The Trend IS Your Friend

Time to really pay attention to a possible trend that could make for a big opportunity for you in the months to come; and that opportunity is REFINANCES!

Yes, I said refinances! If you follow the rate market, you will notice that interest rates are approaching significant levels compared to last year. In fact, if you look back at loans you closed between last March & December (2018), you will see that there might be some refinance opportunities to take advantage of? Clearly you have to be careful of EPOs and your company’s policy regarding any time restrictions you may have with your investors, but those opportunities might be out there for you to take advantage of. I’m not saying that it is time to abandon the purchase business, not by a long shot! The purchase arena is doing quite well for many of us right now and I expect a very solid first half of 2019, but part of your job is to manage these obligations over time and now might just be the time to take a good look!

The other trend we are seeing across the country is the power of explaining the rent vs. own analysis! In most markets across the country renting is not a great value! In fact, the effect cost rate on rent is 100%! No benefit financially, all the money is spent and is GONE! Owning has a number of advantages, the least of which is equity! Some of each payment is paying down principle and building wealth! The ongoing property appreciation is also a huge benefit and depending on your local rates of appreciation, it could be more significant than you ever thought!

February is a time for accumulation and execution of the strategies that push the beginning of the market. Use the tools! Take advantage of the strategies we are sharing. Get out in front of the market as a true mortgage professional and share many of the opportunity generating ideas with your referral partners! The possibility of some bonus refinance activity is great, but the strength of the purchase market building will depend on how you have positioned yourself!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Team Size

Yes, size matters! So much of our industry has focused on volume that we fail to look into profitability. Posting larger numbers of units closed and sheer magnitude of loan dollar volume seems to consume the industry, at least those in the “Jumbo Tron and blasting music” arena, that we often forget to look and see what those numbers really mean.

Three originators are talking about their production, all doing the same type of business, and one states “I closed 120 units last year!” The next gets all puffed up and says “I closed 200 units last year!” Then the third speaks, almost ashamed and barely above a whisper, “I only closed 75 units last year.”

What wasn’t part of the equation were how many people where part of those closings? We all have processors, underwriters, and closers, so that is a company provided given, but how many total people were involved in acquiring the contact, talking to the client, structuring the loan, taking the application, submitting the application, and working the relationship through closing? When we drill down a little bit, something becomes obvious, numbers may not always be a good way of telling what kind of achiever someone is, and certainly isn’t an indicator of how much NET INCOME they had.

In this case, loan originator #1 has her and two assistants to handle the load. Well, that breaks down to 40 units per team member and a little more than 3 units a month per person.

Originator #2 has him listed as the “Team Leader” and a team of six people that are part of his process. That breaks out to less than 29 units per person annually and less than 2.5 units per person per month!

Originator #3 has a part time assistant that she shares with two other originators. That works out to an average of 56 units per team member or almost 5 units per person per month!

So to me, you have to be very careful about the size of your team and the average closings per person per team member. While there is no set rule on when to hire an additional team member, or if you start by sharing someone, I have always maintained that you should be able to close 8 to 10 loans per month for six consecutive months before thinking about hiring help. You should also plan that wherever you are in the production profile, you should clearly see how that new person was going to improve your production by five units a month.

While each situation is different and we all have different needs and uses for our time, the failure to clearly understand what you do and the experience you provide for your clients and your referral partners is a must! Bigger isn’t always better. Sometimes bigger is just bigger!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

Off to the Races

Before I get started, let me take a moment to acknowledge my wife MJ’s birthday today. None of what we do here at IMT Coaching would be possible without her and we all know it! So HAPPY BIRTHDAY MJ!

We are just completing the first full week of 2019 and by all accounts, you guys are really off to the races! I anticipated a strong start to the year, but I really wasn’t prepared for the sheer size and scope of the loan volume we are seeing across all markets. If this first week is any indication of what is to come, the first quarter of 2019 is going to be something to talk about!

Some of the volume is certainly due to the fact that people kept working through the end of the year and found a solid audience for their message. I know that the recent drop in rates also helped push some people off the fence and maybe they brought along some friends. All I know is it is a very exciting time and I can’t wait to see how it plays out.

For those of you spending a good deal of time working with Realtors®, now is a good time to help them navigate some strategies to help them jump start their spring seasons. We have a whole section on the website called “Power Partnerships” that will help you share the possibilities of things you can do together to improve the number and quality of opportunities.

So if your people are looking for buyers, there are simple strategies to help with those opportunities. If your agents want to focus on generating listings, there are number of strategies to help make that possible. All it takes is for you to share the information and let the video tutorials bring each concept into focus! Terri Murphy and I explain everything in detail and all the support materials are attached to each module so you can easily download what you need. All you need to do is watch the introductory video to see if the strategy is something you want to try, if so, just watch the supporting webinar. If not, move on to another strategy on the list until you find one that fits your needs. It only takes a two hour commitment once a week to make things happen!

As always, if you have any questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

The Work, Worked

Welcome to 2019! It’s so gratifying to close out 2018 with such great results in December and huge momentum going into this year. Despite all the calls for people to just go away and come back when the market picks up again, a solid group of mortgage professionals ignored those calls and went out and had their best month’s ever! Not just the best December; but the best month ever!

I get all the nonsense you can hear from the “experts” all over social media explaining that the housing market and real estate is dead, but a group of professionals have ignored the self-serving hype and remained committed to connecting with people, building relationships, creating joint opportunities, and providing a great customer experience; which continues to prove to the customer that it matters who you choose to do your loan.

It was amazing to see the number of lenders that wouldn’t or couldn’t schedule closings on 12/31. Some sent their staff out and said that you close by Friday, or wait until next year. Others complained that their title companies wouldn’t or couldn’t schedule a closing so that was that! Seriously, you can’t work at all on Monday the 31st? So to all those professionals who made it possible for all the builders, sellers, and buyers out there who needed to close on the 31st, thank you for showing that we ALL work for our customers and being a professional that values  the quality of a customer’s experience with us is the number one reason to be in the business.

Also special recognition goes out to all of those mortgage professionals who made themselves available this past weekend to serve those who needed help. The count is still ongoing but there were already people letting me know they had wrote contracts and pre-approved borrowers over the weekend that made offers that turned into contracts! Bravo for working the plan!

Another item that keeps popping up is the consistent conversation about a declining housing market. I am not exactly sure why people believe that a reduction in total price appreciation represents a declining housing market? 2 to 3% growth is still growth! Just because property is selling for less than asking price, doesn’t mean housing prices are declining. My suggestion is for you to get the specific area information for your MSA and keep on top of your rent vs ownership costs. Since each market is different, you need to be on top of your information. While national news is fine, it’s local expertise that makes you the expert!

As always, questions and comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

End of the Year Momentum

We have talked all fall about pushing hard to end the year and begin 2019 with momentum. Many of you have really done well and are seeing solid closing numbers for December and good pipelines for January and February closings, as well as a number of new referral partners; so job well done! The key here is not to let your momentum slip away by easing up this last weekend of 2018. Just finish the journey by making one last round of calls to your referral partners letting them know your availability this weekend. Connect with your pre-approvals and let them know that this coming weekend may bring a great value in home shopping before the January rush when those who wanted to wait until the holidays were over to begin shopping!

You also must be really clear within your own company about the rules you need to follow during the government shut down. Some of you may not be affected at all, and others may face significant challenges with certain loan products. Since too many possibilities exist from location to location and lender to lender, PLEASE get very clear on what your specific policies and procedures are before confirming or denying anyone. Remember, your rules maybe different than others. Avoid making statements about what may or may not be possible OUTSIDE your own company policy!

Check for open houses this weekend, there may be more than you think or none at all! You do have to look! Check any files still left to close this year and be sure all the little things are done because it may be a challenge finding help on Monday the 31st!

Last but not least, complete any loose ends on your business plan and schedule. Make any little adjustments or tweaks so that next Wednesday the 2ndyou can hit your mark and begin the year strong. 2019 is going to be a great year for you if you have done the work and are prepared!

Have a safe and Happy New Year! As always, any questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com

 

It Works if You Work

What a great time of year and what fantastic results we are seeing from those executing the end of year plan. For many, December will be a record breaking month; one entire branch following the plan is setting a sales record by closing 50% more units in December than they did in October! Who said you can’t do business after Thanksgiving? So why are some mortgage professionals setting sales records while others are convinced that there was no business to be had? The answer is simple, there is always business to be had and you just have to get out in front of it!

One of the best parts of this is that it isn’t coming from any one activity or effort, its coming from all areas. New closings from those who said they couldn’t close in time. Deals from those people who didn’t know they could even buy a home. Deals are closing for people who are trading up and trading down to get into their new homes for Christmas, others are buying because now is a great time to buy a home

From the “Black Friday Home Sale” to the countdown to year end; from working hard with open houses to getting in front of the preapprovals who haven’t bought yet. From working with builders to reduce completed inventory, to moving renters into home ownership and more, the final push of activity has resulted in significant loan opportunities to close in 2018, but more importantly, established and identified new relationships that will produce opportunities in 2019 and beyond!

Our efforts and activities don’t disappear at the end of any month or year. Our business is a constant flow of activities and opportunities, some of which are almost instant results; others are deals that will close well into the future. One of my people closed a deal this week that was a man he began working with in March of 2016. They both stuck to the plan and the deal, and that buyer’s life, got to a result created by actions over time!

There are going to be buyers and sellers engaged in the process this weekend! There will be open houses just days before Christmas for sellers that need to sell and there will be buyers looking that are trying to buy! Do you have a plan for this weekend and the days between Christmas and New Year’s? Unless you are going on vacation, working just a few hours each day could help you land some new opportunities that you would have never had a chance at if you hadn’t!

2019 is just a few more days away. What kind of momentum do you have going into January? Is your business plan complete, your preapproval file full, does your pipeline have deals ready to close on time or early; have you run through your new prospecting schedule and prepared your marketing calendar for 2018? If you have, you are ready to go!

Finish the year strong with solid momentum and energy! Have a safe and Merry Christmas! Share kindness with those you love and those in need! We will be back next week!

Here Is What Is Working

As we are wrapping up 2018 and looking at what is working for those committed to improving their business, here are the three things I am finding that are working best for those who have improved the most.

  • Use of video. For 7 years I have been pushing for mortgage professionals to incorporate video in their business to better connect and communicate. Video works for you 24/7/365. Putting together your video business cards, FAQs, short tutorials, and especially the use of video coupons.
  • Birthday calls. The simple act of calling your clients and referral partners on their birthday has been a huge boost in opportunities for those making the call. This one simple act that takes less than 10 minutes a day can help grow your business by more than 30%!
  • File replacement. Mining your files for potential new opportunities to do loans or find new referral partners has proven to do just that, create new opportunities while working on current ones.

There are many other tools and techniques out there you can use and many things that will work well or better than others. The important thing is to take a good look at your business and see the one or two things that take less than ten or fifteen minutes a day to do that will substantially change your business!

One other point I wanted to bring to your attention this week is the value of the note. A simple hand written note can really change the perception and the level of connection between a person and a product or service provider. A simple case in point is my recent trip to Ohio last week. I left Florida where it was 82 degrees and arrived in Columbus to find in to be 21! On the drive to my hotel, it was windy and then it began to snow. When I got to the hotel and got by bags out of the car, the cold, wind, and snow was really putting a damper on my mood for sure!

I checked in and got to my room just wanting to get my clothes put away and warm up when I spotted a note on the desk. It read:

“Mr. White,

Welcome to our hotel! Thank you so much for choosing us for your stay! We are so excited to host you, especially as a valued Gold Hilton Honors member! If there is anything we can do for you while you are here, please let us know!

-yours in hospitality,

Front Desk Team

Needless to say, this really helped change my mood and reset my focus for this trip. It also confirmed to me the power of the handwritten note! I have this note and will keep it as a reminder that personal attention to detail in the form of a simple note is still a very powerful tool in providing an exceptional customer experience!

Questions or comments: Mike@IMTcoaching.com