financial information and presentations on exactly how this transaction will go, and what the options you presented their clients. A great presentation can win you an opportunity to meet with that planner and offer them real value for their clients.
  • Pay close attention to divorce papers! Divorce attorneys are great referral partners and often welcome a strong originator to assist their clients in either buying out a former spouse, or helping the client get into a new home.
  • Don’t miss the insurance professional. While most insurance people don’t see a client until the deal is well on its way; insurance professionals have databases with homeowners who might benefit from moving or refinancing; or they have renters who might benefit from home ownership!

There are many opportunities inside each transaction. You just need to take a few minutes on each file and identify potential targets. These people can be the warmest of warm calls because you already share a common client. Identifying yourself to them during a transaction can be the first step in a very productive relationship!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com or visit us online at http://imtcoaching.com

“Appraisal Talk”

It’s always the right time to have the “Appraisal Talk” with your clients and especially the Realtors® involved in your transactions. For far too long it has been a common practice for Realtors® to blame lenders for low appraisal values. If you haven’t learned to have the “Appraisal Talk” with your Realtors®, now is the time to learn and practice this valuable tool.

First and foremost you need to call both Realtors® the day you order the appraisal or the day you are sending the file in to processing for the appraisal to be ordered, and pick up the phone and call both Realtors®! The conversation can be short and sweet, as long as you cover these basic points:

  • Lenders are prohibited by law from speaking directly to appraisers about property values!
  • A property is worth what someone will pay cash for or; what and independent appraisal says the financeable value is!
  • Realtors® are responsible to justify their prices with closed similar comparable properties in close proximity to the subject property with similar quality and style.
  • If the appraiser who inspects the property has value issues with the property, it is the Realtor® who is responsible to connect with the appraiser and justify value.
  • While appraisals can be reviewed or challenged, this is done through the independent appraisal management company at their discretion. The lender has no part in the determination of a property’s value!
  • Some loan programs have different property requirements as to function and condition. Be sure to cover any of these issues during your first conversation with the Realtors®
  • Different types of appraisals also have different turn times. Be sure to cover the current turn times with your Realtors® as well as your client.
  • Different property types may require re-inspection to show that the property is complete and all required work has met said specifications. Addition inspections cost money! Sometimes these costs can’t be passed along to the customer and if they can, it may trigger a waiting period for re-disclosure, which may result in an additional time delay!

Being clear and up front with your clients and those agents involved in your transactions when it comes to appraisals is critical! In many parts of the country inventory is tight and demand has caused multiple offer situations and people offering significantly more than asking price. When this happens, buyers, sellers, and their Realtors® need to understand that it isn’t a lender’s obligation to lend on what the customer wants to pay for the home. As it has always been, the value of the property is either the contract price or the appraised value, whichever is lower!

You also may have to take into consideration the type of sale, the type of property, restrictive covenants, and if the property is an arm’s length transaction. If not, you may have another series of issues to deal with. Getting the real story on the table early leads to smoother transactions! We don’t need surprises! So pick up the phone as soon as you receive the contract of sale and have “The Appraisal Talk” with both agents so you are all on the same page and on your way to a smooth and hassle free transaction!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com or visit us online at http://imtcoaching.com

“Spring Forward”

Here we are; just a couple of days from moving our clocks ahead. This becomes one of the first indicators that we are approaching the “Spring Buying Season”. Some look toward the basketball tournament, others use St Patrick’s Day, but for me, turning the clocks ahead that one hour seems to trigger my “Spring Forward” attitude.

March is pretty much in the books already, it isn’t likely you are putting too many deals together that will close and get you paid by the end of the month, so the first thing we need to schedule is our “First Quarter Review”. How are we doing? Look at your business plan and compare where you thought you would be to where you are. Not just units closed, but income, credit pulls, and referrals from your referral partners. All of these are critical pieces of information you will want to know and be aware of so you can make any adjustments needed.

The numbers coming out are reflecting about a 30% increase, year over year in purchase mortgages. Are your numbers reflecting this improvement? Are your referral partners keeping pace with the market? Are your guys leading the pack, or following the leader? The only way to benefit from tracking is to do the work and make adjustments. Obviously we have to look at market specific information to know exactly how the national increase is reflected in your area, but if you aren’t tracking, you will never know!

In addition to tracking, now is the time of year we must begin to focus hard on connecting with the people. You need to get out on the streets and talk to the people. Email and phone calls are not enough in springtime; you need to create a physical presence. Create a flyer or print a blog post. Write some notes and drop them off. Work with your Realtor® referral partners using the basic strategies “First Time Home Seller” and the “Forever Home Strategy” to engage the public and generate new listing opportunities for your partners and possible purchase or refinance business for you!

Spring forward by taking ACTION! Get out and engage. Use the tools and connect. Home shows, Bridal Shows, and all kinds of events are taking place in your area and now is the time to take part and make connections. Use these events to speak to people and share information. Collect “Likes” on Facebook®. Connect to new people on “LinkedIn®”. Collect 30 second to one minute video coupons using the tools on the website so you can share important information over time, providing value to these connections over time. The exponential power of these videos over time is enormous! The number of potential connections is only limited by you not doing the work and sharing this value!

Get up and get out! Spring forward in your efforts to generate better outcomes. You need to engage your team, your referral partners, your clients, and your community with a plan that provides specific value! People can’t know how valuable you are if you sit in your office and hope the phone rings! Hope is not a strategy for success! You need to take specific action!

2016 is already a quarter of the way complete from the point of view of people we meet who are going to close and we get paid for. Regardless of where you are on your income goal, you need to use your ability to “Spring Forward” to physically connect with those people who will get you to the outcome you desire!

Don’t forget to turn your clocks ahead by an hour this Sunday morning at 2am!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com or visit us online at http://imtcoaching.com

“Focus on the Schedule”

The first quarter of the year production numbers are likely already accounted for and we begin the journey into the spring market with a big head of steam. Home sales are strong, buyers are still entering the market, and a recent fall in rates pushes more refinances into the pipeline. Now is the time to really get in touch with your schedule and make sure you have accounted for all the tasks you want and need to get done!

You have four things you need to account for each day in your schedule:

  • Failure to maintain a minimum of two hours prospecting each day is the same as accepting failure. No excuses! Two hours a day minimum!
  • If you don’t process the information you prospected for, why did you bother? You need to set clear times in each day to do the work. Again, two hours should handle it most days, but in certain cases, you can add overtime later in the day or evening to catch up on any sudden surge in activity. Remember, you NEVER use prospecting time to process!
  • You need to get really clear on how to manage your email, voicemail, text messages, social media, and all forms of communication. Take three hours, one in the morning, one just after lunch, and one late in the day or early evening to pay attention to keeping connected. Be clear, if you are thinking about being the originator who answers the phone when it rings, you are likely not going to maintain schedule discipline and you are destined to spend more time getting less accomplished!
  • Planning & Tracking. If you don’t take a few minutes at the beginning of each day to plan your activities and write out your schedule, you are likely going to fail to maintain discipline. If you forget to track the results of your efforts, you will not know how you are doing until it’s too late! Finding out in June that you had a bad May can’t help you. Knowing in March that you’re about to ROCK April is outstanding!

I know this isn’t easy, but it’s not supposed to be easy. However, it is simple! The only way to do more business in the same time is to create efficiencies. If you don’t have a plan, you have no business structure. No structure and you lose all ability to control your time and your business!

The average originator will tell you they work about 62 hours a week. I have found this to be quite disappointing because the “average” originator closes less than four loans a month! My average originator closed just over ten loans per month and works right about 50 hours a week. So what makes for the difference? How is it that people can work about 20% fewer hours and accomplish 150% better production? I believe a big part of the difference is the ability to focus on the work as a result of schedule discipline.

Don’t take my word for it; give this simple system a chance. Just try it for one day. If you get through the day, try it for another. Before you know it, it’s a week, month, and a year! The road to higher production isn’t about working long hours or working harder. The road to better production is by working productively and maintaining schedule discipline!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com or visit us online at http://imtcoaching.com